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Issue: Spring 2011


  ISSUE: FALL 2012  

Innovation happens at university’s new think[box] facility

How can you think outside the box? That’s what students, staff, faculty and community members are finding out when they visit think[box], the university’s new multimillion-dollar invention center.

According to a new “people counter” recently installed on the door, thousands of visitors have been using the technology available at think[box] to design, create and collaborate.

Located temporarily in a 3,000-square-foot space in Glennan Building 209X, think[box] boasts $500,000 worth of fabrication equipment, such as industrial 3-D printers and laser cutters. Case Western Reserve community members can access all of the technology in think[box] for free Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Fundraising efforts are past the halfway point to develop a permanent space for think[box] by renovating a seven-story, 50,000-square-foot facility behind Veale Recreation, Convocation and Athletic Center.

Already, many classes and students are taking advantage of the think[box] facility. Executive Director Malcolm Cooke is co-teaching a capstone design class with faculty member Dustin Tyler in which students use think[box] resources to design a soccer ball kicker for a paraplegic. Operations Manager Ian Charnas led a team of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Institute of Art students in fabricating hundreds of interactive fireflies for display in Toby's Plaza, located in Uptown behind the Museum of Contemporary Art. SAGES first-year students are using the laser cutter to make name badges to wear at the career fair.

These are just a few examples of the innovation underway in think[box], a project initially funded by the Culture, Creativity and Design Alliance.

For more information, visit



In This Issue


Coming Soon


Stay tuned for the launch of the strategic plan website.



Important Dates


10.31.12, noon–5 p.m.: Provost's Leadership Retreat, Cleveland Botanical Gardens


11.6.2012, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.: Financial Planning Retreat, Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence


11.13 and 11.15.2012: Strategic Plan Campus Forums




  Forward Progress is a quarterly newsletter from the Office of the Provost that keeps faculty and staff informed about implementation of the university's strategic plan. For more information or to offer feedback, visit the Office of the Provost's website.  




Making Strides


STEERING COMMITTEE KICKOFF: The Strategic Plan Steering Committee, composed of faculty, staff, student and alumni representatives, held its initial meeting Oct. 29. The first campus forums are being planned for Nov. 13 and 15. Stay tuned for more information on the forums and the launch of the strategic plan website.

COUNCIL OF ALLIANCES UPDATE: The discussions at recent Council of Alliances (COA) meetings have centered on the alliances' visions, sustainability and economic impact, as well as their roles in enhancing distinction and helping create a comprehensive research university. COA members also are exploring ways to recast the traditional way of thinking about research and education. For example, Shannon French, director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, has partnered with Iwan Alexander, director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute, to investigate the ethical dimensions of research by looking at projects that already have been funded. To find out more about the alliances and to view the most recent project reports, visit

OFFICE OF DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY INITIATIVES: Rhonda Williams, associate professor in the Department of History and director of the Social Justice Institute, launched this year's Power of Diversity Lecture series in September with a presentation on "Social Justice and Diversity: Intersections." In addition, Case Western Reserve University recently became the inaugural host of the Association of Underrepresented Minority Fellows (AUMF)—a partnership that will last for the next three years. Through this collaboration, the university will work with AUMF to increase the number of minority students and faculty in STEM fields. Vice President Marilyn Mobley learned of this opportunity during the development of the Diversity Strategic Action Plan last year. Alison Hall, dean of graduate education at the School of Medicine, is coordinating the partnership.

Budget committee update: The University Budget Committee (UBC) met weekly throughout the summer and is expected to move from trial to permanent status this fall. Provost W.A. "Bud" Baeslack III has asked the UBC to spend the coming year supporting the multiyear financial planning process, which will roll into the Fiscal Year 2014 budget. In addition, he has tasked the group with conducting an in-depth review of other budget models and providing recommendations on how changes to the university’s existing model could enhance the availability of resources for future investments. The multiyear planning process will begin with the inaugural Financial Planning Retreat Nov. 6. Participants will include deans, school business officers, UBC members and senior staff. 




ORIGINS SCIENCE SCHOLARS PROGRAM CONTINUES: The Institute for the Science of Origins' fifth Origins Science Scholars Program, sponsored by Richard Morrison, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, began Oct. 3. This semester, program leaders will cover plate tectonics, black holes and gravitational lenses, and recent human evolution. The presentations have been videotaped and broadcasted on WVIZ/PBS World; the series has become so popular that WVIZ plans to rebroadcast the entire series. The institute also is developing plans for a visit by the Leakey Foundation Board of Directors for September 2013, along with an international conference and public symposium on early hominid evolution.

DEVELOPING FACULTY: The Faculty Development Council presented its FY12 final report to the provost, the Deans' Council and, most recently, at a Department Chairs’ Forum. Last year, council members worked on developing recommendations for improving mentoring of junior faculty, clarifying the role and expectations for department chairs through the creation of job descriptions and guidelines, and facilitating the promotion of associate professors to full professors. This year, they intend to look at the faculty development needs of full professors and non-tenure-track faculty and the issue of enhancing the availability of research resources—a topic that was prominent in the Faculty Climate Survey. For more information, visit

SOCIAL JUSTICE ALLIANCE PROGRAMS: The Social Justice Institute's East Cleveland "Voicing and Action Project" (VAP) held a roundtable discussion Oct. 12 at the 46th annual meeting of the Oral History Association, held in Cleveland. The conference's theme was "Sing It Out, Shout It Out, Say It Loud: Giving Voice through Oral History." Participants included: Rhonda Y. Williams, SJI founder & director; Meia Jones, Case Center for Reducing Health Disparities and IRB trainer for VAP community researchers; Trevelle Harp, executive director of Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope and VAP steering committee member; Brandon King, VAP steering committee member and community researcher; and Ndeda Letson, interviewee. Harp, King, and Letson are all residents of East Cleveland.

On the curriculum front, the SJI will offer its "SJUS100: Introduction to Social Justice" course next semester. Piloted in spring 2012, the course, which would serve as the core course for the proposed social justice minor, will be co-led by faculty members Diana Morris from the School of Nursing and John Flores from the Department of History.

Finally, this fall, the SJI partnered with the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences' Black Student Association, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church and Cleveland Urban Minority Alcohol and Drug Abuse Outreach Program on a six-week citywide book discussion of the New York Times bestseller The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The book discussions culminated with a public lecture by the author, Michelle Alexander, Oct. 25 at John Hay High School.



INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS UPDATE: The International and Study Abroad Fair was held Sept. 7, attracting approximately 850 students to learn about education abroad opportunities and ways to get involved internationally. Ten study abroad providers, eight academic departments and several students groups took part, and the University of Akron steel drum band provided entertainment.

In other international news, the School of Dental Medicine recently finalized an agreement with Rambam Health Care Center in Haifa, Israel. The agreement outlines an intensive two-year program in Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) at Case Western Reserve, following a year of preparatory work at Rambam. The preparatory program will begin in 2013, followed by the accredited AEGD. Students will be recruited from Russia, the Far East, India and other countries.

TRAINING AREA STUDENTS ON INFECTIOUS DISEASE: Last year the Infectious Disease (ID) Alliance was awarded a $250,000 grant, titled "Improving Awareness and Prevention of Infectious Diseases in High-Burden Cleveland Neighborhoods: A Collaborative, Community-Based Approach." This summer, as a result of the grant, area high school students earned peer educator training, following an adapted Advocates for Youth curriculum module and learning strategies to prevent sexually transmitted infections. The students met at the J. Glen Smith Health Center in Glenville, where they participated in hands-on activities, heard from guest speakers, shadowed nurse practitioners at the Reproductive Health Clinic and recruited other teens for STI testing at the Cleveland Department of Health Mobile Unit. They traveled to Case Western Reserve to visit various medical facilities and departments and hear from specialists including LGBTQ activists and a panel of HIV-affected individuals. The first class of nine area high school students—from Glenville, Shaw, Richmond Heights, Cleveland School of the Arts, John Hay, John Adams and Cleveland Central Catholic—graduated Sept. 5 from phase one of the peer educator training. The ceremony was held in the Biomedical Research Building. All students received certificates and four were awarded scholarships to Mini Med School.

The ID Alliance also has been working with leadership at Glenville High School to launch an in-school "Relationships and Reality" program that provides comprehensive sexual health education in an interactive format. This September, it was added to the high school's 10th grade Healthcare I curriculum.


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