PEP, Replenish, DT grants, Ari Mokdad, Making Waves, SWS, Walter Foote
PEP, Replenish, DT grants, Ari Mokdad, Making Waves, SWS, Walter Foote
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Newsletter September 2021
Headshot of Mark Schaub, Dean of Brooks College

Dean's Message

Social outrage is power protecting itself; it is not morality.
                                                            ― Andrea Dworkin
If you’ve been to a local school board meeting in recent months, you know what incivility looks like. The outrage machine is in full gear—on all sides and on all issues. Angry people wanting allies to match their anger, and then: action!
Alex Zamalin, University of Detroit Mercy Professor of African-American Studies, reminds us in his book that outrage has proven necessary for social justice. Incivility, he argues, is acceptance of an unjust status quo. “Real political change happens through direct struggle, without obligation to decorum or propriety,” he writes. What doesn’t apply universally, though, is what constitutes the unjust. Having your school require your 10-year old to mask up in Language Arts class?
Anger and outrage are values when we and our allies are the ones aiming for change. Yet, when it’s others who bring their anger and outrage, we ask them to be more civil. Be nice!
Our Brooks faculty colleague Christine Yared, in her detailed recounting of the moral failing of an entire West Michigan community, shows how great injustice was cruelly exacted by community, education, and faith leaders in Byron Center, Michigan. It was injustice conducted politely, “with civility,” and in documented public fora.
Lots of airtime, social media posts and op-eds offer suggestions on the way forward. How can we move towards justice without wanting to kill one another, or actually killing one another? Here in the Brooks College, we are so fortunate to have a platform, a home, for these conversations: the newly expanded Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse. Director Lisa Perhamus has additional time with this larger center and is working with GA colleague Maddie this year on impactful avenues for conversations that are both productive and healing. Conversations that can move us forward on the arc of justice, with more fellow citizens along than who would otherwise be excluded.
Thank you, Carol Sarosik and Shelley Padnos, for your generous and visionary support for our collective work!
Mark Schaub signature

Mark Schaub
Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

AP and PSS Performance Evaluation Goals Due by 9/30

This year HR implemented a new Performance Evaluation System for GVSU staff. This system replaces the previous ePDP and PEP systems. All AP and PSS staff should enter their goals by September 30. For more information visit the HR website.

Replenish Announces Food Drive for Students

Replenish, GVSU's food pantry and food resource for students, announced their #SpreadLoveatGV food drive. From September 27 - October 8, Replenish is collecting PB&J-themed items such as peanut butter, almond butter, jellies, jams, and preserves. Peanut butter is a highly sought-after item for its high protein value and long shelf life. Other pantry items and non-perishables are also appreciated. Donations should be brought to the Center for Women and Gender Equity in KC 1201, Monday - Thursday, between 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. For more information visit

Design Thinking Grants Now Available

Faculty, staff, and students are invited to apply for grants of up $500 to go towards teaching and learning about design thinking at GVSU. Applications are now open and will be accepted while funds are available. Learn more and apply at

Ari Mokdad Premiered New Short Film, When Water Moves

Ari Mokdad, visiting professor of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies (IRIS), co-created a new short film, When Water Moves.
The film uses spoken word and dance to tell a parable about a Lake Spirit. Ari collaborated with her friend and writer, Anne-Marie Oomen, on the project.
Incorporating multiple voices from the Northern Michigan community, the story describes how an ancient water creature faces what happens when we ignore water rights and fail to respect this ultimately life-giving resource.
The film premiered via a live stream on September 12 and included an artists’ talk-back and audience Q&A. The film is now being considered for entry in multiple film festivals. Read more about When Water Moves on the For the Love of Water website.

Making Waves Collected Over 500 lbs of Garbage from the Grand River

On September 11 a team of volunteers removed over 500 lbs of garbage from the Grand River.
The event was coordinated by Making Waves, GVSU's initiative to create collaboration across campus around water.
The team of seven volunteers launched their own boats and kayaks from the Veteran’s Boat Launch in Walker. The group then floated approximately four miles along the Grand River to Grand Lady Rock, collecting garbage along the way.
Peter Wampler, professor of geology in honors and co-lead of Making Waves, said the event was a success. "We collected over 500 lbs of assorted trash including copious plastic and Styrofoam; a cute little electric car (my favorite); an easy chair; and much much more," Wampler said. "Thanks to all who helped and brought boats and enthusiasm. We could have collected 4 or 5 times as much with more bodies, boats, and time.”
Wampler hopes the project will become an annual event, bringing students, faculty, and staff together to "adopt" the Grand River between GVSU's Allendale and Grand Rapids campuses.

An Update on SWS

From Jerry Stinnett, SWS Director and Assistant Professor of Writing
The Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) program has a number of updates to share. Last month we held our August Faculty Writing Retreat. These retreats, typically held just before the Fall and just after the Winter semesters, support faculty in setting aside time to focus on writing projects of any kind. During this past retreat, faculty participants completed or made significant progress on conference papers, syllabi, translation projects, research articles, and even a novel. The next retreat will be held in May 2022.
For the Fall 2021 semester, SWS has re-started the regular semester assessment of SWS courses. The assessment, which runs through the bulk of SWS courses on a 4-year cycle, was suspended because of the pandemic for Winter and Fall 2020 and Winter 2021. The re-started assessment for this semester will involve 19 courses across a variety of departments. This assessment helps the University Writing Skills Committee identify sites and opportunities for creating more support for, relieving unnecessary burdens in, and providing training on SWS instruction across the disciplines. We appreciate the help of all the faculty who have been involved in supporting this assessment process.
This Fall, in an effort to provide training and support for faculty teaching SWS courses, I'm facilitating a new FTLC Faculty Learning Community (FLC), "Developing an Effective SWS Course," focused on teaching writing effectively. The sessions will use short readings by Writing Studies scholars to foster reflection on instructors’ existing approaches. Based on these readings and discussions, participants will begin making practical developments in course materials and classroom practices. To help participants make the FLC as practically useful as possible, enrollment for the Fall 21 FLC has been limited to 8 and is now full. I'm working with the FTLC with the goal of offering the FLC every semester until interest or need decline. Watch for an announcement about the next FLC as the Winter 2022 semester approaches.
Finally, I'm happy to offer direct support or consultations with individual instructors either in person or via Zoom. These consultations can address any questions or concerns faculty might have about SWS instruction, including everything from what writing skills or concepts to teach, to how to teach writing, to designing assignments, or even individual classroom activities. I've already met with 8 different faculty members individually to offer such consultations and I'm happy to accommodate as many such meetings as my schedule will allow. This invitation for consultation extends as well to departments interested in reconsidering the place of writing instruction in their curricula or wanting to discuss how SWS courses can better support their majors and their department’s goals.

Steeve Buckridge Wins Fulbright Award

Steeve Buckridge, professor of history and area and global studies, earned a Fulbright Scholar award and will teach in a country where he has led study abroad trips.
Buckridge will spend the 2022 calendar year in Namibia, in southern Africa, teaching at the University of Namibia and conducting research for his next book about women and the Namibian genocide.
"I will be conducting interviews for the book, which examines the relation between the traumatized black body and dress practices among the Herero women in Namibia," Buckridge said.
Read more in the GVSU Forum
Walter Foote headshot

Professor Foote Remembered for Many Contributions to GVSU and Brooks

Written by Toni Perrine, retired professor of film and Latin American Studies at GVSU
Walter Foote, co-founder and first coordinator of Latin American Studies at GVSU, died peacefully at Hospice House in Traverse City Michigan on August 25, 2021.
Professor Emeritus Foote joined the English Department faculty in 1968. He proposed the GVSU Writing Center in 1979 and served as Director of Writing for many years. Walter traveled extensively in Latin America and especially Chile, where he spent a sabbatical in 1991. In 1993, he co-founded the Latin American Studies minor and served as the first coordinator of the program from 1993 to 1995.
Walter was particularly interested in poetry, music, and film, and team-taught a popular Latin American film course as part of his teaching in the minor. As coordinator, he helped organize GVSU’s first Latin American Studies conferences as well as many other lectures, musical events, and cultural programs. He retired from GVSU in 1997.

Brooks Helps Host GVSU Cornhole Tournament

On August 19, Brooks College partnered with Benefits & Wellness to host Grand Valley's first Cornhole Tournament.
The event was created as a way to bring faculty and staff from across campus together for a fun, in-person event. The bracket-style tournament consisted of 14 teams. Congratulations to Taylor and Travus of the winning team, Too Corny! See more photos from the event at


Michael Hinkle, farm manager and educator, spoke with Shelley Irwin on the WGVU Morning Show about the Sustainable Agriculture Project and its weekly Farm Stand.
Lynnette Keen, integrative, religious, and intercultural studies office coordinator, and her husband, retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Gerald Keen, were featured in a third WOOD TV 8 story about their efforts to bring an Afghan interpreter and his family to the U.S. In August, the Keens were able to reunite with the family in Canada, where the family is currently residing.
Julia Mason, interim chair of women, gender, and sexuality studies, was featured in the FOX 17 story, "'We still aren't there yet': Reflection and commemoration on Women's Equality Day."
Kim McKee, associate professor of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies, was featured in a short documentary produced by two Asian American Journalist Association fellows about anti-Asian hate and the experiences of adoptees. Kim was also a guest on the Academic Aunties podcast about the Netflix series, The Chair.
Peter Wampler, professor of geology in honors and co-lead of Making Waves, spoke with Shelley Irwin on the WGVU Morning Show about the Grand River Campus-to-Campus Cleanup.


Faculty Calendar

September 23: Five Questions to Give Your Students Direction
October 1: Faculty Activity Plans (FAPs) due to Unit Heads
October 11: Teach-In proposal submission deadline
October 11-15: Mid-term exams
October 19: Mid-term grades due by 12:00 p.m.
October 24-26: Fall Break
October 29: Drop with a "W" grade deadline
November 10-11: 9th Annual Teach-In: Power, Privilege and Difficult Dialogues
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