(Re)Start Meeting, Leadership Conversations, Sustainability, LEADS
(Re)Start Meeting, Leadership Conversations, Sustainability, LEADS
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Newsletter January 2022
Headshot of Mark Schaub, Dean of Brooks College

Dean's Message

"...being an adjunct has made me better able to understand the social, political, and economic stresses of my students."  — Maria Masto
When our younger son secured a position as a Costco employee early in the COVID pandemic, in order to supplement his graduate assistantship in Milwaukee, he reported—in addition to tiresome arguments with people about the company’s mask requirement—being thanked profusely by customers. “Thank you for your front-line work!” many of them said. “You are essential!”
Walter was laid off as soon as the first plateau in new infections arrived.
In higher education, we of course have our own essential colleagues, often overlooked by individuals outside that particular category of employees. In my experience, the pandemic has both challenged and strengthened our empathy for others. Ideally, faculty were appreciative of the colleagues who showed up to campus every day and served students directly. Likewise, non-teaching employees were appreciative of the tremendous additional “lift”—initially and then daily over a yearlong grind—that faculty made to teach effectively in new modalities.
Adjunct and contingent faculty are the essential workers of higher education in general, and here at GVSU and in Brooks College in particular. They are the new faculty majority. I, as dean of the college, have more agency than most in helping acknowledge their importance to our mission. Not just a “shout out” in a monthly newsletter but in more important ways. We all have a role in supporting these colleagues through collegiality and humanity and everything else.
My late friend Steve M. Street made a name for himself in advocacy for faculty who change the lives of millions of students every year. The premier contingent faculty advocacy award is even named for Steve. He reminded all his colleagues—including me—of the importance of lifting all faculty, if we were to lift our students. In this newsletter, I wish to publicly thank our adjunct faculty colleagues to whom we and our students owe much. I also wish to pledge my, our, intention of thanking them in more ways than words.
Mark Schaub signature

Mark Schaub
Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
Brooks Winter 2022 (Re)Start Meeting
All Brooks College faculty and staff are invited to the Winter 2022 (Re)Start Meeting on Friday, January 21, 2022, 8:45 - 11:30 a.m. The event will be held in person in the Kirkhof Center, room 2204 (Pere Marquette). The schedule will include student presentations, updates on advising and sustainability, remarks from Dean Schaub and Associate Dean Shell-Weiss, and a Q&A. Breakfast will be provided. Please RSVP by January 13.

Leadership Conversation Series

Over the last year, the Reach Higher 2025 steering committee led a community engagement process to refine our mission, vision, values, and strategic priorities for the next four years. The approach to this plan is a simple but profound framework allowing plenty of room for faculty, staff, colleges, and units to determine how they best embody its direction.
You are invited to sign up for a Leadership Conversation with President Mantella, particularly if you have questions and concerns. There will be no presentations, just listening and exploring. Faculty and staff sessions are scheduled over the next few months. Learn more and sign up for a session.

Grand Valley Recognized by Local Environmental Group for Sustainability Efforts

Grand Valley and one of its faculty members were recognized for sustainability efforts by the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) at its annual meeting on December 15.
Grand Valley was named Business of the Year, and Crystal Scott-Tunstall, an affiliate professor of environmental and sustainability studies, was honored as WMEAC's Educator of the Year.
Scott-Tunstall said this honor is deeply touching since it comes from her colleagues in the community. 
"In the work of environmental sustainability, I strive to help the planet through coaching my students, who are the Earth’s future stewards," she said. "To continuously build a strong bridge between GVSU and the community is my priority. Community engagement is not my hobby, it is my lifestyle." Read more on GVNext.

For Internship Project, Traverse City Student Creates Inclusive Week at Elementary School

Grand Valley student Darla Eimers is the office manager at the Old Mission Peninsula School, a kindergarten-fifth grade school in Traverse City.
Eimers can now add "diversity and inclusion coordinator" to her title after planning a week's worth of activities for students focused on global cultures, differences and a sense of belonging.
She is enrolled in the LEADS program, an accelerated degree completion program for adult learners, and will earn a bachelor's degree in integrative studies, with an emphasis on cultural diversity and globalization, in April.
This project will fulfill an internship requirement. But more than checking a box for degree progress, Eimers said she planned Diversity and Inclusion Week to expose the elementary students to cultures other than their own and "bring them outside their comfort zone a bit." Old Mission Peninsula School is a charter school authorized by Grand Valley.
"I would like our students to learn about populations other than their own and understand that being kind and inclusive is free, and it's so easy to do," Eimers said. Read more on GVNext.

Meet Jaisan Mostafa, International Student from Bangladesh

Written by Nicole Smith, Dean's Office Student Assistant
In these winter months, Michigan looks much different than the scenery of Bangladesh. According to Jaisan Mostafa, a new student to Grand Valley as of Fall 2021, the winter months look nice from the inside of a building but are no fun when you step outside.
After coming to Michigan last fall from Bangladesh to receive his Master’s at Grand Valley State University, Mostafa is looking to finish up his education in mechanical engineering. He chose engineering because of an early-age fondness of cars, and an interest in the industrial system. Mostafa said that “Grand Valley’s curriculum is mostly project-based” for his classes, and this was a large contributor to choosing this school. Read more on the Brooks College website.

Faculty and Staff Updates

Kelly Parker, professor of environmental and sustainability studies (ENS) and philosophy, will serve as interim director of ENS during the Winter 2022 term while Amy McFarland is on sabbatical.
Andrew Schlewitz, assistant professor of area and global studies, has been appointed coordinator of Latin American and Latino/a Studies through Winter 2024.
Ayana Weekly, associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies (WGS), will serve as interim chair of WGS during the Winter 2022 term while Julia Mason is on sabbatical.


Marie Burnside, affiliate professor of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies, was interviewed by Military Times for an article about how universities can better support military-connected faculty.
Andrea Riley-Mukavetz, assistant professor of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies, was featured on Episode 93 of the Pedagogue podcast to discuss Indigenous and cultural rhetorics pedagogy, writing as both healing and resistance, decoloniality in higher education, and tribal colleges and universities.


January 16-22: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week
January 19: Staff Leadership Conversation
January 21: Brooks College Winter 2022 (Re)Start Meeting
February 15: Staff Leadership Conversation
February 22: Meijer Lecture with Cascade Engineering President and CEO Christina Keller
February 22: Conversation on Sustainability with Rob Greenfield
March 7: Staff Leadership Conversation
March 23: Kutsche Annual Local History Roundtable
March 23: Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Symposium: Bridging Divides
March 29: 2022 Mosaic Lecture with Dr. Mariel Vazquez, Professor of Mathematics at UC Davis

Faculty Calendar

January 10: Classes begin
January 17: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Recess
January 18 & 19: Faculty Leadership Conversations
February 8: Faculty Awards Convocation

February 16: Faculty Leadership Conversation
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