PIC, Farm Stand, Design Thinking, Melba Ortiz, SSN Mentors, Cornhole Boards
PIC, Farm Stand, Design Thinking, Melba Ortiz, SSN Mentors, Cornhole Boards
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Newsletter June 2021
Headshot of Mark Schaub, Dean of Brooks College

Dean's Message

"Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
                    ― Lauren Bacall
Strawberry season in Michigan. Lake Michigan warming to tolerable temperatures. Detroit Tigers seesawing between excellence and disappointment. I hope your own June is as close to what you want from it, as possible.
While you teach your spring term course, move your research or other projects forward, or prepare for the coming (in person!) academic year, please allow the emerging four commitments for GVSU’s next chapter to enter your walking thoughts. These draft commitments are shared from the Reach Higher 2025 website:
Commitment: At Grand Valley, we begin with your passion and gifts.
Promise: Your guides.
Strategy: At GVSU, every student declares both a major and a mission, and everyone is guided by their own personal board of advisors.
Commitment: At Grand Valley, we are all educators and learners.
Promise: Your path.
Strategy: At GVSU, every learner has a fully personalized pathway towards fulfilling their life's purpose ―  aided by a university community that is always open, active, and alive with ideas.
Commitment: At Grand Valley, we integrate learning and work across a Laker’s lifetime.
Promise: Your advantage.
Strategy: At GVSU, our approach to learning is recognized as a national model for excellence and innovation. All learning is interdisciplinary, socially embedded, customizable, adaptive, and directly relevant to the worlds our graduates enter and create.
Commitment: At Grand Valley, we create transformative equity and a sense of belonging.
Promise: Your home.
Strategy: At GVSU, we ensure that our community serves as a catalyst towards a more just and sustainable world ― both on our campuses and beyond.
As you contemplate your individual and our collective role in living these commitments for our students and one another, I trust you’ll see that Brooks College has a role in each of them. You have a role in each of them. I can’t wait to talk with you all about it.
Mark Schaub signature

Mark Schaub
Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Save the Date: Start-up Meeting on August 18

The Brooks College Fall 2021 Start-up Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 8:45 - 11:30 a.m. We will meet in person at the Seidman College of Business. Breakfast will be provided. Details and RSVP to follow.

An Update on the Padnos International Center

From Kate Stoetzner and Becca Hambleton
GVSU overall is looking forward to a robust Fall semester, and the Padnos International Center (PIC) is equally hopeful! We are anticipating welcoming a potential record number of International Students this fall, assuming the US Embassies in Nepal and India are able to open in time!
PIC is working with the newly established International Risk Assessment Committee on creating a university-wide strategy to resume study abroad programming. We anticipate that there will be a small number of students studying abroad this fall. We continue to monitor conditions around the world and are paying close attention to travel advisories and entry requirements as we identify a pathway for some limited programming abroad.
Dr. Mike Vrooman has completed his term as the Interim Chief International Officer. The CIO role will be vacant while the new strategic plan is developed to allow time to shape the position description to what best meets GVSU’s needs. In the meantime, questions about international students and scholars should be directed to Kate Stoetzner, and questions about study abroad, partnerships, and grants should be directed to Rebecca Morrissey (Hambleton). We thank you for your continued support and conversations with potential study abroad students, returning study abroad students, international students, and all other international endeavors!

Sustainable Agriculture Project Hosting Farm Stand this Summer

This summer, the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) is hosting a weekly farm stand on the Allendale Campus.
The farm stand is open Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m. outside Lake Michigan Hall.
After the popular on-campus farmers market was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, the farm stand has opened in a smaller scale, safe way to reintroduce the market to the Grand Valley community.
Currently, the stand sells honey, root crops, and leaf vegetables such as kale and arugula. As the growing season progresses, the offerings will expand to tomatoes, green beans, squash, cucumbers, and more. In addition to selling crops harvested from the SAP, the farm stand sells plants from the Barbara Kindschi Greenhouse. Read more on GVNext.

Communications Faculty takes Interdisciplinary Style to Meijer Honors College

During college, Melba Vélez Ortiz shuffled among four different academic disciplines — communications, political science, philosophy, and theater. Her multifaceted style continues as a faculty member.
In the fall semester, the professor of communications will bring her interdisciplinary approach to teaching to the Frederik Meijer Honors College as a full-time faculty member.
Vélez Ortiz joined Grand Valley's School of Communications faculty in 2009. When the honors college position was announced, Vélez Ortiz said she applied because it felt like "being called home to the mothership."
"When I was an undergraduate, at one point I had four majors that I loved," she said. "Teaching in the honors college, with vibrant, highly motivated students and distinguished colleagues, this is the kind of environment where I will thrive." Read more on GVNext.

Crafting Collaboration: Design Thinking Class Partners with Founders Brewing Co.

What started as a casual conversation over beers morphed into a collaboration between a Grand Valley class and one of the nation’s largest breweries.
In March, Founders Brewing Co. introduced its limited release “Old Fashioned” beer, which was created in partnership with Darien Ripple’s design thinking class over three semesters.
This beer marks the first time in Founders’ history that an outside group constructed a marketing plan and had a hand in choosing ingredients for a beer. Read more in the GVMagazine.

Student Success Network Mentors

The Student Success Network (SSN) is looking for faculty who are dedicated to student success. Faculty will serve as partners with first-year students assisting in their matriculation to GVSU. Working through their first academic year, faculty partners will provide insights and guidance as students navigate the high-level rigor expected of them and a new environment. SSN faculty mentors are supported by the SSN advisory team, which has developed a curriculum with resources, including customizable email scripts for messaging and small group programming assistance, to enable faculty to easily provide information to help educate students on the many services that exist to support them outside of the classroom. Learn more and apply on the SSN website.
Brooks College Cornhole Boards

Brooks College Cornhole Boards

The Dean's Office has created Brooks College cornhole boards for faculty, staff, and students to enjoy. Two sets—four boards and 16 bags—are available for use on weekdays.
This summer, the cornhole boards will be set up at the GVSU Farm Stand on Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., outside Lake Michigan Hall.
To borrow one or both cornhole sets, email the Dean's Office at brookscollege@gvsu.edu. Let's play!

Faculty and Staff Updates

Marilyn Preston, associate professor of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies, has accepted a new faculty position at Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis, which will allow her to be closer to family. Marilyn has been at GVSU since 2013. She begins this new position in August 2021. We'll miss you, Marilyn!


Cáel Keegan, associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies and integrative, religious, and intercultural studies, was selected for the Fulbright Canada Distinguished Research Chair in Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton University. Cáel will be completing this work in connection with his sabbatical during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Andrea Riley-Mukavetz, assistant professor of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies, co-authored a book, You Better Go See Geri. The book will be published in November by Oregon State University Press.
Two episodes from WGVU's “Shaping Narratives” TV series were nominated for Emmys by the Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The series, supported by a W.K. Kellogg grant, was a collaboration between WGVU and Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Integrative Studies faculty members Melanie Shell-Weiss and Andrea Riley-MukavetzLin Bardwell, NAAC program coordinator; and Steve Chappell, grants manager for WGVU, were among the people who worked on these episodes. Emmy winners will be announced on June 19.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) awarded Grand Valley a STARS gold rating in recognition of the university's sustainability efforts. Grand Valley became the first Michigan university to receive gold status in 2013, and has consistently maintained its gold status since. Congratulations to the Office of Sustainability Practices on this recognition.


Wednesdays: GVSU Farm Stand
July 28: Social Innovation Master's Project Presentations - Summer 2021
August 18: Brooks College Fall 2021 Start-up Meeting
August 24: GVSU Faculty and Staff Picnic

Faculty Calendar

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