Cluster Hire, International Students, Dan Cope & Elections, Farm Stand
Cluster Hire, International Students, Dan Cope & Elections, Farm Stand
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Newsletter November 2021
Headshot of Mark Schaub, Dean of Brooks College

Dean's Message

Walking home again, November
As the night sky slides in the from the east,
the light tightens
in mid air.
Purple branch tips
click in the breeze.
The bones of my hands
wear flesh
like cold gloves.
Pushing across pavement,
the sharp leaves scrape sparks;
and in the gutter,
a whisper:
hundreds of brittle brown tongues.
Mark Schaub signature

Mark Schaub
Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

GVSU Emergency Paid Sick Leave

To provide extra care to those who are vaccinated, in the process of becoming vaccinated, or have a GVSU approved exemption, GVSU is reinstating the GVSU Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to help ensure employees are able to observe quarantine and isolation guidelines related to COVID-19 for the Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 semesters. For more info visit the EPSL website.

Brooks College Cluster Hire

In support of Grand Valley State University’s abiding commitment to values of inclusiveness and community coupled with President Mantella’s Charge for Racial Equity and Inclusion, Brooks College is conducting a cluster hire that will include six (6) new hires of assistant professors in interdisciplinary fields focused in areas of greatest need across our programs. The application deadline is November 29. To learn more about our cluster hiring process, visit

Save the Date: (Re)Start Meeting on January 21

Save the date for Brooks College Winter 2022 (Re)Start Meeting on Friday, January 21, 2022, 9:00 - 11:30 a.m. The event will be held in person in the Kirkhof Center, room 2204 (Pere Marquette).

GVSU Hosts a Record Number of International Students this Fall

By Kate Stoetzner, Director of International Student & Scholar Services
GVSU is hosting a record number of new international students this Fall. We are fortunate that so many new students were still eager to study at GVSU. We have two full-time onsite recruiters, Kirthi Kondapalli, in India, and the other, Leah Ling, in China. They are supporting the efforts of Chris Hendree in Admissions as well as the graduate program directors. Kirthi was able to increase interest for GVSU and our academic programs, and we have seen a big influx of students from India. This fall, we have 176 new international students at GVSU. We have a total international student enrollment of 400 students. And 98 are from India! The students are excited to be here, and our Indian students are organizing a GVSU Indian Student Association, which will be advised by Dr. Vijay Bhuse in Computer Science. We anticipate numbers will continue to grow, especially once China opens up again.
The Padnos International Center is currently working on outreach to students to be sure they are adjusting academically, culturally, socially, and also to our weather! One consistent theme we are hearing is that students are not feeling connected to other students or to faculty and staff. I’d love to request any reader who interacts with students to take time to ask how they are doing and if they need help. As employees, we know all of the services that GVSU provides, but we must help spread the word. Students are also looking for suggestions on how to connect to people and groups in the city of Grand Rapids. Additionally, students love to hear how to dress for the impending weather. If you have tips and tricks to purchase warm clothes, layer clothes, things like that, taking time to explain to an international student would be much appreciated!
If you know students who are interested in connecting with international students, please refer them to the student organization, Bringing Together the World (BTW). 
Dan Cope headshot

Dan Cope Brings Election Experience into the Classroom, Engages Students

Dan Cope, affiliate professor of integrative studies, has been involved with election work for several years. She has served on multiple receiving boards and administered the 2020 elections as a Deputy Clerk in Grand Rapids. With election season coming up, we chatted with Dan about her experience working with elections and how she engages students in her classroom with the topic.
How did you get involved with voter registration and elections?
Since turning 18, I have participated in elections as a voter, but it was only recently that I began to work as an election administrator. In 2017, I joined the Clerk’s office in Grand Rapids Township as a certified election inspector. During this time, I worked every local, state, and national election for four years in various capacities registering voters, administering and receiving absentee ballots, and serving on the Absent Voter Counting Board and Receiving Board. Working the 2020 presidential election was both challenging and rewarding as I realized how vital it is that citizens understand how elections are administered and have faith that their clerks will dutifully execute that process.
Why are you passionate about this work?
Jane Addams argued that democracy is not merely a system of government but a lifestyle. It is something that we must practice every day. A healthy community is an inclusive community, which only occurs when every member is empowered to participate. When we see and hear one another, we are more sensitive to the injustices that occur in our society and are better equipped to work together to address such problems. In this spirit, I believe voter participation is an act of love for our neighbors and community members. As an educator, I consider it my duty to nurture compassionate, critical, and engaged citizens who see themselves as contributors and defenders of democracy.
How do you incorporate this topic into your classes and engage students?
I primarily teach INT 100 which includes a unit on civic engagement. The coursework I have developed allows students to research information about the election process by reporting on local governance, ballot initiatives, and voting rules and responsibilities. As a class, we have attended Democracy 101 sessions such as the First Time Voter Workshop organized by the Community Service Learning Center’s coalition for Campus Democratic Engagement. International students who are citizens of foreign countries have reported on their electoral process as well. In Winter 2021, a student from Myanmar shared the devastating consequences of the military’s invalidation of the 2020 general election and the suspension of democracy in her country. She chose to share this with her classmates as a parallel narrative to the assault on election integrity simultaneously occurring in the U.S.
What advice would have for someone (faculty, staff, or student) who would like to get involved with voter registration or elections?
Become an election inspector! All elections need people to support the voting process in various capacities like being a poll worker, a member of the receiving and counting boards, and to act as ballot couriers on election day. Interested citizens should contact their local clerks to apply. In addition to working on Election Day, I encourage students to volunteer to work voter registration drives organized by the GVSU Votes initiative.
For any questions, feel free to contact Dan Cope at

GVSU Farm Stand Recap

On October 20, the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) hosted the final Farm Stand of the season.
Michael Hinkle, Farm Manager and Educator, reported that the SAP farm crew and interns put in 2,330 hours to grow over 2,000 pounds of produce this year. Any produce not sold at the weekly Farm Stand was donated to the GVSU community, including Replenish, a food resource for students.
"All of us at the Office of Sustainability Practices would like to thank all who came to the Farm Stand and directly supported these students’ personal growth through the lens of sustainable agriculture," Michael said. "Every pound of produce purchased helped Harold Thommen, secondary education major, learn new ways to incorporate agriculture into his lesson planning. It helped Jake Torok, a Natural Resources Management major and Environmental and Sustainability studies minor, learn how to regenerate soil quality. It gave Andrew Vickery, a Studio Art major, an opportunity to connect art and land management. We’re looking forward to another season and new opportunities for growth!"

Seventh Campus Climate Survey will Open November 17

Students, faculty and staff members will be invited to participate in Grand Valley's seventh campus climate survey when it is operational from November 17 - December 1.
Jesse Bernal, chief of staff to the president and vice president for Inclusion and Equity, said the university has hired a new company to oversee administration of the anonymous and online survey. The Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) is a consortium of colleges and universities committed to sharing data with member institutions. When HEDS returns survey data, it will include a comparison to other public universities.

GVSU Again Named a Green College by The Princeton Review

For the 12th year in a row, Grand Valley State University has been named one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges by The Princeton Review.
The university is included in “The Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: 2022 Edition.”
The guide profiles higher education institutions in the U.S. that demonstrate superb sustainability practices, a strong foundation in sustainability education and a healthy quality of life for students on campus. Grand Valley has been included in the guide every year since the first issue was published in 2010. Read more on GVNext.

After Mindfulness Class, Students Report Less Stress, Better Concentration

When first-year student Jordyn Roel selected classes for the fall semester, a one-credit course called "Mindfulness as a College Success Tool" caught her eye.
Roel, who is studying biomedical sciences, had tried meditation and journaling practices on her own and enrolled in the class to learn more about improving her mental health and living in the present.
Now at the midpoint of the semester, Roel said she is less stressed compared to her peers because of the course taught by Karen Gipson. Read more on GVNext.
Faculty and staff dress up for Halloween
Brooks College faculty, staff, and students in costume for a gathering on October 29.

Staff Updates

Julia Mason, interim chair of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGS) Department, has been named the chair of WGS effective August 2022. Ayana Weekley, associate professor of WGS, will serve as interim chair during the Winter 2022 term while Julia Mason is on sabbatical.
Amy McFarland, interim director of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENS) Department, has been appointed ENS director from August 2022 for a three-year period. Amy will be on sabbatical for the Winter 2022 semester, during which Kelly Parker will be returning for a role as interim director.
Melanie Shell-Weiss, interim associate dean, has been named the associate dean of Brooks College beginning July 2022. Mel began serving as interim associate dean in August 2021. Previously, Mel was the chair of the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies (IRIS) Department.
Kary Wickham has been selected as the academic and enrichment advisor for the Honors College. Kary started supporting Honors College students in January 2021 in an adjunct AP role.


Jack Mangala, chair of the Area and Global Studies (AGS) Department and professor of AGS and political science, was elected to the Executive Council of the Association of Global South Studies, the largest professional organization that seeks to bring the voices and perspectives of the countries and people from the global south to the scholarly debates on globalization and its impacts.
Kim McKee, associate professor of integrative studies, was a guest on the Let’s Grab Coffee with SunAh podcast discussing Adoption, Immigration, and Citizenship Rights.
Amy Phillips, social innovation graduate student, wrote an article, "Book Review of The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed," published in Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Journal.
Crystal Scott-Tunstall, affiliate professor of environmental and sustainability studies, co-presented a talk, "Environmental Injustice: Educating Students Using a Local Case Study," at the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum conference in Colorado on October 9.
Kate Stoetzner, director of international student and scholar services in the Padnos International Center, spoke with Shelley Irwin on the WGVU Morning Show about the record number of international students at GVSU this semester.
Peter Wampler, professor of geology in honors, was interviewed by FOX 17 for a story about the missionaries in Haiti who were kidnapped.
Deana Weibel, interim chair of the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies (IRIS) Department, and professor of anthropology was interviewed for a GVNext story about William Shatner's emotional reaction to his brief ride into space on October 13, 2021.
Study Abroad Fair 2021
Sustainability Showcase 2021


Faculty Calendar

November 10-11: 9th Annual Teach-In: Power, Privilege and Difficult Dialogues
November 24-28: Thanksgiving recess
December 11: Classes end and Commencement
December 13-18: Final exams
December 18: Semester ends

December 21: Grades due from faculty by 12:00 pm
February 8: Faculty Awards Convocation
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