Break Dates, ePDP, (Re)Start Meeting, INT 100/201 events, staff updates
Break Dates, ePDP, (Re)Start Meeting, INT 100/201 events, staff updates
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Newsletter January 2021
Headshot of Mark Schaub, Dean of Brooks College

Dean's Message

Timely Note:
I was finalizing the message below while an attempted coup was getting started last Wednesday in Washington, D.C. It doesn’t change my thinking, but perhaps intensifies our need—if that was even possible—of working towards racial justice and peaceful political engagement. You have already received condemnations of last week’s insurrection in our nation’s capitol from President Mantella and Provost Cimitile. Of course, Brooks College stands with those condemnations. As this opinion piece in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education attests, GVSU and other universities have an important responsibility in this area.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

― Maya Angelou
In addition to the networking and fellowship with colleagues from institutions around the world, the element I most miss from in-person professional or academic conferences is the perspective they provide. The perspective of being “away” from campus provides intellectual distance that allows for new insights, even clarity.
Nothing helps us appreciate people or things more than loss or separation. And nothing helps us gain perspective like separation. With all the trauma many have experienced—are experiencing—the past 10 months, there’s no doubt that new insights, new appreciation, new clarity have emerged.
Just as societal and economic fault lines seem more obvious than ever, individual choices relating to sustainability and justice have been laid bare. For example, the pandemic has served as a tipping point for folks to forswear meat consumption, even though they long knew of the wider harm caused by factory farming. It didn’t take long for me to vow that I will never go back to stressful (and wasteful) racing between the Allendale and Pew campuses for in-person meetings that needn’t be in-person meetings. I will be eager to get back to in-person meetings, particularly fellowship, but not for all the same business we convened for in the past.
The conversations I’m most eager to have with you in the college center on several areas:
Structuring Our Work
At the (Re)Start Meeting this Friday we’ll hear from some Brooks students who plan to graduate this semester, as these students center our work. I also plan to initiate a conversation on some ways we might conceive of alternate structures to the academic programs that serve these students.
Racial Justice
Last semester several Brooks faculty and staff, led by Melanie Shell-Weiss, collaborated on a proposal that—when we move it to action—will center racial equity in Brooks courses and in co-curriculum across the university. The READ (Racial Equity And Diversity) project is the kind of work that needs to be done, and the work that Brooks faculty and staff are prepared to lead and lead well. This is not the only step that can be taken, but is one of the first ones we need to take.
Global Learning
We never got much traction on “global learning for all” after many other recommendations from a 2012-2014 internationalization task force were enacted. With the pandemic having slowed international student mobility to a standstill, the importance of international collaboration and cooperation are more urgent than ever. Technologies and imagination have shown us that virtual exchange is an impactful tool towards providing global learning opportunities for all students—not just the high-impact experience of study abroad for a minority of students.
Civil Discourse
I’ve pre-ordered the latest in a series of thoughtful critiques of civil discourse in my continued effort to imagine how we can live up to our shared ideals of liberal education amidst a deeply divided citizenry. It’s among the biggest puzzles of our time. Still, we may not throw up our hands and refuse to even consider avenues towards civil discourse. I am not full of answers on the “how” we do this, nor am I ignorant of the justified hesitation many have—particularly family, friends, and colleagues with marginalized (even targeted) identities. This campus has hosted, in the very same year, full-house speaking engagements by both Maya Angelou and Ted Nugent. This is our place in the world. We must find, and lead, a way forward. As faculty committed to liberal education of a diverse student population, it’s our job.
Mark Schaub
Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Two Break Dates and No Snow Days

In response to a request from Student Senate regarding the cancellation of Spring Break in W21, the University has designated two Break Dates where classes will not meet and assignments cannot be due, to give the students a bit of a mental break. These two dates are March 10 and April 1.
These dates are intentionally single-day and mid-week, in order to reduce the likelihood of student travel on those dates. Exceptions will be allowed for programs/activities such as clinicals or internships, where compliance with the days off would prevent students from meeting program requirements or interfere with schedules set with external constituencies.
The University has also decided not to have snow days in W21 since so many classes already have online components; if there are days of inclement weather so severe as to warrant a snow day, there may be “virtual days” instead. So the two dates above should be the only class meeting time that will be lost in W21.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)

Grand Valley has extended the previous Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) through June 30, 2021 to continue aiding employees in following the guidelines for quarantine and isolation to protect our Laker community. For details visit the GVSU EPSL web page.

2020–2021 Performance Evaluation Plan

Human Resources sent an email on January 8 detailing a transitional Performance Evaluation Plan for 2020–2021. A temporary manual and abbreviated version of the ePDP will be used this year.
  • January 8–31: Employees identify goals and job responsibilities and discuss with supervisor.
  • February 1: Employee self-evaluation opens. Once completed employee will submit to supervisor via the system.
  • Employee self-evaluation should be complete by March 19 but can be done earlier. Supervisors can start their feedback evaluation when they receive the submitted evaluation from their employee.
  • Supervisor finalizes evaluation, including meeting with employee by April 23.
For more information visit the new Performance Evaluation Plan website.
Winter 2021 (Re)Start Meeting
All Brooks College faculty and staff are invited to the virtual Winter 2021 (Re)Start Meeting on Friday, January 15, 2021, from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. The program will feature student presentations, breakout sessions, and more. Submit your RSVP

INT 100/201 Co-Curricular Program Update

The IRIS Department now manages INT 100/201 co-curricular events. The co-curricular program is an integral part of the INT 100 (Reflect, Connect, Engage) and INT 201 (Diversity in the U.S.) course curriculum. Both classes serve Grand Valley's General Education Program and are core components of the Integrative Studies major. To request INT 100/201 designation for an event and to see a list of INT 100/201 event offerings, visit the IRIS website.
Karen Zivi headshot

New Staff Introduction: Kary Richardson

Kary Richardson is a new Academic & Enrichment Advisor in the Frederik Meijer Honors College. Kary recently earned an M.Ed. in Higher Education with an emphasis on College Student Affairs Leadership from GVSU. While completing her graduate degree Kary held an assistantship in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Academic Advising Center for two years. Before coming to GVSU, Kary completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience from the University of Michigan. After graduating, Kary’s undergraduate research experience led her to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she worked as the lab manager of the Early Childhood Cognition Lab. In her free time, Kary enjoys spending time with family, doing jigsaw puzzles, and exploring the parks in the Grand Rapids area. Welcome to Brooks College, Kary!
Karen Zivi headshot

Karen Zivi Named Human Rights Director

Karen Zivi, associate professor of political science, has been named the director of the Human Rights Program. Karen had served as interim director of human rights since August 2019. Congratulations, Karen!


Jack Mangala, Chair of the Area and Global Studies Department and professor of area and global studies and political science, received a $2000 Course Enhancement Grant from the African Studies Center at Boston University to revise GSI/PLS 205 “Global Migration” to increase its coverage of Africa-focused materials.
Mike Vrooman, Interim Chief International Officer of the Padnos International Center, discussed the impact of COVID-19 on inbound and outbound students on the WGVU Morning Show.


Faculty Calendar

January 15: Brooks College (Re)Start Meeting
January 19: Winter 2021 classes begin
January 19: 2020 Faculty Activity Report (FAR) due to Unit Head - use the regular form on Digital Measures, but reflections are only required for teaching
February 9: Faculty Awards Convocation
March 10: Break Date (no classes will be held and no assignments will be due)
March 15: 2021 Faculty Activity Plan (FAP) due to Unit Head - only F21 required
April 1: Break Date (no classes will be held and no assignments will be due)

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