September 2023 Newsletter
September 2023 Newsletter
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies Newsletter Header September 2023
Headshot of Mark Schaub, Dean of Brooks College

Dean's Message

There is temptation to a system in which people holding views perceived by some as harmful or offensive are not allowed to speak, to avoid giving legitimacy to their views or upsetting members of the community, but history teaches us that this is a temptation to be avoided.

                    --Jenny S. Martinez, Dean, Stanford Law School

Anti-racism work and allyship are critical roles, morally necessary roles, for people in privileged positions. Folks not under direct threat enjoy a level of comfort to take a cool and tolerant stance towards political speech—even hate speech—directed against community members we intend to support.

Walking beside community members in those situations is important, whether it’s here on the GVSU campus at events like the August 30 Rainbow Social or the MLK Day March. It’s even more important in public, and in off-campus settings where the risk is often higher. In my own life, no experience of allyship felt more intense than our family participation in the 2002 Pride March of Central New York. My brother, the pastor of an open and affirming faith community in Syracuse, had invited us to help carry a communion table and signs that declared simply, “All are welcome at Christ’s table.” Our 5- and 8-year old sons eagerly set off as marchers, armed with bags of Tootsie Rolls. Near the end of the parade, a group of about 100 protesters, bussed in from conservative faith communities near Buffalo, screamed their anti-gay slogans and slurs at us..and at our children.

Like most of us, I’ve had my share of social media tussles and disagreements. All were unsatisfying. I continue to have social media connections to family members and others who hold some views I abhor. I’ve unfriended some of them but not all. Even if I did, they’d still be family. Or still be colleagues. We all dream of a magic wand that would silence those who spout ignorance or hate, or—worse yet—seem to want to deny our very humanity. 

In 2023, like every other year, we (in the USA, in Higher Education, at GVSU) are in conversations about where the boundary lies; is it free speech that must be protected or is it hate speech that must be banned, silenced, or shouted down? Most of the time, I tend towards the traditionally liberal position of tolerance, similar to Dr. Martinez in her 5,000 word letter to her colleagues and students at Stanford University, where she was recently appointed Provost. As Dean of this unique and impactful college, I have an obligation to fiercely advocate for a set of critically important programs -- programs and curricula being targeted by political aggressors near and far. I have defended programs and faculty from students, parents, and external voices who question the very existence of some of our courses and programs. And I will passionately continue to do that. 

Concurrently, we need to have conversations on where our “line” is between what kind of political speech we tolerate and what we deem detrimental to our safe educational environment. We need to have that conversation again and again. In doing so, we must both involve our students and model that conversation for them. 

Mark Schaub
Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
Workday Update
In  January 2024, Grand Valley is moving to Workday!  Workday is a cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that will replace Banner Finance and the related applications (Concur, OnBase, PageUp, etc.) we currently use.  The goal with Workday is to integrate these systems and modernize and simplify our digital operations.  

Moving to Workday will change how we handle Finance, HR and Payroll.  It will affect ALL Grand Valley employees!

Learn about Workday at the Workday Town Hall
Tuesday, September 12, 1:00-3:00 p.m., Kirkhof Center’s Grand River Room and via Zoom
 - Hear about processes that will no longer be used in Concur, OnBase, and PageUp
 - Watch a Workday demo
 - Q&A and discussion

In the meantime, visit Workday @ GVSU - Grand Valley State University.
More to come soon! Please contact Noreen Savage if you have any questions.

Link to register for Workday Town Hall on September 12, 2023
Course Index Tool Available on Registrar Website
The Registrar website features a useful tool called "Course Index" that can help faculty and students locate all the crucial deadlines for a course, among many other useful details, all in one place.  Simply go to the Registrar Website, and click on the link on the right side of the site (shown below).
screenshot of registrar website, with red box around the
This tool allows you to see all course sections, instructors, basic information, as well as the specific refund/withdrawal deadlines for that course. 
screenshot of course index search, showing information for INT 100 in Fall 2023

Sustainability Opportunities This Semester!

GVSU is known for our dedication to sustainability, and here in Brooks College we are proud that many of these initiatives and events come from our Office of Sustainability Practices!
Here are some ways for you to get involved and prioritize sustainability in your semester:
Support the Farm Stand - Every Wednesday from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at the Cook Carillon Clocktower
Volunteer at the SAPYou can volunteer on Wednesdays from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and Fridays from 12:00 - 3:00 pm, weather permitting. To volunteer, just complete this form from their website.  
Attend the Beekeepers Club events - During the fall semester, the club will be busy preparing the honey for sale. Important events include Hammocking on Friday, September 8 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm in the Arboretum, and Honey Bottling on Monday, September 18 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm in Niemeyer Multipurpose Room, within the Honors College building.
Volunteer for a Zero Waste Football Game - Grand Valley participates in Zero Waste Football Games, an annual event every football season that strives to have as little landfill waste as possible at each game. If you are an individual or student organization interested in volunteering at one of our Zero Waste Football Games, fill out the volunteer form on their website. Volunteer opportunities will be on September 9, September 16, October 7, October 14, October 28, and November 11. Volunteer turnout is crucial to the success of this initiative, so please consider volunteering!
Volunteer for the Making Waves Grand River Cleanup - Last year, over 100 volunteers turned out and collected over a ton of garbage from the Grand River! Full details will be announced in early September, so check in on the Making Waves website for updates. If you are interested in being a part of the 2023 Cleanup, visit their website and complete the form to sign up. Many types of roles are available.
Attend Sustainability Events to increase your awareness - The 5th annual Climate Change Education Solutions Summit, "Connecting Minds for a Sustainable Climate Future," will be held in October. On Tuesday, October 17, in-person presentations, a reception, and the Climate Expo will be held in Loosemore Auditorium and Hager-Lubbers Hall in the DeVos Center on the Pew campus. On Wednesday, October 18, there will be virtual presentations and panel discussions with our local, national, and international partners.  Register today to save your spot for in-person and virtual programming, as space will be limited. Check out the Summit website for further details and to register. You can easily find many other events across campus that relate to sustainability by searching the main GVSU website events page with the keyword "sustainability."
Brooks College Collaborates to Bring National Best-Selling Author Robin Wall Kimmerer to GVSU
GVSU is excited to welcome national best-selling author Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer to our campus this fall for a rare public speaking appearance! 
Dr. Kimmerer is the author of the New York Times best-selling collection of essays, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, as well as Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. Kimmerer is a 2022 MacArthur Fellow. She lives in Syracuse, New York, where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.
Check the event website to stay up to date on details for this event. The site also includes reading guides and helpful links and resources that explore healing, gratitude, and responsibility.

  Dr. Kimmerer will be giving her presentation at Grand Valley State University on Wednesday, November 8, at 11:15 am in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room. The opening ceremony will feature a Native American welcoming song, convocation, and land acknowledgment.  There will also be a brief history of the Native American Advisory Council given by Simone Jonaitis, before Provost Fatma Mili introduces our special guest.  There will be a Q&A session at the end of the program, where Dr. Kimmerer will respond to questions from the audience.

Event seating will be open to the public, and no tickets or seat reservations will be available. If you plan to attend with a group, we suggest arriving early to have the best chance of finding open seats together. This event will be live streamed in various places on campus, including overflow viewing down the hall from the live event, in the Pere Marquette room.  A full list of streaming locations will be posted at a later date.

This event also serves as a kick-off for the 12th annual Teach-In! The original idea of holding a teach-in at GVSU in Winter 2014 was motivated by a number of campus indicators that prompted the desire to improve inclusion and equity outcomes on campus. Early teach-ins were so well-received that the University Academic Senate and Student Senate voted unanimously to sponsor this event on a yearly basis. 

The purpose of the Teach-In is for mutual education among students, faculty and staff and is intended to address topics related to inequality and systems of oppression, as well as social justice and liberation. The broad learning objectives of power, privilege, and difficult dialogues are to raise awareness, inform, create dialogue, and motivate action.  

Dr. Kimmerer's visit is a valuable opportunity for our GVSU community to hear the wisdom of an accomplished academic whose work has been focused on bringing indigenous wisdom together with scientific knowledge, in service of preserving that wisdom while utilizing science to advance that understanding. 

This event was brought to life through the collaboration between Brooks College and several other divisions within GVSU: Academic Affairs, Activation & Accountability Leadership Team (AALT), Division of Inclusion & Equity, Enrollment Development & Educational Outreach, Finance & Administration, Native American Advisory Council (NAAC), Office of Multicultural Affairs, President's Office, Provost's Office, Student Affairs, University Development, and University Relations. Thank you for your support.
We hope to see you at Dr. Kimmerer’s public appearance and at the Teach-in! 
Robin Wall Kimmerer event flyer
Kutsche Office of Local History Update
The Kutsche Office of Local History is rebooting the Internship Partner Program. This program helps to support West Michigan's upcoming public history professionals by funding internship opportunities that might otherwise be unpaid. For the 2023-2024 academic year, they have teamed up with the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council.
Interns will conduct research on notable women from Grand Rapids' history, dig in the Grand Rapids Public Library archives, create original materials for online publication, and learn more about the local history scene in West Michigan.  If you or someone you know may be interested in this opportunity, full details are available on the Kutsche Office website.  

Partnership with Local Genealogical Society Will Explore History of WWII Era Agricultural Labor Force
Assistant professor and Latin American Studies coordinator Andy Schlewitz received the most recent Community Collaboration Grant to work in partnership with the Oceana County Historical and Genealogical Society in Hart, Michigan. He and a student will be researching the interactions between WWII German POWs placed into agricultural labor during the war and the foreign-born workers who had dominated the state's seasonal agricultural labor force.

Jack Mangala speaking into a microphone

School of Interdisciplinary Studies Update

The School of Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) welcomed faculty and staff with an evening of great food and conversation at the SIS Welcome Picnic on Thursday, August 17. Check out some pictures below in our Brooks College photo montage!  
On Friday, August 18, the SIS faculty and staff gathered for a retreat following the official Brooks College startup meeting. SIS Director Jack Mangala gave an inspiring speech to the group. The following is an excerpt: 

"When the Dean called to offer me the SIS Director position, I told him we had built a house; now we had the responsibility to make it into a home," said Jack. "This is a much more difficult task because homemaking is not about the structures and processes. It’s not about the mechanics of things.  A home is about common expectations and values. It’s about how we relate to one another, how we care for one another. How we give each other the benefit of the doubt. How we support one another. How we celebrate each other’s successes and accomplishments. How we comfort one another.  At the most basic level, it’s about love. We often don't hear this in an institutional setting. So, let’s build the SIS home together."  
Environmental and Sustainability Studies Student Participates in OURS Undergrad Research Project
Kendra Slater, a student of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies program, worked with assistant professor Becky Williams over the summer on the OURS S3 Undergrad Research Project. She is the first Rowe Scholar in the program. 
She was featured in GV Next along with several other students who presented and discussed their research and projects at the Summer Scholars Showcase on July 28 at the Seidman College of Business.  Read the full article at GV Next.  
Kendra's research was focused on a topic familiar around West Michigan: dairy farms.  Slater's family owns one and that gave her the idea to combine her family history and her major, she said.  
Initially, she said she wanted to analyze the sustainability practices between industrial dairy farms, like her father’s which typically have more than 2,000 head of cattle, and smaller, sustainable farms.

“But, we’re switching gears a little and looking more at just the industrial farms because we’re getting a lot of great data from them and seeing a lot of barriers that they face, and what they think about sustainability,” Slater said.

The experience also opened Slater’s perspective toward her major and pursuing postgraduate studies. 

“It’s made me really like research first and the social science aspect, getting to talk with people and make changes on the ground level,” Slater said. “I like going out in the field and talking with these farmers and seeing firsthand what they experience.

“It’s given me more appreciation for where our food comes from, and all the challenges that the farmers of America face in making food for us.”
Kendra Slater with Professor Becky Williams, standing in front of Kendra's poster display for the OURS research project
Above: Kendra Slater with assistant professor Becky Williams
Below: Kendra Slater with her parents at the Summer Scholars Showcase
Kendra Slater with her parents, standing in front of Kendra's poster display for the OURS research project
Fall 2023 Success Coaching
The Student Academic Success Center (SASC) has exciting offerings for students this Fall 2023 semester! This is a great resource to point students toward. Below are the different ways students can connect with a Success Coach:

NEW! Success Coaching Drop-In Hours – SASC will be in the Kirkhof Center Lobby and OMA this semester!

NEW! Accountability Groups – SASC is offering two groups this fall. One group is for transfer students and the other group is open to all students. In these groups they will create semester goals and meet weekly to track progress.

Success Coaching Appointments

Academic Success Workshops

Online Resources

Success Coaching QR Code flyer
Writing Center Update
This year, the Writing Center is expanding its writing support programming for GVSU graduate students! In addition to more service options and support resources, this fall they are excited to host:

Graduate Writing Retreat: Lake Ontario Hall Room 120, Friday, September 30 - Sunday, October 1

Thesis Boost: Lake Ontario Hall Room 120, Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12

Please spread the word and feel free to reach out or visit their website to learn more. The WC staff are looking forward to another exciting year!

Photo of student being helped in the writing center Photo of student working on a laptop in the writing center Photo of student being helped in the writing center

Brooks College Photo Montage 

Check out these fun events that have been happening around Brooks College since the last newsletter!
photo of faculty and staff visiting at round tables during welcome picnic
The SIS Welcome Picnic was coordinated by SIS lead Professional Support Staff (PSS) Aubrey Dull, with assistance from Dean's Office coordinator Maureen Strand and SIS academic coordinator Ginele Johnson.  Attendees enjoyed a catered meal from Le Kabob Grand Rapids.
photo of buffet and drink station at welcome picnic, with two people getting food
photo of Jack Mangala giving welcome address at welcome picnic
 SIS Director Jack Mangala welcomed all SIS faculty and staff warmly during his opening address to attendees. 
photo of several faculty members listening to Jack speak
photo of faculty members playing cornhole during welcome picnic
Cornhole fun at the SIS welcome picnic!
photo of faculty members playing cornhole during welcome picnic
photo of President Mantella speaking during startup meeting
President Mantella addressing Brooks College faculty and staff at the fall 2023 startup meeting on August 18.
photo of faculty and staff at round tables in Seidman during startup meeting
The startup meeting was held on Friday, August 18, at the Seidman Building on the downtown Pew campus. 
photo of faculty and staff at round tables in Seidman during startup meeting
photo of faculty and staff at round tables in Seidman during startup meeting
photo of faculty and staff at round tables in Seidman during startup meeting
photo of faculty and staff at round tables in Seidman during startup meeting
photo of two faculty members at round table in Seidman during startup meeting, split with photo of Melanie Shell Weiss and Tom Haas talking in hallway outside meeting space
photo of three faculty members talking outside of Seidman Forum
Assistant professor Daniella Marini, assistant professor Dawn Rutecki, and affiliate professor Anthony Meyer take a moment to catch up outside after the startup meeting.
photo of 13 people including professor Kate Fairman in front of kayaks holding oars
Affiliate professor Kate Fairman posing with her Wicked Problems in Sustainability class over the spring/summer semester.  They enjoyed kayaking on Boardman River/Lake in Traverse City.
Below: The class also enjoyed biking around Traverse City.
a photo of many people on bicyles with helmets posing for a group picture
a photo of Crystal Scott-Tunstall dressed in traditional African garb attending the GVSU Sustainability tent at the Juneteenth celebration
SIS affiliate professor Crystal Scott-Tunstall ran the Sustainability resource table at this Summer's Juneteenth celebration. Many sustainability items were given to the community including ethnically appropriate zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars, reusable utensils, gardening hand tools,  and over 400 vegetable plants!
A photo of the GVSU sustainability table at the Juneteenth event
Crystal also had a table at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council's (WMEAC) Community Conversations event.
A photo of Crystal Scott-Tunstall sitting at the Environmental and Sustainability Studies table at WMEAC
A photo of Jakia Marie leaning on a bike rack in front of Lake Ontario Hall, talking to Becky Williams
SIS assistant professors Jakia Marie and Becky Williams take a moment to chat on a beautiful afternoon outside Lake Ontario Hall.
A photo of the Laker marching band taking a break on their practice field
The Laker Marching Band takes a break as they work on perfecting their performance on their practice field, located close to Lake Michigan Hall and Lake Ontario Hall. Fall is right around the corner!
A photo of faculty and staff enjoying trivia night at a table
Several Brooks faculty and staff got together to attend a trivia night event in August. From left: Skylar Bre'z, Jenna Lyons, Danielle Demuth, Ayana Weekley, Ginele Johnson, Julia Mason, and Aubrey Dull.
A photo of a group of faculty on the river boat eating a meal at a table
SIS enjoyed some group bonding time on Friday, August 25. They enjoyed a two-hour cruise with live music on the Grand Lady Riverboat.  SIS Director Jack Mangala poses for a picture with his wife Jackie, and SIS faculty members Max Counter and Daniela Marini.
Summer Shares
Check out what our Brooks College colleagues have been up to this summer!
picture of professor Maureen Wolverton white water rafting with a group of people on the New River in West Virginia
Affiliate professor Maureen Wolverton went white water rafting on the New River in West Virginia! She is the third individual on the left, in front of the man with the white shirt.
photo of Alli Woods with her kids on the deck of a cruise ship
New visiting professor Alli Woods and her three children, Noah, Delaney, and Mira enjoyed a cruise together in July.
a photo of Alli Woods with her daughter in graduation attire
Alli's middle daughter, Mira, graduated from high school with the highest honors (proud mom 🙂) and is heading to the College of Charleston to start her freshman year.
A photo of Alli Woods with her daughter at the Taylor Swift Eras Tour concert
Alli survived the Ticketmaster debacle and took her youngest daughter, Delaney, to see Taylor Swift in concert. 
A photo of an Irish mountainside meadow with sheep
Nothing beats summer in Michigan, but Dean Mark Schaub and his wife Gayle did take a short but wonderful vacation to the western coast of Ireland. Cool and rainy, but verdant and nice walking. This photo was from their hike in Killarney National Park.
A photo of Maureen Strand with her daughter in their car
Dean's Office coordinator Maureen Strand enjoyed a mother-daughter road trip to North Carolina this summer with her daughter Jade. 
A photo of Pilot Mountain
Maureen and Jade drove from Michigan to Raleigh, North Carolina. They both got to see mountains for the first time! The Blue Ridge mountain range was truly stunning!
A photo of the Blue Ridge mountains with a small white house in the foreground
A photo of Kate Fairman with her daughters with a scenic Arizona view
Affiliate professor Kate Fairman visited Sedona, Arizona, this summer with her daughters.
A photo of Kate Fairman seated holding her grandbaby
Kate also visited her first grandbaby, Sophie, in Vermont.
A wedding photo of Jack and Jackie Mangala
Director of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies Jack Mangala married his partner Jackie on June 10.  Congratulations Jack and Jackie!
A photo of Jen Jameslyn and her children at the Grand Haven State Park beach during sunset
Director of Brooks Advising Center Jen Jameslyn filled this summer with live music, sunsets at the beach, fishing and campfires. She fully plans to stretch summer into fall as long as possible!  
A photo of Jen Jameslyn with her daughter at a concert
A photo of Jen Jameslyn's son holding a fish that he caught
A photo of Jen Jameslyn with her two daughters at a Taylor Swift Eras Tour concert
A photo of Griff on top of a mountain
Director of General Education C. Griff Griffin, summiting Mount Antero, her 24th 14,000+ foot mountain in Colorado!
A photo of Kim McKee

Associate professor Kim McKee was interviewed this summer by Teen Vogue for an article titled, "Adoption Gratitude: How Expectations Weigh on Adoptees." She shared her ideas surrounding the complexities of adoption, and the backlash that those who acknowledge those complexities face. Well done, Kim!

Faculty and Staff Updates

Brooks College is fortunate this year to have many talented visiting faculty coming on board or returning! We also have two new tenure track faculty members. Please give a warm welcome to our newcomers, and congratulations to Haixia Liu for her promotion to tenure track faculty! We appreciate the expertise and talent you all are bringing to Brooks College.   

New Tenure Track Faculty in SIS

Haixia Liu head shot

Haixia Liu

Haixia holds a Ph.D. degree in Educational Psychology and Education Technology from Michigan State University, along with two master’s degrees in both Applied Linguistics and Japanese Language and Culture. Additionally, she has completed four master-level courses in Educational Leadership at GVSU to deepen her understanding of leadership development and lifelong interdisciplinary learning. Her research agenda orbits the crossroads of language and culture education, the cultivation of competence and leadership among minority groups, the integration of educational technology into classrooms, educational psychology, and behavioral change.

She has instructed a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate courses at Beijing Normal University and Michigan State University prior to her arrival at GVSU in 2020 as an affiliate faculty member. From 2020 to 2023, she taught several INT and ITC courses and fulfilled the role of ITC program coordinator for two years. Beginning in 2023, she starts to take a new role as a tenure-tracked assistant professor for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. She remains resolute in her commitment to making positive and lasting contributions to both the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and the broader Brooks College community.

Monika Moore head shot

Monika Moore

Prior to her new role as tenure-track faculty in SIS, Monika taught as a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of English here at Grand Valley State University, as well as teaching in the First Year Writing program. She completed her Ph.D. in Higher Education at the University of Toronto. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master of Science in Geography with a minor in GIS from Oregon State University, and a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University.
Monika's dissertation is entitled, “Managing Tensions in Equitable Disciplinary Teaching.” It explores the challenges in teaching Earth Sciences field methods and other disciplinary norms in an equitable and inclusive way. Her research interests include equitable and inclusive teaching and learning, coastal landscapes and resilience to natural hazards, and intersections between the environment, literature, and creative writing.  

New Visiting Faculty in SIS

Alli Woods head shot

Allison Woods

Alli Woods joins us from Columbus, Ohio, where she lives with her three children: Noah, 21, a senior at Miami University; Mira, 18, a freshman at the College of Charleston; and Delaney (15). 
She has worked in higher education for over 25 years as a professor, course lead, faculty trainer, and, most recently, was an Associate Vice Provost for the University of Maryland Global Campus overseeing faculty training for remote faculty; what she loves to do the most, though, has always been to teach. Alli will be teaching INT 100, INT 310, and INT 341 for us, all online. 
When she's not teaching or watching her youngest child play one of her many sports, Alli enjoys exercising (especially taking dance classes at her gym where, thankfully, the room is very dark); taking long walks with her favorite "child," (her rescue Cavachon, Cooper); cooking and baking; betting all of her fake winnings on the final question of "Jeopardy"; trying out new ethnic restaurants; and spending time with her partner, David (who has turned a non-camper into one as he designs camper vans. . .ask her to show off some of his great work).  She looks forward to getting to know everyone!

Bertha Amisi photo portrait

Bertha Amisi

Bertha Kadenyi Amisi holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Syracuse University and a master’s in International Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame.
Dr. Amisi has taught at Syracuse University, the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School University, and most recently, at the Department of Conflict Resolution Studies, Nova Southeastern University. Her teaching experience spans the fields of peace and conflict studies, international relations, and political science, and draws on several years of work in the field of international development and peacebuilding focusing on community development in African countries affected by violent conflict. She has presented her research on African peace activism at the annual conventions of the African Studies Association, American Political Science Association, and the International Studies Association. Dr. Amisi is currently working on a book manuscript on nonviolent civilian opposition to war in Africa.

Evan Edwards head shot

Evan Edwards

Evan Edwards recently completed his Ph.D. in the philosophy program at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois with a dissertation entitled Autotrophy of the Other: On Food and Hospitality.
Evan's research focuses on the intersection of philosophy, culinary and political theory, and agricultural history. He has taught since 2014 at a number of colleges in the midwest, including DePaul and Loyola Universities, Thoreau College, and Waubonsee Community College, teaching courses in philosophy, business, history, and environmental studies.
In addition to teaching, Evan is a chef who has worked in kitchens for as long as he can remember, growing up in his parent's restaurant in North Carolina and working at a number of restaurants in Grand Rapids. Most recently, he was the chef in residence at Frame Restaurant in Hazel Park, where he ran "FarmBar," a plant-forward concept highlighting local farms in the Detroit area.
Jenna Lyons head shot

Jenna Lyons

Prior to this position, Jenna Lyons taught Women, Gender, and Sexuality courses with GVSU.

She received her Masters and Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Kansas. Her doctoral research centered on a small town in Missouri and the ways in which its heritage tourism industry reflects a commodified, neoliberal function of local history. In addition to this area of research, Jenna is also interested in how historic preservation efforts and heritage tourism appear in pop culture texts. 

Jenna’s teaching interests are interdisciplinary and examine how politics, identities, and often popular culture, impact and are impacted by history. At GVSU, she has taught WGS 101: Intro to Gender Studies and WGS 255: Gender and Popular Culture. 

New to the Grand Rapids area, Jenna spends her free time taking her senior dog, Tilly, on walks, gardening, and making repairs to her 100 year old home. 

Jose Amoros head shot

José Amorós

José Amorós was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, including some time in New York City and the southern United States (Atlanta, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina).
His career has been in academia and think tanks, including 11 years as Senior Adjunct Professor at GVSU (Philosophy). His academic background is in Humanities, Social Sciences, Philosophy, and International Relations.
Jose was also a commercial pilot in the Caribbean, Canada, and U.S. for a few years.  He did his graduate studies at Emory University, and The Fletcher School (Tufts). He enjoys theatre and Opera.
Sai Isoke head shot

Saidah Isoke

Sai Isoke is an educator and facilitator working in Los Angeles, CA. Born and raised between Pasadena, CA, and San Fernando Valley, Sai has spent the bulk of their life in Southern California (they ventured out one time to Ohio and learned they weren’t built for a winter climate and have since moved back for warmth and recovery). 

Sai received their Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology at Cal State Dominguez Hills and their Master’s Degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Ohio State University. Sai believes education happens at the site of discussion and reflection and brings that belief into the classroom. Outside of the classroom, they host informal discussions and workshops about topics ranging from social identity and justice to film scores and regional cuisine. Outside of that, you can catch Sai at the movie theater or trying to figure out what to eat (and they welcome recommendations)! 

Tamara Stachowicz head shot

Tamara Stachowicz 

I'm a mother of two, grandmother of three, and still the first wife of my high school love.  I have lived in Whitehall, Michigan for 30 years where I enjoy rock collecting, landscaping, and beach days at Lake Michigan.
Research interests have led me to much of Appalachia where I have learned about race, identity, and the social construction of both!   After 15 years at Davenport University, I'm very much looking forward to being a Laker!  Bring on the fall, my very favorite time of year!


September 6: SAP Farm Stand (Cook Carillon Clock Tower) 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
September 6: WGS Welcome Back (Lake Ontario Hall Room 167) 1:00 - 4:00 pm
September 8: Beekeepers Hammocking (Arboretum) 6:00 - 8:00 pm
September 11: Brooks College Leadership Council Meeting (Virtual) 9:00 am
September 12: SEC Campus Cleanup 6:30 - 7:30 pm
September 12: Workday Town Hall (Kirkof Center Pere Marquette Room/Virtual) 1:00 pm
September 13: SAP Farm Stand (Cook Carillon Clock Tower) 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
September 13: ENS Fall Kickoff Social (Kirkhof Center Room 2250) 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
September 13: Safety Tour with Sgt William O'Donnell (Lake Ontario Hall) 2:00 - 3:00 pm
September 16: Zero Waste Football Game (Lubbers Stadium) 1:00 pm
September 17 - 24: Making Waves Grand River Cleanup (details TBA)
September 18: Beekeepers Honey Bottling (Niemeyer Multipurpose Room) 6:00 - 8:00 pm 
September 20: SAP Farm Stand (Cook Carillon Clock Tower) 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
September 21: The Engine Inside Film Screening (Lawn by Zumberge Pond) 8:00 pm
September 25: Brooks College Academic Leadership Council Meeting (Virtual) 9:00 am
September 25: Workshop for Unit Heads, Program Directors, and Mentors: Best Practices for Feedback on FWPs/FWRs and annual performance (w/ Senior AVP Ed Aboufadel, LOH 163) 12:00 pm
September 27: SAP Farm Stand (Cook Carillon Clock Tower) 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
October 4: SAP Farm Stand (Cook Carillon Clock Tower) 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
October 6: Brooks College Town Hall (Virtual) 11:00 am
October 9: Brooks College Leadership Council Meeting 9:00 am
October 11: SAP Farm Stand (Cook Carillon Clock Tower) 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
October 12: Great Michigan Read Author Angeline Boulley (Kent District Library) 6:00 - 8:00 pm
October 13: Harvest Party (SAP Farm on Luce St) Volunteer Hours 2:00 - 4:00 pm Party 4:00 - 6:00 pm
October 17-18: Climate Change Education Solutions Summit: In Person (Pew campus, Loosemore Auditorium) 3:00 - 8:00 pm, Virtual Presentations (Zoom) 10:00 am - 3:00 pm 
November 6: Brooks College Academic Leadership Council Meeting 9:00 am
November 8: Robin Wall Kimmerer (Grand River Room) 11:15 am
November 16: Civil Discourse Symposium (Pew campus, Seidman Forum) 6:00 - 8:30 pm
*New events are posted regularly.
Stay up to date on Brooks College Events by checking the event calendar on our website.

Faculty Calendar

September 11: Brooks College Leadership Council Meeting (Virtual) 9:00 am
September 25: Brooks College Academic Leadership Council Meeting (Virtual) 9:00 am
September 25: Workshop for Unit Heads, Program Directors, and Mentors: Best Practices for Feedback on FWPs/FWRs and annual performance (w/ Senior AVP Ed Aboufadel, LOH 163) 12:00 pm
October 1: Faculty Workload Plans due (FWP)
October 6: Brooks College Town Hall (Virtual) 11:00 am
October 9: Brooks College Leadership Council Meeting (Virtual) 9:00 am
October 9-13: Mid-term evaluations
October 15: Grants: FTLC Conference Travel Grant - application opens at 8:00 am
October 17: Midterm Grades due by noon
October 22-24: Fall Break
November 6: Brooks College Academic Leadership Council Meeting (Virtual) 9:00 am
November 22-26: Thanksgiving Recess
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