Student outreach tips, student employee appreciation, reflections and more
Student outreach tips, student employee appreciation, reflections and more
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Newsletter April 9 2020
Headshot of Mark Schaub, interim dean of Brooks College
Empty hallway in Lake Ontario Hall

Dean's Message

Mixed Metaphors
I snapped this photo of Lake Ontario Hall’s second floor the afternoon that Governor Whitmer advised all Michiganders to stay home, stay safe. I’m pretty sure I was the only one in the building at the time, though there were still some students on campus, mostly moving their possessions out of residence halls. At the time, I had no clue when there would be students once again idling outside LOH’s ground floor classrooms, waiting for the shift change. I still don’t.
The obvious metaphor for this photo, now, might be that light at the end of the tunnel: when will we get there? But mostly, I pine for a change in that dark tunnel itself. I yearn to have all those offices occupied actually, not just occupied virtually. Regardless of your job, or whether your “normal” workplace is Niemeyer, or Lake Michigan Hall, or there in one of LOH’s interminable corridors, you are in your offices. You are working hard on behalf of our students. But not being physically present for one another, to one another, is taking a toll. I’m lucky and have a life partner here in the (new) basement with me. Still, I’m lonely. You’re lonely.
These offices and classrooms and common spaces of our physical campus await. They seem wonderfully clean right now, ready for our students and ready for us. ‘Til then, thanks for being virtually present: for our students, for one another.

Tips for Student Outreach

As we navigate new ways to offer support for our students, the Student Academic Success Center and Division of Student Affairs has created a resource for faculty and staff. The tips sheet will help you provide students with links to the resources that best meet their needs. These tips can help faculty find support for the student who is clearly struggling or who has just disappeared from classes. We know our students are experiencing unique challenges, and we appreciate your assistance.

Student Employee Appreciation Week

April 1317 was to have been Student Employee Appreciation Week at Grand Valley. While Student Employment is no longer running a formal appreciation week, we encourage each unit to find ways to celebrate and thank their student employees remotely. You can also use this time to acknowledge the difficult experiences that your student employees might be facing due to campus being closed and offer your encouragement. This could be done via email, letter, phone call, or another creative idea.

Students Helping Students Online:
Reflections from Writing Center Consultants

Annelise Trout headshot
Hannah Kelly, Writing major, Digital Studies and Spanish minors
"Consulting virtually to me is no different than in-person consultations –you work your hardest to give each student the best experience you can to help them become a better writer. You have to follow their lead and work together to facilitate a productive environment, virtual or not. There may be a lot more bells and whistles to the process now, but at its core, it's still the same peer to peer service it's always been. I believe that staying grounded in that core of what a writing consultation is has allowed for some normalcy through all the changes in the past couple of weeks, empowering and comforting both students and consultants alike."
Annelise Trout headshot
Alaina Taylor, Writing major
"Transitioning to consulting online has been much smoother than I could have anticipated. We were working to expand our services to the online sphere before the university ceased face-to-face instruction, but I think we all went into this seeing it as a real baptism of fire. Luckily, students have been really adaptive and are helping us learn and improve every step of the way. We've been utilizing Google Meet to add visual and audio elements, though most students seem to prefer talking back and forth in the comments and chat of the Google Document. I think the students are adapting well and are being really interactive during the online consultations, and that's ultimately the key to success in a consultation."
Annelise Trout headshot
Annelise Trout, Information Technology major
"I’ve worked at the Writing Center for two years now, and while the COVID-19 outbreak has drastically disrupted our classes and daily life, it honestly doesn’t feel that out of place for the Writing Center. As a consultant, I’m constantly adapting to accommodate students’ needs, whether in relation to where they feel comfortable working, what they feel comfortable sharing, and how they learn and communicate best. When I heard that we’d be moving all of our Writing Center services online, I was a bit worried at first because there’s so much value in the work we do face-to-face: being able to read facial expressions and body language, sensing when a pause is due to thinking versus hesitance, mapping out ideas for visual structure, etc. I wasn’t sure how all of that would translate online – essentially, would I still be able to help students meet their goals from behind a screen? Overwhelmingly, the answer has been (to my great relief) yes! I’ve been able to have great discussions with students via online chat functions and services such as Google Meet that allow us to add audio and video to our work. I’ve also been able to attach helpful links to additional resources that may aid their progress (“This is a really good point! I think you may find this article interesting because it relates to what you’re trying to say here:”), which is something I couldn’t do in a physical session. These are unprecedented circumstances for both students and consultants alike, but so long as there are students seeking assistance and consultants available to provide it, the Writing Center will always adapt to help fit their needs!"

Student Reflection

Haley Schaner, Graduate Assistant, Office of Sustainability Practices, Kids' Food Basket Volunteer
"Despite the high level of technology we utilize in our every day lives, the transition to online learning and remote work has been challenging for me. I am not naturally an adept online learner, so this new format has taken some getting used to. Especially as a master’s student, I feel like I am missing out on so many valuable classroom experiences during this unprecedented crisis. I do, however, appreciate the efforts and hard work of all the GVSU faculty and staff as they also adapt to this strenuous and novel situation.
The bright spot throughout this crisis, however, has been the overall increase in support that is evident throughout our West Michigan community. Despite everyone’s personal concerns during this health crisis, there has been an outpouring of assistance and encouragement, which is something I have seen first-hand through my role at Kids’ Food Basket. I have worked at Kids’ Food Basket for some time now, and, throughout this crisis, our community has been incredible as we continue to nourish West Michigan children! To learn more about our emergency response and how you can get involved, please go to our website."

Faculty, Staff, and Student Recognition

Youssef Darwich, farm manager and educator, was featured in the WWMT Channel 3 story, "GVSU donating food from educational farm to those in need during COVID-19 pandemic."
Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse and assistant professor of multimedia journalism, published an opinion piece in the Detroit Free Press titled, "My students show resilience, heart during coronavirus crisis."
Domonique Palmer, Integrative Studies and honors, won the 2020 Glenn A. Niemeyer Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student.
The following students were recognized with an Excellence-in-a-Discipline Award:
  • Leah Anderson, Environmental and Sustainability Studies
  • Sarah Brown, Global Studies and Social Impact
  • Jarod Collier, Frederik Meijer Honors College
  • Brooklynn Lipponen, Integrative Studies
  • Miranda Bryan, Religious Studies
  • Brynn Wilfong, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Yeram Leonard, Social Innovation (M.A.)

Faculty Calendar and Deadlines

April 18: Classes end
April 2025: Exams week
April 25: Semester ends
April 28: Grades due from faculty by 12:00 P.M.
April 30: Grades available to students
May 1–15: Third window for students to request changing a course to CR/NC
May 4: Spring/Summer classes begin
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