Budgets, PPE, SAP donates produce, international students, office updates
Budgets, PPE, SAP donates produce, international students, office updates
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Newsletter April 9 2020
Headshot of Mark Schaub, interim dean of Brooks College
Interim Dean Mark Schaub

Dean's Message

More than 106,000 deaths to a new virus. An intractable political divide. 40 million lost jobs. Horrendous reminders that systemic racism kills and threatens African-Americans on a daily basis.
Weeks like these make positive messaging from an academic office difficult. As someone who benefits from white privilege, there is nothing in my life experience that I can offer to colleagues who regularly experience discrimination and the threat of physical violence. What I can do is remind myself and others of that privilege and strive to support education efforts that are anti-racist in focus—both as part of my job here in the Brooks College and in every other opportunity beyond Brooks curricula and programs.
COVID has unmasked the problems with the normalcy many have been craving. Climate devastation, accelerating income inequalities, and racial injustice all were part of that normal. This week, in response to the public murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, former President Obama has reminded us that we have oh so much work to do.
It's natural to wish for life "to just get back to normal" as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly "normal" — whether it's while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.
This shouldn't be "normal" in 2020 America. It can't be "normal." If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.
Read the entire statement here.

Budget Reminders

Fiscal Year 2019-2020 is quickly coming to a close. Procurement Services has provided a list of deadlines to ensure a successful budget wrap-up. Please contact Noreen Savage in the Brooks College Dean’s Office for questions related to these deadlines that may need appointing officer approval.

PPE and Returning to Offices

Personal protective equipment (PPE) has been ordered for all Brooks offices. This includes reusable masks for faculty, staff, and student workers and hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, thermometers, gloves, and disposable masks for appropriate offices. Plexiglass sneeze guards have also been ordered and installed in appropriate locations. Masks and thermometers are expected to last all year, and other items can be reordered on an as-needed basis. Please contact Aubrey Dull in the Dean’s Office with any questions.
If you have questions about when you can return to your office, please confer with your unit head.

Sustainable Agriculture Project Donated Over 120 Pounds of Produce

This week marks the 4th week that the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) has donated its produce to support communities impacted by COVID-19. In May, the SAP harvested and donated over 120 pounds of produce to the Community Food Club and Heartside Gleaning Initiative, including lettuce, snap peas, beets, kale, swiss chard, turnips, and green onions. This week, Margaux Sellnau, interim farm manager, said she will start seeding the farm's north and south fields with pumpkins, squash, watermelons, and cantaloupe. Margaux has been working the farm alone due to the stay-at-home order. Now that the order is lifted, faculty and staff will soon be able to volunteer following a COVID-19 Safety and Procedure Plan. Faculty and staff volunteer shifts will be scheduled on Thursdays from 9:00 - 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. Students will be able to volunteer once face-to-face classes resume. For more information or to donate to the SAP via its online farm stand, visit gvsu.edu/sap.

International Students Update

An update from Kate Stoetzner, Director of International Student and Scholar Services
The international students are as anxious as all of us for a return to the known! They are missing the vibrant campus life and vigorous academic challenges that GVSU provides. While we anticipate a decrease of international students, due to fears of COVID-19 and the realities of closed borders and shuttered U.S. embassies, we will have international students this fall at GVSU! Currently, we have 159 international students registered for the fall semester, compared to 365 international students last year. Now is the time when academic advisors and faculty begin their outreach to new international students about academic planning. We are realistic in our expectations and communicating the challenges to the students. I have been in several zoom presentations with admitted international students and am glad to share that they are eager to begin their academic journey at GVSU. Staff across campus are working on how to follow the CDC recommendation of a 14-day self-isolation period after international travel while still being welcoming. We are waiting for guidance from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on whether international students will be permitted to take majority hybrid or online courses. Patience is needed as governments around the world, including the U.S., weigh opening borders and allowing travel. There are problems to be solved and our international students are keen for answers. I know you join me in anticipating a great fall, and it will be great, even if it is different. International students will continue to be active members of our community, whether they live in Allendale or Abuja.

Lake Michigan Writing Project Cancels Summer Programs

The Lake Michigan Writing Project (LMWP) has canceled its in-person summer programs due to COVID-19. Summer Institute, a fellowship program for West Michigan teachers, and all in-person writing camps for students are canceled. The LMWP is planning an online writing community for teachers this summer and a virtual college essay workshop for high school students in August. For more information, visit gvsu.edu/lmwp.

Meijer Office of Fellowships to Move to OURS

Effective 6 July 2020, the Office of Fellowships that has been a feature of the Frederick Meijer Honors College will be moving. Its new home will be in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS), which is located on the second floor of the Mary Idema Pew Library.
The move, supported by the Meijer Foundation (which provided the initial start-up funding for the office), will align closely with the work of OURS. That office already serves the same segment of the student body, and the centralized location will better serve all GVSU students. The work of the office, supporting students to identify, apply for, and win competitive fellowships and awards, will continue in its new home.
You should continue to encourage students to visit the office’s website in coming weeks. After 6 July, students interested in internationally-focused grants and fellowships (such as the Gilman study abroad awards or student/alumni Fulbright fellowships) can be directed to the Padnos International Center, until the office is fully operational in OURS in the Fall semester.

Brooks College Office of Community Partnerships and Student Professional Development to Close

After two and a half years of existence, the Brooks College Office of Community Partnerships and Student Professional Development will be permanently closing. The closure is effective 6 July 2020. Since Brooks College’s curriculum and programs feature community engagement, this move does not mean that students in Brooks courses and programs will not continue to be engaged in practicum, internship, and other high-impact learning experiences. Rather, these student opportunities will be managed through the academic programs in which they are embedded. Students will still be supported in their participation of the Semester in Detroit program; the Semester in Grand Rapids program will continue in some form—likely through bundled coursework in the IRIS department that will continue to feature internship placements in the City of Grand Rapids. More details are forthcoming, but in the meantime (until 6 July), continue to advise students to visit the Office’s website.

Brooks Start-up Meeting will be Virtual Event

The Brooks College Fall 2020 Start-up Meeting will now be a virtual event. The meeting is scheduled for the morning of Thursday, August 20. More details to follow.

Faculty and Staff Updates

Kim McKee, associate professor of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies, has agreed to extend her term as director of the Kutsche Office of Local History for one more year during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Margaux Sellnau, environmental and sustainability studies graduate, '20, started serving as interim farm manager for the Sustainable Agriculture Project on May 4.

Faculty Recognition

Jack Mangala, chair and professor of area and global studies and professor of political science, authored a report on diaspora engagement policy and circular migration for the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration 2020 Annual Report.

Calendar and Deadlines

June 5: Drop with a "W" grade deadline - 1st 6 weeks
June 15: Classes end - 1st 6 weeks
June 16-17: Final exams - 1st 6 weeks
June 19: Drop with a "W" grade deadline - 12 weeks
June 22: Classes begin - 2nd 6 weeks
June 22: Grades due from faculty by 12:00 p.m.
July 3: Independence Day Recess
August 20: Brooks College Fall 2020 Virtual Start-up Meeting
October 10: Class of 2020 commencement ceremony at Van Andel Arena
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