June 2022 Newsletter
June 2022 Newsletter
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies Newsletter June 2022
Headshot of Mark Schaub, Dean of Brooks College

       Dean's Message

 To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the   world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade   away. To be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be   capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.
― Rebecca Solnit

A Brooks colleague recently recommended that I check out the new book, The Real World of College, by Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner (yes, the “multiple intelligences” Howard Gardner). Though some of the “surprises” that resulted from their research are in fact unsurprising to many of us, the project is well worth reading. Fischman/Gardner and their team completed over 2000 in-depth interviews with students and other stakeholders and a range of 10 different higher ed institutions, focusing on what students were actually gaining through college and what different institutions were doing to enhance the impact of their campuses and curricula on these students.

To save you the time in reading The Real World of College, I’ll share with you the two big surprises or emerging themes that leapt out from the interviews, in their words:
  1. “Challenges of mental health constitute one of the biggest problems on campus. It’s an issue of overriding importance” (p. 173).
  2. “We were equally surprised to encounter the growing importance of issues of belonging—or, its less happy complement, non-belonging, alienation, anomie” (p. 68).
With these two findings of little surprise to those of us working in higher education these past few years, what—then—are the lessons from this comprehensive study of contemporary U.S. universities? The lessons are those that we in Brooks are built to do. We simply need to even more intentionally help students:
  1. Engage early in their college career with “mind-opening” ways to reflect on why they are at GVSU, and how they might use this opportunity to learn in ways that are beyond specific job training. Our new Honors curriculum, and key General Education courses (like INT 100 and WGS 101) are designed for just that.
  2. Engage with new ideas, in safe and productive ways, over time. Students’ time with us is a chance for them to “get lost” in new experiences and concepts and perspectives. We are their companions in this. Active learning and experiential learning are the key; continuing to re-tool our courses and curriculum around these is extremely important.
Many of you have long been doing these things. Some of you may be unaware of how colleagues are succeeding in these actions in many ways. Thanks for reading these monthly newsletters to get a glimpse of how we are each getting lost in our passions and how we are helping students get lost in theirs.
Mark Schaub signature

Mark Schaub
Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Save the Date: Start-up Meeting on August 19
The Brooks College Fall 2022 Start-up Meeting is scheduled for Friday, August 19, 2022!  The event will be held at Loosemore Auditorium & Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall in the Richard M. DeVos Center. Breakfast will be served from 8:00 am - 8:45 am, and the program will follow from
9 am - 12 pm.  

Farmer's Market Season

The Farmer's Market returns on Wednesday, June 8! The 2022 Farmers Market will be held on the second Wednesday of the month from June-October, from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm in parking lot G.  The dates for the full season are June 8, July 13, August 10, September 14, and October 12.  The GVSU Farm Stand will be at the clocktower every Wednesday, with the exception of the dates they will be at the market.
Farmers Market season

Introducing Brooks Bash!

Brooks College is excited to announce the beginning of what we hope will become a valued and enjoyable tradition in Brooks College: Introducing the Brooks Bash!
We will hold these events on a regular basis in partnership with various parts of Brooks College. By featuring different programs and departments through co-hosting Brooks Bash events, we hope to inspire a sense of community and provide an opportunity to learn more about our colleagues, and to socialize, network with each other, and have a great time. All Brooks Bashes will be funded by the Dean's office.
The first Brooks Bash, Weed & Feed, is co-hosted by the Office of Sustainability Practices and the Sustainable Agriculture Project. Participants will help weed the farm's garden for a short time, and then we will enjoy a delicious meal together. The Weed & Feed will be held on Tuesday, June 21, from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. at the SAP farm on Luce Street.
Faculty and staff, keep an eye on your inboxes for an official invitation and a chance to RSVP! We want to ensure we order plenty of food for all!  
If you are interested in co-hosting the next Brooks Bash, please contact Maureen Strand at strandm@gvsu.edu.  

Elementary Outreach with AGS

Last semester's LAS 373: Latinos in West Michigan students, under the supervision of Professor Andy Schlewitz, conducted service-learning work with Sherwood Park Global Studies Academy, a Grand Rapids preK-8 public school with an emphasis on creating global citizens.  Area & Global Studies was there for the school's year-end celebration on May 19, with a booth to provide awareness of the program.  This is wonderful work that connects GVSU with the community we are a part of.  Well done!
AGS at Sherwood Park Global Studies Academy
Left: The Winter 2022 LAS 373 class conducted service-learning work with local elementary students.
Right:  Mary Williford's future laker Charley came to help her mom at the AGS Booth at the Sherwood Park Global Studies Academy.

Culture and Environmental Sustainability Meet and Greet

On Friday, April 15, the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) on Luce Street hosted a meet and greet with community leader Jewellynne Richardson, founder of West Michigan Jewels of Africa. The event was created and organized by Professor Crystal Scott-Tunstall, of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies program.  Jewellynne is the creator of the Grand Rapids Juneteenth Celebration, and one of this year's WOOD-TV's Remarkable Women of West Michigan. She shared the history of Juneteenth with GVSU students during the community volunteer hours at the SAP farm, and encouraged them to address environmental justice while celebrating Juneteenth and community. 
Correction:  The Culture and Environmental Sustainability Meet and Greet was featured in May's newsletter and omitted the creator and organizer of the event in error.  The event was created and organized by Professor Crystal Scott-Tunstall, affiliate faculty member in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies program. 
Jewellynne Richardson sharing the history of Juneteenth with GVSU students
Jewellynne Richardson speaking
Crystal Scott-Tunstall

Professor Crystal Scott-Tunstall

Creator and Organizer of the Culture and Environmental Sustainability Meet and Greet 

I created this event to give my ENS 201 students an opportunity to get to know the SAP, and give back to the community. Jewellynne's involvement with the event at the SAP allows students to witness how cultural components can be integrated with sustainability. Since the sustainability booth that I provide at the Juneteenth celebration is a combined effort with local sustainability organizations, I use this opportunity for those organizations to meet Jewellynne and learn about Juneteenth.
Since organizations are invited to the event at the SAP, I use this as a networking opportunity for my ENS 401 class as well. I began to provide this booth after several sustainability-related organizations reached out to me after the murder of George Floyd. They wanted to know how they could show themselves as allies to the African American community.
The booth was my idea and one of the solutions I offered for the organization’s inquiry. The booth is a space for allies to provide sustainability resources for the community. The students work with the SAP to provide vegetable seedlings at the booth to encourage the community to garden, and become more food sustainable. These seedlings are a donation from the GVSU's Office of Sustainability.

Global Civil Discourse Map

A Global Civil Discourse Map has been developed at Grand Valley! Collaboration between many different disciplines within GVSU has led to the creation of a tool that measures the level of civil discourse in countries across the globe and that can help the university play a leading role on one of the planet’s most critical issues.
Professor Jeff Kelly Lowenstein is the current Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse at the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse. The center was founded through the generous gift of Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik to help create more inclusive, tolerant, and peaceful communities. 
While developing his new course IDS 350, Journalism and Global Civil Discourse, Jeff did extensive reading about the implications for civil discourse of the tension between the people trying to share accurate information with the public, and those people, organizations, and governments trying to misinform and disinform the public. Those people trying to provide accurate information to the public are often targeted for attack by those seeking to misinform and disinform. 
He found that opponents of accurate information use a consistent set of strategies to attack and discredit the people doing that work. He determined that a global map would be an effective way to make sense of how these strategies play out in different countries.
Samantha Johnson, the Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse intern, and Nicholas Moran, then the Editor-In-Chief of the Lanthorn, began work on the map in the summer of 2020. They looked up and entered information about each country’s national and international promises of press and media freedoms. The two factors that were used to signify a public commitment to freedom of the press were signing the Millennium Declaration of 2000, and the country’s level of internet access. The Millennium Declaration of 2000 reaffirmed the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights that included freedom of speech and media.
Global Civil Discourse Map screenshot

Jeff worked with his Civil Discourse students in the fall of 2020 on further developing the project. With this baseline of what was being promised, the students proceeded to compare the promises to what was actually occurring in each country. They did that by looking at variables like the level of online censorship and the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index that assesses the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories.
A group of senior Computer Science students built the map itself as a part of their senior project with Professor Jonathan Engelsma. The students involved contributed all of the information used in the Global Civil Discourse Map that launched at the 2021 Civil Discourse Symposium. GrandPR, a student-run organization supervised by Professor Adrienne Wallace, promoted the project.
Global Civil Discourse Map screenshot 2
IDS Class Fall 2020

The IDS Students OF Fall 2020

Deleon Brown, Ashley Bylsma, Madelyne Crace, Colin DeYoung, Jayce Efting, Olivia Fellows, Lauren Hasse, Trevor Hubert, Rachel Jongsma, Toria Keyes, Ariel Mejia, Chase Meulebrouck, Nicholas Reid, Grace Stille, Jenia Thompson, Michael Thorsen, and Kellen Voss.


Not Pictured: Josh Lowell, Carson Uecker-Herman, and Olivia Vitali.
IDS Students Fall 2021

The IDS 350 STUDENTS of Fall 2021

Allysa Babcock, Jake Brewer, Brea Buchan, Nolan Carr, Jennastasia Chapa, Emma DeBoer, Genevieve Doctor, Keely Duehmig, Marta Grabowski, Brianna Haywood, Olivia Hernalsteen,, Garrett Koss, Lindsay Marcil, Brianna McKinney, Sky Overton-Wier, Zach Pierangeli, Tierra Sheets, Guadalupe Solis, Rebecca Wilcox.
Work continued on the project into the fall of 2021, when a second civil discourse class added the criteria of literacy rate and updated the final weighting of the ranking formula as follows:
Ranking Weight Percentage
Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index
Internet Access
Online Censorship
Literacy Rate
Millennium Declaration of 2000 signed
A subsequent group of CIS students developed the visual aspects of the map to add different colors, designed the map to be ADA accessible, and added further features for users to explore.  
CIS Students Fall 2021

The CIS Students of Fall 2021

James Weitzmann, Nathan Banaszak, Felix Clinthorne, Rebecca Trap.
CIS Students Winter 2021

The CIS Students OF Winter 2021

Aaron Bager, Stephen Kiser, Nicholas Sheehan, and Omar Tiba. 
 The Global Civil Discourse Map team received a Teaching Innovation Grant from the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center (FTLC). This support allowed further collaboration across disciplines by partnering with Spanish, French, and Multimedia Journalism faculty and their students. Under the supervision of Professors Janel Pettes Guikema and Médar Serrata, upper-level students of French and Spanish had the privilege of interviewing journalists from 10 different French- and Spanish-speaking countries around the world about what that tension has meant for their work and lives.
Professor James Ford and his Multimedia Journalism students assisted with recording and editing the interviews that will be embedded within that country’s profile on the map. A tremendous amount of work went into editing, rearranging, transcribing, and translating the interviews, but student feedback from the first round of interviews in Winter 2022 was overwhelmingly positive. The faculty plan to collaborate with students and faculty in other disciplines in order to expand the project and its available content. 
Spanish journalist interview
Omar Pérez-Correa interviewing Columbian journalist Lorenzo Morales
These interviews provided insight into what journalists across the world risk in order to help accurate information reach the public in countries where regimes and organizations are trying to suppress the truth. For example, Ignace Sossou, a Beninese journalist who was interviewed by GVSU French students, had tweeted accurately a comment made by a public prosecutor at a conference on December 18, 2019. On December 20, 2019, he was arrested without a warrant and his home and phone were searched. On December 24, 2019 he was sentenced to 18 months in prison and received a fine. 
FRE 395 class


Colleen Morris, Kelsey Acker,Hailee Green, Chase Suttorp, Emilie Gizicki, Samantha Petter, Isabelle Hoffman, RachaelAnderson, Pamela Beas-Penaloza, Lauren Formosa, Eva Verriele
 Eventually his sentence was reduced to 6 months and he was released in June 2020. This kind of incident is becoming a shockingly regular occurrence in the world. Despite the work of organizations across the globe attempting to fight back against this injustice, journalists are still being targeted for doing their work of informing the public. Hearing these stories firsthand, in the language spoken by the journalists, was very impactful for the students involved.
Spanish class Winter 2022


Jordan Caples, Denise Cabrera, Vera Grix, Abby Goodyke, Tavin Fiser, Emily Raak, Maddison Carey, Lisa Reynolds, Kathryn Rainwater, William Leahy, Andrea Basulto, Celine Linares, Holly Heathfield, Erika Wilson, Emma Steeby, Omar Pérez-Correa, Edwin Tomas
Not pictured: Alena Kamp, Braelyn Myers
This summer, Jeff will to go to South Africa with support from the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse, the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence, and the Padnos International Center to interview journalists in that part of the world. He will also be on sabbatical in Japan in Winter 2023, and will continue to have these conversations with journalists in that country and region.
He welcomes anyone who is interested in the project to come to him to discuss their ideas and see if they can assist with any part of the project. The project seeks to both provide a high-impact student experience as well as advance interdisciplinary scholarly work.
Its broader ambition is for GVSU to become a national and international leader on one of the most vital topics facing the global community. In the future there will be regular public events hosted by the Civil Discourse Center where people who are doing this work within GVSU will present the project as it progresses with people around the world who share a similar commitment. 
If you would like to learn more about the Global Discourse Map or inquire about becoming involved in the project, please reach out to Professor Jeff Kelly Lowenstein at kellyloj@gvsu.edu.
Jeremiah Cataldo, professor of history in Frederik Meijer Honors College, published an article, titled "Did the Prophets Teach Us to Protest?", on MDPI.com, Religions 13:6 (2022).
Faculty and Staff Updates
Chris Plouff, Interim Provost, will be departing GVSU after 25 years of dedicated service. A farewell reception will be held in his honor in the L. William Seidman Center Forum on the GVSU Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids campus on Monday, June 6th, from 3 pm - 5 pm.

Have a safe and wonderful summer!

There will be no Brooks College Newsletter in July 2022.  We will resume in August.  Whatever your summer plans may be, we wish you a safe and wonderful summer! We are asking for submissions over the summer for a special "Summer Share" segment of the Brooks College Newsletter that will be featured in September's issue. 
Please contact Maureen Strand at strandm@gvsu.edu to submit your summer share. Send photos and details! Whether you traveled to an exotic location, or planted a new garden in your yard that you would love to show off, send it all to share!


June 21: Brooks Bash!  Weed & Feed at the SAP Farm 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
July 13: Farmer's Market 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
August 10: Farmer's Market 10:30 am - 1:00 pm

Faculty Calendar

June 27: Grades Due from Faculty

July 4: Independence Day Recess

August 15: Grades Due from Faculty

August 17: Cohort Startup and Mentoring

August 18: New Faculty/Staff Welcome Picnic

August 19: Brooks College Startup Meeting

August 26: Convocation

August 29: Fall semester classes begin

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