Final grades, Kelly Parker, student appreciation, graduate celebration
Final grades, Kelly Parker, student appreciation, graduate celebration
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

The calendar year is larded with commercially engineered “holidays,” conveniently spaced from one another, and covering everyone: Boss's Day, Grandparents Day, and the appropriate Teachers' Day (5 May). I will likely be purchasing something for my mother prior to the florists’ favorite: Mother’s Day (10 May this year; you’re welcome).
Wednesday, 22 April is dedicated to our colleagues who support our mission as administrative professionals. Our Professional Support Staff (PSS) colleagues are educators, colleagues, and friends. Without their efforts, none of the rest of us would be successful in our own work at teaching and supporting students. They do that work, too, directly with students—whether giving students non-academic advice, listening to their worries, sharing their successes, encouraging them in all ways. Many administrative staff members do these same things for faculty, too.
You don’t need to spend any money to celebrate these colleagues. Just spend a minute of your time to provide your PSS colleagues with appreciation—either on the “official” day, another day, or every day. They deserve our thanks.

Final Grade Reporting - Winter 2020

General Reminders
See Banner Grade Entry Instructions for the process for posting grades. Please remember that the Last Date of Academic Activity (LDAA) must be reported for all students who earn a grade of W, F, NC, or to assign an Incomplete (I); for additional information, please refer to the Last Date of Academic Activity Process.
Final grades must be posted in Banner before 12:00 P.M. (noon) on Tuesday, April 28. Banner will automatically lock at noon, so early submissions are strongly encouraged and appreciated. The Dean’s Office will begin reaching out to units regarding missing grades on Monday afternoon to ensure that we meet the deadline. Academic unit heads should ensure in advance that contact information for ALL faculty is current in case outreach is needed for missing grades.
Changes to usual policies due to the COVID-19 sudden transition to remote learning
  • Credit/No Credit: A special policy change to grade reporting has been made; details are posted on the Provost's website. In brief: all students will have a two-week window (May 115) to review their grades and decide whether they would prefer a letter grade or C/NC. Therefore, it is essential to assign a letter grade for each student, even those who previously opted for C/NC.
  • Incomplete Grades: The University’s Incomplete Grade Policy can be found online; while the timeline for resolving grades is unchanged, the limitations for assigning incomplete grades are being relaxed to account for special circumstances students may be currently experiencing. The Brooks Incomplete Process must still be followed to ensure adequate information in the event the current faculty member is unavailable when the Incomplete is resolved, but additional reasons for assigning Incomplete grades in W20 include poor internet access, child-care constraints, and other issues related to COVID-19. Please use the Brooks Incomplete Grade Form as usual.

Save the Date: Start-up Meeting on August 20

Please save the date for our Brooks College Fall 2020 Start-up Meeting. We will gather on Thursday, August 20, 2020, at the Seidman Center Forum. The time is to be determined. More details to follow.

Celebrating Kelly Parker, Director of Environmental and Sustainability Studies

Dr. Kelly Parker is concluding his second 3-year term as Director of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENS) program, and his outstanding work over the past 6 years is truly worthy of celebration! Kelly has led the ENS program through a period of unprecedented growth – and indeed, he has played a major role in that growth. His most visible accomplishment has been the creation of the ENS major, which was launched in Summer 2019 and is currently the university’s fastest-growing program, with over 80 students declaring an ENS major during its inaugural year. Garnering approval for the ENS major wasn’t a trivial feat; rather, it was the result of his tireless work over many years and included numerous curricular proposals to revise existing courses and create new ENS courses on topics such as the biosphere, the importance of honey bees, sustainability assessment/reporting, and environmental problem solving, as well as multiple revisions and refinements to the new program proposal itself.
Dr. Parker’s work in creating a broad network of support for ENS has been invaluable to the success of the program. He was actively involved in searches for six new faculty/staff positions to support sustainability education, and his inclusive lens has brought diverse and relevant expertise to the program via his forging new connections with existing GVSU faculty and hiring excellent new adjunct faculty. His collaborative spirit extended well beyond the confines of the university, as evidenced by his outreach to community partners and his scholarly activities. Under Kelly’s leadership, ENS has been actively involved in the annual Sustainability Showcase and has hosted the Growing Connections Food Summit; these events bring community partners to campus to engage with the GVSU community for mutual education and collaborative learning. He is also a consummate scholar whose numerous contributions to environmental philosophy have elevated the discourse of ENS at GVSU and beyond. His focus on promoting ENS internships and careers, perhaps stemming from his scholarly expertise in American pragmatism, is a hallmark of the new major. Although he’s handing over the reins to a new director in Fall 2020, Dr. Parker will remain involved in the program via a joint appointment in ENS and PHI.
A huge THANK YOU to Dr. Kelly Parker for a job exceedingly well done – and all best wishes as you embark on the next step of your journey!

Student Employee Appreciation

It is Student Employee Appreciation Week at Grand Valley and we are deeply grateful for all of our student colleagues across Brooks College. This week, we would like to honor and congratulate the following student employees who are about to graduate.
DeMario Johnson, Master of Public Administration, Graduate Assistant in the Office of Sustainability Practices
Isabella Kroczaleski, Marketing, Theatre minor, Honors mentor, Office Assistant in the Dean's Office and General Education/AGS

Integrative Learning and Advising LIB 100/201 Co-Curricular Mentors
Kayla Kaminski, Integrative Studies, emphasis in Diversity, Advocacy, and Social Justice
Madalynne Kowalik, Political Science, Human Rights and Middle East Studies minors
Nokomis Clarey-Schultz, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Padnos International Center
Angela Vargo, Spanish, Human Rights minor, PEEPS volunteer, Orientation Leader, Bethany Christian Services mentor
Cameron Zbikowski, Human Resources Management, US Navy veteran, Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship receipient

Fred Meijer Writing Center Writing Consultants
Stella Archiyan, Biochemistry
Rachel Azure, English, Writing
Amanda Gabriel, English, Secondary Education
Hannah Grobbels, Allied Health Sciences
Julia Jesko, History
Eric Johnson, Finance, Marketing
Aleigha Kely, English Literature 
Melissa Lance, English
Hannah Long, Biomedical Science
Sarah Parlette, Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics
Abigail Smith, Biology, Pre-Veterinary Emphasis
Ally Staelgraeve, Illustration
Alaina Taylor, Writing
Tiana Ogletree, Writing Center student receptionist, is also graduating. Next week, we'll feature many more Brooks College graduates, including our recent award-winning students.

Virtual Graduate Celebration

President Mantella announced details for a virtual celebration and in-person commencement ceremonies for 2020 graduates. A Graduate Celebration Watch Party will be held on Friday, April 24 at 7:00 P.M. via Grand Valley's Facebook and YouTube accounts.
The traditional commencement ceremonies have been rescheduled for October 10 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. Graduates may also choose to participate in the fall commencement ceremony held in December. For more information, visit

Silver Linings

We are sharing stories of the silver linings of this difficult season. Share your silver lining by emailing Thanks!
Noreen Savage, Administrative Assistant to the Dean, Dean's Office
"A little over four weeks ago, a few 'virtual' friends of mine, who I met two years ago through an online class, connected through a Facebook live chat. The conversation quickly turned to the COVID-19 pandemic. With people from different countries in this chat, it was incredible that even though we have never met in person, we had this common bond – of fear! – that we were all experiencing. Then, one woman, who was in lockdown in Spain said, “Weeks, maybe months from now, we’ll be going outside again. We’ll be sitting with our family and friends in the warm sunshine, and we’ll be talking about these days of quarantine. And someone will ask: What did you do with your time? Did you teach yourself to play guitar? Did you read a book or two? What did you accomplish? What did you do?
On top of the world chaos, on the day of that Facebook chat, I was smack-dab in the middle of figuring out how to set up my computer in order to work from home, installing apps to attend online meetings, clearing out space to make room for homeschooling, and counting rolls of toilet paper! Good grief. In times of world crisis, I become what might be nicely called a news hawk and internet researcher.  I’m sure those living with me absolutely APPRECIATE the up-to-the-minute reporting (nope!), but the constant intake of darkness, fear, panic and uncertainty can leave me feeling anxious.
The lady in Spain gave me HOPE! Her words gave me pause from the rush and noise. I realized that at this moment in time, I can control next to NOTHING about what is going on in the world right now.  But I can do something about me.  I can breathe.  I can perhaps accomplish a single goal or task. I can clean out my closet, get a small plot of ground ready to garden, read something uplifting, or do 10 squats a day (right!). I can play more board games and be anything but bored. I can purposefully connect with friends by Zoom or phone or Facebook, or make a contribution to Kids’ Food Basket.  I can pray for those suffering and, for the good of humanity, and all the healthcare and other front-line workers, I can simply STAY HOME.
Months from now, when I’m sitting in the sun with my family and friends, the conversation of this shared crisis will certainly come up. I hope as we talk about the trauma and pain that occurred, I can also look back and remember the opportunity – the silver lining – of these days, the good things accomplished, and friendships strengthened.  When that day comes, who knows? I may even tell that story in song as I play a few chords on my guitar. Stay well, my friends."

Faculty Calendar and Deadlines

April 18: Classes end
April 2025: Exams week
April 24: Virtual Graduate Celebration
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
August 20: Brooks College Fall 2020 Start-up Meeting
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