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

Dean's Message

I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”

                                                                 --Toni Morrison

  My first significant committee service at GVSU, decades ago, was on the University Curriculum Committee (UCC). That essential body for shared governance, then as now, had a representative from the Student Senate. My work with colleagues on the UCC was in some ways a full circle from my own role as student representative on the curriculum committee of the small, liberal arts college I attended in rural Wisconsin. Having that student voice at the table is very important, and not just symbolically. However, in the spirit of empowered education, that voice is not enough. Rather, it comes far too late in the process.

As an undergraduate philosophy major, I remember thinking that I was entrusted with an up or down vote on “finished” curriculum proposals, but wondered why I was not invited to be part of the discussions that began—or inspired—the final-version proposals we were considering. Yes, many of us as educators are concerned that turning over the curricular keys to our programs could lead to reckless routes over our proscribed network of curricular streets. During our 2021 deliberations on what “Empowered Educational Experience” meant as one of our three strategic commitments, some fretted that we would be abrogating our responsibility as faculty by putting too much agency in students’ hands.

Not to worry. In a recent Chronicle piece, a national poll of U.S. residents stated that faculty should have the most say in what’s taught in the academy. Here at GVSU, our students are not interested in upending our attractive and relevant programs; they have chosen them. But many are eager to help us make those programs even more attractive, even more relevant. We should issue more invitations to bring our students to the table. They, too, would hear what we hear from employers and their desire for real skills in the things that matter most: effective communication, thriving in collaborative and diverse teams, problem solving, resilience. They would continue to choose our programs but even more enthusiastically. Adult learners generally know what they want and need, and our traditional-age students do, too. They want programs that help them get jobs, sure. But they hunger for more than that “grab-bag candy game.” They want to make a difference.

Mark Schaub
Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
Brooks College Town Halls
Save the dates! There will be a virtual Brooks College Town Hall via Zoom on Friday, October 20, at 11:00 am. An in-person Brooks College Town Hall will be held on Friday, November 17, at 11:00 am (location to be announced).
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.  

Did you miss the September Workday Town Hall? Watch the recording, view the transition calendar, and find more information at the Workday web page.
More to come soon! Please contact Noreen Savage or Aubrey Dull if you have any questions.

Workday Web Page
Climate Change Education Solutions Summit 2023:
"Connecting Minds for a Sustainable Climate Future"
Brooks College is proud to be one of many sponsors supporting the 2023 Climate Change Education Solutions Summit (CCESS). This event will span two days, October 17 and October 18, and will include in-person events on the GVSU Pew campus, as well as virtual presentations and panel discussions. Register to attend today! You can visit the event website for full program details.
CCESS Event Flyer

October is Sustainability Month

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 during Sustainability Month:
Support the Farm Stand - The season is winding down, but there are still two more dates for the farm stand: October 4 and October 11. 
Be sure to visit from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at the Cook Carillon Clocktower to pick up seasonal produce, pumpkins, and honey.  
Volunteer at the SAP - You can volunteer on Thursdays 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.  
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 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 Campus Cleanup - If you are interested in being a part of the 2023 Cleanup, visit their website and complete the form to sign up!
Attend Sustainability Events to increase your awareness - This month is packed with opportunities to get involved and learn more about sustainability. Grab free ice cream and chat with the GVSU Beekeepers Club, check out philanthropy week events, participate in the West Michigan Compost Challenge, attend the President's Forum to hear special guest Bryan Alexander explore how global warming can reshape our campus, or learn about the history of bugs as food and try a sample of edible insects. There is something for everyone! Check the Sustainability Month calendar for a full list of events. 
GVSU Sustainability Month
Great Lakes History Conference 2023: Division and Reaction
Brooks College is proud to be one of many sponsors for the 48th Annual Great Lakes History Conference, which will be held at the GVSU Grand Rapids campus from October 5 – 7, 2023. The theme is “Division and Reaction”—during an era when everyday Americans are increasingly worried about the longevity of the Republic and Democracy. The conference will be open to the public for no fee.
Fears about democracy’s fragility and inclusivity, of course, are nothing new and harken back to the failed experiment in ancient Greece. They do, however, speak to the tumultuous history of democracy and to the myriad and diverse tensions that have imperiled it (at least in the minds of many) throughout history. The theme of Division and Reaction: Democracy in Peril, speaks broadly to these tensions. Panel discussions and keynote speakers will seek to engage with and highlight the agency of people whose experiences reflect the theme of social divisions and reactions.
Each day of the conference will conclude with a different keynote talk at Loosemore Auditorium, in the Richard M. DeVos Center:
On Thursday, October 5, at 7:00 pm, Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Heather Ann Thompson, and Frank W. Thompson, Professor of History and African American studies, will give a presentation entitled “The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Why it Matters Today.”

On Friday, October 6, at 7:00 pm, National Book Award winner Dr. Kevin Boyle and William Smith Mason, Professor of American History at Northwestern University, will give a presentation entitled “Blood Ties: An Intimate History of Political Violence in Twentieth Century America.”

On Saturday, October 7 at 1:00 pm, Dr. Randal Maurice Jelks, Professor of African and African American Studies and American Studies at the University of Kansas, will be presenting on “Meditations on Democracy in Black America” and will explicate how “creative maladjustment” is a way for democracies to flourish.
View the full program, list of panelists, and register for the conference for free on the Great Lakes History Conference website. We hope to see you there!
Great Lakes History Conference event flyer
Hannah Krebs photo

Kutsche Office of Local History Update

Internships are a prickly subject. Organizations that cannot afford to pay interns are at a competitive disadvantage and may struggle to find qualified, engaged candidates. Students who cannot afford to work for free are effectively kept out of the running, having to choose between furthering their career or feeding themselves. This cycle perpetuates inequalities in all aspects of the local history field.

The Kutsche Office's new Internship Partner Program seeks to bridge that equity gap. Each semester, they will partner with a local history organization that has unmet internship needs, and provide 100% of a student intern’s wages at a fair market rate.

This pilot partnership began in the Fall 2023 semester with GVSU History major Hannah Krebs. Ruth Stevens of the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council collaborated with Kutsche Office staff in defining an appropriate project, composing and sharing a job posting, and ultimately hiring Hannah.

Human Rights Coordinator Search
The Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies seeks self-nominations for the position of Coordinator of the Human Rights program (HRT). The program, housed in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, offers students a Minor in Human Rights. The position will be open starting with the Winter 2024 semester, and the initial term of appointment will be 2.5 years (January 2024 to May 2026). Click this link to view the full details for this position.
Nominees should ideally be tenured or tenure-track faculty who have scholarly, teaching and /or service experience relevant to Human Rights Studies, as well as a history of previous engagement with the HRT program. The nominee must be collaborative, professional and have excellent communication, organizational, interpersonal and administrative skills. Nominees should be efficient planners and able to share responsibilities, and be able to teach in the HRT program if needed. They should also be willing and able to engage the faculty in curriculum development to make the program inclusive and attractive to students and faculty. 

Interested faculty should email their current CV and a one page letter of interest to Mark Schaub, Dean of the Brooks College (schaubm@gvsu.edu) by the end of Sunday, 22 October 2023.
Women's Commission Recognizes Two Outstanding Women of Brooks College
On Wednesday, September 20, the GVSU Women's Commission held its annual Celebrating Women Awards. This event was co-sponsored by Positive Black Women, the Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity (CWGE), and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGS) program.
The Women's Commission is the longest-established faculty/staff affinity group at Grand Valley. Since 1996, the Commission has been advocating for all women on campus by acting on their issues and by promoting equity and social justice, ever conscious of the intersection of race, class, gender, and orientation.
During the ceremony, our very own Associate Dean Melanie Shell-Weiss was presented with the Maxine Swanson Advocacy Award. This annual award is presented to an individual who has provided leadership in support of the rights of women at Grand Valley State University.
Melanie is known to many of us for her outstanding leadership as she manages the many lines of coordination and communication for which she is responsible in Brooks College. Her kindness and patience, combined with her experience and empathy, make her an ideal Associate Dean. Melanie's expertise enables the inner workings of this college to run smoothly. And her passion for advocacy has influenced our learning community to be an inclusive place where people are supported and their voices are lifted up. We are thrilled that she has received this recognition for her efforts.
Crystall Scott-Tunstall, affiliate professor and internship coordinator for the Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENS) program, was presented with the Unsung Hero Award. This award honors the contributions of those who improve the GVSU community who may not be well known by the general public for the outstanding efforts they make. Brooks College is very proud to have Crystal as a part of our faculty. 
Crystal is known to many of us for her vast knowledge of horticulture, her work with local non-profit organizations and committees, and her additional skills and passions, such as professional skill mentorship and food canning and preservation.  She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Kent County Food Policy Council.  Her experience, connections, and insights bring a vast wealth to our learning community. She truly goes above and beyond to implement positive change. She carries a genuine passion for sustainability, and she is driven to mentor students and help them make connections which will grow into careers for them, and a positive impact for our community.
Congratulations to Melanie and Crystal! Keep up the amazing work! 
Native American Heritage Month
Native American Heritage Celebration is the celebration of the history, culture, traditions and contributions of Native Americans. The celebration is recognized nationally every November, but is a celebration that lasts throughout the year.
The GVSU Office of Multicultural Affairs will be holding events in recognition of Native American Heritage Month through the fall. You can visit their website for more information on events this semester.
Upcoming Events:
Loosemore Auditorium, Richard M. DeVos Center, Grand Rapids Pew Campus
Kirkhof Center, Room 2263, Allendale Campus
November 8, 11:15 am - GVSU Presents Robin Wall Kimmerer
Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room, Allendale Campus (Co-Sponsor)

2023 Teach-In Kicking Off with Robin Wall Kimmerer Event
The 2023 Teach-In is coming up! The theme is Power, Privilege and Difficult Dialogues. The purpose of 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.  
The Teach-In will kick off on Wednesday, November 8 at the Grand Rapids Pew campus. The opening plenary session will begin at 10:30 am in Loosemore Auditorium, followed by a live stream of the presentation by national best-selling author Robin Wall Kimmerer, who will be speaking on the Allendale campus in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room beginning at 11:15 am.
Sessions will continue on the Pew campus through the day and evening. On Thursday, November 9, the sessions will begin at the Allendale campus in the Kirkhof Center. The Teach-In will conclude with a reception at 5:30 pm with heavy appetizers and prizes. All are welcome! Visit the Teach-In website for further information and program details.
Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse
10th Annual Symposium
On Thursday, November 16, at 6:00 pm, the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse will hold its 10th annual symposium. The theme for this year's symposium will be "Calm the Chaos: Honoring All Voices in Public Education." Register now to attend!

Honors Faculty Seminar Series
Please join us for our Fall 2023 seminar series where our faculty share their past, recently completed, or on-going scholarly projects.  These are informal events open to everyone.  Seminar presentations last approximately 35-40 minutes followed by conversation for as long as schedules allow.  Bring a lunch (cookies and coffee provided!) and your curiosity.
Wednesday, October 11, 12:00 pm, Honors College Niemeyer Multipurpose Room
 “Beer for Books? A Medieval Chinese Case of Misinformation” Meghan Cai School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Thursday, October 26, 12:00 pm, Honors College Niemeyer Multipurpose Room
“Affinity, Expropriation, and Denial: Changing Christian Attitudes toward Reason and Islam: 11th-14th centuries.” Coeli Fitzpatrick. Honors College Faculty.
Thursday, November 9, 12:00 pm, Honors College Niemeyer Multipurpose Room
"The song-and-dance Caribbean areíto: A 16th Century Context Reexamined."  Elizabeth Gansen.  Modern Languages & Literatures.
Wednesday, November 15, 12:00 pm, Honors College Room 220 
“Toward a Reproductive Justice Framework for Gene Editing Technologies.” Leifa Mayers.  Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Thursday, November 30, 12:00 pm, Honors College Niemeyer Multipurpose Room
“Stunt Double Puppetry” Jason Yancey.  Modern Languages & Literatures. 
Faye Richardson-Green speaking
Photo Credit: Amanda Pitts

Faye Richardson-Green takes new career path with Honors College Role

The prospect of teaching a university course had never occurred to Faye Richardson-Green. With nearly 40 years of business, leadership and nonprofit experience, she admitted she was “technically retired,” when she connected with Melba Vélez Ortiz, a faculty member in the Frederik Meijer Honors College.

And yet, after she spoke with one of Ortiz’s classes, Roger Gilles, director of the honors college and professor of writing, gauged Richardson-Green's interest in teaching a class. 

“It was an interesting proposition,” Richardson-Green said. “This became an interesting sort of new pathway for me, and so I got really excited about the opportunity to engage in learning activities with students.”

The fall semester marks Richardson-Green’s first as the Meijer Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation for the honors college, succeeding Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss in the position. Read the full article on GVSU Forum.
Brooks College Photo Montage 

Check out these fun events that have been happening around Brooks College since the last newsletter!
On September 18, the Beekeepers Club held their annual honey bottling. Volunteers assisted in preparing this year's honey for sale at the farm stand.
On September 20, the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGS) program held a Welcome Back open house. Attendees were invited to create their own Barbie, Ken, or Allen!
The event theme was centered around the Barbie movie, as it includes feminist themes that explore gender roles within society. The open house also featured WGS Trivia, Powerful Women Bingo, snacks and swag!
On September 21, attendees enjoyed a screening of "The Engine Inside" on the lawn by Zumberge Pond, hosted by the Office of Sustainability Practices.
On September 21, the Religious Studies Program partnered with the Kaufman Interfaith Institute to host a sacred site visit at the West Michigan Hindu Temple. Over 60 students observed a puja and took a guided tour of the temple. 

Their next sacred site visit will takeplace at the Sikh Society of West Michigan on Wednesday, October 11 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm.  This is INT 100& 201 approved.  All students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend! Register today if you are interested.
Several WGS faculty were in attendance on September 20 to support WGS student Ruhi Khanna, as she was awarded the Jean Enright Scholarship during the Women's Commission award ceremony.
Above: Julia Mason, program director of WGS, poses with Ruhi Khanna.
Below: Ayana Weekley, Danielle DeMuth, Ruhi Khanna, and Julia Mason.
Associate Dean Melanie Shell-Weiss enjoying the Women's Commission Awards ceremony, where she was presented with the Maxine Swanson Advocacy Award. Her family was present to cheer her on.
Above: Melanie's husband Carlos Weiss snaps a photo of a smiling Mel.
Crystal Scott-Tunstall and her husband Dwayne Tunstall were also in attendance at the Women's Commission award ceremony, where Crystal was presented with the Unsung Hero Award.
The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGS) program was a co-sponsor of the Women's Commission awards ceremony. Their information table displayed the available swag. Feel free to swing by their office in Lake Ontario Hall Room 229 to say hello and pick up some swag for yourself!
The SAP Farm Stand has been at the Cook Carillon Clocktower each Wednesday with fresh seasonal produce, pumpkins, and honey all produced right here at GVSU.
Wings Wednesdays (hosted by the African/African American Studies program) are back this fall! The first Wing Wednesday was held on September 20 and was a smashing success!


A photo of Kim McKee
Santos Ramos

Santos Ramos, assistant professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and program director for the Leadership & Professional Innovation program, collaborated with community partner Masa Center to win a $600,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation. He will serve as Program Director on the project—La Milpa Michigan—to increase community-based engagement with Xicano/Latine Studies education in Michigan. Well done, Santos!

Karen Zivi

Karen Zivi, professor and program coordinator of the Human Rights program, recently had a research article published in The International Journal of Human Rights: Reason enough to hope? The citational practices and disorienting subjects that make menstruation a matter of human rights.
Congratulations, Karen!

Andy Schlewitz

Andy Schlewitz, assistant professor and program coordinator for Latin American Studies, received the Kutsche Office of Local History's Community Collaboration Grant. His work with the Oceana County Historical & Genealogical Society explores the complicated relationships between migrant agricultural laborers in West Michigan during WWII and the Nazi POWs who were shipped over to perform the same agricultural work towards the end of WWII. 
Andy will be giving a presentation on his work on November 9 at 7:00 pm, at the Oceana County Historical & Genealogical Society in Hart, Michigan. Great work, Andy!

Melba Vèlez-Ortiz

Melba Vèlez-Ortiz, professor of the Frederik Meijer Honors College, was featured with her guide dog Professor Chad in the September/October 2023 edition of American Kennel Club Family Dog. The article is on page 6 within the publication. Check out the article for free online on their website. Next up for Professor Chad: world domination!


October 4: SAP Farm Stand (Cook Carillon Clock Tower) 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
October 4: Conversations of Color: Banned Books (Kirkhof Center Room 2266) 12:00 pm
October 5: Out Here: Three Short Films About Rural LGBT Life (Kirkhof/Grand River Room) 7:30 pm
October 5: Hon. Allie Maldonado: Overcoming & Becoming (Loosemore Auditorium) 11:00 am
October 9: Brooks College Leadership Council Meeting 9:00 am
October 9: Get the Scoop on Philanthropy: GVSU Beekeepers (Kirkhof Center) 12:00 - 2:00 pm
October 10: Campus Clean Up (Ravines, Allendale Campus) 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
October 11: SAP Farm Stand (Cook Carillon Clock Tower) 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
October 11: Cash Cart: Student Philanthropy Week (Allendale Campus) 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
October 12: New City Neighbors Dinner & Learn (Off Campus) 5:30 pm
October 12: Great Michigan Read Author Angeline Boulley (Kent District Library) 6:00 - 8:00 pm
October 13: Laker Photo Collage Challenge (Kirkhof Center) 1:00 - 3:00 pm
October 13: Harvest Party (SAP Farm on Luce StVolunteer Hours 2:00 - 4:00 pm Party 4:00 - 6:00 pm
October 14: West Michigan Compost Challenge (Blandford Nature Center) 12:00 - 3:00 pm
October 16: President's Forum: Bryan Alexander (Seidman Center, Pew Campus) 1:30 pm
October 17: GVSU Study Abroad Fair (Kirkhof/Grand River Room) 10:00 am - 3:00 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 
October 18: Wing Wednesday with AAAS (Honors Niemeyer Multipurpose Room) 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
October 18: Edible Insects: A History of Bugs as Food (Seidman Center, Pew Campus) 7:00 pm
October 20: Brooks College Town Hall (Virtual) 11:00 am
October 26: WGS Fall Pumpkin Pageant (Lake Ontario Hall Room 167) 1:30 - 3:30 pm
November 6: Brooks College Academic Leadership Council Meeting 9:00 am
November 8: Robin Wall Kimmerer (Kirkhof/Grand River Room) 11:15 am
November 13: Brooks College Leadership Council Meeting 9:00 am
November 15: Wing Wednesday with AAAS (Honors Niemeyer Multipurpose Room)11:30 am - 1:00 pm
November 15: Conversations of Color: Health Disparities in POC Communities (Kirkhof Center Room 2266) 12:00 pm
November 16: Civil Discourse Symposium (Pew campus, Seidman Forum) 6:00 - 8:30 pm
November 17: Brooks College Town Hall (In Person) 11:00 am
*New events are posted regularly.
Stay up to date on Brooks College Events by checking the event calendar on our website.

Faculty Calendar

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 20: Brooks College Town Hall (Virtual) 11:00 am
October 22-24: Fall Break
November 6: Brooks College Academic Leadership Council Meeting (Virtual) 9:00 am
November 17: Brooks College Town Hall (In Person) 11:00 am
November 22-26: Thanksgiving Recess
Join our mailing list so you never miss a Brooks College newsletter.
View previous issues in our newsletter archive.
Twitter Facebook
Grand Valley State University and Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies combination logo
Unsubscribe from future emails.
Subscribe to our email list.