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Grand Valley State University

Message from the Dean

How do you define quality education?

I posed that question to my Brooks College Unit Heads last week after Provost Cimitile asked the GVSU deans to characterize quality education from the perspective of their faculty and departments. If our goal is to provide a high quality educational experience for our students, we need to know what that looks like. Although I received some excellent definitions, I found the following rather poetic definition provided by the Liberal Studies Department to be particularly inspiring and applicable to all Brook College programs.

A quality education balances worldly engagement with rigor, challenging students to expand their worldviews, engaging critically with different ways of knowing.

A quality education empowers students to think critically and creatively, empowering them to live in self-actualized and socially responsible ways.  

A quality education grounds students through in-depth study of a wide array of methods for carrying out research for critical social inquiry and humanistic understanding, connecting theory to practice, with the goal of producing a praxis-oriented approach to addressing complex questions and problems.

A quality education necessitates personal connections among students, faculty, and staff that support student learning and goals both inside and outside of the classroom. In this way, a quality education enhances both individual well-being and growth, as well as collective, communal well-being and growth.

A quality education values diversity, understanding that when students are exposed to – and must contend with – people and circumstances that differ from those with which they are familiar, they learn more and are better prepared to be leaders, professionals, and change agents within their communities.

A quality education is not defined solely by one discipline or profession, but rather seeks to broaden understandings of the world through an interdisciplinary and holistic approach.

A quality education helps students to develop skills of collaboration, integration, and problem solving, humility and self-reflexivity, courage and tenacity.

A quality education promotes lifelong learning.

A quality education should be accessible to all people, regardless of background, socioeconomic status, identity, life stage, geography, or material resources.

Best wishes to all Brooks College faculty and staff as we continue through the academic year with a renewed commitment to providing a high quality educational experience for all our students.

- Anne L. Hiskes

Upcoming Events

Faculty, Staff and Student Successes

The GVSU Center for Adult & Continuing Studies department has received an outstanding commitment award from the MIOSHA Training Institute. CACS is an MTI co-sponsor and has provided health and safety training to Michigan business and industry at the Meijer Campus in Holland for over ten years. The MIOSHA Training Institute is part of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Jacquelyn Abeyta, Office Coordinator of the Traverse City Regional Center for Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, coordinated hygiene kits for the hurricane relief project. Jacquelyn was responsible for rallying students and staff in Traverse City and successfully found a local connection for the kits. In total, 35 hygiene kits were delivered.

Anita Benes, Office Coordinator for Integrative Learning and AdvisingJennifer Jameslyn, Director of Integrative Learning and Advising, and David Potter, Technology Assistant for Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, received a Sustainability Champion Award for the Brooks College Laptop Project, an award given by the Office of Sustainability Practices.  

Craig Benjamin, professor in the Frederik Meijer Honors College with a specialization in Big History, and his wife Pamela Benjamin, were interviewed on Feel Like You Belong, a television program featuring the life stories of immigrants to the United States. The interview can be found here

Wendy Burns-Ardolino, professor of Liberal Studies, participated in the Higher Education Resource Services Institute at Bryn Mawr College from July 10-22, 2017. There, Burns-Ardolino and 68 other women leaders from across the country partook in an intensive, residential leadership development program. Participants gain knowledge and skills needed to lead change on their campus and positively affect higher education. With many different sessions, Wendy has been provided with crucial understanding and critical skills to lead change in the academy with a focus on inclusive excellence. 

Jeremiah Cataldo, associate professor of history, Frederik Meijer Honors College, wrote a book, Biblical Terror: Why Law and Restoration in the Bible Depend Upon Fear, published by Bloomsbury. This book was reviewed by the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. The review stated, “The study is thoroughly researched in the fields of cultural theory as well as in biblical scholarship such as that of Blenkinsopp and is logically constructed; it deserves careful reading.” Cataldo also contributed to an edited volume, "How Torah, Sedaqa, and Prejudice Mapped the Contours of Biblical Restoration," in S. Gillmayr-Bucher and M. Hausl, eds., Sedaqa and Torah in Postexilic Discourse (Bloomsbury, 2017).

Danielle DeMuth, associate professor and chair of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, gave a workshop, “Growing WGS Enrollments,” at the National Women’s Studies Association Annual Chairs and Directors Meeting in Chicago and a presentation, “Coming Out and Looking Out in the Library,” at the Michigan Library Association Annual Meeting in Flint.  

Lisa Garringer, a Liberal Studies Accelerated Leadership Student, was selected as the 2016 Grand Valley State University recipient of the Outstanding Adult Learner Reward by the Grand Rapids Area Higher Education Network. 

Rebecca Hambleton, Director of Study Aabroad and International Partnerships in the Padnos International Center, was elected to serve on the Executive Board for the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, a consortium composed of the 15 public universities in Michigan.

Azfar Hussain, associate professor in Liberal Studiesgave a public lecture titled “Global Literatures, ‘Globalectics,’ and Emancipatory Interdisciplinary” at the Washington State University-Vancouver on March 8, 2017. He also delivered the 2017 Seba Library Annual Lecture titled “Reading as Resistance: Love and Justice” on April 8, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. He gave an invited talk on South Asian Studies at Western Michigan University’s Asia Forum on April 14, 2017.

Further, Hussain held a Summer Distinguished Professorship of English and Humanities (May-August, 2017) at the University of Liberal Arts-Bangladesh in Dhaka, where he gave several public lectures. He also gave a plenary lecture titled “Gioconda Belli, Geo-poetics, and Revolutionary Feminism” at the International Gender Conference held at BRAC University in May, 2017. In addition, this summer Hussain published “Kazi Nazrul Islam: More than a Rebel Poet,” “Thinking about Nazrul in Cuba: Love and Revolution,” and “Mahmudul Haq: Confronting Life, Love, and Liberation with a Style.”

Stanley Krohmer, senior affiliate faculty in Liberal Studies has had two paintings accepted for the 89th Regional Exhibition at the Muskegon Museum of Art. The exhibition runs from September 28 to November 8, 2017, from 5.30-8.30pm. There were a total of 691 entries from 358 artists and Krohmer was one of ten artists to have had two pieces selected out of 156 works. 

Danielle Lake, assistant professor of Liberal Studies, and Judy Whipps, Professor of Liberal Studies, as well as student Julie Keller, presented a poster at the AACU General Education conference in Phoenix. The poster was titled, "Linking Accelerated General Education Courses by Design Thinking and Engagement."

Danielle Lake, assistant professor in the Liberal Studies, was awarded the Douglas Greenlee Prize at the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy annual meeting. The paper is co-authored with Liberal Studies alumna Hannah Swanson and community partner Paula Collier from Seeds of Promise. It is titled Dialogue Integration, and Action: Empowering Students, Empowering Community. Lake also received the John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement at the American Democracy Project annual meeting.

Jack Mangala, associate professor of African/African American studies and political science, was awarded the prestigious Louvain Global College of Law Fellowship. May through July 2018, Mangala will be a senior research at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. Mangala’s research will focus on, Diasporas as Transnational Actors: A comparative legal and political analysis of the role and responsibilities of the United States and selected EU countries in regard to the exercise by immigrants of political rights vis-à-vis their home countries.

More than 20 students, faculty and staff members traveled to Washington, D.C., on March 5-6.  MarcQus Wright, director of TRIO Student Support Services, and Louis Moore, associate professor of history and coordinator of African/African American Studies, led students from AAAS and TRIO. The group visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture and other Washington landmarks. The trip was supported by TRIO programs, African/African American Studies, Black Faculty Staff Association, and contributions from the Academic and High-Impact Opportunities Support Program Fund.

Melissa Peraino, Director of Educational Outreach for the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, was elected and started her term as Chair-Elect for the Great Lakes Region of the Association for Continuing Higher Education. 

Justin Pettibone, affiliate faculty of Liberal Studies, earned the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Council for Accelerated Programs at its conference in Denver in July. Pettibone teaches courses in the Accelerated Liberal Studies Leadership program, which allows participants with earned college credits to complete a bachelors degree within 19 months. Anne Hiskes, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, said the innovative program helps create educational access for nontraditional learners. Faculty members involved in the program are also innovative, she said. "Students complete one course every five weeks, so it's a big commitment from faculty to teach effectively, while focusing on leadership development," Hiskes said. "It is very fitting that Justin be recognized for his teaching; he is a selfless person and contributes to the core faculty as an affiliate."

Ben Scott-Brandt, Frederik Meijer Honors College student, has been hired to compose theme music and soundtrack to a new show airing nationally on PBS next spring, “Life in Bloom.” 

Maureen Wolverton, affiliate faculty of Liberal Studies, gave the presentation, “Strategies for Creating an Inclusive Classroom” and also the presentation “Using Videos to Facilitate Student Presence in Online Classrooms” at the Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium.  

Noreen Savage, Administrative Assistant in the Brooks College Dean's Office, placed 2nd in  semi-finals of the Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking international speech competition in Vancouver, British Columbia, on August 24, 2017. Toastmasters has clubs in 142 countries, representing 102 districts; Savage represented District 62 in the contest.

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