Message from Acting Dean Mark Schaub, new ENS major, and more!
Message from Acting Dean Mark Schaub, new ENS major, and more!
Grand Valley State University

Message from Acting Dean
Mark Schaub

In my first days in the role of Acting Dean of the Brooks College, I’ve frequently—many times per day—found myself even more appreciative of the scope and diversity of our work with students. Not an hour goes by that I do not marvel at what students are accomplishing, and what our colleagues are facilitating. This is why I agreed to temporarily leave a job I love to take on new responsibilities in the midst of the semester: the people of Brooks College are remarkable, and our results are remarkable.

Not a stranger to Brooks College, I’ve been part of the leadership council since it was created in 2004, and have known it as at least four different names (happily, “Brooks” suits us best). Still, many of you do not know my background or preparation for this position.

I also started my previous two administrative posts midstream. My appointment to the Directorship of the Writing Program at American University in Cairo (Egypt) began in the very middle of the academic year, during Winter Break. My interview for the leadership of the Padnos International Center was during the first week of classes in 2002, and I started the job just a couple days later. At least with this gig I’m already familiar with the acronyms, knowing SAP from AGS from SIGR.

My tenure home is the Department of Writing, though I was in the Department of English my first two years at GVSU—before WRT split off. The last two courses I’ve taught have been part of Brooks: team-teaching the very first section of ITC 100 (with Regina McClinton) and, in 2017, teaching a Business Communication course in the award-winning Accelerated Leadership Program. I had the privilege of learning from, and being mentored by, both founding Dean Wendy Wenner and, for the last six and a half years, by Dean Anne Hiskes—both of whom have led us to where we are: both bigger and better. I am a shameless cheerleader for GVSU and also for Brooks. I am very happy to know so many of you and am eager to get to know the rest.

Brooks College is fine and will continue to be fine. I trust Provost Cimitile will affirm that with us during the informal Brooks College “town hall” she will be part of on Friday, March 15. Please attend, if your calendar (or teaching schedule) permits. It will be an opportunity to ask questions of Provost Cimitile, me, and Assoc. Dean Gipson.

Board of Trustees Approves Environmental and Sustainability Studies Major

On February 8, the Board of Trustees approved a new major in Brooks College, Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENS). Beginning Fall 2019, the ENS major will help students learn to develop a solutions-oriented understanding of environmental and sustainability challenges.

Coursework for the ENS major builds upon the framework of the preexisting minor, which was established in 2008. The major will encompass a variety of disciplines, including arts and humanities, physical and life sciences, and economic and policy studies. Students will also be able to choose a focus area within the major, such as energy, sustainable food systems, cultural and the built environment, or water resources. The ENS major will emphasize a practical approach to environmental issues through collaborative problem-solving, involvement in faculty-led research projects, internships and community engagement projects.

Cáel Keegan Receives CSCE Award

Cáel Keegan, Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Liberal Studies, received the Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award from the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence. Cáel has distinguished himself as a leading voice in transgender studies. In addition to the 10 articles and book chapters he published since arriving at Grand Valley in 2014, Cáel authored a book, Lana and Lilly Wachowski: Sensing Transgender, with University of Illinois Press. The monograph, which reflects his interdisciplinary approach, was hailed as “a revelation” for the way it theorizes trans* aesthetic. Having been invited to speak at scholarly gatherings in the U.S., Canada, Russia, and Finland, Cáel is an internationally recognized expert.

Alumni Outreach Event Scheduled for March 23

As part of Community Outreach Week, Brooks College is hosting an alumni outreach event at the Blandford Nature Center on Saturday, March 23. Volunteers will learn and lead others through the process of maple sugaring during the 49th annual Sugarbush Festival. Invite alumni to RSVP today!

New Civil Discourse Blog

Elizabeth Arnold, the Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse, has started a blog to continue the discussion from the 2018 Civil Discourse Symposium. Join in the conversation and invite interested students to engage at Conversations on Climate Change.

Faculty & Staff Updates

Michael Vrooman, Associate Professor of Spanish, will serve as Acting Chief International Officer beginning March 11, 2019.
Karen Zivi, Associate Professor of Political Science in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, will serve as Interim Director of Human Rights beginning Fall 2019.

Faculty Recognition

Ed Baum, Professor of Chemistry in Honors, wrote an article, “Learning Space Design and Classroom Behavior,” published in the International Journal of Learning, Teaching, and Educational Research.
Cáel Keegan, Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Liberal Studies, gave a critical introduction to The Matrix for its 20th anniversary at the Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Higher Learning Programme's 1999: Movies at the Millennium.
Kim McKee, Director of the Kutsche Office of Local History, was interviewed by Michigan Radio for a story about the exhibit "Stories of Summer," which focuses on the Saugatuck-Douglas area.
Jane Toot, Professor of Physical Therapy in Honors, was featured in a WOOD-TV Channel 8 video segment about her course, "Saging and Aging."

Upcoming Events

Kutsche 10th Annual Local History Roundtable

Thursday, March 14, 2019, 9:00 AM - 3:45 PM
L. William Seidman Center, Pew Campus
The Kutsche Office of Local History is partnering with nearly 20 organizations and individuals reaching from Grand Haven to Portland to explore their histories connected to the Grand River. As part of this conversation we will consider how the river resulted in vibrant communities in the early 20th century and shaped the West Michigan landscape in tracing the river from the interior to Lake Michigan.

Design Thinking Pop-up Class: Listening

Thursday, March 14, 2019, 12:00 - 2:00 PM
Au Sable Hall, Room 1112
The art of communication begins with listening and knowing ones’ listening habits. Join the Design Thinking Academy and Steve Seward of Steve Seward Consulting to explore ways to enhance your listening while at the same time supporting the thinking of others. Participants will leave with conversation skills guaranteed to promote complex thinking and reflection for both self and others.
Free for all GVSU students, faculty, and staff and community members. Limited to 30 participants.

Brooks College Town Hall Meeting

Friday, March 15, 2019, 1:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Kirkhof Center, Room 2263
Brooks College faculty and staff are encouraged to attend this meeting with Provost Cimitile. There will be time for Q&A with the Provost, Acting Dean Mark Schaub, and Associate Dean Karen Gipson.

Honors MPR Naming Ceremony in Honor of Jeff Chamberlain

Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 4:00 - 5:00 PM
Niemeyer Living & Learning Center, Multipurpose Room
Help us welcome back Dr. J, thanking him for his extraordinary service to the Honors College from 2007 to 2017. A happy hour will immediately follow at Long Road Distillers.

Faculty Conversations with the Provost

Provost Cimitile will host a series of open conversations for faculty throughout the Winter semester.  Please join the Provost to discuss what's on your mind. Mark your calendar and attend one or as many of the sessions as your schedule allows:
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2:00 - 3:30 PM
    240 Center for Health Sciences - Health Campus
  • Thursday, March 21, 2:00 - 3:30 PM
    3000 Zumberge Hall - Allendale Campus

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Anniversary Celebration

Join us in celebrating over 45 years of Women's Studies courses at GVSU, as well as over 30 years of the Women’s Studies minor, over 10 years of the Women and Gender Studies major, and over 5 years of the LGBTQ Studies minor. A series of celebration events will be hosted March 20-21 including:
  • Faculty Workshop with Dr. Mel Michelle Lewis of Goucher College in Baltimore, MD.
    Wednesday, March 20, 12:00 - 1:30 PM
    2270 Kirkhof Center, Lunch Provided
  • Alumni Panel, Reception, and Keynote Address by Dr. Mel Michelle Lewis
    Thursday, March 21, 4:00 - 7:00 PM
    Loosemore Auditorium (DEV 122E)
  • Anniversary Celebration Dinner
    Thursday, March 21, 7:30 - 9:30 PM
    Gallery Divani (15 Ionia Ave SW #150, Grand Rapids, MI 49503)
RSVP for the Faculty Workshop and Celebration dinner at

2019 Sustainability Champion Awards

Friday, March 22, 2019, 12:00 - 1:30 PM
Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room (Room 2250)
Join campus and community members as we recognize our 2019 Sustainability Champion Award winners. Lunch will be served at noon, followed by award presentations. The Environmental and Sustainability Studies Student Showcase will feature presentations before and after the Champion Awards luncheon in Kirkhof Center 2263. To nominate someone for recognition as a Sustainability Champion, please complete the nomination form by Tuesday, March 12.
Please contact managing editor, Alex Priebe, to submit stories for future issues.
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