Student Awards, CR/NC, SAP donates produce, sustainability showase & more!
Student Awards, CR/NC, SAP donates produce, sustainability showase & more!
Grand Valley State University
Interim Dean Mark Schaub

Dean's Message

Monday (6 April) was to have been a celebration of Grand Valley's most impressive and inspiring students: the annual Student Awards Convocation. For the second year in a row, the undergraduate Niemeyer Award winner is a Brooks College student; Domonique Palmer is earning her bachelor’s degree in Integrative Studies, with a self-designed emphasis on Social Impact for Urban Youth. She is also an honors student, whose thesis involves research on the retention of students of color at institutions like GVSU. That project dovetails with much of her range of service to the GVSU campus community.
Visit the Provost's website for a listing of the awardees from each Brooks academic program, as well as those across all of the university’s majors and departments. We have much to celebrate.
Though so many of our students deserve recognition and accolades, it also requires faculty and staff to take the time to write thoughtful nominations for their recognitions. Last year, David Eick wrote an eloquent and compelling nomination for 2019 Niemeyer awardee Ben Scott-Brandt. This year, Joel Wendland-Liu’s detailed nomination helped highlight Ms. Palmer’s impressive credentials. Faculty letters make a difference and are just one more way you support these amazing students.
Our students will need that support more than ever in the coming months. For graduates this month, the employment landscape looks brutal. Your letters of recommendation, graduate school application forms, and career advice is more important than ever. That often-hidden labor, often a form of emotional labor, doesn’t always shine clearly in our annual reports and FARs or ePDP evaluations. But it matters. It matters to our students and their future.
Congratulations to our students, both those being awarded and recognized this month. Congratulations to all of you, too, for supporting them on their paths.

"Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Oliver, Mary. “Wild Geese." Wild Geese (Bloodaxe World Poets), Gardners Books, 2004.

Credit/No Credit update

On Friday, March 27, the Executive Committee of the Senate (ECS) discussed a recommendation from the Student Senate to allow students to also make CR/NC requests after the semester has ended and final grades are posted. Several other universities have adopted this temporary policy, and ECS and the Provost reached a consensus to also move in this direction. GVSU is implementing this temporary policy in the following way: May 1-15 will be a third window for students to request changing a course grade to CR/NC, after final grades are posted on April 30. For more information, visit the Provost's website.
TRIO students plus faculty and staff members in Chile
TRIO students plus faculty and staff members in Chile.

PIC earns national recognition for increasing study abroad diversity

The Padnos International Center (PIC) was recognized nationally for its efforts to increase the diversity of students who participate in study abroad programs. Diversity Abroad announced PIC received the Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion in International Education award.
Michael Vrooman, PIC interim chief international officer, said collaborations with campus partners and recruitment efforts have been essential to spreading awareness of study abroad programs to students of color, student-athletes, and other students from underrepresented groups. "We want all students to believe that study abroad is possible for them," Vrooman said.
Read this full story at GVNext.

Reflections from the Writing Center

Patrick Johnson, Director of the Fred Meijer Center for Writing
"Writing Center services are now available virtually during all our regular hours of operation. We were very fortunate to have been preparing to have all our services online as part of the Virtual Knowledge Market. Originally we were planning to launch in Fall 2020, but we've moved up our timeline and all Knowledge Market services are fully available to assist students as they transition to working from home. Also, writing consultants are part of every section of WRT 150 and we have been maintaining our classroom support as classes move online.
More specifically, the Writing Center is offering several ways to connect with students; first, they can share a Google Doc with and a consultant will connect with them in their document. This allows the student and consultant to use chat and comments to work synchronously on their writing. As with all our services, we work one-to-one with students, discussing feedback, and providing strategies for improving their writing, and our approach is guided by the student's priorities and goals for their writing.
Additionally, consultants are using Google Meet to create virtual meeting rooms where the student and consultant can use audio/video to communicate as well as screen sharing, closed captioning, etc. Google Meet is also the primary tool for connecting with the Speech Lab, Research Center, and Digital Consultants. Lastly, the Writing Center also offers asynchronous email support to students who need another option. Essentially, we are trying to create as many ways to connect with students as possible.
So far, we've been excited by the response we've heard from students and we've been able to assist several hundred students since GVSU moved all classes online. Writing consultants are also part of every section of WRT 150 and we have been maintaining our classroom support by creating Google Meet rooms during class time. Similarly, the response from faculty has also been great as consultants have provided much-needed consistency as so many changes are happening in students' lives.
Adapting to a fully online schedule and life is likely a challenge for everyone at GVSU. Within the Writing Center, I have witnessed an incredible community of support. Our consultants, desk workers, and administrators are in near-constant virtual communication via a staff Google Meet room and everyone has been working together to assist students and each other. We have expanded our model for supporting staff members and created additional ways to connect. The lead consultants in the Writing Center have created hangout times for socializing and I understand the writing consultant Facebook page is a parade of memes about how consultants are adapting to being 100% virtual. Laughter and community have made us feel like we are all still working as a team to support students. Given the uncertainty we are all experiencing, I've been inspired by the efforts of our writing consultants to share information, provide encouragement/support, and stay in contact with one another. If you would like to follow up with any of them, I would be happy to share your request for information with our staff and you can hear staff voices as well as mine."

Sustainable Agriculture Project will donate produce

Produce from the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) will be donated in an effort to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Youssef Darwich, farm manager and educator, has been maintaining the farm alone, without student help, in order to practice social distancing. "The garden has to keep going. The food system is a really important asset and we want to get [the produce] to the people who need it," he said. Youssef said, in about a month, radishes, beets, carrots, lettuce, and green onions will be harvested. Learn more about the work at the SAP in this GVNext article and in the video below.
Youssef Darwich, Farm Manager of the Sustainable Agriculture Project, maintains the farm alone, without student help, in order to practice social distancing.

We are Brooks College!

While we are physically separated, we thought it would be fun to see some familiar faces. We asked faculty, staff, and students to share a photo from home, with family, or with their new "co-workers." Thanks to everyone who contributed. We miss you all and look forward to the day we are reunited.

Sustainability Showcase goes online

Environmental and Sustainability Studies invites you to participate in the Winter 2020 Sustainability Showcase online. The showcase will be available April 3-10 and is open to the public. Nearly 100 students from 5 different classes will share their projects in a variety of visual representations. Viewers will be able to leave comments and feedback.
On April 3, a link to the showcase will be posted at

Silver linings

Each week, we're sharing stories about the silver linings of this difficult season. Share your silver lining by emailing Thanks!
Alex Priebe, Office Coordinator, Dean's Office
"My silver lining has been lunchbreaks with my family. I'm thankful to be able to simply walk downstairs to spend an hour — smack dab in the middle of the workday — with my wife, Abby, and our two young boys, Joseph and Benjamin. There's usually enough time to also read a story in the book nook, break out into a spontaneous dance party, or, as I did last week, unload 75 lbs of sand into our new turtle sandbox in the backyard. It's been quite an adjustment working from home with a unique set of challenges (cue the background temper tantrum screams and baby cries), but I consider any time with my family as a gift, and these moments, which I would have otherwise missed, are my silver lining through all this."

Cybersecurity alerts

Phishing emails: This week, at least 4 colleagues received email phishing attacks from Gmail accounts impersonating a GVSU email. Beware of emails that create a sense of urgency and demand an immediate response and double-check that the sender's address is a valid email. If you receive a phishing attempt, forward the email to the IT Helpdesk and then delete the email.
Zoom-bombing: Zoom has seen an increase in hackers hijacking Zoom meetings for malicious purposes. Recent updates to Zoom set the default meeting settings to better protect against attacks. Review Zoom's best practices to further protect your video meetings.

'Cost of Well-being' virtual event sparks critical dialogue

On March 30, students from Denise Goerisch's LIB 341: Leadership for Social Change class hosted a Twitter Town Hall about college affordability and student well-being. Denise said, "Students, faculty, and members of the general public were able to engage in critical dialogue on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting student well-being. Students shared their experiences and some proposed solutions on how universities can manage large-scale emergencies in the future." View the conversation and continue to engage with the questions and responses on the @RichinDebt Twitter account.

Congratulate the Class of 2020

Since the April Commencement Ceremony has been postponed, Alumni Relations is collecting notes of congratulations for the Class of 2020. The notes will be compiled and shared on their website and social media to congratulate graduates. Write a note at

Submit a nomination for Student Life Awards

The Office of Student Life is hosting the annual Student Life Awards (formally known as Recognition Awards) program to highlight amazing student leaders, student organizations and university entities for their dedication to Grand Valley's student life. Students, registered organizations, and university faculty/staff/departments may be nominated for several awards including programming awards, individual awards, and organizational awards along with area-specific recognition. Winners will be announced in April and posted online. Submit a nomination by April 7.

Faculty calendar & deadlines

April 6: Extended withdrawal date
April 6: Faculty conversation on Zoom with Provost Cimitile
April 7: Faculty conversation on Zoom with Provost Cimitile
April 18: Classes end
April 20-25: Exams week
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
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