Faculty showcase, emeritus faculty, students interview ice fishers, & more!
Faculty showcase, emeritus faculty, students interview ice fishers, & more!
Grand Valley State University
Interim Dean Mark Schaub

Dean's Message

By the time you read this, my thoughts on how the COVID-19 coronavirus are affecting the lives of Brooks College students, faculty, and staff may well be obsolete. The movement of these global diseases is swift, and our preparations usually proven wanting. Many staff worked hard over the Spring Break to discuss how we can still ready ourselves as a campus community for the changes that are certain to come.
Last Thursday, the University of Washington was the first major U.S. institution to suspend face-to-face instruction. Later this week, faculty who are scheduled to lead study abroad programs for GVSU this coming Spring/Summer will be convening to look at implications of cancellation of some (or all) of the 2020 slate. At the forefront of GVSU considerations are students’ wellbeing, followed closely by considerations for students’ academic success.
I often read statements by fellow GVSU deans, and last week’s message from CLAS Dean Fred Antczak summarized it perfectly. Thus, I’m quoting him here from his 3 March message to CLAS faculty:
“We learned a great deal from the so called “polar vortex” in February 2019 that led to a week’s closure of the university. No one wanted to lose a week of instruction—faculty didn’t want that compression of their courses, students didn’t want truncated instruction, and upper administration asked us to do all we could via Blackboard and other electronic means.
As you are probably hearing from alumni teaching abroad, the COVID-19 outbreak has already closed some schools in heavily affected areas.
Should a disruption of face-to-face meetings of our classes occur for any reason, we want to make sure that we can continue to deliver instruction as much as possible. A little proactivity goes a long way in this regard.  Please have this conversation with students before something happens. Students need to know that the show will go on (and how the show will go on). Some kinds of instruction, like science labs and dance classes, rely on face-to-face meetings, but where possible we want to minimize the impact of any disruptions of meetings on the academic progress of our students.
The better we all become at harnessing all of the technology at our disposal to deliver instruction, the smarter prepared we will be at handling all sorts of disruptions to our regular teaching routine.”
For more information and updates, visit gvsu.edu/coronavirus.

Faculty Scholarship Showcase

On February 25, about 40 students, faculty, and staff gathered for a showcase featuring six faculty presenting their sabbatical research and publications:
  • Brent Smith, associate professor of religious studies and assistant chair of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies, presented his book, Religious Studies and the Goal of Interdisciplinarity, published by Routledge.
  • Deana Wiebel, professor of religious studies and anthropology, shared her sabbatical research conducting multi-sited ethnography on the manifestation of religion among NASA Human Research scientists, technicians, astronauts, flight surgeons, engineers, and pilots.
  • Joel Wendland-Liu, associate professor of integrative and intercultural studies, presented his sabbatical research on a project titled, "Racial Formation in West Michigan."
  • Peter Wampler, associate professor of geology and faculty-in-residence in honors, presented his sabbatical research in Haiti and travel experiences to Puerto Rico, Iceland, and Switzerland.
  • Tracy Flemming, associate professor of area and global studies, spent his sabbatical researching his project, "Travel and the Pan African Imagination," which included research in Ghana.
  • Kelly Parker, director of environmental and sustainability studies and professor of philosophy, shared his experience co-editing and contributing to his book, Pragmatist and American Philosophical Perspectives on Resilience, published by Lexington.
For more details and photos from the showcase, visit the event photo gallery.

Brooks professors receive emeritus status

Provost Cimitile has honored two longtime professors from Brooks College with emeritus status. Jane Toot and Jonathan White both retired at the end of the Fall 2019 semester after 28 years and 36 years of service, respectively.
Toot joined Grand Valley's faculty as director of the physical therapy program in 1991. She served as dean of what was then the School of Health Professions and has been teaching courses in the Frederik Meijer Honors College since 2010. Toot created an honors college intergenerational course several years ago that blends traditional-age students with senior citizens from Porter Hills and other retirement communities in the area.
White joined the Grand Valley faculty in 1983, with teaching appointments in criminal justice, liberal studies and the Honors College. He was the founding director of the School of Criminal Justice and also served as the dean of Social Sciences. Since 2002, he has served as executive director of the Homeland Defense Initiative. White is a national expert on the topic of terrorism and religious extremism.
Jane Toot
Jonathan White

Students conduct interviews at local ice fishing tournament

In February, Peter Wampler, faculty-in-residence in honors, and 23 students from his HON 280 class attended the annual "Dam to Dam Ice Fishing Tournament" in Newaygo. Students interviewed ice fishermen about fishing culture and practices for a video project and were featured in this article by Near North Now, an online publication for Newaygo County.

Grand Valley selected as home for jazz research journal

Grand Valley will be the home of a new journal from Europe’s premier jazz education society, the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ), founded by ex-Miles Davis saxophonist, David Liebman. The Applied Jazz Research Journal has been under development for three years, led by Kurt Ellenberger, Honors, and Wouter Turkenburg, director of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Turkenburg visited Grand Valley last year, and was very impressed with the campus and the extraordinary level of support for research that is found at our institution. The IASJ has scheduled a special conference in Amsterdam in October to launch the new journal and announce the first call for papers.

Celebrating Kelly Parker at Soup's On!

During finals week, Soup's On is a fun time to relax and catch up with colleagues over a bowl of hot soup. The dean's office invites you to join us on Monday, April 20 and Tuesday, April 21 between 11:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. in Lake Ontario Hall, Room 225. Hot soup and dessert will be provided by the dean's office. We'll also celebrate Kelly Parker and thank him for his leadership as director of environmental and sustainability studies. Please join us on Monday, April 20 at 12:00 P.M. for brief remarks.

Brooks faculty & staff calendar

The Brooks College Dean's Office maintains a faculty and staff calendar to support event scheduling throughout the College. The calendar is a comprehensive collection of all Brooks College internal and public events. Access the calendar in the Faculty & Staff tab of the main navigation menu, or at gvsu.edu/brooks/calendar. To add an event to the calendar, email Alex Priebe or tag the event in CMS4 with "Brooks College" to automatically add it. (Note: the calendar works best with Chrome or Firefox. If the calendar is not visible, switch to a different browser.)

Follow civil discourse on Twitter

Just in time for Bring It to the Table, a documentary film screening and discussion event on March 11, the Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Program has a new Twitter account. Follow them at twitter.com/GVSUDiscourse to keep up with civil discourse news, events, and resources.

Nominations open for a sustainability awards

Nominations are being accepted for the 2020 Sustainability Champion Awards, presented by the Office of Sustainability Practices. The awards ceremony celebrates the contributions of students, faculty, staff members and community members who practice and support the ideals of sustainable living. Nominate a champion by March 17 with this nomination form. Selected champions will be recognized at the 11th annual Sustainability Champion Awards on March 27, 2020.

Faculty & staff updates

Sarah King, associate professor of integrative studies, was appointed to a three-year term as director of environmental and sustainability studies beginning Fall 2020.
Diane Maodush-Pitzer, senior affiliate faculty of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies (IRIS), was appointed as interim coordinator of religious studies effective January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

Faculty & staff recognition

Rosalynn Bliss, Frederik Meijer Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, spoke with Shelley Irwin on the WGVU Morning Show about her role and upcoming events in honors.
Danielle DeMuth, associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies, gave a presentation, "The Miserable Life of We Too are Drifting and The Well of Loneliness: Reception and the 20th Century Lesbian Novel," at the Midwest Modern Language Association Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
Anthony Meyer, visiting professor of religious and integrative studies, gave a presentation, "Going Abroad with Your God(s): Graeco-Roman interpretation and Jewish Tradition," at the Travel Experiences in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Traditions (3rd-century BCE - 8th-century CE) Conference at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
Kelly Parker, professor of philosophy and director of environmental and sustainability studies, was a panelist for a debate, "Change Happens. Now What? Debating the Green New Deal," hosted by the Hauenstein Center.
Lisa Perhamus, director of the Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Program, and Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, spoke with Shelley Irwin on the WGVU Morning Show about the March 11 documentary film screening of, Bring It to the Table.
Deana Weibel, professor of anthropology and religious studies, was approved as member national for the board of directors of the Explorers Club, an American-based international multidisciplinary professional society.
Karen Zivi, associate professor of political science, Honors College, wrote an article, "Hiding in Public or Going with the Flow: Human Rights, Human Dignity, and the Movement for Menstrual Equity," published in Human Rights Quarterly. 

Upcoming events

Faculty calendar & deadlines

April 18: Classes end
April 20-25: Exams week
April 24-25: Commencement
April 25: Semester ends
April 28: Grades due from faculty by 12:00 P.M.
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