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Grand Valley State University

Brooks College 

of Interdisciplinary Studies

Message from the Dean

Several weeks ago, I returned from attending the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (the AAC&U) reaffirmed in my belief that GVSU and Brooks College are ahead of the curve on best practices and current trends in undergraduate education. The conference keynote address, “Predict the Future by Inventing It,” consisted of interactive activities led by the two co-directors of the Innovation Fellows Program at Stanford University’s famous d-school and 12  “Innovation Fellows.” “Yes!” I thought to myself, “Brooks College and GVSU are already doing this. We are ahead of the curve in introducing design thinking across the curriculum as a methodology of innovation." At an afternoon session on bringing community engagement deep into the curriculum, I was proud to share some of GVSU’s strategies around its “Engaged Department” program and our own civil discourse initiative.   
Community-engaged teaching and learning, innovation, inclusive excellence, internships, and global learning were all recurring themes of the 103rd annual conference of the AAC&U. These themes also coincide with strategic objectives of GVSU and Brooks College, not by chance, but because they speak to the value of a liberal education for the 21st century and to the expectations and hands-on learning styles of generation Z. 
People born between 1995 and 2010 are said to be members of “generation Z," and they constitute the current classes of traditional-aged college students. The youngest members of generation Z are now 6 years old and would enter college as 18-year olds in 2028. According to the authors of the book  Generation Z Goes to College, they are most likely to be digital natives whose world view and values have been deeply affected by the 2008 recession, increasing ethnic and cultural diversity, instantaneous results provided by technology, and a 24-7 exposure to national and world events.  Consequently, the authors claim, members of generation Z value, in ways unlike previous generations, entrepreneurship and innovation, self-reliance, social and racial equality, and project-based learning around real-world problems. Members of generation Z are indeed concerned about money and jobs, but prefer a job that is personally satisfying because it makes a difference in the world. 
So I return from the AAC&U annual meeting with the knowledge that GVSU and Brooks College are on the right track in preparing generation Z students for the future because we are preparing them to invent the future. 


Congratulations to our three Brooks College faculty members who received awards at the Faculty Awards
Convocation! Thank you for all you do for our students!
  • Wendy Burns-Ardolino, Professor of Liberal Studies, has been selected for a Niemeyer award, which is the highest honor given to GVSU faculty in recognition of excellence, enthusiasm, and loyalty in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service.
  • Danielle Lake, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, has been named to receive a Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award for nationally recognized major contributions to theory, research, and creative practice.
  • Marilyn Preston, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, has been awarded a Pew Excellence in Teaching Award for innovative and highly effective teaching in the classroom.

Semester in Detroit

Our first cohort of GVSU students completed their Semester in Detroit experience in Fall 2016; we are excited to be able to offer these opportunities to a second cohort of GVSU students in Fall 2017!
Semester in Detroit is a powerful, immersive learning experience, perfect for students who are passionate about sustainability, social justice, histories of oppression, and asset-based community development. SID students can come from any academic discipline or major, and will have the opportunity to select an internship placement that aligns with their academic and professional interests.
Participating GVSU students enroll for a semester’s work of GVSU credits and pay GVSU tuition and utilize financial aid as they would if they were taking classes at GVSU. There is a program fee of approximately $500, and there are scholarships available to cover that cost. While in Detroit, the students complete a 4-credit internship relevant to their interests arranged by UM in addition to coursework with the other SID participants. Students also participate in a required orientation in Detroit in April. 
This is an immersive living-learning program. GVSU students live with UM students in historic housing in the Wayne State University neighborhood. 
For more information about the pilot GVSU cohort, see this GVNow story
See and for information about the program.

Faculty Fulbright Workshop Coming Up!

Be one of the next crop of GVSU faculty to teach, research (or both) overseas! This workshop will provide an overview of Fulbright opportunities, details on the application process, and how to get started on a successful application today. Immediately afterwards, stick around for a wine and cheese reception with GVSU faculty who are previous Fulbright awardees.
Fulbright Workshop  
Friday, February 24th, 2017 
UClub (DeVos Center, Building C) 
1:30 - 3 pm: Workshop, with Mark Schaub, GVSU Chief International Officer  
3 - 4 pm: Wine and cheese reception with GVSU Fulbright scholars
Register online at (under FTLC programs)
Fulbright scholar website: 

Meet New Colleague Meg Marshall!

The Frederik Meijer Honors College is excited to introduce Megan (Meg) Marshall, who was hired as an Academic and Enrichment Advisor. In her new role, Meg will be responsible for academic advising, community building and expanding global engagement in the Honors College. Before coming to GVSU, Meg worked as a University Minister at the University of Detroit Mercy. 
When she is not at work Meg enjoys being out in nature, hiking, and taking pictures. Meg also enjoys traveling and jumping into new adventures.
Stop by 120 HON and introduce yourself to Meg! 

Meet New Colleague Kelly McDonell!

The Frederik Meijer Honors College is also excited to introduce Kelly McDonell. Kelly will serve with Meg as an Acaedmic and Enrichment Advisor. Before joining Brooks College, Kelly worked as the Director of the CLAS Academic Advising Center here at GVSU. 
When Kelly is not working she enjoys running, golf, traveling, and doing crafts. The photo on the right is from her trip to Ghana in 2015 on the faculty/staff exchange program. 
Stop by 120 HON and introduce yourself to Kelly!

Faculty and Staff Successes 

Leslie Bateman, Director of Professional Development Partnerships at the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, was elected as Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative. She was given this position at the 2016 Collaborative meeting in September, and her 2-year term began in January. 
Jeremiah Cataldo, Associate Professor in the Honors College, gave a presentation, “Victimized Colonizers: New 13 as an Autotelic Narrative for the Syrian Refugee Experience?” at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. Cataldo also had his article "Building of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (516 B.C.)" published in Great Events in Religion: An Encyclopedia of Pivotal Events in Religious History. Cataldo has also recently had his book Biblical Terror: Why Law and Restoration in the Bible Depend Upon Fear published by Bloomsbury
Azfar Hussain, Associate Professor in Liberal Studies, lectured on the significance of the present Cuban Revolution on January 7, 2017 at Havana’s famous Martin Luther King Memorial Center. Dr. Hussain’s lecture can be viewed here on YouTube. He also interacted with two Cuban members of Parliament at the office of the National Assembly, as well as actively engaging with some Cuban writers, artists, and activists. Dr. Hussain plans to write two pieces on his experiences in Cuba—one in English, and one in Bengali. He has been offered a “’Neoliberalism in the Neighborhood’ Distinguished Lectureship” at Evergreen State College held January 21-29, along with a “Summer Distinguished Professorship of English and Humanities” at the University of Liberal Arts in Bangladesh. 
Professor Hussain also went to Cuba and lectured on the significance of the Cuban Revolution at Havana’s famous Martin Luther King Memorial Center, and actively interacted with some Cuban writers, artists, activists, and with two Cuban members of Parliament.  
David Stark, Professor of History and Latin American and Latino/a Studies, published an article in Puerto rico’s Society of Geneaology Journal, Hereditas: Revista de Genealogia Puertorriquena, titled, “El repartimiento de terrenos en Cayay (1774) y los antecedents de sus familias pobladoras.” 
Maureen Wolverton, Senior Affiliate faculty in Liberal Studies presented, "Using Technology to Motivate Students in the GVSU Liberal Studies Adult Accelerated Program" at the Lilly Conference in Traverse City, Michigan (October 20, 2016).
The Fred Meijer Center for Writing & Michigan Authors was recently referenced in a “Shout Out” by a national newsletter, National Council of Teachers of English on January 18. They discussed the Teach-In programs promoting linguistic diversity. To see the reference, click here.  
Grand Valley’s Lake Michigan Writing Project has been selected to receive a 2017-18 Advanced Institute to Scale-Up NWP's College-Ready Writers Program grant worth $20,000 from the National Writing Project for the purpose of investing in middle and high school teacher-leaders for the summer of 2017 and 2017-18 school year.
The following Brooks College Faculty and Staff members presented on Thursday, January 19th, 2017, in the fourth Grand Valley annual Teach-In at the Kirkhof Center and DeVos Center.
  • Students' Rights to Their Own Language: Implications for SWS and the FMCWAMA
    Presented by: Lindsay Ellis, Michael Wroblewski & Colleen Brice (faculty), Relando Thompkins-Jones & Patrick Johnson (staff) with Daulton Selke & Teresa Williams (students)
  • Trans Inclusiveness at GVSU  
    Presented by: Jen Hsu-Bishop & Jae Basiliere with Andie Bell, Alexis Brink & Jamie Bick
  • In the Red: Stories of Student Debt
    Presented by: Denise Goerisch with Juan Arangure, Staci DeBoer, Susan Pete, Erica Clark & Kate Kwiatkowski
  • Using new power systems to advocate for a campus dedicated to social justice
    Presented by: Jessica Jennrich & Danielle Lake with Gloria Mileva, Hannah Fernando & Nikhil Watsa
  • Dialogue, Social Identity and Social Change
    Presented by: Joel Wendland , Relando Thompkins-Jones & Takeelia Garrett, with Darwin Perry & Bailee Gunderson
  • Tracing GVSU Student Activism
    Presented by: Kimberly McKee and Andrew Collier 
  • Workers’ Rights
    Presented by: Richard Hiskes with Kaitlyn Henderson, Brianna Miranda, Matthew Siemasz, John Grofvert & Alexandra Lazarou 
  • Let's Talk About Sex: The Sex Ed You Should Have Gotten in High School
    Presented by: Marilyn Preston with Arielle Perreautt