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Grand Valley State University

Brooks College 

of Intedisciplinary Studies

Message from the Dean

The halls of Lake Ontario Hall are now quiet after a flurry of end-of-the-semester activities. On April 30, Brooks College faculty and staff gathered with an excited crowd of 150 graduating students and their families and friends at the Brooks College’s annual Commencement Day reception. It was a Grand day indeed as faculty and staff applauded the graduates for their hard work and accomplishments, graduating seniors thanked faculty for their support, and proud family members and friends beamed with joy. A few days later a collective sigh of relief was heard in Lake Ontario Hall as faculty pushed the “submit” buttons for their final course grades and Lake Ontario Hall settled into its summer silence. Personally, I find the cycle of the academic year to be wonderfully energizing with its periods of extreme activity followed by periods of relative quiet that allow for reflection and planning.
The quiet of Lake Ontario Hall during the spring and summer months belies the fact that for many Brooks College programs, faculty, and staff, these months are actually times of great activity and responsibility. For example, Brooks College 2016 spring/summer enrollments are up by 50.3% from 2015 spring/summer, up to 3,481 student credit hours in 2016 from 2,316 student credit hours in 2015. This unprecedented increase in Brooks College enrollments  is due to the College’s faculty stepping up to the Provost’s request for more summer school courses and teaching popular general education courses in an appealing on-line format. Kudus to the Brooks College faculty!
The summer months are exceptionally busy times for the Sustainable Agriculture Project and the interns who work there as they cultivate produce and community through CSA shares and the Farmer’s Market. Under the direction of Lindsay Ellis, the Lake Michigan Writing Project offers summer institutes for K-12 teachers of writing and 13 Laker summer writing camps for young writers. The Kutsche Office of Local History is working with community members in Hart, Michigan, to collect and preserve their stories in a “History Harvest Day” on June 18, as well as organizing an exhibit, "Walking Beyond Our Ancestors' Footsteps: An Urban Native American Experience," at the Grand Rapids Public Library. The Padnos International Center is on “high alert” as hundreds of faculty, staff, and students participate in faculty-led programs in every continent except Antarctica. Area Studies is busy preparing a fall 2016 launch of their new “Global Studies and Social Impact” major. And let us not forget the Brooks College faculty and staff who are also busy welcoming and orienting hundreds of new Lakers into the Frederik Meijer Honors College and other GVSU academic programs in preparation for the beginning of fall 2016. I know that each faculty and staff is engaged in one or more truly worthwhile summer projects related to GVSU’s core mission.
In the midst of all your summer busy-ness, I hope that each of you finds sufficient time to reflect, relax, and re-energize in order to embrace later the new busy-ness of a fresh academic year.  
Best wishes to all for a wonderful summer.  

New Director for the Kutsche Office of Local History

Dr. Kimberly D. McKee has been appointed as the next Director of the Kutsche Office of Local History. Dr. McKee is currently an Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies. Although her term as Director begins August 6, 2016, she will be working with Melanie Shell-Weiss and Courtney Sherwood during the summer transition period. As the Director of the Kutsche Office, Kim will be joining the Brooks College Leadership Council.
Dr. McKee comes to the position of Director with a rich background in working with community-based organizations. She has been the Assistant Director of the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network since 2011, and has also worked with the New York Governor’s Committee on Scholastic Achievement and with the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America. With a Ph.D. in Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies from The Ohio State University, a M.Sc. in Gender and Social Policy from the London School of Economics, and B.A. from The George Washington University in International Affairs, Dr. McKee is the author of over eight referred papers since arriving at GVSU. Her book Beyond Grateful: The Transnational Politics of Adoption (tentative title) is under contract with the University of Illinois Press. 
We would like to recognize the amazing work of the outgoing Director, Dr. Melanie Shell-Weiss, who has worked selflessly with community members and organizations and with GVSU faculty, staff, and students to increase the impact and visibility of the work of the Kutsche Office in “giving voice to diverse communities through history”.  A special thanks is also due to the members of the search committee: George Bayard, Matthew Daley, Susan Mendoza, Peg Padnos, Levi Rickert, and Patty Stow Bolea.

Padnos International Center Renamed

From 1999 until very recently, the PIC was known as "The Barbara H. Padnos International Center." Its new name is the "Barbara and Stuart Padnos International Center." An event was held on campus to celebrate the renaming of the Center on Saturday, April 23, 2016.

REL Celebrates the Spring Festival of Colors

In lieu of India’s Spring Festival of Colors (Holi), which is a national holiday in India where people come together to celebrate the onset of Spring by throwing colors on each other, the Religious Studies Program hosted its own “India’s Spring Festival of Colors (Holi)” at GVSU. On April 15, students of all different majors gathered in front of the Mary Idema Pew Library to eat a potluck meal, hear an introduction of the festival, jam with instruments, play games, and most importantly, throw colorful paint on each other. To see pictures from the festival, click here.
Photo Courtesy - GV Lanthorn, Kevin Sielaff

New Community Reading Project Book Announced

The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas has been selected as the 2016-2017 Community Reading Project book. It won the 2015 NYPL Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.
The True American tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology. But days after 9/11, an avowed "American terrorist" named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan has found temporary work and shoots him, maiming and nearly killing him. Two other victims, at other gas stations, aren’t so lucky, dying at once.
The True American traces the making of these two men, Stroman and Bhuiyan, and of their fateful encounter. It follows them as they rebuild shattered lives one striving on Death Row to become a better man, the other to heal and pull himself up from the lowest rung on the ladder of an unfamiliar country.
To read more about the selection, click here. An Author Lecture will take place in March 2017.

Faculty, Staff, and Student Successes 

Pat Cox, office coordinator for the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, received a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration Management Information Systems in December from GVSU.
Kurt Ellenberger, professor of music in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, was interviewed by WWJ Radio in Detroit about Prince’s influence on pop music and culture. 
Eric Packer, director of workforce development for the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, recently earned the Michigan Association of School Boards highest level award, the President’s Award of Recognition. The President’s Award of Recognition recognizes his continued dedication to improving your board leadership skills. 
Religious Studies faculty members and students attended the Midwest American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, where assistant professor Brent Smith gave a presentation, “Oculus Rift and the Unseen Order,” and assistant professor Abhisekh Ghosh presented “Kirtan in the Western World,” Students Ilissa Chasnick and Anthony Swieringa also gave presentations. 
Ellen Schendel, associate dean of the Brooks College, gave a presentation with Writing Department colleagues Christopher Toth and Laurence Jose titled “Alumni in Action: Showing the Value of Degree Programs in Writing by Reflecting on the Work of Their Alumni” at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Houston, Texas in April.
David Stark, professor of history and Latin American and Latino/a Studies, gave a presentation, “Marriage Among Slaves in 18th Century Puerto Rico: New Insights from the Hato Economy,” at Marriage’s Global Past Conference at Cambridge University. 
Kate Stoetzner, director of international student and scholar services in the Padnos International Center, was presented the Scott Cooper Award for Excellence in International Student Advising by the Michigan Association of International Educators. 
Todd Talsma, a student in the Holland Accelerated Cohort program, won the Outstanding Adult Learner award.
Ayana Weekley, assistant professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Maureen Wolverton, affiliate faculty of Liberal Studies, were recognized as outstanding faculty by students from the Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy. 
Judy Whipps, professor of Liberal Studies and Philosophy, presented a paper titled “Dewey and Addams: Foundations of Progressivism” at the Hauenstein Progressive Conservative Common Ground Conference on Friday, April 15.  The talk was filmed by C-Span and was aired on May 7 on the C-Span channel.  
Maureen Wolverton, affiliate faculty of Liberal Studies, was interviewed on “Ask the…” with Shelly Irwin, on WGVU, to discuss the Community Reading Project along with Dr. Elaine Schott and Lois Smith Owens. 

Student Scholarship Day Mentors

Thank you to the many Brooks College faculty who served as mentors for students preparing to present at Student Scholarship day on April 13!
Ellen Adams, Assistant Professor in Honors and GVSU Art Gallery
  • Serena Ghysels presented “Little Influences: The Large Impact of the French Revolution on Children.”
Danielle DeMuth, Chair and Associate Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Kanyn Doan presented “Sharing Silence, Illuminating Invisibility: The Haunting Experiences, Voices and Identities Within 20th and 21st Century Lesbian Literature.”
  • Amanda Sackett presented “Behind the Veil: A Feminist Analysis of Christianity and Islam in Relation to Historical and Cultural Forces of Gender.”
David Eick, Associate Professor of Modern Laguages and Literature and Honors College Faculty in Residence
  • Cayla Dwyer, Meghan Forest, Elizabeth Konen, and Anne Livingston presented “Divergent Perspectives in the French Enlightenment.”
  • Serena Ghysels presented “Little Influences: The Large Impact of the French Revolution on Children.”
  • Ciara Pink presented “To Assemble a Crowd: Revolutionary Rhetoric and the Vulgarity of Patriotism.”
Coeli Fitzpatrick, Associate Professor in Honors and Coordinator of Middle East Studies
  • Gabriella Patti presented “Qatar – Innovation in the Gulf.”
Carol “Griff” Griffin, General Education Director and Professor of Biology
  • Tyler Dula presented “High intensity Prescribed Fire Effects on Carbon Loss in Coniferous Ecosystems.”
  • Shahrzad Eslamian presented “Discovering Susceptible Genes Responsible for Cancer Using Bioinformatics Analysis.”
  • Amanda Hennells presented “American Marten (Martes Americana) Habitat Suitability in Hartwick Pines State Park.”
  • Stephen Heyboer presented “Providing a Green Future: Live Roofing for Healthier Cities.”
  • Shanell Hodges presented “A Review: Effects of Anthropogenic Ocean Noise on Cetaceans.”
  • Hannah Mico presented “Dynamic Living: An Assessment of Resource Consumption in Grand Rapids, MI.”
  • Jennifer Scholl presented “Campfire Regulation in Wilderness Areas.”
  • Shelbi Small presented “Effects of Microbead Pollution on Aquatic Organisms in Marine Environments.”
  • Alexander Stein presented “Permit Requirements Throughout Wilderness Areas.”
  • Titania Stewart presented “Manipulating Soil Composition and Its Effects on Vegetable Growth.”
  • Keith TerHorst presented “Increased Prevalence of the Long-tailed Duck in the Laurentian Great Lakes.”
  • Brian Turner presented “Surface Water Flow Effect on Woody Invasive Plant Abundance in Duncan Park.”
Sheldon Kopperl, Professor of Liberal Studies and Biomedical Sciences
  • Parryss Carter-Mcgee presented “Commonality Within World Creation Myths.”
Danielle Lake, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies
  • Jonathan Cook and Laura Sample presented “Bridging University Divides, Ensuring Real World Impact: A Visual Guide.”
  • Gloria Mileva presented “The Engaged Department Initiative: GVSU, GRCC, and Aquinas Join Forces for Place-Based Impact.”
Kim McKee, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies and the Intercultural Training Certificate
  • Dionna Cheatham presented “For My Disabled Black Mothers: The Intersections of Welfare, Blackness and Motherhood.”
David Stark, Coordinator of Latin American and Latino/a Studies 
  • Crisol Beliz presented ““They do Not Treat Us Like Human Beings”: Latino-Police Relations in 1960’s Chicago.”
Jane Toot, Professor in Honors
  • Anna Berglund and Elyse Komarzec presented “Vaccines and the Media.”
Ayana Weekley, Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Akua Ekye-Addai and Jasmine Boradnax presented “Sexualization and Representations of Powerful Black Women in Television.”
  • Shukri Bana presented “(Relational) Black Beauty.”
  • Dionna Cheatham presented “Rendering Invisible: The Erasure of Black Children with Down-Syndrome from the Organizations That Support Them.”
  • Jordan Chrispell and Alexa Girouard presented Fashion and Femininity: A Feminist Qualitative Analysis of the Shaping of a “Vogue Woman”.”
  • Andrew Collier and Brad Hieftje presented “The Erasure of Black Women from HIV/AIDS Policy.”
  • Allison Ganshirt presented “Portrayal of Pregnant Woman in Popular Magazine.”
  • Leslie Hicks presented “Exclusion in LGBT Anti-Tobacco and Cessation Organizations.”
  • Luis Lopez presented “Representation of Transgender Narratives in Mainstream Television.”
  • Meredith Miller presented “Football and Femininity: A Qualitative Analysis of Super Bowl Commercial Representations.”