June 2023 Newsletter
June 2023 Newsletter
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies Newsletter Header June 2023
Headshot of Mark Schaub, Dean of Brooks College

Dean's Message

When a herd of buffalo grazes down a sward of fresh grass, it actually grows faster in response. This helps the plant recover but also invites the buffalo back for dinner later in the season.

Robin Waller Kimmerer, from Braiding Sweetgrass

  A few weeks ago, I received a treasure of an email from former student of Honors sequence faculty colleagues, Ryan Lafferty and Paul Lane. The student took the time to track down the appropriate dean to share the positive impact those two faculty, and their Design Thinking to Solve Development World Problems course, has had on her. More importantly, she shared thoughts on how she expected these instructors to impact the rest of her life.

  These rare messages are the true treasures of our profession. I recall hearing from a former WRT 350 student, 15 years afterwards, who took the time to write to me from Denver, where she had built a successful consulting business. She was naming specific assignments that she continues to think about and use in her own training sessions for her staff. But the fact that she wrote at all and had kind words about my impact on her life -- that made my week. No. It made my year.

  There’s research that describes a healthy glow of wellbeing when being generous. You really do receive as you give. That’s certainly true with students (though of course we all crave even more of those kind words of appreciation). It’s true with feedback from colleagues, too. We have lots of mechanisms for letting others know we support and appreciate them, including the review processes. But the unscheduled note of thanks, or the unexpected but effusive nomination for an AP or teaching award from a colleague, is as good as it gets.

  Summertime is the time for grasses to grow tall. May it also be time for us to thank those who keep us fed, in more ways than nutrition. 

Mark Schaub signature

Mark Schaub
Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Save The Date: Startup!
The Fall 2023 Startup will be held on Friday, August 18, at the Seidman Building on the downtown Pew campus, in room 1080 from 8:15 - 11:30 am.  
Sustainable Agriculture Project Update
The Sustainable Agriculture Project growing season is underway! The farm now has volunteer hours on Wednesdays from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and Fridays from 12:00 - 3:00 pm, weather permitting. To volunteer, just complete this form from their website. 
Also consider making a group volunteer trip to the SAP! Staff are able to accommodate groups of 10 people or less. Make sure to complete the form at least one week in advance of your group visit.
Farm shares are available for purchase now. A farm share is a weekly box of produce grown by students working at the SAP, and funds from the farm share will be utilized for student experiences at the farm. Support local regenerative practices and student growth by purchasing a farm share on their website!
Volunteers harvesting farm produce at the SAP
Integrative Studies class examines wicked water problems during immersive week in Traverse City
An integrative studies class took advantage of Traverse City's natural resources during a week of activities to study the area's water issues.

From kayaking on the Boardman River to sailing on a schooner while conducting experiments, Kate Fairman's "Wicked Problems in Sustainability" class researched issues with stormwater, dam remediation on a river, wastewater and freshwater.

Fairman, affiliate faculty of integrative, religious and intercultural studies, said it was the first time she planned an immersive field week for students in the hybrid course. She added that a mix of majors, including allied health sciences, brought different perspectives to the class.
"The environmental curriculum for this class fits so well with a place-based week of activities, this felt like a great opportunity," Fairman said.

Fairman worked closely with Shannon Owen and Jacquelyn Abeyta, from the GVSU Traverse City Regional Center, to plan activities and connect with area water experts, including Native American perspectives on water issues.

"In northern Michigan, it is so important to talk about water and the environment," Owen said. "We emphasize a blue-green economy in this region and it's important for students to meet the stakeholders and understand the issues associated with water quality."

A schooner operated by the Inland Seas Educational Association served as a classroom May 17. Based in Suttons Bay, the schoolship's instructors led students through four experiments, including trawling for microplastics and searching for invasive species, during a four-hour trip.
Read more, and view more photos of this exciting experience, in the featured story on GV Next.  

GVSU Earns Gold Rating for Sustainability in Higher Education
Grand Valley State University has earned a STARS Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS (the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. 

Grand Valley State University’s STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.
With more than 900 participants in 40 countries, AASHE’s STARS program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in five overall areas: 1) academics 2) engagement, 3) operations, 4) planning and administration, and 5) innovation and leadership.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Grand Valley State University has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Gold Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education, and the criteria that determine a STARS rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions. 
About AASHE:

AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation.  It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit www.aashe.org.

  For more information about the STARS program, visit stars.aashe.org.

Stanley Kromher Art Display 
A unique art collection featuring the work of Stanley Kromher is currently on display at the Haas Center for the Performing Arts Gallery on the GVSU Allendale Campus from May 12 through June 30. Stan Kromher is a painter and photographer, and was also affiliate faculty in Integrative Studies at Brooks College.  
Viewing hours are Monday through Friday from 10 am - 5 pm. Visit the Art Gallery website link for full details on the pieces being displayed. An opening reception was held on May 12 to honor the opening of Stanley's creative and inspired work.  
Stanley Kromher Cytation 2019, oil on canvas
Cytation by Stanley Kromher, 2019, oil on canvas
ITC 100 Travels to Spain
The ITC 100 Spain Study Abroad Intercultural Training - Spring/Summer 2023 class is currently in Ourense, Spain. Justin Pettibone, Faculty Coordinator shared, "We all arrived safely in Ourense on Friday, May 26. Students are fully immersed in the culture here, living with host families, and participating in many cultural experiences. We've already visited a pre-Roman archeological site, gone to the natural hot springs, had a tapas tour of the city center, participated in service learning, and we have much more to do over the next two weeks!"

Students in this course meet asynchronously for 3 weeks of online learning followed by 3 weeks in Spain.

Students who have taken this 6-week course have shared that it was an amazing opportunity to travel out of the country, and for many, the first time they had traveled outside of the United States, a once-in-a-lifetime college experience!

Brooks in Action
In Brooks College, we are proud of the unique accomplishments of our students. In case you missed them, here are some GV Next stories centered on Brooks College students!
LEADS student Corinn VanWyck was interviewed as she graduates alongside her daughter and fellow Grand Valley student, Eva. Read more in the GV Next feature.
Integrative Studies student Jalen Kyles and Honors student Jesse Goodyear were interviewed for the GV Next Commencement Stories feature
Writing Center Update:
Addressing AI Technology
Looking ahead to Fall 2023, the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors will be hosting the 2023 Michigan Writing Center Association Conference, focused on the themes of technology and Artificial Intelligence in composition. This conference brings together peer support services from throughout Michigan and is an opportunity to highlight the amazing work happening at GVSU.
In anticipation of a growing number of students using A.I. in their writing, the Writing Center developed an inclusive policy meant to encourage students to employ best practices when using it in their own work. Coupled with new training for writing center staff, the writing center is working to embrace the opportunities presented by this technology. 

Brooks College Photo Montage  

Check out these fun events that have been happening around Brooks College since the last newsletter!
Faculty Women of Color event, Jakia Marie and Kim McKee
The Faculty Women of Color in the Academy national conference was held in Arlington, Virginia in April. Faculty members Jakia Marie and Kimberly McKee were in attendance and enjoyed the chance to network, engage, and learn with colleagues from around the country. The sessions featured topics such as leadership, career advancement, personal well-being, and scholar activism.  
Abigail Hasse, WGS student, at Student Scholars Day
Abigail Hasse, a student of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program (WGS) presented at Student Scholars Day. She explored the relationship between sexual health and sex education.
Piper Johnson, WGS student, at Student Scholars Day
Piper Johnson, a fellow WGS student, also presented at Student Scholars Day. She researched the perception of the student debt crisis in the United States.
Crystal Scott-Tunstall, Becky Williams, Max Counter, Daniela Marini at New City Neighbors volunteer day
Faculty members Crystal Scott-Tunstall, Becky Williams, Max Counter, and Daniela Marini at New City Neighbors Volunteer Day on April 22.
Piper Johnson, WGS student, at Student Scholars Day
The Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Area and Global Studies programs hosted a Community Sustainability Service Day at the SAP on April 14. The gathering included a traditional African land blessing by the West Michigan Jewels of Africa. Crystal Scott-Tunstall coordinated the event, which included volunteering opportunities for the SAP and the New City Neighbors Urban Farm.  
Piper Johnson, WGS student, at Student Scholars Day
Jewellynne Richardson, founder of the West Michigan Jewels of Africa, led the traditional African land blessing at the SAP event on April 14.
Borderland Stories Conference
The Borderland Stories Student Conference was held on April 15 at the GVSU Detroit Center.  The event was organized by faculty member Ramya Swayamprakash with assistance from Associate Dean Melanie Shell-Weiss and Dean's Office coordinator Maureen Strand. The event was sponsored through a partnership with the University of Windsor.
Borderland Stories Conference
The Borderland Stories Conference featured four panels on a variety of topics surrounding the history of the US Canada border in the Detroit/Windsor area. The keynote presentation, "Revisiting the Detroit Race Riot of 1943," was given by Thomas Klug of University of Detroit Mercy. 
Borderland Stories Conference
Space Studio at the SAP, a one night only exhibition of site-specific artwork, was held on April 13.  
Borderland Stories Conference
The art featured during Space Studio was created by the students of Art 295.
Borderland Stories Conference
PSS Appreciation Luncheon
Jennifer Cathey, Aubrey Dull, Maureen Strand, Ginele Johnson, and Justine Kibet posed for a group photo while enjoying the Professional Support Staff Appreciation Luncheon on Tuesday, May 30, in the Grand River Room of the Kirkhof Center.
Summer Shares
We wish you a very enjoyable summer!  Make sure to snap pictures to capture the fun moments, and if you would like to share them with your colleagues in Brooks College, please email the pictures to Maureen Strand at strandm@gvsu.edu.  We will feature the summer shares in the September issue of the newsletter!
GVSU in the summer

Faculty and Staff Updates

Michael Hinkle

Michael Hinkle

Michael Hinkle’s last day as Farm Manager of the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) is Friday, June 9. He is leaving to move on to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 
A farewell party is being held at the SAP (4539 Luce St Jenison, MI 49428) on Friday, June 9 from 11 am - 12:00 pm, with volunteer hours to follow from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  
The following is a special message from Michael to all his colleagues in Brooks College and GVSU:
"I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at GVSU and within Brooks – the care, compassion, and drive of faculty, staff, and students is exhilarating and builds a wonderful atmosphere and space. The university's commitment to sustainability, food security, and an interdisciplinary approach to agriculture is admirable. I’m moving on to be with my partner in Milwaukee, but if timing had been different, I would have loved to stay at Grand Valley. The thing I’ll miss most is the people – especially within Brooks!" 

Harold Thommen

GVSU alumnus Harold Thommen will be serving as Interim Farm Manager on a part-time basis until early November.  Director of the Office of Sustainability Practices Yumi Jacobcic will begin the search later this summer to find a permanent Farm Manager.
“Harold is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and had a true liberal arts experience while studying secondary education, social studies, and biology. He has always been interested in all aspects of agriculture since a young age and has worked on various farms in West Michigan throughout his life. While working three seasons at the former Ham Family Farm of Allendale, he gained valuable knowledge about small-scale, sustainable agriculture. His love for sustainable agriculture is driven by its ability to reconnect humans to nature while also positively impacting the health of the environment, communities, and individuals. He believes that agriculture is the foundation of human civilization and if the issues found in modern farming are not addressed properly, society will continue to endure the negative effects. Harold is also a firm supporter of place-based education in which people learn content and concepts about the specific area they find themselves in. He is excited to manage the SAP and use it to help teach and further connect the GVSU community. ” 

Lynnette Keen

Lynnette Keen

The Dean's office welcomes Lynnette Keen to the team! 
Lynnette is filling the role previously held by Aubrey Dull, as the office assistant of the Dean's Office. Lynnette is transitioning from her role as the academic coordinator of the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies program (IRIS).  
"I'm super excited for this new opportunity to work with faculty and staff from the vantage point of the dean's office.

I have been a PSS with GVSU in BCOIS since 2018 when I started with what was then the Liberal Studies Department. My previous work experiences include positions with Baker College, The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids and Herman Miller. I have a BA in English and Journalism from Calvin College. 

My husband, Gerald, is retired Army 36 years. We live on 12 beautiful country acres with our dog Boo (Gerald's Service dog) and cat Joey. Our family of choice includes a son, Rahim, and daughter-in-law, Kamrina, and 5 amazing grand kiddos who live in Hamilton, Ontario. I love walking, practicing yoga and being still. We look forward to retiring in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia." 

James Johnson IV

James Johnson IV

The Dean's office welcomes James to the Summer student team! 

A senior at GVSU, James has spent his undergrad years working as a tour guide for the Charter Schools Department and a mentor for REP4 initiative.

He is also a financial consultant intern for the Grand Path project working on a Financial Literacy app.

Amarachi Oboh

Amarachi Oboh

The Dean's office welcomes Amarachi to the Summer student team! 
"Hello, my name is Amarachi Oboh and I am an international student majoring in nursing. I am in my senior year at Grand Valley and will be graduating Fall of 2023. The GVSU Brooks College Dean's office exemplifies dedication and service to students and staff to ensure their optimal success at Grand Valley. I am excited to be a part of this team to continue to develop interpersonal and problem solving skills while providing quality service to the community at Grand Valley."  

Randee Gage

Randee Gage

The Dean's office welcomes Randee back to the Summer student team! 
Randee is a senior here at Grand Valley studying Writing ad Digital Studies. She has worked for the WGS office for two years, and this is her second summer working for the Dean's Office. In her spare time she enjoys reading, biking, and spending time with her cat Seymour!

School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Staffing Updates
Although some new program directors are under administrative contract to help with transitions over Spring/Summer, those new roles do not officially start until August. For the next few months if you have questions, needs, or concerns related to any of the major, minor, certificate, or badge programs in Brooks College, please direct those to the main School of Interdisciplinary Studies Office (324 LOH) whose staff includes:

Jack Mangala, Chair (mangalaj@gvsu.edu
Justin Pettibone, Assistant Chair (pettiboj@gvsu.edu)
Aubrey Dull, Administrative Assistant and Lead PSS for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies (dullaub@gvsu.edu)

The phone number for the SIS Main Office is: (616)331-8020. The office is open usual business hours, M-F 8:00AM-5:00PM to assist students and faculty as needed.

Jack Mangala Justin Pettibone Aubrey Dull
Ginele Johnson
Ginele Johnson, Academic Program Coordinator, will be the primary support staff for:

Integrative Studies Programs (Integrative Studies major, INT-prefix courses,  US- prefix courses, and IDS- prefix courses)

Leadership & Professional Innovation Programs (Professional Innovation major, Leadership & Business Fundamentals major, Intercultural Competence and Communication certificate and badge programs,  Leadership certificate, and ITC- prefix courses)

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Programs (Women, Gender, and Sexuality major and minor, LGBTQ Studies minor, and WGS- prefix courses)

Digital Studies and Data Literacy Programs (Digital Studies minor, and DS- prefix courses)

You can find Ginele in 222 Lake Ontario Hall and at (616)331-8229.
Mary Williford
Mary Williford, Academic Program Coordinator, will be the primary support staff for:

Area & Global Studies Programs (Global Studies & Social Impact major, African & African American Studies minor, East Asian Studies minor, Human Rights minor, Latin American Studies minor, Middle East Studies minor, Religious Studies minor, and the GSI-, AAA-, HRT-, LAS-, MES-, and REL- prefixes)

You can find Mary in 117 Lake Ontario Hall and at (616)331-8110. Mary also works half-time supporting the Kutsche Office of Local History.
Justine Kibet
Justine Kibet, School of Interdisciplinary Studies Coordinator, will be the primary support staff for:

Environmental & Sustainability Studies Programs (Environmental & Sustainability Studies major and minor, Sustainable Food Systems Certificate, and the ENS- prefix)

Lead role in supporting the chair with scheduling and staffing for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Lead role in website maintenance and supporting social media for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies

You can find Justine in 167 Lake Michigan Hall and at (616)331-8016. Justine also works quarter-time supporting the Padnos-Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse.

Course Updates

University Approved Curricular Actions for Brooks College (4/25/2023-6/5/2023)

New Course Approved: ENS 238 Polluted, Poisoned, and Pillaged: Exploring Michigan's Waterways
Major Change: INT Major Adding DS 360 as a Core Class Option (Ethics)


June 9: Farewell Party for Michael Hinkle (SAP) 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
June 16: Faculty & Staff 2 Mile Fun Run/Walk with GVPD
August 17: School of Interdisciplinary Studies Welcome Picnic 
August 18: Fall 2023 Brooks College Startup 8:15 - 11:30 am
August 18: School of Interdisciplinary Studies Retreat

Faculty Calendar

 June 19: Classes End - 1st 6 weeks
June 20-21: Exams - 1st 6 weeks
June 26: Classes Begin - 2nd 6 weeks (starts 8th week)
June 26: Grades Due from Faculty by 12:00 pm
July 4: Independence Day Recess
August 4: Classes End - 2nd 6 and 12 weeks
August 7-8: Exams - 2nd 6 and 12 weeks
August 14: Grades Due from Faculty by 12:00 pm
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