(Re)Start Meeting, W21 Personnel Policy, Telford Farm, Writing Center
(Re)Start Meeting, W21 Personnel Policy, Telford Farm, Writing Center
Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Newsletter November 2020
Headshot of Mark Schaub, dean of Brooks College
Dean Schaub

Dean's Message

This newsletter message is my first without the word “Interim” in my official title; my position as the third person to serve as Dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies starts on Monday, 9 November.
When I began as Acting Dean nearly 21 months ago, I was not sure if I would ever come to want the job for a longer term. What has changed in the meantime is the fact that I’ve become more comfortable with how I might support you all in your support for student success. Secondly, I have come to understand more of what the expectations are for the Dean. Finally, I have had countless opportunities to get to know Brooks students, and you as colleagues. To know you all is to love you all.
One certainty I want to share: without all your goodwill, hard work, dedication to students, and help to me and the dean’s office, I wouldn’t be here. Thank you. I look forward to our future together!

Save the Date: (Re)Start Meeting on January 15

Please save the date for Brooks College Winter 2021 (Re)Start Meeting on Friday, January 15, 2021, from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. The program will feature student presentations, breakout rooms, and more.

Temporary Personnel Policy for Winter 2021

The Provost approved temporary personnel policies for the Winter 2021 semester, as recommended by the Faculty Personnel Policy Committee and supported by the University Academic Senate. The Faculty Activity Plan for 2021 need only describe work planned for fall semester 2021. The new deadline for this plan is March 15, 2021. These temporary personnel policies are posted on the Provost's website.

Remote Work Request Forms for 2021

As the Winter 2021 academic semester approaches, the University will continue to support remote work arrangements to ensure the safety of the entire Laker community. Supervisors and employees with current 100% remote work arrangements still need to submit plans for 2021. Employees and supervisors, please follow the steps for reviewing and submitting remote work arrangements for the Winter 2021 academic semester.

Teach-In on November 11

The 2020 Annual GVSU Teach-In will be held in a virtual format on Wednesday, November 11, from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. View the program schedule and register at gvsu.edu/teach-in. All course instructors, staff, and students are invited to attend. All participants must register by November 9.

New Process for Laptop Loaner Program

Since 2016, the Brooks College Office of Integrative Learning & Advising has partnered with the GVSU Surplus Store to provide loaner laptops to students facing a computer emergency. Previously, students applied for loaner laptops through the Integrative Learning & Advising Office. Now, a streamlined process is in place to request a laptop through a CARE Report. The form can be filled out by faculty, staff, or directly by the student in need of the computer.
Telford Farm
Barn area of the Telford Farm property when
Kate and her community first purchased it in 1998.

Telford Farm: An Intentional Community in Cedar, MI

Kate Fairman, affiliate professor of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies (IRIS), has worked part-time for the IRIS department since 2007 and served as the advisor for integrative studies students at the GVSU Traverse City Regional Center. Kate lives on a shared farm in northern Michigan with her husband, Bill, and her three children, Clayton, Lucy, and Tamanna. This month, we spoke with Kate about the farm's history and her experience there.
What is Telford Farm and how was it started?
Telford Farm is an intentional community in Cedar, MI. It currently consists of 9 families who share a vision and ownership of 80 acres of rural land in Leelanau county. In 1998, a neighbor invited us to walk a piece of property that his colleague was intrigued by, but knew she could not purchase on her own. Word spread and about 15-20 people showed up to walk the land. In reaching the ridge top, it was not hard to fall in love with the view and we immediately saw the potential of building a small community.
Soon after, an offer by another party was put in on the property, which meant that it was a ‘do or die’ prospect for our group that had gathered. Our small group met for an afternoon and we outlined a vision for a community and joint purchase. A couple people bowed out when their vision did not match the majority who had gathered, and in the end, seven families were committed to moving forward with an offer. Obviously, our offer was accepted and we purchased the property as an LLC and immediately started to meet creating a clustered development with common space all around it.
Finishing up straw-clay walls with friends and family, 2003.
Kate and her husband are on the orange ladder.
What drew you to create this community?
As it happened, I had previously been drawn to the concept of intentional communities, or co-housing as they’re sometimes called. I had travelled for a few months in New Zealand, where I participated in the network, Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF), and had stayed at a few intentional communities that had farm operations. This concept intrigued me and also led to my awareness of these communities all over the world. There is a fabulous directory of communities at ic.org.
Kate's son (right) and the neighbors bring home pigs to raise on the farm, 2010.
What are the advantages and challenges of living and working together in this type of community?
One of the greatest blessings has been raising my children in a place where they have had free range and have been fully embraced by a community with common interests. None of the community members are full-time farmers, but we all have an interest in sustainable practices, so we have experimented with things such as raising animals — chickens, pigs, cows, goats. When we had a cow, our family did the milking one morning per week and now each of my kids can milk a cow!
We also initially ran a commercial vineyard that existed on the property when we purchased it. For a decade, we pruned, tied grapevines, and held a harvest party where sometimes 100 friends and family would show up to help harvest grapes, followed by a party. These are just a couple examples of learning opportunities that my family never would have had or tried on our own. We also learned that some of these practices are challenging to maintain. Our vineyard, for instance, was hit with a couple harsh winters and we were not able to maintain the effort and inputs needed to revive it. Uniting and maintaining a particular effort can be challenging for any community.
Kate's dad, friends, and neighbors harvesting grapes, 2008.
How does your research and teaching at GVSU intersect with your life and work on the farm?
I studied environmental behavior and one thing we know is that behavior change is difficult. The problem-solving approach of “small experiments,” trying something small with lower stakes, is a great way to promote new behaviors. Moreover, having the support of a small community to try different initiatives, such as raising a few pigs, planting blueberries, removing invasive species, or implementing renewal energy seems to significantly enhance our willingness to experiment with different practices. Another example of something my family would not have done without the experimentation of a small group is to build a house using straw-clay construction; four houses in our community are built with straw-clay walls. This sort of life experience intersects very well with courses I teach, like “Wicked Problems in Sustainability,” a course where small groups of students engage with similar types of experimentation to promote sustainable practices in the community
And can we visit? It must be beautiful up there right now!
Absolutely, you can visit. We don’t have any formal process for visitors, but anyone can contact me to come and check things out.

Writing Center Continues Serving Students Virtually

By Patrick Johnson, Director of the Fred Meijer Writing Center
The Writing Center operates as a hub of conversation. Pre-COVID, our main office in Lake Ontario was often filled with the sounds of consultants chatting with students or each other. Even with all services being online for Fall and Winter, conversation is still flowing, only now, it’s over Google Meet. Case in point: during a recent slow hour, the conversation among consultants turned towards selecting a movie for a staff watch party. Given the time of year, the resulting debate examined what classifies as a holiday movie. Whether Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie may be up to the viewer, but the conversation about genre, authorial intent, and audience preferences reflect how we assist students. Talking through ideas and hearing feedback from others is how writers understand what they are communicating. Good thinking leads to good writing, and we love to talk as much as we love to listen.
Writing consultants are peers who genuinely want to assist their fellow students. Our staff come from a variety of majors and the one thing they have in common is a love for writing and assisting others. Whether students are writing essays, personal statements, or arguments about Die Hard being a Christmas movie, we are excited to work with any type of writing at any stage of the writing process. We offer scheduled appointments and/or drop-in support (first come, first served) during all hours of operation. All services are virtual and can be accessed via Book It. We look forward to working with you.


Cáel Keegan, associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies and integrative studies, gave a talk, "In Praise of Bad Transgender Objects” on Zoom for Chair in Transgender Studies & The Transgender Archives on October 27.
For the 11th year in a row, Grand Valley State University has been named one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges by The Princeton Review. In September, Grand Valley was also named one of the country's greenest universities by Sierra Club. Congratulations to the Office of Sustainability Practices on their efforts and commitment to sustainability.
Sarah King, director of Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENS) and associate professor of integrative, religious and intercultural studies and ENS, spoke with Shelley Irwin on the WGVU Morning Show about the ENS program.
Gayle Schaub and Hazel McClure, associate librarians, co-edited a book, Engaging Students through Campus Libraries, published by ABC-CLIO. Mark Schaub, Brooks College Interim Dean, co-wrote a chapter with Hazel McClure, "Flipping the Script: Students as Authors of an Open-Access Business Communication Textbook," about a cohort of ALP students who published an open education resource (OER) which has been downloaded over 25,000 times worldwide.


Faculty Calendar

November 20: Drop with a "W" deadline
November 25-29: Thanksgiving recess
December 12: Classes end and commencement
December 14-19: Final exams
December 19: Semester ends
December 22: Final grades due by 12:00 p.m.
January 15: Brooks College (Re)Start Meeting
January 19: Winter 2021 classes begin
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