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Grand Valley State University

Brooks College

of Interdisciplinary Studies


Message from the Dean

In November 2013, Jack Lessenberry launched the Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Initiative at GVSU with his talk, “Now More than Ever: Civil Discourse in an Age of Ranting." Unfortunately, Mr. Lessenberry’s title is even more apt now than it was three years ago given the lack of civility in the 2016 presidential campaign and its spill-over into other areas of human interactions.
The Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse initiative was established to provide systematic opportunities for GVSU students to develop the concepts, skills, and practices to bring people with divergent views to the table for respectful dialogue and constructive problem-solving. Practicing civil discourse is the antithesis of avoiding uncomfortable conversations or stifling dissent, even unintentionally. Rather, skilled practitioners of civil discourse embrace opportunities to discuss “hot issues” in order to promote understanding and create space where divergent voices may be heard. Practicing civil discourse is difficult, requiring active and respectful listening by all participants.  
The disquiet on college and university campuses around issues of racism and other forms of prejudice and injustice, coupled with the disrespectful discourse of the presidential campaign, makes it all the more important for university faculty and staff to model best practices of civil discourse in their interactions with each other and with students, and to provide opportunities for students to engage with the best practices of civil discourse. 
Brooks College faculty and staff have two opportunities within the next several weeks to engage in respectful conversations around difficult issues.
  • Monday, October 31, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 2266 Kirkhof: All Brooks College faculty and staff are encouraged to attend a College Town Hall Meeting facilitated by Relando Thompkins-Jones to discuss where we are in terms of inclusion, equity, and diversity and where we need to go.  
  • Thursday, November 10, 5:00 – 8:30 p.m., Eberhard Center (2nd floor): All Grand Valley faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to attend the 3rd Annual Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Symposium, “Welcoming Immigrants and Refugees: Community Engagement and Transformation."  
These two events are great antidotes for the current political climate of ranting. I look forward to the conversations and encourage each of you to attend.

Brooks College is on Social Media

Brooks College is now on Twitter and Facebook! Follow us on Twitter @GVSUBrooks and like us on Facebook at GVSU Brooks College! Feel free to let Krystal Vanden Bosch know of any newsworthy items you think should be posted to these sites.

Meijer Campus Partnership Recognized by DEQ

The Meijer Campus in Holland was recognized by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for its efforts with a Holland area collaborative that engages community members in sustainability issues.
“Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore” was recognized by the DEQ as the recipient of the 2016 Top Neighborhood Environmental Partner Award.
The award was presented September 14 at the Eberhard Center during the Michigan Sustainability Conference.  
Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore partners are Grand Valley’s Meijer Campus in Holland, the city of Holland, Herrick District Library, Hope College, and League of Women Voters.   

Laptop Recycling Project

Anita Benes, office coordinator of the Brooks College Integrative Learning and Advising, has designed a Laptop Recycling Project to continue GVSU’s sustainability efforts while assisting needy students in obtaining affordable computers. This is an important project in helping to assure all students have what they need to be successful at Grand Valley and graduate in a timely manner.
This project would not be possible without Kim Patrick, Manager of Procurement Services, who has arranged for the program's first set of loaner laptops. These laptops are housed in the Brooks College Advising Office (133 LMH) and ready for students to use. Already, three laptops have been checked out; two remain, so please spread the word to students!
The program is simple: students needing a laptop will complete an intake form in 133 LMH, and the laptop will be on loan to them for free until they graduate. More information about how the program works can be found here
Thank you, Anita, for dreaming up this program and making it happen!

Faculty and Staff Successes

Jeremiah Cataldo, associate professor in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, recently published an article titled “The Radical Nature of ‘Return’ in Zechariah” in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures. He also recently received a Padnos International Center Internationalization Grant. 
Grand Valley State University has been recognized as one of the top 9 finalists for the 2016 West Michigan Sustainable Business of the Year by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. The top award will go to the company or business that best represents the values of WMSBF’s “triple bottom line”. 
Denise Goerisch, assistant professor of Liberal Studies, wrote an article, “Doing Good Work: Feminist Dilemmas of Volunteering in the Field,” which is to be published in a special issue called, “Focus: Feminist Research and Methodology,” for The Professional Geographer
While driving to or from work last month, you may have caught Michigan Radio's report affiliate professor of Liberal Studies Anne Marie Fauvel's collaborative research project on honey bees. The story, “Tracking Honey Bees with Big Data," covers Professor Fauvel's and Computer Science associate professor Jonathan Englesma's work in developing a way to determine the health of a beehive based on its weight. Listen to a podcast of the story!
Ellen Schendel, Associate Dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, co-authored with Writing Professor Dan Royer a chapter titled "Coming into Being: The Writing Department at Grand Valley State Univesrity in its 13th Year" in the book A Minefield of Dreams: Triumphs and Travails of Independent Writing Programs, published by University Press of Colorado through their Perspectives on Writing series. This open access publication is available to read electronically.
Andrew Schlewitz, professor of Latin American and Latino/a Studies and Political Science, was interviewed in September on WGVU's Shelley Irwin Show to discuss the upcoming "Human Rights in the Atlantic World and Beyond" conference. To listen to this interview and learn more about the conference, click here.