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Grand Valley State University

Brooks College 

of Interdisciplinary Studies

Message from the Dean 

The Ides of March, namely March 15, is known in history as the day of Julius Caesar’s assassination and as a major turning point in Roman history because of the resulting violent struggle for power. In Brooks College, as well as at GVSU, the Ides of March have come and gone with no sudden, tumultuous, or violent changes in leadership. Fortunately, at GVSU, abrupt and sudden changes in leadership simply do not occur. At GVSU, changes in leadership tend to occur with advanced notice when an individual decides that it is time to change direction or focus in their career or life’s pursuits. We select our new leaders through a transparent, orderly, and collaborative process. Thank goodness!
The winter semester has been a busy time in Brooks College in terms of identifying new leaders for several programs and reappointing several current leaders. Ellen Schendel has been reappointed as Associate Dean and Carol *Griff* Griffin as Director of General Education after they each received glowing reviews of their leadership skills. We recently appointed Scott Berlin from the School of Social Work to serve as Interim Director of General Education while Griff is on sabbatical during fall 2016.  
Wendy Burns-Ardolino has decided not to seek reappointment as chair of Liberal Studies. Consequently, a search is underway for a new chair of Liberal Studies. East Asian and Chinese Studies will be selecting a new coordinator since Patrick Shan wishes to pursue other projects in his home department of History.  We have just begun a search for a new director of the Kutsche Office of Local History as Melanie Shell-Weiss will be returning fulltime to Liberal Studies after her sabbatical in fall 2016. Last but not least, we are searching for a new leader for the Brooks College Office of Integrative Learning and Advising to replace Brian Jbara after arranging for Kate VanDerKolk to serve as the Interim Director. We are grateful to all these individuals for their service as leaders because authentic and effective leadership begins and ends with a selfless focus on supporting and empowering others in their own good work.  
I trust that each reappointed and outgoing leader has grown through their leadership experiences. Leadership is a journey in self-knowledge about personal values and principles and about areas of strength and areas of weakness. Leadership tests and therefore strengthens capacities for empathy, patience, emotional control, resilience, and mindfulness. Leadership hones problem-solving skills and resourcefulness. 
I ask you to join me in thanking all those who have accepted leadership positions in Brooks College in the past, and to applaud and support those who will accept leadership positions in the future. They, unlike Julius Caesar, have no reason to fear the Ides of March.
Lake Earns Prestigious Award
Danielle Lake, assistant professor of Liberal Studies, earned the 2016 John Lachs Award for Public Philosophy from the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy during the association’s annual meeting March 5 in Portland, Oregon.

The award is for early- to mid-career philosophers in the American tradition who exemplify the best traits and practices of American public philosophy and bring unique insights or methods to broaden the reach and engagement of public philosophy with the wider public.

Lake was noted for her innovative work in and out of the classroom, and for facilitating dialogues about issues in education and sustainable development.

Anne Hiskes, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, said she has watched Lake “become a soughtafter campus leader on community-engaged teaching and learning.”

“Her impact expands through the work of her students who are inspired to apply their philosophical knowledge and skills in addressing the vital issues of the communities in which they live and work,” Hiskes said.

Learn More about the Holland Campus!

An article about how the Meijer Campus in Holland connects Grand Valley to the lakeshore was in GV Magazine. The Meijer Campus which was constructed in the late 1990s, offers a liberal studies degree program, courses in education and business, hybrid and certificate programs, as well as an Early College Program for high school juniors and seniors. The campus has created relationships, connections, and resources with the community and has become an integral member of the Holland community. You can read more about it here: 

Faculty, Staff and Student Successes

Kelly James Clark, visiting professor in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, had the articles “Trusting Intuition” and “Cultural Influences on the Teleological Stance: Evidence from China” published in Religion, Brain and Behavior. He served as editor of a book, The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism, published by Wile-Blackwell.
Anne Marie Fauvel, affiliate professor of Liberal Studies, and Emily Noordyke, a biology and Environmental Studies student, were recently granted 2016 Summer Student Scholar funding to conduct a quantitative and qualitative nutritional analysis of the GVSU-managed honey bee colonies at the Sustainble Agriculture Project's Luce Street site. In addition, Emily Noordyke was also awarded the William Schroeder Undergraduate Endowed Fellowship for this research proposal. 
Danielle Lake, assistant professor of Liberal Studies, published the article “Dewey, Addams and Beyond: A Context-Sensitive, Dialogue-Driven, Action-Based Pedagogy for Preparing Students to Confront Local Wicked Problems" in Contemporary Pragmatism
Kate Stoetzner, director of international student and scholar services in the Padnos International Center, was interviewed for a story about student Nikola Gudovic by the online publication Vijesti.  
Hannah Swanson, a Liberal Studies major, and John Berry, director of the Design Thinking Initiative, were on the WGVU radio show with Shelley Irwin on Monday, February 22. The show featured a description of the Design Thinking Initiative at Grand Valley along with Swanson’s experience as a student in the university's first design thinking course, titled “Design Thinking to Meet Real World Needs.” Click here to listen to the podcast. You may recognize Hannah as one of the student desk assistants in the Brooks College dean's office!
Joel Wendland, assistant professor of Liberal Studies recently authored a book titled The Collectivity of Life: Spaces of Social Mobility and the Individualism Myth, published by Lexington Books.