Fall 2019 graduates, service awards, civil discourse, Rock Hall, and more!
Fall 2019 graduates, service awards, civil discourse, Rock Hall, and more!
Grand Valley State University

Message from Associate Dean
Karen Gipson

A favorite poem by Marge Piercy called, “To Be of Use,” ends with this verse:
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
Commencement is a time that we know –  in a very concrete way – that our work at the university is real. As we survey the decorated mortarboards and watch the extraordinary shoes teetering across the stage; as we hear pockets of people in the arena erupting in cheers for their children, friends, spouses, or parents; as we witness the pride in the eyes of the graduates themselves, we know beyond question that we have made a difference in this world. Sometimes we may feel that even more vividly in the classroom, during office hours, or while working with students on scholarly projects, but commencement is a collective acknowledgment that our students have achieved a milestone in their lives – and we along with them, at the end of each and every semester. How fortunate we are to be of use!
As we move into finals week, we here in the Dean’s Office send our best wishes for a smooth end of the fall semester and a warm and wonderful winter break. 

Fall Commencement 2019

On December 7, at Van Andel Arena, 1,386 Lakers graduated, including 572 first-generation students. Congratulations to the class of Fall 2019!

University service award recipients

Brooks College would like to honor and congratulate the following faculty and staff members who have reached a milestone in their years of service to the University:
  • 20-year award recipients:
    • Majd Al-Mallah, Area and Global Studies
    • Kurt Ellenberger, Meijer Honors College
    • Karen Gipson, Brooks College Dean's Office
    • Rebecca Hambleton, Padnos International Center
    • Vandana Pednekar-Magal, Area and Global Studies
    • Mark Schaub, Brooks College Dean's Office
  • 10-year award recipients:
    • Elizabeth Arnold, Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse
    • Gamal Gasim, Area and Global Studies
    • Azfar Hussain, Integrative Studies
    • Yan Liang, Area and Global Studies

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein named next endowed professor of civil discourse

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, assistant professor of journalism, was named the next Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse at the 6th Annual Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Symposium on November 19. Jeff is the fourth professor in this role following Lisa Perhamus, Jack Mangala, and Elizabeth Arnold.
Next year, Jeff will teach a course, "Journalism and Global Civil Discourse," and work with students to host a public symposium and other events focused on the implications of misinformation and what he called the rising tension from an international assault on democracy and civil discourse. "We will look at the what, why and how these attacks on journalists and spread of fake news are happening, the impact of this, and what we can do about it," he said. The endowed professorship, a two-year appointment, was a gift to Grand Valley from longtime supporters Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik. Learn more on the civil discourse website.

Coat drive reminder

This winter, the Office of Integrative Learning and Advising is continuing to collect and distribute new and gently used coats to Grand Valley students. This year, 53 coats have been distributed to students. Hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves are also needed.
A list of all drop-off locations is available on the Brooks College website. Students in need of coats can go to 133 Lake Michigan Hall to make a selection.

Diversity and inclusion at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Earlier this year, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (a.k.a. Rock Hall) asked Marilyn Preston, assistant professor of integrative studies, to develop a diversity and inclusion training for their leadership and staff. Erika Brooks-Hurst, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Administrator at Texas Tech University's Teaching, Learning and Professional Development Center, joined Marilyn in designing a climate survey for the Rock Hall staff to complete. Using data from the survey, Marilyn and Erika developed a series of workshops aimed at both leadership and staff to explore cultural humility, unconscious bias, the relationship between microaggressions and trauma, and strategies to create more inclusive practices at all levels of museum programming. In October, Marilyn and Erika traveled to the Rock Hall in Cleveland, Ohio, and delivered the training in five sessions. Marilyn said the workshops were well received by the staff team, who have already requested a follow-up training focusing on sexuality, gender, race, and practical ways to support inclusion. Rock on!

Holiday break extended

The university’s 2019 calendar for the upcoming holiday break has been extended. The university will now be closed starting Monday, December 23, 2019, and will reopen on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

Faculty and staff updates

Coeli Fitzpatrick, chair of the Frederick Meijer Honors College, has been reappointed to another three-year term as chair of the Meijer Honors College beginning in May 2020.
Melanie Shell-Weiss, chair of the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies (IRIS) Department, has been reappointed to another three-year term as chair of IRIS beginning in July 2020.

Faculty, staff & student recognition

Denise Goerisch, assistant professor of integrative studies; Jae Basiliere, assistant professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies; Kimberly McKee, assistant professor of integrative studies; with three other colleagues were co-authors of an article, "Mentoring With: Reimagining Mentoring across the University," published in Gender, Place, & Culture.
Andrea Riley-Mukavetz, assistant professor of integrative studies, was interviewed for an NPR story about how Thanksgiving is taught in our schools.
Peter Wampler, faculty-in-residence in the Meijer Honors College, co-chaired a session, “Improving Scientific Literacy and Dispelling Misconceptions about Wicked Water Resource Problems,” and gave a presentation, "Challenges and Cultural Complications of Teaching About Clean Water in Haiti,” at the annual Geological Society of America Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Upcoming events

December 9-10: Soup's On!
December 12: IRIS Senior Showcase
December 12: Retirement Celebration for Jane Toot
January 10: Brooks College (Re)Start Meeting*
January 14: Study Abroad Fair
January 30: Global GVSU 50th Anniversary Gallery Reception
February 11: 13th Annual Faculty Awards Convocation
February 25: Brooks College Faculty Scholarship Showcase

*RSVP Requested

Faculty calendar & deadlines

December 9-14: Examination week
December 14: Semester ends
December 17: Grades due from faculty by 12:00 P.M.
December 23 - January 1: Holiday break
January 2: University reopens
January 6: Winter 2020 classes begin
January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day recess
January 31: Export Control Questionnaire due
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