In this issue we recap the summer and look ahead to the 2018-2019 year.
In this issue we recap the summer and look ahead to the 2018-2019 year.
Grand Valley State University

Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
2018 - 2019 Newsletter, Issue 1

Message from Dean Hiskes

A warm welcome to all faculty, staff, and students as we begin the new 2018-2019 academic year.

I hope you found time to relax and refresh over the summer. Some may think that summer is a slow time in higher education, but they would be wrong—slower perhaps, but definitely not slow!

Brooks College Spring/Summer enrollment reached a record high with a 16.8% increase in student credit hours over SS 2017. Thanks to all faculty and staff who rallied to the call to increase GVSU’s Spring/Summer course offerings. The Meijer Center for Writing & Michigan Authors supported all these students with their writing needs. The Padnos International Center stayed in constant communication with the 24 GVSU faculty-led study abroad trips to distant parts of the globe, including our own Honors Ghana Service Learning Program, Honors Haiti Service Learning Program led by Peter Wampler and Kelly McDonell, Namibia Program led by Steeve Buckridge, and France Program led by Anne Caillaud.

The Spring/Summer months found the Allendale campus buzzing with new first-year students meeting with faculty and staff advisors and hoping for that perfect schedule during the 40 orientation sessions held for incoming first-year students. Thanks to Roger Gilles, Coeli Fitzpatrick, Karen Gipson, Jen Jameslyn, Danielle Lake, Meg Marshall, Kelly McDonell, Marilyn Preston, and Ayana Weekley for helping our students get off to a good start by helping at orientation.

For students who are further along in their programs and already “oriented," the Spring/Summer semester provided opportunities to immerse themselves in a meaningful research experience through a number of summer scholarship programs. Kudus to faculty who served as mentors for student summer research projects. David Stark, Coordinator of the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program, mentored Kendra Garcia on her project “Who is Mexican? Afro-Mexicans Reclaim Their Place in 'The Cosmic Race.'" Ayana Weekley, Coordinator of African/African American Studies and Associate Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, mentored Amarri Smallwood on her project, 
“A Black Feminist Content Analysis of Gender and Sexuality" in Living Single.

Space does not permit me to recognize all the other individuals who contributed to the Brooks College mission over the summer. The list would include the East Asian Studies faculty who authored course revisions, Honors faculty who served on the Honors College Curriculum Revision Task Force, advisors for Spring/Summer Internships, faculty and staff who supported the SAP interns during the peak growing season, teacher-scholars and staff who attended conferences, and all those engaged with scholarship and course and program development.

Summer is also a time to wrap up the old academic year and reflect on goals achieved and goals yet to be realized. It is a time to dream about the future, set new goals, and develop new strategies for old goals. My goals as Dean in leading the College for 2018-19 are not new but involve new strategies that require your support to realize. Top among these are goals that are also University-wide, namely, supporting our students so they realize their dreams of graduation and beyond, providing high-quality and relevant academic and co-curricular programming, and empowering faculty and staff to realize their own potential as educators.

Best wishes for the new academic year,


SAP Wins National Award

Brooks College is proud to announce the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) has been selected for the Innovative Project Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). Winning entries needed to show evidence that the initiative had top-level administrative support, connected with an institution’s mission and strategic agenda, contributed to significant institutional improvements or programming, was grounded in research, and incorporated best practices. Members of the SAP, which is housed in the Office of Sustainability Practices, plan to receive the award on October 28 at the opening session of AASCU’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Professional Master's in Social Innovation Marketing Banner. Professor interacting with students

Brooks' First Graduate Program: Social Innovation

Brooks College is pleased to announce its first graduate program starting Winter 2019. The Professional Master of Arts in Social Innovation (PMASI), housed in the Liberal Studies Department, will prepare students to be change agents leading cross-sector innovation (non-profit, for-profit, and governmental) to address complex social problems such as childhood hunger, illiteracy, domestic violence, air pollution, food deserts, contaminated drinking water, poverty, and homelessness. Perfect for those possessing undergraduate degrees from a wide variety of areas, the PMASI is a 36-credit hour program incorporating graduate courses from social work, business, and public administration with social innovation core courses. Core courses will be offered in the evening on the Robert C. Pew Campus in a variety of formats (hybrid, face-to-face, and online.) Please bring this opportunity to the attention of students, alumni, and others who may be interested. Applications for Winter 2019 are due November 1, 2018. For more information contact Program Director, Wendy Burns-Ardolino.

Design Thinking Academy Has New Home

With its mission to develop "innovative, interdisciplinary programs and diverse, community partnerships," Brooks College is a fitting new home for the Design Thinking Academy, a non-credit program which prepares students to be innovative thinkers and problem solvers. Now in its second year, the Design Thinking Academy guides a cohort of student-fellows, through "Deep Dive" sessions to learn the Design Thinking Process, then organizes students into small teams to work on a solution to a community-based or GVSU-based issue. Each team includes a GVSU faculty coach and a representative from the selected organization, such as Gentex and United Way. For more information contact the new Director of the Design Thinking Academy, David Coffey, Professor of Mathematics.

SAP Plants Demonstration Garden

On May 17, 2018, students and staff from Brooks College and the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) participated in a groundbreaking ceremony of a new Demonstration Garden in the heart of the Allendale Campus. Designed to resemble a typical home garden, SAP members planted the Demonstration Garden to inspire interest in small-scale gardening and raise awareness for the SAP. The garden's six raised beds have flourished into a lush, verdant garden of vegetables and flowers which you can visit near the Transformation Link and the north entrance to Au Sable Hall. Please join us for a Dedication Ceremony of the Demonstration Garden on Tuesday, October 2nd at 3:00 pm. Details are included in the "Upcoming Events" section below.

Replenish Food Depot in Lake Michigan Hall

The Office of Integrative Learning & Advising is home to a new Food Depot in Brooks College, which makes it easy to donate to Replenish, the on-campus food resource for students. The Food Depot is located at 133 Lake Michigan and is open for donations Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm.

New Faculty Introductions

Kayla Wheeler, Assistant Professor of African/African American Studies and Digital Studies, received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Iowa in 2017. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Kayla was a Visiting Scholar in African American Studies at Boston University where she conducted research for her book on Black Muslim American fashion and started a digital humanities project that traces Malcolm X’s early life in Boston. She is the curator of the Black Islam Syllabus, which highlights the history and contributions of Muslims of African descent.
Santos Ramos Headshot
Santos Ramos, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, received his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing from Michigan State University, where he was affiliated with the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program and completed his dissertation research looking at the cultural significance of Mexican food practices in Michigan. He has taught courses in film, writing, and literature, as well as interdisciplinary courses that examine food systems, social movements, and technology. He has also developed a number of community partnerships that use cultural education programming to build relationships between universities and local communities.
Anthony Meyer, Visiting Professor of Religious Studies and Liberal Studies, earned his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from McMaster University in 2017, where he specialized in Early Judaism. He also holds an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Trinity Western University and B.A. in Social Studies and History from GVSU. Anthony recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he worked on innovative pedagogical strategies for teaching and learning in the humanities. He also held a lectureship in Jewish and Roman History, teaching on such topics as war, peace, and religion in the ancient world and the significance of the Holy Land in the historical development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Visiting Professor Chris Crews
Chris Crews, Visiting Professor in Area and Global Studies, explores within his research the intersections of social and environmental justice movements and Indigenous rights in the Anthropocene. He brings an interest in global social movements and land struggles, with a focus on Nepal and the Himalaya. Prior to joining GVSU, Chris worked for the India China Institute at The New School, where he led a three-year research project on sacred landscapes and sustainable futures which explored the intersections of religion, nature, and culture in India, Nepal, and Tibet. He is also a board member on the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.

Faculty & Student Recognition

Accelerated Leadership Program (ALP) students, Tami Chase, Anthony Hanline, Bridgett Schaffer, and Steven Scholten, won a Laker Effect Challenge award to help fund their uniform swap project at Harrison Park Elementary School in Grand Rapids on August 15, 2018.
Craig Benjamin, Professor of History in the Honors College, lectured on a New York Times Journeys cruise through the North Atlantic this summer titled, "Fjords, Falls, and Foreign Affairs." His new book, Empires of Ancient Eurasia: The First Silk Roads Era, 100 BCE – 250 CE, was published by Cambridge University Press in May. In July, Craig delivered the keynote address at the International Big History Association Conference at Villanova University, titled "Big History, Big Future."
Dawn Rutecki, Visiting Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington.
The Kutsche Office of Local History received a Third Coast Conversations: Dialogues about Water in Michigan grant from the Michigan Humanities Council to support its project, Connections Along the Grand River.
Kelly Parker, Professor of Philosophy and Liberal Studies, and Danielle Lake, Asst. Professor of Liberal Studies, facilitated two plenary sessions at the Summer Institute for American Philosophy entitled, "Pedagogies for Resilience: American Philosophy, Wicked Problems, and Design Thinking.”
Krista Benson, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, and Jae Basiliere, Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, have been selected as the incoming Managing Editors of Feral Feminisms, an open-access feminist online journal.

Upcoming Events

Wandering Seeds Exhibit: Opening Reception

Thursday, September 6, 2018, 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Lake Ontario Hall, Red Wall Gallery
Join us for the opening reception of the Haiti Study Abroad Wandering Seeds Exhibit followed by a presentation from Haitian filmmaker & artist Romel Jean-Pierre.

Sustainable Agriculture Project's Harvest Party

Friday, September 14, 2018, 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM
The SAP Farm located at 4539 Luce St., Jenison, Michigan 49428
In honor of the Sustainable Agriculture Project's 10-year anniversary we welcome you to our annual Harvest Party! Join us for family fun and games, a potluck dinner, and live music!

10-Year Celebration of the Niemeyer Learning & Living Center

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Niemeyer Learning & Living Center

Reflect on the Niemeyer experience from the perspective of the students, faculty, and staff who have lived it. Remarks at 4:00 p.m., followed by tours of the building and refreshments.

Demonstration Garden Dedication

Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Demonstration Garden, Located Near the Transformation Link and Au Sable Hall
In honor of the Sustainable Agriculture Project’s 10-year anniversary, the garden will be dedicated to the students, faculty, and staff of the university as a demonstration of our commitment to sustainability. Please join us for remarks by President Haas and Dean Hiskes, followed by tours of the SAP farm.

Outstanding Alumni Panel

Thursday, October 4, 2018, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Kirkoff Center, Room 2250 Grand River Room
Join us in welcoming outstanding alumni for a panel discussion, followed by a time for networking and connecting with representatives from campus services and organizations.

Study Abroad Fair

Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 2018 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Kirkoff Center, Room 2250 Grand River Room

Browse study abroad programs, meet students that have participated in the programs, and talk to faculty program directors. Get answers to questions about program selection, funding, and academics.

Lunch with the Kutsche Office

Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 2018 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Kirkoff Center, Room 2215/2216

Learn best practices to engage varying demographics across generations. From working with school children, teenagers, young parents, and families, to adults who have a strong record of community engagement, different strategies are needed to encourage these various populations to see our organizations as local history resources.

Civil Discourse Symposium: Climate Change

Thursday October 25, 2018; 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
L.V. Eberhard Center, Room 215
This interactive, participatory symposium features keynote speakers representing diverse points of view with opportunities to personally engage in civil discourse with scientists, politicians, climate change skeptics, environmental justice advocates, and fellow citizens.
Please contact Managing Editor, Alex Priebe, to submit stories for future issues.
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