SAP receives national award, Civil Discourse Symposium, and more!
SAP receives national award, Civil Discourse Symposium, and more!
Grand Valley State University

Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
2018 - 2019 Newsletter, Issue 3

Message from Dean Hiskes

Reading stories of Brooks College events and faculty and staff achievements in this pre-Thanksgiving newsletter reminds me of why I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the mission of Brooks College and Grand Valley State University. The state of affairs in both the natural world and the social-political world has been particularly unsettled and troubling over the past six weeks with hurricanes, fires, pipe bombs, mass shootings, and divisive public discourse that is disrespectful of human dignity.

In contrast, as reported in this newsletter, the Sustainable Agriculture Project received national recognition for its innovation in teaching students the values and skills of caring for Mother Earth as a source of life. The Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Symposium on Climate Change provided a venue for students, faculty, and community members to explore respectfully different points of view on climate change and its impact. The Brooks College Office of Integrative Learning and Advising is leading a coat drive to meet basic human needs of some of our students. Our alumni panels testify to the effectiveness of our programs in empowering students to be engaged global citizens and leaders for good in their professions and communities.

I am grateful to work at an institution that protects academic freedom and with colleagues who are dedicated to living the values of inclusion and equity in supporting all individuals in discovering and expressing their authentic selves. I am grateful to the Departments of Liberal Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in reminding me of the importance of speaking out and affirming these core values when they may be threatened as they have recently done in their statements of support for trans, two spirit, and non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals. (See their statements here and here.)

By teaching and modeling the values and skills of creative problem-solving, critical thinking, civil discourse, interdisciplinarity, sustainability, teamwork, and inclusion and equity, I believe that Brooks College is part of the solution against troubling events such as those of the past six weeks. For all this and more, I give thanks.

When family and friends at the Thanksgiving table ask me “So, what’s new in Brooks College?” I’ll have plenty to share.
- Anne L. Hiskes

SAP Receives National Award

On October 28, the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) received the 2018 Innovative Project award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). This awards program, now in its fifth year, honors AASCU member institutions for excellence and innovation in several major areas of campus life and leadership. Yumi Jakobcic, Campus Sustainability Coordinator, and Youssef Darwich, SAP Farm Manager, attended the opening session of the AASCU’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., to receive an engraved sculpture which will be on display in the Office of Sustainability Practices.
Brooks College Coat Drive Flyer

Civil Discourse Symposium Spotlights Climate Change

Over 200 Grand Valley faculty, staff, students, and community members participated in the 5th Annual Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Symposium on October 25 at the L.V. Eberhard Center. Elizabeth Arnold, associate professor of anthropology and the current Padnos/Sarosik endowed professor of civil discourse, selected this year's topic of climate change and facilitated the event. Three panelists representing various views on climate change were: Jordan Chrispell, West Michigan Clean Energy Organizer for the Sierra Club's Michigan Chapter; Steve Goreham, author and Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America; and Kelly Parker, professor of philosophy and Director of the Environmental Studies program at GVSU. Attendees were then invited to practice civil discourse in roundtable discussions, which were facilitated by student, staff, and faculty hosts.
Housed within the Brook College of Interdisciplinary Studies, the Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professorship of Civil Discourse was founded in 2013 through a generous gift from longtime university supporters, Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik, with the mission to prepare GVSU students to be leaders in advancing respectful, informed dialogue around vital social issues in their communities.

Interdisciplinary Salon: New Community & Event Space

Brooks College has a new space to promote interdisciplinary dialogue and inquiry. Located in Lake Ontario Hall, Room 163, the Interdisciplinary Salon is a community and event space available to all Brooks College faculty, staff, and students. The Salon will remain open during normal building hours and a reservation is recommended to guarantee availability. Reservations are available Monday - Friday, 6:00 - 11:00 AM and 2:00 - 10:00 PM. Events that are hosted in the Salon and serve its mission and vision are eligible for special funding from Brooks College. For reservations or questions, please contact Nicole Brower at 616-331-8655 or visit the Interdisciplinary Salon webpage.

Outstanding Alumni Panel: the Value of an Interdisciplinary Studies Education

On October 4, Brooks College hosted its second Outstanding Alumni Panel to bring alumni and students together to discuss the value of interdisciplinary studies in the professional world. Six alumni participated in the panel: Brandy Arnold (Area & Global Studies), Molly Barnard (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), Anne Marie Carson (Honors), Alicia Crawford (Liberal Studies and Environmental Studie), Alfredo Hernande (Liberal Studies), and Megan Kiplinger (Religious Studies). Jen Jameslyn, Director of the Office of Integrative Learning and Advising, facilitated a 60-minute discussion that included the benefits of study abroad experiences, the honors college, internships, and advice on how to tailor nonprofit, for-profit, and governmental sectors. Panelists shared their educational and professional experiences and emphasized the importance of establishing mentorships and developing critical thinking skills. The event was attended by 85 students, faculty, and staff, which also included a resource fair and time for networking.

New Staff Introduction: Alex Priebe

Brooks College is pleased to introduce Alex Priebe, the new Office Coordinator in the Dean's Office. Alex manages the Brooks College website and social media presence, provides communication support throughout the College, and coordinates the Supplemental Writing Skills and Lake Michigan Writing Project programs. Alex earned a B.A. from Michigan State University in Telecommunications, Information & Media Studies, as well as a CELTA ESL certificate from the British Side English Language School in Istanbul, Turkey. Alex has taught English in Turkey, worked in Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Denver, and manages his own photography business.

Honors College Hosts Alumni Panel

As part of the 10-Year Anniversary of the Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Learning Center, 75 students, faculty, staff, and community members attended the Fall 2018 Frederik Meijer Honors College lecture, "Live. Learn. Lead: The Honors Effect at Home and Abroad." Honors Faculty Chair, Coeli Fitzpatrick, facilitated a panel discussion among three Honors alumni, Juanita (Flores) Bocanegra ('97), Rachael (Voorhees) Orose ('04), and Lisa (Sharp) Patel ('89). The panelists shared meaningful activities they engaged in while at GVSU, how they conveyed the knowledge and skills gained through their interdisciplinary education in applications to jobs and graduate schools, and, ultimately, what they learned about leadership in the corporate, nonprofit, and professional sectors.

Faculty & Program Recognition

Peter Wampler, associate professor of geology and faculty-in-residence in honors, and Karen Zivi, associate professor of political science, honors college, were selected to share their research on the Academic Minute podcast.
C. "Griff" Griffin, professor of biology, wrote an article, "Camping Setbacks Near Waterbodies in Wilderness: Leave No Trace Messages and U.S. Forest Service Regulations," published in the International Journal of Wilderness.
The Kutsche Office of Local History collaborated with Native News Online to develop a photography exhibition, Standing Rock: Photographs of an Indigenous Movement, which displayed at the American Indian Center of Chicago, October 16 – November 9, 2018.
Amy McFarland, assistant professor of food and agricultural studies in the Fredrik Meijer Honors College and environmental studies, was appointed to the GVSU Standing Committee on Research Integrity.
Vandana Pednekar-Magal, chair of area and global studies, was recognized by the Mary Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center for her work this year as the Pew FTLC Faculty Associate.
Krista Benson, assistant professor of liberal studies, received a Catalyst Grant entitled, The Kids Who Aren't There: Native Child Removal Through Schooling, Foster Care, Adoption, and Juvenile Justice, from the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence.
Danielle Lake, assistant professor of liberal studies and coordinator of the Accelerated Leadership Program, received a Collaborative Grant entitled, Assessing the Long-Term Impact in Community-Based Learning Courses, from the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence.
The Wandering Seeds: Experiencing and Engaging Haiti Through Study Abroad exhibit was featured in the November 2018 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine.
Jae Basiliere, Lindsay Ellis, Coeli Fitzpatrick, Karen Gipson, Patrick Johnson, Danielle Lake, Melanie Rabine-Johnson, Rik Stevenson, Joel Stillerman, and Jane Toot presented at the sixth annual Teach-In: Power, Privilege, and Difficult Dialogues.

Upcoming Events

Design Thinking: Speaker Series

Ela Ben-Ur, an Olin College faculty member with over 20 years of design thinking experience, will present a series of talks and workshops on her design thinking framework, the Innovator's Compass.
Design Thinking & You
Tuesday, November 27, 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Mary Idema Pew Library, Multipurpose Room
Design Thinking in Life or School
Wednesday, November 28, 9:30 - 11:30 AM
Holton-Hooker, Multipurpose Room
Designing Better Experiences in Education and Healthcare
Wednesday, November 28, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
Seidman Forum, Pew Campus

Entering and Exiting Communities: Preparation and Reflection to Enhance Learning

Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 10:00 - 11:30 AM
Lake Ontario Hall, The Innovation Lab (Room 179)
Part three of the Office for Community Partnerships and Student Professional Development seminar series: Community-Based Learning. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP:

Sustainability Showcase

Friday, November 30, 2018, 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Kirkhof Center, Room 2215/2216
Learn about the exciting projects students have been working on this semester. Students from six different classes will be presenting or displaying their work, exploring a multitude of environmental and sustainability-related topics. Stay for a portion or for the entirety of the event. Snacks provided!

Faculty Mentoring Workshop

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Lake Ontario Hall, Room 167, 1:00 - 2:15 PM
Patty Stow Bolea, professor of social work, will facilitate a workshop on faculty mentor relationships. This event is open to all Brooks College faculty members.

Soup's On!

Monday, December 10 & Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Lake Ontario Hall, Room 225 (Gathering Room)
Please join Dean Hiskes and the Brooks College Dean’s Office at Soup's On! Come and share a cup of soup, dessert, and friendly conversation with colleagues.

Inclusion & Equity in Faculty Personnel Evaluations

Friday, January 11, 2019, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Kirkhof Center, Room 2270
The Brooks College Faculty Council invites you to a workshop presented by Dr. Malea Powell, Professor and Chair of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures at Michigan State University, and a faculty member in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. Dr. Powell will present on implicit bias in student evaluations. Lunch provided.

BRRR! (Big Reunion to Re-energize & Reconnect)

Monday, January 14, 2019
Kirkhof Center, Room 2204 (Pere Marquette Room); 11:45 AM - 2:00 PM
Save the date for this annual Brooks College event. Early bird raffle at 11:50 AM. Lunch provided!
Please contact Managing Editor, Alex Priebe, to submit stories for future issues.
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