April 2022 Newsletter
April 2022 Newsletter
Grand Valley State University
Headshot of Mark Schaub, Dean of Brooks College

       Dean's Message

      "April" by Mary Oliver
I wanted to speak at length about
The happiness of my body and the
Delight of my mind for it was
April, a night, a full moon and-
But something in myself for maybe
From somewhere other said: not too
Many words, please, in the muddy shallows the
                                                      Frogs are singing.           
For those of us who work in higher education, there is so much that demands our attention this time of year. A run-up to finals and final presentations. A crescendo of term papers, due dates, and grading. The urgent pull of administrative matters needing to be settled by the close of the academic year.
Amidst these stresses, the concurrent awakenings in our natural surroundings are a sort of reward. For many of us, that might be bird and amphibian songs at the extremes of our day. For others, the moonrise in pink sky over Lot M. For me, you cannot beat the progression of music with each warming week: Chorus frogs. Spring peepers. Wood frogs. May.
Mark Schaub signature

Mark Schaub
Dean of Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
Civil Discourse Symposium event pictures
Civil Discourse
Annual Symposium

Brooks College and the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse co-hosted the 8th annual Civil Discourse Symposium on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022. The event was held simultaneously online and in person at the Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids. This year the theme was "Bridging Divides: Encouraging Dialogue with Radical Empathy." The event featured keynote speaker Dr. Terri Givens, Professor at McGill University.
"What was exciting to me about this year's symposium was it was both the first time we had been in person since Covid, and it was also the first time since the Padnos/Sarosik program had become a center. And it was also the first time it was both in person and online," said Professor Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, the current Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse. Professor Lisa Perhamus, Director of the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse, agreed.  "We were established as a program in 2013, and launched as a center in August 2021. We never had a big opening ceremony due to Covid. The symposium was meant to be our big splash."  
The hybrid format garnered excellent attendance both in person and virtually, with nearly 200 in attendance. The event featured 15 facilitators in person, while Professor Perhamus facilitated the online discussions. President Philomena Mantella was in attendance and gave introductory comments. Many other GVSU administrators also attended, along with Carol Sarosik, one of the center's founders. Carol, together with Shelley Padnos, founded the center after experiencing the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and recognizing the importance of addressing intolerance and finding ways to discuss the differences that make us human.
Dr. Terri Givens spoke about her life experience, her book Radical Empathy, and outlined a method for engaging in radical empathy. The evening was structured to balance the time between engaging in discussion at the tables, pulling the focus back to the speaker for dialogue about the issues being discussed, and a Q&A session. Dr. Givens emphasized the importance of engaging in vulnerable personal sharing, deep living, being grounded in who you are, and then from there, working with others to make meaningful change.
"We tried to have different points of view and perspective," said Professor Lowenstein. "We drew from students in last semester's class, two students who had very different life experiences, and very different persectives on Dr. Givens' message."        
The symposium was an impressive showcase of what the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse is aiming to accomplish. The center offers many services that revolve around helping our community have successful dialogue around difference. The center staff are able to cater to the needs of the individuals or groups they are working with. They are able to facilitate and moderate conversations, workshops, or trainings between individuals or groups. The center is a free resource for those on campus such as students, faculty, staff, student organizations, or departments. The center staff do workshops and trainings for those in the community as well. There will also be a new class offering for the upcoming Fall 2022 semester, a one credit Civil Discourse class.  
The next Civil Discourse Symposium will be held in November 2022. Further details will be released in the fall. You can get involved, take action, or just stay up to date on all of the amazing work being done in the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse by visiting gvsu.edu/civildiscourse/.  
Civil Discourse Annual Symposium event photos
Civil Discourse Symposium event pictures
Civil Discourse event pictures

Winter 2022 Sustainability Showcase

Our Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENS) Program students had the opportunity to display and share the hard work that they have put in over the Winter 2022 semester. The showcase featured the research projects, innovative designs, sustainability assessments, and community-engaged partnerships that they have developed. From March 27th through April 2nd, the projects were available for all to view online. On Friday April 1st, students presented their projects in the Kirkhof Center's Grand River Room. 
Project topics included issues such as sustainable food systems and schooling, waste reduction, the Sustainable Agriculture Project Event Barn, protecting bees, microgreen set-up at the Sustainable Agriculture Project, recycling education, climate change opinions, and plastic bag reduction, bans, and alternatives.
2022 Sustainability Champion Awards were also presented during the showcase. These awards are to recognize those students and staff for their outstanding contributions to sustainability efforts within the university community. The list of winners can be viewed on the Sustainability website.  
Winter 2022 Sustainability Showcase presentations

Social Innovation Graduate Program  

The Social Innovation Graduate Program will be holding two virtual events in April. On Wednesday April 13th, from 6:00 pm-8:15 pm, students, faculty, and friends of the Social Innovation Graduate Program are invited to join the students of SI 693/696 as they present and defend their final master's projects. Following each presentation, there will be a question and answer session. On Wednesday April 20th, from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm, the students of SI 690 will present their research design proposals. Following the presentations, there will be an opportunity to ask questions and share feedback. We hope to see you online to witness the hard work of these amazing students!

Please RSVP to receive the zoom link for these virtual events: 

Master's Project Presentations 4/13/22 - RSVP at: gvsu.edu/iris/siwinter
Research Design Showcase 4/20/22 - RSVP at:  gvsu.edu/iris/si690

Reminder:  Blackboard Migration  

Beginning Tuesday May 3rd, at 3:00 pm EDT, Blackboard will be offline and unavailable until the morning of Sunday May 8th for the LMS migration. Your Blackboard courses and organizations will remain the same, along with everything you can access now. Our classic Blackboard portal will update the new Ultra Base Navigation (UBN). This will affect how you find your courses and organizations. 
Please view this video for a sneak peek of the new LMS portal. You may also learn more at the LMS migration website.  

End of Semester Reminders

LIFT student evaluation surveys will be available to students during the last two weeks of the semester. To encourage high response rates, instructors are expected to set aside 15 minutes of class time for students to complete the surveys. More information about the LIFT system, including short videos that can be shown in class, can be found at gvsu.edu/lift.
Examination Week is April 25 - 30. As outlined in Shared Governance policies, faculty should hold a culminating experience for each course they teach during the scheduled examination week. Final exam information is available on the Registrar's website.

Faculty and Staff Updates

Mary Williford is now full-time support staff, splitting her time between the Kutsche Office of Local History and the Area and Global Studies department.  
Maureen Strand has joined the Brooks College Dean's Office staff as the new office coordinator.

Maureen Strand

Maureen Strand has joined the Brooks College Dean's Office as the new office coordinator. She comes to Brooks from the GVSU Payroll department. She looks forward to meeting all the wonderful people in Brooks College and getting to know everyone. Maureen is taking over a position previously held by Alex Priebe, so she will be the point of contact if you have any news, events, or stories you would like featured in the Brooks College monthly newsletter, or on the Brooks College social media. She can also assist Brooks College units with marketing or events.  
Maureen has lived in Allendale for over 6 years. She is originally from the Kalamazoo area. She and her husband Robert have been married for 17 years, and they have a 13 year old daughter named Lily who is a very talented artist and an 11 year old son named James who wants to be an engineer when he grows up. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, enjoying Lake Michigan at all times of the year, writing, and nail art. She is passionate about being a lifetime learner, and very proud to be a part of the GVSU Laker family!


Azfar Hussain, interim director of the Graduate Program in Social Innovation and professor in the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies (IRIS) department, authored three public pieces titled “Michael Madhusudan Datta: Rebellion, Resistance, Rupture”; “Jibanananda Das: Tropes, Tensions, Tendencies”; and “Jasim Uddin: More Than a Pastoral Poet” that appeared in The Daily Star. He was also a featured speaker at an online event organized by Indiana University Northwest and Purdue University Northwest to celebrate the "International Mother Language Day" on 21 February, 2022; while he delivered a plenary address titled “The Language Movement of 1952: Some Conceptual Constellations and Unresolved Questions” at an international conference on language and representation organized by the University of Liberal Arts-Bangladesh on February 25, 2022.
Crystal Scott-Tunstall, professor and internship coordinator in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENS) program, was featured for Black History Month as a local Black STEM leader by STEM Greenhouse Grand Rapids. Her spotlight feature appeared on the STEM Greenhouse Grand Rapids facebook page.  
Cáel M. Keegan, professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Liberal Studies, has been featured on GV Next for his work as a Fulbright Scholar. GVSU is among the nation's leaders in Fulbright Scholars. Read more on GV Next.
Peter Wampler, professor of geology in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, published an article titled "Karst aquifers and water resource contamination in Haiti" in the Hydrogeology Journal. This article has been several years in the making, and will be a part of a special issue centered on Haiti. 
Christine A. Yared, adjunct professor in IRIS department and Grand Rapids attorney, authored an article titled "Representing transgender clients" in the February 2022 edition of the Michigan Bar Journal.  
Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, professor of multimedia journalism and freelance investigative journalist, co-authored an article titled "Dying for Care" published in USA Today. It started with a deep analysis of the nation's more than 15,000 nursing homes to see how they performed during a winter surge of COVID infections and deaths that started in late 2020. In addition, this article has been cited by health policy advisors to President Joe Biden as the administration considers nursing home reform. This investigation came on the heels of another article that Lowenstein co-authored for USA Today in 2019 that addressed reverse mortgages, eventually leading to a hearing on Capitol Hill that drew on those findings.
New baby Marlowe Sky Eddens

New baby!

Congratulations to Aaron Eddens, assistant professor in Area and Global Studies, and his wife Emily on the birth of their baby girl Marlowe Sky Eddens!
Marlowe Sky was born on Friday, February 18th 2022.  


Malia Kah, a Global Studies and Social Impact major with junior standing, has been selected as a finalist for the Truman Scholarship. She is one of 189 scholarship finalists out of over 700 applicants.  Kah's position as a finalist is both a personal accomplishment and one that draws national recognition.  CSCE Associate Director Brenda Tooley nominated Malia and was instrumental in her application process.  Read more about her in the Lanthorn article which covered her achievement!
Santos Ramos, professor in the IRIS department, has been awarded a prestigious grant from the WK Kellogg Foundation for his project titled, “Making Mexican History in Battle Creek.”
Peter Wampler, professor of geology in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, has been awarded a Pew FTLC Teaching Innovation Grant for his project titled, “Experiential Learning – Water in the West Course and Itinerary Development.”
Maureen Wolverton, academic program coordinator in the IRIS department Melanie Shell-Weiss, associate dean of Brooks College, and University Libraries faculty member Gayle Schaub have been awarded a Pew FTLC Teaching Innovation Grant for their project “SMART Lab:  A collaborative effort between the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Center for Undergraduate Scholar Engagement.”
Krista Benson, assistant department chair and professor in the IRIS department, has been awarded a CSCE Grant for their project titled "Adoption, Foster Care, and Reproductive Justice."


Faculty Calendar

April 23: Winter Semester ends
April 25 - April 30: Examination week
April 30: Semester Ends
May 3: Grades Due from Faculty by 12:00 pm
May 30: Memorial Day recess
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