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Grand Valley State University
Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
Message from the Dean
Congratulations and thanks to all Brooks College faculty and staff for another successful semester of teaching, mentoring, advising, and supporting our students! Special congratulations to all the new Brooks College graduates as well. Because of GVSU’s strong commitment to best practices in liberal education and the unique opportunities in Brooks College for integrative, interdisciplinary learning, I am confident that our new graduates leave Grand Valley and Brooks College well-prepared to shape their communities and professions.
So what are the unique opportunities in Brooks College? I like to think of Brooks College as characterized by four connected “I”s. Our programs, faculty, and staff cultivate Interdisciplinary thinking, Integration of the classroom with the community, Innovative problem-solving and Intercultural competence. These are strengths that the Brooks College faculty and staff have identified as distinctive of the College. I believe that these “I”s are inextricably linked and support each other. Excellence in each area requires respect for “different” ways of thinking or being, mental agility in perspective-taking, and ability to see connections between seemingly disparate frameworks. The pay-off occurs when the strengths of different perspectives are integrated into a coherent whole that is better than the sum of the isolated parts.  
Respect for different ways of thinking, mental agility in perspective-taking, and ability to see connections between seeming disparate frameworks are not cultivated in a Platonic world of abstract ideas. They are cultivated only in contexts of respectful, meaningful dialogue between real students with divergent points of view and by faculty and staff who model these skills for each other and for their students.
So why am I confident that the new Brooks College graduates are well-prepared to shape their communities and professions? Because the ultimate payoff of interdisciplinary thinking, integration of classroom with community, and intercultural competence is the ability to lead a diverse group of colleagues in collaboratively creating innovative solutions to problems that are important to a community or a profession. 
In this season of giving, I am grateful for the gifts that our graduates will bring to their communities and professions, and for the Brooks College faculty and staff who have empowered them.  
New SAP Academic Coordinator
Amy McFarland, assistant professor of Food and Agricultural Studies in the Frederik Meijer Honors College and Environmental Studies Program, was appointed to be the Academic Coordinator for the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP). As Academic Coordinator, McFarland will set the agendas and call meetings of the Sustainable Agriculture Project Advisory Council, help develop a vision for academic programs' engagement with the SAP, and work to realize this vision.  McFarland will also serve as the connecting point between the Advisory Council, Student Affairs, faculty teaching at the SAP, and other community partners at and outside of GVSU. Please welcome her into this new role!
Mangala Named Second Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse
Jack Mangala was introduced as the second Padnos/Sarosik professor of civil discourse on November 19 at a symposium at the Eberhard Center. Mangala is an associate professor of African and African American studies and political science. He plans to develop a course for the fall 2016 semester that focuses on global migration and the challenges and opportunities immigrants and refugees present for host communities. 
"The focus of the course, which fills a gap in Grand Valley's curriculum, is to engage students in a critical understanding of the global issues impacting migration such as poverty, human rights, conflicts and the environment," Mangala said. 
Brooks College Dean Anne Hiskes said the advisory board was drawn to Mangala's proposal because of the current discussions about immigration and crises in the Middle East.
"The civil discourse initiative provides a professional development opportunity for Grand Valley's faculty and enriches the curriculum," Hiskes said. "Jack's course on immigration and refugees will enrich the curriculum of area studies and provide new opportunities for students for meaningful, community-based learning and to develop leadership skills in facilitating dialogue around difficult issues."
Mangala is also charged with planning a community symposium for fall 2016. Mangala said the event's overarching theme will be to bring together stakeholders involved in immigrant and refugee integration to engage in dialogue and share strategies and experiences on how West Michigan can create welcoming communities for those populations.
Lisa Perhamus, assistant professor of education, served as the inaugural Padnos/Sarosik Professor for Civil Discourse. Her focus was public dialogues in Detroit and leaders who are doing successful revitalization work.
Kutsche Office Receives Grant
The Kutsche Office of Local History received a $11,500 Common Heritage Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to collect oral histories of Michigan migrant workers.
The office will work in partnership with the Oceana County Hispanic Center and the Oceana County Historical and Genealogical Society, in addition to Grand Valley's History and Latin American Studies departments. The grant will be matched by Grand Valley for a project totaling $23,000.
Melanie Shell-Weiss, director of the Kutsche Office of Local History, said the project, "Growing Community: A Century of Migration in Oceana County," will build on work completed by Andy Schlewitz, assistant professor of Latin American studies and political science, and Nora Salas, assistant professor of history, to collect oral histories and digitize photos and materials from migrant families. Professors Schlewitz and Salas will continue to be included until the end of the project.
Michigan has the fifth largest migrant population in the country, yet Shell-Weiss said young children in Oceana County know little of their families' histories and are less likely to see themselves as community members, despite having deep roots in the area through multiple generations.
"Non-Latino residents are also less likely to understand the deep history of their Latino neighbors or their shared community ties," Shell-Weiss said. "For these reasons, the opportunity to invite Latino community members — migrant and year-round — to preserve their oral histories and photographs would be of tremendous benefit to Oceana County."
The NEH announced its Common Heritage Grants on December 14 to support projects that preserve heritage and promote scholarly discoveries. "We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees, who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans," said William D. Adams, NEH chair.
Oceana County collections would begin in June and materials shared with families and individuals who participate.
The Kutsche Office recently completed an oral history collection of Latino residents in Holland. An exhibition, "Nuestra Comunidad Hispana," will remain up through December at the Herrick District Library in Holland.
Faculty, Staff, and Student Successes
Craig Benjamin, professor of History in the Frederik Meijer Honors College and director of Big History, gave two presentations titled “Educating for Global Engagement” and “Big History and Liberal Education” at the Globalistics 2015 Conference at Moscow State University, convened to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Benjamin was also inducted as an honorary member of the faculty of the Department of Global Studies at Moscow State University. 
Wendy A. Burns-Ardolino, department chair and associate professor of Liberal Studies, published a book, TV Female Foursomes and Their Fans: Featuring The Golden Girls, Designing Women, Living Single, Sex and the City, Girlfriends, Cashmere Mafia and Hot in Cleveland. The book is published by McFarland & Company, Inc. 
Jonathan Cook, an Honors College student and a double major in Finance and Accounting, completed a training to join the Epicenter’s University Innovation Fellows team. This national program, which is directed by Stanford University and VentureWell, provides the foundational skills in order to prepare students to become leaders in areas of entrepreneurship, creativity, design thinking, innovation and campus engagement. Jonathan joins current GVSU Fellows, Leah Bauer and Kathryn Christopher. 
Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty Danielle DeMuth and Ayana Weekley, and head of instructional services for University Libraries Mary O'Kelly, gave a presentation, “Integrating and Assessing Information Literacy across the WGS Curriculum: a Faculty/Librarian Collaboration,” at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  
Lindsay M. Ellis, associate professor of English, director of Writing Across the Curriculum and Faculty Writing Support, and director of the Lake Michigan Writing Project, published an article, "A critique of the ubiquity of the Toulmin model in argumentative writing instruction in the U.S.A." in Scrutinizing Argumentation in Practice published by John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Gamal Gasim, associate professor of Middle East Studies and political science, published an article titled “The Battle for Taiz” in Al Jazeera. 
Chandler Katkic, a 2015 Liberal Studies graduate, accepted the position of Medical Economics Analyst at Trinity Health. Chandler says, “the Brooks College professional series and the executive committee gave me the confidence and networking experience I needed to enter into the workforce."
Danielle Lake, assistant professor of Liberal Studies, was invited to present “Redefining Success: Lessons from Design Thinking to Meet Real World Needs” at the VentureWell Open Conference, hosted in Portland, Oregon.
Diane Maodush-Pitzer, affiliate professor of Liberal Studies and Religous Studies, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on Monday, November 9, 2015. Diane's dissertation is titled Voices of Persistence: Stories of Success from One Urban Public Charter High School
Kimberly McKee, assistant professor of Liberal Studies, was featured on Chicago Public Radio’s Worldview program as part of their segment on adoption and immigration. Click here to listen to the segment.  
Louis Moore, associate professor of History and coordinator of African/African American Studies, was interviewed by the Huffington Post for a story about the University of Missouri football team protest over racial incidents. 
Gabrielle Pattie, a Middle East Studies minor, was awarded the student travel fellowship sponsored by the National Council on US-Arab Relations for an all-expenses paid educational trip to Qatar hosted by the government of Qatar.  
Noreen Savage, administrative assistant for the Brooks College Dean's Office, gave the presentation "Quick and Dirty Storytelling: A Practical Approach to Pithy Presentations" at the Toastmasters 2015 Fall Conference. 
Mark Schaub, chief international officer of the Padnos International Center, was interviewed by WOOD-AM, WZZM-TV, and WGVU Public Media for stories about study abroad trends and student participation.
Patrick Fuliang Shan, East Asian Studies coordinator and associate professor of history served as co-editor of a book, Ethnic China: Identity, Assimilation, and Resistance, published by Lexington and Rowman & Littlefield.  
David Stark, professor of History and Latin American Studies, gave a presentation, "Moving from the Sugar Plantation to the Hato Economy: A New Look at Slavery and Slave Life in the Eighteenth-Century Spanish Caribbean," at the Fourth Conference on Ethnicity, Race, and Indigenous Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean in Richmond, Virginia.
Judy Whipps, professor of Liberal Studies and Philosophy, was invited to speak at Highland Community College in Illinois. The title of her talk was “Jane Addams: Why Her Vision is Vital Today.”
Jonathan White, professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Honors and executive director of the Homeland Defense Initiativewas interviewed by WXMI-TV for a story about the Syrian refugees and by Wiener Zeitung newspaper in Austria for a story about the Paris terrorist attacks. 
University Service Awards
45 Years
Sheldon Kopperl, Liberal Studies and Biomedical Sciences
25 Years
Susan Swartzlander, Honors College

20 Years
Shawntain Jenkins, Center for Adult and Continuing Studies

10 Years
Norman Christopher, Office of Sustainability Practices
Tina Lee, Center for Adult and Continuing Studies
Sebastian Maisel, Middle East Studies and Modern Languages and Literatures
Lisa Miller, Center for Adult and Continuing Studies
Noreen Savage, Brooks College Dean's Office
Heather Walker, Center for Adult and Continuing Studies