ALP wins national award, faculty & staff updates, new calendar, and more!
ALP wins national award, faculty & staff updates, new calendar, and more!
Grand Valley State University

Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
2018 - 2019 Newsletter, Issue 5

Message from Dean Hiskes

Brooks College faculty and staff welcomed the new semester with the College’s traditional Winter Semester kick-off that is fondly called, “The BRRR." As you may recall, “BRRR” stands for “Big Reunion to Reconnect and Reenergize." Jeff Kelly Lowenstein’s talk, “Fake News: Its Use by Authoritarian Rulers and It’s implications for Democratic Societies,” reenergized us by reminding us of the important role we all play as educators in protecting democracy by teaching critical thinking and research skills.

In my own remarks at the BRRR, I recalled President Emeritus Don Lubbers’ vision that Grand Valley be a force for democracy, not only in West Michigan, but around the globe. Essential to this vision is not only a focus on the traditional values of the liberal arts, but also cultivation of community connections around shared values, personal relationships of respect and caring among faculty, staff, and students, and a sense of service to something greater than oneself – namely a sense of service to the human family. These are conditions under which democracy flourishes.

Imagine, if you will, a time of year when “BRRR” has much more meaning than a kick-off event in Brooks College; a time of the year when night-time temperatures are in single digits and the bone-chilling wind in Allendale whips around the pond by Zumberge. Imagine that it comes to your attention that some GVSU students do not have the means to own a warm winter coat. What would you do?

I know what some Brooks College faculty and staff did in the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration and service to the human family, with colleagues across campus rapidly joining in. They started a coat drive! Here is their story:

On a chilly Friday morning in early November, Brooks College Associate Dean Karen Gipson learned during a meeting that some GVSU students were without winter coats. Later that day, she began collaborating with Jen Jameslyn, Director of the Brooks College Office of Integrative Learning and Advising (ILA), to organize a coat drive. ILA agreed to collect and house the coats and Sharalle Arnold of the Center for Women and Gender Equity agreed to use the contact network of the campus food bank, Replenish, to advertise this initiative to students. Anita Benes of ILA created a flyer to solicit donations and sent it to all Brooks College faculty and the managing editor of Brooks College for inclusion in the monthly newsletter.

Shortly thereafter, Brian Hatzel, faculty member in the Movement Science Department and Director of the Student Success Network, joined the collaborative effort by arranging for a student group to set up and maintain collection bins at various locations across campus: Campus Recreation, Brooks College and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences advising centers, the Movement Science House, and the libraries on both campuses.

An updated flyer with all these new partners made its way to Senate Chair Felix Ngassa to share with the University Academic Senate, while Hatzel sent the flyer to selected administrators. Hatzel arranged with Campus Recreation to allow members of the student group to launder the coats for free, and Gipson committed to take care of dry-cleaning coats that couldn’t be washed. To date, over 100 coats have been collected and 25 coats have been distributed to students.

Creative problem-solving, critical thinking, working in diverse teams, coming together around a shared purpose in service of the human family – these are the outcomes we teach our students by example and how a quality liberal education serves democracy.

Accelerated Leadership Program Wins National Award!

Brooks College is proud to announce that the Accelerated Leadership Program (ALP) in the Liberal Studies major has won the Outstanding Adult Learner Program Award from NAPSA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The award is given in recognition of an outstanding program within a higher education institution that provides exceptional support—characterized by a collection of creative methods—to undergraduate adult learners. Nominees for this award are innovative in areas that break new ground in serving adult learners, raise substantial awareness in the surrounding community, and/or make an exceptional impact. Danielle Lake, Coordinator of the ALP, will receive the award on behalf of the program at the 2019 NAPSA Annual Conference on March 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Faculty & Staff Updates

The following Brooks College faculty and staff have generously agreed to serve the College and University in new or continuing leadership roles. Thanks and congratulations to these individuals.

C. “Griff” Griffin, Director of the GVSU General Education Program and Professor of Biology, has been reappointed to another three-year term as Director of General Education beginning August 6, 2019. Her work as Director was strongly affirmed by stakeholders through an anonymous survey. Griff has served as Director of General Education since 2005 and on the Steering Committee for HLC Accreditation since 2006. She deserves special recognition for her leadership in developing a successful HLC Quality Assurance Argument for University-wide student learning outcomes.

Yumi Jakobcic has been promoted to the position of Director of the Office for Sustainability Practices effective January 1, 2019, after previously serving as the GVSU Campus Sustainability Coordinator. An alum of Grand Valley (Natural Resources Management), Yumi returned to her undergraduate alma mater in 2014 after earning a Masters from Duke University in Environmental Management and serving for over five years as the Executive Director of the Winooski Valley Parks District in Burlington, Vermont. Yumi is completing a doctoral degree in natural resources at the University of Vermont.

Kim McKee, Director of the Kutsche Office of Local History and Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, has been reappointed to a second three-year term as the Kutsche Office Director beginning August 6, 2019. Kim’s leadership of the Kutsche Office received rave reviews from both campus and community partners. During her time as Director, Kim received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a collaborative “Stories of Summer” project and a Third Coast Conversations Grant from the Michigan Council for the Humanities. These are just a few highlights from her first term as Director.

Andrea Riley-Mukavetz, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, has agreed to serve as Acting Coordinator of the Intercultural Training Certificate and Badge (ITC) while Joel Wendland is on sabbatical. Andrea regularly teaches in the ITC program. Her scholarly interests focus on indigenous rhetorical practice and include explorations of community-based research using an indigenous framework and the role of storytelling among American Indian women in theorizing their roles and responsibilities.

Lisa Perhamus, Associate Professor of Educational Foundations and current Inclusion & Equity Faculty Associate, has accepted an appointment as the inaugural Director of the Padnos/Sarosik Civil Discourse Program. Lisa joined the Civil Discourse Program in 2013 as the Inaugural Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse and has been an active member of the Civil Discourse Advisory Board ever since. Her teaching and research interests include Civil Discourse, issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality, marginalized narratives, and urban education.

Thanks are due to the Civil Discourse screening and selection committee: Former Mayor George Heartwell, Kristin Moretto, Carol Sarosik, and Darren Walhof.

Jerry Stinnet, Assistant Professor Writing, will assume the position of Director of Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) beginning Fall 2019. Jerry came to GVSU in fall 2018 after serving as Director of First Year Writing and Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at Duquesne University and Co-Director of First Year Writing Program at the University of Oklahoma. Jerry is particularly interested in writing-related learning transfer and composition history. Jerry replaces Lindsay Ellis, Associate Professor of English, who has served in this role for the past five years. Thank you Lindsay for your excellent leadership as Director of SWS and WAC.

A special thanks to members of the SWS/WAC search committee: Karen Gipson (Associate Dean), Patrick Johnson (Writing Center), Debbie Morrow (Inclusion Advocate from University Libraries), Rob Rozema (English), and Amy Ferdinandt Stolley (Writing).

Kayla Wheeler, Assistant Professor of African/African American Studies (AAA) and Digital Studies, has been appointed to a three-year term as Coordinator for the AAA program in the Department of Area and Global Studies beginning Fall 2019. Kayla joined the Brooks College faculty in Fall 2018 after a year as a Visiting Scholar at Boston University. Her teaching and research interests include Islam and gender, Black performativity, and material religion. She is currently working on a book, Fashioning Black Islam. Kayla replaces Ayana Weekley who is currently serving as the AAA Interim Coordinator.

Website Update: New Faculty & Staff Calendar

The Brooks College website now features a new faculty and staff calendar. The calendar is designed as a comprehensive collection of all Brooks College internal and public events to help coordinate event scheduling throughout the college. The calendar can be accessed from the Faculty & Staff tab of the main navigation menu, and at (Note, if the calendar is not visible, switch to a different browser such as Chrome or Firefox.) To add an event to the calendar, please email event details to Alex Priebe or Nicole Brower.

Coats for Students

More than 100 coats have been collected in the ongoing drive to support Grand Valley students who need a winter coat. The coats are available to GVSU students from the Brooks College Office of Integrative Learning and Advising, in partnership with Replenish. A variety of sizes and styles are available at 133 Lake Michigan Hall.

Coat donations will be accepted throughout the winter semester. To donate a new or gently used coat, please email or visit a drop-off location as listed on the Brooks College website.

Interdisciplinary Salon: Funding Update

The Interdisciplinary Salon Proposal Review Committee has modified the terms of the funding request deadlines to allow for more funds to be distributed each semester. For priority funding consideration, applications are due by the deadlines posted on the Interdisciplinary Salon website. Any remaining funds will be distributed throughout the semester with applications being accepted on a rolling basis.

Grant Application Deadlines Extended

Due to last week's campus closures, the application deadlines have been extended for two grants:
  • The Community Collaboration Grant, from the Kutsche Office of Local History, is available for local history projects involving students and a community partner. Previous awardees were Professor Kate Remlinger (English) and Assistant Professor Marilyn Preston (Liberal Studies). Apply by Monday, February 11, 2019, on the Kutsche Office of Local History website.

  • Sustainable Agriculture Place-Based Project Grants, from the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP), are available to faculty who wish to collaborate with students to study the systems in place at the Luce Street SAP farm site. Past projects have focused on tree planting and volunteer attitudes, biomass production and the effects of willow cultivation and identifying species of bacteria on certain plants. Apply by Monday, February 11, 2019 on the SAP website.

Faculty Recognition

Craig Benjamin, Professor of History in Honors, delivered five lectures on an eight-day luxury cruise throughout the Caribbean. The cruise ship stopped at seven islands and Craig lectured on the big history of each port of call as well as the Caribbean generally.
Wendy Burns-Ardolino, Professor of Liberal Studies and Graduate Program Director of the Professional Masters of Arts in Social Innovation, published an article, "Badass Athena Triathletes: Athletic Performativity and Embodiment," in Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society.
Roger Gilles, Director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College, was featured in Dagens Nyheter, a leading newspaper in Stockholm, Sweden. The article, "Tillie the Terrible Swede: How Sweden's First Female Sports Star Was Forgotten," was a story about Roger's recent book, Women on the Move: The Forgotten Era of Women’s Bicycle Racing.
Azfar Hussain, Associate Professor of Liberal Studies, gave a lecture, "Colonial Modernity and Bengali Poetry," at Rabindra Bharati University in West Bengal, India.
Kim McKee, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies and Director of the Kutsche Office of Local History,  edited a special issue of Adoption & Culture, devoted to "Ends of Korean Adoption," and published a scholarly book review of Selling Transracial Adoption: Families, Markets, and the Color Line by Elizabeth Raleigh in Adoption & Culture Vol. 6, No. 2.
Andrea Riley-Mukavetz, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, was appointed Co-Managing Editor of Constellations: A Cultural Rhetorics Publishing Space, an online scholarly publication.
Jane Toot, Professor of Physical Therapy in Honors, was featured on the WOOD-TV segment, "'Saging and Aging' Class Bridges Generation Gap," about her section of HNR 201, Live. Learn. Lead.
Kayla Wheeler, Assistant Professor of Area and Global Studies and Digital Studies, gave a presentation, “Clothes of Righteousness: Black American Muslim Women Disrupting the Beauty Hierarchy,” at the University of Maryland Baltimore County as part of the Arab and Muslim Experiences in the U.S. speaker series.

Upcoming Events

Stories of Summer Exhibit Reception

Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
Mary Idema Pew Library, Multipurpose Room
The Kutsche Office of Local History will facilitate a workshop on how to start your own history harvest from start to finish and share best practices. Participants are encouraged to bring their oral history collection experiences and questions on how to preserve and make accessible the histories of their community members. Organizations interested in potentially working with the Kutsche Office on a history harvest are encouraged to attend.

Sabbatical Showcase & Book Launch Celebration

Monday, February 11, 2019, 1:30 - 3:30 PM
Lake Ontario Hall, Interdisciplinary Salon (Room 163)
Join us for a special Brooks College celebration featuring presentations from:
  • Craig Benjamin, Professor of History in Honors: his book, Empires of Ancient Eurasia: The First Silk Roads Era, 100 BCE–250 CE.
  • Jeremiah Cataldo, Associate Professor of History in Honors: his book, A Social-Political History of Monotheism: From Judah to the Byzantines.
  • Roger Gilles, Professor of Writing and Director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College: his book, Women on the Move: The Forgotten Era of Women’s Bicycle Racing.
  • Cáel Keegan, Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Liberal Studies: his book, Lana and Lilly Wachowski: Sensing Transgender.
  • Jack Mangala, Professor of Area and Global Studies, and Political Science: his book, Africa and its Global Diaspora: The Policy and Politics of Emigration.
  • Kim McKee, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies and Director of the Kutsche Office of Local History: her book, Disrupting Kinship: Transnational Politics of Korean Adoption in the United States.

"The Myth of Ancient Sectarian Hatreds: What's Really Driving Conflict in the Middle East Today?" A Guest Talk by Danny Postel, Assistant Director of the Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern University

Monday, February 11, 2019, 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Kirkhof Center, Pere Marquette (Room 2204)
The Area & Global Studies Department will host Danny Postel, Assistant Director of the Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern University, for a guest talk titled, "The Myth of Ancient Sectarian Hatreds: What's Really Driving Conflict in the Middle East Today?" The current turmoil in the Middle East is said to be entrenched in ancient sectarian hatreds. Postel challenges this dominant narrative circulating in the media and policy circles as “deeply orientalist,” and offers a set of rigorous alternative explanations linking Western policies to the deepening conflict in the region.

12th Annual Faculty Awards Convocation

Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 4:00 PM
DeVos Center, Loosemore Auditorium
The Faculty Awards Convocation is held each February to honor the outstanding contributions of our faculty. Awards are presented to long-standing faculty who are celebrating important milestones (25, 30, 35, 40, and 45 years) in their career. University awards are also presented for excellence in teaching in and outside of the classroom, scholarship that advances the professions and helps society, inspiring mentoring to aid our students successfully along their way, and dedicated service to the campus and larger community. A reception immediately follows the ceremony, with special music provided by the Lee Cronbach Trio, featuring GVSU faculty.

Black Islam in American, Keynote Presentation from Kayla Wheeler

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 12:00 PM
Kirkhof Center, Room 2263
Kayla Wheeler will be giving the keynote presentation on Black Islam in America. Hosted by the Kaufman Interfaith Institute in partnership with the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Faculty Conversations with the Provost

Provost Cimitile will host a series of open conversations for faculty throughout the Winter semester.  Please join the Provost to discuss what's on your mind. Mark your calendar and attend one or as many of the sessions as your schedule allows:
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2:00 - 3:30 PM
    240 Center for Health Sciences - Health Campus

  • Thursday, March 21, 2:00 - 3:30 PM
    3000 Zumberge Hall - Allendale Campus
Please contact managing editor, Alex Priebe, to submit stories for future issues.
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