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Grand Valley State University

Update from the Dean

With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, I’ve started thinking about the many people and things for which I am grateful, not the least being the opportunity for a few vacation days with family members in connection with the holiday. I am grateful to be here at GVSU and working with such creative and committed faculty and staff. Believe it or not, I am also grateful for Grand Valley’s serious institutional culture of strategic planning and assessment that keeps the institution on an upward path of innovative and high quality programs. I hope that Brooks College faculty and staff share this attitude and will participate in updating the College’s 2010-2015 strategic plan by providing input on the recommendations of the Brooks College Strategic Plan Task Force. Faculty and staff will be receiving an invitation to provide input through a Blackboard site.

I have come to appreciate the value of thoughtful strategic plans that are aligned in mission, values, goals, and objectives at the levels of the University, the Colleges and Divisions, and the individual departments and programs as they are at GVSU. Compared to other institutions around the country and in Michigan, GVSU has grown and flourished during the recession that began in 2008, adding new faculty and programs. GVSU faculty and staff did not experience the furloughs, out-of-state travel bans, hiring freezes, frozen salaries, program cuts, and demoralization that faculty and staff at many other institutions experienced. I believe that an important factor in GVSU’s ability to flourish in spite of a difficult financial environment was its serious culture of strategic planning and assessment which engendered an intentional unity and focus of purpose throughout all divisions of the institution in advancing core values and providing the most relevant, rigorous, and impactful student learning experiences as possible.

As you probably know, GVSU has recently begun the process of developing a new university strategic plan for 2015-2020 as a successor to the 2010-2015 plan. Crucial to the success of any strategic plan is the imaginative input and expertise of faculty and staff in setting goals guided by core values and proposing creative strategies. This past week we were all invited to provide preliminary input on vision and goals to the university strategic planning committee and I was pleased to participate. This week Brooks College faculty and staff will be invited to provide input on refining and updating the College’s strategic plan in terms of goals, objectives, and strategies for 2014- 2015. I am grateful for your ideas and commitment to ensuring that the College is a vibrant and supportive community for faculty, staff, and students.

Best wishes for the Thanksgiving break and time with family and friends.

First Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse Announced

Lisa Perhamus, Assistant Professor of Education, has been named the first Padnos/Sarosik Professor of Civil Discourse. Dr. Perhamus will be formally recognized at the inaugural lecture of the Endowed Professorship to be held on November 20 at 4:30 p.m. in the Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium at the Richard M. DeVos Center.

Read more about Dr. Perhamus and the Endowed Professorship, given by donors Shelley Padnos and Carol Sarosik, here.

Jack Lessenberry on Civil Discourse

On Wednesday, November 20, Jack Lessenberry, head of the journalism faculty at Wayne State University, will present the inaugural lecture of the Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professorship of Civil Discourse.  The lecture titled "Now More Than Ever: Civil Discourse in an Age of Ranting" will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium at the Richard M. DeVos Center. Please attend and encourage your students to come, too! LIB 100/201 approved, with RSVP's accepted online.

Town Hall Meetings on Student Evaluations of Teaching

University Academic Senate is hosting a series of Town Hall Meetings to discuss the adoption of a standardized measure for student evaluations of teaching. At its November 1 meeting, the Executive Committee of the Senate voted to adopt a standardized measure for student evaluations of teaching across the University, but faculty input is needed prior to sending any recommendation forward to the larger University Academic Senate body for a vote.

Faculty are invited to attend any of the following meetings:

  • Friday, Nov 15, 12-2 p.m. in KC 2204
  • Tuesday, Nov 19, 2-4 p.m. in DEV 136E
  • Friday, Dec 6, 9-11 a.m. in KC 2263

Background materials and information about IDEA (the standardized measure that the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center Advisory Committee recommends) have been placed on a secure website for your review. Please read these ahead of attending the Town Hall Meeting, or review those materials and send your thoughts to your Brooks College representatives, Wendy Burns-Ardolino or Azfar Hussein.

International Students Featured on WGVU

Each month, a Brooks College program is featured on WGVU's Shelley Irwin show. This month's program will focus on the Padnos International Center and feature international students talking about their experiences at GVSU. Tune in at FM 88.5 or 95.3 on Wednesday, November 20 at 9:30 a.m.

This fall GVSU saw record numbers of international students. There are currently 378 international students representing 82 countries studying at GVSU.

The interview takes place during International Education Week, a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education that celebrates international education and exchange worldwide. GVSU and the Padnos International Center will participate this year by putting on a series of events/programming throughout the week of November 18-22.

A New Name & New Opportunities

As of November 1, and per approval of the Provost, Continuing Education is now known as the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies.

The new name better reflects the work being done by the unit. In addition to providing degree completion, professional development and lifelong learning opportunities along the lakeshore in Holland, Muskegon and Traverse City, the Center will be launching a new accelerated degree completion program for adults in Grand Rapids. This accelerated program will enable cohorts of adult students who have completed some college to finish a degree with a Liberal Studies major.

For more information about the Center or ways you can connect with Adult and Continuing Studies, please contact Simone Jonaitis.

Soup's On!

In appreciation of all your hard work this semester, please join Dean Hiskes and the Brooks College Dean's office for a bowl of hot soup! Soup and dessert will be available from December 9 through December 11 from 10:30-1:30 p.m. in 225 Lake Ontario Hall.

Faculty and Staff Successes

Bradley S. Ambrose, Professor of Physics in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, gave a presentation, “Using Research to Investigate and Enhance Learning in Upper-Division Mechanics,” at a Physics Education Research Seminar hosted by Purdue University.  

Craig Benjamin, Associate Professor of History in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, was recognized at the November 1 Board of Trustees meeting for being a featured expert in a series of Big History documentaries on the History Channel. He also recorded a 48-lecture course, “The Foundations of Eastern Civilizations,” released as part of the Teaching Company’s Great Courses series.

Wendy Burns-Ardolino, Associate Professor and Chair of Liberal Studies, received the AIM High West Michigan Endurance Challenge Award on November 7. Wendy receives this award after completing the 25k 5/3 River Bank Run, the Michigan Titanium ½ Iron distance race, and the Grand Rapids Marathon in a single year. 

Ellen Schendel, Associate Dean of the Brooks College, was chosen as the keynote speaker for the GVSU Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society’s induction ceremony, held on November 10.