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Grand Valley State University

Update from the Dean

For deans and unit heads, the middle of October signifies starting the course scheduling process for the next academic year and also the beginning of a nine-month budget request and allocation process. For faculty and students, the middle of October signifies midterms with a flurry of paper writing and paper grading. Each of these activities comes with its own characteristic hopes and fears, successes and disappointments.

Those of you who are not involved with the budget process may be interested in learning more about it from a dean’s perspective. The budget process begins with each unit head sending their new budget requests to my office by October 1. After reviewing and discussing these requests collaboratively with the Leadership Council, I prioritize the requests using input from the Leadership Council and guidance from the strategic plans and mission statements of the College and GVSU. I then forward a prioritized set of requests with justification to the Provost’s office by November 1.

Eight months later in the middle of July, after the Board of Trustees meets to approve the GVSU budget for the new fiscal year, Noreen and I receive a statement of the allocations for each department. The cycle is completed when we share the good news and the bad news with the unit heads. Of course, a review process similar to that occurring at the College level also occurs at the Provost’s level, with the final decisions being made by the University Budget Committee in light of expected revenues and necessary expenditures. But the deans are not directly involved in those discussions. Meanwhile, we hope for the best and make backup plans.

Regardless of the final results of the budget process this coming year, I believe that Brooks College will - with characteristic GVSU focus on core mission, quality enhancement, and resourcefulness - continue to improve and develop its student-centered programs.

In a similarly optimistic vein, I believe that Brooks College students and faculty will survive another mid-term writing and grading season and will - with characteristic focus on core goals, reflective assessment, and resourcefulness - for the most part emerge unscathed and strengthened by the process.

New Website and Facebook Page

You might have noticed that Brooks College has a new website. A few features you should know about:

Faculty/Staff Directory: All faculty and affiliated faculty, APs and COTs are listed in the directory. If you notice something amiss with your entry, please contact brookscollege@gvsu.edu with the info needed to correct it.

Giving to Brooks College: “Giving” means more than donating to scholarships and funds—though doing that is always helpful. It also means providing internships and serving as a mentor or Brooks Professional Series speaker. If you meet alums or community members who express an interest in supporting Brooks College students, please direct them to “Give to Brooks College Students,” which includes online submission forms for internship placement ideas and volunteering to mentor students.

Facebook Icon: We’ve got the Brooks College Facebook page up and running! Like us over at GVSU Brooks College and stay up-to-date and informed about events, faculty/staff/student successes, and much more.

Faculty/Staff Successes

Ed Baum, Director of the Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education, published "Augmenting Guided-Inquiry Learning With A Blended Classroom Approach” in the Journal of College Science Teaching and "Creating a Blended Cooperative-Learning Classroom” in the Higher Education International Teaching and Learning Review Special Issue.

Craig Benjamin, Associate Professor of History in the Meijer Honors College, co-wrote a book, Big History: Between Nothing and Everything (McGraw Hill). He also gave two recent presentations at the annual conference of World History Association in Milwaukee: “Big History of the Paleolithic Era in East Asia” and “Four Afro-Eurasian Travelers on the Silk Roads.”

Kelly Clark, Visiting Professor of Religious Studies, received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation for a project titled “Rationality and Religious Belief: A Philosophical Investigation of Contemporary Cognitive Science of Religion.”

Anne Hiskes, Dean of Brooks College, was inducted into Iota Iota Iota as an honorary member on Monday, October 7.

Regina McClinton, Director of the Institute for Intercultural Teaching and Learning, gave a presentation, “Cultural Intelligence: Beyond Competence,” at the Partners For a Racism Free Community Speaker Series.

Stephen Rowe, Professor of Philosophy (Religious Studies), wrote an essay, “Rediscovering Liberal Education in China,” published in Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

Ellen Schendel, Associate Dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, co-authored a chapter titled “Assessing the Effects of Faculty and Staff Writing Retreats: Four Institutional Perspectives” published in the edited collection Working with Faculty Writers (Utah State University Press).

Writing Center Hosts State Conference

On Saturday, October 12, the Fred Meijer Center for Writing & Michigan Authors and University Libraries co-hosted 180 writing center peer tutors, directors, and faculty for the Michigan Writing Centers Association’s annual Ideas Exchange. Panels ran throughout the day and ranged in topic from assisting students with reading comprehension to better serving international students and English as Second Language (ESL) writers. A highlight of the conference was showcasing the Knowledge Market, housed within the Mary Idema Pew Library and Learning Commons, and for which the writing center is a key partner. Already the writing center has seen 25% more traffic, largely because of this highly visible program, and appears to be on track to breaking over 14,000 one-to-one consultations this year.

Lee Van Orsdel, Dean of the University Libraries, gave the keynote address, sharing the vision for collaboration and peer tutoring that drove the creation of the Knowledge Market and many other spaces in the library. Approximately half of the 60+ writing consultants on staff at Grand Valley assisted in hosting the conference.

The MiWCA conference is an opportunity for tutors throughout the state to learn, from their peers, about best practices, research findings, and new programming offered in writing centers across the state. As such, the conference is an opportunity for peer tutors of writing to make professional presentations, which they might further develop for presentation at regional, national, or international conferences. This kind of professional and academic opportunity, combined with careful mentoring, a credit-bearing tutor training course, and the opportunity to develop leadership and teaching skills, makes the writing consultant position a high-impact learning opportunity for Grand Valley students.

Sustainability Featured on WGVU

Tune into WGVU's Shelley Irwin Show (FM 88.5 and 95.3) tomorrow (Wednesday, October 16) at 9:30 a.m. to hear Norman Christopher talk about sustainability initiatives at Grand Valley. In particular, he'll describe how the university has made significant progress during the past decade, mostly related to "first order” sustainability that many colleges and universities have pursued. The conversation will address what lies ahead in “second order” sustainability.

Meet Sharon Munski, SCDI's New COT

In September, the Sustainable Community Development Initiative welcomed Sharon Munski as the new Office Coordinator. Sharon comes to GVSU from Kentwood Public Schools where she worked for 18 years. She is a Grand Valley alum with a degree in Public Administration. Sharon is excited to be part of the Sustainability Initiative team and is looking forward to working with GVSU staff and students. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and kayaking.

Please join us in welcoming Sharon to Brooks College. Stop by LOH 224 and say hello!