August 14, 2015
Dear new and returning students,
Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year. We've got a lot of interesting plans and opportunities for students for the upcoming school year. Our faculty and staff are looking forward to reconnecting with you (or meeting you for the first time) and embarking on a productive and enjoyable year.
Last year we moved into our new location on the second floor of Lake Michigan Hall, and you can still find us there. We've had a few personnel changes - Visiting Professor Tara Hefferan has now become Affiliate Professor Tara Hefferan, and we have a new Visitor, Visiting Professor Angela Reed. Erica Begun will be continuing as a Visiting Professor, and Professor Russell Rhoads is back from his sabbatical year in Uganda with lots of stories to tell about his experiences there.
Other faculty will have stories to tell from the field as well, like Michael Wroblewski, back from Ecuador and Norway, and Gwyn Madden, who was also in Norway for research. Elizabeth Arnold led an archaeologicla field school in Israel this summer, and at the time of this writing, Christopher Shaffer is still in Guyana, presumably among the monkeys. All of the Anthropology faculty had productive summers, traveling, writing, teaching and preparing ourselves for fall classes with you.
One of our most exciting projects for the 2015-2016 school year is our new official "Community Partnership" with Bethany Refugee and Immigrant Services. Anthropology was one of three departments at GVSU (along with Geography and Planning and Hospitality and Tourism Management) to receive an Engaged Department Initiative grant to help us foster a relationship with an organization or other body in the Grand Rapids community. We decided to work with Bethany because their experiences as they work with people coming to West Michigan from places like Syria, Myanmar (Burma), Afghanistan and Bhutan connect with our department's anthropological expertise. We plan to incorporate the experiences of refugees into many of our classes and find ways for our students and faculty to work with Bethany and the many cultural groups they support. We are planning a gathering in September where our students, Bethany, and other community partners we've worked with before can have something to eat and learn about internship opportunities that benefit us all.
You'll find Office Coordinator Cindy Zehner in Anthropology's main office and Lab Supervisor Wesley Jackson in the main anthropology lab. The faculty maintain regular office hours and are available too by appointment. Make sure to meet with your advisor at least once a semester to make sure your schedule is on track and to learn of any interesting opportunities that might suit you. Also feel free to visit faculty teaching your classes or whose specialty just looks interesting. We are all here to help and to improve your college experience.
Finally, don't hesitate to stop by and see me!
Wishing you a terrific academic year,
Chair, Anthropology Department
p.s. Don't forget to connect with the Anthropology Club! Their Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/30938752818/ and you'll find information about club meetings and events (as well as just interesting anthropology-related posts) on that site.