Dr. Van Wormer is a Cultual Anthropologist with additional expertise in archaeology and material culture; specializes in intentional communities, social memory, historical anthropology and social movements in North America and New Zealand.
Heather Van Wormer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Joined GVSU in 2004. Heather is described as possessing a "near encyclopedic" knowledge of readings in the field of anthropology. A colleague states, "In my view, she is the professor and mentor that the entire College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) faculty should aspire to be." Her teaching portfolio is filled with examples of active learning assignments, which engage students in hands-on experiences with rich course material. At the same time, her essay topics for assessing students are probing and thoughtful, asking students to draw meaningful and current connections to their personal studies. A student commented, "There is no doubt that my experience at Grand Valley was greatly enhanced by taking Van Wormer's courses. She taught me to see humans as one race and to appreciate and value the diversity found within it. She called for critical thinking skills...in every class I have taken with her... I cannot think of a better example of a professor living up to Grand Valley's mission statement, 'educating students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies.'"