New Faculty and Staff in Brooks College

Date: August 13, 2013

Eight new faculty and staff recently joined the Brooks College, and one faculty member has taken on a program coordinator role in the college:

Kelly Clark (Ph.D. University of Notre Dame) is a Senior Research Fellow at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute here at Grand Valley and is joining the Liberal Studies department as a Visiting Professor of Religious Studies. Clark is the editor of Abraham’s Children: Liberty and Tolerance in an age of Religious Conflict (Yale University Press, 2012) and co-editor of Evidence and Religious Belief (Oxford University Press, 2011). He plans to integrate Kaufman Institute programming with Religious Studies courses.

Debjani Chakravarty (Ph.D. Arizona State University) joins the Women and Gender Studies program as an Assistant Professor. Her scholarly interests are drawn from both the social sciences and humanities and include transnational feminisms, global perspectives on gender, and feminist methodologies. In addition to her strong research and teaching experience in women and gender studies, Chakravarty has a background in journalism and media. In 2010, Chakravarty won the National Women’s Studies Association Women of Color Caucus Award.

Richard Hiskes (Ph.D. Indiana University), Professor of Political Science, will hold a joint appointment with the Frederik Meijer Honors College. He comes to us by way of the University of Connecticut, where he served as associate director and the director of undergraduate programs of the University of Connecticut’s Human Rights Institute. In 2010, he was awarded the American Political Science Association’s Best Book in Human Rights. At Grand Valley, he will continue to develop courses in human rights; this fall, he’ll teach an Honors seminar on the topic.

Tina Lee (pursuing B.S. in Liberal Studies) joins Continuing Education as a COT supporting Noncredit Programs on the Pew Grand Rapids campus. Previous to taking this position, Lee was a Department Secretary for the School of Engineering and Grand Valley, and before that, she worked for eight years at Fifth Third Bank. While at Grand Valley, she has participated in many professional development programs, including having completed the Healing Racism workshop.

Marilyn Preston (Ph.D. University of Missouri) joins the Liberal Studies department as an Assistant Professor. Previously a Faculty Fellow at Colby College in Maine, Preston’s scholarly interests include campus climate for LGBTQ students, sexuality education, and teachers’ identities. She has taught courses across a range of topics like the sociology of gender, the “family,” human sexuality, body politics, and qualitative methodology, and Preston often lends this expertise to youth and community organizations.

Patrick Fuliang Shan (Ph.D. McMaster University) is an Associate Professor of History whose research and teaching interests are in Modern Chinese History. From 2009-2011, he served as the President of Chinese Historians in the United States, and he current serves as editor of The Chinese Historical Review. Shan is not new to Grand Valley—he has been on faculty here since 2002—but beginning this year he will serve as the new coordinator for the East Asian Studies and Chinese Studies programs within Area Studies.

Susan Walker (M.A., Webster University) is Continuing Education's new Director of Northern Michigan Programs at Grand Valley's Traverse City campus. In this role, Walker will work to grow existing programs and explore new ones to serve the educational needs of northern Michigan. Prior to accepting this position, Walker was an Admissions and Outreach Coordinator for Eckerd College’s Program for Experienced Learners. And, during her professional career, she has worked as a program manager in a number of nonprofit settings, including an art museum, a school district, and the City of Sarasota, Florida.

Krystal Vanden Bosch (B.A., Grand Valley State University) will be the new Office Coordinator in the Brooks College Dean’s Office, beginning on August 19. In this role, she will assist Associate Dean Ellen Schendel with various projects and support the work of Brooks College via event planning and communications. Previously, she worked as an Office Coordinator in the Office of Inclusion and Equity and in the Charter Schools office at Grand Valley. Vanden Bosch is pursuing a master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education.

Joel Wendland (Ph.D. Washington State University) takes on a new role as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Liberal Studies having previously served as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Brooks College. An American Studies scholar, Wendland’s publications and presentations have focused on the politics of race, class, and gender, as well as Chinese American literature. Prior to graduate school, Wendland served in the U.S. army; over the past couple of years, he has had the opportunity to mentor veterans here at Grand Valley, specifically through writing workshops.

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