Melanie Shell-Weiss, assistant professor of liberal studies, was named new director of Grand Valley’s Kutsche Office of Local History.
The announcement was made by Anne Hiskes, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Shell-Weiss will assume her new role effective January 1. She takes over for former director Veta Tucker, who retired in December.
Shell-Weiss said the Kutsche Office’s mission prompted her to apply for the position. “The office has a specific mission to document the histories of underserved populations and to preserve those histories, and that’s what my research has been about,” she said.
Since arriving at Grand Valley in 2011, Shell-Weiss has developed two collaborative, public history projects: “Speaking Out: Western Michigan’s Civil Rights Histories” and “Young Lords in Lincoln Park.”
Hiskes said Shell-Weiss brings broad experience in public and local history to the position.
“Melanie is a prolific scholar and has the energy and vision to build on the work of founding director Veta Tucker,” Hiskes said. “I look forward to working with Melanie and witnessing the growth and flourishing of the Kutsche Office under her leadership.”
Shell-Weiss said she will build on Tucker’s legacy. In April, the office will host its annual Local History Roundtable, which brings hundreds of local researchers together.
She said she hopes to further distribution of the local history projects conducted by researchers who receive grants from the office. She also hopes to develop more ties with university departments and further student research.
For more on the Kutsche Office of Local History, visit www.gvsu.edu/kutsche.