Mission & Vision


Modeling interdisciplinary education in action: we apply liberal education that cultivates engaged global citizens and supports lifelong learning.


The Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies serves as a regional and national model for integrative and global learning, innovative teaching, and sustainable, inclusive practices that empower students and expand access to higher education. The faculty and staff of Brooks College are deeply committed to not only advancing equity, inclusion and diversity, but in leading Grand Valley State University in these values.

Guiding Principles

We value:

  • A collegial and collaborative student-centered environment where we support each other and work together, bridging fields and disciplines, both within the college and across campus, in an open and transparent manner.
  • Equity, inclusion, and diversity across our curriculum, faculty and staff, and the students and communities we serve.
  • Integrity in our student-first worldview, and integrity in our actions.
  • Shared, democratic principles of self-governance and decision making.
  • Global perspectives that support critical analysis of and engagement with complex systems and legacies across our teaching, scholarship, and community engaged work.
  • Action-oriented educational initiatives, high impact practices, and experiential learning.
  • Interdisciplinary research and teaching that challenges disciplinary and field boundaries, expands how we understand and define knowledge, and generate results-oriented work that can be applied to real-life wicked problems and challenges.
  • Risk-taking and innovation that encourages alternative approaches to scholarship, teaching, and learning.
  • Academic freedom to ask the questions that need to be asked, and approach the answers, however that might unfold.
  • Social, environmental, and financial sustainability in all that we do.


Empowered Educational Experiences

Experiential learning and high-impact experiences that are accessible to all students

  • High-impact research opportunities for all students, with particular attention to providing these experiences for underserved students
  • Launching (with CUSE) the pilot project: SmartLab
  • Additional first-year experience partnerships within Brooks and across campus
  • Involving alumni who are eager to be trained to coach/advise students on career pathways; this could pair with US 102 within a more robust first-year experience
  • Scalable global learning for all students, including virtual exchange
  • Launching new 1-credit courses, including IDS 105: Mindfulness as a College-Success Tool; these will support student wellbeing and mental health as well as actively aim to lift retention
  • Improving recruitment and retention in Brooks degree programs
  • Greater participation by GVSU students in the Semester in Detroit program

Lifelong Learning

Modeling and inspiring learning as a lifetime pursuit; programs to serve adult learners; programs that involve alumni

  • Launch of the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree with two of the four majors based in Brooks; core courses for all four majors housed in Brooks
  • Higher education for incarcerated populations (including a potential pilot with Bellamy Woods Correctional Facility outside Ionia)
  • High-impact research opportunities for underserved students, including work with the pilot project the SmartLab
  • Faculty development of competence-based educational approaches to our courses and curriculum, especially to serve adult learners, veterans, and students with various additional barriers to accessing higher education
  • Involving alumni who are eager to be trained to coach/advise students on career pathways; this could pair with US 102 within a more robust first-year experience

Educational Equity

  • Faculty gain expertise in inclusive teaching practices (ideally through the Pew FTLC Inclusive Excellence curriculum) and update their syllabi, assignment, and classroom/online teaching practices for greater inclusion, accessibility, and equity
  • DEI-focused learning experiences for faculty and staff that are meaningful and build community
  • Identify and reduce (or eliminate) equity gaps in DFW rates for BCOIS courses/sections
  • More affordable texts and OERs (Online Educational Resources)
  • Scalable global learning for all students, including virtual exchange
  • Develop mentoring programs and more to ensure success and retention of faculty/staff (including cohort of cluster-hired faculty)
  • Organize and align units/programs in a more interdisciplinary way, minimize the impact of disciplinary boundaries
  • Unite 2 or more programs in Brooks into one unit; ideally, this larger element will involve ENS and GSI programs, as well as whichever other ones make sense
  • Collaboration Grants to foster collaborative interdisciplinary teaching and research across the college and between Brooks faculty and faculty in other GVSU colleges

2026 Objectives and Measures

Year 1 → Year 2 Retention (FTIAC students—Brooks majors)

Jan. 2026 Target: 90%

Sept. 2022 Baseline: [86% , 2020-21]

Year 1 → Year 2 Retention (Adult Learners > 25—Brooks majors)

Jan. 2026 Target: 88%

Sept. 2022 Baseline: [82%?]

Student Credit Hours (total undergraduate)

Jan. 2026 Target: TBD

Sept. 2022 Baseline: 15,486

Global Learning in key Brooks courses (# of sections featuring Virtual Exchange projects)

Jan. 2026 Target: 10 sections/semester

Sept. 2022 Baseline:  0

Honors College Diversity (% BIPOC students)

Jan. 2026 Target: TBD

Sept. 2022 Baseline: TBD

Additional Pledges and Commitments

Sustainable Procurement and Minimizing Impact

We will strive to ensure that Brooks College purchases will be sustainability sourced when possible (with preference for post-consumer recycled or bio-based content, or carbon neutral products, or with intent to support disadvantaged businesses, local businesses, or businesses that otherwise support positive social and economic impacts). We will strive to eliminate unnecessary travel and other activities that may exacerbate negative impacts on the environment. For example, we plan to continue doing College business through an appropriate mix of in-person and virtual meetings; this includes formal personnel actions and other meetings.

Student Readiness

In building/launching new programs like the BAS degrees, and in adjusting our curricula and advising approaches to serve students, we pledge to view our work through equity lenses—specifically how our decisions and actions may harm certain populations of students in relation to others.

Page last modified January 18, 2023