Honors Faculty

The Frederik Meijer Honors College features seven permanent full-time faculty, three half-time Faculty-in-Residence, the Meijer Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and dozens of exceptional faculty drawn from departments and programs across campus.

Full-time Honors Faculty

These faculty all teach the majority of their classes in Honors and have their offices in the Niemeyer suite.

Coeli Fitpatrick headshot

Coeli Fitzpatrick

Chair and Professor of Philosophy in Honors

Office Address: 125 Niemeyer

Phone: (616) 331-3748

Email: fitzpaco@gvsu.edu

Coeli Fitzpatrick is Professor of Philosophy in the Frederik Meijer Honors College and Chair of the Honors Faculty. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Professor Fitzpatrick received her B.A. in Philosophy from Regis University in Denver, Colorado and her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She teaches several courses in the program, including the first-year sequence The Middle East Beyond the Headlines and a Junior Seminar on Islamophobia. Her publications include the award winning edited volume Muhammad in History, Thought and Culture as well as writings on Edward Said and Orientalism. Professor Fitzpatrick's current research focuses on the transmission of Arab intellectual history in the West, Muslim Spain and Orientalism.

Ellen Adams headshot

Ellen Adams

Associate Professor, Honors College and GVSU Art Gallery

Office Address: 126 Niemeyer

Phone: (616) 331-8134

Email: adamsell@gvsu.edu

Ellen Adams is Assistant Professor of Art History in the Frederik Meijer Honors College and has a joint appointment with the GVSU Art Gallery. Originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Professor Adams received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Delaware, her M.A. from Hunter College (City University of New York), and her Ph.D. in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She teaches several courses in the program, including the first-year interdisciplinary sequence Europe: The Center and the Margins, Art and Money, and Modern Art and Modernity. Her publications and presentations concentrate primarily on modern and contemporary artists. Prof. Adams’ current research project focuses on American women artists active during the New Deal.

Craig Benjamin headshot

Craig Benjamin

Professor of History in Honors

Office Address: 130 Niemeyer

Phone: (616) 331-3469

Email: benjamic@gvsu.edu

Craig Benjamin is a Professor of History in the Meijer Honors College. Craig was a professional musician for 25 years in his native Australia before gaining his PhD from Macquarie University in Sydney and taking up an academic career. He teaches two Foundational Interdisciplinary Courses in Honors: Big History and Focus on Asia.  Craig’s recent publications include Big History: Between Nothing and Everything (McGraw-Hill 2014); Cambridge World History Vol IV (CUP 2015); and Empires of Ancient Eurasia. The First Silk Roads Era 100 BCE-250 CE (CUP forthcoming 2018). Professor Benjamin’s current research focuses on ancient Eurasian globalizations, big history, and world history historiography.


Rosalynn Bliss headshot

Rosalynn Bliss

Meijer Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Office Address: 129 Niemeyer

Phone: (616) 331-2493

Email: blissr@gvsu.edu

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss became the first female mayor of Grand Rapids when she took office on January 1, 2016. She previously served as a Second Ward City Commissioner for 10 years. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of South Alabama and a master’s in Social Work from Michigan State University. She has over twenty years of experience in the fields of domestic violence and child welfare. She is past president of the Michigan Municipal League and serves on the boards of the Downtown Development Authority, Experience Grand Rapids, Convention Arena Authority, Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Mayor’s Innovation Project and Interurban Transit Partnership, and other organizations. Mayor Bliss has been recognized and honored locally as well as statewide for her commitment, dedication and work in the field of child abuse and neglect and for her leadership in the community. She teaches HNR 312, a junior seminar on leadership and problem-solving.

Jeremiah Cataldo headshot

Jeremiah Cataldo

Associate Professor of History in Honors

Office Address: 121 Niemeyer

Phone: (616) 331-3470

Email: cataldoj@gvsu.edu

Jeremiah Cataldo is Associate Professor of History in the Frederik Meijer Honors College. He earned his Ph.D. from Drew University, a Master in Philosophy from Drew University, a Master in Ministry from Bethel College, and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Bethel College. He is the author of numerous books and journal articles, including Biblical Terror (Bloomsbury, 2017) and A Social-Political History of Monotheism (Routledge, 2018). A strong supporter of cultivating well-roundedness in mind and body, he enjoys woodworking, backpacking, running ultramarathons, and training in Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He teaches Alliance and Conflict, Prophetic Critique, Terror of Monotheism, and Textual Tease.


Kurt Ellenberger headshot

Kurt Ellenberger

Professor of Music in Honors

Office Address: 123 Niemeyer

Phone: (616) 331-8075

Email: ellenbek@gvsu.edu

Kurt Ellenberger is a pianist, composer, and author from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. His writings include a jazz theory book, pedagogical articles, and many essays that appear in his arts and culture blog entitled Also Sprach FraKathustra, which is published by The Huffington Post–Arts and Culture. He has recorded on Innova Recordings, Ghostly International, and Challenge-A Records (the Netherlands). He performed on Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble’s recordings of Terry Riley’s “IN C: Remixed” and Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” which have been featured in The New York Times and other leading publications. Ellenberger teaches a variety of music-related courses including “Music, Culture, and Aesthetics,” Jazz History, and Rock History. He is also a Fulbright Scholar who taught in Austria at the Kunstuniversität Graz (University of the Arts in Graz) and serves as artistic advisor on the Board of Trustees for the city of Mannheim, Germany.

Rob Franciosi headshot

Rob Franciosi

Professor of English and Faculty-in-Residence in Honors

Office Address: 131 Niemeyer

Email: francior@gvsu.edu

Rob Franciosi earned his BA from New York University and his MA and PhD from the University of Iowa. His current research interests center on American cultural responses to the Holocaust. He is completing a study of John Hersey's epic novel of the Warsaw Ghetto, tentatively titled Imagining the Ghetto: Hersey's The Wall and American Holocaust Memory. He has also escorted groups of Honors students to Germany and Poland as part of a seminar on Holocaust museums, memorials, and sites.

Gary Greer headshot

Gary Greer

Professor of Biology and Faculty-in-Residence in Honors

Office: 127 HON

Email: greerg@gvsu.edu

Gary Greer earned his BA from the University of Northern Colorado, his MA from Humboldt State University, and his PhD from Ohio University. His research interests span a wide range of topics in plant ecology all centered on evolutionary process:

  1. Factors influencing the structure of epiphytic communities;
  2. Pteridophyte (seedless vascular plant) biology, ecology & evolution;
  3. Invasive species ecology (principally that of Ailanthus altissima (“Tree-of-Heaven”)).

Amy McFarland headshot

Amy McFarland

Associate Professor of Food and Agricultural Studies in Honors

Office Address: 136 Niemeyer

Phone: (616) 331-8156

Email: mcfarla1@gvsu.edu

Amy McFarland is Assistant Professor of Food and Agricultural Studies in the Frederik Meijer Honors College.  Originally from Houston, Texas, Professor McFarland received her B.A. in Psychology from Rice University and her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. She teaches several courses in the program, including the first-year sequence Food for Thought and a Junior Seminar on Controversies in Food and Agriculture. Her current research focuses on the intersections of humans and the environment, primarily through gardening, food, and agriculture. 

Joel Stillerman headshot

Joel Stillerman

Professor of Sociology and Faculty-in-Residence in Honors

Office Address: 124 Niemeyer

Phone: (616) 331-3129

Email: stillejo@gvsu.edu

Joel is a Professor of Sociology and Faculty-in-Residence in the Honors College and is originally from Chicago. He received his BA (1986) in Philosophy and Political Science at Bennington College and PhD (1998) in Sociology and Historical Studies at the New School for Social Research. Prior to arriving to Grand Valley, he taught at the University of Arizona. Joel co-teaches (with Prof. Heather Van Wormer) an introductory sequence, "Culture, Power, and Inequality," a junior seminar, "The Sociology of Consumption," and several courses in the Sociology Department. He is the author of The Sociology of Consumption: A Global Approach (Polity, 2015) and coeditor of Qué significa el trabajo hoy?: Continuidad y cambio en una sociedad global (Catalonia, 2012). Joel's publications on labor activism, consumer culture, and middle classes in Chile and Latin America appear in Poetics, Latin American Politics and Society, Journal of Consumer Culture, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and other journals and edited volumes.

Peter Wampler headshot

Peter Wampler

Professor of Geology in Honors

Office Address:  134 Niemeyer

Phone: (616) 331-3302

Email: wamplerp@gvsu.edu

Peter Wampler is a broadly trained environmental geologist and geomorphologist with a background in both academic and government regulation of mining and storm water. He received his PhD in 2004 for work on human- and climatic-induced changes along the Clackamas River in Oregon. As a professor at GVSU, he has worked with undergraduate and graduate students on applied geoscience research: 1) evaluating GVSU’s storm water runoff footprint and assisting in designing Best Management Practices (BMP) for GVSU; 2) investigating water resources and groundwater contamination pathways in rural Haiti; 3) evaluating human impacts to river systems resulting from dams and other structures; and 4) Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to create household radon hazard maps for Michigan using geologic data.  He has traveled to Haiti numerous times since 2007 to work on water resources issues and safe water interventions. Since 2016 he's been leading groups of GVSU students on a 4-week study abroad to Haiti.

Honors Associates

Honors also draws many exceptional faculty from around campus.

Majd Al-Mallah headshot

Majd Al-Mallah

Modern Languages and Literatures


Middle East Beyond the Headlines

Brad Ambrose headshot

Brad Ambrose



Human Body in Motion

Karen Amisi headshot

Karen Amisi



The Healing Power of Plants

Steeve Buckridge headshot

Steeve Buckridge



Africa Seen Through African Eyes

Alice Chapman headshot

Alice Chapman



Medieval Cultures

Kathryn Christopher headshot

Kathryn Christopher



Design Thinking

Grace Coolidge headshot

Grace Coolidge



Spain in Europe

David Crane headshot

David Crane



Worlds of Greece and Rome

Jason Crouthamel headshot

Jason Crouthamel



The Holocaust

Sigrid Danielson

Visual & Media Arts


Medieval Cultures

David Eick, MLL

David Eick

Modern Languages & Literatures


Dangerous Ideas

Elizabeth Gansen headshot

Elizabeth Gansen

Modern Languages & Literature


Race & Gender in Latin America

Quinn Griffin headshot

Quinn Griffin



Worlds of Greece and Rome

Jennifer Gross headshot

Jennifer Gross



PSY 101: Introductory Psychology (Honors)

Charles Ham headshot

Charles Ham



Worlds of Greece and Rome

Chris Harper headshot

Christopher Harper



ACC 212: Principles of Financial Accounting (Honors)

Tara Hefferan headshot

Tara Hefferan



Making Waves: Water for a Changing World

Naoki Kanaboshi headshot

Naoki Kanaboshi

Criminal Justice


Civil Rights & Social Movements

John Kilbourne headshot

John Kilbourne

Movement Science


Games in a Circumpolar World

Ryan Lafferty headshot

Ryan Lafferty



Design Thinking for Social Product Innovation

Paul Lane headshot

Paul Lane



Design Thinking for Social Product Innovation

Yan Liang headshot

Yan Liang

Modern Languages and Literatures


East Asia and the World

Leifa Mayers headshot

Leifa Mayers

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Civil Rights & Social Movements

Corinna McLeod headshot

Corinna McLeod



Africa Seen Through African Eyes

Melissa Morison headshot

Melissa Morison




Laudo Ogura, Economics

Laudo Ogura



ECO 300: Data Analytics (Honors)

Kelly Parker, Philosophy

Kelly Parker



Food for Thought

Charles Pazdernik headshot

Charles Pazdernik



Worlds of Greece and Rome

Jim Penn, Geography

Jim Penn



New World Odyssey

Tom Pentecost headshot

Tom Pentecost



Molecules that Matter

Gabriella Pozzi headshot

Gabriela Pozzi

Modern Languages and Literatures


Spain in Europe

Eric Ramsson headshot

Eric Ramsson

Biomedical Sciences


Zombie Physiology

Medar Serrata headshot

Medar Serrata

Modern Languages and Literatures


The Making of Latin America

Eric Snyder headshot

Eric Snyder



Making Waves: Water for a Changing World

David Stark headshot

David Stark



Dirty Wars in Latin America

Jennifer Stewart headshot

Jennifer Stewart



SOC 313: Race & Ethnicity (Honors)

Star Swift headshot

Star Swift



BUS 201: Legal Environment for Business (Honors)

Steve Tripp headshot

Steve Tripp



American Modern

Dwayne Tunstall headshot

Dwayne Tunstall



Alliance and Conflict

John Uglietta headshot

John Uglietta



Food, Culture, Conscience

Heather Van Wormer headshot

Heather Van Wormer



Culture, Power, & Inequality

Jody Vogelzang headshot

Jody Vogelzang

Allied Health Sciences


Food for Thought

Heather Wallace headshot

Heather Wallace

Public Health


Spirituality and Health

John Weber, Geology

John Weber



New World Odyssey

Michael Webster headshot

Michael Webster

English Language and Literatures


American Modern

Diane Wright

Modern Languages and Literatures


Spain in Europe