About the School


The Brooks College School of Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) launched in 2023-2024 with the goals of:

  • Inviting teacher-scholars to bring their expertise and enthusiasm to multiple programs
  • Embracing interdisciplinarity more fully, with our infrastructure reflecting the reason for our being a college
  • Eroding barriers for interdisciplinary faculty teaching, scholarship, and service
  • Opening up new space for teaching and learning innovation coupled with greater long-term stability for smaller and previously 'unit-less' programs

The programs that make up SIS share a commitment to offering flexible degree pathways to support students of all backgrounds, identities, and walks of life. Our award-winning faculty put students first. With multiple academic programs that can be tailored to meet individual needs and interests, we help students to maximize their tuition investment by learning specific, transferrable skills that are in demand by employers today.

Rooted in the values of liberal learning, those skills include an emphasis on critical thinking, development of strong written and oral communication abilities, complex reasoning, creativity, and interdisciplinary inquiry that is rooted in the humanities and social sciences while also drawing upon STEM. All of our programs emphasize the value of ethical reasoning, intercultural competence, and global mindedness.

Courses offered by SIS are rigorous. We set a high bar for academic standards, including research and professional integrity. We also appreciate that people learn differently. Our faculty and support staff provide direct, hands-on support to ensure that our students thrive whether they are learning primary face-to-face, hybrid, or in fully online and/or accelerated formats.  We also proudly serve students from across the state of Michigan and beyond, with programs serving GVSU's regional campuses in Traverse City, Battle Creek, and Detroit.

Our Students Succeed

95% of students successfully complete their degrees.

77.4% graduate in 6 years or less.

Nearly 100% report finding jobs that directly use skills from their majors within 3 years of graduation.

Who We Are

Our department is made up of full-time faculty with primary or formal joint appointments in SIS and supported by several full-time staff members. We also benefit from the professional expertise of adjunct faculty who bring specialized knowledge, technical training, and community leadership to the benefit of students across our programs. We work closely with both the Brooks College Advising Center and the Center for Adult & Continuing Studies. In addition to rich, place-based and face-to-face learning opportunities in Allendale, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City, we offer a range of customizable, accelerated, and fully online degree options through the LEADS Program as well as in 15-week formats.

Academic programs within the School are clustered around themes. These include:

  • Area & Global Studies Programs (including the Global Studies & Social Impact major (B.A., B.S.), and minors in African & African American Studies, East Asian Studies, Human Rights, Latin American Studies, Middle East Studies, and Religious Studies)
  • Digital Studies & Data Literacy Programs (including the Digital Studies minor)
  • Environmental & Sustainability Studies Programs (including the Environmental & Sustainability Studies major (B.A., B.S.), Environmental & Sustainability Studies minor, and the Sustainable Food Systems Certificate)
  • Integrative Studies Programs (including the Integrative Studies major (B.A., B.S.), University Studies (US) 1-credit courses, and Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS- prefix) courses)
  • Leadership & Professional Innovation Programs (including the Leadership & Business Fundamentals major (B.A.S.), Professional Innovation major (B.A.S.), Intercultural Competence and Communication Certificate and Badge, and the Leadership Certificate)
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Programs (including the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies major (B.A., B.S.), Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies minor, and the LGBTQ Studies minor)

Each grouping is managed by a faculty director who reports to the chair of the School. Some minor program are also supported by a faculty program coordinator. 


Digital Studies & Data Literacy Programs

Offering a minor in Digital Studies minor and DS- prefix courses

Environmental & Sustainability Studies Programs

Offering a major and minor in Environmental & Sustainability Studies (B.A., B.S.) and a certificate in Sustainable Food Systems

Integrative Studies Programs

Offering a customizable major in Integrative Studies (B.A., B.S.) as well as 1-credit University Studies courses and engaged learning opportunities in Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS- prefix courses)

Leadership & Professional Innovation Programs

Offering majors in Leadership & Business Fundamentals (B.A.S.) and Professional Innovation (B.A.S.), certificates in Intercultural Communication and Leadership, along with core Bachelor of Applied Studies courses that also serve programs in the Padnos College of Engineering and Seidman College of Business.

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Programs

Offering a major and minor in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (B.A., B.S.) and a minor in LGBTQ Studies

Page last modified April 29, 2024