Meet the Leadership Team

School of Interdisciplinary Studies Central Leadership

Dr. Jack Mangala, Director and Chair, School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Jack R. Mangala is Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and of Political Science. His previous leadership positions and significant service at Grand Valley include Chair of the Area and Global Studies Department, Director of the African and African American Studies Program, Chair of Brooks College Personnel Committee and Endowed Professor of Civil Discourse. A former NATO-EAPC fellow, he holds a doctorate in international law from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium as well as graduate degrees from the University of Montpellier in France and the Geneva International Peace Research Institute. He completed post-doctoral work at the University of Michigan Law School. Dr. Mangala’s scholarly interests center on the nexus between international law and human security. His current line of research explores the emerging global governance of migrations with a particular emphasis on diaspora engagement policies. He is the recipient of the Pew Teaching Excellence Award (2011), the Outstanding Teaching in Political Science Award (2011) and the Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline Award (2021). International commitments include Associate Professor, Laws and Migrations, Catholic University of Louvain and Visiting Professor, John Cabot University, Rome.

Justin Pettibone, Assistant Director, School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Justin Pettibone is a senior affiliate faculty member and has taught full-time in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies since 2008. He holds a M.A. in Philosophy from Miami University (2007), B.A. in Liberal Studies from GVSU (2003) with academic certifications in Spanish and French language and culture from Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Seville, Spain, Université de Provence in Aix-en-Provence, France, and Université de Genéve in Geneva, Switzerland. Justin previously served as assistant chair of the Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies Department from 2020-2023.

Each spring, Justin co-directs an annual study abroad opportunity in Spain, in collaboration with the Intercultural Communication Certificate Program. He is the Pew FTLC Faculty Fellow for Adult and Lifetime Learning, supporting faculty mentoring in LEADS for AY2023-2024.

SIS Program Support

Mary Williford, School of Interdisciplinary Studies Administrative Assistant

Mary Williford (PSS) is the lead PSS and Administrative Assistant for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Mary joined Grand Valley in January 2020. A West Michigan transplant, Mary's background is in managing daily operations for museums, archives, and local history initiatives. She holds a BA in American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in Museum Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In her spare time, Mary enjoys horror movies, exploring quirky regional history, and unwinding with her cats.

Ginele Johnson, Academic Program Coordinator

Ginele Johnson supports the following programs and program directors: Digital Studies & Data Literacy, Integrative Studies, Leadership & Professional Innovation, and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. 

Ginele is a Grand Valley alumna with a B.S. in Communications. Since 2019, Ginele has worked in a range of support positions within Brooks College, including office coordinator for the Office of Community Partnerships & Student Professional Development and as Academic Office Coordinator for Digital Studies and Human Rights.  Prior to joining the team in Brooks College, Ginele served as a marketing administrative assistant in the grocery industry and collegiate athletics, was a small business owner as well as working in the K-12 public school system. 

Arnie VandeBrake, Academic Program Coordinator and Program Assistant

Arnie VandeBrake supports the Environmental and Sustainability Studies program and manages annual scheduling and outreach for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. 

Arnie joined Grand Valley in 2024. She comes to GVSU with a professional background in ticketing and live entertainment administration, most notably with Broadway Across America at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland and the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at Long Island University in Brookville, New York. She earned a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts from DePaul University, along with minors in Women's and Gender Studies and LGBTQ Studies.

School of Interdisciplinary Studies Program Directors

Faculty Program Coordinators - Area & Global Studies

Each of the minor programs within the Area & Global Studies Programs also has a faculty program coordinator. These include:

Denise Goerisch - Integrative Studies

Programs: Integrative Studies major (B.A., B.S.), including LEADS; University Studies (US-prefix courses). Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS-prefix courses).

PSS: Ginele Johnson, Academic Program Coordinator

Laurence José - Digital Studies & Data Literacy

Programs: Digital Studies minor

PSS: Ginele Johnson, Academic Program Coordinator

Julia Mason - Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Programs: Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies major (B.A., B.S.) and minorLGBTQ Studies minor

PSS: Ginele Johnson, Academic Program Coordinator

Amy McFarland - Environmental & Sustainability Studies

Programs: Environmental & Sustainability Studies major (B.A., B.S.) and minor Sustainable Food Systems Certificate


PSS: Arnie VandeBrake, Academic Program Coordinator

Santos Ramos - Leadership & Professional Innovation

Programs: Leadership & Business Fundamentals major (B.A.S.)Professional Innovation major (B.A.S.)Intercultural Competence & Communication Certificate and BadgeLeadership Certificate.


PSS: Ginele Johnson, Academic Program Coordinator

Dr. Santos Ramos is an Assistant Professor and Interim Director of SIS’s Leadership & Professional Innovation programs. He teaches and researches in the areas of Latina/o Studies, distance learning, digital studies, and food studies, receiving his PhD in 2018 from Michigan State University’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures. 

Page last modified April 30, 2024