Anthropology Department

Department at a Glance

(revised Fall 2013)

Anthropology is the study and understanding of humans in all places and throughout time, including the effects of culture on individuals and of individuals on their society. Anthropology offers a perspective for critically analyzing culture and prepares students for multicultural career settings in the United States and abroad. We offer both an anthropology major and minor; B.A. and B.S. Anthropology contributes substantially to the General Education Program, teaching four Foundation Courses, nine Theme Courses, ten World Perspectives courses and one U.S. Diversity course. The Anthropology Department currently has 150+  (compared to 20 majors in 1990) and 60+ minors.

Chair: Dr. Deana Weibel
Coordinator: Cindy Zehner
Curator of the Anthropology Lab: Dr. Janet Brashler
Lab Supervisor: Wesley Jackson
Academic Year System: Semester
Highest Degree Offered: BA/BS
Student Clubs/Organizations: Anthropology Club; Lambda Alpha Honor Society
Description/Special Programs: Summer field schools in archaeology and ethnology, internships in museum studies, cultural resource management, Native American studies, study abroad program.
Research Facilities: Anth Lab with part-time supervisor; full-time staff
Support Opportunities: Richard E Flanders Anth Scholarship ($5,000/year); Walton B. Koch Anthropology Scholarship ($1,500/yr); Quimby Scholarship ($1,500/yr)

1138 AuSable Hall Allendale, MI 49401, USA   
Ph: (616) 331-2325
Fx: (616) 331-2328

Programs: The department offers anthropology B.A. and B.S. majors, a minor in anthropology, and participates in the Inter-departmental Minor in Archaeology. In addition, Anthropology contributes substantially to the General Education Program.

The Anthropology Department offers various opportunities for students:

 1. Fieldwork, Research, and Internship Opportunities

The anthropology program regularly sponsors field schools in archaeology and cultural anthropology. Summer programs are locally based and are accessible to commuters as well as on-campus students. Students join faculty on research projects at sites ranging from local to international. Our Internship Program connects students to local and international organizations.

 2. Anthropology Lab

The anthropology lab houses a collection of over 200,000 artifacts from more than 100 sites.  It is available to faculty and students for class-based and independent research. The Anthropology Lab is the academic, research, and social hub of the department. Our lab is located in 249 LMH. 

3. Honors Organization

Lambda Alpha is the National Scholastic anthropology fraternity. Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Beta Chapter of Lambda Alpha is dedicated to promoting and recognizing scholarly achievement by students working toward degrees or minors in anthropology; or students with a strong interest and background in anthropology.

 4. Anthropology Club

The Anthropology Club is open to all majors and interested students. It works with Lambda Alpha Honor Society in sponsoring speakers and fundraising events and participates in local, regional, and national meetings of anthropology. The club is involved in local and international community service projects.

5. Faculty

Dr. Elizabeth Arnold, Assistant Professor: Zooarchaeologist specializing in animals and their environment in the archaeological record. Her research uses isotope analysis to examine the mobility of domesticated herds and its affect on human settlements patterns and alliance networks; cultural resource management.

Dr. Dale Borders, Affiliate Professor: Historical archaeologist specializing in frontier settlement, agriculture and kinship.  Current research involves Native American/EuroAmerican settlement and interaction in Michigan's frontier period.

Dr. Janet Brashler, Professor: Archaeologist specializing in the Eastern United States and the Middle East. She has conducted or participated in field projects in Michigan and the country of Jordan. Her current research involves sites and ceramics from 2000 years ago.

Dr. Judith Corr, Associate Professor: Biological anthropologist specializing in nonhuman primate behavior, social aging, and evolution. Research involves chimpanzees, rhesus macaques and other primate species in North and South America and in Africa.

Dr. Cindy Hull, Professor Emerita:  Cultural anthropologist specializing in the Maya region of Mexico, specifically changing gender roles and culture change in Yucatan.  Current research on rural Michigan farming communities; Additional research on Pohnpei Island, Micronesia.

Dr. Gwyn Madden, Assistant Professor: Bioarchaeologist with specialty in osteology, paleopathology, and mummy research.  Current research focuses on excavation in Ukraine, analysis of Byzantine period skeletal remains from Jordan, and analysis of three South American mummies housed in Norway; additional research preparing Osteoware data collection system in association with the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Russell Rhoads, Associate Professor: Cultural and applied anthropologist with a specialty in agricultural anthropology, migration, family and kinship, and anthropological methods. Research areas include Michigan, India, and Latin America. Current research focuses on food systems in Western Michigan.

Dr. Mark Schwartz, Associate Professor: Archaeologist specializing in Near East/Middle East, and ancient trade. Dr. Schwartz has worked on excavations in Turkey, the Middle East, and Arizona. Current research involves an archaeological excavation in Turkey.

Dr. Christian Vannier, Visiting Professor: Sociocultural anthropologist researching social/economic development and NGOs. Current research focuses on grassroots organizations in Haiti and Michigan.

Dr. Heather Van Wormer, Assistant Professor: Cultural anthropologist with expertise in archaeology and material culture; specializes in intentional communities, social memory, historical anthropology and social movements in N. Am and New Zealand.

Dr. Deana Weibel, Associate Professor and Chair: Cultural anthropologist specializing in comparative religions and religious movements. She also has expertise in anthropological linguistics. Her research is conducted in Europe and the U.S.

Dr. Michael Wroblewski, Assistant Professor: Linguistic and cultural anthropologist with research on indigeneity, ethnolinguistic identity, and power and inequality in the Amazonian region of Ecuador.


Wesley Jackson, Lab Supervisor: 249 Lake Michigan Hall, phone 616-331-3395; email:

Cindy Zehner, Office Coordinator: 1138 ASH, phone 616-331-2325; fax: 616-331-2328; email:


Page last modified March 13, 2014