New dean named to lead Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Anne L. Hiskes
Anne L. Hiskes
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The person named as new dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies will return home for her new job.

Anne L. Hiskes was born in Grand Rapids and received a bachelor’s degree from Hope College. She currently works at the University of Connecticut as interim associate dean for Interdisciplinary Programs and Faculty Development. She will succeed Wendy Wenner, founding dean of Brooks College, who will retire from that position in May. The announcement was made during the April 27 Board of Trustees meeting.

Gayle R. Davis, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at GVSU, said: “Dean Wenner has established the college and taken it from being a new entity to an established success on our campus. Dean Hiskes is perfectly positioned to continue to develop and enhance the college for its next stages of innovation and academic excellence.”

Hiskes said she’s ready for this next chapter in her academic career and excited to come back to West Michigan.

“West Michigan is home to me,” Hiskes said. “I still have family and friends in the area. I love the lake. I’ve spent the last years developing skills and preparing myself for the role of a dean.”

Hiskes majored in mathematics, physics and philosophy while at Hope College. She earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Indiana University in the history and philosophy of science.

Hiskes joined the philosophy faculty at the University of Connecticut in 1978. She began assuming administrative roles in 2003 when she led the establishment of a new general education program. She also served as special assistant to the provost, and associate dean for Undergraduate Programs, the Humanities, and Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In 2006, Hiskes was appointed by the University of Connecticut president as founding director of the Office of Research Ethics and Education for Stem Cell Research. For nearly four years, Hiskes oversaw and advised faculty researchers on stem cell research policy and ethics, and created databases for tracking research activities.

Hiskes served as an American Council on Education fellow, serving a year at The College of New Jersey, her host institution. The ACE Fellows Program is a premiere leadership development program for higher education.

Hiskes said she was attracted to the position at Grand Valley because of Brooks College’s mission and focus on creativity and excellence. “Wendy did a wonderful job with the vision for the college and the energy put into developing strong, integrative programs,” she said. “It takes a special provost and president to see the value of an interdisciplinary college and to support it.

“It’s important to create a space where interdisciplinary students and faculty can flourish. Having a college for interdisciplinary programs sends a message that it’s valued at an institution.”

Brooks College was established in 2004 to provide innovative, integrative areas of study and university-wide services for students. It houses academic programs like the Meijer Honors College, Liberal Studies and Women and Gender Studies, and initiatives like the Fred Meijer Writing Center, Padnos International Center, and Sustainable Community Development Initiative.