Joe Brockington, Ph.D., associate provost for international programs at Kalamazoo College, died on August 10, 2015. In addition to his post in the Center for International Programs, Brockington also served as professor of German language and literature. [NOTE: The memorial service for Joe Brockington will occur Monday, August 17, at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Saugatuck (296 Hoffman Street). The College will take one bus and two vans to the service. Faculty, staff and students interested in attending may register by emailing Renee Boelcke at Renee.Boelcke@kzoo.edu. Those taking the College transportation will meet on Academy Street, outside of Anderson Athletic Center at noon on Monday, August 17. The bus and vans will return to campus at the conclusion of the memorial service.]
Brockington earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D degrees from Michigan State University, and began his career at Kalamazoo College in 1979 as an instructor in German language and literature. During his 35-year career at K, Brockington served in several roles in the Center for International Programs before being named associate provost in 2000. He was recognized internationally as a safety and risk management expert in study abroad programming. During his career he served in various positions of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, including chair of the Section on U.S. Students Abroad and member of the International Education Leadership Knowledge Committee. He also served as a member of the founding board of the Forum on Education Abroad, the Association of International Education Administrators. Brockington published and presented numerous papers on modern German literature as well as a variety of study abroad topics, including orientation and re-entry, international programs administration, and campus internationalization. He led best practices workshops in legal and risk management issues and co-edited the third edition of NAFSA’s Guide to Education Abroad for Advisers and Administrators.
“Joe interacted with generations of K students,” said President Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, “and increased their opportunities for independent research and service learning abroad. He was a faithful advocate for international students at K, working with colleagues to ensure a full and productive K educational experience. Joe significantly expanded K’s reputation as a leader in study abroad and international programming. He will be missed by many in the K family and throughout the world.”
In the fall of 2008 Kalamazoo College celebrated its 50th anniversary of sending students abroad. Brockington devoted his career to that important educational tradition. Some 80 percent of K students have studied in programs ranging from China and Japan to India and Israel; from Kenya and Senegal in Africa to Ecuador, Costa Rica, Chile, and Mexico in South and Central America. Their options have included European programs in Greece, Hungary, Denmark, Italy, and England as well as the opportunities that have continued (since the program’s origins) in France, Spain, and Germany. Most students study in a foreign language and live with host families. And most participate in an Individualized Cultural Research Project that requires them to get out into a community, participate in a service project, and write a report about the experience. All of that is part of the legacy of Joe Brockington. “The goal,” he once said, “is to help the student look at other cultures, other peoples, and say ’we’ instead of ’they.’”
Dr. Brockington is survived by his wife, Catherine, and their three sons (and K alumni): Andrew ’04, David ’99, and Samuel ’01. Visitation will occur Sunday, August 16, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dykstra Funeral Home in Holland, Michigan (188 32nd Street). A memorial service will take place Monday, August 17, at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Saugatuck (296 Hoffman Street). The College will take one bus and two vans to the service. Faculty, staff and students interested in attending may register by emailing Renee Boelcke at Renee.Boelcke@kzoo.edu. Those taking the College transportation will meet on Academy Street, outside of Anderson Athletic Center at noon on Monday, August 17. The bus and vans will return to campus at the conclusion of the memorial service.