Beaumont Tower with flowers and the sun shining near the top

It is so wonderful to see the sun shining and the weather turning to spring, even if we know that, living in Michigan, winter is likely not fully behind us. But, since we did not have spring break this year, anything that signals we’re past the term’s halfway mark is motivating. Throughout the year, we have emphasized an aspect of academic work in the monthly AAN newsletter, presented short stories from campus colleagues showcasing their academic experiences, and highlighted certain resources we hope you find valuable. The second half of spring term brings so many opportunities to get involved in a myriad of seminars and workshops and to consider the ways in which you want to connect with others in distinct settings over the summer and in the 2021-22 academic year, which is a focus of this month’s newsletter. While you might feel fall is just too far away and you cannot see how you could add one more thing to your plate, we encourage you to consider how participation in one of these programs might just be the community you have been looking for!

AAN Leadership Fellows – a chance to learn more about the way MSU functions and senior leaders navigate their roles.

I was profoundly moved by the experience of seeing how a college can function in a manner that supports a diverse faculty and students, including those that have gone off on their own path, how to nurture and support all, including those who got lost along the way, to bring them back into being part of the larger endeavor at MSU to carry out research and education. Most of all, I saw the care and attention that goes into preventing alienation and building joint learning environments that include transdisciplinary approaches. We need more such efforts to bring into conversation humanities and science; I was grateful for a firsthand glimpse of how teaching languages and art can support entirely new ways of thinking about agriculture, and how this can be supported at every level of the university from support staff to instructors, from students to administrators,said Sieglinde Snapp, AAN Leadership Fellow, Professor, Soils and Cropping Systems Ecologist, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences in the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations.

Lilly Fellows – an opportunity to explore questions of teaching and learning and the educational leadership needed to move important initiatives forward.

“The actual fellowship (i.e., our monthly discussions and readings) has been one of the more valuable experiences in my time at MSU. The main takeaway for me was that there are many people on campus who want to make the world a better place, who struggle with the system we are in, and who want to change it to be more equitable and just,” said Senta Goertler, current Lilly Fellow, Director of the German Basic Language Program, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies.

Adams Academy Fellowship – explore the literature on effective university teaching and learning practices and consider how this robust body of research can be used to guide instructional decisions in the courses they teach. Participants learn from and contribute to a community of teacher-scholars committed to excellence in teaching and learning.

My largest takeaway was the teaching techniques that I can implement in my courses right away without having to spend weeks or months researching ideas on my own.  My biggest learning moment was seeing examples of how courses are taught in art and languages, which are very different from my discipline. For example, Japanese poetry can be taught through the shape of the characters and their sounds before learning the meaning of any of the words. This mind-opening idea makes me think and reflect on how I can try these techniques in my class before demos,” said Huey-Wen Lin, current Adams Academy Fellow, Department of Physics and Astronomy & Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering.

Application information for Fellows programs is soon to be announced, so watch for more information and deadlines!

Spring Symposium on Imagining the Future of the University and Academic Work: April 19 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. 

Join us to hear Shirley Malcom offer insights from her diverse experiences as liberal arts graduate, science educator, regent of Morgan State University, and Director of Education and Human Resources for AAAS. A panel of MSU colleagues will be respondents. Watch for more information coming soon about this thought-provoking discussion that will touch on so much of what we are experiencing and striving towards here at MSU!

Spring Conference for Teaching, Learning, and Student Success: May 4-7, 2021 

Come engage in discussion with others from across campus who will share innovations, approaches, challenges, and successes they have experienced over the last year. The wide range of topics run the gamut from teaching Tool-Kits to understanding how to use innovative assessment tools to measure student learning and success to how to think differently about supporting students in online settings and addressing concerns about mental health and well-being. The Conference is organized with roundtable and poster sessions, information sharing and keynote talks, synchronous and asynchronous formats – flexibility so you can work with your schedule and take advantage of a time to consider what has been learned over this challenging time and to think about what you want to take forward into the new academic year.