“The College of Arts and Letters reinterprets the land-grant mission of MSU for the needs of the twenty-first century by operating as a fast-paced, future-oriented college that provides students an education and prepares them for success. Keeping our hand on the pulse of change, we create new majors and added-value activities that address the complexity of technology-driven information management and presentation that continue to put the arts and humanities into the forefront of the educational landscape.”
– Dean Karin A. Wurst
The College of Arts & Letters (CAL) is a vital force that puts the arts & humanities into action to create meaningful impact in our world.
We are bridging tradition with present and future concerns. We are strongly future oriented and leverage new opportunities and technologies in pursuit of humanities concerns while infusing arts and humanities thinking into the campus community, and creating a culturally vibrant environment that enhances the students’ learning experience. We strive to create synergy by connecting the passion for the life of the mind and the transferable skills that our majors offer.
Shaping Intentional Lives – Cultivating Creativity, and Global Cultural Understanding
In response to profound geopolitical, social, cultural, and economic changes, today’s university must not only prepare students to live and work in a dramatically changing global environment, but also provide them with the skills needed to understand these changes and their impact on social justice and the fabric of our cultural environment. We live in a time when Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines are asked to be the solutions to world problems. Yet, we know that the strength of the American higher education system rests on educating effective problem-solvers who will bring creativity as well as careful argument, innovation as well as tradition, expression as well as introspection to their work and to their lives. To this end, CAL engages students and cultivates critical and creative thinkers who address the challenge of becoming world citizens by contributing to the development of a more humane world.
We are committed to leading the way of academic transformation at MSU by advancing our capacity in information technology, educational technology, digital humanities, digital arts and media, and enhancing online learning within a global context and with an entrepreneurial focus.
We are guided by the following value pillars:
Societal and Cultural Impact
We bridge intellectual tradition with present and future concerns; the life of the mind with the more applied aspect of the “humanities at work.” Students and faculty collaborate on projects—learning from each other—to create and implement tomorrow’s next “big ideas.” We believe in the power of the arts and humanities in action, engaged in social life and as active drivers of our cultural environment, and are committed to striving for meaningful impact in our world. We foster a sense of responsibility to community and society and encourage students to do urgent work for the betterment of humanity.
Our programs encourage students to develop global awareness, develop a sense of creativity and innovation that undergirds the ability to compete in a global economy. By understanding our global past and present we provide our students the tools to better shape their own futures. Our study abroad and study away programs are two of the highest rated at MSU. The college provides unparalleled opportunities in study abroad with more than 80 programs in nearly 40 countries.
Creativity and Innovation Focus
We cultivate creative thinkers who address the challenge of becoming world citizens by engaging students to contribute to the development of a more humane world. We foster an environment where students generate new ideas and concepts, and/or make connections between ideas where none previously existed.
We embrace the advances of digital technologies for humanities research, creative practice, and high quality learning and online pedagogies. Our innovative approach to teaching prepares students for those jobs that “don’t exist yet.”
The arts and humanities are a key element of any vibrant community and the College of Arts and Letters takes to heart the role we must play in this campus community and beyond. The public face of the College of Arts and Letters is highly visible through initiatives such as the Signature Lecture Series, Humanities Innovation Center, the Themed Year Initiative, and the Famous Affiliates Program, all designed to support visiting scholars and connections with other institutions, and direct interaction with the many communities with whom we interact.
Enhancing Faculty Distinction
- Advance a culture of research that supports and rewards excellence in scholarship
- Advance a ‘Culture of Excellence’ and expertise in teaching and learning that supports and rewards excellence
- Advance the quality of all academic units within CAL
- Explore new frontiers in education and cultural environments
Enhancing the Student Experience
- Act as a change agent in higher education
- Focus on graduate education:
- Change leadership in graduate education in languages
- Innovation within graduate education
- Building and sustaining engagement
- Communicating an image of excellence and engagement to various audiences:
- Internal communication
- External communication
In addition to the traditional arts and humanities orientation and the life of the mind, we are global, translational, applied, practical, technology enhanced, future oriented, nimble, and aligned with and enhancing the MSU core mission.
We deliberately prepare students in a way that fosters a mindset that anticipates and prepares for the “jobs that do not exist yet.” We are aligned with the University vision of hardworking excellence, and are doing our part in engaging with the world’s most challenging social, cultural, and ethical problems. We are forward thinking and consider the latest trends and technological advances when making future decisions regarding curricular/co-curricular opportunities.
In an effort to extend our brand identity and set a tone that articulates the goals and mission of the College, we will focus on 4 principles and convey these through various communications with our team and stakeholders.
OUR 4 BRAND PRINCIPLES
CREATIVITY & INNOVATION
SOCIETAL & CULTURAL IMPACT
Enhancing Student Experiences
We are committed to staying abreast of the latest trends in higher education to foster student success and enhance the student experience. By paying attention to emerging career trends, new majors, minors, and certificates have been created to meet the needs of a 21st Century Arts & Humanities education.
We have launched the following:
Masters: Arts & Cultural Management
Masters: Foreign Language Teaching (MAFLT)
Major: Global Studies in Arts and Humanities
Major: Experience Architecture
Major: Film Studies
Minor: Arts & Cultural Management
Specialization: Digital Humanities
Specialization: Film Production
Certificate: College Teaching
(1. Foreign Languages, 2. Humanities)
Certificate: Digital Humanities - Graduate Students
We continue to offer students support outside of their normal curriculum.
Resources for students continue to be enhanced by making more labs available that allow for better and more impactful learning through technology. In particular, the labs in Wells Hall (ELC, CLS) were designed based on the latest research in learning and enhancing collaborative spaces.
Since 2009 the number of lab spaces for students has increased 21.7%.
The College of Arts & Letters is a vibrant, welcoming home for students interested in the arts and humanities, CAL is focused on preparing our students for careers in the globalized 21st century.
Our undergraduate affairs staff throughout the College is committed to student achievement, learning, graduation and, ultimately, preparation for life after college.
Academic advising is an important form of teaching that takes place outside the classroom. Through a variety of contacts and consultations, academic advisers and our dedicated Career and Internship Consultants guide and help students take full advantage of the phenomenal opportunities that abound at the College of Arts & Letters and MSU.
Over the last couple of years, we have refurbished our academic offices, added an internship developer, and a dedicated career consultant to ensure we are providing students with a best-in-class experience and they succeed after graduation.
The College of Arts & Letters Difference
We offer students an inspired learning environment that keeps them engaged in academic activities in, and out, of the classroom.
Students are empowered to shape their education and take intellectual and creative journeys. They are encouraged to seek internships, conduct undergraduate research, and gain an understanding in entrepreneurship. These opportunities help students gain the knowledge they need to be successful in their chosen career. With these activities, students benefit from the following:
- Real-world experience, like internships, helps students make more educated career choices
- Students gain experience through creation, experimentation, development and analysis
- Students enhance their academic experience and performance through professional engagement
- Students learn the value of networking. Developing professional contacts in the field of their choice helps them get hired and get ahead in their career
- Students improve their skills in business start-up, management, operations and leadership
- Students improve personal and career attitudes such as: self-awareness, personal management, motivation, teamwork, communication and problem solving
Our success stories speak for themselves.
SHANNON GILLESPIE, APPAREL & TEXTILE DESIGN MAJOR, TELLS HER STORY ABOUT THE CONNECTIONS SHE MADE THROUGH HER INTERNSHIPS AND HOW SHE HAS PREPARED HERSELF TO SUCCEED FOLLOWING GRADUATION.
CHELSEA LUCAS, THEATRE MAJOR, TALKS ABOUT FINDING HER ROLE IN LIFE AND THE VALUABLE MENTORING SHE RECEIVED THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE.
The College of Arts & Letters equips graduates with a solid foundation to pursue careers in business, government, education and nonprofit sectors, as well as a variety of graduate-level programs. Future career options may be determined not so much by the choice of a student’s college major, but by the interests, skills, values, and experiences acquired throughout college. Below, we have provided a range of opportunities to help any student develop a path to EXPLORE options, to get the skills that PREPARE them for a life beyond college, and CONNECT students to future career possibilities.
Cutting-Edge Graduate Education
AVERAGE TIME TO DEGREE FOR PH.D. STUDENT
We continue to find the best ways to prepare our graduates to become change leaders in their professions.
We prepare for positions of the future with more advanced integrated pedagogy skills, with a general sense of how universities educate the whole student beyond coursework, and with graduates who have the requisite skills of resilience, time management, and prioritizing. This allows them to become highly competent faculty who understand the demands of the 21st century undergraduate. Likewise, we are open to educating professionals for jobs beyond the academics.
Ph.D. students are encouraged to obtain significant additional experience in at least one of three areas to make them even more competitive: strong integrated pedagogy skills including educational technology; Digital Humanities Training (research methods); and multimodal visualization and information presentation skills. The college supports these efforts with 10 Technology GAships and 10 High-Impact Teaching and Learning GAships. Students can take advantage of offerings in the Graduate School and the new certificate in Leadership (i.e. self-efficacy skills such as resilience, time management, and wellness).
In April, 2013, The College of Arts & Letters presented a discussion with leading experts in the field of Graduate Education in the Humanities from across the United States, Graduate Education in the Humanities: Preparing for a Meaningful Future. The overall goal of this event was to share best practices and address issues facing graduate education, ranging from time-to-degree issues to broaden the employment opportunities in sectors beyond academia, how to prepare students to put their degrees to work, and what skills it takes in advanced degrees to make employers take notice.
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Offering Unparalleled Opportunities
The World is a Student’s Classroom
In our Study Abroad/Away programs, our students learn to weave together personal, professional, and civic lives, while contemplating the ethical implications of our interdependent world. Students benefit from these experiences by:
Gaining an understanding and perspective on complex global issues
Advancing their foreign language skills
Expanding their research methods through cultural analysis
Building lasting relationships that will enrich their lives
We offer ample opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty, alumni, and other students in the largest university study abroad program in the world. Our courses teach students how to deal with complexity and negotiate meaning for themselves. These study abroad programs give students the ability to compete in a global economy following graduation.
Paige Hook, French and English double major, discusses how the study abroad program has enriched her life by bridging cultures.
We have increased our study away from 1 to 9 programs, included cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.
Innovative Spaces for Learning
Center for Teaching Language Advancement (CeLTA)
The Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA), assists with the administration and coordination of language offerings, best teaching practices, the sharing of curricula across languages and departments, and promoting service learning and outreach. CeLTA’s programmatic activities serve all language departments on campus and focus on providing support for language teaching and learning, including professional development opportunities, graduate certificates, and international teaching internships.
Center for Applied Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Arts and Humanities (CAITLAH)
The Center for Applied Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Arts and Humanities (CAITLAH) impacts a range of activities that have been introduced in the last few years (i.e. Teaching Commons, Think Tanks, First-Year Experience Activities, etc.) and encourages faculty development in inclusive teaching and learning practices. This is done in collaborations around promising new insights into curricular design, pedagogy, and creative assessments aimed at engaging all learners. Engagement activities throughout Mid-Michigan and beyond including summer camps and after-school activities (i.e. Writing Camps) contribute to building supportive communities.
Creativity Exploratory (CE)
The Creativity Exploratory (CE) gives students the opportunity to put into action the writing, research, and technology skills that they gained in the classroom to develop creative solutions for real world projects. Fostering creativity and innovation in education and society has become a common theme in higher education and in business. We offer an experiential co-curriculum to create multimedia forms of presenting information, practicing, and experiencing new ways of collaborative learning.
The English Language Center (ELC)
The English Language Center (ELC) provides instruction to international students who need to improve their English language skills before beginning academic coursework. The ELC serves the international community by providing English language instruction against a backdrop of American life and academia. It also serves individuals who are not seeking a degree at MSU but who want to improve their English skills. Such students can apply directly to the English Language Center or may enroll through the Eurocentres program.
September 7, 2012 saw the grand opening of the new Wells Hall addition, a high-tech, eco-friendly structure aimed at enhancing student learning. The new Wells Hall addition allows the College of Arts & Letters to play a critical role in making certain students are prepared to meet the ever-changing challenges of the world around them. We foster critical and interdisciplinary thinking and research, and collaborative teaching and learning. The addition’s design creates a variety of new spaces blending both private and open concepts to encourage a broad range of scholarly and social interactions. This helps us retain the best students and researchers for our community.
Humanities Innovation Center (HIC)
The HIC mission is to foster cross-disciplinary innovation in humanities research, digital cultural production, and creative production that engages with contemporary issues and makes them accessible to the larger community. The HIC shapes innovative directions in teaching, research, creative activity, and research dissemination. It enriches the intellectual experiences of faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students; and fosters more extensive engagement with the humanities across campus and beyond.
Program Excellence and Faculty Distinction
Faculty at a Glance – Featured in MSUToday
Natalie Phillips, Assistant Professor of English, uses MRI technology to study brain flow while reading 18th century literature. This work brings together scientists and literary scholars to explore the relationship between reading, attention and distraction.
It’s early, but what this research suggests so far is that core skills in the liberal arts have immense cognitive complexity,” she says. “It’s not only the books we read, but also the act of thinking rigorously about them that’s of value, exercising the brain in critical ways.”
Adam Brown, Associate Professor of electronic art and intermedia, along with his collaborators have found a metal tolerant bacteria which can grow on massive concentrations of gold chloride. They fed the bacteria unprecedented amounts of gold chloride, mimicking the process they believe happens in nature. In about a week, the bacteria transformed the toxins and produced a gold nugget.
“The Great Work of the Metal Lover” uses a living system as a vehicle for artistic exploration. Brown says, “Science tries to explain the phenomenological world. As an artist, I’m trying to create a phenomenon. Art has the ability to push scientific inquiry.”
Susan Gass, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages and director of MSU’s English Language Center, was awarded the Modern Language Association of America’s 32nd Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize. Her research is in Second Language Acquisition and includes the areas of Input and Interaction, Language Universals and Language Transfer.
The award is given for outstanding work in the fields of language, culture, literacy and literature with strong application to the teaching of languages other than English.
Paula Winke, Assistant Professor of second language studies, found that the fate of nearly half a million immigrants hoping for U.S. citizenship may have been determined randomly, at least in part. In the first study to measure reliability of the high-stakes civics test used to award citizenship, Winke found it isn’t a reliable measure of civics knowledge and the test can result in varying levels of difficulty based on the questions selected.
“There’s a lot about accountability in testing and education these days. I think the same applies to our government,” Winke says. “As educators, we have to prove that every test under No Child Left Behind is reliable and valid, so why isn’t the government doing this for the civics test?”
Funding and Program Support
Research & Creative Activity
Enhancing the quality of our programs and the distinction of our faculty as researchers and teachers is critical as we move forward. Since 2009, we have successfully implemented and launched the following programs:
- External Connections – A program that connects our faculty with leaders in their field for a year.
- Undergraduate Research Support – We significantly increased the budget to support both faculty and students on their specific fieldwork.
- Famous Affiliate Program – This program connects “superstars” in various fields with our faculty and students for up to three years.
- Internal Grant Program – Here we fund graduate students and provide research support for faculty.
- Conferences & Symposia – We provide additional travel support for faculty to present at high-impact and high-visibility conferences and symposia.
- Visibility Fund – This allows units to plan and integrate regular lectures by leaders in their fields to enrich the learning environment for faculty and graduate students.
- Focused and Deliberate Faculty Hiring – We have been focusing our faculty hiring in those areas we see strength and strategic concentration, so that programs are sustained while still allowing new interdisciplinary programs to be launched.
Awarded grants continue to be a major pipeline to fund our innovative and stellar research by faculty and students.
The number of extramural proposals almost doubled between 2009 (12%) and 2012 (22%).
FACULTY PROPOSALS AND AWARDS
Dollar amount awarded from grants increased by more than $330,000.
DOLLARS AWARDED FROM EXTERNAL GRANTS
Teaching Innovations Through Technology
Over the past five years we have focused our information technology work in support of academic transformation. Our robust information and educational technology programs provide high-quality support for teaching, learning and research.
From 2009 – 2013, we continued to create new laboratory spaces and extended access to these spaces in order to grow capacity for students’ work and innovation.
AVAILABLE LAB SPACES
FIRST YEAR WRITING
The College is leading the University in piloting the adoption of ELi peer review software as a way to strengthen student communication skills. Eli is a powerful and effective tool for developing student writing abilities through peer learning and peer assessment.
We have been piloting tablet computing initiatives in credit bearing and outreach work, leading to increased student engagement and promoting 21st century information literacy skills.
In 2013, WRAC faculty offered a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) focused on writing. The MOOC used the ELI peer review system as a support to teach writing to over 3,000 students and further established MSU as a home for writers worldwide.
We have increased support for Digital Humanities (DH) work across disciplines. The initiatives are planned and supported by our DH faculty advisory committee in collaboration with our departments and other units on campus. Students have opportunities to apply their knowledge in real world DH situations through classes and the Creativity Exploratory. Because of the hard work of our faculty and staff, MSU has become known as a leader within the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) and around the country in the DH area.
Growth in Blended and Online Learning
CAL virtual course offerings increased substantially from 2009-2013. We grew our blended and online sections from 74–212, and as a result, our virtual student credit hours increased.
STUDENT CREDIT HOURS (SCH)
AREAS FOR OPPORTUNITY IN LANGUAGE
The Spanish program has integrated technology-enhanced materials across its 100-level curriculum, helping to eliminate bottlenecks in enrollment by affording more flexibility to students.
Our Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) program is moving toward hybrid or fully online course offerings, increasing access to these languages for MSU students and beyond.
Help rooms and conversation tables offered by the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA) and the language departments engage students with the target language and culture.
Fostering a Vibrant Community
We significantly enhanced the College of Arts & Letters engagement activities through a variety of initiatives and programs.
CeLTA Language School (CLS) student volunteers (FIGURE 1) and enrollments (FIGURE 2) had sizable increases and continue to be a value add on campus and in the greater community
The Signature Lecture Series brings award winning writers, filmmakers, playwrights, and public intellectuals to campus. Students, faculty, and the community are able to engage and have conversations for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
2013 saw our Leading Voices Series continue with legendary film producer and Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner, writer of Lincoln and Angels in America. This year’s collaboration was with the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts.
In May 2013, we welcomed back Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize winning author and College of Arts & Letter alumnus. Mr. Ford was recognized as the University Commencement Speaker and addressed the advanced degree candidates. His novel, Independence Day, was the first book to receive both the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
Department of Art, Art History, and Design provides student and faculty exhibitions to the public. The major ATD Fashion Show enhances the arts on campus, and in the community, every spring.
We offer several Film Series throughout the academic year, including the new Global Film Series. Numerous collaborations with the Broad Art Museum provides value added programming for all.
In April 2013, we celebrated 50 years as a college and recognized outstanding alumni whose diverse accomplishments highlight the value of an arts and letters education.
Our alumni board is dedicated to making a difference for our students and the community. They serve as representatives of the MSU Alumni Association and the College of Arts & Letters at both University and College-level events.
Celebrating our Own
Anne Marie Karlsen. A 1974 Alumna and Art Education major, is now a professor of art at Santa Monica College. She is well known for her numerous public art installations including “Kaleidoscope Dreams,” a nearly 4,000-square-foot piece located in the North Hollywood Red Line Subway Station in Los Angeles. Bill Vincent. English Professor in the College of Arts and Letter’s Film Studies program, was featured in an MSU Spartan Saga about his endeavors as a mentor and actor in “Evil Dead,” a film produced by two of his past students.
Anne Marie Karlsen. A 1974 Alumna and Art Education major, is now a professor of art at Santa Monica College. She is well known for her numerous public art installations including “Kaleidoscope Dreams,” a nearly 4,000-square-foot piece located in the North Hollywood Red Line Subway Station in Los Angeles.
Bill Vincent. English Professor in the College of Arts and Letter’s Film Studies program, was featured in an MSU Spartan Saga about his endeavors as a mentor and actor in “Evil Dead,” a film produced by two of his past students.
Amanda Mercer. A Humanities Pre-Law alumna and former MSU women’s swim team captain, tells her story about swimming towards the cure of Lou Gehrig’s disease, while also battling breast cancer herself.
Craig Pearson. College of Arts & Letters and Honors College triple major in English, Neuroscience, and Biochemistry, shares the story of his involvement in the DHLC, starting the literary journal “Exceptions,” and becoming MSU’s 16th Marshall Scholar.”
Craig Pearson. College of Arts & Letters and Honors College triple major in English, Neuroscience, and Biochemistry, shares the story of his involvement in the DHLC, starting the literary journal “Exceptions,” and becoming MSU’s 16th Marshall Scholar.”
Terence Gipson. Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities junior, shares his story. Terence not only represents students as an Alumni Board representative, he plays an important role in his position with the MSU Alumni Association.
Logan Stark. A current Professional Writing student, turned a class video project into a way to empower, remember, and inspire U.S. veterans. Logan, a Marine veteran himself, told the story of his battalion’s fight in Afghanistan in a documentary, ‘For the 25′, that has been recognized by USA Today, the New York Times, and PBS.
Katie Von Till. Actress Katherine Von Till (’97, Theatre and Interdisciplinary Humanities), perhaps better known as the official voice of Disney’s Snow White, shares her MSU College of Arts & Letters story and some advice for current students. Mayen, Germany. A recap of the July 2013 College of Arts and Letters Alumni trip to Germany, celebrating a 40 year partnership with Mayen, Germany as a host city for study abroad trips. Highlights of the trip included visits to Mayen, Heidelberg, Munich, Dresden and Berlin. Many thanks to all who were involved in this wonderful tour of Germany! Artprize. We headed to ArtPrize 2013 to catch up with MSU College of Arts and Letters alumni and participate in the Spartans at ArtPrize event.
Katie Von Till. Actress Katherine Von Till (’97, Theatre and Interdisciplinary Humanities), perhaps better known as the official voice of Disney’s Snow White, shares her MSU College of Arts & Letters story and some advice for current students.
Mayen, Germany. A recap of the July 2013 College of Arts and Letters Alumni trip to Germany, celebrating a 40 year partnership with Mayen, Germany as a host city for study abroad trips. Highlights of the trip included visits to Mayen, Heidelberg, Munich, Dresden and Berlin. Many thanks to all who were involved in this wonderful tour of Germany!
Artprize. We headed to ArtPrize 2013 to catch up with MSU College of Arts and Letters alumni and participate in the Spartans at ArtPrize event.