Department of History
Old Horticulture
506 E. Circle Dr
Room 256
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Main: 517.355.7500
Fax: 517.353.5599
Email: history [at] msu [dot] edu
Hours: 8:00-5:00 M-F

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JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) Grant

Project Description

The Spoken Word Project proposes to transform undergraduate learning and teaching through integrating the rich media resources of digital audio repositories into undergraduate courses in history, political science and cognate disciplines in the U.S. and Britain. The project will take full advantage of the flexibility inherent in digital repositories and build processes for learning that will fundamentally expand the way students and teachers understand knowledge, knowledge resources, and their own complementary roles in higher education. Michigan State University, in collaboration with Northwestern University and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and Glasgow Caledonian University, in collaboration with the BBC – Information & Archives, will develop and implement this vision. Starting with a rich collection of digitized audio resources, associated texts and images and a set of integrated online annotation tools, this work will promote the usability and integration of digital spoken word repositories to improve undergraduate teaching. The project will test whether and with what effect the integration of digital audio resources into university courses achieves four major project outcomes: (1) improving student learning and retention, (2) developing aural literacy in our students, (3) augmenting student competence to write on—and for—the Internet, and, (4) enhancing digital libraries through a focus on learning.

SLC (Smaller Learning Communities) Grant

Project Description:

In collaboration with Michigan State University and Lansing Community College, Lansing School District is implementing the Smaller SPACES (Students, Parents, Administrators, Community, and Educators for Success) program at Eastern, Everett, and J. S. Sexton high schools. This smaller learning communities (SLC) initiative for these Michigan schools is designed to nurture every high school student and prevent at-risk youth from “slipping through the cracks” into failure.

The project is based on the “Five C’s” developed by Jobs for the Future and the Kellogg Foundation: caring relationships; cognitive challenges; culture of support; community contribution, voice, and leadership; and connections.

Its goals are as follows:

  • To create smaller, more personalized, safer high school learning communities where teachers, staff, students, parents, and community care about one another and work collaboratively to challenge students and support learning
  • To help all high school students maximize their academic potential as demonstrated by meeting challenging Michigan state standards
  • To help ensure that all students not only graduate, but do so equipped with the knowledge and skills needed for a successful transition into postsecondary education, training, or careers

Professional Development

Smaller SPACES will provide a three-year progression of trainer- and teacher-selected professional-development opportunities. Full-faculty training will include integration of Michigan state standards, block-scheduling teaching techniques, utilization of school data, and risk-factor training. For teachers in the Freshman Academy, training will be provided on the benefits of SLCs, freshman transition activities, and teacher advisory groups. Teachers in the upper grades will receive training on the benefits of and research-based techniques of SLCs, adult advocate systems, and career development.

Intensive professional development will be provided each summer through institutes, study groups, and college coursework. Incentives such as stipends, child-care, and travel-expense coverage will be provided. Training will include both short-term training programs and graduate-level training through Michigan State University and Lansing Community College.