College of Education ranked number one for graduate students

College of Education ranked number one for graduate students

For 19 consecutive years, Michigan State University’s College of Education has been ranked number one for its elementary and secondary education programs at the graduate level according to Susan Dalebout, Assistant Dean of the College of Education.  Every year the U.S. News and World Report do a nationwide ranking of the graduate college of education programs. Once again, MSU has come out on top.

Photo credit: Julia Grippe

But how do undergraduates studying education benefit from the graduate program being ranked number one? According to Joella Cogan, Director of Advising for the Student Advising Office of the College of Education, the secondary and elementary education programs are five-year programs. The students do a full academic yearlong post-baccalaureate internship after their initial four years. During the fifth year, they are enrolled as graduate students and take two graduate courses while working full-time in the classroom.

“You can’t properly train an elementary or secondary teacher with just a bachelors degree,” said Cogan. The fifth year of student teaching is crucial and also one of the reasons MSU is ranked number one.

Another reason MSU’s teacher education program maintains such high rankings is its outstanding faculty who are continuously doing cutting edge research to improve teacher education.  Cogan said just because MSU receives high rankings doesn’t mean they just coast.

“We are never satisfied,” said Cogan. “The teachers are committed to on going research.  All areas are always looking to how we can do it better.”

“Being very highly ranked also gives our faculty and administrators a greater voice in public policy and discourse about education in the United States,” said Dalebout.

Lexi Justice, a senior special education major, is about to finish her fourth year at MSU and will have the responsibility of handling a real classroom during her fifth year.  She said she feels fully prepared to start her internship.

“I feel very comfortable going into my student teaching,” said Justice. “I have been in a classroom every year I’ve been here. I started at the Refugee Development Center in Lansing, spent the next two years part-time in a special education classroom, and during the past year I have been in a kindergarten classroom.”

Lexi teaches for a few hours every Tuesday and Friday at Pleasant View Magnet Elementary School. Photo credit: Julia Grippe

Cogan said MSU isn’t promising students a quick and easy degree, but the extra time spent in the classroom will pay off in the end.  There are other schools whose programs follow a similar model such as Stanford, Colombia, Ohio State University and other IVY League and Big Ten schools. But MSU continues to keep its number one title.

“I applied to 10 schools,” said Justice. “Out of all of them, MSU is number one, which is why I decided to go here.”

“MSU grads from the College of Education are known to be the best,” said Cogan. Many schools where MSU students are hired say the first year teachers from MSU don’t act like first year teachers.

Although Justice would prefer to go back to her home state of Illinois, she thinks she has an advantage of finding a job, especially in Michigan. “If a job arises here, I’d be happy to stay in Michigan,” said Justice.

“When there are openings in Michigan, MSU students are getting the first look,” said Cogan.  Some schools have admitted to Cogan that they have two separate piles of resumes. One pile is for MSU students and the other is for everyone else.

Overall, “having a number of graduate programs ranked highly enhances the reputation of the college and benefits all student’s who graduate from College of Education Programs,” said Dalebout.

“We’re not claiming you’ll get out quick, but we are committed,” said Cogan.

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Dancing for a cause year after year

Dancing for a cause year after year

On Thursday, Feb. 16, Michigan State University students from various student organizations gathered at I.M. Circle to participate in MSU’s Dance Marathon. This event was in support of the Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation in memory of the former MSU student. Cassie, 21, lost her four-year battle with kidney cancer on March 1,2012.  Still, her legacy and spirit lives on throughout the MSU community.

The Cassie Hines Shoes Foundation raises awareness and financial support for cancer camps and support groups for young adult cancer patients ages 16-30, according to the foundations webpage.

During the Dance Marathon, students participated in games, arts and crafts and of course, dancing for 12 hours straight. Seems like an easy task, right? The catch is they were not allowed to sit down at any point.

“I didn’t realize 12 hours would be so hard to stand the whole time,” said Lexi Justice, a senior elementary and special education student. “My legs were sore by hour four and I was definitely active the whole time learning different dances, participating in dodge ball, relay races and lots of games to keep us going.”

The mental and physical challenges are meant to symbolize the obstacles faced by cancer patients and their families according to the MSU Dance Marathon webpage. By continuing to stay on their feet, they are commemorating the struggles that cancer patients go through everyday.

Right now, Penn State’s Dance Marathon is the largest student run philanthropy in the world in which they raised $12,374,034.46 this year.

“I would definitely do it again and I hope MSU can grow to make our Dance Marathon as big as Penn State’s,” said Justice.

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MSU in Color: White

MSU in Color: White

No matter how long I have been living in Michigan, I will continue to be shocked and confused by its indecisive weather pattern.  One day there is snow falling from the sky and the next day it feels like the middle of May.  However, January 2013 has been a lot more promising of snowy weather than past years, even though East Lansing has recently turned into one huge pond due to the drastic change in climate. Fortunately I was able to capture some of the winter scenery throughout the month before it melted.  And with white being the color of purity, I figured there was no better color to start off a fresh new year.

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MSU in Color: Brown

MSU in Color: Brown

Although the fall semester has ended and winter break has begun, MSU has yet to have a big snowfall leaving campus looking a little dull.  But if you try, you can still see the beauty our campus has to offer.  So I leave you all with my attempt to find beauty in the shades of brown throughout East Lansing including some cute pictures of the local squirrels we all know and love.

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Silverbells in the City 2012

Silverbells in the City 2012

Thousands of Lansing locals of all ages gathered near the capitol to celebrate the holiday season on Friday Nov. 16.  Among the various activities was a 2.5 mile fun run, an electric light parade and of course, the lighting of the Christmas tree. Before the parade, many spectators and participants also enjoyed holiday shopping in the downtown shops and refreshments at the local bars and restaurants. Once the parade started, the sidewalks were completely filled with barely any walking room as people desperately tried to get the best view of the show.  Once the infamous Santa Clause drove by on the last float, it was time for the lighting of the tree.  Everyone relocated to the front of the State Capitol building in anticipation.  Many contributors of the event gave thanks and acknowledgement to the people who made the event happen.  As the crowed counted down, the tree finally illuminated and was accompanied by a firework spectacular.  The people of Lansing and surrounding areas watched together in awe as the Holiday season officially started.

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“Life in Color” invades East Lansing

“Life in Color” invades East Lansing

Formerly known as DayGlow, Life in Color invaded East Lansing on Friday, October 19.  Life in Color has been, “The Worlds Largest Paint Party,” since 2006.  Starting out as a college tradition among Florida campuses, Life in Color has turned into a full blown concert event and has spread to some of the world’s largest cities including New York, London, Melbourne and more.  Life in Color includes booming DJs, aerial acts, fire shows and of course the, “Paint Blast.”  If you missed Life in Color at MSU this time around, Rachel Tang captured some awesome moments from the event!

 

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Spartan Style: Fall Fashion

Spartan Style: Fall Fashion

TBG photographers have spotted some of the latest fashion trends on campus!

 

 

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TBG Instagram: October

TBG Instagram: October

TBG has created an Instagram account: @thebiggreenmsu. Tag us in your photos and you could be featured on the site!

 

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MSU in Color: Orange

MSU in Color: Orange

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Spartan Global Aims to Help Sustainability Abroad

Spartan Global Aims to Help Sustainability Abroad

By Julia Grippe

Students involved with Spartan Global at MSU have impacted the lives of entrepreneurs in developing countries by making microloans to help sustain their businesses.

Starting off as a student club in 2009, Spartan Global has now turned into a successful non-profit organization here at MSU as of May 2011.

Photo Credit: Michael Thelen

According to the Spartan Global website, the organization is made up of a “collection of students, professors and alumni dedicated to the social and financial betterment of people around the globe.”

Economics senior Dan Zaharia is the current president of the organization. He said Spartan Global is an organization that gives microloans to small entrepreneurs around the world who need it via Kiva.org.

Kiva allows Spartan Global and other loaners to read about the individual circumstances of the people in developing countries who need loans in order to be lifted from poverty, Zaharia said. Once a person is chosen, donators can lend money in increments of $25 to help chosen recipients sustain their businesses, families and lives.

However, Zaharia said Spartan Global wants to move beyond Kiva because it does not reach the people who don’t have access to the internet.

The founder of Spartan Global, Michael Thelen, graduated from MSU in December 2009.

“My passion for global poverty related issues was born when I spent one-on-one time working with young orphaned boys in Guatemala City and I experienced in a very visceral way, how the difficulties these boys were destined to face in their lives as the result of inaction by those with the ability to do something,” Thelen said.

“I realized I had a choice to do something, or do nothing,” he added. “When I give a speech, or a start to get passionate about microfinance or other issues, I’m still thinking about Franscisco, one of the boys who I worked with in the winter of 2006.”

Like Thelen, Paulette Stenzel, a professor of international business law at MSU and the advisor of Spartan Global, is very passionate about the organization.

“I am totally committed to sustainability projects,” she said.

Stenzel said Spartan Global started out with four loans in July of 2009. Since then the organization has made 349 loans to date.

Photo Credit: Michael Thelen

“In micro-loaning, the repayment rate is higher than any other type of loan in any advanced western country,” Zaharia said. This means people are more likely and able to pay back their loans when they receive a microloan.

The types of people that receive micro loans from Spartan Global basically have nothing, Zaharia said. With a little bit of money and intuition in the form of business training, they are able to provide for their family and keep their businesses going.

“By financially empowering them, they can lift themselves from poverty in a dignified manner,” Zaharia said. “Usually, ready-made solutions fail because there is a lack of cultural understanding.”

For instance, if an organization tries to stop hunger in a country by simply donating food, it can actually do damage, Zaharia said. For example, it can run farmers out of business and isn’t generally sustainable because the country is not receiving tools or methods to stop hunger by itself.

Spartan Global is excited to have obtained their non-profit status in May 2011, Stenzel said, adding that people are more likely make donations to a non-profit organzation because the donor can receive tax deductions by donating.

Spartan Global also signed a contract with Esperanza en Acción (Hope in Action), a fair trade organization based in Nicaragua that has strong ties in the Lansing area, Stenzel said.

According to the Esperanza en Acción website, the organization provides “Nicaraguan artisans with the tools to lift themselves out of poverty by offering technical assistance and quality consultation in addition to education and practice in calculating a fair wage.”

Fair trade is a social movement to make fair wages, to give more money to the producers and to promote respect for cultural identity, Stenzel said.

The Esperanza en Acción website states that fair trade is “specifically focused on people in third world countries, who have traditionally been exploited through trade agreements that seek to maximize retailers and intermediaries profits at the expense of the artisans.”

“Microfinance and fair trade are companion tools,” Stenzel said. Therefore, by working together, Spartan Global and Esperanza en Acción can create a more powerful impact.

“Education and access to finance are huge in influencing people’s standards of living,” Zaharia said. “We are extremely grateful for Esperanza.”

“I really like breaking the paradigm that no matter what you do, your efforts are ineffective,” he added.  “With a little bit of work, networking and intuition, we have helped a lot of people that need it.”

Spartan Global meets every other Tuesday in 110 Berkey Hall, and the organization is looking to expand membership and find people for the next executive board.

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