Doctoral Program in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education
David E. Kirkland
David E. Kirkland, Ph.D. '06, is a transdisciplinary scholar of English and urban education who explores the intersections among urban youth culture, language and literacy, urban teacher preparation, and digital media. After graduating from MSU, he has spent his next five years working as a faculty member at New York University, analyzing culture, language, and texts. He has expertise in critical literary, ethnographic, and sociolinguistic research methods. He has received many awards for his work, including the American Educational Research Association Division G Dissertation Award and was a postdoctoral fellow for both the Ford and Spencer Foundations. He has published widely and recently completed his fourth book, A Search Past Silence. While at MSU, Kirkland worked closely with Geneva Smitherman, Anne Dyson, and Ernest Morrell on his "Boys in the Hood" Project, a three-year research project that examined literacy in the lives of six Black males. Kirkland, who has recently come to back at MSU, believes that, in their language and literacies, youth take on new meanings beginning with a voice and verb, where words when spoken or written have the power to transform the world inside-out. He values the research and teaching experience he gained at MSU.
Fenice B. Boyd
Fenice B. Boyd, Ph. D. '96, is an Associate Dean for Teacher Education and associate professor of literacy at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Boyd's research focuses on issues of diversity writ large; that is diversity as related to students' ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, academic abilities, instructional approaches, and curriculum materials. Her research interest has been shaped by her interactions with African American students who have been disenfranchised by traditional school culture, but nonetheless, possess strength and rich literacy skills that, unfortunately, are not typically recognized by schools. Boyd is a member of the Literacy Research Association's Board of Directors. She is the co-author of the book Principled Practices for Adolescent Literacy: A Framework for Instruction and Policy (2006). While at MSU, Boyd worked closely with Professor Taffy Raphael on the Book Club Project. She benefited from the valuable research and teaching experience she gained at MSU and misses the delicious falafels and cabbage rolls at Woody's Oasis.
Leigh A. Hall
Leigh A. Hall, Ph. D. 2005, is an associate professor of literacy studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Hall's work focuses on adolescents who have difficulties comprehending subject-matter texts in school. Her specific areas of expertise include reading comprehension, identity, and adolescent literacy. Hall is the recipient of the Literacy Research Association's Early Career Award and co-author of the book Empowering Struggling Readers: Practices for the Middle Grades Classroom (Guilford, 2011). While at MSU, Hall worked closely with Professor Nell Duke on the Text project. She is grateful for the time the professors at MSU gave her during the program and credits much of her success to the attention she received.
Yonghan "Han" Park
Yonghan "Han" Park, Ph. D. '08, is a research associate at the Center on Teaching and Learning in the University of Oregon. He has been interested in both cognitive and motivational aspects of literacy learning as well as in advanced quantitative research methodologies. His recent research includes the development of early reading abilities and reading motivation, especially for socio-culturally disadvantaged students. During his years in the doctoral program at MSU, Park worked at the Literacy Achievement Research Center (LARC) as a research assistant and had rich opportunities to work collaboratively with faculty and colleagues. He also enjoyed walking around the beautiful campus.
Master of Arts in Teaching and Curriculum
I chose the MATC Program offered by MSU due to the high standards and quality education that I would receive from the program that has been recognized as one of the top in the country.
Dionel C. Waters
The MATC program prepared me to become a better educator, teacher leader, and scholar. Working with world-renowed faculty made the experience even more enjoyable. Having the opportunity to learn along side veteran teachers and administrators augmented my MATC experience. I could not have asked to be a part of a better program.
I followed the MSU College of Education's program through my undergraduate years, where I was prepared through rigorous course work and practical classroom experience for life in the real classroom. I furthered my education with an MATC experience because I felt that MSU had prepared me so well. My MATC academic experience taught me how to do my own action research to improve my practice, how to become a teacher leader to implement what I know is best for children. Realistic dialogue with other actual classroom teachers, coupled with authentic assignments, readings and lectures highlighted my time in the MATC program.
The MATC program has provided me the tools to understand the nature of curriculum, how literacy is an integral part of teaching and the importance of a professional community. This understanding allows me to differentiate between what it means to be a good teacher and a great teacher.
Learning is something everyone has experience with: good, bad or indifferent. For me, much of my personal and professional identity has grown from my experiences within the MATC program here at MSU. I can include my personal identity in the learning because not only is MSU a place where I have grown as a professional, but I have also been afforded the chance to expand who I count as family. The guidance and care shown to me as I climbed over a variety of learning curves was comforting. But, what I remember the most were my professors who helped me come to learn that what I have to contribute to the pedagogical conversation in areas of curriculum, teaching and policy are not only valid, but valuable. I have grown as a theorist and writer of pedagogy and instruction; as a professional willing to reflect on her practice; and as a teacher. I am a true Spartan ready for my call to duty outside the walls of Erickson Hall. I have been well trained and gifted with the strength that comes with support and knowledge. I am never alone because my MATC family is always with me and never more than an email away.
Master of Arts in Literacy Instruction
I came to the online MAED as a teacher who wanted to learn innovative and imaginative ways of literacy instruction and to explore the theories and philosophies that were informing my own teaching practice. With an interest in poetry, pedagogy and holistic education, I was drawn to MSU for the scope and breadth of its research in language arts and literacy development and the high level of scholarship that is expanding, contributing and informing the field. I joined a vigorous online community of educators and practitioners where we conversed, shared and developed our own voices. The program was both critical and creative with a keen focus on instilling theory and research with best practices, inspiring students to explore and find their best teaching selves. For me, it was a discovery of my own passion for contemplative studies in education where the MAED became a platform in which I was then to pursue my PhD in Language and Literacy Education at The University of British Columbia where I graduated in 2017. It was professors such as Dr. Janine Certo and Dr. Laura Apol, who through their own teaching and scholarship, sparked and shaped my own thinking about the role of poetry in the classroom and in society. I am grateful to the exceptional level of education that I received at MSU, which gave me the very foundation to be a scholar in the field of literacy and arts based education.
I am a first grade teacher in Dewitt, MI, and I chose to come to MSU for the Literacy Masters program because I went to Michigan State for the undergraduate program and I really enjoyed it. It helped me to become a more reflective teacher, and to learn more about my practice and best practices in literacy instruction. A couple of classes that I really enjoyed were the writing methods class. I had Janine Certo as my professor and she really helped me think about my own writing practice and what I want to do in my classroom. I also took another class, TE 843 with Randi Stanulis, and she was wonderful. She really helped us to think about what we wanted to learn personally and helped us find ways to research it and apply it in our classroom. I think people should choose the Masters program at MSU just because it helps you become a reflective teacher and think about your own practice. And there are wonderful professors and wonderful students to work with and collaborate with.
The reason why I chose to come to Michigan State to pursue a Masters in Literacy was because of the dedication that I think this university and the program itself has to their students. It definitely is a program that furthers your growth, individually as well as professionally. Michigan State has also prepared myself in making the switch from a classroom teacher to a literacy coach, in my case the instructional literacy specialist. I've had the pleasure of working with Dr. Patricia Edwards for several of my literacy classes. If I have a question, I know who to go to, resources to pull. For me, I am an active learner here. I am very motivated. And, for the first time I see myself pursuing something other than just a Masters. I don't see it ending here. I think that both the professors and the content that we are studying and learning has provided me with just that extra boost, and the support that we receive here, to go a step further and to continue my education here at Michigan State.
I teach fifth grade in Brighton, MI. I started out as an undergrad here, and really one of the main reasons I continued on is because MSU makes it so easy to transition from the undergrad into the graduate program. You are already taking graduate courses during your internship year, and a lot of those go right toward your requirements. I've had some great professors. I've had Pat Edwards and Laura Apol, two that really stand out in my mind. They've always been very supportive, very flexible, and they really try to help you fit all of the pieces together, personal and academic. It's a strong program. The biggest thing that I liked about it was that it really was applicable to the classroom. You didn't feel like you were doing busy work. You didn't feel like you were just completing papers and assignments just for the sake of doing them for courses, but they really tried to make things you did in your class things that you could go back and use in your classroom.
Kelly L. Thieme, MA 2000, is the Literacy Coordinator at the Collierville Literacy Council in Collierville, TN. Kelly heads the Literacy Program, which focuses on teaching adults to read through a balanced individualized literacy program. She then trains adult volunteers to carry out that specific instructional plan. The literacy students at the CLC are having strong success with reaching their goals. Kelly recently presented this new program at the Annual 2011 USCAL Conference. Kelly misses MSU and all she learned from the MA Literacy Program. The teacher-researcher projects conducted with Susan Florio-Ruane have inspired her to keep up with current research and remain a student of quality literacy instruction. Pat Edwards taught Kelly so much about the family literacy connection, which is the underpinning for a large part of the Literacy Project that she now heads. Kelly has often staid that she would love to get her Ph.D. but only if she could do it at MSU.
I graduated in 2007 with a Masters of Arts Degree in Literacy and Language Instruction. I currently teach first grade in Waverly Community schools. I chose this program because I am an early childhood educator and I wanted to delve deeper into the process of teaching literacy to young children. my undergraduate degree through the teacher education program at MSU, so I was very confident that I could expect nothing less than the most knowledgeable professors to learn from and collaborate with. I was treated like a professional in this program. My ideas and comments were always valued. I was able to build and shape my own philosophy of literacy with the guidance of my professors and peers. I was also able to build a network of colleagues in many different districts that I am able to reach out to as ideas about literacy and literacy instruction continue to change. Since leaving the program I feel very confident in my own skills in teaching literacy to young children. I also feel more confident in sharing my ideas with colleagues and in taking a leadership role in issues surrounding literacy instruction in my building. I would highly recommend this program.
My name is Laura Wilson, and I have been teaching sixth grade English in Hillsdale, MI. I did my undergraduate work at Michigan State University, so I definitely wanted to pursue a Masters degree here. I am very passionate about teaching reading and writing, and I really wanted to stay current with best practices, so I chose to go into the literacy program, and it has been absolutely wonderful. You have professors that are very dedicated to literacy. They give you a lot of feedback, and one-on-one attention. One class that really stood out for me is TE 848, an on-line class on writing instruction taught by Janine Certo. She is a wonderful professor, and she gives you lots of feedback, and the way I teach writing now is completely changed because of this course. Dr. Patricia Edwards is also another awesome professor. She allows just tons of time for discussion about current issues and best practices, and I've really gotten a lot out of her courses. I really strongly recommend the literacy instruction program at Michigan State because you come out of it feeling very, very confident as a teacher, and you feel like you can go into the classroom and use all of the strategies and everything that you've learned. I feel like the program in literacy instruction has really prepared me to be a leader in my classroom and outside of the classroom.
I'm Mark McCarthy and I graduated from the online MAED program in 2011. I'm currently in my fourth year teaching in China, and currently holding two positions. Primarily, I teach American History to undergraduates, and English speaking and listening to postgraduates at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. My second position is teaching English literature and writing at a private high school that prepares students for attending college in the US. The MAED program was a great choice for me in a number of ways. The main reason I sought out and selected MSU was the online nature of the program, and that it was situated in a respected, highly rated education department. Since I work abroad and wanted to further my professional development without returning home, the program was ideal. A fantastic element of the program is that I was able to merge the theoretical and the practical because I was working while studying. I would learn new ideas and try them in my classroom, use my students as test groups for curriculum design projects, and, in an overall way, personalize my learning. I addressed the questions I had about why I had difficulty helping students become better readers and writers through hands-on research and selecting practices that better suited my students and my teaching style. My work as a writing instructor has had the most visible improvement because I spent a lot of time working with students throughout the coursework I had undertaken. Additionally, my teaching philosophy became clearer, and my classroom management and self-reflection skills have improved. I hope my students are as happy with the results of my MA program as I am.
Elementary Teacher Preparation Program
Hi! I'm Andrea Robinson, an intern in the elementary teacher preparation program at MSU. What attracted me to MSU's College of Education was its national ranking in the top 10 for elementary teacher preparation. In my four years of undergraduate work I was constantly put in classrooms that varied a great deal in ethnicity, socio-economic status, and teaching practices in and around the Lansing area. I had opportunities to see teachers in action, work with my classmates on many projects, and discuss effective teaching practices. The strongest part of the program is the amount of practice you get teaching and then reflecting on your own teaching and what you may do differently next time. I have certainly grown stronger as a teacher through this program but also as an individual and community member.
What initially sparked my interest in the College of Education was the hands on teaching opportunities offered by the program. The classroom experiences that were required during coursework is what truly prepared me for teaching. Not only did this program prepare me to physically run a classroom, but it also allowed me to be confident in my lesson planning abilities. Michigan State's program effectively prepares teachers to lesson plan in a variety of styles, while always keeping learning objectives in mind. I felt that I was a strong teacher candidate due to my diverse teaching experiences provided by the teacher preparation program. I am proud to say that I am currently a fourth grade teacher at Windemere Park Charter Academy in Lansing, Michigan.
The College of Education provides a dynamic learning experience for future teachers aiming to inspire a love for learning. The teaching and support staff is extremely dedicated to serving all members of the teaching community, providing countless opportunities for involvement within the college and local schools. My advice to future students would be to get creative and share your passions! Get involved, talk to others and know that in this profession, as Gandhi shared, you truly have the opportunity to "be the change you wish to see in the world."
My name is Evan Jorgensen. I am originally from Fenton, MI and recently graduated from MSU's College of Education with a major in Elementary Education and minors in Environmental Sciences and English. I was fortunate enough to have been placed in a fifth grade classroom at Bennett Woods Elementary in Okemos, and I absolutely love it. It is great to be in a place where people truly care about learning and each child's future. MSU's close affiliation with the Okemos school district is making my internship experience not only professional, but very personal as well. Everybody in this building and in the college wants me to have the best internship experience I could possibly get, and I know that every intern at any other building feels the same way.
One of the strengths of the MSU teacher preparation program is the opportunity to learn from other teachers. Many of my professors were individuals who had taught in a classroom of their own. They could identify with the experiences I was having and often were able to impart practical, helpful knowledge in preparing for a variety of aspects of teaching in a classroom. In addition, I highly benefited from the year long internship. Instead of having just a few short months to prepare for a classroom of my own, I was given an extended opportunity to see the many different facets of teaching, and also was able to spend plenty of time observing and teaching. I still reflect on some of the experiences from that year even now in my fifth year of teaching. The MSU teacher preparation program helped me transition smoothly and confidently into a classroom of my own.
Coming to Michigan State University as a freshman in 2005, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career as an educator. I was instantly drawn to MSU because they are highly regarded and have one of the top programs for elementary and secondary education in the country. I feel strongly that the College of Education helped me prepare for my internship/student teaching year. I think that the various projects I completed as an undergrad gave me an appropriate feel for what my internship was going to be like in terms of lesson planning, time management, and interacting with students and CTs. My advice for incoming freshmen is to always plan ahead and keep on top of school work. Time is crucial, and part of being an effective teacher is understanding time management.
The idea of the College of Education being ranked number one in the country for so many years really helped sway my decision when choosing which university I wanted to attend. Along with that, having the opportunity to do my fifth year internship for a full school year was too great of an opportunity to pass up. The four years up until my internship provided me with the authentic learning experience that you really need when becoming a new teacher. I couldn't have asked for a more diverse undergrad teacher education experience, including both the actual classes and field placements. I feel that this program has immensely prepared me for the real world and I would advise anyone who has the passion for teaching to follow in my footsteps and join us in MSU's College of Education.
I started my time at Michigan State as a social work major. After a semester, I learned about the Child Development Laboratories on campus and found a mentor who guided me towards changing my major. I have never looked back since then. The thing that I really appreciated about the program is that faculty in the College of Education really support the relationship between those students with dual-degrees. If it wasn't fellow Child Development majors, it was Special Education, or teaching English Language learners. I feel like the collaboration of so many with different backgrounds and specialties helped produce a very meaningful learning experience which I find value in as I start my internship in Bennett Woods Elementary.
As a non-traditional student, I came to teaching through parenting and volunteering in my children's classrooms. I've had the opportunity to work with seasoned master teachers and MSU's Teacher Ed program was my first choice when I made the decision to pursue my teaching certificate. The strength of this program lies in the year-long internship combined with the graduate courses focusing in all of the core areas of K-8 teaching. Instrumental to preparing new teachers is participating in children's complete academic year, guiding and studying each child's intellectual, social, and emotional growth throughout the full year curriculum. In addition to learning, graduate courses provide a myriad of professional development opportunities. The quality of instruction and advising in the College of Education allowed me to specialize and complete my MA in the College of Arts and Letters, thus enabling me to become highly qualified for today's competitive job market.
From my time spent as a student in the College of Education at Michigan State University, I have gained the skills and experience needed to begin my internship year feeling prepared and knowledgeable. In my College of Education courses, I learned about important aspects of teaching such as how to evaluate and draw upon students' prior knowledge and thinking, how to incorporate technology into an elementary classroom, and how to write detailed lesson plans for each of the core subject areas. Most importantly, I had opportunity to put these skills into practice on a weekly basis by observing and teaching in an elementary classroom designated to me at the start of each school year. Advice I would give to incoming freshmen would be to come into the program with an open-mind as you will be learning and working closely together with a diverse group of professors and colleagues. Take advantage of the support system that your professors and fellow classmates will become for you, as this is what they became for me. Now graduated, I place great value on the relationships I formed and the knowledge I gained from my College of Education professors and classmates as we worked together, under the pressures of a some-what overwhelming Senior year, to reach our goals.
Secondary Teacher Preparation Program
The college of education at MSU has prepared me as a professional educator. I am confident in my teaching strategies and my ability to make an impact in the lives of my students. The college of education encourages their students to embrace the care and compassion that they already have for the lives of future America.
My skills were scaffolded throughout my undergraduate coursework and class placements which have allowed me to experience in class success.
Michigan State's secondary education program is going to leave me leaps and bounds ahead of other teacher candidates. I have gained confidence, problem solving skills, and learned what it takes to be a pedagogical teacher. It's a challenge but well worth the energy.
Caroline A. Pawelski
As a student in the Secondary Education Program, my career future has benefitted in incomparable ways. Thanks to the outstanding quality of the faculty and curriculum, I have been provided opportunities to change, grow, innovate, and improve as a future teacher in a most positive manner. I am forever grateful for the best practices they have taught me, which have enhanced my professional leadership abilities and developed my teaching skills in such areas as effective student learning and "state of the art" lesson planning.
Interning through MSU has been a great positive experience. The yearlong experience has prepared me well for my teaching career. Also, my internship has allowed me the opportunity to begin accumulating hours toward my Master's Degree.
I believe The College of Education has thoroughly prepared me for the teaching experiences I will face not only inside that classroom but outside the classroom as well.
My growth as an educator as a result of the Michigan State University Teacher Education Program cannot be summed up here in a few sentences. Between the variety of teaching placements, the variety of courses and coursework, and the amazing faculty my experience has been one that will serve me well as a future educator. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in honing the skills, mentality, thoughtfulness, and work ethic necessary to become the best educator they can be for not only themselves but also their future students. This program is a perfect example of the mantra "To be the best, you must work with the best" and that is exactly what was made available to me with this program.