Published: Nov. 1, 2012

MSU receives grant to better prepare future faculty

Contact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709, Karen Klomparens Graduate School office: (517) 353-3220

Michigan State University will use a $50,000 grant from the Council of Graduate Schools to prepare future faculty for a career in academia, focusing especially on science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

MSU is one of seven universities – the only university in Michigan – to receive an award as part of the group's initiative, "Preparing Future Faculty to Assess Student Learning." The program is designed to help universities enhance graduate student skills and promote understanding in the assessment of undergraduate learning.

Eight MSU colleges and 45 faculty members and staff have signed on to the project. Participants will form the MSU Assessment Network, said Karen Klomparens, dean of MSU's Graduate School.

"As a collaborative project between the Graduate School, undergraduate studies and the eight colleges, our goal is to broadly infuse the concepts and practices of the assessment of student learning by engaging faculty and teaching assistants in their 'gateway' undergraduate courses," she said.

At the end of the two-year project, students will be able to develop assessment tools, analyze data and create learner-centered courses, Klomparens said.

In addition to STEM disciplines, the two-year project will focus on social sciences and humanities. CGS will work with partnering institutions to develop best practice guidelines for integrating assessment into faculty professional programs.

Other partnering institutions include Cornell University; Harvard University; Indiana University; North Carolina A & T University; University of California, Merced; and University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

"Assessment of student learning is an essential skill for effective teaching, and yet many new faculty are not exposed to useful methods and tools until they are managing the responsibilities of a first job," said CGS President Debra Stewart. "The awardees and affiliates have shown extraordinary leadership in recognizing this important link between graduate training and successful teaching."

Funding for the program is supported by grants to CGS from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Teagle Foundation.

The Council of Graduate Schools is an organization of more than 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. Among U.S. institutions, CGS members award 92 percent of doctoral degrees and 81 percent of master's degrees.

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