Responding to COVID-19 with Innovation and Compassion

For the past several months, MSU’s Apparel and Textile Design (ATD) faculty, alumni, and students have used their skills and contributed their time in the fight against COVID-19 by constructing masks and teaching others how to make their own through an online video.  These students, faculty, and alumni were encouraged by a social media campaign that shared information about ways to proactively address the pandemic, which was initiated in March by ATD faculty member Therèsa M. Winge. In her message, Winge stated how ATD students and alumni are uniquely positioned to quickly mobilize to make masks and assist those in need by drawing on basic skills from the discipline. Making Masks Recent ATD…

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MSU Alumnus Founds Retail Company With Aim to Help the Homeless

MSU alumnus Josh York first became interested in creating his own clothing when he was in middle school. He started by making T-shirts with his mom and sold them to his classmates. A few years later while attending Schoolcraft College, York, then 19, hand-stitched his last name into a beanie and began selling them at local music shows. That marked the beginning of the York Project, a Detroit-based “Social Streetwear” company York founded in 2012 that follows the one-for-one model where a donation is made to the homeless with each item purchased.  York started the company prior to enrolling at Michigan State University, but it was at MSU where the business really took off.…

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Renovating Learning Through Compassion and Innovation

After 10 years and two terms as Chairperson of Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre, Professor Kirk Domer is returning to the faculty. His time as Chairperson, he says, has been defined by three words: renovation, innovation, and compassion. He has built a reputation of leading from a place of compassionate and collaborative risk-taking, using the art of theatre to serve as a civilizing agent in society. He summed up his tenure as Chairperson by saying: “My goal has been to move forward with theatre and the performing arts through a continuous renovation of my creative practice, the curricular and professional opportunities afforded my students, and attention to the development of department faculty and staff for whom I care so deeply.” RENOVATION  A scenic designer by trade, it seems only fitting that a timeline of…

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Faculty Receive Funding to Develop Open Educational Resources

In an effort to promote equal access to information and spaces for all, MSU Libraries have awarded nine MSU faculty members funding assistance for the creation and adaption of open education resource materials for the 2020-21 academic year as part of a new program designed to help instructors reduce costs for students, improve access to required text, and increase student success.  The Open Educational Resources (OER) program awarded a total of $26,500 in funding to seven different projects across MSU, three of which are from the College of Arts & Letters. Those three projects will each receive $4,000. In order to earn a part of the grant money, projects must replace traditional textbooks…

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Interim Director of Projects and Education Appointed for Writing Center

Karen Moroski-Rigney has been appointed Interim Director of Projects and Education for the Writing Center in the College of Arts & Letters. Her appointment runs from June 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020. Trixie Smith, who currently is on sabbatical, will return to her position as the Writing Center Director in January 2021.  As the Interim Director of Projects and Education, Moroski-Rigney will oversee the educational programming and professional development that stems from the Writing Center. She formed and will chair the Accessibility Task Force, including the Writing Center’s grant-funded Writing Centers and Access Speaker Series as well as curating bi-weekly professional development for the staff. The Accessibility Task Force also will audit existing Writing Center…

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Grace Pregent Appointed Interim Director of The Writing Center

Grace Pregent has been appointed Interim Director of The Writing Center in the College of Arts & Letters. Her appointment runs from June 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020. Trixie Smith, who currently is on sabbatical, will return to her position as The Writing Center Director in January 2021.  Pregent began serving as the Associate Director of The Writing Center in 2019, and she is Affiliate Graduate Faculty in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures. She currently serves on the board of the East Central Writing Center Association, and before joining MSU, she was the Associate Director of the Writing Center at Loyola University. Dr. Grace Pregent “I’m honored to be the Interim Director,”…

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Paula Winke Named Director of Second Language Studies

Paula Winke, Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages, has been appointed Director of the Second Language Studies Program in the College of Arts & Letters, effective August 16, 2020, through August 15, 2024.   The Second Language Studies (SLS) Program is an interdisciplinary research and pedagogy program whose members investigate the acquisition and teaching of second languages. Program members additionally focus on second language learners’ and bi-/multilinguals’ learning opportunities, learning curves, cognitive functioning, psychology, and social contexts, with the people under study being children or adults.  Faculty, students, visiting scholars, and affiliates in the program teach and research second language teaching methodologies, learners’ cognitive processing, and the…

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Salah Hassan Appointed Director of Global Studies in Arts and Humanities

Salah Hassan has been appointed Director of the Global Studies in Arts and Humanities (GSAH) program. This three-year appointment is effective August 16, 2020, to August 15, 2023.  Hassan served as Interim Director of GSAH during the 2019-2020 academic year. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and a core faculty member in the GSAH and Muslim Studies programs.  A humanities education in global studies finds its most powerful meaning by challenging violence and oppression, and by advancing a critique grounded in racial justice, gender equity, and social equality. DR. SALAH HASSAN "Given the challenges of the moment facing universities in particular and the world more generally, I believe that an education on global…

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Examining the Power of Pop Culture to Shape Perception, Issues, and Trends

Kinitra Brooks grew up connecting ideas, asking questions, and demanding the freedom to do so. Today, the Associate Professor in MSU’s Department of English continues to push boundaries through her study of Black women, genre fiction, popular culture, and the work of conjure women as intellectual history. “Basically, I teach and research Black women creating weird stuff,” Brooks said. “That includes Black women writing fantasy, horror, and science fiction, as well as research into spiritual practices that aren’t often talked about in public.” Brooks examines how Black women use genre fictions to recreate their own realities and to define places of spiritual power and reclamation. To make it immediate, she’s embraced the study of contemporary Black…

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Micro-Grants Awarded to 12 Art Projects Addressing COVID-19

The CREATE! Micro-Grant Program has selected 12 student projects to each receive $500 to respond critically and imaginatively to events occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the winning projects also will reflect on the fight for social justice in the Black Lives Matter movement, producing art that responds to struggles brought on by the pandemic and acts of police brutality. “We owe these students every opportunity to build skills that will help them take care of themselves, be safe in material and immaterial ways, and fight the many political battles ahead to secure a world more worthy of their talent and spirit,” said Divya Victor, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Transitional…

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