The Legacy of EAD 315/415

January 31, 2013

EAD315-415-027Alumni often feel connected to one another as graduates of an institution and, even more so, as graduates of a particular degree program. Sometimes, a single course can tie people together — and leave a lasting legacy.

In the case of EAD 315 (formerly 415): Student Leadership Training, more than 500 former instructors — the majority of whom are graduates of the College of Education — share in a tradition of preparing student leaders at Michigan State University that goes back to the 1950s.

Faculty and staff from the university’s Division of Student Affairs and Services and the Department of Educational Administration have collaborated throughout the course’s history to provide a powerful learning experience for any undergraduate on campus interested in becoming a leader.

Along the way, teaching the elective course has become a valuable and popular opportunity for graduate students from two program areas, Student Affairs Administration (SAA) and Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education (HALE).

Last spring, many former EAD 315/415 instructors gathered in Erickson Hall and during special receptions in conjunction with national conferences in those fields. They shared stories about their experiences — the first time teaching for many — and received pins to show their affinity to the unique group.

“My co-instructor and I had the opportunity to connect with students, explore their interests and creatively engage them in discussions about leadership, diversity and social justice,” says Briana Martin, a master’s student in SAA. “This experience definitely ignited a passion within me to teach.”

More than 5,700 students have enrolled since the current course format (315) was established in 1992. A summer online-only version was added in 2007.

“It has made a significant difference in the quality of the leadership of the students that then get involved with different student governments … the residence halls, sororities and fraternities and other off-campus groups,” said Professor Emeritus Louis Hekhuis, one of the course’s early instructors and coordinators. “It gave the students an opportunity to meet together and to form a better idea of how they could participate and contribute in their positions as student leaders.”

EAD 315 continues to draw a particularly high percentage of students of color and diverse backgrounds. Known for transforming both student and instructor perspectives, it has often been replicated at other institutions.

Patricia Enos oversaw the course from 1985 until she retired as a faculty member and assistant vice president for student affairs last year, passing on the role to EAD Assistant Professor William Arnold.

“I want you all to know what I know, which is how this course goes across generations and people,” Enos said. “It’s really very special and thank you so much for making it that way.”


Do you have your pin?

EADPinIf you taught EAD 315 or 415 at Michigan State University, the department wants to hear from you. Contact William Arnold at or (517) 355-6613 to request your affinity pin and to provide your up-to-date contact information.