From the Dean: Making Connections

February 22, 2017

Dean-FlodenBy Robert E. Floden

Among the strengths of the Michigan State University College of Education are the ways our faculty, staff and students make connections. Members of our college’s community conduct research studies that connect pressing problems of practice and policy to understandings drawn from prior research and to new insights that emerge. Students and scholars connect to other programs, departments and colleges, combining tools and knowledge to address some of the most complex issues of teaching, learning and promoting physical and psychological well-being.

Our college also makes connections to schools, community organizations, government officials and agencies, research organizations and other colleges and universities. We make connections around the globe, helping all those involved benefit from research insights and practical wisdom in widely varying contexts.

In making all these connections, we seek to learn from discussions with all those we encounter, with a commitment to making the best use of evidence from all sources.

The articles in this issue of the New Educator help to illustrate the varied ways we make and learn from connections. Kinesiology faculty member David Ferguson connects his research on how one race car driver deals with diabetes to insights that can improve life for many other athletes, and people, with diabetes. Ben Hartnell, an alumnus of our Teacher Preparation Program, helped his high school students connect to the political process by running as a write-in presidential candidate. Doctoral student Savana Bak conducts research on autism, connecting her work with preschoolers at the Early Learning Institute in ways that can support all schools serving children with autism. Associate Professor Kyle Greenwalt has connected to a broad audience, sharing his essay on the current state of homeschooling, reprinted here. And finally, faculty members Dorinda Carter Andrews, Terah Venzant Chambers and Chezare Warren write to connect to all educators who may be facing challenges in creating and maintaining respectful and inclusive classroom environments.

I encourage you to explore these articles and consider how what’s happening in the College of Education may connect with your own profession and passions. We welcome your support, feedback and collaboration.