No child is too old to hear Goldilocks and The Three Bears read aloud to them. According to literacy advocate Vivian Johnson, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Education, Marygrove College, there are benefits for people of all ages to listen to a story—it's an important way to sharpen comprehension skills. Dr. Johnson recently challenged urban middle school students to re-write a classic like Goldilocks to reflect their own world view. Suddenly, reading and writing became more engaging to children who have never seen a forest -- or anything much beyond their own city limits. "To reach kids, no matter where they are, no matter how few resources they may have available to them, you have to be creative," Johnson says. "Finding what works can be a game." But literacy must win.
An excellent example of their efforts happened during the Michigan Arts Education Association Annual Conference in November. The Fine Arts Department hosted 50 arts educators from around the state to get acquainted with Marygrove. “Since the conference was in our neighborhood this year, we thought it would be important to showcase what we have to offer here,” Greene said. “It was a rare opportunity to bring arts teachers inside our doors to see what we do—and how well we do it.” The event was a success.
Guests from all levels of pedagogy, K-12 and up, were treated to a day of dynamic sessions by Marygrove faculty, including a hands-on, multi-media presentation on creative change/creative solutions by Chris Seguin, Dean of Education; a workshop on contemporary photography without the darkroom by Nicole Parker, Assistant Professor of Art; an easy application of printmaking for the classroom by Tim Gralewski, Assistant Professor of Art; and an overview of arts-infused education as social justice by Greene herself. The sessions also allowed them to show off their beautiful art galleries featuring the Marygrove Faculty Art Show and be welcomed to campus by the Chair of the Department, Jim Lutomski, and Dean of Fine Arts, Rose DeSloover.
“We hope that the take-away from this one-day workshop was that teachers can make a difference with art virtually anywhere,” Greene says. “We have been making great strides, energizing students and giving instructors the tools and training they need for arts-focused activities.”
Greene stresses that “we aren’t just preaching arts-infused education—we’re living it.” The difference here is community outreach. It can mean anything from making an art project the bright spot in a child’s school day, to offering fresh ideas for teachers looking to inject something new into their coursework. Art matters.
Recently, the Institute partnered with Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, offering up Marygrove instructor, Tim Gralewski, to teach a 14-week video production class. Enthusiasm is high for this course, as students learn new skills in a field with growing popularity.
In addition, a massive mural project based on the work of esteemed Detroit sculptor and painter Charles McGee is underway, uniting several community groups, Detroit schools and civic organizations. “This is an ongoing project, organized by Dean DeSloover,” Greene said, “which you will see a lot more of in the coming months.”
And, don’t forget the Institute for Arts Infused Education, led by Greene, that partners with area arts organizations to impact learning at high-needs schools in the city. Their continuous work with teachers and students has been part of a six-year research study that shows that the program is responsible for a high degree of impact on academic success.
The Fine Arts Department also serves to expose the arts to prospective students, and even existing ones, who may want to rethink how arts can enhance their academic careers. Greene adds, “We keep saying to students—you can make art your minor, if you aren’t willing to commit to an art major.”
A Marygrove minor in art, fine art or art history is roughly 20 hours of coursework, and complements many fields of study, such as humanities, language and history. “An art minor will give you the well-rounded education that future employers are looking for,” Greene says.
Studies show it.
When the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities looked at best practices around the country in 1999, their research showed that young people who study the arts have heightened academic standing, a stronger capacity for self-assessment and the ability to plan and work for a positive future. This applies to all students, regardless of socioeconomics.
The National Governor’s Center conducted a wide-spread study of the arts in education in 2002, examining multiple case studies. They found overwhelmingly that diverse arts education programs in and outside of school have proven to be valuable for states seeking to develop advanced workforce skills.(NGA issue brief 2002).
“Corporations are looking for workers who want to work collaboratively, as part of a team,” Greene says. “…Industry is looking for creative thinkers…that’s the kind of student Marygrove turns out; our students are design-thinkers.”
She also cites the New York Times best-selling book A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, as a good way to put it all in perspective. The book asserts that “the future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind.” It is predicted that so called ‘right-brain’ qualities such as inventiveness and empathy are going to give ‘left-brain’ dominance a run for its money. Fortunately, Marygrove’s Institute for Arts Infused Education is already in the race.
It all began little more than a decade ago. "In the 1990's, our department was organized like most other small liberal arts colleges," says Jeanne Andreoli, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology and Co-chair of the Department of Science and Mathematics. "We offered the typical majors in biology, chemistry or mathematics." But Andreoli and Welch had begun to immerse themselves in Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), an undergraduate STEM organization sponsored by the National Science Foundation. PKAL advocates strong, integrated undergraduate programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. "PKAL showed us how important it is to use an interdisciplinary approach to learning...it was like rediscovering the world is not flat!" Andreoli said.
PKAL also positions educators as facilitators, rather than the traditional notion of teachers as "managers" of a student's learning. "We were so inspired by what they had to say...PKAL completely changed the way I viewed teaching," said Sally Welch, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry and Co-chair of the Department of Science and Mathematics. Their students are the lucky beneficiaries of an energized faculty.
'Energized' is probably an understatement when you realize the leaps and bounds the department has made in recent years. "With the support of our leadership team, and the help of Dr. Barbara Johns, IHM, we co-wrote and received a Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education," Welch said. Title III-A grants are awarded to colleges and universities for academic improvements, and are not easily achieved. The time commitment is significant, but definitely worth it.
Transforming a department required a major overhaul in every sense of the word. Labs were built; classrooms became "smart" with updated, state-of-the-art computers and equipment. Faculty members who had been teaching their own way for years, were now challenged to embrace newer, more integrated teaching methods. It sounds a little daunting, but not to these two. "It wasn't scary at all—it was a dream." Welch says. "We were given the chance to realize our dreams for our faculty and our students, it has been amazing."
Andreoli agrees. "I feel it was a lot like working on a jigsaw puzzle from the inside out—we didn't know where the borders were, we just knew what the core should be. There should be no limits for students who want to reach as far as they can. Learning in a supportive environment where boundaries are stretched and broken down fosters better learning...that's 21st century scholarship."
Today, the Science and Math Department at Marygrove is a place where students are given the tools to learn, to carve out their own path. Curriculum enhancements are numerous, with built-in flexible tracks for students interested in industry or teaching. By design, there is a social science component in every course offering, so that students graduate with an appreciation for how the real world operates. They are prepared to be compassionate, productive workers in their chosen fields.
Consequently, field experience like internships and volunteerism is not only encouraged, it is required. Welch says it's a cultural change that has opened doors for unprecedented partnerships—just the type of change needed for a city like Detroit, where Marygrove's human service mission is deeply rooted:
Marygrove partners with the Detroit Science Center for teacher enrichment courses. The premise is common sense. Expose primary and secondary school teachers to new science and math concepts, and students gain greater preparation for college coursework.
As a means to get students interested in the environment, an important partnership through the Michigan Colleges Foundation brings students from other colleges together to problem-solve, such as the current Michigan wetlands project with Albion College. Welch serves on the board of the River Raisin Institute and would like to see more freshmen get involved in environmental issues.
In January, Marygrove will be sending its first cohort to Oakland University for the accelerated nursing program—a vital partnership that arose out of a collegial appreciation for how Marygrove addressed the underserved student in science and math.
The programs are gaining momentum as capacity for them grows.
"Our department's new Health Sciences major is rolling along quickly because of the local need for jobs," Welch says. "Plus, through the vision of Dr. Steve Scribner, Associate Professor of Chemistry, we have redesigned our Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies program and a four-class certificate program which seems to be getting a lot of attention." Forensic Science at Marygrove is also relatively new, offering up exciting career options on a national scale, as in border patrol or white collar crime.
What it all boils down to, truly, is the organic chemistry of Andreoli and Welch, which has a magic power of its own. Their strong partnership sets the tone for the entire department, and eventually cascades throughout Marygrove's hallowed halls."You have to model good behaviors," Andreoli said. "We never wanted to approach this reform as telling anyone what to do—we just wanted to provide a way for all involved to do it better."
Marygrove College today announced that Dr. Juliana Mosley will be Marygrove College's next Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. Dr. Mosley will officially begin her work with Marygrove on January 1, 2011.
Dr. Mosley joins the College after serving for more than five years as Vice President for Student Affairs at Philander Smith College (PSC) in Little Rock, Arkansas. At PSC, she oversaw departments and activities critical to student success, including: Residential Life, Counseling and Disability Services, Career Services, Student Involvement and Leadership, Religious Life, Student Government Association, Judicial Affairs, Health Services, and Campus Security. She developed innovative programs to address student needs, including a "Pathfinders Mentoring Program" for first-year students, a "Platinum by Design" program for female students, and an intensive Freshman Academic Advising program. In addition, Dr. Mosley served as primary writer and editor of PSC's self study for its comprehensive accreditation review in 2007, supervised the efforts by PSC to join the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 2008, and collaborated with PSC's Fiscal Affairs division to renovate an existing campus building to serve as an honors residential hall (opened in 2009) and the construction of an apartment/suite residential facility (opened this fall). Prior to her tenure at PSC, Dr. Mosley gained experience working in the Office of the President at Kentucky State University and in Multicultural Affairs at John Carroll University in Cleveland.
Dr. Mosley has earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership with a concentration in Administration as well as an M.A. in Curriculum and Teacher Leadership with a concentration in Urban Education, both from Miami University of Ohio. Her B.S. in Business Education is from Ball State University. Her research interests include Black Women's leadership, racial identity, attitudes of Black students, culturally relevant curricula and communities, mental health issues among Black college students and first generation college students. She has been an invited presenter on these topics at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Central Arkansas, the University of Arkansas and Miami University of Ohio, as well as making numerous presentations to the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). She has served as a board member for the IV-West Region of NASPA (2006-2008) as well as a member of NASPA's National Advisory Board for Historical Black Colleges and Universities (2006-2010) and, in 2003, was the only non-faculty recipient out of 100 educators in higher education to receive an "Excellence in Education Award" from Ohio Magazine.
For the second year in row, Marygrove College is hosting the Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit (GLBD) annual conference October 15-17. It is a reunion of like minds, and a celebration of common goals through education. Bioneers care deeply about their connection to community, and the planet at large. They advocate progress without disrupting the greater web of life, by championing simple concepts—the kinds of things we all learn as children—and giving them relevance on a larger scale: Don’t litter. Leave things the way you found them. Don’t take more than you need. Applying state-of-the-art technologies to these fundamental lessons is the challenge for today’s leaders and scientists. In the tradition of Marygrove’s founder and sponsor, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), Marygrove is continuing the dialogue: How to make the world a better place.
The conference brings greater consciousness for innovative, green-based ideas at a time when Detroit is faced with reinventing itself. Marygrove believes that its commitment to urban leadership in an evolving world is profoundly current, and can help guide our struggling city in a positive direction. “We’ll offer a variety of workshops that participants can tailor to their interests,” says Rose DeSloover, Conference Liaison and Dean of Fine Arts, Marygrove. “You can take a tour of Detroit’s urban community gardens, explore low-cost technologies for renewable energy, and even earn Continuing Education Units (CEU) through Marygrove by introducing students to Bioneers concepts…it’s very exciting to be a part of this movement.”
Roughly 600 participants from all walks of life are expected to attend this year. “It’s important to bring people together right here in the city, and give them a chance to see the bigger picture,” said Gloria Rivera, IHM Sister and GLBD Coordinator. Rivera also emphasizes the need for individuals to do their part —whether it’s joining a neighborhood improvement committee, or growing vegetables in the back yard. She advocates the Bioneer spirit of “getting involved any way you can, and be present…that’s how change happens.”
Area youth from grades seven through 12 are invited to Young Bioneers Day on Friday, Oct 15. There are hands-on workshops, and an organic, locally grown and prepared lunch. Students will learn how to re-define progress by staying connected to the natural world, and respecting the planet we depend on. Forward thinking and future-oriented, a young Bioneer holds the promise of engaging other students to look beyond the limits of their school’s recycling program.
Is it pie in the sky? It most certainly is…and more than likely… pesticide-free wild blueberry with a whole wheat crust. For example, chemicals polluting the air can cause ozone depletion, which affects the growth of plant life, which affects the number of bees that pollinate, which affects the amount of fruits and vegetables the earth bears. In short, the health of the sky can affect your pie. It is all linked. Bioneers believe the sooner we wrap our heads around it, the better off we’ll be; especially in Detroit, where the vestiges of a once-thriving manufacturing base has taken its toll on the environment and local economy. Through the power of partnership and education, Marygrove is positioned to make a difference. Join us!
For early registration information contact Rose DeSloover at (313) 927-1336. On-site registration begins Friday, October 15 at 8 a.m., on the campus of Marygrove, Madame Cadillac Building. Find out more at www.glbd.org.
Bioneer concepts are really nothing new for our sponsoring IHM Sisters. They renovated their 376,000-square-foot 1920’s home in 2003 to make it a sustainable dwelling to be enjoyed for many generations—at little cost to the earth. The Mother House in Monroe, MI houses over 200 IHM sisters and serves as headquarters for the IHM congregation. Wetlands were engineered on the property to recycle 40 percent of their waste water, and geothermal heating and cooling greatly reduce the home’s energy costs. Everything from the paint on the walls, to plumbing and electrical material was carefully chosen to be environmentally sound. The Sisters’ belief that “human progress has come at the expense of the entire community of creation” makes them Bioneers at their very core.
Author, filmmaker and founder Kenny Ausubel coined the term Bioneers in 1990 to describe an emerging culture: “Bioneers are social and scientific innovators …who have peered deep into the heart of living systems to understand how nature operates, and to mimic "nature's operating instructions" to serve human ends without harming the web of life. Nature's principles—kinship, cooperation, diversity, symbiosis and cycles of continuous creation absent of waste—can also serve as metaphoric guideposts for organizing an equitable, compassionate and democratic society.”
Sustainability is defined as meeting ecological, societal, and economical needs without compromising any of these for future generations. Sustainable living is described as making choices to live within the above parameters, efficiently and responsibly. Choices are made based on reducing an individual’s carbon footprint.
The term carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon (C02) we emit individually in any one-year period. C02 is produced from many sources and is the primary gas responsible for Global Warming and the resulting alarming changes in our climate. Nearly everything we do in our modern society requires energy. This energy is generated primarily by burning fossil fuels. From all sources, the average American is responsible for approximately 19-21 tons of carbon emissions annually. This is an average. For some Americans, this tonnage is less. For others, it is considerably more. The US as a whole is responsible for emitting 25% of all global greenhouse gas emissions every year while we are only 5% of the world’s population.
In terms of health care, how well are we really doing in Detroit? Along with three of the city’s biggest stakeholders, Marygrove President David Fike has been invited to participate in a panel discussion October 19 at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Auditorium in Detroit. The program is just one of a new, ongoing speaker series that the Michigan Colleges Foundation (MCF) is sponsoring throughout the state. Dr. Fike is joined by President and CEO of Detroit Medical Center, Michael Duggan and President and CEO of Hudson-Webber Foundation, David Egner. Mary Kramer, Publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business, will moderate.
Since 2005, the Midnight Golf Program (MGP), a 30-week mentoring experience for urban youth that teaches life skills in addition to the game of golf, has been holding their after-school program on the campus of Marygrove College. Marygrove has offered classrooms as well as a limited practice space for participants to learn how to swing a club.
Marygrove became interested in the MGP as part of its overall Urban Leadership Vision of outreach and service to its surrounding community (see page 2 for more information). MGP’s focus on offering empowering, positive experiences for underserved urban youth made the program a good fit and a partnership developed to help support the program.