By Justine McGuire
Last updated: 09/18/13 10:14pm
Could English professor William Penn’s in-class rant have been handled differently?
Yes, said Rawley Van Fossen, MSU College Democrats president and social relations and policy and urban planning junior.
He said steps the university has taken in response to the “anti-Republican rant,” are in the right direction, including removing Penn from classes and creating a faculty committee. But the student who recorded the lecture also should have handled the situation differently.
There are channels for students to address problems with faculty, such as going to the department chair or dean, Van Fossen said.
Political science sophomore Evan Schrage who recorded a nine minutes of the rant, didn’t do that — the video was posted on YouTube. The YouTube video gathered momentum a few days after it was posted and gained national attention.
“We can’t just go around posting a YouTube video when ever we have a problem with a professor. Our only route to bring forth this issue shouldn’t be putting up a video,” Van Fossen said. “I’m not sure that was the most fair way to deal with Penn.”
He added that he has a problem with the video because it was edited down from nine minutes to about one minute.
“It’s not in full context — the video is edited,” he said. “I have to think that there was context to that statement. It’s hard for me to believe that there are professors that rant like that in class.”
Recording professors during class is not going to improve the learning environment, he said.
“I’m here to learn. I want to hear what they have to say,” Van Fossen said.
By Nolly Dakroury
Last updated: 09/15/13 8:50pm
The ASMSU Policy Committee passed a bill Thursday allowing the undergraduate student government to encourage students to vote in the coming East Lansing City Council elections, scheduled to take place on Nov. 5.
“When it comes to your city, these (elections) are the most influential in your everyday life,” said Jessica Leacher, ASMSU vice president for governmental affairs and a social relations and policy senior.
There are five elected city council members whose job is then to appoint both the mayor and the mayor pro tem, or the person appointed to act in the absence of the mayor, according to the city website. These five council members also elect the city manager and the city attorney.
There are five polling locations on campus that can be found in Brody Hall, IM Sports-East, the Union and two stations can be found in IM Sports-West.
To vote, students need to be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old and residents of the city. Voters must provide a photo ID and they need to be registered to vote at least 30 days before elections. The deadline to register is on Oct. 7. Voters can register at the clerk’s office, located at 410 Abbot Road, Room 100.
Those who will not be in East Lansing the day of the elections can send an absentee voter Ballot application to the clerk’s office no later than 2 p.m Nov. 2.
By Justine McGuire
Last updated: 09/12/13 9:44pm
Earlier this week, MSU came in No. 73 in the U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings — but those aren’t the only rankings that came out recently.
MSU is also ranked as a top-100 school in two of three world ranking systems.
The Academic Ranking of World Universities puts the university at No. 92 in the world and at No. 50 in the U.S.
World Universities has published rankings since 2003 and MSU has ranged from the upper 70s to No. 96 last year. The best ranking was is 2005, at No. 77.
When pitted against only U.S. institutions in the World Universities ranking, MSU has maintained a ranking of around No. 50. There are more U.S. universities on the list than from any other country.
The rankings are based on faculty and alumni prestigious awards, publications and citations.
The other two world rankings are out of London.
In it’s most recent publication in 2012, Times Higher Education World University Rankings listed MSU at No. 94. The university first cracked the top 100 in 2011, the second year of the publication.
It’s important to note that the data for the Times ranking is three years old. It measures citations, industry-sponsored and grant research and more.
The QS World University Rankings put MSU at No. 171 for 2013 — up three places from 2012. The university has never cracked the top 100 in this ranking, the closest it got was No. 116 in 2004.
QS ranks universities in categories including faculty and employer reputation and international faculty and students.
Although the numbers seem to jump all over the place, there is some consistency. On all three world rankings, MSU is listed among or near the top 50 schools in the Association of American Universities every year, according to calculations done by the MSU Office of Budgets and Planning.
By Nolly Dakroury
Last updated: 09/08/13 11:48pm
For awhile now, most of what we have been hearing about ASMSU is its struggle with the university to move funds to on-campus accounts, including making an adjustment to the undergraduate government’s logo.
ASMSU’s current logo will remain the same after the university made a push for the organization to make an adjustment. The current logo was part of rebranding campaign, which included work on the website and logo.
The university originally didn’t approve but ultimately let ASMSU keep the rights to control the logo. MSU wanted a logo change because ASMSU was not independent anymore and is part of the university now, thus has to have the same “branding” as MSU.
In response to the decision, MSU spokesman Jason Cody said, “MSU leaders are not trying to control how ASMSU spends its money; rather, the administration only wants them to abide by the same rules as other campus groups.”
According to Michael Mozina, ASMSU vice president for finance and operations, all of ASMSU’s contracts had to be held off until the university approved of the logo.
By Justine McGuire
Last updated: 09/08/13 11:45pm
Most students probably don’t pay much attention to changes in administrative positions — but make no mistake, the decisions these people make have a big impact on life at the university.
One administrative position that’s currently up for grabs is the vice president for Strategic Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, or VP for SIPF. That person is responsible for about $400 million each year, according to the job description. MSU’s total yearly budget is a little more than $1 billion.
The outgoing VP for SIPF, Ron Flinn, has worked for MSU since 1957 and was part of the building process of about 75 percent of buildings and infrastructure on campus. According to onthebanks.msu.edu, a website dedicated to MSU history, he was part of the creation of south campus in the 1960s, which includes several dorms, creation of Wilson Road, Cyclotron, Vet Med Clinic and the T.B. Simon Power Plant.
“Students need to be aware of the leadership here at Michigan State University,” said Matt Franks, director of public relations for ASMSU. “The VP of SIPF is responsible for multiple, important facets of life at MSU that affect students’ daily lives.”
Flinn started his career at MSU when he was just a student himself. He began working for the university as a student engineering employee and never left.
“Ron Flinn comes as close to personifying an institution at Michigan State as anyone else you can name,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a statement. “His positive influence on the physical development of this campus over the last 50-plus years would be hard to overstate, and after helping us through the recent administrative reorganization, he is leaving us a solid foundation for growth in the future.”
Flinn will officially retire in December 2014.
Three possible replacements for Flinn will visit campus for interviews with the president later this month.
Although there’s a lot to live up to, the new VIP for SIPF will have a solid support staff to help them make the transition and Flinn himself will be available for consultation, said Bill Latta, assistant vice president for operations and chair of the search committee for VP for SIPF.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to have someone new in this position,” Latta said. “We’ll miss Ron Flinn, but we’re looking forward to getting some new ideas that we never thought of before.”
By Justine McGuire
Last updated: 09/05/13 10:29pm
MSU constantly is changing its program offerings to align with students’ interests and job prospects — but the deletion of some programs can be a source of sadness for students.
One program that’s on its way out is kinesiology, but don’t get too upset, it’s just the teaching certificate option that will be gone after spring 2014. Music therapy also will say goodbye to MSU after spring 2014, along with special education with a deaf education emphasis.
This semester marks the end of one undergraduate minor, environmental science and disciplinary teaching.
Before programs get thrown out completely, they go through a period of moratoria. Moratoria means admission to a program is suspended for a semester or more because of insufficient staff, if the program is under review for changes or discontinuation or if there’s low demand.
The undergraduate major of economics went into moratorium this semester and will remain that status until fall 2014. The computational chemistry and molecular science majors in the College of Natural Science are on moratorium until spring 2015 and summer 2014, respectively.
Even with several changes to the undergraduate lineup, it’s nothing in comparison to the changes seen in graduate programs. There are 11 new graduate programs this semester. Three went into moratoria. Thirteen are scheduled for discontinuation between now and 2015.
Acting Provost Anne Youatt said every MSU program is reviewed every couple years by taking a look at what is being taught, how things are taught, the number of students in the program and the number of students who complete the program. Reviews also look at industry and professional standards changes.
By Holly Baranowski
Last updated: 07/10/13 9:52pm
When compared to public universities in other states, Michigan universities come out on bottom — in a good way.
According to the government’s College Affordability and Transparency Center, Michigan’s public universities have shown to rank near the bottom when it comes to the average increase in net price for attending a four-year public university. The rates compare how much the net price of college increased from 2009-10 to 2010-11.
During those years, the net price of Michigan’s public universities decreased 1.9 percent. Last year’s report showed Michigan with an average 2.2 percent increase in the net price. Michigan was one of nine states with a decline in the new report, according to an article in the Lansing State Journal.
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor decreased the most in the state for net prices, going from $16,888 to $14,074 at 16.7 percent during the same period. Michigan Technological University ranked the highest in the state for tuition and net prices.
By Tyler Beck
Last updated: 06/30/13 11:49pm
MSU’s announcement to discontinue analog cable is part of a long and lengthy process to switch from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting. However, the process is bigger than just an “emergency banner” that can be put on all channels. Anne Phillips, MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Assistant Director of Telecommunication Systems, said the transition has made MSU’s network more flexible and advanced. The flexibility shouldn’t be lost on just cable.
MSU has shown initiatives in order to be more technologically advanced, ranging from the REAL classrooms (Rooms for Engaged and Active Learning) to the giant new scoreboards at Spartan Stadium, or even the expanded cable packages that students can purchase from Comcast in the dorms.
For a generation so connected to and dependent on technology, MSU’s commitment to evolve and improve as technological advancements are being made can only be a good thing.
If you are one of the students who will be affected by the change (if your television is older and only supports analog cable) don’t panic — converter boxes can be purchased at local retailers and even at university stores.
By Soundarya Lakshmi
Last updated: 06/25/13 6:26pm
If you are an avid book reader and you know you are going to die tomorrow, read (if you haven’t already!) “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini. This book is a heartbreaking tale about two women who go through the hardships of life together. It is about friendship, hope, love and life. You think that’s nothing new? Wrong. Although these might be the common elements of some best-selling novels out there, this book has something different to offer.
Set in Afghanistan, the story revolves around two extremely well-defined characters: Mariam and Laila. The simplicity of the narration makes you connect to them, and no matter how impossible it might sound, you find yourself identifying with them. If you want to feel Afghanistan beyond the news accounts of war, pick this book up.
Be prepared to be left with a fire in your heart when you finish it.
Every once in a while, we all take most things in life for granted. If this book taught me something, it is to never, ever take anything for granted — not even the roof over my head right now.
By Holly Baranowski
Last updated: 06/19/13 10:18pm
The popular language instruction system Rosetta Stone has been found to be an inadequate substitute for in-class learning, according to a study published in the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages’ bulletin. With a growing use of online classes and software use in classrooms, the study exemplifies the fear that software might be replacing in-class teaching.
The study found Rosetta Stone is not a good option for learning a foreign language because of the “shaky theoretical foundations, mechanical inflexibility and cultural inauthencity,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. It concluded that it is not a replacement for trained teachers inside a classroom.
Although the company that makes Rosetta Stone claims to have no interest in replacing a teacher, it has made deals to use its product as a teaching tool in some colleges, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The author of the report, Lisa DeWaard, found the marketing claims to be misleading, including the premise that an adult can learn a language like a baby. DeWaard used herself as a test subject, finding that Rosetta Stone is not flexible enough to really learn a foreign language.