FAQ icon

Need Answers?

Directory Icon

Email, Phone, and Addresses

Graduation cap icon

Explore Degrees

Elizabeth Birr Moje
Elizabeth Birr Moje

Dean's Letter

At the Marsal Family School of Education, our recognition that education and educators play a fundamental role in all aspects of human life leads to our commitment to provide expertise and opportunities for learning about education outside of established education institutions. For us, this means conducting research in partnership with communities and organizations beyond preK-12 and higher education institutions; establishing training for students and professionals who are served by understanding how people learn, grow, and work together; and providing opportunities for our students to learn in diverse contexts.

To do powerful work on behalf of children, youth, and adults, we must learn in, from, and with communities. Research-practice partnerships are an important way that we collaborate with communities. Two research-practice partnerships that focus on education outside of formal classroom spaces are Dr. Angela Calabrese Barton’s work with Boys and Girls Club of Lansing and Impression 5 Science Center and Dr. Jeremy Wright-Kim’s work with Lake Superior State University and Anishinaabe community members.

Dr. Calabrese Barton works with organizations committed to using informal learning to break down barriers to STEM learning. The youth with whom she and her collaborators work are making impactful contributions to their communities and growing their knowledge of STEM subjects and their identities as researchers and problem-solvers. Just as Dr. Calabrese Barton and her colleagues are trying to address inequities through their development of learning environments, support of educators, and design of curriculum, the youth also take up issues of justice in STEM.

The Indigenous Youth Education Collective, with which Dr. Wright-Kim works, is a youth participatory action research project aimed at creating spaces for Native students to explore their Native identities, particularly in the context of K-12 public education. The partnership has encouraged Native youth to become researchers and change agents in their community. For many participants, it has helped them gain clarity on their higher education goals, including how they want to see higher education institutions become more inclusive and supportive of Native students.

We’ve increasingly recognized the interest from students and the demand from employers to offer a strong foundation in the study of education for students who aren’t necessarily pursuing “traditional” education careers. In addition to our exciting new undergraduate degree program—Learning, Equity, and Problem Solving for the Public Good—that we introduced in our spring magazine, I am pleased to update you on our Education for Empowerment minor and the addition of a new MOOC focused on learning experience design.

In the five years since we launched the minor, we have educated students from 40 different majors across the university! Through the required internship component, these students have applied their coursework to the kind of engagement that brought many of them to us in the first place: serving children, youth, families, and communities.

Several years ago, Dr. Christopher Quintana and Dr. Rebecca Quintana created a popular Learning Experience Design certificate open to master’s students across the University of Michigan. This winter, they will launch a MOOC, which stands for Massive Open Online Course, to introduce a much wider audience to the principles and contemporary applications of Learning Experience Design.

Since 2013, the students in our Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education have had outstanding opportunities to participate in domestic and international study trips. This summer, travel resumed after a hiatus forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Higher education students, faculty, and staff traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area to study how postsecondary education policy plays out at various levels and across diverse organizations. Organized by Melinda Richardson and Dr. Rosemary Perez, the trip’s success relied on strong networks of colleagues and alumni. We are grateful to all the individuals and organizations who engaged our students in thought-provoking discussion during their 10-day experience.

This fall, we welcomed seven new members of our faculty. I am pleased to introduce them to you in this issue of Michigan Education. The process of growing our faculty presents an exciting opportunity for our entire community to learn about the fascinating scholarship of each highly qualified candidate and share input on the direction of our school. Dr. April Baker-Bell, Dr. Natalie Davis, Dr. Erin Flynn, Dr. Sharim Hannegan-Martinez, Dr. Vanessa Louis, Dr. Alaina Neal-Jackson, and Dr. Jon Wargo add immeasurably to our capacity for conducting research, teaching future education professionals, and fulfilling our commitment to just and equitable education practices and outcomes.

We are always learning and growing, so it makes sense that educators are found everywhere—across industry, within all communities, in organizations large and small—and opportunities to learn are unbounded by formal institutions of learning. We support the important work of all educators and encourage everyone to recognize the critical role that schools and colleges of education play across all education contexts.

Elizabeth Birr Moje
The Marsal School welcomes seven scholars to our community
Angela Calabrese Barton’s research shows the impact STEM education in informal learning environments can have on communities and the world
The Indigenous Youth Education Collective is a youth participatory action research project led by—and for—Anishinaabe scholars, community members, and students
As the minor serves students across the university, minor students serve the local community
After a pandemic pause, CSHPE experiential learning trips return
A new series of online courses has the potential to reach future learning experience designers everywhere
Champions for Education