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The College of Arts & Letters (CAL) Graduate Practica provides Graduate Assistantships to create hands-on learning experiences designed to prepare future faculty members for leadership roles in complex and multidimensional institutions of higher education in the 21st century. The primary goal of the program is to expand and enhance students’ job placement potential while maintaining excellent progress toward their primary course of study.

Graduate Practica experiences span a range of educational activities at the University from educational technology to student advising, from research labs and learning centers to journal editing and academic publishing. The skills students develop in these contexts will at once prepare them to be more effective faculty members and explore alternative academic careers. Participants will learn how the contemporary university functions and how faculty can contribute to the learning mission beyond the classroom and their own scholarship. They also may become aware of a more expansive set of career alternatives within and beyond the academy.

Mentoring & Professional Development

Each Graduate Assistantship involves a release from teaching duties to allow students to focus on their practicum experience. Each also provides students with a professional development opportunity that includes mentoring and interaction with a cohort of other Graduate Assistantships across the College, as well as faculty and academic staff. Departments and programs that have Graduate Practica funding are asked to provide the mentoring guidance. The College assists with convening cohorts, as described below, with additional investment in staff time and programming.

Tech GAs

This is the largest component of the program. Tech Graduate Assistantships have been included for most of our programs in their Graduate Assistantship budgets since Fall 2012. Specific work assignments for Tech Graduate Assistantships can vary, but they generally allow students to explore and gain experience in the scholarship of teaching and learning with technology in their disciplinary areas. The Tech Graduate Assistantship program’s overall goals are to improve employability, connect teaching to research, and identify strategies and processes around scholarly publishing. This, in turn, builds a solid foundation of scholarship of teaching and learning. Tech Graduate Assistantships meet as a cohort group with Dr. Scott Schopieray, MSU College of Arts & Letters Assistant Dean for Educational Technology.

Editorial GAs

Through a partnership with the MSU Press, Editorial Graduate Assistantships learn about all aspects of academic publishing while working with a specific journal or book series in their discipline. Editorial tasks are supervised by a faculty journal or series editor, while the cohort group is coordinated by a College-funded staff person working full time at the MSU Press. This program is the means by which the College provides Editorial Graduate Assistantships with support to faculty editors. Editorial Graduate Assistantships are thus created in collaboration with a faculty member, their department, and the College to suit the specific requirements of the journal.

Professional Practica

These positions are proposed by programs and departments who have unique opportunities for graduate students to advance their careers through an in-depth experience in an academic role that will complement their academic discipline. Professional practice opportunities currently are planned in student advising and language learning center administration. These candidates will work with the College Advising Office and the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA), respectively. Other professional practice opportunities may be suggested by departments or programs. These positions will have a strong mentorship component and a clear set of professional development goals for the candidates involved. Recruitment and screening for these positions should comprise an effort to attract students interested in career paths that can benefit from a practicum experience.