Michigan State University
Michigan State University - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings|
|Total Grad Surveys||19|
|Avg years at University||1.9|
|Research Quality||B (7.3)|
|Research Availability||B (7.1)|
|Research Funding||B- (6.5)|
|Graduate Politics||B (6.7)|
|Not Errand Runners||A- (8.3)|
|Degree Completion||A- (8.3)|
|Alternative pay [ta/gsi]||B- (5.8)|
|Sufficient Pay||B- (5.9)|
|Education Quality||B+ (7.6)|
|Faculty Accessibility||B+ (7.7)|
|Useful Research||B+ (8.0)|
|"Individual" treatment||B (7.0)|
|Campus Beauty||A (8.9)|
|Campus Maintenance||A- (8.4)|
|University Spending||B+ (8.1)|
|Scholastic Success||B (7.1)|
|Surrounding City||B (6.9)|
|Social Life/ Environment||B (7.0)|
For example, having a TA repeat over and over the word "parsimonious". I had to wonder if she had a word a day calendar, as the word "concise" is far more parsimonious.
My complaints were primarily with the core MSN faculty. I was actually accused of plagiarism once with no grounding and was told that my APA format was "unacceptable". I write well and I think that that was a little threatening to some of the faculty members.
They torture you with minute details of APA format and often your grades are dependent on your ability to capitalize your references appropriately, proper spacing after periods, and how you use numbers in text as opposed to the content.
Once I was taking the courses for my major, faculty greatly improved, but there was not a lot of flexibility in the curriculum to meet my personal education goals.
For students at a distance from campus, there are no opportunities for teaching assistant positions despite having many online classes.
I'll never forget how many times I kicked myself for choosing this program based on convenience factors and price. Given all of the negatives about the program, I found that I did learn a great deal in courses related to my major and teaching cognates. The cognates were some of the best classes that I took at MSU.
Pros include the ability to take these cognates and great resources for students at a distance. The library was easily accessible, articles were mailed quickly if they were not available online. There was 24/7 technical assistance. It was convenient to attend online.
Cons: Some of the faculty were remarkably condescending and were very inconsistent across the curriculum on APA formatting (which was given far too great a significance). Classes were generally not very challenging in content. I was very disappointed in the quality of the core content including pathophysiology. If you are not good at playing the game and jumping through the flaming hoops, you will wind up being referred to as too "blue collar" for the program. This last comment is hearsay, but it is reliable information. I had to remind my friend to roll onto her back and piss all over herself to survive in the program. If you are relatively tech savvy and communicate well, you will do fine but will be disappointed in the challenge.
I came back to MSU because of my overall positive experience there as an undergrad. I entered the College of Education believing that the coursework would be as challenging and exciting as my undergrad years, however what I found was that I had just entered a "diploma mill". the college, as I can gather, is largely interested in keeping enrollment numbers high so that they can continuously post their statistics on the website (it should be noted that their statistics are more quantitative, and not qualitative). I have been left so many times asking myself "what the hell are you people doing here besides talking in circles about theory?" So many faculty talked about issues but never addressed how to successfully implement them. Many of the MSU faculty in this college will talk about being a better teacher, but when it comes time to have a dialog about how to be a better teacher the topic finds itself on the other side of the railway tracks. I also had a problem with the fact that, in theory, you can advance through the entire program within the college and never have a real professor. That's rights folks: grad instructors do the vast majority of the work. While I did have a professor my 1st year in the program (post-bachelor students may enter on a special 2-year track for preparation) I had grad instructors for everything else. And I know that in the other section of my cohort a grad instructor was teaching that as well. So if you are considering entering into the field of education at this university be warned that you may never actually have a professor to lead and enlighten you.
Expanding from the issue of grad instructors, I also have to issue a warning that the introductory classes for the program, TE 150 and TE 250, are unspeakably pointless and wasteful. Even an entire swath of the faculty admit that they are in a "dire need of restructuring", and I know of 5 persons who I went to MSU with as an undergrad who decided not to go into education just because of their experiences in these classes. The first 9 credits of the entire program are a giant game of busy work and conformity. I am a very liberal and open-minded person, but what they are doing in those classes is shameful: indoctrination.
Besides those complaints, allow me to also issue a warning about the placements for student teaching. While many students who went through this program had sufficient mentor teachers a large enough fraction of other students had absurdly unqualified mentors and the program did little to address this. I happen to have fallen within this second group, but before you begin deducing that I am jaded and writing a negative letter because of my mentor experience let me say this: you will never have universal excellence when it comes to placing students with outside faculty, however at the least the college is responsible for looking after you considering that you are paying good money and spending precious time to earn a letter from them at the end. Most student teaching experiences at other colleges are a half year, however the fact that this program requires 8 months of student teaching means that if you happen to fall into a poor situation with a mentor teacher then there is no excuse as to why they cannot help you find someone who you will learn from, and not someone who will use you are free labor.
One other thing: self servicing of the college. During the last year of the program students are "elevated" to "graduate-professional" level, meaning that they require you to pay graduate school credit rates without the benefits of actually being a graduate student. The college loves to say "oh but you can use these graduate credits towards our M.A. in Teaching!", however what they fail to realize is that the student is being cheated (especially because you are now paying grad tuition while having a grad student teach the class, go figure)because most are likely to go out of state or desire to attend a closer program on either the west or east sides of the state. From day one the program begins talking to you about entering its M.A. program, and from what I have experienced and seen I believe firmly that the College of Ed at MSU is a farm: they bring you in, process you as another number like a pig going to slaughter, and prepare you and package you for dumping thousands of dollars into their undergrad program so as to then bring you right back and have you drop even more money into the grad program. No thanks, I have no desire to be digested further by this program.
What I found most disillusioning about this program was the lack of intellectual vigor. I will admit that I expected (I mean hey, these suppose to be grad classes, right?) the course work to be vigorous and challenging, however from one semester to the next I learned that the work is not only bland, uniform, none transformative and repetitious but also the grad students and some senior faculty have the attitude that they just want to get through the day and if you ask them anything that involves deep insight or research then you are asking them to do to much, and you become ignored. I happen to be a pretty academic person, and while I keep an open, objective mind I still have to conclude that the program is not academically challenging. You will be shocked (should you choose to enter) at what crap will get you an A in some of the classes, or that sense of "what the hell are we doing" that will float into your mind on so many days when the class is doing nothing.
So let's rehash:
a) way too many grad instructors teaching and not enough involvement of faculty.
b). the system is a teacher factory, you become a piece of meat with a number burned in your arm and you are moved along.
c). apathy of field placements and the too common response to student concerns "just deal with it and get through it"
d). charging you grad tuition rates for an experience that is hardly like grad school, and the college making additional money off of you that does not equate to any benefit on your part, as a student.
e). the lack of intellectual or academic vigor. If you are wanting of a challenging program that you will be proud of in the end then DO NOT enter this program. Go elsewhere: U of M perhaps?I know that many people who write negative comments are typically angry at the university or have an axe to grind, but let me restate that I have nothing against the university as a whole, as I loved my undergrad years there. What I have a problem with is the College of Education, which is pretty mediocre compared to many colleges at the university. If you are an MSU student and are considering teaching, my advice would be to finish your coursework and graduate and then go elsewhere and take your education classes at some other institution. I offer this advice against the College of Education not because I am bitter or spiteful, but because I genuinely care about the quality of education that can be offered at the university, and based on my experiences I find that the College of Education at MSU (although highly ranked in US NEWS and World REPORT) is shockingly disappointing. Then again, if you want an easy ride and do not mind paying too much for too little then go right ahead. My only question would then be: what kind of teacher are you going to make?