Annual Report 2017

Year Two: Our Theory of Change

The Hub is not a resource center, not a technology incubator, not an internal grants agency, and not (precisely) a center for teaching and learning. We are set up to be a design group working in partnership with our colleagues in programs, departments, and colleges. In this way, the Hub was imagined as a change agent. This stance has a great deal to do with how we are configured.

The Hub is a “third space” within the institution, both physically and rhetorically. It is designed to be ambiguous in terms of where it fits within MSU’s organizational chart, with regard to its (non?) disciplinarity, and with regard to how we work. We are at the edges of any number of boundaries, and that give us a certain amount of rhetorical agency.

The simple math for us is this: the right project portfolio + execution = a changed institution. “Right” means that the project has a significant impact, is an exciting model for campus, or aligns with the priorities of the Provost or of Deans. But “right” also means that the project changes key processes of decision making and institutional practice such that students, faculty, departments, or the programs who own and must sustain the project (once executed) will not be the same again. There isn’t much bling or glory in this stance. Institutional change is simply hard work, animated by imagination, and driven by the wishes and dreams of faculty and students.

We believe that the projects in the portfolio are likely the right sorts of projects. We have colleagues in Math leading the way with important core course reforms. We are supporting Veterinary Medicine’s effort to reimagine how they educate veterinarians. We are facilitating conversations around courses that touch every MSU student, and we are helping the campus experiment with new technologies to support learning.

signature image for Jeffrey T. Grabill, Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, Michigan State University


Jeff Grabill

Director, the Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology
Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning and Technology

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Hub by the Numbers

While it is difficult for us to quantify the countless conversations and brainstorming sessions we’ve had in the past year, we can provide a little context for just how far we’ve reached.

Hub numbers from 2017: 12 active projects; 31 scholarly presentations; 387 events; 34 partners; 510 posted updates through blog, podcast, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook; 8 fellows; 36 students involved; 16 research publications; 11 completed projects

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My Spartan Story: The Co-Curricular Record

The Co-Curricular Record is a centralized system for students to record involvement in activities that are outside of the traditional academic curriculum. The record can be used alongside the traditional transcript to show learning beyond the classroom.

Envisioning a comprehensive learner record poster presentation which connects the relationship of the student artifacts being compiled into a co-curricular record to complement the traditional academic transcript.

End of the year snapshot

Developing the record was imagined as a three-year design process from start to widespread use. This past year we focused on building deep partnerships with a handful of in-depth pilots. These groups now see themselves as having the same set of values and appreciate how they contribute to student learning from different angles (e.g., Residence Education and Housing Services, the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative, college-based student support). Through these discussions and relationships, the news of the Co-Curricular Record is spreading across campus and more groups are finding an interest in the project.

Additional accomplishments this year included:

  • Significant progress on software development.
  • Design work with key partners and more broad-based focus groups.
  • Partnering with a marketing class to research, brand, and design a marketing strategy for implementing the record.

On the horizon

MSU should expect to see a robust pilot of the Co-Curricular Record in the near future. The long-term goals of the project include:

  • A validated Co-Curricular Record that is MSU branded and will have permanent storage capabilities.
  • Communications and engagement to help stakeholders understand why the record exists and how to benefit from it.
  • Ongoing design work with stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, and administrators to ensure usability and anticipated outcomes are met.
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Science Gallery Lab Detroit

Science Gallery is the world’s first university-linked network dedicated to increasing public engagement with science and the arts. First established by Trinity College Dublin in 2008, Science Gallery has expanded over the past decade to include locations in London, England; Melbourne, Australia, Bengaluru, India; and Venice, Italy.

The Global Science Gallery Network also presents a new platform for international university public engagement, interdisciplinary collaboration, and helps foster creativity and innovation by encouraging greater interaction between scientists, engineers, designers, artists and the creative industries.

End of year snapshot

In March 2017, Michigan State University joined the Science Gallery Network as the partnering university behind Science Gallery Lab Detroit (SGLD), the first Science Gallery location in the Americas. The Hub has been facilitating the development of SGLD, providing staff support for communications, event development, mediator training, and exhibition production.

In June 2018, Science Gallery Lab Detroit launched its first exhibition, HUSTLE. The exhibition was located at 1001 Woodward and explored the many definitions of survival and success. HUSTLE is a theme that is uniquely Detroit, as the spirit of the hustle has become an unofficial rallying cry for the city. The theme paid homage to Detroit’s reputation for the resilience and determination of its people by examining the many definitions of survival and success.

Our initial assessment is that we were successful in reaching a challenging demographic to address, and our overall number of 10,295 exceeds the opening in London and nearly reached the total achieved in Melbourne. Audience engagement with Science Gallery Lab Detroit’s social media channels increased by an average of 60.43% throughout the run of HUSTLE. We had additional success on building relationships and creating spaces for programming and events to be designed with communities in Detroit and at MSU.

On the horizon

The open call for Science Gallery Detroit’s next exhibition, DEPTH, closed on October 5, 2018. DEPTH explores the power and complexities of water and its many roles in the physical and social world. DEPTH examines water’s polarizing extremes. From discoveries of water on Mars and hydroelectric power, to issues of water quality and access, to the complexities of water systems at the microscopic and macroscopic scales, our futures are directly linked to the future of water.

The exhibition will run in the summer of 2019. Starting in September 2018, the SGLD team will focus on a public programming series that explores both the theme of water as well as the broader intersections of art and science.

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Veterinary Medicine

The College of Veterinary Medicine is reinventing how its faculty educates doctors of veterinary medicine. The goal is to increase learning, provide a healthier experience for students, and reduce costs to students.

Veterinary Medicine infographic showing the phases of the curricular redesign project by semester

End of year snapshot

This is a multi-year project organized around designing and implementing each year of the new curriculum in sequence. This year we focused on creating the first year of the new curriculum. Key developments this year included:

  • Developing and piloting courses with early-adopter faculty willing to take on the changes quickly.
  • Support faculty in making 12 competency-based courses that are team-taught based on organ systems (not discipline specific) and are centered in an active learning environment.
  • Ongoing work on pedagogy to move towards active learning in a team teaching environment would cause a culture shift throughout the college and the team considered implications and how to manage the culture change.
  • Sustainability of this work beyond the Hub’s involvement.

On the horizon

Our next phase will include implementing the new courses and assessments and iterating course design based on feedback. We will also move toward building Year 2 of the curriculum. The project is building considerable capacity in the College of Veterinary Medicine to design and implement curriculum and to support faculty in their new work.

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Scholarship: Our Publications

One of the principles that drives our work is that it be grounded in evidence-based practice. We design learning experiences and focus on teaching practices in this way. What may not be completely clear is that our projects produce evidence as well. The design of our projects always looks for ways to engage in scholarly or analytical work, and we are happy that many faculty are eager to participate in scholarship as well. We are proud of the scholarly productivity of the Hub.


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