MAET Graduate Celebration, Plymouth

Last Friday we celebrated the latest graduates from the MAET off campus program. These were students, who for the most part, have completed the MAET program over three summers in Plymouth, England. We here at MAET headquarters are extremely proud of their achievements. We had a small ceremony to celebrate their success and to wish them all the best for the future.

A video of the ceremony can be seen below. I, as representing the College of Ed and the MAET program, was asked to give a small welcome speech and you can see that in the video as well. I am including below, for the record, the text of what I said…

Text of welcome speech by Punya Mishra, Director MAET program
July 24, 2009

Good Afternoon and welcome.

I am Punya Mishra, faculty member at the College of Education at Michigan State University. It gives me great pleasure to be here in Plymouth England, today, as a representative of the College.

We are gathered here today to celebrate and recognize the students and graduates of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology Program. We celebrate and recognize their achievements, and applaud their success.

The College of Education at MSU is one of the leading institutions in the world. The US News and World Report in its Annual rankings of graduate programs has consistently ranked the College of Education as one of the top programs in the United States. In the College there are many degree programs. The program closest to my heart is the one we are celebrating today. The Master of Arts in Educational Technology is a unique and special program, seeking to connect the eternal values of learning and education with the technologies and techniques of the 21st century.

I call this program unique for a range of reasons. First, is the manner in which this program is structured. The MAET program offers students an intensive immersive experience where they work individually and in groups to tackle some of the most important issues related to education and technology. This happens in an atmosphere of camradarie and sharing, where lifelong friendships are developed and nurtured. I cannot think of any other graduate level program that offers a similar, powerful and compelling educational experience.

The second aspect that makes the MAET program special are the dedicated faculty and staff that make everything happen. Running a program of this scope and complexity is no mean feat, particularly when it has to be done at an off-campus location.

To start are the people here at the University of Plymouth who have facilitated our stay in ways big and small. They have made us feel welcome and have helped create the institutional structure that makes our program run smoothly. I would particularly like to thank Nicola Griffin, Event Manager at the University and Geoff Bouch head of information and communication technology and their staff for all their help. On behalf of MSU, thank you.

The next person I would like to mention is Jean Pierre Heussaff or JP as he is better known. His official title is Student Life Director but as you all know he is so much more. From weekend trips to visits to the doctor, there is no detail too small for him to pay attention to and this program would not be even half as successful without his effort. Thank you JP.

Now onto the team from East Lansing. Let me begin by thanking someone who is not here but someone who knows and has interacted with each and every one of you here. Emily Fink is a secretary to the MAET program and does everything from helping with recruitment, to course assignment, to making sure things get mailed on time. Please give a round of applause in appreciation of her work.

Now onto the Plymouth faculty. These are people who have dedicated the last month (and if you count course preparation, more than a month) to this program. Developing assignments, designing course experiences, working with individuals and groups, providing feedback, this team of instructors are the ones who make the learning happen. The success of these students is testimony to their creativity, dedication and hard work. Please give a super round of applause to Brandon Blinkenberg, Emily Bouck, Kathryn Dirkin, Ken Dirkin and Aman Yadav.

If you notice, there was one name I did not mention: Leigh Graves Wolf. This is because she deserves a special thanks of her own. Leigh is one of the instructors for year 3 but she also coordinates the entire MA program. She combines her amazing organizational skills with a deep concern for each and every student. I don’t know how we could do all this without her effort. I know that all the students appreciate that. Thank you.

The third and maybe most important factor that sets our program apart are the students. Our students are educators who come to us from around the world and bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. These are educators who understand that in this dramatically changing world, keeping still is not an option. They take on the challenges the faculty offer them with good cheer (well, most of the time), seeking opportunities to learn and develop, during their stay here. They do not let tight deadlines (and there are many), frustration with technology (and there are many of these as well) get in the way. Most importantly, they are willing to share their learning and experience with each other. This sense of community (within and across cohorts) is what truly makes this program special. Finally, lest you think that these guys are all work and no play… let us be clear, these guys know that deep learning of fundamental ideas requires having fun. This group, truly, puts the fun in fundamental.

Our students are special, no doubt about it. But they did not get here just by themselves. Behind each and every one of them are their friends and family, who have supported them in their journey. Some of these friends and family are here today to witness this celebration. I would like all the graduates to please stand, face your family and friends, and give them a round of applause.

As you know, we at Michigan State University are proud of our land grant tradition. A tradition that rejects the typical dichotomies that have plagued higher education. You know what I speak of, these are the divides between research and practice, between service and scholarship, or as we would say, between talking the talk and walking the walk.

Each of you here today, completing the requirements of the Master of Arts Degree in Educational Technology is now a part of Michigan State’s long and rich tradition. You have made us proud already through your achievements and successes. We also know that there is more to come. We wish you all the best in the future.

Congratulations and do keep in touch.

3 Comments

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