Category: News

Tech Faculty and Grad Students Hit the Road

On the weekend before orientation, the Industrial Archaeology Program (SS) made a graduate-study tour to Milwaukee. Five Social Sciences faculty and five graduate students (SS and HU, both MS and PhD) investigated industrial production, adaptation to industrial decline and how urban patterns have been affected by industry, both historically and today.

The five-day trip, partly underwritten by the Chipstone Foundation of Milwaukee, included factory process tours, museum visits, and a day at Chipstone discovering explanatory and interpretive strategies for material culture, primarily using the history of the ceramics industry as the focus for the day.

Visits included the Kohler Company, which produces ceramic and cast iron bathroom fittings; Caterpillar Global Mining (formerly Bucyrus-Erie), which builds some of the largest earth-moving machinery on the planet; Harley-Davidson Powertrain Operations, where we saw engines and transmissions being assembled on a state-of-the-art assembly line; La Lune designer rustic furniture company, where small-batch artisanal woodworking is still practiced; and the Falk Foundry (Rexnord Industries) in Milwaukee, which has sadly been decommissioned in the last six months, but which offered a glimpse of active deindustrialization.

Museum visits included the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers (WI), the Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, which has an extensive collection of artwork depicting industrial work, and the Iron Mountain (MI) Pumping Museum. The final stop of the whirlwind tour was the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Herrling Sawmill in Greenbush (WI), a reconstructed 1850s vertical sash sawmill. The historically accurate sawmill has been reconstructed on the basis of archaeology done by Michigan Tech’s Industrial Archaeology Program in the 1990s. Sadly, the day we visited the saw blade was misaligned and a main bolt had sheared, so it was not running, but it was wonderful to see the final result of our archaeology of 20 years ago.

(This article originally appeared in Tech Today)

Intensive English as a Second Language Secures Five-Year Initial Accreditation

After undergoing a rigorous three-year process of measuring its performance against the 44 standards of the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), Michigan Tech’s Intensive English as a Second Language (IESL) program has secured a five-year initial CEA accreditation (August 2015-August 2020). CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accrediting body for English language programs and institutions. The Commission leads the field of language teaching and learning via rigorous standards and processes of transparent and accountable peer review.

Tech’s IESL program was established to help improve the English language proficiency of international students who meet all of the university’s academic admissions requirements. This accreditation review, the first external evaluation of the program since its inception in 2000, culminated in a three-day site visit last spring.  Tech’s was one of twelve programs seeking initial accreditation, and was one of only five programs granted the full five-year accreditation.

According to Bruce Seely, Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, the visiting accreditation team was extremely complimentary about Tech’s program.  To a significant extent, that positive stance stemmed from the efforts of Beatrice Smith, director of the program and professor of Humanities, and the IESL faculty, who have revamped and significantly improved the IESL curriculum and content in recent years.  As a result, the visitors stated they would recommend that Beatrice’s report become a model for other schools.  “Beatrice worked incredibly hard to insure that the Tech program met the CEA accreditation standards and this outcome is a tribute to the dedication and commitment exhibited by her and the IESL faculty. They did a superb job, and we deeply appreciate their efforts.”

With accreditation, IESL agrees to uphold CEA standards for language programs and institutions.  The letter granting accreditation states, “In reviewing a program or institution, the Commission seeks to determine that mission and educational objectives are being communicated and met; that performance with respect to student achievement is being realized; that the program or institution is organized so that its mission and educational objectives are supported by adequate human and fiscal resources…and that the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and institutions are being met. The Commission had determined that the IESL Program meets these requirements and commends the program for its achievements”.

With this accreditation, IESL also joins EnglishUSA—the American Association of Intensive English Programs—a group that promotes quality and advocates for English language programs.

(This article originally appeared in Tech Today.)

Humanities Students Awarded Grants

Michigan Tech students Ameya Narkar and Amie Ledgerwood have been awarded grants to benefit Michigan Tech and the local community.

Narkar secured a $5,000 grant from the Office for Young Adult and Campus Ministries of the Episcopal Church for Michigan Tech’s Canterbury House, an organization to support international students and their families.

Ledgerwood won a $5,000 grant from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium to provide funding for local elementary students to study the Keweenaw’s unique geo-heritage.

Both students wrote their grants as part of the fall 2014 grant writing course, HU 4694.

Hubble’s Logo Design Wins NLTAPA Competition

From Tim Colling PhD., P.E., Director – Center for Technology & Training Michigan Tech University:

Over the past few months Andi Barajas (full time CTT  staff and part time STC student), Cassandra Matchinski and  Stephanie Hubble (both full time STC student and CTT interns) have been working with Shaughn Kern and Carol Reynolds (full time professional technical writers at CTT) to develop logos for the National Local Technical Assistance Program Association (NLTAPA as part of a national competition.  The NLTAP Association represents the 58 LTAP and TTAP (tribal) centers across the US.  On an annual basis the centers jointly  train over 174,000 people, in  nearly 6,200 training sessions, and circulate more than 795,000 publications according to the NLTAP website.  The LTAP/TTAP program has been in existence since 1982 when it was formed by the US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

I’m happy to announce that  Stephanie Hubble’s entry was selected to be the new logo for the national association and will be used on official NLTAPA business systems such as letterhead and the website.  I also understand that two of the Michigan Tech submitted entries for the competition made the top three.  I think competing and winning on a national level is a testament to the skills and creativity that our staff and students have.  The winning logo will be announced/unveiled at the NLTAPA annual conference in Savannah, GA on July 20th.  Unfortunately Stephanie is overseas this summer and will not be able to attend the conference to receive the award, however a Andi will be at the conference accepting the award for the center.

Congratulations to all of the staff and students that worked on this competition.

Message from Lauren Keenan in Barcelona

Lauren KeenanLauren Keenan has posted this message on our International Programs and Services Facebook page about the great time she’s having in Spain with our Michigan Tech faculty-led program:

“My Study Abroad to Barcelona has taught me how to understand how history and memories influence culture. In addition, I have learned to apply the observations in film, literature, politics, and everyday life to fully comprehend how a city shapes you. This is why we need humanities, they challenge us to think critically in a way we never have before. No one fully understands the importance of studying abroad until you’ve had the experience yourself.”

Gary Kaunonen Awarded Finishing Fellowship

The Graduate School has announced the awarding of finishing fellowships to the following outstanding PhD candidates, including the Humanities Department’s own Gary Kaunonen:

  • Adam Coble, PhD Candidate in Forest Science
Khanh Cung, PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics
  • Yaoxian Huang, PhD Candidate in Environmental Engineering
  • Gary Kaunonen, PhD Candidate in Rhetoric and Technical Communication
  • Sandra Owusu, PhD Candidate in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology
  • Venkata Ramana Pidatala, PhD Candidate in Biological Sciences
  • Jingtuo Zhang, PhD Candidate in Chemistry
  • Jie Zhou, PhD Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering

You can learn more about the candidates here.