This week, we are featuring Dr. Crystal Eustice, Assistant Professor of Practice, Academic Adviser, and Internship Coordinator in MSU’s Department of Community Sustainability. Dr. Eustice was recognized via iteach.msu.edu's Thank and Educator Initiative! We encourage MSU community members to nominate high-impact Spartan educators (via our Thank an Educator form) regularly!
Read more about Dr. Eustice’s perspectives below. #iteachmsu's questions are bolded below, followed by her responses!
You were recognized via the Thank an Educator Initiative. In one word, what does being an educator mean to you?
Share with me what this word/quality looks like in your practice?
I use the word “leadership”, because leadership in itself takes many different forms depending on the person and the context. To me, this is what being an educator means as well. To meet students where they are, to be what the students need to learn, to instill curiosity, to guide students in developing new skills...
Have your ideas on this changed over time? if so how?
Over time, being an educator has shifted from feeling like I always need to know the answer for my students, to allowing the questions (theirs and mine) to guide us in exploring solutions. It’s shifted to me passing leadership in the classroom over to the students as they build confidence and start pursuing answers and activities that guide their own learning.
Tell me more about your educational “setting.” This can include, but not limited to departmental affiliations, community connections, co-instructors, and students. (Aka, where do you work?)
I am faculty member in the Department of Community Sustainability (CSUS) in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. I also serve as an Academic Advisor for 2 of our 3 majors in CSUS, as well as the Internship Coordinator.
What is a challenge you experience in your educator role?
Wearing three hats in my position often creates challenges in terms of how to best engage students in all three areas in authentic ways and build relationships with my students.
Any particular “solutions” or “best practices” you’ve found that help you support student success at the university despite/in the face of this?
To show students support and engage them, I blend all three roles within my job regardless of what “hat” I’m wearing. Meaning, when I teach, I work to help build students transferable skills that will benefit them as they pursue and take on professional internships. I also work to communicate advising and employment information with students in my role as educator in the classroom, as well as serving as their internship coordinator, and academic advisor. Largely, supporting student success means supporting the whole student, in multiple ways, and making time and space to do so in my various roles.
What are practices you utilize that help you feel successful as an educator?
I seek feedback from my students about their experiences in my courses, as well as their overall experiences at MSU (i.e., in other courses). What’s working for them and what’s not; what resources have been most helpful to them, etcetera. This helps me evaluate and improve my leadership in all three of my roles.
Don't forget to celebrate individuals you see making a difference in teaching, learning, or student success at MSU with #iteachmsu's Thank an Educator initiative. You might just see them appear in the next feature!