Comm Arts & Sciences Leadership Fellows

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Comm Arts & Sciences Leadership Fellows

Comm Arts & Sciences Leadership Fellows

Leadership Fellows

  • 2016-2018: Megan Jackson
  • 2017-2019: Dominik Neuman
  • 2019-2020: Matthew Klein
  • 2021-2022: Radhika Sen

Megan Jackson (2016-2018)
Megan’s work as the first Communication Arts & Sciences Leadership Development Fellow established strong connections with Dean Prabu David as she supported his goal of improving the graduate student experience. Together, they began a 1-credit course to increase awareness of college offerings and university resources, socialize students in the college, and begin to build community. Further, Megan worked with the college’s only GSO, The Association of Graduate Students in Communication (AGSCOM), to facilitate its official recognition as an RSO and supported Karen Cleveland’s new GSO in the Department of Media & Information. A September 2017 meeting between Megan, Dean David, and Matt Helm, the Director of Graduate Student Life & Wellness at the time, led to a social event held at the college that saw graduate students sharing lunch and discussing plans for future social events held off-campus. 

Megan concluded her 2017 report with a reflection on change and the individual; “The success of graduate student collaboration, community, and leadership development is immensely dependent upon an individual, like the fellow, leading the effort within the college. [The] impact of the first year fellow in the college is highly visible as the Dean stated one of his top 5 goals for this academic year to be improving the graduate student experience. Change does not happen, change is led. With the fellow in place, this organic change is within reach and the immensely positive outcomes will be seen for years to come.”

Dominik Neuman (2017-2019)
During the first year of his Fellowship, Dominik Neumann built on Megan’s work creating social events for grad students in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences by hosting an event series called “Communication on Tap” at local bars in East Lansing where graduate students could share their research while tying in personal stories or humorous anecdotes in a laid-back and relaxed setting. This work-free space for socialization was organized following a survey to the college’s PhD students that determined the events could foster a sense of togetherness and community while working to overcome the feeling of disconnection graduate students perceive between their professional and personal lives.

Dominik began the second year of his Fellowship developing a peer-mentoring system and handbook for the college. His initial survey to PhD students demonstrated the need for individual mentorship, as compared to committee- or group-based support. Domink decided to create a “buddy system” for incoming students in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Buddies served to create respectful relationships and an open dialogue that could help incoming graduate students navigate East Lansing, campus resources, classroom dialogues, and other issues that may be relevant for the student.

Matthew Klein (2019-2020)
As the third Fellow for the College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Matthew Klein worked closely with a faculty member within the College on a college-wide project looking at the impact of inclusive language on syllabi. Matthew was invested in contributing to College-level efforts related to inclusion, and in collaboration with his key stakeholders, he decided that a mixed-methods study would best serve them in pushing future initiatives forward. Matthew and his stakeholders intend to launch this study after the completion of his Fellowship year.

Radhika Sen (2021-2022)
Radhika created Imagine MSU, an initiative that provided graduate students funding to enhance the graduate student community. Grounded in an awareness that a thriving university community is one in which a great variety of lived experiences and perspectives find voice, Radhika’s project aimed to build a stronger culture of belonging among students (which research indicates is a major indicator of student success and retention) at MSU by encouraging creative problem solving and student leadership and supporting the pursuit of innovative community‐building ideas prototyped and implemented in collaboration with students. Radhika applied for and received a Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant from MSU for $5,000. She also partnered with the Graduate School to access additional funds. She recruited a steering committee of faculty who reviewed 25 applications from graduate students and selected 3 projects to fund. The first project aimed to increase a sense of community amongst graduate students in the English department as well as learning how DEI issues intersect with research and writing. They proposed to hold several writing retreats and to bring in a speaker whose work focuses on indigenous studies. The second project proposed developing an LGBTQ+ History course for the MSU History department and developing LGBTQ+ culturally-responsive training for faculty and TAs to incorporate LGBTQ+ history into their current courses and support students in the College of Social Sciences. The third project proposed the creation of a multi-authored Spartan Zine series reflecting on the experiences of MSU graduate students during the pandemic in the hopes of both fostering belonging while honoring difference.


Posted by:
Emma Dodd The MSU Graduate Leadership Institute
#graduate students #leadership #storytelling