To My Professor: Student Voices for Great College Teaching: What college students really say about their instructors, with advice from master educators and teacher trainers

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“To My Professor: Student Voices for Great College Teaching” begins with remarks by students about their professors. They tend not to be the kind of remarks that professors usually hear, and some are harsh. Others are full of gratitude for teachers who inspire and motivate. The “To My Professor” statements are really just starting points that lead to advice from master teachers. Teaching college is difficult and this book has some potential solutions. More than 50 chapters cover situations including expectations, communication, technology, race, gender and religion, mental and physical health.   
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About the author

Led by editor and teacher Joe Grimm, a journalism class at Michigan State University gathered comments from college students about what they really say about their instructors but do not reveal in person. Those comments, from interviews, written on index cards and posted on social media, became the starting points for explorations into how professors, teaching assistants and other college teachers can be more effective.

Grimm has spent about 40 years teaching in college classrooms as an adjunct and faculty members and almost 20 years evaluating students as a newspaper recruiter. The students on this project had majors or minors in more than 10 fields of study.

The concept of the book is to have students raise the questions and criticisms and to then find classic, goal-oriented techniques that make teaching for more effective teaching in those situations. Many of the answers come from award-winning teachers and those who train them. This book complements and refers to other teaching literature, but does so from the point of view of college’s ultimate consumers: the students.     

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Additional Information

Read the Spirit
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Published on
Aug 23, 2016
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Education / Classroom Management
Education / Higher
Education / Inclusive Education
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Teaching Abroad addresses the question of moving abroad to teach in a cross-cultural university classroom. It discusses the recent flourishing of international education and developments in educational structures and practice, and traces the historical development of, and recent changes in, university education in China. This book explores systemic differences between communitarian and individualistic values as they affect the classrooms of the East and West, as well as in the students' emotional and intellectual sense of themselves and their education. Through research in the field and the author's own experiences in the international American Studies classroom, Teaching Abroad takes up the values of the teacher- and student-oriented classrooms and looks at creative ways to take advantage of each in terms of team-teaching, interdisciplinary inquiry, and group work. It also investigates the use of films and their adaptation from fiction in the interdisciplinary humanities classroom, and deals with various problems of assessment, including examinations, essays and plagiarism. Ultimately, the book connects these issues to the transformation of personal, familial, and national identities in this age of internationalization and cross-cultural education.

Teaching Abroad will appeal to foreign-bound university teachers who are interested in the historical and cultural conditions of a country and in need of practical advice about teaching abroad. It will specially be suitable for teachers who plan to teach in China. International teachers in primary and secondary schools will also profit from this exploration of the cross-cultural classroom and intercultural communication.

 “One Hundred Questions and Answers About Americans” is part of the Michigan State University School of Journalism series in cultural competence. This guide to understanding Americans and American culture has sections on social behavior, education, race, religion, money, culture, health, food, family, relationships and language. It also includes a glossary of American slang and idioms. This guide is intended for anyone visiting, studying or planning on living in America.


We began by asking international students for questions they had about America and Americans. We learned that perceptions of Americans are very different from one person or culture to the next. After whittling the questions down to 100 that we thought were best, we placed the questions into categories such as social behavior, education and race. We then researched the questions and consulted with experts. The result? This guide, which uses studies and surveys, generalities and ranges of possibilities to explain U.S. culture.


Not all parts of the United States are alike — and neither are all Americans. There can be greater differences within one country than there are between two countries. Even brothers and sisters from the same family can be quite different.


Questions include:


How big is the United States?

How does a typical college classroom function in the United States?

Why is it acceptable for students to speak out and challenge professors?

Is it emotionally hard for American families to send their children away to college?

Is it financially hard for American families to send their children away to college?

Why is racism such an issue in America?

Americans seem to have many religions. What are the main ones?

Why are Americans so fascinated with religion?

How much do Americans work?

Why don't Americans take more days off?

Why are a lot of Americans so willing to work overtime?

Is success at work important to Americans?

Why do Americans eat so quickly?

How often do Americans eat?

Why are the meal portions so large?

Are family members in America close?

How much time do Americans spend with their families?

Why is every person in a family treated like an individual?


We then set out to answer those questions. Finally, we sorted the questions into chapters and asked members of the community to check our work.


Individuals from several Michigan State University departments helped produce this guide. They include:

Paulette Granberry Russell, senior advisor to the president for diversity, and director of the MSU Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, who proposed this subject, D. Venice Smith, consultant for multicultural issues, education and development, MSU Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, Peter Briggs, director of the MSU Office for International Students and Scholars, Joy Walter, international student advisor/community outreach coordinator, OISS, Bess Carey, MSU Office of Study Abroad, Kathy M. Collins, director of MSU Residence Education and Housing Services, Eduardo Olivo of the Residence Education Team, Lawrence Zwier, associate director of curriculum at the MSU English Language Center, Patricia Walters, associate director and student advisor at the MSU English Language Center, Geraldine Alumit Zeldes, associate professor, MSU School of Journalism, John Golaszewski, director, Business & Community Affairs at the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.


The authors are MSU students Michelle Armstead, Gabrielle Austin, Celeste Bott, Marlee Delaney, Stephanie Dippoliti, Max Gun, Emily Jaslove, Aaron Jordan, Alexandra McNeill, Katherine Miller, Ashiyr Pierson, Marissa Russo, Merinda Valley, Jessica Warfield, Jasmine Watts and Danielle Woodward.


This guide is published with John Hile of David Crumm Media, which publishes the Read the Spirit site.


Joe Grimm is the series editor. He takes responsibility for any omissions, errors or oversights. Please direct questions and concerns to him at




Back cover text:

[This cultural competence guide for international students attending U.S. colleges and universities was written by journalism students at Michigan State University. We interviewed students from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America and came up with 100 questions.


Created for college and foreign exchange programs, the guide deals with U.S. social customs, race, religion, culture, health, food, relationships, dating, sex and language. It includes a glossary of American slang and phrases. This guide is intended to help international students pursuing a U.S. education to make American friends.


We hope this cultural resource leads to greater understanding and face-to-face conversations that help you on your journey.

 “One Hundred Questions and Answers About Hispanics and Latinos” is part of the Michigan State University School of Journalism series in cultural competence. It focuses on the diversity of the largest ethnic group in the United States.

This guide has sections on Hispanic and Latino identity, geography, language, religion, social norms, politics, immigration and deportation, education, work, money, families, culture, health and food. It explains terms such as Chicano, Tejano and Texano, Boricua and deals with deportation and immigration.

The guide is intended for people in business, schools, places of worship, government, medicine, law enforcement, human resources and journalism—anywhere it is important to know more about communities. We hope this guide works for individuals who just have questions about the people around them.

We began by asking Hispanics and Latinos about myths, misconceptions and biases that they run into and wish others knew more about.

Questions include:

* What are the definitions of Hispanic and Latino?


* How did Hispanic and Latino become official terms?


* Are there U.S. regional or state preferences for Hispanic or Latino?


* So people can be one and not the other?


* What does “Latina” mean?


* What do “Chicano” and “Chicana” mean?

* What is the definition of Chican@?

* What does Tejano mean?


* What does Boricua mean?


* What race are Latinos and Hispanics?


* How many Hispanic people live in the United States?


* What are their places of origin?

* Which states have the largest Hispanic populations?


* Is Puerto Rico a country, colony or commonwealth?


* Why is Puerto Rico a territory and not a state or a country?


* Do people living in Puerto Rico vote in U.S. elections?


* Do Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico pay U.S. taxes?


* What is Hispaniola?


* How prevalent is bilingualism?


* What is Spanglish?


* What is the English-only movement?


* Are Hispanics more religious than other Americans?


* Are U.S. Hispanics mostly Catholic?


* Is Pope Francis the first Latin American pope?

* Are Latinos generally more emotional or expressive than other Americans?


* Are Latinos traditionally modest about their accomplishments?


* How do Hispanics align politically?


* What are top political concerns for Hispanics today?


* How much weight does the Hispanic vote carry in U.S elections?

* What is turnout like among Hispanics voters?


* Are Hispanics represented proportionately in government?


* Who are some nationally prominent Hispanic politicians?


* What draws Latinos to the United States?


* What are the "waves" of Latino immigration to the United States?


* Are most Latinos in the United States today immigrants?


* Do most Latino immigrants come to the United States legally?

* What is the “DREAM Act?”


* What is DACA?

* What is the “Drop the I-Word” campaign?


* What is a green card?

* What are the difference between permanent residency and citizenship?

* What are remittances?

* Are Latinos profiled?

* What is the average educational level of Hispanics?


* Do Hispanics come to the United States for schooling?

* Which colleges or universities are more welcoming to Hispanics?


* Do Latinos go into business for themselves?

* Do Latinos compete with Americans for jobs?

* How many Latinos are in the United States without documentation?


* How large is the Latino market?


* How are Hispanic families structured?


* How are elders regarded in Hispanic families?


* Is it acceptable to date outside of one’s culture?


* What are top health concerns for Latinos?


* To what extent do Latinos have health insurance?

* What is the “Hispanic paradox”?


* How do entertainment media portray Hispanics?


* What is a telenovela?

* What is the Day of Three Kings?


* What is Cinco de Mayo?


* What is the Day of the Dead?


* What is a quinceañera?


* What is Tex-Mex food?


This guide is published with John Hile of David Crumm Media, which publishes the Read the Spirit website.
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