Michigan State Week of SEISMIC

By Nita Tarchinski, edited by Ashley Atkinson

I’ve Never Seen So Much Green

Michigan State University Week of SEISMIC, May 16-19, 2022

The final Week of SEISMIC of the spring is here, is anyone else feeling a little teary-eyed? East Lansing was a wonderful venue to wrap up the first five Weeks, offering plenty of beautiful trees and walking paths to prompt reflection and mindfulness.

We started off with a meeting for the Backchannel Project research team to discuss analysis plans for the data already collected and to be collected, accompanied by some sweet pie from the Grand Traverse Pie Company.

From there we transitioned to STEM Education Presentations and Social to build connections across the MSU STEM Education community. Ryan Sweeder provided a brief introduction to the SEISMIC collaboration and MSU’s place in it. Nita Tarchinski gave a lengthier presentation on the different activities of the collaboration and how individuals can engage in it, followed by a SEISMIC Trivia game offering the chance to bring home some new SEISMIC swag. Perry Samson took the microphone next, sharing on the SEISMIC CLUEs project he leads.

After these talks, several attendees took the opportunity to participate in 1-minute lightning talks to provide brief introductions to themselves and their work at MSU. The lightning talks were a great way for audience members to learn just enough about each person to prompt deeper conversations over food and drinks later in the session.

In Day 2 we transitioned to an intense writing retreat for an upcoming SEISMIC grant proposal. 6 straight hours of work for the in-person contingent, 4 of which included our virtual team as well, resulted in a clear and concise 10-step project plan for the grant, as well as established writing roles for each member, a collective understanding of the goals and approaches for the project, and identified pilot data to be analyzed. A much-needed scenic walk following the retreat helped to clear the mind, and the cosmik fries at Hopcat did not disappoint.



Wednesday’s focus was on making connections between the STEM education community and university administrators. Mark Largent, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education & Dean of Undergraduate Studies, provided helpful context for those curious about MSU’s efforts towards an inclusive STEM community, followed by a presentation by Marco Molinaro on using institutional data to motivate change.Then, the in-person and virtual attendees engaged in small-group discussions on the question – “How can institutional data help advance teaching at MSU?”

Next, Renata Opoczynski, Assistant Dean for Student Success Assessment and Strategic Initiatives, provided a useful overview of the tools available to MSU members to examine student institutional and classroom data. This presentation was followed by more hybrid discussions, this time on “How can we create better communication between researchers and administrative policy makers at different levels to advance all our efforts?” 

The MSU Week of SEISMIC wrapped up with one-on-one and small group meetings to reflect on the successes of this and the other Weeks of SEISMIC and how to move forward productively from here.

We hope to see you in the next academic year as we continue our Weeks of SEISMIC at the University of Minnesota, the University of Pittsburgh, Arizona State University, Indiana University, and the University of California Davis!



Nita Tarchinski

Nita Tarchinski is the Project Manager for the Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) Collaboration, coordinating multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research and teaching projects focused on making introductory STEM courses more equitable and inclusive.

Ashley Atkinson

Ashley Atkinson is a Program Assistant for SEISMIC Central, lending a hand to whichever projects need support. Her primary projects include the SEISMIC website, making graphics for various efforts, and editing a podcast. As an alum from Michigan State University, Ashley is passionate about equity and inclusion in STEM alongside science communication.