Faculty and student work honored at national convention

The College of Arts & Letters was well represented at the 2016 National Council of Teachers of English Conference, held Nov. 17-20 in Atlanta.

Tamara Butler, assistant professor in the Department of English and African American and African Studies, received the Promising Researcher Award for a project in which she follows the creative processes of four high school students of color as they bring attention to human sex trafficking.

Butler is the third Michigan State University scholar to receive the award.

“I am deeply grateful for the students – Haley, Vanessa, Tolulope and Maya – who invited me to listen to the inner-workings of their project,” Butler said. “This award is a recognition of their creativity and our partnership.”

In an effort to expand the boundaries of activism to include youth work within the classroom, Butler explored how creative processes can open spaces for youth, community members and educators to collectively engage in social justice work.

Her study will be published in a forthcoming issue of Equity & Excellence in Education.

“I am grateful for the teachers, community members and parents who trusted me enough to listen to their stories and experiences, and develop relationships that will (hopefully) transform communities within and beyond the academy,” Butler said.

Also at the NCTEC conference, April Baker-Bell, assistant professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Culture, and students from her spring 2015 ENG 302 class presented work that grew out of that course.

In addition, another group of recent College of Arts & Letters alumni, all of whom graduated in May and had taken a class with Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Jennifer VanderHeide, participated in a session called, “The Future Is Now: Exploring 21st Century Teaching Ideas.”

The session included interns and student teachers from across the country who are presenting on teacher inquiry projects from their classroom.