Education prof shares history through books

Campus wide, news has been spreading about MSUM’s 125 year anniversary. While this history of the school is new to many students, there are those that have been enveloped in this history before, regardless of the anniversary.

One of these people, professor Steven Grineski, of the school of teaching and learning, has quite an elaborate knowledge of MSUM’s history, as he has dedicated time to producing books exploring this topic.

“Baby Dragons: The Story of Moorhead’s Campus School 1888-1972” was written in 2007 and is just one of Grineski’s many published works.

During the production of the book, Grineski was inspired to write “We Were Pretty Darn Good,” a book which explores the school’s history even further, specifically the history of the school of teaching and learning, since that is where MSUM originated from. The title for this book was inspired by one of the interviews Grineski had during its writing.

“I was interviewing this lady who had been a student teacher in 1950,” he said. “She said, ‘Steve, I don’t know if people knew, but we were pretty darn good.’”

According to Grineski, this woman’s words are accurate.

“Moorhead State Teachers College had a national reputation for preparing rural teachers,” he said. “There is a wonderful, wonderful rich history, both here in the campus school and in the rural areas.”

Grineski was very inspired by the people he had the opportunity to talk through throughout working on these two books.

“I talked with about 50 people, mostly women, some men, between the ages of 70 to 95, who were either teachers, supervising teachers or students,” he said. “I’m really glad I had the chance to capture their voices and their photographs and some of their stuff.”

Grineski feels that it is important for students to know where the MSUM they know today came from.

“Most of the students here don’t know the legacy of all the stuff that has gone on before them, and I think that is really important,” Grineski said. “I’m glad that I had the chance to do that.”

While Grineski takes pride in his books exploring MSUM’s history, he also has a wide variety of other published works.

His most recent publication is titled, “Talking about Race: Alleviating the Fear” and was written in conjunction with Grineski’s friend Julie Landsman among others.

This publication was inspired by Grineski’s friendship with Landsman, which was brought about by their cooperation when Grineski would use Landsman’s book, “A White Teacher Talks About Race” while teaching his courses, following up with his students having a conference call with her.

Grineski is currently working on a project that will discuss lives of impoverished children.

“I’ve been working with children over at Church’s United for the Homeless here in Moorhead,” he explained. “Last January, I said, ‘I’m going to go over to this homeless shelter and do some stuff with kids who are homeless,’ and I had three amazing students volunteer and we met once a week to go over there. This next project will go along with that.”

Grineski also has around 80 articles published in journals, covering a wide variety of topics.

His articles, because of the amount of work that goes into writing each one, are something that Grineski feels helps make him a better teacher, as the new knowledge he obtains can be recycled into his teaching.

BY ELLEN ROSSOW
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