A commitment to partnership for a stronger Michigan

01-20-2011

From his outcomes-based approach to Michigan government to his laser focus on prosperity, Governor Rick Snyder outlined a bold and timely vision for Michigan in his State of the State address January 19.

We’ve met with the governor and many on his team, and we share their sense of urgency and optimism for the future of our state. We are committed to working side by side with him and his administration. And we are committed, too, through the Boldness by Design and our Shaping the Future initiatives, to our own continuous improvement and to the notion that we must bring ever greater value to this state and to our stakeholders.

Equipping citizens to achieve prosperity has been part of Michigan State University’s portfolio since our establishment in 1855. The land-grant movement this university pioneered opened access to cutting-edge knowledge to the common citizen, not just the privileged few, and with it brought brighter prospects for a better life. Much has changed in the intervening years, but our core values—quality, inclusiveness, and connectedness—have not.

Today, Michigan State is on the ground in every county in the state, making us uniquely equipped to partner in the community development and regional economic development initiatives that will be so vital to our future. Our physician training programs likewise are grounded in community-based practice at hospitals across Michigan.

We are hard at work applying our vast capabilities to attack the toughest problems in partnership with communities across Michigan. We promote technology transfer to the private sector and creation of new products, services, and jobs through such offices as MSU Business-Connect, MSU Technologies, and the MSU Product Center.

With our University Research Corridor partners, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, we constitute a formidable innovation cluster positioning Michigan and its citizens to compete successfully in the global knowledge economy. I’m pleased the governor pointed out our pending joint master research agreement with Procter & Gamble, which will provide new opportunities for faculty, students, and the state as a whole.

We are particularly gratified that Governor Snyder’s agenda calls for a strong focus on both urban and rural development. He has recognized the vital role of agriculture in the state’s economic development landscape, asserting that 21st-Century Jobs Fund dollars should be available to agricultural processors. Working with the agricultural sector has always been a central part of Michigan State’s mission, but we give equal attention to the vitality of the state’s urban centers and its natural resources. Our efforts in these areas—agriculture, natural resources, and urban vitality—are in fact collective and intertwined.

Optimizing Michigan State’s value has not come without sacrifice—Team MSU has stepped up to rethink how we deliver academic programs, campus services, and Extension outreach. As they strive to do more with less, our faculty and staff work every day to enhance quality and contain costs. And Team MSU has worked so well together in this arena, accepting pay freezes and restructuring health benefits to work toward a sustainable solution. Michigan State University’s health care costs are well below the state’s average, with the state’s health care costs coming in about 25 percent higher than our own, and we will continue to work diligently to hold these costs down as we go forward.

I’m also pleased to note the governor’s pending presentation of a two-year budget, something we’ve found to be very useful at Michigan State. By facing financial realities early and with a longer view, Michigan State University has protected and built our key assets. We look forward to aligning these assets with the priorities of the Snyder administration as we all work together with a can-do spirit to help Michigan regain its prosperity and competitiveness.

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