Michigan State UniversityOffice of the President Lou Anna K. SimonMSU Banner

President's Statement on Core Values

Michigan State University was founded on the visionary idea that practical knowledge could be combined with traditional scientific and classical studies to create a rigorous higher education curriculum that would be good enough for the proudest and open to the poorest. This bold experiment was overwhelmingly successful. Today, Michigan State University is recognized as one of the top 100 research universities in the world.

Underlying our success is a firm set of institutional values that we hold to be the core of our civil engagement with one another and with the society we serve. Great universities, like great companies, are rooted in fundamental values that define their contributions to society and that endure regardless of who is at the helm. We believe our values are what set us apart. As we build on our heritage to move from land-grant to world-grant, our actions and plans must stem from this core value framework.

Our three core, interwoven values are quality, inclusiveness and connectivity.

Our commitment to quality means that we shun complacency and continually strive to be among the best in all we do and to be the best in key areas. Though we realize no university can be everything to everybody, we can still be the university for everybody. We believe exceptional quality and accessibility reinforce one another—that one need not be sacrificed in order to meet the other. Indeed, we must continue to set ourselves apart by democratizing cutting-edge knowledge and bringing it to people around the world as we instill our values and knowledge in tomorrow's citizens, leaders and scholars. We are charged with finding creative ways to meet this challenge, knowing that doing so is what makes MSU a model of 21st-century education.

In order to be the best, we must dedicate ourselves to inclusion. Indeed, inclusion both underpins and stems from our commitment to quality and must be at the core of the MSU experience. Inclusion is not limited to ensuring various constituencies are accounted for, but rather is an overarching philosophy that starts with a belief in the value of varying perspectives and a promise of mutual respect. Our commitment to inclusion means we embrace opportunities for all. It means that we ensure individuals who come from ordinary backgrounds but who possess extraordinary talents, passion, and determination can find the path to success. It means building a vibrant, intellectual community that offers and respects a broad range of ideas and perspectives. We embrace a full spectrum of experiences, viewpoints and intellectual approaches because it enriches the conversation and benefits everyone, even as it challenges us to grow and think differently.

Our commitment to connectivity builds on our land-grant heritage and values. It obliges us to align our assets so that they reinforce and enhance one another and so that we’re working as creatively as possible. Internally, we avoid the view of departments, programs and constituencies as islands and instead look for ways to organically build connections so that each part of our institution can enhance and benefit from the others. Further, we do not create separate organizations that are viewed as interdisciplinary. Rather, we build adaptive, vital partnerships that effectively deploy resources to rapidly meet the changing frontiers of knowledge. Externally, we strive to connect with those we serve locally, nationally and globally and with the best and brightest minds. Connectivity means that we are forward-looking, anticipating tomorrow’s issues while addressing the issues of today. It means a willingness to take responsibility for our role in our community, to work hard and to fulfill our commitments. Finally, it means performing our work in the spirit of service. These three values—quality, inclusion and connectivity—are intricately linked. In order to dedicate ourselves to one, we must commit to the other two. By building connections, focusing on inclusion and committing to quality, we begin to set a standard for what we expect of ourselves. That’s the foundation on which all else we wish to accomplish is based.