Sept. 29, 2022: Spartan Community Letter

Dear Spartans and Friends,

A new semester and academic year are underway, with our biggest incoming class ever. I’m always energized meeting new and returning students and greatly enjoyed this year’s Fall Welcome events, from greeting new international students at an ice cream social to the big annual Sparticipation student involvement fair. I look forward to meeting many more students at campus events this year or just over a dining hall dinner like the one I enjoyed at Snyder Phillips last week. We were also excited to host thousands of student family members last weekend at our inaugural Spartan Family Weekend

Impactful programs
The excellence of MSU’s academic programs was once again underscored by new rankings showing our advancement among the nation’s top 100 colleges, as well as among public universities. Our undergraduate supply chain management program remains No. 1 for the 12th consecutive year, and the university now records 40 programs in the U.S. News & World Report top 25. Other top 10 undergraduate programs in the new rankings include production/operation management; biosystems engineering; and game development, which is making its first appearance in the rankings. 

MSU also placed well in student engagement categories in the report, including MSU’s learning communities ranking No. 4 overall and No. 1 among public institutions for the fourth year in a row. Education abroad is also top ranked among public four-year institutions, and service learning ranks second among public institutions. All of this is a testament to our world-class faculty and commitment to excellence and impact in all we do.

I was pleased this month to host faculty, staff and friends of The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel at Cowles House to celebrate the institute’s 30th anniversary. The program’s strong academic foundation and growth, education abroad opportunities and accomplished faculty position it for national leadership as it also promotes understanding here on campus and beyond. M. Peter McPherson, who strongly supported the program during his presidency of MSU, was on hand to help us celebrate this important milestone.

I’m also extremely proud of our athletics department and student-athletes, who do so much to foster community at MSU. It was a thrill this month to congratulate and welcome back to campus Draymond Green and other 2022 inductees to the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. These former student-athletes have demonstrated their excellence in many ways throughout their careers. Significantly, this year’s inductees included five women — more than ever before. This comes on the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which had such great influence on increasing women’s participation in sports and other activities in higher education.

MSU’s drive to make a positive impact in all we do was underscored with the addition of 40 new electric vehicles to the university fleet, in partnership with Consumers Energy, as we commit to sustainability goals as part of our everyday operations. MSU is helping lead the way and support Michigan’s auto industry in our advanced mobility programs, which we proudly represented at the North American International Auto Show this month with our other University Research Corridor member universities. One exciting direction MSU research is taking us is improving the batteries that power EVs to dramatically raise their mileage from a single charge. 

Personal notes
As I wrote in an earlier message to our campus community, I greatly appreciate the expressions of support I’ve received over the past couple of weeks regarding my contract discussions with the Board of Trustees. I know the uncertainty has been frustrating to many, but please know I will share more information when I am able. We all can be proud of what MSU is accomplishing, including advancing my overarching priority of building a university that is safe, welcoming and supportive for all.

In that vein, and as we anticipate next month’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities on campus, I’m proud to reflect on our many accomplishments in the area of preventing and responding to relationship violence and sexual misconduct. Our positive RVSM actions are far too many to list here, but I covered several in my remarks to the board last month. MSU Safe Place, which addresses relationship violence and stalking, will be a focal point for October’s activities, with workshops building skills for supporting survivors as well as increasing awareness.

Finally, I want to remind all to make sure you are registered and have a plan to vote on Nov. 8. Spartans are committed to making a difference, and voting is among the most important ways to do that. Voting is vital to our democratic process and the health of our governmental institutions. Please exercise your right to vote.

You can hear me talk more about these topics in my monthly MSU Today podcast.

Go Green! 

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. (he/him)