Jan. 4, 2022: Looking ahead to 2022, MSU has ambitious and innovative plans for the future


Lansing State Journal guest viewpoint

Published online Jan. 4, 2022

By MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.

Our strategic vision begins with recognition of the importance of the success of our students, faculty and staff. Our plan also prioritizes discovery, innovation and creativity; sustainable health; stewardship and sustainability; and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Committed to Michigan’s communities in the land-grant tradition and enrolling more Michigan students than any other university, MSU’s success helps drive the advancement of our region and state. MSU is deeply embedded in the Lansing area and every Michigan county through MSU Extension and our many medical, research and service partnerships. The university drives $5.8 billion in annual economic impact statewide.

Graduation is a key measure of shared success. We believe every student we admit can graduate in a reasonable time, and we have fostered nationally recognized, integrated programs to support our students. Seven straight years of increases bring MSU today to an 82.1% graduation rate. Ongoing innovations put MSU in a strong position to achieve the strategic plan’s goal of an 86% graduation rate while closing racial and ethnic opportunity gaps by 2030. This will place us among the best of our peer institutions.

Such an increase represents hundreds of additional MSU graduates each year, with most staying in Michigan to begin their careers. These graduates will advance local quality of life and make Michigan a more competitive state. 

Supporting health and well-being is another vital strategic plan component. MSU is planning a new recreation center highlighting our commitment to ensuring students and employees have the wellness tools they need to maintain physical and mental health. 

The strategic plan envisions growing MSU’s research by more than a third to $1 billion by the end of the decade. This, too, will grow our region. MSU’s discoveries each year yield innovative products, services and start-up companies that support economic growth.

The opening of MSU’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams this spring will bring hundreds of nuclear researchers from around the world to conduct experiments each year, in addition to the hundreds of local jobs during operations. Approximately 26% of U.S. nuclear physics graduate students receive part of their training in MSU’s No. 1-ranked nuclear physics graduate program, and new discoveries promise to advance vital areas from medicine to homeland security and offer new technology transfer opportunities. MSU’s nuclear science expertise is already part of the community’s technology foundation in private companies.

Pursuing our sustainable health vision, MSU maintains close partnerships with health systems in Lansing, Grand Rapids and Detroit. We were proud to announce a 30-year partnership with Henry Ford Health System last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic revealed many of the nation’s health care inequities. With MSU’s Flint Public Health Initiative and other efforts, we will bring our collaborations to bear across Michigan on health outcome disparities and other pressing challenges.

I am excited for what’s ahead for MSU and our community in 2022 and beyond. I invite you to follow our progress at strategicplan.msu.edu.

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., is the 21st president of Michigan State University