Key initiatives

Message from the President
September 2021

Three key initiatives I launched soon after my arrival at MSU position the university to succeed in a challenging and dynamic higher education environment, ensure the safety of members of the campus community and more fully reflect our values of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Strategic Plan

  • Effective strategic planning is the foundation of a strong university, and after 20 months of work and inclusive engagement, we now have that foundation.
  • It starts with collective thought and action. I charged the Strategic Planning Steering Committee with developing an inclusive process to engage with campus and external stakeholders about the university’s vision, values and strategic direction.
  • MSU 2030: Empowering Excellence, Advancing Equity and Expanding Impact is focused, foremost, on what makes MSU excellent: its people. The vitality of a university stems from the ingenuity, creativity and drive of faculty, staff and students, and ours are exceptional. The colleges, departments, schools, centers, institutes and administrative units across campus that are their homes will always be the key to our success.
  • This plan will enable much of the success of the vital initiatives undertaken the last two years I describe below, and of others that will no doubt grow from this solid foundation.

Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Plan

  • In my first month, I appointed two expert RVSM advisers: Rebecca Campbell, professor of psychology and RVSM Expert Advisory Workgroup chair, and Andrea Munford, now deputy chief of the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety leading its Community Support Bureau. The bureau includes the Special Victims Unit, Center for Trauma-Informed Investigative Excellence and the Community Care Unit.
  • In October 2019, I met with sexual assault survivors, family members and other support persons in three meetings.
  • I tasked the workgroup with serving as a strategic planning committee to create a five-year RVSM plan.
  • In April 2021, the group released an institution-wide plan to address sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence and stalking issues that collectively will help foster a safer campus community. To assist these efforts, we already have obtained $2.5 million in external support.
  • We’ll hear more from our RVSM leaders on campus as action items from that plan take shape. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan and Task Force on Racial Equity

  • A culture embracing DEI is essential for all we want to accomplish together at MSU. Last January, we announced outcomes of a Task Force on Racial Equity focusing on immediate concerns surrounding campus climate and safety, faculty and staff diversity and campus policing.
  • Earlier this month, the DEI Steering Committee released its DEI Plan to serve not only as a university-wide mechanism for advancement in this crucial imperative but as a tool for every unit or department to incorporate best practices in DEI.
  • Our progress to date includes completion of feasibility planning and authorization to begin facility planning for a multicultural center on campus — the subject of longstanding interest within the campus community — and application of required DEI training for students, faculty and staff.

Earlier this year, I also tasked MSU’s director of sustainability with establishing the University Sustainable Systems Steering Group, or US3G. This cross-organizational effort will develop a sustainability and climate change strategy focused on reducing MSU’s greenhouse gas impacts between now and 2030. It will promote sustainability progress within MSU’s four pillars framework — campus, curriculum, community and culture. We applied innovative MSU technology to our campus recently when we installed transparent solar glass panels on our Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building.

These initiatives will continue to shape our crucial policies, culture and activities well into the future. They could not be pursued without the leadership of many who have added this responsibility to their already full schedules and many more who contributed their engagement and counsel. I thank all who have played a part in bringing these plans to fruition.