April update on five questions from my LEAD session


At my LEAD session on Feb. 21, I asked those in attendance to please provide feedback on five areas where their input is needed. That feedback is helping us move forward in each of the five areas.

My first update on March 1 provided the campus community with all of the feedback that was submitted. This April post provides information on progress over the past month.

1. Our University is fortunate to have the new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, and we have also long benefited from the MSU Museum. Historically, museums have existed to facilitate faculty research, with public engagement a secondary consideration. Over time, this relationship has changed. How might more of us engage more tangibly and creatively with our two museums?

Consideration of the role of museums continues as there are two recent developments, the appointment of a new MSU Museum director and the launch of Science Gallery Lab Detroit.

The relaunch of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum will take place on Saturday, April 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. and feature the opening of the debut exhibition by director Marc-Olivier Wahler. Featuring more than 50 renowned and emerging artists whose work relies on the notion of belief, The Transported Man will examine the power of interpretation and the tension that exists between an ordinary object and an art object. Curatorial remarks will be delivered at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

2. We’ve recently discussed many of the efforts going on around campus to promote diversity and inclusion. Overall, we have approached our efforts in terms of building a systemic climate for diversity – not creating a “program” that takes care of it, but rather fostering an inclusive climate across campus, seeking diversity and equity in all our activities (our work, our recruitment and retention, our student success work). Our efforts have sometimes fallen short, and there is still much work to do. But how do we CONNECT our efforts? What steps do we take to actually link together work that is being done, for example, in pre-college programs to Admissions to Neighborhoods to colleges? Or to hiring to professional development to faculty support to the tenure process? What process would you suggest that could help us weave together these threads of activities into a more holistic culture of inclusivity?

The Office of the Provost is working toward a more coordinated approach to student access to MSU, specifically to ensure that students who are diverse by many measures (including race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, first-generation status, ability status, and geographic origin) feel welcomed to apply to, enroll at, and attend MSU. As a first step, we will focus on the pre-college, bridge, and transfer programs that bring prospective students into contact with the University. Many such programs are now run by individual academic units and by University-wide offices such as the Honors College, Undergraduate Education, University Outreach and Engagement, Athletics, and Admissions. Some focus on nurturing children’s excitement about a subject or activity; others help young people build skills that prepare them to attend college; others ready prospective or admitted students for their first semester at MSU. We will start by bringing together the leaders of these programs to answer key questions:

  • What are your program's primary goals for its participants?
  • How do these relate to MSU’s goals for inclusive student access?
  • How can we track outcomes to determine whether they align with those goals?

Developing a collective taxonomy of programs according to their goals will build understanding of how the programs’ efforts relate to one another and to the University’s broader aims for student access. Building a common plan for tracking outcomes will yield data that can guide future investment toward demonstrably high-impact student access programs.

3. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor has taken off, with students from multiple majors enrolled. While the academic program is likely to continue to expand (with its emphasis on experiential learning), what are likely future initiatives related to entrepreneurship education? 

  • International student internships?
  • Student-run venture fund?
  • Faculty development focused on teaching entrepreneurship (e.g. lean startup)?
  • All-campus social venture project?
  • Others?

Internal discussions underway; limited progress to report.

4. The Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology has been embraced as a source of support for innovative ideas around teaching and learning. Often, our colleagues also have big ideas that may involve research, innovation, or new initiatives. Imagine an entity on campus that could provide support for the “Big Idea.” What would it look like? How would it be staffed? What kinds of help might it provide?

Internal discussions underway; limited progress to report.

 5. Should we consider launching a Reinvestment Challenge? The Challenge would be open to the entire campus community, asking faculty and staff to suggest/recommend ways the University could, for the purpose of reinvesting in the academic work of the University, become more efficient, reduce costs, save money, or generate revenue from non-traditional sources. If we were to launch such a Challenge…

  • How might we go about it?
  • What language could we use to explain its purpose and rationale?
  • What series of processes might be useful to establish the Challenge, help it gain traction, and encourage ongoing participation?

Conversations have commenced with the Executive Vice President for Administrative Services; no further developments at this time.