From the Provost's Desk

Update on LEAD questions, August 2017


At my Feb. 21 LEAD session, participants shared feedback on five areas where their input is needed. That feedback and continued discussions are helping the University move forward in these areas. Below are recent progress updates I would like to share with the campus community.

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?

UPDATE:  Just this week, a contract was signed with Kennari Consulting, for strategic planning for the MSU Museum, which will take place from October 2017 to January 2018. Additionally, members of the members of the MSU Museum Academic Advisory Council are scheduled to meet the first week of September. Council membership represents a broad range of scholars from across campus, to ensure that a diversity of perspectives contribute to ongoing discussions. Anticipated outcomes from the development of a strategic plan, as well as from discussions of the Academic Advisory Council, should help us engage more tangibly and creatively with the MSU Museum.

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?

UPDATE:  Over the summer, the planning committee (augmented by Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the Honors College, and Laurie Van Egeren, University Outreach and Engagement assistant provost for university-community partnerships) met to discuss how to proceed. Paulette Granberry Russell, senior advisor to the president for diversity and director of the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, added a question to the survey of incoming students that queries the degree to which appreciation of MSU’s diverse community was a factor in students’ decision to attend MSU. Sekhar Chivukula, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies, along with Dean Jackson-Elmoore and Dr. Van Egeren, worked to compile a list of all pre-college and student-access-related programs now existing at MSU. The committee plans to hold a gathering for the leadership of all of those programs in the fall, to bring them into the conversation about goals, metrics, and outcomes.

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?

UPDATE:  There are six major emphases for the coming year. The first is a new track in the Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation that will be focused on social innovation. This is being undertaken as a partnership between Undergraduate Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. The second area of emphasis involves catalyzing the formation of a social innovation student organization called optiMizeMSU. The third emphasis focuses on study abroad opportunities (including internships) for entrepreneurship students. The fourth area of emphasis will be on student-run businesses on campus. The fifth will work on scaling the experiential component of the Minor. The final area of emphasis in the coming year will be around offering a UGS 101 course on entrepreneurship. Future initiatives may include a formal mentoring program and workshops and developmental activities for faculty who teach entrepreneurship.

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?

UPDATE:  “Not to Pursue.” Feedback about how to best support the “big ideas” of faculty and staff have led to other conversations about the roles and functions of our current offices. How does or could the Hub support other innovations or initiatives? The Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies? Others? We’re taking this item “off the table” until we better understand current capacity.

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?

UPDATE:  “Not to Pursue—Now.” There is an increasing number of examples where high-performing organizations more deeply engage their employees in how those organizations function. While this supports the idea of creating opportunities for our faculty and staff to provide input on operations, efficiencies or new ideas, no decisions have been made about a system that could not just accept the “suggestions,” but also evaluate and implement the best ideas. Conversations between Executive Vice President Udpa and me and our advisory groups will continue.