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New Academic Year Welcome

August 30, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

I am delighted to welcome you to the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, which begins tomorrow for our undergraduate students and has already begun for many of our professional colleges. Each of you play a part in our collaborative work to enable academic excellence and student success here at Michigan State University. Together, in support of our academic mission, we look toward advancing several initiatives with broad reach across the university. During the past academic year, I have spoken about MSU’s spirals of excellence – areas, accomplishments, and strengths that set MSU apart or above, in which the university is recognized or well-positioned to lead. These spirals of excellence span the full breadth of the university – from student success, research, and innovation, to leadership, service, and sustainability – and play central roles in advancing the quality and reputation of the university. Each of you contribute to these upward aspirations, and in creating new spirals of excellence.

Some of these upward spirals include work to expand advising and the arts, recognition of your work through the Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development’s honorifics efforts, and ongoing policy review and reform. This work aligns with and supports our strategic plan, MSU 2030: Empowering Excellence, Advancing Equity and Expanding Impact, as well as the aspirations of our academic strategic planning implementation. The Office of the Provost continues to welcome your engagement around each of these initiatives.

As we begin the academic year together, I encourage you to help us expand the ways in which we think about all the contributions across the university that enable student success and academic excellence. From academic adviser to assistant professor, office assistant to executive assistant, from college communicator to data resource analyst, every individual, in every college, discipline, and unit across campus, plays a critical role in making this university work and making this university great. In all areas of our work, there are spirals that represent the quality of our services and engagement in support of student success and academic excellence, and recognizing you is one of our goals for the coming year.

I am sharing the link to the recently updated Important University Policies for Faculty and Academic Staff document, which contains information regarding university policies related to teaching, research, and employment at MSU and fostering safe, inclusive, and supportive work environments for all. This is a helpful document pertaining to both the beginning of the semester and the ongoing work of faculty and academic staff. Please review these policies, which merit the close attention of administrators, faculty, and academic staff.

Every morning before I begin my work, I read a tiny note that I keep on the corner of my computer. The note says: Do these 2 things – advance the institution in the present; create new possibilities for its future. I take these words as my daily charge and continue to find value in their brief, yet expansive, inspiration. My charge to each of you this academic year is to seek and support ways to advance MSU in the present and create new possibilities for its future – to add value to, and live the values of, our great university. I genuinely believe that each of you contribute to Michigan State University in a unique way, based on your skills, capabilities, and role at the university, and that our spirals of excellence emerge from the richness of our diversity.

Thank you for your vital contributions to and engagement within our community of scholars. I look forward to working with you in support of our great university in the coming academic year.

My best,

Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
MSU Foundation Professor