New Academic Year Welcome
September 7, 2023
Dear MSU Faculty and Academic Staff,
I hope you all enjoyed a restful holiday weekend after the first week of classes. I know the start of the semester is a demanding time of many heavy lifts (and email messages) and I hope you’re able to begin settling into somewhat of a routine this week.
As we embark on a new academic year, I’d like to share four resources and five updates to ensure that everyone is aware of these items, and to foster shared understanding across our academic community.
Campus and Classroom Safety, Security, and Support
As Interim President Woodruff noted in her recent Spartan Community Letter, “it has been six months now since the tragic events of Feb. 13 on our campus. In 2024, most classes will not meet on that date to afford us a period of remembrance.” She also made note of the campus safety and security update Vice President and Chief Safety Officer Marlon Lynch recently shared with the MSU community, which provided information about actions completed over the summer and continuing work to enhance campus safety, including information on door lock installations and other safety tips.
Our trauma-informed experts here at MSU have assembled fall semester 2023 guidance for educators following the Feb. 13 tragedy, to provide resources for you and your support of our students. Here you will find guidance related to how to address your classes/students as well as resources to provide. I strongly encourage you to read, review, and revisit this guidance now and throughout the semester.
Generative Artificial Intelligence Guidance
On August 1, I sent an email to faculty and academic staff providing guidance on ways to engage with students around the appropriate use of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI). Please refer to the resources in that message throughout the academic year as needed and as helpful. They are also available on iteach.msu.edu, where they will be updated as new information becomes available.
Professional Development Opportunities for Fall 2023
Throughout the semester, MSU IT provides no-cost training for all MSU students, faculty, and staff on collaborative tools like Zoom, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft apps like Teams, OneNote, OneDrive, and Forms. In-person training courses, virtual-led training courses, and on-demand course recordings are all available, in addition to weekly office hours for those who have questions or need help. Visit SpartansLearn for details, course dates, and registration. Additional teaching and learning opportunities for fall semester are offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation and the Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development. Visit #iteachmsu Commons to share ideas, connect with educators, and discover additional resources created for educators, by educators.
Policies for Faculty and Academic Staff
The Important University Policies for Faculty and Academic Staff document includes information regarding university policies related to teaching, research, and employment at MSU. It is a helpful document pertaining to the ongoing work of faculty and academic staff and is useful to reference throughout the full academic year.
As noted in my Aug. 8 email about academic calendar reminders, MSU is home to a diverse and multicultural community of students, faculty, and staff which we value and actively support to observe days set aside by their chosen religious faith, as reflected in our Religious Observance Policy. Please make every effort to avoid scheduling exams and presentations during the major religious holidays. There are several options for accommodations outlined in the policy. Please become familiar with these accommodations so you can support our students observing these major holidays.
MSU Arts Strategy
I am excited to share that this week the university is announcing the launch of Arts MSU, a unifying presence for the arts on campus. Arts MSU brings together shared ways to amplify and elevate the arts – specifically, a dedicated identity and new website – with the goals and objectives outlined in the university’s arts strategy, something that many of our academic leaders, faculty, and staff have collaborated on for years and have helped bring to fruition. I look forward to celebrating the launch of the website and the arts more broadly this Friday at the MSU Broad Art Museum’s fall exhibition openings, and hope to see many of you there as well.
Academic Strategic Planning
The 2023 advancing proposals were announced this past spring. Authors are currently working on refining their proposals to include implementation-related requirements to help identify integration points, for efficiency purposes. Our academic strategic planning efforts will require all of us to engage in order to advance our university-wide strategic initiatives in support of student, staff, and faculty success. I look forward to providing additional updates on the advancing proposals as more information becomes available.
University Academic Advising Initiative
Ebony Green, assistant dean for University Advising, just shared her August 2023 University Advising update last week. Many thanks to Dr. Green for all of her work to advance university-wide advising support for our undergraduate students in her first year of work here at MSU.
The MSU Ethics Initiative, in partnership with the Broad College of Business’ Center for Ethical and Socially Responsible Leadership and support from the Office of Research and Innovation and the Office of International Studies and Programs, is pleased to announce that it is hosting its third ethics symposium this fall. This year’s symposium, scheduled to take place on November 6, will focus on the ethics of water and include topics surrounding water research, climate change, business, and the community. More information will be shared on the MSU Ethics Institute website under the “Symposiums” tab when it becomes available.
Student Perceptions of Learning Survey
The new Student Perceptions of Learning Survey (SPLS) that has replaced the Student Instructional Rating System launched this summer and will be new to many of you this fall semester. This shift will advance the university’s efforts to support quality teaching and improve student learning and instructor success. Additional information, including an overview of the project and transition, is available on the SPLS website.
ADVANCING OUR ACADEMIC MISSION
The good work of this great university is an ongoing and collaborative effort, with each of you contributing to our success. Thank you for all you do to advance Michigan State University’s mission and aspirations. Your commitments to student success and academic excellence are seen and appreciated. I wish you all the best in the coming academic year.
With great appreciation and optimism,
Thomas D. Jeitschko (he/him)
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Economics