Spring Semester Welcome, Reminders, and Updates
January 9, 2023
Dear Faculty, Academic Staff, and Office of the Provost Staff,
Welcome to the start of spring semester. I hope you all enjoyed a restful winter break; it was certainly well-deserved and welcome! As the new year and new semester begin, I would like to share four reminders and four updates to ensure that everyone is aware of these items, and to promote shared understanding across our academic community. We just launched a new Office of the Provost Instagram account, so consider following us there to stay in touch.
Educator Resources for Spring 2023
On December 21, Brendan Guenther, Chief Academic Digital Officer, Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation, sent an email that provided a wide range of resources and best practices for educators in support of preparing for spring semester. Please reference these helpful MSU resources that support teaching and learning success, now and throughout the semester. Many thanks to Brendan and all in the Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation for their support of teaching and learning success at MSU.
Professional Development Opportunities for Spring 2023
MSU IT Training has released their spring semester training schedule. Various training sessions are available throughout the semester at no cost to MSU students, faculty, and staff. These include opportunities to learn about collaboration tools like Zoom, Spartan 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 spring semester are offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation.
Religious Observance Policy Revisions, Effective Spring 2023
Updates to the current Religious Observance Policy go into effect this semester. To learn more about these updates, visit the religious observance calendar page on the Office of the Provost website.
The Important University Policies for Faculty and Academic Staff document, shared with faculty and academic staff at the start of this academic year, includes additional 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 may be useful to reference throughout the full academic year.
University Distinguished Professor Nominations, Due April 10, 2023
Nominations are invited for individuals to be designated as Michigan State University Distinguished Professors. Candidates must be a member of the MSU faculty, hold the rank of full professor with tenure, and have a record of distinguished achievements in teaching, research, and public service. Additional nomination information is available on the Honorifics area of the Office of the Provost website.
Academic Strategic Planning
The next phase of our academic strategic planning initiative will begin with a kick-off meeting in late January or early February, to introduce the next phase of the process to the authors of the eleven proposals recently selected to advance. Those eleven proposals can be thought of as falling into four categories: Advancing Staff and Faculty Success, Transfer Student Experience, Advancing Lifelong Learning, and General Education for the 21st Century. The goal of this meeting is to gather proposal authors and key collaborating partners together to focus on project planning, which will include discussions about project milestones, timeline, and budget. Updates will be shared on the Academic Strategic Planning website, as academic strategic planning efforts progress.
University Academic Advising Initiative
The University Academic Advising Initiative website is now live and populated with information and FAQs to help keep the university community aware of and engaged with its progress. The overarching goal of the initiative is to create an academic advising experience at MSU that best supports and empowers all admitted students until they graduate. The specifics of how the initiative will be implemented and advanced is in the process of being determined by the Advising Initiative Working Groups. The academic advising community will engage in a conversation at the end of February to share working group updates, discuss early strategy meetings with some of the colleges, and consider strategies to help implement the initiative’s purpose and mission in support of student success.
Our Ethics of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Conference on November 3 had over 80 participants and featured 19 MSU flash talk presenters. We engaged in discussions about big data and artificial intelligence, as well as envisioned what we aim to see in an Ethics Institute at MSU. Following up on the conference’s success, we are hosting monthly faculty and staff lunches during spring semester, to provide opportunities for sharing research and continuing university-wide collaboration. In addition to these lunches, we are organizing design sessions to provide the MSU community with opportunities to explore the intent, vision, and functions of an MSU Ethics Institute, including the responsibilities associated with its executive leadership. Additional information about this initiative is available on the MSU Ethics Institute website.
MSU Arts Initiative
Arts MSU is a strategy that moves creativity to the center of university life by integrating the arts into our educational experiences, our research activities, our outreach, and our campus culture. Guided by the belief that the arts are essential to a vibrant university community that is resilient, inclusive, collaborative, and globally minded, this strategy is committed to advancing the impact and amplifying the presence of the arts across campus. Arts MSU provides a strong framework for the integration of arts into MSU’s land-grant mission, strengthening our campus through innovative and interdisciplinary practices of discovering, connecting, exploring, and remembering.
A recent $5.5 million gift commitment from MSU Federal Credit Union will advance three MSU arts programs over five years and bolster the university’s arts strategy. Additional information and updates on this initiative will be shared on the Arts MSU page, as planning progresses.
ADVANCING OUR ACADEMIC MISSION
As I shared in my season’s greetings message to you in December, my confidence in stepping into the role of interim provost was directly connected to the confidence I have in all of you, the people who uphold educational continuity at Michigan State University and advance the daily work of the Office of the Provost. The college and academic unit visits with many of you last semester were highlights of my fall semester, reminding me of the innovative instruction, consequential research, and transformative outreach and engagement work that takes place every day across campus, and around the world.
I look forward to meeting with more of you this semester and learning more about all you do to uphold the academic mission of Michigan State University. Working together, we will continue to advance the initiatives noted in this message, the aspirations of your colleges and academic units, and the strategic goals of our great university.
Best wishes for a productive and rewarding spring semester!
Thomas D. Jeitschko (he/him)
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Economics