One Office of the Provost initiative to enhance the academic experience and student success is to elevate the academic quality and reputation at MSU. In addition to aligning with the MSU 2030 DEI strategic theme, the development of Advancing Inclusive Excellence at MSU resulted in the creation of 1855 Professorships.
For our first year of implementation, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Health Sciences jointly requested an open call for proposals from the college deans. The proposal review process consisted of a holistic approach with these criteria in mind:
- Is the proposal clear about the colleges and departments that will host the hired faculty and the percentage FTE split?
- Is this position interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, cross departmental or cross college?
- How likely is the proposed search process to attract a diverse pool of high-caliber candidates?
- Does the proposal describe how the position will enhance existing collaborations or foster new ones that advance MSU's DEI objectives?
- Does the proposal describe the strengths of the participating units and their past, present, or future investments in this area?
- Will the proposed position transform MSU’s impact on minoritized, marginalized, and/or underrepresented communities (on campus and off)?
- How well does the proposal describe the importance, novelty and transformational potential of the faculty position?
- How detailed is the proposal about the specific areas of research, teaching and community engagement?
- What is the level of financial and other resource commitments by the college and/or the department to support the position, post-hire?
- How specific is the proposal on how it will advance MSU’s Strategic/DEI Priorities?
- How well does this proposal describe how the unit(s) will attract a diverse pool of high-caliber candidates?
This resulted in a competitive review of 76 impressive proposals from across the university, with every college participating in the open call process. The proposals were reviewed by a committee comprised of scholars and administrators. The 13 transformational proposals chosen to advance MSU’s DEI strategic goals can be categorized in the following areas:
- Social and Environmental Justice
- Minority Politics, Urban Journalism, Law and Democracy
- Diversity and Data Science
- One Health
These categories will serve as the professorship cohorts to advance collaboration and help build each area's research, teaching, and outreach agendas at MSU. Searches have been approved to move forward and our inaugural class of 1855 Professors will be in place by the end of the next academic year.