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2023 Advancing Proposals  

Congratulations to the authors and co-authors of the proposals which have been selected as an initiative the Office of the Provost would like to advance as part of our academic strategic planning implementation efforts. These ideas not only impact our local MSU community, they also align with MSU’s core values and strategic priorities as we look to the future.  

There is significant crossover among proposal ideas. This will require additional efforts to determine integration points. The Office of the Provost will be hosting kick-off meetings to define next steps for advancing proposals. 

Student Success

At Michigan State, we believe every student we admit has the ability to succeed and graduate. We feel a sense of urgency to improve graduation rates, because a college degree is the best route to individual opportunity and an educated workforce strengthens Michigan and the nation. By 2030, we will increase the 6-year graduation rate by 5% to 86%. (Read more from the University's Strategic Plan)

We are proposing an MSU Lifelong Learning Institute that will distinguish the University as a model, next-generation, land-grant institution that anticipates and responds to society’s evolving needs. The Institute will broaden the University’s role in providing in-person and virtual affordable educational access and contributing to economic mobility and social wellbeing in a diverse society undergoing a fourth industrial revolution.  

The goal of the MSU Lifelong Learning Institute is to use a learner-centric perspective to meet the needs and interests of the following populations:

  • Working Professionals. Programs and experiences for professionals of all ages that address the need for applied, continuous learning across multiple careers in a lifetime. Opportunities would be coordinated or developed for individuals and in partnership with industries and organizations seeking to attract new employees, advance their workforce, and create a more inclusive environment.
  • Pre-College Learners. Activities designed to prepare youth for college success, develop the recruitment pipeline, and increase access for groups underrepresented in higher education. Building on MSU pre-college programs, the Institute would expand MSU’s reach to urban and rural areas, diverse populations, and specific disciplinary interests.
  • College Non-Completers. Facilitating the transfer of academic earned credits, developing competency testing, and coordinating degree completion for students with some college credit but no degree.
  • Older Adults. Extend curricula to meet the learning interests and needs of a rapidly growing aging population looking to reinvent careers, advance technical abilities, gain skills for economic stability, contribute to communities, and enhance health and well-being. 

View full proposals for MSU Lifelong Learning Institute

The population of individuals completing high school is projected to decrease in Michigan, requiring MSU to recruit a new population of college students beyond our current base. One such group aligned with our land grant mission is the 1.9 million Michigan residents who have Some College, but No Degree (SCND).Developing MSU as a SCND welcoming institution will also connect the institution with Governor Whitmer’s goal of 60% of Michigan residents having a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030.

Relatedly, regional businesses are seeking opportunities to retool their workforce through educational assistant programs to meet changing needs, and regrettably are not finding these opportunities within Michigan. We propose creating a unit focused on recruiting SCND students, partnering with local businesses to create educational assistance programs, and ensuring the successful completion of degrees for SCND students.

SCND students leave higher education for a variety of reasons and MSU will need various and diverse strategies to be agile enough to meet SCND student needs and circumstances. These strategies include curricular innovation to meet the learning needs of SCND students, staff and peer support targeted to SCND students unique needs and circumstances, and financial support. An individualized toolbox approach draws on MSU resources, knowledge, and skills found in academic departments, admissions, advising, athletics, and more to provide specific support each SCND student needs to be successful. 

View full proposal for Avenues to Completion for Some College No Degree Population: A Toolbox Approach

Create academic policy for stackable, transcriptable certificates within graduate degree programs. To be precise, we define stackable certificates as: sub-modules to a more comprehensive degree; e.g. an MS/MA. Using credit-bearing modules from a graduate program, such certificates—by construction—must themselves be approved through governance and consist of approved courses. MS/MA programs, themselves, are either a collection of courses (Plan B programs), or a collection of courses accompanied by a thesis (Plan A programs).

View full proposal for Using Stackable Certificates to Grow Adult Learning Pathways

Green & White Glove Treatment for Employers to Sponsor Workplace Leaners. Working with organizations interested in upskilling their workforces (sponsoring learners) necessitates a more flexible approach than that used in attracting individual students. Strong programs at MSU are already attracting interest from our state’s largest employers, and we need to reduce the frictions associated with welcoming this group of learners. The economics behind recruiting organizational partners—in lieu of recruiting individual students—tips heavily in our favor.

Moreover, the current state of the US labor market has created an unprecedented demand for partnerships between large employers and institutions of higher learning. Chipotle, Disney, Federal Express, JP Morgan, Rocket, Target, Walmart, and others have begun adding undergraduate degree completion, and more recently, graduate-level career development opportunities—all in partnership with US universities, and all in service of attracting, retaining, and strengthening their workforce. These companies and others embody a growing demand for developing employees with academic partners today, proffering a perfect match with the experience, the human capital, and the online learning assets at MSU ready to meet said demand. 

MSU is a global community of students, faculty, staff, and partners from all around the world. Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion must ensure that all members of our community feel welcome, safe, and supported. Toward that end, it is important to enhance the collaboration between DEI and internationalization in a way that we describe as Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion. Global DEI is a multifaceted concept that encompasses every aspect of human difference designed to address local, national and international concerns and constituencies. It embodies racial, ethnic, and other types of cultural diversity and identities within and beyond the U.S. addressing the growing interrelatedness of internationalization. Specifically, the notion of Global DEI is a commitment to serving the diverse needs of a global society through multiple dimensions of identity focusing on international status and national/geographic origin. Global DEI includes creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment and integrating international components into teaching, research, curriculum, or service within the global context. Global DEI encompasses cross cultural understanding and cultural differences and works towards global citizenship. Global DEI takes into account the racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity within and between countries and regions integrating international, global, or intercultural content into all aspects of the teaching, research, and services functions of an institution or environment. The Global DEI certificates that we are proposing will provide participants with a demonstrable foundation in global diversity, equity, and inclusion. Such certificate programs would provide students and professionals with specific skills, exposures and experiences that may not be covered in their chosen majors and/or minors but can enhance individuals’ educational and professional development. Generally, the certificates would be framed as programmatic or thematically-linked series of curricular and co-curricular activities across disciplinary boundaries. Taken from the existing APUE Certificate policy document, “the certificate would provide a focused, structured, and interrelated set of experiences in areas of deep disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or thematic, global interest, or which may target a defined, professional development need.” This credential will be attractive and relatable to future employers, particularly those working with multiple national and international cultures. Ultimately, the certificates would enable the accumulation of additional credentials to further academic and professional careers or personal interest. Additionally, these certificates may be offered to non-traditional students and lifelong learners who hope to enrich their academic experience or gain a necessary professional credential. The Certificate offerings is multi-faceted and could illicit multiple levels of intervention and participation. 

View full proposal for Global DEI Certificate Programs

To study, design, and implement a general education program that works in conjunction with major and minor degree programs, and co-curricular learning opportunities to ground and propel students through their undergraduate careers. With a commitment to foster students’ proficiencies, defined as skills, talents, and knowledge, we seek to create a program that prepares students to act ethically, to contribute to the common good, to make informed decisions, and to learn continuously throughout their lives. Furthermore, we intend to adopt process principles that foreground campus-wide buy-in; data-informed decision-making; and equity along the lines of the American Association of Colleges & Universities’ General Education Maps and Markers: “General education programs should advance practices and policies that are aimed at achieving the full spectrum of learning outcomes for all students regardless of their backgrounds. ”General Education is a critical retention tool and can help level the differentials of students’ pre-college experiences. No matter the curricular structure that results, we see general education as an institution’s intentional way of engaging students in its disciplines’ practices, processes, and “threshold concepts” (to invoke Land and Meyer’s important teaching and learning framework) to transform students’ lives. Further, we believe that such engagements are most effective in the context of a robust theory and practice of asset-based learning that puts students’ own experiences at the center, a practice that seeks to make good on values of inclusivity and equity in education.

View full proposal for General Education for the 21st Century

As higher education institutions continue to adjust to changes in enrollments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MSU must develop strong policies and initiatives to improve the educational outcomes for transfer students who have been historically overlooked on campus. As the population of individuals completing high school is projected to decrease in Michigan, MSU must recruit a new population of college students beyond our current base. We propose enhancing the Transfer Student Experience by expanding the Transfer Student Success Center (TSSC). The TSSC could be both a conceptual and physical space that eliminates barriers and builds clear pathways for transfer students to MSU. At the forefront of the TSSC is the existing Envision Green partnership with LCC. MSU and LCC have partnered together creating Envision Green, offering LCC students’ step-by-step instructions to ensure a smooth transfer to MSU. Students can meet with MSU advisors and admissions counselors to create an individualized roadmap to MSU. The Envision Green Initiative would include wrap around services like peer mentoring, academic success skills workshops, and participation in high impact co-curricular practices. In addition, Envision Green will extend similar transfer partnerships with other MI community colleges, whereby students who indicate, at the point of application to LCC and other two-year institutions, that they intend to complete a bachelor’s degree (or who choose a program of study that typically requires a bachelor’s) should be offered the opportunity to apply for a place in the Envision Green cohort. 

View full proposal for Transfer Student Experience

Staff & Faculty Success

Creating an environment in which excellence and opportunity thrive will attract and keep talent and create conditions where staff and faculty can do their best work, individually and collaboratively. We will seek recognition for the excellence and innovation this culture fosters, pursuing an increase in faculty and staff external awards of 10% per year and a 15% increase by 2030 in the number of recipients of highly prestigious academic awards and national academies members. (Read more from the University's Strategic Plan)

Michigan State University is a complex organization amidst significant organizational change. As such, it is increasingly important that we are strategic and intentional about developing leaders at every level of the organization in a way that helps us to work collaboratively to support our mission, live our values, and strengthen our culture. The recommended framework is grounded in the following assumptions:

  • Leaders are responsible for the ongoing development of themselves and others. It is in MSU’s best interest to provide aligned, quality learning opportunities at all levels.
  • Leaders have responsibility in shaping the culture and assuring it is in keeping with MSU values and mission.
  • The MSU leadership model should be visible and integrated in our key talent management processes: hiring, onboarding, development, rewards, promotions, and evaluations.
  • Leadership can be demonstrated by anyone, and we should strive to grow and retain those who demonstrate these skills. Those with a formal title will be held accountable for developing and modeling management and leadership ability.

Clear expectations of leaders in a changing environment are critical, and this initiative provides that framework. The building of this framework was completed prior to the pandemic with executive sponsors. There have been many focus groups with MSU leaders at all levels to inform the creation of the framework and again to get feedback once it was developed.

We propose a bold next step in the evolution of the A-CAPP Center to create a transdisciplinary hub, in collaboration with our partners at MSU, and private and public sectors to address trademark counterfeiting and brand protection issues. To date, the Center has been impactful as a U.S.-based, multidisciplinary center working with external partners. We propose to expand the Center’s reach and dissolve traditional borders to achieve five key goals, to:  

  1. expand the global reach of the Center, 
  2. focus on the rapidly growing advancements in technology in the online space both as a tool and a threat through transdisciplinary research and education; and  
  3. expanding outreach to consumers and other stakeholders (such as firms in high Tech industries, e-commerce, and social media) impacted by counterfeiting; 
  4. grow student engagement as the next generation of professionals in brand protection; and  
  5. strengthen our relationship with our partners on campus to be a leader in best practices of creating transdisciplinary, global hubs that are connected to industry.  

We believe taking the A-CAPP Center beyond our current focus by adopting a global focus in a transdisciplinary way is essential as counterfeiting and brand protection are real, practical issues that have moved into the online marketplaces globally through the exponential development of new technologies and fueled by COVID-19. Gone are the days when this issue impacted only luxury brands and consumers at local flea markets.

With this expansion of the Center, we have a chance to impact not only brand protection professionals (brands, law enforcement, law firms, security providers, e-commerce platforms and more), but consumers worldwide who are now living in this easily accessible, unavoidable threat in the online space. The threat of counterfeits online is potentially one of the most disruptive and impactful areas of illicit trade globally and will continue to expand and grow in the upcoming years, impacting anyone who shops online.

Additionally, initial evidence shows that there is a disparate impact on global communities based on economic status, social status, and other characteristics, particularly when the online space is involved, influencing the need for further advancement and expansions of programs to a global level. We can help to identify and capture some of these practical solutions stemming from research that can bring together stakeholders through education and outreach in this area.

MSU is currently the leader in the US in this space of anti-counterfeiting–if funded, this proposal will expand our leadership globally and ensure that we maintain the facilitation of cutting edge research, outreach and education as technology grows, morphs, expands and people continue to get more access to products in the online space. It would also provide a model for other centers at MSU to be transdisciplinary engaged across campus tapping into our academic strengths. 

For MSU to be seen as an institution of choice that is able to hire and retain excellent faculty and academic staff, which is critical to ensuring student success, there must be clear and transparent evaluation systems on an annual basis and for promotion in rank as well as meaningful opportunities for professional development throughout the university. Historically, focus has been primarily on tenure-stream faculty with far less emphasis on fixed-term faculty and academic specialists whose roles in contributing to the multiple missions of the university are increasingly critical. Additionally, traditional metrics for evaluation do not capture much of the impactful work in represented within the activities of many faculty and academic staff. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the university and diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plans have made clear the need to address structural inequities in how evaluation takes place, what work is evaluated, how individuals are supported to do their best work, how excellence is acknowledged and rewarded, and what opportunities for meaningful engagement exist across rank and status.