Guiding Principles

In the face of the many unknown factors brought on by COVID-19, contingency planning helps to more clearly define the challenges to be addressed. The planning process empowers participants to proactively think through ways to frame and strategically respond to shifting circumstances or over time. While our core values remain our essential guides, during periods of crisis, it is important to articulate with clarity and intention the framework according to which our values will shape the difficult decisions we will face.

We commit to make decisions that exhibit care and compassion for our students, staff, and faculty. In times of uncertainty, we look to first secure basic needs, then to minimize obstacles, and third to supplement what has been lost due to disruption of our normal order. We further try to make these decisions using the best evidence we have available regarding possible outcomes, and with as much transparency and participation by the MSU community members involved as we can.


These values were established by a College-wide process of self-reflection and planning.

  • Equity – inclusivity, diversity, social justice, equitable access, accessibility
  • Openness – transparency, open process, candor, accountability, open source
  • Community – collaboration, collegiality, empathy, respect, connection


The top priorities of the College are all conditioned upon the health and safety of all members of our community. This remains our highest priority, after which follow the three core priorities of the College, to:

  • Enrich undergraduate and graduate education
  • Recruit and retain world-class faculty
  • Enhance research and creative activity


We will:

  • Protect the health and safety of all members of our community and put people first;
  • Enact our commitment to equity: all decisions will be shaped by values of inclusion and openness, recognizing that there is no excellence without diversity;
  • Advance our core academic mission: promote high-quality teaching, ensure student success, elevate the unique impact arts & humanities research and creative activity make in the world;
  • Lead transformative change: periods of intense disruption open new opportunities for the arts & humanities to shape a more just and meaningful future; we will summon the courage to enact the change we envision.


This section includes the principles that will inform our contingency planning and decision-making process.