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Advance Student, Staff, and Faculty Success

College of Arts & Letters Undergraduate Studies Re-Visioned – Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts & Letters promotes an asset-based, opportunity-focused approach to student success. Integrating academic and student affairs, our approach implements and sustains a vibrant culture of learning assessment across all our curricular and co-curricular investments rooted in a commitment to care for the ‘whole’ MSU student experience. The values animating in our work are: 1) Wellness and Mindfulness, 2) Ethics, and 3) Diversity Equity, and Inclusion.  

These commitments function as through lines connecting our majors and minors, our contributions to general education (IAH and First-Year Writing), Arts & Letters seminar, the career readiness programs, and our experiential learning requirement. An important and unique aspect of our approach involves the creation of the College of Arts & Letters Trust Network, an MSU-based team that focuses on addressing essential needs of students, including housing, food, and basic living expenses. We see these commitments as opportunities to incorporate high impact practices (HIPs) throughout the students’ experiences, so much so that students will have the advantage of HIPs without even having to seek them out. 

Appreciative Inquiry Strategic Planning Process – We have contracted with Spartina Consulting to facilitate a strategic planning process based on the Appreciative Inquiry methodology. The objective of using the Appreciative Inquiry methodology is to have a process where everyone regardless of position can help to create and feel ownership of a shared vision for the future. The plan is to have a strategic planning vision document we can use to inform our future decision making. 

Collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation (CT&LI) – The Enhanced Digital Learning Initiative (EDLI) has continued to work with developing and evaluating digital pedagogies and technologies to enhance student engagement in 21st-century digital learning environments. This year we continued to leverage the advantages of collaboration through a partnership between the College of Arts & Letters, Broad College of Business, and the College of Natural Science, and have expanded our partnerships with the MSU Libraries and IT. In particular, the EDLI team has been engaged in design work surrounding MSU Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation (Center for TLI). EDLI’s focus on a community-centered, values-enacted approach to promoting excellence in teaching and learning provides a model for growing this University-wide network of expertise in teaching and learning that will be part of the Center for TLI. 

Charting a Path to Intellectual Leadership (CPIL) – The CPIL approach shifts the focus of career advancement activities by which we lead intellectually (teaching, research, service) to the actual human-based reasons and goals that animate these activities (sharing knowledge, expanding opportunities, mentorship/stewardship). Throughout the pandemic, the CPIL approach has enabled faculty to capture and “count” the many creative new ways they shared knowledge and expanded opportunities for their students and their campus and community neighbors. While elevating standards of excellence, the CPIL approach recognizes the extensive and important work that faculty, staff, and administrators do in mentoring their colleagues and students and the significant stewardship they provided their community, institution, and the field of higher education. The College has continued to slowly introduce this approach over the past three years. This past year we focused on more fully integrating it into faculty development programming, adopting Academic Profile to help faculty capture and count activities, and adding non-tenure stream and academic specialist promotion review criteria and guidelines to College bylaws. With support of the HuMetricsHSS Fellows Program, we will next organize and pilot unit-level non-tenure stream mentoring programs and peer review grounded in the CPIL model.  

Transformative Justice with CANR, POE, OIE – In the wake of the survivor impact statements in January of 2018, the College of Arts & Letters and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources began to work with Xhercis Méndez to establish a comprehensive approach to redressing harm at the University using the principles of Transformative Justice. This list has now expanded to also include Lyman Briggs College, the College of Music, the Honors College, and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Professor Méndez is working with the leadership teams in these Colleges to expand our capacity to respond to harm in ways that do not cause more harm by holding workshops, developing tool kits and protocols for chairs and directors, and working directly with units to establish trust and build community in the wake of harm. The Colleges are working proactively with the Office of Institutional Equity and the Office of Prevention, Outreach, and Education to facilitate collaboration between Professor Méndez and Lydia Weiss, Climate & Response Specialist, to integrate Transformative Justice inflected approaches into the fabric of the MSU community.