MSU spartan helmet logo

Provost’s Special Initiatives Portfolio

Diversity in Academic Planning and Progress

As discussed, we have placed DEI at the center of the College of Arts & Letters academic mission through our investments in the Department of African American and African Studies, the Cultivating Pathways of Intellectual Leadership diversity cohorts, the focus of our research efforts, the establishment of the DEI Advisory Board, and our Critical Race Residencies, to name just a few of our DEI initiatives. We share the Provost’s commitment to cultivate habits of inclusion in all the work we do. 

Elevating Academic Excellence Through Honorifics

Building on an increase in award nominations over the past two years, the College is moving ahead with a strategic honorifics plan with three action steps:  

  1. Identifying target major university, national, and international honors and awards in the Arts & Humanities. 
  2. Organizing Department and College honors and award nominating committees that tie candidate identification to regular personnel review processes. 
  3. Instituting post-tenure review with honors and awards planning as one component on the individual faculty level. 

Three of the exemplary models in the College can be seen in the Departments of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures (WRAC), Department of English, and the Department of Philosophy. Each has tasked honorifics to a dedicated committee that identifies candidates for pre-identified honor and award targets, WRAC and Philosophy once a year, and English on a 2-year cycle that is part of the annual review process. The committees then work to assemble competitive dossiers in collaboration with the College Awards Committee vetting process. Departments track nominations to intentionally create institutional memory across years. Two additional Departments are creating awards committees. 

We are also planning a forward-looking approach to post tenure review that is consistent with our Charting Pathways to Intellectual Leadership (CPIL) model for faculty career advancement. It will engage faculty in routine planning that will touch on three key areas that will give us a more pro-active approach to building honor-worthy profiles across the College. The review process will engage faculty in planning career advancement and making use of internal resources such as research leave, internal grant programs, etc., preparing for leadership roles in the Department, College, University, and national/international level, and targeting major awards and honors.  

Creating a Distinguishing Institutional Narrative that Crosses All Units and Strategic Implementation Work Across Colleges 

As discussed above, the College of Arts & Letters is helping to lead and support initiatives that are central to the implementation of the MSU 2030 Strategic Plan, including the MSU Arts Strategy, the MSU Ethics Institute, Social Justice and Equity Initiative (SJEI), the creation of the emerging MSU Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation, and our efforts to foster student success through integrative studies. All these efforts draw on MSU’s long-standing commitment to put the liberal arts at the heart of the MSU mission.