Dean Christopher Long in a grey suit and a green tie smiling at the camera

Download a PDF of the 2018 Fall Planning Letter.

In the wake of the survivor impact statements, the resignation of President Simon, and the intense period of institutional transformation we are experiencing at Michigan State University, the College of Arts & Letters (CAL) has committed to looking critically at ourselves, recognizing our failures, and rebuilding the trust that is required of us.

Last spring, students, faculty, and staff in the College of Arts & Letters spent significant time reviewing and revising the policies and procedures that shape the lives of our departments and programs to ensure that we cultivate a culture of trust, accountability, and care. We held town hall meetings, student-centered roundtables, and department reflection days on mentoring, advising, and pedagogies. On April 19, we hosted Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, through the Transformative Justice Series led by Xhercis Méndez. More than 1,400 heard her speak about sexual abuse and empowerment through empathy.

This work has led us to recognize the need to undertake a period of critical self-reflection intentionally structured around a values-based fall planning process. This fall, all units in the College of Arts & Letters were asked to identify the top core values of the unit and to map these values onto their primary strategic initiatives to ensure that we are putting our values into practice through our activities. They were also asked to articulate how the unit is advancing a culture of shared accountability and trust based on the values conversations that they have undertaken.

This process has led us to identify the follow three core values of the College of Arts & Letters:

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

In the remainder of this planning letter, we will articulate how we are putting these values into practice through our top initiatives in the College designed to advance the productivity of the faculty, success of our students, and well-being of our staff. We are convinced that the priority areas identified by the Provost can only be effectively promoted if our students, staff, and faculty have a safe and trusting environment in which they can do their very best work. The culture of care we hope to model in the College of Arts & Letters will be a strategic differentiator for us as we seek to recruit and retain diverse and innovative faculty and students.

Here is the word cloud from our values-based planning process across the College of Arts & Letters:

Word cloud consisting of words related to values in higher education