Michigan State is dedicated to providing opportunity through education and building the future of Michigan and the nation with the talent and contributions of individuals from all backgrounds and communities. We will advance equity by eliminating race and ethnicity opportunity gaps across all subgroups of students by 2030.
Michigan State University has long been an innovator and leader in the work of diversity, equity and inclusion. In 1870, women enrolled for the first time in the then-named Michigan Agricultural College, and in 1904 the first known Black student graduated. During John Hannah’s long presidency, civil rights became one of MSU’s key initiatives, and Hannah served as the first chair of the U.S Commission on Civil Rights under President Eisenhower. Michigan State’s work to remove barriers helped change norms and create opportunity.
The university’s many efforts in more recent decades are extensive and multifaceted as it has evolved to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse campus community. These included creating the precursor to the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities and extending in-state tuition to migrant students in the early 1970s, establishing the Native American Institute in the early 1980s, and creating the Julian Samora Research Institute in 1989 to serve the needs of Latinx communities. More about Michigan State’s inclusive outreach and programmatic initiatives is available on the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives website at https://inclusion.msu.edu/.
MSU’s longstanding commitment to DEI is reflected in numerous policies, programs, initiatives and practices led by units across campus. A decentralized approach has produced a variety of strong efforts and exceptional creativity, but also has reduced MSU’s ability to optimize and scale success. The institutional DEI planning process completed in parallel with university strategic planning provided an opportunity to review and improve MSU’s approach. The DEI Steering Committee and its benchmarking task group identified central planning with local execution, combined with central progress tracking, as a best practice for research-intensive institutions. MSU’s DEI plan, comprising four primary themes, serves as a framework to be further articulated and put into practice by the university’s academic and administrative units. The plan, which includes Michigan State University’s definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion, is available on the Office of the President website at https://president.msu.edu/initiatives/dei-plan/dei-report-and-plan.html.
The MSU strategic plan does not seek to duplicate the DEI plan — nor does it compete with it. It serves to amplify, elevate and leverage elements from the DEI plan that can help transform our university and ensure more equitable outcomes for all. A focus on DEI is so vital to our collective future that it serves as both a stand-alone theme within the strategic plan and is embedded throughout all other themes.
The strategic plan’s DEI theme emphasizes the DEI plan’s “Diversity” theme. Simply stated, we cannot serve a diverse local, national and global society if our community does not reflect that diversity and support the success of its members in an inclusive and equitable way. Further, the strategic plan brings forward elements that promote diversity, equity and inclusion across MSU’s core missions.
Goal: Become a national leader in increasing diversity, promoting inclusion, ensuring equity and eliminating disparities on our campus and beyond
Recruit and support the success of a more diverse student body: Recruit, retain and graduate a diverse student body and eliminate disparities in MSU’s graduation rates
Dramatically increase MSU faculty who make significant contributions to advancing social justice and ethics, ensuring equity, addressing disparities and empowering communities through scholarship and engaged research
Recruit, retain and expand career development for staff from diverse backgrounds
Provide a world-class academic environment that integrates DEI in teaching, research and service
Increase proactive engagement with historically underrepresented and underserved communities based on partnerships informed by shared goals and mutual learning
The Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) in the College of Arts and Letters, established in 2019, exemplifies the university’s commitment to build strength in areas that advance equity, ethics and social justice.
Launched in 2016, the Diversity Research Network (DRN) connects faculty of color and diversity scholars to create scholarly communities and promote new interdisciplinary collaborations.