From Interim President Woodruff
Passing Beaumont Tower each day on my way to work, I often am reminded that it is not only an iconic campus landmark but also something that wonderfully connects Michigan State University’s past to its future. Above the tower door, a carved image of “The Sower” represents MSU’s agricultural roots while offering a vivid metaphor for how this university sows the seeds of a better future by nourishing the intellectual growth and well-being of people today.
Similarly, the MSU 2030 strategic plan plants the seeds for a new bounty of excellence and impact by the end of this decade. The plan ties together MSU’s mission, values and priorities, and translates them into measurable campuswide goals.
A thorough and inclusive strategic planning process was launched in January 2020 by President Emeritus Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., and the final endorsement was given by the MSU Board of Trustees in September 2021. We are indebted to the many Spartans who contributed to the process over those many months, a process slowed but not stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We likewise owe gratitude to the many who contributed to the development of the companion university plans focusing on supporting diversity, equity and inclusion and on stemming relationship violence and sexual misconduct. You will find the values and goals expressed in those plans woven throughout this MSU 2030 strategic plan.
I often describe my vision for MSU as one of building spirals of excellence upward from its deep and broad foundations. This means leveraging our unique strengths in education, research and outreach toward greater excellence and impact. It includes building synergies across MSU’s vast span of scholarship and experience to confront the complex challenges our society faces. It brings science, technology, engineering and mathematics together with the arts and performance in creative new ways of seeing and knowing.
This vision spans the full breadth of MSU — from student success, faculty research and innovation to leadership, service, stewardship and sustainability — all of which enhance the excellence and reputation of the university.
At its most fundamental level, however, the MSU 2030 strategic plan is about supporting people — our students, faculty and academic and support staff. It means setting goals using important measures, such as graduation rates, and offering counseling and mentorship resources to help all students succeed while eliminating opportunity gaps among groups. It means seeking recognition for our accomplishments and striving to offer a diverse workplace of choice.
I am confident the seeds we plant through the strategic plan — often on fields carefully cultivated by Spartans before us — will bear fruit even beyond what we can foresee and possibly imagine.
Importantly, Michigan State University will celebrate the centennial of our beloved Beaumont Tower in 2029, its carved figure continuing to sow the future’s harvests of field and city and knowledge before a radiant, rising sun. The strategic plan timeline concludes the following year, and we can then look back at all that will have been accomplished. From that vantage point — which also will mark MSU’s 175th anniversary — I am certain we again will cast our gaze ahead toward the next MSU horizon.
Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
MSU Foundation Professor