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Staff and Faculty Success

Creating an environment in which excellence and opportunity thrive will attract and keep talent and create conditions where staff and faculty can do their best work, individually and collaboratively. We will seek recognition for the excellence and innovation this culture fosters, pursuing an increase in faculty and staff external awards of 10% per year and a 15% increase by 2030 in the number of recipients of highly prestigious academic awards and national academies members.

MSU’s biggest investment — and most important asset — is the exceptionally talented faculty and staff at the core of the Spartan community. Our commitments to supporting the success of undergraduate and graduate students, responding to community needs and addressing the challenges of a changing world are hollow without a similarly substantive commitment to the well-being of our staff, faculty and postdoctoral research associates who make this work possible. 

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how we work, accelerating anticipated trends but at an unexpected pace, causing additional stress for people and organizations. Facilitating and supporting flexible work during the pandemic, including the ability to work in remote locations connected through dynamic modes of digital communication, enabled us to continue delivering world-class education during a period of mandated physical distancing. It also yielded lessons that will help us update policies and procedures to adapt to and compete in a world where anyone can work from anywhere, allowing us to readily engage expertise from industry, community and academic partners. We will develop the flexible, supportive, inclusive workplace required to respond to the aspirations and needs of every employee. As they integrate career goals with efforts to create a meaningful life for themselves and their families, our employees will expect — and we will deliver — ongoing opportunities to grow and develop.

Creating a healthy, supportive work environment also necessitates strong organizational commitment to addressing workplace sexual harassment and incivility. In 2019, MSU conducted a comprehensive campus climate survey, which revealed that sexual harassment was the most common form of relationship violence and sexual misconduct (RVSM) experienced by MSU students, faculty and staff, with rates ranging from 9.3% to 65.5% across different gender and affiliation groups. The MSU Center for Survivors and Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance provide advocates and advisers for faculty and staff participating in Title IX RVSM investigations. As detailed in the institution’s RVSM Strategic Plan, we are training leaders across the university on how to respond to RVSM disclosures in a trauma-informed way, as well as investing in prevention programs to stop incidents from occurring in our community.

Our aspiration is to create an environment in which staff, faculty and postdoctoral research associates truly thrive — an environment that serves as a magnet for the diverse and energized talent we need now and in the future. This will require increased flexibility in the ways we work to expand our talent base. It will mean modernizing systems and examining structures, investing in new and accessible opportunities for leadership and career development, and expanding recognition. It also will require clear pathways for promotion and tenure that recognize multiple forms of scholarly and creative achievement, prize innovation and incentivize collaboration and entrepreneurial activity. We will take care to reward service in its many forms, but particularly in the mentorship and leadership so important to achieving our DEI goals.

Establishing a culture of trust in which employees can voice concerns, share in decision-making and establish meaningful relationships with colleagues will be critical to our success in establishing Michigan State University as a preeminent institution in which to work, learn, grow and excel.

Goal: Support career development and well-being of staff, faculty and postdoctoral research associates at MSU, focusing on creating a best-in-class workplace culture and environment in which excellence and opportunity thrive

Objective 1

Create a workplace culture that advances DEI and supports all staff, faculty and postdoctoral research associates


  • Adopt a regularly administered, university-wide, comprehensive climate survey to establish benchmarks and goals for success at the unit level and provide the resources to analyze the data
  • Continue comprehensive RVSM campus climate survey to track progress
  • Review university policies, practices and opportunity structures to identify better ways to increase diversity, foster inclusive dialogue and provide support to staff and faculty
  • Establish mechanisms of support, consultation and coaching for continuous improvement in pursuit of a campus that is physically and psychologically safe and free of harassment and incivility
  • Improve communications and administrative practices and systems to provide information when desired and needed to create a greater sense of agency and empowerment
  • Establish processes to systematically identify and remove barriers to success and reduce work inefficiencies to improve the experience of working at MSU

Objective 2

Make MSU a workplace of choice — and a desirable place to stay — for discipline-leading, innovative, creative and diverse staff, faculty and postdoctoral research associates


  • Review university policies, procedures and practices to facilitate more remote, flexible and blended working options to broaden the university’s access to diverse talent
  • Adopt new promotion and tenure frameworks to better align with and support MSU’s commitment to publicly engaged participatory, transdisciplinary and intersectional research and excellence in teaching
  • Provide educators access to professional development necessary to provide high-quality, evidence-based learning experiences across all modes of instruction
  • Create nationally recognized care-giving services including childcare, eldercare, employee assistance/counseling, Center for Survivors and Prevention, Outreach and Education
  • Expand external awards nominations and establish new internal awards and/or recognitions for faculty and staff; these should include awards for excellence as well as awards recognizing the importance of living other aspects of our values (e.g., collaboration; respectful, supportive and caring behavior)
  • Expand opportunities for staff and faculty to gather and engage in informal and supportive contexts to improve campus culture

Objective 3

Invest in leadership and career development opportunities for staff and faculty that contribute to a culture of care, respect and inclusion


  • Establish a dynamic and inclusive mentoring culture that links individual success to unit-level, college and university success
  • Invest in more facilitators for trauma-informed practices of harm reduction
  • Implement a modernized staff classification and compensation system
  • Expand opportunities for leadership, career growth and skill development, and leverage the university’s educational resources to advance staff and faculty careers, paying particular attention to participation rates of staff and faculty from diverse and historically underrepresented populations
  • Establish a formal talent management program; extend student career development infrastructure to staff

Staff and Faculty Success: Illustrative Indicators/Metrics

  • Number of faculty and staff receiving external and internal awards to increase 10% per year
  • Number of faculty in national academies or recognized with highly prestigious academic awards to increase by 15%
  • Perceptions of communications and administrative practices and systems designed to provide information and keep staff and faculty informed and engaged (improve)
  • Climate survey results over time, including scores on sense of involvement and inclusion, professional development and fulfilling career pathway (improve)
  • Specific mentoring outcomes integrated into annual performance reviews, promotion processes and unit strategic plans
  • Number of trauma-informed facilitators in central units at the university (increase)
  • Recruitment and retention of faculty from historically underrepresented backgrounds (increase)
  • Access to caregiving services without wait lists (improve)
  • Recruitment for participation in leadership/professional development programming by staff and faculty from diverse and historically underrepresented backgrounds (increase)

Excellence in Trauma-informed Response / Communication

As part of our commitment to create a workplace environment in which staff and faculty thrive, MSU has made relationship violence and sexual misconduct (RVSM) resources and services available, and we continue to build on our growing strength in trauma-informed response.

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