President Simon: Growing the Value of a MSU Degree in 2017

Dec 5, 2016

“One of the things we’re really pleased about is the progress with the capital campaign and the fact that our faculty, staff and retirees last year made commitments for more money than any other set in the Big Ten, which given the relatively low position of faculty salaries compared to the Big Ten, is just an extraordinary testament to what those who are here every day believe is important for the future of Michigan State,” Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon tells Russ White on MSU Today in recapping what stood out to her this semester.

“The second highlight for me was the first university-wide investiture of our endowed positions.  To see that array of people with our donors and know what they mean for the future of Michigan State was just one of those great moments.”

President Simon talks about her upcoming trip to China for “a very forward-looking conversation about the intersection of food, water and population growth, which is one of the world’s biggest challenges moving forward.”

And President Simon updates progress on MSU’s Center for Urban Food Systems initiative in Detroit.

“A piece of land has been selected, and all the plans are in place.  We’re just dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on the transfer of the land   We want to be in a place where we can be a spark for neighborhood development, not just an intruder into a space to do urban food systems.”

In 2017 President Simon says “we’ll continue to try to build strength and grow the value of a MSU degree in a lot of ways.  And we just need to make sure our students are well prepared not simply to be the coder or robot designer.  But there’s a literacy about technology that will go with financial literacy that we often talk about for students.  We have to be looking at our curriculum to make sure we’re there because that’s going to be the world that they’re going to live in for the next 40 years of their lives. 

“And we have to prepare them not simply for the first job, but to be lifelong learners for those 40 years.”

She also wants us to all think more about the world around us.

“What’s been really clear for me is we are a university that was created in a time of war, great dissension, economic strife and a time when there was a need to move to a new way of thinking about the underlying industrial principles that would grow prosperity for Americans.

“The same was true after World War II with a land grant heart and keeping an openness to socio-economic class and an ear and hands toward really working on the problems around us with cutting edge knowledge. 

“And I think that’s more true today than at other parts of our growth period.  And so part of it for Spartans is that we can be a top 100 world power and at the same time have that big land grant heart.  And part of that means using these talents in our communities near at hand.

“And I’m saying to students that you can interpret the events around you in varieties of ways – they are, they will be – but you can also control what’s near at hand.  Instead of always railing about something that you don’t like in a huge public policy way, live your values every day.

“It’s about the kind of community we want to be and living that community and recognizing that we’re all different and we have different views.  And because someone had a particular political view on the left or right, it doesn’t really matter because they’re Spartans.

“They can have those views.  They can express those views.  I might not like those views, and they might not be mine.  But they’re still Spartans who have the space to express them but, more importantly, the space to learn and learn from one another. 

“If there’s a season that you can put a lot of overtones on, secular and religious, that would say to you that’s what you need to, that would be at this time of the year.”

MSU Today airs Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on AM 870.