President Waded Cruzado announced Update MSU, a project to form groups of administrators and faculty to address issues that arise during the university’s continued growth. This institutional project will create 12 working groups to address issues such as reallocating resources more efficiently, coordinating functions university wide and making administrative processes at MSU more efficient.
Cruzado emphasized that it is important for faculty and administrators to work together in planning MSU’s future. “What we want to have is working groups … where we can figure out the best solutions for MSU in the short term and in the long term,” she said in a Faculty Senate meeting on Nov. 5.
A reason, Cruzado stated, that calls for the organization of these groups is to ensure that the university continues to improve infrastructure in these times of growth. “We have been so busy over the last few decades growing … that we haven’t taken the necessary time to pay attention to our infrastructure,” she told MSU faculty.
UPdate MSU has specified two working groups to focus on infrastructure upgrades and changes that may become necessary: the UPdating Space Planning group and the UPdating Data Access/Consistency group. Including the VP of University Services Bob Lashaway on the former group and Chief Information Officer Jerry Sheehan on the latter, these two groups will focus on the use of campus land for future expansion and the improvement of IT services at the university, respectively. Cruzado hopes that by addressing ways to operate more efficiently, more funds will be made available for the advancement of campus infrastructure.
When discussing ways that efficiency can be improved to give students a better academic environment at MSU, Cruzado cited flaws in the highly decentralized system of awarding students scholarship money. “What is happening right now is that millions of dollars are staying on the table because students don’t know how to access those scholarship dollars,” she said. Currently, scholarships are awarded on many different levels of the university, from individual department scholarships to university-wide grants. Cruzado suggested that the UPdate MSU group responsible for addressing scholarship administration should explore options to centralize the system for allocating money so students can more easily access funds to pay for college.
Although voicing some of her opinions of these issues, MSU’s president made it clear that these groups exist to make decisions about the university’s future themselves. Only giving some suggestions, Cruzado is leaving the discussion open to any proposals that come up. “I don’t want for us to go into this with preconceived notions of what the outcomes will be,” she said, stating that she herself is open-minded about the direction of the university in coming years. “I don’t have a bias and I don’t have an end in sight.” Continuous improvement is the goal of UPdate MSU, and Cruzado believes that it is necessary for the working groups to be able to address issues as they arise, both now and in the future.
Though still in it’s early stages, UPdate MSU has already started to organize faculty members and administrators to begin assessing the needs of the university. More than 100 minds are collaborating currently, hashing out the problems that exist or may arise in the future and finding the best solutions for MSU.
Cruzado noted that the process of addressing these important issues will not happen all at once, but rather in smaller, more manageable steps. She used a metaphor to describe the changes can be addressed, referring to the task at hand as a “rhinoceros” that the working groups of UPdate MSU need to “eat up in several stages.”
“We have this garden of 1,000 blooms,” she said of the university, implying a field of opportunity for MSU to continue as a high-tier institution.