In the Nov. 4 issue, I wrote an article detailing the need for more tenure-track professors at MSU and for an increased focus on research. These issues are mutually inextricable and vital to the student community: a lack of commitment from the university to the research growth of principle investigators or to the careers of adjuncts trickles down to substandard education for students.
At the beginning of the year, news broke about the loss of MSU’s Carnegie Foundation RU/VH status. When I interviewed professors in November, this issue was vital. The Faculty Senate considered maintaining RU/VH status as more important than faculty pay at MSU – which is 80 percent of the national average for faculty pay. President Waded Cruzado wrote in a letter to students and faculty: “…it appears that doctoral awards are a key driving factor in our re-classification.” To address this, she has implemented task forces to improve graduate student admissions, strengthen research and reevaluate faculty workloads. This is laudable, but it is late. It should not have taken loss of Carnegie classification to trigger this sort of response. The Faculty Senate has been demanding action for years, but only now is anything being done.
MSU should not merely try to meet regional standards – arguably, we do not – but strive to surpass them. It is easier to maintain a position than regain one; unfortunately, we’ll now have to claw our way back.