A strategy for Mississippi State University to become
the region's most respected land-grant institution
The purpose of this university and community agenda is to marshal our resources and expertise to achieve the greatest benefits for the State of Mississippi and the nation as we navigate our way into the future. In an effort to identify centers of excellence, emerging centers of excellence, institutional qualities that we should reinforce, and areas that may require special attention, an inclusive and comprehensive strategic review was undertaken in April 2006. Representatives of every part of the university and community participated, and no subjects or possibilities were excluded from consideration. The effort resulted in more than 100 recommendations and observations that form the basis for this plan.
The strategic review was broad in scope, but FutureSTATE 2015 encompasses numerous specific action plans for the next 10 years that are consistent with the major priorities of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and supportive of the needs of the state. The plan is intended to help us make effective decisions about the use of existing resources and to articulate for internal and external decision makers and policymakers the desired directions for future growth in support. Although this document will be the cornerstone of our plans for the future, it is not etched in stone. It will be open to review and modification as Mississippi State responds to emerging opportunities and adapts to a changing environment. On the other hand, strategies based on sound logic and valid assumptions should not be altered frequently or without careful consideration.
A strategy for the future must take into account assumptions about the internal and external environment that will enable or constrain our progress. The most fundamental assumption underlying FutureSTATE 2015 is that Mississippi State should aspire to be the most respected land-grant institution in the Southeast, dedicated to improving the lives of Mississippians by building on its traditional strengths in engineering, science, agriculture, and natural resources and capitalizing on the excellent programs that have emerged in numerous other areas, and by adhering to its deep roots as the People’s University and its statewide missions of learning, research, and service. Other major assumptions that establish parameters for the milestones noted in FutureSTATE 2015 include:
- Our first responsibility and our top priority is to provide a credible education to students from every segment of Mississippi’s population.
- MSU will collaborate with communities and agencies throughout the state in keeping with its land-grant mission and the long history of the MSU Extension Service, and will provide outreach and service to business, industry, agriculture, and public education that promotes economic growth and enhances the quality of life in Mississippi.
- MSU will continue to build on its position of national prominence in research and development in agricultural sciences and engineering, focusing on initiatives in those and other areas that bring direct benefits to the state and its people.
- MSU will operate as a TEAM, taking an integrated and cohesive approach to challenges and opportunities.
- MSU will expand its cooperative ventures and interactions with other state colleges and universities.
- Enrollment will grow at a measured and manageable rate consistent with increases in faculty and other resources, and research activity will expand. Increased revenue will result from contracts, grants, and licensing associated with a larger research program and from the tuition generated by a larger student body.
- Economic circumstances will permit growing fiscal support consistent with the spirit and intent of the FY 2007 state budget, and funding from state, federal, and private sources will grow at a logical rate to permit continued investment in our most valuable resource—our faculty and staff.
- FutureSTATE 2015 will evolve as circumstances require so that our strategy for accomplishing our mission remains relevant to the needs of Mississippi.
Our primary goals are to:
- Enhance student growth and development by providing excellent academic programs, building character, and ensuring an accessible, caring, and diverse environment.
- Recruit and retain a highly qualified and diverse faculty, providing them with an environment that supports excellent teaching, research and service while offering opportunities for professional growth and pursuing salaries, benefits and other rewards that recognize success.
- Achieve fiscal stability by encouraging private, corporate, and government financial support and by recruiting and retaining qualified students through a sustained campaign that also allows us to expand and stabilize our tuition base.
- Expand research opportunities and promote economic development.
- Expand research opportunities and results by supporting the institutional components and infrastructure that enable beneficial discovery and application of new knowledge and by identifying emerging opportunities.
- Promote economic development that contributes to a better quality of life in Mississippi by integrating and organizing the university’s extensive capabilities and forming relationships with communities and corporations throughout Mississippi to support creation and retention of high quality employment opportunities for the state’s citizens.
- Strengthen pride and involvement with MSU among students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, friends, retired faculty, and others who make up the Great Bulldog Nation with a successful athletics program, a vibrant social and cultural environment, and a campus infrastructure and physical appearance that is inviting and pride-inspiring.
Strategies for attaining our goals
FutureSTATE 2015 is not a short-term plan, but a strategy for realizing the vision for the university’s long-term future and its mission of service to the state. Milestones that will mark progress toward our major goals reflect a timeframe consistent with that approach. The success of FutureSTATE 2015 will depend on how effectively our TEAM works together. Each goal in this plan is linked with others, and every member of the TEAM has a role to play. There will be times when what is best for the Mississippi State TEAM will require disproportionate contributions from some. But as we meet our goals and as respect for the university rises, all of us will benefit. Our energy and enthusiasm, along with our commitment to the “One STATE – One TEAM” concept, will help ensure our success.
Goal: Enhance student growth and development by providing excellent academic programs, building character, and ensuring an accessible, caring, and diverse environment.
The most important thing that Mississippi State can accomplish for Mississippi and the nation is to prepare our students to be productive citizens and effective leaders. We must never lose sight of our most basic mission—fostering both academic and character development. To implement our strategy of developing competent and informed citizens and professionals who are equipped to lead in the world of work and in their communities through traditional academic programs, experiential learning, and opportunities for leadership development and community service, we are committed to:
- Recruiting and retaining a highly qualified and diverse faculty, providing them with an environment that supports excellent teaching, offering opportunities for professional growth, and pursuing salaries, benefits, and other rewards that recognize success.
- Ensuring value-added educational outcomes that include competence in critical thinking and problem solving, facility with written and spoken language, understanding of scientific principles and methods, understanding of history and culture, tolerance for opposing viewpoints, and commitment to life-long learning.
- Promoting citizenship and leadership and equipping our students with the knowledge, understanding, and skills to make character a foundation of their personal and professional lives.
- Recruiting qualified students from a diversity of backgrounds and economic conditions who are prepared to take advantage of Mississippi State’s programs and uphold its academic standards, providing financial assistance to those in need, and helping them make smooth transitions from their high school or community college.
- Providing mentoring and support to the students admitted to maximize their chances of success and to help Mississippi reach and surpass the national average in the percentage of our population that holds a college degree.
- Assisting students in reducing the time required to earn a degree by offering more courses during winter intersession and Maymester and by various distance learning methods.
- Enhancing the quality and reputation of the university by pursuing membership in national organizations that recognize academic excellence.
- Providing access for working and place-bound adult learners and other non-traditional students, such as members of the armed forces, particularly through distance learning programs and the Meridian Campus.
- Pursuing cooperative ventures and interactions with other state colleges and universities.
Goal: Recruit and retain a highly qualified and diverse faculty, providing them with an environment that supports excellent teaching, research and service while offering opportunities for professional growth and pursuing salaries, benefits and other rewards that recognize success.
The overall success of the university is inextricably tied to the quality and commitment of the scholars who perform the teaching, research and service at the heart of our mission. To implement our strategy of ensuring an outstanding faculty, we are committed to:
- Improving faculty compensation and other rewards.
- Providing opportunities for professional development.
- Pursuing an infrastructure and environment that is conducive to scholarly productivity.
Goal: Achieve fiscal stability by encouraging private, corporate, and government financial support and by recruiting and retaining qualified students through a sustained campaign that also allows us to expand and stabilize our tuition base.
Implementation of FutureSTATE 2015 requires financial stability. While state funding will continue to provide the essential support for many core operations of the university, our emphasis will be on helping ourselves by increasing revenue from other sources, particularly including private fund raising. To help achieve financial stability and predictability, we are committed to:
- A continuous campaign to encourage increased financial support from private individuals, corporations, foundations, and federal and state agencies.
- A robust student recruiting and retention campaign that ensures access and opportunity for students from every sector of the state’s population; attracts students from throughout the region, state, and world; and helps to expand our tuition base and avoid the flat or declining enrollment trends that would sap the institution of required resources.
- Continuous efforts to measure and manage costs to maximize productivity and efficiency.
Goal: Expand research opportunities and results by supporting the institutional components and infrastructure that enable discovery and application of new knowledge and by identifying emerging opportunities.
As a land-grant university, MSU has a fundamental responsibility to pursue research that is useful to Mississippi and the nation, building on existing strengths in engineering and agricultural sciences and pursuing emerging opportunities in other fields that match the university's areas of expertise and the needs of the state, including automotive research and development, computational sciences, biotechnology, early childhood learning, biological engineering, remote sensing, and alternative energy sources, among others. We are committed to:
- Providing the services, equipment, and opportunities needed to attract outstanding researchers and major research grants.
- Developing programs and resources to take advantage of emerging opportunities, including expanded cooperative efforts with other state universities.
Goal: Promote economic development that contributes to a better quality of life in Mississippi by integrating and organizing the university’s extensive capabilities and forming relationships with communities and corporations throughout Mississippi to support creation and retention of high quality employment opportunities for the state’s citizens.
Mississippi State has the capability to be a catalyst for economic development and improvements in the quality of life in communities across the state; to provide direct assistance to citizens through the MSU Extension Service and other units of the university with major outreach and service missions; and to support other agencies working to attract new investment to Mississippi. To encourage and sustain economic and community development and service, we are committed to:
- Organizing and making accessible to business and industry, the agricultural sector, and schools the varied capabilities within the university that can aid economic development throughout the state, enhancing employment opportunities for our citizens while preserving a healthy and sustainable natural environment.
- Teaming with communities in responsive and enduring fashion to help achieve their goals.
- Helping produce highly qualified teachers and other school personnel for K-12 schools and community colleges throughout Mississippi, particularly in areas of critical needs.
- Working with state and local economic development organizations to recruit high-wage and high-tech industry to Mississippi, and encouraging the creation of spin-off companies from MSU research in engineering and other fields.
- Reaching out to youth through 4-H and other programs targeting youth development.
Goal: Strengthen pride and involvement with MSU among students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, friends, retired faculty, and others who make up the Great Bulldog Nation with a successful athletics program, a vibrant social and cultural environment, and a campus infrastructure and physical appearance that is inviting and pride-inspiring.
Social and leadership opportunities that enrich an individual’s college experience and build school spirit and unity among students from varied backgrounds find expression in an active student association, organizations including fraternities and sororities, and intercollegiate athletics. An aesthetically pleasing campus and efficient living and working environments increase productivity and satisfaction. The dedication of more than 100,000 alumni and friends is a source of strength that can help MSU achieve its goals and earn the respect of the country. To support a healthy and stimulating campus environment and encourage the active involvement of alumni and friends, we are committed to:
- Enhancing the quality of the living, learning, social, and cultural environment for MSU students.
- Sponsoring an intercollegiate athletics program that is committed to winning with character, ensuring that student-athletes succeed academically, and strengthening the image of the university in support of recruiting, fund raising, and reputation building.
- Improving the physical appearance and functionality of the campus to instill pride in the Bulldog family and create a welcoming and appealing environment for visitors and newcomers.
- Organizing and informing alumni, friends, and families to better enable them to help tell the MSU story and achieve greater national respect and reputation.
- Implementing a “make a difference” strategy that mobilizes alumni, friends, and families as force multipliers for university recruiting and fund raising efforts.
- Strengthening university-community relationships through increased consultation and cooperation with local governments and organizations.
Initiatives to implement our strategy
Achieving the goals of FutureSTATE 2015 requires that specific action-oriented steps be planned, funded, and implemented. Current and anticipated revenues allowed us to begin the process with these key initiatives during 2006-2007 or 2007-08, although full implementation will be a long-term process in many cases. Other recommended initiatives (See Appendix C) will be undertaken or further evaluated in succeeding years.
To enhance student growth and development by providing excellent academic programs, building character, and ensuring an accessible, caring, and diverse environment, we will:
- Increase course offerings and programming through the Shackouls Honors College, developing additional sections of honors courses and increasing staff to meet expanding program needs, and expand efforts to recruit and mentor future scholars and leaders through the Distinguished Scholars Program.
- Enhance library resources and services by developing a plan of action that will lead to membership in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).
- Increase funding for freshman class sections in the College of Arts and Sciences, which provides core education foundation courses for all university students.
- Strengthen the College of Arts and Sciences to acknowledge the central role of the liberal arts and sciences in the educational experience of all students, including hiring additional faculty and devoting resources to other initiatives that enhance undergraduate study. To further expand academic opportunities for students in the liberal arts and sciences, seek to shelter a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.
- Expand the scope of the Pathfinders retention program to include upper classmen as well as freshmen. The program has had a significant positive effect on both retention and graduation rates.
- Support efforts to intervene academically with students who are scheduled for suspension due to low GPAs by funding the Learning Skills Support Program, contributing to improved retention and graduation rates.
- Establish and fund the Mississippi State Promise grant program to provide access to the People’s University for academically qualified freshmen and community college transfers who might otherwise be unable to attend. Establish an African-American Studies minor and/or certificate program to build on and further encourage diversity among students.
- Establish the Mississippi State International Program (MSIP) to recognize the global nature of almost everything we do and enhance the educational experience of students through exposure to other cultures, including development of a strategic initiative that focuses on recruiting international students.
- Submit a request to receive funding and participate in the National Security Language Initiative by offering language and experiential learning opportunities related to Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, and Farsi.
- Establish a Mississippi State Center for America’s Veterans (MSCAV) to recruit and support students who have served in the armed forces, make MSU the university of choice for veterans and their families who desire to complete a college degree, and perpetuate the legacy of Rep. Sonny Montgomery of Mississippi, MSU graduate and author of the Montgomery GI Bill.
- Create a core curriculum based first year experience program that provides students with individualized attention, leadership service experiences, and help in making the transition to college life.
- Utilize the MSU Riley Center in Meridian to complement the academics on the Starkville campus in the areas of theater, public relations, and broadcasting. Additional opportunities at the Riley Center should be explored for regional conferences associated with departmental disciplines.
- Increase emphasis on programs that focus on other higher education institutions, including community colleges, and programs such as Upward Bound to facilitate transfer of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to MSU.
- Develop relationships with colleges that have a high percentage of students from underrepresented groups.
- Further strengthen the commitment to quality undergraduate teaching by providing additional support to the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) for learning communities, additional staff, and additional programming. (2007-08)
- Expand the scope and mission of the University Academic Advising Center. (2007-08)
- Establish a Study Abroad Office that reports to the Office of the Provost in order to increase study abroad participation at MSU. (2007-08)
- Continue efforts to improve the degree audit and registration systems to make them more student-friendly and staff-friendly, including facilitation of the transfer process from the community colleges. (2007-08)
- Integrate the Meridian Campus strategic plan with the plan for the Starkville campus. Explore special and niche programming opportunities at Meridian. Encourage closer interaction between the Meridian and Starkville campuses. (2007-08)
- Strengthen assessment efforts to ensure institutional effectiveness. (2007-08)
Leadership and Character Development
- Establish an Institute for Leadership and Service to coordinate and expand leadership and service opportunities. Establish the Sonny Montgomery Chapter of the Appalachian Leadership Honors Program; establish a minor in Leadership Studies to provide a marketable enhancement to existing degree programs; and expand informal and formal programs to include diversity components for developing student leaders.
- Promote honor and academic integrity. Create an Honor Council with widespread representation from all colleges, educate students and faculty about issues related to academic misconduct, increase enforcement of penalties for academic misconduct, and provide a remediation step that would encourage students to make reparations for past poor behaviors.
To recruit and retain a highly qualified and diverse faculty, providing them with an environment that supports excellent teaching, research and service while offering opportunities for professional growth and pursuing salaries, benefits and other rewards that recognize success, we will:
- Work to make faculty salaries nationally competitive with those of peer institutions.
- Increase the number of tenure-track faculty (with terminal degrees and postdoctoral experience where appropriate) and fund new positions to support new and expanding academic programs.
- Establish a faculty honors and awards program to recognize and reward faculty. Expand faculty recognition thorough lower levels of awards, such as college awards, to recognize shorter term successes and younger faculty.
- Use proactive approaches to increase the candidate pool for faculty positions, providing competitive start-up packages, salaries, and required infrastructure.
- Revise the reward system to promote and recognize outstanding faculty productivity. Faculty members who have outstanding publication, presentation, grant-getting records, and numbers of Ph.D. advisees should be appropriately rewarded as part of an overall accountability system for all colleges, departments, and faculty members.
- Provide a mentoring program to assist new faculty with research in each department.
- Foster more effective communication with faculty by scheduling annual meetings between the upper administration and the combined leadership of the Faculty Senate, University Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the University Committee on Courses and Curricula; scheduling meetings between the provost and department heads and deans to discuss promotion and tenure standards and procedures; scheduling meetings each fall between the University Promotion and Tenure Committee and representatives of college and departmental promotion and tenure committees; and communicating changes in policies and practices in a timely manner.
- Conduct seminars sponsored by the University Promotion and Tenure Committee and by college promotion and tenure committees to assist faculty members preparing applications for promotion and/or tenure. Explore the advisability of changing from department heads to department chairs.
- Evaluate the faculty annual review process using a broad-based committee. The annual review process should provide evaluations of faculty work that are consistent across the university. Reviews should include constructive advice on how individual faculty can achieve promotion and/or tenure.
Teaching, research and service and their relation to promotion and tenure
The strategic review identified a number of overlapping or competing concerns related to the appropriate division of effort among teaching, research, and service responsibilities, and how the university acknowledges and rewards contributions in each area in the promotion and tenure processes. These issues are of sufficient importance, breadth, and complexity to warrant further detailed study and recommendations. A broadly representative Task Force on Faculty Activities and the Promotion and Tenure Process will be appointed for this purpose. The charge to the task force will include, but will not be limited to, further consideration of the following recommendations generated thus far through the strategic review:
- Discuss with the campus community the appropriate emphasis that will be placed on teaching/learning, research/scholarship, and service/outreach for annual reviews, merit-pay increases, promotion and tenure decisions, and post-tenure review.
- Investigate ways to put more emphasis on teaching in the promotion and tenure process.
- Place more value on the importance of quality teaching. The Center for Teaching and Learning should examine current teaching practices.
- Increase the proportion of undergraduate courses taught by tenured or tenure-track faculty.
- Discuss ways to make research efforts more focused. Identify areas of excellence and emerging research areas. Build core faculty in new and emerging areas of research strengths.
- Improve the infrastructure to assist and enable faculty research.
- Develop faculty research committees in every department and center. Committees would meet regularly with the associate deans for research, and the associate deans would meet regularly with the vice president for research and the dean of graduate studies. Associate deans would identify opportunities and resources at the college level. The vice president for research and the dean of graduate studies would identify opportunities and resources at the university level.
- Define service and outreach as follows:
- Service is largely dedication of our time and effort in support of university based, professional, civic, educational, and faith-based activities. (Other mutually agreed upon activities may be included in this definition.)
- Outreach delivers to clientele educational and research programs that strengthen their capacity to address critical agriculture, business, family and youth, community, and economic development issues impacting them. (Other mutually agreed upon education and research activities may be included in this definition.)
- Promote service and outreach relationships by portraying respect for internal and external participants in the service and outreach areas and enhancing communication within the MSU community to encourage collaboration and teamwork that strengthen service and outreach effectiveness.
To achieve fiscal stability by encouraging private, corporate, and government financial support and by recruiting and retaining qualified students through a sustained campaign that also allows us to expand and stabilize our tuition base, we will:
- Engage private, corporate, and foundation sources to establish a “Reach for Excellence” endowment in support of academic excellence.
- Increase tuition revenue through an integrated recruiting and retention campaign to attract students to the main campus, the Meridian Campus, degree-granting centers, and courses and programs offered through distance learning.
- Synchronize enrollment growth with increases in faculty numbers and other resources. Incremental growth of 300 to 500 undergraduate students per year should be maintained for a period of four to five years.
- Develop creative approaches to increasing revenue that can be used to augment faculty salaries and departmental budgets. A more direct link between revenues and salaries would encourage faculty to be more entrepreneurial.
- Develop a plan to encourage departmental involvement in recruitment and retention by returning 75 percent of new tuition revenue to academic departments and colleges as enrollments grow beyond current levels.
- Increase the number of top scholarships available by providing additional resources for the scholarship pool in Admissions and Scholarships.
- Increase the number and quality of graduate students, with the number of doctorates awarded growing by 5 percent a year.
- Continue to improve compensation for graduate assistants.
- Develop a strategic initiative that focuses on recruiting graduate and undergraduate international students from specific regions, retaining those students by helping them to feel welcome at Mississippi State and in Starkville, and developing strong, continuing relationships with international alumni.
- Implement an energy conservation plan with specific reduction goals based on FY 2006 usage and return cost savings to units achieving reductions.
- Review and adjust pricing of revenue-generating services.
- Continuously measure and manage costs to maximize productivity and efficiency.
To expand research opportunities and results by supporting the institutional components and infrastructure that enable beneficial discovery and application of new knowledge, and by identifying emerging opportunities, we will:
- Heighten the overall impact of the university and advance issues important to its constituents in Mississippi and beyond by identifying centers of excellence that can help focus resources to enhance our service to the state and nation and build our national and international reputation. Centers of Excellence are characterized by interdisciplinary clusters and areas open to all faculty members who have interest and expertise, rather than centering on specific colleges, departments, or other units. Centers of Excellence should be further strengthened by encouraging the participation of current faculty, targeting new hires, and providing enhanced support as resources become available.
- Invest the resources and energy required to recognize and solidify the national reputations of centers of excellence in Agriculture and Natural Resources Systems; Computational Science and Engineering; Transportation Systems; Applied Social Sciences; and Materials and Devices. (See Appendix A for descriptions and participating areas.)
- Invest the resources and energy required to establish and solidify the national reputations of emerging centers of excellence in Energy Systems; Global Information Systems and Natural Disaster Preparedness; Natural Resources, Environmental Science, and Environmental Toxicology; Bioimaging and Biomedical Sciences; Early Childhood Education, Health and Development; Community Engagement and Economic Development; Public Policy and Administration; the Center for America’s Veterans; the Shackouls Honors College; and the Sonny Montgomery Chapter of the Appalachian Leadership Honors Program. (See Appendix A for descriptions and participating areas.)
- Invest the resources and energy required to realize the potential as national centers of excellence in the areas of Internationalization and International Programs; Humanities; African-American Studies; and Leadership. (See Appendix A for descriptions and participating areas.)
- Identify additional interdisciplinary clusters and areas that demonstrate the quality and growth potential to become centers of excellence.
- Appoint associate deans for research and graduate education to serve collectively as a council of academic administrators to assist and advise the Dean of Graduate Studies and to provide day-to-day oversight of graduate programs in their colleges.
To promote economic development that contributes to a better quality of life in Mississippi by integrating and organizing the university’s extensive capabilities and forming relationships with communities and corporations throughout Mississippi to support creation and retention of high quality employment opportunities for the state’s citizens, we will:
- Establish a Mississippi State Community Action Team (MSCAT) to assist communities across the state in economic development, ensuring the optimum utilization of university capabilities.
- Recommit to strong economic development teamwork and communication with the local community.
- Team with the city and county school districts to attain higher levels of accreditation for all schools.
- Communicate the importance of service and outreach at the campus level and enrich students’ experiences through service learning.
- Enhance and expand the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park to create high-wage jobs.
- Work with the city and county to create a public transit system.
To strengthen pride and involvement with MSU among students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, friends, retired faculty, and others who make up the Great Bulldog Nation with a successful athletics program, a vibrant social and cultural environment, and a campus infrastructure and physical appearance that is inviting and pride-inspiring, we will:
- Take advantage of the enthusiasm of alumni and friends across the nation and beyond by working with them to enhance the nature and character of the MSU family in support of recruiting throughout the state, the nation, and the world.
- Increase resources, re-emphasize winning with character, ensure compliance, and continue to focus on academic progress and the success of student-athletes in intercollegiate athletics programs.
- Tell our story by aggressively informing the university community, government leaders, and the public about MSU’s accomplishments, and involve them in telling our story to others.
- Develop an information process to ensure that alumni and supporters are regularly updated on university events, initiatives, and successes, recognizing the vital contributions of alumni and friends to recruiting, fund raising and other efforts.
- Continue to conduct town meetings involving the administration, faculty, and staff in each division to receive input and establish points of action.
- Simplify and improve the performance appraisal process for staff to allow for effective communication about job performance between supervisors and the staff members.
- Make effective use of performance appraisals a consideration in evaluating supervisory staff. Enforce the Human Resources Management policy requiring evaluations and implement a mechanism for anonymously reporting failure to adhere to the policy.
- Provide broad-based diversity/sensitivity training.
- Provide chairs of search committees with training in how to conduct a search.
- Ensure viable, productive social outlets for our students, building on the good will, friendship, and service provided by student organizations.
- Commit to a strong Student Association vested with appropriate responsibility and authority and strong discipline- and interest-based student organizations, taking advantage of the skills and character of student leaders and ensuring their participation as part of the TEAM.
- Develop and implement a Mississippi State Campus Appearance Program (MSCAP) including the use of sculpture and other art to help attract new students, faculty, and visitors and provide a more pleasant living and working environment.
- Implement the MSU Diversity Plan and use it as a management tool. (2007-08)
- Modernize the process for allocating classroom space and better utilize technology already in place. Purchase or develop software that provides a complete inventory of classroom space, the rated occupancy of classrooms, and the average size of classes.
- Schedule more classes during off-peak times. Designate all rooms with lecture facilities as general classrooms that are available to all departments.
- Construct or remodel large lecture classrooms and require that these be general use facilities that are available to all departments.
- Establish safety as a top priority and reinforce it through frequent messages, safety training for supervisors and workers, and investigations of all safety incidents. Establish a coordinated effort for identifying safety issues and overseeing regulatory requirements.
- Continue to improve campus accessibility for students, faculty, staff and visitors with disabilities, including improved access to technology and electronic information.
- Evaluate every element found in the campus landscape, including buildings, plantings, and paving, from a sustainability standpoint, and increase the application of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards in new construction. Involve appropriate university expertise as well as external expertise in these evaluations. Update and monitor implementation of the Campus Master Plan.
- Continue to improve environmental safety by enhancing the emergency phone system and campus lighting. Continue to improve environmental safety by enhancing the emergency phone system and campus lighting.