'Message from the Provost': Policy, progress, P&T

In his latest update for the Mississippi State University community, Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert provides details about the new sustainability policy, reports building project progress, and discusses the P&T Procedures document, and more.

Dear Faculty and Staff:

February has brought the semester into full swing. This month we had the first meeting of the Information Technology Council. Under the direction of Chief Information Officer Mike Rackley, it will coordinate and unify, where appropriate, IT functions across the campus. We are already looking at possibilities for a single email system for the campus and further ways to go paperless with MSU forms. I have also asked Executive Director of Campus Operations Amy Tuck to begin looking at ways to better coordinate our custodial and maintenance functions on campus, as was suggested in the report of the Select Committee on Efficiencies and Innovations.

Also this month, I am appointing a new university committee, the Sustainability Committee, as is specified in a new policy recently passed on sustainability http://www.msstate.edu/dept/audit/0127.html. It will be broad-based, and it will "set a framework and procedure for sustainable facility development and operations, grounds development and maintenance, materials procurement and disposal, and transportation." In keeping with the effort to encourage conservation of energy resources, our parking options for 2012-2013 will include a couple of park-and-ride opportunities at reduced rates, and Parking Services is looking to expand its shuttle routes in the future into the community to encourage the use of public transportation as an alternative to driving.

Recently, I was in charge of leading the discussion in the last listening session for the university's process to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan to enhance a single component of undergraduate learning. Dr. Keenum was also present at the session, and he and I both were encouraged by the enthusiasm that has been exhibited by faculty members and staff throughout the process as we move further along the path of reaffirmation of accreditation by SACS.

Progress continues to be made on planning for the new 90,000 square foot classroom building. With input from the classroom subcommittee of the Master Plan Development and Advisory Committee (MPDAC), the architects are adjusting layouts of various spaces and classrooms and should report back later this month. Similarly, the architects for the Aiken Village project are producing additional designs for consideration and should report back to the MPDAC within a month or so. As you know, we are making plans to rebuild housing at Aiken Village for graduate students, international students, and married students.

As you may have already heard, the Faculty Senate is taking a look the P&T Procedures document. There are a couple of items to clarify, and since they have the document on the table, they will read through all of it for possible edits. Additionally, I have asked the Senate to consider a possible job description and annual review process for Instructors which could then be included in the Faculty Handbook.

I am pleased to announce that beginning in the fall of 2012, I will be having Associate Vice President Julia Hodges conduct a series of administrative training sessions for department heads and other academic administrators in the specifics of practices and policies at MSU. We will begin taking requests to participate in the sessions as soon as the content and dates are finalized. This will be an on-going process which can accommodate all interested administrators over time.

As we finish out February, please consider registering for the Diversity Conference at http://www.ce.msstate.edu/DiversityConference. It will take place on our campus March 1-2.

With warm regards,

Jerry Gilbert
Provost and Executive Vice President

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