MSU leaders highlight university successes, momentum in spring General Faculty Meeting

Mark E. Keenum speaks from a podium at the General Faculty Meeting.
MSU President Mark E. Keenum speaks during the spring 2021 General Faculty meeting. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State leaders highlighted the many ways university faculty and staff are moving MSU and the Magnolia State forward during Tuesday’s [Feb. 9] spring General Faculty Meeting.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum commended the university community for a successful fall semester as student enrollment continues to reach a record high. He thanked university faculty and staff for continuing to serve students and communities throughout Mississippi during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have never worked harder in fulfilling our mission of serving this state, serving our students and community,” Keenum said. “Our productivity continues to rise in teaching, learning, research, outreach and service. Our faculty and staff are doing an amazing job of serving our state and serving our students.”

Keenum provided an update on the state’s fiscal condition, noting Mississippi is in a strong position as revenues continue to exceed projections this fiscal year. He said that his priority in the 2021 regular session of the Mississippi Legislature is procuring a pay raise for MSU faculty.

MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development Julie Jordan highlighted the university’s continued growth in research funding. In the recently released National Science Foundation rankings for fiscal year 2019, MSU ranked No. 92 among all universities nationally in research and development expenditures. MSU reported $264 million in research and development expenditures for FY 2019, a record high, placing it 62nd among all public universities.

Jordan also highlighted several ongoing initiatives in key areas, such as a planned new data center in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park to support MSU’s high-performance computing efforts, the opening of Partnership Middle School on the MSU campus, the university’s leadership in the Mississippi Cyber Initiative, and internal funding to support technology patent costs for faculty and research on issues related to diversity and equity.

“The MSU research enterprise continues to grow as it has for the last decade,” Jordan said. “Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, we have maintained momentum. The efforts of our faculty are what makes all of this go. Our team at ORED is here to do everything we can to help your research endeavors succeed.”

Updating the campus community on the activities of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, Keenum noted that several campus task forces had submitted reports and potential action items for the university to address in areas such as student success and teaching evaluation. As a result of the student success taskforce recommendations, MSU named an interim associate vice president for student success last month.

“I want every single student to succeed at Mississippi State,” Keenum said.

Providing an update on the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, Keenum said all three academic colleges in the division reported enrollment growth in the last year. As a result of MSU’s precision agriculture program and concentration, 30 students have earned unmanned aircraft vehicle flying licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Keenum thanked College of Veterinary Medicine employees for partnering with the John C. Longest Student Health Center to provide COVID-19 diagnostic testing. CVM personnel have analyzed more than 8,000 test samples from the health center with a rapid turnaround time, helping the university remain safe during the pandemic.

“The turnaround time that we have had on testing as a university has been tremendously helpful for us in managing the virus on campus and the work that we are doing in contact tracing,” Keenum said. “We are very blessed to have the capable and willing professionals and facilities that we have here on campus.”

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at