Strategic Planning in the Context of the Arts and Letters
From Danielle Nicole DeVoss on April 14th, 2020
COMPLETE TEXT-ONLY TRANSCRIPT BELOW
(DNDV) Hello! We're eager to share with you and to talk about the future directions and institutional opportunities that you're in the midst of shaping.
INTRODUCTION SLIDE 2
(DNDV) I'm Danielle Nicole DeVoss. I'm a professor in Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, where I'm also associate chair and director of our graduate programs. I'm the chair of our College Advisory Council, which includes elected representation from each of CAL's units and departments, along with staff and student representation.
(RR) I’m Rob Roznowski. I’m a professor in Theatre, Graduate program coordinator and the Head of Acting and Directing. I’m the chair of the Dean’s Arts Advisory Council which includes appointed representatives from CAL’s arts units and departments and is working to create strategic programming and benchmarks for CAL and for the university in the context of the MSUArts Initiative and our institutional strategic planning activities.
MSUArts QUOTE SLIDE
(RR) The MSUArts Initiative launched in 2019 and is now, as you know, braided in our larger strategic planning work. It aims to “maximize the impact of existing arts resources and create new opportunities for synergy and engagement across disciplines and across campus. MSUArts consists of three broad action areas where the university can seek opportunity and make an impact: the educational experience, research and creativity and creating a sense of place.”
STRATEGIC PLANNING QUESTIONS SLIDE
(DNDV) The strategic planning process, as you well know, is framed by six key questions.
STRATEGIC PLANNING QUESTIONS SLIDE 2
(DNDV) We're really focusing today on two of these large-scale questions: First, how should MSU position itself for leadership and distinguish itself as a model, next-gen, land-grant institution? and how can we leverage our collective resources and anticipate society's evolving needs to establish cross-institutional priorities and initiatives?
(RR) To address these two questions, we want to share some current, ongoing projects, some imagined future projects to help support MSU in reaching these goals, and share some of our "gives"--that is, the ways in which the College of Arts & Letters is poised and committed to participating in the future of the university.
(RR) In this context, we want to start with a claim: No major challenge we have today can be redressed with any integrity or sustainability without the arts and humanities.
STRATEGIC PRIORITY SLIDE
(DNDV) To address this claim, we currently engage and deem it imperative in the context of strategic planning to further engage the scholarship and research, performance, and production of the arts and humanities across our institutional and community work, life, and activities.
BACKGROUND TRANSITION SLIDE
(DNDV) As a college, we work to:
Prepare students for the careers and workplaces of tomorrow—including an emphasis on empathic engagement, creative thinking, artistic orientation, and humanistic engagement.
Create and distribute knowledge on, around, and through humanities-anchored inquiry and artistic expression.
Attract and support a diverse, inclusive, leadership-forward, and caring faculty and staff.
Create an environment where all people know they are valued for their contributions.
(DNDV) And in our current context, we work to:
Support and sustain leading-edge, student-centered, peer-engaged online learning.
Provide just-in-time and long-tail support for faculty transitioning to online teaching.
Partner with NatSci, Business, Education, and CAS to integrate our efforts for the university and all students.
CAL EdTech reps, along with professor and associate dean Bill Hart-Davidson, are currently working with the Hub and partners across campus creating workshops on quality online courses that emphasize accessibility and that integrates a quality evaluation process. They are also engaging a Resilient Pedagogy focus, working to implement curricula in our turbulent times but also providing a framework for enhancing teaching--all teaching--in the long term.
(DNDV) This work is engaged through fundamental priorities. And here we’re drawing from the Dean’s vision statement--echoed in January by Norm Beauchamp, Jr., our executive vice president for health sciences-- and the ways in which the College Advisory Council and the Dean’s Arts Advisory Council are enacting this fundamental work.
(RR) A significant emphasis in our college, which we’ve tried to model and broadly share, is on cultivating a culture of care, especially in an institution that for a range of reasons has been fragile over the past few years. We want to create a culture that is transparent, open, trusting, and safe for all stakeholders and participants.
(DNDV) We want to cultivate caring and accountable leadership. And we want to empower everyone to be engaged in a community that is inclusive and equitable.
(RR) These goals are anchored by a commitment to equity, openness, and community.
VALUES SLIDE 2
(DNDV) When we speak of EQUITY, we’re referring to inclusivity, diversity, social justice, equitable access, and accessibility.
When we speak of OPENNESS, we’re oriented toward being transparent, engaging in open processes, being candid, acting with accountability, and openly sharing resources.
When we speak of COMMUNITY, we’re talking about collaboration, collegiality, empathy, respect, and connection.
None of this is soft and fuzzy. All of this is hard work that we take on every day, all day, in our interactions with one another and in the work we do.
We see these values as the necessary context for the next-gen, land-grant institution that is a catalyst for research, teaching, leadership, and community engagement.
(DNDV) Just one space where these values are critical is health care. As VP Beauchamp reported, drawing on data from Health Care Today, racial and ethnic minorities and low-income Americans face significant barriers, restrictions, and reductions in care.
HEALTH CARE, CONTINUED
(DNDV) We’re seeing all of these issues and disparities being exacerbated in our current Coronavirus context, particularly here in Michigan in Detroit. Whether they be healthcare provision in a typical context or care access in a pandemic context, these issues must be addressed in coordination across disciplines, institutions, cities, and communities--with equity, openness, and collaboration as driving values.
Our CAL faculty are already engaged in projects related to medical ethics, shared healthcare decision making approaches, water and food-system sustainability, and more. In this work, we cultivate relationships among stakeholders, craft innovative and creative methods of engagement, and bring a human focus to problems that all too often are reduced to technical challenges.
ACTIVITIES TRANSITION SLIDE
(RR) We want to share three activities, existing and emergent, that we feel are emblematic of how we can position ourselves as a model next-gen, land-grant institution leveraging our collective resources to anticipate and address our world’s evolving needs.
EDGAR CARDENAS / C4I SLIDE
(DNDV) For instance, sustainability and the environment--Edgar Cardenas, author of Between Two Pines: Ushering in a Sustainable Future Through an Art-Science Practice, is working through the Center for Interdisciplinarity in CAL. One of his current projects is across two entomology labs and an extension campus in Traverse city to develop a multimedia project that connects scientific work to situations growers face in Traverse city with an invasive fruit fly.
No major challenge we face today can be redressed with any integrity or sustainability without the arts and humanities and work like photographer-activist-humanist-artist-scientist Cardenas.
ACADEMIC MUSIC LABEL SLIDE
(DNDV) CAL is already pioneering next-gen land-grant values by creating the first academic music label. A group of cross-college faculty and students are driving student-led production and entrepreneurship in the arts by launching the first production, marketing, and distribution label for academic work. Essentially, they’re reimagining the music industry in the context of the land-grant mission and in the context of research and production in the arts and humanities.
No major challenge we face today can be redressed with any integrity or sustainability without the arts and humanities and work like this cross-disciplinary team working to ensure that voices are collected, music is heard, and production in anchored is an example of a next-gen academic institution.
ARTS INTEGRATION SLIDE
(RR) A third example is an Arts Integration initiative. CAL will invest in an Arts Integration specialist, whose work will be to help direct efforts to ensure that the arts happen across CAL curriculum; advocate for high-profile, cross-college and interdisciplinary arts events; connect courses, spaces, and places; and deliver recommendations on how we can engage this integration university-wide.
KEY THEMES SLIDE
(DNDV)The backdrop for initiatives like these three, which situate CAL’s work in a next-gen, land-grant institution, are related to key themes surfaced in the college that we imagine as strategic priority-shaping wicked problems.
(RR) First, issues of health and sustainability. We have no doubt that in the coming years issues related to basic food and water needs and access, issues related to climate change, and--of course we feel this most significantly in our current moment--issues of a smaller, closer world and the spread of illness.
(DNDV) Second, accessibility, usability, and accommodations as a humanistic endeavor and ethical act, not just legal requirement. Often, we talk about accessibility and usability as related to access to digital content, but accessibility and usability are, indeed, significant umbrella terms for ensuring that people have full access and can fully engage across spaces, tools, devices, and more. If not, we need to develop 21st century accommodations so that all people can fully engage in learning, participating, sharing, and more.
(RR) Third, cultural transformation, especially in the ways in which higher ed engages cultural transformation and is transformed by cultural moments and events. By cultural transformation, we’re pointing specifically to the context of #metoo in the wake of a post-Nassar institution; we’re talking about the growing transformations technology, especially artificial intelligence, is having on our lives, our businesses, our economies, and our classrooms; and we’re specifically talking about cultivating Spartans and an MSU community oriented not just to reacting to these changes, but, indeed, leading the world in the way we address them.
(DNDV) No major challenge we face today can be redressed with any integrity or sustainability without the arts and humanities and the integration of humanistic vision and values and artistic creation and production across disciplines.
GIVES TRANSITION SLIDE
(DNDV) That’s what we’re working on now. We wanted to approach this conversation with you as a chance for us to not ask for what we want or need to sustain our work and innovate into the future, but rather to focus on gives--that is, what we are offering the MSU community in the context of strategic planning.
ARTS INTEGRATION ACTIVITIES SLIDE: CURRICULAR
(RR) Second, the next few sets of activities are based on the work of the DAAC. Regarding curricular initiatives, there are plans, for instance, to offer arts integration fellowships to build cross-disciplinary curricula.
ARTS INTEGRATION ACTIVITIES SLIDE: COLLEGE
(RR) As for college activities, we hope, for instance, to create an Arts Pass initiative to engage more students in more accessible ways to find the arts across campus.
ARTS INTEGRATION ACTIVITIES SLIDE: UNIVERSITY
(DNDV) At the university level, we will support and participate in the development of the University Multicultural Center and launch a major initiative linking humanities, arts, and one of MSU’s key research priorities in the coming years--climate, sustainability, food security, etc.
ACROSS INITIATIVES SLIDE
(DNDV) And across these gives, we will do what we do and be who we are, which is a community of people devoted to:
illuminating, illustrating, collaborating, and engaging through artistic creation and humanistic inquiry
working with students to analyze, critique, theorize, historicize, and contextualize—and to make, do, produce, deliver, and perform
engaging students in developing and putting to use creative, innovative, problem-solving skills
anchoring our work to equity, openness, and community
contributing to and, indeed, leading the path for cutting-edge scholarship in the arts and humanities and in engagement with other disciplines and areas of inquiry and practice
CONCLUSION TRANSITION SLIDE
(RR) Earlier we claimed that no major challenge we face today can be redressed with any integrity or sustainability without the arts and humanities.
CLAIM SLIDE 2
(DNDV) We have no doubt that each and every other college at MSU is making a similar argument. Indeed, that's one of our key strengths as a large, research-intensive, land-grant institution.
And we have an opportunity now to move together toward the future of the institution and to the hard work of the coming years, to collaborate and together innovate and work to transform higher ed, Michigan, the U.S., and the world.
We’re excited about CAL’s contributions to building and sustaining the next-gen, land-grant institution--one infused with, illuminated by, and anchored from the research and production of the arts and the humanities.END SEQUENCE