MSU Today with Russ White

Russ White

MSU Today is a lively look at Michigan State University-related people, places, events and attitudes put into focus by Russ White. The show airs Saturdays at 5 P.M. and Sundays at 5 A.M. on 102.3 FM and AM 870 WKAR, and 8 P.M. on AM 760 WJR.

“Championship resources” drive holistic mental and physical wellness in Spartan Athletics
5d ago
“Championship resources” drive holistic mental and physical wellness in Spartan Athletics
In this new role, Henderson oversees student-facing areas associated with health, mental and physical wellness, and student athlete engagement. He oversees many of the areas that support student athletes beyond their sport-specific training. This means athletic training, academic support, career development, nutrition, and strength and conditioning with a holistic approach.Henderson tells why he chose MSU to pursue his college football career. And he talks about his career path leading up to taking this new position at MSU. Henderson played for both John L. Smith and Mark Dantonio; he compares the two. “I'm passionate about this work; this is my calling. I really feel this is why I was born, to help serve and help young men and women have an unbelievable experience at the best institution that there is known to man. Every day I wake up fulfilled, passion driven, and fueled knowing that I'm walking to my purpose and I'm in alignment with my vision. And I know that same energy is infectious, and our student athletes feel that, our coaches feel that, and our internal stakeholders, donors and supporters feel that. What you put out into the world is what you get back. I truly believe that, and that's what I bring to the table every day.”What are championship resources?“Under the auspices of the championship resources umbrella, you'll find athletic training and Spartan's Fuel, which is our nutrition program for the entire athletic ecosystem. You’ll find our athletic performance unit, which most would call strength and conditioning, which is critical and important to the student athlete experience.  I'm immensely happy and proud of our new revamped mental health program; that falls into the auspices of championship resources as well.“Then you have sports science, which is new. It’s an unbelievable area where I'm learning every day about how those modalities and opportunities really activate and help our student athletes gain competitive advantages through scientific-based research and evidence-based research. Also, I have the privilege to champion our name, image, and likeness strategy along with a team of 10 other individuals and our entire department on what we do to educate our student athletes in that capacity. I work together with our Spartan for Life student athlete development and Varsity S programs. And I'm the sports administrator for women's basketball.”What is your assessment of the state of mental and physical wellness with student athletes at MSU and across the country?“There is often a stigma attached to treating your mental health, like you must have something wrong with you to see a mental health counselor. I see a mental health counselor every month to help keep me sane as well as to de-stigmatize and let folks know it is okay. But it's not okay to not be okay.”Henderson talks more about what he and his team are doing to help improve student-athletes’ mental and physical wellness. And he talks about the The Gregory H. Montgomery Jr. Foundation for Ultimate Growth and its mission.“It's important for us to have a pulse on what's going on. So, for me, it's getting into the training room and getting into spaces where student athletes reside. It's easy to just stay at your desk and emails will inundate you. But for me, I make it a priority to get around and talk to student athletes and connect with them to understand their experience, who their families are, what's their why, and what drives them. “There is a genuine pulse and understanding of where our student athletes are, which I'm grateful for, and that comes with building authentic relationships and asking the right questions, not just saying, ‘Hey you good? I'm good. You good? Let's keep walking.’ No, we must have a meaningful conversation saying, ‘Hey, how are you doing today? And what has been a challenge in your day?’ Those are the questions we must start asking to get folks more feeling connected to us instead of the real quick hitters where you're never going to get the right and real answer because they know you don't have time to talk to them.”Henderson says MSU’s name, image, and likeness plan “is the most comprehensive, most thought out educational platform program in the country. We are providing the utmost quality care and first-class experience to our student athletes to the best of our abilities. We do that in a cornucopia of different ways, and I'm committed to doing that and to being on the ground. It’s a competitive advantage.”As a Spartan Football player, Henderson may be best known for returning a blocked punt for a touchdown in MSU's 35-point comeback win over Northwestern in 2006, the biggest comeback in FBS history. “Russ, October 21 defined my life for me; I knew that day that anything is possible. Never give up. Our team never gave up that day. I've never had that many text messages in my life. And that's a moment my parents have captured on DVD. We watch it sometimes during the holidays, and it's something that's truly special.”(audio courtesy of Scott Moore; George Blaha on the Spartan Sports Network)MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
Arts and culture institutions collaborating to imbue the arts into the fabric of MSU
Sep 15 2022
Arts and culture institutions collaborating to imbue the arts into the fabric of MSU
WKAR Public Media is celebrating a century of service as AM 870 went on the air in August of 1922. Wharton Center for Performing Arts is celebrating 40 years of providing a wide array of world class arts and entertainment for mid-Michigan and beyond. And the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum opened its doors 10 years ago. The three leaders of these MSU institutions join the program today. Shawn Turner is the interim director of broadcasting at MSU and general manager of WKAR Public Media. Eric Olmscheid is executive director of Wharton Center, and Steven Bridges is interim director of the Broad Art Museum. “You don't get to stick around for 100 years without doing something right,” says Turner. “WKAR went on the air on August 18 of 1922. When we originally went on the air, WKAR was about providing agricultural information to local farmers and quickly evolved to providing additional programming to the local community. If you look at what's happened over the past hundred years, WKAR has been a leader in innovation when it comes to providing news and information and entertainment to the community. We've come from providing those very direct and limited broadcasts to providing programing and education.“Today we have one of the most popular classical radio stations in all of Michigan. And when we look to the future of WKAR, our viewers and listeners are going to see additional content that's really going to connect with this community. Our evolution has been one of responding to people in the community, responding to our listeners and our viewers, and making sure that at every turn we're doing the right things to support them and their needs.”“Wharton Center is coming up on its 40th anniversary on the 25th of September,” says Olmscheid. “On September 25, 1982, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra opened Wharton Center with a grand affair, and it's been nonstop since then. It has been nonstop in the sense of that commitment to the community and to mid-Michigan and world class performing arts and educational opportunities. The organization continues to think about what's next. We're celebrating 40 years, but we're excited about how we fit into this greater MSU 2030 Strategic Plan, the Arts Plan, and how our units collectively work more together to amplify what's happening from an arts and culture standpoint on this campus. We are continuing to evolve and thinking about how we engage and support what's happening here on campus and how are we connect with the community to be a leader in education, both in university and K-12.“It's truly just beginning, and there are so many more things ahead. As we look at developing our own strategic plan, I think of it as more of a roadmap. Where do we really want to go? And how do we want to connect with our community? People love the Wharton Center for great Broadway programming and amazing concerts, and we’re home to traditional and contemporary performing arts. All of that's going to stay, but I think how we package it and how we connect to our audiences and how we get new audiences in the door is our next chapter and our next focus.”“In the past 10 years, there's been a lot of great work, and I think we've accomplished a lot and made a lot of inroads, both in our community and as a campus leader in arts education,” says Bridges. “We’ve been a strong collaborator and partner to many different disciplines throughout those 10 years. We recently celebrated a major opening of a Zaha Hadid exhibition, which is the largest, most major retrospective of her design work to date. To have Zaha Hadid's design work placed within the architecture of her building is a truly unique and unparalleled experience. I'm very proud of that exhibition, and for us, it also signals an important shift for us looking forward into the future. “If we look back at the Broads and Hadid, they were important figures for us as an institution. Looking at the ways that they carried themselves and that they invested and provided opportunities for growth and development within their spheres of influence, there's a lot of inspiration to be taken there. Zaha Hadid famously said, ‘I think there should be no end to experimentation,’ and that's something that we take whole heartedly at the museum.”WKAR, Wharton Center, and the Broad are all part of a comprehensive campus-wide strategy called University Arts and Collections, which supports units across campus that hold significant cultural and intellectual collections that serve the research, scholarship, and outreach missions of MSU. What is it? Why now, and what are its goals and mission?“Let me start out by saying that I think this is a really amazing collaboration for the community,” continues Turner. “The fact that the three of us are here talking about our organizations and our collaborations and our willingness to work together, and that you have this broader collaboration that will really bring a level of intensity in the arts to this community that we've never seen before, is something that we're all very excited about. This is an opportunity for us to recognize that in the time that we've been a part of this community, we all have touched different parts of this community. We all have different audiences and different followings and different supporters, but those interests that this community has all converge at some point, and what we recognize is that that point is the arts. We're going to work together across the campus to make sure that these collections and these collaborations not only bring us together as organizations, but those collaborations then create new and interesting opportunities for this community to engage with the arts.”“Michigan State is such a large organization that if we don't have the intentional connectivity, it's easy for us to all drift into our own focus,” adds Olmscheid. “We all have our own priorities and strategies that roll up into this greater university plan, which I think is critically important as far as setting direction and intention and shared goals. But if we don't have that intentionality of collaboration, it's easy for us to all be in our own lane not even focused on the greater good. I think that's great. It’s really about access, and this idea that the community can come together is important as we think about our next stage and step in evolution and what we do because that's such a critical piece to our human condition. The arts are that fabric that brings us together. The weaving of the human condition is really through the arts. The arts are such a core piece of who we are and how its evolved in our day-to-day lives is very different today, but I think it's important to remember that.”“These anniversary years weren’t planned, but what a great moment to seize that opportunity and recognize the opportunities that lie before us,” Bridges says. “Culture isn't just something that kind of happens to us. It's something that we create, and we create it together. We all work in the service of this university, the student body, and the faculty and staff and researchers here. But we work for the greater community of mid-Michigan, Lansing and beyond.“Moving forward we want to create more porousness, if you will, between our organizations, but also with the communities that we serve. We want feedback from them directly about what they want to see from us and meet them where they are to create a greater sense of belonging and collectiveness that I think will be more important in terms of ingraining the value of arts and culture within our communities and within our lives.”“Eric talked about access. And when we think about access over at WKAR, part of that for us is going out into the community and finding out what the community wants and what the community needs to feel supported by WKAR,” says Turner. “What is the community interested in with regards to the arts? This is a collaboration, not only between us, but between these organizations in the community. This is an interactive relationship, and so I hope that people feel as excited about this as we do because you're going to have an opportunity to shape the future of these organizations and shape the future of the arts in this community.”“The arts have this really important place in us as human beings, and they connect us,” Olmscheid says. “It's a natural connection, a connective tissue. Here at MSU, the arts have that same kind of connective tissue across campus and across our organizations. What are our plans as we look at connecting to the research endeavor and to looking at academic connections and many other tentacles into the campus community that are beyond just the arts and cultural components? That's the piece that I think is the chapter that is yet to be written. How are we continuing to evolve in that way across the campus and really infusing the arts to be a valuable tool across every piece of MSU?”“That resonates with the values of the museum and the University,” adds Bridges. “It has a large part to do with creating vibrant, welcoming communities and the next generation of arts leaders and stewards of culture within this country and region. The place of the arts as a generative force within our communities and the understanding that a creative approach to thinking and knowledge production are applicable far beyond the arts and into all disciplines. The integration of the arts across campus and into our daily lives is critical to creating exactly that kind of community.“There's a great opportunity to always see and experience and know things differently through the arts, and I think there's a real educational value, but also an expansion of your mind and awareness, which allows you to engage with different cultures, lived experiences and perspectives. That creates more well-rounded individuals and therefore better communities and better societies.”“We're all living at a time when there are a lot of stresses,” concludes Turner. “There's a lot going on in our environment that can make us feel anxious. And as we sit around the table here today, I think about the ability of these organizations to not only help people be well informed about their world, but to Eric's point, it's an opportunity for people to go to a place where we can let the stress go, and we can let the anxiousness go, and we can experience the arts in ways that help us all feel rejuvenated and help us all refresh and help us come back to our world with a new perspective. As I sit here with these gentlemen, and as I think about the collaborations that are to come, that excites me, especially at a time when I think that's something that we all need.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
Alumna, MSU students inspire each other to live “hope-rich” life of recovery and sobriety
Sep 15 2022
Alumna, MSU students inspire each other to live “hope-rich” life of recovery and sobriety
She's also open about being sober and how her ongoing recovery has transformed her life from, as she says, a stark soul-sick place to one rich with friends and activities she loves to do like reading by the lake on a Michigan summer day, supporting working women in any way she can, and connecting with college students and young adults who have courageously found their way to recovery.Susan was both Homecoming Grand Marshal and an MSU Commencement speaker in 2019. She has bachelor’s and master's degrees in advertising and public relations from MSU. She's also a prolific author, and her latest book is titled The Little Book of College Sobriety. Susan tells why she chose MSU for college and describes how MSU prepared her for her career. And she talks about going from writing questionnaires to working at HBO then on to helping create some of America’s most-watched television channels. And she talks about her own path to sobriety.“I'm one of those people who never had any real consequences from my alcohol use, but I was at a place of horrible loneliness and just feeling utterly alone. And it made no sense because I was happily married, starting a family, and had a great job. I didn't understand it.“But what helped to numb it was many glasses of wine every night when I got home. I was in high stress roles. Alcohol really helped with that up until the point where it didn't anymore, it just stopped working. And then it was a very dark place and I realized that I needed to do something to help myself. And while I was at HGTV, I started that sort of slow, painful walk toward recovery.“The book is called The Little Book of College Sobriety: Living, Happy, Healthy, and Free. There are 12 stories in the book, and they're from all over the country. I do have four or five MSU stories, but then I have stories from Colorado and Texas and Virginia and Ohio. The students helped me with everything from the title of the book to their stories themselves, which they put in there.“And their stories are about their journey from despair and addiction into this hope-rich place of recovery. And their stories were so tremendously inspiring to me. I have written two books, so I know how to write a book. I thought I could capture their stories. And I put my story in there, too. This as a book that students who might be questioning whether they should be experiencing college sober could pick up, and maybe they could learn something from it.”You're very involved with MSU's Collegiate Recovery Community. Why is it important to you to talk about substance use disorder and recovery with college students?“It's important to me because I remember when I was a college student and I felt something was wrong with me because I drank so much and abused drugs. And yet, I was in the Honors College. There was just something that was completely disjointed about that. If I had known the questions to ask myself back then and if there had been a Collegiate Recovery Community for me to walk into a lounge and to see people who were happy and who were experiencing college sober, maybe my whole experience of college would've been very different. And maybe it wouldn't have taken me two more decades to get to that place of recovery.”And what do you get from being involved with college students?“Oh, I get so much. It's all about the students. They inspire me every day. They'll send me little notes, and I'll send them notes congratulating them on a sobriety date. They'll tell me about their trips. I feel like I'm sort of the aunt. I'm not anybody's mom. I'm not really related to anybody. They're more open with me than they might be with others who are family. And they've become very dear to me, all of them. And they inspire me. They helped me with my sobriety and my recovery.”Why is the transparent discussing of recovery important?“It's important because mental health is just a part of who we are. We basically are our physical selves, our mental selves, and our social selves. And we try to take care of our physical selves. I mean, not all of us do, but we know about taking care of our physical selves. We know about taking care of our social well-being, especially after COVID, and the importance of being interconnected. But when it comes to our mental health, no one wants to own it or talk about it. It's our culture and I think it's ridiculous. Our mental health is just one part of who we are and it's not even the most important part unless you don't care for it, then it may become the most important part with a lot of negative consequences. I try to model for others that you can live a life of recovery, and you can talk about mental health. I think that hopefully some people will listen and maybe it'll open them up a little bit.”When you think back, what do you imagine the college version of you would've done with the content of the book?“I would have been steadier. I would've had better peace of mind. I would've had more friends, real friends, safe friends. College for me, I mean, it was fun. I would always use that word if anybody asked me, yes, it was fun. But it was also an emotional struggle for me in large part because of the drugs and alcohol.”What would you say are some key takeaways from the book that you'd like people to have and your advice for anyone struggling with substance use disorder?“I personally believe that substance use disorder is a disease of disconnectedness. I believe that an individual just feels completely apart and utterly alone. The antidote to that is finding a community. One of the reasons I wrote the book is only 5 percent of universities around the country have these communities like Michigan State has. All the proceeds from the book are going to a national organization that will grow these recovery communities. You just need to find people who you can feel comfortable and safe with. And after that, recovery is a beautiful, hope-rich way to live.”And what message, Susan, do you have for alumni interested in getting involved with Michigan State University students and initiatives of all kinds?“It starts with what's your passion. Let's say you're a veteran and you want to have some sort of engagement with the vets who are on campus. You can do that. Let's say you love music or you're a musician and you want to have some connection with the musicians at the music school on campus. You can do that. It really depends. I love the students. It may be that certain individuals would prefer to teach a class, or suggest some curriculum, or make donations. There are all kinds of ways you can get involved. For me, though, it begins and ends with the students.”I have one other question on your TV career before I let you go. We hear about cord cutters and how many are paying more for apps than they were for cable. Where is this crazy world of TV and media consumption going in your view?“I feel like we're going in a cyclical way. We're going back to the way it was. Yeah, there are a lot of cord cutters and people are just buying individual networks like Netflix and Amazon Prime and others. That sounds to me a whole lot like Cable TV was 10 or 20 years ago. I believe that we'll have more ability to choose what we want, but there will be a price point issue just like there always has been. And a network like Netflix is now looking at an ad-supported option. When we built cable networks HGTV and CNBC, we had two sources of revenue. They have only always had one source of revenue, which is subscribers. So now they're looking at, ‘Oh my God, how do I grow more revenue?’ And this may work for certain people. They might be okay with it for a lesser price point. I feel like it's so much of the same, only being repackaged and called something different.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
MSU Police evolving to better engage with the campus and community
Sep 14 2022
MSU Police evolving to better engage with the campus and community
As the chief continues to reorganize the department, today we’re focusing on the Police Services Bureau. We have with us today Captain Sherief Fadley. He leads the Patrol Division inside the Police Services Bureau. And Captain Dan Munford oversees the Community Engagement Unit.“The Community Engagement Unit is a team comprised of four sergeants and me,” says Munford. “We're spread out throughout the different neighborhoods on campus, and our goal is just to reach out and be a contact and liaison for our students, faculty and staff within the residential neighborhoods.”“I'm entrusted by the VP to run our Patrol Division, our K-9 Unit, and our IRSRT, which is our tactical team,” says Fadley. “Our Patrol Division is a fully functional; we're a police service. We're vested with the authority as police officers sworn in the state of Michigan. We also are deputized in Ingham County because we have property all over Ingham County, and sometimes we're called for mutual aid assists. We have a 24/7 365-day operation. We provide police services to the community ranging from anything from bike larcenies to domestics, narcotics calls, drug calls, and active shooters if there's that type of call. We respond essentially from mild to wild, Russ.”And Chief, why did you reorganize in this way?“It’s about evolving to meet the needs of the campus and how we engage with our community,” says Lynch. “It’s having a specific unit that spends time engaging with the housing staff and with the student affairs staff on a regular basis as often as possible.“A good example is Dan's office is in the main library. These offices have existed for years within various buildings within the campus. It’s a philosophy of continuous engagement. It's trying to be proactive with the comfort level with our community and how they become more comfortable with us and the roles that we play, specifically from a community engagement piece. And that will continue to evolve.“We also looked at what types of calls are most common for us. We have a number of officers on patrol, and as we talk to Deputy Chief Andrea Munford and Community Support, we have started also to invest in supporting mental health issues and sexual assault investigations. We try to balance our manpower to meet the needs of the community.”Lynch explains the difference between community service and community support. And we learn more about the “very popular” K-9 unit and the versatility of MSU’s officers from Fadley. “I believe an MSU police officer can go anywhere in policing,” continues Fadley. “I don't believe just anyone can come to MSU and police.” Fadley shares a story of MSU officers wrangling 40 beef cattle in the middle of the night. “We're here 24/7,” says Munford. “We are highly trained. Don't be afraid to talk to us. We love talking to people, especially in my role. If you ever see me out, that's what we do. We're dedicated to this university, we're dedicated to this job, to the students, faculty, staff, and their safety. It's a great place to work.”“The addition of the comfort K-9s is something else that we see that our community values and needs,” Lynch adds. “K-9s want to help to soothe and help with stress for those of our community, that's part of it as well. And we are starting a Citizens Police Academy and it will go through the semester. We have 20 participants. There's been a lot of interest from our community members for it. And it's an opportunity to be transparent on how the department operates and why things are done in a certain manner. And it's beginning of fall semester, so there are lots of things going on. Everything from the move-in to the beginning of football season and everything in between.”“Please remember what Captain Mumford said, we're very approachable,” says Fadley. “Come meet and know your MSU police and public safety officers. We're that resource, we're there for them. We don't pick and choose our calls. When the call comes in, we answer them. We want the community to be comfortable knowing that it's a partnership. We're here to serve with a second to none type of response and everybody's behind that. You'll see it in the interactions between our department and the community members. I'm very pleased with that.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
Catching up with Michigan State University’s 19th President Peter McPherson
Sep 12 2022
Catching up with Michigan State University’s 19th President Peter McPherson
McPherson’s wife Joanne, who as First Lady of Michigan State University founded Safe Place, the first shelter at a university to provide support for victims of domestic violence and stalking, died in June.“She was so dedicated to Safe Place and so committed to having it work. Of course, now after all these decades really, it's worked very well. She always had an idea, like when we got here, Beaumont Tower’s bells weren't ringing, and they hadn't rung for about a year. She said, ‘What's this? The Beaumont Tower bells need to ring.’ In short time, the bells were ringing, and they've rung ever since. Safe Place and the Beaumont Tower bells, and the signs at campus entrances were a couple of her accomplishments.“When we got here, for whatever reason, the signs entering campus were a set of wire structures and they looked pretty bad. Joanne never wanted things to look bad. They're now stone and permanent, and they look really good. They've been that way since about 1994, and that was Joanne saying ‘What's this?’"McPherson talks about growing up in West Michigan and always knowing he would attend MSU, just like all his siblings did. And he says “MSU opened up the world to me.” Then a stint in the Peace Corps inspired his lifetime of work on international issues. He describes working in both the Ford and Reagan White Houses. He was working for Bank of America in San Francisco after the Reagan years, and that’s when the MSU presidency opened.“Running Michigan State was a dream I never really expected to even have an opportunity to do. You can imagine what my seven brothers and sisters living in West Michigan thought. By that time, unfortunately, my father and mother had passed away. I think often, and certainly did back then, how sad it was that they weren't around because, for my father especially, this would have been special.”McPherson talks about a couple of his accomplishment he’s most proud of like bringing the Detroit College of Law to MSU and beginning the conversations that led to MSU’s presence on Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile.“The leader of this effort was Judge Dick Suhrheinrich. Without Dick Suhrheinrich we wouldn't have a law school. He is really a grand man with enormous capability. We did put that law school together. First, there was some thought it might be in Detroit, which wasn't optimal. There were some issues and ultimately it came here as an independent school.“They had some real self-identity that they were intent to protect, which I thought was reasonable. The agreement that I had with them was I would never push for there to be a closer affiliation. They may decide they wanted it, and that may be appropriate at some time, but it's not going to be MSU that pushes a closer affiliation. Before I left, they came to me and said, ‘We want a closer affiliation,’ and now, after several years, it's called the Michigan State University College of Law. “The medical school idea came together in the years after I left. In my mind, the key decision and key meeting - there were several; anything like this has several key meetings - was a meeting I had with Rich DeVos in the hanger in the Grand Rapids airport where I laid out how we wanted to do this. Basically, DeVos said, ‘It's a good idea.’ and it wouldn't have happened without DeVos' important key intervention in the years afterwards it unfolded.”Talk about APLU and its mission.“We’re very aggressive and active in Washington on appropriations for universities, and we have a deep commitment to student degree completion, to equity, and to minority students having the same percentages of graduation rates as majority students. I'm pleased that current MSU President Stanley is on the APLU board. “Sam is a guy who we at APLU have always seen as a guy we could go to to get things done. During the pandemic, his medical expertise was invaluable. The presidents of this organization from around the country get together, and Sam was a person who could serve with real expertise and talk about the problems we were all having. Sam has always been a go-to guy. For him to come to Michigan State was just outstanding for Michigan State and for him.”What concerns you about higher education's future? What are you hopeful about? What keeps you up at night? What are some challenges and opportunities moving forward?“We need to continue to increase our graduation rates and decrease the time it takes to earn a degree. We've got to have more students graduate and do so in less time. Of course, there are cost considerations. Legislatures provide a substantially lower percentage of the cost than they once did. The Pell Grant money is helpful, and we've pushed hard for more Pell money. “There's this whole set of equity, graduation, and cost issues that, of course, I could spend all your program on because I'm so immersed in them that are of deep concern. On the other hand, there are some successes. I looked at ALPU numbers over the last 10 years under Department of Education data, and our Hispanic students over the last 10 years have grown 70 percent. The numbers for Black students haven't moved that much. The Hispanic student population has grown.“These are the kinds of issues we need to continue to really grapple with and make progress on now. We know how to graduate students better than we did. We've got the technology. I know these are important issues for Michigan State. Graduation rates here are quite high, but I know there's a commitment to make them higher.”What do you hope your legacy is as president of MSU, or do you not even worry about that kind of thing?“Well, I think if you worry about it too much, it's a mistake. There were certainly some key things that I'm very proud of. To me, ultimately, what a university presidency needs to be about is what kind of education students get. Michigan State happily and successfully educates many students, so I start there.“The law school is important, and so is beginning the work on the medical school in Grand Rapids. This place is so complex. There are so many things that I learned and was part of. As I've said several times, every project has many fathers and mothers and many contributors, so I was proud to lead Michigan State for those years.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your show.
Broad Museum interim director seeks to embed arts and culture across campus
Aug 30 2022
Broad Museum interim director seeks to embed arts and culture across campus
“On November 10 the museum will turn 10 years old. When the museum opened and was founded in 2012, there was a great outpouring and show of support and excitement," says Bridges. "That’s continued through the years, and we’ve softened some of the hard angles, if you will, of the museum to bring in a better diversity of audiences and build a sense of inclusivity. The museum is on this campus in service to MSU and to the broader mid-Michigan region that we serve. We offer a wide range of exhibitions, and we promote faculty and student engagement with the museum. But these are also areas I think we can really lean into further and develop more. We want to bring out the collection formally known as the Kresge Art Museum Collection and make sure that it's a pivotal hallmark piece of who we are as an institution.”Bridges discusses the September 17 (B)road to Ten fundraising event benefitting the new Open Storage Center—a project designed to bring major parts of the collection out of private, offsite storage and into the museum for public enjoyment. And he highlights other exhibits and events at the museum.“There’s a great opportunity for us to continue to embed ourselves and integrate ourselves across campus. We're a part of the university arts and culture and collections unit on campus now. And this integration of arts across campus is really important. While we hope that people always come and visit us, I want to make a concerted effort to get the arts into classrooms and into other areas of campus and make those connections to make sure that all students and all faculty understand the importance of working arts into the curriculum and into the experience more generally at the university.“Where we’re located on campus is a huge benefit to us being at the gateway between the university campus and our greater communities, but there's a lot more campus that sits to the south of us and all around us. Breaking down some of those barriers, shortening those distances, and making sure that people understand that we exist here for them and in the service of them is important to me. That takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of outreach, a lot of communication, and a lot of relationship building. It’s an opportunity to work with a wide range of people. Asserting the role of the arts on campus and the importance of arts as a tool for research within a research context is a way for the artist to think about things differently. That is something that I'm passionate about, and I hope to bring others into the fold.“Ten years have been incredible. These anniversary years are always great moments for reflection, but it's also about the future. We've set a great groundwork for this institution in the past 10 years, but the next 10 years are going to be even more exciting. We have new projects and new ideas coming forward. Our strategic planning will open new ideas and room for growth and expansion. And most importantly, we want to make sure that everyone understands that we exist for them. We are free. We are now open Wednesday through Sunday. Whether you're interested in contemporary art or ancient art and antiquities or looking for family day programs or other kinds of educational opportunities, the museum has so much to offer. We hope that you come for one thing and you experience so much more.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
Remembering Dr. E. James Potchen, a giant in MSU history
Aug 29 2022
Remembering Dr. E. James Potchen, a giant in MSU history
I had the pleasure and privilege of talking with Dr. Potchen in the summer of 2007 in his beautiful Radiology Healing Gardens. He was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the MSU/WJR partnership. This is an encore presentation of that conversation. “My job as I see it is the development of human capital,” he says. “I’m trying to enhance other people’s opportunity to lead a useful life. If you add value to others, revenue will flow. “Management is the art and science of getting the job done, but leadership is the art and science of getting the job done with and through people. Everybody around us can teach us something.”   In our conversation, he talks about the origin and mission of the Department of Radiology and technology’s impact on the practice of medicine. And he says the key issues in healthcare are “cost and accessibility.”  He describes the evolution of medical education and his role as the faculty’s representative to the Board and administration. And he shares his thoughts on the issues in higher education that concern him. “The biggest thing about higher education that is at issue today is the failure of society to realize the tremendous need for ultimately having economic development derive from the advantage of having better human capital. What universities do is improve the value of people to society. And we have been remiss in keeping it funded well.” Dr. Potchen shares some of his “Potchen-isms” like “The world is full of unmet friends” and “Knowledge is something you can give away and still keep.” Rest in peace, Dr. Potchen! MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
President Stanley looking forward to a “safe, focused and productive” year at MSU
Aug 24 2022
President Stanley looking forward to a “safe, focused and productive” year at MSU
There’s a buzz in the air as fall semester gets underway.“I'm incredibly excited. And I think if we were to measure my resting heart rate right now, we'd find that it's higher than it normally is because this is an exciting time for us. And as we start the new year, we're anticipating perhaps our largest entering class ever in the first-year class, and we have one of our largest transfer student numbers as well. We're excited that people want to come to MSU and that they're very interested in learning and living here. To all the students and parents, I look forward to seeing you on move-in day. It's going to be exciting, and we're going to have a great semester.”President Stanley explains the university’s holistic approach to student success and shares its approach to COVID this year.“The most important part of our approach is always vaccination, and we know that the vaccines help prevent hospitalizations and deaths. They can help mitigate transmission to some degree, and they really are the key to keeping our campus safe. We're asking that all faculty, staff, and students receive a vaccine and at least one booster; that requirement continues. And we had great compliance with the incoming class. Mask wearing is optional now except in some special facilities involving healthcare.“But for the rest of the time you have discretion when to wear a mask. And the only other exception I would say is if you know you have COVID, and you're isolating because of that, we will ask you to wear a mask for the first five days, according to CDC regulations. We want to make sure people have access to testing so they can know if they have any of the symptoms of COVID so they're not exposing others needlessly. But what I'm really looking forward to is coming back together again.”President Stanley welcomes University Physician Michael Brown to his new post and talks about seven MSU programs being in the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy’s 2022 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects Top 25, including Education at No. 2 and Communication at No. 3. And he talks about points he made in a recent The Hill piece on doubling the size of Pell Grants.“Pell Grants are a remarkable development by the federal government that provide dollars that go directly to students and their families to support their education. And it really makes a difference to economically disadvantaged students. The Pell Grants are based on family income and levels that really creep up into what we would call middle class now because college expenses have increased. And so it's a wonderful program, but it doesn't cover enough. As the years have gone by, tuition has gone up. The Pell grant doesn't go as far as it once did. It used to cover about 80 percent of costs; that number is now closer to 30 or 40 percent. By doubling Pell, we'd bring it much more in line with the cost of tuition these days and remove one very important barrier to people going to college for the opportunity to reach their full potential.”Stanley reflects on being on hand with Governor Whitmer and President Biden (virtually) for the signing of the CHIPS and Science ACT and being named to the Executive Committee for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. He talks about WKAR Public Media’s Century of Service and thanks alumni and donors for a record year of giving back.“I'm so grateful to those who've invested in Michigan State University, particularly our alumni, who are up 26.6 percent in terms of percentage of people who gave, which is incredible. More than 9,700 individuals contributed for the first time. So that's fantastic. We had almost 10,000 people joining us for the first time. And to hit a record when you're not in a campaign or towards the end of the campaign is impressive. My hat also goes out to our Advancement team for the work they're doing and all the deans, department chairs, faculty, and everyone who helps contribute to the fundraising effort. Everybody did very, very well.”And you're recently back from a trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the home of Tom Izzo. Your thoughts on your trip there and what you took away about MSU's impact. And you've got a new contract ready for the Board to approve for Tom Izzo that makes him a Spartan for Life.“You can't talk about the Upper Peninsula and our mission there without mentioning Tom. I'm so glad that he's with us as a Spartan for life now. This contract is certainly well deserved and is going to keep him here and keep him working with the university when he finishes his basketball coaching, which I hope is not anytime soon. At that point in time, though, he's going to be associated with Advancement and the university to do work as an ambassador for us. And I can't think of a better one. But it was a great opportunity for me to get up to the U.P. And it took three years, which was way too long. It's beautiful driving along Route 2 looking at both Lake Michigan during my drive and Lake Superior - incredible vistas. And then I had the chance to visit some of the places where MSU is having an impact. We've been in the U.P. for more than 100 years.“Let's all stay safe. Let's stay focused. It's going to be wonderful to be back together again. It doesn't seem like so long since we were coming together last year, and I look forward to a really productive and successful semester.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
New executive director engaging Wharton Center’s audience of the future
Aug 17 2022
New executive director engaging Wharton Center’s audience of the future
“When the opportunity came around to consider this position, it was a no brainer for me,” says Olmscheid. “It was a great opportunity. I think Michigan is a beautiful state. My home state is Minnesota and it’s similar. Michigan is uniquely different in its own way. There are so many parallels to Minnesota and Michigan that I loved. But more importantly, what attracted me is Wharton Center’s commitment to excellence and its commitment to the work that it's done over the last 40 years here in the Lansing community. And the connection to the university is unparalleled.”What are some of your goals?“In the immediate future, we have to look at how we live in a pandemic world. We're kind of living in this COVID moment, but also how do we emerge from that and what does that look like? Our habits have changed as consumers and buyers. Likely, you are not going to as many events or you might stream more on your television set at home. We're asking questions around what that looks like for us. Because we know foundationally, we can't replace the live performance experience.“There's something about sharing the space, time and physical air with folks and artists on stage. That shared experience is so critical to the core of what we do, and we know we can't replace that. It's a matter of figuring out what the experiences are that communities and audiences long for now and what will drive them to come to the center. All our habits have changed and shifted because of the pandemic. We know that we have to shift with it, and the pathway forward is a little unknown.“One of the goals is to figure out how we define that and how we define success in the future. And what does the future of our industry look like? Because of that shifting landscape, there are so many new opportunities that are yet to be written, and I think we have to be openhearted to what that looks like and not just be traditionalists.”What are some challenges and opportunities ahead?“The demographics of our audiences are continuing to change so we have to answer questions around who our audience is and what do they want. One of the best things that we can do as a center is listen to what people want and what people will respond to. More importantly, being on Michigan State University's campus, what are the students desiring and how are we connected to them? I think that's the future of how we build audiences and that's the future of how we have arts engagement. It has to be beyond what we currently do in finding audiences to backfill audiences or fill the seats of those events. But it's more importantly finding more pathways and more connectivity and more relevance to audiences who are not currently engaged with who we are.“That's a huge task. That's multiple many years in the making to pull that off. But it's really about starting the conversation of what will engage people and how will we get them in the door. We know once they're engaged, we can bring them along the journey. It's that first invitation, that first bit of relevant experience that will drive them to who we are.“It's important to remember how the arts play such an important part of each of our lives. Art is around us everywhere. It doesn’t need to be formal or on a stage or in a museum. It's important for us to remember that arts are such an important piece of who we are and how we connect with each other as human beings and build our empathy. It’s important to find ways you can engage arts in your world every day and be open-hearted and open-minded.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
MSU institute promotes love for fitness and works to reduce professionalization of youth sports
Aug 16 2022
MSU institute promotes love for fitness and works to reduce professionalization of youth sports
Dan Gould has recently retired as director of the institute. He’s a professor of kinesiology and the emeritus Gwendolyn Norrell Professor of Youth Sport and Student Athlete Well Being. Karin Pfeiffer is also a professor of kinesiology and is assuming the role of director from Dan.Gould talks about the institute being born out of the state legislature in 1978.“The Institute for the Study of Youth Sports was started by the state legislature,” says Gould. “Our mission is to scientifically study sport for children and youth and then to disseminate that information to the larger sporting public to make sports better for kids.”Pfeiffer is an exercise physiologist.“My research has focused on two major lines,” Pfeiffer says. “One is how we assess how physically active people are, and the other is interventions to increase physical activity. Most of my work has been done with children and adolescents.”“A lot of my research is in the area of sports psychology and the psychology of coaching,” Gould continues. “I have done a lot of programmatic work on what makes an effective coach. We've really focused on life skills like psychosocial skills and characteristics like teamwork, goal setting, and work ethic that kids can learn through sport and then hopefully - they're called life skills - transfer those skills to other aspects of their life. I was a wrestler through high school and college, and I learned to work hard. Did that transfer to other avenues like being a professor?”What are some of the key and current topics that the institute grapples with?“One is the equity issue,” says Gould. “There are really two youth sports in America. There are the middle-class youth sports where the kids go to sports camps or they're on travel teams and pay for play, and then there's either rural kids or urban kids who have fewer opportunities. How do we bridge that divide? That's one. How do we further increase quality coaching? I think that's a big one that we want to work on going forward. Youth sports has become very professionalized. Ninety percent of kids are never going to play in college. How do we have them fall in love with physical activity?”“Even though we could view sports as a means to achieve physical activity recommendations, we don't always have the best-case scenario in terms of what's happening at practice,” Pfeiffer says. “And I think we have a couple of issues going on where parents are dropping children off at practice thinking, ‘Okay, they're going to get a lot of physical activity during this time,’ and most people would think ‘Yep, that's what's going to happen.’ But in the end, if you examine what's occurring during some of these practices, there's a fair amount of standing around.“We've lost that notion of free play, which is also a very important element of development. And I think the other is just what is happening in these practices, not just with are they getting enough physical activity while they're there. But then the skill development piece of that as well, and are they really getting the skills they need to develop fully as an athlete? Whatever happened to intramural sports? Why is it that we have to be the cream of the crop or you just drop out of sport? Why can't we have this whole piece of sports for fun? Maybe you're not the best one out there but you just want to play. People often fall out of love with sport after they don't make an elite team, and that's not how it should be. Everybody should be playing for fun. Fun is the reason why people do a lot of things, including physical activity including sports.”What’s your advice for parents and coaches?“We know people do things because it's fun,” says Gould. “And people do things when they feel competent. If you don't feel competent, you're highly likely to drop out. Now, competent doesn't mean that I play on the MSU football team. Competence means I swam today for fitness. Well, I can swim. I can do the strokes. If you couldn't do that, it's not going to be very much fun. We want to create an enjoyable atmosphere of fun, but it's not just an unorganized rolling out of the ball and laughing. We're also teaching kids fundamental skills.“How do we develop kids’ competence relative to their own abilities so they can go out and have fun doing it? And then also it's not just the physical side. It's a coach who's having fun and being supportive and encouraging.”“I think sometimes what happens, not necessarily in the older age groups but in some of the younger age groups, you just have a parent who, thank goodness, does volunteer but doesn't necessarily have a whole lot of background in coaching,” Pfeiffer continues. “And that's okay, but it would be great if we can help that parent a little bit by teaching them some of these kinds of characteristics of having fun and developing skills.”“It doesn't have to be really complicated if you're a parent or a youth coach,” Gould says. “There's something called self-determination theory. All people and all kids have three basic needs. One is relatedness; you want to belong to something. Another is competence; you want to feel like you're getting better. And the other is autonomy or choice. I’d like to get every coach to go to a practice and say, ‘What did I do today to make the kids have better relatedness? What can I do to increase competence by having each kid set a goal? What can I do for autonomy?’ “Our colleague Jim Pivarnik studied exercise in pregnancy, and I always remember some of the research his students did that showed that physically active pregnant women have kids who are more physically active later in life. Be physically active with your kids. Have some balls in the backyard or a little swimming pool. Do things with your kids outdoors. Buy balls and bats and your kids will more likely develop these skills if they have an environment that breeds that.”“There is a lot of optimism just with the interest in sport and how many people are into it and want to participate, and I think that's good, and I think we can foster that even better than what we do now,” Pfeiffer adds. “Mental health has really risen to the top as an important issue for us to address. Safety always needs to be at the top of our minds. We need to pull ourselves back from this almost professionalization of youth sport. We need a little bit of a reset in terms of that. I don't know how we're going to do it, but we need to.”“As I retire, I'm excited about how much more we know,” says Gould. “I was going through some old materials when I cleaned my office and there were hardly any books. Now, there's so much information coming out that we know a lot more about how to help people in these endeavors than we did when we started out; that's a real positive.“Concerns? The U.S. has fallen behind other countries in the world because we have no government agency that looks after sport - a research dissemination system to get parents information funded by the government. Here, we have to backdoor it through other agencies. Now, that's my concern. The good thing is Health and Human Services, Karin's been involved in some of this, are trying to get more involved and do some things.“The Safe Sport Act is a good example. The government passed that but didn't fund it enough so they can't keep up with all the cases. I'm not a huge fan of big government, but at the same time, our government probably needs to get involved. We need a policy on youth in general and on youth sport. To me, there's opportunity there. But it's a concern.“The quality of coaching is so important. You don’t gain all the life skills sports can teach from just being in sports. You catch it from having a really good coach who is intentional about what she's teaching and talks about teamwork and then talks about how that would transfer to the classroom or work environment.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
MSU’s first-ever W. M. Keck Foundation award will show life in a new light
Aug 15 2022
MSU’s first-ever W. M. Keck Foundation award will show life in a new light
The W. M. Keck Foundation has awarded Michigan State University’s Marcos Dantus and Elad Harel $1.3 million to start a new revolution in the way we use optical microscopes to understand the living world.The philanthropic grant is one of six awarded nationally by the Keck Foundation in 2022 for science and engineering. This also marks the first time that scientists at MSU have claimed the award.This also marks the first time that scientists at MSU have claimed the award. The Keck Foundation encourages creativity by rewarding transformative projects that other funding agencies might see as too ambitious or risky. “This is a really remarkable achievement,” says Douglas Gage, MSU's vice president for research and innovation. “The Keck Foundation is a funder of scientific research, and they value one thing, I think, over anything else, and that's transformative innovation. They do not want to fund research that can be funded by any other agency. “One of the things that it does for MSU is that it really validates the innovation that we have going on at the university. And we know that, but it's great to have a national organization really validate what we know about MSU. We're very grateful for this proposal and that it was funded. I'm convinced that the work that Elad and Marcos will do will indeed be transformational. If they can do the imaging of living systems at the resolution that they propose, that will be remarkable, and it will be indeed transformational. The innovation here comes from two very independently innovative scientists bringing together their ideas in really a novel way. I think that's often the seed that leads to innovation. We try to promote that at MSU, so we're looking forward to the outcome of this research. I think it's going to be something to watch.”“Our key goal here is to see if we can see the machinery of life in action with a resolution of nanometers,” says Dantus. “And that would be thousandths of millionths of a meter. It's really tiny length scales. In most of the cases, our microscope will not look at a space much larger than the width of a hair. Most of the time, we're going to be way, way below that. So, our main goal is resolution in the nanometer scale and time resolution. If we get there, we both will be so excited. We will be jumping up and down. And I think a lot of our colleagues will be equally excited.”“The challenge has been, as Marcos described, that we tend to think that we can see these molecular machines in motion,” Harel adds. “And the truth is we can't. What we can see are these kinds of static snapshots. And we infer; we're very good at inferring what happens from those static snapshots. It's like if you see a picture, you can infer a lot of maybe what's going on in the picture. But if you see a picture only every hour, you're really missing a lot of the details of what's happening in between. How are people communicating? What's the social structure? What's happening in that scene? And that's kind of where we are. We're very good at inferring, and enormous ingenuity has gone into figuring out the mechanisms of various biological processes. But it's a very, very slow discovery process because every kind of science that one does is only revealing a very small, narrow window into that process. By combining enough little snapshots of information, we can form a hypothesis of what's happening.“That's really different than being able to observe it directly at the time scales that matter. There are different technologies for getting those snapshots. The technology that does not exist now and what's specifically addressed in this Keck Foundation grant is how do we make these movies at the requisite time and spatial resolution to see directly what's happening and to accelerate that discovery process? Because we are, after all, very visual. Human beings are just visual. We understand things through how we see them. That's still a very large missing piece.“It's not just that we'll be excited to see better resolution. There's always a goal of improving resolution, but it's really to help aid our fundamental understanding of these complex processes so that we can advance science in general in ways just like microscopy advanced science 100 years ago. The advent of microscopy accelerated the knowledge of the microscopic world. That's the same kind of goal here. Just like astronomy where the more powerful telescopes are accelerating the discovery of the planets and the evolution of the cosmos, we would like to apply that to the nanoscopic world, the world in which molecules and proteins and cells live.”“The biggest challenge is that we intend to use visible light,” continues Dantus. “Visible light has a certain wavelength, which is about half a micron, and so there is the so-called defraction limit that tells that you cannot resolve elements that are smaller than half of the wavelength. That's the number one challenge. We're going to be using ideas that are borrowed from magnetic resonance imaging, but that's the first challenge. It's like, who do we think we are that we can break the fraction limit?“We think we have a new idea on how to do this, and if we are successful, we are predicting that our method will be less detrimental to molecules and will allow us to image with a very high-speed entire movies so that we can see this biology of life in motion. That's the biggest challenge that I see.”“We have to kind of start with the most basic premise of the entire proposal, which is just distinguishing two things, two objects that are really close by to one another, closer than what the traditional limits impose,” Harel adds. “And then the question is, how do you extrapolate from that to, say, two dimensions or three dimensions or more complicated imaging scenarios? We really have to do some really basic research in terms of just showing what the limits are. The first MRI experiments were distinguishing two tubes of water. That's not terribly interesting. But someone said, ‘Wait a second. The brain is just a bunch of compartments of water, so can we extrapolate to that? What kind of contrast would we see in the brain or in the body, and under what circumstances do we need to enhance that contrast, or what kind of different pulse sequences can we use to see one feature and not another?’“There were decades and decades of work to get to where we are today where that can be used as a diagnostic tool and as a routine tool that doctors who are not specialists in the technology of MRI can use to make medical decisions. That's going to be the same thing here where we have to prove that these techniques are going to give information that's useful and not distorted in some way, or at least that we know what the distortions are so that we can expect them and account for them. There's a lot of work just to be done in the verification step because we don't know what we're going to see exactly, which is what makes it exciting, but also, we have to appreciate that fact.”“The first experiments will be on very small particles that are in the earth and static,” says Dantus. “But as soon as we can demonstrate that this approach works in one dimension, we already know exactly how to take it to two dimensions, and it will already have a huge impact. Our brains are now focused on getting that first step done.”“As scientists, we're always greatly appreciative of the fact that external philanthropic sources appreciate the challenges that we have to face as scientists and the infrastructure and resources that we need to really test new ideas,” Harel says. “It's very gratifying and we're extremely appreciative of the fact that we're given that opportunity and that the Keck Foundation knows and understands the kind of challenges and the kind of risks that one has to take sometimes in order to make breakthrough discoveries.“We're incredibly fortunate that we get to have that chance. That doesn't come along terribly often. We believe that something really good is going to come out of this and it's going to push science forward in one way or another. We really do thank the Keck Foundation, and we thank MSU as well for really being supportive of us and of the application and of the process to put forward the best application we could and to really be highly competitive with many, many other universities and very strong groups applying for this as well.”“We’re proposing something that has never been proposed so it’s a high risk, but high reward,” says Dantus. “It's wonderful that there are institutions like the Keck Foundation that are saying, ‘If some scientists convince us that there is a possibility to achieve results that have never been observed before that could have a tremendous impact in science, we would like to facilitate that.’ That's really fantastic, and to be on the receiving end is just incredible. It's just a wonderful opportunity and one that we want to do the most for.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
New MSU College of Education dean seeks to “anchor strengths and optimize opportunities”
Jul 27 2022
New MSU College of Education dean seeks to “anchor strengths and optimize opportunities”
Jackson describes his background and talks about what attracted him to MSU.“Michigan State really is the prototype for what land grants were built on, and to be at the epicenter for the commitment to the roles and functions that a state should give to its citizens from a post-secondary education opportunity just seemed very opportune. I was also attracted to the hardworking spirit of Michigan State. It’s in the DNA. And MSU works hard on access to its excellence.”Jackson describes some of the excellent and highly ranked programs and curricula in the College of Education at MSU - from kinesiology to teacher education and from K-12 policy to foci on STEM education and the global nature of education. And he talks about his own research interests in hiring practices in higher education that have “looked at what we think of as organizational disparities broadly in the sense that inherently most organizations, not all, do find themselves to have consistent sets of disparities that groups have been subjected to across decades.”Dean Jackson talks about the strategic planning going on at the college that is “taking stock of where we are. Let’s anchor the important pieces and optimize opportunities to reinforce the other emerging areas in our college. And then dream. Are there spaces where we can be first that will prepare this college for the next 50 years or more?”Jackson shares some thoughts on challenges and opportunities ahead around issues like handling race issues in schools to finding the right hybrid arrangements for remote learning.“We must be able to show parents and the community that we’re addressing these issues. We have amazing faculty, staff, and students in the college. We attract students from a full spectrum of backgrounds and experiences. MSU’s College of Education is a significant crown jewel that deserves the recognition and support it has warranted locally and across the state, nation, and globe. We're thinking very responsibly about the future with a keen eye toward the beneficiaries being our graduates, and the state, and the localities that count on the College of Education to be a strong partner with them.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
Strategic communication veteran leading a “digital transformation” at WKAR Public Media
Jul 12 2022
Strategic communication veteran leading a “digital transformation” at WKAR Public Media
“Strategic communication is one of those terms that we hear thrown around a lot in the communication field. And what we're talking about with strategic communication really is the idea that we all communicate with each other daily, in organizations, interpersonally, with family and friends. And that communication is designed to relay a message between you and me right now to achieve some objective. When we talk about strategic communication, we're really talking about looking at a vision, objective, or goal for an organization and developing the communication that will help us achieve those objectives or those goals over time.“It's a field that's evolved over the years and one that I really enjoy working in because it involves not only helping organizations get from where they are today to where they want to go. But it also involves elements of crisis communication, issue communication, and a range of other things that organizations are dealing with daily. I still enjoy teaching and helping the next generation of communicators.”What made you want to take on the assignment?“When I got to know the team here at WKAR, what I found was just a great group of people who come to work every day with this idea that there's a community out there that needs information, a community out there that needs support, a community out there that relies on this station and the people at this station to keep them informed. And while it's very different than the type of service that I spent my career engaged in, it's still service to people who need your support. And so, I felt this natural kinship with the folks here. When this opportunity came along, I will tell you the only thing that gave me pause was the fact that Susi Elkins was such a phenomenal general manager here and has done such great work that I think you have to stop and think about following in the footsteps of someone like that.“The members of the WKAR team know what they're doing, and they don't need me to tell them what to do or how to do it. What they needed was someone to step in and be a leader and provide the space for them to continue to serve this community and to continue to do the things that they've been doing for so long and so well in this community. And so I said, ‘Yeah. I'll take this opportunity to do that.’"What do you see as some of the challenges facing WKAR and the opportunities inherent in some of those challenges, and what are some of your goals to meet those along the way?“We're at a sort of inflection point in public media where the days of simply turning on your television or turning on your radio and reaching your audience over the air are quickly going to be behind us. Now, to be clear, there will always be people who want to receive their news and information by turning on the television and getting it that way. And we are never going to abandon those people. We'll always be there for them. But what we've found is that there is an increasing number of people out there who want to receive their news and information on different platforms and through different digital means at different times. Sometimes they want it on demand and sometimes they want it live. And as I said, they want it from many different sources. And we must respond to that. “It's one of the reasons why during my time as interim, I'm very focused on a digital transformation that looks across our enterprise and makes sure that all the information that we are distributing and providing to the community is getting out through multiple digital platforms. We've got to make some adjustments. We've got to change. Every time I see a challenge, I see an opportunity. This is a really great opportunity for us to not only do better for our listeners and for our viewers, but to also be leaders in the public media space with the approach that we take.”What is the Century of Service?“WKAR will celebrate 100 years of service this year on August 18. WKAR Radio will be 100 years old that day. It is an unbelievable milestone that we are going to celebrate. WKAR Radio started out 100 years ago providing agricultural information to farmers in the Greater Lansing area. And over the years, we have been innovators at every turn with the support of MSU. We were an early adopter of television, and WKAR was one of the founding members of NPR and of PBS. There's an amazing amount of history and a great legacy here at this station.“When I think about things that excite me in the digital transformation, there's an opportunity to grow our audience. Public media tends to have an older audience. We tend to have people who are less entrenched in all things digital. But here's where it gets interesting. When you look at the content that's being developed here at WKAR and you look at the content that's being developed by PBS across the enterprise, that content speaks to a diverse cross section of audiences. It speaks to different communities across the country. We know that we have content that will appeal to people who may not be traditional public broadcasting consumers. The challenge for us is to figure out how to get that content to them.“We know that once we get it to them, they engage with it. We know that they like it, and we know that they'll keep coming back for more. I see this as a real opportunity for us to expand the audience of public media. I also see this as a way to serve the community. We like to refer to this as super serving the community, that is to give them more than what they expect and constantly exceed their expectations.“WKAR has been serving this community for 100 years, and we are going to continue to serve the Greater Lansing community, not only over the air, but out in the community. In order to stay connected with you, we have to be where you are. We have to get information into the channels that you want us to communicate through in order to reach you. Our objective is to provide news and information that gives our audience a view of the world that they might not get in other places. We are here to serve the community and to be a part of the community, and we're going to continue to make that our priority.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get yours shows.
MSU President Stanley reflects on a busy summer and potential record enrollment for the fall
Jun 29 2022
MSU President Stanley reflects on a busy summer and potential record enrollment for the fall
You're in Detroit this week to congratulate the inaugural class of graduates of the Apple Developer Academy. Remind us of the academy's evolution and mission.“The academy is a groundbreaking opportunity for individuals in Detroit and all of Michigan. And this is the first Apple Developer Academy in the United States. It's an opportunity for individuals 18 and above to learn how to code and develop apps for the Apple operating system. When students finish, they're well prepared to code for Apple apps and maybe even start their own companies.”Back on campus, we're preparing for the coming academic year already. The MSU Board of Trustees last week laid the financial groundwork for the university's new fiscal year with approval of a $3.2 billion budget that supports goals outlined in our MSU Strategic Plan 2030. What are some areas of the budget you'd like to highlight for Spartans?“Student success remains a critical element. A lot of the spending that we're doing going forward, and new spending particularly, is devoted to student success, particularly economically disadvantaged first-generation students and others to help them successfully matriculate and earn degrees at Michigan State University. Our goal is to keep Michigan State University accessible to excellence.”Talk about the grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that lets MSU continue our long legacy of service to the people of Michigan by working with Merit Network to expend high speed internet to areas of Michigan with limited or no broadband service.“This grant is going to make a huge difference to people in rural areas who don't have access to internet or have inadequate internet to do the things they need to do. Something we take for granted here in East Lansing is something that many don't have, or they don't have in a way that works as well as it could.” For the second time, MSU has earned a gold rating for sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. “Our goal is to get to platinum before 2030; that's part of our strategic plan. We don't want to rest on gold. This is an issue that's so important for our students, faculty and staff, and our community. It's one which we take very seriously.”President Stanley welcomes two new leaders to Spartan Athletics in softball coach Sharonda McDonald-Kelly and men’s tennis coach Harry Jadun. He shares his reflections on MSU’s Juneteenth celebration, too. And he reflects on the passing of former MSU first lady Joanne McPherson. She might best be remembered as the guiding spirit behind the creation of the MSU Safe Place in 1994, the first university-based shelter where students, staff, faculty, and their partners experiencing abusive relationships can find refuge and support.President Stanley, any final thoughts as we settle into summer but already look forward to the fall?“It's going to be exciting this year. Get ready to feel a crowd. We're looking at, perhaps, a record enrollment for this coming year. MSU has been a place that many students want to attend, and we're very happy about that. Vennie Gore is getting ready for the onslaught of the dorms, and the provost is getting the faculty and staff ready. We're adding advisors and more faculty and staff to help deal with the increase in students. And we're going to make sure that the quality of what we're doing is not hurt at all by the number of students. Instead, we'll have more outstanding individuals getting an MSU education and more opportunities for our current students to meet people from around the world and get to know what a great university is first-hand.”You can read the president's June 2022 Spartan Community Letter that we've been discussing by clicking on the communications tab at president.msu.edu, and follow along on Instagram too, @msupresstanley. MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
Moderation and creative approach help MSU Sports Medicine keep athletes and the public moving
Jun 20 2022
Moderation and creative approach help MSU Sports Medicine keep athletes and the public moving
“Our overall goal at MSU Sports Medicine is to be a single location for patients and athletes alike to come when they're having pain, ailments, or even just looking for advice on how to get active and stay active,” says Nate Fitton, a team physician at the MSU Health Care Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. “Our ultimate goal for all patients is to lead a fulfilling, active life. We see a wide variety of acute injuries, chronic injuries, as well as people just looking to get active and talk about nutrition, weightlifting regimens, and things like that. And so our mission is to provide that service to the community and be a nationally recognized location for patients to come and have access to world renowned providers. We really strive to be a destination for sports medicine and preventative care.”“We treat everyone,” says Jill Moschelli, a team physician at the MSU Health Care Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. “All ages and backgrounds are welcome. You do not need to be an elite athlete to come to the Sports Medicine office. That's a question we always get. Do I need to be an athlete to come and see you? The answer is no. We will see everyone and treat everyone similarly. We just want to keep people active and doing what they love.”I didn't really realize that proactive mission either. That's really cool that you'd rather have people not have to see you, frankly.“We get that a lot, where patients come in and they're worried that we're going to tell them to stop running or walking,” continues Fitton. “That's not our goal at all. Our goal is to be creative but keep you moving. Maybe running isn't the best thing for you but riding a bike or doing the elliptical absolutely can be. It's not that we would totally eliminate things, it's really about being creative and keeping you going. That's really our ultimate goal. I tell patients regularly, yes, if you hurt because you run too much and you've got poor form, well, continuing to do that is not what we want for you. But at the same time, we want to keep you active. We look for ways to help you stay active. Sure, if you just stopped running for four weeks, it would get better, but you're going to have other issues from not running. We want to find ways to keep you going, keep you moving.”Are there new treatments on the horizon that have you excited about treating patients better?“We are all really involved in sports medicine and are at the cutting edge of what's happening in the field of sports medicine,” Moschelli continues. “Many of us are presenting at national conferences and are really involved on a national level with different societies and committees, and so we are really trying to bring that into our office. We really are offering availability to all of the cutting-edge opportunities or treatments.”“This is where we separate ourselves in that we have the power of a research university behind us,” says Fitton. “We regularly collaborate with PhD candidates and researchers on campus who are looking to advance the delivery of healthcare. That's another thing patients can look forward to when they come see us is that we have ongoing research projects. We're looking at things like osteopathic manipulative medicine and recovery from concussions to see if we can enhance or speed up the recovery by adding that treatment modality. Over in the Department of Kinesiology, they're doing a tremendous amount of ongoing research that is at the leading edge of what next-level care is going to look like. With us being involved in that, we can also provide that to our patients. I think that's really exciting.”Increasingly, more women are getting involved in sports medicine.“Historically, sports medicine has maybe not been as inclusive,” Moschelli says. “But I am very honored to be a part of the group at MSU Sports Medicine. Dr. Sheeba Joseph and I are two female providers there, and we're both team physicians for MSU athletes. There are a lot of female athletes at MSU, and they have their own set of challenges that you need to think about when treating them.”What would be some tips for the weekend warriors, or even regular exercisers, to not have to come and see you guys?“It's about moderation and approach,” says Fitton. “When you decide you’re going to start running or working out, we are in full support of that. Because the healthier you are, the less you're going to need us. Our goal is for healthy, active people.“We regularly encourage diversity in what you do. Don't run seven days a week. Run three days a week; cycle a couple days a week; try to get some swimming in or incorporate some strength training. We know that through activity and interactions that the body can start to have some overuse injuries. The best way to avoid those is through diversity of your activities. That diversity promotes full body wellness and health and strength.”“And find something you like,” Moschelli says. “Find something you enjoy doing because that's going to hopefully lead to further success in being active if you find something you enjoy. It’s good to get your joints moving in a variety of directions. We can help you be creative with your exercise and nutrition plan.”“The team approach to your delivery of care is how we're going to interact,” says Fitton. “We’re not only going to evaluate and manage and make recommendations. If we need to draw upon skills from other providers within our office offer, we're going to do so and vice versa. Additionally, we'll take it one step further. If you need to see physical therapy or another specialist, we're going to help coordinate that. And we're going to coordinate your care with your physical therapist and make sure that everyone's on the same page, and we collaborate and work together to getting you back. Rarely do we get someone in the door and say, ‘You know what? We've got nothing for you.’ That's a failure on our end. We want to always have an option to help you get better. If it's me, if it's my partners, or someone else within MSU Health Care, we're going to do that.”The MSU Health Care Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center is in the Eyde Building on South Hagadorn Road. You can call (517) 884-6100 or go to healthcare.msu.edu.“We have availability to see people now,” says Moschelli. “If you need to be seen for any particular injury, pain, or question about your plan, we have openings now. MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.
Afrofuturism takes center stage at second annual MSU Juneteenth celebration
Jun 14 2022
Afrofuturism takes center stage at second annual MSU Juneteenth celebration
This year's keynote speaker is College of Arts and Letters English professor Julian Chambliss, who has a focus on popular culture, comics, and digital humanities, and his research explores race, identity, and power in urban spaces. His address is titled “Not Only Darkness: The Legacy and Future of Black Speculative Practice.” Chambliss' keynote will focus on Afrofuturism, what it is, and its impact on society today. His keynote will also examine the relationship between Afrofuturism and speculative practice, which refers to the exploration of new ideas and pathways that will ultimately lead to liberation. What is Afrofuturism and what has been its impact on society?“Afrofuturism is the intersection between speculation and liberation born of African diasporic experiences. It often touches on science, technology, and knowledge production and how we do that and what are our aims are for that. Ultimately, Afrofuturism is really rooted in a set of concerns that are connected to the Black experience, and it’s theorized by people who are concerned with hierarchies and control and oppression looking through ways to create a system that's less hierarchical, less oppressive, more equitable, and safer. Ultimately, the impact of that is that there is a group of people, regardless of discipline, who are committed to the idea of trying to create a more equitable and safe society. That is the thing that makes Afrofuturism so appealing.”What is speculative practice and what is its relationship with Afrofuturism?“Afrofuturism is a term that's really describing Black speculative practice. Afrofuturism was really important when it was coined in 1994 because it captured a set of practices that Black people were having. But in a hierarchical system, Black people's contributions, actions, and perspectives get erased. And so, what the term does is it calls attention to Black people who have had to speculate around liberation over and over again because the system they've been involved in is unequal. They're thinking about ways to make it more equal. It's very difficult for us to think about the United States today without the context of African Americans. In moments good and ill. Slavery is an ill. The good is its coming to an end. African Americans have been a part of this country from the beginning and their contributions in every one of those stages is something that we can't really deny.”What is the significance of Juneteenth and how has commemorating it evolved?“Juneteenth is a particularly complex holiday in part because it has come to the center of public awareness at a time when African Americans are increasingly articulating a set of understandings about the nature of a coercive society and a systemic anti-Blackness in a new way. I think one of the things that's interesting about Juneteenth is that there is an idea of commemoration within it that is celebrating the triumphs of African Americans in a very particular context and it's celebrating that context unapologetically, I would argue. This is a holiday or a commemoration that's very well known within the Black community, but it only recently became a federal holiday. And I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we had a Black president; so, celebrating Blackness is okay.“At some very basic level, Juneteenth represents the celebration of the end of a horrible system. For people of African descent and their allies, that's a very important thing. It was a horrible thing. Let's celebrate its end. That has not necessarily been the case in the public square for decades upon decades. It makes a lot of sense to say, hey, let's celebrate this thing and celebrate its perspective on the American experience.”How do Juneteenth and Afrofuturism fit together and complement each other?“With Afrofuturism, there's an element of going back to recover the reality, the knowledge, the production, and the contributions of people of color. There's also a shifting from a Eurocentric perspective to a more open, diverse one. A more open and diverse society celebrates a major milestone related to African American freedom and its contributions to the broader American context. One of the benefits of African American speculation around liberation is really a more liberal society, a more equal society for everybody. And that is also something that we can all as Americans agree on and understand.”What are some key messages you hope to convey in your talk at MSU's Juneteenth celebration?“I'm going to try to define Afrofuturism and try to define what it is and try to make clear this transformation, this shift in perspectives, that is represented by it and how Juneteenth and commemoration and memory from an African American or African diasporic perspective is different. But in that difference is a kind of affirmation of the ideology of liberation that's very important to the United States. There's an element here where the Black experience is American history, too. Commemoration around the Black experience is an American commemoration. It is not unreasonable for every American to celebrate their fellow Americans' feeling of pleasure about the end of a great evil. I think that's one of the things about Juneteenth that's particularly interesting because the story of Juneteenth is very particular in the sense that it's not exactly celebrating emancipation. It's celebrating the moment that people in Texas find out about emancipation. And so in an era of viral messaging and instant transfer of ideas, both good and bad, you have to stop and think. In January of 1865, they passed the 13th Amendment. It's not until June that the people in Texas know that they're free. The question I always ask is are you free if you don't know you're free?“With Juneteenth, we're seeing literally the end of an oppressive system crystallize in a particular moment. The news reaches these people. These are the farthest reaches of the Confederacy. That's when it's over. When everybody knows, that's when it's over. The idea that there's a kind of element of truth made real by a particular moment when information arises, when the order is made and said out loud. That's the moment. That's the clarion call that rung the bell. That's the end of the evil. And you can point to it. From a historical standpoint, there are moments where things don’t have a definitive stop. It just doesn't seem as bad anymore. I think about the pandemic. Is the pandemic over? No. But this is one of those things that's a great human suffering and we can point to its end. Like, this is the moment. And I think that resonates with people in a very particular way.“The American experience is integrated into the Black experience and the Black experience integrated into American experience. The nature of those integrations, though, when you tell it from the Black perspective, it is this speculation around liberation. Then you have a more liberal society. You have a more open society. Black history is American history and a history that tells a struggle and a strife, but that struggle and strife gets you a better world. I think, if we thought about it that way, then we have a better sense of why Black history or Chicano history, all the histories of the people on the margins, matter. Because those are the people who have to ideate around what it means to be free. Because they're at the bottom; they're on the outside. What does it mean to be free in a system where my lived experience has told me I'm not free? That becomes the real trauma. And, of course, it plays itself out every day now.“It is not unreasonable to make a connection between the kind of zeal and explosion of interest in Afrofuturism with the kind of reactionary feelings that you see in politics. In part because with those voices taking up space in the public sphere, this question of what the truth for the American experience is being asked and you have to process that. The good thing about this is that we have places like MSU where people process things. Our job is to process things and make it easier for people. So, hopefully, people will come away with a better sense of clarity.“I appreciate the committee's decision to pursue Afrofuturism as a theme for the Juneteenth celebration. I think it's very appropriate for an institution like MSU where our job is to think through complex issues and try to make knowledge accessible to the public. That's our mission. It's a great opportunity for the implications of Black speculative practice or the implications of what does it mean to speculate on our liberation to be brought to people in a variety of forms. Hopefully, people will come away from this with the opportunity to think more about Afrofuturism and think more about the ways that that speculation around liberation has a positive impact in their world. I think ultimately every American can see the benefits of people on the margins speculating about what makes the world a more liberatory system.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your show.
MSU President Stanley reflects on “a very successful academic year“ as summer begins
May 31 2022
MSU President Stanley reflects on “a very successful academic year“ as summer begins
Read President Stanley's May 2022 Spartan Community letter here. MSU brought a very successful academic year to a close this month with graduation ceremonies honoring 6,917 undergraduate degree earners and 2,684 advanced degree recipients. What struck you and will stay with you about this spring’s ceremonies?“It was wonderful to be in person. We had the opportunity because of low COVID transmission to be without masks for people who didn't want a mask, and so that was great. There was really a sense of being together that we haven't had in prior ceremonies. That made it very exciting, and the turnout was phenomenal. “Steve Smith gave a remarkable speech where he talked about how much Michigan State University has meant to him. He talked about his relationship with his mother and the transformational gifts he's given to the university to help student athletes. Even though Steve played against people like Michael Jordan, he said it's not about beating others so much; it's about pushing yourself to be the best you can be. That was a great message for our graduates.”In addition to celebrating our graduates' accomplishments, you helped honor outstanding faculty and academic staff this month at the annual All-University Awards Convocation and support staff in the annual Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff and Ruth Jameson Above and Beyond Awards presentations. You always say MSU's people are the heart and soul of the university.“Faculty and staff achievement and development are key to us; we want our faculty and staff to reach their full potential. And then recognizing the extraordinary work they do is an important part of our strategic plan. These ceremonies are our chance to say thank you and recognize people who are doing exemplary work for the university, and it's a wonderful honor for me to be a part of that. I love the spring semester at Michigan State University because it’s the time to acknowledge and recognize the key people who help make this university work.”The U.S. Senate approved President Joe Biden's nomination of MSU economist and professor Lisa Cook to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. She's the first Black woman to sit on the board, which sets monetary policy for the nation's central bank.“I've had a chance to talk to her several times during this process. And she's an extraordinary person in addition to being an extremely qualified candidate for the Federal Reserve Board. Her background and scholarly activity make her a unique choice.”Another distinguished Spartan you'll be honored to introduce at an upcoming recognition event is Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Teresa K. Woodruff, named a Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership by the American Council of Education Michigan Women's Network.“Provost Woodruff is extraordinarily accomplished. She's a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a member of the National Academy of Inventors. And she's a champion for our university and our academic mission and a champion for students and faculty and staff. It's wonderful for her to be acknowledged in this way. She is a leader in higher education. She is a leader in Michigan. We're very fortunate that she's working at Michigan State University.”And Provost Woodruff welcomed you into the membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Congratulations!“It's remarkable. And I'm still humbled by this award and very appreciative to those who elected me to this very prestigious society. When you're in a society that contains Thomas Jefferson and others, it's remarkable. And this is a group that really puts as its goal bringing together the talent from the United States and the world to bear on critical issues for our society.“It's not just an honorary society, but rather publishes reports, investigates, does research on critical issues facing the nation, and uses the expertise of its members to do that. I look forward not just to being a member and being surrounded by so many very accomplished people, but also the opportunity to give back and to do work with the Academy on issues that are important, including things like global pandemics, which are an area of interest for me, and, of course, higher education and the impact we can have on these global challenges.”This year's Times Higher Education Impact rankings, which assesses progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ranked MSU number 33 in the world and number two in the nation among participating universities. “This is wonderful. And the sustainable development goals or SDGs really span several areas, including things like food security, where Michigan State University has very powerful research efforts. From food to poverty, this really reflects the breadth of our efforts in MSU and helps us achieve one of our strategic plan goals. Now we must continue to maintain it and sustain it, no pun intended, but we're very proud of this work we do.”We achieved another major milestone this month with the opening for user operations of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.“Someday when I look back at my career at MSU, one of the highlights will be that I had the opportunity to cut the ribbon for FRIB. This has been an incredible effort for not just Michigan State University, but the state of Michigan and the people who came together to make this possible. This event came 13 years after the Department of Energy Office of Science awarded the project to MSU and eight years after we broke ground for the $730 billion facility. It's already had a significant economic impact from the jobs it created in Michigan, but it's going to have more going forward.“MSU has the number one nuclear physics graduate program in the country. This facility helps ensure that we can keep that ranking. We generate 10 percent of the nuclear scientists graduated every year; that's amazing for MSU. And this is going to help us keep that lofty status and continue to have an impact on nuclear physics here and around the world.”There are some new Spartan leaders on their way to campus. Jerlando Jackson will be the new dean for MSU's world renowned College of Education. At Wharton Center, Eric Olmscheid has been selected to succeed Mike Brand as executive director. And Spartan hockey has a new head coach in alumnus Adam Nightingale. Your thoughts on these additions to the MSU family?“Professor Jackson is going to be outstanding as the dean of the MSU College of Education. He's going to also hold the title of Chief Foundation Professor of Education. Eric Olmscheid comes to us from Des Moines. He led a significant programmatic expansion there, built a comprehensive education program, and expanded community partnerships, all of which are things we want to see continue at Wharton Center. And Adam Nightingale has had a lot of experience working with young athletes. He brings roots and connections to the Green and White, but also experience in the National Hockey League coaching some of the most talented young hockey players in the country.”And two long-time Spartan coaches are retiring. MSU's winningest men's tennis coach Gene Orlando is retiring after completing his 31st season and recording 361 victories. In addition, women's softball coach Jacquie Joseph announced her retirement from coaching after 29 seasons and 753 wins here.“I play tennis. So, I've gotten to know Coach Orlando. He's been a legend here. His dedication to MSU is extraordinary. It's amazing to be at a place for that number of years and to have the success he's had. Everyone, including me, wishes him all the best as he goes forward. Jacquie Joseph is also a legend. She's going to remain with the athletics department in an administrative role. She's really been an advocate for women in sports, and she is going to continue to push us to make sure that we're living up to the promise of Title IX and giving women every opportunity to succeed and student-athletes to succeed in women's sports.”What are you watching for throughout this year's state appropriations process and what is the Spartan Advocate Program?“We're really working to get at least modest increases in funding. We would like to see that go to our base funding. Certainly, we’ll take some one-time money as that's available as well, but we're really interested in increasing the base funding going forward. And both the executive budget and the Senate budget do have increases, significant increases, built into the budgets. The House budget unfortunately does not do that. The House budget provides some money for other capital projects but doesn't really raise the state allocation. “Higher education is so critical for Michigan's future and competitiveness. We have a Spartan Advocate Program in the Office of Government Relations that allows people to get engaged and reach out to their elected officials to tell them how important Michigan State is and how much it's meant to them or their families and the lives they lead. It's amazing that people don't always recognize the value of higher education. It's somewhat disappointing to me that we spend a lot of time trying to convince people that the return on investment from tax dollars that comes in to support Michigan State University or other institutions of higher education in Michigan is incredible. People's lifetime earnings go up and their health improves with a college degree. It really makes a difference to so many facets of people's lives.“I encourage people to consider joining the Advocate Program. We need all the help we can get here. And your voices often are heard more loudly than mine. People see me as advocating for the institution as part of my job. When you do it when it’s not your job to do so but rather because it’s something you care about, that's very important to elected officials.”Any final thoughts as we head into the summer? “I've told students and faculty and staff to find time for yourselves this summer. People have been under so much stress the last two years. The opportunity to take some time and relax is important. I plan to do some of that for sure. And I've encouraged all the people who work with me at Michigan State University to do the same. And for our students, it's okay to take some summer courses; it's good to get ahead. But try and find some time to relax and recharge, particularly for those of you coming back because we'll have an exciting fall and a big class coming in.”MSU Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.