June 2023 roundup

Research presentation 

Trustees received a presentation from Irving Vega, an associate professor in the Department of Translational Neuroscience titled “A community partnership approach to work on health disciplines.” Vega’s research studies the development of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and the impact certain proteins have on the brain in the development of the disorders. More specifically, he studies the mechanisms that cause tau proteins — proteins that help stabilize the internal structure of neurons in the brain — to clump together, leading to toxicity within the cells that house them.  

As a neuroscientist with a passion for community education, Vega takes his ole a step further in helping to bridge the gap between his research and the community. He regularly speaks about Alzheimer’s disease and prevention to numerous community groups in Grand Rapids and West Michigan, including K-12 students and, most recently, a group of 35 community members at the request of the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.  

Contact: Nardy Bickel, MSU Health Sciences: (616) 550-4531 or bickelna@msu.edu 

MSU operating budget set for 2023-24 fiscal year, includes historic investment in financial aid 

The MSU Board of Trustrees  approved a $3.3 billion operating budget for the university’s 2023-24 fiscal year. Included in the operating budget is a historic investment of $224 million in student financial aid to those most in need. For most lower-income students and families, the $16.4 million increase in financial aid helps offset a planned 3% increase in undergraduate tuition for the upcoming academic year, which trustees approved in June 2021. In addition to increased financial aid spending, the budget includes new investments in campus safety initiatives; student, faculty and staff health and well-being; the Title IX office; and faculty and staff compensation — all in alignment with MSU’s strategic plan priorities.  

Contact: Lauren Scott, Office of the Executive Vice President for Administration: (517) 355-5014 or scottla5@msu.edu 

Planning to begin for Anthony Hall building envelope renewal 

MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities will begin planning for the envelope renewal of Anthony Hall. A building’s envelope refers to the physical separators between the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a structure. Built in 1955, the hall, which houses the Department of Animal Science, the MSU Meat Lab and the MSU Dairy Store, needs repairs to address water entering the building. The project will include replacement of the building’s roof, insulation, rain gutters and downspouts. 

Contact: Fred Woodhams, Infrastructure Planning and Facilities: (517) 930-6931 or woodham4@msu.edu  

Bessey Hall in need of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment 

Bessey Hall, an academic classroom building on north campus, has two chillers that are at or near the end of their useful life. Chillers help convert energy sources such as electricity or steam to chill water used to cool building spaces. Trustees have given MSU administration the green light to plan for replacing the chillers before they fail to avoid the potential of more costly emergency work. Project planning will include exploring adding thermal energy storage to prevent overload of the electrical grid. 

Contact: Fred Woodhams, Infrastructure Planning and Facilities: (517) 930-6931 or woodham4@msu.edu 

MSU Library to undergo special collections renovations and HVAC updates 

Construction is set to begin this month on a $13.8 million renovation of the third-floor East Wing of the Main Library where some of the university’s special collections will be relocated to. The current size of the special collections has outgrown its current location in the basement of the library. The project includes the installation of a new HVAC system that will aid in the long-term preservation of the special collections, which are valued at $150 million. The work also will include modifications to the building’s envelope to support the new HVAC system, relocation of existing shelving and installation of new compact shelving and workspaces for librarians, archivists and staff. 

Contact: Fred Woodhams, Infrastructure Planning and Facilities: (517) 930-6931 or woodham4@msu.edu 

MSU to begin construction of $200 million Student Recreation and Wellness Center this summer 

Focusing on student success and sustainable health themes of MSU’s 2030 Strategic Plan, construction will soon begin on the new 240,000-square-foot Student Recreation and Wellness Center. The facility will replace the Intramural Sports West, or IM West, building and will deliver on student recreation and fitness needs. The center will include several gyms, activity courts, a climbing wall, outdoor adventure center, sport video simulators, indoor running track, strength and fitness studios and a 50-meter recreational pool that can support swim classes, water fitness and open swim. The building’s expected occupancy is spring 2026. 

Contact: Kat Cooper, Student Life and Engagement: (517) 303-6469 or cooper94@msu.edu 

Board of Trustees establish College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean’s Discretionary Scholarship 

The MSU Board of Trustees has approved a fund that will function as an endowment for the College of Osteopathic Medicine. The initial funding in the amount of $1,500,000 establishes the College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean’s Discretionary Scholarship and will be used to provide scholarships for students from underserved backgrounds enrolled in the college.  

Contact: Terri Hughes-Lazzell, College of Osteopathic Medicine: (517) 884-3755 or hughe260@msu.edu  

Board of Trustees establish Mashkiki Endowed Scholarship in College of Human Medicine  

The MSU Board of Trustees approved a fund that will function as an endowment for the College of Human Medicine. The initial funding in the amount of $100,000 establishes the Mashkiki Endowed Scholarship in Human Medicine. The scholarship will be used to provide financial support for students enrolled in the College of Human Medicine. 

Contact: Geri Kelley, College of Human Medicine: (616) 350-7976 or kelleyg3@msu.edu 

Amendment to University Ordinance 31 authorizes rate adjustment for parking violations 

The MSU Board of Trustees approved an increase in parking violation rates on campus. The amendment to University Ordinance 31 increases current parking meter violations to $20 and removes the provision that allowed drivers to pay $10 if they removed their car within 24 hours of receiving a citation. The amendment also increases the fine for disabled parking violations to $115. All other violations will increase to $40. These changes were made with consideration to the fee schedule of fines used by the City of East Lansing and Big Ten peer institutions. Rate changes take effect July 1, 2023. 

Contact: Dana Whyte, Department of Police and Public Safety: (517) 282-3711 or whyteda1@msu.edu    

Amendments to bylaws for Academic Governance approved 

Trustees have approved four amendments to the Bylaws for Academic Governance that were brought forth by University Council upon the recommendation of the University Committee on Academic Governance. One amendment expands faculty voting rights in university-level elections by eliminating the requirement that full-time fixed-term faculty and full-time academic specialists be employed for three years before voting. The remaining amendments clarify how colleges are represented on the Faculty Senate, change the name of the University Committee on Student Affairs to the University Committee on Student Life and Engagement and add the executive vice president for Health Sciences to the Steering Committee and Faculty Senate. 

Contact: Tyler Silvestri, secretary of Academic Governance: (517) 355-6550 or silves19@msu.edu 

Faculty appointments with tenure: 

  • Tara Behrend, professor in the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, effective Aug. 16 
  • Angela Chia-Chen Chen, professor in the College of Nursing, effective June 15 
  • Katherine Connelly, MSU Research Foundation Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, effective March 20 
  • Amanda Cote, associate professor in the Department of Media and Information, effective Aug. 16 
  • Bradley Cox, associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration, effective July 1 
  • Joseph Darda, associate professor in the Department of English, effective Aug. 16 
  • Derrick Fox, professor in the College of Music, effective Aug. 16 
  • Andrew Kerner, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, effective Aug. 16 
  • Seung Yon Rhee, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Plant Biology and Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, effective July 1 
  • Stephen Wilks, associate professor in the College of Law, effective Aug. 16 
  • Ruiguo Yang, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, effective Aug. 16  

Administrative appointments: 

  • Brent Donnellan, dean of the College of Social Science, effective July 1 
  • Teresa Mastin, interim dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, effective May 16 
  • Laura Rugless, vice president of the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance, effective July 1 

University Distinguished Professor designation, effective June 16: 

  • Michael Boivin, Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology, College of Osteopathic Medicine 
  • Henry Campa, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources 
  • Rebecca Campbell, Department of Psychology, College of Social Science 
  • Patricia Edwards, Department of Teacher Education, College of Education 
  • Leonard Fleck, Department of Philosophy and the Center for Bioethics and Social Justice, College of Arts and Letters and College of Human Medicine 
  • Rufus Isaacs, Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and College of Natural Resources 
  • Edward Walker, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, College of Natural Science
  • Felicia Wu, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources  

The next Board of Trustees public meeting will be Sept. 8, 2023.