Shaping Meaningful Relationships and Creating Enriching Communities
The College of Arts and Letters (CAL) at Michigan State University aspires to be a national leader in arts and humanities research and education for the 21st century. This ambition requires resources to attract, recruit, support, and retain the best, most innovative and most diverse faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students. Faculty research, teaching excellence, and enriching student experiences are at the heart of a leading-edge arts and humanities education in which the enduring strengths of the liberal arts—excellent communication, critical thinking, ethical imagination, and global engagement—combine with new and emerging scholarship committed to digital fluency, civic leadership, and innovation to deepen our understanding of the world and address the most complex challenges of our time.
The College of Arts and Letters has doubled its goal in the Empower Extraordinary campaign to $20.0 million. We will achieve this goal with a mix of endowment and annual funds.
To date we have raised $28.7 million, but more private support is needed to achieve our full potential and propel this great university forward.
“There is an aesthetic and humanistic dimension to everything we do. This is why the arts and humanities are at the heart of every research project and every classroom experience here at MSU. Our inclusive culture of academic excellence is rooted in the power of varied viewpoints and diverse backgrounds. By cultivating the capacities to think critically, imagine creatively, and respond ethically, we engage the world’s most challenging social, cultural, and ethical questions in order to create a more just and better world. That’s what great faculty do, and it’s what we empower our students to do as well.”
A 21st century arts and humanities education must offer extensive and supported opportunities for students to deepen their awareness of their place in a global world, to cultivate digital fluencies and ethical thinking, and to engage in professional development in order to make a successful transition to meaningful work. To this end, we will create an Undergraduate Arts and Letters Citizen Scholars Program that has aspiration, reward, and elevated expectation dimension; a Graduate Fellowship Program that will support research, scholarly, and creative endeavors; and a Media Arts Collaborative (MAC), where faculty can work together on innovative media arts projects between other colleges that enrich student learning experience.
Excellence in arts and humanities research and creative activity requires recruiting, hiring, and retaining the very best faculty from traditionally under-represented groups. Endowed Chairs, the standard of faculty distinction and recognition, are a powerful means to attracting the next generation of MSU faculty—which has a direct impact on future generations of students. As out of classroom experiences, including opportunities for research or other experiential learning become increasingly more important to a students’ academic experience, the role of a faculty member likewise becomes more critical.
To further our ability to participate in major NSF, NIH, and other federally funded grant activity, we seek support to establish a Center for Interdisciplinarity in the Department of Philosophy. The aim of the Center will be to study, develop, and enrich the artistic and humanistic side of collaborative scientific practice, including but not limited to its ethical, social and political, epistemic, and communication dimensions. This, in turn, will strengthen the quality of the graduate and undergraduate education we offer. Such a Center would position the Philosophy Department as a national leader in the emerging field of “Interdisciplinary Studies,” which considers the epistemological and practical dimensions of interdisciplinary work.
The public face of the College of Arts and Letters is highly visible through initiatives such as the Signature Lecture Series, the Themed Year Initiative, and the Famous Affiliates Program. Each program is designed to support visiting scholars and foster connections with other institutions and the many communities with whom we interact.