“Research is the Pathway to Being the Best”

Jun 28, 2017

Michigan State University has set its budget and tuition rates for the new fiscal year.

“It’s always a difficult time when you do budgets because there’s a balancing act that needs to occur,” says Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon. “Tuition is always a difficult challenge.”

Michigan State’s new “Go Green, Go 15” campaign urges students to take an average of 15 credits per semester or complete 30 credits in their first year of study by taking summer classes. Universities have found early momentum yields higher graduation rates, less time and cost to attain a degree, and higher grade-point averages.

President Simon was recently at the Mackinac Policy Conference talking about how Michigan’s University Research Corridor has conducted $1.2 billion in research and development in the health sciences and is a key source of talent, deliverer of care, and economic driver in Michigan. The URC is one of the nation’s top academic research clusters and the leading engine for innovation in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. An alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University, the URC is focused on increasing economic prosperity and connecting Michigan to the world.

“If you add all the variables together, companies and graduates and research dollars, we’re the second most powerful innovation cluster in the country. And that’s an asset for Michigan.”

President Simon quips that the annual Mackinac Policy Conference “is networking on steroids. I’m pleased that it’s more of an east/west conference now with a good representation of people from the Traverse City area, too.”

There wasn’t a formal energy transition update this past spring because, as President Simon says, MSU has transitioned from an energy transition plan to just an energy plan.

“We’ve stopped using coal, so we’ve made the biggest energy transition. Mostly we’re worried about the effective use of our energy and how we reduce our energy footprint when people bring more and more devices all the time.

“That’s why I’m so pleased that were able, through a whole range of things, to reduce our energy cost by seven percent this year and have it at zero for next year.”

In light of some of the proposed budgets in Washington, President Simon is concerned about federal research funding reductions.

“I think there’s a lot to be worried about. Research is part of making America the best. We can be great and not be the best. I want America to be the best, but do it with a great heart and compassion for others. That’s what research does, it’s the pathway to being the best.

“We can’t lose our forefront of innovation for the next generation.”

For Spartans who want to stay up to date on football and Nassar issues, President Simon recommends the Our Commitment website. “It’s a way of trying to make sense of all of the sound bites people are putting out there without connecting the dots at all.”

President Simon says summer is a special time at MSU. While the university hardly slows down, the pace is a little different.

“It’s just a different rhythm. Time goes really fast. So it’s kind of a rejuvenation time.”

MSU Today airs Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on 94.5 FM and AM 870.