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MSU dean leading a diverse and welcoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to a sustainable future

Kelly Millenbah, Kirk Heinze
Russ White | MSU Today
Kelly Millenbah, Kirk Heinze

Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Kelly Millenbah talks with Kirk Heinze on MSU Today.

Dean Millenbah talks about growing up in Wisconsin and her path to MSU. She also describes her passion for making the college experience as good as it can be for students. She explains the “complex, complicated and really exciting structure” of the college and the role that various stakeholders play in the college.

“I look at stakeholders very broadly. Stakeholders include our alumni and donors but also the constituent groups we work with through our commodity partners and the legislature. When we think about agriculture, we see Michigan State University advancing the work of agriculture and natural resources across the state, but we have to do that in close partnership with the people who are on the ground. Those would include state and federal agencies and our commodity groups. We don’t do it alone. We have many partnerships in various diverse aspects of the college.”

Millenbah talks about $53 million from the state of Michigan “to help support renovations to the greenhouse and dairy, and both of those entities are out of date and antiquated. If we are going to be on the cutting edge of research, teaching, outreach, and extension, our facilities have to be current and cutting edge.”

The dean talks about the importance of a sustainability ethos throughout the college. And she says today’s students “are making decisions about what they want to do with their careers based on what their passion areas are. They want to make a difference. And most students recognize that food and water and sustainability are things they want to be a part of and those are things the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources engages in every day.”

She updates the college’s efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion and her efforts to build a culture of community “that is supportive and welcoming of everybody who wants to be a part of it. That’s my number one priority.

“There’s something for everyone in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The biggest secret we probably have is people not knowing about all the diversity in our college. I’m trying to encourage everyone in the college not to be so humble and to talk about all the great work that’s happening. We know we’re doing really good things, but we need to make sure other people know about them. too.”

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.