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Opinion: MSU Is Filling Michigan’s Teaching, Nursing, Engineering Ranks

By Michigan State University Interim President Teresa Woodruff:

In 1949, Michigan State President John Hannah stood before a crowd of graduating seniors and reminded them of the university’s great legacy. “Always remember that Michigan State College stands as a great memorial to a great idea fostered by a great system of democratic government,” he said. “As a living mechanism for service to the people of Michigan, this nation and the world, it has great, exciting tasks to perform.”

MSU’s great and exciting tasks began 168 years ago, when people in the young state of Michigan had the foresight and resolve to meet the competitive challenges of a fast-changing society. They conceived an experiment in creating and disseminating knowledge not only for the elite, as was the practice of the day, but for everyday people and the benefit of all.

MSU’s mission to democratize practical advanced education is just as urgent today, with workforce shortages in key areas. Meanwhile, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has challenged the state to increase the proportion of Michiganders with educational credentials beyond high school from today’s 50.5 percent, according to the Lumina Foundation, to 60 percent by 2030. MSU supports that goal and is proud to play an active role in helping to reach it. 

Fortunately, this state is blessed with excellent colleges and universities, with the three top research institutions (MSU, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University) constituting Michigan’s University Research Corridor. We compete with the nation’s best regional education and research clusters. Each URC institution, additionally, has been recognized with the Innovation and Economic Prosperity University designation by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. 

As for how MSU is working to answer workforce needs, let’s look at three vital and in-demand areas: teaching, nursing and engineering.

With the nation’s top-ranked elementary and secondary education programs for the last 29 years, MSU’s College of Education already leads the state in graduating teachers and educational leaders and awarded 685 degrees at all levels in 2021. The college moved recently to accelerate its Teacher Preparation Program and increase its accessibility by shifting from a five-year model to one graduating well-prepared students in four years. MSU offers programs focused on recruiting under-represented individuals into teaching and developing skills to thrive in urban, global and under-resourced districts. We are deeply engaged with school districts to develop their leaders as well as help prepare their students to continue their education.

Read the rest of the article in Bridge Michigan.