John Hannah Statue dons a Spartan Face Mask, during the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020

John Hannah Statue dons a Spartan Face Mask, during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Whether this is the first time you are setting foot on the MSU campus or whether this is the first time you are doing so after an 18 month hiatus, it is a distinct experience –beautiful grounds to walk around and gardens to explore, a brand new STEM education building to walk through, and of course, the Red Cedar River working its way through campus. And perhaps, could it be, the Spartan Marching Band warming up on Adams Field preparing for a home football game? And yet, so much has also changed from when we were last together in person beyond the 2×2 Zoom lenses through which we came to know and work with each other. It’s a lot like coming for the first time – not “back” to campus but “to” campus knowing that many things have changed, including ourselves.

Perhaps at moments like this, when we are really starting anew, it’s worth remembering that communities including universities are built in dyads and triads, in small and large groups, around issues of passion and commitment, and those topics we want to explore and maybe a bit nervous to engage. In all these respects, we are walking this path together with a very large incoming class of students, with new academic and staff colleagues, and without those who may not be returning. And no doubt, while we find our way, we will be looking to find those connections and examples to learn and grow from, and those support systems that we need to thrive in the face of a very new reality for higher education writ large and here at MSU.

To that end, you’ll find numerous resources for all aspects of your teaching, research, administrative and outreach work throughout the Academic Advancement Network (AAN) and MSU campus offices. Collectively, we recognize that faculty and staff success requires recognition of our whole selves, not just those we “wear” to the office and that support comes in many forms. We invite you to look to participate in those group discussion forums and workshops offered by AAN and our many partners ranging from starting your career to learning a new instructional application to exploring your transition into leadership to finding quiet writing time or a more balanced parenting routine. The campus has them all! And if you don’t readily find what you want or need, just contact us at or (517)432-1185 and we’ll help connect you.

We look forward to seeing you at activities during the fall and finding ways to help support individual and collective development. Continue to check the AAN Calendar and monthly newsletter for scheduled opportunities. And happy fall!