Message from the Vice Provost

Kwesi Brookins, Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement

Looking Back and Moving Forward

As we begin a new year, many of us will take time to reflect on the joys and challenges of the past 12 months and the opportunities for growth that lie ahead. That’s especially true for me, as January 1 marked one year since I returned to MSU to become vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement.

What I have most enjoyed also happens to be what matters most to me: relationships. It’s been rewarding to get to know our diverse, talented team here at UOE and, by extension, our partners on campus and across the community. I have also appreciated the warm welcome from our students, faculty, staff, and senior leadership at MSU.

Looking back, I am proud of the ways UOE has engaged with the broader community this past year. We have introduced several initiatives, including:

  • The MSU Detroit Early Honors Experience for gifted and talented eighth and ninth graders, a pilot pre-college program offered by MSU’s Detroit Center, the Honors College, and Gifted and Talented Education in partnership with the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Students participated in research and hands-on activities led by MSU faculty, staff, students, and outside experts. We look forward to welcoming the second cohort next summer.
  • We launched new programs to further advance the scholarship of engagement: One example is the Community-Engaged Research Fellows Program, a yearlong, cohort-based opportunity for early and mid-career faculty and academic staff to strengthen their community-engaged research skills.
  • We are piloting the Urban Community Fellows Program, which will pair a multidisciplinary team of MSU graduate students with Lansing-area community partners to collaborate on community-identified projects to revitalize the city.
  • The Native American Institute (NAI) engaged in listening sessions with Tribal leadership across the state, which resulted in a report outlining the needs of our Tribal Nations that will help NAI develop a strategic plan and select a new leader.

Other highlights from 2023 included welcoming scholars from around the world to MSU for the Engagement Scholarship Consortium conference; the Innovate Michigan! Summit hosted by the Center for Community and Economic Development; and MSU’s No. 1 ranking for service-learning among public universities.

These are just a few examples of the touchpoints between UOE and campus and community partners that are the heartbeat of who we are and what we do.

I look forward to building on these initiatives in the year ahead. Later this month, UOE will launch a strategic planning process to craft a model for institutional community-university engagement going forward. This process will give us an opportunity to reflect on our identity as a unit and explore how we can best harness our people and diverse array of programs to best serve our campus and community partners. Stay tuned!

Kwesi Brookins Signature

Kwesi Brookins,

Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement

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