'Message from the Provost': IHL approves projects

In his latest update for the Mississippi State community, Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert discusses a new category of non-tenure track faculty, IHL-approved building projects on the horizon, homecoming, and more:

Dear Faculty and Staff,

"With Praise Our Voices Ring" is a line from our alma mater, "Maroon and White," and also the theme of the official Homecoming Poster painted by senior Art major Anna Katherine Phipps. (Read more at http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=5382.)

I not only congratulate Ms. Phipps for being selected as the winner of the poster competition but also commend her for invoking the alma mater, which always stirs fond memories when I hear it played or sing it at commencement.

I look forward to the excitement of Homecoming Saturday and all the associated activities this week.

Great discussions with faculty

Over the past few weeks, I have participated in a Open Forums sponsored by the Faculty Senate to discuss topics related to the proposed creation of a new category of non-tenure track faculty, instructional professors. We have had great discussions. I firmly believe that, if approved by the general faculty, this new category of faculty can be formed in a manner which will support and complement all current categories of faculty and enhance classroom instruction.

New construction: classroom building and housing units

At the October 20th meeting of the IHL Board of Trustees, there were a number of items that MSU had on the agenda. We were granted permission to begin the new classroom building project that will place a new classroom building with parking just north of the YMCA Building. There will be 90,000 square feet of classroom and instruction-related space on three levels and parking on two levels. Approximately 1,900 total classroom seats are planned to be placed in 38 classrooms of various sizes. I will be forming a committee, to be headed by Dr. Julia Hodges, to make recommendations as to the final classroom mix of the building.

Also approved at the meeting was a land exchange with the Mississippi Baptist Convention for MSU to obtain the current BSU building and associated 2.5 acres of land on Lee Boulevard in exchange for three acres of MSU property across from Building 3 where a new Baptist Student Union is to be built by the Mississippi Baptist Convention.

Another approved item was the project initiation of a new housing complex for upperclassmen, graduate students, and international students and families. This project will begin early next year and will be built on the current Aiken Village site to replace, in part, the current units which will be demolished.

Construction of the classroom building and the new housing units are hoped to be completed by the fall of 2013.

AOCE review continues

An internal review is continuing in Academic Outreach and Continuing Education (AOCE), and the unit is now functioning with acting leadership: Drs. Allison Pearson and Julia Hodges are Acting Co-Executive Directors. I will be making future announcements as we proceed through a transition period. I am committed to enhancing the functioning and services of the unit in the future. We will continue to deliver quality distance programs and quality non-credit programs.

Celebrating 150 years of land-grants

MSU was recently selected to take part in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Land Grant Act, to take place June 27-July 8, 2012, in Washington, D.C. We will be sending three teams to represent the university in this event sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Participation in the celebration is quite an honor in that we are one of only 18 universities participating. Dr. Peter Ryan is coordinating our involvement.

Best wishes for a great second half of the fall semester.

Hail State,

Jerry Gilbert
Provost and Executive Vice President

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