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Michigan State University: Analysis and Summary

Jessica Turpin
Post University


Michigan State University: Analysis and Summary

The nature of higher education is changing. Technological advancements have led to the
globalization of the learning community. Some changes may cause the University to fall out of
line with the institutions mission statement or values. Members of higher education
administration must be able to keep up with this change and ensure that the university can adapt
in such a way that their mission and values are still being upheld. In order to keep up with
change the administration needs to stay on a path of continual learning to enable them to adapt to
the expanding diversity in culture and advancements in technology. The administrative team
needs to be able to adapt quickly to the constant state of change and keep their staff performing
optimally as well by ensuring their proper training. On occasion change can happen faster than
the University or administration has foreseen. This can cause a decrease in student and faculty
satisfaction which can in turn lead to a decrease in retention and enrollment. When a University
finds that they have fallen short in any area they are likely to implement a strategic plan to
remedy whatever area of dissatisfaction has been reported. A strategic plan may also act as an
improvement plan when no faults have been indicated. The following text will examine the
strategic plan for the Michigan State University Office of the Registrar and its effectiveness as
well as provide analysis and suggestions for improvement.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University (MSU) is a public college in Lansing, Michigan. It is the
home of the Michigan Spartans and their mascot Sparty. Founded in 1855 as an agricultural
college, MSU was the first institute of higher learning to teach scientific agriculture (MSU,
2016). It has since then grown to include many other areas of academics with over 200
programs. It is run by the board of trustees and college president Lou Anna K. Simon. The


college boasts a fairly even enrollment of men and women but diversity is low with only
approximately 18% identifying as non-white and 15% international. The mission of the
Michigan State University is as follows:
The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the
world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying
knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will
challenge the present and enrich the future. (MSU, 2016)
The values of MSU are stated as such:
Our three core, interwoven values are quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity. (MSU,
The following segment will evaluate how the mission and values have been incorporated into the
strategic plan of the institution.
Strategic Plan
Mission, vision, and values. The strategic plan being used for this report is the strategic
plan of the Registrars Office at Michigan State University. According to the strategic plan the
purpose is to ensure the activities, initiatives, and decisions of the university support the mission
and values. The mission is to Steward academic records and data accurately, effectively, and
efficiently. The vision is to Anticipate and support the needs of the campus community and
continuously challenge ourselves to provide exemplary services and solutions. The values are
as follows:

link operational and behavioral decisions with strategic goals

provide exceptional service


foster an environment of ongoing learning, growth, and teamwork

consistently examine policies and procedures with a mindset towards improvement
engage in active, two-way communication with each other and the campus community
be innovative in how we utilize technology
effectively communicate and administer federal, state, and institutional policies and
legislation (MSU, 2016).

Goals and objectives. The specific goals of this plan are divided into three categories, shortterm, intermediary, and long term. The short term goals are more numerous than the intermediary
and long-term. The short term goals aim to enhance services and physical workspaces, clarify
performance expectations, and take service to the next level. The actions suggested to
implement these short-term goals are all very quick and easy to perform. They range from
analysis and updating of software to rearranging the physical environment to enhance work
performance. These goals are easily achieved and take little adjustment for the staff.
The intermediary goals are slightly more long-term and involve more widespread
participation. These goals involve identifying responsibilities and initiatives for the upcoming 5
years, staying informed of best practices, sustaining processes and systems, and implementing
effective communication and training strategies. The completion of these goals are spread out
over a larger period of time because they are activities that will take longer to complete and
adjust to. Some of these intermediary goals are continual so they will need to be carried out for
an indefinite period of time like staying informed of best practices.
The long-term goals are by definition going to take longer to complete. They include
ensuring the alignment of activities and decisions with the mission and values, providing
exemplary services, use resources wisely, effective and efficient performance, and serve as a
highly regarded leader in the profession. All of these long term goals are continuous. The


shorter term goals are constructed around making these goals successful. If they are carried out
successfully than these long-term goals will also be successful.
The fact that this department has its very own mission, vision, and values statements as
well as strategic plan indicates that the university does not operate as an open system. There is
little mention of any interdepartmental collaboration in the goals of the strategic plan. The
universitys core values list inclusiveness as vital. This lack of collaboration mentioned in the
strategic plan demonstrates the exact opposite of that value bringing the department out of line
with the university values. According to MIT (n.d.), when constructing goals for a strategic plan
it is often a good idea to use the acronym SMART to help develop the goal. SMART goals
indicate that the goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. The
goals in the strategic plan of the Office of the Registrar at Michigan State University are not very
specific. The short term goals that are to be addressed in the least amount of time do not explain
exactly how or what is to be done to accomplish the goal. For example, there is not mention of
what software should be updated or which work spaces should be considered for change and how
that change should be implemented. There is also no mention of what it means to take service to
the next level or how effectiveness of these changes will be measured. Nothing about these goals
adhered to the SMART acronym.
Despite not being clearly defined as far as actions are concerned the goals are very
cohesively related to each other. The successful completion of the short-term goals will lead to
the successful completion of the long-term goals. The goals are also all aligned with the
departments mission of an accurate, effective and efficient department by continually striving to
conform to best practices. This is also in very much in line with the departments vision of


anticipating at the needs of the campus community. Furthermore, the departmental mission,
vision, and values are supportive of the University mission and values.
Because the Office of the Registrar at MSU is operating as a closed system within the
University they are lacking the outside point of view on some of decisions they make. If they
adopt a more open system and begin collaborating with other departments they can perhaps gain
a fresh perspective on some of the issues being faced by the department with new and original
ideas for addressing them. The first step according to Lewins stage model of change would be
to draw attention to the need for change (Hartzell, 2014). The need can be identified as the need
to increase collaboration and invite an outside point of view for evaluative purpose. The
strategic plan has a goal of taking the service to the next level. Because the office of the registrar
is involved with so many other departments they should begin to evaluate their effectiveness
based on the satisfaction of their interdepartmental colleagues.
Administering surveys would be an effective way to gauge the satisfaction. For example,
the registrar must keep track of academic and athletic records. These departments must be in
constant contact with the registrars office to relay this information. If there is a glitch in
communication a student or department can be adversely affected. By attaining feedback from
outside departments as to the effectiveness and efficiency of the communication process the
office of the registrar will be able to form a better idea of what they need to do to accomplish the
goal of taking service to the next level. This collaboration between departments may show that
everything is operating satisfactorily and in that case efforts can be focused on other matters in
need of attention making the department more efficient in their time management. The final
recommendation would be to keep the same mission and values for each department in the


university so it can be certain that everyone is supporting the same goals. This would also help
to further increase the collaboration between the different departments that make up the faculty
and staff of the Michigan State University.
Summary and Conclusion
In the competitive world of higher education universities must stay on top of their game
to continue to keep up retention and enrollment lest they risk losing their current and future
students to other more efficient and up to date. One way a university can ensure that this is
accomplished is by incorporating goals to address problems and encourage improvement is
through the development of a strategic plan. When developing a strategic plan it is important to
make sure that the actions described are supportive of the institutions mission and values. While
many changes are occurring due to technological advancements and globalization, the mission
and values will usually remain intact. It is the job of the University to address these
advancements in such a way that the students and faculty are still receiving the best education
and working conditions for their investment but still hold true to the mission.
The Office of the Registrar at Michigan State University has attempted to accomplish the
goal of aligning change with adherence to the mission through the goals listed in their strategic
plan. The very first few words of the university mission indicate the purpose of serving the
people of Michigan and the world. The goal most representative of the university mission is the
short-term goal of taking service to the next level. It is clear through the strategic plan that the
University of Michigan is dedicated to fulfilling its mission of service. With a little more
collaboration the University will have no problem keeping to its mission and values.



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