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A message from Mark Keenum What do Apple computers and Harley-Davidson have in common? At one point they faced a critical need to change, and their responses made the difference between success or failure. Quality decisions lead to success in our business, too. Have you heard about the institution that is leading a new era of unmanned aerial vehicle research and integration into the nation’s airspace? Or the university that is working to eliminate starvation in developing countries? Or the college that is defying preconceptions of how cars actually work? Mississippi State is that university, and those creative, results-driven initiatives came from the efforts of you, our MSU employees. While we’re proud of our rapid progress, it is clear that our sights must now point to the future. Several years ago, we implemented the “State of Excellence” initiative to renew our commitment to our core principles. We take pride in that commitment and look with great anticipation to the next steps forward. Recent successes have further strengthened our position as the state’s leading university. Our efforts are being recognized nationally, providing greater momentum to enable Mississippi State to stand among the very best institutions of higher learning. Everyone in the MSU family has a stake in moving our university forward, and we value the contributions you make each and every day. We need your involvement to reach even greater heights. Our strategic plan spells out specific areas we must address to continue to excel at the highest levels while dealing with the clear challenges before us. We have outlined the opportunities and the challenges facing us in this effort, and we have committed to meeting them head-on. We plan to Accelerate! with our eyes set on very lofty goals. We are renewing our focus on five key areas: teaching and learning, research and creativity, outreach and engagement, globalization, and institutional culture and environment. Executing this plan will require focus and effort on everyone’s part, and that includes you. We seek your help to make this plan become a reality. It needs to be your plan, too. You can start by letting us know what we may have missed, and we solicit your input on how we can accomplish these tasks. More importantly, you can keep focusing on the plan’s goals and desired outcomes. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to start your engines and Accelerate!


Accelerate!: MSU’s Continuing Adventure There are many things about Mississippi State University that set us apart: Our people. Our history. The proud legacy we’re building together. Our desire to succeed, to change lives, and to make Mississippi — and the world — a better place. The world is constantly changing, and that means we have to stay prepared for new challenges and opportunities. We’ve established a strong foundation for the future, but now it’s time to ask ourselves: What’s next? The answer is in your hands. Accelerate! defines goals for the future and actions that will take us there — from faculty and student recruitment to groundbreaking research programs to a more diverse, dynamic and enriching campus community. No matter where you fit into the MSU family, you can make an impact on the future. And a team with its sights set on reaching the top needs a plan to get there. This is our plan. Your engagement and leadership are essential in the Accelerate! journey. And a key part of this journey will involve telling our stories and showing the world how we’re driven to make a difference. Mississippi State University is shaping tomorrow’s leaders and problem solvers. We’re asking hard questions and committing ourselves to finding answers and solutions that will move us forward. We’re helping meet many of the planet’s most serious needs and providing resources to build vibrant and prosperous communities. Accelerate! will sustain our momentum while keeping us on course for the future. Consider that students entering kindergarten this year will be our freshman class when Mississippi State celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2028. We want to be the university they dream of attending one day. We want to be the No. 1 destination for higher education in Mississippi and the nation. Please take time to familiarize yourself with this overview of the Accelerate! plan and stay tuned for updates on our progress. To view MSU’s complete strategic plan, go to






SUSTAINABILITY Enhance Institutional Culture and Environment


LIBRARIES Foster Teaching and Learning FACULTY RESEARCH



Promote Research and Creativity



Expand Outreach and Engagement



Accelerate! Overview




Strategic Goal 1 6

Foster Teaching and Learning by providing a challenging and supportive educational

experience that prepares students to be leaders in their professions and in the state and nation.

Priorities To foster teaching and learning, we will: • Attract diverse, high-quality students to undergraduate and graduate programs. • Improve student success at MSU and beyond. • Improve visibility and resources of MSU Libraries.

Strategies ACADEMICS • Provide relevant and viable academic programs and services. • Use scholarships and stipends to improve academic profiles. • Enhance academic credentials of incoming graduate students. STUDENT SUCCESS • Promote academic rigor, teaching effectiveness and academic integrity. • Recognize outstanding academic achievement of students. • Promote study abroad and valuable co-curricular activities. • Maximize placement into employment, graduate school or professional school. LIBRARIES • Provide funding while raising campus/community awareness of library resources. • Promote national awareness and recognition of MSU Libraries.

Measures of Success • Increased student diversity • Average ACT: 25 • 10% improvement – GRE scores • 18:1 student-teacher ratio • Six-year graduation rate - 65% • Phi Beta Kappa chapter • 15% more doctoral degrees awarded • More internships and co-ops • Attain membership in the Association of Research Libraries See all measures at


Strategic Goal 2 8

Promote Research and Creativity by focusing on areas of greatest promise while emphasizing our interdisciplinary approach.

Priorities To promote research and creativity, we will: • Develop, promote and recognize faculty research to enhance national and international reputation. • Identify and promote research focus areas that capitalize on strengths and future opportunities. • Enhance culture and structure for interdisciplinary research. • Increase quality and extent of student-centered research experiences. • Expand external funding for research. • Use research programs as catalysts for state and regional economic development.

Strategies FACULTY RESEARCH • Hire highly qualified, research-intensive faculty. • Articulate scholarship expectations. • Increase nationally recognized faculty. STUDENT RESEARCH • Develop formal mechanisms to involve students. • Maximize focus on research and inquiry. RESEARCH FOCUS AREAS • Identify cross-cutting research areas and leadership. • Seek infrastructure support via grants and targeted funding. INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES • Invest in interdisciplinary research areas of strategic importance. • Institute evaluation and reward systems that encourage interdisciplinary efforts. FUNDING • Enhance expectations for externally funded research. • Provide targeted faculty development programs. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT • Balance approach to intellectual property capture. • Strategically partner with industries. • Foster entrepreneurship.

Measures of Success • 50% more endowed chairs • 50% more national faculty awards • 40% new tenure-track hires in priority research areas • More research-based courses • Extramural funding: $200M • 25% increase in licensing university patents • 50 new jobs annually • 20,000-square-foot annual growth in Cochran Research Park • $10M annual increase in capital investment • 25% increase in interdisciplinary research teams See all measures at


Strategic Goal 3 10

Expand Outreach and Engagement by building on MSU’s tradition of research, learning and service by increasing opportunities for all members of the university community.

Priorities To expand outreach and engagement, we will: • Increase academic, professional, civic, educational and humanitarian activities. • Enhance programs that address critical public policy issues. • Provide expanded needs-based Extension outreach. • Develop body of knowledge related to delivery of outreach and engagement.

Strategies OPPORTUNITIES • Determine service and engagement opportunities and participation rates. INTEGRATION • Integrate outreach into teaching and research programs. RESPOND • Assess community and individual needs and respond appropriately. FACULTY PARTICIPATION • Increase faculty outreach and establish indicators for performance evaluations.

Measures of Success • Retain President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll designation • 20% more student volunteers • 20% increase - faculty participation • Retain Carnegie Community Engagement classification • 20% increase - program impacts • 10% increase - scholarly output


Strategic Goal 4 12

Encourage Globalization by providing students and faculty with experiences that will contribute to international economic sustainability, ecosystem sustainability and socioeconomic well-being.


To encourage globalization, we will: • Develop, support, and coordinate infrastructure. • Define global humanitarian, environmental, scientific, and socioeconomic initiatives and respond through research and outreach/Extension. • Enrich academic and cultural experiences of faculty, staff and students through global engagement.

Strategies INFRASTRUCTURE • Develop and maintain infrastructure to coordinate opportunities. • Attract new international opportunities to establish portfolio of programs. INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION • Increase research and outreach/Extension activities and collaborations that address key global issues. GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT • Expand and coordinate campus offerings to give students global perspectives in all disciplines. • Expand other international scholarly opportunities. • Enhance internationalization of MSU campus.

Measures of Success • Appropriate housing, transportation services for international community • 20% more grants, contracts for international activities • 10% increase in global initiatives • 50% more student participants in international education • More Fulbright recipients • 20% more international students • 20% more visiting scholars and exchange students See all measures at


Strategic Goal 5 14

Enhance Institutional Culture and Environment by providing the university community with tools, rewards and resources to achieve professional and personal goals.

Priorities To • • • • •

enhance institutional culture and environment, we will: Encourage and support holistic development and well-being of faculty, staff and students. Enhance diversity at MSU. Improve infrastructure to accommodate enrollment growth. Enhance campus sustainability. Expand private giving.

Strategies INSTITUTIONAL HEALTH • Provide programs to support personal and professional growth. • Recognize and reward exemplary faculty and staff performance. • Ensure transparent, shared­-governance environment. • Promote ethical behavior. SUSTAINABILITY • Maintain signatory status in American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment by implementing MSU Climate Action Plan. DIVERSITY • Attract diverse, high-quality faculty and staff. GROWTH • Ensure orderly growth of campus per Campus Master Plan. ENDOWMENT • Maintain strong relations with current and prospective donors and alumni.

Measures of Success • Lower faculty turnover rate • Salaries consistent with market • 25% more internal faculty awards • More African American and female faculty • Campus infrastructure development • Sufficient student housing • Annual reporting of climate data • Endowment: $500M • Complete Infinite Impact campaign See all measures at