The Spartan Podcast


sots4.jpg Hear the Conversation 23:42 – 13.5 mb mp3

Michigan residents were more upbeat about the economy this winter than about their elected leaders in Michigan State University’s latest State of the State Survey (SOSS), released February 23.

President Donald Trump’s positive ratings were up very slightly, from 28 percent in the previous survey to 29.7 percent in the latest measure. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder received favorable ratings from 26.3 percent of Michigan residents.

At the same time, Michigan residents were highly optimistic about their current household finances. Those who called themselves better off than a year ago outnumbered those who said they were worse off by two to one. More than 60 percent forecast they’d be better off a year from now, says Charles Ballard, MSU economist and SOSS director. Ballard joins IPPSR director and MSU political scientist Matt Grossmann and IPPSR associate director Arnold Weinfeld for a conversation on the survey results. Read more »


hopic.jpg Hear the Conversation 6:55 – 4 mb mp3

In keeping with his promise to make health care at Michigan State University a national model for quality and safety, Interim President John Engler has announced a new structure for the university’s health colleges, clinical practice and student wellness programs, including two leadership appointments.

Norman J. Beauchamp Jr., dean of the College of Medicine, has been appointed to the newly created position of associate provost and assistant vice president for health affairs. Anthony M. Avellino, chief executive officer of OSF Healthcare Illinois Neurological Institute, will assume the roles of assistant provost for student health, wellness and safety and MSU HealthTeam chief medical officer.

Beauchamp will maintain his appointment as dean of the College of Medicine.

(photo by Derrick L. Turner)


loristrom.jpg Hear the Conversation 25:16 – 14.4 mb mp3

Lori Strom is Lifespan and Family Services Coordinator at the MSU WorkLife Office. She presented a session titled Surviving and Thriving as an Elder Caregiver at the Broad College of Business Executive Development Program’s Business and Bagels series.

Strom’s talk addressed the wellness concerns of working caregivers and their elder loved ones. The presentation explored caregivers’ needs for healthy living and resources to balance their work, life and caregiving responsibilities.

“Every situation is unique and special,” says Strom. “There are so many family dynamics that come into play that it’s unique every time you talk to a family.”

Strom says that caring for an elder loved one can often impact the caregiver’s own health. So it’s important for caregivers to take care of their own health. Read more »


GS18.jpg Hear the Conversation 8:21 – 4.8 mb mp3

MSU alumnus Glenn Stevens is executive director of Mich Auto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Stevens spoke to the Lansing Regional Chamber Economic Club on February 15.

“I work in the economic development space, particularly with our automotive and mobility industries in Michigan,” says Stevens. “We’re focused on promoting, retaining, and growing our automotive and next generation mobility industries here in Michigan.”

Stevens says the automotive industry is transforming “so fast because of the convergence of the automotive and tech industries and the need for the development of next generation mobility.” And he defines mobility as “a different and more efficient way for people, goods, and services to move in our world and in our society.” Read more »


KAR2.jpg Hear the Conversation 15:12 – 8.7 mb mp3

Michigan State University alumna and entrepreneur Kerry Ann Rockquemore is founding CEO of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Based in Detroit, it’s an independent professional development, training, and mentoring organization for diverse faculty members, postdocs, and graduate students around the United States.

It has its roots at MSU as Rockquemore was inspired by MSU University Distinguished Professor Emerita Geneva Smitherman.

“She was the first woman of color faculty member I met at MSU,” says Rockquemore. “She was the person who encouraged me to see a larger version of myself and had an extraordinary impact on my life.”

Rockquemore says she’d like to see more women and minorities become professors.

She’s a supporter and mentor to members of MSU’s Women in Entrepreneurship, a registered student organization run by female undergraduates. She gave the initial startup capital to make it happen. Read more »


koltpic.jpg Hear the Conversation 9:16 – 5.3 mb mp3

On February 4 when millions will be watching the New England Patriots play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, Bob Kolt and his colleagues will be paying closer attention to the commercials inside the game than to the game itself.

Kolt is president and CEO of Kolt Communications and a professor in practice in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University.

For the 21st consecutive year, Kolt and his colleagues will gather to rate and critique the ads in real time.

“The Super Bowl for the advertising industry is like Oscar night for the movie industry,” says Kolt. “It’s the biggest night of the year. Any big advertiser wants a place in the game somewhere to promote their product.” Read more »


jpy2.jpg Hear the Conversation 21:32 – 12.3 mb mp3

June Pierce Youatt is the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at MSU. She is the university’s chief academic officer providing leadership for matters that affect academic programs, research, and outreach involving faculty, students, and staff. One of her current projects is developing an arts strategy. She believes the arts and humanities are an integral part of the student experience at MSU.

“It’s an opportunity to bring together everyone on campus who’s doing something in the arts and humanities to talk about the identity of MSU through the arts and humanities and also the future,” Youatt says.

Youatt and her team are pursuing multiple strategies for enhancing student success focusing on retention, graduation, achievement.

“It’s an all-campus effort, and it’s beginning to pay off in very significant dividends. We’re making sure that students who are recruited here and who meet our standards for admission are getting the support they need to leave here as alumni.” Read more »


phelan18.jpg Hear the Conversation 27:02 – 15.4 mb mp3

“There’s never been a bigger show if you’re a fan of new pickup trucks,” Detroit Free Press automotive critic Mark Phelan tells Kirk Heinze about the 2018 North American International Auto Show. “We have new ones from Chevy, RAM, and the rebirth of the Ford Ranger. We have production and concept SUVs coming out of our ears, too, because that’s the direction the market is moving toward.

“And there are a lot of driver assistance and safety features on these vehicles that are getting us closer to the eventual autonomy of vehicles.”

Phelan adds that there’s a lot of work going on to enhance cyber security in our vehicles, which are becoming more connected by the day.

“Technology and automobiles are inextricably intertwined these days.” And underscoring those linkages is the ever-growing number of technology company exhibits at the auto show, including first-timers Intel Corp. and Blackberry. Read more »


kbowman.jpg Hear the Conversation 23:05 – 13.2 mb mp3

Each month, MSU professors Charles Ballard and Matt Grossmann engage in a lively discussion of Michigan policy and current events. This Month on State of the State: k-12 education finance and policy with guest Kristi Bowman.

State of the State is a monthly discussion with MSU researchers who provide context and evidence to inform Michigan policy debates. Grossmann, political scientist and Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and co-host Ballard, economist and Director of the State of the State Survey welcome MSU College of Law Vice Dean and Professor of Law Kristi Bowman to this month’s discussion.

Bowman explains how the latest round of education rights litigation focuses on the “right to literacy” in federal court in Michigan. The trio discusses the state of k-12 education finance and policy and talk about where it may be headed. Read more »


Byrums182.jpg Hear the Conversation 20:25 – 11.6 mb mp3

Despite the projected continuation of lower commodity prices for farmers, Jim and Dianne Byrum remain very optimistic about the agricultural sector, especially in Michigan.

Jim, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, and Dianne, partner and co-founder of Byrum and Fisk Advocacy Communications, recently joined me to discuss several key agricultural issues that will be front and center in 2018.

“Trade is a huge issue,” says Jim. “Whatever we produce agriculturally we have to export a very large percentage of it. NAFTA has been under attack since day one of the Trump White House. Because of the rhetoric coming from this administration, some of our most trusted trade partners are looking elsewhere for product even though NAFTA hasn’t actually been changed yet.” Read more »

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