The Spartan Podcast

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Michigan State University Provost June Youatt visits with Kirk Heinze on Greening of the Great Lakes and, in discussing the imbuing of the sustainability ethos throughout the curriculum, says that MSU has always been a place that has attracted students interested in natural resources, agriculture, food, water and the environment.

“And that lends itself to conversations about how we take care of those things and how we sustain them.”

Youatt adds that a provost at a university like MSU “is responsible for all academic activity,” which includes the hiring of all deans, the approval of all curricula, and supporting faculty research efforts.

“Anything that people think about as the work of Michigan State University falls under the purview of the provost.”

And she says MSU has “always been a place where faculty felt comfortable approaching each other with big ideas” and that MSU is a place that has always emphasized interdisciplinary research efforts.

Youatt tells Heinze that today’s students “are looking for a much broader experience and asking bigger questions” as they seek answers to some of our society’s biggest issues. Students are still interested in successful careers in areas like engineering and accounting, “but they’re really interested in thinking about them from a broader perspective.”

And she sees that sense of purpose growing in today’s students, who drove the development and implementation of recycling and composting initiatives on campus.

“They come now wanting both opportunities to explore purpose, but to practice” putting that purpose into action. More and more undergraduate students are getting involved in research projects with faculty, even in their first year.

“It’s an advantage of coming to a research institution that you’re not just hearing about what people have discovered, but you’re actually learning the process of discovery.”

She says that for the first time, MSU has 1,000 women enrolled in engineering. And she tells Heinze about the RISE and RCAH programs, a new minor in energy, and about how entrepreneurship plays a role in tying it all together.

Greening of the Great Lakes airs every Sunday evening at 7:00 on News/Talk 760 WJR and around the state each weekend via the Michigan Talk Network.

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