Embracing Our Land Grant and Research Roles

The MSU School of Social Work has a key role in bringing to life the mission and purposes of Michigan State University. We energize MSU’s pioneering Land Grant purpose; we increasingly expect to contribute to knowledge about people and practice consistent with a leading national Research University; and we understand the value of a global perspective woven together with a commitment to public service.

Michigan State University is a Land Grant University

In the middle of the Civil War, President Lincoln anticipated the need for unique American universities with a special mission to promote access to education, build knowledge with an applied purpose, provide dynamic teaching in translating and disseminating this knowledge, support public service, and affirm life-long education. These institutions of higher education, called land grant colleges, were already pioneered by Michigan State University (then Michigan Agricultural College), which was founded in 1855. For the MSU School of Social Work, this Land Grant identity and mission are central to the School's mission, values, and goals: (1) Access to a social work education, including life-long education, is supported by programs at different times and locations and through a range of technologically supported approaches. (2) Application of knowledge and a focus on the challenges and questions facing social work practitioners is a priority for our research and teaching. The application of research also supports the important work of advocacy. (3) Dedication to Teaching —in the classroom and in the field—and the content of teaching promotes a solid foundation for lifelong practice, critical thinking, attentiveness to diverse populations and problems, and a range of approaches to adapt to a variety of practice settings. And, (4) Preparation for public service in a broad range of settings is central to the School's mission. In a state that has experienced economic stressors for a number of years this accessible education, applied research, dedicated teaching, continuing education, and emphasis on service are vital elements of the School's mission and purpose.

 

Michigan State University is a Major Research University

The School’s faculty members are significantly engaged in the research enterprise addressing a range of interests. The research mission motivates faculty members to be active in research and demonstrate this activity through publications, grant funding, professional presentations, and research leadership. These research activities connect faculty members with community partners, and with interdisciplinary and multi-professional collaborations and partnerships. Faculty members work as individuals and in teams for the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data for the purposes of advancing positive change. These activities enliven class discussion, promote critical thinking and scientific inquiry, and highlight the role of Social work in knowledge development. In addition to their research activities, faculty members invest in the teaching of research so that students can evaluate their own practice, understand the literature/evidence that informs practice, and contribute to knowledge.

Michigan State University is a Global University

Although located in the middle of the state, in the Midwest, MSU is one of the most globally engaged universities in the United States with the largest study abroad program in an American public university. With the vast majority of MSU social work students coming from the state of Michigan, we intend to develop and provide a range of opportunities to introduce students to a world bigger than their home communities and beyond the borders of the state. Through study abroad, study away, and alternative spring break programs, faculty engagement with colleagues around the world, and research and teaching informed by international comparisons and viewpoints, the School supports the University's global mission.