December 10, 2014
On behalf of the MSU School of Packaging’s faculty, staff and students, I would like to wish you a very happy holiday season! 2014 has been a year of growth, challenge and accomplishment for the School and we are eagerly waiting for what 2015 has in store.
In terms of growth, this fall we welcomed 75 freshmen into our halls as declared packaging majors. I expect the trend of earlier decisions about the major to continue along with more out of state students entering our program. Currently our program has a three decade record high of over 880 enrolled undergraduates, which is a 14% increase since fall of 2013. The academic ability of all our students continues to be very impressive! You will see great potential employees as they finish their degrees. But with this record growth there have been challenges, as you can imagine. Our classes are bursting at the seams. We have fewer tenure system faculty than we did two years ago, and we need to significantly increase our research productivity to meet university expectations as well as to continue to advance knowledge in packaging. Therefore, to manage this challenge we have continued to increase the grade point requirement for full entry into the major at junior standing. Beginning in January 2015 we will also require two semesters of calculus, which will help to increase the rigor of the program. So far even with the increased GPA, enrollment has continued to grow. At some point these new requirements will help achieve a more manageable number of students.
To secure success for the long-term future of our program, we have formed a strategic planning committee to help bring into balance our academic, research and outreach responsibilities. This intensive effort involves decisions about “right-sizing” the teaching program, identifying focal areas for research, delineating resource needs, and more. We are also in discussion with university architects to create a more engaging and collaborative space for all of our students and researchers that will transform the packaging building. This is a very exciting opportunity for the School of Packaging to create dramatic and important improvements to our program by offering more facilities to our students and researchers, who are all working harder than ever to be the best they can be. This project will support them in their endeavors.
On a people note, Harold Hughes retired at the end of 2013. Joe Hotchkiss completed his term as Director, and is currently on sabbatical and I have assumed the role of Interim Director (yes, again). After the strategic plan for our program is complete we will begin director search discussions.
As 2014 concludes, we think about all that has helped to shape our program into what it is today. Our relationship with you is something we treasure. We look forward to engaging with you in the New Year and hope that you will follow along on our building transformation project and strategic plan as they unfold. You are always welcome to stop by and say hello and we encourage you to follow the School on Facebook for updates on students and research happenings here on campus.
Susan Selke, PhD
Interim Director, MSU School of Packaging