There will always be tests for those of us whose duties to our students remain paramount.

I know that a lot of our student success colleagues were dismayed to learn that President Stanley had informed the Board of Trustees that he was stepping down earlier this month. The president was clear that his lack of confidence in the Board of Trustees as constituted made continuing to work for MSU an impossibility.

As you likely know, ASMSU, Faculty Senate, and Academic Council have also passed votes of no confidence in the Board.

Our current troubles are yet another test for those of us whose duties to our students remain paramount. This is an opportunity for us to earn a vote of confidence from our faculty, staff and students by continuing to advance Student Success at MSU.

The core of our roles as academic leaders, instructor, advisors, and support staff is to create a welcoming and equitable environment in which all MSU students can learn, thrive, and graduate. This responsibility has not diminished during previous changes in leadership, and it will not change now. I am incredibly encouraged at what I have seen and heard from my colleagues; their will to ensure we remain true to our educational mission and to student success is unshakable.

With MSU's Strategic Plan firmly in place, we have a clear vision for our work and the resources we need to achieve our goals. And while it is distracting and stressful, no amount of media attention or upheaval in governance will change our commitment to educational continuity for our students.

Today, it is our responsibility to keep our students' education on track and to support one another. It is an honor to remain a world-class institution dedicated to closing opportunity gaps. Student Success is an institutional objective and is deeply ingrained in the MSU Strategic Plan, which is larger than any one person and benefits from each and every dedicated member of our academic community. 

To work with such dependable and talented colleagues makes me feel incredibly fortunate. I told APUE staff this not long ago, but it applies to so many outside APUE: YOU are MSU, and I am confident in your unwavering dedication to our students and to our community. As an unapologetic Spartan for life, I am, despite the tumult, once again reminded why I have chosen to make MSU my professional home.

Feedback and suggestions, especially from the MSU community, welcome: email

Mark Largent is the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Michigan State University.