2023 Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award Call for Nominations!

Remarkable, dedicated and hardworking are just some of the words used to describe the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award Recipients. The Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award is presented annually to six university support staff members, hand-selected by the Selection Committee from nominations received by the recipients’ colleagues.

The award is named in honor of Jack Breslin, who served Michigan State University as a student leader, honored athlete, top administrator and steadfast advocate. His strong and innovative leadership played a pivotal role in MSU’s growth and development as the nation’s premier land grant institution.

Nominations are now open for the 2023 award and the nomination form and accompanying materials are due October 28, 2022. Selection criteria for recipients include overall excellence in job performance, supportive attitude and contributions to the unit or university that lead to improved efficiency or effectiveness, and valuable service to the university. Please review the nomination form and the HR website for further details. Do not notify the nominee before or after submitting your nomination. The nomination form, supervisor approval and accompanying materials are due October 28, 2022. Contact MSU Human Resources with any questions at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu.

Time to Choose Your Benefits for 2023: Your Open Enrollment Checklist

October is just around the corner, which means the MSU Benefits Open Enrollment period (October 1-31) is about to begin for benefits-eligible employees. Please use the following checklist to help guide you through Open Enrollment and be sure to make your benefit selections for the 2023 plan year between October 1-31, 2022.

1. Determine your benefit needs

During Open Enrollment (October 1-31), you may enroll in, change or cancel coverage in the following benefits:

  • Health
  • Dental
  • Flexible spending accounts (health and/or dependent care)
  • Life or accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Some voluntary benefits, including vision, legal and critical illness insurance

Make sure you review the Open Enrollment guide carefully and choose the best benefit plans for your family.

2. Complete the spouse/other eligible individual (OEI) affidavit

If you want to cover a spouse/OEI on your benefits plan, you MUST complete the affidavit online through the EBS Portal every year. Find instructions to complete the affidavit as part of Open Enrollment.

3. Review notable information for the 2023 plan year

Notable information for the 2023 plan year includes:

  • Monthly premiums for voluntary legal insurance through ARAG have increased for the 2023 plan year. Visit MSUBenefitsPlus.comto view updated rates. Find instructions to enroll, change or cancel coverage in the Open Enrollment guide.
  • Many MSU employees are now working in a remote or hybrid situation. If this includes you, please review the important guidance on health care and dental plan options in the Open Enrollment guide (see page 5) prior to enrolling in a plan.

Find all notable information on page 5 of the Open Enrollment guide.

4. Make your changes online before October 31

If you want to make changes to your benefit selections and/or cover a spouse/OEI on your benefit plans, you must participate in Open Enrollment between October 1-31 (view enrollment instructions).

5. Participate in the MSU Benefits Fair and HR Site Labs or use the online benefit provider resources

Please Note: events are subject to change at any time. Please review the most updated details on the HR website prior to attending.

  • MSU Benefits Fair: We will be having an in-person benefits fair on October 19 from Noon to 7:00 p.m. at the Breslin Student Events Center on campus. MSU benefit providers and MSU HR staff will be available to answer questions and/or help you enroll in your benefits on-site. The MSU Health Care Pharmacy will be offering flu shots during the fair by appointment only. The appointment calendar (managed by MSU Health Care Pharmacy) will close when all appointments are filled or 48 hours prior to the event.  Learn more about the fair and how to make an appointment for the flu shot.
  • HR Site Labs: MSU HR will offer site labs on October 6 (in-person and virtual) and October 31 (in-person). Consider attending if you have questions about your benefit options or need assistance with enrollment. Learn how to participate in a site lab on the HR website.

We hope this checklist is helpful as you prepare for and participate in Open Enrollment this year. You can find all the details about Open Enrollment on the HR website, including links to the appropriate benefits guide, enrollment instructions, and detailed benefits information.

Questions? We’re happy to help! We encourage you to get in touch via phone or email. Limited in-person help will be available by appointment only. Please call or email the HR Solutions Center at 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu to make an appointment or ask a question.

Celebrate National Pet Day with MSU Vet Clinic and Pet Insurance

April 11 is National Pet Day! Pet lovers already know, and the Center for Disease Control confirms, that there are many benefits to owning pets. Pets increase opportunities for exercise, enjoying the outdoors, and socializing. These health benefits can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. The companionship of pets makes us less lonely, reducing the effects of depression. 

Owning pets comes with responsibility, and Michigan State University offers services and resources to assist in those responsibilities. First, the MSU Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) can provide for all the health needs of your entire animal family. They provide health care for cats, dogs, equine, pigs, cows, camelids, sheep, goats, pocket pets, zoo animals, and wildlife. Their services include cardiology, oncology, primary care, and more. 

The VMC uses the most advanced technology combined with cutting-edge research to provide optimal care for all animals. Similar to specialists in human medicine, veterinarians pursue additional education and certification beyond veterinary school. That training allows the Hospital to offer 20 specialty services with clinicians who supervise and teach our senior veterinary students, interns, residents, and veterinary technology students to fulfill the Hospital’s commitment to educating future professionals. 

Maintaining optimal health for your pets is a financial investment, and emergency care can be costly. Keep those expenses manageable with preferred pricing from Nationwide pet insurance offered through MSU Benefits Plus, where you can choose from 50% or 70% reimbursement for services from any vet. You’ll also receive additional benefits for services such as emergency boarding, lost pet advertising, and more. Visit the MSU Benefits Plus website to learn more and enroll. Locate the Nationwide Pet Insurance tile under Featured Benefits and click Visit Site to request a free quote. 

Job of the Week: Manager of Public Programming – Exhibitions Manager

This week, MSU Human Resources is featuring an open position with the MSU Museum. The MSU Museum is seeking a Manager of Public Programming – Exhibitions Manager (job posting 765811). This is a support staff position under Provost and Academic Affairs.

Reporting to the Creative Director, the Manager of Public Programming will develop, implement, and evaluate educational and outreach programming stemming from the Museum’s division for innovation and experimentation. The position requires an ability to effectively and diplomatically work with individuals and groups from all over the community. The projects, programs, and initiatives for such a position will naturally vary in scale from intimate to expansive, with a spectrum of engagement expectations that range from scholarly presentations to large-scale projects that engage the broader campus community and extended public, many of whom may not be routine museum-goers. A lively balance of programs that deepen understanding, build audiences and push the boundaries on what it means to be a 21st-century interdisciplinary museum is expected. A detailed list of duties and responsibilities can be found here.

The candidate selected for this role will have a four-year college degree or equivalent experience in science communications, the arts or humanities, or a related field. They should also have three or more years of experience related to exhibitions in a museum, gallery, or foundation. Additional desired experience includes project planning, budget development, contract negotiation, and supervisory experience.

Learn more about the MSU Museum at https://museum.msu.edu/. To apply for this position, you will need a resume, cover letter, and three professional references. Click here to apply by April 5, 2022. All the latest job postings can be found at careers.msu.edu.

Nominations are Open for the Student Employee of the Year Award!

If you work at MSU, you know how important student employees are to the success of your department and the university. Do you know a student who consistently goes above and beyond in their work? Supervisors have the chance to recognize these exemplary Spartans by nominating them for the Student Employee of the Year award by February 11, 2022.

Find more details and the nomination form on the Department of Student Life website.

Eligible nominees must be:

  • Currently registered in an MSU degree-granting program.
  • Employed on student employee payroll for a minimum of three months between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022.
  • Nominated by their supervisor. Only one student employee may be nominated per supervisor. Complete an online nomination form here.
    Note: Graduate assistants, residence hall staff and other student employees who do not fall under the jurisdiction of MSU Student Employment or the Student Employee Payroll may not be nominated for this award. They are eligible for other recognition programs.

All nominees will be honored with certificates. The MSU Student Employee winner’s name is submitted for consideration for the State of Michigan competition. All nominees will be acknowledged at a reception on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, Big Ten A. Learn more about the award on the Department of Student Life website.

Job of the Week: Library Assistant II

This week’s featured job from MSU Human Resources is a support staff position for MSU Libraries–Library Assistant II (posting 752784). Apply today to join MSU Libraries, a leader among international research libraries and the center of academic life at MSU. They strive to build an accessible, enriching environment for researchers and learners on campus and around the world. 

The selected candidate will perform detailed bibliographic verification for English and foreign language materials for purchasing and processing and provide bibliographic access to materials requiring detailed processing. They will also perform data entry, record maintenance, and process mail. 

Applicants interested in this role should have completed at least one year of college or business school education. Work or educational experience required includes the ability to type 45 words per minute, record keeping, web page editing, and more. This role may also require the ability to identify information or read and translate one or more foreign languages. 

Learn more about MSU Libraries at https://lib.msu.edu/. Read more about the position here and apply with a resume and cover letter by December 28. All the latest job postings can be found at careers.msu.edu

Don’t forget your MSU employee discounts this holiday season!

As a benefits-eligible MSU employee, you have access to various discounts and savings that can help you find the perfect holiday gifts. Through MSU Benefits Plus, you can find discounts and special offers on products such as electronics, toys and more!

To access all the discounts, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign-in using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge), or you can find the number in EBS. If you haven’t used MSU Benefits Plus previously, you’ll need to sign-up using your ZPID number to access the discounts.

The following are a few of the deals you can find through MSU Benefits Plus:

  • Apple – Enjoy employee pricing on most Apple products such as select iPhones, AirPods, MacBooks, Apple Watches and more when you shop through this exclusive link.
  • Amish Furniture Company – Receive a 10% discount on all purchases using coupon code EDU10% during check out (may request proof of MSU affiliation).
  • Best Buy – Save 20% on select cell phone accessories including OtterBox, LieProof, Mophie, Speck, Kate Spade NY, Under Armour, and more when you use promo code 20percentoff at checkout.
  • Calm – Get 57% off* the #1 app for meditation and sleep through this link.
  • HP Gaming Gear – The HP Employee Purchase Program (EPP) offers HP consumer products at discounts typically up to 10% – 50% off starting prices through this exclusive link.
  • Kiwi Crate – Inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, and save 35% off your first month’s box when you use this exclusive link!
  • Magazine Advantage – get up to 90% off the most popular magazines offering titles such as People, Better Homes & Gardens, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, Martha Stewart Living & more! Buy for yourself or send as a gift through this exclusive link.

The HR website also offers other deals you can find on-campus through the MSU Tech Store, MSU Bakers, and the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, among others. You can check out some of those deals at MSU HR Website.

For more information on discounts through MSU Benefits Plus, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about the discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

HR Welcomes Colleagues and Students Back to Campus

Dear Spartan Colleagues,  

We are pleased to welcome everyone to a new academic year. While some added safety measures, including indoor masking and vaccination, have been put in place to protect all of us, we expect a more typical fall semester for our students. Our university is a space for them to engage with peers and faculty for the best possible learning experience and development opportunities. In addition to our first-year students, some of our second-year students will be on campus for the first time—experiencing dorm life, taking in the beauty of the Red Cedar River, and attending exciting campus events. With these added safety measures, we can minimize the spread of COVID-19 and give these Spartans a great start to their academic year. More information regarding these safety measures, including the vaccine verification and exemption forms, can be found on the Together We Will site.

We all have spent the last year and a half navigating our daily lives, careers, education, families, and more during a global pandemic. If you are experiencing the effects of this challenging time, you are not alone. Many resources are available to us—the Wellbeing at Work guide, the Employee Assistance Program and more information can be found on this page of the Together We Will site. As always, and especially during this time, it is important to practice grace and empathy toward our colleagues, students, and visitors. The pandemic has greatly affected all of us in different ways. We are all doing our best—let’s continue to work through this together.  

On behalf of MSU Human Resources and Academic Human Resources, we want to thank each of you for your continued work and dedication to the University, our students, and our land-grant mission. These are challenging times, but Together We Will. We wish you a safe, healthy, and successful academic year. 

Go Green!  

Richard Fanning, J.D., SHRM-SCP 
Interim Associate Vice President and Director of the Office of Employee Relations 
MSU Human Resources 

N. Suzanne Lang, PhD 
Associate Provost and Associate Vice President 
Academic Human Resources 

Leadership Blog Series: Every Improvement Involves Change

Written by Sharri Margraves, HR Associate Director for Organization and Professional Development

Change itself isn’t an improvement…but every improvement involves change.

We are experiencing unprecedented (there’s that word again) change on many levels and across many systems, under-resourced in many areas while managing through tremendous pressure for both you and your teams. Learning new ways to make improvements is critical. I invite you to take a fresh perspective on leading change, starting with yourself. You need a deliberate path for leaning into change and bringing your team along with you as you lead improvement measures.

Start with Yourself

To begin, reflect on the following questions while considering your current leadership approach during this time of rapid change. How do you approach problems and lead improvements?

  • Are you treating the symptoms, or are you tackling the root cause of the issues? Imagine the feeling of having your teams think about the root cause of any problems or improvements. Connecting improvements throughout the organization to individuals can increase engagement and build more value for your stakeholders.
  • Does everyone in your organization or on your team know how to participate in improvements? Do they know what is expected of them, or do they have to wait to be told what to do? Imagine empowering and unleashing the potential from your entire team by inviting them to work on what really matters, in a way that is supported by trusting those who know the most about the issues.
  • Do you expect continuous improvement in the daily work? Envision being able to systematically improve even “small” thorny issues, recognize people, and deal with processes that are ineffective, wasteful and redundant.
  • Do you include representation of all your key stakeholders in your efforts? No one wants to feel like they are at the little kids’ table—waiting for scraps and being told what to do. Be holistic in solving problems and making improvements. Not including good representation from across the spectrum to solve issues around change means you are sowing seeds of suspicion or, even worse, sabotage.

Lean into Change

Regardless of an issue’s scope, create a path toward improvement utilizing the following steps:

  1. Define the problem. Create a team to solve the problem that includes those responsible for the activity, process or action. Develop the problem statement in one or two sentences—get to the real root cause by asking the 5 Whys until you get to the bottom of things.
  2. Define the desired state in one to two sentences. If XYZ changes, what is the intended outcome?
  3. Define who needs to be involved and how. Use a RACI chart to help you define roles: who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. Consider the difference between responsible and accountable: If I am an electrician who is responsible for installing a new outlet and I get sick and can’t complete the job, my manager is accountable to find someone to complete the job.

Lead with Intention

Now you are ready to conduct kaizen, which means to take apart (“Kai”) and put back together (“Zen”). Remember, there is no “bad” information or people—the focus should be on the facts of the problem and not the person. Lead this process with intention using the steps below.

  1. Document the current process with time estimates (or other measures).
  2. Identify areas of improvement. You are likely trying to eliminate wasted time, money or energy. Everything should have a real value—or we shouldn’t be doing it.
  3. Develop new processes that can prevent or improve problems. Document them in Promapp.
  4. Implement (i.e., do the things!) Build in a loop to communicate on the implementation and the results over a period of time. Develop training tools based off your process/actions.
  5. Measure and compare to previous results to verify improvement. Remember, anything that does not add value (time, money, energy) should be eliminated, and measuring improvement is possible—even for what can sometimes feel like Byzantine university processes. This is an important transparency step to all members in the process.
  6. Standardize the new process, system or action. Use visual tools, such as dashboards or posters, to reinforce the processes.

Ongoing steps in the process: Celebrate successes whether big or small, maintain continuous monitoring as situations change, and continue to embark on improvements.

Change Management Strategist, Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta, describes change leadership as “the ability to influence and inspire action in others, and respond with vision and agility during periods of growth, disruption or uncertainty to bring about the needed change.” Approach improvements with intentionality to be an influential leader of change during our current period of transition.

Interested in learning more? Recommended SourceLive articles are listed below, and the Organization and Professional Development department can be reached at prodev@hr.msu.edu for specialized support.

Recommended Reading


Balzer, W., Francis, D., Krehbiel, T., Shea, N. A review and perspective on lean in higher education. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/William-Balzer/publication/308000035_A_review_and_perspective_on_Lean_in_higher_education/links/5ea32ac6299bf112560c188d/A-review-and-perspective-on-Lean-in-higher-education.pdf (log-in required)

Jenkins, Alison. Advancing lean leadership. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/advancing-lean-leadership#

Neumeyer, Adrian. Create a RACI chart so everyone knows their role. https://www.tacticalprojectmanager.com/raci-chart-explanation-with-example

MSU Summer Events, Activities and Courses Round-Up

Enjoy your summer with these campus activities, events, and courses to do with your family and friends!

Outdoor Activities

  • Get outside and hike the beautiful trails at the Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. Additionally, check out their calendar of virtual and in-person events, which now include daily bird and butterfly activities and walks throughout the property.
  • The W. J. Beal Botanical Garden on campus is an outdoor laboratory for the study and appreciation of plants. If you follow the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden Facebook page, you can see that along with the flowers and sprawling grounds, there is now a temporary art installation to check out! The garden is open for you to walk around and enjoy the plants and pond in a beautiful setting. Be sure to continue to follow current and posted COVID-19 guidelines.

Performance and Art

  • The Wharton Center is preparing for a full reopening in the fall, but if you are missing the theater, check out all of the great opportunities to learn and grow through Wharton at Home. You can also join instructors for a livestream class every Wharton Wednesday at 10:30 A.M. here.
  • The Broad Art Museum has multiple exhibits on display throughout the summer, including the “Interstates of Mind” ending on August 8 and “Where We Dwell” beginning on August 7. The Broad Art Lab on Grand River Avenue is also open once again for $16 per session. If you are looking for at home activities, the Broad Museum Online has virtual exhibits and art classes open to the public.


  • The Abrams Planetarium at MSU is now open for shows on Saturday and Sunday nights. You can register online here for either Big Astronomy or We Are Stars. Patrons can also book private showings for up to 20 people or check out Night Sky Chats, streaming on Facebook Live every Wednesday Night.
  • MSU HR is always updating the OPD Resources online, so this summer you can take a course on anything from Communication to Professional Development from the comfort of your own home. Check out the full list of course offerings here.


  • MSU Health4U has multiple summer programs running every month for free, just register online and choose the program, or programs, right for you.
  • SPARTANfit Health and Wellness Program is offering a comprehensive virtual fitness assessment for MSU employees and their spouses! Get a three month plan from your assessment and start reaching your summer health and fitness goals.

Explore these great campus activities this summer but remember to continue to stay safe by wearing a mask if you are not fully vaccinated, wash your hands often, and maintain physical distance.