MSU

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of people are expected to be drawn like flies to see and smell a reeking flower in East Lansing this week. 

“The Latin name for this plant is Amorphophallus Titanium,” says Peter Carrington, assistant curator of MSU’s Beal Botanical Garden, “which gloriously translates into "the very huge misshapen penis.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

College students should stop surfing the internet in class and start paying more attention to their professors. That’s the finding of a new report from Michigan State University.

There was a time when it wasn’t unusual for university presidents to stay in their jobs for twenty years or more. These days, however, that seldom happens. The average college or university president lasts barely seven years.

It actually may be a wonder that any last that long, given the intensity of issues from rising costs to affirmative action to athletics. Not to mention that everything happens these days in the pressure cooker and under the microscope of the 24-hour news cycle.

Two of Michigan’s three major universities have new presidents; Wayne State’s Roy Wilson has been on the job less than a year. The University of Michigan’s Mark Schlissel takes office this summer. But in January, Lou Anna Simon will celebrate ten years as president of Michigan State University.

In fact, to say she’s been on the job for a decade severely understates her involvement with the institution. She’s been there ever since she arrived as a graduate student in 1970.

Since then, she has held a wide variety of academic and administrative jobs, which is not to say she is set in her ways. I had a chance to have a long conversation with her this week.

She told me tradition is important, but added, “If you don’t have leadership committed to change, but only to defending the status quo, you have the wrong leadership.”

Michigan State is often referred to as the nation’s pioneer land grant university, and that is more than a piece of historical trivia. The school was founded with the idea that it would study and seek out knowledge and find a way of making it practical and relevant for the people of Michigan. They still take that mission seriously.

UNDATED (AP) - The NCAA men's regional finals are set following Friday night's action. Second seed Michigan will take on No. 8 Kentucky in the Midwest final at Indianapolis, and fourth seed Michigan St. will battle No. 7 Connecticut in the East at New York's Madison Square Garden.

makzhou / Flickr

Michigan State University could risk losing $500,000 if it does not stop offering courses that allegedly promote unionization.

A state Senate panel approved a measure Thursday banning courses at public universities that promote or discourage organizing efforts. It’s a reaction to MSU’s recent decision to take over some programs from the National Labor College.

Republicans say those courses violate the proposed rule.

“I believe in academic freedom, and you’re going to have difficult subjects that you’re going to cover at any university,” said state Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, who chairs the panel that directs higher education funding in the House. 

“But this is a case where I think we’re almost encouraging labor disputes, and I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

The only Democrat that sits on the Senate panel that approved the penalty says it’s unusual for lawmakers to scrutinize university programs this intensely.

“Why just this program?” asked state Sen. Morris Hood III, D-Detroit. “And I would guess to believe that this is a hot topic item and it ruffles a lot of feathers.”

An MSU official says the university’s curriculum is balanced. He says it also offers classes that educate businesses on labor issues.

Pscholka says lawmakers will probably decide whether to move forward with the $500,000 penalty when they return from a three-week break in April.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Cybercrime is the topic of a conference at Michigan State University today.

By one estimate, cybercrime costs the U.S. economy about $100 billion a year in money lost and money spent on beefing up online security.

Tom Holt is the organizer of the MSU cybercrime conference. He says one particular challenge for law enforcement and technicians alike is catching cybercriminals who are becoming more elusive.

Big Ten tournament champion Michigan State University, runner-up University of Michigan and Mid-American conference champion Western Michigan University all play their first tournament games today. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Using one of the lowest-tech tools – shovels – officials broke ground today on what will someday be one of the most advanced centers for scientific research in the world. 

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation joined Michigan State University officials and others in breaking near-frozen ground for what will be the Facility of Rare Isotope Beams.

The facility, known as FRIB, will allow scientists to experiment with nuclear elements that do not normally exist on Earth.

(artist's conception) / Michigan State University

Michigan State University breaks ground Monday on a major scientific research project.

The $730 million Facility for Rare Isotope Beams has been in development for five years.

Thomas Glasmacher is the project director.   He says FRIB will have an impact far away from the East Lansing campus.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

2014 may be a ‘robust’ year for Michigan’s tourism industry.

Stock markets and consumer confidence are high, housing markets are improving and unemployment is down. Michigan State University researchers say these are all factors that play a role in determining if people will take a vacation.

The MSU researchers presented their annual tourism forecast at an industry conference in Traverse City this morning.

They’re predicting a 4.5% increase in hotel receipts this year compared with 2013, which was a strong year for Michigan tourism.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A big-ticket construction project on the Michigan State University campus is in President Barack Obama's proposed budget.

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or F-Rib for short, may turn MSU into a destination for advanced nuclear science research. But its $730 million price tag has raised questions about whether it will get the funding it needs to get built.

The president’s fiscal year 2015 budget calls for investing $90 million in the project.

Mark Burnham is the vice president of government affairs at MSU.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The late December ice storm that knocked out power to more than half a million Michigan utility customers also damaged many of the state’s trees.

A preliminary study being released today takes a look at that damage.

Professor Frank Telewski was busy Monday, crunching numbers for his presentation today to a conference of state arborists.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

About 500 people packed a Michigan State University campus hall Friday to witness President Barack Obama sign the new federal farm bill.

The event capped years of negotiations and some tough compromises with Congress on the complex legislation. President Obama said he’s always glad to return to Michigan to cheer the auto industry recovery. Now, he says, it’s time to do the same for agriculture and rural America.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Obama called the farm bill "a jobs bill” before he signed it into law today in East Lansing.

The president says the nearly $1 trillion package of farm subsidies and food assistance spending will benefit rural communities in Michigan and around the country that have struggled in recent years.

White House

President Obama travels to Michigan today where he will sign the nation’s new farm bill into law.

The new law will change the way the federal government aids the nation’s farmers.

The president is signing the nearly $1 trillion farm bill into law on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Obama will sign the nearly $1 trillion federal farm bill into law when he visits Michigan State University on Friday.

The U.S. Senate passed the farm bill today, ending years of wrangling in Washington over the legislation that provides federal aid to farmers and the nation’s poor.

The sweeping $100-billion-a-year measure won Senate approval Tuesday on a 68-32 vote after House passage last week. The bulk of its cost is for the food stamp program, which aids 1 in 7 Americans.

Budweiser

The Seattle Seahawks trounced the Denver Broncos in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

But a group of Michigan State University advertising and public relations professors says the real winners were a dog and horse. 

Companies paid about $4 million for each 30-second spot during the big game in hopes of reaching 100 million viewers. 

For 17 years, MSU professors have been picking the big game’s best TV ads. Last night, their pick for the best commercial was a Budweiser ad featuring a puppy and Clydesdale horse that develop a special relationship.

user: Dru Bloomfield / Flickr

MSU conducted a study that links productivity to smart phone usage.

Russell Johnson is an assistant professor at Michigan State and conducted the study in collaboration with the University of Florida and the University of Washington.

The study found two big correlations.

First, that the amount of sleep you get is directly related to how much time you spend on your cell phone at night.

If you spend a lot of time on your phone, you'll get less sleep. 

The second big thing has to do with productivity.

Johnson and the other two researchers found that it's harder for people to be focused and engaged at work if they spent a lot of time on their smart phones the night before.

(courtesy of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A massive physics research project at Michigan State University is expected to break ground this spring.

The Lansing State Journal reports that there is $55 million allocated for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams in the federal budget. Plans call for more than $160 million in construction costs alone over the next four years.

The U.S. Department of Energy last year estimated the cost of FRIB at $730 million. The aim is for completion between 2020 and 2022.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University soon will pay out the bulk of $7 million in negotiated health care reimbursements to thousands of union workers.

School spokesman Jason Cody says the payments of more than $1,000 each will show up Friday in paychecks for employees paid every other week, and Jan. 31 for those paid monthly.

The Lansing State Journal reports the employees include roughly 5,800 mid-level managers, police officers, cafeteria workers and others represented by eight unions.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University officials have delayed a celebration for the school's Rose Bowl-winning football team because of a major snowstorm and polar temperatures in the forecast.

The Detroit Free Press reported Saturday that athletic director Mark Hollis said the celebration planned for Monday will be rescheduled to an undetermined date. Meanwhile, the East Lansing university will honor the team during Tuesday's home basketball game against Ohio State.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There are many Michigan State University students and alumni celebrating the New Year in Pasadena.

They’re there to see the Spartans play in this year’s Rose Bowl game.

The Rose Bowl is nicknamed “The granddaddy of them all” because it is the oldest of the college football bowl games.

The last time the Spartans represented the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl was 1988. MSU earned its first trip back to Pasadena on New Year’s Day with a 12 and one season, finishing with a win over Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Thousands of Michigan State students have celebrated the football team's Big Ten title with large, rowdy bonfires.

East Lansing police arrested multiple people Saturday night near River and Cedar streets, which is a traditional spot for MSU students to party after major sports victories. No. 10 MSU defeated No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 late Saturday, earning its first Rose Bowl appearance in a quarter-century.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Michigan State shook up the BCS title chase again Saturday night.

The No. 10 Spartans regained the lead on Connor Cook's 9-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Price with 11:41 left and upset No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 to take the Big Ten title and put Auburn back in the national title hunt.

Ohio State (12-1) had the nation's longest active winning streak end at 24 as coach Urban Meyer suffered his first loss since taking over in Columbus.

It was a game that almost defied logic.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder may be facing a tough re-election battle next year. A new poll shows the governor’s approval rating is holding in the mid-30s.

Michigan State University’s "State of the State" survey polled Michiganders earlier this fall. The pollsters found only about 36% of Michiganders approved of the job Snyder is doing in office. That’s actually an improvement.  Last spring, after the Right to Work battle, Snyder’s approval rating dropped below 30% in the survey.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - More than 114,000 people visited the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in East Lansing in its first year.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the museum recently held a celebration to thank donors, leaders of Michigan State University, where the museum is located, and staff members.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new Michigan State University study suggests a Catholic school education might not be better than a public schools education.

Todd Elder is an MSU economist. He says it's true that test scores for Catholic school students are better than for public school students. But Elder says that gap is wider in Kindergarten than it is in the eighth grade.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The federal government shutdown is threatening a project at Michigan State University that could be critical to the future of agriculture in the U.S.

It’s one of many university research projects affected by the shutdown.

flickr user FatMandy / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Isabella County jail inmates are spending more time outside their cells these days.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Isabella County after receiving complaints that inmates were not allowed exercise time outside their cells.

Daniel Manville is the director the Michigan State University law school's Civil Rights Clinic. He says jail officials were willing to reach an out-of-court settlement. Manville says many county jails in Michigan are in a similar position because of inmate overcrowding and budget cuts.

“It’s my understanding that there's a few other jails that are under litigation,” says Manville. “We’ve even started talking to a couple jails about making changes, and they are willing to sit down even before we file a lawsuit and we may even be able to resolve it without a lawsuit.”

As part of the Isabella County jail settlement, inmates will have access to an exercise room for an hour a day five days a week.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LOS ANGELES (AP) - For years Eli Broad has said he wants to make his vast, collection of contemporary art accessible to the largest number of people possible.

What better way to do that, the billionaire philanthropist said Tuesday, than to make admission free to the $140 million museum he's building in downtown Los Angeles.

When it opens next year, Broad said during a hard-hat tour of the half-completed building, people will be able to walk in and view works by Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and scores of others without paying a cent.

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