MSU Presents Core Values


Colin Stevenson

MSU’s Core Values set guidin principles for the university, Feb. 18.

MSU celebrated its core values on Friday, Feb. 18 at a come-and-go social event from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in Clark Student Center. The five core values for the university are: people-centered, community, integrity, visionary and connections. James Johnston, interim president, said that a values-based culture allows people to interact with one another in a respectful and courteous manner. Johnston also said that establishing a values-based culture is not uncommon for Texas Tech University System schools.

A values-based culture is, in my opinion, a hallmark of the Texas Tech University System. The reason we’ve enjoyed interacting with each other system-wide is people living their values, treating each other with the respect and courtesy adhering to those values. So stepping into the system, we’ve always had our core values here at the university, it’s nothing new to us. I mean, we have people that retired after 50 years here, so you have to love a place to spend your entire career, so it’s not like we were without values. I wanted to start those from the very beginning because again it’s a fit with the system, it aligns us with the system, but more importantly, it gives a name and a voice to something we’ve always known here. Once you do that, it’s a reminder to us [that] this is who we are and this is how we intend to treat each other. It becomes a reminder after that,” Johnston said.

The original values summit was held Sept. 28-29, 2021. 109 members of  MSU faculty, staff and students gathered to discuss values that could potentially be added to MSU’s core values list. That number has now grown to over 350 individuals who have added their input on the final core values through a series of town-hall-style meetings. Keith Lamb, vice president of student affairs, is a member of the committee that met to establish the core values. Lamb said that MSU has operated under a certain set of values for a long time but creating the core values list really helped to define what those values are.

“These core values are the values that Midwestern has had for a long time. This process has just kind of been about codifying those, about giving a name to those values, kind of shining a light on those,” Lamb said.

Vice president of student affairs Keith Lamb talks with athletic director Kyle Williams at the Core Values event, Feb. 18.
Vice president of student affairs Keith Lamb talks with athletic director Kyle Williams at the Core Values event, Feb. 18. (Colin Stevenson)

People-centered means engaging others with respect, empathy, and joy. Community means cultivating a diverse and inclusive campus environment. Integrity means always doing the right thing. Visionary means adopting innovative ideas to pioneer new paths. Connections mean valuing relationships with broader communities. Lamb said that four of the values MSU chose are fairly specific to how MSU faculty, staff and students work with one another everyday, but the fifth value, ‘connections,’ is all about how MSU community members relate with the world beyond campus.

“People-centered, community, integrity, visionary, those are all very MSU centered. The fifth value, connections, is fairly unique and that is all about how we interact with outside of MSU. How do we interact with our local community? How do we interact with local business? How do we work outside of the walls of Midwestern to make sure that our students, our faculty and our staff live and work in a vibrant community where there is opportunity?” Lamb said.

Lamb said that even though the final core values have been chosen, the real work is only just beginning. He also said that it is up to the MSU community to incorporate these values into its future.

Associate professor Bradley Wilson talks with various other guests at the Core Values celebration, Feb. 18.
Associate professor Bradley Wilson talks with various other guests at the Core Values celebration, Feb. 18. (Colin Stevenson)

“The real work happens from here though, because now it’s making sure that we put structures in place as an institution to help facilitate these values being a part of our everyday lives at Midwestern. It’s been a part of our past, but how do we make this part of our future in a very sustainable way? So that’s really kind of what we’re focused on from here on out,” Lamb said.

Cecil Witherspoon, mass communication junior, attended some of the town hall meetings that were held in order to help shape the core values. Witherspoon said that while attending some of the town hall meetings he noticed that it seemed like almost everyone wanted the same thing: to be heard. He said that inclusion was a key component of the town hall meetings and that it is evident in the final product.

“The biggest thing I noticed was that there was a ton of emphasis being put on making sure that we’re kind of like meeting this wave of the future of being open to everyone, of being inclusive to everyone, of making sure everyone has a place, everyone has a voice. If things have to be done to make sure that their voice is heard properly, that we’re going to commit to do those things. And I mean that was like across the board. Everyone wanted that in this process, and I think you see that reflected in the final core values,” Witherspoon said.