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Unit Onboarding/Offboarding Initiative


The Unit Onboarding/Offboarding Initiative has been established to assess the current practices around unit onboarding and offboarding, identify the needs and best practices of a new program, and then develop resources that could be used by any unit. The team is made up of about 50 participants from all classification and experience levels. Each member is serving on a volunteer basis in a leadership, advisory or team member role. Through initial leadership meetings, five subgroups were established. Each subgroup had a specific focus, with one being the unit offboarding process, and the others targeting unit onboarding by specific employee type (executive management, faculty/academic staff, support staff and temporary/on-call/student employees).  The team has started the building stage of the project. Sub-groups have shifted from a focus on employee type to be more timing and date-driven around the associated needs to successfully onboard someone (pre-onboarding, first day/week/month, three/six/nine touchpoints, and offboarding).

Onboarding and offboarding recommendations will include resources and best practices that can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each unit’s employees. These recommendations are not intended to mandate one process for the entire university, nor to alter existing university-wide policies, procedures, and/or systems. 


  • Onboarding: the intentional process by which a new Spartan becomes a fully integrated member of the MSU community.
  • Offboarding: the intentional process by which a Spartan transitions to a new role with support from the MSU community.
  • Employees: individuals with an appointment at MSU in one of the following employment categories: Executive Management, Faculty, Academic Staff, Support Staff, or Temporary/On-Call/Student.

Opportunities to Participate

The group hosted nine Listening Sessions which allowed all employees the opportunity to participate in the conversation about how to improve these programs at MSU.

Employees can continue to share ideas through the  MSU Ideas portal  or provide feedback anonymously using this Qualtrics survey, which mirrors the questions that were discussed at the Listening Sessions. Lastly, you can provide direct feedback to the project leadership team via email:

Initiative Goals

  1. Create awareness about the importance of strong onboarding and offboarding.
  2. Provide a consistent and aligned framework to connect new employees to the community and culture of excellence at MSU. 
  3. Provide unit onboarding and offboarding resources and best practices that can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each unit’s employees.

University Team

Leadership Team:

Kari Ceo-Grulke, IQ/BioMedEngineering      

Breanne Harvey, Osteopathic Medicine

Jake Lathrop, MSU Human Resources

Erin Laudenslager, Psychology

Sharri Margraves, MSU Human Resources

Hannah O'Mara, Lyman Briggs

Michelle Rutkowski, IPF

Alice Smith, MSU Human Resources

Matt Stehouwer, IT Services

Jennifer Tetreau, Linguistics POD

Advisory Team:

Katie Dyjach, James Madison

Nancy Gray, Social Work

Heather Hazzard, IQ/BioMedEngineering

Tami Kuhn, RHS

Cindi Leverich, AAN

Amy Martin, Undergrad Education

Angela Matlock, Controller's Office

Sondra Olin, RHS

Barbara Roberts, WorkLife Office

Keri Rowley, MSU Extension

Paulette Russell, OIII

Chris Townsend, FRIB

Kara Yermak, Academic HR

Sub-group Team Members:

Mitchell Avant, University Adv

Lisa Bila, General Counsel

Lindsey Brownlee, EHS

Sue Carpenter, CREATE for STEM

Amanda Carter, CED Operations and Finance

Kathie Elliott, MSU HR

Matthew Fehrenbach, IPF

Lynn foltz, CED Operations and Finance

Jackie Fondren, Media and Public Information

Amanda Goll, Office of the President

Tracy Halloran, Sponsored Programs

Jason Kerschke, MSU HR

Sarah Kovach, Osteopathic Medicine

Kathryn Kuzendo, Vet Med Dean

Rachel Kramer, MSU Extension

Julie Lowman, CABS

Jessie Ness, Osteopathic Medicine

Jeanna Norris, Great Lake Bioenergy Research

Allison Petersen, REHS

Kristi Porrell, Neighborhood Success

Will Simons, FRIB

Jen Spitzley, Comm Arts

Lakiya White, MSU Human Resources

Lori Whittaker, Business

Lauren Woodworth, OIE