President's Report to the Board of Regents
December 16, 2010
The Lumina Foundation recently set a goal that in 2025, 60 percent of Americans would have postsecondary education degrees or certificates. For Michigan that means over 1.3 million more degrees and over 9.3 thousand per year. If we do not achieve it, we will fall behind not only other states but also the world at large. Eastern is stepping up to try to reach out to over 300,000 25-34 year olds in southeast Michigan who have some college but no degree that need that credential to pursue the careers of the future. Today, we revealed the future for our students to embrace in a new Science Complex to earn the college degree that sets them on a path to support their family, stay in Michigan, and be a part of the new reinvented Michigan economy.
It is with great pride that we celebrated the “reveal” of the new five-story addition to our Science Complex earlier today. The $90 million self-funded project will become a new cornerstone in Eastern’s continuing renaissance. A facility where the sciences -- key to the economic future of Michigan and our nation – are embraced, researched, learned, explored and celebrated. We were pleased to host Lt. Governor-elect Brian Calley, as wellas other community and campus leaders. I want to thank the Board of Regents for its leadership in making this day a reality. A campus-wide open house will be scheduled in January. The Science Complex is a key piece of the unprecedented $195 million investment in capital projects under way across Eastern’s campus.
Enrollment continues to grow. Following the 7-percent increase in students over the last two years, momentum for the winter semester and next fall is strong. Winter enrollment is up more than 3.45 percent from winter last year. While it is still early -- applications for fall 2011 indicate our momentum is continuing. Applications from first-time students are up 39 percent, 8,200 compared to 5,901 at the same time a year ago; applications from transfer students are up 74 percent with 707 applications this year compared to 406 last year; and, graduate student applications are up 82 percent, 680this year compared to 374 last year. Applications are up from Ohio and Illinois as well. We are saying goodbye to three people who have had a major impact at Eastern:
- Bob Neely, associate provost of academic affairs who has accepted a position as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Texas Women's University after 25 years at Eastern;
- Art Timko, executive director and station manager of WEMU-FM, who is retiring after more than 40 years at the station; and,
- Gary Evans, a faculty member and outstanding representative of Eastern with a career spanning 46 years, also is retiring at the end of the month.
With 46 new faculty searches last year and 30 more this year, we are investing where it counts most – focusing on quality academic programs that meet the needs of today’s students.
- David Victor, a professor of management and director of the International Business Program in the College of Business, was awarded the Association for Business Communication's highest annual honor for recognizing teaching excellence.
- Martin Shichtman, a professor of English language and literature who has taught at Eastern for 26 years, was appointed director of Jewish studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.
- Ten faculty received Faculty Research and Creative Activity Fellowships for fall 2010 or winter 2011. These fellowships are competitive awards given to faculty who submit meritorious research or special study proposals.
- The Department of Geography and Geology hosted the Southeast Michigan Geotourism Conference to raise awareness of the vast tourism opportunities present in southeast Michigan.
- Two Eastern students were among only four students selected nationally to speak at the Council of Undergraduate Research in Washington, D.C. Cindy Bedrosian, a senior from Plymouth, and Ian Pendleton, a junior from Ypsilanti, represented Eastern in demonstrating the importance of undergraduate research.
- The Peace Corps announced a new partnership with Eastern, offering selected students the opportunity to earn a master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages in combination with Peace Corps service.
- The Ambassadorial and Consular Corps Liaison Office was recently launched to create internships for students, build partnerships and connect with international communities in Michigan and abroad.
- I thank our 32 department heads and school directors for their many contributions this semester in orchestrating swing space. Every department head in Pray-Harrold has had to move his or her department offices, support staff, and faculty to new locations. This week, science department heads have been moving their departments into the new facilities in the Science Complex. Our department heads have been on the front line of initiatives including Pathfinders, which increased our retention rates, First Year Seminars, International Programming Stimulus Grants, grant funding, accreditation committees, and a host of other projects. Department heads manage countless student and faculty issues and the needs of the departments and schools.
Our student athletes continue to excel in academics as well as the field of play:
- For the seventh consecutive year, our softball team was ranked among the top-20 in all Division I schools in team GPA. The Eagles ranked 14th in the nation after compiling a team grade point average of 3.43 last year.
- The men's cross-country team kept our championship tradition alive, winning their 15th MAC title.
- Former baseball standout and Eastern Michigan University Hall of Famer Terry Collins was introduced as the new manager of the New York Mets. Collins played shortstop for Eastern from 1968-1971.
- Jean Cione, a 1986 Eastern Athletic Hall of Fame inductee and a professor of sports medicine for nearly 30 years, passed away November 22. She was 82. Before joining Eastern, Cione was a member of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League for nine years. She was our first women's athletic director.
- Vice-President Lindke and I recently met with student leaders and club sport representatives to better understand how to support their activities and teams.
The “Invest. Inspire.” capital campaign continues to attract new donors and generate new relationships. Last week we received a $300,000 gift in kind from Engineering Technology Associates in Troy, as part of a collaboration to prepare students for real world challenges. We have now raised $38.3 million, $1.5 million more than announced at our last Board of Regents meeting beyond Emeritus Regent Dyer's gift, toward our goal of $50 million.
We have two new additions to our leadership team. Tom Stevick as vice president for advancement, and Vicki Reaume as vice president and secretary to the Board of Regents.
The Annual Faculty and Staff Giving Program got off to a strong start with the presentation of a check for $38,900 representing 100 percent support from the University's executive council. With my contribution of $12,000, the executive council's total contribution to INVEST. INSPIRE. is $50,900. Our goal is to have 100 percent participation from our current faculty and staff for the comprehensive campaign. Since the official kick off of this year’s Faculty and Staff Giving Program, EMU employees have contributed $213,000.
My total commitment to date to the university stands at $25,775, which includes the donation of $10,000 when first appointed and the recent $12,000 as part of the faculty-staff campaign -- $5,000 of which was targeted to new marching band uniforms, $5,000 to the President’s Excellence Fund, and $2,000 to University House. My husband Larry and I continue to reinvest in Eastern. Join us!
The Women in Philanthropy announced $41,000 in grants and awards designed to benefit students at the University. The grants represent the first-ever funds committed by the group, made up of 41 members of the campus community.WEMU's fall, on-air fundraising campaign raised a record total of $150,871, capped off with $36,000 in contributions on the drive's final day. Chairman Wilbanks, this concludes my report.