Remarks to the Board of Regents
June 23, 2009
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness."
— Charles Dickens
U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Congressman John Dingell, and local elected leaders and union officials and workers came to Eastern June 2 for a roundtable discussion about Michigan's economy upon the news of a tragic event announcing the closing of the Willow Run plant. Dr. Pamela Becker, coordinator of the technology management program, and three graduate students discussed how Eastern's technology program is helping to retrain adult learners who are laid off or looking to increase their skills in order to be successful in a competitive environment. This roundtable is a classic moment in the history of this wonderful university where we roll up our sleeves, pull out our pencils and figure out how to help Michigan citizens retool and get back to work.
The budget and capital plan we are recommending today to the Board of Regents will put Michigan citizens back to work on our campus for the next three years with $81 million in facilities projects authorized for 2009-10, a plan for $63 million in 2010-11and $34.5 million in 2011-12. This multi-year initiative will revitalize our facilities and enhance our learning environment and campus.
In May, I participated in a panel discussion for young professionals at the annual Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference. The overriding theme for the conference was the redevelopment of Michigan's future economy through innovation, leadership and investment, and focusing on the role of young professionals. The future of Michigan resides in an educated, active, highly skilled workforce that wants to live in Michigan. Ninety percent of our students come from Michigan and alumni stay here.
I am pleased to report that two key leadership roles have been filled since the April 21 Board meeting. Dr. Jack Kay was named the new provost and executive vice president. Dr. Kay, who is provost and acting vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement at the University of Michigan-Flint, has a strong administrative track record and a love of learning. He will work tirelessly to enhance our academic reputation and continue our strong commitment to community engagement. I have known and worked with Dr. Kay and I know he believes in the mission of Eastern as an important, historic university that has the opportunity and obligation to ignite the economic future of this state.
In addition, I'm pleased to report that Bernice Lindke was named vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. She previously served in that position as interim vice president. This position is critical to Eastern's future, and Bernie's 17 years of experience in a variety of positions will be invaluable. I'd like to thank both search committees for their dedication and hard work.
Eastern Michigan recently won a Michigan Historic Preservation Network Government/Institutional Award for its preservation of the University's core historic campus. Dr. Ted Ligibel, director of the historic preservation program, and I were presented with the award May 15 in Grand Rapids.
The School of Nursing continues to lead in adding capacity to its BSN program by 102 seats from 138 last calendar year to 240 total. Grants of more than $1,000,000 for breast cancer research and funding for MSN Fast-Track education of students set records for the College this year. Eastern Michigan and Washtenaw Community College recently signed an articulation agreement that provides transfer students with the opportunity to complete a nursing degree at EMU. The agreement, which is effective September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2012, will allow a student to complete an associate's degree in applied science at WCC and then transfer up to 82 credit hours toward a bachelor of science in nursing at EMU.
We are committed to being community partners as we celebrated the opening of Spark East May 8. Eastern is proud to be a major partner in helping promote economic growth in Ypsilanti. Spark East will "spark" a resurgence of small, economically-viable businesses in our area. The Board has strongly supported this effort, particularly Regents Wilbanks and Hawks, and I applaud their efforts to strengthen the community.
I remain concerned about the impact of state revenue sharing cuts upon our local community's ability to support public safety in the areas where our students live and work. We have applied for COPS funding for four more officers under the Federal stimulus program. Eastern Michigan has implemented on-line crime mapping for the campus and the city of Ypsilanti. The crime-monitoring application provides users with a visual representation of where crime is occurring by adding markers to a map of the campus and the city. Eastern's Institute for Geospatial Research faculty Yichun Xie and Michael Dueweke developed the program with help from our Department of Public Safety and the Ypsilanti Police Department.
In Athletics news, the Black Coaches & Administrators named EMU's director of intercollegiate athletics Derrick Gragg 2008-09 Administrator of the Year. The award was presented May 29 in Indianapolis. Join us this football season on campus. Recently Ron English and I got the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce to cheer three times "We Are Eagle Nation!" I am pleased that the Board of Regents has approved a new scoreboard so we can actually read the (hopefully winning) score and a new multi-sport practice facility for football, women's soccer, baseball, softball, and women's and men's golf that will be available for lease to our community teams as well.
Chairman Wilbanks, this concludes my report. As I approach the end of my first year, I want to thank the Regents for their strong support and the warm welcome and candid feedback the faculty, students, employees and the Ypsilanti community have given me.
Susan Martin, President