Remarks to the Board of Regents
September 22, 2009
I am delighted to report a significant increase in student enrollment for the Fall 2009 academic year. The overall increase is 4.26 percent, an increase of 933 students for a total student population of 22,859.
Most notable were increases in new undergraduate students (11.55 percent), transfer students (21.2 percent), and new graduate students (17.03 percent). Among the factors behind the enrollment increase are EMU's commitment to being an affordable education option (EMU had the smallest tuition increase of Michigan's 15 universities in 2009 at $10 a credit at 3.82 percent), our commitment to quality programs that meet the needs of today's students, and our accomplished faculty and staff who work tirelessly to ensure a positive and rewarding education and campus experience.
Significantly, EMU also is attracting higher quality students. The average GPA of incoming freshmen students is 3.08 this fall, compared to 3.04 last year. More than 55 percent of our freshmen have GPA's above 3.0. This is up from 50 percent in 2008.
Eastern expanded its financial support of students to allow more of them the opportunity to attend college. We provided a record amount of financial aid to students this year, totaling $25,560,000. This is $1,929,000 more than provided in 2008 and helped open the doors to a college education for many more people.
We achieved a $1.6 million surplus in our fiscal year 2009 general fund budget. This is due to the continuation of the fiscal restraint and oversight initiatives enacted previously, as well as the additional revenue achieved through our successful effort last fall to obtain additional credit hours with a 5,000 credit hour challenge.
Our capital initiatives remain a focal point of activity on campus. We are pleased to have conducted the ribbon cutting and dedication for our newly completed EMU Police Headquarters building this morning. The $3.9 million project was completed on time and on budget, and was a direct result of the initiative of the Board of Regents to develop a first-class facility utilizing an existing campus building. Importantly, the new headquarters is located on the north side of campus in a highly visible and active student area. The safety and security enhancements we have implemented ensure a safer campus and community for students, faculty and staff. Our new crime mapping technology allows people to track where crimes occur and can be found on the Department of Public Safety website (http://geodata.acad.emich.edu/Crime/Main.htm). We are proud that our latest crime statistics reflect a 61 percent drop in breaking and entering, and declines in several other crime categories.
Additionally, the $90 million Science Complex is progressing on target and on budget. It is five percent complete as of the end of August. The renovation of Pray-Harrold is funded and planning is underway. Several other capital projects remain targeted for 2010-2012 as we continue campus-wide enhancements.
Our sustainability efforts continue to become a greater focus of our overall strategy and activities. We joined many other leading corporations and organizations in becoming an Energy Star Partner, committing to a challenge to improve energy efficiency by 10 percent or more over the next five years.
A new Social and Economic Impact Report provides an overview of Eastern's importance to the local community and the state of Michigan. Among the highlights: every dollar invested in Eastern by the state of Michigan generates $42 in return for a total annual economic impact of $3.7 billion. A new brochure has been developed to highlight the report. It also can be found on our web site at emich.edu/impact. I would like to thank and acknowledge the team that researched and prepared the report, including Raouf S. Hanna, Chair of our Institutional Strategic Planning Council and Head of Department of Economics; Andrea Jaeckel, Associate Vice President, Division of Business & Finance; and Charles Monsma, Professor of Political Science.
New labor agreements were achieved with the EMU Federation of Teachers Local 1902 (lecturers union) and the Police Officers Association of Michigan. The agreement with the lecturers was achieved more than six months ahead of the contract expiration, reflecting a spirit of positive and proactive collaboration with these faculty we value highly for their commitment to education and learning.
The University's senior leadership team was completed with the naming of John Lumm as chief financial officer and treasurer to the Board of Regents, and Walter Kraft as vice president for communications. Lumm served in an interim capacity for 17 months, and has fostered openness and transparency through establishment of a campus Budget Council and other forums. Kraft brings a strong communications, media and crisis management background and will provide the strategic leadership to enhance our image and reputation. With the two appointments announced at the June 23 Board meeting, Dr. Jack Kay as provost and executive vice president and Bernice Lindke as vice president for student affairs and enrollment, and Don Loppnow as vice president for advancement, Eastern's senior leadership team, its Cabinet, is now in place.
We launched expanded autism services through the Autism Collaborative Center and the purchase of the former Fletcher School. This also will allow for relocation of EMU's Children's Institute into a safer and enhanced learning environment.
New articulation agreements were achieved with Mott Community College in business, nursing and technology management. We now have 94 articulation agreements with 14 of the 28 community colleges in Michigan, plus two in Ohio and one technical college in Windsor, Ontario. I have recently visited Mott Community College, Jackson Community College, Monroe Community College, Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College to reaffirm our commitment to strong partnerships with community colleges as we continue to enjoy with Washtenaw Community and Schoolcraft Colleges right near our campus.
Grants received include $538,609 from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for program to assist high-risk teen parents; $490,517 from the Department of Education to enhance EMU's emergency preparedness and safety operations, and develop training, education and communications programs; and $174,690 for continuation of the Great Lakes Fishery Trust and expansion of the Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition, dedicated to improving environmental education in southeast Michigan schools.
Significant efforts have been launched regarding prevention and awareness of the H1N1 virus. The campus-wide initiative focuses on the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students, and includes contingency planning for continuity of operations. Wash your hands and cough into your sleeve.
Eastern received several national accolades recently. The University was named a 2010 Best Midwestern College by Princeton Review for the seventh consecutive year; Eastern was named among America's top 100 universities by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine for the sixth consecutive year for the number of African- American students receiving undergraduate degrees; and GI Jobs magazine recognized EMU as one of the top "military friendly" schools thanks to our efforts to provide opportunities to veterans.
Chairman Wilbanks, this concludes my report. We are off to another exciting academic year at Eastern and I thank the board for their strong support in the past year.
Susan Martin, President