President's Report to the Board of Regents
June 15, 2010
Eastern is being recognized as a leader nationally, in the state and in the region for the bold move of the Board of Regents on April 21 to adopt 0%-0%-0% increase in tuition, room and board based upon a 3.4 percent target for enrollment growth:
- Fall enrollment projections continue to be on track so far. Summer enrollment is very strong and appears likely to exceed the 3.4 percent target.
- Over 1,700 Eastern students, faculty, employees and friends came to a "free lunch" on May 20, put on 0% T-shirts and formed a "big fat zero," which appeared in USA Today. The 0-0-0 has ignited campus spirit and alumni pride.
- Legislative leaders have responded positively to the 0-0-0 action by Eastern. Over 50 students, faculty, and alumni met with legislators on May 26 for the annual Eastern legislative day in Lansing. Eastern was positively recognized for 0-0-0 by media and leaders at the Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference. We ask that our action to be the first university in 25 years to have a zero increase in Michigan be recognized and rewarded with funding for our $38 million request for the Strong Hall Capital Outlay appropriation to complete our science complex.
- 2010-2011 budget information is accessible and available to the campus community. We are hosting a series of open budget forums – the next will be Thursday.
- The early retirement bill approved by the legislature provided early retirement eligibility for 188 Eastern employees – 38 submitted notice of their intent to retire. Extensions were approved for eight to delay their retirement to 2011.
- Eastern's Autism Collaborative Center was selected to host the inaugural meeting of the State Senate Autism Work Group on May 24.
- Student success initiatives are showing positive results. Academic probation among winter semester first-year students fell to 16.25 percent, a difference of more than 6 percent from the previous year. This represents a substantial improvement from the 29.76 percent who were on academic probation in fall 2009. Among first-year students, every GPA range above 2.0 experienced an increase. The largest increase was for students with GPAs above 3.5, with 21.5% in that category, an increase of 6.1% from the previous year.
- The latest grade report for the Eastern Athletics Department shows the University's 21 teams have recorded the best overall term GPA in school history, at 3.066 for the 2010 winter semester. The previous high was 3.059 in the fall of 2005.
- Pray-Harrold is empty and construction is underway. The goal is to complete renovation and move back in for Fall 2011. "Thank you" is not nearly strong enough to convey my deep appreciation for the faculty and staff who spent weeks packing boxes and sorting materials, which filled 168 semi-trailer loads. The relocation of faculty, employees and classes will be challenging and we thank everyone for their cooperation and patience during the upcoming year. A GIS map is online to enable students to locate faculty and classes.
- McKenny Hall will have six new classrooms installed in the basement space, which was a bowling alley years ago. Furniture will be added on the first floor to create a campus lounge for faculty, students and employees.
- Construction of the science complex addition continues at an impressive pace - 125 construction workers are on site daily. So far visitors are impressed with the level of detail, the commitment to sustainability and the new planetarium. We look forward to completion during fall semester.
- College Place will be resurfaced and ready for fall semester traffic.
- First Year Living Center elevators and windows will be replaced soon.
- The Jean Noble Parsons Center for the Study of Art and Science near Traverse City was officially opened with a community open house and ribbon cutting on June 5. The Historic Preservation program held field school at the DeYoung Farm near Traverse City in cooperation with the Leelanau Conservancy.
- This morning, we hosted a ribbon cutting for the new athletic practice facility. It will serve our athletics teams, including golf, soccer, football, baseball and softball – and will host four of our home soccer games. It also will be used by student club sports. A campus and community open house continues until 7 p.m. today. The facility is available for community rentals and will host in excess of 4,000 persons a week during peak months of October through March. The rentals will pay for annual operating costs.
- Student Olivia Maya Munzer was one of two winners of a Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Master's Thesis Award for 2010. There were 51 applications submitted, from University of Michigan, Ohio State, and others including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin, to name a few. Ms. Munzer and her faculty mentor, Dr. Al Kurta, are congratulated for this prestigious award. Ms. Munzer's research has focused on the impact of wildlife near airports.
- Provost and Executive Vice President Jack Kay has filled several important positions in Academic Affairs. Donald Ritzenhein will join us effective July 1 as Assistant Vice President, Academic Personnel and Contract Administration. For the past nine years, Don has been Vice President for University Affairs and Dean of the University Center at Macomb Community College. Prior to that, he spent 16 years at Wayne State University in leadership roles in Development and Alumni Affairs. Tara Lynn Fulton will join us June 24 as University Librarian from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. Bin Ning will join us effective July 12 as Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of Institutional Research and Information Management. Ning joins us from the University of Toledo.
- We formally began contract negotiations with our two largest bargaining units, the faculty, represented by the AAUP, and the Professional Technical staff, represented by the UAW. A social gathering with each bargaining team was held at University House prior to commencing negotiations to enable the teams to meet prior to beginning their work. In-house General Counsel's office will support the administration's bargaining teams. Our goal is to conclude both contracts this summer.
- In early May, we announced jointly with the EMU Federation of Teachers an agreement to hold an election for a collective bargaining unit representing adjunct teaching instructors at the University. Votes were counted this morning, 216 for and 41 against, so as a result we welcome a new bargaining unit to EMU and discussions will commence in the fall.
- Our new crime response unit has been active in solving crimes within 24-48 hours. Our crime rates on campus are low but we remain vigilant in assisting the City of Ypsilanti and informing our students of crimes off-campus.
Chairman Wilbanks, this concludes my report.