President's Report to the Board of Regents
December 6, 2012
As we approach the new year at Eastern, we celebrate our history of 163 years of providing accessible, affordable education and embrace our future as a great public university that provides Michigan citizens a path to success. In a time of decline in Michigan's population and the number of students eligible to enroll in college, Eastern is growing strong. This fall, we welcomed 5,076 students which is our largest undergraduate class in 163 years. We are hard at work on building the Fall 2013 class and applications are up over 30 percent from last year. The Fall 2012 class was smarter, more diverse, included more students in the Honors College, and more living on campus; it represented 81 of 83 Michigan counties, 43 of 50 states, and 79 countries. The momentum, pride, fun and happiness on campus is tangible and real.
We launched an undergraduate admission notification process where freshman students are welcomed with an individualized congratulations letter and Welcome to Eastern package. The package is tailored to the student's area of interest with a welcome from the college they are intending to pursue as well as estimated financial aid and affordability options. I see in my green crystal ball bigger and bigger incoming classes each fall as this community of faculty, staff and students tell the wonderful story of Eastern.
This momentum translates into a campus community that somehow gets through difficult issues, controversy, budget challenges, and yet stays the course to continue to strengthen Eastern as a university that is welcoming, with a wonderful undergraduate experience. You can start as a freshman and present a paper in the oldest Undergraduate Symposium in the country. You can study science in our new science complex. You can find your heart in over 300 student organizations. You can live on campus in a safe environment where college is everything you dreamed about.
Today and tomorrow, providing a quality education for our preschool-12th grade children has never been more challenging. The Ypsilanti-Willow Run school district is embarking on an historic consolidation effort. We understand that this is made even more challenging by our announcement in late October to authorize a new charter school in Willow Run. Eastern Michigan has long had strong partnerships with both districts. I want to reaffirm our commitment to those partnerships. Given the unique circumstances and challenges presented by the consolidation, I have instructed our teams to look at ways we can further support the merged district, with the ultimate goal of helping our community provide better educational outcomes for our children.
I welcome Stephanie Robinson, our new Director of Benefits Programs in Human Resources.
I thank Regents Roy Wilbanks and Tom Sidlik for their service and commitment to Eastern as both Board members and Chairs of the Board. Together, they led the Board and University through challenging and trying times of transition. I welcome our new Regents, Mary Treder Lang and Jim Webb.
Additional awards and other accomplishments are listed in the Appendix to this Report, on the University's website. Thank you, Chairman Wilbanks.
- Cherese Colston, a senior studying public relations, received the Donald P. Durocher Memorial Scholarship from the Detroit Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. The award is for $2,000. Colston is also the president of the Eleanor Wright Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America at Eastern Michigan.
- Nick Schlemper, a marketing major at EMU, has been gaining recognition as the co-developer of a new college help site called CollegeGenius.net. The site has a Craigslist-meets-social media feel to it. The site has been introduced to many major schools and universities across Michigan as well as a school in Chicago.
- Professor Vijay Mannari (engineering technology) was awarded the 2012 Academic Governor's Award in Green Chemistry. His award was for his work on developing coatings that are derived from soybean oil.
- Tara Fulton, University Librarian at EMU, has been appointed by the Governor to the State of Michigan Library Board.
Gifts & Grants
- Eastern Michigan and six other Michigan colleges and universities are sharing an $800,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Human Services to provide former foster youth with a support program to help them succeed in higher education.
- The John W. Porter Distinguished Chair in Urban Education recently received a $225,000 endowment from the Charles Steward Mott Foundation. The grant will not only expand the University's role in urban school districts in the State of Michigan, but will also expose faculty and students to an array of outstanding educational models benefiting urban students.
- Winter Commencement will be held on Sunday, December 16 at the Convocation Center at 2 p.m.
- The Eleanor Wright Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America at Eastern will be hosting its 15th Annual Student Development Conference on Friday, December 7. This year's theme is "Building Futures." Speakers at the event include keynote speaker Lisa Valee-Smith (CEO, Airfoil PR), Lindsay Blackwell (social media manager, Fluency Media), Chad Wiebesick (social media manager, Pure Michigan) and Christine Olszewski (program coordinator, Eisbrenner Public Relations).
- Eastern's Michigan Collegiate Job Fair was held on Friday, November 16 at Burton Manor in Livonia, MI. More than 100 employers were on hand to meet prospective employees.
- The Graduate Open House was held Saturday, November 10. 440 students attended and 248 applications were submitted during the event.
- Men's Cross Country: The men's Cross Country team won their third consecutive Mid-American Conference title. It is their 17th overall MAC title.
- Men's Cross Country: Head coach John Goodridge, in his 12th year at Eastern, was named the 2012 Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year. This was the seventh time in his career he has received the honor which is bestowed upon him by his peers.
- Football: The football team retained the Michigan MAC Trophy with a 29-23 win over Western Michigan University on Saturday, November 17.
- Women's Volleyball: Rachel Iaquaniello is one of 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award - the NCAA's highest honor for seniors. The award recognizes college athletes who excel in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition.