President's Report to the Board of Regents

October 13, 2015

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Board of Regents:

Eastern Michigan University is enjoying an amazing start to the 2015-16 academic year. I want to offer my personal thanks to our outstanding and dedicated faculty and staff who lead the way in making Eastern a truly unique university for students to develop their potential, receive a remarkable high-quality education, and prepare them for success in their chosen careers.

This fall we welcomed the second largest incoming freshman class in Eastern’s 166-year history. Since 2010, despite contrary demographic trends within the state of Michigan, Eastern’s freshman enrollment has increased by 42 percent.

This freshman class is also more academically prepared. The average GPA is 3.3, up from 3.0 in 2010. The average ACT score for incoming freshmen is 22, up from 21 in 2010.

This freshman class is also highly diverse – 23 percent of our incoming freshmen are African American and 6 percent are Hispanic. As one of 15 public universities in the state of Michigan, we rank second in the percentage of undergraduate students of color who attend our university and second in the state for the percentage of our undergraduate degrees awarded to that same demographic group.

The diversity of Eastern is a point of pride, distinction, and competitive advantage to all who attend Eastern. We firmly believe you cannot experience a high quality university education without diverse classrooms and a diverse campus.

Our classrooms and our campus provide a learning environment where students thrive and learn to support others to thrive inclusive of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Our students leave Eastern better prepared than their peers to lead in an increasingly diverse and multicultural world. Employers want that kind of talent and know Eastern graduates are advantaged. Results show our students are career-ready. A survey of alumni indicates a job placement rate of 93 percent one year after graduation.

Earlier today at the Educational Policies Committee meeting, significant increases in Eastern’s retention and graduation rates were highlighted. They are the result of the Degree Completion and Retention Plan, endorsed by the Board of Regents and launched by the university in December 2013.

Just short of two years after launch, the University’s retention rate – the percentage of students who remain in college from freshman to sophomore year – has risen just over 2 percent points, from 72.6 percent for the fall 2013 to 74.7 percent for the fall 2014 cohort.

In addition, in this short timeframe, the six-year graduation rate has increased by nearly 4 percentage points, from 36.5 percent for the entering Fall 2008 cohort to 40.1 percent for students entering EMU in the fall of 2009. It is the first time in over a decade that Eastern’s 6-year graduation rate has risen over 40 percent.

This important, comprehensive and complex work is not nearly done but the efforts of University and the Board of Regents in support of the Degree Completion and Retention Plan – its investments in advising, technology, policy and process overhauls – are yielding tangible and important results. We are committed to the goal that by 2020 Eastern Michigan University will achieve a 50-percent six-year graduation rate and with that result achieve national recognition as a thought leader in student success for the most important segment of universities – those that are highly diverse.

48 percent of Eastern’s students are Pell-grant eligible meaning they come from families of four earning less than $50,000 per year. Today’s action to increase 2016-17 financial aid to more than $54 million continues our commitment to helping Eastern students succeed. It represents an increase of more than $6 million, 12.9 percent, over the 2015-16 financial aid budget of $48 million, and a 130-percent increase over the past eight years.

I want to extend my deep appreciation to our faculty and the bargaining teams representing the faculty, the AAUP, and the administration for their efforts in reaching a new four-year contract agreement. Once again, as in 2012, these two teams completed the negotiations weeks before the contract end date of August 31 and thus supported the faculty and campus as they readied for the opening of the academic year.

This outcome reflects a relationship of trust and collaboration indicative of an important change in Eastern’s culture that is critically important as we work together to improve this campus as a place that attracts and retains the very best faculty to develop and deliver superior degree programs for our students.

This week, we are celebrating the dedication of two building and renovation projects designed to accommodate our growth and our continuing commitment to advance academic excellence.

I hope you will join us at 4 p.m. today for an open house to celebrate the renovation of the Rackham Building. Originally opened in 1936, the Rackham Building has undergone a multi-phased, multi-year, $6.5 million renovation. Today, it houses state-of-the-art classrooms and labs for multiple degree programs offered by the College of Health and Human Services, a college whose commitment to be a nationally recognized leader in its fields has resulted in a 40-percent enrollment growth over the past five years.

A ribbon cutting will also take place this Friday at 1 p.m. for the new home of The Honors College, the former Holy Trinity Chapel on the east side of campus. This year, The Honors College enrolled a record 1,600 students in the program -- more than double the number of students in 2011.

In closing, I would like to thank the Board of Regents, students, faculty, staff, and alumni for leading this great university forward. There is much to be proud of at Eastern Michigan University... and great things ahead!

Other accomplishments are listed in the Appendix to this report on the University website. Thank you, Chair Morris.

Kim Schatzel

Interim President, Provost
And Executive Vice President of Academic
And Student Affairs

Recognition

  • Eastern student teams won first place, third place and honorable mentions in the Marketing Edge’s "Collegiate ECHO Challenge” in July. Tori Alston, Jennifer McDermitt, Erica Perdue, and Duane Sprague received First Place Gold. Adam Berkshire, Edison Hubert III, Catherine McMacken, and Margarita Vakhlis received Third Place Bronze. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Jacqueline Botkin, Erin Blaesing-Miller, Colin Murray, and Debra Salem.
  • TEDxDetroit, a national gathering of “big brains and cool creators,” was held at Detroit’s Fox Theatre on October 8. Scout Bostley and Daruis Simpson recreated their “Lost Voices” performance. Andrea Shelby and Courtney Shelby performed a song at the event.
  • The student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has once again earned an Outstanding Student Chapter Award from the national organization for the 2014-2015 academic year. This is the highest recognition award and EMU was the only SHRM student chapter in Michigan to be honored.
  • Ellene Traras Contis and John Texter were named American Chemical Society Fellows for 2015. The ACS fellowship is the highest ranking granted by the professional society and recognizes EMU as a top research university in the chemistry field.
  • Princeton Review has named EMU the Best in the Midwest for the 13th consecutive year. Eastern was one of the only 15 Michigan universities that made the list out of 40 post-secondary institutions in the state.
  • The College of Business has been ranked among the nation’s best by the Princeton Review for the 12th consecutive year.
  • EMU has been ranked highest in the state of Michigan and 20th in the country for its online master’s program in K-12 educational leadership, according to BestColleges.com.
  • The Animation Career Review ranked Eastern Michigan University 13th in their 2015 Top 15 Best Colleges in game design and development programs in the Midwest.

Gifts & Grants

  • William and Delores Brehm donated $3.26 million to support special education and music therapy programs. The Brehm’s gifts to Eastern now total more than $8.5 million, making them the largest individual donors to the University in its history.
  • Eastern received a federal grant of nearly $2 million from U.S. Department of Education’s Title III Program to strengthen its efforts in educating its students in STEM disciplines, with a special emphasis on bringing women and minorities into those fields.
  • Eastern was awarded $1.8 million in U.S. Department of Education grants to benefit veterans and low-income, fist generation students.
  • Yichun Xie, director of Eastern Michigan University’s Institute for Geospatial Research and Education, recently won a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to work with 120 Michigan teachers to integrate GIS applications into their curricula and thus enhance career possibilities for their students.
  • Samir Tout, professor of information assurance, was awarded a $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to analyze data that is generated from sensors connected to the Smart Grid, an electricity supply network that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in usage.
  • EMU obtained a $305,830 grant from the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for campus suicide prevention, through the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act.

Events

  • The EMU Urban Education Summit: Building Strong Urban Schools, hosted by EMU faculty on November 14, will bring together people from academia, school districts, community organizations and the public.
  • EMU alumni participated in the COB Alumni Business Conference on September 17 to offer career advice to students. Speakers included Howdy Holmes, president and CEO of Jiffy Mix; Joyce Jenereaux, president and publisher of the Detroit Free Press; and, Debi Scroggins, CEO and owner of Bearclaw Coffee Company.
  • Eastern’s Legal Resource Center celebrated its 10th anniversary on September 17. Proceeds went to fund the Alice Callum Paralegal Studies Program Scholarship, the Legal Resource Center and the Washtenaw County Bar Association’s Law and Justice Fund.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of World Languages and the Ambassadorial & Consular Corps Liaison Office sponsored the third annual international soccer tournament on September 12. The event created an awareness of other cultures in the area, through the energy of competition as well as meeting competitors and fans off the field.
  • EMU held a Ceremony of Remembrance on September 11 in front of Pease Auditorium at the 9/11 beam.
  • The EMU Construction Management Alumni Chapter, held its annual golf outing on September 9. Proceeds benefitted the Dr. John A. Weeks Scholarship and the Construction Management Alumni Scholarship.
  • The PEERS® program (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relations Skills) at Eastern’s Autism Collaborative Center will be held from September 2- December 9 to help teens develop valuable social skills.
  • EMU established a new University Center at Henry Ford College in Dearborn to provide students with a pathway to complete their associate degree at HFC and then finish their undergraduate degree from EMU on HFC campus. The partnership with Henry Ford became official on Wednesday, July 29, during a ceremony in the new center.
  • Detroit high school students participated in a “Day in the Life of Eastern Michigan University” on Friday, July 24. The students experienced a wide range of activities to introduce them to various campus resources and professors.
  • TRUEMU Night at Comerica Park brought out a record number more than 800 alumni, faculty, staff, students and guests on July 22 and raised more than $4,000 for student scholarships.
  • Bright Futures hosted a youth development summit and brought together experts, community members and young adults on June 26 to discuss how grit, determination and hard work are making a difference for our communities’ youths.
  • A Cyber Discovery camp was hosted at EMU on June 22-27 to educate sophomore high school students and teachers about cyber security with an emphasis on math, engineering, science, and humanities. EMU is one of only five universities in the nation to offer the camp.

Of Note

  • EMU Head Football Coach Chris Creighton will be the keynote speaker at the Washtenaw 100 annual dinner on October 21. The event helps raise money for families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
  • EMU’s tobacco free campus began July 1 in order to support a healthy learning, living and work environment for all members of the campus community.

Athletic Highlights

  • For the Winter 2015 semester, student-athletes excelled in the classroom in 2014-2015. Winter 2015 the athletes had a 3.259 grade point average, the best in school history. More than 70 percent of EMU's student-athletes completed their coursework with a cumulative GPA of better than a 3.0.
  • Gymnastics (Women): The 13 Eagles named Scholastic All-Americans by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics (NACGC/W) are: Anna Willette, Bianca Jordaan, Carrina Lo Bello, Catie Conrad, Chantelle Loehner, Kendall Valentin, Kimberly Ebeyer, Kirsten Gendron, Natalie Gervais, Nikki Paterson, Paulina Miller, Rachel Slocum, and Sydney McEachern.
  • Golf (Men): Michael Blair, Jared Multer and Brett White on July 22 were named Division I Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA).
  • Golf (Men): The EMU men’s golf team received the Team Academic Award from Golf Coaches Association of American (GCAA) on July 29. EMU is one of three teams from the Mid-American Conference to garner the recognition along with Ball State and Miami.
  • Golf (Women): Karyn Lee Ping, Kelsey Murphy, and Lois School were named to the Women's Golf Coaches Association Collegiate Golf All-American Scholars list.
  • Golf (Women): The team was ranked 19th nationally in the Women's Golf Coaches Association's 2014-2015 All-Scholar Team GPA Awards. The Eagles had a cumulative team GPA of 3.673 and was the only MAC teams in the rankings.
  • Soccer (Women): Assistant Coach, Joe Malachino was named a member of the 2015 Michigan Bucks Hall of Fame Class. Malachino is the first Bucks player and coach to be inducted into the Bucks Hall of Fame.
  • Swimming & Diving (Men): Junior Alex Chan was named a 2015 a Scholar All-American by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. Chris Hodges, Dakoda Johnson, Krzysztof Gilski and Peter Rusenas garnered honorable mention status.
  • Swimming & Diving (Women): Alli Shereda, Alexis Mitcheltree, Carly Jackson, Lauren Dark and Monica Dorszewski earned honorable mentions on the 2015 Scholar All-American list announced by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).
  • Swimming & Diving (Men and Women): Both men's and women's swimming and diving programs were named to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) NCAA Division I Scholar All-American Teams for the 2015.
  • Tennis (Women): The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar-Athlete award winners were Daphne Friedrichs and Andrea Martinovska. EMU was one of three Mid-American Conference schools to earn the ITA All-Academic Team award.
  • Track & Field (Men): Scott Bradley, Tyler Brown, Jeff Elam, Willy Fink, Solomon Ijah, Mitch Lenneman, Quinn Levering, Nick Raymond, Levi Selvig, Dylan Stites, Mason Waynes, Andrew Wentz, Keith Williams, and Matthew Williams were named to the Academic All-MAC team.
  • Track & Field (Men): Jeff Elam, Willy Fink, Solomon Ijah, Levi Selvig, Mason Waynes, Matt Williams and Keith Williams were named to USTFCCCA All-Academic Team list.
  • Track & Field (Women): Sofie Gallein, Jordann McDermitt, Natalie Uy, Victoria Voronko and Kate Wolanin earned the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic honors.
  • Track & Field (Women): Ellie Braidic, Maya Carter, Sarah Chauchard, Amy Frauhammer, Agata Klimovich, Taylor Knoll, Aaliyah McKinney, Janina Pollatz, Rebecca Quaintance, Natalie Uy, Victoria Voronko, Adrienne Waisner, and Kate Wolanin earned Academic All-MAC honors.
  • Volleyball (Women): The volleyball team earned their 11th straight American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Academic Award for the 2013-2014 school year.
  • Throughout the 2014-15 academic year the student athletes continued to give back. Student-athletes from each of the 21 varsity programs volunteered to help out around the Ypsilanti community. By doing so, the student-athletes collectively participated in 5,386 volunteer hours, which more than doubled the total from last year.
  • The men's track & field and cross country teams participated in the Bright Futures program at Ypsilanti Community Middle School on October 6. The team captains spoke to the students about the importance of academics and character in conjunction with life and athletic success in their future.
  • The women's track & field and cross country teams and the men's cross country team volunteered at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund walk on October 4 at Hudson Mills Metropark.
  • Spearheaded by AAD for Student-Athlete Support Services Dr. Talea Drummer, the Athletics Department sponsored a school supplies drive to help give Holmes Elementary School in Ypsilanti the necessities for the upcoming 2015-16 academic year.
  • Members of the Eastern football coaching staff took part in the Mid-American Conference Youth Football Clinic Tuesday evening, July 28, at Ford Field. Over 500 kids from around Detroit attended the event, running through drills led by coaches and student-athletes from all 13 MAC institutions.
  • The Athletics Department announced on July 22 that they signed a multi-year agreement to develop a Fan Relationship Management Center (FRMC) on campus. Eastern becomes the third MAC school that The Aspire Group has worked with in 2015.
  • Alumnus Eric Alejandro recently represented Puerto Rico on the international stage by racing in the 400m Intermediate Hurdles at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
  • Alumnus Jim Bibbs was recently elected by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) to the Coaches Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2015.