President's Report to the Board of Regents

April 21, 2017

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

One of the most important and exciting days of the academic year is upon us. Tomorrow, we will welcome more than 2,500 new graduates during commencement ceremonies at the Convocation Center. We congratulate all of our graduating students and the outstanding faculty members and staff who have contributed to their success. Our commencement speaker, and honorary degree recipient, is Barbara McQuade, who served with distinction as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2010 to early 2017.

I would like to welcome two new appointees to the University’s executive leadership team, starting with a very familiar face, Provost and Executive Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs, Rhonda Longworth. After a national search, I am pleased to announce the removal of “interim” from her title. Dr. Longworth has served the University in a variety of leadership roles after starting here as an assistant professor of political science in 1994. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Longworth.

Following a national search, Bill Shepard began work on Monday as the University’s new vice president for advancement and executive director of the EMU Foundation. Bill joins Eastern after serving for more than 30 years in leadership roles at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Bill was a key leader in Wright State’s recent successful comprehensive campaign. He brings that experience and expertise to Eastern as we begin to prepare for the launch of our next comprehensive campaign. Please join me in welcoming Bill Shepard.

Three additional personnel announcements are important to note. Last week, we completed campus interviews for three finalist candidates for Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Provost Longworth will announce her decision soon. Jill Hunsberger has been named associate vice president for advancement, overseeing Alumni Relations. Steven Bryant will be the new director of diversity and community involvement. He has been director of diversity and inclusion at Northwest Missouri State University since 2011 and is set to join Eastern June 2.

On Wednesday, the University was presented with a $200,000 gift to support the renovation of Strong Hall, which will begin this summer. The gift was provided by the Washtenaw Educational Options Consortium and the Early College Alliance as a result of our focus on STEM education and active support of the ECA.

This morning, at the Student Center and other campus locations, 550 female high school students from across the region are participating in our seventh annual Digital Divas program. This highly successful and popular program was developed by the Information Assurance program to encourage more women to pursue careers in technology and cyber security.

Other recent highlights include:

  • The 37th Undergraduate Symposium with presentations and performances by 450 students, supported by 230 faculty members. The event represents the best of the best of Eastern Michigan University.

  • Gregg Barak, a professor of criminal justice and criminology and world-renowned authority on the subject of multinational corporate crime, is sharing his expertise as a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil.

  • The Master’s Program in Occupational Therapy was ranked among the top-third in the nation and among the best in Michigan in annual rankings by U.S. News and World Report.

Next week, I will travel to China to strengthen and expand our existing academic relationships. This is part of a renewed emphasis on the internationalization of our campus and international recruitment. We will visit partner schools, such as Tianjin University of Commerce (TJUC), where we have a long-standing master’s degree in human resource management and organizational development. For that program, our faculty travel to Tianjin and teach on their campus. We also will speak to several university leaders there about our mechanical engineering program, set to launch this fall.

Additionally, we will meet with high school officials in China about our Early College Alliance program in order to further raise interest in the program among high school students, who could then transition to enrollment at Eastern. We also will work to expand opportunities for our students to teach English as a Second Language in China.

These are important efforts in further establishing Eastern’s global presence, particularly given our close proximity to Detroit Metropolitan Airport. We expect this trip to be very productive in furthering the University’s long-term interests.

On a personal note, I would like to thank our outgoing Student Government leaders, President Tanasia Morton and Vice President Joshua Starr, for their outstanding leadership and commitment to the University and our students over the last year. They have served with distinction, and we know we will be hearing more great things about them in the years ahead.

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

James M. Smith, Ph.D.
President
Eastern Michigan University

 

Recognition

  • Katelyn Coberley, an EMU graduate student in information assurance, received the 2017 Women in Security Academic Award from Duo Security, one of the fastest growing information security companies in the world.
  • Haley Moraniec, an EMU graduate student in social work, has been named a Newman Civic Fellow in honor of her exceptional campus service in opening Swoop’s Pantry at Eastern two years ago. She was one of only nine students named from the state of Michigan.
  • Shelby Taylor, Eastern Echo managing editor, was awarded a $1,000 Michigan Press Association Foundation Student Scholarship. Taylor was one of 11 Michigan Collegiate journalists to receive the scholarship.
  • EMU students in the Business Professionals of America chapter excelled during the organization’s state conference. 17 EMU students were involved in 28 competitions.  First-place winners in various categories were Monica Jurczyk and Matthew Leddy. Faraz Ansari, Kaitlin Boroniec, Melanie Konja, and Lillia Sheline earned second-place honors.  Third-place awards went to Abigail Bongiorno, Kaitlin Boroniec, Tyler Johnson, Melanie Konja, Tayler Rodgers, and Lillia ShelineNate Kerfoot earned a fourth-place honor.  Two teams took first place honors – the team of Eden Fisher, Johnica March, Emily Wheeler, and the team of Matthew Leddy, Nicholas Lynch, Matthew Mrozinski, and Michael Nielson.  The team of Abigail Bongiorno, Melanie Konja, and Lillia Sheline earned second-place honors.
  • Ellen Koch, director of clinical training for the EMU doctoral program in clinical psychology, helped a woman overcome her fear of heights in a dramatic live demonstration on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America national news program on February 17.
  • Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Awards were bestowed upon the following faculty on March 29: Kristine Ajrouch, Jill Dieterle, Michael Reedy, Kennedy Saldhana, John Staunton, and Zuzana Tomas.
  • Distinguished Achievement Recognition Awards were bestowed upon the following faculty on March 29: Susan Badger Booth, Roberta Justice, Malgorzata Mroz, Russell Rhoton, Susan Santone, Jane Stephenson, and Joy Versluis.
  • The EMU College of Education received an almost perfect score (99.84 out of 100) and was named the number one (out of 50) education and teaching program in the nation for 2017, according to the Community for Accredited Online Schools.
  • Three EMU graduate and undergraduate programs in human resources received LEAD Top 10 awards from HR.com. The Masters of Science in Human Resource Management and Organizational Development ranked first in its category, the BBA-Management Major/HR Concentration ranked first, and the Graduate Certificate in Human Resources ranked second.
  • Distinguished Achievement Recognition Awards were bestowed upon the following staff on March 29: Amy Barnhart, Jack Bidlack, Tracey Cade, Christine Deacons, Ellen Gold, Julia Heck, Melissa Rosenblum and Bonnie Taylor.
  • Eastern’s annual Employee Service Recognition Luncheon was held on March 27 to honor employees who have reached milestone anniversaries with Eastern. Honored for 50 years of service were Carter Eggers and Charlotte Stigler.  Honored for 40 years of service were Mary Bigler, Steven Hayworth, Barbara Jones, Ellen Schwartz, and Mary Vielhaber.  Other employees were honored for service ranging from 10 to 35 years.
  • Eastern ranked as one of the top public universities in the nation in awarding financial aid to international students in 2015, according to the Student Loan Report. EMU ranked no. 11 on the list of 150 schools, and had the highest ranking of any public university in Michigan.
  • EMU was one of 58 colleges in the nation to be named to the 2017 Top LGBTQ-Friendly Online Schools, by SR Education Group.
  • Eastern has been named to Phi Theta Kappa’s 2017 Transfer Honor Roll. The honor roll recognizes excellence in community college transfer pathways.  EMU is one of only 63 institutions nationwide selected to receive this honor.
  • EMU’s Student Center was ranked number one student union in the country, according to College Rank.
  • Nicolette Bateson, EMU alumnus and a veteran Michigan administrator in the field of water supply management, was named recipient of the EMU Master of Public Administration Program’s Public Administrator of the Year

 

Of Note

  • The Power2Change Foundation has pledged a $6 million gift to EMU Athletics to support an innovative community engagement program as well as facility enhancements. It is the largest cash pledge ever received by the University.
  • Former EMU Board of Regents Chair Phil Incarnati has pledged a $500,000 gift to EMU Athletics to support the Championship Building Plan. It is the third largest cash pledge ever received by EMU Athletics.
  • EMU Football alumnus T.J. Lang has pledged a $500,000 gift to EMU Athletics to support the Championship Building Plan, a match of the third largest cash pledge ever received by EMU Athletics.
  • EMU Track & Field alumnus Dan McClory has pledged a $500,000 gift to EMU Athletics to support the Championship Building Plan, a match of the third largest cash pledge ever received by EMU Athletics.
  • The Washtenaw Educational Options Consortium and its Early College Alliance (ECA) program will donate $200,000 toward the renovation of Strong Hall. The ECA is located on Eastern’s campus and allows high-school students to earn up to 60 transferrable college credits as part of their high school graduation requirements.
  • EMU Football alumnus Jason Jones has pledged a $150,000 gift to EMU Athletics to support the Championship Building Plan, the third largest cash pledge ever received from an EMU football alumnus.
  • Howard Booth and his spouse, Luanne Booth, have pledged $50,000 for the E-Club Hall of Fame Project, to relocate and modernize Eastern’s existing Hall of Fame.

 

Events

  • A class of graduate students in the Historic Preservation program researched, designed and installed a new exhibit in the McKenny Gallery. The exhibit, “EMU Greek Life: Traditions, Challenges and Transitions,” opened on April 12.
  • EMU hosted a Teacher Job Fair on April 7 at the Convocation Center. This annual fair is in its 31st year at Eastern and brings more than 130 school districts to meet with prospective teachers at EMU.
  • EMU hosted its second annual Green March for Autism on April 12. New York Times bestselling author Ron Fournier headlined the event.
  • The 37th annual Undergraduate Symposium was held on March 31. More than 450 students working with 230 faculty members presented research, presentations, projects and performances.
  • The 9th annual Cesar Chavez Day celebration was held on March 29, and featured keynote speaker JoAnn Chavez, vice president, legal and chief tax officer, DTE Energy.
  • Eastern’s annual Employee Service Recognition Luncheon was held on March 27 to honor employees who have reached milestone anniversaries with Eastern, ranging from 10 to 50 years of service.
  • The annual Nonprofit Leadership Conference was held March 17, and was focused on career development for EMU students as well as the broader community.
  • The 6th annual EcoJustice and Activism Conference was held March 16-17, with presentations and panels addressing social and environmental injustices.
  • The SisterHOOD’s Women in Leadership Conference was held on March 16, with presentations and panels from women of color in leadership positions.
  • The EMU Center for Entrepreneurship presented the Sesi Midwest Entrepreneurship Conference and Skandalaris Business Plan Competition on February 10 at the Student Center.

Athletics

  • Basketball (Women): Ashley Nickens and Phillis Webb were named to the Academic All-MAC team.
  • Basketball (Men): Tim Bond was named to the MAC All-Defensive Team, and James Thompson IV was named to the All-MAC Second Team and the NABC All-District 14 Second Team.  Blake Brown, Nick Madray, and James Thompson IV earned Academic All-MAC honors.
  • Basketball (Men): The Men’s Basketball team wore a commemorative uniform at it’s final home game, with proceeds going to the EMU Autism Collaborative Center (ACC).  The uniforms were designed with individual puzzle pieces, and were auctioned or sold to benefit the ACC.
  • Cross Country (Women): Alsu Bogdanova, Natalie Cizmas, Jordann McDermitt and Sydney Meyers earned U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic honors. 
  • Cross Country (Women): The EMU Women’s Cross Country team was named a U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team
  • Cross Country (Men): Nick Raymond earned U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic honors. 
  • Cross Country (Men): The EMU Men’s Cross Country team was named a U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team
  • Football (Men): Cole Gardner, Jake Hurcombe, DaQuan Pace, and Brendan Renius were named to the 2017 National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society, which recognizes college football players who maintain a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college career. 
  • Gymnastics (Women): The EMU Women’s Gymnastics team qualified for the NCAA Regionals, for the second time in program history.
  • Gymnastics (Women): The EMU Women’s Gymnastics team successfully defended its MAC Championship    Catie Conrad, Natalie Gervais and Lacey Rubin all tied for first place in the Bars event.  Catie Conrad, Natalie Gervais, Ciara Gresham, Lacey Rubin, and Kendall Valentin was named to the All-Tournament Team.
  • Gymnastics (Women): The EMU Women’s Gymnastics team won its first ever MAC Regular Season titleKendall Valentin was named to the All-MAC First Team, and Catie Conrad was named to the All-MAC Second Team.
  • Gymnastics (Women): The National Association of College Gymnastics Coaches for Women announced that Kendall Valentin received regular season All-American honors.  This is the first time in history that an Eagle has earned the award.
  • Gymnastics (Women): Sydney Audet, Kelsie Brooks, Catie Conrad, Kirsten Gendron, Natalie Gervais, Megan Hultgren, Megan Marino, Sydney McEachern, Lacey Rubin and Kendall Valentin were named to the Academic All-MAC team.  Eastern led the conference with 10 honorees.
  • Swimming & Diving (Women): The team finished second at the MAC ChampionshipsDelaney Duncan, Alexis Mitcheltree and Nicole Swartz were named to the All-MAC Team.  Coach Buck Smith was named MAC Diving Coach of the Year.  Delaney Duncan and Alexis Mitcheltree also qualified for the NCAA Championships.
  • Swimming & Diving (Women): Emilie Desnoyers, Delaney Duncan, Makenzie Garringer, Carly Jackson, Michal Liberman, Gabrielle Mace, Marissa Marion, Molly Miller, Alexis Mitcheltree, Hannah Newell, Abby Sadler, Alli Shereda, Emily Tubbs, Mary Grace Van Allen, Dora Vrcic, and Sierra Wagner were named to the Academic All-MAC team.
  • Swimming & Diving (Men): The team won their 34th MAC Championships, winning by a single point.  Logan Burton, Alex Chan, Tosh Kawaguchi, Kyle Lichtenberg and Jake Tyson were named to the All-MAC First Team.  Alex Arrieta and Cole Bateman were named to the All-MAC Second Team.  Alex Chan was named Most Outstanding Diver, and Coach Buck Smith was named MAC Diving Coach of the Year. 
  • Swimming & Diving (Men): Lance Bergmann, Erik Brinkoff, Logan Burton, Chris Buzard, Hunter Cook, Ryan Current, Chris Cutter, Conner Finnigan, Nicholas Fox, Tom Gillis, Connor Johnson, Tosh Kawaguchi, Josh Kreider, Kevin Moore, J.F. Murphy, Peter Rusenas, and Jake Tyson were named to the Academic All-MAC team.  EMU led the league with 17 honorees.
  • Track & Field (Women): The team finished second at the MAC Championships, held at Bowen Field House.  Alsu Bogdanova was named Most Valuable Performer, and Sydney Meyers was named Most Outstanding Track Performer.  Alsu Bogdanova, Natalie Cizmas, Jasmine Jones, and Sydney Meyers took first place honors in various events.
  • Track & Field (Women): Jordan McDermitt qualified and competed at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. McDermitt set a new program record and finished sixth in her event.
  • Track & Field (Women): Alsu Bogdanova, Natalie Cizmas, Khadesha James, Jasmine Jones, Claire Mesa, and Sydney Meyers were named to the All-MAC First Team.  Jordan McDermitt and Micah Johnston were named to the All-MAC Second Team.
  • Track & Field (Women): Anna Aldrich, Danielle Bentzley, Alsu Bogdanova, Rebekah Branham, Rebekah Carr, Natalie Cizmas, Dace Dreimane, Jessica Harris, Jordann McDermitt, Claire Mesa, Sydney Meyers, Megan Pendleton, Lauren Pottschmidt, and Natalie Uy were named to the Academic All-MAC Team.
  • Track & Field (Men): The team finished second at the MAC Championships, held at Bowen Field House.  Willy Fink was named Most Valuable Performer, and Ivan Suazo was named Freshman Track Performer of the Year.  Willy Fink took first place honors in three events, along with Alex Jacobs placing first in two events.
  • Track & Field (Men): Willy Fink and Cameron Hart were named to the All-MAC First Team.  Hlynur Andresson, Elijah Barber, Lashene Bouchikhi, Dan Kuhn, Mitch Lenneman, and Ivan Suazo were named to the All-MAC Second Team.
  • Track & Field (Men): Colin Burdette, Willy Fink, Caleb Hess, Tom Jozwiak, Zach Purcilly, Nick Raymond, and Tyler Underwood were named to the Academic All-MAC Team.
  • Wrestling (Men): The team placed sixth in the MAC Championships.  Gage Hutchison took second place and secured a bid into the NCAA Championships.  Nick Barber and Noah Gonser also qualified for the NCAA Championships.
  • Wrestling (Men): Nick Barber, Zac Carson, Noah Gonser, Derek Hillman, Kayne MacCallum, Sa’Derian Perry, and Kyle Springer were named to the Academic All-MAC team.  Eastern had the second most student-athletes on the list, behind Kent State.
  • The Women’s Tennis Team and the Men’s Wrestling Team, as well as coaches, volunteered at the 12th annual Victors Day event at the University of Michigan on March 17. The event brings together UM and EMU student-athletes and more than 750 special needs students from Washtenaw County to participate in various sports events.
  • Donald Scott, alumnus of the EMU Track Team, placed second in the triple jump at the USA Track & Field Indoor National Championships. Alumnus Max Babits placed sixth in the pole vault.
  • Former baseball coaching legend Ron Oestrike will be inducted into the MAC Hall of Fame on May 31, and becomes the eighth EMU honoree.
  • Former EMU Sports Information Director Jim Streeter was recently bestowed the highest individual membership honor by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.
  • The Oak Society, a new leadership giving society named after legendary baseball coach Ron Oestrike, has been formed. Oak Society members will be difference makers for the student-athlete experience at Eastern.
  • The United Dairy Industry of Michigan partnered with EMU Athletics to support Swoop’s Student Food Pantry. The UDIM donated $1,000 to the Pantry, which  based free throws made by the men’s and women’s basketball teams during the 2016-17 season.