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Jan. 17, 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Young
734.487.4400
pamela.young@emich.edu

President's report to the EMU Board of Regents

President’s Report

EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

Board of Regents’ Meeting

January 17, 2006

Thank you Regent Valvo.

Although the New Year has taken possession of the clock of time and we return from the holiday break energized by the possibilities and opportunities of the coming twelve months, I’d like to spend just a few moments to reflect on the close of 2005.

The fall semester was one of several notables, not the least of which was my introduction as the 21st president of Eastern Michigan University. We began the semester by breaking the 10,000 mark for freshman applications for the first time in school history and ended it by setting an all-time high for contributions collected in December. In between were a number of significant achievements including:

  • The Student Success Office posted a record 5,394 visits over the course of the fall semester. University offices that partnered to provide quick, personal service to students included: Housing and Dining, Office of Nutrition Services, Academic Advising, University Health Services. Financial Aid, Student Business Services, Records and Registration and ICT
  • The Study Tables program in Housing continued to expand and received support this past fall from the Honors College, which provided student tutors. The program ran 68 nights and recorded 1,106 visits.
  • More than 75 educational programs were offered in the residence halls in the fall semester as well as numerous social and community development programs
  • EMU and MASCO celebrated their fifth graduation for those employees earning MBA degrees through EMU’s College of Business. Participants in the MBA program take approximately 58 credits over a three-year period at MASCO’s facility in Metamora, near Flint. The MASCO employees, or students, are taught by faculty from EMU’s College of Business, who commute to the Metamora site for two weeks of face-to-face coursework. More than 116 students have graduated with EMU MBAs since the program began.
  • WEMU 89.1 FM, Eastern Michigan University's public radio station, celebrated 40 years of broadcasting. WEMU started in 1965 as a 10-watt radio station — originally shoehorned in a television production room in the Quirk Building — that was on the air only two hours a day. It has evolved into a 16,000-watt, 24-hour station that is a favorite stop for jazz music enthusiasts in southeastern Michigan. Again the year, WEMU was voted the best jazz station by readers in an Ann Arbor News poll.
  • EMU’s Coatings Research Institute received an additional $1 million from the federal government to continue its research into coatings that limit corrosion on military vehicles, ships and aircraft for the Air Force. The money is part of a $1.5 billion package received by the state of Michigan for research at six universities.
  • EMU recently became the first institution in the United States to sign a dual undergraduate degree agreement with a university in Korea. EMU’s College of Business signed the deal with Keimyung University (KMU) in Daegu, Korea. Selected students will complete the first two years of their study at KMU and then transfer to EMU to complete their last two years.
  • Eastern Michigan University became one of only two schools in the state to award a master’s degree to students in the field of bioinformatics when five students were awarded their degrees at the December commencement ceremony. Bioinformatics is the use of computers in biology to help manage data. EMU’s program is distinguishable from others in that it combines the sciences with business skills.
  • Automotive News named five graduates of Eastern Michigan University to its list of the “100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry.” Selected for their leadership were:
    • Barbara Stokel (‘74), regional vice president of eastern operations at General Motors Acceptance Corporation in Atlanta, Ga.
    • Beth Lowery (’78), vice president of environment and energy at General Motors.
    • Jan Bertsch (‘86), vice president of sales and marketing finance for the Chrysler Group. * Nancy Rae (‘78). senior vice president of human resources at Chrysler Group. And,
    • Jean Mayer (‘82), executive director of Asia-Pacific and Africa Purchasing and Global Systems at Ford Motor Company.
  • EMU joined its sister institutions throughout the state in an effort to get adults with some college experience to “Return to Learn,” and complete their degree. Open houses at EMU-Livonia, EMU-Brighton and EMU-Ypsilanti drew a number of information-seekers and resulted in more than 140 adults reenrolling. We will continue with efforts along these lines throughout the winter semester,
  • In December we launched our University Visioning Task Force. The Task Force, which is being chaired by Daryl Barton, president of the Faculty Council, and me, will lead the effort to create a five-to-seven-page document that will represent a picture of our pathway to the future and what we as a University intend to pursue with great vigor.
  • Eastern Michigan University's United Way team came roaring through the finish line to help the University surpass its goal of $120,000 for the campus' "Racing for Results" campaign. Nearly 700 employees participated in the campaign, which ran through December, and brought in $122,266.86, The University had 32 leadership givers – people who donate at least $1,000.

Although not all gifts are processed, the EMU Foundation received nearly $1.2 million in December 2005.This places total giving at $4 million to dateand represents a significant gain compared to December 2004, when $920,522 in cash, stock and gifts-in-kind was received.

Included in the December 2005 total is an additional gift of $200,000 from Phil Jenkins, friend and benefactor, who has donated more than $500,000 to EMU to date. His generosity supports Jenkins-Tracy Expendable Scholarships in the College of Education’s Leadership and Counseling Department.

BUILDING ON A STRONG FOUNDATION

These activities and accomplishments of 2005 provide the foundation for our anticipation of the opportunities and challenges that 2006 will bring.

We start the year with new student enrollment up in all categories. Freshman enrollment is up 7.8 percent, new transfer students are up 5.5 percent and new graduate enrollment is up 13 percent. We continue to attract good students to our programs.

What is troubling is that our returning undergraduate enrollment has declined. Evidence suggests that a significant number of these students were unable to reenroll due to financial problems. Financial Aid and Student Business Services have done a yeoman’s job in working with this population to try to find resources to help them continue, but the fact remains that as costs escalate, many of our students are forced to “stop-out” while they work to pay off prior debt. When all categories of enrollment are factored in, winter enrollment is approximately 1 percent ahead of budget.

Balancing accessibility and affordability while maintaining quality programs and personnel will be a major challenge as we develop our Fiscal 2007 budget. Early indications from Lansing are that state revenues will grow only a modest one to two percent, which will translate into flat or small increases in state appropriations for higher education.

The K-16 Coalition for Michigan’s Future announced this morning that they have collected more than the necessary number of petition signatures to put their proposal for adequate funding for Michigan’s K-16 public schools (kindergarten through college) before lawmakers – as a legislative initiative or possibly a ballot proposal on the November 2006 ballot – and began a statewide grassroots lobbying effort to prompt legislative action immediately.

If passed by the Legislature or approved by the voters, the legislative initiative will:

  • Provide annual funding increases equal to inflation for K-16 public schools, community colleges and universities.
  • Reduce the gap between Michigan’s lowest-spending and highest-spending districts.
  • Cap retirement costs for K-12 districts, community colleges and universities.
  • Fund school districts with declining enrollment based on the student enrollment average of the three prior fiscal years.

While the outcomes of this initiative are far from certain, The Presidents’ Council is hopeful that it will spark meaningful dialog with the legislature and governor. In light of these tough economic realities, internally we continue to work diligently to reduce or avoid costs in every University program, activity and service.

As you heard earlier, the University is in the midst of celebrating the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the theme, Justice for All. Activities began Jan. 12 and run through Jan. 18. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hosting nearly 350 people at the annual President’s MLK Day luncheon where we heard The Honorable Alan Page, Justice of the Supreme Court of Minnesota.

If you haven’t already done so, before you leave campus today I urge you to take time to visit the “Beyond Words” project on the ground floor of Wise Hall. It is open today from 6 to 8 p.m. Six residence hall rooms are transformed into a living museum of words, art and ideas exploring topics such as Injustice based on Economics, Injustice for all Races, Injustice for all Sexualities, Injustice for all Abilities, Injustice based on Nationality, and Injustices in Justice.

EMU students, faculty and staff continue to garner honors. As always, I’d like to share a few of those with you.

FACULTY

  • Michael Williams, nursing, recently passed the new Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) exam administered by the National Leagues for Nursing.  He took the inaugural administration of the exam, and is one of the first individuals in the world to be certified.
  • Michael Paciorek, Health and Human Services, received the Honor Award for Distinguished Service from the Michigan Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.
  • Cory Emal, chemistry, has received a prestigious $30,000 Faculty Start-Up Award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, one of only 10 presented in the nation this year. The grant supports various initial costs for his research, which involves the design and synthesis of novel, small molecules that show activity against the parasitic etiological agents of tropical diseases, initially focusing on malaria.

STUDENTS

  • The Michigan Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation named Genny Hann and Lindsay Stuart Outstanding Physical Education Major of the Year.
  •   Four members of the Eastern Michigan University football program garnered All-MAC honors in voting conducted by the league's 12 head coaches. Those named were: place kicker Andrew Wellock, a junior from Canton, Ohio (First Team); lineman Kevin Howe, a junior from Fruitport, Mich. (Second Team); defensive back Rontrell Woodruff, a senior from Southfield, Mich. (Second Team); and outside linebacker Michael Richardson, a junior from Indianapolis, Ind. (Honorable Mention).
Eastern Michigan University’s Chamber Choir recently performed in the Capitol’s Rotunda at Lansing.  Under the direction of Dr. Leonard Riccinto, professor of music and director of choral activities at EMU, the 20-member student choir performed a comprehensive repertoire of madrigals, humorous songs and works from European, American, and multi-cultural traditions. This was the choir’s first appearance in Lansing. Following their performance, the students were introduced to the State House of Representatives and sang the National Anthem to open the session.

ALUMNI

  • Look for Craig Watson, who graduated in December, on the sidelines for Super Bowl XL at Ford Field, Feb. 5. Watson, a photographer for University Communications and the Eastern Echo, earned a spot for the NFL’s premiere game after he worked with Sports Illustrated at a recent Michigan State game.
  • Jean Wessel (Baughman) Templeton (’58) was named 2005 National Woman of the Year by the Delta Zeta sorority. Jean was recognized for her community leadership, beginning with her business acumen as CEO and chairman of Wesfam, an award-winning franchisee of Burger King. She received the prestigious Grace Club Award in 1995 and the Pathway to Honor Award in 2001. Jean was a member of the Gamma Sigma chapter of Delta Zeta at Eastern Michigan University and served as national social chairwoman in 1968.
  • John Young (’04) has received the 2005 Counselor of the Year Award from the Michigan Association for Humanistic Education and Development.
  • The Michigan Association of Health Physical Education and Recreation named alumnus Kirk Pedersen, Elementary Teacher of the Year; alumnae Ranae Woods, Middle School Teacher of the Year; and alumnae Elizabeth Adams, Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year.

It’s with great sadness that I report the passing of Eric Namesnik, an assistant swim coach at EMU and two-time Olympic medalist, who died Jan. 11 following a traffic accident. Namesnik had been at EMU for two years and had previously been an assistant at the University of Michigan from 1997-2004. He was a member of the 1992 and 1996 U.S. Olympic teams. He won the silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley at Barcelona and won second silver in Atlanta.  He was an eight-time USA Swimming national champion and won the 1993 U.S. Swimming Performance of the Year. A native of Butler, Pa., he is survived by his wife Kirsten and children Austin and Madison. He was 35 years old. The University family extends is heartfelt condolences to his wife and children.


ON THE HORIZON

  • Alumni Relations is planning outreach events for several alumni populations. The Central Arizona Alumni Chapter will host a reception Thursday evening, Jan. 19, at the Ritz-Carlton Phoenix. A luncheon is planned Friday, Jan. 20 at the Westward Look Resort in Tucson.
  • During February, staff head to Florida for two events. Alumni will gather Feb. 8, at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. and EMU graduates Melonie and Mike Colaianne will host a reception in Ft. Myers, Florida Feb. 9.
  • The 30th Annual E-Club Hall of Fame Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11 at EMU’s Convocation Center.
  • And, finally, I’d like to ask that your reserve April 7 for my inauguration as president. Although details will be forthcoming, I’ve asked the planning committee to adhere to three guidelines: One, this should be for the University and community; two, to keep this as low-key and low-cost as possible; and three, to look for a way in which we might use this event to raise money for scholarships. I look forward to sharing this day – April 7 – with you.

Madam chair that concludes my remarks.

 

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Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

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