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Jan. 18 , 2005
CONTACT: Ward Mullens
734.487.4400
ward.mullens@emich.edu

 

President’s Report

EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

Board of Regents’ Meeting

January 18, 2005

Thank you, Phil.

As I was preparing my January report, I was reminded that this month is named after the Roman god Janus, an appropriate personification of the start of the New Year.  Janus, as you may recall, had two faces so that he could look ahead toward the future and back at the past at the same time.

I think it appropriate, as we begin 2005, to reiterate that the University made great progress in achieving its goals during the fall semester.  We were especially pleased to have those efforts recognized by three national publications.

  • Kaplan Publishing named EMU as a “Best Value for Your Tuition Dollar,” in The Official Unbiased Guide to the 328 Most Interesting Colleges.
  • The Princeton Review named EMU a “Best Midwestern College,” in The Best Midwestern Colleges:  150 Great Schools to Consider.
  • And, our College of Business was named an “Outstanding College of Business,” in The Princeton Review’s Best 143 Business Colleges.

I have previously reported on hundreds of other accomplishes of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, but use these three external reviews as a reminder that, as Walter Winchell used to say, “there is good news in the house tonight.”

More than 1,200 students helped us officially close 2004 by participating in Winter Commencement.  Maura Corrigan, then Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, delivered an outstanding address to the students, reminding them that “intelligence without purpose is sterile.”  Corrigan and alumnus Dean Rockwell were awarded honorary doctorates as part of the ceremonies.  I might add that both have sent letters of appreciation praising the University.

The year 2005 brings the start of another semester brimming with promise and excitement.  This winter semester, the 156th in EMU's history, will be memorable for many reasons.  It marks the 25th anniversary of the Undergraduate Symposium, perhaps the academic jewel of Eastern Michigan; the 25th anniversary of Regent approval establishing the College of Technology (March 19, 1980); the 150th anniversary of the introduction of music courses as part of the curriculum; and it will feature interviews of candidates seeking to become the next University president.

But, as promising as the new semester is, it will not be without challenge or heartache.  Already, we are mourning the loss of Keith Cholette, a 20-year-old junior from Taylor, who died tragically January 1.  The EMU community has extended its condolences to his family and has pledged to strengthen the already deep and important relationships it maintains with fraternities and sororities in regard to personal and collective responsibility on the issues of alcohol and substance abuse.

The New Year also has brought another kind of sorrow, which is being felt in every corner of the world, from Ypsilanti to Bangladesh, for the victims of the December 26 tsunami disaster.  The magnitude of this calamity seems to grow by the hour.  Nearly 500 current EMU students and hundreds of alumni call this region of the world home. 

The University community gathered together last Thursday to reflect upon the tragedy and to show support for those whose lives have been devastated.  Students have organized several fundraisers and are collecting donations for UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders.  These activities will continue throughout the semester.  The University has also created a Website, www.emich.edu/tsunamirelief, which provides comprehensive information about support services and links to other agencies providing disaster relief.

Closer to home, the implementation of budget reductions last week resulted in 13 position eliminations.  Consequently, nine employees were laid off.  The layoffs or the collective bargaining bumping process affected a total of 34 employees.

In the midst of responding to these challenges, we have much to celebrate.

  • Distinguished actor Ben Vereen has been named the McAndless professor for 2004-05.  Vareen will be in residence at various times during the winter semester and will be working with EMU professor Wallace Bridges to create a play based on the Tuskegee airmen.
  • Seven EMU faculty were honored at the recent Alumni Association’s 14th Annual Teaching Excellence Awards.  This year's honorees are:  P. George Bird, Michael G. McGuire and Betsy Morgan from the College of Arts and Sciences; Jean L. Bush-Bacelis from the College of Business; Betty J. Beard and Kay Woodiel from the College of Health and Human Services; and Phillip L. Cardon from the College of Technology.
  • In the first four months of operation, the Washtenaw County-Eastern Michigan Legal Resource Center (LRC) has provided access to justice for more than 500 patrons.  This nonprofit Center, which utilizes EMU paralegal students from the School of Technology Studies, is firmly on track toward accomplishing its goal of servicing 10,000 patrons in five years.
  • In December, 906 admitted students took the Presidential Scholarship Exam–the largest group in the 20-year history of the exam.  This year saw an increase of 54 percent compared to the number of participants in December 2003.  Students from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Canada, and England participated.
  • Applications and admission for Fall 2005 continue to be strong.  Early in January, applications for freshmen are up 29 percent compared to 2004, and we are seeing double digit increases in applications and admission in the 3.0+ GPA range.  Applications for graduate school are currently 3 percent ahead of 2004 numbers.
  • The University began a pilot program this semester with Napster to provide students, faculty and staff with the ability to listen and download music without violating recording industry copyright laws.  A gift from a private anonymous donor will enable residence hall students to receive Napster service at no cost.  Commuter students have access to the service for $10 for the semester and faculty and staff can purchase the service for $7 per month.  As of January 11, more than 1,500 students, faculty and staff had signed up for the service.
  • I had the opportunity to host Senator Liz Brater, State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith and Representative Kathy Angerer on campus last week.  Senator Brater and Representative Smith made presentations as part of the Presidential Speakers Series and spent time with faculty and staff touring and discussing facility needs.
  • I also had the opportunity last week to host a faculty/staff networking reception at University House.  The need for this type of program surfaced during a staff development workshop attended by faculty, staff and student leadership last December.  As part of this intensive, one-day session, participants identified critical areas such as facilities improvement, facilitating communication and sustaining and growing enrollment that the University must focus on to succeed.
  • Yesterday the University celebrated Martin Luther King Day with a myriad of activities from dance performances to panel discussions to workshops.  The Right Reverend Dr. Vashti McKenzie, the first woman to be named bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was the keynote speaker and also provided remarks at the 19th Annual MLK Day President’s Luncheon.
  • Planning is well underway for the 25th Annual Undergraduate Symposium, one of the oldest in the nation.  The Symposium is the capstone event in EMU’s annual Salute to Excellence Week, which this year runs from March 28 through April 1, 2005.  Special plans this year include inviting EMU alumni who participated in the symposium while they were students back to campus for a 25th anniversary reception.  Some of those who have responded and are expected back on campus include a Wayne State University medical school professor in Immunology and microbiology, the director of corporate communications for J. M. Smuckers, the syndicated cartoonist who draws the “Speed Bump: comic strip, and a Harvard Law school graduate now practicing in Washington state.

As part of our ongoing effort to provide the Board and the State with the best business management operations, John Beaghan was named Vice President for Business and Finance and Daniel Cooper was named Assistant Vice President and Controller.  On the heels of these appointments, I am happy to report that:

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) recently completed financial audits for WEMU-FM, Intercollegiate Athletics and the State of Michigan Annual Financial Report for fiscal 2004 and that there were no findings.  PWC issued unqualified opinions, affirming our sound business practices.
  • The Business and Finance Division will soon announce a campus-wide budget advisory task force to review budget development for fiscal year 2006.
  • Effective yesterday, EMU employees can now access benefit and employment information through the my.emich portal.

In an additional staff change, Director of Diversity Whitney Harris is now reporting directly to me.  Dr. Harris had previously reported to the General Counsel’s office, a reporting relationship that could have created a conflict of interest.

Our students, faculty, staff and alumni continue to bring honor to the University.

  • In a special ceremony at University House, Major Stephen Ward, EMU’s ROTC Eagle Battalion Executive Officer and Assistant Professor of Military Science, was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries he received during combat duty in Iraq.
  • Seven Eastern Echo staff members won awards from The Michigan Collegiate Press Association. The winners are:

                        1st Place for Best Review–Drew Dorian

                        1st Place for Best Editorial Cartoon–Don Buciak

                        1st Place for Best Color Advertisement–Megan Andrus

                        2nd Place for Best New Story–Nathan Bomey

                        2nd Place for Best House Ad–PJ Gordon

                        3rd Place for Best Sports Story–Jason Idalski

                        3rd Place for Best Black and White Ad–Megan Andrus and PJ                                                             Gordon

  • Echo cartoonist Brandon Neel won 3rd Place in the StudentAffairs.com editorial cartoonists contest.
  • Sophomore placekicker Andrew Wellock was selected a third-team Associated Press Division I All-American on December 13.  Wellock becomes the first EMU football player to earn the honor since 1987 when Ron Adams, Brian Clouse, Charles Gordon and Gary Patton were honorable mention selections to the squad.  The only other EMU player to earn Division I-A A.P. third-team honors was Ron Johnson in 1977.
  • Our student athletes posted a combined overall GPA for fall of 3.03.
  • Dr. Deborah Harmon, Teacher Education, was mentioned in Time magazine for her efforts to close the achievement gap across races.  Dr. Harmon is central to the College of Education’s emerging Office of Urban Education.
  • The Interior Design program in the School of Engineering Technology was awarded accreditation for six years by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER), the national accrediting organization.
  • Alumna Joan Sergent was named Superintendent of the Year by the Michigan Association of School Administrators.  Sergent is Superintendent of Utica Community Schools.  The award comes with a $10,000 scholarship for the high school from which the honoree graduated.
  • The Michigan Elementary and Middle Schools Principals Association named alumnus Henry Vecchioni, Principal at Spencer Elementary School in Brighton, “Outstanding Administrator.”
  • Former EMU golfer Bart Lower was selected by Golf Channel viewers to participate in “The Big Break IV,” as the result of his strong showing during “The Big Break II.”  Lower made it to the ninth episode of the show, just falling short of the final match.  More than 37 percent of the online voters thought he deserved a second chance to compete.

As public support for higher education continues to decline, it will become even more critical for the University to sustain strong development activities.  With the help of University staff and faculty, emeritus faculty and Foundation staff, we continue to make progress in this area.

  • More than $700,000 was received by the EMU Foundation during the month of December, which brings fiscal year-to-date fundraising totals to approximately $2.5 million.
  • The College of Education recently received a $200,000 donation for additional Jenkins-Tracy scholarships in the Department of Leadership and Counseling.
  • The Michigan Braille Transcribing Fund has funded scholarships for students majoring in Visual Impairments.  These scholarships will provide two students $6,000 per semester for the next five years.  This same group also donated $28,000 for Braille-specific technology.
  • A $50,000 gift from American Electric Power Service Corporation.will help fund the Science Initiative in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Specifically, this fund will help the University purchase biology and chemistry equipment to meet the needs of EMU chemistry and biology laboratories.  Former EMU Regent Michael Morris and EMU Foundation Trustee Dale Heydlauff leveraged this gift.  Both are EMU alumni.
  • A $31,000 gift from the estate of Helen M. Dornbush, who received her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from EMU in 1961, will be used to improve classroom equipment for Occupational Therapy students in the College of Health and Human Services.
  • A $25,000 gift from 84 Lumber, through the Margaret Hardy Trust, will be used by the Construction Management Department in the College of Technology.  This is the first gift in what promises to be a strong financial and student recruitment relationship with 84 Lumber.

In closing, I would like to share some dates and invite you back to campus to participate in several special programs.

  • January 22.  We will honor the Women’s Basketball team for winning their first-ever MAC Championship and appearing in the 2004 NCAA tournament.  Activities will take place during and after the EMU versus Ohio game, 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.
  • February 12.  Enrollment Services and University Marketing and Communications are hosting a “Cram the Convo” night at EMU’s basketball doubleheader.  At 4 p.m. the men take on Central Michigan and at 7 p.m. the women take on Western Michigan.  High school seniors admitted to EMU for Fall 2005 have been invited to attend both games and a special VIP reception between games.  As part of the activities, Alumni Relations will host an Alumni Basketball Reception from 5-7 p.m. in the Convocation Center’s Stadium Club.  Residents of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township are being invited to attend the games at a special ticket price of only $1.
  • February 13.  John Heffron, EMU alumnus and "Last Comic Standing" champion, will perform at 7 p.m. in Pease Auditorium.
  • March 31.  Kickoff reception for the 25th Annual Undergraduate Symposium at University House.
  • April 1.  Twenty-fifth Annual Undergraduate Symposium and luncheon at McKenny Union.
  • And before you leave campus today, I would invite you to visit the 2005 Art Department Faculty Show currently running in Ford Gallery.  You will see some very impressive work by our faculty.
I look forward to seeing you at these and other activities throughout the year.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  That concludes my report.

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 careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

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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.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


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