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Jan. 19, 2007
CONTACT: Ward Mullens
ward.mullens@emich.edu 734.487.4400

President's report to the board of regents

Jan. 19, 2007

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman.

It is my pleasure to submit this President’s Report. Classes are in full swing, our sports teams are competing at high levels, and many new faces have joined the greater EMU community in recent weeks.  As cold as it may be and get, we are not slumbering away the winter by any means.  Indeed, our forward progress is both strategic and aggressive.

I would like to extend a most genuine welcome to new Regents Ismael Ahmed, Gary Hawks, Francine Parker and James Stapleton.  Of course, I’d also like to welcome back Regent Floyd Clack.  To say that I look forward to working with you in the interest of this university’s progress would be nothing short of a gross understatement.  Your presence here, coupled with new personnel appointments and strong institutional aspirations and expectations, suggests that this is a new day for this university . . . that our time is now.  And you have my full and complete pledge, and that of my colleagues, to do anything and everything I can to both assist you in your policy and oversight role and provide focused and strategic administrative leadership for the institution.  We all have important and honorable work to do and we can approach this with a clear-eyed perspective on the future and no small measure of dispatch.

It’s been an inspiring and invigorating month already.  Longtime social activist Dr. Grace Lee Boggs, who lives in Detroit, was on campus this week to deliver an address as part of the President’s MLK Luncheon.  Her message is an inspiring one, and we were honored by her presence.  More than 700 high school students – prospective EMU students – were on campus last week to take part in the Michigan Distributive Education Clubs of America, also known as DECA, conference.  The EMU Student Center was the perfect venue for such an event.  And just last night, the EMU Convocation Center hosted the Detroit Tigers Winter Caravan.  The program included manager Jim Leyland, members of his coaching staff and players Placido Polanco, Justin Verlander, Marcus Thames, Craig Monroe and other members of the 2006 American League Champions.

Next Thursday, First Gentleman Daniel Granholm Mulhern comes to campus as part of the Washtenaw Celebrates Mentoring program put on by our VISION office and the Office of Diversity and Community Involvement.  The Thursday event starts at noon at the EMU Student Center.  Mr. Mulhern will speak about the importance and value of mentoring as well as recognize contributions of local “super-mentors” and programs.

There are several noteworthy achievements from December that deserve special attention.  Before our break began, EMU ended its United Way campaign with a flourish.  More than $106,000 was raised and more than 626 employees donated, which is about 31 percent of our total workforce.  Of those giving, 26 were designated as Leadership Givers (at least $1,000 donation).  And we welcomed back Michael Flanagan (’74) to deliver the Commencement address December 17.  Michael is the Michigan state superintendent of public instruction, and he earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from EMU.  More than 1,800 EMU students were eligible to receive their diplomas.


  • Janice Stroh was named vice president for business and finance. Stroh has more than 30 years of experience in higher education administration. Since 2003, she has served as vice chancellor for finance and administrative services at Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz.
  • Theodore G. Coutilish was named associate vice president for University marketing and communications. Coutilish was previously the executive director of account management for the office of marketing and communications at Wayne State University.
  • Sharon L. Abraham was named director of diversity. Abraham was director of public school academics and urban partnerships at Oakland University from 2002-04. From 1996-2002, she was director of Oakland University/s office of diversity and compliance.


In December, the University launched the first of what will be many EMU Finance 101 workshops. The purpose of workshops is to help EMU faculty, staff and students better understand EMU’s finances and budget development in an effort to promote transparency and trust within the community.


  • In February, the E-Club Alumni Chapter hosts its 31st annual induction ceremonies for the newest members of the EMU Athletic Hall of Fame, which is in the EMU Convocation Center. The Class of 2006 inductees are: Greg Howe (baseball), Carole Huston (athletic administration), Dazel Jules (men’s track), Peter Linn (men’s-women’s swimming head coach), Bob Lints (football), Nikki Stubbs (volleyball), and Gary Tyson (men’s basketball).
  • EMU hosted the Collegiate Clash Nov. 11 at Ford Field in Detroit. Although the Eagles came up short against Navy, the event continues to be a must-attend event on the football schedule. Nearly 16,000 fans attended. The Office for Alumni Relations put on a wonderfully attended indoor tailgate before the game. It was quite an affair.
  • Two former EMU football greats were singled out by their respective teams for Man of the Year honors in the National Football League. Former quarterback standout Charlie Batch (1994-97) was named Man of the Year for the Pittsburgh Steelers while former standout offensive tackle Barry Stokes (1992-95) was named the Man of the Year by the Detroit Lions.


  • Members of the community dedicated an unusual monument Oct. 21 designed to promote peace at the University and the surrounding area. The monument, an 8-foot peace pole decorated with the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in 16 languages, was dedicated on Homecoming day.
  • The University honored more than 820 scholarship recipients and 18 exceptional educators at its Fifth Annual Convocation of Excellence Oct. 7 at Pease Auditorium. The event recognizes the achievements of EMU’s top freshmen and scholarship recipients, as well as area teachers and counselors who help, inspire and motivate them to attend college.
  • Carol Batty is a retired librarian and language teacher who helped two EMU assistant math professors polish their English so they could better communicate with their students. Donna Whitehead, former director of education for the W.J. Maxey Boys Training School, is monitoring changes in the state’s teaching legislation for EMU and sharing her professional expertise by guest-lecturing with the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology. Both are alumna and act as two of the many service members for ElderQuest, a community outreach program created for individuals 60 or over who wish to become involved in the EMU community.
  • Starting Feb. 9, EMU Theatre presents “A Streetcar Named Desire.” George Bird, who retired last year after more than 50 years of teaching, is doing the design and direction. Professor Bird produced more than a hundred plays at EMU, and this will be his last. I encourage you to attend at least one of the performances, and to see this great teacher and craftsman take his final bow, if you will.


  • Lynette Findley has been named to lead student retention and student success efforts.
  • The division implemented the first phase of Destination Graduation, an intrusive academic support and financial literacy program for students who are academically at risk. Approximately 850 entering freshmen have been identified to participate in this program, which includes tutoring services and education on specific behaviors to promote academic success.
  • Three “Registration Comes to You” events were held at the Dining Commons, Eastern Eateries and Student Center. About 125 students attended and registered for winter classes.
  • The division launched Intelliresponse, an automated online response system, in August.  To date, 14,035 distinct prospective students have asked 25,706 questions and 8,172 distinct current students have asked 14,622 questions.
  • A series of three “Get Going Fridays” events were rolled out, where admissions staff provide immediate admit decisions for incoming high school seniors. Registration for these on-site admission events has tripled over 2006.
  • The second annual Financial Aid Extravaganza was conducted this week. More than 1,000 high school seniors and their parents were the EMU Student Center to learn about federal and state financial aid programs and the application process.
  • A “Super Saturday” is planned for Feb. 17 in order to conduct on-site admissions and give help in filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form.
  • High school and community college counselors have been invited to join EMU staff at four basketball games: community college counselors Jan. 17 and Feb. 7; and high school counselors Jan. 31 and Feb. 21.


  • Bruce Carroll, a professor in the Department of Political Science, received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Grant for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the University of Malaya School of Law. He will conduct research on the Malaysian legal system and teach courses on comparative legal systems, international law and the American legal system.
  • Vijay Mannari, an assistant professor of polymers and coatings, was awarded the Chartered Scientist qualification by the Science Council for his high standard of learning, professional achievements and contribution to science. The presidents of the Oil and Colour Chemists’ Association, UK, and the Federation of Societies for Coating Technology honored Professor Mannari during the International Coatings Expo and Conference in November.
  • Alice Jo Rainville, a professor in the School of Health Sciences received a Silver Special Achievement Award this month at the 18th annual Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence Awards program, during the School Nutrition Association’s annual Child Nutrition Industry Conference.
  • Edward I. Sidlow, a professor in the Department of Political Science, published his latest book, “Freshman Orientation: House Style and Home Style, The Story of Rep. Joe Schwarz’s First term in the U.S. House of Representatives.” The publisher is CQ Press.
  • Vernon C. Polite, dean of the College of Education, has been named a member of the Committee on Research and Dissemination – The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. The seven-person committee is charged with developing the association’s research agenda in order to assist the membership in reaching evidence-based professional consensus regarding professional education in five areas: standards, curriculum, assessment, accountability and membership in the profession. 
  • Claudia Petrescu, a professor in the Department of Political Science, was awarded a grant of $28,521 from the Michigan Nonprofit Association for a research project on “Michigan Nonprofit Executive Transitions: Strategies and Outcomes.”
  • Joanna Vecchiarelli Scott of the Department of Political Science is president of the Women’s Caucus for Political Science for the American Political Science Association. She continues to serve on the Task Force on Political Violence and Terrorism, which is assessing the contribution of political science to an understanding of how trends in civil violence, including the ways in which states respond to and/or instigate violence, affect domestic and international political order.
  • Joan M. Abbey, a research scientist with the College of Health and Human Services, was awarded a $388,870 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to continue a statewide study related to Michigan’s Infant Mental Health model started in 2005. Crystal Mills, a professor of social work, is collaborating with Abbey.
  • Twenty-four new faculty were awarded a total of $92,126 for research and creative projects under the Provost’s Research Award for New Faculty program. Competitive awards up to $5,000 were available to faculty in their first or second year of employment to carry out research or creative projects. The program is designed to help new faculty establish a research agenda that will make them more competitive for external funding.
  • Fatos Tarifa, and adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology, and a former Ambassador from Albania to the United States, published several articles in the past year, including “Who’s the Sick Man of Europe? A Wavering EU Should Let Turkey In,” the Mediterranean Quarterly: A Journal of Global Issues.
  • Elizabeth B. Francis-Connolly, a professor and head of the School of Health Sciences, is one of 18 candidates selected from the pool of 58 qualified applicants to participate in the AOTA/AOTF Leadership Mentoring Program. Participants receive a fellowship in the amount of $2,500 to support their participation in a series of mentoring circles in the next nine months.
  • Michael Williams, a professor of nursing, was awarded the Excellence in Education Award from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses in December 2006.
  • Naomi E. Ervin, head of the School of Nursing, was elected as a Distinguished Scholar to the National Academy of Practice in Nursing. The National Academies of Practice is composed of 10 health care disciplines. Each discipline academy has a membership limited to 150.
  • Joan Cowdery, an assistant professor in the School of Health Promotion and Human Performance, received the Jack Davis Professional Achievement Award last October. This award is given by the University of Alabama to recognize professional accomplishments in administration, education, extension, research or business in several fields of human environmental sciences.
  • Susan Gregory, a professor and program coordinator in the School of Technology Studies’ Hotel and Restaurant Management Program, received the Stevenson W. Fletcher Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual educator for outstanding achievement, from the International CHRIE association.


  • The College of Business is one of the “Best 282 Business Schools” in the nation according to The Princeton Review. The New York-based education services company features EMU in the just-published 2007 edition of its “Best 282 Business Schools” (Random House / Princeton Review, Oct. 3, 2006, $22.95).
  • For the eighth consecutive year, the Beta Alpha Psi national honors accounting fraternity has received “superior status” by the fraternity’s national headquarters. The chapter received a plaque and $500 for scholarships recently during the annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
  • Ten faculty and two lecturers recently participated in the EMU Podcasting Initiative. The pilot program, which took place during the fall term, was an innovative collaboration between ICT, Continuing Education, Faculty Council and the Bruce K. Nelson Faculty Development Center.
  • Following its success with multimillion-dollar grants to provide valuable coatings research for the U.S. Army and the Navy, the Coatings Research Institute recently received news that it has secured a $1 million Air Force contract to conduct a variety of coatings research projects for the military branch at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
  • Faculty, staff and graduate assistants in the Department of Special Education again participated in the Adopt-an-Apartment giving program through the SOS Crisis Center. The department contributed more than $2,000 of new items to assist a family of four in moving into their own apartment.
  • Lizbeth Stevens has been appointed by Provost Don Loppnow to begin her transition into the position of Director of the Office of Academic Service-Learning. Professor Stevens will work with Professor Kathleen Stacey for the next 12 months as co-directors, and will assume full responsibility for the AS-L office in 2008.  Professor Stevens is an associate professor in speech/language pathology in the Department of Special Education, and a former AS-L Fellow.
  • The Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising (ATM) program earned national accreditation by the Textile Institute, an international organization based in England. EMU’s accreditation runs through 2010. The program prepares students for careers in merchandising, marketing, and apparel. The program also provides technical training in new technologies for textiles used in the automotive and furniture industries.


  • As mentioned earlier, the University had an incredible MLK Celebration week with more than 25 successful programs and events. The celebration opened with a Prop 2 panel about EMU challenges and opportunities.
  • The America Reads program received a $1,000 grant to support literacy from Wal-Mart.
  • Jumpstart received a $1,000 grant from Target to support literacy amongst preschoolers.
  • Cherie Bryant is the recipient of the Stonewall Scholarship through the Stonewall Foundation and the LGBT Resource Center.
  • Bayyinah Muhammad is the recipient of the Evans-Strand Award.
  • EMU received the honor of placement on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, the USA Freedom Corps, and the U.S. departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development.
  • More than 107 new international students enrolled this winter semester, an increase of almost 20 from last winter. About 70 percent are graduate students, and they represent more than 28 countries, including Brazil, Chad, El Salvador, Jamaica, South Korea and Thailand.
  • Three students successfully completed their internships with the Department of Public Safety in the Community Service Officer Program.
  • The Keltron Alarm System, the central alarm reporting system that reports all fire and burglary alarms to the Department of Public Safety, is being upgraded. This upgrade will provide DPS with the exact location and the type of alarm in 19 buildings, which have been equipped with addressable alarm panels. This additional information will enhance and expedite DPS’s response. Additional buildings will be added as building alarm systems are upgraded.
  • The Loronix/Verint system (Closed Circuit Camera System) is also being enhanced and expanded. There are cameras in all of the residence hall lobby entrances as well as Mark Jefferson, Strong, the EMU Student Center, Porter, Halle and Pray-Harrold Computer Center. Many parking lots have the cameras as well.
  • DPS began a new police reporting system Jan. 1. The Court Law Enforcement Management Information System enables DPS to share information with other police agencies using the same system. More than 80 agencies in southeast Michigan are using it. A Homeland Security Grant through cooperative efforts between DPS and Washtenaw County law enforcement agencies funded this system.
  • The EMU Convocation Center hosted the 2006 St. Joseph Hospital Ball for the fourth consecutive year. This benefit is a major fundraiser for the hospital.
  • The EMU Convocation Center hosted the “All American Rejects” in concert. A crowd of 5.200 high school and college-aged students attended.
  • Easter Echo News Editor Christine Laughren was awarded one of the 2007 Michigan Press Association Foundation journalism scholarships. Brandon Neel, Echo editorial cartoonist, won his second national college cartooning award from StudentAffairs.com. The Eastern Echo staff also won 19 awards at the recent Michigan Collegiate Press Association contest. The newspaper took first-place awards in non-deadline story, reviews, original cartoon and two advertisement categories; and received third-place overall in the general excellence category.


  • The athletic department and the EMU Foundation joined forces to create a new program to provide incentives to area elementary and middle school students while helping the University preserve its NCAA Division I athletic status. The EMU Foundation will spend $116,000 to provide free football tickets to area students who excel in the classroom that, in return, will help EMU meet the NCAA requirement of an average of 15,000 fans per game to retain its Division I status.
  • Two area business leaders were recently elected to the EMU Foundation Board of Trustees. They are: Patricia L. Alexander, vice president of small business development at Comerica Bank; and Odell Jones III, president and chief executive officer of JOMAR Building Co., a leading institutional, industrial and commercial builder with headquarters in Detroit.
  • A $100,000 pledge from Robert L. Johnston, a long-time friend of EMU and emeritus trustee of the EMU Foundation, will furnish an early education classroom and resource library in memory of his late wife, Gail E. Johnston, who died Dec. 22, 2005. Gail Johnston taught mentally, physically and financially challenged children during her career as an educator.
  • DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund has awarded EMU a grant in the amount of $20,000 to support Honors College Students completing the Honors Senior Thesis for presentation at the Undergraduate Symposium.


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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