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March 15 , 2005
CONTACT: Ward Mullens

President’s Report


Board of Regents’ Meeting

March 15, 2005

Thank you, Chairman Incarnati.

Having survived my first Michigan winter, I have a much deeper understanding of what Sinclair Lewis meant when he said, “winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.” Like most people, the record-setting snowfall this winter has me looking forward to warmer spring days.

As we head into the last six weeks of the winter term, the campus is heavily engaged in a variety of teaching, learning, business and public engagement activities. As such, I have a rather extensive report. However, given the length of our agenda, I will just touch briefly on several issues and invite you to read the entire report later.

First, although many of you have already heard this news, I want to report that John Beaghan, vice president for business and finance and treasurer to the Board, announced yesterday that he is leaving the University to accept a position as vice president of finance and administration at Oakland University. EMU has been well served by John’s abilities, integrity and professionalism. We thank him for his 13 years of service to the University and wish him well in his new position.

I would also like to announce that effective April 1, Suzy Merchant, women’s head basketball coach, has agreed to serve a dual role as both basketball coach and Interim Associate Athletic Director for Women’s Athletics. She replaces Melody Reifel who has accepted a position as EMU’s Director of Compliance and Certification. This position will oversee compliance and certification issues for athletics as well as veterans and will be housed organizationally within the Division of Enrollment Services.

As part of this consolidation of services, the Athletic Academic Support area also will be reassigned to Enrollment Services. This will allow both the Compliance and Academic Support areas to collaborate with professional staff in the academic advising and records management programs within Enrollment Services and will eliminate duplication of services. I believe this structure will strengthen the University’s ability to provide professional support services to our athletes and veterans so that they benefit fully from their EMU experience and persist in greater numbers to graduation. It also will establish one point of accountability to ensure that the University is compliant with an array of federal, state and organizational requirements, and it will provide checks and balances necessary with the new NCAA reporting rules and consequences.

While I have a number of news items to share, I want to give special attention to an agreement EMU and Sallie Mae have reached to provide the iReward program to Eastern students and their parents. As part of this program, undergraduate students who have loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2005 will receive a 3 percent credit to the original amount borrowed and are eligible for an additional 5 percent rebate once they are in repayment. This means that an eligible undergraduate, who borrows $23,000, the maximum allowed for undergraduate studies, could receive $1,840 in credits once they have successfully repaid a portion of the loan.

Graduate students will receive their choice of an account credit or cash back equal to 3 percent of the original amount borrowed. Parents who borrow a PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate

Students) loan will receive a credit equal to 3 percent of the original principal balance of the loan. EMU’s total loan volume next year is estimated at $90 million. The program is expected to save students and parents up to $2.7 million.

Two recent news reports call for mention and clarification.

The first report regards an organization that is targeting EMU because of its policy of providing tuition benefits for same-sex domestic partners. Gary Glenn, a member of The American Family Association, an organization located in Tupelo, Mississippi with a Michigan chapter, sent a letter to members claiming that EMU, “gives students half off their tuition just because they engage in homosexual activity.” This statement is inflammatory and inaccurate. Upon learning of this letter, Ken McKanders, general counsel, sent Mr. Glenn a cease and desist letter, asking him to retract this false statement.

As you know, EMU has offered bargained-for personnel tuition benefits for the employee, employee’s spouse or same-sex domestic partner, and children for several years. In November, the Board extended this benefit to non-bargained-for personnel as well. This is a clearly defined benefit for “domestic partners,” not for those “engaging in homosexual activity” as the letter implies. Since the Board’s action took place after Proposal 2 passed, the AFA has asked the Attorney General for an opinion as to whether or not the Board’s action violates the law. The AFA has also filed suit against the Ann Arbor Public Schools for providing same-sex domestic partner benefits.

We have informed the AFA that we believe we have the right to offer these benefits. Our response was met with an e-mail spam campaign. In the past several days I have received thousands of e-mails sent from the AFA. Ken McKanders and Rita Abent, with advice from Karen Valvo, crafted a response that is being sent to each person who e-mailed my office. The response, a copy of which is included in your materials, clarifies the inaccuracies being distributed by the AFA and presents our position. I fully expect that the Ann Arbor case will ultimately find its way to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The second news report that needs some clarification was an Ann Arbor News article that implied that EMU is launching a $50 million campaign.  In reality, we are at the very preliminary stages of studying the need for a campaign.  Indeed, when I appointed Tom Stevick as Interim Vice President for Advancement, I asked him to begin to assess our readiness for a possible campaign and to develop an initial strategy to be discussed with the Board of Regents, the EMU Foundation Board and the new President.

There are several reasons for considering a campaign at this time.

  1. The national economy has improved.
  2. It has been almost 10 years since our last campaign.
  3. We need to improve and revitalize our academic facilities and state funds are in short supply.
  4. Finally, we have ongoing needs for scholarships and program support.

This future campaign will be a major and important undertaking for the University.  As we begin to move forward with our planning, we will involve and seek input from all sectors of the University community—including faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders.  We will invite our Board of Regents, Foundation Trustees and community leaders to provide comment and advice as we proceed. I would expect this to be a university-wide effort.

In summary, we are not launching a $50 million campaign at this time. However, I believe it is only wise to begin assessing the need for a possible campaign, conducting a study and putting in place the elements necessary for success.

Critical to any campaign is the need to communicate effectively with our various constituencies. To that end, University Marketing and Communications is laying excellent groundwork. As the result of our integrated Advancement Communications strategy the University now touches alumni and friends on a regular basis. Each month, more than 30,000 alumni receive the University’s electronic newsletter the e-Edge. Three times per year, more than 110,000 alumni receive The Edge, a 24 to 32-page printed booklet, and three times annually, 7,000 friends, donors and opinion leaders receive Exemplar, the University magazine. Material from these media, as well as that produced through University Communications, is repurposed to provide content for additional targeted publications such as Case Notes (produced by the College of Arts and Sciences) and the online community newsletter (produced by University Relations.) We continue to focus efforts on driving traffic to the Web, and utilizing electronic communications to take full advantage of the timeliness, interactivity and cost-efficiency that medium provides.

Through Web Communications, the University continues to enhance its Web presence. We recently launched a new, comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences site and the Colleges of Education and Health and Human Services have just initiated comprehensive Web site redevelopment projects. The Web was a critical component of the presidential search communication strategy and was used to provide regular updates on the process, an interactive form and user access to all public documents related to the search.

Budget and revenue enhancement

Resource issues are always at the top of my mind. We continue to monitor and work with Lansing to influence decisions regarding both this fiscal year’s budget and planning for next year. As you will recall, the Governor proposed cutting the state universities’ budgets again this fiscal year despite a promise not to do so if we agreed to a tuition pledge. EMU’s share of the proposed cut would have amounted to nearly $1.4 million this fiscal year. The Senate rejected the Governor’s recommendation. Although no alternative proposals have been forthcoming, we are bracing for what could be very difficult fourth quarter cuts and a reduced FY 05-06 budget. A University Budget Advisory Taskforce is being formed to provide cross-divisional assistance, education and development of the budget.

In Lansing, planning for next year’s budget is slower compared to prior years as the legislature works through a new way of deciding how to budget the state’s money. According to House Speaker Craig DeRoche, lawmakers are not expected to make any decisions on spending until after a May 16 revenue estimating conference.

In other actions related to resources, budget and financial planning:

  • I will be presenting the University’s needs to the House Higher Education Appropriations Sub-committee April 20. Each president is being given 15 minutes to discuss: our economic impact on the state and region; the impact of the 16 percent cut in State Appropriations over the past two years and cost-saving measures we have taken to counteract those cuts; our efforts to sustain affordability for the citizens of Michigan; and, our goals for the near future.
  • Proposals for a Science Complex Program Statement have been requested so that EMU will be positioned to submit a funding request to the State through the capital appropriation process if funds are made available. We expect the Program Statement to be completed and presented to the Board at the June meeting.
  • An initial funding plan has been developed for the potential issuance of new debt to fund the renewal of facilities.
  • A comprehensive listing of outsourced services (a copy is in your packet) has been compiled for continuing review and efficient management of EMU resources.
  • FY 2006 Federal Earmarks have been submitted to the Michigan Congressional delegation.
  • Through the efforts of Anthony Catner and his staff, EMU purchased natural gas futures at substantially reduced prices from today’s current market rates. Staff actively manages EMU’s gas storage and usage. Through conservation efforts and planned cogeneration shutdowns of the University’s natural gas fueled generator during times when electricity can be purchased at low costs, they have reduced our gas usage.  They then release that gas into the market at higher prices than we paid. As a result of these efforts, the University has realized cost savings of well over a $1 million this current fiscal year.

The EMU Foundation continues to work on gifts that have an impact on the university and community. These include:

  • A $50,000 gift from Coca Cola that will provide scholarships in the Hospitality Management Program.
  • A total of $27,600 has been raised for the Washtenaw County/EMU Legal Resource Center that is a unique partnership between campus and the Washtenaw County legal community.
  • A $420,000 bequest from the Estate of Dorcas Wolf was received in January and will be used to establish an endowed scholarship fund for elementary education majors.
  • A total of $25,000 has been gifted by alumni and friends of the Historic Preservation Program. This group has set a goal of $50,000 for scholarships for that program.

Public Engagement

As noted earlier, this has been a very active semester relative to public engagement activities. A representative sampling of these include:

  • Greeted legislators at the 93rd Session kick-off luncheon at the State Capitol February 1. The luncheon, which was hosted by Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Kooiman (R-Grand Rapids) and sponsored by Eastern Michigan, gave staff and me an opportunity to meet with new and veteran lawmakers.
  • Former congressmen Michael Forbes (D-N.Y.) and Dan Miller (R-Fla.) visited EMU as part of the second Congress to Campus program. The program gives students and the university community the opportunity to get the “real deal” from politicians, while also helping students to get involved in public service. As part of the activities the University hosted a breakfast attended by more than 200 high school students.
  • Academic Affairs hosted the annual meeting of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters. The meeting attracted nearly 500 participants from Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, and featured peer-reviewed research and research-in-progress from all disciplines; undergraduate and graduate papers; and panel discussions.
  • Admissions and the Department of Foreign Languages are presenting a series of workshops for non-U.S. citizens at four local high schools this month to create awareness of EMU.
  • The Department of English Language and Literature, under the leadership of Professor Doug Baker, hosted a conference for English educators.  More than 120 local teachers joined EMU's faculty, student teachers and pre-service teachers to discuss effective language teaching.  Dr. Cathy Yancy, professor of English from Clemson University, was the keynote speaker.
  • We hosted 58 Michigan high school student teams and their mechanical, monster-size robots at the Great Lakes Regional FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition. Area high schools competing included Ypsilanti High School, Willow Run High School, Huron High School, Pioneer High School, Washtenaw Community College and Washtenaw Technical Middle College. A team comprised of students from Willow Run and several other high schools took first place honors.
  • The Alumni Office continues to host numerous events to engage our alumni.  Most recently we have hosted functions in Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix and Naples.  While on the road, we showcase the University by showing a video that was written and produced by John Rice from University Marketing and Communications. Each year the Alumni Office commissions a new video to showcase all the wonderful things happening at Eastern.

Campus update

  • The Eastern Michigan University and Tianjin University of Commerce (TUC) joint master's degree in human resources management and organizational development received a superior rating from the People's Republic of China's Ministry of Education. Currently, there are 22 Chinese students in the program who are scheduled to complete their coursework by May 2005. A second group of students has been approved by the Chinese government to enter the program for fall 2005.
  • EMU's 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.
  • The College of Education has announced the 2004-2005 inductees for the COE Hall of Fame. Honorees are:
  • Patricia Dignon–educator with experience in preschool through college, current executive director of the Detroit Public Schools.
  • Ingrid Saunders Jones–Senior Vice President of the Coca Cola Company and chair of the Coca Cola Foundation.
  • Julia Ann King–pioneer woman educator in Michigan, former preceptress of Michigan Normal. King Hall was named after her.
  • Dean Rockwell–physical educator, Olympic wrestling coach, WWII D-Day hero.
  • Gerald Tape–physics instructor, distinguished career in U.S. and international atomic energy and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, early winner of U.S. Department of Energy Fermi Award.

Honorees will be recognized at a reception in the foyer of the Porter Building April 8, 2005, 4 -5:30 p.m.

  • The long arm of military law has joined with Eastern Michigan University to offer a new online program for Army paralegals. EMU is now one of only two universities nationwide to receive the American Bar Association’s (ABA) approval for the Army Paralegal Specialist Degree Program.Approximately 50 students are expected to enroll in the EMU program for courses beginning in May.
  • EMU employees are now able to view job openings and apply for positions online by using a new online hiring system (OHS). The system is accessible on the Human Resources Web site. With just a few clicks of the mouse, employees are able to quickly and easily search open positions at EMU, view job details, create a job interest profile, submit a resume or check a job application status.
  • Freshman applications for Fall 2005 are currently 26 percent above the same time last year.  Transfer applications are 18 percent ahead of last year and graduate school applications are 10 percent ahead of last year at this time. 
  • EMU's men’s swimming team clinched its sixth consecutive Mid-American Conference championship with a total of 1,008 points. The title marks EMU’s 25th in the past 28 years. The women's swimming team finished third. Peter Linn was named MAC women's swimming Coach of the Year;
  • The women's indoor track and field team finished second at the MAC Championships.  The team missed first place by 1.5 points.
  • The women’s basketball team ended their season with a 23-7 record. Eastern lost in the MAC quarterfinals to eventual tournament champion Bowling Green. The women received a bid to the National Invitation Tournament and will play Kentucky this Friday at Kentucky.
  • The EMU Committee for Tsunami Relief has organized a "dollar drive," a campus-wide fundraising campaign that continues through March 18. The goal is to raise $25,000.
  • In an effort to help prepare individuals to deal with the media, University Communications staff offered a media relations seminar March 7. These quarterly seminars, which are open to faculty and staff, offer tips for dealing with reporters and identifying what makes an event newsworthy. Participants learn to get their message across quickly and accurately, and have an opportunity to practice their skills during a videotaped mock interview.
  • The Offices of Human Resources, Legal Affairs, and Diversity and Affirmative Action have completed a series of sexual harassment prevention training sessions for senior administrators.  In addition to reviewing the new Sexual Harassment and Other Prohibited Conduct Policy, participants were given information on techniques that are useful in the prevention of sexual harassment.  They also received instruction on the manner in which they should respond to complaints from their employees.
  • The Continuing Education marketing team was awarded the University Continuing Education Association 2005 Marketing and Publications Award for an ad in US News &World Report promoting EMU’s online programs.
  • New Visions in Action (NVA), a national initiative to focus energy and attention on a language-competent America, has selected EMU's foreign language Teach Development Program for recognition as an exemplary program.
  • Cellar Roots, EMU’s award winning literary and arts magazine, recently published its third edition. The annual juried edition features works exclusively by EMU students that were judged by a panel of faculty and graduate students.
  • The first stage of the new online room draw process has been implemented and has reduced significantly the amount of staff time previously required to process data. To date, 1,023 students have applied to return to University Housing for the fall.
  • More than 2,225 students have signed up for Napster since the University made the service available to students in January.
  • In ongoing efforts to continuous update dining options based on market demand, Dining Services recently added Sbarro Pizza to its list of branded operations. This “new twist on an old favorite” has been very well received by the campus community since it opened.

As always, I will close my report by highlighting several students, faculty members and alumni who are in the news.

Students in the news:

  • Joshua Miller, Stephanie Sears and Jeremy McMinis were named Marsh White awardees by the Society of Physics Students of the American Institute of Physics.
  • EMU’s Mock Trial team will compete for the first time ever at the National Tournament in Richmond, Kentucky, March 18-20. The Mock Trial team, founded three years ago, is coached by Political Science Professors Barry Pyle and Mark Maronis.
  • Sophomore Sarah VanMetre was selected to the 2005 ESPN The Magazine women’s basketball Academic All-District IV Second Team. This marks the first time that an EMU women’s basketball player has received the honor in the 29-year history of the program.
  • EMU swimmers Katie Benedict, Sarah Chrzanowski and Amanda Katz were named to the All-MAC Academic Team. Benedict carries a 4.0 GPA in the College of Education.
  • Doctoral student Sara Duvall received the 2005 Finis E. Engleman Award from the American Association of School Administrators for her research on superintendent and school board relations. Duvall successfully defended her dissertation and will graduate in April.
  • The Model UN team from the Political Science department recently returned from a successful tournament in St. Louis.  EMU represented Libya, Angola, and Armenia.  Led by Professor Richard Stahler-Sholk, a total of 26 EMU students participated in the Midwest Model UN competition.
  • Twenty-five Eastern Michigan University students traveled to Lansing for this year's Day at the State Capitol February 22. Day at the State Capitol is an event at which students from various Michigan universities can voice their opinions on the issues that are important to them, especially higher education, and how it can improve from a student point of view.
  • More than 45 EMU students gave up their spring break in order to help make a difference in six communities around the country as part of Alternative Spring Break (ASB). EMU students helped to plant bald cypress trees in an area wiped out by logging; tutored at Fisher Elementary School in New Orleans, LA.: restored trails at Oleno State Park in High Springs, Fla.; worked with children at the School for the Deaf and Blind at Spartanburg, S.C.; helped out at the Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network in Jacksonville, Fla.; and did service projects at the Jewish Volunteer Connection in Baltimore, Md. EMU students have been participating in ASB since 1992.

Faculty in the News:

  • David Victor, professor of management at Eastern Michigan University, has been named the first director of international business programs for the college of business.
  • Suzanne Hobson, associate professor of leadership and counseling, received both the Michigan Counseling Association's Legislative Service Award, in recognition of state and national legislative and advocacy efforts, and the 2004 Professional Service Award for her work in founding the organization.
  • EMU lecturers Yukari Fujiwara and Clarinda Flannery were named recipients of the third annual Full-Time Lecturers Outstanding Teaching Award.
  • Amy Young, Psychology, was awarded a $100,000 grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health to explore the relationship between alcohol and alcohol-related sexual assault among adolescents. Her co-investigators are Carol Boyd and Sean McCabe, both of the University of Michigan.
  • Jerry Robbins, professor and former dean of the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University, received the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s (AACTE) Volunteer Service Award.  This award recognizes an individual whose long-term contribution has made an impact on the organization through outstanding service to AACTE and its membership.
  • Professors Joe Bishop and Ella Burton recently received a grant to bring a group of 15 Eurasian Secondary School directors from Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to Michigan for two weeks in April. The directors will take part in an internship program in citizenship education and school administration. During their stay they will participate in workshops, cultural and civic activities; visit Lansing; and visit schools in the area. Funding comes from Department of State and is administered by American Councils for International Education.

Alumni in the News:

  • William P. Baer, principal owner, chairman and chief executive officer of The Crown Group, was elected chair of the board of directors of the 1.7-million-member Automobile Club of Michigan (AAA Michigan). He attended Eastern Michigan University and resides in Grosse Pointe Shores.
  • Governor Jennifer M. Granholm appointed Semone M. James executive director of the State Land Bank Fast Track Authority. James received her bachelor of business administration, majoring in finance and real estate, from EMU in 1991.
  • Joan C. Sargent, superintendent of Utica Community Schools and an EMU alumna, was named Superintendent of the Year by the Michigan Association of School Administrators. The honor automatically qualifies her to become a finalist for the National Superintendent of the Year Award.
  • EMU alumni Boaz Cheboiywo and Gavin Thompson continue to make their mark on the sport of track and field with world-class performances. Cheboiywo posted the world's fastest time this year in the 5,000 meters at the prestigious Meyo Invitational in South Bend, IN. Now running for Nike, Cheboiywo clocked a blistering 13 minutes, 38.14 seconds to win the race. Thompson finished second in the same race with a time of 14:00.24.
  • Barry J. Eckhold was promoted to Executive Vice President, Chief Credit Officer of Republic Bancorp Inc. Previously; he was Senior Vice President, Chief Credit Officer. Eckhold has been Republic Bancorp Inc.’s Chief Credit Officer since the company’s inception, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Republic Bank since its inception in 1985. He has a Master of Business Administration degree from Eastern Michigan University.
  • Lynne Cohen was selected as one of eight artists to receive the Canada Council sixth annual Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts.Cohen was described by the Council as “one of the most important artists working today in photography.” She earned her M.A. from Eastern Michigan University.

Upcoming dates of note

                        SALUTE TO EXCELLENCE WEEK (March 28 through April 1)

March 28            Graduate Research Fair, oral presentations 1, 3 and 4:30 p.m. McKenny

Poster presentations, 1:30, 3, and 4:30 p.m.

Dinner, 5:45 p.m. McKenny Ballroom

March 29            Employee Recognition Awards, 8:30 a.m. McKenny Ballroom

                        Student Gold Medallion Awards, 3:30–6 p.m., McKenny Ballroom

March 30            Distinguished Faculty Awards, 3–5 p.m., McKenny Ballroom

March 31            Gold Medallion Awards presented by the Division of Student Affairs

8:15–10:30 a.m., McKenny Ballroom

Undergraduate Symposium, donor’s reception, 6–8 p.m., University House

April  1            College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Symposium XXV.

Student presentations, 8:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m., various locations in McKenny Poster presentations will be on display in Guild Hall, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m.


April  8              College of Education Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Porter, 4–5:30                                     p.m.

April  9            “Back to Basie” a dinner dance to benefit the Jazz Program and the Al Townsend Scholarship. Hosted by the Department of Music and Dance and WEMU.

                        6:30 p.m.– midnight, McKenny Ballroom

April 20             House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing, Lansing

April 23            COMMENCEMENT, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., Convocation Center



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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