EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
BOARD OF REGENTS MEETING
JUNE 17, 2003
The period from mid-March, the time of the last Board meeting, through the
end of the semester always brings a flurry of activities. This year was no exception
and was perhaps even more frenetic as we were forced to juggle budget cuts along
with year-end celebrations and the close of another academic year.
Clearly the state budget and the impact of lost appropriations have been foremost
in our thoughts and activities. As I reported at the March meeting, we have
taken a very strategic approach to address the anticipated reduction of more
than $8.7 million in state appropriations.
We have squeezed dollars out of every budget, implemented energy-saving campaigns,
sought out purchasing partners, eliminated travel and professional development
programs, frozen open positions and, in total, eliminated 84 positions from
an already over-stretched workforce in an attempt to reduce or avoid costs.
And, we have ratcheted up revenue enhancement activities to stave off further
cuts. We have done this within the context of protecting mission-critical programs,
activities and services. As an institution that has been historically under-resourced
both in terms of dollars and people, this has been painful, but it also has
been achieved with great cooperation and innovative thinking across the campus.
I shared that sentiment with the Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education as
part of my testimony in May. Speaking candidly, I told the subcommittee that
the current inequitable funding problems were the result of decades of financing
higher education by politics not policy, exacerbated by the addition of the
tier systema system I believe is contrary to the basic principle that
all Michigan students should receive equitable funding for their post-secondary
education regardless of the institution they choose to attend.
I also told the subcommittee that differential cuts for state universities,
such as those recommended by the House, made little sense and were poor public
policy. I challenged them to find any rational explanation for a policy that
would award one institution $3,629 for each of 238 new students while not awarding
any relief to EMU for 254 new students.
My comments, and those of several of my presidential colleagues, found a partially
sympathetic ear. The Senate version of the appropriations bill dismantles the
tier system and attempts to set a per-student funding floor, but does little
to address the gross inequities between the 15 public state universities.
The House and Senate versions will go to committee where differences will be
hammered-out and a combined bill sent to the Governor. We continue to lobby
for support during the process, but given the best of circumstances, our cut
remains at $8.7 million. The University also faces an additional nearly $10
million in unavoidable cost increases for previously negotiated labor contracts,
health care, financial aid and unfunded state mandates.
Two actions before the Board today, a request to implement an enhanced retirement
program for faculty who have long service at EMU and are ready to retire, and
one to increase tuition, will help us bridge the financial budget gap and provide
the institution with strategic flexibility.
The first of these, the Employee Incentive Program, is for our long-term faculty
who want to retire yet face the prospect of less than expected income due to
declines in the equity market and economy generally. Our offer to the faculty
is enabled by the Tax Reform Act which permits us to extend retirement fund
payments, on a tax deferred basis, for five years beyond separation from employment.
It is the right thing to do for our faculty and it is a strategy which enables
us to realign resources, reduce faculty budgets without reducing positions,
and avoid layoffs. The window for faculty to come forward and accept this plan
is very narrow and must be achieved within the next two weeks.
We also have labored long and hard over how to best meet the needs of the University
while maintaining our academic quality and EMUs tradition of accessibility
and affordability. We recognize that a tuition increase will have an impact
on our students and we are prepared to help. More than half of our students,
nearly 52 percent, receive more than $100 million in financial aid of some type.
Since 2001, our campus-based financial aid budget has increased 68 percent.
As currently projected, 16 percent of our tuition and fees for Fiscal 04
will go directly back to students through campus-based financial aid.
Since we have a robust agenda, I will shorten my report today, by mentioning several other developments for your information:
An updated strategic plan was developed over the course of the
last year and approved by both the University Strategic Planning Committee and
the Cabinet this spring. Included in the plan are initiatives that advance each
of the six university directions and those that are especially strategic in
the current environment of budget constraints. The plan also highlights key
areas that are important to sustain from the last planning cycle. We will have
much more to say about the strategic plan as we approach the Fall semester.
Explore Eastern, the Presidential Scholarship Competition and campus
visits all experienced at least a 15 percent attendance increase over last year,
spring and summer enrollment is up, and we are on-target to meet budgeted goals
for Fall semester.
Today we are requesting the Board to approve a long-term lease to open
a continuing education facility in Brighton. Scheduled to open in the fall,
it will serve residents in the I-96, US 23 corridor areaone of the fastest
growing areas in the state. Initially we will offer graduate programs from the
College of Education and the College of Health and Human Services, and undergraduate
programs from the College of Technology.
The Advisory Board for EMUs Jean Parsons Center for the Study
of Art and Science located in Lake Ann, has appointed the First Artist in Residence
for the Center, sculptor M. Catherine Shinick. Ms. Shinick received degrees
from both EMU and the Rhode Island School of Design.
Four very comprehensive guaranteed maximum price design/build proposals
for the new student union and the reassignment of McKenny space have now been
received, and a structured blind review of the proposals will take place over
the course of the next week.
EMU is collaborating with the Washtenaw County Health Department, the
University of Michigan, and our local hospitals to effectively develop a preventive
plan to address the outbreak of SARS worldwide. To date, EMU has established
a website for updated information and travel advisories, conducted information
sessions for employee groups, and developed a pre-arrival plan for incoming
students this fall.
The results from the April 2003 Michigan Test for Teacher Certification
have been posted and I am pleased to announce that once again EMU graduates
continue to do well. We had a 100 percent pass rate in 14 of the 37 fields tested
and were at or above the state pass rate in 31.
EMUs baseball team won its first MAC championship in 21 years
and earned its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1982. The womens
track team also won the MAC Championship.
We launched a reformatted magazine as part of a new communications plan
for University Advancement. More than 105,000 copies of THE EDGE were mailed
in May to friends and alumni of the University. The printed version of the magazine
will be supplemented by a monthly electronic issue which we will launch this
Students from our Historic Preservation program are helping to restore
a British cannon that may be as much as 276 years old. The 1,325-pound cannon
was recovered from the Detroit River in 1987 and bears the broad arrow of British
government weapons manufactured between 1727 and 1760. When restored, the cannon
will be housed at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing.
For the second consecutive year, EMU won a Work/Life Balance Designation
Award from the Washtenaw Work/Life Consortium. EMU was recognized for providing
comprehensive health and dental coverage, paid sick and vacation time, an employee
assistance program, on-site childcare, recreational facilities and flexible
As indicated in our regular Information and Communications Technology (ICT) update for the Board, all elements of our plan are on course. Especially noteworthy is the successful implementation of online student registration and additional web enhancements that enable students to access course confirmations, bills, unofficial transcripts and financial aid accounts on the web, and the completion of the second round of computer replacements in our Refresh Program, which included ten academic labs available to students. Our Banner Student Process Team is being recognized by the Board today, and a reception for team members, to which all are invited, will occur across the hall immediately following our meeting.
Other milestones in our continuous improvement efforts include the following:
Accreditation of our College of Education Clinics by the American Speech-Language-Hearing
The University is proceeding with the conversion to distribute student
financial aid refunds electronically through the Universitys new Eagle
Express Card. Our previous card is being replaced by a new One Card
that all students will receive and will accommodate all of their card needs.
This is a significant time saver and service enhancement, eliminating the printing
and distribution of over 16,000 checks and the lines that students previously
encountered to receive their financial aid refunds.
Results of the third Student Services Satisfaction Survey are now completed
and they demonstrated a double digit increase in the levels of student satisfaction
with services in financial aid, registration, records, advising and student
business services. Some of the services involved in the study include telephone
service, forms clarity, accuracy of information, speed of service and staff
The spring has been an excellent time for fundraising at EMU, and April was an especially productive monthour most successful in seven years. Several highlights of our private fundraising include:
An anonymous gift of $250,000 was provided to enhance the John W. Porter
Endowed Chair in Urban Education to further support graduate student research
in collaboration with the Porter Chair.
An equipment gift-in-kind, a mass spectrometer, has been received from
Pfizer and valued at $300,000. Pfizer also announced this years Pfizer
Undergraduate Research Award winners, who represent the third group of minority
undergraduates to benefit from the opportunity to conduct research with Pfizer
We completed the second annual Walk for Womens Athletics with
more than 340 walkers and nine community sponsors who helped raise over $32,000
for student scholarship aid.
anticipated budget cuts.
The College of Technology and its Coatings Research Institute and graduate
and undergraduate programs in polymers and coatings have received an equipment
donation valued at over $400,000 from the Eastman Kodak Company.
Many special events occurred on campus this spring. I will name just a few:
More than 200 staff and faculty turned out for a first-ever EMU Pride
Day for campus cleanup and beautification. Participants planted flowers, many
donated by staff, and helped pick up litter around campus. A number of us also
participated in the annual YPSI Pride Day. More than 2,500 participants from
throughout the city and township turned out to plant flowers, pick up trash,
sweep, paint, landscape and otherwise beautify the community.
A group of 63 outstanding students and five brave staff members participated
in our third annual EMU LeaderShape last month. This six-day, intensive leadership
camp helps students to discover their guiding values and principles in the context
of leading with integrity.
The Office of Alumni Relations, together with the Development Office,
has continued its energetic in-state outreach program and hosted alumni, donors
and friends in downtown Detroit in early May, followed by our first ever alumni
gathering in Grand Rapids, with a forthcoming one in Traverse City.
EMUs Center for Organizational Risk Reduction is a cosponsor of
the Homeland Security Leadership Series in Detroit this month. Shelby Slater,
an EMU alumnus, is Director of Detroits Office of Homeland Security. This
event is the first of five programs to be conducted nationwide.
Alumni, K-12 educators, community college educators, business leaders
and public officials have been invited to learn more about EMU, strengthen relationships
to enhance enrollment, gather data for future planning, and help assess institutional
strengths and challenges in anticipation of submitting an application to the
Higher Learning Commission for our regional reaccreditation process. Focus groups
involving these individuals are planned for this week in Romulus and Troy.
Also this week the Charter School Summer Fine Arts Camp is being held
on EMUs campus, involving 300 middle school students from around the state
who will receive drama, vocal and instrumental instruction.
It is always a pleasure for me to share with you some of the honors and activities of our faculty, staff, students and alumni. Again, in the interest of time, I will mention just a few.
EMU students Brett Pedersen and Chris Roberson won the 2003 American
Collegiate Intramural Associations National Fitness Championship in Orlando,
EMU and Dr. Jerry Robbins, Dean of the College of Education, were invited
to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Work Force and
its Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness relating to the reauthorization
of the Higher Education Act Title II on Teacher Training. Dean Robbins was accompanied
by Vice President Juanita Reid and recent graduate Sergio Garcia.
At the recent National JazzWeek Summit, the nations jazz radio
and industry conference, peers recognized Linda Yohn, Music Director at WEMU,
as Programmer of the Year for smaller markets and WEMU was recognized as Station
of the Year in smaller markets.
Cathy Lower, our Director of Licensing, recently published her first
book, Creepy Colleges and Haunted Universities. Along with co-author
Cynthia Thuma, Lower chronicles true ghost stories as told across
the nations college campuses. Easterns "ghost of Pease"
is featured in the book.
Carl Ojala, Professor in Geography and Geology, was named an Environmental
Hero by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Ojala was honored
for his tireless efforts to preserve and protect the nations environment.
Seven distinguished alumni were recognized during the 42nd Annual Alumni Awards dinner May 10. They included:
Outstanding Young Alumni Arthur Rockall and Dagny Rude
Distinguished Alumni Ken Bruchanski and Raymond Lombardi
Distinguished Service Awards Paul Tucker and Roy Wilbanks.
Four faculty were honored with Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Awards during EMUs Salute to Excellence week. Those honored were:
Joseph Csicsila, an Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature,
who received the Teaching I Award,
Jamin Eisenbach, Professor of Biology, who received the Teaching II
Catherin Bach, Professor of Biology, who received the Scholarly/Creative
Activities Award, and
Mildred Lintner, Professor of Computer Science, who received the Service
to the University Award.
With Board action today, the University officially says goodbye to three outstanding leaders, Earl Potter, Jill Pollock and Carole Huston. Earl resigns as Dean of the College of Business effective this month to accept a position as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Southern Oregon University; Jill has just assumed her new position as Chief Human Resources Officer at the University of Cincinnati; and Carole Huston retired as Senior Womens Athletic Director last month after 28 years in sports administration. All of these individuals have made positive contributions to EMU and I have been delighted to work with them. I know you will join me in wishing them well.