President’s Report
Board of Regents’ Meeting

September 16, 2003

One of the best months of the academic year is September, when the campus—although active during the summer months with classes, a large enrollment increase and 35 summer camps— seems to be alive with energy that only the beginning of the fall semester can bring. This is an exciting time on campus, with many new exciting things happening.

We start the year with the largest class of new students in the history of the University. More than 2,750 freshmen, 1,808 transfer students (the highest in a decade) and 1,325 graduate students comprise the new class. Our freshmen also set a record for being one of the most academically talented, with the percentage of students having an entering GPA of 3.5 and above, up 16 percent. Overall enrollment is very near reaching an historic high for EMU; to date it has increased 4 percent in headcount and nearly 2 percent in credit hour registration. Kudos to our Enrollment Services Division, University Marketing and Communications and all the faculty and staff who worked so very hard to attract, recruit and enroll these students.

With record numbers of new students enrolling, it follows that our expanding Commuter Orientation would attract record numbers of students and that FUSION, our freshman orientation program, also would set attendance records. First year students participated in the three-day program, spending time in small-group sessions learning how to manage their time, study effectively and use the University’s vast network of student-support services and technological innovations to ensure that they succeed at EMU. A record number of more than 600 current students and community volunteers helped more than 1,400 resident hall students move-in during a five-hour period.

Orientation—which took place over the Labor Day weekend—depends on hundreds of volunteers to make it work, including many faculty and staff who assisted Dining Services in serving 7,000 lunches and 3,000 hotdogs. Each volunteer is a great representative of EMU, but none are more enthusiastic than the O-team, a group of current students who serve as group leaders and mentors. They work from dawn to dusk to do whatever it takes to acclimate new students to Eastern.

I am especially proud that our Orientation program introduces students to the University’s expectation that community service is a critical component of their development as good citizens. Again this year, more than 200 Orientation students participated in the Community Plunge and did volunteer work throughout the community.

Our first-year students are not the only firsts on campus.
ß The start of the fall semester saw our first classes offered at EMU-Brighton. The center will be officially dedicated October 1, but staff already is working hard to deliver programs that will meet the needs of this very important, underserved and growing market area.

ß For the first time at EMU we have an identification card that can track meal contracts, access campus services and be used as a debit card on- and off-campus. The EagleOne card allows students the choice of having their financial aid and other refunds directly deposited to their cards and available immediately for use. Issuing electronic refunds will save the University the cost of issuing thousands of checks each semester. Although the start-up had a few glitches, staff from EMU and our corporate partner, HigherOne, were able to resolve them in a matter of days. This is a bold technological innovation that clearly gives us a competitive advantage.

ß EMU was also recognized for the first time in two national college guides. The University was named “A Best Midwestern College” in the Princeton Review’s, The Best Midwestern Colleges: 150 Great Schools to Consider, and was identified as being a “Best Value for the Tuition Dollar,” in Kaplan’s, The Unofficial, Unbiased Guide to the 328 Most Interesting Colleges.

ß The number of external research proposals submitted by our faculty and their dollar value, as well as the number of awards received and their dollar value, have hit an historic high, as is the case with the number of federal proposals submitted and awarded.

ß As the result of strategic planning activities in Academic Affairs, a variety of proposals for new graduate programs and program revisions are underway. One exciting example is a new M.A. in Bioinformatics—an interdisciplinary program involving three colleges and five departments, planning for which was entirely funded by the Sloan Foundation.

ß I am pleased to report that the Provost is proceeding with plans to form a new Center for Regional and National Security in the College of Technology. The Center will build on the work of our highly successful Police, Fire, Staff and Command program that has generated more than $400,000 in training grants each of the last several years. The Center will respond to educational and training issues raised by both the federal and state governments and will attract Homeland Security and private sector funding.

ß Since the last Board meeting, we have held our first external and internal stakeholder focus group sessions to link continuous improvement, strategic planning and the new Baldrige-based model for regional accreditation. On campus, and in Romulus and Troy, we informed stakeholders about the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) and sought input on the most pressing opportunities for institutional improvement.

ß For the first time in its history, the University will host the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities’ international conference, September 20 through the 23 at Eagle Crest. Now housed at EMU, the Coalition includes 69 member universities committed to the urban and metropolitan mission.

ß For this past academic year, EMU student athletes had their highest-ever academic ranking in the MAC, ranking second with an overall grade point average of 3.05.

ß And finally, at your seats you will find the inaugural issue of our new university feature magazine, Exemplar. This magazine, for major donors and stakeholders, is the third publication in a family of new advancement communications under the direction of Kevin Merrill. Through e-Edge, a monthly electronic newsletter; The Edge, an alumni magazine published twice a year and Exemplar, the University is now communicating with alumni and friends in a much more timely and strategic manner.
Individual and team kudos to:

ß Madonna Emond, a senior education major, who was named Miss Michigan and will represent the state in the Miss America pageant.

ß Robert Citino, an award-winning history professor at EMU, who was featured in the pilot for a new series on the History Channel called “Hard Target.” Citino is one of the nation’s recognized authorities on military operations in both world wars.

ß Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn J. Kelly who was presented the State of Israel Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award. Kelly, who received her B.A. degree from EMU, was honored for her outstanding service to the legal profession.

ß Gary Profit, deputy chief of the Army Reserve, who earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from EMU, was promoted to brigadier general.

ß The Men’s swim team which was named Academic All-America by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. The team has won 23 MAC championships.

ß Natalie Hashimoto, a senior from Toronto, who was named the 2003 MAC Senior Gymnast of the Year, and the women’s gymnastic team which was named Academic All-America by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastic Coaches/Women. The team posted a combined 3.57 GPA.

Dates to remember:

Today’s official opening of University House, beginning at three o’clock, launches a robust schedule of special activities that will include events for Foundation Trustees, Lifetime Giving Society donors, annual donors, Golden Years alumni and the Heritage Society. We also have a host of events at various venues to which all are invited:

ß All campus picnic—September 17. This will serve as an informal kickoff for the annual faculty and staff giving program.

ß Campus master planning open meetings—September 18.

ß State of the University Address and presentation of the inaugural group of Institutional Values Awards—September 26.

ß Official opening of the Brighton Center—October 1.

ß Homecoming—October 4, with a weeklong schedule of more than 60 activities beginning September 28.

ß Family Day and the Freshman Convocation of Excellence—October 11. This event also recognizes 10 Exceptional Educators—high school teachers and counselors chosen from a group of more than 800 candidates identified by incoming freshmen as educators who made a positive difference in their lives.

These events, the accomplishments of individuals, and our historic “firsts” were all made possible by a climate of mutual support, good stewardship and a strong commitment to learning that is so characteristic of EMU.