Dec. 10, 2002
CONTACT: Ward Mullens


Eastern Michigan University New Headquarters
for Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities

YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University has been chosen as the site of the headquarters for the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU).

As of July 1, 2002, EMU has the distinction of serving as the organizational hub for many of the nation's urban and metropolitan universities. The University of North Texas had served as CUMU headquarters for the past nine years.

"This is a real opportunity for us not only to formulate and implement our own urban agenda, but to assist in developing national and international urban agendas as well," said Martha Tack, senior executive for presidential initiatives and coalition administrator for CUMU.  "We will be at the center of these discussions."

The coalition is an international affiliate organization of universities in metropolitan areas that share common understandings of their institutional missions and values. Its purpose is to facilitate the exchange of information among its members about urban and metropolitan issues; create a unified approach to resolving common challenges; and develop a clearer understanding within the higher education community and among public policy makers and the public about the distinctive roles played by urban and metropolitan institutions of higher education.

CUMU is composed of 59 universities from the U.S. and three international universities. Other than EMU, Oakland University is the only other Michigan institution that is currently a member.

EMU was selected as the headquarter site because of President Kirkpatrick's activeness in CUMU, said Tack. Al Hurley, one of the founders of CUMU, retired from the chancellorship of the University of North Texas where CUMU had been headquartered and the coalition's executive committee wanted a university that had an interest and potential to take the coalition to the next level. They asked us and we said yes, Tack said.

"I believe, in the future, there will be more national visibility for EMU as a result of our involvement with CUMU," Tack said.

Some of that exposure is expected to come when EMU's Eagle Crest Conference Center and Resort will host the CUMU 2003 Conference,  "Partners In the Urban Agenda," Sept. 20-23, 2003. The conference will address urban concerns and how they intersect with cities, counties and universities, Tack said. The conference will include workshop tracks for university presidents, as well as staff in academic affairs, student affairs, information and communications technology, advancement and government relations, and university relations/marketing.

"Attendees from across the world will convene to deliberate urban and metropolitan issues and to visit sites in the area where we can demonstrate best practices occurring in metropolitan areas," Tack said. "We will really be showcasing southeastern Michigan as well as EMU."

In addition to the heightened exposure, Tack sees the CUMU affiliation as being directly linked to the University's strategic plan, particularly in the area of community engagement. The University currently is involved with the city of Ypsilanti in redeveloping the Cross Street area. The two entities also formed a joint task force two years ago to work together on a variety of community issues.

"There should be a seamless boundary between EMU and the community," she said.  "It (CUMU) fits beautifully."

Tack also said information gathered from higher education institutions in CUMU will be a tremendous asset to EMU's Office of Institutional Research and Information Management. Some of its functions include collecting data and creating databases for special focused studies, and college productivity analyses.

"We will have a source of current information that we can tap into to help us make critical decisions," Tack said.

At CUMU's Oct. 7 board meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, EMU President Samuel A. Kirkpatrick was elected secretary/treasurer. His chief role will be to keep the records of the organization's meetings and to handle all financial matters relevant to CUMU. During that meeting, the coalition was restructured, new bylaws were adopted, and articles of incorporation were approved.

"The coalition is the only organization in the United States that focuses solely on urban and metropolitan universities and the associated opportunities and challenges," Tack said.  "That makes CUMU's work exciting. We're all working from the same page."

Eastern Michigan University ( is a four-year, comprehensive metropolitan university committed to the needs of its students and communities through teaching, research and service.EMU offers more than 200 programs in the arts, sciences and professional disciplines through traditional classroom settings, on-site continuing education classes and on-line courses.EMU is the sixth largest university in Michigan, serving 25,000 students from around the world and offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate programs.