SEPTEMBER 24, 2002

We started the fall semester at EMU with many new faces among our students, faculty and staff, and new activities and facilities improvements to support our mission. Most important, we have more students, reflecting a series of student access and success initiatives developed from our strategic plan. Offering more students learning opportunities in this changing information-age economy is a top priority.

Overall enrollment is up 1 percent and we expect to meet our budgeted credit hour requirements enabling us to balance the budget during a difficult fiscal period. Graduate student enrollment increased 2 percent and our largest group, returning undergraduates, is up 1 percent, reflecting the good work of faculty and staff through programs such as Supplemental Instruction and our first-year student contracts in the Holman Learning Center. These contracts permit us to correspond with studentís parents regarding their academic progress during their first year at EMU. Research shows that students who sign such contracts are retained at a higher level and I am pleased to report that 60 percent of our new freshmen and their parents are participating compared to 35 percent last fall.

As a result of more focused activities to enhance transfer student enrollment, including the new Undergraduate Transfer Center which has updated over 50 curriculum guides for posting transfer equivalencies for 30 community colleges and 10 universities on the web, our transfer enrollment is up 3 percent over last fall. We also are continuing to see a rapid increase, over 5 percent, in students enrolled for a second bachelorís degree. All of this comes on the heels of a robust 5 percent enrollment increase in the summer session we just completed.

While the number of first-year students is down slightly, our campus housing is full. We are encouraged by the fact that the number of students who attended our tours in August was higher than last year and that 50,000 high school seniors in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and northern Indiana are receiving regular e-mail messages from EMU through E-Cruit, our new web-based recruiting program.

Enrollment is obviously of critical importance to our budget as we are in a fiscal year without an increase in State funding, as is the case for other Michigan public universities. This means that nearly all of our new resources are coming from students and their parents and that the University is seeing a further decline in the proportion of its budget supported by the State. Excluding restricted grants and gifts, only 36 percent of EMU's budget now comes from the State of Michigan.

Unlike almost all other State funded agencies and budget categories, the public universities were fortunate to avoid budget cuts during the last fiscal year and at the outset of the new year. However, the State faces continued revenue shortfalls and has already employed a variety of corrections and stopgap measures to cushion the impact of declining revenues. There is a statewide ballot initiative to redirect funds from the student Merit Scholarship Program to health areas, which would cost EMU students $3 million in lost scholarship funds, and constitutionally mandate budget allocations harmful to higher education. With the prospect of continued shortfalls, EMU has initiated a budget contingency planning process to identify up to 2 percent cuts in our new fiscal year budget in anticipation of the possibility of State funding reductions. We believe this is prudent under these conditions.

Despite the state funding chill, the campus is alive with activities. The new students we are serving at EMU received an even warmer welcome this fall than in the past. We had over 1,700 new freshmen participate in orientation beginning Labor Day weekend, assisted by our student orientation leaders and 400 volunteers who helped with move-in. We hosted a picnic for more than 5,000 students and parents and dining services served over 18,000 meals during our multi-day orientation program. The new mandatory fee now associated with orientation yielded record numbers of commuter and transfer students participating in these important programs that ease the transition to college and assist with persistence and retention. This year, our activities are more robust than ever. Special events and activities are planned every day for the first month of classes, and more than 170 freshmen participated in Community Plunge, a day of volunteer service to Ypsilanti non-profit agencies, and more than 3,500 students participated in Meijer Madness.

These events followed a summer that included many activities on campus and excellent use of our facilities. In addition to our SummerQuest programs, such as new ones in theater and forensics, and our Summer Institutes and Upward Bound programs, the Rec/IM hosted 27 sports camps, 9 cheerleading camps, and variety of leadership academies and corporate outings that further showcased the EMU campus.

Like most institutions throughout the country, we recently completed a weeklong series of programs and activities to remember the events of September 11. These included a campus-wide remembrance ceremony and a memorial garden dedication. The week culminated with a day-long conference sponsored by the Department of Psychology, entitled "A Brave New World: The Lasting Effects of September 11"

Earlier this month the University and the EMU Foundation sponsored a special President's Donor Recognition Dinner to express appreciation to over 250 donors who have been sustained supporters of EMU. Forthcoming events of special interest include a wide-array of activities associated with Homecoming, culminating on Saturday, September 28; the Freshman Scholarship Convocation and Family Day activities scheduled for Saturday, October 12; and a concert by a country music star, Toby Keith, at the Convocation Center on Thursday, October 17.

New faces on campus also include faculty and staff. The Provost has conducted a series of orientation activities for our 41 new regular faculty at EMU and we have welcomed new academic administrators, including Linda Pritchard, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who has joined us from a similar position at Arkansas State University; Ian Haslam, Department Head of HPERD, who has joined us from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; and Rachel Cheng, our new University Librarian, who came from Wesleyan University. Through the continued good support of our donors, the John W. Porter Chair in Education has been filled this year by Nel Noddings, former president of both the Philosophy of Education Society and the John Dewey Society and a professor of Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

We are especially pleased to welcome Stu Starner, our new Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the EMU Foundation who joins us from the University of Houston. The Foundation is in the process of building a fundraising structure supported by constituency-based professional staff, with development officers assigned to each of the colleges and athletics. This constituency-based model ensures that fundraisers are close to the academic areas and other programs they are charged to support and that deans and faculty have expanded roles in fundraising. The Foundation development office is characterized by some new assignments and some new faces as well. Alice Preketes is working full-time for the College of Health and Human Services and Susan Rink is now working full-time for the College of Education. A search also is underway for fundraising leadership for the College of Technology. New Foundation staff include: Anna Schmitt Reichert, Director of Development for Athletics, a graduate with experience at Dominos; and Brad Hodson, Development Officer for the College of Business, who joins us from Central Missouri State University. Tom Stevick, the new Executive Director of Development, from Arizona State University, will join the Foundation staff the second week in October.

There have been advanced appointments in selected other areas of the University, many of which have campus-wide implications. These include Jennifer Schrage, Director of Student Judicial Services, who replaced Karen Simpkins now serving as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs; Rhonda DeLong, the Universityís first-ever Director of Web Communications; Malverne Winborne, Assistant Director of Charter Schools; and our new Executive Director of Institutional Research and Information Management, Mark Boyd, who will be joining us next month from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

There also have been new facility improvements this fall. Students arriving for classes were greeted with 950 new parking spaces and with new fire alarm systems in Goddard, Buell and Sellers Halls, soon to be followed by Best, Downing, Wise and Pitman. Our planned parking deck project is on course for next fall and staff in the Business and Finance Building will move to the renovated Hover Building next month. The new softball fields also are on schedule on the western part of the campus after having been relocated due to the demands of parking expansion. In addition, as part of our Conserve Eastern Energy program, Pierce Hall has undergone a complete lighting retrofit and Roosevelt, Sill and Sherzer Halls will soon follow.
The Universityís successful strategic planning process continues to roll through its new cycles. In addition to completing the selection of current peer institutions this summer, the Strategic Planning Committee and others on campus are engaged in a variety of updating activities. An updated comprehensive environmental scan was completed and external community stakeholders again participated in a set of focus group meetings to assess our strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats. Seven cross-cutting committees completed their work in early July and administrative units are now using these reports as they update their plans and develop input to the University Strategic Planning Committee at the end of the calendar year, with an eye toward an updated University strategic plan next spring.

Any university is a people-intensive place and that is EMUís real strength. Some of the accomplishments and challenges that we have been addressing are the consequence of very robust participation and hard work by many faculty and staff. They have achieved many accomplishments which go unsung, and we are deeply appreciative. I will take time today to mention only a few thank yous and several kudos. Thanks to faculty and staff for contributing $335,000 to the EMU Faculty and Staff Fundraising Campaign, a giving increase of 12 percent over the prior year. Thanks to our many corporate sponsors for athletic programs who contributed $275,000 this past year, an increase of $235,000 over the prior year. A special thanks to over 200 EMU employees who participated in the United Way Day of Caring by providing volunteer support at 19 non-profit agency sites throughout Washtenaw County.

Kudos to: Dr. Ted Provder, Director of the Coatings Research Institute, who was selected for the American Chemical Societyís Polymeric Material Science and Engineering Divison's Distinguished Service Award for 2003; to Norma Cantu, a graduate student in Social Work, who was elected to the Board of Directors for the National Association of Social Workers; to EMU's ROTC cadets who competed at the National Advanced Leadership Camp in Fort Lewis, Washington, finishing in the top third cohort for performance; to the faculty whose quality work enabled accreditation of the Audiology Program in Speech Pathology; and to those who have worked so hard to develop our new Ph.D in Technology, which has been granted accreditation status by the North Central Association. Finally, we are deeply grateful to the many staff who are participating in the campus-wide Banner software implementation program. Work groups continue to proceed on schedule, as is noted in Margaret Clineís report. Today we have an opportunity to give special recognition to the team who brought up our first new system in financial affairs. Please join us immediately after the Board meeting in 205 Welch for a reception to recognize the work of the Banner Finance Process Team.

As you can tell, the semester is off to an excellent start. It reflects the work of many in the EMU family and the continued support of the Board of Regents.