President’s Report
Board of Regents’ Meeting
December 2, 2003

The other day I noticed a student at one of the tables in the Union wearing a t-shirt with two-inch high letters proclaiming, “So little time, so much to do.” With the calendar showing so few days left before winter commencement and the end of the semester, I think we can all relate to that message.

This has been a semester of firsts for EMU; sandwiched between a myriad of programs and activities.

Through University Advancement, we have launched a new Donor Relations Program and a new program in Planned Giving.

We have been working aggressively this fall on fundraising and alumni initiatives involving large numbers of our friends, donors, graduates and prospects. With leadership and assistance from the Foundation staff and Alumni Relations, we have had two very successful alumni outreach events off campus (Oakland County and Chicago) in addition to a wide range of events (approximately 60 in all) associated with Homecoming. Special efforts are underway to bring past donors closer to the University through our new Donor Relations Program and its related events to honor our redesigned giving societies. Together with pre-football receptions involving alumni; civic, political and business leaders; high school counselors; students; and faculty; over 1,800 people have been in attendance at University House functions alone.

In addition to Donor Relations, the new Planned Giving Program has inaugurated its Heritage Society and we have seen the first major product from the new prospect identification system in the form of a $200,000 scholarship endowment for the Special Education Program. This is the most significant endowment gift in recent years.

We also recently launched the annual Faculty and Staff Giving Program with a kickoff event, campus-wide “cookie drop” and a special website. This is being led ably by our co-chairs, Jackie Tracy and Mike Erwin, who have challenged us all to increase our giving to support students and programs. For the past three years, the number of gifts from faculty and staff and total funds raised have increased each year.

Coupled with the recent completion of the privately funded “Ring of Honor” in Rynearson Stadium and another successful on-air fundraiser for WEMU, we are off to a good start during challenging economic times.

I am pleased to report a very significant development–that we have received another $2.1 million in support of our Coatings Research Institute in the latest federal appropriation for the Department of Defense, that funds now have begun to flow in support of our new Center for Community Building and Civic Engagement ($1 million from the Department of Justice), and that some of our other proposals are receiving favorable attention.

Beyond this special appropriation process with Congress, we have inaugurated our initiative to attract larger, collaborative, interdisciplinary competitive grants from federal agencies. Various meetings have occurred in Washington and on campus, and our faculty and staff are in the early stages of developing proposals to meet selective federal deadlines in areas where we have the greatest strength and opportunities.

In September, I also had the honor of delivering my first State of the University address and presenting the University’s first-ever Institutional Values Awards. I already have shared with you a copy of my address, so I will not spend time reporting on that. However, I think it is important to note that my primary message–that the University needs higher standards for what we know to be effective educational practices, a challenging academic climate with high expectations, enriched educational experiences, a supportive campus environment, active and collaborative learning, and high student-faculty interaction – serves as a test against which we are making strategic decisions.

A highlight of the State of the University program was the presentation of our inaugural class of Institutional Values Awardees. This campus-wide program, designed to honor individuals and teams who exemplify EMU’s institutional values, was a product of our strategic planning process. The Institutional Values Award is the highest-honor the University bestows and has been generously supported by the EMU Foundation.

Our inaugural class of winners included:
Akosua Slough, a clerical staff member in the College of Education, who won the award for Continuous Improvement, Innovation and/or Customer Service;
Kathleen Russell, director of the LGBT office, who won in the category of Diversity, Human Dignity, Multicultural/International Involvement;
The Developmental Math Team recognized for Contributions to the Quality of Student Learning Experiences;
Elvia Krajewski-Jaime, a professor of Social Work, who won for Public Engagement and Community Service;
Gerald Hartenburg, a professional-technical employee in Biology, received the award for a Support Role in Teaching, Learning, Scholarship, Research and/or Creative Activity, and the
Undergraduate Symposium XXIII Cross Divisional Team recognized for Team Excellence.

Adding to a busy fall were activities surrounding the international conference of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. For the first time in its history, EMU was selected to serve as host for this prestigious event involving participants from across the United States and several foreign countries and we gathered at Eagle Crest for three days of intensive discussions and information sharing regarding challenges faced by this unique group of universities. As I have noted on several occasions, I believe that urban and metropolitan universities are destined to become the next great wave of educational institutions, following the tradition of the normal schools, the land grants and the major research universities. I am pleased that EMU has taken a leadership role in helping to define this agenda for the future of higher education.

Our semester of firsts continued in October with the dedication of the EMU-Brighton Center. Although not our first off-campus center, EMU-Brighton is our first permanent location in the demographically rich I-96/US-23 corridor. EMU is also the first, four-year institution to establish a presence in Livingston County. Our initial classes have been successful, and we believe our collaborative activities with Lansing Community College and the various K-12 districts will have an even greater impact on enrollment.

On the heels of the Brighton Center opening, we hosted our first EMU/Community Leaders Forum at which campus leaders presented updates on outreach initiatives. This forum provided an additional venue at which we were able to share the EMU story, especially as it relates to the positive difference we make in the region. I would like to thank Regents Brandon and Valvo for their participation at the forum and for encouraging local leaders to attend.

The EMU VISION Office and the Office of Academic Service-Learning have partnered with the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the Ypsilanti Public Schools and the Neutral Zone Teen Center to write and receive a new grant from the Kellogg Foundation called “Ypsilanti Youth Empowered to Act.” This new project is designed to engage the energy and vision of young people to create community change in the city. A board of Ypsilanti youth works with adult allies to identify issues affecting youth in the community and promote civic action and engagement.

Several events in October and November, although not firsts, brought thousands of friends and alumni to campus.

An entire week of activities contributed to one of the most successful Homecoming celebrations in years. In addition to the traditional pep rally, football game and king and queen competition, Homecoming 2003 featured a number of marquee events including the 100th anniversary of Sherzer Hall, the class of 1953’s 50th anniversary, the 40th anniversary of the department of Communication and Theatre Arts and the dedication of John Pappas’ sculpture, Icarus.

Family Day featured more than 60 events that showcased “how learning can be fun.” This annual event drew more than 4,000 children and parents to the campus.
On Family Day, we also welcomed the families of more than 300 students who were honored at the Freshman Convocation of Excellence. As part of this program, we also honored 10 high school teachers and counselors as Exceptional Educators, and recognized two donors who have contributed significantly to our scholarship programs.

We hosted the largest-ever group of campus visitors (over 1,500), including 650 prospective students, at Explore Eastern in early November. This is the first time our visit program has been marketed to prospective graduate students, and when coupled with our new high school counselor cultivation program involving two-day visits to the campus, it should have a favorable impact on enrollments.

Another first for EMU was our participation in the “Congress to Campus” program. This November event brought former U.S. Representatives to campus to meet with EMU and high school students to offer their insights into the complex world of congressional politics. It was linked to a “Call to Serve” job fair developed by Career Services aimed at promoting public service careers for EMU students.

Unfortunately, one of the most critical “firsts” for the University is one that will have a significant long-term term impact on how we do our professional work of educating students. I refer to starting the fiscal year with our state appropriation reduced by 10 percent and facing up to an additional 6 percent cut in our appropriation mid-year, further tempered by enrollment mix revenue challenges.

These are serious times for higher education and Eastern Michigan University. A few weeks ago I shared with you a copy of a communication I sent to faculty and staff, and that we shared with our alumni, in which I outlined the importance of higher education to the economic vitality of the state. The letter also outlined the steps the University has taken to control costs and create a student safety net through financial aid.

The Presidents Council, our Alumni Legislative Connection, state student organizations, and many others are actively engaged in this issue, as we are. Nevertheless, we once again have initiated internal budget contingency planning activities to respond to budget cuts during the current fiscal year. As we did in the past, we are approaching the required cuts in a strategic manner with the goal being to protect mission critical programs, activities and services, to enhance revenue and to protect the academic quality of the University. Clearly, we will not emerge from this new round of cuts as the same University. There will be layoffs and program cuts, and we will be doing more with less. I will share details with you as they are finalized over the next several weeks.

As we focus on the serious budget challenges we face, and our day-to-day operational demands, it is often too easy to forget to celebrate all the good things and great people that make up EMU. With that in mind, I would like to close my report by thanking so many across the campus and in Intercollegiate Athletics who made it possible for EMU to receive an unconditional 10 year certification from the NCAA, and by quickly recognizing several faculty, staff, students and alumni for recent awards.

Rebecca Sipe, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of English Language and Literature, was named the 2003 Michigan Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This is the third year since 1985, when the state awards were created, that an EMU professor has been named Michigan Professor of the Year.

The Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association named Carl Ojala, Professor of Geography and Geology, Outstanding Michigan Earth Science Teacher. Although the award normally goes to a high school teacher, Ojala was honored because he has taught so many of the K-12 teachers in the state.

Dave Diles, Athletic Director, received the 2003 General Robert R. Neyland Outstanding Athletic Director Award by the All-American Football Foundation.
Jim Vick, Vice President for Student Affairs, was honored with a DTE Community Luminary Award for his 22 years of work with Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels.
Michael McGuire, professor of music and coordinator of the music therapy program, was named the 2003 Service Award winner by the American Music Therapy Association.

Mary Ann Watson, a nationally-known media historian and professor of telecommunication and film, was recently featured on the PBS documentary, “JFK: Breaking the News.”

Gavin Thompson, a senior from West Sussex, England, won his second consecutive MAC Cross Country individual title.

Cellar Roots and the Eastern Echo, our student literary-art magazine and newspaper, each won a national Pacemaker award from the College Media Advisers.
Marilyn Svaluto, who holds three degrees from EMU, was named a “Principal of the Year” by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She is principal at Davidson Middle School in Southgate.

John Knuth, who received his master’s degree in physical education, was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame.
Tina Brooks Green, 34th District Court chief judge and EMU grad is the president-elect of the Michigan District Judges’ Association.

I’d like to congratulate these individuals and programs for the honor they bring to the University. They indeed represent what is great about EMU. In closing, I would like to thank the Board for their continued support of our endeavors and to wish each of you a safe and happy holiday season. I look forward to seeing you at Commencement on December 14.