Latest Updates

  • Thu., Oct. 28, 2021

    Campus Update – Oct. 28, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community,


    We’re more than halfway through the semester and I would like to take the opportunity to thank our students, faculty and staff for your commitment and dedication to a safe and successful semester. Students, as you proceed to the end of the semester, know that you are getting a step closer to making your dreams and goals a reality.

    For all of you who participated in the Higher Learning Commission site visit, open forums and meetings this week, I thank you deeply for your involvement. Your openness and honesty in these discussions are both important and valuable. The engagement of our campus community helps ensure EMU’s continued ability to be a quality provider of education, an effective partner to our community, and a rewarding place to work.

    We have several items to share in this week’s update:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard: Low Campus Positivity Rates
    • Reminder to Students: Mandatory Sexual Assault Prevention Training
    • Department of Public Safety to Offer Self Defense Spray/Personal Safety Alarms
    • Professors Testify in Support of Legislation to Protect Vulnerable Adults from Online Predators
    • CAS Detroit Theme Year Continues
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry: Update and Thanksgiving/Holiday Gift Baskets
    • Volleyball: Pride Night and Dig Pink Highlight Weekend Competition
    • Football Seeks to Become Bowl Eligible With Win Next Tuesday


    COVID-19 Dashboard: Low Campus Positivity Rates
    Campus positivity rates for COVID-19 remain low. In the seven days ending Oct. 26, the University administered 988 COVID-19 tests that resulted in eight positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.88 percent. During this time, we confirmed a total of 26 positive cases among students and employees. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    These positive data are reflective of our comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation strategy – a multi-layered effort that includes encouraging vaccinations and providing free on-campus vaccination clinics, Get the Vax to Win prizes, regular on-campus testing, a disciplined contact tracing process, mandatory daily health screenings, and much more. We routinely update the EMU Safe website with the latest information and resources to support your safe experience on campus. 

    The COVID-19 Dashboard has been improved to make it easier for the community to review campus COVID-19 data. For example, the graph showing COVID-19 case counts is now at the top of the Dashboard and the most recent case counts appear prominently on the left. The charts showing the cumulative and past week's numbers of COVID-19 tests performed by EMU at our Testing Center have also been improved for clarity. 


    Reminder to Students: Mandatory Sexual Assault Prevention Training
    All students are required to complete mandatory online training focused on sexual assault prevention and awareness. Students have received an email with a link to the mandatory training; and students who have not completed the training will receive reminder emails. Registration for winter semester begins Nov. 9, and students will not be permitted to register for winter semester until they complete this training. Students needing technical support to access and complete the online training should contact [email protected]. Students with general questions about the training may contact the Title IX office at [email protected].


    Department of Public Safety to Offer Self Defense Spray/Personal Safety Alarms
    The Department of Public Safety will begin offering self defense spray and personal safety alarms to students and employees as part of its community engagement effort to promote a safe campus environment. Students and employees wishing to carry personal defense spray must participate in a 10-minute training session on the purpose and use of the spray, instructed by a member of the public safety team. Self defense spray will be offered at various safety presentations throughout the semester. Beginning Wednesday, Nov. 3, the spray and personal alarms will be available in the lobby of DPS. Please visit the DPS website for additional information on safety programs and services.


    Professors Testify in Support of Legislation to Protect Vulnerable Adults from Online Predators
    Assistant Professor Annemarie Kelly and Associate Professor Christina Marsack-Topolewski from the College of Health and Human Services, spoke to Michigan lawmakers in Lansing last week, advocating for new state laws to protect vulnerable adults with disabilities against online exploitation, abuse, aggression, and bullying. Their support of the legislation was featured on WXYZ-TV last evening. You can read more about the legislation, and their testimony, on EMU Today.


    CAS Detroit Theme Year Continues
    As part of the College of Arts and Sciences Detroit-themed year, Dr. Kevin Boyle, a well-known author, historian and professor, will once again enlighten us during his upcoming talk "History as Narrative: The 1960s," at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4 in the Student Center Auditorium. This presentation comes on the heels of his newly released and highly talked about book The Shattering: America in the 1960s (2021), where he traces this tumultuous decade through the stories of the men and women who lived through it. You can join live or watch the live-stream – click on the Zoom registration page to join online.


    Swoop’s Food Pantry: Update and Thanksgiving/Holiday Gift Baskets
    According to the team at the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room, Swoop's has been “super” busy and food is flying off the shelves. The top items needed are peanut butter, cereal, large snacks and strawberry jelly. They also remind us that they are always seeking clean reusable bags.

    Once again this year, Swoop's Food Pantry is gearing up to provide 50 Thanksgiving and 50 Holiday baskets to students. Please sign up below to contribute to the baskets:

    Thanksgiving Baskets

    Holiday Baskets

    Visit the Swoop’s Food Pantry website for hours of operation and other information.


    Volleyball: Pride Night and Dig Pink Highlight Friday/Saturday Competition
    Tomorrow night’s match versus the University of Buffalo at the Convocation Center celebrates Pride Night. EMU Volleyball is partnering with the LGBT Resource Center to help kick off National Transgender Awareness Week. 

    Saturday's Dig Pink match versus University of Akron is in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Eagles will sport pink jerseys during the contest; the team encourages fans to do the same. Additionally, we will be celebrating “Volloween” inside the Convo. 

    Please read the EMU Athletics release for game times and details about both matches.

     
    Football Seeks to Become Bowl Eligible With Win Next Tuesday
    With a record of 5-3, a win on the road against the University of Toledo next Tuesday, Nov. 2, would make Eastern bowl eligible for the fourth time in the previous five full seasons, and just the sixth time in program history. Eastern scored a big 55-24 win over Bowling Green State University last week. Please visit the game information page for additional details about Tuesday’s matchup and bowl possibilities.


    Final Comments
    I encourage you to regularly check the University calendar to view the wide array of campus activities taking place, including lectures, movies, music, dance, theatre, exhibits, wellness events, and community initiatives. There is truly something for everyone.

    I look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

     James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Wed., Oct. 27, 2021

    Campus Update – Oct. 27, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    I am pleased to announce the next round of winners in EMU’s “Vax to Win” program! Additional winners from this latest drawing (both students and employees) will be announced as soon as the notification and verification process is complete.

        Students:

        $5,000 credit - Sarah Agristean
        $1,000 credit - Maria Gallegos-Jimenez
        $1,000 credit - Audrey Parsons
        $1,000 credit - Aleah Soliman
        New computer - Bryce Sayre
        Free on-campus housing for one semester - Aadarsha Dev
        Free on-campus housing for one semester - Bradley Vandermissen
        Free on-campus housing for one semester - Jasai Kimsey
        Free parking for one semester - Kristina Wilhelm
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Aparna K. Reteesh
        $100 Bookstore gift card - A. Thom
        $100 Dining credit - Chad Double
        $100 Dining credit - Derek Jones
        $100 Dining credit - Hunter Beau Silkowski
        $100 Dining credit - Pooja Patil
        $100 Dining credit - Haley Bell 

        Employees:

        $500 payment - Brian M. Scruggs
        $100 Dining credit - Ebrahim Soltani
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Bill Marino
        

    Congratulations to the winners and thank you to each of them for doing their part to keep our community safe!

    The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and free! The University urges every member of the campus community to be vaccinated, and many members of the campus community are required to be vaccinated. Please visit the EMU Safe program website to review our comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation program and to learn about opportunities to receive a free vaccine on campus or other locations!

  • Thu., Oct. 14, 2021

    Campus Update – Oct. 14, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    I am pleased to announce the next round of winners in EMU’s “Vax to Win” program! Additional winners from this latest drawing (both students and employees) will be announced as soon as the notification and verification process is complete.

        Students:

        $5,000 credit - Daniel Asam
        $1,000 credit - Linus Venemann
        $1,000 credit - LJ Sarten
        $1,000 credit - Hind Al Khashali
        $1,000 credit - Eman B.
        $1,000 credit - Isaac Crepeau
        New computer - Kaitlin Brady
        Free on-campus housing for one semester - Alyssa Kostrzewa
        Free parking for one semester - Kelly Farnsworth
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Anna Stark
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Aidan Morgan
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Noah Outman
        $100 Dining credit - Chantelle Franklin
        $100 Dining credit - Dejamay Tabscott
        $100 Dining credit - Summer Torres
        $100 Dining credit - Colleen Magner
        $100 Dining credit - Cristobal Acosta
        $100 Dining credit - Brooke Raap
        $100 Dining credit - Sarah Alber

         Employees:

        $500 payment - Amanda Schoettinger
        $100 Dining credit - Greg Hoffman
       

    Congratulations to the winners and thank you to each of them for doing their part to keep our community safe!

    It’s not too late to win! There will be two more drawings over the next few weeks in which students and employees will receive student credits, free on-campus housing, and other prizes! 

    To be eligible to receive a prize, you must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and verify your vaccination status. Visit the Vax to Win website for full details of this exciting program.

    The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and free! The University urges every member of the campus community to be vaccinated, and many members of the campus community are required to be vaccinated. Please visit the EMU Safe program website to review our comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation program and to learn about opportunities to receive a free vaccine on campus or other locations!

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., Oct. 7, 2021

    Campus Update – Oct. 7, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community,

    What a fabulous Centennial Homecoming Celebration we are having this week! It’s been great to see the outpouring of excitement and school spirit among students, faculty, staff and alumni at our in-person and virtual events. Many events remain on the calendar for tonight, tomorrow and Saturday; you can find them on the homecoming link above. Students, don’t forget to vote for the Homecoming Court. In addition, I encourage everyone to show up to cheer on our Eagles’ football team as we take on Miami (Ohio) for the homecoming game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

    We have several items to share in this week’s update:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard Continues to Show Low Campus Positivity Rates
    • Eastern Earns High Rankings for Promoting Social Mobility
    • Eastern Michigan University Professor Awarded Germany’s Highest Honor
    • New Engineering Programs Recognized Nationally
    • Free Flu Shots Scheduled at IHA Health Center @ EMU
    • Eastern Presents Strong Showing at Motor Bella Auto Show


    COVID-19 Dashboard Continues to Show Low Campus Positivity Rates
    Campus positivity rates for COVID-19 remain considerably below the rates in the region and the levels at most of Michigan’s public universities. In the seven days ending Oct. 5, the University administered 646 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 5 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.77 percent. During this time, we confirmed a total of 18 positive cases among students and employees. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    These positive data are reflective of our comprehensive ÇOVID-19 mitigation strategy – a multi-layered effort that includes vaccinations, Get the Vax to Win prizes, regular on-campus testing, a disciplined contact tracing process, mandatory daily health screenings, and much more. We routinely update the EMU Safe website with the latest information and resources to support your safe experience on campus. 

    Eastern Earns High Rankings for Promoting Social Mobility
    U.S. News and World Report ranked Eastern Michigan University among the best universities in the country in the social mobility category. The distinction is based on the opportunities colleges offer disadvantaged students with federal Pell Grants.   

    Eastern Michigan University Professor Awarded Germany’s Highest Honor
    I was pleased to participate in a ceremony honoring German Professor Carla Damiano, who was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on Sept. 29. Dr. Damiano was recognized for her commitment to furthering German language and literature in the United States, supporting German students, and playing an active role in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive.

    New Engineering Programs Recognized Nationally
    After only four years of being established, Eastern Michigan University's engineering programs are being recognized in the national rankings by U.S. News and World Report. This is the first time Eastern's engineering programs have entered the digital media company’s rankings. EMU first launched a mechanical engineering program in 2017; followed in 2018 with the addition of electrical and computer engineering. In early 2020, the University introduced a new civil engineering program.

    Free Flu Shots Scheduled at IHA Health Center @ EMU
    Next Wednesday, Oct. 13, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., you are invited to get a free flu shot at the IHA Health Center @ EMU. This is a walk-in clinic – advanced registration is not required. Students, faculty and staff should bring their insurance card and identification. Students who do not have an insurance card should bring their student ID. If you are unable to attend at that time, please visit the IHA Health Center @ EMU online site to schedule an appointment.

    Eastern Presents Strong Showing at Motor Bella Auto Show
    The GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology had an impressive presence at the Motor Bella auto show that took place in Pontiac, Mich. last month. I had the pleasure of joining Dean Mohamad Qatu, Professor Samir Tout and several accomplished EMU students, as they demonstrated their cybersecurity research involving connected vehicles. Watch this video to learn more.

    Final Comments
    I hope you enjoy this information as much as I like sharing it. We have much to be proud of, thanks to the incredible work of our faculty, the commitment of our staff, and the outstanding students who, like me, call Eastern home. I hope you enjoy the rest of our Centennial Homecoming Celebration. I look forward to seeing you on campus soon. Go Eagles!

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., Sept. 23, 2021

    Campus Update – Sept. 23, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community,

    I hope everyone is finding a way to stay dry in what has been a soggy mid-September, to say the least!

    As we have throughout the pandemic, we will devote a large part of this week’s campus update to COVID-19. This update will include:
     
    • our efforts to support and encourage vaccinations;
    • the increase in mandatory and voluntary testing that’s taking place;
    • our testing practices and low positivity rates; and,
    • an update on OSHA’s upcoming orderrequiring vaccination or weekly testing for employees of employers with a workforce of over 100 people, which, of course, includes Eastern Michigan.

    Following the updates on these health and safety items, I am pleased to share several positive items about other initiatives underway on our campus.

    Vax to Win program
    Yesterday, we announced the second round winners in our Vax to Win program. Round two prizes valued at more than $20,000 are being distributed to 24 student winners and six employees. Similar to the first round giveaway, prizes in the second round included a $5,000 credit to a student account for one winner; a $1,000 credit to a student account for each of four separate winners; free on-campus housing for one semester for two students; a new computer for one student; and other prizes. Second round prizes for employees included a $500 payment for four winners; a $100 gift card to the EMU Bookstore for four winners; and, four winners of a $100 credit to EMU Dining.

    To be eligible for three more future drawings, students and employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and report their vaccine status via the University’s COVID Vax Certification system.

    As a reminder, to be eligible for these drawings, students must be vaccinated and verify their vaccination status by next Friday, Oct. 8.

    Students who choose not to be vaccinated and do not report their vaccination status to the University must undergo weekly COVID-19 testing beginning Sept. 30. Students subject to regular testing will be notified of their testing requirement through their EMU e-mail. Testing is available at EMU’s on-campus testing center. Students who get tested off-campus may upload their test results to the University.

    Some student populations may be required to undergo more frequent testing if they participate in an activity with a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19. Those students will be notified of their additional testing requirements by their emich.edu email.  


    Vaccination pop-up clinics
    If you have not yet been vaccinated and you are eligible to do so, now is a great time and we’re making it easy! The next campus pop-up clinic is tomorrow (Friday), Sept. 24, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Student Center. Vaccinations are free and no appointment is needed. If you are off campus, you can text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) to find a vaccination clinic near you. 


    COVID-19 dashboard
    I am pleased to report that we continue to experience a much lower positive case count than many of our peer institutions, a trend that is consistent with the University’s history since the beginning of the pandemic.

    In the seven days ending Sept. 21, the University administered 873 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 4 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.46 percent. During this time, we confirmed a total of 12 positive cases.

    Since Aug. 12, 2020, the University has administered a total of 41,457 tests that resulted in 446 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.08 percent. Our positive rate is considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.


    On-campus testing center
    The University’s on-campus testing center in the Student Center remains open during weekdays and has added a new weekend schedule beginning this Saturday, Sept. 25, when it will be open from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Tests are free. The new weekend testing  schedule includes Saturday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 16. Please visit the testing center website to learn more about our testing process and to see the hours of operation.


    Federal Executive Order requiring vaccinations for employers with more than 100 employees
    On Sept. 9, President Biden issued an executive order and directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard requiring vaccinations or weekly testing for people who work for  employers with 100 or more employees. While we, and organizations around the country, are awaiting OSHA’s formal directive, the University has initiated planning to prepare for implementation of such a program. Further details will be communicated once OSHA announces the details and requirements of the program.


    Teamwork and collaboration behind our success
    As stated earlier, our overall approach has led to much lower positivity rates than many of our peers. This is due to the highly collaborative work across campus involving many groups and individuals. I particularly want to highlight our Telehealth, housing, vaccination, and testing teams for a great deal of heavy lifting and teamwork to address matters as they occur. The contact tracing process is sophisticated and time intensive. It is key to the University’s ability to notify those who might have been exposed to a positive case, and to recommend appropriate action.

    It is important to remember that students, faculty and staff will be notified directly by the Telehealth team if it is believed they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

    I can’t thank students enough for their support of our initiatives and their compliance with the wearing of face masks, completing the mandatory COVID Pass Daily Health Screening, and maintaining physical distancing. Your critical role and actions to keep our community safe is such an important element of our success, and I thank you with the most sincere appreciation.


    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University excellence

    • The College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) is presenting its first themed year, a series of events showing how the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences can all add to our understanding of a single idea, thing, or place. There is no better place to start this interdisciplinary programming than the metropolis only 30 miles from campus: Detroit. The College and its departments, schools, and programs will host more than 30 events throughout the 2021-22 academic year that explore the dynamism of Detroit in the past and present.

    Some of this rich programming includes: an EMU archives exhibit on the Detroit Club; a faculty and guest artist dance concert featuring Detroit choreographers; a panel of students from Detroit telling what they wish EMU faculty and staff knew about Detroit; a bus tour exploring African-American and immigration history in Detroit; a Civil Rights film series; a guided tour of the DIA; performances of the music of Motown by the EMU Marching Band; an EMU Theatre production of a play by Detroit playwright Dominique Morisseau; and, several specialized talks by EMU faculty members and visiting scholars.

    Headlining CAS’s Detroit Theme Year will be Kevin Boyle, the William Smith Mason Professor of American History at Northwestern University, and the 2021-22 McAndless Professor. A Detroit native and award-winning historian, Boyle will deliver a series of evening public lectures and will lead workshops with EMU students throughout the year.

    This Detroit Theme Year will foster a campus and community-wide conversation about how the EMU community can more fully participate in the future of Detroit. These discussions about Detroit raise timely subjects of racial justice, economic equality, civic engagement, and environmental sustainability. I invite you to see the schedule of events on the CAS Detroit Theme Year website and to make plans to attend some of the events.

    • The Higher Learning Commission is conducting a site visit and comprehensive institutional review on October 25-26 of this year. As part of this comprehensive review, EMU has submitted an Assurance Argument addressing the HLC's five criteria for accreditation of institutions of higher learning. Our 2021 document is posted on EMU's HLC Accreditation page of the EMU website.

    We encourage all members of the University community to review the Assurance Argument to understand how the institution has responded to these criteria. HLC accreditation is vital to the success of the University. Our accreditation is valid through 2027. This review and visit is a mid-cycle check in on our progress toward meeting institutional goals. The results of the HLC's Student Opinion Survey (conducted during the spring of this year) are also posted and we encourage you to look at those as well. Additional information on how you may participate in the site visit will be available in the next few weeks.

    • The Eastern Michigan University Foundation has produced a new video to celebrate the initial success of Give Rise: The Campaign for Eastern Michigan University. The public phase of the $100 million comprehensive campaign was launched in May 2021, with great success. As of today, the campaign is nearing the $80 million mark. To learn more about the objectives of the campaign and how you can play a part in supporting our students and the success of the University well into the future, visit the Give Rise website.
    • EMU's award winning NPR-affiliate, WEMU, is holding its fall fundraiser today through Monday, with a goal to raise $100,000. For today only, there is a special $25,000 matching gift being offered by a WEMU community champion who is also an EMU alumna. WEMU tends to put the 'fun' in fundraising and this time is no exception. They have an assortment of great thank you gifts including NPR 50th anniversary socks (something that always appeals to a sock collector like me) and an 18 oz. "Jewett Sized" soup mug that includes a collection of soup recipes from the WEMU team and a few others. Connie and I contributed our Texas Pinto Bean Soup recipe and I hear even the WEMU sports broadcast team got into the action. You can get more information at org and make your gift there too to help keep our great broadcasters and programs on the air.
    • As we prepare to celebrate family weekend and welcome parents and families to campus tomorrow through Sunday, EMU Athletics is offering faculty and staff two complimentary tickets to attend Saturday’s 2 p.m. football game vs. Texas State. By clicking the tickets link, you can receive two complimentary tickets and purchase any additional tickets for the discounted rate of $8 each. Young Eagles’ fans will be able to participate in Youth Olympics activities before the game, watch at halftime as the University’s newest Hall of Fame members are honored, and then take part in the Parent-Child Touchdown Toss on the field following the game. If you have questions, please contact the Athletics Marketing Office at [email protected]or 734.487.3263.

    Looking ahead 

    Thank you for support as we navigate our uncertain world together, while continuing to focus on the bright future ahead for our students, faculty, staff, alumni and University. While there is still much work to do, we look forward to sharing further accomplishments and recognition in the weeks and months ahead. Please stay safe and continue to look out for one another.

    James Smith, Ph.D. 

  •  Wed., Sept. 22, 2021

    More winners in EMU's Vax to Win program! – Sept. 22, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    I am pleased to announce the second round of winners in EMU’s “Vax to Win” program! These EMU students and employees were selected in the first two drawings. Additional winners (both students and employees) will be announced as soon as the notification and verification process is complete.

        Students:

        $5,000 credit - Alexys Hendrickson
        $1,000 credit - Gianna Salzbrunn
        $1,000 credit - Rebekah Sebok
        $1,000 credit - Bryce Stuart
        New computer - Jua'Chelle Harmon
        Free on-campus housing for one semester - Cromwell Bost
        Free on-campus housing for one semester - Siri Quist
        Free on-campus housing for one semester - Miranda Watson
        Free parking for one semester - Bethany McCormick
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Nour Selmane
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Lucas Pittel
        $100 Dining credit - Sarah Bratton
        $100 Dining credit - Callahan Burns
        $100 Dining credit - Joelle Thompson

        Employees:

        $500 payment - Iris Zapf-Garcia
        $500 payment - Matthew Cooper
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Victoria O’Donovan
        $100 Bookstore gift card - James Sheerin
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Dawn Stovall
        $100 Dining credit - Sally Burton-Hoyle
       

    Congratulations to the winners and thank you to each of them for doing their part to keep our community safe!

    It’s not too late to win! There will be three more drawings over the next several weeks in which students and employees will receive over $40,000 in student credits, free on-campus housing, and other prizes! 

    To be eligible to receive a prize, you must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and verify your vaccination status. Visit the Vax to Win website for full details of this exciting program.

    The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and free! The University urges every member of the campus community to be vaccinated, and many members of the campus community are required to be vaccinated. Please visit the EMU Safe program website to review our comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation program and to learn about opportunities to receive a free vaccine on campus or other locations, including a pop-up vaccine clinic in the EMU Student Center from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Friday, September 24. No appointment is needed.

     

  • Thu., Sept. 9, 2021

    Meet the first winners in EMU's Vax to Win program – Sept. 9, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    I am pleased to announce the first winners in the EMU “Vax to Win” program have been selected! These EMU students and employees were selected in the drawing that took place last week, and additional winners (both students and employees) from last week’s drawing will be announced as soon as the notification and verification process is complete. 

    Students:

        $5,000 credit - Jaylen Reames
        $1,000 credit - Yumna Alam
        $1,000 credit - Maximilian Sebastian Patel
        $1,000 credit - Daniela Rodrigues
        $1,000 credit - Nina Scarpelli
        New computer - DeAngelena Terrell
        Free housing for one semester - Two student winners to be announced
    pending notification and verification
        Free parking for winter semester - Chloe Desselles
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Lindsey Kowalski
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Samuel Sidorowicz
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Lacey Weaver
        $100 Dining credit - K. Clarke
        $100 Dining credit - Ryan Denniston
        $100 Dining credit - Lauren Eicher

    Employees:

        $500 payment - Steve Silva
        $100 Bookstore gift card - Ann Blakeslee
        $100 Dining credit - Steven Berning
        $100 Dining credit - Jason Schwartz
       

    Congratulations to the winners! And thank you to each of them for doing their part to keep our community safe.

    It’s not too late to win. There will be four more drawings over the next six weeks in which students and employees will receive over $50,000 in student credits, free on-campus housing, and other prizes.

    To be eligible to receive a prize, you must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and verify your vaccination status. Visit the Vax to Win website for full details of this exciting program.

    The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and free. The University urges every member of the campus community to be vaccinated, and many members of the campus community are required to be vaccinated. Please visit the EMU Safe program website to review our comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation program and to learn about opportunities to receive a free vaccine on campus or other locations.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., Sept. 2, 2021

    Campus Update – Sept. 2, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community,

    It has been a wonderful start to the fall semester! I thank all of our students, faculty, staff and volunteers who play such an important role in getting the semester off and running in what is certainly a challenging and sometimes stressful time for everyone.

    I particularly want to acknowledge our residential students and housing staff who coped with the extremely warm weather situation for move-in last Thursday, Friday and through the weekend. Having visited the residence halls and met with many of our students and housing staff during move-in, I know first-hand the hot temperatures you experienced. I continue to be amazed by everyone’s patience, positive spirit and camaraderie in completing the move-in process.

    Students, I know it is only your first week but you have been incredibly supportive of our #EMUSafe practices, particularly in terms of your compliance with the wearing of masks while indoors. I know it is not always easy to follow all of the measures we have in place, but it is heartening to see that you are doing your part to keep your fellow students, and the rest of our community, safe! Please visit our EMU Safe website to review a full list of our EMU Safe programs and policies.

    As a reminder, students and employees who receive a COVID-19 vaccine and certify their vaccination status will be entered in a drawing to receive prizes through the EMU “Get the Vax to Win” program. Prizes available to students include a $5,000 credit to your student account, free semester of housing, free parking pass, a new computer, and Bookstore gift cards. Prizes available to employees include cash awards and dollars to be used at EMU Dining facilities. 

    We are looking forward to announcing the winners of this week’s drawing. We will do so next week. So please stay tuned! Future drawings will take place the weeks of:

    • Sept. 13, 2021
    • Sept. 20, 2021
    • Sept. 27, 2021
    • Oct. 11, 2021

    Each of the remaining drawings will feature a new $5,000 credit to the student account winner and other prizes. 

    We are continuing to make free vaccinations available with on-campus pop-up clinics; these are scheduled for tomorrow and through the rest of this month: 

    • Friday, September 3, 2021: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
      EMU Student Center Ballroom
      No appointments needed - walk-in!
    • Saturday, September 18, 2021: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
      EMU Student Center Ballroom
      Please register for an appointment here
    • Friday, September 24, 2021: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
      EMU Student Center Ballroom
      No appointments needed - walk-in!

    The process is fast, easy and simple. You can also find vaccination clinics at many other locations. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control Vaccination Locator where you can search by zip code for a clinic near you.

    Free COVID-19 testing continues in the Student Center. A short video that describes the testing process and the hours of operation can be found on the testing center website. Frequent testing is encouraged. 

    On Monday, we provided an overview to the campus community of the extensive processes in place to help protect our students, faculty and staff. The EMU Safe program for the fall semester expands on last year’s successful strategies and adds additional layers to those contained in our 2020-21 safety program. We remain committed to an ongoing and routinely updated response to the changing pandemic environment, and appreciate your support and understanding as we implement those updates.

    I have several additional items to share:

    • Fall enrollment and housing
    • Diversity, equity and inclusion project earns students national award
    • Aviation program test flight
    • Public radio station WEMU 89.1 increases listening audience
    • First football game of the season tomorrow
    • Former Eagle wins silver medal at Paralympic Games
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry fall schedule
    • Looking ahead

    Fall enrollment and housing

    We are welcoming more than 2,250 new first-year students to campus this fall – that represents a 20% increase from fall 2020, and an increase of 7% over the pre-pandemic incoming class in 2019. There are a number of highlights to the new incoming class that are worth noting:

    • The overall high school grade point average of new students is 3.43, the highest-ever for an incoming class at the University.
    • The new class reflects Eastern’s commitment to serving diverse communities -- 43.8% of our new students represent ethnically diverse populations (African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American).
    • International student enrollment of new Eastern students increased 60%, from 117 last year to 189 this year (this includes first year, transfer and graduate students).

    The large number of incoming students also boosted the number of students living on campus. More than 2,750 students have paid contracts for housing this fall. Last year, 2,031 students lived in student housing. This represents a year-to-year increase of approximately 35%. Eastern offered discounted single rooms – and as a result, single rooms account for approximately 36% of the students in campus housing.

    The enrollment and housing numbers reflect the great attention paid by our faculty and staff to providing quality degree programs, experiential learning opportunities, and support services that lead our graduates to successful careers.

    Diversity, equity and inclusion project earns students national award

    The student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has been awarded a 2020-2021 Outstanding Student Chapter designation by the national organization for providing superior growth and development opportunities to its student members.

    Only 12 schools nationally were chosen for the honor, which is the society’s highest award. More than 200 schools applied for the award.

    The EMU SHRM Student Chapter project focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Associate Professor of Management Anushri Rawat, who is co-advisor of the group, told EMU Today that the primary goal of the project was to raise awareness about diversity, equity, and inclusion to students, as well as to highlight the role of human resources professionals in furthering those efforts in the corporate setting.

    Professor of Management Fraya Wagner-Marsh, also a co-advisor for the student group, said the chapter has won the Superior Merit award for the past 28 years and has won the top award 18 times since it was established in 2000. This is an impressive record and an indication of the hard work and dedication of our students and their faculty. You can read the full story on EMU Today. Congratulations to all!

    Aviation program test flight

    I had the opportunity of visiting our new aviation partner, Crosswinds Aviation, at Willow Run last Saturday. I toured the facilities and was able to join one of our flight instructors for a flyover of campus and through parts of southeast Michigan. It was a first-class experience and the instructor gave me a good bit of hands-on training, which, of course, is just a tiny fraction of what our students receive. Check out this video. It was a great experience and wonderful to see first-hand our aviation program reaching new heights!

    Public radio station WEMU 89.1 increases listening audience

    WEMU-FM 89.1 increased its listening audience by 32% in spring 2021 when compared to fall 2020, according to Nielsen Audio broadcast radio’s ratings service. The increase moves the station from sixth most listened to station in the market to third, with market share of 6.2.

    WEMU General Manager Molly Motherwell explained that when the pandemic began, WEMU, as did some other stations, saw a surge in listening, especially at-home listening, because of the shutdowns. The encouraging development is that even as restrictions have somewhat eased, the station’s audience levels remained high.

    WEMU is a listener-supported NPR affiliate with format of local news, jazz, blues, and roots music, in addition to NPR news, information, and cultural programming.  The station broadcasts to an eight county area including all or part of Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, Monroe, Livingston, Lenawee, Jackson, and Lucas (OH) and streams live 24 hours a day at WEMU.org.

    First football game of the season tomorrow 

    Join us at Rynearson Stadium tomorrow night for the opening kickoff of the 2021 football season. It’s sure to be a festive night as the Eagles take on Saint Francis University at 7 p.m.

    EMU Athletics is beginning the season with a special CommUniversitE Night -- a family-centric event that will showcase and celebrate the people who make our University and community a special place to live, work, and learn. Prior to kickoff, fans can enjoy a free petting zoo and carnival games, interact with EMU student-athletes and coaches, and pick up coupons from local business partners.

    Additionally, as a thank you to educators for their dedication to students of all ages, EMU Athletics is offering all local teachers and staff up to four complimentary tickets to the home opener. Interested parties should contact the EMU Office of Athletic Marketing at 734-487-3263.

    Enjoy the EMU “Pride of the Peninsula” Marching Band and many other highlights during the game.

    Visit the gameday protocols site for general safety information for fans related to COVID-19.

    EMU students can attend free of charge and must present their student ID. For all others, please visit the ticket website

    Former Eagle wins silver medal at Paralympic Games

    The Eastern Michigan University track and field program saw former Eagle Brittni Mason shine at the 2021 Summer Paralympic Games on Aug. 31 in Tokyo, Japan. Representing Team USA, Mason sprinted her way to a silver medal in the T47 100m dash, crossing the finish line in a strong 11.97 clip. For more about Brittni, read the story on the EMU Eagles website.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry fall schedule

    Current hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room can be found on the website, as well as information about in person shopping and online ordering and pickup, which is available four days a week.

    If you’re interested in donating items, Swoop's is in need of toothpaste, notecards, sticky notes, rice, ramen, cereal and condiments. You can also donate using Swoop's Amazon wishlist.

    Looking ahead

    I firmly believe the policies and guidelines we have in place are the best path forward to providing a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and are prepared to make further adjustments to our plans as necessary. I know that it has been said repeatedly, but the only certainty about this disease is its uncertainty. I ask for your continued support and patience as we navigate the ongoing pandemic.

    Please stay safe and continue to look out for one another.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Mon., Aug. 30, 2021

    Fall EMU Safe policies

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    Students, faculty and staff:
     
    As the fall semester begins, we are pleased to summarize in one communication a current overview of the University’s COVID-19 mitigation policies and practices. 
     

    The “EMU Safe” program for fall 2021 expands on last year’s successful strategies and adds additional layers to those contained in our comprehensive 2020-21 safety program. We remain committed to an ongoing and routinely updated response to the changing pandemic environment.  

    OVERVIEW

    The EMU Safe program is a comprehensive and multi-layered set of policies designed to mitigate and reduce the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Thanks to our collective commitment to keeping each other safe, there were no cases of COVID-19 transmission in EMU classrooms last year. This successful program will continue this year and includes:

    • Indoor face masks

    • Physical distancing 

    • Daily health screenings 

    • Mandatory reporting of COVID-19 cases, close contacts, and COVID-19 symptoms

    • On campus contact tracing managed by trained experts in collaboration with WCHD

    • Wastewater testing 

    • An online dashboard publishing key COVID-19 data for our campus

    • Enhanced cleaning in classrooms and other public areas

    • Plexiglass in classrooms

    • Improved building ventilation

    • Onsite COVID-19 Testing

    • EMU-Telehealth Clinic

    In addition to continuing these successful measures, the University is expanding its EMU Safe Program this year with the following

    • “Get the Vax to Win” program to promote vaccination

    • “Students Stay Safe” program requiring either vaccination or weekly testing

    • Mandatory vaccination requirements for students in settings that create a higher risk of exposure, such as congregate housing (e.g., on-campus student housing residents) and other programs involving close contact, maskless activity, and/or congregate travel (student-athletes, Marching Band, performing arts, forensics, and academic teams)

    • Mandatory COVID-19 testing, including proof of a negative COVID-19 test, as clearance for all housing residents (regardless of vaccination status) to move into on-campus student housing.

    Each of these policies are outlined in more detail below and can be found on our EMU Safe website.

    FACE MASKS

    All members of the campus community (including all students, employees, and visitors) must wear a face mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status, except in the following circumstances where indoor masking is not required:

    • You are an instructor teaching in a classroom, you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and you have verified your vaccination status to the University. Instructors may remain unmasked during the class period only.

    • You have a University-approved accommodation from wearing a face mask (see accommodations below).

    • You are alone in a private office, living space, or private motor vehicle with the door closed, or in another similarly isolated space.

    • You are actively eating, drinking, or swimming.

    • You are undergoing a physical exam of your mouth, nose, or throat by a medical professional.

    • You are attending an event that has been approved for a special exemption. Requests to consider exemptions for events must be submitted to the Office of Conference & Event Services (CES) at [email protected].

    • Face masks are not required outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

    Individual University employees and offices cannot waive the University’s indoor face mask requirement -- including the mandate that face masks be worn by all students in classrooms -- without the approval of the President’s Office. 

    It is considered disruptive classroom behavior under EMU’s Conduct and Community Standards to refuse to comply with the University’s face mask mandate or other COVID policies as directed. When necessary, instructors should reference and follow the University’s Guide to Classroom Management in the event an individual in the classroom refuses to comply with the University’s face mask policy.  

    PHYSICAL DISTANCING

    All members of the campus community must engage in three feet of physical distancing in classrooms and other indoor venues regardless of vaccination status. Three feet is the minimum safe distance. In outdoor areas, individuals are not required to maintain specific levels of distance, but it is always recommended that individuals carefully consider the density of people and the space maintained between individuals. 

    DAILY HEALTH SCREENINGS

    All individuals who are on campus for any reason must complete the online COVID PASS Daily Health Screening each day they come to campus. Check-in desks inside various buildings will periodically be staffed and people entering the building will be required to show proof (usually through their cell phone) that they have completed the daily screening.

    For students and instructional staff at external agencies, you must also complete the daily COVID Pass for any activity at which you represent EMU (as a student or employee), in addition to following the external agency requirements.

    REPORTING COVID-19 CASES, CLOSE CONTACTS, AND SYMPTOMS

    All employees and students are required to complete the University’s online COVID Report Form if you meet any of the following criteria:

    1. You are known to have COVID-19 by medical diagnosis or by testing positive - even if you are not showing symptoms of COVID-19.

    2. You have been informed that you were in close contact with another person who was medically diagnosed or tested positive for COVID-19.

    3. You have any of the following symptoms of COVID-19: fever/chills, cough shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste/smell, sore throat, congestion/runny nose, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, new rash.

    4. You have learned that an EMU Community member (student, faculty, staff, employee) has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been medically diagnosed with COVID-19, has been exposed to COVID-19, or is exhibiting symptoms.

    If you learn of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, you must complete the COVID-19 Report Form, but you may not share that information with other individuals.

    CONTACT TRACING

    Since last year, the University’s Telehealth Clinic has managed a comprehensive contact tracing program led by trained staff who work closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department. It is a privilege for EMU to be authorized to conduct contact tracing on campus in collaboration with WCHD. Consistently, our contact tracing efforts have been effective and efficient.

    You should not attempt to “contact trace” yourself. You may not inform other individuals of someone’s health status, nor inform your entire class. There are legal protections for an individual’s privacy around health information (HIPAA) and educational records (FERPA) that guide these policies.  

    WASTEWATER TESTING

    The University will continue to use a comprehensive system to regularly test wastewater generated in various campus buildings. The system helps provide early identification of possible cases of COVID-19 among occupants in campus buildings. In turn, this allows for rapid testing and identification of individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

    ENHANCED CLEANING

    All public areas in campus buildings (e.g., rest rooms, hallways, classrooms, offices) are subject to regular and  frequent in-depth cleaning. For example, large areas and spaces that are difficult to clean using traditional methods (such as locker rooms) are cleaned with a disinfectant electrostatic fog. Touchpoints such as light switches, elevator buttons, desks, and door handles are cleaned daily. The specific standards and frequency of cleaning for each area vary based on the area’s size, layout, use, time of year, day of the week, government regulations, and other criteria.

    Additionally, as part of this layered approach to providing a safe campus environment, EMU applied a special antimicrobial polymer covering on hard and soft surfaces in classrooms, public areas, and elsewhere. This coating, used by many hospitals and other public universities in Michigan, creates a long-lasting film on the treated surface that is proven to kill many viruses upon contact.

    Classrooms are supplied with hand wipes. Instructors may also request hand sanitizer for classrooms here

    PLEXIGLASS IN CLASSROOMS

    The University is near completion of our comprehensive effort to install plexiglass in classrooms except in the following circumstances:

    • The instructor can consistently maintain at least six feet of distancing from students;

    • In labs/studio space; and

    • If the classroom is proprietary to an academic department, in which case requests for plexiglass must be submitted to the applicable dean (many of these requests are already complete).

    If an instructor wishes to have plexiglass placed in a classroom to which they are assigned, the instructor should contact their dean’s office.

    VENTILATION

    The University has modified building systems to use ventilation filters with higher ratings and to increase the use of outside fresh air. The type and number of ventilation filters used varies depending on the type of work performed in the building and any limitations on the building’s filtration systems. 

    Fans should not be used in classrooms and other interior public spaces.

    Due to the increased use of fresh air instead of recycled air, you should anticipate that temperature and humidity regulation will be more challenging. 

    COVID-19 DASHBOARD 

    The University regularly updates an online dashboard of key COVID-19 data for the campus. The dashboard includes data such as the number of positive cases involving individuals associated with campus, number of students temporarily residing in on-campus isolation or quarantine housing, and the number of COVID-19 tests administered at the campus testing center.

    VACCINATION

    Along with the above described long-standing COVID mitigation policies and procedures, the University has added vaccination as another layer of defense against the spread of the virus. Our goal is to have every member of the campus vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they are medically unable. Vaccines are safe and effective, and vaccination is the most efficient way to move through this pandemic. EMU has therefore enacted several policies and programs to promote vaccination. 

    The University urges all students and employees to be vaccinated and complete the COVID Vax Certification even if you are not coming to campus on a regular basis. You only need to report and certify your vaccination status through this system one time, unless your vaccination status changes. Information will be confidentially and securely stored, separate from an employee’s personnel file and student records, and accessible only by authorized individuals. 

    Students and employees who receive a COVID-19 vaccine and certify their vaccination status will be entered in a drawing to receive prizes through the EMU “Get the Vax to Win” program. Prizes available to students include a $5,000 credit to your student account, free semester of housing, free parking pass, a new computer, and Bookstore gift cards. Prizes available to employees include cash awards and dollars to be used at EMU Dining facilities. 

    The University’s Students Stay Safe program requires any student who attends an on-campus class to be vaccinated. Students who are not fully vaccinated must undergo weekly COVID-19 testing until and unless they present evidence of vaccination. Testing is available at EMU’s campus testing center (appointments required) or you may upload a test result from another facility as required. Students will receive a separate email describing testing requirements and detailing how to access the portal.

    Further, students living in University student housing facilities are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The deadline for housing residents to receive their final vaccination shot and verify their vaccination status through the University’s COVID Vax Certification is Thursday, September 30, 2021. You may learn more about the vaccination requirement for on-campus housing residents here. 

    In addition, other students participating in certain activities that create a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure are also required to be vaccinated, including student-athletes, students participating in Marching Band, and students participating in several performing arts areas and on academic teams (such as theatre, music, forensics, Moot Court, and Model UN). Those students will be notified separately of their vaccination requirements and must report their vaccination status through the University’s COVID Vax Certification

    Employees may not ask students or coworkers to share or produce proof of vaccination status, test results, or any other health related information. These data are managed by designated trained employees, and mandatory sharing of health information is guided by the legal limitations mentioned earlier in this note.

    You can learn more about the safety of vaccines, and where to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine, including clinics being held on campus, here.

    COVID-19 TESTING

    COVID-19 testing is free to students and employees at the on-campus testing site in the Student Center. You may request an appointment here. The hours of the testing center change depending on the academic calendar; you may learn more here.

    Students living in on-campus housing will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing shortly before or immediately upon arriving on campus regardless of vaccination status. Students not living in on-campus housing may be required to undergo COVID-19 testing on a periodic basis throughout the year. Students who are required to undergo COVID-19 testing for any reason will be notified via email of such testing requirements. 

    Employees will be notified in advance if they are required to undergo periodic COVID-19 testing.

    EMU TELEHEALTH CLINIC

    The EMU Telehealth Clinic provides a convenient option for both students and employees to inquire about COVID-19 protocols, symptoms, test results, exposures and more. This virtual clinic is staffed by nurse practitioners with remote support from our IHA medical partners. 

    In collaboration with the Washtenaw County Health Department, the nurse practitioners working in the EMU Telehealth Clinic have been trained to conduct case investigations and contact tracing for COVID-19. The clinic manages the COVID Daily Pass, reviews COVID-19 tests for students prior to moving into on-campus housing, and can assist with the COVID-19 Vaccine Certification and Testing portal. EMU Telehealth also coordinates with campus offices to assist international students and can answer questions related to both international and domestic travel. 

    You may contact EMU Telehealth at [email protected] or 734-487-3865.

    ACCOMMODATIONS

    Reasonable accommodations may be sought from (1) EMU’s masking and distancing policy or (2) EMU’s vaccine policy for specific higher-risk activities or living situations (e.g. athletics, band, performing arts, academic teams, housing) for medical reasons or because of a sincerely held religious belief. Please follow the instructions below to request an accommodation.

    • Employees requesting an accommodation should contact [email protected]

    • Students should submit a request through the COVID-19 Accommodation Request Portal. If your request is for medical requests, please have your healthcare provider complete this form.

    • If you are a student placed, or an employee at, an external agency (e.g. a hospital, school, or other organization) that requires vaccination, and that organization requests that the accommodation come from EMU, you should submit a request through the COVID-19 Accommodation Request Portal. For medical requests please have your healthcare provider complete this form (note this is not the same form as the one above).

    It may take 7-10 days to process requests for reasonable accommodations. The evaluation process is interactive and individualized. In the interim, you must wear a face mask and undergo weekly (or more frequent) COVID-19 testing to be on campus. This is provisional until your request has been reviewed and a decision has been made and shared with you.

    OTHER RESOURCES

    All of the University’s COVID-19 mitigation measures are published and updated online; we encourage you to regularly review the website for the latest information.

    The University’s Stay Safe website also includes additional resources such as signs and information from the CDC. 

    Working together, we can ensure another healthy and successful semester for our students and co-workers.

  •  Mon., Aug. 24, 2021

    Students Stay Safe Program: Vaccination or testing of all students

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    As we approach the start of the fall semester, the University continues to evaluate guidance from local and state health agencies to assess the best tools available to promote health and wellness for our campus community. Important to this analysis is yesterday’s announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granting full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after applying the FDA’s “high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality.” Based on this comprehensive analysis, EMU is adding another layer to our robust safety practices by launching the Students Stay Safe program in which all students attending on-campus classes who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 must undergo weekly testing.

    vaccination

    Students who choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and report their vaccination status through EMU’s Vaccine Certification system are not required to undergo regular testing, and are eligible for the Vax to Win program. We encourage all members of the campus community to be vaccinated against COVID-19.The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and free. There are many opportunities available to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, including pop-up clinics the University has scheduled for Saturday, August 28, and in September (with more to be scheduled soon). Please check this website regularly to learn about opportunities to obtain a free COVID-19 vaccine. 

    Testing

    Students who attend at least one class with an on-campus component and who are not vaccinated must undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. They will be notified of their testing requirement through their EMU e-mail. Testing is available at EMU’s on-campus testing center or students may upload test results to a portal that will be provided via email. 

    Some student populations may be required to undergo more frequent testing if they participate in certain activities. Those students will be notified of their additional testing requirement separately. Similarly, some students and staff may be required to be vaccinated in order to participate in certain programs (e.g. on-campus housing, intercollegiate sports, Marching Band, etc.). 

    Students are exempt from the Students Stay Safe program if they are not enrolled in any EMU courses with an in-person on-campus component and are not subject to a vaccination mandate as part of another University program. For example, students who live in on-campus housing must be vaccinated against COVID-19 even if they are enrolled in exclusively online courses.

    Timeline

    This policy is effective with the start of the fall semester on Monday, August 30. Students who have not received their final COVID-19 vaccine shot and reported their vaccination status through the University’s Vaccine Certification system by Friday, September 3, 2021, will receive an email with details about their weekly testing requirements. Students who receive their final shot after that date will no longer be subject to weekly testing as soon as they report their vaccination status via the Vaccine Certification system

    The Students Stay Safe program will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 on our campus, in combination with other EMU Safe policies, such as the use of masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, our COVID PASS Daily Health Screening, and our wastewater testing system. You may also learn more about the Students Stay Safe program here

    As we have repeatedly shared, the University will continue to evaluate applicable guidance from government health agencies and will update our policies as appropriate. Throughout this pandemic, we have been committed to promoting the safety and wellness of our campus community. Please continue to monitor your University email for updates.
     
    James Smith, Ph.D.
  • Thu., Aug. 19, 2021

    Campus Update – Aug. 19, 2021: Overview of vaccination mandates, policies and initiatives

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community,

    We are 11 days and counting from the start of fall semester classes, and one week away from the start of move-in. To say we are excited to welcome everyone to campus is an understatement!

    As we prepare for move-in, orientation for new students (EMU Connect), and the start of classes, we continue to update and adjust our policies and guidelines related to safety protocols concerning COVID-19. Our flexibility in making these adjustments has been critical in keeping our community as safe as possible throughout the pandemic. This is as important today as it was at the start of the pandemic, with the Delta variant taking hold and increasing transmission and hospitalizations, particularly among the unvaccinated.

    I will update several of our actions, both new and ongoing, as we prepare for the fall semester: 

    • Mandatory vaccinations for students participating or working in intercollegiate athletics, marching band, cheer team, dance team, and for Athletics coaches
    • Update on mandatory vaccinations/COVID-19 testing for students living in residence halls
    • Schedule for pop-up vaccination clinics
    • Update on “Get the VAX to WIN!” incentives
    • COVID-19 testing center expanded hours
    • Face mask requirements
    • One-stop online resource for COVID-19 polices, guidelines and initiatives
    • Looking ahead

    Mandatory vaccinations for students participating or working in intercollegiate athletics, marching band, cheer team, dance team, and for Athletics coaches

    Today, we announced a mandatory vaccination requirement for students participating or working in intercollegiate athletics, marching band, cheer team, dance team, and for Athletics coaches. Individuals in these groups were informed about this earlier today, along with the specific process and timing schedules they are required to follow.

    The nature of the activities involved in these groups (including close contact, maskless activity, and/or travel) creates a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19, but that risk can be significantly reduced if individuals are vaccinated. That’s why many other universities in the Mid-American Conference, in the State of Michigan, and across the country, are also requiring students in similar programs to be vaccinated. 

    Fortunately, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and free. Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to spread and evolve, and the nature of the activities identified above present a higher risk of exposure to this virus. This policy -- which is outlined in more detail below -- is designed to reflect these important distinctions.

    The individuals who are covered by this policy must receive their first COVID-19 vaccination shot no later than Friday, September 3, 2021. Individuals who receive a two-shot vaccination series must receive their second shot and verify their vaccination status through the University’s COVID Vax Certification system no later than Friday, September 24, 2021.

    Students (including Graduate Student Assistants, student employees, and interns) who are covered by this policy and wish to request an accommodation from vaccination due to medical reasons or a sincerely-held religious belief may do so here

    Athletic coaches who are covered by this policy and wish to request an accommodation from vaccination due to medical reasons or a sincerely-held religious belief should contact University Human Resources at [email protected]emich.edu

    Update on mandatory vaccinations/COVID-19 testing for students living in residence halls

    As announced last week, all students who live in student housing facilities during the fall semester will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The deadline for students who live in these facilities to receive their final vaccination shot and verify their vaccination status through the University’s COVID Vax Certification system is Thursday, September 30, 2021. A person has received a final vaccination shot after receiving a second shot of a two-shot vaccination series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single shot of a one-shot vaccination series (e.g., Johnson & Johnson vaccine).  

    As referenced previously, students who live in University housing and wish to request an accommodation from vaccination due to medical reasons or a sincerely held religious belief may do so here

    All housing residents will be required to submit proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test shortly before move-in. This policy reflects the fact that some residents may not be fully vaccinated when they move into campus housing. Residential housing students have received instructions on how to submit this information. Those with questions may email [email protected]emich.edu

    The University has developed a website dedicated to this program.

    Since the announcement last week, many residential students have submitted their vaccination status through our VAX Certification link. We thank them for being proactive in this process.   

    Schedule for pop-up vaccination clinics

    As I indicated in several previous messages to campus, we have been working closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) to schedule “pop-up” vaccination clinics on Eastern’s campus. Our initial efforts are focused on the start of the semester in order to provide an opportunity for those who are not vaccinated to receive at least a single dose prior to the start of classes, or shortly thereafter. The current schedule is as follows: 

    • Saturday, August 28: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Saturday, September 18: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Location: EMU Student Center Ballroom
    • The J&J single dose vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine will be offered.
    • A registration link will be established for scheduling appointments. Walk-ins will be accepted, but appointments are highly suggested. 
    • This clinic will be open to all campus students, faculty, staff and the community.
    • Individuals needing the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine may come to either clinic.

    We also are working with the State of Michigan to schedule additional pop-up vaccination clinics. Those details are being finalized and will be shared in future communications.

    Update on “Get the VAX to WIN!” incentives

    We are seeing considerable interest in our “Get the VAX to WIN” campaign to encourage vaccinations among students and employees. Announced one week ago, the program provides students and employees who receive the COVID-19 vaccination an opportunity to receive one of 150 prizes ranging from $5,000 and $1,000 credits on student accounts, one free semester of on-campus housing, free parking, $100 bookstore gift cards, or $500 payments.

    The first group of prize winners will be selected on Monday, August 30 (first day of classes). Four additional announcements of winners will be made in the weeks that follow. 

    To be eligible, students and employees must submit their vaccination status through the COVID Vax Certification system by October 8. Complete details of prizes, rules and deadlines can be found on the Get the VAX to WIN website.

    COVID-19 testing center expanded hours

    The University’s free COVID-19 testing will continue over the summer and into the fall. Testing is encouraged even for those who are fully vaccinated. While being vaccinated limits the symptoms of COVID-19, vaccinated individuals may still be carriers and inadvertently spread the virus to family and friends. The Testing Center is located in the Student Center, next to the bookstore. The hours for the upcoming week and for the fall semester are below: 

    • Monday, August 23: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday, August 25: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Thursday, August 26: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (special hours for move-in)
    • Friday, August 27: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (special hours for move-in)

    Fall Semester schedule beginning Monday, August 30: 

    • Mondays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Thursdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Fridays 9 a.m. – noon

    Visit the Testing Center website for details about the process.

    Face mask requirements 

    As announced earlier this month, all members of the campus community (including all students, employees, and visitors) must wear a face mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status, except in the following circumstances where indoor masking is not required: 

    • You are an instructor teaching in a classroom, you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and you have verified your vaccination status on the University’s COVID Vax Certification system. Instructors teaching without a face mask should maintain six-feet physical distance if not behind plexiglass, and may remain unmasked during the class period only.

    • You have a disability-based University accommodation regarding wearing a face mask (employees requesting an accommodation should contact [email protected]emich.edu and students requesting an accommodation should contact EMU_DeanOfStudents@emich.edu).

    • You are alone in a private office, living space, or private motor vehicle with the door closed, or in another similarly isolated space.

    • You are actively eating, drinking, or swimming.

    • You are undergoing a physical exam of your mouth, nose, or throat by a medical professional.

    • You are attending an event that has been approved for a special exemption. Requests to consider exemptions for events must be submitted to the Office of Conference & Event Services (CES) at [email protected]emich.edu.

    • Face masks are not required outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

    Individual University employees and offices cannot waive the indoor face mask requirement -- including the mandate that face masks be worn by all students in classrooms -- without the approval of the President’s Office. When necessary, instructors should reference and follow the University’s Guide to Classroom Management in the event an individual in the classroom refuses to comply with the University’s face mask policy. It is considered disruptive classroom behavior to refuse to comply as directed. 

    One-stop online resource for COVID-19 polices, guidelines and initiatives

    We understand that the many polices, guidelines and initiatives we have in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 can be challenging to follow. As a reminder, we have a one-stop online resource where you can find up-to-date information about our policies, guidelines and initiatives. Please visit and bookmark the EMU Safe website, and navigate the various links on the page. We will continue to update the site in the days and weeks ahead as developments warrant. We will attempt to add practicum, field experience, student teaching and other requirements for off campus engagement here as these details are provided to us.

    Looking ahead

    We hope the policies and guidelines we have in place are temporary, and that we see the overall rate of COVID-19 cases decline in the weeks ahead. The best way to return to a sense of normalcy is for people who qualify to actually receive the COVID-19 vaccine. It is one of the safest and most effective ways to minimize the spread and seriousness of COVID-19.

    At the same time, it is important to note that COVID-19 and its variants continue to evolve, requiring new guidance and changes in response here at the University and among public health and government leaders everywhere. I know that it has been said repeatedly, but the only certainty about this disease is its uncertainty. I ask for your continued support and patience as we monitor and adjust our practices based on the health expertise provided by our faculty and staff experts on campus, and guidance from medical professionals in the county, state, and the nation.

    Please stay safe and continue to monitor your email closely for further updates in the days and weeks ahead.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu, Aug. 12, 2021

    COVID-19 vaccine requirement for on-campus housing residents; Vaccine incentive program

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    The University has continually expressed its commitment to the health and safety of our campus and to evaluating guidance from local and state health agencies as we navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To reflect this rapidly-changing environment, the University is launching two important initiatives.

    First, residents in University student housing facilities will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the fall semester.

    Fortunately, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and free. Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to spread and evolve, and individuals who live in congregate housing are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 because of their close living quarters. This policy -- which is outlined in more detail below -- is designed to reflect these important realities and incorporates guidance from our local health department.

    Second, the University is launching the EMU “Get the Vax to Win” program in which students and employees who have received the COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into a drawing for prizes ranging from a free parking pass to a $5,000 credit to a student account. The details of this exciting program are below.

    Student housing vaccine requirements

    All students who live in the following student housing facilities during fall semester will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19: Best, Brown, Cornell, Downing, Hoyt, Munson, Phelps, Pittman, Putnam, Sellers, Village, Walton, Westview, Wise, and West Forest.

    The deadline for students who live in these facilities to receive their final vaccination shot and verify their vaccination status through the University’s COVID Vax Certification system is Thursday, September 30, 2021. A person has received a final vaccination shot after receiving a second shot of a two-shot vaccination series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single shot of a one-shot vaccination series (e.g., Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

    Students who live in on-campus housing have time to comply with this policy and, in doing so, help keep themselves and their fellow EMU Eagles safe. For example, a student who receives the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on September 2, 2021 (the fourth day of the fall semester) would receive their final shot on or about September 23, 2021 -- before the University’s deadline for on-campus housing residents to receive their final shot.

    There are many opportunities available to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, including pop-up clinics that the University plans to schedule for late-August and early-September. You may learn more here about where to obtain a free COVID-19 vaccine.

    Students who comply with the program will be eligible for the “Get the Vax to Win” incentive program outlined later in this email.

    Students who live in University housing and need to request accommodation from vaccination due to medical reasons or a sincerely-held religious belief should may do so here.

    All housing residents will still be required to submit proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test shortly before move-in. This policy reflects the fact that some residents may not be fully vaccinated when they move into campus housing. Residential housing students have received instructions for how to submit this information. Those with questions may email [email protected].

    Students who live in University housing and do not comply with the policy by the deadline may be required to leave University housing.

    The University has created a website dedicated to this program.

    Vaccine incentive program

    To encourage members of the campus community to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, we are pleased to announce the EMU “Get the Vax to Win” program. Students and employees who receive the COVID-19 vaccination will be entered into drawings for various prizes ranging from a $100 bookstore gift card to a $5,000 credit on a student account.

    EMU students registered for the fall 2021 semester (including those who live in on-campus housing and are required to be vaccinated), as well as most employees of the University, are eligible to win a prize if they (1) have received their final COVID-19 vaccination shot and (2) certify their vaccination status to the University.

    A person has received a final COVID-19 vaccination shot after receiving a second shot of a two-shot vaccination series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single shot of a one-shot vaccination series (e.g., Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

    To be eligible, you must certify that you have received your final vaccination shot here no later than Friday, October 8, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. ET. After certifying your vaccination information, you will be automatically entered in a drawing to receive one of the prizes.

    Student prizes include:

    • $5,000 credit to your student account (5 students will win)
    • $1,000 credit to your student account (20 students will win)
    • Google Pixelbook Go 13.3” computer (5 students will win)
    • Free on-campus housing for one semester (10 students will win)
    • Free on-campus parking permit for one semester (10 students will win)
    • $100 gift card to the EMU Bookstore (20 students will win)
    • $100 credit to be used at EMU Dining (50 students will win)


    Employee prizes include a one-time payment ($500), Bookstore gift card, and credits to be used at EMU Dining facilities.

    You may learn more about the new “Get the Vax to Win” program here.

    Next steps

    The University will continue to evaluate guidance from public health agencies and may adjust our policies in an effort to keep our campus community safe. Please continue to monitor your email for updates and, as always, please be safe and respectful of your fellow students and co-workers.


    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri., Aug. 6, 2021

    Indoor face mask requirement – Aug. 6, 2021

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    The following excerpt from President Smith's Aug. 6, 2021 message to campus pertains to the University's response to the COVID-19 pandemic: 

    To the Eastern Michigan University community,

    As we are all well aware after many months of working through the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions continue to change. As these conditions change, we must adapt to evolving guidance from healthcare authorities. We appreciate the ongoing resilience of the members of our community as we adjust based on the most current conditions.  

    The CDC and the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) have updated their guidance for Washtenaw County in light of increased community spread of COVID-19. The County has now moved into the “substantial” level of COVID-19 transmission and, following CDC guidance, now recommends the wearing of face masks for everyone in indoor public spaces.

    Due to this change in transmission levels in the County and the updated CDC/WCHD guidance, effective Monday, August 9, 2021, all members of the campus community (including all students, employees, and visitors) must wear a face mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status, except in the following circumstances where indoor masking is not required: 

    • You are an instructor teaching in a classroom, you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and you have verified your vaccination status with the University here. Instructors teaching without a face mask should maintain six-feet physical distance if not behind plexiglass, and may remain unmasked during the class period only.

    • You have a disability-based University accommodation regarding wearing a face mask (employees requesting an accommodation should contact [email protected]emich.edu and students requesting an accommodation should contact EMU_DeanOfStudents@emich.edu).

    • You are alone in a private office, living space, or private motor vehicle with the door closed, or in another similarly isolated space.

    • You are actively eating, drinking, or swimming.

    • You are undergoing a physical exam of your mouth, nose, or throat by a medical professional.

    • You are attending an event that has been approved for a special exemption. Requests to consider exemptions for events must be submitted to the Office of Conference & Event Services (CES) at [email protected]emich.edu.

    Face masks are not required outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

    Individual University employees and offices cannot waive the University’s indoor face mask requirement -- including the mandate that face masks be worn by all students in classrooms -- without the approval of the President’s Office. When necessary, instructors should reference and follow the University’s Guide to Classroom Management in the event an individual in the classroom refuses to comply with the University’s face mask policy. It is considered disruptive classroom behavior to refuse to comply as directed.

    We hope that this indoor face mask mandate is temporary. The best way to return to a sense of normalcy is for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. You may learn about opportunities for vaccination and the vaccine’s safety here. We strongly urge all members of the EMU community who qualify to get vaccinated, as it is one of the safest and most effective ways to minimize the spread and seriousness of COVID-19.  

    We understand that the University has issued many policies in recent weeks and this series of communications may create confusion. Unfortunately, the guidance from health professionals is rapidly changing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. The University -- and all of us as individuals -- must be prepared to change as conditions change. 

    We will publish a comprehensive summary of all current policies in place two weeks before the start of the fall semester. In the meantime, you may review safety policies here.

    Please continue to closely monitor your email for further updates in the days and weeks ahead.

  • Wed., Aug. 4, 2021

    Fall policies for physical distancing and masks – Aug. 4, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    The fall semester begins in just four weeks! As outlined in more detail below, the following policies regarding face masks and physical distancing will be in place as the fall semester begins. Please read this email carefully and in its entirety.

    As always, these policies are subject to change based on guidance and/or regulations from local, state, or federal health agencies. We are keeping a close eye on the Delta variant and case counts throughout Michigan, and will continue to carefully monitor conditions and work with our health agency partners.

    Face masks

    We intend to continue our current face mask policy as fall semester begins:

    • All students will be required to wear face masks in classrooms regardless of vaccination status.

    • In other indoor areas (outside of classrooms), all individuals who are fully vaccinated and have reported their vaccination status to the University are not required to wear face masks unless otherwise noted (for example, face masks are required regardless of vaccination status in the campus COVID-19 testing center).Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear face masks indoors except in specific circumstances that are detailed in the University masking policy (e.g., they are alone in an isolated area or are actively eating/drinking). 

    • In outdoor areas, individuals are not required to wear face masks regardless of vaccination status. 

    Individual University employees and offices cannot waive the University face mask mandates -- including the mandate that face masks be worn by all students in classrooms -- without the approval of the President’s Office. When necessary, instructors should reference and follow the University’s Guide to Classroom Management in the event an individual in the classroom refuses to comply with the University’s face mask policy. 


    Physical distancing

    The University’s physical distancing policy for fall semester is as follows:

    • All students must engage in three feet of physical distancing in classrooms regardless of vaccination status. As outlined above, all students must also wear face masks in classrooms regardless of vaccination status.

    • In other indoor areas (outside of classrooms), individuals who are fully vaccinated and have reported their vaccination status to the University are not required to engage in physical distancing unless otherwise noted.Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must engage in three feet of physical distancing indoors except in specific circumstances that are detailed in the University distancing policy.

    • In outdoor areas, individuals are not required to engage in physical distancing regardless of vaccination status.

    Going forward

    The University’s COVID-related policies are developed in consultation with the University’s Safe Return Steering Committee and are based on guidance from health agencies. These policies are designed to provide students and employees with an excellent academic and student experience while reflecting the unfortunate reality that COVID-19 remains present in our lives. Although we had hoped to loosen these policies for fall semester, we believe the current policies should be continued for the time being, particularly in view of rising COVID-19 case counts around the country.

    The best way to defeat COVID-19 and work together as a community is to get vaccinated. You may learn more about vaccination opportunities here. All members of the campus community are encouraged to report their vaccination status through the University’s secure online vaccination certification system even if you do not regularly visit campus. Data regarding campus vaccination levels are useful in evaluating further policy updates.

    As always, these policies will be updated as appropriate based on guidance from government authorities and health agencies. Please continue to read your email and visit the EMU Safe website for information.

  • Fri., July 23, 2021

    Campus Update – July 23, 2021

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    The following excerpt from President Smith's July 23, 2021 message to campus pertains to the University's response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

    While our faculty members, student affairs and facilities teams busily plan for our in-person fall semester, we continue to keep an ever vigilant eye on COVID-19, the Delta variant, hospitalizations, and vaccination rates. As you know, the Delta variant, which is particularly dangerous and highly transmissible, is now considered the most common COVID-19 infection.

    It is critical to note that most people who are currently falling ill to COVID-19 have not been vaccinated. Just yesterday, published statistics indicated that 99% of current COVID-19 deaths are among people who are not vaccinated. I join with medical experts across the state and nation who strongly encourage vaccinations for everyone who is eligible and can receive a vaccine.

    We continue to work closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department to provide vaccination opportunities on campus for our students, faculty and staff. In the coming weeks, you can look for pop-up vaccination clinics on campus and a concerted effort to promote the importance of getting vaccinated.

    Since the start of the pandemic, the number of COVID-19 cases at Eastern has been among the lowest among Michigan’s public universities, and we aim to keep it that way. But we can only do that with your help and continued support. I thank you for your efforts to date, but I want to make it clear that this crisis is not over yet. We have more work to do to as we continue to inform members of our community about the safety of vaccinations and the protection they provide.

    Here is a link to current vaccination clinic sites in Washtenaw County.

    Michigan’s MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes is an added incentive to get vaccinated. A daily $50,000 giveaway and a $2 million drawing remain available for people who are vaccinated by July 30. And, people between 12-17 years of age who have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 30 are eligible to win Michigan Education Trust scholarships.

    For the sixth consecutive week, we have no reported positive cases among members of our campus community. We continue to monitor and track cases on the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

    We continue to offer free COVID-19 testing in the Student Center, which will continue through the summer and fall semesters. As was noted in a message to campus last week, masks are required at the testing center. Please visit the testing center website for days and hours of operation.

    Read the full message to the campus community, which includes news of a $1.86 million grant and another high military friendly ranking for the University. 

  • Thu., July 8, 2021

    Campus Update – July 8, 2021

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    The following excerpt from President Smith's July 8, 2021 message to campus pertains to the University's response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

    I hope everyone was able to enjoy the 4th of July holiday and the long weekend. It is great to see people out and about and the return of many of the outdoor activities that we missed last summer due to the pandemic.

    It is clear that vaccinations have made a remarkable difference in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and in helping us return to a more normal day-to-day lifestyle. Our families are safer. Our friends are safer. Our communities are safer.

    While this is great news, I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to work together to encourage more people to get vaccinated. That’s why I was pleased to see the launch of Michigan’s new MI Shot To Win Sweepstakes.

    • Michigan residents who are 18 and older who have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by this Saturday, July 10 are eligible to win $1 million.
    • Individuals 18 and over who receive at least one dose of vaccine by July 30 are eligible to win $2 million.
    • People 18 and over are also eligible to win daily drawings of $50,000.

    • And, younger people between 12-17 years of age who have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 30 are eligible to win Michigan Education Trust scholarships.

    It is my sincere hope that these incentives encourage more people to get vaccinated and help continue the efforts to put this deadly disease behind us. As communicated to campus last week, the University has ended many of our COVID-19 mandates in alignment with state and federal guidance.

    We will offer a number of vaccination clinics, as well as other initiatives to encourage vaccinations, as the fall semester begins. We will have more to share in the weeks ahead.

    For the fifth consecutive week, we have had no reported positive cases among our campus community. We continue to monitor and track cases on the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard. The outcomes of the last five weeks reflect the University’s overall #EMUSafe efforts (since the start of the pandemic) that have resulted in a very low number of cases compared to our peers.

    We continue to offer free COVID-19 testing in the Student Center, which will continue through the summer and fall semesters. The center is closed this week for the holiday break and will reopen next week. Please visit the testing center website for days and hours of operation.

    I’d like to thank this opportunity to thank our entire community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and supporters for the ongoing vigilance to keep one another safe.

    Go to the President's website to read the full message, which includes information about the CAS Detroit Theme year, the YpsiWrites walking tour, the Swoop's Pantry schedule and more. 

  •  Thu., July 1, 2021

    Update to Face Mask and Physical Distancing Policy – July 1, 2021

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    In light of the State of Michigan’s recent actions removing statewide COVID-19 restrictions, the University is updating its policy regarding face masks and physical distancing both indoors and outdoors effective Tuesday, July 6, 2021. The new policy incorporates the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the State of Michigan, and the U.S Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

    Broadly speaking, the updated policy allows individuals to be:

    • maskless indoors (with some exceptions) if they are vaccinated and self-report their vaccination information to the University; and

    • maskless outdoors (regardless of the size of the gathering and regardless of vaccination status),

    A notable exception is that face masks and physical distancing will continue to be required in classrooms when class is in session for the summer semesters. Decisions about classroom policies for the fall semester will be communicated in the coming weeks.

    Read the complete policy as outlined in the July 1, 2021 email to the campus community. 

  •  Thu., June 24, 2021

    Campus Update – June 24, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    I begin this week’s message with an important discussion of an extremely shocking finding. Reports today indicate a second burial site has been uncovered in Canada with more than 700 unmarked graves outside of a former residential school for Indigenous children in Saskatchewan. This follows last week’s discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in British Columbia. Both schools were operated by the Roman Catholic Church.

    As a result of these ongoing investigations in Canada, the United States has announced an investigation into what is described as the “unspoken horrors” at Native American boarding schools in our country.

    While the investigation into these burials and unmarked graves is just beginning, they represent a deeply painful reminder of the horrific treatment of Indigenous populations and the shameful chapter this represents in American history. Please join me in taking time to reflect on this painful reality for our Native American community members, and to offer support where possible, as these investigations proceed.

    We have several other updates to cover this week:

    • Recovering From the Pandemic
    • Vaccinations Update
    • COVID-19 Testing Center Schedule
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Schedule and Focus Groups
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    Recovering From the Pandemic

    It is wonderful to see people on our campus, and in communities and businesses across the state and nation, begin to return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle. It is truly remarkable that we are approaching the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel that, for so many months, seemed quite distant. I am not suggesting that we don’t need to be careful -- there remain many challenges in front of us. The Delta COVID-19 variant is one of those -- but it is clear that we have entered a new phase of recovery, and frankly, it is truly extraordinary to witness.

    The return to a more “normal” fall semester seems almost too good to be true. But true it is. We will see the return of in-person classes; campus activities; dining opportunities; homecoming events; and, fall sports – to name just a few examples of the full TRUEMU campus experience. We, however, will not sprint into this return. We will walk forward, slowly, and with great caution. We will pay close attention to safety protocols and guidelines in order to do our very best to keep everyone safe, as we have throughout the pandemic.

    Undoubtedly, you are aware of the lifting of restrictions in Michigan on the wearing of face masks, outdoors and indoors, for those who are fully vaccinated. In light of that, the University is currently preparing changes to our face mask policies. The University’s Safe Return Steering Committee is reviewing these changes and we expect to have details to share in the near future. Until then, our current policies remain in place:

    Indoors: Everyone on campus is required to wear a face mask that covers both the nose and mouth indoors on campus or other University properties. Individuals need not wear a face mask (1) when they are alone in a private office with the door closed, living space, private motor vehicle, or other isolated space, (2) while eating, drinking, or swimming, or (3) where removal is necessary for physical examination of the mouth, nose, or throat.

    Outdoors: Individuals in gatherings of less than 100 people are not required to wear face masks in outdoor settings on campus or other University properties. It may be necessary in a few specific functional areas to continue to wear a face covering while outside due to public health and safety risks. In those situations, you will be informed of the need to wear a face covering.

    Safety will continue to be a priority in our actions moving forward. This is consistent with the many #EMUSafe initiatives implemented since the start of the pandemic that have kept the University’s COVID-19 exposure levels for students, faculty and staff among the lowest in Michigan.


    Vaccinations Update

    The Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) vaccination clinic at the EMU Convocation Center will be open this Saturday, June 26, from 9:15 – 11 a.m., and next Wednesday, June 30, from 9:15 – 11 a.m. Next Wednesday will be the final day of the Convocation Center vaccination clinic operation as the county continues to offer vaccinations at various community sites and pop-up clinics. You can find these locations on the WCHD vaccinations website.

    The University is working with the WCHD to host vaccination clinics on campus later this summer. We will have further details about these plans in the weeks ahead, as they are finalized.

    Please get vaccinated, if your health permits. The importance of this has never been more evident. A new report concludes that nearly all of the COVID-19 deaths in the United States are now among people who are not vaccinated.


    COVID-19 Testing Center Schedule

    COVID-19 testing is encouraged even if you are fully vaccinated. While being vaccinated limits the symptoms of COVID-19, vaccinated individuals may still be carriers and inadvertently spread it to family and friends.

    The Testing Center is located in the lower level of the Student Center (next to the Bookstore). It is open next week as follows:

    Tuesday June 29: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Wednesday June 30: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    The Center will be closed the week of July 5 and will reopen Tuesday, July 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will be open on Wednesday, July 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Visit the testing website to review the Center’s schedule, as hours are subject to change.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Schedule and Focus Groups

    Summer hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m. Swoop’s will be closed Monday, July 5 for the holiday.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    In terms of donations, the most needed items this week are notebooks, toilet paper, barbecue sauce and dog food. Monetary contributions are always appreciated and can be made online.

    If you’ve not used Swoop’s Food Pantry yet, you might be interested in participating in a Swoop’s focus group. Swoop’s personnel will share information about the pantry and explore the barriers to using it. Swoop’s has room for just 10 students to register. Participants will receive a small gift basket as a thank you.

    Focus Group 1: July 6 at 10:30 a.m.

    Zoom link

    Focus Group 2: July 7 at 10:30 a.m.

    Zoom link

    *Please register with your EMU email."

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    EMU Esports was featured on WXYZ-TV/Channel 7 earlier this week. Program Assistant Director Charles Spencer was interviewed about the University’s Esports summer camps and our partnership with international gaming leader Gen.G. The camps are designed to engage participants in dynamic gaming activities and competition, while providing information about the expanding esports industry and potential future careers. Visit the University’s summer camps website to learn more.

    The Esports program, along with recent developments in the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology, are featured in the latest episode of EMU Today TV. Produced by the School of Communication, Media and Theatre Arts, in collaboration with the Division of Communications, the new episode of EMU Today TV features extended interviews with Dean Mohamad Qatu and EMU Esports’ Charles Spencer. The program can be found on the University’s YouTube channel as well as on Xfinity OnDemand. Please click on the link to the news release for additional details about EMU Today TV.

    Thank you to everyone involved in these University success stories!

    Have a safe, restful and peaceful weekend.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri., June 11, 2021

    Campus Update – June 11, 2021

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    The following excerpt from President Smith's June 11, 2021 message to campus pertains to the University's response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

    COVID-19 Testing Center schedule

    The schedule for the EMU Testing Center in the Student Center for June is as follows:

    • Tuesday June 15: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
    • Wednesday June 16: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Tuesday June 22: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday June 23: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
    • Tuesday June 29: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday June 30: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

    COVID-19 testing is encouraged even if you are fully vaccinated. While being vaccinated limits the symptoms of COVID-19, vaccinated individuals may still be carriers and inadvertently spread it to friends and family. Visit the testing website to review the Center’s schedule, as hours are subject to change.

    Go to the President's website to read the full message, which includes information about an increase in financial aid support, the new block tuition model and the approval of the 3D Arts Complex, among other topics. 

  • Thu., May 27, 2021

    Campus Update – May 27, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:


    This is an important day for our University. Today we announced a landmark partnership with Beibu Gulf University in China to establish a joint college of engineering. It is Eastern’s first-ever joint college and expands EMU’s international footprint. The “Eastern Michigan University Joint College of Engineering, Beibu Gulf University,” will enroll up to 1,200 students who will be able to articulate credits between the two universities and earn degrees from both.

    In making the announcement, Dean Mohamad Qatu of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology said, “This is great news to all of us at EMU. It is a result of the hard work and dedication of several faculty members and administrators at both institutions that began in 2018, and was then cemented by an initial agreement in 2019. The partnership will enhance enrollment and advance the global presence, influence and reputation of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology.”

    The agreement calls for a 15-year cooperative partnership that will begin with up to 300 students enrolled in the new program annually for the first four years. Upon successful completion, a student may receive degrees from both Beibu Gulf University and Eastern Michigan University. It also provides opportunities for faculty to teach and advance research agendas in China.

    The Beibu Gulf campus is in the city of Qinzhou, which is located in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China. The Eastern Michigan-Beibu Gulf partnership represents the only international joint college in the region, which has a population of more than 50 million people.

    Agreements such as this broaden the University’s international footprint as well as establish mutual international understanding and cooperation with a key overseas partner. The plans developed by the two universities offer excellent career preparation for students, and create a new stream of students for EMU and the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology that further enhances Eastern’s global presence and the rich diversity of our campus.

    The Board of Regents authorized the plans for the Joint College of Engineering in October 2019.

    For further information about the degrees to be offered and the opportunities the joint college brings to EMU faculty and students, and to learn more about Beibu Gulf University, please visit thestory on EMU Today.

    This initiative represents an important step forward in our efforts to “Deliver High Performing Academic Programs and Quality Research.” I encourage you to visit the strategic plan website to further explore the linkage and how the strategic planning process provides a roadmap for University initiatives and activities.

    We have several other updates to cover this week:

    • Update on filing of new lawsuit
    • Convocation Center vaccination clinic ending
    • COVID-19 testing center schedule
    • New campus green space
    • Esports summer camps
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University excellence
    • Health and safety reminder

    Update on filing of new lawsuit

    A second lawsuit has been filed against the University on behalf of eight women who have bravely come forward to detail traumatic experiences with sexual assault in off campus fraternity houses. As I have stated publicly in regard to the initial lawsuit, these allegations are serious and disturb me deeply as your President. We are presently reviewing and investigating the new lawsuit’s allegations.

    There is no place for sexual assault on or off our campus and we will continue to do everything in our power to prevent it from happening. We support these courageous survivors. Protecting students is critical to the University’s educational mission. Our staff in law enforcement, Title IX, student affairs, and elsewhere works tirelessly every day to try to create a safe and supportive environment for students, faculty and staff. 

    As I have noted previously, the University has engaged the external firm of Cozen O’Connor, with which the University had no prior relationship, to review and audit our Title IX and related policies, procedures, and actions regarding these events. Cozen O’Connor is nationally renowned in Title IX investigations, and the two principals engaged in the EMU analysis are both former prosecutors working in the areas of family violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. The report, when completed, will be shared with the campus community. We will undoubtedly be given recommendations about where we can do better; we will address those head on.

    Convocation Center vaccination clinic ending

    The Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) and other health care providers are scaling back local mass vaccination clinics. COVID-19 vaccination is now widely available, and there is less need for emergency distribution strategies like mass vaccination.

    The Health Department and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital will jointly staff the mass vaccination clinic at the Convocation Center on Wednesdays and Saturdays through the end of June, except for this Saturday, May 29, when the EMU clinic will be closed for the holiday weekend. The mass vaccination clinic at Pierce Lake Elementary in Chelsea has closed. At the end of June, the Convocation Center site will close.

    WCHD is continuing to provide COVID-19 vaccinations through smaller community clinics and walk-ins (without an appointment) at the Health Department.

    We have appreciated the opportunity to partner with WCHD and St. Joe’s to provide this important resource to the citizens of our community during a critical time.

    COVID-19 Testing Center schedule

    The EMU Testing Center located in the Student Center will be closed next week. It will reopen June 8. The schedule for the month of June is as follows:

    • Tuesday June 8: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
    • Wednesday June 9: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Tuesday June 15: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
    • Wednesday June 16: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Tuesday June 22: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday June 23: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
    • Tuesday June 29: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday June 30: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

    COVID-19 testing is encouraged even if you are fully vaccinated. While being vaccinated limits the symptoms of COVID-19, vaccinated individuals may still be carriers and inadvertently spread it to friends and family.

    The Testing Center is located in the lower level of the Student Center (next to the Bookstore). Visit the testing website to review the Center’s schedule, as hours are subject to change.

    New campus green space

    The generous gift commitment from GameAbove that resulted in the naming of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology is providing assistance for a number of initiatives at the college. This funding includes equipment and support for academic programs, as well as an announcement you may have read last week to fund a research engineer position to expand our focus on autonomous vehicle technologies.

    One additional visible change happening soon as a result of the GameAbove commitment will be the demolition of the building at 600 W. Forest. This will make way for a new park/green space that will be linked directly to the College. The new park/green space will serve as a beautiful entryway to the college, with seating and gathering space for study and leisure. Work on the project is scheduled to begin next week.

    Esports summer camps

    The University’s Esports program, along with [email protected] and Gen.G, are joining forces again this summer for a series of virtual and in-person esports summer camps. Through July and August, students in Michigan and across the country will have an opportunity to sharpen their esports skills while playing their favorite games with competitive players and industry professionals.

    The summer’s offerings include two virtual camps, Girls in Gaming and Behind the Design SAG, and two in-person camps, NBA 2K Camp (July 27-29) and Super Smash Bros Camp (July 14-16).

    Girls in Gaming will be hosted virtually on Wednesday, August 4 through Friday, August 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. and is open to students in grades 9-12. Registration is required and the cost is $25.

    The Behind the Design SAG Camp will be hosted virtually on Monday, July 19 through Friday, July 23 from 1-3 p.m. The camp is open to students in grades 9-12. Registration is required and the cost is $40.

    For more information, visit the story on EMU Today.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern Michigan University excellence:

    • Earlier this week I had the pleasure of joining a number of our University colleagues, members of GameAbove, and baseball Hall of Fame member Reggie Jackson (representing the Mr. October Foundation), to celebrate STEM outreach progress made over the past year in Detroit area K-12 schools. The event was held at Hope Academy in Detroit, an EMU charter that is one of the schools that has benefited from the joint STEM programming efforts. It was great to meet and hear Reggie Jackson discuss Mr. October Foundation’s work to promote STEM education in communities across the country, and the work at Hope Academy done in partnership with GameAbove and Eastern. Participants also included EMU alumni and GameAbove Advisory Board members such as Charlie Batch and George “The Iceman” Gervin. For more about the celebration, including photographs, please visit the story on EMU Today.

    • You will find many examples of Eastern excellence in the new edition of Eastern Magazine. The all-digital issue is now live and features stories about the people and initiatives that make EMU great. One of the most interesting to me is the story of alumnus Dr. Royal S. Copeland, who was the New York City Health Commissioner during the 1918-19 pandemic. See his story and more by visiting the Eastern Magazine website. You can also subscribe to have future issues emailed to you.

    Looking ahead

    I hope everyone is able to enjoy a restful and peaceful Memorial Day holiday. Please take some time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  •  Wed., May 19, 2021

    Campus Update – May 19, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    We have seen several changes in government guidance involving the wearing of masks; that continues to be the focus of attention for many people in our community. I will have more on that and other related items later in this message. Today, however, I begin with an update on the University’s response to the lawsuit filed on behalf of 11 women regarding the University’s handling of sexually assaults several years ago. The University’s initial response was filed with the Court today.

    As I have stated publicly, these allegations are serious and disturbing and concern me deeply as your President.

    A great deal of work and fact-finding has taken place in preparing the University’s response. Consistent with our practice throughout this case, we will not engage in a public recitation of the specific elements of this response. However, I do want to provide an overview of the response to key elements of the lawsuit:

    Most importantly, our response does not dispute or challenge any survivor's allegations that they suffered a sexual assault on our campus. We will not question the bravery of the survivors for coming forward to tell their stories, and we are absolutely committed to our students' safety at Eastern. We can honor the survivors' bravery and encourage others to report sexual assault on campus, while making the legal points we need regarding our Title IX responsibilities.

    Criminal proceedings for the actions described in the lawsuit continue against three suspects charged in these cases. We believe the criminal system is an appropriate place for this to be addressed.

    Secondly, we strongly deny that the University engaged in any manner of cover-up as alleged in the lawsuit. As we stated when the lawsuit was filed, the University can only act on information it has been presented.

    Of the 11 cases brought forth in the lawsuit, the University was only made aware of two of them while the survivors were students at Eastern. And, following the wishes of the survivor in one case and in the other her wish to remain anonymous, the University was not able to pursue an investigation in either.

    I reiterate that we stand by and strongly support all survivors of sexual assault. How and when to pursue investigations can be complicated choices made at varying points in time by survivors. They should be given power over their experiences and how they are shared. This must be reflected in the University’s actions and policies. There is no place for sexual violence on our campus and we will always take swift action to stop it when we learn it has occurred. We stand ready to support survivors in completing their education safely and without further trauma on our campus.

    Last fall (Sept. 25, 2020), the University announced that it engaged the external firm of Cozen O’Connor, with which the University had no prior relationship, to review and audit our Title IX and related policies, procedures, and actions regarding these events. Cozen O’Connor is nationally renowned in the area of Title IX investigations, and the two principals engaged in the EMU work are both former prosecutors working in the areas of family violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. The report, when completed, will be shared with the campus community. We will undoubtedly be given recommendations about where we can do better – and we will address those head on.

    The University seeks to learn every detail about the handling of cases that are the subject of the lawsuit. We want to know whether our processes related to these cases were followed and, if not, why and what steps should be taken so that our students are protected and feel supported in reporting sexual assault. I want to emphasize: we are committed to full transparency.

    Protecting students is critical to the University’s educational mission. I can say, from careful personal observation, that our staff in law enforcement, Title IX, student affairs, and elsewhere work tirelessly to try to create a safe and supportive environment for students, faculty and staff. It is clear that more needs to be done.

    If you have any information or wish to report any incident of sexual assault or misconduct, please contact EMU Police at 734-487-1222 or at dps[email protected]emich.edu, or file an incident report with the EMU Title IX Office.

    Centers for Disease Control/State of Michigan face mask guidelines

    As noted in my message to campus on Monday, we continue to monitor the face mask guidance in light of announcements by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Michigan to relax outdoor face mask policies for all individuals and indoor face mask policies for individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

    As of this writing, EMU’s face mask policies remain unchanged. Everyone on campus is still required to wear a face mask that covers both the nose and mouth in or on all University buildings and grounds (indoors and outdoors). The University’s Public Health Work Group and the Safe Return Steering Committee are currently reviewing our practices in light of the changing circumstances. We will provide an update to our policies in the near future.

    Vaccinations Update

    The changing guidelines for wearing face coverings are largely the result of the increasing numbers of people who are vaccinated against COVID-19. However, according to the State of Michigan, less than 45% of eligible residents in the state have completed the vaccination process. There is much more work to be done to ensure everyone’s safety. Please get vaccinated, if your health permits. Sites are easy to find and most now offer walk-in vaccinations.

    COVID-19 Testing Center Schedule

    COVID-19 testing is encouraged even if you are fully vaccinated. While being vaccinated limits the symptoms of COVID-19, vaccinated individuals may still be carriers and inadvertently spread it to friends and family.

    The Testing Center is located in the lower level of the Student Center (next to the Bookstore). It is open the following dates and times:

    • Tuesday, May 25: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday, May 26: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Closed the week of May 31
    • Tuesday June 8: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
    • Wednesday June 9: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Tuesday June 15: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
    • Wednesday June 16: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Tuesday June 22: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday June 23: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
    • Tuesday June 29: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday June 30: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

    Visit the testing website to review the Center’s schedule, as hours are subject to change. 

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and support of the #EMUSafe initiatives. Continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., May 13, 2021

    Campus Update – May 13, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    As we move into the summer our planning continues for a more traditional fall semester this year with in-person classes and on-campus experiences beginning their re-entry into campus life. We have much to look forward to in the coming months. The efforts of our campus community are focused on fostering the dynamic learning environment and student-centered approach of this great institution – the second oldest public university in Michigan. The coming weeks provide an ideal time to reflect on our enduring mission, values and objectives and how they help us navigate a post-COVID landscape.

    These objectives guide our path:

    • To provide high quality academic programs taught by faculty deeply committed to student success – on a campus where the student body reflects today’s diverse, global work world;
    • To invest in facilities, classrooms, labs and learning spaces to provide students and faculty with the latest technology and resources to be successful;
    • To understand the varying lives, experiences and needs of our students from a holistic perspective. And, through that lens, provide support for their success and well being both in and beyond the classroom – covering everything from advising, to financial aid, to wellness; and,
    • To build and support community by expanding our strong external partnerships and facilitating learning beyond the classroom through high impact practices such as internships, work study, and study abroad opportunities.

    You don’t need to look further than the renovated Sill Hall, or Strong Hall, the Rec/IM, or our outstanding Student Center, to get a first-hand understanding of the depth of the University’s commitment to academic excellence, student success, wellness and the overall student experience. Just yesterday, we announced a $2.2 million grant from the Windgate Foundationthat, along with matching funds from the University and the Eastern Michigan University Foundation, will be used to construct a dynamic new 3D Arts Complex on campus.

    Whether pursuing the arts, business, education, engineering, health, sciences or technology, our commitment to preparing students for success is stronger than ever. We will continue to align our resources to areas of high demand and career opportunities.

    As the University transitions to a post-COVID “new normal,” we want to update you about important initiatives that will help guide EMU’s future.

    Strategic Plan: Following two years of excellent work by faculty, staff, students, and alumni, the University is nearing completion of its updated Strategic Plan. The updated Plan will lay out specific goals and actions to build on EMU’s mission as an institution of opportunity that provides high-quality personalized learning to a diverse student body. We will soon launch a website that includes the proposed updates to the Plan, an opportunity for employees to provide feedback, and other information.

    Budget updates: The Board of Regents agenda in June will include consideration and approval of the University’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year (which begins on July 1). The agenda also includes setting tuition and fee rates. The next few weeks should also see action by the legislature and Governor to provide annual funding to Michigan’s public universities.

    As this process unfolds, it is important for all of us to fully understand -- and respond to -- the changing nature of higher education in the United States and particularly in our region. In the coming weeks, we will announce several updates and initiatives designed to ensure that our budget planning reflects the changing landscape in which we now operate. COVID relief funds have eased the short term impact of the past year but we will need to revisit the challenges of long term demographic change, address hard questions about the place of traditional models of higher education in today’s world, and further consider how best to effectively support and serve a diverse student body with unique needs, perspectives and concerns.

    Student relief funds: This week the federal government released the next phase of COVID-relief funding, which includes additional direct aid for students. The University is preparing a plan to distribute these funds. Students should watch their email and regularly check this website for future updates. We all should work together, now more than ever, to encourage students to complete the FAFSA form as this is a significant piece of information needed to qualify them to receive these funds. Even students who have not received grant-based aid in the past may be eligible for relief funds and should be encouraged to complete the FAFSA form.

    Please continue to monitor your email for updates about these important matters. 

    I have several other updates to share this week:

    • Vaccination Update
    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • Free On-Campus COVID-19 Testing Schedule
    • 60th Annual Alumni Awards this Saturday, May 15
    • Broadband Benefit Program
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    Vaccination Update

    Please get vaccinated, if you are able. It is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and others from critical illness, and stop the spread of COVID-19. While scheduling an appointment is preferred, many locations now offer a limited number of walk-up vaccinations. If you are planning to walk-up, check with the clinic first.

    Below are links to vaccine providers to help you find one convenient for you:

    • For those who live or work in Washtenaw County, visit the Washtenaw County Health Department site. Clinics are operating at EMU’s Convocation Center and at Pierce Elementary School in Chelsea, as well as at pop-up locations you can find on the website.
    • Kroger
    • Meijer
    • Rite Aid
    • Walgreens
    • VaccineFinder – provides an easy search function for clinic locations in the state or nation so users can find one that’s most convenient.

    The number of individuals receiving vaccines in our area continues to increase. As of May 10, Washtenaw County reported 86.5% of residents 65 or older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 82% had completed their vaccine protocol. For residents 16 and over, 62.8% had received at least one dose – up from 60.6% the week before. A total of 52.5% of County residents 16 and over have completed their vaccine protocol. Visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for ongoing updates.

    In Michigan, as of May 11, 52.3% of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 43.1% having completing the vaccine protocol. Details, as well as a county-by-county breakout, can be found on the Michigan vaccine dashboard.

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending May 12, the University administered 243 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 11 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 4.53%. We confirmed a total of 13 positive cases during this period. Of those, three were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and nine were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. A single case was reported among University employees.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 35,929 tests with 415 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.16% -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Free On-Campus Covid-19 Testing Schedule

    The University’s COVID-19 Testing Center will continue to offer free COVID-19 tests to members of the campus community throughout the summer. We encourage you to be tested regularly! 

    Any member of the Eastern community may receive a free COVID-19 test at the Testing Center. You must register in advance at emich.edu/covid-testing. We encourage students, faculty and staff to take advantage of this opportunity on a regular basis, not just when required. 

    During Summer A and Summer B semesters, residents living on campus will be required to continue testing twice per month through the Testing Center. A specific message will be sent to summer on-campus housing residents outlining more details. 

    COVID-19 testing is encouraged even if you are fully vaccinated. While being vaccinated limits the symptoms of COVID-19 should you contract it, vaccinated individuals may still be carriers and inadvertently spread it to friends and family. The COVID-19 vaccine will not cause a positive test result because the vaccine does not contain the live virus.  

    The Testing Center is located in the lower level of the Student Center (next to the Bookstore). It is open the following dates and times:

    • Tuesday, May 18: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
    • Wednesday, May 19: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Tuesday, May 25: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday, May 26: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Visit the testing website to review the Center’s schedule because hours are subject to change. 
    60th Annual Alumni Awards this Saturday, May 15

    The University’s 60th Annual Alumni Awards will premiere at 6 p.m. this Saturday, May 15. The Office for Alumni Relations, guided by the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Recognition, Awards and Scholarship Committee, will highlight 11 award recipients from both 2020 and 2021. The master of ceremonies is FOX2 news anchor, reporter and alumnus, Josh Landon. Watch the virtual event and learn more about the honorees on the Alumni Relations website.

    Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

    A new federal program went into effect yesterday that provides emergency funding to support internet access. Eligible households will be able to enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. Those who are eligible can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting https://getemergencybroadband.org.

    The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will provide eligible households with discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service, and up to $75 a month if the household is on Tribal lands. It also will provide a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households.

    Under the law, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is open to households that participate in an existing low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider; Lifeline subscribers, including those that are on Medicaid or accept SNAP benefits; households with children receiving free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast; Pell grant recipients; and those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year.


    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    Summer hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m. Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s most needed items are rice, soy milk, almond milk, and cat and dog food.

    Monetary contributions can be made online.


    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

    • [email protected] office is collaborating with the University of Michigan Ginsberg Center to launch Digital Connecting Corps (DCC) to help bridge the intergenerational digital divide in Washtenaw County by helping older adults learn technology skills.

    The program will train students at both universities to be "tech coaches," who will then work with older adults in Washtenaw County to help them learn how to use their smartphones, laptops and desktop computers. The training program is free to participants and laptop computers are available for those who need one.

    Julie Vogl, project coordinator of [email protected], told EMU Today, “The COVID-19 pandemic has increased social isolation and the lack of digital access and digital literacy among older adults in Washtenaw County. Before the Digital Connecting Corps, there was no County-wide infrastructure or nonprofit focused on digital connection and literacy for older adults—the DCC begins to fill that void.”

    • Julie Becker, associate professor and interim director of the School of Technology and Professional Services Management, was featured in an article in MLive this week for her work to support a volunteer effort to make quilts for babies in neo-natal intensive care units in the area.

    Dr. Becker’s support of the quilt-making process came about after she learned that hand cutting the individual squares that are sewn together to make the quilts was too difficult for many of the volunteers. She offered to use the University’s automatic cutting machine. The high-speed cutting process made a big difference in the production of the quilts and she has been able to train students to use the machine, which entails learning computer-aided design (CAD) systems.

    Congratulations to these individuals who represent Eastern so well!

     

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings;
    • Observe physical distancing; and,
    • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

    These four actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., May 6, 2021

    Campus Update – May 6, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    We, along with state and national public health officials, continue to look for ways to encourage more people within our campus community to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccine supply is plentiful and the process is extremely streamlined and accessible.

    Mass vaccination sites across the state are easy to find and vaccines are also available through your primary health care provider or at many pharmacies across the state. Pop-up clinics are being scheduled in many communities to bring vaccinations closer to where people live.

    While scheduling an appointment is preferred, many locations offer a limited number of walk-up vaccinations. If you are planning to walk-up, check with the clinic first.

    Below are links to vaccine providers to help you find one convenient for you:

    • For those who live or work in Washtenaw County, visit the Washtenaw County Health Department site. Clinics are operating at EMU’s Convocation Center and at Pierce Elementary School in Chelsea, as well as at pop-up locations you can find on the website.
    • Kroger
    • Meijer
    • Rite Aid
    • Walgreens
    • VaccineFinder – provides an easy search function for clinic locations in the state or nation so users can find one that’s most convenient.

    Please get vaccinated, if you are able. It is the most important step you can take to protect yourself and others from critical illness, and stop the spread of COVID-19. More vaccinations will allow all of us -- families, communities, businesses, and cultural institutions -- to return to a semblance of regular interaction and practices, so that we all can truly enjoy a Pure Michigan summer. 

    I am encouraged that the number of individuals receiving vaccines in our area continues to increase. As of May 4, Washtenaw County reported 85.6% of residents 65 or older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 80.3% had completed their vaccine protocol. For residents 16 and over, 60.6% had received at least one dose – up from 57.7% the week before. A total of 47% of County residents 16 and over have completed their vaccine protocol. Visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for ongoing updates.

    In Michigan, again as of May 4, 50.6% of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 39.3% having completing the vaccine protocol. Details, as well as a county-by-county breakout, can be found on the Michigan vaccine dashboard.

    I have several additional updates to share this week:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • Summer Schedule for Free On-CampusCOVID-19 Testing
    • 60th Annual Alumni Awards on May 15
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending May 4, the University administered 410 COVID-19 tests that resulted in four positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.98%. We confirmed a total of eight positive cases during this period. Of those, six were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. There were two cases reported among University employees.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 35,686 tests with 404 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.13% -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Summer Schedule for Free On-CampusCovid-19 Testing

    The University’s COVID-19 Testing Center will continue to offer free COVID-19 tests to members of the campus community throughout the summer. Testing is an important factor in the University’s successful efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among our campus community -- we encourage you to be tested regularly! 

    Any member of the Eastern community may receive a free COVID-19 test at the Testing Center. We encourage students, faculty and staff to take advantage of this opportunity on a regular basis, not just when required. 

    During Summer A and Summer B semesters, residents living on campus will be required to continue testing twice per month through the Testing Center. A specific message will be sent to summer on-campus housing residents outlining more details. 

    COVID-19 testing is encouraged even if you are fully vaccinated. While being vaccinated limits the symptoms of COVID-19 should you contract it, vaccinated individuals may still be carriers and inadvertently spread it to friends and family. The COVID-19 vaccine will not cause a positive test result because the vaccine does not contain the live virus.  

    Any member of the campus community may sign up for freeCOVID-19 testing through emich.edu/covid-testing. You must register for a test before you arrive for an appointment.

    The Testing Center is located in the lower level of the Student Center (next to the Bookstore). In May, it will be open as follows:

    • Tuesday, May 11: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
    • Wednesday, May 12: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Tuesday, May 18: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
    • Wednesday, May 19: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Tuesday, May 25: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday, May 26: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Visit the testing website to review the Center’s schedule because hours are subject to change. 

    60th Annual Alumni Awards on May 15

    The University’s 60th Annual Alumni Awards will premiere on Saturday, May 15, 2021. The 2021 awards ceremony, which will air at 6 p.m. on the alumni awards website, carries on a tradition of recognizing outstanding EMU alumni who have elevated themselves professionally and within their communities.

    The Office for Alumni Relations, guided by the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Recognition, Awards and Scholarship Committee, will highlight 11 award recipients from both 2020 and 2021. The virtual event is open to all alumni, donors, and friends of the EMU community.

    This year’s master of ceremonies is FOX2 news anchor, reporter and alumnus, Josh Landon, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern. Josh started his broadcasting career in Lansing and then worked for a number of stations in Florida, Virginia, and Wisconsin prior to returning to Michigan.

    Please visit the alumni awards website to meet the honorees and to learn more about the event.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room reopened on Monday, May 3. The summer hours are Mondays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m. Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s most needed items are herbal tea, dry dog food, notebooks, planners and highlighters.

    Monetary contributions can be made online.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

    • Student Hannah Palmer has launched a nonprofit organization to help others like her who are experiencing mental health challenges. Her nonprofit is called The Sunflower Project. It is designed to support individuals with mental health issues through scholarships and grants to help pay for treatment. She also hopes to help eliminate barriers and challenges so people feel more comfortable seeking treatment. You can read more about The Sunflower Project and Hannah’s personal journey in this story posted on MLive.
    • Three business students had a unique opportunity to participate in the 2021 Royal Roads University Design Thinking Case Competition this past semester. It is an international competition bringing students together from around the world. The challenge for Eastern’s students: Develop a plan to spur local tourism in British Columbia during the pandemic.

    Students Stephani Hicks, a senior arts and entertainment major from Dearborn; Paul Katokwe, an MBA student and graduate assistant from the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Taylor Williams, a senior management major from Detroit, competed against students from around the world. Lecturer Kimberly Barker and Professor Diana Wong, along with their department head, Joy Beatty, helped facilitate the opportunity for these students. Details about the team’s efforts along with videos of their research presentations can be found in the EMU Today feature.

    • Dr. Annemarie Kelly, assistant professor of health sciences, was interviewed by WXYZ-TV on COVID-19 health insurance fees, in a segment that aired during this morning’s newscast. The discussion focused on the actions of some insurance companies that have started charging fees for COVID-19 treatment, after initially waiving those fees at the start of the pandemic. You can watch the full segment on the WXYZ-TV website.
    • Dr. Tony Moreno, professor of health promotion and human performance, has been appointed to a two-year term on the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports. The Council was established in 1992 to improve the health of, and increase physical activity among, Michigan residents. In addition to his work at Eastern, Dr. Moreno is an instructor and consultant with the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the owner of AtletikaUSA, which provides consulting services to various sport governing bodies, associations, communities, and organizations, regarding best practice, evidence-based design and implementation of sport science, athlete development, and physical activity.

    Congratulations to these individuals who represent Eastern so well!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings;
    • Observe physical distancing; and,
    • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

    These four actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., April 29, 2021

    Campus Update – April 29, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Today the State of Michigan launched a new campaign to encourage more people to get COVID-19 vaccinations as part of the overall plan to further reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in our community. The “MI Vacc to Normal” campaign establishes a series of vaccination milestones, corresponding actions and steps to “normalcy” once those milestones are achieved.

    I strongly encourage every member of the campus community to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine availability is now open to everyone over the age of 16.

    Simply put, and the experts agree, getting vaccinated is the way out of the pandemic. If for some reason you are putting it off, please reconsider. The number of daily new cases in Michigan continues to be in the thousands and approximately 100 residents die from it every day. Get vaccinated. It is the surest way to protect yourself, and others, from the seriousness of a COVID-19 exposure.

    It is quick and easy to schedule a vaccination. If you live and work in Washtenaw County, you can learn more about the vaccination and, in turn, register on the Washtenaw County Health Department site. You also can seek a vaccination through your primary health care provider, or many pharmacies in the area, including:

    Kroger
    Meijer
    Rite Aid
    Walgreens

    The Vaccine Finder website can help you find a location anywhere in the state or nation.

    The number of individuals receiving vaccines in our area continues to increase. As of April 27, Washtenaw County reported 83.4% of residents 65 or older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 77.3% had completed their vaccine protocol. For residents 16 and over, 57.7% had received at least one dose – up from 53.5% the week before. A total of 40.8% of individuals 16 and over have completed their vaccine protocol. Visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for ongoing updates.

    In Michigan, as of April 27, 48.8% of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 35.9% having completing the vaccine protocol. Details, as well as a county-by-county breakout, can be found on the Michigan vaccine dashboard.

    I have several additional updates to share this week:

    • Summer Plans for Face Coverings, Other #EMUSafe Practices
    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • Summer Schedule for Free On-Campus COVID-19 Testing
    • Search Committee: Chief of Police and Executive Director of Public Safety
    • Rec/IM Summer Hours
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    Summer Plans for Face Coverings, Other #EMUSafe Practices

    The Centers for Disease Control announcement yesterday relaxing some face-covering standards for fully vaccinated individuals when outdoors has led to questions about the University’s plans going forward. I want to make it clear that we will continue our mandatory face covering guidelines at least through the Summer A semester. As you know, we have been very successful in keeping our case numbers relatively low, thanks to the strong support of our campus community for our #EMUSafe initiatives. I do not see any reason to change what is currently working well. As in the past, I want to thank all students, faculty and staff for doing their part in complying with safe practices. It has truly made a difference on our campus. We will begin a thorough review of fall semester protocols at the end of May.

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending April 27, the University administered 594 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 13 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 2.19%. We confirmed a total of 25 positive cases during this period. Of those, 12 were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and 13 were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. There were no cases reported among University employees.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 35,276 tests with 400 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.13% -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 35,276 tests with 400 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.13% -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.


    Summer Schedule for Free On-Campus Covid-19 Testing

    The University’s COVID-19 Testing Center will continue to offer free COVID-19 tests to members of the campus community throughout the summer. Testing is an important factor in the University’s successful efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among our campus community -- we encourage you to be tested regularly!

    Any member of the Eastern community may receive a free COVID-19 test at the Testing Center. We encourage students, faculty and staff to take advantage of this opportunity on a regular basis, not just when required.

    During Summer A and Summer B semesters, residents living on campus will be required to continue testing twice per month through the Testing Center. A specific message will be sent to summer on-campus housing residents outlining more details.

    We encourage continued routine COVID-19 testing even if you are fully vaccinated. While being vaccinated limits the symptoms of COVID-19 should you contract it, vaccinated individuals may still be carriers of COVID-19 and inadvertently spread it to friends and family. The COVID-19 vaccine will not cause a positive test result because the vaccine does not contain the live virus.

    Any member of the campus community may sign up for free COVID-19 testing through emich.edu/covid-testing. You must register for a test before you arrive for an appointment.

    The on-campus Testing Center is located in the lower level of the Student Center (next to the Bookstore). Visit the testing website to review the Center’s schedule because hours are subject to change.

    The Testing Center is currently closed through Tuesday, May 4 due to water maintenance at the Student Center. The Testing Center will be open in subsequent weeks as follows:

    • Wednesday, May 5: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Thursday, May 6: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Tuesday, May 11: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday, May 12: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Tuesday, May 18: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Wednesday, May 19: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Rec/IM Summer Hours

    The Rec/IM’s summer hours will begin on Monday, May 3. These hours will also be posted on the Rec/IM website.

    • Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Saturdays: Noon to 4 p.m.
    • Sundays: Noon to 4 p.m.

    The Rec/IM will be closed on May 31 for Memorial Day; July 4 and 5 for Independence Day; and August 9 to 14 for staff training and building maintenance.

    Search Committee: Chief of Police and Executive Director of Public Safety

    Police Chief and Executive Director of Public Safety Bob Heighes will retire this September after 38 years with Eastern. Chief Heighes began at Eastern in 1984 as a patrol officer. In August 2020, he announced his plans to retire as part of University’s voluntary early retirement incentive program. He has a total of 44 years in law enforcement, serving as deputy in the Baraga County Sheriff’s Department in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula prior to joining Eastern.

    Chief Heighes was named to his current position following a nationwide search in April 2012. He has had an exemplary career at the University and has led the Department of Public Safety through many positive initiatives that have brought a community approach to policing on our campus.

    At this time, however, it is important that we begin the search for his successor. The first step in that process is to identify and announce the members of the search committee who will be guiding this process. These members are:

    • Mike Valdes, Chief Financial Officer, Chair
    • Dr. Marilyn Corsianos, Professor, Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology Dept. and Faculty Senate Representative
    • Dr. LaMarcus Howard, Director, Disability Resource Center
    • Walter Kraft, Vice President for Communications
    • Lauren London, General Counsel
    • Luis Romero, Student Body President
    • Ofc. Tim Siecinski, Public Safety
    • Sgt. David Shefferly, Public Safety
    • Jeanette Zalba, Director, Housing & Residence Life
    • Casey Wooster, Office of the President (support)

    I would like to thank each of the committee members for volunteering to participate in this important endeavor.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room will reopen on Monday, May 3. The summer hours are Mondays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m. Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s most needed items are notebooks, cereal, rice, dry dog food and mayonnaise.

    Monetary contributions can be made online.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

    • Eastern Michigan University faculty members will be pursuing a rich array of research, scholarly and creative projects/activities this summer under the Summer Research/Creative Activity Awards. The annual awards are intended to encourage and support the endeavors of full-time, tenured or tenure-track EMU faculty during the summer months, by providing stipends of $12,000 for outstanding proposals in lieu of summer teaching assignments. Learn more about the projects and the faculty members involved by visiting this story on EMU Today.
    • A variety of fascinating projects will be explored by 11 undergraduate students as part of the annual Symposium Undergraduate Research Fellowship program. The program encourages partnerships between undergraduate students and faculty to facilitate student participation in the annual Undergraduate Symposium. Students are provided with a $1,000 stipend and faculty members are provided up to $1,000 to support the project. Please visit the EMU Today story to learn more about the projects and the 11 students who received the award.
    • Graduate student L’Meese Greaney finished in the top eight in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools competition for her three-minute oral summation of her master’s thesis: “On the Syntactic and Pragmatic Interpretation of the Imperative Discourse Marker ‘Look, here’s the deal.’" L’Meese, a master’s student in English Linguistics, conducted her research on when, where, how, and by whom the term “look” was used in presidential and vice-presidential debates from 2008-2020. This work included analysis from both syntactic and practical perspectives. A full story about her research project can be found on the EMU Today News Hub.

    Congratulations to these individuals who represent Eastern so well!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings;
    • Observe physical distancing; and,
    • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

    These four actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Fri., April 23, 2021

    Campus Update – April 23, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Graduation day is upon us! This Sunday, more than 2,000 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral graduates are eligible to participate in our virtual graduation ceremony, along with their families, friends and supporters.

    We are so proud of what group of graduates has accomplished! They have persisted and overcome obstacles that most never imagined when they joined the Eastern Michigan University community. While a virtual celebration may not be exactly what this year’s graduates envisioned when they started their degree programs – it is necessary due to public health gathering restrictions and our efforts to do our very best to try to keep people safe. Our Convocation Center is routinely packed with more than 8,000 people for Commencement. Sadly, it’s just not possible to hold an event of this nature at this time no matter how much we might like to celebrate together.

    That being said, we have worked hard to develop a positive, fun and memorable commencement experience. The celebration includes a formal Commencement video and an interactive website where more than 700 messages, videos, GIFs and photos have already been posted by family members, friends and supporters. Graduates will receive an email and text message Sunday morning offering a fun, interactive social media filter so they can individually celebrate and share their achievements.

    The excitement begins Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. To participate, visit the Commencement website. The video will be posted on the site for viewing at any time after the 9:30 premier.

    We are planning to hold in-person celebrations at a later date for all graduates from this year -- and last year -- who have not had an in-person recognition due to the pandemic. We are hopeful this will take place during this fall’s commencement, depending on public health considerations and guidelines.

    The University’s Multicultural Graduation Celebration, hosted by the Center of Race and Ethnicity, took place today. The event celebrated the achievements of students of color, both domestic and international, as well as the rich culture of our diverse student body.

    I have several additional updates to share this week:

    • Forensics Team Fifth in Nation, Student Wins National Championship
    • Professor’s Campus Kindness Project Subject of Documentary
    • New “Gaming Ring of Honor” Award Established
    • COVID-19 Vaccinations
    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • Free COVID-19 Testing Schedule Next Week
    • Participate in Denim Day to Support Sexual Assault Awareness Month
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Remembering: Professor Reinhard Wittke and Dr. Regina Sallee Williams
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    Forensics Team Finishes Fifth in Nation, Student Wins National Championship

    The Eastern Michigan University forensics team continued its tradition of excellence this past weekend, winning an individual national championship and finishing fifth overall in the nation in the National Forensics Association (NFA) Tournament.

    Osade Imalele, a marketing major who’s also studying apparel, textiles and merchandising, led the exceptional showing as she earned a national championship in Persuasive Speaking. Osade, who resides in Northville, was born and raised in Detroit and is a first-generation Nigerian American. Osade is a senior in the Honors Program. She is graduating in December and plans to work in creative design at a fashion or art-focused company.

    Other excellent performances included:

    • Samira Taylor and Cedrick Charles earned fourth place in Duo Interpretation.
    • Samira Taylor took fifth place in Poetry Interpretation.
    • Auryon Azar took sixth place in Impromptu Speaking.
    • Samira Taylor earned sixth place in Dramatic Interpretation.
    • Basra Keynan took fourth place in Novice Persuasion.

    At this year's tournament, held virtually, EMU finished ahead of such nationally known universities as Northwestern, Yale, Alabama, and Cornell. Eastern’s teams have placed in the top 15 nationally for more than 40 years and have won more than 40 Michigan state team championships.

    Special congratulations to Director of Forensics, Patrick Seick, and Professor Kathy Stacey, director of the School of Communications, Media and Theatre Arts.

    Professor’s Campus Kindness Project Subject of Documentary

    Professor Lolita Cummings and her random acts of kindness social media project, #CampusKindness, are getting some much deserved attention. A new documentary, “The LifeChangers: A Tale of Two Educators,” features Professor Cummings and the kindness project she launched in her public relations class in 2018. The campaign was designed to positively address negativity and concerns over acts of hate and racism in our society. The project was embraced by many people across campus and soon became widespread under the CampusKindness hashtag. Other universities have started their own similar campaigns.

    “The LifeChangers: A Tale of Two Educators,” follows a day in the life of Professor Cummings, as well as Detroit Public School Teacher, Michele Pizzo, who piloted a home visit program with students at Davison Elementary-Middle School.

    The red carpet online premiere of the documentary will take place on Facebook Live this Sunday, April 25, from 7 - 8 p.m. The full event details can be found on the Facebook event page.

    New “Gaming Ring of Honor” Award Established

    Along with the University’s esports partner Gen.G., we created a new annual award to celebrate Eastern graduates who have gone on to do great things in the technology, gaming, and/or esports industries. The new award is called the “Eastern Michigan Gaming Ring of Honor.”

    We are pleased to announce that Kyle Ellicott, a 2007 computer science graduate, was selected as the inaugural winner of the award as a result of his extensive accomplishments in the technology sector. He is the Co-Founder/Principal Blockchain Analyst at Topio Networks, and the Co-Founder/Chief Labs Officer of ReadWrite Labs. Kyle is a noted global speaker, consultant, published author, and technologist with more than 15 years of experience at the cornerstone of digital transformation between industry and technology.

    Dr. Connie Ruhl-Smith and I had the great pleasure of surprising Kyle with the award earlier this month. I hope you enjoy this video of the surprise as much as Connie and I enjoyed presenting it!

    COVID-19 Vaccinations

    Vaccine availability is now open to everyone over the age of 16. As the semester comes to a close, I strongly encourage every member of the campus community to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

    It is both quick and easy to schedule a vaccination. If you live and work in Washtenaw County, you can learn more about the vaccination and, in turn, register on the Washtenaw County Health Department site. You also can seek a vaccination through your primary health care provider, or many pharmacies in the area, including:

    Rite Aid Pharmacy and Ypsilanti Township are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments at the Ypsilanti Township Recreation Center on Saturday, April 24, and Saturday, May 1 (these dates are both for first dose appointments only). Click here to schedule your appointment.

    The Vaccine Finder website can help you find a location anywhere in the state or nation.

    The number of individuals receiving vaccines in our area continues to increase. As of April 20, Washtenaw County reported 82% of residents 65 or older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. For residents 16 and over, 53.5% had received at least one dose – up from 48.2% the week before. The data are being refreshed regularly. Visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for ongoing updates.

    As of April 21 across the state of Michigan, 46.1% of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 32.2% reported as completing the vaccine protocol. Details, as well as a county-by-county breakout, can be found on the Michigan vaccine dashboard.

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending April 20, the University administered 981 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 7 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.71%. We confirmed a total of 16 positive cases during this period. This is a significant decline from the 66 total cases reported last week. The decline is due to the University’s concerted efforts throughout the pandemic to:

    • Conduct detailed contact tracing;
    • Isolate and quarantine those who might have been exposed to the virus;
    • Establish and broadly promote a robust on-campus testing program;
    • Offer direct one-on-one health consultation through the work of our Telehealth operation; and,
    • Encourage vaccinations with the collaboration of the Washtenaw County Health Department and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to make our Convocation Center a primary community resource in mass vaccination efforts.

    Of the 16 cases reported this week, seven were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and six were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. Among University employees, three cases were reported.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 34,682 tests with 387 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.12% -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Free COVID-19 Testing Schedule Next Week

    Free COVID-19 testing will continue at the Student Center next week. The hours are:

    Monday, April 26: Noon – 4 p.m.

    Tuesday, April 27: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

    You do not need to have symptoms or concerns that you have been exposed to the virus in order to be tested. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get tested, and to test frequently, regardless of how you feel. The testing process is fast and easy; results are provided within a matter of hours. You must register in advance; on-site registration is not permitted. Please visit emich.edu/covid-testing to complete your profile and reserve a time.

    Visit the testing FAQ if you have additional questions.

    Participate in Denim Day to Support Sexual Assault Awareness Month

    The Eastern Michigan University Department of Public Safety is actively supporting Denim Day. I strongly encourage all community members to support this international campaign. Denim Day takes place on Wednesday, April 28. It is an annual campaign in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Denim Day was founded 22 years ago following a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court in which a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that because the survivor was wearing tight jeans she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, women members of the Italian Parliament wore jeans (to work) in solidarity with the victim.

    Since then, what began as a local effort to bring awareness to victim blaming and destructive myths that surround sexual violence has become an international campaign. For more information about the campaign, please visit the Denim Day website or contact EMU Police Community Relations Officer Cathy Wilman at 734.487.0987, or by email at [email protected].

    If you or someone you know has been sexual assaulted, please know that you are not alone. Survivors of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office, which is dedicated to addressing the mental health needs of students with free, confidential counseling.

    Anyone who has information or wishes to report an incident of sexual assault or misconduct is encouraged to contact EMU Police at 734.487.1222 or [email protected], or the EMU Title IX Office.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Closed Next Week

    The Food Pantry will be closed the week of April 26-30 and will reopen Monday, May 3. Anyone in need of food during the closure is encouraged to visit the Food Gatherers website for information about local food pantries.

    When Swoop’s reopens on May 3, the most needed items will be notebooks, cereal, rice, dry dog food and mayonnaise.

    During the closure, monetary contributions can still be made online.

    Remembering: Professor Reinhard Wittke and Dr. Regina Sallee Williams

    As we close this week’s message, I would like to pay tribute to two distinguished academic leaders who, in their own ways, played instrumental roles in the University’s growth.

    Professor Reinhard Wittke was a true leader in internationalizing Eastern Michigan University and a faculty member in the history department from 1956-1990. He passed away earlier this week at the age of 100.

    Professor Wittke established Eastern’s European Travel Study Program, which later became International Studies. In 1960, under the title of "The Clinical Approach to History," Dr. Wittke began the travel program to Europe with an average of 30 students, mixing travel and lectures throughout.

    After joining Professor Wittke and students on a visit to Munich, Germany in 1977, then University President James Brickley wrote, "I have told many people here at the University that to listen to a lecture by Dr. Wittke on the unification ... of Europe while standing in downtown Munich is an unforgettable experience." Wittke led 47 tours, and while most tours were to Europe, he also led tours to Australia, China and New Zealand.

    For those of you with a deeper appetite for history and the legacy of Professor Wittke, please take time to read this Eastern magazine article from Fall 2017. I also encourage you to listen to his lecture from the University Archives: 1963 lecture: A German Problem. Further details about Professor Wittke’s life and legacy can be found in this remembrance.

    We just learned of the passing of Dr. Regina Sallee Williams, who served as head of Eastern’s School of Nursing from 1990 until her retirement in 2001. She died April 12 at the age of 89. She was instrumental in the growth and development of the Nursing program during her time at the University. Her nursing career spanned more than 50 years.

    Further information about Dr. Regina Sallee Williams can be found in this Detroit News obituary.

    Our sympathies go out to their families, friends, associates, and the many people whose lives they touched.

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings;
    • Observe physical distancing; and,
    • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

    These four actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    Wishing you a safe and peaceful weekend.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., April 15, 2021

    Campus Update – April 15, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    The increasing number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and positive tests across Michigan remains a real and present health crisis. We, along with our colleagues at the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD), remind everyone to please use COVID-19 prevention measures whenever possible. Wear a face covering, keep your distance, and wash your hands often. Follow isolation or quarantine guidance, and get vaccinated as soon as an appointment is available to you.

    The University is reporting a higher number of off-campus cases over the past week. These cases are largely among students who have not recently visited campus. Our overall positivity rate for the testing conducted on campus remains at a very low level, 1.30%. The low campus positivity rate and the relatively low number of cases in on-campus isolation and quarantine are two key metrics we assess in terms of determining any changes to campus operations. As those metrics, which we closely monitor, remain relatively stable at this time our current operations model will continue.

    As communicated earlier today, the WCHD had to postpone our scheduled campus vaccination clinic for tomorrow (Friday, April 16) due to the nationwide pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson/Jannsen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine.

    All appointments through WCHD for a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Convocation Center for the remainder of this week will occur as scheduled. The WCHD has posted additional details about the process going forward.

    If your appointment to receive a J&J vaccine on campus was postponed this week, you should receive an email from the WCHD inviting you to schedule an appointment to receive the Pfizer vaccine at the EMU Convocation Center. Please monitor your email for updates.

    If you receive a Pfizer vaccine at the Convocation Center, you must be available to return to the Convocation Center three weeks later to receive your second dose.

    If you will not be able to return to the Convocation Center for the second dose, we urge you to schedule a vaccine appointment at a location where you will be able to receive both the first and second doses, with the second dose occurring three or four weeks after the first. Please click here to find locations to receive a COVID-19 vaccine that will be convenient for you.

    I have several additional updates to share this week:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • Grand Prizes Announced for Free COVID-19 Testing
    • Washtenaw County Vaccination Tracking
    • Women of Excellence Honorees
    • Men’s Basketball Alumnus Returns Home – Welcome Coach Stan Heath
    • Cheer Team Wins National Championship
    • Congratulate a Graduate!
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending April 13, the University administered 1,157 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 15 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 1.30%. We confirmed a total of 66 positive cases during this period. Of those, 29 were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and 27 were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. Among University employees, 10 cases were reported.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 33,701 tests with 380 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.13% -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Grand Prizes Announced for Free COVID-19 Testing

    Next Thursday we will have a series of drawings to select grand prize winners among students who have participated in the University’s free on-campus testing process this semester. The grand prizes are sure to appeal to many students. They include:

    Next week’s Student Center testing schedule:

    • Monday 12 - 4 p.m.
    • Tuesday 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
    • Thursday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

    You do not need to have symptoms or concerns that you have been exposed to the virus to be tested. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get tested, and to test frequently, regardless of how you feel. The testing process is fast and easy; results are provided within a matter of hours. You must register in advance; on-site registration is not permitted. Please visit our testing site to complete your profile and reserve a time.

    Student Body President Luis Romero shows how easy the testing process is in this video. Visit the testing FAQ if you have additional questions.

    Washtenaw County Vaccination Tracking

    The number of people receiving vaccines in our area continues to increase. As of April 13, Washtenaw County reported 80.4% of residents 65 or older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. For residents 16 and over, 48.2% had received at least one dose – up from 43.2% the week before. The data are being refreshed regularly. Visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for ongoing updates.

    Across the state of Michigan, as of April 13, 42.5% of residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 28.1% reported as completing the vaccine protocol. Details, as well as a county-by-county analysis, can be found on the Michigan vaccine dashboard.

    Women of Excellence Honorees

    Exceptional effort and service at Eastern Michigan University were recognized on Monday, April 12, during the Women’s Resource Center’s Annual Women of Excellence Ceremony, held virtually for the second consecutive year. Under the theme of “Women Becoming Whole: Physical, Spiritual & Mental Wellness,” the event featured keynote speaker Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, chief medical executive for the State of Michigan.

    The Women of Excellence Awards seek to recognize women and femme identified in the EMU community who live the mission statement of the Women's Resource Center: To encourage, support, and advocate for the personal, academic, and professional advancement of ALL women.

    This year the Women’s Resource Center celebrated three Women of Excellence Award recipients:

    • Jenny Clark - CATE Lab Coordinator, Disability Resource Center;
    • Allison Boone Green - Full-time Instructor and Advisor for the Interdisciplinary Leadership Minor, Leadership and Counseling Department, College of Education; and,
    • Rhonda Vander Zwagg - Director of Operations for EMU Women's Basketball, Department of Athletics.

    Student scholarship winners include:

    • Heather Bower - Social Studies/History Comp.
    • Simone Brown - Educational Leadership Doctoral Program.
    • Tiffany Chen - Higher Education Student Affairs (HESA) Graduate Program.
    • Hailee Hull - Secondary Education Integrated Science Comprehensive, Teaching and Learning with Secondary Certification.
    • Kari Klavon- Marketing and Minor in Psychology.
    • Katie Lane-Waters - Social Work and Women and Gender Studies.
    • Rachel Neil - Athletic Training.
    • Mikaela Trowbridge - Elementary Education Reading Comprehension and Art.

    Please visit the Women of Excellence EMU Today story to learn more about the event and fine work of the Women’s Resource Center.

    Men’s Basketball Alumnus Returns Home – Welcome Coach Stan Heath

    Earlier this week, we welcomed back former student-athlete and three-year men’s basketball letter winner (1985-87), Stan Heath, to become the program's 30th head basketball coach. Coach Heath is from Detroit and is a 17-year head coaching veteran. Most recently, Coach Heath guided Orlando Magic's NBA G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, to the franchise's first NBA G League championship and was named Coach of the Year. His collegiate career, as head coach or assistant, includes: Boston College, University of South Florida, University of Arkansas, Kent State, and Michigan State University, among others. He began coaching at Ypsilanti High School.

    Coach Heath earned a bachelor's degree in social science from Eastern Michigan in 1988 and received a master's in sports administration from Wayne State in 1993. Additional details about his background can be found in the announcement.

    I would like to thank and congratulate Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Wetherbee for conducting an exhaustive and successful search that brought home a coach with extensive head coaching experience, a distinctly positive and successful national reputation, with local roots, a commitment to student success on and off the court, and, to top it off, an Eastern Michigan alum and former letter winner. It doesn’t get any better than that. Highlights from Coach Heath’s first day of activities and his introductory press conference are available on the EMU Athletics website.

    Cheer Team Wins National Championship

    For the first time in program history, the Eastern Michigan University cheer program is a national champion. The Eagles claimed the National Cheerleaders Association Intermediate Small Coed Division IA title on Friday, April 9.

    Congratulations to Head Cheer/Spirit Coordinator Coach Mary Spilski and all of the team members!

    Congratulate a Graduate!

    Our announcement last week about how to celebrate our April 25 graduates has been met with considerable interest. More than 220 people have already submitted messages and videos! Visit the commencement website to give a shout-out to your favorite 2021 graduate. You can use text, animated images (GIFs), photos, or a short video.

    Visit the celebration page to see the messages already posted.

    A formal graduation ceremony video will be posted at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 25. Graduates, families and friends can view the video at that time, or anytime thereafter, on the University’s YouTube channel.

    We are planning to have in-person graduation celebrations at a later date for all graduates who have not had an in-person experience due to the pandemic. We are hopeful this will take place during our fall commencement, depending on public health considerations and the removal of restrictions for large gatherings.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m. The Food Pantry will be closed the week of April 26-30, and will reopen Monday, May 3.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry. Monetary contributions can be made online.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    We are pleased to celebrate these fine examples of Eastern Excellence:

    • The Victory Vertical Project: A Historical Case Study in Recreational Music Making, authored by Emeritus Professor Garik Pedersen, has been selected as the American Music Teacher Article of the Year. The award is presented by Music Teachers National Association to the author of an outstanding feature article written expressly for the magazine.

    Dr. Pedersen is professor emeritus of piano at Eastern. During his 40-plus year academic career, he taught undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and many other countries, producing prizewinners in regional, national, and international competitions.

    In 2018, he launched The Victory Vertical Project (VVP), a touring multi-media performance venture that takes its name from pianos built for the US military during World War II. The VVP has been presented to audiences throughout the United States in concert halls, churches, and museums, as well as schools, retirement centers, hospitals and military bases. You can read more about the award and Dr. Pedersen’s remarkable effort to preserve an important piece of history in this feature story on EMU Today.

    • Two students in the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology will have the opportunity to create and implement interior designs and engineering for aircraft during a paid, 12-week internship with Textron Aviation, the general aviation business unit of the conglomerate Textron, home to the Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker brands.

    The students are Marie Surur, a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, and Milo Lees, a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

    The internships reflect the efforts of the College to expand relationships with leading engineering and technology manufacturers and businesses across the country. In this case, the students will be traveling to Wichita, Kansas, where Textron Aviation is based.

    Surer told EMU Today, “I think what I’m most looking forward to is the hands-on, real industry experience that I’ll get at a time when we can’t necessarily get as much real-life experience in our classes given current COVID-19 lab restrictions.”

    Lees added, “We couldn’t be more thankful for the faculty in the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology for helping to coordinate these internships. Without their help and support throughout the entire process, we wouldn’t have this opportunity and access to such invaluable internships.”

    Additional information about the students and the internship program can be found on the EMU Today story.

    Please join me in congratulating everyone involved in these fine examples of Eastern Excellence!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings;
    • Observe physical distancing; and,
    • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

    These four actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., April 8, 2021

    Campus Update – April 8, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Fortunately, the dramatic surge in positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan is not being replicated on our campus. As you know, Michigan now has the undesirable distinction of leading the nation in the growth of positive cases, with hospitalizations and deaths increasing exponentially as well. Later in this message you will see that the University’s case numbers remain relatively low and the frequency of our on-campus testing process continues to be robust, but we are closely monitoring what is happening in our state.

    We’ve heard the term “pandemic fatigue” used frequently as an explanation for the increase in cases. While part of the reason for the increase is the reopening of external events and activities, it also is attributed to a greater number of people letting their guard down, not wearing face coverings, and not respecting physical distancing guidelines. I also need to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated. With vaccines more readily available to everyone 16 years old and over – I encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as you can.

    We have come so far in the last year – but we have yet to cross the finish line. So please, be safe. And be respectful of the safety of others.

    I have several additional updates to share this week:

    • One-Shot Vaccine Availability for Students
    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • Free COVID-19 Testing
    • Washtenaw County Vaccination Tracking
    • Top 10 National Finish for Forensics Team – Showcase Tonight
    • Michigan Chief Medical Executive to Deliver Keynote Address for Women of Excellence Ceremony
    • Congratulate a Graduate!
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    One-Shot Vaccine Availability for Students

    Michigan has announced the distribution of vaccines to colleges to support the vaccination of students. Under the state plan, Eastern is receiving an initial allotment of vaccines with additional allocations expected soon. Our team is currently making plans to conduct vaccinations. We also hope to offer on-campus vaccination to employees in the very near future. Please watch your email for updates. In the meantime, there are a number of options available for vaccinations and I strongly encourage everyone to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. You can find registration information at any of these sites:

    Washtenaw County Health Department
    Ford Field, DetroitVaccine Finder

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending April 6, the University administered 1,181 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 12 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 1.02%. We confirmed a total of 31 positive cases during this period. Of those, eight were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and 16 were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. Among University employees, seven cases were reported.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 32,544 tests with 365 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.12% -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Free COVID-19 Testing

    We continue to provide free COVID-19 testing at the Student Center at University expense. Next week’s schedule:

    • Monday 12 - 4 p.m.
    • Tuesday 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
    • Wednesday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    • Thursday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

    Students who get tested are automatically entered to win a special prize package; next week’s prize is provided by EMU Dining.

    You do not need to have symptoms or concerns that you have been exposed to the virus in order to be tested. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get tested, and to test frequently, regardless of how you feel. The testing process is fast and easy; results are provided within a matter of hours. You must register in advance; on-site registration is not permitted. Please visit our testing site to complete your profile and reserve a time.

    Student Body President Luis Romero shows how easy the testing process is in this video. Visit the testing FAQ if you have additional questions.

    Washtenaw County Vaccination Tracking

    The number of people receiving vaccines in our area continues to increase. As of April 6, Washtenaw County reported 81.9% of residents 65 or older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s up from 80.2% last week. For residents 16 and over, 43.2% had received at least one dose – up from 37.4%. The data are being refreshed regularly. Visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for ongoing updates.

    Top 10 National Finish for Forensics Team – Showcase Tonight

    The EMU Forensics team is among the Elite Eight nationally, with perhaps more success to come. The team competed virtually this past weekend at the American Forensics Association competition, placing eighth in the country! The team will compete in another nationwide competition, the National Forensics Association, on April 16-19.

    Tonight, beginning at 6 p.m., the team will put its skills, competitive zeal and commitment on display in its annual Forensics National Showcase, to be held virtually. The event will feature five performances – a sampling of the 75 individual performances that will compete next week.

    To watch the Showcase, you can register on the special newsletter page for the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre Arts.

    You can read more about the team's success and its marvelous winning tradition in the EMU Today story. And be sure to check in later this month to see how the team fared in its next competition.

    Michigan Chief Medical Executive to Deliver Keynote Address for Women of Excellence Ceremony

    Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan, will serve as the keynote speaker for Eastern’s annual Women of Excellence Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 12. The talk is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and is free and open to the public. You can register in advance at the registration link.

    Dr. Khaldun also serves as the Chief Deputy Director for Health and Human Services in Michigan. In these roles, she provides overall medical guidance for the State of Michigan as a cabinet member of the Governor, and oversees public health and aging programs, Medicaid, and behavioral health for MDHHS.

    The Women of Excellence Awards recognize women and femme identified individuals in the EMU community who live the focus of the EMU Women's Resource Center: To encourage, support, and advocate for the personal academic, and professional advancement of all women. The 2021 Women of Excellence Ceremony Theme is: “Women Becoming Whole: Physical, Spiritual & Mental Wellness.”

    Congratulate a Graduate!

    We are planning several activities to celebrate our graduating students. A formal ceremony video will be posted at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 25. Graduates, families and friends can view the video at that time, or anytime after, at their convenience on the University’s YouTube channel.

    You can give a shout-out to your favorite 2021 grad. Use animated images (GIFs), photos, or a short video to share well wishes and advice for the class of 2021. Visit the commencement website to submit your message.

    We are planning to have in-person graduation celebrations at a later date for all graduates who have not had an in-person experience due to the pandemic. We are hopeful this will take place during our fall commencement, depending on public health considerations and the removal of restrictions for large gatherings.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m. The Food Pantry will be closed the week of April 26-30, and will reopen Monday, May 3.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s most needed items are rice, large snacks, cereal, garbanzo beans and large containers of juices.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry. Monetary contributions can be made online.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    We are pleased to celebrate these examples of Eastern Excellence:

    • Dr. Mary Ramsey, professor of English language and literature, has been selected as one of 52 emerging college and university leaders for the 2021-22 class of the ACE Fellows Program, the longest-running higher education leadership development program in the United States. Since its inception in 1965, the ACE (American Council on Education) Fellows Program has strengthened institutions in American higher education by identifying and preparing more than 2,000 faculty, staff, and administrators for senior positions in college and university leadership through its distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model. Dr. Ramsey, who joined EMU in 2011, has served in a variety of leadership positions, including interim assistant vice president of The Honors College and English department head. She earned her doctorate in medieval studies at Yale University and master's degrees at the University of St. Andrew's and the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Ramsey told EMU Today, “I see this fellowship as an important step in my career trajectory. I am excited to begin what promises to be an extraordinary year of professional and personal growth.”

    • "EMU dazzles Duke, 75-60." That was the headline in The Ann Arbor News when Coach Ben Braun's Eastern Michigan team dominated the Blue Devils in the first round of the 1996 Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament. That victory was among the many highlights for Coach Braun. In his 10-plus seasons at Eastern, he led the men's basketball team to the most successful decade in school history. This month, we will have a special opportunity to hear from Coach Braun about his fine career and approach to life and basketball. The Eastern Michigan University Center for Jewish Studies is presenting a "Conversation With Coach Ben Braun" on Tuesday, April 20, at 7 p.m. There is no cost to attend the virtual event; registration is required.

    The event is co-sponsored by Hillel at Eastern Michigan University, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation's Life and Legacy Program, and Eastern Michigan University Athletics.

    Please join me in congratulating everyone involved in these fine examples of Eastern Excellence!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings;
    • Observe physical distancing; and,
    • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

    These four actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., April 1, 2021

    Campus Update – April 1, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    I’m sure for many of you our spring recess, that begins tomorrow, is a welcome break in the rush to complete the work for this semester. I think all of us are looking for a return to spring-like weather too, and if the forecast holds true, Saturday and Sunday look to be just what we’re looking for.

    As I write this message today, we are confronted with two serious issues. One is the rising number of COVID-19 cases in our state and nation; and second, much closer to home and very serious to our students and community, is our continuing need to confront sexual assault and to support survivors who bravely come forward to tell of their past victimization by other students.

    I want to reiterate my deep and unwavering support for all survivors of sexual assault, and our commitment to do everything we can to provide a safe environment for our students. As I’ve stated recently on several occasions, there is no place for sexual violence in our community.

    The University is committed to learning every detail about the cases that are the subject of a recent lawsuit. We want to know whether our processes related to these cases were followed and, if not, why not and what steps should be taken so that our students are protected and feel supported in reporting sexual assault. We have stated from the beginning of this matter that we are committed to full transparency in this process. To that end, last fall, EMU engaged Cozen O’Connor, an independent law firm recognized nationally for its expertise in Title IX, to review and assess EMU’s actions. The Cozen O’Connor report will be made public when it is finalized later this spring.

    Protecting students is critical to the University’s educational mission. Our staff in law enforcement, Title IX, student affairs, and elsewhere works tirelessly every day to try to create a safe and supportive community for students, faculty and staff.

    The University has initiated several actions in recent years to create greater awareness and encourage the reporting of sexual assaults. Much of this has been accomplished as a result of grants we have been awarded by the State of Michigan in recognition of our ongoing efforts. Details can be found in this Title IX grants update.

    These allegations are very serious and concerning to all of us. We will continue to share information throughout this process, and are committed to addressing any deficiencies in our processes that are identified. We have prepared an extensive questions and answers page to provide additional information about the recent lawsuit and the University’s actions.

    How to report a sexual assault
    Eastern Michigan University takes all claims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct seriously and is committed to the thorough investigation of these incidents. Anyone who has information or wishes to report an incident of sexual assault or misconduct is encouraged to contact EMU Police at 734-487-1222 or at [email protected], or file an incident report with the EMU Title IX Office.

    I have several additional updates to share this week:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • Free COVID-19 Testing
    • Washtenaw County Vaccination Tracking
    • Regent Dr. Jessie Kimbrough Marshall/Family Empowerment Program launch vaccine education effort
    • Renaming of Judy Sturgis Hill Building and the Legacy - Sponberg Theatres is complete with new signage
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    COVID-19 Dashboard
    In the seven days ending March 30, the University administered 1,305 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 15 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 1.15%. We confirmed a total of 33 positive cases during this period. Of those, three were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and 20 were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. Among University employees, 10 cases were reported.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 31,363 tests with 353 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.13% -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Free COVID-19 Testing

    We continue to provide free COVID-19 testing at the Student Center at University expense. Next week’s schedule:

    • Monday 12 - 4 p.m.
    • Tuesday 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
    • Wednesday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    • Thursday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

    Students who get tested are automatically entered to win a special prize package; next week it is provided by EMU Athletics. It includes some great athletic wear, valued at $120.

    You do not need to have symptoms or concerns that you have been exposed to the virus in order to be tested. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get tested, and to test frequently, regardless of how you feel. The testing process is fast and easy; results are provided within a matter of hours. You must register in advance; on-site registration is not permitted. Please visit our testing site to complete your profile and reserve a time.

    Student Body President Luis Romero shows how easy the testing process is in this video. Visit the testing FAQ if you have additional questions.

    Washtenaw County Vaccination Tracking

    The number of people receiving vaccines in our area continues to increase. As of March 30, Washtenaw County reported 80.2% of residents 65 or older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s up from 78% last week. For residents 16 and over, 37.4% had received at least one dose – up from 32.4%. The data are being refreshed regularly. Visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for ongoing updates.

    Regent Dr. Jessie Kimbrough Marshall/Family Empowerment Program launch vaccine education effort

    Eastern’s Family Empowerment Program, in collaboration with Regent and public health expert, Dr. Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, launched a vaccine education and outreach effort to educate the public about COVID-19 vaccines and access to getting a vaccine locally. The effort kicked off with nearly 30 volunteers going door-to-door at Ypsilanti Housing Commission communities last weekend to educate residents on the three approved vaccines, as well as provide information on local vaccine access. In addition, a webinar took place last night on Facebook Live. I was pleased to be asked to provide opening remarks -- you can watch a recording of the informative session on the [email protected] Facebook page. Speakers included Dr. Kimbrough Marshall and Dr. Kiela Samuels, Clinical Pharmacist and Professor, Washtenaw County Community College and Michigan Medicine.

    Renaming of Judy Sturgis Hill Building and the Legacy - Sponberg Theatres is complete with new signage

    I am thrilled to share that the installation of new signage at the renamed Judy Sturgis Hill Building and the Legacy - Sponberg Theatres has been completed. You can view photos of the new signage and other details in this EMU Today story.

    Professor Sturgis Hill served in many roles on campus prior to passing away in January 2019. She was an EMU student, a member of the national championship Forensics team, a student activist on campus during the Civil Rights struggles, a resident hall advisor, a graduate assistant, a part-time lecturer, a recipient of a King-Chavez-Parks fellowship, a faculty member, a faculty in-residence (living in the First Year residence hall for a number of years to support students in their transition to college life), the Director of Diversity programs, the Interim Director of Office of Affirmative Action, the co-chair of the Martin L. King, Jr. planning committee from its inception, and co-Director of the Summer Institute for the Arts and Sciences. Dr. Sturgis Hill was also EMU’s First National Forensics Champion, a recipient of the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award, a chosen faculty member to present in the Last Lecture Series, and a recipient of EMU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award.

    To view her name on this building is testament to her legacy and her impact on the University and our students.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s is seeking rice, microwave-ready meals, canned chicken, chicken noodle and chicken rice soup.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Monetary donations can be made online.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    We are pleased to celebrate these examples of Eastern Excellence:

    • The School of Nursing has been awarded a grant of $72,000 to develop a virtual reality program to address health inequities and social determinants of health impacting Asian Americans. This is to assist with the delivery of culturally-competent health care. The program is entitled “Immersive Community, Culture, and Care Experiences for Undergraduate Nursing Students: The 360-degree Difference." It will be developed and disseminated to all nursing schools in Michigan. EMU was one of only two nursing schools in the state to receive the award. Dr. Tsu-Yin Wu, professor of nursing and director of EMU Center for Health Disparities Innovations and Studies, will serve as project director. You can read more about the project on EMU Today.

    • More than 180 students participated in 41st Undergraduate Research Symposium last Friday (March 26). Conducted virtually for the second consecutive year, the event provided an opportunity for students to share their research via Zoom or other formats. The presentations were stimulating; it is always a joy to see the work of our students on display. My thanks also to the more than 100 faculty members who supported our students in their research. For the next two weeks, you can view the presentations on the 41st Undergraduate Research Symposium virtual platform. Please visit the EMU Today story for additional details.

      We were pleased to be joined by Eastern Michigan alumna Brenda Alten, who leads Human Resources Communications with the J.M. Smucker Company, who served as the keynote speaker for the Symposium. Alten, who graduated from EMU in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication, noted a common denominator of the student presenters in her remarks. “You all have something you’re passionate about and can share,” she said. Alten recalled her time at Eastern, which included participating in the 1987 symposium. You can read more about her background and her remarks by visiting the story on EMU Today.

    • I have a correction to last week’s highlight about WEMU’s first place award for Best News or Public Affairs Special at the Michigan Broadcast Excellence Awards. The guests of the “Ask the Experts” call-in program that won first place were Beverly Mihalko, associate professor of health administration, and Washtenaw County Sheriff (and EMU alum) Jerry Clayton.

    Please join me in congratulating everyone involved in these fine examples of Eastern Excellence!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings;
    • Observe physical distancing; and,
    • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

    These actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., March 25, 2021

    Campus Update – March 25, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    In light of the lawsuit filed yesterday on behalf of several sexual assault survivors, I want to reiterate my deep and unwavering support for all victims of sexual assault, and my commitment to do everything I can to ensure a safe environment for our students.

    The survivors who have come forward are showing incredible bravery in choosing to tell their stories. Although the University did not know about most of these cases at the time, we believe the claims of assault and are sickened to think that these events could have transpired on or around our campus community.

    In addition to our primary objective of supporting survivors, two further points are important to highlight in this matter: 1) Our campus is safe; and 2) Any accusations that the University covered up such crimes are false.

    As I stated in my message to campus yesterday, there is no place for sexual violence within our community and we will always take swift action to stop it. An important part of that commitment is communicating with students, faculty, staff and the community whenever something like this occurs, as well as providing information about the University’s handling of such cases.

    Upon learning about these reported assaults last fall, and as announced in September 2020, we undertook a thorough, independent external review of our Title IX and surrounding practices during the period in question. We engaged the national firm of Cozen O'Connor -- a specialist in Title IX work -- to help us in this important effort. We are committed to knowing if our processes related to these cases were followed by University employees and, if not, why not and what steps should be taken to ensure that our students are protected and supported. We are similarly committed to full transparency in this process. To that end, as indicated last September, the Cozen O’Connor report will be made public when it is finalized later this spring.

    In the meantime, we have prepared an extensive set of questions and answers to provide more perspective about the lawsuit and invite you to review it in detail.

    How to report a sexual assault

    Eastern Michigan University takes all claims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct seriously and is committed to the thorough investigation of these incidents. Anyone who has information or wishes to report an incident of sexual assault or misconduct is encouraged to contact EMU Police at 734-487-1222 or at [email protected], or file an incident report with the EMU Title IX Office.

    I have several additional updates to share this week:

    • Michigan COVID-19 Cases Increase
    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • Free COVID-19 Testing
    • Washtenaw County Vaccination Tracking
    • Give Rise: The Campaign for EMU
    • April Graduation – Tomorrow’s Deadline for Inclusion in Celebration Video/Website
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    Michigan COVID-19 Cases Increase

    Michigan has seen a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. As more older adults are vaccinated, the number of cases among younger adults is spiking. Yesterday, Michigan reported its highest single-day total in new cases since mid-December. This is a critical reminder that now is not the time to back away from safe practices. Wear face coverings. Maintain physical distancing. Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Get vaccinated when you are eligible. Let’s keep one another safe.

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending March 23, the University administered 1,262 COVID-19 tests that resulted in three positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.24 percent. During this time, we confirmed a total of 18 positive cases. Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 30,058 tests with 337 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.12 percent -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Free COVID-19 Testing

    We continue to provide free COVID-19 testing at the Student Center at University expense, and we are pleased to announce expanded testing hours. Testing is now available on Mondays beginning next week, from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. The Testing Center is also open Tuesdays from 9 - 2 p.m., Wednesdays from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., and Thursdays from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

    Students who get tested are automatically entered to win a special prize package - next week it is provided by EMU Dining. It includes an Echo Dot, and a snack and swag bag!

    You do not need to have symptoms or concerns that you have been exposed to the virus in order to be tested. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get tested, and to test frequently, regardless of how you feel. The testing process is fast and easy; results are provided within a matter of hours. Remember, you may be tested multiple times.

    You must register in advance; on-site registration is not permitted. Please visit our testing site. to complete your profile and reserve a time.

    Student Body President Luis Romero shows how easy the testing process is in this video. Visit the testing FAQ if you have additional questions.

    Washtenaw County Vaccination Tracking

    We continue to see encouraging news on the vaccination front. As of March 23, Washtenaw County reported 78% of residents 65 or older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s up from 74.1% last week. For residents 16 and over, 32.4% had received at least one dose – up from 27.7%. The data are being refreshed regularly – visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for ongoing updates.

    Give Rise: The Campaign for EMU

    At Eastern Michigan University, we are proud of what we have created, we are proud of who we have become, and we are excited about where we are going.

    Earlier today we celebrated the virtual kickoff of the $100 million Give Rise Campaign. We are thrilled that so many of our colleagues and students are highlighted in this celebration. Here are just a few of them:

    • Dr. Anne Casper and Dr. Paul Price researching ways to create new antibiotics.
    • Dr. Sarah Cox and Dr. Rema Reynolds talking about the impact teachers can have in the classroom and the community.
    • Dr. Bud Gibson providing a glimpse at the impressive Center for Digital Engagement and how it has grown into a powerhouse for professional guidance to EMU students.
    • Dr. Linda Myler and Dr. Kathleen Seurynck bringing us into the IEP Simulation experience at St. Joe's and the transformative education our students receive in healthcare programs.
    • Dean Mohamad Qatu walking us through all the beautiful enhancements to the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology.
    • Our students speaking on what makes EMU special, with an encore performance by members of the EMU Marching Band.
    • And, much more!

    To join us in the celebration, please watch the Give Rise launch video.

    We look forward to ongoing communication with you as we continue to celebrate in the days and weeks ahead, as we Give Rise to EMU!

    April Graduation – Tomorrow’s Deadline for Inclusion in Celebration Video/Website

    As previously communicated, we are planning several activities to celebrate our graduating students. A formal ceremony video will be posted at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 25. Graduates, families and friends can view the video at that time, or anytime after, at their convenience on the University’s YouTube channel.

    Students who apply to graduate by tomorrow, March 26, will have their names included in the formal video and posted on the Commencement website. Students should apply for the month they are graduating – whether April or August. August graduates who apply by March 26, as noted above, will be included in the April celebration.

    Please visit the Records and Registration graduation website to apply for graduation and to find other details and deadlines. Also visit the Commencement website for ongoing updates about the ceremony as well as the distribution of diplomas and the ordering of regalia.

    We are planning on having in-person graduation celebrations at a later date for all graduates who have not had an in-person experience due to the pandemic. We are hopeful this will take place during our fall commencement, depending on public health considerations and the removal of restrictions for large gatherings.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room have changed slightly. Mondays are now 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. beginning next week, Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m. remain the same.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s is seeking milk, rice, notebooks, large snacks and microwave-ready meals.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Monetary donations can be made online.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    We are pleased to celebrate these examples of Eastern Excellence:

    • Student David DeLisle, who is pursuing a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, won the first prize award for Best Student Paper in the American Society for Engineering Education North Central Section Conference. His paper was "Control System Integration for Automating an Electric Golf Cart."
    • David was also selected as the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology Outstanding Electrical Engineering/Computer Engineering Student for this academic year. He plans to apply to graduate schools to further his education in Electrical Engineering and electric vehicles. His long-term goal is to earn a Ph.D. and work with a university or automotive manufacturer to create the next generation of electric and autonomous vehicles.
    • Two of the University’s brightest stars have been honored by the Michigan Chronicle in its Women of Excellence for 2021 awards. Board of Regents Chair Eunice Jeffries and Dr. Rema Reynolds, associate professor in Leadership and Counseling, are among those selected for the honor from hundreds of nominees. The Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence Awards celebrates local African-American women who inspire others through their vision and leadership, exceptional achievements, and participation in community service.
    • Earlier this week, WEMU was awarded first place for Best News or Public Affairs special at the Broadcast Excellence Awards, presented virtually by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. The winning program was the “Ask the Experts” call-in program that took place in the early stages of the pandemic in March 2020. Hosted and moderated by WEMU's Lisa Barry, Sherry Bumpus, director of nursing operations, and Beverly Mihalko, assistant professor of health administration, spent an hour answering questions about COVID-19 from listeners who posed questions by phone, email, or via Facebook Live.

    Please join me in congratulating everyone involved in these fine examples of Eastern Excellence!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings;
    • Observe physical distancing; and,
    • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.

    These four actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., March 18, 2021

    Campus Update – March 18, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Yesterday's murders of eight people in Atlanta, six of them Asian women, are a horrific reminder of the racism faced by Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans (APIDA) and Asian individuals and communities. While the motive of the suspect remains under investigation, it is well documented that in the last year, coinciding with the pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in hate incidents against APIDA that range from verbal harassment and name-calling to shunning and physical acts of violence. This kind of hate runs counter to everything the Eastern Michigan University community stands for. We are committed to addressing all forms of hate and harassment and I encourage you to support our APIDA and Asian community members at this time. Let them know you care. Please remind others that EMU is a welcoming place for people of every background, ethnicity, race, culture and creed.

    To report a suspected hate-motivated incident, please call the EMU Police Department at 734.487.1222, visit the Police Station at 1200 Oakwood St., or call the EMU Police Department anonymous tip line at 734.487.4847. Visit the EMU Police hate crimes page for additional information.

    If you or someone you know is seeking supportive resources, visit:

    Counseling and Psychological Services (if student)

    Employee Assistance Program (if employee)

    If you're interested in learning more about Eastern's APIDA and Asian communities, please contact the Southeast Asian Student Organization or the Office for International Students and Scholars.

    I have several additional campus updates to share this week:

    • Michigan House of Representatives Higher Education Subcommittee Testimony
    • Faculty Members Support Vulnerable Adults Legislation
    • First Virtual U.S.-China Agriculture Roundtable
    • Women’s History Month Final Program Next Week
    • Reminder: Free COVID-19 Testing
    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • Washtenaw County Vaccination Tracking
    • Fall Semester Planning
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    Michigan House of Representatives Higher Education Subcommittee Testimony

    This morning, I testified before the Michigan House Higher Education Subcommittee as part of a series of hearings with Michigan public university presidents. In my testimony, I explained that Eastern, like so many of our peers, faces acute challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic as we continue preparing students for high-demand careers that benefit the state of Michigan. I stated that the nationwide impact on higher education from COVID-19 has been catastrophic.

    I noted that we are an institution of opportunity – that our mission is to serve students who might not otherwise have the chance to attend college. I then addressed our deeply challenging work in recent years to increase efficiency and reduce costs, and thanked Governor Whitmer for proposing additional funds for higher education in the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget.

    Please visit the testimony overview for a complete look at today’s presentation.

    Faculty Members Support Vulnerable Adults Legislation

    Two faculty members also spoke to Michigan lawmakers this week, advocating for new state laws to protect Vulnerable Adults with disabilities against online predation.

    Assistant professors Christina Marsack-Topolewski, Ph.D., LMSW and Annemarie Kelly, JD, LLM, from the College of Health and Human Services, testified before the Michigan House of Representatives Committee for Families, Seniors, and Children.

    Speaking in support of House Bills 4159 and 4160, Kelly and Marsack-Topolewski implored the lawmakers to enact legal protections against online predation of Vulnerable Adults.

    They articulated the reasons why Vulnerable Adults need legal safeguards against internet predators. Marsack-Topolewski stated, “Many Vulnerable Adults maintain social connections using the internet and they are at the highest risk for online predation. We need to adopt laws that deter abuse and hold abusers accountable.”

    Kelly explained, “Michigan already has laws in place to prevent in-person abuse against Vulnerable Adults. These bills modernize our laws to reflect that exploitation occurs online.”

    If the bills are passed, it will become a criminal act in Michigan to threaten, intimidate, command, force, coerce, or exploit a Vulnerable Adult into providing sexually explicit material. Under Michigan law, Vulnerable Adults include any “individual age 18 or over who, because of age, developmental disability, mental illness, or physical disability, requires supervision or personal care or lacks the personal and social skills required to live independently.”

    Further details about the professors and their testimony can be found in the story on EMU Today.

    First Virtual U.S.-China Agriculture Roundtable

    As some of you may know, I am an active supporter of the United States Heartland China Association. Next week that group will launch a three-week program, “Shared Challenges to Shared Future: Finding the Way Forward.” Billed as the first virtual U.S. China Agriculture Roundtable, the program focuses on how transformations in agriculture can help address the major challenges of our time and stabilize bilateral relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Additional information and registration information is available on the United States Heartland China Association Agriculture Roundtable event information page. I encourage all who might have interest in this complex topic to join for one or more of these virtual sessions.

    Women’s History Month Final Program Next Week

    The final event for Women’s History Month takes place from 4-5:30 p.m. next Thursday, March 25: "Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All." The EMU History Section is hosting the event, which will feature Martha Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. Click on the Zoom link to participate. Information about all of this month’s events celebrating Women’s History Month can be found on EMU Today.

    Reminder: Free COVID-19 Testing

    We continue to provide free COVID-19 testing at the Student Center at University expense. We tested nearly 1,100 people last week. The center is open Tuesday – Thursday, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The process is fast and easy; results are provided within a matter of hours. You can be tested more than once. We encourage frequent testing. Students living in campus housing are tested twice per month. We are offering a raffle for free giveaways for those who are tested at the Student Center – watch your email and University social media to learn about next week’s prize.

    You must register in advance; on-site registration is not permitted. Visit our testing site to complete your profile and reserve a time. Student Body President Luis Romero explains the easy testing process in this video. Please visit the testing FAQ if you have additional questions.

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending March 16, the University administered 1,078 COVID-19 tests that resulted in five positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.46 percent. During this time, we confirmed a total of 20 positive cases. Of those, eight were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and 10 were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. Two cases were reported among University employees.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 28,796 tests with 335 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.16 percent -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Washtenaw County Vaccination Tracking

    We continue to see encouraging news on the vaccination front. As of March 16, Washtenaw County reports 74.1% of residents 65 or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s up from 65.6% last week. For residents 16 and over, 27.7% have received at least the first dose – up from 24.6%. The data are being refreshed regularly – visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for ongoing updates.

    The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide), in partnership with the Washtenaw County Health Department, has announced free transportation to the Convocation Center vaccination site. The service began yesterday. Anyone with a scheduled appointment at the site may use the service. All fares normally charged will be paid for using the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding.

    Fall Semester Planning

    We are in the process of planning for the Fall 2021 semester. President Biden recently announced that the pace of vaccinations is now ahead of the goal his administration set earlier this year. As a result, we have started to plan for a return to a significantly increased number of in-person classes and on-campus activities this fall. Our current planning scenarios include one in which courses that have an in-person component account for approximately 65% to 75% of the fall course schedule, and two other scenarios with reduced levels of in-person activities (50% and 20-25%). This new baseline schedule is more similar to a traditional fall semester structure, but it does reflect an increased number of online offerings and hybrid modalities. We have learned during the pandemic that there is increased demand for different types of online course opportunities. However, we also understand that for many students, particularly those in their first and second years, a more traditional in-person/on-campus experience provides the greatest opportunity for a successful start to achieving their degree.

    Of course, we are approaching our planning cautiously and carefully, with safety considerations a primary consideration. Our #EMUSafe initiatives, led by our public health work teams, have guided the institution to a low overall COVID-19 case count relative to other universities in Michigan. We will continue to engage our faculty and staff experts to adjust protocols accordingly, with the safety of our students, faculty and staff paramount in all we do. The aforementioned planning scenarios ensure that, should we not be able to operate at the in-person capacity noted above, we are prepared to adjust our operations.

    I thank our students, faculty and staff for their adjustments and hard work to get us through the semester. I remain deeply grateful for our faculty’s extraordinary efforts to adapt course delivery and our student’s compliance with the many practices necessary to keep one another safe and our case numbers low.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The winter hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 12 - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m., and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s is seeking large juice, baby food, baby wipes, beans and sponges.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Monetary donations can be made online.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    Since the pandemic began, 89.1WEMU has been unable to produce traditional on-air fundraisers, which typically ran seven to eight days in duration and included dozens of in-studio guests from the community with hundreds of volunteers. Instead, the station has relied on a series of 'pop-up' fundraisers, short one- and two-day events centered on special days or activities that feature recorded messages from the WEMU team and carefully managed and appropriately distanced live pitch breaks.

    The most recent ‘pop-up’ was yesterday, recognizing St. Patrick's Day. Dubbed 'The Raising of the Green,' WEMU set out to collect $17,000 in 13 hours. WEMU met the goal before noon and, not wanting to lose the momentum generated by that response, doubled the goal to $34,000. Assisted by some spontaneous challenge matches and a focused, motivated WEMU team, the fundraiser ended with a total of $38,610; more than $21,000 over the original goal of $17,000. Some donor comments from yesterday are below:

    • “During COVID, WEMU was a life saver: deepest thanks.”
    • “Thank you to WEMU for exceptional local news and inspired local music hosts for helping us get through the dark days of the past year!”
    • “Thanks for keeping the news, blues, jazz, and roots flowing through our community veins -we need it now more than ever.”
    • “Thanks WEMU for being a rock for the community during the pandemic.”

      WEMU's next pop-up fundraiser will celebrate Public Radio Music Day on Friday, April 16. Congratulations #TeamWEMU!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings;
    • Observe physical distancing; and,
    • Get vaccinated as you are eligible.

    These four actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., March 11, 2021

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 11, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    The Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) is now vaccinating approximately 1,100 people daily at the clinic operating at the University’s Convocation Center. This number has increased as vaccine supplies have become more available. The clinic is operating Wednesday – Saturday from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. WCHD is considering expanding those hours as vaccine supplies allow. The County has opened a second mass vaccination clinic at Pierce Lake Elementary School in Chelsea, in collaboration with St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital and the Chelsea School District. The new site will provide approximately 325 vaccinations per day and will also add additional hours as supplies allow.

    Vaccination eligibility information is online; you can also register for a vaccination online if you are eligible.

    As of March 9, the County reports 65.6% of residents 65 or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. For residents 16 and over, 24.6% have received at least the first dose. The data is being updated regularly – visit the WCHD vaccination tracking site for details.

    This is encouraging data and we will continue to monitor it, as well as report the number of new cases and positivity rates, as we actively plan for a higher number of in-person classes and campus activities for the fall semester.

    I have several updates to share this week:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • COVID-19 Testing
    • Summer and Fall Semester Planning
    • April Commencement Celebration
    • Increasing Pell Grant Maximum Award
    • George Liepa Sigma Xi Speaker Series
    • Women’s History Month Programs Next Week
    • Rebuilding the U.S. Refugee Program
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending March 9, the University administered 1,113 COVID-19 tests that resulted in five positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.45 percent. During this time, we confirmed a total of seven positive cases. Of those, six were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and one was an on-campus student – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. No cases were reported among University employees.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 27,718 tests with 330 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.19 percent -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    COVID-19 Testing

    We continue to provide free COVID-19 testing at the Student Center at University expense. As noted above, we tested more than 1,100 people last week. The center is open Tuesdays – Thursdays, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The process is fast and easy; results are provided within a matter of hours. You can be tested more than once. We encourage frequent testing. Students living in campus housing are tested twice per month. We also are offering a raffle for free giveaways for those who are tested at the Student Center – watch your email and University social media to learn about next week’s prize.

    A reminder, you must register in advance; on-site registration is not permitted. Visit our testing site to complete your profile and reserve a time. Student Body President Luis Romero explains the easy testing process in this video. Please visit the testing FAQ if you have additional questions.

    Summer and Fall Semester Planning

    As we stated last week, planning for the summer and fall semesters is ongoing. The class schedule for Summer A will be similar to last summer – nearly all classes will be taught online. Summer B will also be similar to last summer – with more in-person classes but with the large majority of these still being online.

    For the fall semester, we are actively planning for a greater number of in-person classes and on-campus activities. We will continue to offer online/remote courses. Student data nationwide indicate a strong desire for in-person college choices for the fall semester, particularly traditional first-year students entering from high school. As we all know far too well, the pandemic has been marked by progress and setbacks. We are approaching our planning carefully, with safety at the forefront and an understanding that changing circumstances will require adjustments in our overall operations.

    April Commencement Celebration

    As communicated previously, we are planning several activities to celebrate our graduating students. A formal ceremony video will be posted at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 25. Graduates, families and friends can view the video at that time, or anytime after that at their convenience, on the University’s YouTube channel. Students who apply to graduate by March 26 will have their names included in the formal video and posted on the Commencement website. Students should apply for the month they are graduating – whether April or August. August graduates who apply by March 26 as noted above will be included in the April celebration. Please visit the Records and Registration graduation website to apply for graduation and to find other details and deadlines. Also visit the Commencement website for ongoing updates about the ceremony as well as the distribution of diplomas and the ordering of regalia.

    A reminder, we are planning on having in-person graduation celebrations at a later date for all graduates who did not have an in-person experience due to the pandemic. We are hopeful this will take place during our fall commencement, depending on public health considerations and the removal of restrictions for large gatherings.

    Increasing Pell Grant Maximum Award

    I am highly supportive of the growing effort to expand Pell Grant awards to double the current maximum for individual students. The Pell Grant is the federal government’s foundational investment in higher education. I have joined with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) in signing a letter to Congress urging a doubling of maximum Pell Grant awards. The letter will be submitted in the days ahead, and states, in part:

    “On behalf of the undersigned organizations and institutions, we urge you to bring an affordable, high-quality college education within reach for all students by doubling the maximum Pell Grant. This long overdue investment will drive economic recovery, help address racial and economic inequities in college completion rates, and increase overall educational attainment.

    “The Pell Grant program is the nation’s foundational investment in higher education. Pell Grants help nearly seven million low- and moderate-income students attend and complete college annually. Students from all 50 states and all corners of the country — from rural areas to cities to everywhere in between — rely on the Pell Grant program to build their future. Pell Grants are especially critical for students of color, with nearly 60 percent of Black students, half of American Indian or Alaska Native students, and nearly half of Latinx students receiving a Pell Grant each year.

    “However, the share of college costs covered by the grant is at an all-time low. At its peak, the maximum grant covered three-quarters of the cost of attending a four-year public college. Now, it covers less than one-third of that cost.

    “Unsurprisingly, Pell Grant recipients continue to bear disproportionate student debt burdens. Pell Grant recipients today are more than twice as likely as other students to have student loans, and grant recipients who borrow graduate with over $4,500 more debt than their higher-income peers.

    “Students from low- and moderate-income families are in critical need of additional grant aid to pay for college. Doubling the maximum Pell Grant — and permanently indexing the grant to inflation to ensure its value doesn’t diminish over time — will boost college enrollment, improve graduation rates, and honor the history and value of these grants as the keystone federal investment in college affordability.”

    George Liepa Sigma Xi Speaker Series

    Dr. Anne Casper, a professor of Biology known for her research and strong support of students, will present the annual George Liepa Sigma Xi Speaker Series in a virtual talk Thursday, March 18 from 7 – 8 p.m. Her Zoom talk is entitled “Effective Teaching to Support Inclusivity and Diversity in STEM.” The event is free and open to the public, including all members of the EMU community.

    Dr. Casper, a winner of the Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Professor Award, EMU’s highest academic honor, has active research programs in both science education, supported by the National Science Foundation, and in molecular genetics, supported by the National Institutes of Health, as noted in this profile on EMU Today.

    The George Liepa Sigma XI Speaker Series Endowed Fund was established in 2011 in memory of the late George Liepa, a professor of human nutrition and a department head in the College of Health and Human Services. Dr. Liepa was an active member of Sigma XI, a national Scientific Research Honor Society.

    Women’s History Month Programs Next Week

    Tuesday, March 16, 1 – 5 p.m. The 4th Annual Women of Color Feminisms & Leadership Symposium, Day 1, “Reimagining, Rebuilding & Recreating Ourselves as Women of Color”: The EMU Center of Race & Ethnicity, Women’s and Gender Studies and the Women’s Resource Center will host its Fourth Annual Women of Color Feminisms & Leadership Symposium, entitled “Reimagining, Rebuilding & Recreating Ourselves as Women of Color.”

    The two-day event continues on Wednesday, March 17, 1 – 5 p.m. It provides a breathable space for Women of Color to envision a world without limitations, unlearn false narratives of who THEY told us we should be and, prioritize healing so that we can create new versions of ourselves without fear. Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo” Movement, will serve as the event’s keynote speaker. Registration for the event is required, and can be completed through the event registration page.

    Tuesday, March 16, 6:30 - 8 p.m.: “Star Lecture 3: Making her Mark.” Join the Honors College for the final Star Lecture of the semester, "Making Her Mark: Marian Butler and Black Women’s Efforts to Secure Racial Justice," presented by Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Murphy. The lecture will be hosted via Zoom. For more information, visit the Honors College Event Calendar, or contact Jieron Robinson at 734.487.0341 or [email protected].

    Rebuilding the U.S. Refugee Program

    In conjunction with the Presidents' Alliance, Every Campus a Refuge, and the Niskanen Center, I have joined with university colleagues across the country in support of an initiative asking the U.S. Government to enact policies aimed at restoring and rebuilding the nation’s refugee program, in part through the incorporation of college- and university-based sponsorship programs of refugee students and families.

    The letter to the U.S. Secretary of State and the Secretary of Health and Human Services can be found online. As in-person instruction returns, I am hopeful that we, as a community with donor partners, can assist in allowing a few refugee students the opportunity to experience the true greatness of EMU.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The winter hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 12 - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m., and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s is seeking ready-to-eat microwaveable items, such as: Kraft macaroni and cheese cups, ravioli and other Chef Boyardee goods, rice pouches and cups, and ramen cups. The pantry also continues to need school supplies such as notebooks, binders, sticky notes and highlighters.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Monetary donations can be made online.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

    • Eastern’s Simulation, Animation and Gaming (SAG) Program has been ranked among the best in the Midwest and among the top five of its kind in Michigan in annual listings from Animation Career Review. The ninth annual rankings listed Eastern 18th in the Midwest. Brad Prescott, founder of the Animation Career Review, said, “The rankings are quite competitive. With 125 schools under consideration, many go unranked. EMU has consistently ranked as one of the top schools in the Midwest.”
    • Ryan English, assistant professor in the SAG program said, “The Simulation, Animation, and Gaming faculty is very pleased with our ranking, but we know that there is always room for improvement, which we strive towards. Our students gain exposure to concepts that are quickly and quietly becoming ingrained into the world around us, everything from gamification of careers to mixed reality applications in many fields.”
    • The 41st annual Undergraduate Symposium will take place on Friday, March 26 in a virtual format. This highlight of undergraduate research and creative projects serves as a cumulative reflection of the academic year. Beginning in 1981, the Symposium was one of the first of its kind in the nation. This year, the event will enter its fifth decade of showcasing exceptional academic undergraduate work from students in a wide variety of departments and colleges. Visit the EMU Today story for further details and highlights of some of the research to be presented this year. As in past years, this year’s virtual event will feature oral speaking presentations, poster displays, and projects from the Crossing Lines Design Expo. The Symposium will host 195 students, under the mentorship of 103 faculty mentors, featured within 178 unique projects. Attendees will find a combination of pre-recorded and live content to view and engage with.
    • The annual Graduate Research Conference (GRC) will be held virtually on Friday, March 19. The GRC will exhibit more than 100 scholarly and creative research projects of graduate students across a range of disciplines, departments, and colleges. This year’s event will feature live oral presentations every hour, beginning at 9 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. and a live poster session from 10:30 - 11:45 a.m. There will also be recorded oral and poster presentations available to view throughout the entire day. As in years past, there will be a live keynote speaker from noon to 1 p.m. Dr. Shawn T. Mason, a GRC alumnus and current Director of Research and Outcomes for Johnson & Johnson Health and Wellness Solutions, is this year’s keynote. The session will include presentations from the two winners of the Virtual 3-Minute-Thesis Competition, students L’Meese Greaney and Dorothy Zahor. For further updates, visit the GRC website.

    Congratulations to the students, faculty, staff and alumni who represent Eastern so well!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings; and,
    • Observe physical distancing.

    These three actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., March 4, 2021

    COVID-19 Campus Update – March 4, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    The combination of spring-like weather and President Biden’s update on Tuesday that there will be a sufficient supply of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of May for all American adults who wish to be vaccinated has created hope that we’ve moved through the most critical stages of the pandemic. While there have been positive signs along the way, this is the strongest indication that the heartbreaking impact of the disease – the enormous death toll, hospitalizations and the destructive effect on lives, jobs and economy – may finally be waning.

    I am reminded, however, that it is far too early to let our guard down. The disease is still spreading – yesterday there were more than 65,000 new cases in the U.S., and more than 2,300 deaths.

    The biggest factors to slowing the spread, in addition to the increasing number of vaccinations, remain physical distancing, the proper wearing of face coverings, and washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer. We do not take these matters lightly. We ask every Eagle to continue to do their part to ensure positive cases continue to decline, that we keep one another safe, and that we do not senselessly create any super-spreader events.

    I was pleased to tour our testing operation at the Student Center and the Washtenaw County Health Department’s vaccination clinic at the Convocation Center yesterday with new Regent Dr. Jessie Kimbrough Marshall. It is always gratifying to see these efforts in action and it is a great reminder of our commitment to the breadth of work needed to keep everyone safe.

    We have several items to cover in this week’s message:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • COVID-19 Testing
    • Summer and Fall Semester Planning
    • Women’s History Month Programming Begins
    • Legendary Coach Bob Parks Remembered
    • Peace Corps Turns 60
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending March 2, the University administered 1,087 COVID-19 tests that resulted in two positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.18 percent. During this time, we confirmed a total of six positive cases.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 26,605 tests with 325 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.22 percent -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    COVID-19 Testing

    We continue to provide free COVID-19 testing at the Student Center at University expense. Next week the testing center will be open Tuesday – Thursday, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The testing process is fast and easy; results are provided within a matter of hours. If you have already been tested, you can be tested again. We encourage frequent testing. You must register in advance; on-site registration is not permitted. Please visitour testing site to complete your profile and reserve a time. Student Body President Luis Romero explains the easy testing process in this video. Visit the testing FAQ if you have additional questions.

    Summer and Fall Semester Planning

    Planning for the summer and fall semesters is ongoing. The class schedule for Summer A will be similar to last summer – nearly all classes will be taught online. Summer B will also be similar to last summer – with more in-person classes but with the large majority of those classes being online.

    We are proceeding with fall semester planning. Our baseline fall schedule plan provides for a greater number of online/remote courses than have been offered in pre-COVID years and an increased number of in-person courses than this past year. Student data nationwide indicate a strong desire for in-person college choices for the fall semester, particularly traditional first-year students entering from high school, but also a different balance of online and in-person overall. We are creating two alternative scheduling scenarios that could be implemented should public health conditions, especially the vaccination process, not proceed as currently predicted. We will publish the baseline schedule but review the situation carefully as the summer semester begins and adjust as needed.

    The pandemic has been marked by progress and setbacks. We are approaching our planning carefully, with safety at the forefront and an understanding that changing circumstances will require adjustments in our overall operations. I ask that our community members remain flexible and understanding in the face of the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic.

    Women’s History Month Programs Begin

    • Sunday, March 7, 3 p.m.: The EMU Center for Jewish Studies presents “Mira Awad: A Concert/Conversation.” The Israeli/Palestinian singer-songwriter, actress, artist and content creator will perform and speak to attendees. This free event will be streamed live on EMU’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
    • Monday, March 8, 5:30-7 p.m.: The Global Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women: Intersections of Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Work and Immigration.
    • Thursday, March 11, 5-6:30 p.m.: Women’s Leadership Panel: The Black Honors Student Organization will celebrate Women’s History Month with a Women’s Leadership Panel that will bring together six inspiring women of color to share their experiences and journeys to leadership positions. They will discuss several topics, ranging from diversity, equity and inclusion, resilience, newly entering the workforce, strengths and failures, inspirations, and more.

    Registration details and Zoom information for these events, along with the complete lineup of Women’s History Month programs, can be found on the Women’s History Month story on EMU Today.

    Legendary Coach Bob Parks Remembered

    It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that legendary track & field and cross country coach Bob Parks passed away yesterday at the age of 90. He is the most decorated coach in Eastern Michigan Athletics history. His teams captured 31 MAC titles and he was named MAC Coach of the Year 22 times. Under his coaching, EMU teams won six NAIA and NCAA team titles; he was named NCAA National Coach of the Year once and Regional Coach of the Year nine times. Parks was a collegiate runner at Eastern Michigan from 1951-55 and was the head men's track & field and cross country coach for 34 years (1967-2001). He retired having established a tradition of success within the Eagles cross country and track and field programs. Our deepest condolences go to all who knew and worked with him, particularly to his family and daughter Sue Parks, the current Director of Eastern’s Cross Country and Track & Field teams. Further details about Coach Parks’ life and career can be found in the EMU Athletics news release.

    Peace Corps Turn 60

    This week marks the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps, the special volunteer federal program that provides vital international social and economic development assistance around the world. In addition to the various EMU students, faculty and staff who’ve served in the Peace Corps, I’d like to recognize a particular group of returning volunteers.

    Students in our Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows program are Peace Corps volunteers who have returned and are supported in earning a Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA-TESOL), while continuing their service in local underserved communities. The program is part of our distinguished Department of World Languages. These students include: Nick Russon, Laura Hancock, Kit Tetmeyer, Jacob Johnston, John Mask, Brian Rankin, Tara Ancone, and Briahna Anders.

    On this special occasion marking the Peace Corps’ founding, which was first announced by President John F. Kennedy on the steps of the Michigan Union in Ann Arbor, I salute these students for their service, along with the rest of our EMU community that has taken part in this remarkable worldwide effort.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The winter hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 12 - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m., and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s is focusing on school supplies this week, and is seeking donations of notebooks, sticky notes, highlighters, loose-leaf paper and small (2" or less) binders.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Swoop's is conducting a campus-wide event this month and shared this message to our community:

    Instead of a March Madness competition this year, let's come together in unity to make progress in fighting food insecurity on EMU's campus!

    This means not only stocking the pantry with food but also making sure EMU students know about and can access the pantry.

    Ways you can help:

    • Share information about Swoop's Food Pantry with students by sharing information. Swoop's is available for any student!
    • Make cash donations to the EMU Foundation so that Swoop's can purchase nutritious food, personal hygiene and household items (please indicate in the comments which department or building you represent).
    • Donate items by shopping & dropping items to the pantry (or requesting a porch pickup) or by using the Amazon Wish List (please indicate in the order what building or department you represent).

    Swoop's will be tracking donations by building/department and reporting out the results for those who would like to know.

    Please share this information with those in your building or department, and please reach out with any questions.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

    • Our Clinical Research Administration graduate program is the third highest ranked program in the United States and number one in Michigan according to Bestvalueschools.org, which rates various university programs throughout the country. The program has consistently been ranked as one of the top of its kind in the United States by a variety of national educational reference sources. Dr. Jean Rowan, program director of the Clinical Research Administration Program, notes that this was one of the first academic programs developed in the discipline. It offers small class sizes with well-qualified, experienced faculty. “We are pleased to be recognized in various forums as one of the best places in America to obtain a Master of Science degree in Clinical Research Administration,” Dr. Rowan said. “Such honors speak to our continued leadership and excellence in the field. Our graduates now hold key roles at medical research centers, contract research organizations and pharmaceutical and medical device companies in the US and internationally.”
    • A nutrition team has received a $4,000 grant to improve access to healthy local foods and develop greater food and agricultural literacy in seeking to reduce health disparities in the low-income Asian American population in Kent County. The Association of State Public Health Nutritionists “Farm to Early Care and Education Capacity Building Grant” was awarded in January and will run through July 2021.
    • The team is from the University’s Center for Health Disparities Innovations and Studies (CHDIS), which aims to improve the lives of various communities by reducing racial and ethnic disparities in Michigan. “This initiative will be beneficial to the children in this community, as they will be exposed to local, nutritious foods and edible gardening, and will be provided a chance to learn about food and agriculture,” said Dr. Olivia Ford, co-leader of the team along with Dr. Alice Jo Rainville, a fellow professor of nutrition and dietetics.

    Congratulations to the students, faculty, staff and alumni who represent Eastern so well!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings; and,
    • Observe physical distancing.

    These three actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., Feb. 25, 2021

    COVID-19 Campus Update – Feb. 25, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    COVID-19 cases among students, faculty and staff continue to decline significantly, thanks to the targeted and aggressive approach of our COVID operations team. The efforts span several offices and individuals – and include extensive contact tracing, telehealth evaluations, testing, wastewater monitoring, and the isolation and quarantining of potentially exposed individuals. These efforts have become a full-time priority for many on our team, including housing and dining staff, and testing and medical support staff. I can’t thank and acknowledge these team members enough for their dedication, commitment and plain old hard work.

    As we approach the one-year mark of our massive and unprecedented transition to mostly online learning, I extend my deep appreciation to our faculty, who converted in-person courses to online under extraordinary circumstances. I also acknowledge the fine efforts of our facilities and other operational teams who helped implement our Safe Return to Campus Plan.

    Eastern Michigan University students have excelled in their compliance to our #EMUSafe initiatives. Our students continue to show true Eagle spirit in protecting fellow students and community members – by maintaining physical distancing, avoiding gatherings, and wearing face coverings.

    This coordinated and comprehensive effort among our entire community of students, faculty and staff is one of the finest responses to a crisis that I have observed in my professional career. Again, my deepest thanks to everyone involved.

    We have several items to cover in this week’s message:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • COVID-19 Testing
    • Washtenaw County Health Department Vaccination Update
    • University Wellness Days March 3 & 4
    • April Commencement
    • Black History Month
    • Center for Jewish Studies Presents Mira Awad: A Concert/Conversation/Women’s History Month
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending Feb. 23, the University administered 1,233 COVID-19 tests that resulted in five positive cases, for a positivity rate of 0.41 percent. During this time, we confirmed a total of seven positive cases. This represents a dramatic decline from the 82 cases in the final week of January and returns our positive case count to the low levels of the fall semester.

    Of the seven cases reported last week, five were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and two were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. No cases were reported among University employees.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 25,518 tests with 323 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.27 percent -- considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    COVID-19 Testing

    We continue to provide free COVID-19 testing at University expense. Student populations living in on-campus housing are among the prioritized testing groups, but each week testing is opened for all University students and employees. Next week testing in the Student Center will be open Tuesday – Thursday, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The new testing process is fast and easy; results are provided within a matter of hours. You must register in advance; on-site registration is not permitted. Please visit our testing site to complete your profile and reserve a time. Student Body President Luis Romero explains the testing process in this video.

    Washtenaw County Health Department Vaccination Update

    The Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) continues to schedule appointments for individuals currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, including EMU employees and students who fit into priority categories defined by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Although EMU does not determine these prioritizations, we continue to advocate to government officials that EMU faculty and staff are critical to the functioning of the University and that vaccination prioritizations should reflect that fact. President Biden and other government officials have stated that vaccinations should be available to every adult who wants one by mid-summer.

    Vaccinations will remain by appointment only through the WCHD registration website. Complete details and registration information can be found in yesterday’s vaccination update to campus.

    Personal Wellness Days March 3 & 4

    As announced in December, Wednesday, March 3, and Thursday, March 4, have been designated as academic personal wellness days. My thanks to the Faculty Senate and Provost Longworth for working with me to provide students and faculty with a well-deserved opportunity to catch up and take time for personal care, particularly with this year’s elimination of the traditional one-week winter recess. It is important to note that University offices will remain in operation, but no classes will be held on these two days. Based on questions we have been receiving, I want to emphasize that there are to be no class meetings or activities, virtual or in-person, on the personal wellness days. If you wouldn’t have the activity in an equivalent in-person format, it should not be held or conducted or due on these days. Students who have questions or concerns should contact the dean of their college for assistance.

    The Student Affairs Programming Committee has scheduled a variety of personal wellness events that will take place via Zoom each day. You can find a list of these events on EMU Today and on the University calendar. The Rec/IM will remain open during its standard hours from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. offering a full range of activities, including a ping pong tournament next Thursday from 5 – 7 p.m. Information about dining options can be found at the EMU Dining website. The Student Center will be open both days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free COVID-19 testing, as noted earlier in this message, will continue in the Student Center from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    April Commencement

    We congratulate our students who are nearing the completion of their degrees. We are proud of their accomplishments over the past several years and particularly during the last eleven months, which have been extremely challenging.

    Unfortunately, the still-limited rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and government regulations limiting the size of public gatherings will not allow us to host an in-person graduation ceremony in April. This is disappointing news for our graduates, their families, and faculty and staff. Celebrating our graduates in the Convocation Center is one of my favorite events of the year. We join with many other universities that have made the same decision.

    We are planning several activities to celebrate our graduating students and will continue to communicate directly with students who have applied to graduate. A formal ceremony video will be posted at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 25. Graduates, families and friends can view the video at that time, or anytime after that at their convenience, on the University’s YouTube channel. Students who apply to graduate by March 26 will have their names included in the formal video and posted on the Commencement website. Please visit the Records and Registration graduation website to apply for graduation and to find other details and deadlines. Also visit the Commencement website for ongoing updates about the ceremony as well as the distribution of diplomas and the ordering of regalia.

    Black History Month

    Black History Month programming has been extensive and stimulating. I would like to express thanks to all faculty, staff and students who have participated in these efforts for reaffirming that Black History is American History – and is to be celebrated 365 days a year. Tomorrow’s event, “Art and Soul of Black Broadway,” focuses on the history of Washington, D.C.’s U Street. It takes place from 6 – 7 p.m. Visit the EMU Today calendar for registration information and details about all University happenings.

    The extended social media interviews with University leaders continue tomorrow with Regent Nathan Ford. The interviews are featured on the University’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Previous interviews this month include Board of Regents Chair Eunice Jeffries, Regents Alexander Simpson and Dr. Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, Dr. Rema Reynolds, Greg Peoples, Mark S. Lee and Dr. N.J. Akbar. These interviews can be viewed on YouTube.

    Center for Jewish Studies Presents Mira Awad: A Concert and Conversation/ Women’s History Month

    March is Women’s History Month. We are proud to provide several events that shine a light on women’s rights around the world and on racial equality for women of color. The EMU Center for Jewish Studies begins Women’s History Month programming with “Mira Awad: A Concert/Conversation” on Sunday, March 7, at 3 p.m. The Israeli/Palestinian singer songwriter, actress, artist and content creator will perform and speak to attendees. Awad has been a forceful activist for women’s rights, equal citizenship for Palestinians living in Israel, a two-state solution, and environmental awareness. This free event will be streamed live on EMU’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Details about other Women’s History Month programming can be found on the Women’s History Month story on EMU Today.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The winter hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 12 - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m., and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Swoop’s indicates the demand for spices and seasonings has been great and this week they are seeking salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder, red pepper flakes, seasoning mixes, and other spices.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

    For the fourth consecutive year, Eastern Michigan University has been named one of the top military and veteran friendly universities in the country, according to annual rankings released this month by Military Friendly. EMU ranked second among large public universities in the United States, and first in the state of Michigan in the annual listing.

    Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.) Mike Wise, assistant director of Military and Veteran Services at Eastern, said, “EMU military and veteran students and their families have exceptional support throughout the campus, from the top on down. Eastern Michigan’s pledge to military and veteran students is evidenced through its commitment to student veteran support, its establishment of a veteran support center and a 69-year commitment to its Army ROTC program.” You can read more about this meaningful designation and our veterans support services in the story on EMU Today.

    In another terrific honor, the bachelor’s degree program in paralegal studies has been ranked among the 20 best in the nation, and the number one public university program in Michigan. The ranking was provided by Study.com, a website that helps students research potential schools, degrees and careers. It selected Eastern’s paralegal program based on U.S. Department of Education data, academic and career resources, quality of education and faculty.

    Elizabeth Donovan, a professor in the School of Technology and Professional Services Management in the College of Engineering and Technology, said, “Equipped with technological skills as well as critical thinking skills, our graduates are perfectly positioned for employment in an array of settings, as well as graduate studies in fields such as business or law.” You can learn more about the program and the ranking in the EMU Today story.

    Congratulations to the students, faculty, staff and alumni who represent Eastern so well!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings; and,
    • Observe physical distancing.

    These three actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., Feb. 11, 2021

    COVID-19 Campus Update – Feb. 11, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    As we persevere through the rather typical February in Michigan deep freeze, I hope you, your friends and families are staying safe and warm. The cold weather looks to be with us for a while, so please take appropriate precautions.

    To begin this week’s update, I would like to thank the many people on the University’s COVID-19 response team who have been operating on overdrive for the past two weeks as the number of positive cases among our community spiked. Thanks to the response team’s tireless, determined and strategic efforts, our case numbers stabilized and over the past week have dropped considerably. You will see the numbers below in the weekly dashboard update – but I would be remiss in not acknowledging the extraordinary efforts by team members in addressing positive cases, quarantining students when necessary, and conducting contact tracing to identify and isolate other potential cases.

    We have several items to cover in this week’s message:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • COVID-19 Testing Changes
    • Washtenaw County Health Department Vaccination Update
    • Senate Testimony: Pandemic Impact at Michigan Public Universities
    • Black History Month Update
    • Lunar New Year
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending Feb. 9, the University administered 1,683 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 29 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 1.72 percent. During this time, we confirmed a total of 43 positive cases. This compares to 82 positive cases during the week of Jan. 27 – Feb. 2, and 58 total positive cases during the week of Jan. 20 – Jan. 26.

    Of the 43 cases reported last week, 21 were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and 14 were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. Eight cases were reported among University employees.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 22,969 tests that resulted in 310 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.35 percent. Our positive rate is considerably lower than state and national tracking. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    We continue to work closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department and appreciate its support of our actions to address the current caseload.

    COVID-19 Testing Process

    The University’s new and expanded testing location inside the Student Center, in the former Amazon location, is allowing us to increase our testing capacity as planned. We are in our second week of operations at this location. Next week, we will transition to a new COVID-19 test – Abbott BinaxNow. It is a non-invasive, shallow nostril swab that is self-administered (with observers present) that circulates around the circumference of the lower nostril area. It is not the more invasive stick swab that goes deep into the nasal cavity.

    Abbott BinaxNow is the primary test used by the federal government, and was just recently permitted to be used by other organizations. A key benefit of the test is the rapid results -- within a few hours via an online portal. This compares to previous tests in which results were not available for 48-72 hours. It is also available at a lower cost, allowing the University to purchase a greater quantity of tests, significantly expand the number of tests conducted, and increase the frequency of testing. This is particularly important for our mandatory testing process for higher risk populations (housing, dining, etc.)

    Consistent with all of our past testing, these new tests are free to students and employees and are provided at University expense as part of our #EMUSafe efforts.

    Abundant signage, an instruction video and personal assistance are available at the Student Center location to help make it a fast and easy process. Please continue to monitor your emich email for updates on the scheduling of tests and the hours of operation of this testing facility.

    Washtenaw County Health Department Vaccination Update

    The University’s Convocation Center continues to host Washtenaw County’s only mass vaccination clinic. Beginning next Tuesday, the clinic will be expanded to include St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor vaccination operations. The Convocation Center has proved to be a key resource in this process due to its size and ease of access (parking and proximity to highways). We are proud to support this critical community initiative. The expanded vaccination clinic, and ongoing partnership with the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) and St. Joe's, are reflective of Eastern's overall mission and support of the greater community. This is yet another example of the national recognition and rationale behind the University's Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement. Vaccine appointments will remain by appointment only through the WCHD registration website. Complete details and appointment registration information can be found in the news release on EMU Today.

    Senate Testimony: Pandemic Impact at Michigan’s Public Universities

    This afternoon I had the opportunity to testify, virtually, before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Universities and Community Colleges. I testified on behalf of the state’s 15 public universities, which are represented by the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU). I outlined the dramatic negative consequences of the pandemic to the financial bottom line of Michigan's universities, while providing an overview of the extraordinary efforts by universities to transition to online classes and provide a safe environment. I also emphasized the toll the pandemic is taking on our students. My final comments were directed toward support for prioritizing faculty and staff personnel at Michigan universities for earlier vaccinations, given their interaction with student populations on campus. A comprehensive overview of my testimony is available in this EMU Today news release.

    Black History Month

    Black History Month activities are underway. The theme for EMU’s 2021 Black History Month celebration is “A Tribute to our Blackness.” Upcoming Black History Month events are listed below. Please visit the Black History Month news release on EMU Today for additional details about the events and registration information.

    • Thursday, Feb. 18, 6 p.m.: Black History Month Jeopardy
    • Thursday, Feb. 18, 6 - 8 p.m.: The State of Civil Rights in America: What Does the Future Portend?
    • Thursday, Feb. 18, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.: Star Lecture Series: An Ordinary Black Woman's Journey toward Social Justice and Empowerment
    • Wednesday, February 24, 7 p.m.: Who Will Save American Democracy? The Role of Women, Young Voters and People of Color in American Politics
    • Thursday, February 25, 4 - 5:30 p.m.: Lost Opportunity: Willis Ward, the Strike at Willow Run, and the Rise of Civil Rights Unionism in Detroit

    Extended interviews with EMU leaders will be featured on the University’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please follow those sites for updates.

    For more information on EMU events, always visit the EMU Today calendar.

    Lunar New Year

    Tomorrow, February 12, 2021, marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year; this year is the Year of the Ox. The ox is known for diligence, dependability, strength and determination. These are the qualities we all hope to build on as we begin the transition from a pandemic to a return to a new normal of sorts, not only at EMU but nationwide. The Asian population in the United States exceeds 23 million and, of that, the Asian population in the U.S. that are Chinese or of Chinese descent exceeds 5.2 million according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    I send my warmest wishes to our alumni across Asia, and our students, faculty, staff and alumni here in Michigan and throughout the country as we begin the Lunar New Year and, of course, welcome in the Year of the Ox. From the lion dances in San Francisco to festivals in Atlanta and parades in New York City and Washington, D.C., Americans of Asian descent carry on the vibrant traditions of their past generations and enrich America's cultural diversity. I hope all those celebrating the New Year enjoy peace, prosperity, and good health in the many days ahead.

    新春愉快,牛年大吉

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The winter hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 12 - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m., and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the new 2020-21 Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    The items most needed this week are: rice, ramen, grape jelly, large snacks and hot chocolate.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

    • Summit Street, an Eastern Michigan University student a cappella group, has qualified to compete in the quarterfinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Tournament on Saturday, March 13. Established in 2019, Summit Street is a TTBB (tenor, tenor, baritone, bass) a cappella group, which is traditionally an all-men’s chorus. However, aligned with EMU’s mission to foster a diverse and inclusive community, the singing group is open to anyone regardless of identification. The group currently consists of 13 singing members and three tech members who assist with all aspects of recording, video production and more. The EMU Today story has more details about the group and the upcoming competition.
    • The latest episode of EMU Today TV highlights the University’s Master of Science in Finance program (MSF), with special guest Associate Professor of Finance Karen Ann Craig. The MSF program, started in fall 2019, is AACSB-accredited and STEM-designated, and is designed for recent graduates and working professionals.
      The second segment features Gregory Peoples, 2020 recipient of the Alumni Association’s John W. Porter Distinguished Service Award, and Emeritus Dean of Students and University Ombudsman. Peoples is a student affairs professional with more than 40 years of experience as a university administrator.
    • Ingrid Saunders Jones, who earned a Master’s degree in education at Eastern in 1972, is an industry and civic leader who has helped open paths for African Americans and women. From 1982 to 2013, Saunders Jones held a number of positions with the Coca-Cola Company and the Coca-Cola Foundation, which are based in Atlanta, where she still lives. She retired in 2013 as senior vice president of global community connections with the company and as chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation. You can read more about Ingrid Saunders Jones and her thoughts on Black History Month in the story on EMU Today.

    Congratulations to those students, faculty and alumni who represent Eastern so well!

    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings; and,
    • Observe physical distancing.

    These three actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., Feb. 4, 2021

    COVID-19 Campus Update – Feb. 4, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    Our COVID-19 testing data from the past two weeks highlights the critical nature of continuing to follow safe practices – primarily the wearing of proper face coverings that cover the nose and mouth, maintaining six-foot physical distancing, and frequent hand washing (experts say eight times a day) and the use of hand sanitizers.

    The data make it clear that the COVID-19 pandemic remains an ever present danger to everyone in our campus community and we must take extra precautions to slow the spread. While the ramping up of vaccine distribution continues, we know it will be several months before enough people -- particularly younger people not in priority populations -- are vaccinated to mitigate the spread of the disease.

    It is critical that we all continue to do our part as outlined in the #EMUSafe Pledge: Take the Pledge. Stop the Spread, and that we follow the practices and protocols detailed on the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website.

    I also encourage our campus community to take advantage of the free COVID-19 testing we offer each week. Additional details follow in today’s message.

    I have several items to cover in this week’s update:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • COVID-19 Testing Changes
    • Black History Month
    • National Wear Red Day
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending Feb. 2, the University administered 1,497 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 66 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 4.41 percent. During this time period, we confirmed a total of 82 positive cases. Of those, 14 were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and 58 were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. Ten cases were reported among University employees.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 21,286 tests that resulted in 281 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.32 percent. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Our weekly case counts for the past two reporting periods are at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic. We have identified several causes for these increases, and actions have been implemented to address them and mitigate additional spread. We continue to work closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department and appreciate their support of our actions to address the current caseload.

    It is important to remember that our overall positivity rate remains low and that the actions we implemented when facing a similar increase in late October/early November effectively resulted in lower case numbers. We will continue to carefully monitor these data and take additional appropriate actions as needed.

    COVID-19 Testing Changes

    Our free COVID-19 testing for students and employees has been positively received and we have been working hard to expand test availability for the remainder of the semester. We have conducted more than 21,000 tests, at University expense, for students and employees since the start of the pandemic.

    As announced last week, it is our intention to further expand on-campus testing – thanks to the University’s purchase of additional test kits. This week we relocated the testing center to the Student Center – it is now stationed on the south side of the building where Amazon formerly operated. This move has gone smoothly and provides us with larger space and a highly visible location. The site also provides easier access to parking and bathrooms, and offers improved accessibility. We will continue to offer testing at this location to our campus community, while increasing mandatory testing for students living in EMU residential housing and other higher risk populations. Please continue to monitor your email for updates on next week’s testing schedule.

    Black History Month

    In honor of Black History Month, Eastern Michigan University is offering a number of virtual open-to-the-public events that will help to celebrate and reflect upon Black history. The theme for EMU’s 2021 Black History Month celebration is “A Tribute to our Blackness.” A roundup of Black History Month events is below. Please visit the Black History Month news release on EMU Today for additional details about the events and registration information.

    • Tuesday, Feb. 9, 5 p.m.: What Does Black History Month Mean to Us
    • Thursday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m.: Black Excellence in the Workplace: Financial Literacy
    • Thursday, Feb. 18, 6 p.m.: Black History Month Jeopardy
    • Thursday, Feb. 18, 6 - 8 p.m.: The State of Civil Rights in America: What Does the Future Portend?
    • Thursday, Feb. 18, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.: Star Lecture Series: An Ordinary Black Woman's Journey toward Social Justice and Empowerment
    • Wednesday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m.: Who Will Save American Democracy? The Role of Women, Young Voters and People of Color in American Politics
    • Thursday, Feb. 25, 4 - 5:30 p.m.: Lost Opportunity: Willis Ward, the Strike at Willow Run, and the Rise of Civil Rights Unionism in Detroit

    In addition, the EMU Center of Race and Ethnicity (CORE) will celebrate on social media through the month by honoring prominent Black figures and key historical events. Visit CORE’s Facebook and Instagrampages to view the posts.

    The University’s social channels will feature extended interviews with EMU community leaders, including: Regents Eunice Jeffries, Alex Simpson, Dr. Jessie Kimbrough Marshall and Nathan Ford; recent John W. Porter Distinguished Service Award recipient Greg Peoples; and Professor Rema Reynolds, who was recently honored with the 2021 MLK Humanitarian Award as part of the University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. The interviews will air on the University’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

    For more information on EMU events, visit the EMU Today calendar.


    National Wear Red Day

    The first Friday in February (tomorrow, Feb. 5) is National Wear Red Day, designed to bring awareness to women’s heart health. Supported by the American Heart Association in conjunction with American Heart Month, people across the country wear the color red in order to raise and spread awareness in hopes to help eradicate heart disease and stroke.

    The University is a long-standing sponsor of the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. This year’s Washtenaw County Heart Walk is schedule to take place on May 22 at Rynearson Stadium. Please join me in wearing red tomorrow to raise awareness about heart health! Share your photos on the University’s social channels by using the hashtags #EMUForHeartHealth and #TRUEMU.


    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The winter hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 12 - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m., and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the new 2020-21 Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    The items needed are: grape jelly, gluten-free pasta, rice, salad dressing, ramen noodles, large snack items, re-usable bags, hand sanitizer, hand soap, and milk and cheese.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.


    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University excellence

    Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

    • The Eastern Michigan University Moot Court Program experienced the broadest level of success this year in its distinguished history, with numerous competitors excelling in tough regional competition and two teams advancing to the national tournament. The excellent showing by numerous EMU students comes on the heels of last year’s overall national title, won by Charles Graham III, a senior this year, and Kelsey Hall, who graduated. Team coach Barry Pyle, a professor of political science at EMU, says last year was wonderful, but this year is even more satisfying. “Last year was great, but to me, as an educator, this year was even better,” Pyle said. “There were so many people who did so well … It’s a whole panoply of students who don't get the press, but get the education and experience here at Eastern, and they take that with them into law school and enjoy powerful legal careers.” You can read more about this special season in the story on EMU Today.
    • In March 2020, the Eastern Michigan University student Baja racing team was gearing up to compete in a national competition. They were hard at work building and making improvements on the EMU Baja car in hopes of winning at the competition to take place a couple months later—until the pandemic hit. While the competition was moved virtually, the team members competed, without driving the car they’d worked so hard on. The team placed 44th out of 100 in the virtual event by presenting its design and business plans to a panel of judges. While the experience was still beneficial to the team, it was a disappointment to not be able to drive the car. Fast-forward to today, and the Baja team has its sights set on a 2021 victory more than ever. Its chances are strong, with more experience and a $5,000 Ford Motor Company Fund grant to help the team get there. For more details, see the Baja Car story on EMU Today.

    Congratulations to everyone involved in these fine efforts!


    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings; and,
    • Observe physical distancing.

    These three actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., Jan. 28, 2021

    COVID-19 Campus Update – Jan. 28, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    The optimist in me wants to embrace the notion that we are rounding the corner to a return to a post pandemic “new normal.” The pragmatist/realist in me is far more cautious and concerned about the days and weeks ahead. While positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan are stabilizing, the highly contagious variant strain B.1.1.7. is becoming more prevalent. Many of you may be aware of yesterday’s public health action at the University of Michigan, recommending that students there stay-in-place to curtail the spread of the new strain. While this is not the case at Eastern, we are seeing an increase in case counts in our community. Currently, we do not have any indication whether or not the uptick is due to the variant strain, but it is nevertheless very concerning and we need to remind ourselves that we are clearly not out of the woods.

    Because vaccinations are underway, the temptation for many people can be to let their guard down. I’ve observed it myself. Some people are not wearing face coverings properly, or at all. The reminders about hand washing seem not to be taken as seriously. Indoor in-person gatherings, even among individuals on our campus, have started to pop up. To no one’s surprise, we have several positive cases resulting from these actions. I urge you all to continue to observe guidelines for wearing face coverings, physical distancing, and handwashing. Now is not the time to let down our guard!

    I have several items to cover in this week’s update:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • COVID-19 Testing Changes
    • Preliminary Summer and Fall Semester Planning
    • Continued Support for DACA Recipients
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University excellence
    • Health and safety reminder

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    In the seven days ending Jan. 26, the University administered 1,457 COVID-19 tests that resulted in 39 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 2.68 percent. During this time period, we confirmed a total of 58 positive cases. Of those, 13 were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive and 42 were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. Three cases were reported among University employees.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 19,789 tests that resulted in 215 positive results for an overall positivity rate of 1.09 percent. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Our weekly case count is the highest it’s been since the start of the pandemic; hence my cautionary message at the beginning of this week’s update. We have identified several causes for this, and actions have been implemented to address them and mitigate additional spread. We continue to work closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department and appreciate their support of our actions to address the current caseload. As stated earlier, we do not currently have evidence of the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7. in our campus community though there are confirmed cases in Washtenaw County.

    It is important to remember that our overall positivity rate remains low and that the actions we implemented when facing a similar increase in late October/early November effectively resulted in lower case numbers.

    COVID-19 Testing Changes

    Our free testing for students and employees has been positively received and we have been working hard to expand test availability for the remainder of the semester. I am pleased to announce that expanded testing – double our current capacity -- is scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 8. Please join me in acknowledging the fine work of Dr. Lynn Shetron, professor and program director for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, and Dr. Sherry Bumpus, director of nursing operations for the School of Nursing, in leading this effort, as well as the work of so many other experts on our campus who have supported this initiative. Please watch your email – we will have additional information about this next week.

    Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 2, we will relocate our testing center to the Student Center on the south side of the building where Amazon formerly operated. This will provide us with the space to significantly expand testing. The larger space and its location in the Student Center will be assets to our expanded testing process. It also provides easier access for parking and bathrooms, and offers improved accessibility. We plan to continue to offer testing to our entire campus community, while increasing mandatory testing for students living in EMU residential housing and other higher risk populations.

    Preliminary Summer and Fall Semester Planning

    As noted in last week’s message, we are currently planning for Summer “A” courses to be primarily scheduled remotely much as we have scheduled winter semester. We believe Summer “B” may be able to include more in-person classes but still offer proportionally more online opportunities. This information is preliminary but as I have said so many times this past year is subject to revision based on changing conditions on and beyond campus.

    We are actively considering plans for the fall semester, with some expectation of a return to a “new normal” that will include in-person classes as well as expanded hybrid and online course delivery. The planning process is in the preliminary stages and will be finalized with the University community’s input in the weeks ahead. I can assure you that our #EMUSafe practices will remain at the forefront of the planning process.

    Continued Support for DACA Recipients

    With the change in administration, I am pleased to report that the future of DACA -- the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- appears now to be on firmer ground. The program, which began in 2012, allows non-citizens who arrived in the United States before the age of 16 to remain here without risk of deportation under specified circumstances. Our University has stood, and continues to stand, steadfastly in support of the program, which, among other things, allows non-citizens to seek and pursue higher education in the United States. Although we were dismayed in recent years at some attempts to weaken DACA, recent actions offer renewed hope and the promise of increased stability for DACA recipients.

    Specifically, the DACA program now has largely been restored to its original state, and will accept both renewals of status and first-time requests providing two years of DACA protection. Moreover, on Jan. 20, 2021--his first day in office--President Biden issued a Memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security take all actions “consistent with applicable law, to preserve and fortify” DACA, signaling that the program is a priority for the new President. President Biden also sent a bill to the new Congress, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which would provide a roadmap to citizenship for all undocumented non-citizens. Although a legal challenge to the program remains pending in federal court, increased legislative protection for the DACA program would effectively end such challenges.

    As we watch these developments, here on campus we continue to support and advocate for our non-citizen students. We will continue to raise our voices on their behalf at both the state and national levels, contact our congressional representatives, share our students' stories, and provide resources to assist them, both on campus and off. If you'd like to get involved in this effort, please visit the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration (presidentsalliance.org); here you can download a sample advocacy letter or to simply keep abreast of the myriad issues that surround this concern, one that impacts the daily lives of thousands of young people in our country.


    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The winter hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 12 - 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 - 6:30 p.m., and Thursdays 12 - 5 p.m.

    Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the new 2020-21 Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.


    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University excellence

    Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

    • Lori Marie Kay, a registered nurse at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia and a student in the RN to BSN online program, performed to a nationwide television audience on Jan. 19 as part of the inauguration events of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. “It’s an honor to be here with you, and with President-elect Biden,” Kay said as she prepared to sing “Amazing Grace” in front of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, which was framed by 400 glowing lights signifying the 400,000 American deaths from COVID. You can watch her performance here and find additional details and background in this EMU Today story.
    • Stephanie Wladkowski, professor of social work, has been chosen as a Sojourns®Scholar, one of 12 emerging palliative care leaders in the United States. The scholars program is administered by the Cambia Health Foundation and is designed to identify and advance the next generation of palliative care leaders. Each scholar receives $180,000 in funding ($90,000/year over a two-year period) to conduct an innovative and impactful project in the field of palliative care. Dr. Wladkowski’s project will build her previous work on hospice care. In 2020, she received a $427,276 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the needs of patients’ post-hospice discharge and how patients and their caregivers attempt to meet those needs. She said she will use the funding to develop a live discharge protocol (LDP) for hospice social workers to guide their assessment of the specific service and psychosocial needs for the patient and primary caregiver during post-hospice care.

    • U.S. News and World Report features two Eastern programs in its latest rankings of top online programs in the United States. The Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program was ranked 60th in the country, and second in Michigan, in the category of non-MBA master’s programs. Online graduate programs in the College of Education were ranked 144th this year, in the top four among the Michigan public university online education programs. The College of Education has online master’s programs in Educational Leadership, Educational Psychology, Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Early Childhood Education and the Social Foundations of Education.

    Congratulations to everyone involved in these fine efforts!


    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings; and,
    • Observe physical distancing.

    These three actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Thu., Jan. 21, 2021

    COVID-19 Campus Update – Jan. 21, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    With the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines underway, albeit somewhat haltingly due to supply and distribution issues, we can now see a future in which a return to expanded in-person classes and limited public gatherings can resume. We also know that the new administration in Washington, D.C. is making vaccine distribution an urgent priority. For certain, we are months away from having a majority of citizens vaccinated, but there is comfort in knowing a return to some level of our past routines is on the distant horizon. This gives me great hope and optimism as we enter the new year and a new semester.

    This Monday, Jan. 25, we will transition from the fully online course delivery model in place for the start of the semester to the course schedules as noted in the syllabus, which include a small number of in-person classes (approximately 10 percent). This is consistent with the course delivery model last fall, and reflects our ongoing institutional commitment to slow the spread of COVID-19, reduce the number of positive cases among our campus community, and keep everyone as safe as possible.

    I am proud of our efforts in this regard, which are the result of extensive planning, the expertise and work of our faculty and staff, a commitment to an inclusive team approach to problem solving, and our flexibility in adapting to the ever-changing pandemic landscape. Our overall number of COVID-19 cases remains quite low in comparison to state and national averages. Our efforts were documented in an MLive story this week: Testing, telehealth, teamwork: How Eastern Michigan University kept COVID-19 cases low (readers will need an MLive subscription to read the story in full).

    Despite the optimism for the future, now is not the time to let our guard down:

    • Face coverings are required to be worn on campus grounds, both indoors and outdoors, with few exceptions. The covering must cover your nose and mouth.
    • All members of the campus community must complete the COVID PASS Daily Health Screening each day they are on campus. This requirement also applies to students who live in on-campus housing.
    • All members of the campus community must complete the University’s COVID-19 Report Form if you test positive for COVID-19, have close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, or experience symptoms of COVID-19.

    We have several items to cover in this week’s message:

    • COVID-19 Dashboard
    • Preliminary Summer Semester Planning
    • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
    • Center for Jewish Studies to Host Antisemitism Author
    • Swoop’s Food Pantry Update
    • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
    • Health and Safety Reminder

    COVID-19 Dashboard

    We continue to support the free testing effort for students and employees. In the seven days ending Jan. 19, the University administered 1,648 tests that resulted in 18 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 1.09 percent. During this time period, we confirmed a total of 28 positive cases. Of those, 18 were students who live off-campus and had no contact with campus prior to the time they tested positive; seven were on-campus students – defined as a student who was living on campus or had visited campus during the applicable time period prior to the time they tested positive. Three cases were reported among University employees.

    Since Aug. 12, the University has administered a total of 18,332 tests that resulted in 178 positive results for a positivity rate of 0.97 percent. Complete details can be found on the University's COVID-19 Dashboard.

    Preliminary Summer Semester Planning

    Summer classes begin on May 5. Now is a good time for students to plan to take advantage of the summer semester to catch up or get ahead on credit hours. Our current plan is for Summer “A” to be fully online as it was last summer, with Summer “B” to offer a small number of in-person classes as occurred last summer as well. This information is preliminary and will be finalized with our University community’s input in the weeks ahead.

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

    This year’s virtual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, “We the People Speak: No Justice, No Peace,” may have been modified to accommodate the pandemic, but it was certainly no less powerful and meaningful.

    From the scholarship awards, to the CloseUP Theatre performance, to the academic programs, to the keynote speech and following panel discussion, the celebration reflected Eastern at its finest. As an institution dedicated to opportunity – our MLK Celebration helps contextualize our rich diversity and ongoing efforts to establish a more inclusive environment and is committed to creating broader awareness and understanding of systemic racism.

    Keynote speaker Yamiche Alcindor, PBS White House Correspondent, provided sound and heartfelt advice in these challenging times. EMU Today provided a thorough overview of her remarks. This year, our keynote address reflected the collaboration between Eastern and The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. The collaboration expanded awareness and visibility of the event. It is our hope to build on the relationship with the Museum in the weeks and months ahead.

    Two students, Maliyah McGowan and D’Anna Hayes, and Professor Rema Reynolds, were honored for their community and campus service that honors the legacy of Dr. King. Three students were awarded scholarships for their creative efforts: Lawrence Smith, Alexandria McCormick and Kennede Thomas. I encourage you to read more about their accomplishments and achievements, as well as review a list of student honorable mention recipients, in this EMU Today story.

    Please join me in thanking everyone who worked on this year’s Celebration, in particular Steering Committee members Ellen Gold, Steve Bryant, Doris Fields, and Tray McGuire. A complete list of the Planning Committee can be found on the Planning Committee website.

    The Committee is thankful for our community’s participation, and asks that you complete an evaluation of this year’s Celebration.

    Center for Jewish Studies to Host Antisemitism Author

    Next Tuesday, Jan. 26, which is the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holly Huffnagle, the U.S. Director for Combating Antisemitism for the American Jewish Committee (AJC), will give a special lecture: “After Auschwitz: Antisemitism in America.” The presentation, which is hosted by the Eastern Michigan University Center for Jewish Studies, is scheduled for 7 p.m. The talk will offer insights from Huffnagle’s efforts to spearhead her global organization’s response to antisemitism in the United States and its efforts to better protect the Jewish community. There is no cost to attend. Details and registration information can be found in the EMU Today story.

    Swoop’s Food Pantry Update

    The winter hours for the John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room are Mondays 12 – 5 p.m., Wednesdays 12 – 6:30 p.m., and Thursdays 12 – 5 p.m. Shoppers are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the new 2020-21 Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

    Items most needed at this time: Ramen, rice, large snacks, salad dressing and grape jelly.

    If you wish to donate items, please email [email protected] in advance to make sure someone is present to handle your delivery. Please maintain physical distancing when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.


    Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

    I am pleased to begin the new year by highlighting these examples of Eastern excellence:

    • Susan Schanne, Eastern Michigan University College of Business Writing Center consultant and lecturer of management, has been named The Association for Business Communication’s (ABC) 2020 Rising Star. ABC’s Rising Star Award recognizes the meaningful contributions to the mission and membership of the Association and to the business communication field at large through excellent teaching, research, and/or practical applications. The international award recognizes only one recipient each year.

    • Graduate and undergraduate programs in human resources received grand prize honors and first place rankings in awards announced by HR.com. The Master of Science in Human Resources and Organizational Development (MSHROD) was ranked first in the category of “Master’s Programs with Emphasis in Human Resources,” and, our BBA-Management Major/HR Concentration was also ranked first in “Diploma Program with Emphasis on HR.” Congratulations to the College of Business, its faculty and Graduate Coordinator for the MSHROD program, Dr. Fraya Wagner-Marsh.
    • A new book by Eastern Michigan University Professor of English Language and Literature Christine Hume, "Saturation Project," was featured in a recent review in The New York Times. "Saturation Project" is Hume's fourth book. While the review is too lengthy to include in its entirety, I do want to share the reviewer’s concluding sentence: “When Hume’s thematic connections and redemptive insights arrive, it’s with the force of a hurricane." The full review is posted on EMU Today.

    Congratulations to everyone involved in these fine efforts!


    Health and Safety Reminder

    An important reminder as I conclude. Please continue to:

    • Practice effective hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers;
    • Wear face coverings; and,
    • Observe physical distancing.

    These actions, when taken together, dramatically reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

    I thank you for your work on behalf of the University and your ongoing support of our #EMUSafe initiatives. Please continue to follow the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.

  • Tue., Jan. 12, 2021

    COVID-19 Campus Update – Jan. 12, 2021

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    To the Eastern Michigan University community:

    It is my pleasure to welcome you to the winter semester of 2021! Despite the challenges around us, I hope you are as filled with optimism as I am about what the future holds in terms of the increasing rollout of vaccines to stop the spread of COVID-19.

    I am proud of how our campus community has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is hard to believe that we are approaching the one year mark, in mid-March, when the pandemic forced a major upheaval in the education process for students, faculty and staff at Eastern Michigan University and at schools and colleges across the nation. We indeed now see “the light at the end of the tunnel” as they say.

    Despite that optimism, it is not the time to let our guard down. In that spirit, this email contains important updates:

    ● COVID-19 vaccination update – survey responses needed

    ● Health & safety reminders

    ● Modifications to the winter semester schedule

    ● Winter semester registration remains open

    ● Looking ahead

    COVID-19 vaccination update – survey responses needed

    Because there are limited supplies of vaccine available, it will likely be several months before vaccines will become available to everyone. I strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to receive a vaccination to do so as soon as permitted. The state of Michigan, using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has developed a prioritization [PDF] for vaccination eligibility.

    We are working closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) to share information about the availability and scheduling of vaccinations. First and most important, all members of the campus community should have received a vaccine survey designed to help assess individual placement into the vaccination priority groups. Invitations to register for open vaccination appointments will be driven in part by survey information. Please complete the survey if you have not done so.

    Specific information about the scheduling of vaccinations for students and employees will be communicated with you individually once it is determined. The availability of vaccine appointments is impacted by a wide array of local, state and national factors so please be patient with WCHD and with us as we communicate on their behalf in the coming weeks. We are very early in this process and as I shared earlier, for most of us, vaccinations are likely two to three months away.

    It is important to remain patient and to wait for notification.

    In the coming weeks and months, WCHD will use the University’s Convocation Center as a community mass vaccination site. We are pleased to collaborate with the County in support of this critical public health effort. Individuals should not visit the location to receive a vaccine without an appointment. You will not be permitted to enter for that purpose. As noted above, you will receive an email about scheduling your vaccine pursuant to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services protocols.

    Important health and safety reminders for the winter semester

    Face coverings are required to be worn on campus grounds, both indoors and outdoors, with few exceptions. The covering must cover your nose and mouth.

    ● All members of the campus community must complete the COVID PASS Daily Health Screening each day they are on campus. This requirement also applies to students who live in on-campus housing.

    All members of the campus community must complete the University’s COVID-19 Report Form if you test positive for COVID-19, have close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, or experience symptoms of COVID-19.

    Monitor your emich.edu email for updates on campus testing and other important information.

    Practice physical distancing. Stay at least six (6) feet from other people who are not from your household. It is important to do this everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.

    Wash your hands often for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer >when hand washing is not possible.

    Watch your health and check for symptoms of COVID-19, including taking your temperature twice a day.

    Modifications to the winter semester schedule

    As you know, we delayed the start of winter semester classes to tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 13, in order to reduce the number of people returning directly from the break with possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus. When courses begin tomorrow, virtually all of them will be held in fully online/remote formats through Sunday, Jan. 24. Beginning Monday, Jan. 25, a limited number of classes (approximately 10 percent) will transition to in-person formats as indicated on course schedules.

    Winter semester registration remains open

    For students who have not registered for classes yet, there’s still time. Please visit the winter registration appointments page to start or complete the registration process. Advisers are available to assist students in determining their classes and meeting program requirements. Information about how to contact an adviser and other details are available on the winter registration site.

    Eligible registered students will again receive Federal Emergency Relief Funds under last spring’s CARES Act. Eligibility, timing and other details can be found on the EMU CARES Act website. Last fall, an estimated 11,240 EMU students received direct grants of $446 under this program.

    Looking ahead

    I look forward to continuing to work together with students, faculty and staff to ensure we are doing everything in our power to ensure a safe and successful environment this semester.

    Later this week, we will share more details about the University’s 35th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, “We the People Speak: No Justice, No Peace,” which begins this Friday, Jan. 15. Our keynote speaker is White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and NBC and MSNBC Political Contributor, Yamiche Alcindor. The keynote takes place on Monday, Jan. 18, from 1 – 2:30 p.m. Registration is required on the link above.

    Please continue to monitor the University’s COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness website for ongoing information and updates.

    James Smith, Ph.D.