President's Report to the Board of Regents

February 19, 2013

Eastern Michigan University is in the midst of an unprecedented $210 million five-year revitalization of our campus.  Over the past five years, we have invested more than $22 million in our residence halls and campus apartments.  This includes renovating rooms and common areas; increasing energy efficiency with new windows and heating systems; and expanding wireless capability.  These investments are among the reasons why we had the largest incoming class of undergraduates in the University's history this fall (5,076), the largest freshman class in a decade (2,595), a higher quality and more diverse class, and the largest number of students living on campus (3,761) since 2003.

We recommend for Board of Regents approval a 3.75 percent increase in residence hall room and board rates for 2013-2014 and a 1.55 percent increase for campus apartments.  The increase will allow us to continue reinvestment in residence life.

The University is working on a new strategic plan.  Over the past year, work teams representing all areas of campus have developed an initial draft of new mission, vision and values statements.  Deloitte conducted a market analysis this fall and is now assisting teams on developing overall goals, objectives and metrics.  More information is available at  Input is welcome!

We are pleased to present for Board of Regents approval two new labor agreements. The agreements for full-time lecturers and part-time lecturers were ratified by their respective memberships over the past three weeks.  The agreements demonstrate our continued commitment to collaboration with our bargaining units.  Since July 2008, we have successfully concluded 12 new contracts with labor units across campus – without work interruption or the use of outside counsel.

We are recommending for Board of Regents approval significant changes to our sick leave policy for employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Importantly, the new policy will provide a short-term disability plan to protect employees who face a serious illness or injury that lasts more than five consecutive working days. The new policy also eliminates sick time accruals and modifies the sick time payout schedule.  This will align our sick leave policy with current trends and best practices. The impact on some employees may be significant.  However, it is a necessary action as we work to provide all employees competitive wages and benefits and build a sustainable budget that keeps college affordable.  We will offer further details following today's meeting at informational sessions that begin tomorrow.

I would like to introduce:

  • Ann Thompson, EMU's new executive director for alumni relations.  Welcome, Ann.

Spring commencement ceremonies will take place on April 28.  We recommend for Board of Regents approval Scott Reynolds as our commencement speaker for the morning ceremony.  He is an EMU alumnus and executive story editor, writer and producer for the television series "Dexter."  For the afternoon ceremony, we are recommending Robert Holman, retired top executive of Discount Tire, EMU alumnus and the donor behind the Holman Success Center.  We are recommending honorary doctoral degrees for Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville in recognition of his support of Eastern and our autism programs and William (Bill) and Delores (Dee) Brehm who founded and endowed the Brehm Scholars program.

In closing, as I approach the end of my fifth year as president of Eastern Michigan University, we continue to move the University forward together in meaningful ways. This includes the unprecedented investment in the revitalization and beauty of our campus; investments in academics and in faculty; and, responsible fiscal stewardship that has held student costs to among the lowest in the state.  We successfully reversed a six-year decline in enrollment that started in 2003 and hit its low point in 2008.  Since then, we have grown from 21,926 to 23,502 students, an increase of more than 6 percent.  Eastern is strong and its future is bright.

Many additional awards and other accomplishments are listed in the Appendix to this Report, which is available on the University's website.  Thank you, Chair Parker.

Susan Martin

  • Marissa Beste, a journalism major from Canton, Mich., has won a community journalism scholarship from the Board of Directors of the Michigan Press Association (MPA) Foundation. She received a $1,000 check and a plaque. Currently, she is the copy editor for The Eastern Echo.
  • Our Mock Trial team won the regional competition and will advance to the opening round championship series. The top six finishers at that event go to the national tournament.  Eastern, Michigan (2 teams), Michigan State, Ohio State, Cincinnati and Case Western Reserve are the teams advancing.
  • Dr. Donald Bennion has retired after 22 years of service. He served most recently as head of the Teacher Education Department but previously as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs as well as overseeing our full NCA re-accreditation process some years ago.
  • Dr. Rebecca Sipe, Honors College Director, has been elected Associate Chair of the Conference on English Leadership (CEL). CEL is the literacy leadership affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the leading professional literacy organization in the country. As Associate Chair, Dr. Sipe will become Chair of the CEL in 2015 and join the Executive Committee of NCTE.
  • Eastern's President Susan Martin was reappointed to the Michigan Education Trust board of directors by Gov. Rick Snyder.
  • Kim Schatzel, Eastern's provost and vice president of academic and student affairs, was appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Directors for the Health Alliance Plan of Michigan.
  • Retired educator Joseph Dulin, State Rep. David Rutledge and Roy Wilbanks, Eastern Michigan University regent emeritus and former administrator, were honored with the EMU Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award at the President's Luncheon on January 21. The award is presented to outstanding individuals who exemplify the values and ideals of Dr. King.
Gifts & Grants
  • A $2.7 million contract was awarded from Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health to continue the University Collaboration to Support System-Wide Implementation of Best-Promising and Evidence-Based Practices in Mental Health. The new contract is a three-year contract expiring in 2015.
  • A federal grant was awarded in the amount of $673,749 for three years to create a support program on campus designed to provide EMU students who were formerly in foster care with the necessary independent living skills to encourage a successful transition into adulthood, completion of a college degree and career entry.
  • Dr. Vijay Mannari (engineering technology) received a research award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the amount of $481,699 to support his work, "Soy-based Functional Building Blocks for Sustainable Advanced Coatings."
  • The Autism Collaborative Center at Eastern Michigan University was presented with a $10,471 check during a ceremony after funds were raised from a charity hockey event. The funds will be used to purchase new occupational therapy equipment.
  • International Week was held February 11 – 14. The week-long event celebrated the international efforts of students from other countries, featured new campus international resources and recognized all people with international ties.
  • The Eastern Michigan University women's basketball team was scheduled to stage an afternoon of basketball instruction and fun activities for children in Newtown, Conn. on February 10. This event was cancelled and will be rescheduled due to the snow storm that took place over the weekend of February 8-10.
  • EMU hosted a week of festivities to celebrate the Chinese New Year February 8 – 13. Activities included a paper-cutting workshop, a celebratory dinner, Kung Fu lessons and a cooking class on how to make traditional Chinese dumplings.
  • David Behen, the chief international officer for the State of Michigan, spoke at Eastern on Thursday, Feb. 7. He talked about the mission and goals of the department and the Michigan Cyber Range project. He also discussed IT career opportunities in the State of Michigan.
  • The April commencement ceremonies will be held on April 28, 2013.
Of Note:
  • Eastern Michigan University signed a reverse transfer agreement with Monroe County Community College that will help students obtain their associate degree through credits accumulated at EMU.
Athletics highlights:
  • Men's Cross Country: three Eagles earned Academic All-MAC Honors – Cody Chabola, Harry Dixon and Terefe Eijgu. In addition, Ian Hancke, Nick Petro and Cameron Trinh were selected as honorable mention Academic All-MAC. To qualify, student-athletes must have at least a 3.2 GPA and have participated in 50 percent of the contests for their sport.
  • Football: Jay Karutz was named to the 2012 Academic All-MAC team. There were seven Academic All-MAC Honorable Mention accolades.
  • Football: Charlie Batch, an EMU grad and Pittsburgh Steeler, has won the Byron "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year Award. The award honors work in the community as the NFL player who has best served his team, community and country.
  • Track & Field: women's track & field is ranked in No. 9 in Track and Field News Magazine women's dual meet rankings, and men's track & field is ranked no. 8 in the magazine.