President's Report to the Board of Regents

March 17, 2015

While we celebrate the arrival of spring and the countdown to the end of the academic year, our teams are hard at work building the Fall 2015 incoming class. As of March 15, Eastern has 13,357 applications from first-time freshmen as compared to 11,298 at the same time a year go – this is an increase of 18 percent. Admissions are at 9,605 as compared to 7,548 last year -- an increase of 27 percent. We are ahead of other Michigan public universities, which show an overall average increase in applications of 3.9 percent and admissions up 4.1 percent. The percentage of applicants in the 3.5 to 4.0 GPA range continues to increase, there is more diversity, and the number of international applications and admissions is up over last year. We look forward to a great fall class. Go Green!

Significant discussion has taken place among our faculty and staff over the past several months surrounding issues of classroom civility and conduct and social media such as Yik Yak. We will launch in Fall 2015 the “Respect Is What We Expect” campaign that will cover a broad range of institutional priorities including inclusiveness related to race and sexual orientation, how we treat one another, and appropriate classroom conduct. This programming will begin during freshman orientation. 

The strategic plan is being implemented and updated across campus. In June 2013, the Board of Regents adopted the Mission, Vision, Values and four themes: Student Engagement and Success, High Performing Academic Programs and Quality Research, Institutional Effectiveness, and Service and Engagement.  Since then, detailed goals and objectives under the four themes have been developed. Departments across campus are implementing the plan and mapping specific tasks and measurements to create a roadmap for our future. This is an ongoing process to be updated each year.

As President, I invite you to join me on Tuesday, March 31 at 11 a.m. in the student center auditorium for a university update from me and a financial update from CFO Mike Valdes. I will talk about what we have accomplished together and Eastern’s future.  CFO Valdes will provide detailed information on our financial status and challenges. 

I am recommending a capital budget for fiscal year 2016 that includes renovations of historic Rackham to house our growing Health and Human Services programs, space for growth of the Honors college, renovation of Wise hall, classroom technology, and safety enhancements. I also am recommending a 4 percent increase in residence hall rates and a 5 percent increase for meal plans and apartment rates today to fund housing and dining. 

I am pleased to welcome our new Dean of the College of Education, Michael Sayler, pending approval by the Board of Regents. Dr. Sayler has served as Senior Associate Dean at University of North Texas since 2011, and served as Associate Dean there since 2002. I also welcome our new volleyball coach Kimi Olson; her assistant coach Michael Shearer; and Jennifer Brown, associate athletic director for sports medicine. Welcome!

I am pleased to welcome Dennis Beagan and Michelle Crumm to their first Board of Regents meeting today. We will also thank Regent Emeritus Floyd Clack and Regent Emeritus Francine Parker. Their commitment to Eastern as regents had an extraordinary impact and they will each receive a special resolution.

We are also pleased to honor Professor Kay Woodiel as she retires. Dr. Woodiel has served 17 years at Eastern as an exceptional leader and devoted mentor to many students.

I am delighted to recommend to the Board of Regents our commencement speakers for graduation on April 26. Our morning commencement speaker will be Sally Young, an Eastern alumna and Emmy Award winning producer of the TV series "Modern Family". Our afternoon commencement speaker will be Eastern alumnus and former football star Charlie Batch, who founded the "Best of the Batch Foundation" to improve the lives of children and families in distressed neighborhoods.

Other accomplishments are listed in the Appendix to this report on the University’s website. Thank you, Chair Morris. 

Susan Martin