President Smith message: EMU Today

Oct. 24, 2018

Homecoming week is upon us! This week represents a wonderful time of engagement for all who are connected with our wonderful University. It is a time for students, alumni, faculty and staff to celebrate our rich traditions and embrace the positive impact Eastern Michigan University has had on generations of students, graduates and citizens since our founding in 1849. The full schedule of Homecoming activities can be found on the Homecoming website.

As I mentioned in my State of the University address on Sept. 17, we have much to be proud of each and every day at Eastern. Examples of recent successes, positive developments and the people behind them – whether academic programs, faculty, alumni, students, services or facilities – are presented daily on EMU Today.

A significant segment of my State of the University address was devoted to fostering more communications and encouraging broader participation across the University. These two components work hand-in-hand; as we seek broader participation, we must first be more effective and purposeful in improving two-way dialogue and the sharing of information. As I discussed, this is a priority for me.

These monthly communiqués are a component of that. So are my visits and presentations to Faculty Senate, the University Budget Council, Student Government, administrative leaders meetings, departmental meetings, as well as my attendance and support of numerous and various events across campus in which I am frequently engaged about University issues and priorities.

I enjoy these opportunities to share updates about University initiatives, hear from people across campus, and share ideas about important University priorities.

Given the importance of these matters and in the spirit of communicating more broadly with all employees, I will share some of the key takeaways from my recent discussions with the Faculty Senate and University Budget Council (UBC), both bodies for which I have great respect.

At my appearance at Faculty Senate on Oct. 10, members of the Senate and I had an excellent conversation regarding several key initiatives, including fundraising initiatives, the process to update the University's Strategic Plan (which will include individuals from Faculty Senate and Student Government), and data gathering underway regarding the University’s housing stock.

I also have made a commitment to enhance the administration’s engagement with the UBC. During its meeting on Oct. 15, I asked members to work with the administration on several important initiatives. These include:

  • Help assess the University’s next steps regarding our housing infrastructure by reviewing market data, student survey results, focus group feedback and capital options;
  • Identify strategies to improve the University’s "melt rate"; in other words, steps we can take as an institution and within individual offices to decrease the number of prospective students who apply to EMU but choose to go elsewhere; and
  • Review data showing the financial success of our online programs such as the RN-to-BSN program.

As you can see, these are important initiatives and I look forward to sharing more details with you in the weeks and months ahead.

In other important updates, University Human Resources has launched Open Enrollment through Nov. 11. Details can be found on the Open Enrollment website.

Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting includes several important agenda items, including a proposed new academic program, the University’s 2020 Capital Outlay request, and recognition of sustainability and energy savings initiatives resulting from the installation of the University’s new cogeneration unit. Please visit the Board of Regents website for additional details. The meeting is open to all.

In closing, I would like to thank all faculty and staff for your ongoing efforts to support our students.

Go Green!

James M. Smith


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