Update on key initiatives; Week of Excellence highlights

March 31, 2016

Dear Faculty and Staff:

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on some key activities and initiatives at Eastern.

We have had a wonderful celebration so far this week during the “Week of Excellence.” Please join me in acknowledging the outstanding work of our students, faculty and staff.

On Monday we celebrated our outstanding faculty and staff for their service to Eastern, to our students and community. We recognized 267 faculty and staff who have achieved 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years of service at the Annual Employee Service Recognition Luncheon.

Tuesday, we celebrated the Student Gold Medallion Awards – the 20 th year Eastern has celebrated student achievement in this way. From Outstanding Leadership, to Outstanding Volunteerism, and many other categories, some of Eastern’s finest students were recognized for their contributions to the University, to their fellow students, and to the community.

Yesterday, the Academic Awards Ceremony highlighted the outstanding work of faculty and lecturers. The Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Awards was another truly inspiring event reflecting the important connections our faculty make with students.

The recipients honored this year are:

Ramona Caponegro, English Language and Literature – Teaching I

Jacqueline LaRose, Teacher Education – Teaching II

Raul Leon, Leadership and Counseling – Research I

Jesse Kauffman, History & Philosophy – Research I

Jamil Baghdachi, Engineering Technology – Research II

Theresa Heck-Seibert, Communication, Media and Theatre Arts – Creative Activity


Linda Burilovich, a professor of accounting in her 18 th year at EMU, who received a Collins Award last year for teaching excellence, was acknowledged as the University’s nominee for the ninth annual Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award. The award recognizes outstanding faculty contributions to undergraduate instruction, and is sponsored by the Michigan Association of State Universities.

Sharon Holt, a lecturer in occupational therapy, received the EMU Full-time Lecturers Outstanding Teaching Award.

Five Part-time Lecturers received Outstanding Teaching Awards, which were presented by one of their students. Winners included Joe Eastman (cyber security), Cindy Guillean (writing, social work), Robert Twells (marketing), Geoffrey Stanton (music) and Darlene Leifson (communication, media and theatre arts).

Several awards for service and scholarships were also announced during the ceremony, including recipients of the Academic Service-Learning Fellowships, Sabbatical Leave recipients, Faculty Research Fellowships, Provost's New Faculty Research Awards, and Undergraduate Research Stimulus Program Awards.

Of course, tomorrow brings the Undergraduate Symposium, representing the 36 th year that Eastern has celebrated student research. The symposium, originally envisioned by former EMU Provost Ronald W. Collins, has provided Eastern Michigan students the opportunity to advocate for their work in a professional setting.

This year’s event begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Student Center and features nearly 200 oral presentations, more than 100 poster displays, and more than 30 Design Expo exhibits. A total of 488 students are participating in the event, with the support of 187 faculty mentors. For more information, visit the EMU Undergraduate Symposium homepage .

I also want to update you on three other items. First, the search for the next Executive Director of Government and Community Relations is being suspended. I had the opportunity to further discuss the search process with our incoming President, Dr. James Smith, earlier this week. We both agreed to modify our original plan by delaying the search until Dr. Smith is fully on board and has an opportunity to further evaluate our needs and better understand the Michigan political/government landscape. We had a number of strong candidates who expressed interest in the position; they are being notified of our decision. I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the search committee for their time and effort.

Second, I am pleased to report the search for the position of Chief Diversity Officer is moving forward. Dr. Smith and I also had an opportunity to discuss this and he is looking forward to visiting campus to participate in the final interviews in mid-May. We expect to announce our selected candidate shortly thereafter. I also want to extend my appreciation to the search committee for their work in this process.

On a final note, it is important for you to know that we have been having significant deliberations regarding Eastern’s financial situation for 2016 and 2017 as we head toward the end of the fiscal year and prepare next year’s budget. We have had two budget retreats with the Board of Regents so far this year, as well as meetings with the administrative leadership team. I plan to update you on the status of our discussions next week.

Thank you for your expertise, your dedication and your work on behalf of our students.



Don Loppnow