President, Board of Regents address rise in enrollment

The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents met Tuesday to formally approve a number of business concerns and staff appointments.

The meeting opened with a report from President Susan Martin, which highlighted a number of positive achievements made by the university over the last few months.

According to Martin, summer enrollment is set to exceed the target of 3.4 percent growth from the same time last year. Other administration members pointed out that while it is still too early to make definitive judgments, all indications suggest that fall enrollment is likely to increase between three to eight percent.

President Martin also made note of the zero percent tuition increase campaign. Martin said EMU is the first university in 25 years to not increase tuition in Michigan.

She went on to discuss the results of student success initiatives put in place earlier this year. The number of first-year students put on academic probation in the winter semester fell to 16.25 percent, a drop of six percent from 2009. Every GPA range above 2.0 saw increases, with a 21.5 percent jump in the number of students with GPA’s above 3.5. The athletic department reported the best overall GPA in school history in winter 2010 with an average of 3.066.

The report then turned to the issue of campus construction and renovation. First on the president’s long list of projects was Pray-Harrold. Martin expressed thanks to all faculty and staff that have been displaced by construction, saying that all materials that have been relocated were enough to fill 168 semi-trailers.

“The relocation of faculty, employees and classes will be challenging, and we thank everyone for their cooperation and patience during the upcoming year,” she said. “A GIS [Geographic Information System] map is online to enable students to locate faculty and classes.”

Six new classrooms are being installed in the basement of McKenny Hall and a campus lounge will be added to the first floor.

The science complex being added to the Mark Jefferson building is moving along schedule, with a reported 125 construction contractors on site every day.

Other construction projects taking place around campus include elevators and windows being replaced in the First Year Living Center and construction on College Place. See : for more information about the College Place project.

Martin also discussed labor issues between the university and staff. The administration’s goal is to have contracts in place with the faculty and professional technical staff sometime this summer.

“We formally began contract negotiations with our two largest bargaining units, the faculty, represented by the AAUP, and the Professional Technical staff, represented by the UAW,” Martin said. “A social gathering with each bargaining team was held at University House prior to commencing negotiations to enable the teams to meet prior to beginning their work.”

She closed her report by providing information about the newly formed crime response unit, stating they have been active solving crimes within 24-48 hours.

Next on the agenda was a detailed update of the University’s Capital Project, which laid out the specific budgets and financing for all the current construction and renovation projects on campus.

April was described as a “better than expected” month by John Donegan, chief of operations for EMU’s physical plant, which is overseeing the project. The month of May had setbacks, with 17 days designated as “rain days,” which limited progress.

While all staff offices affected by the construction have been relocated, planning for more classroom space, particularly in the fall when enrollment levels return to normal, is still being considered.

While planners for EMU are confident they will be able to absorb up to a 5 percent increase in enrollment, the contingency plan as of now is to bring in portable trailers to house displaced classrooms.

Financial figures for such a plan were not specified, but were described as very costly.

“Starting in the fall, it’s going to be pretty tight—there’s going to be some pinch points,” Donegan said.

The final phase of the meeting revolved around the Board of Regent’s management of staff and faculty. The board approved 63 faculty promotions, granting tenure to 39 professors.

They also approved 30 new faculty appointments, 25 new staff positions and granted Emeritus status to six former faculty and three current staff members.

Key hires to EMU include Donald Ritzenhein, vice president for university affairs and dean of the University Center at Macomb Community College.

Ritzenhein has been hired as assistant vice president of academic personnel and contract administration. He will serve on the administration’s bargaining team in this summer’s negotiations with the EMU chapter of the AAUP.

Ritzenhein’s salary will be $168,000 and his appointment will be effective July 1.

Tara Lynn Fulton, dean of library and information services and associate vice president for academic affairs at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, has been hired as university librarian at EMU. Fulton’s position will be effective June 24 and her salary will be $143,000.

Bin Ning, director of the office of institutional research at the University of Toledo, has been hired as assistant vice president and executive director of institutional research and information management. The appointment will be effective July 12 and Ning’s salary will be $135,000.

Five new lecturer positions were approved, and two lecturers were promoted. Two staff members and one faculty member were approved for retirement. None of the above appointments were challenged by any member in the meeting.

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