The new faculty and clerical contracts received final approval Tuesday at Eastern Michigan University’s first Board of Regents meeting of the 2012-13 academic year.
Howard Bunsis, professor of accounting at EMU, spoke on behalf of the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
“We at the AAUP come before you today filled with the excitement of a new semester, and most importantly with the satisfaction that we have a labor agreement that the faculty is very pleased with,” he said.
Bunsis thanked the members of the negotiation team for their hard work, and said the process brought a renewed spirit of “mutual cooperation and respect” to the faculty-administration relationship.
“In short, faculty members feel that we are partners and not adversaries with the administration,” he said.
Despite the achievements made, Bunsis pointed out that there is still work to be done.
“In order to ensure that the administration is committed to the core academic mission, we need to see that you devote sufficient resources to this core mission,” he said. “We will be watching you.”
Bunsis laid out specific priorities that the AAUP would like to see the board adopt moving forward.
“The new commitment to research should lead to additional support in the area of grant writing and acquisition, as well as the hiring of new faculty,” he said.
Bunsis pointed out that while many new faculty have been hired in recent years, the number of lost faculty is also high, with a greater number set to leave in the near future.
“Given the recent increase in enrollment, the increase in new faculty has barely kept pace with these enrollment changes,” he said.
In her update to the board, EMU President Susan Martin touted her administration’s achievements, especially the increase in enrollment numbers. The number of new undergraduate students at the university is at an all-time high, with 5,076 new students.
Martin also praised the efforts of the contract negotiation team for reaching an agreement before the deadline.
“A tentative agreement was reached two weeks before the expiration of the current contract in a positive spirit of cooperation and mutual respect,” she said.
Other issues discussed were the increased responsibilities for university Provost and Vice President Kim Schatzel and approval of a new contract for EMU basketball coach Rob Murphy.
Members of the board reported on accomplishments made by their specific committees.
Chairman Roy Wilbanks expressed his pleasure with how the year has started.
“This has been a really great opening to school at Eastern Michigan University,” he said.
Several speakers also came before the board, including Mary Schneider and Amy Knopps to present the Marching Band’s new uniforms, representatives from the Young Alumni council and EMU Student Body President Matthew Norfleet and Vice President Desmond Miller.
Martin expressed her gratitude for all who contributed to the university’s success.
“We have a stable and strong leadership team that loves Eastern,” she said. “Our future here is bright and it’s strong. This is a time of exceptional momentum, growth, pride and excitement on campus.”