About every third Thursday of each calendar month, the Board of Regents meets with committees, students, and faculty to meet the needs of the university. These regents are appointed by the governor to eight-year terms.
The State Constitution lists the responsibilities of the board as, “general supervision of the institution and the control and direction of all expenditures from the institution's funds.”
Eastern Michigan University’s current board consists of Chair Eunice Jeffries, Vice Chair Michael Hawks, Nathan Ford, Dr. Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, Chad Newton, Anupam Chugh Sidhu, Alexander Simpson, and Marques Thomey.
This month’s board meeting marked the sixth meeting of this fiscal year. Notable moments from the board meeting included the recognition of Student Body President Syed Wasiuddin and Student Body Vice President Ameera Salman.
Other notable moments included board policy updates, the Fiscal Year 2025 Five-Year Capital Outlay Plan, and the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Eastern Michigan University and the EMU Federation of Teachers Full-Time and Part-Time Lecturers Unit (EMUFT).
First, the Halle Library presented at 10 a.m. during the Educational Policies Committee in 205 Welch Hall. The library stated it wants to meet the strategic goals set by the university by moving Bruce. T Halle into the future.
University librarian Rhonda Fowler said, “the [library] is meeting opportunities to promote students success and engagement, deliver high performing academic programs and quality research, and engage in certain EMU and regional communities.”
The presentation also showcased information on research and writing services, and furthermore, how they apply to the Faculty Development Center and collaborative partnerships. Such partnerships include the Center for Jewish Studies and Civil Rights and Social Justice Centers.
Speakers for the EMU Oral History Program, full-time lecturer and program coordinator Matt Jones and student Kat Hacanyan were also present and spoke on the University Archives goals.
“It's a support service to faculty engaged with oral history methodologies in their classes and individual research,” Jones said. “And it's a vital component of the archives reach and presence in the surrounding southeast Michigan community.”
“Being a part of the EMU Archives Oral History Program has given me the opportunity to pursue things that I couldn't have otherwise," Hacanyan said.
Halle Library renovations were made possible by a $2 million grant from the Halle Family Foundation. Renovations are set to begin in 2024.
Next on the agenda was the Student Affairs Committee at 10:45 a.m. in 201 Welch Hall. The meeting began with Student Body President Wasiuddin and Student Body Vice President Salman presenting the Student Government update.
The student leaders detailed their plans to increase engagement by bringing more commuters back to the campus post-pandemic, and growth initiatives through adding resource phone numbers to EID cards. Inclusivity initiatives were also listed as a goal by providing halal, kosher, gluten-free and vegan meal options and using more gender-inclusive language.
The team was commended by regents Ford and Sidhu for their leadership and the presentation of feasible goals.
Next, Provost Rhonda Longworth led a presentation with her team about EMU student data and the ways to respond to what is expected of the next generation of students.
The team consisted of Ellen Gold, Calvin McFarland, and Doris Fields. Some of the issues highlighted were:
- Generation Z has been shaped by the pandemic.
- Students of color and of lower financial standing have been impacted the most.
- Mental health concerns reported by CAPS clients detail higher levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness than in decades past.
- 17% of EMU students considered suicide compared to the 10% national average.
- 38% of EMU students have experienced non-consensual sexual contact in comparison to the 27% national average.
To combat these concerns, efforts are underway. Earlier interventions, such as an early alert process for not only academic problems, but also mental and social concerns affecting students, are being considered. There has also been an emphasis on training staff and implementing a case management model to meet the needs of students.
Title IX Coordinator Matthew Gregory stated during the general meeting that the office had 221 reports of Title IX in the last year.
According to survey results, close to 100% of people were satisfied with the intake process in the Title IX office.
The office has applied for a grant of $400,000 to help continue providing the resources.
At 11:45 a.m. in 201 Welch Hall, the Finance and Investment Committee began their meeting. The Audit Report boasted a clean unmodified opinion with total assets going up $75.4 million. There was $61.5 million in total liabilities, $14.2 million in operating revenues, $18.6 million spent in operating expenses, $20.1 million in auxiliary actions, $23.1 million increase in supplemental scholarships and fellowships, and a $12.7 million loss on disposition of assets. Net tuition has remained consistent for the last four years, while the last two years have seen a drop in returns compared to university peer groups by $40 million due to other market conditions outside of the university.
The committee also reported that for grants and awards, there was an 8.9% increase in financial aid offers to students.
The Fiscal Year 2025 Five Year Capital Outlay Plan stated that the highly anticipated renovation of Roosevelt Hall has been the top program for five years, as well as the renovation and expansion of technological programs. The funding amount for the renovation will cost $42.5 million, with an advance of $12.5 million to be covered by the university, with the state of Michigan covering the rest.
This is Phase Two of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology Growth and Expansion project. This will see the replacement of the roofing, inadequate handicap accessibility, outdated room layouts, and obsolete/failing building systems such as plumbing and electrical.
In their general meeting, the Board of Regents voted to approve the recently negotiated collective bargaining agreement between Eastern Michigan University and the EMUFT. This five-year contract began when ratified by the union on Oct. 13, but also required the approval of the Board of Regents. It details extended health care, a 2-3% increase each year up to an hourly rate of $39.62 by 2027/2028, and covers approximately 550 full-time and part-time lecturers. The contract ends on Aug. 31, 2028.
Tab B then went forward in the meeting, as recommended for the Board Policy agreement. The policies therefore updated were:
- 1.05: Bylaws
- 9.02: Exterior Signage Systems
- 13.01.04: Physical Facilities Capital Improvements
- 13.01.05: Physical Plant Facilities Maintenance
- 13.02.01: Building Security-Keys and Access
- 15.02: Information Technology Security and Confidentiality
Shortly after, all regents approved of the motion, and Open Communications began. Ten parties had a chance to speak before the Board. Wendy Thomas on behalf of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), Mark Hammond the Director of the Family Empowerment Program (FEP), Sarah Schmitz on behalf of Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services as the Senior Human Resources Generalist, Julia Heck and Anthony Webster as Co-chairs for EMU's National First Generation Forward Initiative, Matthew Gregory as Title IX Coordinator, Student Body President Syed Wasiuddin and Student Body Vice President Ameera Salman, Lucas Langdon the Director of Campus Life and Celia Murkowski the Director of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving.
It was after the final speakers on the floor sat down that the president of the university, James Smith, gave his report. To briefly summarize his statements, he made mention of the $53.6 million financial aid fund and the 9% increase in financial aid scholarships in support of EMU students, with support for more than 60% of the total student population and 90% of first-year students.
Recognizing the challenging environment students now face, he brought to everyone attention that EMU tied for first place among all Michigan universities in the annual Social Mobility Ranking by US News and World Report.
Also of noteworthy mention, the EMU Engineering Program ranked 69th in the nation, moving up from 87th place last year. He was incredibly proud to boast the university’s academic excellence.
Ending his report, President Smith announced next fall's launch of the Master of Science in Management and Innovation and Strategy approved earlier in the meeting. This program will be based on large and small businesses, and will focus on creative tools and strategic plans that will allow leaders to communicate and function in strategic ways.
The meeting ended just after 3 p.m. and adjourned with all 19 recommended sections being unanimously approved by the Board of Regents. All motions were carried.
Tune in on Thursday, Dec. 7, for the next Board of Regents Meeting coverage.