Central Michigan University President Bob Davies had an important message for stakeholders in his first
State of the University address: "The state of our university is good — it is indeed very good — but it could be great."
Davies spoke to an audience of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners Thursday, Nov. 7, in Warriner Hall. In his address, he highlighted some of the accomplishments of the past year, including faculty and student achievements.
He also addressed a number of challenges facing the university, including declining enrollment and student retention rates.
"Today we will talk about them openly and honestly," he said. "Most importantly, we will talk about what we are doing to overcome them."
Davies set goals he called ambitious but attainable for enrollment in 2020, including a 14% increase in freshman enrollment and an increase of 20% in transfer student enrollment.
He also outlined five strategic pathways designed to increase enrollment and retention, boost research and scholarly activity, promote innovation and collaboration, foster partnership with the community, and expand CMU's business model.
"Because we are fired up and focused, there is nothing we cannot achieve," Davies said.
As he closed his remarks, Davies shared a recent conversation he had with his daughter, a current CMU student.
When asked if she was glad she had chosen to attend CMU, "she responded with a very clear, enthusiastic yes," he said.
Professors have given her opportunities to experience new types of learning, classmates have shared unique perspectives and she's developing leadership skills through group projects, Davies said.
"Through her eyes, I see the invaluable experiences we make possible here. These glimpses of life at Central give me an immense passion to build on our successes and strengths."
Davies said he will soon convene work groups to begin creating frameworks for each of the five strategic pathways. While CMU has done great things in the past, Davies said we must all now look to the university's future.
"Our past is prologue. Our focus is forward."