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CMU summer 2019

Summing up a newsy summer

New degrees, intensive research and more made headlines this season

Contact: ​Jeff Johnston

​It's back-to-class time for many, but some never left for the summer — and others took their research on the road. At Central Michigan University, the time since spring commencement has been a season of accomplishments and beginnings. Here are some of the big headlines:

New degree programs

A new online nursing degree program launching this fall allows registered nurses to complete a bachelor's degree in one year.

Kechi Iheduru-Anderson, CMU's director of nursing, said a nationwide nursing shortage is creating high demand for well-trained, highly skilled nurses, and a bachelor's degree is often a requirement.

CMU's Board of Trustees also approved a new doctoral degree in physics. Graduate students in the program will train to become independent researchers capable of high-quality original research for careers across government, industry and higher education. 

New construction


Construction continued all summer on state-of-the-art facilities in the Health Professions Building expansion, which will empower students from multiple high-demand fields of study to learn and practice together. Check out the entire photo gallery.

New campus leaders

mug-schutten-2019H-138-001---Mary-Schutten--provost.jpg Mary C. Schutten became executive vice president and provost in July. As the university's newest academic leader, she's responsible for all undergraduate and graduate programs and for supporting faculty and student research and creative endeavors.

Schutten said coaching several collegiate-level sports has given her many leadership tools.

"In sports there are always rules, and you have to use those rules to create your strategy. In higher education there are budgets, and they are always tight. But there are myriad strategies possible within those constraints," she said.

Schutten is not Central's only new leader named over the summer:

  • Larry Klaus stepped up to become chief of CMU police following the retirement of Bill Yeagley. Klaus said he will maintain a focus on public safety through training, preparedness, partnerships and communication.
  • Christopher Moberg became dean of the College of Business Administration, replacing Interim Dean Karl Smart. He joined CMU from Ohio University.

New medical milestones


President Bob Davies signs an affiliation agreement with Covenant HealthCare.

The College of Medicine signed a 25-year affiliation agreement with Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Michigan, for medical student education and research. 

CMU medical students will continue clinical rotations at Covenant facilities under the supervision of physicians who serve as CMU faculty members. The agreement also increases opportunities for clinical research on public and community health issues prominent in the region. Other good news for the college:

  • Its simulation centers in Mount Pleasant and Saginaw earned full accreditation in teaching and education, and a robotic surgery training system has been installed in Saginaw.
  • A new affiliation with Spectrum Health Lakeland is expanding CMU's footprint into southwest Michigan.

New scientific instruments


CMU's meteorology program became the only one in Michigan enabling student research with its own mobile mesonet, a weather observation vehicle outfitted with computers and meteorological instruments.

It's one of only a handful in the country, said earth and atmospheric sciences faculty member Jason Keeler.

New brain research

CMU researchers Ajit Sharma, Julien Rossignol and Ute Hochgeschwender have received National Institutes of Health funding for research that has the potential to treat brain disorders, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. The goal is a way to deliver DNA therapy directly into brain cells.

Meanwhile, chemistry and biochemistry faculty member Ben Swarts is helping to lead research into a sugar molecule that also could have potential for treating Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, tuberculosis and more. 

New community support

The CMU community more than doubled its giving to United Way of Gratiot and Isabella Counties through the 2018 campaign.

CMU donors raised $138,741 — compared with $67,084 in 2017 — led by an $81,421 donation from the annual Greek Week fundraiser. The average CMU employee gift to United Way also rose 8%, from $182 to $197.

New environmental knowledge

With Enbridge Inc.'s Line 5 oil pipeline in mind, researchers from CMU are studying ways to clean up a potential Great Lakes oil spill

A team from the Institute for Great Lakes Research is focusing on microbes in the Straits of Mackinac that could "eat" oil, said biology faculty member Don Uzarski.

New growth in teacher ed

From fall 2017 to fall 2018, admittance and enrollment in CMU teacher education grew 39%.

To Betty Kirby, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, the explanation is simple: "CMU is the place to come for excellent teacher preparation, and now is a great time to become a teacher."

New artistic expressions

Students gained career experience and screened their own films for audiences through the College of the Arts and Media's collaboration with the Traverse City Film Festival. CMU faculty experts also teach in the festival's film school and showcase their out-of-classroom endeavors. 

"This is an opportunity for us to reach outside the Mount Pleasant area and showcase the amazing things we are doing," said Dean Janet Hethorn.

New perspective on the past


Archaeological field school students got their hands dirty excavating bits of pottery, buttons, medicine bottles and a porcelain doll at the site of Michigan's oldest lighthouse, in Port Huron.

"These experiences allow students to put to work what they learn in the classroom," said anthropology faculty member Sarah Surface-Evans. She works with numerous partners to research and explore historical sites around the state.

Browse CMU News for more news and features from summer 2019.

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