Two new members of the CMU Board of Trustees, Sharon L. Heath and Regine C. Beauboeuf, attended their first meeting today after being appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last month.
During the formal session this morning, the board heard a presentation by Tony Voisin, associate vice president for student affairs, focused on how the university community has adjusted and persevered since COVID-19 took hold in early 2020.
"Our successes — and learnings — were entirely due to the hard work, determination, caring, social responsibility and Fired Up spirit of our students, faculty, staff and partners in Mount Pleasant, and around the state," Voisin said. "We're humbled by the innovation in our response to this pandemic, as well as tremendously proud as we reflect on how our students, faculty and staff have persevered through challenges over the past year."
In other action, trustees approved nearly 2,800 May graduates, who will be recognized at a series of outdoor commencement ceremonies in Kelly/Shorts Stadium May 7-9. This includes 1,946 bachelor's degrees, 587 master's degrees, 203 doctoral degrees, seven specialist degrees and 27 graduate certificates.
Graduates from 2020 also were invited back to campus to attend in-person commencement ceremonies on May 15. More than 600 will return to celebrate their graduation, during ceremonies delayed due to the pandemic.
During committee meetings Wednesday, Provost Mary C. Schutten provided an update on the academic program prioritization process, which began last fall. Schutten said the process is moving forward and that final recommendations will be presented to the Board of Trustees in June for consideration and action.
Nick Long, vice president for finance and administrative services, addressed changes in CMU's budget model during the Finance and Facilities Committee meeting.
"CMU has been using a Responsibility Center Management model for many years. It is a well-accepted practice, but in a time of declining revenues, it has its shortcomings," Long said. "For prudent financial management, we are moving toward a Strategic Allocation Process to develop next year's budget."
In further discussion of the budgeting process in formal session, Chair Richard Studley reiterated the need for a new budget model and noted that the 2021-2022 budget will be built on the Strategic Envisioning Process and the Academic Prioritization Process.
"Whether we like it or not, the old budget model is obsolete and the new budget model will prioritize our investment in programs that focus on rigor, relevance and excellence," he said. "One of the developments and trends that we must respond to is increased competition. Status quo is not acceptable — we have to be bold, we have to reinvest in our students, our faculty and our staff."
Studley also reaffirmed the board's commitment to the university's future.
"We are determined as a board to step up in the spirit of teamwork and cooperation," he said. "We will never give up on CMU's future. We are fired up as we move forward together."
In his opening report to the board, President Bob Davies recognized CMU's efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to the campus and surrounding communities, including a mass clinic happening Friday in Finch Fieldhouse.
"Together with our partners in the Central Michigan District Health Department, we have hosted approximately 30 clinics and helped to distribute over 9,000 vaccines since March," Davies said. "We are excited to continue our important role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community."
He also acknowledged the recently announced update to the university's campus master plan. He also provided an overview of the continued intense focus on enrollment and updates related to the Strategic Envisioning Process.
In addition to several recognitions of achievements, awards and highlights from across the university, Davies thanked outgoing Student Government Association leaders, president Katie Prebelich and vice president Brandon McDonald, for their service and leadership.