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Construction, new master's degree, president's compensation top CMU Board of Trustees meeting

President Ross outlines a fall of momentum and achievement

Contact: CMU News

The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved construction of a lacrosse/soccer field and deferred maintenance funding and was updated on a hotel to be built near Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

The board also approved a Master of Public Health degree, elected officers for 2015 and discussed President George E. Ross’ annual evaluation and compensation review.

The $8 million athletic field includes a lighted synthetic turf to be used by the lacrosse and soccer teams as well as CMU intramural and club teams. An adjacent building would include locker rooms, concessions, coaching offices and a training room.

“The lacrosse/soccer complex will optimize opportunities for not only varsity athletics, but club sports as well,” Athletics Director Dave Heeke said. “This multi-use approach is heavily considered in our planning so that the maximum number of students benefit.”

The board also budgeted $5.7 million for deferred maintenance for campus buildings and roads, roof replacement, exterior lighting and other projects.

Steve Lawrence, associate vice president of facilities management, also told trustees work is expected to begin later this week by Lodgco on a private hotel adjacent to Kelly/Shorts Stadium with completion targeted for March 2016. Lodgco is leasing the land from CMU for $170,000 annually for the first 30 years and will provide internships and academic opportunities for students.

The approved Master of Public Health is the third in the state and explores population health challenges, particularly for rural and underserved groups, Provost Michael Gealt said. It will focus on areas such as epidemiology, environmental health, public health leadership, program planning, evaluation, and health policy and management.

The trustees also discussed President Ross’ annual evaluation and compensation review. They scheduled a meeting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, in the President’s Conference Room in the Bovee University Center, to vote on his 2015 compensation.

Board Chair William Kanine said the trustees want to gather data on other universities and make the president’s contract more competitive.  He said President Ross gave the board a detailed self-assessment of the past year, describing multiple accomplishments for each of CMU’s five strategic priorities.

“There are a lot of great things going on in the university … Dr. Ross doesn’t take credit for them, but we recognize his autograph on a lot of it,” Kanine said.

“Now (the University of) Nebraska knows what we have known for some time: that he is a great leader and a proven leader,” Kanine said of Ross’ candidacy for the Nebraska presidency.

Trustee Sarah Opperman said the assessment report reviews many metrics of the university’s strategic plan.

“There are a number of highlights that the university and you as its leader have accomplished,” Opperman said. “The energy at the university is very strong; you can feel it when you’re on campus. … You’re not done, and we’re not done. … We see a lot of work that we’d like to work with you to accomplish.”

Ross turned the praise to the campus community, saying nothing is accomplished alone.

“Thank you. I do believe that nothing happens on campus without the cabinet, the senior leadership team, the faculty, staff and students,” Ross said. “I want to thank my team, and I want to thank the campus. This is my 10th fall here, and I’ve never seen it so positive.

“As long as we keep the focus on the students, we’ll keep moving forward,” he said.

At the beginning of the meeting, Ross described achievements this fall of faculty, staff and students in his report to trustees. He addressed enrollment gains, the $95 million Biosciences Building, a national diversity award, national rankings for CMU’s engineering program, the naming of CMU’s National Political Science Honor Society as one of America’s four best chapters and a graduating senior whose CMU experiences have included an internship at PUMA world headquarters in Germany and eight Alternative Breaks.

Other items approved by trustees include:

  • Re-elected William Kanine of Petoskey as chair and Sarah Opperman of Midland and Tricia Keith of Royal Oak as vice chairs. This is Opperman’s second term as vice chair. She also previously served as chair of the board.
  • Thanked trustees Brian Fannon and Robert F. Wardrop II for their service to the university. Wardrop and Fannon’s terms as board members officially end Dec. 31. CMU trustees serve by appointment of the governor. It is not known when Gov. Snyder will name replacements.

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