CMU board approves residence hall upgrade

Trustees Keith, Weideman honored for their service to the board

| Author: Heather Smith

Troutman Hall — part of the original Towers residence hall complex at Central Michigan University — will receive an upgrade next year.

Today, the CMU Board of Trustees approved improvements to the hall's living-learning experience for student residents. The $4.9 million transformation, which will begin next year, will change the hall's four-person rooms into two-person suites with two full-size beds. Many interior features also will receive a facelift, and Troutman's infrastructure, look and feel will be modernized.

The upgrades are similar to that of Carey Hall, which was remodeled last year and reopened to students this fall. The Troutman project will begin in the summer, and the hall will reopen for students in 2022.

Troutman Hall
Troutman Hall's four-person rooms will become two-person suites with full-size beds.

The board also voted to authorize the university to suspend the use of the current responsibility center management budget model — a model that has been in place at CMU for more than two decades — for a university-wide review. Nick Long, CMU's vice president for finance and administrative services, said that in order to be effective, this budget model must be reassessed at least bi-annually, with a major review every five to six years. The last time an internal review was done at CMU was 2013.

"Given the numerous changes to our environment, such as declining enrollment and state funding, changing student demographics, and new opportunities for programs, it is critical that we make important and strategic adjustments for the next fiscal year," Long said. "Therefore, this is an important step so that the university can strategically and effectively allocate resources while reviewing and proposing necessary changes to the current budget model to better further the university's strategic goals. We look forward to engaging our campus community in this effort."

Today's meeting also was the last for Trustees Tricia Keith and William Weideman; both have served on the board since January 2013.

Keith, president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's emerging markets division, has served as chair of the board the past two years. She also served as vice-chair from 2015 through 2018 and as a leading member of nearly every board committee through her years of service.

Some of Keith's accomplishments and contributions since 2013 include leading the presidential search in 2018, resulting in the hiring of President Bob Davies; providing counsel and leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; and being the driving force behind a focus on enterprise risk.

Weideman, retired executive vice president and chief financial officer for The Dow Chemical Company, served as board chair in 2017 and 2018, and as vice-chair in 2016. He, too, led many board committees and represented the Board of Trustees on the CMU Advancement Board, the Investment Subcommittee and the 2018 Presidential Search Committee.

Keith and Weideman received trustee emeritus rank.

In other business, trustees approved:

  • Four new endowments and five naming opportunities.
  • Nearly 1,500 December graduates.
  • Deferred maintenance projects for fiscal year 2022 of $5.7 million.
  • Emeritus rank for nine faculty and staff members.

Trustees extend president's contract

The Board of Trustees reviews the president's performance each December and determines whether to make a salary adjustment. Chair Keith said the trustees are very pleased with Davies' performance in 2020, particularly during this incredibly challenging year. She noted how he has faced the challenges of 2020 with compassion, empathy and decisive candor.

Given the current fiscal environment, the board chose to maintain the president's current base salary for 2021, the same as it has been since his hire in 2018. They did, however, vote to authorize Chair Keith to sign an amendment extending his contract term through 2025 to reward and retain him.

Davies thanked the trustees, saying, "I sincerely appreciate the support of the board. My leadership team and I are ready to move forward boldly and strongly."

President's report

In his opening remarks, Davies congratulated students, faculty, staff and community partners for their efforts to sustain on-campus living and learning activities through the fall semester.

"We set out to achieve a goal many thought impossible — to hold an on-campus, in-person fall semester," Davies said. "And thanks to the efforts of our entire community, we succeeded where so many other institutions did not."

Davies outlined steps the university took to prioritize health and safety, including a robust testing strategy; development of a health screening app; partnership with local apartment complexes, landlords and employers; and collaboration with local leaders in city and county government, including law enforcement and the local health department.

Davies also recognized several accomplishments and achievements, despite the challenges of the pandemic:

  • Resumption of practice and competition for football and basketball student-athletes.
  • Multiple live performances by University Theatre and the School of Music, broadcast for virtual audiences.
  • The 100th anniversary of the CMU Student Government Association.
  • The Paragalactic Space Flight program, developed by faculty member Alex Redei and students, and showcased at Fleischmann Planetarium in Nevada.
  • Faculty from the College of Education and Human Services leading a statewide effort to address the digital learning gap exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.

And as the university prepares for winter break, Davies said students, faculty and staff can find information about January's return to campus on the Fired Up for Spring website, which launched this week.

Election of board officers

Trustees concluded today's meeting by electing board officers for 2021. Richard K. Studley was elected board chair, and Robert F. Wardrop II and Michael A. Sandler were elected vice chairs.

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