Highlights from the 2022 State of the University Address
Key themes from CMU President Bob Davies’ Oct. 19 remarks
With a nod to the past, an acknowledgement of the present and a vision for the future, Central Michigan University President Robert O. Davies delivered the 2022 State of the University Address October 19, in Plachta Auditorium.
Davies began the speech – titled “Our Tradition is Change” – with a reflection on the university’s path through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Despite the challenges, we have emerged stronger, smarter and better prepared than ever to provide the kind of higher education experience and lifelong commitment that our students expect and deserve,” he said.
He talked of his pride watching the CMU community come together to deal with the challenges of the pandemic — and his excitement to return to a more fully engaged campus life.
“This year, it finally feels as though we have returned to something like pre-pandemic life at Central,” he said. “There is a buzz, a vibe that suggests CMU is in a very good place and that it is just the beginning.”
Davies spoke to CMU’s positive trends that include adding and expanding academic programs; a positive upward trend in enrollment of new students; a continuing commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging; and the formulation of a new Strategic Plan that will chart the university’s course for the next decade.
These are all part of CMU’s determination to meet the changing needs of the community and the students, he said.
He said the university is committed to “flipping the narrative on degree attainment,” embracing the view that universities do not give degrees, students earn them.
“We believe we are partners on a lifelong journey -- one that begins before students arrive at CMU and one that continues long after commencement,” Davies said.
“Currently, we foster a sense of pride of ownership when a student earns their degree. Going forward, we need to extend that to create a sense of authorship as well. We must acknowledge that, through their relationships and involvements at CMU, our students have created their own unique experiences.”
Davies also reiterated CMU’s long-standing pledge to its founding principle to meet the needs of communities, the state of Michigan, and the Great Lakes Bay Region.
“In the years since our founding (in 1892),“ he said, “we have added, expanded and strengthened programs based on the needs of our students, communities and partners – all with commitment to rigor, relevance and excellence.”
Davies closed by again speaking to CMU’s ability to adapt and embrace change in a rapidly evolving higher education climate.
“For the past 130 years, we have embraced change, rising to the challenges of our times,” he said.
“I think it is clear to say that, at CMU, our tradition is change.”