Studley presides over first CMU Board of Trustees meeting

Board, Davies acknowledge accomplishments amidst pandemic challenges

| Author: Heather Smith

Richard K. Studley today presided over his first formal meeting as chair of the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees.

"It is my honor and privilege to serve as chair," said Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. "I know I have big shoes to fill, and this is a humbling experience."

Studley acknowledged the difficulties of the past year and reaffirmed the board's commitment to working with CMU leadership and the university community to address challenges in the year ahead.

"The commitment on the part of your board of trustees is that we will listen, we will learn and we will lean in. We will work together to shape the future," he said.

CUT-2021-018-5-004 Board of Trustees 021121 as
New CMU Board of Trustees Chair Richard K. Studley, right, talks with President Bob Davies during the Feb. 11 board meeting.

During formal session Thursday morning, trustees heard a presentation from Evan Montague, executive director of student success and academic advising and assistance.

Montague discussed an effort launched in August 2020 to further develop the CMU advising model. The new model focuses on professional development, implementation of best practices from The Global Community for Academic Advising and the use of technology to supplement and strengthen interactions between advisors and students.

Also at the formal session, trustees approved or accepted:

  • A motion authorizing the president to ratify and sign collective bargaining agreements for 2021-2022 and beyond with two staff unions: the CMU Supervisory Technical Association (MEA-NEA) for supervisory-technical employees and the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) for police officers.
  • Emeritus rank for six faculty and staff.
  • Tenure and promotion for 28 faculty members.
  • Reappointment of Larry Wagenaar to the Clarke Historical Library Board of Governors.
  • More than $4.8 million in external grant funding for faculty and student research. This brings total grant and award dollars after six months this fiscal year to $9.8 million.

Also at Wednesday's committee meetings, the board received an update on the academic prioritization process from Provost Mary C. Schutten and university enrollment from Jennifer DeHaemers, vice president for student recruitment and retention. The fiscal year 2020-2021 financial update, the capital planning process, budget planning and campus construction were discussed at the Finance and Facilities Committee meeting. In addition, student leaders updated trustees on fall semester progress and challenges, as well as spring semester events and activities.

President's report to the board

In President Bob Davies' opening report to the board, he recognized the challenges of weathering nearly a year in a global pandemic, while focusing on the university's many accomplishments. In particular, he recognized:

  • College of Medicine students who have been on the front lines of the pandemic response, first assisting with COVID-19 testing and now administering vaccines.
  • Students from CMU's health professions programs who partnered with our local health department to assist with contact tracing efforts.
  • University leaders and members of the Emergency Management Team for closely monitoring rapidly-changing guidance and adjusting university operations to allow for in-person, on-campus living and learning, while adhering to best practices for health and safety.
  • Faculty for adapting to new teaching and learning modalities while still providing our students personal attention and guidance.
  • Staff who have demonstrated incredible innovation and creativity in their efforts to serve and support students.
  • CMU students for their incredible resilience in the face of adversity.

"We say that CMU Chippewas set the leadership standard and exemplify a Fired-Up attitude in all they do, and the proof of that is on display every day," Davies said.

Davies also provided updates on the spring semester, Strategic Envisioning Process, COVID-19 vaccination availability and eligibility, fall semester planning and the budget model review process.

In addition, Davies recognized:

  • Kumar Yelamarthi, director of the School of Engineering and Technology and professor of electrical and computer engineering, for being named College Science Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Science Teachers Association.
  • Holly Hoffman, Department of Human Development and Family Studies faculty member, for being awarded a Mid-American Conference Outstanding Faculty Award for Student Success.
  • This year's recipients of the President's and Provost's Awards for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity.
  • CMU's Alumni Relations and University Communications' teams for awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
  • The university's recent gold rating from the Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education.
View latest news