Trustees approve presidential priorities for 2022-23

University will begin process to develop new strategic plan

| Author: Ari Harris | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

During its formal session today, the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees reflected on successes of the past year and approved new priorities for the year ahead.

In his annual report to the board, President Bob Davies highlighted several achievements from academic year 2021-22 including:
  • Increased enrollment among new first-year, transfer, graduate and international students. For the first time since 2014, CMU’s incoming class was larger than the prior year. This increase represents the first step in reversing a decades-long trend in enrollment declines, Davies said.
  • The launch of CMU Innovation and Online, which will provide expanded, flexible educational opportunities and increased options for lifelong learning.
  • Progress on development of CMU’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion multiyear strategic plan, which will be presented at the December Board of Trustees meeting.
  • Recruitment of CMU’s new provost and executive vice president, Nancy Mathews, Ph.D.
  • Development of a campaign readiness plan to position CMU for its next major fundraising effort. Recommendations from the plan include staffing key positions, upgrading technology and securing appropriate volunteer leadership. 
“As you have heard, good things are happening on campus, in Mount Pleasant and at Central Michigan University,” said Richard K. Studley, board chair.

New year, new priorities

The board also approved five new presidential priorities for the upcoming academic year:

  • Strategic Planning — CMU’s current strategic plan, Advancing Excellence, expires this year. Davies will launch a new strategic planning effort, built upon the work of the Strategic Envisioning Process that began in 2019. The new plan will include review and discussion of CMU’s mission and vision statements.
  • Academic Master Plan — Provost Mathews will initiate a comprehensive academic master planning process in alignment with the overall university strategic planning process. This will build upon identified areas of strength as well as areas for future growth and investment. The master plan will provide an umbrella structure for college-level strategic planning and enhance academic rigor and scholarship, highlighting the teacher-scholar model.
  • Enrollment — building upon current momentum in enrollment, CMU will continue to adapt and innovate recruitment and retention strategies and increase graduation rates.
  • Fiscal/Fiduciary responsibilities — CMU must identify and recruit its next vice president for finance and administrative services. It also must develop and implement a multiyear budgeting and planning model to provide greater certainty and sustainability for academic and student support programs.
  • Advancement — the future successes of the institution will depend heavily on private philanthropic support, so CMU will focus on identifying and engaging new and larger capacity donors. 
As a first step toward advancement goals, Davies announced the appointment of Jennifer Cotter to serve as interim vice president of advancement.

Cotter has provided direction for both of CMU’s two previous comprehensive capital campaigns and has been serving as co-leader of advancement and alumni engagement activities with Marcie Otteman, executive director of alumni relations and constituent engagement, since late 2021.

Meeting Michigan health care needs
During a special presentation to the board’s Health Care Special Committee Wednesday, trustees heard a report on proposed expansions of several health professions programs.

Tom Masterson, dean of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions, said meetings with health care partners around the state highlighted a critical need for additional providers in areas such as physical therapy, physician assistant and nursing.

Under the proposed expansion, CMU will increase cohort sizes in its physical therapy and physician assistant programs. It also will hire an external consultant to complete a feasibility assessment for a four-year residential nursing program, which would complement CMU’s existing RN-to-BSN program and the Joint Nursing Education Program with Mid Michigan College.

“There’s going to be a demand for nursing in Michigan for quite some time,” Masterson said. 

Masterson cited Michigan’s Career Outlook through 2030 and its projection that Michigan will have approximately 6,345 nursing job openings per year.

“There’s a huge gap between the number of potential jobs in nursing and the number of nursing students currently graduating,” he said. “This speaks volumes for the demand in state for nursing.”

Other board actions
Trustees chose to pause work on the proposed Washington Commons residential project. 

“Considering the volatile construction market, construction material availability, rising interest rates and concerns raised by some university stakeholders, the prudent decision was to pause the Washington Commons Independent-Style Living project,” Davies said.

Davies said other planned campus improvements, including planned renovations in Cobb and Wheeler Hall, will continue as scheduled. 

In other board action, trustees:

  • Elected Mary Hill, interim vice president of finance and administrative services, to serve as treasurer of the Board of Trustees.
  • Approved extension of the board’s meeting schedule through 2024.
  • Announced members of the board nominating committee: Trustees Richard K. Studley, Robert F. Wardrop II and Regine C. Beauboeuf. 
Trustees also approved 595 summer 2022 graduates; awarded emeritus rank to five faculty and staff members; accepted the Office of Research and Graduate Studies quarterly report, as well as the contributions quarterly report and endowments, awards and scholarships report; and approved changes in membership for boards of directors for Public School Academies.

Highlights from the president’s report
In his opening report to the Board of Trustees, Davies highlighted the work of staff in admissions, marketing and communication to reverse declining enrollment.

“Instead of simply “doing what we’ve always done” and continuing to watch our enrollment dwindle, our staff chose to innovate,” Davies said. “They engaged our entire university community in their efforts so that each of us could play a meaningful role in this endeavor.”

Davies said preliminary statistics show that CMU’s enrollment includes: 
  • 2,029 new first-year students, an increase of approximately 6% 
  • 838 new transfer students, an increase of nearly 8% 
  • 1,191 new graduate students, an increase of 42% 
“It is important to note that these figures not only represent a year-over-year increase, they also are significant jumps when you consider the magnitude of prior year-over-year declines,” Davies said.

Davies also thanked alumni, donors and supporters for their participation in the week of giving campaign to celebrate the university’s 130th anniversary.

The effort raised more than $430,000 for a range of student scholarships and support services, including the Student Food Pantry, Student Emergency Fund, Ignite First Generation Student Scholarship and Finish Up Chips scholarship. 

“This was our largest-ever giving week at CMU, and the funds raised will have a direct and immediate impact on students this academic year,” Davies said. 

View latest news