Trustees recommend expansions in health care and medical education programs

Board elects new chair, vice chairs for 2023

| Author: Ari Harris | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

In its final meeting of 2022, the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees approved recommendations to increase the capacity and strengthen the impact of CMU’s health professions and medical education programs. 

During Wednesday’s Health Care Special Committee meeting, Trustees Sharon Heath and Dr. Mike Sandler presented recommendations related to expanding and enhancing programs in The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions and the CMU College of Medicine. 

“These opportunities position CMU to be an even stronger health care leader in the future,” said Board Chair Richard K. Studley. “There are tremendous opportunities, not just for jobs but extraordinary careers, in health care where we can not only help our community and the Great Lakes Bay Region, but our entire state.”

Trustees voted unanimously to accept and endorse the committee’s recommendations.

The recommendations for health professions, which will move forward immediately, were:

  • Increasing the size of cohorts in the physician assistant and physical therapy programs.
  • Exploring expansion of CMU’s nursing programs, including development of a new four-year, on-campus nursing degree program.

And, in the College of Medicine, recommendations were:

  • Developing and reinforcing partnerships to provide necessary clinical rotations for medical students, with the aim of providing equitable student experiences and ensuring LCME accreditation.
  • Exploring opportunities to increase engagement among all four classes of medical students, including a discussion of having a single College of Medicine location.
  • Discussing the option to increase the size of entering class cohorts in the College of Medicine to meet the growing need for physicians in rural and underserved areas.
New board leadership
Trustees also voted to elect board officers for 2023. 

The nominating committee, which included Trustees Studley, Robert Wardrop and Regine Beauboeuf, presented a slate that included:

  • Board treasurer: Mary Moran Hill, vice president of finance and administrative services and chief financial officer. 
  • Board secretary: Mary Jane Flanagan, chief of staff to the president.
  • Board chair: Trustee Isaiah Oliver.
  • Board vice chairs: Trustees Todd Anson and Sharon Heath.
The slate of nominees was unanimously approved by the board. 

Excitement for InSciTE
Also during Wednesday’s committee meetings, Trustees heard a presentation from biology faculty member Wiline Pangle about a new interdisciplinary certificate program.

The Integration of Science, Engineering and Technology certificate program will use a multi-year cohort model that empowers students to drive their course of research and study. 

A council of faculty representing all nine departments of the College of Science and Engineering assisted with the development of the certificate 

Pangle said a pioneer cohort of 35 students has enrolled in a special topics class that will serve as a pilot of the cohort mode.

“When we talk about innovation in education and what will differentiate CMU from our peers, this new interdisciplinary program is what we mean,” Davies said. “It is collaborative. It is student-driven. It focuses on authentic experiences and equity.” 

School of Journalism
Trustees approved organizational changes within the College of the Arts and Media.

The Department of Communication, the Department of Journalism and the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts will merge to form the new School of Communication, Journalism and Media.

During discussion of the reorganization in Wednesday’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting, Provost Nancy Mathews applauded the collaborative effort of to achieve the restructuring.

“I want to share how impressed I was by the process used to get to this point to reorganize,” Mathews said. “There were many discussions over the years with alumni and faculty who came together.”

In other action, trustees approved:

  • More than 1,160 fall graduates.
  • $5.7M in deferred maintenance expenditures.
  • Lease of indoor practice space for two athletic teams.
  • Budget for the planning, design and demolition of Northwest Apartments in 2024.
  • Emeritus rank for seven faculty and staff members.
President’s report
In his opening remarks, Davies highlighted the positive momentum that has returned to the university following two years of pandemic operations and uncertainty.

“Over the past several months, members of our community faced many external stressors as we recalibrated to our new normal, yet they continued to show up with a Fired-Up Attitude,” Davies said. “It has been a privilege to observe CMU rising to this challenge.”  

Davies pointed to recent successes in research and scholarly activity, grantsmanship, fundraising, enrollment and more, as well as the achievements of many students, faculty, staff and program offices. Highlights included:

  • A new mural highlighting Native American and Indigenous people at CMU, in Michigan and nationwide.
  • A 17% increase in grants and funding over this time last year.
  • Student Eric Urbaniak received the Youth Philanthropy Award from the Mid-Michigan Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
  • The appointment of Mary Moran Hill as CMU’s vice president of finance and administrative services and chief financial officer.
  • An “A” ranking in scholarship transparency from College Aid Pro.
Davies provided an update on the rollout of CMU’s strategic planning process. He said board members and committees representing various areas of the university would provide leadership and guidance for the inclusive process.

“Over the next several months, there will be many opportunities for our stakeholders to participate; this will include several sessions open to all members of the university community, as well as options to contribute suggestions and feedback online.”

Davies also thanked the alumni, donors and friends who contributed to student support programs such as the Student Food Pantry and Student Emergency Fund during a recent fundraising day. 

“This year’s record-breaking Giving Tuesday engaged more than 2,400 donors and has raised more than $418,000 — far surpassing our goal,” Davies said. “Our donors see what is taking place at CMU and are inspired to help.”

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