Concerns from faculty members about the College of Medicine and the most recent Academic Senate meeting were shared at Wednesday’s Board of Trustees-Faculty Liaison Committee meeting.
CMED Dean Ernest Yoder gave a presentation about CMED’s planning and funding at Tuesday’s Academic Senate meeting.
“CMED began funding in the 2008 school year,” said Provost Gary Shapiro. “Since then, we’ve funded approximately $5 million each year. We won’t be using any undergraduate tuition to pay for anything. The university has ample resources to fund the College of Medicine.”
Donna Ericksen, a mathematics faculty member who attended the A-Senate meeting, said the budget she received was “the most discombobulating thing (she has) ever seen.”
“If we can’t afford it, is it going to ruin the university? I don’t want undergrads paying so we can have doctors that may or may not stay in the state,” Ericksen said . “Frankly, I can’t tell if we can or can’t, because we haven’t been presented with good figures.”
Ericksen said A-senate members were upset because they approved courses and other decisions, yet when the accreditation committee released the final courses, the list was different than what they had agreed upon. She also said to view the budget the accreditation committee was presented with, A-Senate members had to file a FOIA request.
“We feel like we don’t know what is going on. We approve all these things, so when we hear information other than what we’ve seen being presented at A-Senate, it upsets us,” said James Scott, business information systems faculty member.
Provost Gary Shapiro said presenting a completely accurate budget is nearly impossible.
“It is a changing budget, a proposed budget, a planned budget,” Shapiro said.
Committee Chairman John Hurd said it is necessary for the board of trustees to discuss issues surrounding CMED.
“We might not be able to get into the nitty-gritty of some of this, but at the same time, we are accountable. We made the decision and approved the development of CMED at Central Michigan University,” he said.
Ericksen said she is concerned the university will not have adequate funds for CMED if the program is not as successful as anticipated.
“I can see where the immediate worry is coming from, but (CMED) will be successful down the line,” said Trustee William Kanine. “I don’t want people to think that we are trying to get the medical school up and running at everyone else’s expense.”
Ericksen said she is most concerned with the impact that disagreements surrounding CMED will have on students in the long run.
“I’m worried that this environment is going to make us lose some of our best and brightest faculty, and students will suffer from that down the road,” Ericksen said. “I’ve overheard some of our best faculty say that they’ve been looking at other schools.”
Phil Squattrito, chemistry faculty member and former chairman of A-Senate, said the administration and faculty need to set aside their differences for the good of the university.
“We need to deal with each other with mutual respect, doing our best to put aside the bitterness that has built up over time and genuinely seek the opinions of faculty as we make decisions,” he said. “To me, that’s the way to have a united group that can continue to move forward and make investments in the university.”