EDITORIAL | Wilbur's lengthy list of priorities
Kathy Wilbur may the president of Central Michigan University only temporarily, but she needs to use the position to move the university forward rather than keeping it running. She has an entire year to make her mark on the university and she should focus on helping the students.
Here are some of the main points Central Michigan Life feels she needs to focus on during her one-year tenure as president.
Tuition needs to stay low
Public universities across Michigan have hiked tuition this summer. Michigan State University students are facing a 5.2 percent increase this fall and a 4.9 percent increase in 2010. The University of Michigan increased tuition by 5 percent and Eastern Michigan University hiked tuition 3.8 percent.
CMU will likely be no different.
Wilbur said while she expects the Board of Trustees to raise tuition at the July 16 meeting, she plans to work with the board to keep it at a minimum.
And she should.
With the threat of cutting the Michigan Promise Scholarship, students and their families are going to need as much financial help as they can get. If Michigan wants a college-educated workforce, the government and the universities need to take into consideration the cost of attending a university.
While much of that is beyond her control, Wilbur should do what she can to make CMU a place students can afford to come.
Keep people here
Wilbur should focus on administration stability and hiring permanent administrators.
With former University President Michael Rao's departure came a flood of other departures, including Provost Julia Wallace, Vice President of Alumni Relations Mike Leto and Vice Provost of Academic Affairs Catherine Riordan, to name a few. Both Wilbur and Interim Provost Gary Shapiro have expressed that they will continue to move CMU forward, instead of just "treading water" at this stage in the university's history. Wilbur should be proactive with her appointment powers, and she should hire administrators accordingly. The number of people that have left this year is understandable, with Rao departing. But this could be a very critical time in the university's history, and she should work to keep and bring in people that are willing to help it grow.
The med school needs stability
It might be huge expense for the university, but at this point, the decision is moving forward. An interim dean has been hired, and CMU will begin to investigate costs and accreditation soon. With a project of this size, Wilbur needs to secure funding and stability for the program to make sure it stays on course. Even though it is an unpopular decision by some, it is still moving forward and needs the utmost care to assure its success.