Presidential forum discusses CMU's future
University President George Ross said a personal forum is necessary to help keep transparency at the university — online posts and emails sometimes are not enough.
About 200 people attended a presidential forum held by Ross from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Bovee University Center. The forum was broadcasted online via Wimba where approximately 100 people viewed online.
“We’re attempting to keep the information out there,” Ross said. “But every once in a while it’s good to communicate face to face.”
The forum agenda covered the university mission statement, presidential transition team, strategic planning team, assessment and prioritization update, the budget and a state economic update.
Ross said administration went to outside professional sources who gathered data and helped them process the information. He said the mission is student success.
Ross said the 80-member transition team has concluded its reports, which are now available online.
“There’s some pretty hard stuff to read in there about our university, but we need to read it,” Ross said. “What we plan must be integrated into where we want to take this university.”
Regarding strategic planning, Ross said the 14-member team, co-chaired by Claudia Douglass, interim vice provost of Academic Affairs, and Barrie Wilkes, associate vice president of Financial Services and Reporting, will guide the university’s strategic planning process.
Provost Gary Shapiro said each strategic unit is reviewing its program, and submitting a report by May.
Shapiro also discussed the importance of online education formats. About 96 percent of the students that attend CMU are from Michigan, the majority of which are directly out of high school. However, recent numbers show a 7.02-percent decline in CMU’s Michigan high school student intake and a 4-percent decline in first timers in any college.
The international and off-campus students are the ones CMU will start trying to reach. Emphasis will be placed on online education, which means trying to limit the size to increase the quality, Ross said.
“We have to broaden our base of where we recruit,” Ross said.
Kathy Wilbur, vice president of development and external relations and co-chair of the transition team, addressed the budget.
Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed to cut the university budget 15 percent. CMU could also receive a 23.3-percent cut if it raises tuition above 7.1 percent.
The dashboard system is very different than a funding formula, Wilbur said. The current year appropriations were $80,132,000 and the proposed state appropriations are $68,108,900, meaning CMU’s spending needs to be reduced by $12 million.
Ross said the best thing for the budget is investing.
“We’ve got to figure out how we’re going to invest,” Ross said. “We cannot (continue) planning by how we’re going to cut the budget.”