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President Davies delivers his first 'State of the University' address

President Bob Davies gives his first annual State of the University address Oct 7. in Plachta Auditorium.

President Bob Davies discussed changes to the financial aid model, enrollment and retention strategies and student support during his first “State of the University” address at Central Michigan University.

"We have been together for one year, two months and four days," Davies said. “I have enjoyed countless walkabouts of student business organizations, lunches in our residential restaurants and hours of lobbying our performers and cheering on our student-athletes.”

He delivered the "State of the University" address to students, faculty and community members on Thursday, Nov. 7.

In his speech, Davies discussed the importance of working to make college more affordable for students.

"Later this month, we will finalize our extensive review of our need-based financial aid model," Davies said. "We will make significant changes to the way we help students and their families pay for college."

The university is working with financial aid experts to look at how CMU currently supports student. These experts are working with CMU's data, analyzing national trends and deciphering how successful the university is with financial aid. 

"They'll be providing us with a series of recommendations and proposals that we will begin acting on and implementing in the upcoming year," Davies said.

He mentioned the university is working with alumni and donors, as well as looking for ways to keep initiatives lean and efficient. 

Davies connected the importance of affordable college with retention and enrollment.

For the fall of 2020, Davies hopes that CMU has 2,850 new freshman students, nearly a 14 percent increase, 1,100 transfer students, nearly a 20 percent increase, and retain more than 78 percent of this year's freshman class.

To assist with enrollment and retention, CMU is working to improve the scholarships, application and transfer process, technology and expand the online and satellite institutes. 

"We must change the policies and procedures that make it unnecessarily difficult for capable and prepared students to transfer to CMU," Davies said. "We need to make it easy for transfer students to choose CMU."

He focused on the importance of resources that support students in both their academic and personal endeavors.

"As we set up for recruiting and enrolling, we are increasing services to support and retain students to keep them their path for graduation," Davies said. 

New student service additions include a student food pantry, first-year students are now required to meet with an academic advisor twice a year and services have been added to the counseling center.

Davies elaborated on "Envisioning Our Future: CMU 2030," a strategic envisioning process for CMU.

The process includes five pathways that focus on improving CMU. 

"They will provide us with a framework for thinking, making decisions, adapting to changes in our environment and most importantly guiding our actions," Davies said. "This is not about planning, this about strategic actions."

"Together we will navigate the challenges and opportunities before us. We are strong in so many areas but need to find our niche, our calling. We can not be everything to everyone, but we can be the right thing to the right student."