Click here for COVID-19 updates affecting the campus community

President Bob Davies receives 3-year contract extension by board of trustees

CMU's 15th president requested no pay increase for contract extension


President Davies reacts during a Central Michigan University Board of Trustees meeting Dec. 5 in the Lake Superior Room at the University Center.

President Bob Davies will remain at the helm of Central Michigan University until at least 2024 after receiving a three-year contract extension Thursday, Dec. 5. from the board of trustees. 

Davies, CMU's 15th president, hit the halfway mark of his first contract this month. Trustees presented results of Davies' annual review at the board's formal meeting. 

Trustees praised some of Davies' strongest characteristics, such as being an excellent communicator, having a strong public presence on campus and exhibiting enthusiasm for connecting with students, staff and faculty. 

"The performance by President Davies has been rated very highly by all trustees," said chair Tricia Keith. "His performance has exceeded all of our expectations."

At the request of the president, the board approved a zero percent salary increase for Davies for next year. His salary will remain $415,000. Traditionally, the board takes into account the president's performance, and the presidential salary rates at peer institutions, to consider giving the president a raise. However, because Davies requested no pay increase, the board decided to extend his contract by three years, Keith said, "out of respect for the great work he's been doing here"  

Before presenting his presidential report, Davies and the board observed a moment of silence to honor Don Chiodo, football and basketball play-by-play announcer. Chiodo, of Mount Pleasant, was killed in a head-on car crash with a tractor-trailer Wednesday afternoon in Gratiot County. 

In his presidential report, Davies outlined CMU's recent advancements in recruitment and retention efforts. He said CMU's admissions applications have been significantly higher this year than they were last year. The university has also been closely monitoring the retention of its first-year students. Davies said his original goal was to have a 78 percent retention rate -- as of right now, 87-88 percent of the freshman class has registered for the spring semester, he said.

CMU has increased recruitment and marketing efforts in and out of state, Davies said. The university has made significant investments in recruitment in the Grand Rapids and Detroit areas, as well as in states like Wisconsin, Ohio and New York. Davies also said CMU has seen significant increases in applications from most Michigan counties. 

"We are on a very good upward trajectory," Davies said. "Right now, we will continue focusing on deposits in the upcoming semester." 

Sexual misconduct survey results remain unreleased

Mary Martinez, interim executive director and Title IX coordinator of the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity, delivered a report to the board about a campus climate survey sent to the student body last semester.

The survey, titled “Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct,” was released April 9 and collected confidential data from students about the sexual assault climate on campus. The 15-minute survey asked students anonymous questions related to their personal experiences, knowledge about sexual assault resources and opinions on the university’s efforts in combating sexual misconduct.

Davies said the results of the survey were shared with board members on Wednesday, but the results won't be shared publicly with the campus community until after the Title IX Advisory Committee meets in January. 

"Right now, the committee is working with the results," Davies said. "Based on the results, there are some things CMU does very well (in regards to sexual misconduct policies), such as educating students about CMU's sexual assault policies. But there's also some things we need to do on the communication side, such as making the policies more reader-friendly."

Martinez said 23 percent of the student body participated in the university-wide survey.

New degree programs, radio station approved

CMU students now have the ability to earn an environmental engineering degree, as well as a pediatrics discipline within the College of Medicine. 

The board approved a bachelor of science environmental engineering degree at Thursday's meeting, which will join CMU's current computer, electrical and mechanical undergraduate engineering programs. The program will consist of courses offered through the engineering, geology, chemistry, environmental studies and economics programs. Only eleven new courses will be created specifically for the new BSEnvE degree program.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that there will be an 8 percent increase in employment for environmental engineers from 2016 to 2026, an above-average rate compared to all other employment categories, according to the meeting agenda. 

Trustees also approved a new pediatrics discipline, the fourth academic discipline within the College of Medicine. 

This year, CMU entered a formal partnership with University Pediatrics, a non-profit academic pediatric practice dedicated to child care in southeast Michigan. The newly-approved pediatrics discipline will offer medical training and mentorship opportunities from University Pediatrics to CMU's College of Medicine.

The board also approved the acquisition of a new public broadcasting radio station, WFCX FM, in Traverse City. 

The WFCX coverage area extends from the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula south to Cadillac and from Frankfort east to Grayling. CMU's current radio signal – which reaches northern Michigan cities like Mount Pleasant, Bay City and Alpena – only reaches a portion of downtown Traverse City. 

The acquisition of WFCX FM will increase the station's potential listeners by more than 125,000, trustees said. 

"This is an important area because we have a lot of alumni in that area, but it's also a significant opportunity for donations and to recruit future potential students," said Trustee William Weideman.

The station's acquisition will cost $500,000, which will be funded by university reserves and repaid by WCMU Public Radio.