Takeaways from CMU Board of Trustees committee meetings

President Bob Davies listens to other administrators talk at the Dec. 4 Board of Trustees meeting.

The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees met in committees Wednesday to prepare for its Thursday formal meeting.

Trustees attended five committee meetings Dec. 4 to discuss topics like Title IX, program updates and food insecurity on campus.

The board will vote to approve the acquisition of a public broadcasting radio station in Traverse City and the possible creation of a pediatrics discipline within the College of Medicine at its formal meeting, which is set for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 in the Bovee University Center President's Conference Room.

Policy and Bylaws

The Board of Trustees bylaws were amended to make the enterprise risk committee a standing committee and clean up the bylaws language.

Enterprise Risk

The enterprise risk committee met to discuss Title IX, campus security and campus safety. Mary Martinez, CMU Title IX coordinator and Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity interim executive director, spoke about how CMU is maintaining compliance with Title IX and anticipating new changes to Title IX from the federal level.

“Title IX is in that ever-changing state right now,” Martinez said. “We want to make sure we’re maintaining compliance with federal policies and laws.”

She said a new Title IX investigator was recently added to the staff and they are currently developing training programs for faculty and students.

CMUPD Police Chief Larry Klaus spoke about how the university police department is maintaining campus security and safety. He spoke about dealing with cybercrimes on campus, working on assigning an officer to the regional narcotics team, and helping OCRIE with their “Consent is Central” campaign.

Academic and Student Affairs 

The committee discussed the possible creation of a pediatrics discipline within the College of Medicine, which will be voted on during the formal meeting.

“I do encourage our medical students to go into pediatrics,” said trustee Michael Sandler. “Rural Michigan is very underserved. By having the rotation from the children's hospital it is more likely that they will be exposed to high-quality pediatrics. From that perspective, I find it very important that we have this.”

The creation of the discipline would continue the schools’ initiative to promote and advance health and wellness, as well as give back to the medical community according to Provost Mary Schutten.

Schutten stated that the President and Provost Fund for Innovation and Excellence received 63 interdisciplinary proposals with requests totaling nearly $11 million in funds. Schutten and Davies will be working to review and select projects to fund which will be chosen within the new year.

Betty Kirby, the dean of College of Education and Human Services, and Corey Northrop, executive director of the Center for Charter Schools, gave an overview of the work and achievement at the CMU partner charter schools. 

Finance and Facilities

Jonathan Webb, Facilities Management associate vice president, presented that the university won a $908,000 Federal Management Agency Grant. The funds from the grant will go toward a project to help prevent storm damage on campus that will be in construction throughout the summer of 2020.

Webb also updated the committee on the completion of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions expansion, the Center for Integrated Health Studies.

The committee discussed the acquisition of the public broadcasting radio station WFCZ FM in Traverse City. Jim Rademaker, WCMU Radio interim general manager, discussed how this purchase will allow WCMU to reach 100,000 more listeners. 

“This is a unique opportunity for us to expand what we’re able to do and how we’re able to bring CMU to an increasingly important area of Michigan,” Rademaker said. “This is a great opportunity for us to reach those families with students, a great opportunity for us to reach alumni that are up in that area and a great opportunity to continue to expand partnerships that we are doing around campus.”

The purchase will require up to $500,000 from university reserves which will be paid back by WCMU. This action will be voted upon at the formal meeting.

Trustees-Faculty Liaison 

Trustees spoke to faculty members about interdisciplinary programs.

Brad Swanson, Academic Senate Chair and biology faculty member, explained the process of creating a new program and the challenges of creating interdisciplinary programs. 

"What works best is when you have both faculty in the class at the same time," he said. "One of the biggest hurdles is how it equates to the load the faculty has to teach."

Currently, if two professors teach a class together they each get half-credit, which means they may have to teach more classes than normal.

The Point of Pride presentation was another example of interdisciplinary learning. Theatre and dance faculty member Heather Trommer-Beardslee said one of her projects is in collaboration with the biology department. Each semester, her students visit biology faculty member Wiline Pangle's Biology 101 classes to perform a dance about cell division. Pangle told her that she has noticed higher scores from her students in that unit.

Trustees-Student Liaison

Various student leaders from across campus presented information from their organizations to the Board of Trustees. The topic of food insecurity among CMU students was a prevalent topic throughout this meeting. 

Director of Residence Housing Association Mary St. John brought a $1 meal initiative to the attention of the committee. The idea behind this initiative is to have a location where students can pay $1 for a meal based on what is served in the residence halls during dinner hours for four days a week. 

The $1 meal program will be based on the"honor system," St. John said. Students will be expected to use the program if they need it and are asked to not if it is unnecessary. 

“The goal isn’t to shame those who do need (the program),” St. John said. “We want to make sure that it’s accessible, but discreet so people aren’t feeling ashamed to admit that they need help.”

Planning toward this initiative is currently taking place, and is aimed to begin next semester. The location of where this program will take place is still undetermined. The $1 meal initiative is separate from the meal swipe donation initiative, also taking place next semester, which allows students to donate their guest passes to those facing food insecurity.