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Davies announces drop in enrollment at academic senate meeting


A screenshot from the academic senate meeting -- streamed on Sept. 1.

Central Michigan University President Bob Davies announced the university saw a significant drop in enrollment for Fall 2020 at the first academic senate meeting of the semester.

Overall enrollment at CMU has dropped by 11 percent. Davies said the decrease was expected considering enrollment declines over the past 10 years and the spread of COVID-19. 

“We did see a drop of enrollment as compared to last year, we anticipated this for two reasons, the trend of enrollment of the freshman class over the last couple of years, and COVID-19," President Bob Davies said.

However, this semester's increase in the freshmen retention rate from 74 percent to 80 percent was not expected. Meaning, more freshman decided to take classes at CMU for a second year.

Davies also offered more information about on-campus coronavirus testing during his report. The university began reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases on a daily basis Sept. 1. 

"We are now offering on-campus testing in the Faust hall clinic," Davies said. "We should have results more quickly, the contract requires we get results in 48 hours, but the goal is to have results within 24 hours."

The testing clinic has been separated from the rest of the building. Davies said symptomatic and post-contact patients will be prioritized.

Davies also confirmed that 142 positive cases have been directly related to CMU since June 15 and 435 confirmed cases in Isabella county. Most cases have been linked to off-campus gatherings, Davies said.

“There is no road map or operating manual in an extended pandemic. We regularly review the best information from several reputable organizations, we rely on guidance from our own health experts," Davies said. "All we can do is make the best decisions we can based on the information available at the time.”

Senate members were also supposed to hear a COVID-19 update from Dr. George Kikano, dean of the College of Medicine, but were unable due to technical difficulties.

Other business

A resolution was passed encouraging faculty to avoid scheduling exams, projects or any other major class assignments on Election Day, November 3rd so students will have the chance to vote.

Davies also introduced the newest senior employees hired in recent months:

  • Julia Johnson, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Elizabeth Kirby, Interim Dean of the College of the Arts and Media
  • Paula Lancaster, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services
  • Jim Bujaki, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
  • David Weindorf, Vice President of Research and Innovation
  • Brad Swanson, Director of the Office of Graduate Studies

The search for the dean of the College of Science and Engineering begins this week. The position is intended to be filled by July 2021. Chris Moberg, dean of the College of Business Administration, is the search committee chair -- working with the search firm Greenwood, Asher and Associates. 

Rachel Blunt is interim associate vice president and athletics director while a national search is underway, Provost Schutten is the chair of the search committee assisted by DHR International.

A national search for a new chief diversity officer is set to begin later this year. In the meantime, interim Stan Shingles 

Academic Senate meetings are live-streamed every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.