Board of Trustees discuss academic prioritization, tuition and summer construction

CMU's Board of Trustees meets in person while live-streaming the meeting on June 24 at 10 a.m. The Upper right corner is President Bob Davies. The lower left corner is Trustee Richard Studley.

Central Michigan University’s Board of Trustees had their formal meeting June 24 at 10 a.m. 

After a year of COVID-19, online learning and an ongoing decline in enrollment, the CMU Board of Trustees had to make some serious decisions regarding funding for the 2021-22 school year.

Dr. Michael Sandler, chair of the academic and student affairs committee gave a report on the process of academic program prioritization. 

This was a process, headed by Provost Mary Schutten, of identifying the programs with the highest rates of interest, completion and cost effectiveness. 

The programs have been broken down into categories: marquee programs are considered priorities, middle programs are believed to have potential to become marquee programs, and watchlist programs are likely to receive the least amount of funding and marketing.

A list of the marquee programs was provided by Schutten in the Academic and Student Affairs committee meeting on June 23. She has not shared what programs will be in the middle and watchlist categories.

Trustee Richard Studley said about the program prioritization, “In the real world if everything is a priority, nothings a priority.”

A motion was unanimously approved to reduce the number of departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences from eight to six.

World Languages and Culture, will be combined with History to create the Department of History, World Languages and Cultures. Philosophy and Religion will be combined with Anthropology to create the Department of Philosophy, Anthropology and Religion.

A second motion was unanimously approved to establish the School of Politics, Society, Justice, and Public Service. The departments within this school will be sociology, social work, political science and public administration.

These department changes follow a series of layoffs in CLASS.

According to President Davies, these mergers “will not impact faculty lines.”

President Davies updated the board on CMU’s COVID-19 response. Since May 17, there has only been one positive case on campus. In addition, CMU has hosted just over 40 vaccine clinics and administered approximately 13,500 vaccines.

The upcoming semester will be approached with caution due to people ages 16-29 being below 35 percent vaccinated, Davies said.

“We hope to begin the fall semester, with a high percentage of fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff,” Davies said. “I once again want to extend my gratitude to members of our emergency management team, and others who have worked tirelessly over the past year on their efforts to keep our campus healthy and safe throughout the pandemic. We would not be where we are today without their efforts.”

After an in-depth budget update from Nicholas Long, vice president for finance and administrative services, the board unanimously voted to pass a tuition increase, an increase in the cost of room and board and approved the $435 million dollar operating budget for the 2022 fiscal year.

The tuition cost for students who began at CMU before August 3, 2019  will now be $445 per credit hour.

Students who began after August 3, 2019 and have fewer than 56 credits will be charged $425 per credit hour. Students who began after August 3, 2019 and have more than 56 credits will be charged $450 per credit hour.

The board also unanimously voted to increase the cost of room and board for residence halls and on-campus apartments by 2.5 percent.

Next, Long updated the board on summer construction projects. 

Chartwells is due to fully replace Aramark as CMU’s food provider on July 1. The Down Under Food Court is currently under construction and will be receiving a new name. Burrito Bowl will become Shake Smart and the residential restaurants will be updated.

“This is another avenue for students to gain employment here on campus,” Long said. “There's flexible hours, different outlets, and we welcome having students participate in that.