Takeaways from CMU Board of Trustees committee meetings


The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees met in committees on Dec. 1 to prepare for its Dec. 2 formal meeting.

Trustees attended three committee meetings to discuss the fiscal budget and diversity, equity and inclusion among faculty ranks.

The board will meet for their live-streamed formal meeting at 10 a.m. on Dec. 2.

Academic and Student Affairs Committee 

Tom Masterson, Dean of the College of Health Professions and George Kikano, Dean of the College of Medicine, shared the status of their colleges and plans for future expansion and collaboration. 

Masterson said CHP's biggest problem is the current budgeting model at CMU, which Masterson said doesn’t provide enough funds to effectively run a sustainable college. 

“Our college is full of exceptional faculty and great programming,” Masterson said. “We just gotta get over this undergraduate enrollment bump.” 

Trustees raised questions about possible funding from the state. 

Kikano said CMED is doing really well. He also discussed the enrollment in the college being constrained by instructional space and the availability of clinical sites. 

Finance and Facilities Committee 

Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Nick Long reported some of the budget shortfalls for this fiscal year. 

According to Long, this year's budget was created based on an expected 2,200 new freshman and 900 transfer students. CMU did not meet these goals, with 1,914 new freshman and more than 700 transfers. 

Because of the shortfalls, Long said, there will be mid-year budget changes. About $11 million was lost in tuition and fees. 

Long also said that scholarship awards equaled more than what was budgeted for. The overage was $5.5 million. The total cuts will be offset by state funding, resulting in $12.2 million in future budget cuts. 

Chair Richard Studley said the board is working towards a more centralized budget model that will allow it to be "more nimble." 

"We're very respectful of our tradition of shared governance," Studley said. "We will listen and we will learn, but in the end, under our state constitution, state law and the bylaws of the university, it is the responsibility of the president and board to set overall strategy and direction for the university."  

Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Jonathan Webb gave an update on deferred maintenance projects. Webb said $5.7 million will be used for campus projects in the Summer.  

Webb said that facilities management will be working on four major projects that make up one third of the total projects: windows and brickwork of Finch Fieldhouse, lighting controls in the Park Library, mechanical repairs in Moore Hall and sewage repairs in Saxe Hall.  

Trustees-Faculty Liaison Committee

The Multicultural and Diversity Education Council of the Academic Senate discussed findings and future plans for diversity, equity and inclusion among faculty ranks.

Trustees outlined two principal topics for improvement: strategies for faculty to improve retention of diverse colleagues and strategies to recruit diverse student populations.

Academic Senate Chair Katrina Piatek-Jimenez brought up inclusion concerns that have been raised on campus. She advised an ongoing rework of CMU's culture to accommodate and retain all types of faculty and students.

“We’re dealing with outdated departmental procedures that haven’t been updated in 30 to 40 years and simply don’t work in our modern world,” Piatek-Jimenez said.

The council also recommended the standardization of formal training for faculty. Some faculty members are hired without receiving formal training, creating an imbalance in procedure.

The council and trustees further discussed methods for recruitment of diverse students. As CMU’s enrollment continues to decline, targeting diverse populations will be crucial.

In addition, Carl Lee, statistics, actuarial and data sciences faculty member, and Dimitrios Zikos, health administration faculty member, presented an update on the university’s data science program.

Lee reported that the data science major has been approved and will launch in Fall 2022. Nine minors are being developed to support the major.

Zikos highlighted the importance of offering an accompanying health analytics minor. The momentum in the healthcare analytics market is rapid and this minor will establish CMU as a trailblazer.

“I believe we are the only ones in the nation to connect this major and minor together as a two-ways approach,” Lee said.