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In 1892. In 2017. Ever evolving. Ever caring. Ever leading.

Meeting needs

FOR 125 YEARS A Message from

President George E. Ross Those words capture the active leadership of Central Michigan University students, faculty, staff and alumni. They honor our 125-year history and reflect the certainty with which we will continue to ignite a better future. Fiscal year 2017 saw the graduation of our first medical students — 62 individuals chosen for their dedication to rural and medically underserved communities. Similarly, we graduated our 10th class of mechanical and electrical engineers. Just as we opened a medical school to serve individuals and families desperate for doctors, Central created an engineering program to address great need among Michigan employers. That philosophy dates back to 1892, when local leaders opened a teachers college so all communities would have educators trained in the best ways of opening young minds to knowledge. Meeting needs. You see it in our work to preserve the Great Lakes. In a curriculum developed to give children with learning disabilities the ability to write. In the science being wielded in our labs, using light to treat neurological and psychological brain disorders. You see our commitment in a new, private oncampus hotel, where CMU students play key roles and gain experience to move Michigan’s travel industry forward. You also see it through our business incubation efforts across the Great Lakes Bay Region. Meeting needs. In 1892. In 2017. Ever evolving. Ever caring. Ever leading.


Meeting needs

IN UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES On May 7, the first graduates of the CMU College of Medicine received their degrees and became doctors. Their next step: residency. All of the students obtained residency placements, and nearly half were matched to programs in Michigan.

I ended up at the CMU College of Medicine because my values aligned with the values of the school: social responsibility, respect for others, caring for the underserved. One of my first memories of starting medical school is passing professors in the hallways. Some of them already knew our names, and we hadn’t met them yet.” — Omar Khan, from Ann Arbor, Michigan


Collaborating to improve community health Faculty and students traveled to Flint with Mobile Health Central — a multidisciplinary clinic on wheels — to host a senior health fair with local partners. The volunteers screened more than 100 residents for diabetes, skin cancer, blood pressure and hearing loss. “Mobile Health Central gives us the chance to increase access to health care in rural and other underserved communities that face obstacles,” CMU outreach coordinator Tracy Speier said. “We are able to partner with community residents to identify specific needs and gaps in service, and then we take those services directly to them.”

Collaborating for better health and wellness

Partnering to provide physical therapy

Deans from five CMU academic colleges have partnered to develop an Interdisciplinary Center for Community Health and Wellness, which will build community collaborations to address urgent health priorities — especially in medically underserved rural and urban communities. The center launched in 2017 as a virtual space for resource and information sharing.

Physical therapy faculty member Jamie Haines helped her students put their class work into practice last fall. Under Haines’ supervision, they provided four weeks of free physical therapy services to community members in the region. Students taught each individual physical therapy techniques and moves to build strength, stability and range of motion. This experience enabled the students to use the latest techniques and best practices they learned in class while helping residents who have conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.



Meeting needs

FOR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Understanding culture and tradition The annual CMU Pow wow has celebrated life and Native American culture since 1987.

Creating a narrative through art Using vintage snapshots from the 1920s to the 1950s, art and design Professor Kris Sanford created “Through the Lens of Desire,” an imagined history of same-sex relationships. She displayed this award-winning collection at the 10th annual GETXOPHOTO festival in Getxo, Spain.

Pursuing greater inclusion President George E. Ross appointed 18 faculty, staff and students to an equity and inclusion task force in early 2017. The task force is reviewing the findings of a diversity and inclusion report and past research to identify ways to strengthen diversity and inclusion at CMU.

Providing tools to prevent misconduct

We are not oppressive or exclusive. Central is about sharing cultural differences and accepting diversity. We want this place to be a student’s home away from home.” — Taylor Zelinsky, 2017 alumna

A two-hour online training module for faculty, staff and students raises awareness about sexual misconduct prevention and CMU’s policies and expectations. All incoming first-year and transfer students are required to complete the training.

See more student perspectives at cmich.ly/CMUThisIsWhoWeAre


Meeting needs

OF OUR STUDENTS CMU provides financial aid and tailors student services to ensure success. In the past fiscal year, CMU has: » Awarded approximately 10,000 students more than $72 million in university-funded financial aid, an increase of more than $18 million since 2012. » Increased its four-year graduation rate to a 15-year high. » Enrolled 5,398 minority students — a record number and a 30 percent increase since 2007.

The transition to college would have been overwhelming if I hadn’t been able to move in early and experience IMPACT. Knowing people and having mentors who I could go to if I had questions made my first weeks easier.” — Sarah Hall, a first-generation student from St. Clair Shores, about a multicultural orientation program launched in 2016


I always advise my classmates to meet with a success coach. When I started meeting with my coach, I was rather confused on the requirements I had to fulfill. Now that I am meeting with her, I know exactly what I need to do and where I am in my academic goals. It brings a great sense of clarity when I have someone to help me figure out what I am doing.” — Fall 2016 coaching survey

Ensuring academic success The Office of Student Success facilitated more than 4,300 appointments in the past fiscal year, and 94 percent of those students say they would recommend the support service. Career Services supported 4,630 students through walk-ins, scheduled appointments and workshops. These services include exploring career and academic interests, discussing application processes and materials, researching continuing education opportunities, interview preparation, networking, and internship and job search assistance.

Meeting needs

TO ADVANCE EXCELLENCE Strategic Plan, 2017-2022 One day before the end of the fiscal year, CMU’s Board of Trustees adopted an updated strategic plan titled “Advancing Excellence.” The plan will guide CMU’s actions for the next five years and reflects input from hundreds of on- and off-campus constituents. It outlines three imperatives:

» Nurturing student success; » Fostering scholarly activity; and » Strengthening partnerships in Michigan and beyond. The plan includes initiatives such as reviewing CMU’s academic structure for the first time in 20 years, bringing degree requirements down to 120 credit hours, and increasing faculty research and scholarly activity. Assessment and implementation efforts began immediately.

Giving back to students For a second consecutive year, annual giving at CMU exceeded $20 million.

A strategic plan is a compass that guides our actions in the short and long term. A bold strategic plan — which I believe ours is — goes beyond the status quo to cement an evolving path of high-impact leadership.” — President George E. Ross

Current gifts: $16,047,513 Planned gifts: $5,253,794 Total giving: $21,301,307

31,783 total donors — the most in CMU history


1,000 first-time donors

Read the full strategic plan at cmich.edu/strategicplan

747,485 calls by phonathon student workers

27% increase in online giving

40% of CMU Chippewas who attend an alumni event give back to CMU and the next generation of students, compared to the national average of 8% Fire Up Chips!


Meeting needs

FOR STEM EDUCATION Wired to be hired A decade ago, the first students of CMU’s undergraduate engineering programs — mechanical and electrical — graduated. CMU since then has become a top institution for teaching and training engineers. And CMU’s first master of engineering students graduated in May. Also in May, Tyler Demski was the first to graduate from CMU with dual majors in electrical and mechanical engineering. He was hired as an electrical engineer at Roush Industries in Livonia. “I enjoy both of these disciplines of engineering and wanted to push myself to learn as much as possible,” Demski said. “When I was a senior in high school and looking into different colleges, they all said it would be nearly impossible to complete both majors. But here at CMU, the professors and academic advisors told me it would be hard to do, but they were going to help me make it happen.”

Lighting up research CMU neuroscientist and College of Medicine faculty member Ute Hochgeschwender leads research funded by a $2.25 million National Institutes of Health grant. Her project investigates how to use light to control and repair damaged cells in the brain through molecular engineering and bioluminescent optogenetics. It could impact more than 1 billion people worldwide who have a brain disorder and revolutionize treatment of neurological and psychological conditions such as depression, autism, addiction and epilepsy.


CMU’s Biological Station on Beaver Island — a unique outpost for Great Lakes research and summer courses — celebrated its 50th anniversary.

CMU’s Biosciences Building welcomed students and faculty for classes and research in January. The $95 million, fourstory, 169,000-square-foot building is the largest capital project in CMU’s history.


Meeting needs

FOR HANDS-ON RESEARCH AND EXPERIENCES Bringing fossils to life Using 3-D printers in CMU’s MakerBot Innovation Center, anthropology student Jennifer Webb produced life-size replicas of early human fossils discovered in South Africa. She studied them to help determine their age and relation to modern-day humans. “Bones are important because they tell stories,” Webb said. “You learn to read what they are telling you based on the characteristics you can see and feel.”

Learning the ropes of the hospitality industry Casey Hess was one of four interns hired at the Courtyard by Marriott at CMU when it opened in 2016. The hospitality major spent nearly a year watching the hotel grow and gaining hands-on experience in each department — from housekeeping to the front desk. “Not many people in the hospitality industry get to experience opening a new hotel. I’ve learned a lot, and it has brought me opportunities for the future,” Hess said. “The best part of the experience was getting to know the opening team and learning about each department. I chose hospitality because of the people.”


Listening to a passion As a communication disorders major, Djemila Fields spent time in the audiology clinic in CMU’s Carls Center for Clinical Care and Education. The clinic, located in the Health Professions Building, offers diagnostic and rehabilitative audiology services — and ties classroom learning to the real world.

My experience in the Carls Center brought audiology alive. Instead of reading about it in a book or listening to a lecture, actually seeing a comprehensive hearing evaluation turned on a light bulb for me. I thought, ‘This is what I want to do.’”

Meeting needs

FOR CHILDREN IN OUR COMMUNITIES Giving children with disabilities a voice Communication disorders Professor Janet Sturm created the First Author Writing Curriculum to help children with disabilities learn to write. More than 500 schools nationwide, including in New York City and Detroit, use Sturm’s curriculum. “Teachers tell me that prior to First Author, they had no writing curriculum for their students,” Sturm said. “Typical instruction consisted of copying and tracing letters of the alphabet. First Author is all about everybody finding a voice and communicating and sharing with others.”

Exploring a child’s world through play CMU’s play therapy training course is the only one of its kind in mid-Michigan. Play therapy allows children to express themselves and can help address anxiety, depression and behavioral issues. Graduate students in the professional counseling program advance counseling skills by working directly with clients. “CMU students who have this type of hands-on experience are well-equipped to go into their profession,” said Darlene Chen, assistant professor of counseling and registered play therapist. “Depending on their interests, they have the potential to go into a private practice, work with community agencies, or join the staff at hospitals or schools.”

Leveling the field for children with autism CMU’s Central Autism Assessment and Treatment Center partnered with women’s soccer coach Peter McGahey to launch Chippewas TOPSoccer. The free program enables children with autism to participate in recreational activities and develop relationships with others, practice social skills, and continue developing motor and leisure skills, said Melissa Tuttle, director of autism assessment at the center. TOPSoccer is one of several programs and resources CMU offers to diagnose, treat and help people live with autism spectrum disorder.


Meeting needs

OF MICHIGAN’S ECONOMY Incubating entrepreneurial ventures CMU Research Corp. expanded into its second location, in Uptown Bay City, in 2016 and announced plans for its third location, in downtown Saginaw, to open in 2018. CMURC was created in 2000 as a Michigan Economic Development Corp. SmartZone, a regionally based, high-tech collaboration designated to help entrepreneurs flourish by bringing the university and community together. Among the state’s 20 MEDC-funded business incubators, CMURC is No. 1 in jobs created and companies formed.

Opening doors for students across the country Online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs launching this fall will help meet the needs of students across the U.S. in the fields of entrepreneurship, public administration, information systems, fashion and early childhood development. » The online master of entrepreneurial transactions degree goes far beyond business planning and pitching to include business, legal and tactical issues. » The online master’s degree in information systems degree offers three tracks, including cybersecurity — a concentration highly sought by employers due to the increasing threat of technological attacks. » The online master of public administration degree develops effective leaders and managers in the public sector, from government agencies to nonprofit organizations to international entities. » The online early childhood development and learning major provides the foundation for professionals who want to work with children in educational and social settings. » The online bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and design prepares students for careers in visual merchandising and product development.

CMU alumnus Aaron Seybert, a social investment officer with The Kresge Foundation, has focused his career on helping people and areas considered low income. He is one of many alumni contributing to efforts to accelerate Detroit’s return to prominence.


Meeting needs


Advancing a culture of champions » CMU Athletics honored 140 of its students in April for having a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. » The women’s basketball team went 23-9, won the regular-season MidAmerican Conference title and set a program record with 15 home victories. The Chippewas have won 20 or more games six of the last seven seasons.

» CMU’s football team made national news in September when wide receiver Jesse Kroll caught a finalplay, no-time-on-the-clock pass from quarterback Cooper Rush and lateraled it to fellow receiver Corey Willis, who ran for a touchdown to stun then-No. 22 Oklahoma State, 30-27. » Marcus Keene drew national attention to our men’s basketball program — even from the Wall Street Journal. He led the nation in scoring, averaging 30 points a game.

» The softball team went 37-15 and was the regular-season MAC champion, while the baseball team won 31 games and the MAC West Division title. » Gymnastics sent two students to the NCAA Championships, the first CMU gymnasts to make it that far since 2014. » Nine CMU wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships.


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Profile for Central Michigan University

President's Annual Report ’17  

In 1892. In 2017. Ever evolving. Ever caring. Ever leading.

President's Annual Report ’17  

In 1892. In 2017. Ever evolving. Ever caring. Ever leading.