HOME > ABOUT WMU > WMU NEWS
President reviews accomplishments, defines goals
Nov. 10, 2004
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University President Judith I.
Bailey presented her annual State of the University address today,
Nov. 10, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.
In her speech, Bailey outlined four new or expanded initiatives
to meet the present and future challenges facing the University:
an enrollment management strategy, the doubling of sponsored
research, an aggressive capital campaign, and a program for resource
allocation, including faculty and staff positions. This was the
second such address of Bailey's 17-month presidency. She also
reviewed the progress on initiatives outlined in her first State
of the University address.
President Bailey was introduced by Dr. Linda Delene, WMU provost
and vice president for academic affairs. The complete text of
the 2004-05 State of the University address follows.
Hirsch and Nelson honored with named professorships
State of the University Address
"We, the People of Western Michigan University,
Embrace the New Reality"
Dr. Judith I. Bailey
President of Western Michigan University
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Good afternoon, and thank you, Provost Delene for such a gracious
welcome. I would also like to thank Provost Delene for the energy
and dedication she has brought to Academic Affairs over the past
several months. Her purposeful guidance is reshaping the academy
to be poised for future growth and success.
3,833 new beginners
5,830 new alumni graduated in this past year
3,631 faculty and staff
85 new faculty members
We, the people of Western Michigan University, are a vibrant,
We, the people of Western Michigan University, are a community
of learners, dedicated to the advancement of teaching, inquiry,
We, the people of Western Michigan University, are individuals
united in our efforts to work together, while ensuring that
the rich fabric of our diversity is valued and nurtured.
We, the people of Western Michigan University, comprise a
community that is exciting, resilient, and committed to moving
forward to a future of impressive promise.
We, the people of Western Michigan University, are a catalyst
for change in our University, in our community, in our state,
and in our nation.
We, the people of Western Michigan University, have the honor
and the privilege of working with our current and future students,
the next generation of leaders, inspiring them to achieve.
We, the people, ARE Western Michigan University.
We live in times unlike any we have seen in the past. The
external forces at work today have altered the basic premise
of higher education's place in society and because of their gradual
nature over the last 30 years, this change did not register early
on our radar. These forces have now converged into a strong and
steady perfect storm, leaving in its path a new reality we dare
You have heard the statistics many times over the past months,
but this message bears repeating yet again:
WMU receives only 41 percent of its general fund budget from
the State of Michigan. Less than 25 years ago, 70 percent of
that budget came from the state. We are now state-assisted rather
than state-supported. The higher education landscape in the state
and nation has permanently changed, and our plans for the future
must change accordingly. Public policy and funding shifts signal
that higher education is regarded as a private benefit rather
than a public good. The cost of higher education is being placed
squarely on our students while, in truth, the benefit of their
education accrues both to them as individuals and to society
as a whole.
Despite the statewide economic climate that has led to a dramatic
reduction in resources for all of Michigan's 15 public universities
and, in many instances, because of the difficulties we have faced,
our accomplishments are all the more significant.
Commitments made commitments kept
We, the people of WMU, honor our commitments as we manage
our own destiny.
During this address in February, I made several commitments
targeted to deal with immediate needs. Our progress on these
initiatives emphasizes our ability to work together effectively.
Consider our commitment to research collaborations:
The cataclysmic changes in the Kalamazoo pharmaceutical industry
and WMU's interest in expanding our biosciences research portfolio
led to the creation of the Biosciences Research and Commercialization
Center on our Parkview Campus. The BRCC, co-founded with a $10
million initiation grant from the State of Michigan, is designed
to foster the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical
products using the historic and continuing biosciences knowledge
base long present in our region.
Already six new companies at the BRCC are showing strong potential
and viable growth. Four additional companies are actively engaged
in discussions with the BRCC. The Biosciences Research and Commercialization
Center will continue to boost Michigan's economic development
in the life sciences market sector, provide needed advanced scientific
research opportunities for companies, and offer educational opportunities
for graduate students.
We recently appointed Dr. Charles Nawrot as the center's first
director. Dr. Nawrot has been an active researcher and entrepreneur
in the biosciences area for over 27 years.
To further our commitment to research, in December 2003 we
created the Western Michigan University Research Foundation.
The Research Foundation facilitates, organizes, and protects
the University's unfolding research and tech transfer agenda.
It provides a mechanism for WMU to focus on industry as a significant
source of funded research and enhances our flexibility to manage
such intellectual property as patented technology.
Consider our new Student Information System:
In Fall 2003 it became clear that we could no longer meet
our commitment to deliver quality student services and to improve
academic planning and assessment without investing in a new Student
The SIS installation I announced last winter is on schedule
because of the dedication of countless individuals, such as Matt
Tomczak, Marcy Ohs, Jim Gilchrist, and Lynn Kelly Albertson,
who are working hundreds of extra hours to install this modern
information infrastructure that will support the academic and
fiscal transactions of all students.
This new technology, allowing us to be efficient, flexible,
and accessible, is a direct result of embracing the reality of
our current system not meeting our student service and academic
support needs, as well as not being in compliance with federal
and state mandates.
Consider our commitment to intellectual rigor and academic
We welcomed 85 new faculty colleagues to campus this fall,
and their contributions will continue the tradition of instructional
excellence and research productivity at WMU. Among these are
eight faculty members who were selected to strengthen first-year
instruction for our undergraduate students and those who will
enhance existing strengths in the research arena.
Dr. Michael Scriven, for instance, is an internationally known
figure in the evaluation field, who has become a senior member
of our Evaluation Center staff. Dr. Sherine O. Obare is a young
chemist who came to WMU from a two-year post-doctoral fellowship
at Johns Hopkins University. She has become part of our growing
cadre of specialists in nanoscience.
We have also initiated a series of changes aimed at improving
the entire undergraduate experience for all of our students.
We want that experience to be rigorous, vibrant, and attuned
to the goal of fostering a lifelong love of learning.
As educators, we have the opportunity to instill in students
something that transcends the career goals that bring them to
us. We can infuse a sense of the real importance of education
in society and a love of learning for learning's sake-learning
for the sheer joy of knowing. The way our students approach new
information and new intellectual opportunities in the future
will be our lasting gift to them.
In February, I announced the launch of a new First Year Experience
program designed to ease the transition of students to college
life and to strengthen students' introduction to the academic,
social, and cultural opportunities of life at this University.
Parts of the initiative are already in place, and, by the start
of the next academic year, the First Year Experience will be
a reality. Students engaged in a First Year Experience program
have a greater success rate in college-and student success is
our primary concern.
The First Year Experience includes online placement testing,
a reorganization of our student and parent orientation sessions,
assigned summer readings, and a five-day August transition program
for first-year students. We also will offer incoming students
two-semester bloc scheduling with targeted advising, defined
campus events and activities related to their academic courses,
and an on-campus residential experience that supports responsible
personal and social development.
We have crafted what we believe to be an inclusive and effective
introduction to the WMU academic community that will set the
stage for students to become engaged and active learners. We
expect students who adopt these traits early to stay engaged,
to move quickly toward degree completion, to become active participants
in academic life and the University's research agenda, to be
highly marketable, and to build their professional lives here
in Michigan-a state eager for their contributions. The lessons
that emerge from the First Year Experience will last a lifetime
for our students. The outcomes of our work to improve the undergraduate
experience will pay dividends for all of us.
Consider the current and future building growth on campus:
Erica Stout, a junior in Occupational Therapy and also a student
representative on the SIS Team, shares her story of coming to
campus as a freshman and watching the new Health and Human Services
facility seemingly pop up out of the ground right before her
eyes. Erica's enthusiasm for WMU is contagious and her success
is a credit to you faculty and staff members who have guided
her experiences. I am pleased that she will have two years of
learning in the new Health and Human Services building starting
in the fall of 2005 as she works toward completing her degree.
At long last, this important college will be united under
one roof in a state-of-the art instructional and research facility,
offering the students enhanced educational opportunities.
In the spring, we will begin construction in the center of
campus on a new chemistry building. This facility, devoted to
undergraduate education, will meet the needs of modern science
instruction and address the shortcomings we currently have in
offering our students a chance to learn this important discipline.
Because the instructional needs are so pressing, this project
has been put on a "fast track" with a planned completion
date of Fall 2006.
Early next summer, we will start construction on a new School
of Art facility, named for community supporters Jim and Lois
Richmond, and designed to provide exhibition space for our students
and to be a focal point for the visual arts in our community.
These investments in new facilities during a time of limited
resources emphasize our commitment to the future.
Consider the Presidential Initiative on Diversity and Multiculturalism
being led by Dr. Martha Warfield:
Dr. Warfield convened the Council on Institutional Diversity,
which was charged with a campuswide review of University policy
and procedures and development of a comprehensive diversity agenda
for the campus. The group has completed its preliminary work,
assessed the campus landscape, and made recommendations, which
are now under consideration by various campus groups, such as
the Faculty Senate. I expect to formally respond to the initiatives
proposed at the beginning of the spring semester.
Dr. Warfield and her council have developed a wonderful vision
for what the future can be. Ultimately, our goal is a change
of campus culture to a state where we embrace, in the eloquent
words of the council's report, "diversity that encompasses
inclusion, acceptance, respect and empowerment...understanding
that each individual is unique and that our commonalities and
differences make the contributions we have to offer all the more
That is the outcome we seek.
Our new Multicultural Center for the University opened just
weeks ago. Located in the Trimpe Building, the center was designed
by students, in collaboration with faculty and staff members
from across campus. It has already become a warm and supportive
environment and a welcoming place for all students. This center
has been a dream for years for our students of color and our
international students. Now, it is a reality, and it plays a
significant role in our drive to change our campus culture for
Each initiative advanced because we, the people of WMU, shared
a commitment to enhance the undergraduate experience for our
students; to build a research agenda that fosters partnerships;
to create a physical and technology infrastructure that is student
friendly, responsive, and conducive to student learning; and
to create a campus climate where all are valued for their contributions.
* * *
The simple truth is that to remain strong and vital, an organization
must have the capacity to be responsive to change in its environment.
We, the people of WMU, must anticipate and plan for change
together. Our students expect no less.
Over the coming years, we must look long and hard at everything
we do, challenging all of our assumptions.
We have a 100-year plus tradition with some programs and services
that will continue. Others are being reorganized and redirected.
Others, still, will come under review.
External pressures and some internal forces as well will keep
pushing us into a future that is fundamentally changed.
We face four major evolutionary forces. I will outline them
here and describe the future commitments that will allow us to
plan and manage change, rather than allow change to manage us.
First, and as was noted earlier, there has been a fundamental
shift in the state's and nation's funding priorities, a shift
that is expected to be a continuing fact of life in higher education.
Second, the expectations of our incoming students and their
parents drive the need for more focused and responsive service
delivery that will enable us to thrive in an increasingly competitive
Third, we also face legacy issues associated with some older
classrooms, laboratories, and residence halls that no longer
satisfy the instructional needs, changing lifestyle, and study
habits of today's students.
And fourth, the University continues to have increases in
costs in daily operations, as well as increases associated with
the need to support an adequate technology infrastructure and
related communication equipment, including new costs for distance
learning programs and the establishment of digital archives.
These four major forces and their associated financial and
human costs represent a convergence of trends in higher education.
Across the nation, universities face declining state revenue,
high public concern about the level of tuition and fees paid
by students, and elevated student and parent expectations for
more responsive services. Educational outcomes, faculty quality,
instructional facilities, and residential and campus life add
more issues to be addressed. And finally, these trends have converged
in a much more competitive environment for new students.
Just as we have built the foundation for our second century
on our previous commitments, our plan for the next four years
must be built on four commitments:
an enrollment management strategy,
the doubling of sponsored research,
an aggressive capital campaign,
and a program for resource allocation, including faculty and
These commitments may seem ambitious. They are ambitious.
But they are also essential to the new reality.
Commitment 1--We will adopt a carefully planned enrollment
We must have a comprehensive enrollment strategy that increases
both the number and the quality of our incoming students. Western
Michigan University must enroll a minimum of 30,000 students
to be strong and competitive in today's environment. Our strategy
must establish and achieve specific enrollment targets for undergraduate
and graduate students, for students to complement our diversity
agenda, for transfer and international students, and for students
who elect to enroll in degree programs through our extended university
campus sites. We expect to name a new Vice Provost for Enrollment
Management by January 2005 to lead this effort.
We, the people of WMU, are the brain trust for the future
of Michigan. In a state wracked by the loss of manufacturing
jobs, WMU and our partner institutions hold the keys to the new
It is critical to Michigan's future that we increase the number
of college graduates-and those graduates will need baccalaureate,
masters, and doctoral degrees in the life sciences, engineering,
health sciences, the liberal arts, and social sciences. Our changing
world will need entrepreneurs to grow our nation's economy, educators
prepared for students who are technologically savvy by the third
grade, artists and performers who enrich our lives and our communities,
and leaders in the aviation industry who make our global experience
I know many of you have felt strongly for some time that our
best strategy is to cap enrollment and to continue focusing on
improving the caliber of the admitted students. We are committed
to student quality, and we will increase our efforts in this
Fall 2002: 29,732 students
Fall 2004: 27,829 students
This loss of 1900 students cost the University $7.8 million.
As a consequence, we lost valuable personnel, and services and
programs across campus declined. Over the same two years, the
state trimmed $14.8 million from our base appropriations. Knowing
that major increases in state funding are unlikely, we must have
a larger student body for the opportunity to grow our institutional
capability. A student body of at least 30,000 will allow us to
operate with improved effectiveness and provide the best possible
experience for our students.
Let me be very clear. We are talking about carefully planned
and managed growth with qualified students.
The human resources, technology, and physical facilities necessary
to accommodate such an enrollment management approach requires
detailed and concrete plans, the kind we have not historically
designed. We will set 30,000 students as the enrollment target
for fall 2007. The key component is an increase in size and quality
of the entering freshman class. Other components of the growth
will be increased numbers of transfer, international, and graduate
Our current faculty and staff numbers, of course, would not
be sufficient to serve such a student body. I am committed to
increasing the size of our faculty and staff, as well as to
adding academic and support services, commensurate with enrollment
Commitment 2--External support for research will double.
Our campus researchers now average $40 million annually in
external funding. Important grants over the past months include
funding for school reform, nanotechnology, mathematics education,
physics, and international food policy.
The incredible breadth of these disciplines demonstrates our
strengths as a research institution.
Nevertheless, we must double the amount of external support
for research received by WMU from $40 million in 2004 to $80
million by 2008. This, I know, is a bold challenge to our faculty.
The last time you were issued such a challenge was in 1986. At
that time, doubling research meant going from $4 million to $8
million. You rose to the challenge and achieved that goal in
record time-just two years. What I've learned about your talents,
commitment, and passion makes me confident this can happen again.
Just yesterday, I learned of a new success. Our College of
Education has been awarded more than $1.2 million from the Wallace
Foundation to build student achievement and school leadership
in Michigan's urban school districts.
Governor Granholm and a broad coalition of education leaders
around the state supported this grant because of its impact on
the state's public schools. Dr. Jianping Shen and Dr. Van Cooley
from the department of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership will
head this initiative.
Successes like this are essential in growing our research
agenda to maximize and leverage funds in a way that will best
serve our students, contribute to our state's need for economic
development, and increase discretionary funds for academic program
growth and renewal.
To boost our research profile, we will designate some faculty
positions as "presidential research professorships,"
and construct a more extensive support environment that focuses
on successful grant applications. And, we need to develop research
specializations-niche areas in which we already have both talented
researchers and strong educational programs.
Commitment 3--We will mount a new capital campaign
We will prepare for a new capital campaign that will begin
no later than January 2008 with completion by 2014.
Although we have very recently completed a capital campaign
that more than doubled the amount raised in the prior campaign,
we cannot wait much longer to initiate this crucial effort again.
To organize a campaign of the magnitude required, we will work
to double the investment of alumni and emeriti in the University.
We must identify new and stronger corporate and philanthropic
As the University becomes more central to economic development,
it must have the necessary private support to meet both its educational
and partnership obligations. I am especially mindful of the importance
of those partnerships in meeting the challenges that face our
state in the coming years. Our campaign will allow us to deliver
needed educational programs and related support services, as
well as to provide additional merit and need-based scholarships.
Commitment 4-We will carefully plan for allocation of our
We must have a detailed plan for how every resource is allocated
in the coming years. That is particularly important for our most
valuable resource, our people. More than 80 percent of our general
fund expenditures are for personnel. If we are successful in
tapping other sources of revenue, we must also be clear about
the resulting expenditures and their relationship to our core
educational needs. As a University, we will retain and foster
our passion for and commitment to undergraduate education.
To that end, I will continue focusing additional presidential
hires in the area of general education. We hired five such faculty
this fall. An additional five will join our faculty next year.
Be assured, we will continue to deliver superior graduate
programs in targeted areas with fundamental and applied research
opportunities for students. However, we also need faculty and
staff members who are skilled at helping students take life-long
responsibility for their own learning, especially in terms of
critical thinking and communication skills.
We must make certain we have the right people in the right
places campuswide. In our physical plant, our instructional areas,
and our campus living/learning environments, we have to clearly
define the skill and expertise needed for each position.
Together, we will identify and document the fundamental positions
for the decade ahead no later than January 2007. Some personnel
needs may be dependent upon the success we achieve with the other
commitments, but we will use all foresight possible to identify
what we need to succeed in the decade ahead. Disciplines are
changing and knowledge bases are shifting. Our future faculty
and staff must meet these developing needs.
The focus must be on our people
There is a strong common thread running through the commitments
I've just outlined. It is you--the people of WMU--who are at
the core of each commitment.
We will focus on our people because we know we can count on:
Impassioned educators intent on devising ways to better serve
Good students making WMU their University of choice;
Skilled visionaries planning the facilities and infrastructure
that will serve our future;
Talented research faculty who strengthen our graduate programs
and build our research portfolio in a way that makes us indispensable
to the economy of our state and community;
Dedicated staff creating a supportive and compassionate environment
for our students; and
Caring citizens who are not only part of our academic community,
but also part of the larger community we share and with whom
we are eager to integrate our teaching, research, and service
The strength of our people will allow us to realize our goals.
Can we carry out daily tasks in a wiser and more efficient way?
Of course. That is what the steps I have laid out today are all
about. Can we find people who care more about the well being
of our students and community? I doubt it. As I look about me
this afternoon, I see people who want for nothing when it comes
to exhibiting a love for their work and total dedication to the
cause of higher education. We can realize our goals because we
have the necessary strength as a community.
Faculty face is changing
I have talked about the forces that are bringing change to
our University. The simple passage of time is one of those powerful
evolutionary forces. It is causing a change to the face of our
University as we continue to see the retirements of longtime
faculty members. Next month will mark the final days in our classrooms
of 35 faculty members. They include people like Professor Werner
Sichel, who will leave us next month after some 45 years as a
powerhouse in our Department of Economics, and President Emeritus
Diether Haenicke, whose tenure here, including 13 years as the
University's President, has been a time of tremendous accomplishment.
The list of retiring faculty really reads like a "Who's
Who" of Western Michigan University during the last half
of the 20th century.
New faculty are taking their places in our research laboratories
and in our classrooms. They join the nearly 1,000 faculty members
who are building this University with the work they do every
I have enormous admiration for the work of our faculty. Those
of you who have devoted your careers to service at WMU enhance
the stature of the University and add immeasurably to the learning
environment. Last winter, I announced my intention to honor selected
faculty members by using funds from private donors to establish
a series of named professorships.
Today, I will add to the list of those honored by naming Dr.
Christian Hirsch as the James F. Powell Professor of Mathematics
and Dr. Nickola Nelson as the Charles Van Riper Professor of
Speech Pathology and Audiology. Professors Hirsch and Nelson
are outstanding teachers with extensive publication records and
significant research accomplishments. They extend the reputation
of this University in the national arena. Please join me in congratulating
There is another group of faculty members I wish to recognize
today-those whose gift and passion is for teaching and whose
work in the classroom every day continues the tradition of education
started here more than a century ago. We must never lose sight
of how central your role is to our present and our future. I
am announcing today that we are reinstituting the Teaching Excellence
Award, effective Fall 2005. This program offers annual recognition
similar to our Distinguished Faculty Scholar award program.
And finally, I must comment on the work of our amazing staff.
There is no other group on campus that has been asked to accomplish
so much more with so much less. You have handled it with grace,
with skill, and with as deep a commitment to our students as
any other group I know. Please join me in applauding them.
There is a story that beautifully illustrates the caliber
and humanity of the people who make up this university community.
In May of this year, our campus community breathed a sigh
of relief when the members of Company A of the 156th Signal Battalion
returned to Southwest Michigan from Iraq, bringing home a number
of WMU employees, students, and alumni, who had served with their
unit in the war zone for the previous 11 months. But it is something
that happened in that unit before it was deployed to Iraq that
caught my attention and touched my heart.
In April 2003, members of the unit were at Ft. Riley, Kansas,
waiting to be shipped overseas. Among the group was Clifford
Ferree of Mattawan, Michigan, who had been scheduled to graduate
from WMU that April with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. He
had missed the ceremony because his unit had been called up just
days before commencement.
Ferree's sergeant was Paul MacNellis, a 35-year employee of
WMU and director of landscape services. MacNellis and other members
of Company A who have WMU connections made clandestine plans
for a commencement ceremony on the parade grounds at Fort Riley.
With troops assembled, Sergeant 1st Class MacNellis placed a
mortarboard on Specialist Ferree's head and read a congratulatory
letter from the administration.
"By the power vested in me by no one at all," said
MacNellis, "I bestow upon you the degree of bachelor of
science, with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto."
As the company cheered, Ferree crossed the tassel on his cap
from right to left. It was a simple heartfelt effort by someone
who, even far removed from the campus, recognized the importance
of ceremony and honoring the accomplishment of a student. Paul,
we're glad you're safely back with us and proud to have someone
like you as part of our community.
I've just laid out a future that is one of change. If we accomplish
all that we set out to do, five years from now, we will have
a university that is larger, but one in which growth is carefully
planned and every resource carefully managed. We will have a
stronger, more vibrant undergraduate program and an academic
community that values each individual and celebrates as a strength
the differences represented on our campus.
Our students will move more quickly and successfully through
our degree programs, achieve their individual educational goals,
and move into the community to help our state grow and prosper.
Our research achievements will be both the envy of like universities
and the genesis of new economic development. And we will enjoy
a new level of private support from alumni and corporate and
foundation partners around the nation.
We, the people of WMU, embrace this new reality and will negotiate
change successfully. Our commitment to our mission and our students
permits us to do no less. Such dramatic change in such a short
time is more often seen in the business community, so it is to
management guru Stephen Covey I turn for this piece of wisdom.
"People can't live with change if there's not a changeless
core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless
sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value."
As a community, we have that changeless core and commitment
to what we most value-the education of our students. It will
serve us well as the evolution continues.
Thank you, and good afternoon.
Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, email@example.com
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA