Northern Michigan University's Board of Trustees approved a 2019-20 general fund base budget that continues strategic investments in four areas: innovative academic programs; faculty, staff and students, including a nearly $940,000 increase in financial aid; campus modernization and facilities maintenance; and intercollegiate athletics and student activities.
The $118 million budget is 4% higher than last year. In addition to making investments, it adjusts for inflationary costs such as utilities and educational supplies, unfunded state mandates and personnel contractual obligations.
“It's more challenging to develop a budget before the State of Michigan's budget is finalized, because the appropriation public universities receive from the state is so critical to the revenue side of the equation,” said Gavin Leach, vice president for Finance and Administration. “But it's now about three months into the new fiscal year. We needed to move forward with the best information we had from the Executive, Senate and House proposals and bring our budget to the board for approval.”
The NMU board also approved an executive committee recommendation to increase President Fritz Erickson's base salary by 2%, bringing it up to $392,700. Erickson will also receive a performance-based bonus of $38,500 for achieving established goals.
“NMU is a leader in higher education in the state of Michigan,” said NMU Board Chair Robert Mahaney. “We've seen an increase in enrollment when 13 of the state's 15 universities are seeing declines, we have cutting-edge academic programs, state-of-the-art laboratories and new world-class facilities. All of that takes strong leadership, which Dr. Erickson has exhibited. He set goals for himself and the institution, and he is accountable for those goals. We're pleased with the success we've seen, and part of our commitment to him is to reward him for achieving those goals.”
The board also amended Erickson's long-term disability and term life insurance policies, capping the benefit amounts through the remaining term of his contract as a cost-saving measure.
Trustees approved an Academic Affairs restructuring plan that creates four divisions within the College of Arts and Sciences. The Division of Visual and Performing Arts is composed of a new combined School of Music, Theater and Dance, along with the established School of Art and Design. The Division of Social Sciences includes the following disciplines: economics; communications, broadcasting and journalism; political science; and sociology and anthropology.
The Division of Humanities features English, history and philosophy, along with language, literature and international studies. The Division of Natural Sciences represents the following: biology; chemistry; earth, environmental and geographical sciences; physics; math and computer science; and psychology.
“This was done to create efficiencies, enhance collaboration and facilitate cost savings over time,” said NMU Provost Kerri Schuiling.
In other action at today's meeting, the board:
-Approved moving International Education Services from Academic Affairs to Extended Learning and Community Engagement.
-Agreed that the new medicinal plant chemistry lab be named Northern Michigan University Shimadzu Analytical Core Laboratory for Medicinal Plant Sciences.
-Approved the following name changes within Finance and Administration: MicroRepair and the HelpDesk are now Technology Support Services; Telecom and Network Services has been renamed Network Infrastructure Center; Information Technology-Technology Services has become Network Operations Center; and Asset Management is now Technology Asset and Business Management.
-Approved NMU's facilities five-year master plan and 2020-21 capital outlay project request, both of which are required by the Michigan Department of Management and Budget, as well as the campus master plan.
-Agreed to form a committee composed of trustees and representatives from student government and the administration to determine the best option for introducing an Indigenous Peoples Day on campus.
-Agreed that Carol Johnson transfer from interim dean to dean of the College of Business and that Dale Kapla's title be changed to associate provost/dean, College of Health Sciences and Professional Studies.
-Granted emeritus status to Patricia “Pish” Cianciolo, social work, and Laura Soldner, English, effective Oct. 1.
-Approved the NMU financial statements and all related transactions for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
-Approved the FY2020 long-term maintenance project list.
-Agreed to the following meeting schedule for calendar year 2020: Feb. 13-14; April 30-May 1; July (date to be determined); Sept. 24-25; and Dec. 10-11.
-Recognized Trustee Bridget Summers, who was attending her last meeting because her family is moving out of state.
The next meeting of the NMU Board of Trustees is scheduled Dec. 12-13.