Board of Trustees hears president’s report, discusses research


Mary Mitchell

President Pescovitz reports on her first 100 days in office, and the Board highlights new research initiatives for the future, and honors a student liaison.

The Oakland University Board of Trustees met on Oct. 16 in Banquet Room A of the Oakland Center to discuss campus matters such as the treasurer’s report, research initiatives, and honoring a former student. Several students as well as staff and faculty sat in on the public meeting.

Aside from approving the consent agenda, which included Oakland University Student Congress’ revised constitution; a renovation of Sunset Terrace, Matilda Dodge Wilson’s former home which typically houses the university president; and the minutes from the BOT’s last meeting, the BOT listened to several presentations concerning campus affairs.

The president’s report

President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz delivered updates to the board on university statistics as well as the results of her promise of meeting students, staff and faculty within her first 100 days in office.

According to Pescovitz, the winter 2016 graduating class received 3,404 undergraduate degrees, the most awarded in Oakland’s history, and a 6.5 percent increase from the prior year.

The incoming freshmen class has also set multiple records including the highest-ever average freshmen GPA at 3.47, the largest incoming honors class in history and that 23 percent of the new students identify as minorities.

Pescovitz also gave numerous examples on how she followed through on her commitment of engaging with the campus community, specifically her recent town hall meeting with students.

“Glenn [McIntosh] and I had the opportunity to participate in a student town hall that we called ‘Ask Ora’,” she said. “I do have to say that they stumped us with a few of their questions but we managed together to do our best to answer the questions, and I’m looking forward to future events with our students.”

Campus research initiatives

David Stone, Oakland’s associate vice president for research, updated the BOT on how Oakland’s graduate and undergraduate research programs compare to other universities.

According to Stone, Oakland has seen a 78 percent increase in research grants since 2013. Though he said that this statistic is, in part, due to 2008’s recession, Oakland remains competitive especially regarding federal grants. He also said that Oakland ranks 248 out of the 1000 colleges and universities in its category in regards to research grants and rewards.

Stone then introduced some of the many initiatives for specifically undergraduate research that he hopes to pursue in the coming years. One of which, the Principle Investigator Academy, would allow students to be mentored by a leading professional in their field for a year and conduct research alongside them. The program would also bring these professionals to campus as speakers.

“In addition to the training, [students] would receive a mentor,” Stone said. “I’m asking for the top five professionals in their field [to work with the students].”

Honoring Cassandra Hock

The BOT also took time to honor Hock, who served as the student liaison to the BOT during the last academic year. She was given an honorable resolution and thanked by McIntosh for taking the extra time outside of her other student org participation, jobs and classwork.

The BOT will meet again on Monday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m.