Board of Trustees looks at 2018 statistics, honors Guggenheim Fellowship winner

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Board of Trustees looks at 2018 statistics, honors Guggenheim Fellowship winner

Nicole Morsfield

Nicole Morsfield

Nicole Morsfield

Laurel Kraus, Managing Editor

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The Oakland University Board of Trustees (BOT) met on Monday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. in Banquet Room A of the Oakland Center. Before beginning The President’s Report, President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz requested a moment of silence for an Oakland University student who passed away over the weekend. She next commented on the university’s honor of hosting the Governing Boards Higher Education Summit earlier that morning, which was attended by presidents and trustees from Michigan’s 14 other universities as well as Governor Rick Snyder and Sue, his wife.

The President’s Report: OU statistics and updates

Fall 2018 enrollment shows an official headcount of 19,309 students at OU, with a 2017 retention rate of 76.4 percent.

This school year also claims the most academically talented freshman class ever as well as the largest incoming Honors College class to date with more than 620 students.

“These are the most academically talented students, and frankly they could go anywhere in the country, and certainly anywhere in Michigan, but they are choosing to come to Oakland University,” Pescovitz said.

In the fall of 2012, 63.6 percent of OU students considered Oakland their university of first choice, and in fall of 2017 the statistic rose to 66.8 percent.

“Oakland University is the university of choice for an increasing number of students and there are lots of reasons we think this is the case,” Pescovitz said. “By the time we show numbers like this next year, we hope that the number will have increased significantly more, and we’re pretty excited about where we are today.”

She stated the increase is partially due to OU’s space, facilities and the exciting things happening on campus.

During the report Pescovitz also mentioned the grand opening of Hillcrest Hall on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 and the 60,000 sq. ft. Oakland Center Expansion.

Special lecturer of Arabic speaks on Guggenheim Fellowship

Dunya Mikhail, special lecturer of Arabic at Oakland, was recognized by the BOT for winning the 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry.

“I don’t know how to thank you all for everything you do,” Mikhail said. “But we Iraqis, when we are really thrilled, we say Fog al-Nakhel, which means ‘over the palm tree.’”

Her books include “The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq,” “Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea” and “The Iraqi Nights.”

Apart from the Guggenheim Fellowship, she has also received a Knight’s Foundation grant, Kresge Fellowship and The United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing.

Mikhail is going to be speaking Thursday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Rochester Hills Public Library on one of her books.

Other concerns

With the floor open to questions, concern was then addressed on how the GPA of privileged students versus students from disadvantaged school districts may be affecting diversity and inclusion at OU. In response, it was stated that the university is recruiting more heavily in Detroit and in areas of Wayne County, and also has the option of conditional admits for GPAs less than 2.5.

Other items discussed during the meeting included the Treasurer’s Report, financial statements and the schedule of expenditures of federal awards.

The Board of Trustees will meet next on Monday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. in the Oakland Center’s Banquet Room A.