Dec. 13 BOT meeting: New member and graduate program, CAS dean speaks

Newly+appointed+Board+of+Trustees+member+David+Kramer.

Photo courtesy of Eric Reikowski

Newly appointed Board of Trustees member David Kramer.

Joe Zerilli, Senior Reporter

On Dec. 13, Oakland University’s Board of Trustees (BOT) met for the last time of the year to discuss the introduction of a new graduate program, renewal of charter for three Detroit academies and to hear from the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).

The meeting started with Robert Schostak — chair of the BOT — acknowledging the tragic events that occurred at Oxford High School two weeks ago. Members of the board and those in attendance all stood in solidarity for a moment of silence.

Afterwards, OU President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz  gave an update on COVID-19 compliance rates, with 96% of students and 98% of full-time faculty and staff complying. She also spoke about teams and programs that have represented OU such as OU’s Brass Band and the OU men’s soccer team. 

She then discussed Dr. Xiangqun Zeng, who — along with her group — will work with University of Michigan and Michigan State University to create wearable technology that can monitor exposure to air pollutants. 

Next to speak is the CAS Dean Elaine Carey, who started the position this year. She spoke about how the CAS is the heart of OU and why the liberal arts are an important part of not just OU but of the community.

“It is because it provides broad knowledge, transferable skills, a strong sense of values and ethics, civic awareness and engagement,” Carey said. “[It] teaches students research skills, the ability to locate, evaluate, and understand information.”

After the president’s report, Schostak recognized new member David Kramer and welcomed him to the BOT. To learn more about Kramer, please read the Post’s previous article about him here.

“I’m anxious to jump right in and to be additive to the board but I’m also conscious of the fact that when you join any organization that there’s a learning curve and that you need to get up to speed and you can lend your expertise and makes decisions only when you have some basis of information,” Kramer said.

The first new item that the board passed is the new graduate degree program for the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences — Master of Physician Assistant Science. The director of the program will be Dr. Lindsay Gietzen and the first cohort is set to begin in fall of 2023.

For more information about the program, please visit here.

Next on the agenda were the renewals of charter for Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences (DAAS), Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA) and Dove Academy of Detroit. They are all lined-up for reauthorization in 2022 and the office of public school academies recommends a five-year term. 

Judene Bartos, executive director for the office of public school academies, spoke with the board about the importance of approving these contracts and why each school is eligible.

“We examined academic, fiscal, and organizational areas of the schools, and this year was a little bit different because of the pandemic,” Bartos said. “We were able to look at their academic programs’ strength, their physical strength and their organizational strength, and found them all to be very worthy of reauthorization.”

The BOT agreed on reauthorization for all three schools and now must wait for an agreement to be prepared by the academies that incorporate Michigan Department of Education Requirements. Afterwards it would need to be approved by the office of the Vice President for legal affairs and general counsel.

The meeting closed with open comments from the public, all of which were criticizing or protesting certain OU policies regarding COVID-19. The BOT did not comment on any of the complaints.