Aug. 8 BOT meeting: economic engagement, enrollment, DEI updates

D'Juanna Lester, Arts Reporter

On Aug. 8, Oakland University’s Board of Trustees held their final summer meeting at 2 p.m.

The BOT meeting began with the President’s report given by President Ora Pescovitz. This included a recognition of the Alumni Night of Excellence that was hosted on June 18, and also recognized young alums.

With updates in economic engagement, OU hosted the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) commission meeting. President Pescovitz also introduced the Oakland80 initiative. This initiative connects residents to educational and financial resources.

OU is partnering with Oakland County for this initiative, with career navigators embedded at OU to reduce the obstacles of getting a degree. Governor Whitmer set the attainment goal to 60% by 2030, and OU’s attainment goal by 2030 is 80%.

Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer Glenn McIntosh delivered the student side of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) report update. The 97 page report consisted of several updates on students over the last five years, from 2017 to 2022.

“More than anything in the world, we want a sense of belonging,” said McIntosh. “[..] If you see a problem, be ready to solve the problem.”

While enrollment has dropped since 2017, the percentage of minority student enrollment has increased from 12.7 to 15.0%. McIntosh said that OU is also making progress on closing the graduation gap by expanding CORE programs, counseling support, peer mentoring, and a book loan program.

In terms of LGBTQ support services, peer mentoring service use has increased. OU has received a 5/5 on the campus pride index and hired a new GSC coordinator, Blake Bonkowski.

With updates on Disability Support Services (DSS), there is going to be a new DSS Center in Wilson Hall this upcoming fall semester.

Vice President of Human Resources Joi Cunningham presented the faculty side of DEI updates. The number of minority staff has increased over the last five years. There have also been 167 full-time positions filled since 2017, with 60 of them being minority faculty.

The faculty is split evenly by sex. Staff age distribution has stayed mostly the same, not changing significantly. The staff is predominantly female.

Recruitment strategies include employee resource groups, faculty associations, diversity advocates, and the tool kit. McIntosh ended with the DEI pledge: Stand up, stand strong, stand together.

Executive Director for Global Engagement Rosemary Max gave the update for the Office of Global Engagement.

The International student and scholars update began with an acknowledgment of how the pandemic greatly affected this department. For Fall 2021, there were students in 63 countries.

The office supports international students through pipeline programs, international agreements, and immigration compliance.

OU supported 14 students affected by the war in Ukraine by helping to obtain an additional $14,000 in external funding.

Max notes that there has been a rebound in the last year with 162 students studying abroad and that there is a plan for a future tuition program in Mexico.