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Office of the President

Wilson Hall, Room 204
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(location map)

Office of the President

Wilson Hall, Room 204
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(location map)

The Grizz bear statue in front of trees with red and green leaves.

State of the University 2020

During these trying times, many reasons for hope

State of the University highlights compassionate OU community, preparedness and the future


Unlike previous years when we came together at the Oakland Center for lunch and a discussion of significant accomplishments and challenges, this year, the State of the University Address is delivered virtually. Of course, that’s hardly surprising given the realities of the pandemic and the need to do all we can to be safe and healthy.

Watch the State of the University 2020

While the pandemic requires us to take critical precautions, including wearing a mask and social distancing, we have not been deterred, dissuaded or kept from maintaining a deep commitment to our students, faculty, staff and community.

As we consider the state of our university amidst one of the greatest public health crises in our nation’s history, there is no looking past the social realities, political climate and economic changes swirling around us. While these uncertain times test each of us, we must not lose sight of the many inspiring examples of hope.

Over these past eight months, I’ve witnessed the power of persistence and the resilience of the human spirit. I have admired and been inspired by so many of you. Oakland University is a remarkable community of compassionate and selfless people.

For more information, view the State of the University Address page.

State of the University Address

Welcome and thank you for joining us at our annual State of the University address.

Unlike previous years when we came together at the Oakland Center for lunch and a discussion of significant accomplishments and challenges, this year, the State of the University Address is delivered virtually.  Of course, that’s hardly surprising given the realities of the pandemic and the need to do all we can to be safe and healthy.

In this video, we offer an overview of the past 12 months. For more information of the key moments, accomplishments, and our plans for the upcoming year, please visit the website on the screen.

While the pandemic requires us to take critical precautions, including wearing a mask and social distancing, we have not been deterred, dissuaded or kept from maintaining a deep commitment to our students, faculty, staff and community.

APPRECIATION

As we consider the state of our university amidst one of the greatest public health crises in our nation’s history, there is no looking past the social realities, political climate and economic changes swirling around us. While these uncertain times test each of us, we must not lose sight of the many inspiring examples of hope.

Over these past eight months, I’ve witnessed the power of persistence and the resilience of the human spirit. I have admired and been inspired by so many of you. Oakland University is a remarkable community of compassionate and selfless people.

I’m so appreciative of the OU community and the heroic efforts of the Covid-19 Response Team members. Together, we are working with state, county and local agencies to support vital services, including the delivery of food to those in need.

The Grizzlies Engagement, Action and Thoughtfulness (GrEAT) recognition program is a way OU employees reward their peers for outstanding community service.

Download the app and give credit to a deserving colleague.

Here are few examples of OU employees being recognized through the program:

  • READS FROM ACKNOWLEDGEMENT CARD: Since I’ve known Dawn, she has always engaged the community in creative ways and is a beacon of light.
  • READS FROM ACKNOWLEDGEMENT CARD: Lindsay is an amazing person and adviser. She always goes above and beyond for her students and as a coworker is a positive force.
  • READS FROM ACKNOWLEDGEMENT CARD: Cindy is always looking for ways to help our neighboring K-12 schools by donating supplies, and volunteering.

Take a moment to reach out, fill in the form on the Carrot app and show your appreciation to those making Oakland such a special learning community.

A prime example of the strength, perseverance and resourcefulness of our students, faculty and staff is the manner in which they have continued to adjust and cope.

In less than a week after the state of emergency was imposed in mid-March, Oakland made the transformation to exclusively remote and online learning. The OU faculty and students did a remarkable job as classes were modified. And, we made sure we continued to support students in every way possible.

My deep appreciation to the faculty. I like to extend my appreciation to my talent cabinet, and of course, to the COVID-19 Response Team who works tirelessly.

There are others who want to share their appreciation.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

I am so proud of our students, faculty and staff for showing such great character and perseverance.

A key part of the State of the University Address is to share notable accomplishments of the past year.

The accomplishments and initiatives undertaken in the past 12 months reflect our collective will to act with integrity, treat one another with respect, pursue the truth in our quest for knowledge, and foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive learning environment.

Since last October’s State of the University Address, we have made measurable progress toward our strategic goals.

Because of the pandemic, we were uncertain about the impact on student enrollment and retention.

Whereas enrollment is down as much as 17 percent at some community colleges and is significantly lower at many state public universities, we are pleased with our summer and fall enrollment figures.

Enrollment for both summer terms was up. And this fall, there was only a minimal decrease in the number of students, placing Oakland among universities with the smallest change while the total number of credit hours was down slightly by 2.5 percent.

Maintaining our student population has been a top priority for us. The number of returning undergraduates is up 1 percent with an increase of 1.2 percent in credit hours.

And the rate of returning graduate students is up 1.7 percent with a 2.5 percent increase in credit hours.

And once again, I am proud to report Oakland is the top university in Michigan for transfer students – an objective indicator of the great work of our enrollment team and those who work tirelessly to build our reputation.

I believe the strong enrollment and retention figures demonstrate that OU students are committed to their education and believe the best option is to remain in school and pursue a degree.

Of course, the ultimate indicator of our success as a university can be measured by the success of our students, academically, and in their careers.

So, how are Oakland graduates doing…

  • OU’s bachelor of science in Information Technology ranks in the top 25 IT programs.
  • OU’s mechanical engineering graduates’ median annual salary is the third highest in the nation after only Stanford and MIT.
  • Graduates of the Master’s of public health and the related bachelor’s program earn among the highest median salaries for graduates in those fields.
  • Graduates in health sciences have a median salary second in the nation only to Johns Hopkins University.

And it’s worth noting that our outstanding nursing program is ranked 44th in the nation.

Our student athletes continue to excel in their respective sports and lead in the Horizon League both athletically and academically. OU student athletes thrive in competition and academically. OU first Division I university in state to add varsity esports team.

In a difficult economic year, I’d like to extend my appreciation to our Advancement team. Last year, the All University Fund Drive had a good year, and we’re making progress toward our $150 million goal.

OU students are the backbone of the Michigan economy.

96% of our graduates are employed in the state, and are earning a median full-time salary of $52,000. And, as a university, Oakland contributes nearly $1 billion of economic impact in the region.

Our commitment to our communities is reflected in the research conducted at Oakland. Research is one of our strategic goals. Oakland University faculty continue to perform creative and scholarly activity that contribute significant in a variety of domains. Last year, they attracted $10 million in external funding for sponsored projects.

FISCALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT

At last year’s State of the University Address, we discussed the fundamental changes reshaping the higher education landscape.

Trends include the declining number of high school graduates attending college, decreasing support of public funding, and, the growing skepticism about the value of a college degree.

At last year’s State of the U, we discussed key financial figures that showed Oakland as among the most financially healthy public universities in Michigan.

I’m proud to report that a year later despite the pandemic, we remain strong, and one of the most fiscally sound higher education institutions in the state.

We approved budgetary reductions, including hiring and construction freezes, travel restrictions, and we imposed a temporary salary decrease on some employees.

Because of better-than-anticipated fall enrollment and sound fiscal management, we have fully restored as of October 1. Furthermore, Oakland has had no reduction in force… and we do not project a budget deficit. And, considering the financial hardship imposed on many families during the pandemic, we did not increase tuition this fall.

Thank you to everyone for coming together like family to accept your fair share of the sacrifice and working for the best interests of this university that we love.

There can be no greater conversation than how we must respect one other at Oakland University, in our regional communities and in our broader national discourse.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION

At Oakland, we strive to foster a more fair, just and humane world. At the heart of our endeavor is to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus.

We begin each calendar year with the “Keeper of the Dream,” an homage to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In recent weeks, I’ve established an endowed scholarship for social, racial and environmental justice. I hope this is one of the many significant actions that reflect Oakland’s commitment to being engaged and working for a better world.

GLENN MCINTOSH: The spirit of “Keeper of the Dream” is an inspirational reminder that we must work together for greater diversity in all areas of the university.

During this past year, underrepresented student enrollment increased to 14.1 percent. 102 educational programs were developed for faculty, students and staff. We raised awareness of unconscious bias in a campus-wide training. And, trained 347 members of OU community to support the LGBTQ community.

And as further proof of our commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, OU has more than 1,800 accommodations for students with disabilities…and for the sixth consecutive year has retained gold status ranking as a veteran-friendly school.

In addition to increasing underrepresented minority students, we are also committed to increasing the numbers of underrepresented faculty and staff. This year, 21% of faculty hires were URMs. That’s an all-time high for Oakland, and a sign of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Along with improving access to college for students, we must focus on making higher education affordable. The Golden Grizzlies Graduate program addresses student debt, and has set the mark as an innovative initiative that offers timely financial support.

Understanding how to help students succeed means understanding the financial challenges facing students. Our advocacy for our students and the future of Oakland University does not end at the campus boundary.

LEADING ADVOCACY FOR STUDENTS, HIGHER EDUCATION, ENGAGEMENT

In February, we embarked on “Strive for 45,” a campaign that drew critical acclaim and statewide attention to the pressing need to better fund higher education. The campaign goal was to raise public awareness of inequities in the way the state funds public universities.

While the pandemic refocused the state’s and Oakland’s financial priorities, our voice and appeal remain clear: We will continue to stand up for higher education as an essential investment into our students’ future, and the future health of our communities.

Higher education represents a noble ideal – inherently, it is the belief that the pursuit of knowledge leads to the betterment of an individual’s life and our shared prospects.

We are advocates for the truth, the power of science. And we believe an educated populace leads to a more civil, just, informed and compassionate society.

That’s the mission of the OU Center for Civic Engagement, which in the past year, held a forum on women in elective politics, hosted a talk with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and presented a discussion with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa.

And on campus, OU students are stepping up.

This past year, OU received a gold seal for achieving a student voting rate of nearly 50 percent.

Just as the OU Center for Civic Engagement offers a venue for public discourse, we are always looking for ways to engage and make a difference in our communities.

DEAN JUDY DIDION: Oakland University continues to have a major impact on the region’s healthcare community. In addition to education the next generation of nurses, OU fosters a network for healthcare professionals administers, educators and scholars with events such as the annual Nightingale Awards for Excellence. We not only educate… We lead.

Our community engagement initiatives are a fundamental part of Oakland’s identity and strategic goals.

ORA: We are deeply grateful for our partnership with Pontiac, and the many valuable learning and research opportunities it has provided to our students and faculty.

KEVIN: Through the OU-Pontiac Initiative we have made connections with 400 people and 75 community organizations.  Together, we are working on more than 50 community revitalization projects to promote education, healthy living, civic engagement, economic and workforce development, arts and culture, and helping to build the capacity of neighborhood nonprofits.

OU LEADERSHIP

Throughout the year, there have been key departures and additions to the leadership team.

Last spring, Provost Jim Lentini moved on to become president at Malloy College in New York, and Chief Operating Officer Scott Kunselman retired. We greatly appreciate their hard work and dedication to Oakland. We miss them and wish them well.

This past year, we’ve welcomed Polly Boruff-Jones as the new Dean of Libraries.

Brady Randall has joined us as Dean of the Graduate School.

In August, Joshua Merchant began as Chief of Staff.

And through the end of the year, Michelle Piskulich will continue to serve as Interim Provost, a position that she has filled with passion, savvy leadership and an expansive expertise of academic affairs.

Our new Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Britt Rios-Ellis begins January 4. Our new provost is an innovative, progressive leader dedicated to student success and faculty empowerment. She is a nationally recognized advocate for equity. We look forward to Dr. Rios-Ellis’ leadership and welcome her to our community.

In August, Trustee Tonya Allen became the chair of the OU Board of Trustees, following in the footsteps of David Tull, whose insightful advice has been invaluable in helping us navigate the past several years. As president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation, Tonya Allen is recognized as one of Michigan’s most passionate and visionary nonprofit-sector leaders.

In addition, I want to acknowledge the many contributions of outgoing trustees Richard Devore and Marianne Fey. We are tremendously grateful to Rick and Marianne for their vision and commitment to OU. In their place, I’d like to welcome two new trustees – Trina Scott and Reverend Joseph Jones.

Trina and Joe, who are both alums, bring extensive experience that will be beneficial to our university. We all look forward to working with you both.

GRIZZLIES PROTECT GRIZZLIES

One of the great pleasures that Dan and I have in our roles is having a front-row seat to the many lectures, exhibitions, concerts, athletic events and other inspiring gatherings at Oakland.

I very much miss being in the company of so many talented colleagues, scholars and artists.

And, I especially miss talking with the students, listening to their concerns...and talking about their dreams.

While Zoom, WebEx and FaceTime are efficient social-distancing substitutes for face-to-face meetings, I, like you, miss the sense of community only truly felt in the presence of others.

As we stand strong and together during the pandemic, we must trust and be accountable to one another.

Trust and accountability are at the heart of “Grizzlies Protect Grizzlies: Healthy Together,” our five-point plan to keep all of us safe and healthy.

The plan aims to limit the spread of the virus, lower the risk of outbreaks, foster compliance, modify the university learning environment and redefine the student experience on campus.

And, as we move into late fall and winter, I hope all of you take the time to get a flu shot.

If you plan to be on campus, take the pledge and daily health assessment.

And when you’re on campus, wear a mask. If you don’t have one, we’ll provide one.

Wash your hands frequently, and always stay at least six feet from another person. Think of social distancing as showing respect for others… and for keeping yourself safe.

Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been so pleased with the response from the OU community.

The Grizzlies Health Squad, a group of students, has stepped up to educate students on positive behavior during the pandemic.

It’s this kind of initiative and leadership that makes OU students so remarkable.

MESSAGE TO STUDENTS

And, I’d like to direct this message to our students…

I know this year isn’t the experience you expected when you thought about attending college.

But frankly, as you go through life, you will inevitably have to deal with situations you didn’t see coming your way.

If you are compassionate and open to learning, there will always be hope for a better tomorrow.

The pandemic will not last, but the character that each of us displays during these difficult times will sustain us in the days and years ahead.

And now… let’s talk about the days and years ahead…

REIMAGINING OU: Learning. Leading. Empowering.

Last October, I appointed Deans Kevin Corcoran and Graeme Harper to co-chair “Reimagining OU,” an initiative that rigorously examines where we’re at as a university while considering where we need to go to become the university of choice for students, faculty and staff.

The continuous quality improvement endeavor looks to our strategic goals as a guide, and our greatest resource – our people – for input.

Earlier this month, the Reimagining OU team presented a report of what will be an annual exploration of the issues, challenges and proposals to keep us on the path of being a leading public university.

As a community of higher learning, inquiry and discovery, Oakland University values freedom of thought and expression that leads to responsible citizenship, fair-mindedness and a commitment to the ethical treatment of all people and the environment.

Our core values include: integrity and respect, compassion, inclusivity, collaboration, curiosity, creativity and stewardship. These values illuminate and inform our decisions and plans.

Let’s hear more about Reimagining OU: Learning, Leading. Empowering.” from the talented team.

THE STATE OF OUR UNIVERSITY

There have been many lessons this year…

Perhaps the most striking is that Oakland University is a strong, vibrant, caring community of remarkably dedicated people.

This year, we have persevered because we realize the power of caring for one another.

In my view, the state of our university can be summed up as … Compassionate… and thriving…

Academic Achievements
College of Arts and Sciences
  • External Funding (Grants)
    • FY 2019: $4,4M in awards
    • FY2020: $4.9M in awards
    • Top grant recipients in FY2020 by department – Physics: $2.6M; Chemistry: $1.3M; and, Biological Sciences: $1M.

  • Library services transitioned to remote delivery, providing key services, such as information literacy instruction, research consultations, on-demand virtual research help, and access to electronic materials continue to be delivered to the OU community even under stay-at-home conditions.

  • OU Libraries: In FY2019-20, the Library Instruction Program reached 5,684 students (2,090 of them students in WRT 1060 courses) using both in-person and online modalities of instruction.

  • OU Libraries acquired the “Rod and Susan Wilson Collection of Rochester History,” including photographs, postcards, manuscripts, books and periodicals, maps, and more. ("The Land of Healthful Delight")

  • OU Center for Civic Engagement featured events included:
    • Economic Growth and Development in Pontic: Opportunities and Challenges, community conversations funded by Community Impact Sponsorship Award. (Oct. 2019)
    • OU’s Women in Legislatures: A discussion with nine female federal and state legislators. (Oct. 2019)
    • Varner Vitality Lecture Series: Lech Walesa (Nov. 2019)
    • February 20, 2020: A Talk with former U.S. Sec. of State Madeleine Albright and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (Feb. 2020)
School of Business Administration
  • MBA program is among the nation’s best, according to The Princeton Review. For the fifth straight year, The Princeton Review featured the OU Business School on its highly regarded Best Business Schools list.

    (NOTE: The Princeton Review surveyed more than 26,700 students enrolled in MBA programs at 358 schools along with administrators at those schools.)

  • Launched New online MBA program: Admitted 21 students.

  • Launched new corporate Certificate in Data Analytics for FCA. The program has 20 high level managers in the program.

  • SBA students can now pursue an Actuarial Science Degree.

  • The Women in Business Alumni Mentoring Program paired 15 current students with 15 alumni last year.
School of Education and Human Services
  • Hosted the first fully virtual Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation visits in the country. The virtual visit included feedback and participation from over 200 participants including faculty, students, alumni, and our K12 community partners. (March)

  • Earned re-accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

  • Students assisted their P-12 mentor teachers by helping to set up and deliver online instruction. In a matter of days, area schools converted to online delivery and our students an importance resource in terms of their technological skills.

  • The Lowry Center for Early Childhood Education maintained contact with families by phone and by video link to help students continue to develop during the pandemic.

  • Counseling Center provides pro bono counseling to clients in the tri-county region. Since the pandemic, the Center has transitioned from an in-person to telehealth service.

    (NOTE: The Center received $250,000 CARES ACT funding to upgrade its technological infrastructure for improved.)
School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Dr. Julian Rrushi received a prestigious DARPA Young Faculty award for his project, "A Quest for the Physics of Cyber Space.”

  • Dr. Khalid Malik led an international collaboration research project entitled, "Using AI Techniques to predict emergence of infectious diseases and to detect outbreak of pandemics.”

  • The Industrial and Systems Engineering Department with the Pawley Lean Institute is collaborating with the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) in Boston on the James P. Womack Scholarship & Philanthropy Fund.

    The first project, which involves students and faculty, assists the non-profit Humble Design in Pontiac to improve its outreach to the homeless.

  • Industrial and Systems Engineering students worked on paid internships at companies, including FCA, GM, Ford, DTE Energy, Faurecia, Daimler Detroit Diesel, ABB, Molex, Brose, and Continental, among others.

  • Alyssa Lalko, a mechanical engineering student, received the 2019 Undergraduate Distinguished Achievement Award.

  • Industrial collaborative efforts with Lear and United Business Technologies (UBT) corporation to work with BE faculty and provide summer internship to Bioengineering students.
School of Health Sciences
  • “My Covid Response” initiative: co-founder Dr. Jennifer Lucarelli, Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Chairperson of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences spearheaded efforts to create an emergency food system to safely provide direct delivery of food and supplies to nearly 2,000 households in need every week since March.

    The program brought together partners from nearly 70 local community agencies to share resources to better serve the community which has helped to deliver over 500,000 meals to homes throughout Oakland County.

  • New Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science undergraduate degree program attracted more than 200 students.

    The program prepares students for careers in exercise and fitness, health and wellness, cardiac rehabilitation, movement science, kinesiology, orthotics and prosthetics, and physical therapy.

  • Assistant Professor Laurel Stevenson and Chairperson Jennifer Lucarelli have competitively earned a two-year, $400,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to initiate a community-based program called “Prescription for a Healthy Pontiac.”

  • School of Health Sciences launched new BS of Exercise Science major (200 students now in the major), new BS in Nutrition / Dietetics major program.
    • Health Sciences graduates ranked second in the nation for median salary by GradReports.com.
Graduate School
  • Established new dashboards and analytic tools to track enrollment and increase program coordinators’ involvement in working with applicants.

  • Created of the Graduate School Finish Line Scholarship Fund established by a member of the Graduate School Advisory Board.
The Honors College
  • For the first time in OU's history, The Honors College has a total enrollment of more than 2,000 students (2,036), including a 59 percent increase in applications for fall 2020, and a 15 percent increase in attendance at information sessions.

  • The Honors College recorded its largest and most diverse freshmen class in 2019-2020, with increases those identifying as African American, Hispanic and Multiple Races, continuing to see notable diversity increases since 2015.

  • The Inaugural Honors College Humanitarian Award was presented to Winter 2020 graduate Annie Fuelle, whose work in The Honors College included serving as President of the Oak View House Council, President of Future Leader Dogs Club, COVID-19 Response team, food banks and homeless shelters.

  • The National Society for Minorities in Honors (NSFMIH), founded in 2015 at The Honors College at Oakland University, held annual conference (hosted virtually).
OUWB School of Medicine
  • Earned reaccreditation for another 8 years.

  • OUWB Match Day 2020: A total of 110 M4s matched into residency programs, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Duke University Medical Center, University of Michigan Hospital, and University of California, San Francisco. Forty-four students stayed in Michigan for the bulk of their training, including 13 who will continue their education at Beaumont Health.

  • OUWB Street Medicine nets $57,000 grant: Grant from the DMC Foundation, which is affiliated with the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan. The program helps Pontiac’s homeless population by assisting low-income people and those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

  • Pediatric Interest Group earned national honor for 2nd straight year by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Kaleidoscope Project celebrated the LGBTQ+ community at OUWB and promotes inclusivity amongst all realms of medical education, from the classroom to patient care.

  • OUWB developed COVID-19 course to prepare medical students treating patients with COVID-19.

  • OUWB students are a part of the nation's largest serological testing study for COVID-19 antibodies with Beaumont Health.

  • OUWB students addressed health disparities through efforts at their student-run clinic at the Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic and Pontiac Street Medicine program
School of Nursing
  • First-year Ph.D. in Nursing program students include chief nursing officers at health system, dean of a school of nursing, advanced practice nurses and clinicians.

  • Signed articulation agreements with 4 additional community colleges for their Associate Degree graduates to attend Oakland SON’s BSN program.

  • Established partnership with McLaren in Pontiac for RNs to qualify for scholarship to complete their BSN at OU.

  • Created a partnership with Beaumont Royal Oak to develop MSN Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program.

  • Provided the Patient Care Technician program at Pontiac High School (for junior and senior students.

  • Championed virtual (annual) Nightingale event to honor nurses and raise funds for student scholarships, lab technology and faculty research.

  • SON RN-BSN completion program enrollment increased to a record high as a result of new curriculum model providing online flexibility and 7-week courses for these adult learners.

  • OU’s School of Nursing’s Annual Nightingale Awards for Excellence draws widely from the region’s health care community, including health care professionals, administrators and academics.
Leadership and Advancement
Leadership
  • “Reimagining OU,” a collaborative initiated by the president and led by Dean Kevin Corcoran and Dean Graeme Harper that includes faculty and staff in a continual evaluation of best practices, policies, programs, and an innovative approach to presenting new ideas and proposals based on enhancing OU’s culture and identity, improving administrative efficiency, and crafting initiatives to position the university for the future.

  • Strive for 45: A campaign with the goal of drawing public attention to the pressing need to better fund higher education and address the fundamental inequities and negative impact of those inequities on students, public universities, and the future prospects for all of us.

    The campaign elevated the discussion among the community and legislators about the need to increase state allocation to OU. Indeed, the probable and expected outcome prior to COVID-19 crisis was for the state legislature to increase floor funding.

  • OU’s Leadership Academy was selected in October as the winner of the 2019 American Association of State Colleges and Universities Excellence and Innovation Award for Leadership Development and Diversity.

  • OU is the first Division I university in the state of Michigan to add a varsity esports (i.e. electronic sports) team to the athletic program. This is an example of how OU is entrepreneurial and open to new approaches to the student experience.

  • OU received a gold seal for achieving a student voting rate of nearly 50 percent. The recognition came from the annual ALL IN Democracy Challenge, a nonpartisan, national initiative recognizing campuses for work to increase democratic engagement.

  • New academic leaders:
    • Polly Boruff-Jones, Dean of Libraries
    • Brady Randall, Dean, Graduate School
    • Joshua Merchant, Chief of Staff
    • Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Britt Rios-Ellis (begins in January)
Reputation
  • A report published in April (2020) by college ranking website GradReports.com shows recent graduates of Oakland University public health master’s program and its related bachelor’s program earn among the highest median salaries in the nation compared to other recent graduates in those fields.

    Graduates of OU’s Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences program who are one year out of college reported a median salary of $47,000, which ranked second behind Illinois State University and ahead of Johns Hopkins University on the list of best bachelor’s programs related to public health.

  • OU’s Nursing program is listed at 44 in the nation, according to Study.com, which evaluated hundreds of nursing programs based on quality of education, faculty. The site lauded OU’s adult/gerontology nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner tracks, and forensic nursing programs.

  • OU mechanical engineering graduates’ median annual salary is among the highest in the nation, according to Gradreports.com

    (NOTE: Third highest after Stanford and MIT.)

  • Recent Oakland University bachelor’s graduates in electrical engineering earn the 10th-highest median annual salary in the nation, according to a new ranking from GradReports.com. (Feb. 2020)

  • OU’s bachelor of science in Information Technology ranks among top 25 best programs, according to ValueColleges.com. Rankings are based on student reviews, cost and alumni salary.

  • OU’s human resources degree program is ranked 18th in a national survey.

  • The College of Arts and Sciences founded the Center for Public Humanities, the first humanities center in Michigan focusing exclusively on public humanities. The goal is to bring engaging programming to diverse communities. A community and student advisory committee has been established to shape the center’s vision and priorities.
Advancement
  • Raised $16M, which is third best fundraising year ever and second-best fundraising year when episodic gifts are excluded.

  • The university is now at about 50 percent ($72M-$75M) of the $150M goal for The Campaign for Oakland University.

  • Most successful Giving Challenge vs. University Detroit Mercy resulting in $173,000 and 1,758 donors, which represented an increase of 277% in dollars and 48% increase in donors over 2019 results.
Student Success, Enrollment, Student Debt
  • Enrollment for both summer terms was up. And this fall, there was only a minimal decrease in the number of students, placing Oakland among universities with the smallest change while the total number of credit hours was down slightly by 2.5 percent.
    • The number of returning undergraduates is up 1 percent with an increase of 1.2 percent in credit hours.

  • Oakland is the top university in Michigan for transfer students.

  • As part of an ongoing effort to offer efficient and cost-effective transfer process, Oakland University signed articulation agreements with Macomb Community College, St. Clair County Community College, Delta Community College, Washtenaw Community College, Henry Ford College.

  • OU continues to address student debt by offering financial support through Golden Grizzlies Graduate. The program is directed to seniors who have exhausted financial aid funding, students who are at risk of stopping out, and to attract students to re-enroll who have “stopped out.”
    • 237 participants, including 80 graduates
    • Grants of $1,000 per semester for students who enroll in a minimum of 6 credits each semester.
Research
  • OU faculty perform creative and scholarly activity that contribute significant in a variety of domains. Last year, OU faculty attracted $10 million in external funding for sponsored projects.

  • The Research, Innovation and Engagement Town Hall recognized Dr. Sayed Nassar, a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering, with the Frank Giblin Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dr. Gopalan Srinivasan, a distinguished professor of physics, as Researcher of the Year.

    Other awards included Outstanding Research Department Award (Biology), Most Research Active Award (Dr. Wei Zhang), Most Active Grant Seeker Award (Dr. Xiagquen Zeng), Outstanding Junior Investigator (Dr. Khalid Malik), and Best Team Player Award (Dr. Jennifer Lucarelli).
Community and Civic Engagement
  • OU’s Pontiac Initiative collaborated with more than two dozen public and private organizations as part of the Talent Development Coalition, which received at $150,000 Marshall Plan for Talent Innovation Grant from the state.

    OU received a $400,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to promote healthy living in Pontiac.

    OU received a $117,000 feasibility study for a Small Business Support Center in downtown Pontiac. The grant is from the Economic Adjustment Assistance, U.S. Department of Commerce.

  • OU Center for Civic Engagement supported a range of public events to enhance OU’s reputation, including Lech Walesa lecture/interview. The center was a co-sponsored of the annual Varner Vitality Series.

  • OU Center for Civic Engagement convener of community conversations. In the past year, the center held a forum on women in elective politics, hosted a talk with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and presented a discussion with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa.

  • OU students are stepping up. This past year, OU received a gold seal for achieving a student voting rate of nearly 50 percent.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • URM student enrollment increased to 14.1 percent.

  • 102 educational programs were developed for faculty, students and staff.

  • Raised awareness of unconscious bias in a campus-wide training.

  • Trained 347 members of OU community to support the LGBTQ community.

  • Increased number of URM faculty and staff. This year, 21% of faculty hires were URMs, an all-time high for OU.

  • OU is increasing representation of women and minorities. (Goal is to increase URM faculty from 9 to 10 percent, and URM staff from 15.6 percent to 20 percent by 2025.)

  • Conducted bias training to raise awareness of preconceptions and encourage broader dialogue about diversity.

  • The annual “Keeper of the Dream” Awards Celebration (on MLK Day) featured Olympian and WNBA great Lisa Leslie. The president’s address opened with the following:

  • For the fourth consecutive year, Oakland University received a gold ranking, the highest possible rating for veteran-friendliness from Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, which recognizes institutions of higher learning for dedication to student veterans and dependents using their G.I. Bill and other educational benefits.

    The designation demonstrates that OU is among the best veteran-friendly school in the U.S.