On Aug. 27, Eastern President Núñez delivered her State of the University Address, titled “Those Who Are Eastern,” a theme reflected in the University’s new interactive, online recruitment viewbook. Núñez said that after nearly a year of research, a consulting team found Eastern to be “a learning community with a palpable sense of connection and a mutual commitment to educating our students.”
Núñez said Eastern’s faculty and staff have collaborated to achieve fiscal stability and institutional progress. She cited the University’s operating budget, noting that declining state allocations have put pressure on the budget, but “we developed strategies to save money; we innovated; we collaborated at the department level, in ad hoc teams, and as a campus community; and we brought renewed stability and opportunity to our campus. This year marks the sixth straight year that we will have a balanced budget.”
Examples of a collaborative approach included Eastern saving almost a million dollars a year in energy-related savings, and saving $1.2 million this year by holding positions open and doubling up job duties. “We would not have a balanced budget without those sacrifices. There is no greater sign of a community united than shared sacrifice. All of these prudent fiscal measures have allowed Eastern to reallocate and focus the limited financial resources we have on the University’s most important human resource—the faculty.
“We have made a significant increase the number of full-time tenure-track faculty at Eastern. “A year ago, 175 of the 201 full-time faculty positions were tenured or tenure-track. Today, 194 out of 201 faculty positions are permanent—that is 97 percent! This is outstanding and was one of the most critical and fundamental objectives in our 2013 Strategic Plan,” she said.
Núñez said increasing our tenured faculty numbers makes possible everything else Eastern wants to do, such as create new majors; renew and improve our curriculum; innovate and create new programs, spend more time mentoring student researchers, and collaborate more across disciplines.
During the University Meeting, several individuals were recognized for their years of service to the University. Presented with awards for 10 years of service were Math and Computer Science Professors Kehan Goa and Bonsu Osei; Psychology Professors Alita Cousins and Jennifer Leszczynski; Benjamin Pauley, associate professor of English; Elise Browne, library technician; Michael Gadoury, library technical assistant; Kevin Snow, detective in public safety; Cedric Lindsey, general trades worker; Charles Liskiewicz, craft worker-HVAC; Diane Osunniyi, processing technician; Gerald Provost, skilled maintainer; and custodians Rosemary Petrovics and Kathryn Dodge.
Awards for 20 years of service were presented to English Professors Elena Tapia and Rita Malenczyk; Visual Arts Professor June Bisantz; Environmental Earth Science Professor Catherine Carlson; History Professor David Frye; and Denise Bierly, Head Women’s Basketball Coach.
Political Science Professor Christopher Vasillopulos, Business Administration Professor Ronald Lowy and Education Professor Ann Gruenberg were honored with 25-year awards.
Susan Herzog, librarian; Rachael Gavin, library technical assistant; Cheryl Durand, custodian; Patricia Kucharski, administrative assistant; Performing Arts Professor Robert Lemons; Social Work Professor Margaret Martin; and Education Professor Leslie Ricklin were honored as they retired from University service.