I am excited about the opportunities ahead and very proud of our many achievements. Economic challenges made this past year a difficult one for many in our state. I am very pleased to say the combined efforts and wise stewardship of our Oakland community ensured that Oakland University has maintained – and continued to build upon – the quality and integrity of our academic programs. I am looking forward to many exciting initiatives for this year.
We received unqualified accreditation for the next 10 years from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, a designation that speaks to the quality of an OU education. This is a shining example of the dedication and excellence of our faculty, who are tireless in inspiring our students and providing them with a superb educational experience.
Of premier importance to us is making education possible for those who seek it and providing opportunities to help retrain southeast Michigan’s workforce. We continue to provide innovative programs to help OU students and their families cover the cost of tuition through grants, new scholarships and emergency financial aid. More than 60 percent of our students attend with the help of more than $120 million in financial assistance. And a generous scholarship program for incoming undergraduate students rewards academic achievement for new freshmen and transfer students. Through OU’s partnership with Michigan Works and our own programs, opportunities for retraining are available in nursing, business, education, engineering, IT and computer science.
Making education more accessible is part of our goal. To that end, our partnerships in Macomb County allow students to earn an OU degree at two satellite locations. OU-Macomb offers more than 25 degree programs and the opening of the Anton/Frankel Center in fall 2011 helped raise the total enrollment at the university's Macomb locations to more than 1,400 students. Partnership programs with Oakland Community College (O2O); St. Clair County Community College (SC2O) and Mott Community College (Mott20) allow students in those communities easier access to an OU degree. And, our partnership with Cooley Law School creates new opportunities for earning a law degree.
Building on Oakland County’s vision to become a national health are hub, we are creating a research park on the northeast corner of campus which includes our new Human Health Building, opened this past fall, which houses the schools of Nursing and Health Sciences. The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine began
instruction in fall 2011 with a charter class of 50 students and admitted a second class of 75 students in fall 2012.
We continue to reach out to help businesses grow. The OU INCubator works to create jobs and advance the development of technology-based and life science businesses by offering entrepreneurial resources and support. In summer 2011, OU’s Macomb Incubator celebrated the opening of a Sterling Heights facility as a joint venture between Oakland University, Macomb County and the City of Sterling Heights.
Last fall’s increase in student enrollment marked the 15th consecutive year of growth bringing us to an enrollment of more than 19,700 students. OU has seen a nearly 32 percent increase in enrollment over the past decade. These are strong indicators that we’re doing the work that our community expects.
I am looking forward to another rewarding and successful year, working alongside our faculty, staff, friends and community leaders to build on our strengths, further our educational goals and discover new opportunities.
Gary D. Russi
President, Oakland University