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Posted on Fri, May 10, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Eastern Michigan University board extends Susan Martin's contract for 2 years

By Kellie Woodhouse


Susan Martin

Angela J. Cesere | file photo

Eastern Michigan University's governing board has extended President Susan Martin's contract until July 2015.

The two-year extension raises her salary to $300,000, up from from $292,200, and allows her a one-year paid sabbatical upon leaving her position as president.

The contract was approved unanimously during a special Board of Regents meeting Friday. Martin said she wants to focus on increasing enrollment, graduation rates and high-demand degrees over the next two years.

"All eight board members came today to show their support, together we're working on financial planning and Eastern is doing so well with record incoming students and record graduating students," she said after the meeting. "I think we have a bright future."

Board of Regents Chairwoman Francine Parker said the board decided a two-year extension was appropriate.

"We just did two years. Five seems too long; one is never enough," she said. "This is a changing environment in terms of where we are as a university and things we want to do."

Martin was hired in 2008 under a three-year contract, which was extended by two years in 2010.

In interviews, Parker and other regents pointed to highlights of Martin's tenure, including housing improvements, upticks in enrollment and the number of students living on campus, changes in the university advising system and multimillion dollar renovations and additions to the school's science complex and largest classroom building.

Under Martin's guidance, undergraduate enrollment has increased by 9.5 percent since fall 2008, with one of the largest freshman classes in college history matriculating last fall.

Regents said EMU still has far to go.

"We're nowhere near where we need to be, but we're in a better place," said Regent Jim Stapleton. "Until we have full dorms, maximum capacity on campus, full endowments —meaning our development efforts are at a maximum— and we're winning every championship in the MAC we have room to improve."

Martin said she's committed to leading EMU for the long haul. Her contract extension, like previous contracts, allows her to be fired without cause.

Martin was reprimanded by the board a year ago for arguing with an alumnus at a bar during an event in Washington, D.C. In a letter, the Board of Regents executive committee cautioned Martin about her alcohol use.

"That's in the past, as you can see today I have the full support of the board so I'd like to talk about the future," Martin said after the Friday meeting.

Both Martin and the board said they're looking toward the future and have a good relationship. Mike Morris, chairman of the Board of Regents compensation committee, said the board "absolutely" has a positive relationship with Martin.

Martin's contract stipulates that she is required to live in the president's house on the Ypsilanti campus and that she receive use of a university car.

The contract also appoints Martin as a full professor with tenure —the highest faculty rank possible— of accounting in the business school. It grants her a 12-month sabbatical when she steps down as president, whether she retires or her contract is terminated by the board. If she returns to the university as a professor, for her first year she will make 10 percent more than the highest salaried professor in her department.

Martin will not be entitled to the sabbatical or faculty position if she is fired for just cause. Among reasons Martin can be fired for just cause is any conduct constituting "moral turpitude" and that "would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule upon the university," according o her contract.

Per her previous contract, Martin is eligible for a $10,000 performance bonus in July 2013, to be awarded at the discretion of the board.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Jay Thomas

Sat, May 11, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

This is from today's Detroit News: Martin's contract extension comes a year after the regents told her she must address her alcohol consumption in public or risk losing her job. The threat came in a letter that mentioned inappropriate behavior — including alcohol and profanity — involving an alumnus in April 2012 in Washington, D.C., and made reference to other incidents. Martin apologized for her "un-presidential behavior" and promised it would never happen again. She said she had been drinking on an empty stomach. She also promised to get counseling and donate her $8,764 raise that year to an alcohol awareness program at EMU's Snow Health Center. From The Detroit News: Thanks for reporting ALL THE FACTS

Geoff Larcom

Sat, May 11, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

There are several aspects to President Martin's salary not touched upon in this story, but worth noting. At $300,000, her salary is the lowest of any university president in the Mid-American Conference. It places her in the middle of Michigan's 15 public universities, below those of WMU's and CMU's presidents, but above those of Saginaw Valley State and Ferris State, to name two. President Martin has also turned down two raises since beginning at Eastern in 2008. For further details, see the link at

Jay Thomas

Sat, May 11, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

Take a look at the graduation rate (which is ALWAYS absent from these stories) before making that judgement.


Sat, May 11, 2013 : 6:14 a.m.

"Until we have full dorms, maximum capacity on campus, full endowments —meaning our development efforts are at a maximum— and we're winning every championship in the MAC we have room to improve." - Regent James Stapleton Mr. Stapleton could not be more disconnected from the every day students that attend this school. Eastern is no longer the traditional 4-year undergrad school where large sums of people move far away from home to attend there. It has evolved into a commuter-based school where students 23 and under still live at home with their parents while they attend class and go to work, sometimes on the same day. The dorms won't be full when it's cost effective to stay at home thanks to generous parents who charge little to no rent. Furthermore, winning MAC championships should be the furthest thing on anyone's minds there. The numbers speak for themselves: no one cares about EMU athletics, except for the minute number of students who participate in them. There isn't sufficient revenue to be gained to offset the costs of a program that does nothing to enhance EMU's reputation. As I said in the first paragraph, we have too many students who have other things to be preoccupied with; it's been proven year after year that our football program doesn't warrant significant attention to justify its existence. Dropping out of the MAC is not something to cry over - it's the Mid American Conference, not the Big 10.


Sat, May 11, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

Martin is the best president EMU has hired since John Porter left.


Sat, May 11, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

Great news! The regents did something right.

Jay Thomas

Sat, May 11, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

The regents should question Martin about her decision to allow foreign students from the nation of Jordan to only pay the in state tuition rate, while an American from just a few miles down the road in Ohio has to pay the full bill.

Jay Thomas

Sat, May 11, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

Do all Americans pay in state rates at EMU, while people from another continent are shown favoritism, simply because an Arab party store owner asked Martin to do it? Poor judgement.


Sat, May 11, 2013 : 4:58 a.m.

With all of the issues that face EMU, most of use could not care less about a couple of students from Jordan who have a cushy tuition deal. If they even have that deal at all.


Sat, May 11, 2013 : 12:51 a.m.

They could ask her that, but they would look silly, since Ohio residents pay in state tuition rates at EMU.


Fri, May 10, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

Could the Regents be any more out of touch with the university? We're measuring success on how many students are in the residence halls, and how many MAC Championships are won? Has anyone ever seen a Regent on campus not in Welch (football games and President search forums don't count)?


Sat, May 11, 2013 : 4:56 a.m.

The renewal was the right thing to do to get the university a bit of stability after the recent bad presidents and I agree that it should have been longer. But a pay raise and sabbatical option? When you are raising tuition and fighting your workers, both faculty and staff, tooth and nail for every penny, giving the president a healthy raise seems like a odd move, especially in light of the recent issues the regents had with her. And seeing regents on campus at major events is nothing new. I wouldn't take that as them showing support, it's merely them showing up for a good photo op. As mathgeek stated, until the regents are on campus, without cameras, seeing what the university is really like, most of these photo ops are purely just for show. They have little or no clue what happens on campus on an average day.


Fri, May 10, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

Mark, I'm in full support of President Martin being renewed. I think she's the best thing to happen to Eastern in years. My comment about the Regents was more about the measure at which we're measuring success. Okay, they were at the event for the Autism Collaborative Center, but did they do it on their own accord, or because they were invited, and it was a good PR move?


Fri, May 10, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

Funny you should mention it -- there were four Regents on campus today, celebrating the Autism Collaborative and the wonderful things its doing for the children of Michigan.

Mark H

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

Mathgeek, I've seen Regents on campus, outside of Welch, a number of times. I commend their decision to extend the president's contract.


Fri, May 10, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

I congratulate the Board on retaining Sr. Martin however, the length of the contract is too short and throws what little stability EMU has had in this position into question. I also agree that graduation rates have to advance and dorms have to be filled and it sure seems like that is starting to happen. The most important thing here is this: this board won't be searching for a new president. Given the track record on this, EMU's board of regents might have some sort of delusions of grandure but they better proceed with caution - the previous presidential mess is not forgotten.


Fri, May 10, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

correction: Dr. Martin


Fri, May 10, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

"The two-year extension raises her salary to $300,000, up from from $292,200, and allows her a one-year paid sabbatical upon leaving her position as president." It's obvious how detrimental the cuts in state funding have been to the university. There's never enough money for classroom-related expenses, (or student recreation facilities, like at UofM) because of that terrible, awful, big meany governor, but that doesn't seem to stop administrators from getting raises. Such hypocrisy. It will be so refreshing if, someday, a regent of any public university in this state just steps up to a podium and says, "Hey, we have plenty of money to run things, and this is how we choose to spend it. Our priorities are what they are, as illustrated by where we allocate our dough."