Research spending at Michigan Tech hits all-time high

HOUGHTON — Research expenditures at Michigan Technological University reached an all-time high according to preliminary figures presented to the University’s Board of Trustees at its regular meeting Friday, Sept. 28.

In a report highlighted in President Richard J. Koubek’s opening remarks, the board learned that preliminary figures for fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30, show total research expenditures of $78,678,397, an increase ov 9.8 percent from $7,049,219 in the prior fiscal year.

The College of Engineering reported the highest research spending figure of any university unit at $30,848,486. This is more than $5.5 million higher than the $25,217,506 reported in 2017, an increase of 22.3 percent, the largest increase in terms of dollar amount at the university.

The Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) reported the largest percentage increase, with research expenditures of $471,791, more than doubling the FY 2017 total of $232,583, a 102.8 percent rise. The GLRC expenditures reflect non-academic research expenditures only. All other GLRC research expenditures are reflected in the amounts submitted by individual researchers’ respective colleges.

David Reed, Michigan Tech’s vice president for research and interim CFO, said the figures are a positive reflection on the university. “It is a great achievement for our faculty and staff to reach record research expenditures in this tight federal funding environment,” Reed said. “Most of these funds are competitive, and increasing expenditures demonstrates the quality and success of our faculty and staff.”

Significant increases were also reported by Pavlis Honors College (28.9 percent) and the Keweenaw Research Center (15.6 percent). The College of Sciences and Arts reported the second-highest research expenditures for FY 2018 of $17,149,933.

Also presented were preliminary enrollment figures for the fall semester, with John Lehman, Michigan Tech’s vice president for university relations and enrollment, reporting that the university enrolled 2,030 women this fall, marking the first time in Michigan Tech history that female enrollment surpassed the 2,000 mark. That number represents 28.2 percent of the student body, which is also an all-time high.

Lehman said enrollment of domestic minority students represents more than 9 percent of the student body at 563 students. He said both the absolute number, which is 60 more than last year, and the proportion of the student body are all-time highs.

Lehman also reported that the average high school grade point average of this fall’s first-year students is 3.75, the highest GPA of incoming students in at least 25 years.

Lehman noted that overall enrollment dropped by 1.6 percent while full-time registered students dropped by 24 students.

In other business, the Board:

* Voted to grant degrees to the list of students certified by the registrar as completing degree requirements during summer terms;
* Granted David Poplawski the status of professor emeritus in computer science. Poplawski, who retired in 2016, was a founding member of the Department of Computer Science and served the University for 33 years;
* Approved the five-year state capital outlay plan and FY 2020 capital project request. The plan includes Phases I and II of the H-STEM Engineering and Health Technologies Complex and Integrated Student Maker Spaces; and
* Approved a resolution to amend Board Policy 4.8, Office of the Ombuds.

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