Susan Martin stepping down as EMU President

I was just thinking this morning that not a whole lot has been going on around EMU lately– certainly nothing worth posting much about on EMUTalk. And then just now I heard that Susan Martin has announced her retirement as EMU President.

Here’s the official press release; she sent around an email to EMU students, faculty, and staff, though interestingly, I didn’t get it in my inbox. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve switched over to Google for my campus mail or what– I assume I still work at EMU. Martin’s plan is she’ll be stepping down effective July 7, she’ll be on sabbatical for a year, and then she’ll join the faculty as a professor in Accounting and Finance. BTW, for those not familiar with the process here: it is very typical for lots of administrative-types to get a year sabbatical at the end of their time administrating, especially if they aren’t fired and/or if they plan on returning to the faculty for the year. Oh, and it turns out she will be in the same department/college as EMU-AAUP movers-and-shakers Susan Moeller and Howard Bunsis. That ought to make for some interesting hallway chats.

Why she’s stepping down now? I suspect it is some combination of  getting kind of “burnt out” by the job/frustrated with the Board, a sense of “I’ve done enough/done a lot,” and preparing to retire. I don’t know exactly how old Martin is, but if she was about 22 when she finished her undergraduate degree in 1971, that’d put her somewhere around 66 now. So my best guess is she’s doing what a lot (most?) academic administrators do: come back to teach for a couple years and then retire.

I’m sure there will be lots more to be said here over the next couple of months. For the most part, I think Susan Martin has been a good President at EMU, probably the best of the ones I’ve experienced. So you know, more power to her.

It is kind of funny though that she’s retiring from EMU and I’m “retiring” at about the same time. Coincidence?

13 thoughts on “Susan Martin stepping down as EMU President

  1. I can only imagine the lineup of lackeys the BoR will interview to replace her. Pretty convenient to get her out of the way, what with her pesky opposition to the EAA. From her perspective, why stay? The BoR has clearly drawn where power truly lies.

    Her potential replacement needs to be grilled on the EAA. Whoever it is needs to know the minefield they are about to step in.


  2. I guess if you rate Presidents based on the number of scandals they get into she did pretty well (at least compared to her predecessors). She did have the drunk thing with the Alumni, but that is mild in comparison to covering up murder investigations. Overall a rather weak President who was a pawn of the Regents. Now we move along in another search.


  3. I’ve NEVER known a search for the President to take only a few months. My gut says they 1) knew she was leaving a long time ago 2) have someone in mind to take her spot


    • That all might be true, but the major challenge the powers that be will face in replacing Martin that quickly is the faculty and the contract. Long story-short, faculty need to be included in the search process, but faculty are not contractually obligated to be here in the summer. So even if the union doesn’t have a claim to stop the search process from taking place during the months where most faculty are not around, the idea of bringing in a new president without a lot of opportunity to meet with/talk with faculty is kind of a problem.

      But if they’ve already started and have some people in mind (certainly as a result of some kind of consulting firm), they could certainly bring a new president on board some time near the beginning of the 2015 school year, like October or so.


    • Well, here’s a quote from that mLive article:

      Regent Michelle Crumm will lead the search committee. [BOR chair Mike] Morris said the committee wants to name an interim president by the time Martin steps down in July, and hopes to have her permanent replacement hired by the start of the 2015-16 school year.

      “When we announce a search for the presidency we expect to have…quite a few applicants,” he said.

      So I don’t know. Maybe he misspoke and they have in mind a more realistic timeframe of fall 2016. Or maybe that’s a board chair not realizing how long it takes to hire someone in academia and the problems of hiring a president while most of the faculty are not around.


  4. The mLive article seems to lack a direct quote from Chairman Morris about the timing envisioned for a presidential hire. The paraphrase may be incorrect. I don’t know. But I would expect that Chairman Morris is well informed about the complexities of making The Right Hire for a university presidency, so I think Decky’s right: he meant Fall 2016.


  5. What I really respect about President Martin is the time she puts in with the students. She didn’t have to, and most university presidents don’t. She made herself and her home available for all kinds of student crap and seemed to love every minute of it. And that really made a difference to the students. I can’t imagine that in this particular set of circumstances (EAA, politics) that that quality won’t be lost in her successor, and that’s a shame.


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