Governor’s Executive Order Spares Appropriation
Gov. John Engler signed an executive order Tuesday afternoon that trims the higher education budget by $55 million. The cuts, however, do not impact the FY2002 state appropriation for NMU and other universities. They affect the Michigan Merit Awards program, which funds scholarships to state high school students who perform well on th MEAP tests.
Over the last three fiscal years, the state’s appropriation to the Merit program exceeded the actual dollars awarded. Rather than roll over the funds, the executive order reallocates the $55 million unused balance to the state’s general fund. Students slated to receive Merit Awards this academic year are assured of that funding.
“We thank the governor and the legislature for their continued support of higher education,” said NMU President Judi Bailey. “We realize the state faces continued fiscal challenges ahead and we are approaching the initial budget planning phase for Fiscal Year 2003 anticipating conservative revenue streams from all sources.”
As for the status of the Tuition Tax Credit, legislation to repeal the credit currently lacks the support required for passage. The $27.5 million that would have been reallocated among universities is being made available for the state's use.
NMU hosted a university budget forum last week. Bailey, Gavin Leach and Mike Roy (Finance and Administration) discussed proactive measures Northern can take in preparing for a potential flat-line appropriation from the state for FY2003. Bailey ended the forum by emphasizing the following take-home points for NMU faculty and staff:
1. Northern has a balanced budget for FY2002;
2. Enrollment is growing, mainly because of an increase in full-time undergraduate students;
3. Spending and hiring decisions need to be monitored closely. There is no freeze on new or replacement positions, travel or equipment purchases. Instead, NMU must delay expenditures where possible and move forward only if the expenditure will increase enrollment, maintain the quality of academic programs or generate revenue;
4. A conservative outlook for FY2003 requires the university to investigate additional cost-saving measures;
5. Employees play a vital role in continued enrollment growth and improved retention rates.
NMU In Media Spotlight
Northern Michigan University has garnered some regional and national publicity. The U.S. Olympic Education Center hosted a media summit last week as a prelude to the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Jeff Kleinschmidt and Mike Walker (USOEC) facilitated interviews and hands-on demonstrations of Olympic sports.
In addition to local media, a Green Bay NBC affiliate packaged 10 separate stories to localize its Olympics coverage. Central Michigan University’s public television station gathered material for a 30-minute documentary on the USOEC, which it plans to make available to other public television stations in the state. A Sports Illustrated reporter is on campus this week to cover the USOEC.
The November issue of Traverse: Northern Michigan's Magazine includes a story on pasties, the "soul food of the U.P." Leslie Cory Shoemaker (Technology and Occupational Sciences) is featured prominently because of her Oxford University presentation on the subject, as well as her personal anecdotes.
The Detroit Free Press published two stories this week with NMU connections: a Sunday feature on the Granite Island lighthouse, purchased two years ago by NMU alumnus and Board of Control member Scott Holman; and a Tuesday story on technology in the Upper Peninsula, which highlighted the TLC initiative. To read the full text of the latter article, go to U.P. Clicks.
Public Safety Acquires Defibrillators
NMU Public Safety and Police Services has acquired two defibrillators. At left, Officer Mike Klein displays one of the devices. They are used to apply an electric shock, if necessary, in an effort to restore a person's normal heartbeat.
Jeff Mincheff (Public Safety) said the acquisition was part of a recent push to outfit all Marquette County patrol cars with defibrillators.
"Law enforcement is normally the first on the scene for most emergencies," Mincheff said. "A couple of minutes can mean the difference between life and death. With our department obtaining these and our personnel being Medical First Responders and/or Emergency Medical Technicians, this moves us to the cutting edge of being able to offer medical assistance in a moment's notice."
The entire staff has trained a minimum of four hours to learn how to operate a defibrillator. Mincheff said current models are easy to use, but fortunately, officers haven't had to put them to the test yet in a real medical emergency.
Public Safety keeps both defibrillators in police vehicles during patrol shifts and transports one indoors for potential use at home football and hockey games.