Campus Conversation Day Nov. 1
Faculty and staff will have a second opportunity to provide input as part of the university’s pursuit of Academic Quality Improvement Process (AQIP) accreditation. A Campus Conversation Day is scheduled Friday, Nov. 1, in the Superior Dome.
“We’re planning to treat it like a special day,” said Leonard Heldreth (Academic Affairs). “All classes will be dismissed and offices will operate with minimal staffing – primarily students, if possible – so that a high percentage of employees will be able to participate and share their opinions and ideas. We realize it is essential that some employees continue to work, but we expect to see as many employees as possible attending the Campus Conversation Day.”
After 8 a.m. coffee and rolls, the business will begin at 8:30. It will continue until 4 p.m., with a box lunch served in the Superior Dome. The first discussion will focus on the question, “What do we agree matters most to Northern?” The second will identify the university’s strengths. The third will address the question, “What are things we can do to make a significant difference at NMU?” Finally, the conversation will end with recommendations for next steps and future action.
Heldreth said the format will consist of small-group discussions involving six employees per table. “Our goal is to spread it out so that we have representatives from a variety of groups or areas at each table,” he added. “It will be an opportunity for employees to interact with people they might not normally come in contact with on a daily basis.”
Data generated by the online AQIP survey will be available at each table for review, he added. After the Campus Conversation Day, focus groups composed of students and perhaps alumni and advisory board members will discuss the results to help fine-tune the recommendations submitted to AQIP. The potential projects will be discussed at a strategy forum in late February..
LRC Renovations Unveiled
The Learning Resource Center has undergone some renovations, including the creation of a student commons area, a patio and new rooms for student organizations. The commons area is adjacent to Bookbinders Eatery and features additional booths, tables and lounge chairs as well as a coffee shop and a summer patio.
“The commons area is an inviting, versatile setting that accommodates a variety of student needs,” said Kathy Richards (Engineering and Planning). “The students' request for the additional space appears to have been well founded.”
Bookbinders has two new cash registers and a larger storage room. The space had been occupied by the Physics department, which was able to move into new quarters in the West Science Building.
“I like the extra seating and they have more comfortable benches there,” said Bookbinders attendant and criminal justice major William Moyle. “It seems more people hang out here now.”
The Writing Center (pictured above) moved into a much larger room with new furniture. An entirely new room was created for All-Campus Tutoring. Two of three phases have been completed in the process of remodeling the LRC. Changes to the LRC basement are currently being made and will be finished by the end of the semester.
“[The planning] involved several departments; it was a challenge trying to meet all their needs,” Richards said. “There was a lot of give and take, but I think the result is wonderful.”
The renovations also benefit Audio-Visual Services, which has a new head-end facility that provides enhanced ITV capability for instruction. Upgrades were made to the campus cable TV system as well.
WNMU Studios Named in Bowden’s Honor
Northern’s WNMU TV-FM public broadcasting facilities were officially named The Jeannette Bowden Studios in a dedication ceremony Wednesday morning in the Learning Resource Center.
Bowden, executive assistant emeritus to the president, made a major gift to This Decisive Season: The Campaign for Northern Michigan University, with the largest portion designated to provide funds toward the FCC-required transition to digital technology at WNMU TV-FM.
Bowden also endowed a scholarship for education majors in honor of Harry Rajala, registrar emeritus, whom she supervised when he was a student employee in the NMU general office.
Bowden, a 1936 NMU graduate, worked for more than 44 years as secretary to five Northern presidents from 1936 to 1980.
When Dan Hakala (Plant Operations) positions himself behind the wheel of a Northern Michigan University bus, he views it as much more than a responsibility to transport passengers safely to their destination. To “Huk,” each road trip represents an opportunity to promote Northern to future college students.
“I’ve long thought about the marketing capability we have by virtue of the buses,” he said. “They are rolling billboards that give us a presence in every community we travel to. I know they attract a lot of attention from young people. They know when NMU is in town.
“We’ve had people want to look inside the buses or take photos in front of them. Not too long ago it was a Pop Warner football team in Indianapolis. I figure if we respond to those requests, youngsters might remember that positive experience with Northern people down the road. And when they see the picture of their team with Northern Michigan University in big letters on the bus behind them, that’s another positive reminder.”
Hakala said the buses have become more effective billboards in recent years. They used to carry no indication as to where Northern was located. Now Marquette is clearly identified in yellow letters on the back window. The university’s Web address was added two weeks ago, which Hakala predicts will be easier to remember than a phone number and might generate additional interest.
Hakala doesn’t rely solely on the diesel-powered promotional tool to enhance Northern’s exposure and name recognition. He keeps a ready supply of recruitment brochures in case the NMU delegation stays at a hotel that also happens to be occupied by a number of high school students.
“One time a Northern team was waiting in a hotel lobby alongside a high school group,” he recalled. “I thought that we should be making some kind of link, if possible, instead of being alienated from each other. Now, when the opportunity presents itself, I approach chaperones for the high schoolers, let them know who I am and ask if it would be okay to give them a few brochures to pass around.
“There’s no way to gauge whether students follow up on the material I hand out, but – who knows – it might prompt them to ask their guidance counselors about Northern. I consider it planting seeds. That’s all any of us do initially.”
Student Housing Forum Nov. 4
Student housing is operating at maximum capacity because of enrollment increases in recent years. With additional growth projected through 2005, Northern will have to accommodate even more resident students. Learn more about the university plans for conversion and possible future construction to meet the growing need at the next campus forum on Monday, Nov. 4. "The Future of Student Housing" is scheduled from 3-5 p.m. in the Huron and Erie Rooms of the University Center. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend.