October 15, 2003



With dismal revenues and a bulging deficit of $900 million just two weeks into the state’s new fiscal year, all indications from Lansing point to another executive order that would reduce funding to Michigan’s public universities for the current fiscal year.


“I do not have any concrete information on the level of reduction, but one report said higher education may be looking at cuts anywhere from 5-10 percent,” said President Mike Roy. “To put that in perspective, a 5 percent decrease in NMU’s appropriation would be $2.3 million. A 10 percent reduction would equate to $4.7 million.


“I can honestly say that if an executive order of this size is issued – on top of all the reductions made in the past year and a half – it would be the worst budget situation I’ve witnessed in nearly 26 years at NMU. The '80s were tough, but this would be even more challenging.” Full Story


The latest news on the budget situation will be presented at the second university forum, scheduled from 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, in the commons area of Whitman Hall. The forum will also focus on technology at NMU.


ASNMU is a driving force behind the Help Higher Education Letter-writing Program, or HELP. The goal of the statewide effort is to raise awareness of how support for higher education is critical to the future of Michigan.

ASNMU has joined with the 14 other public university student governments on the project. The goal is to send more than 2,000 letters to state and local legislators Oct. 20-24. Parents, students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends are encouraged to participate. To draft and send a letter, go to HELP.


The U.S. Olympic Education Center will continue operating through fiscal year 2005. The center had its university funding reduced this year and is scheduled to lose remaining general fund support July 1.

The NMU Board of Trustees last week approved a recommendation to use up to $80,000 from the general fund, if necessary, to supplement increased external funding secured by the USOEC to keep the center open. In order to thrive beyond 2005, the USOEC will have to find adequate and sustainable funding sources outside the university.

The $80,000 would come from net tuition revenues. Net tuition is determined by the total tuition revenues minus the instructional costs associated with the 70 NMU students who are either training or working at the USOEC. Full Story


The NMU Board of Trustees approved two new degree programs: master of arts in education-reading, designed to prepare certified K-8 teachers for roles as reading teachers within their own classrooms; and master of arts in education-reading specialist, designed to prepare certified teachers to be K-12 reading specialists in a school environment or private clinical setting, and to establish district-wide reading programs.

In other action, the board:

•Participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new DeVos Art Museum and the Art and Design Studios North addition. From left: President Mike Roy, Dan DeVos, Board Chair Mary Lincoln Campbell, and NMU art student Jamie Burton.

Approved state budget and capital outlay requests, which universities are required to submit to the state each year; and

•Accepted $291,100 in external gifts and grants, including two Primavera Systems construction software programs for the College of Technology and Occupational Sciences.


OCT. 24-26

The USOEC will play host to a World Cup short-track speedskating event Oct. 24-26.

About 150 skaters from more than 20 countries are expected to participate, including all U.S. skaters from the 2002 Winter Olympics who are not injured and have not retired. This is the only World Cup event being held in the United States this year, and one of two in North America. Tickets are $5 for a daily pass and $12.50 for the entire weekend. For more information, go to World Cup.


AAUP faculty, who are in the midst of negotiating a new contract, held an informational picket near the Art and Design groundbreaking last Thursday. Several also attended Friday's board meeting to hear their president, Carol Johnson (Business), address the trustees.

Johnson cited two primary issues of concern: shared governance, which is faculty inclusion in setting priorities and developing strategies regarding curriculum, budget, staffing and mission; and salary/compensation.

"NMU's faculty is the most productive in the state, yet our salaries are among the lowest among our peer group of universities for assistant professors and associate professors, and about average for full professors," Johnson told the board. "The administration's compensation offer will place us sixth out of eight among peer institutions the first year of the contract, and seventh the second year. This dismal trend will likely continue the third year."

The AAUP contract expired in July. The Administrative/Professional Union (UAW 2178), whose three-year agreement ended Oct. 1, is also negotiating a new contract this year.


Northern will serve as a link site for the 2003 World Food Day Teleconference. The theme of this year’s event is “Collaboration or Calamity: Africa in Peril.”

The teleconference is scheduled from noon-3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, in PEIF 241. It will be broadcast on channel 20.

“The monumental size of the problem and its complexity calls for nothing less than an unprecedented rescue effort by an engaged and committed world alliance,” said Mohey Mowafy (HPER). “Because of the many factors involved in the problem, an alternative and holistic approach is needed, rather than focusing on the limited feature of a food shortage.” Full Story


Peggy Pettitt, an off-Broadway actress, playwright and dancer, will blend the art of solo performance with the voices of urban America in her one-woman show. In the Spirit: An Evening with Peggy Pettitt is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, in the Forest Roberts Theatre.

The show will include a series of stories and character sketches selected and developed from her full-length works. It uses humorous skits to describe how family problems get passed on from one generation to the next, how violence seeps into people’s self-identities, and how homelessness affects both the victims and the neighborhoods in which they live. Full Story


NMU professor Neil Russell (Physics) may not be as well-known as Albert Einstein, but he has spent the past two summers reworking the famous physicist’s research—not by disproving Einstein’s work but by trying to add to it.


Russell’s research was featured as the cover story of the Aug. 16 issue of the New Scientist.

In that article, Russell explains the work being done by a group of physicists he’s involved with that could potentially show that all space (including the atmosphere surrounding us) is not completely blank but points in one direction.

This would slightly change Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. Full Story


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Updated: April 23, 2004