Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Employees Opt for Early Retirement

Thirty-six NMU employees enrolled in the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) will take advantage of early retirement incentives approved last month by the state legislature. They filed their applications with the Office of Retirement Services (ORS) by the June 11 deadline and notified NMU’s Human Resources Office of their decision. The final number might be slightly higher if anyone applied independently through the ORS and did not inform Human Resources. About 145 NMU employees were eligible. Full Story


academic mall

House Approves Higher Ed Bill

Michigan's House of Representatives approved an amended higher education budget bill that would freeze spending on state universities and increase financial aid. Because the Senate version passed in March called for a 3.1 percent cut in appropriations, a conference committee will work to reconcile differences between the two and negotiate a final version of the bill. Northern currently receives $46.4 million from the state.


Smolens Named Peter White Scholar

John Smolens’ (English) sixth novel, The Anarchist, was published in December and the author is already at work on another piece of historical fiction. As the 2010-11 Peter White Scholar at NMU, he has received a $17,500 award to assist with his latest literary effort.


The Schoolmaster’s Daughter is the working title of Smolens’ next book, which is based in and around his hometown of Boston. The story is framed by the battles of Lexington and Concord—the first military action of the American Revolution—and the battle of Bunker Hill. It revolves around members of the real-life Lovell family. Full Story


NMU Students Join Pollinator Protection Initiative

According to the U.S. Forest Service, “Our future flies on the wings of pollinators.” More than 80 percent of the world’s food-producing plants and the vast majority of the Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems depend on hard-working animals and insects for survival. They transfer pollen grains between plants to help sprout new generations, a service valued at $10 billion annually in the United States alone.

But as native vegetation is replaced, pollinators risk losing food sources and nesting sites required to continue their important role. The USFS is working with the Cedar Tree Institute, NMU Center for Native American Studies and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community on “Zaagkii,” the wings and seeds project. Its goals are to protect pollinators, propagate native plants and restore healthy habitat. Full Story


Student Involved in Lake Sturgeon Project

NMU student Emily Dandron (center) is spending her summer helping to reestablish self-sustaining populations of lake sturgeon in the Cedar and Whitefish Rivers in the Upper Peninsula. These waterways once supported spawning runs of the fish. But their populations were decimated by excessive harvest and by habitat changes—most notably, dam construction—resulting from settlement of the region in the late 1880s and early 1900s. Lake sturgeon (like the estimated 100-pound catch at right) are state-listed threatened species. Full Story


Library Adopts Mobile Skin Technology    


Olson Library’s catalog is now searchable from cell phones. In the latest customer service improvement, the library adopted “mobile skin” technology so search results can be delivered in a format compatible with small-screen devices. Full Story


Retirees Hold Cleanup

The NMU Retirees Association helped to present the university in the best possible light for commencement by doing some spring cleaning around the Superior Dome and PEIF (pictured are Nancy and David Skoog). Grant Soltwich said this year's task was relatively easy because a larger crew turned out and not as much litter had accumulated.

"For many graduates the only time their parents or relatives have seen NMU is when they were dropped off or when they returned to come to commencement," Soltwich added. "The retirees take much pride in the university that has been their life and want to share that sense of pride with the graduates and relatives. We all are invested in NMU."


The 2010 Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports will be held July 19-23 at NMU.

About 220 participants representing 26 countries have registered. They come from a wide range of backgrounds including exercise science, education, engineering, computer science, rehabilitation and medicine. All share a common desire to study and understand human movement, especially as it relates to applied sports biomechanics.

Keynote lectures will cover sprint training, soccer kicking, artistic gymnastics, baseball pitching, motion analysis techniques, the Paralympic Games and modeling biomechanics.


One employee taking advantage of the MPSERS early retirement incentive is Phil Pezzuto (Plant Operations). He will leave NMU at the end of the summer with 30 years of service.


When the Saugatuck native first visited the university as a prospective student, he said the appearance of campus—its cleanliness and landscaping—were factors in his decision to enroll. And when he was hired as a heavy equipment operator and landscape specialist, it became his job to ensure that others would be equally impressed by the same aesthetic qualities. Full Story


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Updated: June 16, 2010

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