Friday, Dec. 10, 2010

NMU Board Approves Projects

The NMU Board of Trustees today approved three related items: a fiscal year 2012 capital outlay request required annually from the state, which includes the Jamrich Hall modernization; a plan to move forward with the design of a scaled-down version of a cogeneration heat and power plant; and the university’s five-year facilities master plan. Trustees also approved a committee recommendation to increase NMU President Les Wong's salary by 4 percent. Full Story


Health Care Discussed


The long-term sustainability of employer-funded health care benefit plans is in question because of rising costs that far outpace the rate of inflation, declining state support and political pressure to reduce public sector benefits and increase employees’ share of coverage. That was the closing point made by Gavin Leach (Finance and Administration) to the NMU Board of Trustees during a focus discussion on health care issues and trends.

“As an institution, we need to look at a structure that allows for greater flexibility to change the program on a regular basis,” said Leach. “We have to work with all employee groups on campus to maintain affordability, quality and achieve a reasonable sharing of costs. While Northern’s current employee contribution rate is similar to other public universities at about 11 percent, the trend is that most universities are heading toward 20 percent and some have achieved that level. We also need to adjust co-pays to create incentives to control costs, consider incentives for healthier lifestyles and adjust deductibles to match market trends.” Full Story

OTC Drugs Will Require Prescription for Flex Plans

A major change under the new health care law that impacts flexible spending accounts goes into effect Jan. 1. Over-the-counter drugs, with the exception of insulin, will require a doctor's prescription to qualify for reimbursement. This includes pain and heartburn relievers and sinus/allergy medications, among others. General health supplies such as blood sugar test kits and contact lens solutions will continue to be reimbursed with receipts.

According to Human Resources, 105 NMU employees will take advantage of the health care flex spending account in 2011. They can set aside up to $2,500 of their earnings on a pre-tax basis to cover qualified out-of-pocket expenses.


Center for Rural Community and Economic Development to Launch in January

The NMU Board of Trustees authorized the launch of a Center for Rural Community and Economic Development in January. Seed money to cover the first three years of operation will come from external grant funding designated solely for economic development activities. The center will become self-sustaining by January 2014. Its mission is to combine research, public service, education and training to enhance economic development and improve the quality of life in the Upper Peninsula and surrounding region. Full Story


Faculty Honored at Scholarship Celebration

Five NMU faculty members were honored for their scholarly or creative activities, teaching and innovative use of technology at a Dec. 2 celebration.

Award recipients are (from left): Adam Prus (Psychology), excellence in scholarship; Carol Bell (Mathematics and Computer Science), technology innovation; David Wood (English) and Lisa Flood (Nursing), excellence in teaching; and Ken Culp (Mathematics and Computer Science), technology innovation. Full Story


Sabbatical Leaves Approved for 2011-12

Sabbatical leave requests have been approved for nine faculty members for 2011-12. According to Susan Koch (Academic Affairs), “Sabbatical leaves are positive investments that enable our faculty to increase their scholarly productivity, enhance the intellectual climate on campus and improve our students’ educational experience. We had several outstanding and ambitious proposals this year and I am particularly pleased that so many sabbatical awards relate directly to the goals and priorities in the Roadmap to 2015.” To see the recipients and their projects, read the Full Story.


MET 200 ClassClass Studies Wind Power Feasibility

Northern’s introduction to renewable energy class worked with the Superior Watershed Partnership and Marquette Board of Light and Power to determine the feasibility of installing wind power at a preliminary site in Marquette Township. Students recently presented the results to representatives of both entities and information they generated will be included in a report submitted to the state. Full Story

The theater program's advanced stagecraft class learned about different rigs for flying performers in preparation for the upcoming production of Peter Pan. A semester-ending performance last night titled The Four Seasons featured choreographed flight sequences and other visual effects that incorporated student-designed costumes, lighting, sound and sets. According to Kim Hegmegee (CAPS), performance flight is growing throughout the entertainment industry. She wanted students to learn about the rigging process and how to work with a choreographer to create the desired flight patterns. This will be helpful for Peter Pan in February and for their future careers.


“This is utterly unique and visually stunning,” said Ansley Valentine (CAPS). “I have never seen or heard of an undergraduate program doing anything like this.”


When you first meet Denise Hughes (Plant Operations), you quickly get the impression she’s a no-nonsense type more than capable of holding her own. She validated that view when asked what people would be most surprised to learn about her. With little thought or hesitation, Hughes said she has the unique honor of being a former State of Arizona arm-wrestling champion. She won the female flyweight division while living in Phoenix many years ago.


“I used to do that all the time as a kid growing up in Baraga,” said Hughes, who was known to beat some of her male peers. “We would have arm-wrestling contests during lunch at school. When I found out about the competition in Arizona, I figured I would put all that practice to use and give it a try." Full Story



Copyright by the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University, 1401 Presque Isle Ave, Marquette, MI 49855 1-800-682-9797
Northern Michigan University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.
Admissions questions | Technical questions | NMU Web Team
Updated: December 11, 2010

NMU logo