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
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.
Class 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