Friday, Sept. 30, 2011


Board Approves Budget, Capital Outlay Request


The NMU Board of Trustees today approved a general fund operating budget for the current fiscal year. It is $103.5 million, down $2.3 million from the previous year. Michigan’s public universities were faced with a 15 percent cut in state appropriation for 2011-12. To compensate for its $6.7 loss in state funding, NMU’s budget includes a combination of cost reductions, operational adjustments, utility savings and increased tuition revenue, as discussed at the board’s July meeting. The board also approved the fiscal year 2013 capital outlay project request and five-year master plan. Both are required annually by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Full Story


Updates on Biomass, Superior Dome Projects

Construction of the biomass cogeneration project is slated to begin in April, but site preparation will get under way next week. Two buildings west of the Ripley Heating Plant will be demolished to make way for the addition. Only the metal portion of the Industrial Piping facility will be preserved and used for university storage. The contractor removing the buildings will recycle or upcycle a significant portion of waste from the project.

"We hired a company to assess hazardous materials that might be inside and outside those buildings from past owners," said Gisele Duehring (Facilities). "The firm looked for lead, asbestos and other hazardous materials. Detected levels were below the amount requiring us to notify the Department of Environmental Quality, but an abater removed the materials prior to demolition. After the buildings are down, a contractor will level the site and remove brush. All three are local companies."

The Superior Dome roof membrane replacement should be completed by late October, provided the weather cooperates more than it has this week. Workers cannot scale the surface when winds exceed 10 miles per hour or when it rains.


Surveys Need Employee Input

NMU faculty and staff will be receiving two surveys this month that support major university initiatives: the Northern branding study and the Academic Quality Improvement Program’s (AQIP) action project on improving campus communication and feedback mechanisms.

The branding study survey will be looking for employee perceptions of NMU’s current and future selling points as it relates to recruiting future students and employees. The branding study will provide the university empirical data on Northern’s perceived strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of distinction across a wide range of stakeholder groups, according to Gavin Leach (Finance and Administration), coordinator of the project on behalf of the NMU Board of Trustees. Full Story


Campus Emergency Response Preparation Continues

Individual NMU departments are being asked to develop a crisis manual specific to departmental needs as part of the next phase of university-wide emergency planning. NMU’s emergency response team (ERT) coordinators have presented at recent President’s Council and Academic Affairs dean’s, department heads and directors meetings, requesting that all departments complete four tasks as part of this semester’s emergency planning. Full Story


Alumni Honored at Homecoming

NMU employees are invited to attend Homecoming 2011 activities, including tonight's parade at 5:30, followed by all-alumni receptions from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Landmark Inn. Tailgating at the Superior Dome will precede Saturday's 4 p.m. game between the Wildcats and Wayne State University. Five alumni will be recognized for their achievements as part of Homecoming activities this weekend. The recipients are (from left): Beverly Solomon of Oakland, Mich., Alumni Achievement Award; L. Garnet Lewis of Freeland, Mich., Alumni Service Award; Kyle Ortiz of New York, N.Y., and Stacy Welling of Marquette, Outstanding Young Alumni Awards; and Brian Majewski of Manassas, Va., Distinguished Alumni Award. Full Story


McNair Scholar's Research Based on Personal Experience


Joe Masters threw one fateful punch that sent him to federal prison for felony assault more than 20 years ago. He's not reluctant to discuss it because, in hindsight, he says the impulsive act and its repercussions ultimately changed his life for the better. The unique challenges Masters confronted as a Native American upon his release from prison and transition back into society gave him a renewed sense of purpose and professional ambition. They also became the focus of his research as a McNair Scholar at NMU.

“Some crimes committed on reservations fall under federal jurisdiction,” said Masters, who is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and working toward his bachelor’s degree in social work. “There are no federal prisons in the Upper Peninsula, so U.P. tribal members convicted of felonies often serve their time out of state, far away and disconnected from their families. They’re not eligible for Michigan’s Prisoner Reentry Initiative and its services such as transportation, counseling, substance abuse treatment or short-term lodging. And reintegration is difficult because of policies restricting employment and housing.”

Full Story



NMU Military-Friendly

Northern is on the list of 2012 Military-Friendly Schools released by G.I. Jobs magazine. The designation honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools “that are doing the most to embrace America's service members and veterans as students.” This is Northern’s third straight appearance on the annual list.


NMU enrolls about 221 students who are eligible to receive veterans’ benefits. Of those, 119 qualify for the federal Post-9/11 GI Bill, which covers the in-state tuition rate for those who actively served in the military since Sept. 11, 2001. To help the 10 non-resident students who also qualify for the program, but pay higher out-of-state tuition, NMU has signed a Yellow Ribbon Program agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Full Story



When Molly Anderson joined the Olson Library staff—first as a student assistant and more recently as a full-time senior library assistant—her career had come full circle from her teenage years, when she worked in her hometown’s public library. She has spent plenty of her free time in that environment as well because of her avid, longtime appreciation for the written word.

“I love the library because it’s simultaneously quiet and exciting,” said Anderson. “You’re surrounded by books of all different kinds, you’re surrounded by academia and you’re surrounded by people who are here to get a college education and to learn.  I’ve always wanted to work in an academic atmosphere. There’s just so much room for growth and you never stop learning.” Full Story



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Updated: September 30, 2011

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