Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011
Obama Announces Federal Student Loan Changes
Federal student loan changes announced this week by President Obama will have relatively little impact on NMU students, according to Mike Rotundo (Financial Aid). The administration’s plan would lower interest rates by 0.5 percent for students who consolidate federal bank-based loans into the U.S. Department of Education’s direct-loan program and sign up for direct deposit. It would also reduce the cap on the percentage of discretionary income that borrowers must repay. Full Story
Adjunct Vote Awaits State Certification
NMU is waiting for the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to certify results of a vote by qualifying NMU adjuncts to join the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) union. The process should take about two weeks. Of the 100 adjuncts who qualified by teaching at least eight credit hours over the last academic year (fall 2010-summer 2011), 59 cast ballots that were counted on Friday, Oct. 21. All but five were in favor of being represented by AAUP when it begins negotiating a new contract. The current agreement expires in June.
Ottem Secures NIH Research Grant
Erich Ottem (Biology) received a $368,200 grant
to support research that may provide a novel target for understanding and
treating pathology associated with neuromuscular diseases such as ALS, commonly
known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and other disorders of muscles and motor neurons.
The funding is provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and
Stroke of the National Institutes of Health.
Ottem’s project focuses on
brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that causes certain types of
nerve cells to continue to grow and survive. It is present in both the central
and peripheral nervous systems and synthesized by muscle cells. In the nervous
system, BDNF promotes the growth of sensory and motor neurons. Ottem is
exploring how diminished or absent muscle production of BDNF may trigger
processes that lead to many of the complications and pathology associated with
neuromuscular diseases. Full Story
Native American Milestones Reached
The NMU Center for Native American Studies (CNAS) is celebrating some significant milestones this academic year related to the history of American Indian students on campus. It was 40 years ago that the inaugural issue of The Nishnawbe News rolled off the press and Indian Awareness Week was first recognized. This also marks the 20th anniversary of NMU offering a Native American studies academic minor and hosting the annual pow wow. And the center itself was established 15 years ago. Full Story
Native Anthology Published
An anthology of creative works representing the contemporary voice of the Michigan Indian experience will be released in early December by the Center for Native American Studies and NMU Press. Voice on the Water: Great Lakes Native America Now features fiction, essays, youth writing, photographs and artwork. Two public readings have been scheduled to showcase the
contributors of this work: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, in Jamrich 105; and 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at the Ziibiwing Center for Anishinaabe
Culture and Lifeways in Mt. Pleasant.
Pay Cards Coming
NMU will stop issuing paper paychecks in early 2012. The university is negotiating with a vendor to supply pay cards—either VISA or MasterCard—to those who do not participate in direct deposit. Each card will be loaded on pay day with the appropriate amount. Employees can access their balance in a variety of ways, such as obtaining cash at any bank or credit union that accepts the card or making point-of-sale purchases on the balance. Full Story
Athletics Announces 'Pink Experience'
The NMU "Pink Experience" to support the Marquette General Foundation's goal of enhancing breast biopsy technology will be held over two home athletic events on Saturday, Nov. 5. The NMU volleyball team will wear pink in its 4 p.m. match against Findlay in Vandament Arena. The NMU hockey team will sport pink for its 7:35 p.m. faceoff with Notre Dame in the Berry Events Center. Hockey fans are also encouraged to wear the color. Last year's NMU Pink Experience raised more than $15,000. This year's proceeds will help enhance
stereotactic breast biopsy technology, which is essential in the early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
United Way Campaign Begins
Pledge packets were distributed via campus mail this week for the 2011-12 workplace
campaign to support the United Way of Marquette County. The money raised will be
distributed among more than 30 local non-profit member agencies that rely on
financial support from the United Way and tackle the four "impact areas" of basic needs, youth programs, health care programs and independence for the elderly and adults with disabilities. University entities have contributed prizes that donors will have a chance to win,
including one additional paid bonus day. Julane Cappo (Human Resources) and Kathy
Maki (Graduate Studies) are co-coordinators of the campus
campaign. This year's NMU goal is $35,000.
'Haunted Theatre' Oct. 27-29
For the third consecutive year, NMU's Forest Roberts Theatre will be transformed into a Haunted Theatre in advance of Halloween. A spooky PG-13 adventure for brave souls will be offered from 8-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 27-29. Child-friendly tours are scheduled from 4-6:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5 for children and NMU students, $10 for adults and $15 for families during the child-friendly period. Tickets are available at the door.
It’s a busy time of year for Michele Stephenson, who works as a counselor in the Academic and Career Advisement Center. With students being advised before they register, worrying about passing a class they’re struggling in or simply needing questions answered, she has appointments all day.
But that’s part of what she loves about her job. She enjoys being able to help people in a way that a lot of other people in the university can’t do so directly. Full Story