Faculty Scholarship

The Academic Affairs Division is strongly committed to enhancing the pursuit of scholarship by faculty and staff. We are committed to the concept of the teacher-scholar, a distinction that was emphasized by Ernest Boyer when he said that the time has come to move beyond the teaching versus scholarship debate. Teaching and scholarship are two sides of the same coin; as stated in the summary of our recent report on scholarship at NMU, Faculty scholars bring innovation to the classroom to enhance teaching. Like many academic institutions across the U.S., NMU recognizes Boyer's four forms of scholarship: the scholarships of discovery, integration, application and teaching. The Grants and Research Office facilitates grant proposal writing and submission by NMU faculty and staff. Many internal grant opportunities exist for faculty to pursue, including curriculum development and instructional improvement awards, faculty grants, and the prestigious Peter White Scholar Award. Individual colleges also provide scholarship support.


"The process of scholarship is one of problem solving through conceptual means that leads to an outcome that can be evaluated and presented to others. Knowledge is thus gathered and shared by this process."

Working definition of scholarship, AQIP Action Project Committee for Enhancing the Campus Climate for Scholarship


Faculty pursuits of scholarship are many and diverse. Our 2009 Distinguished Faculty Award recipients include:

  • Dr. Tawni Ferrarini, Economics Department, the Sam M. Cohodas Scholar at NMU and a regional economist for the Upper Peninsula
  • Dr. Jill Leonard, Biology Department, who has conducted extensive research on the biology of migratory fish with a recent focus on the restoration of coaster brook trout to Lake Superior tributaries
  • Dr. Jaspal Singh, English Department, who recently published a book comparing texts used by Indian and African women at home and in the diaspora.

Other examples of teacher-scholars at NMU abound.

  • Dr. Stephen Burn, English Department and 2008-09 Peter White Scholar, is writing a book that will explore the impact of neuroscience on the American novel.
  • Dr. Tim Hilton and Professor Cornell DeJong, Sociology and Social Work Department, investigate coping strategies employed by adults who are homeless in the Upper Peninsula
  • Dr. Adam Prus, Psychology Department, uses funding from the National Institutes of Mental Health to conduct research on new medications for people with schizophrenia.
  • Dr. Robert Winn, Biology Department, works in concert with The Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center to explore novel treatments for patients suffering from brain tumors.

A repository of recent scholarly activities documents the public contributions of the entire NMU faculty.


"Northern has supported multi-faceted projects that foster student learning while promoting faculty creativity and scholarship. CAPS has hosted African performers who appear in classes, concerts and faculty and student produced music programs and documentaries."

Dr. Louise Bourgault (Communication and Performance Studies),
2008 NMU Excellence in Scholarship Award Recipient