What's New, NMU? March 28, 2014


March 28, 2014

Staying Wild
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Campus Information
Staying Connected

Campus Captured

As the month of March is about to wrap up, the Marquette area is looking more like January. With snow totals ranging from 3-9 inches, students, faculty and staff had a snowy commute this morning whether walking from the dorms or driving in from the far reaches of the county.

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Tell us how the library services helped you achieve your goals here at NMU in the comments below.

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Staying Wild: NMU's LRC: More than a Library

Whether you were a transfer student, a commuter, a science major or had all your classes in Jamrich, chances are you spent some time in “the library.”  The Edgar L. Harden Learning Resources Center (LRC) is a place where students gather to study, check out a book, reserve time at the computer lab, convene with classmates or – if you were a student in the last ten years – get help with your laptop at the computer Help Desk or Micro-Repair.  While it continues to be a popular place for students to gather, the vast computer labs are gone.  With most materials and collections online, the footprint of the circulating book collection is 50% less than it was 10 years ago.  If you haven’t been back to the LRC since cramming for that final exam, read on to see how things have changed.


Edgar L. Harden Learning Resources Center

The idea of housing a library and associated information services under one roof was first envisioned by President Harden. NMU and the University of Michigan were vying for the first learning resource center in the state.  President Harden fought hard – and won – the appropriation.  The LRC first opened in 1969 and cost $5.5 million to construct. 

There are five units under the Academic Information Services umbrella: the Lydia M. Olson Library, the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives, Computing HelpDesk (supporting network connections, services, and NMU issued software and computers), and Instructional Design and Technology. The Beaumier Upper Penninsula Heritage Center, located in Cohodas Hall, is a historical museum and educational facility, promoting and preserving the history and culture of the Upper Peninsula through exhibitions and public programs.

Lower and First Floors

When the LRC originally opened, the first floor housed 220 temporary faculty offices.  Now the first level is home to the Computing Help Desk and Micro-Repair, servicing over 9000 laptops on campus and Audio-Visual Services.

The Archives, which houses unpublished organizational records and personal papers that document the history of NMU and the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is also located on the first floor.  If you’re nostalgic for microfilm and microfiche, you might like to know that one microfilm collection includes 95 different newspapers from 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula – some dating back to the late 1800s. The Archives is open to the public and staff members are available to help you with your research.

The Writing Center, where accomplished undergraduate student-writers provide free one-on-one tutoring sessions, and All Campus Tutoring, which provides free academic support for all NMU students is located nearby.  Public Radio 90, and WNMU-TV 13 stations, where students produce the Public Eye News program are located on the lower level.

Technology has been a hallmark of NMU.  Northern was one of the first laptop universities in the nation; all faculty and full-time students receive a leased laptop.  Many of the staff that make this technology possible are based in the LRC, and the effort to incorporate technology into NMU classrooms is ongoing. In addition to wireless Internet access, a typical NMU classroom configuration includes an instructor laptop docking station, an LCD projector, and other audio-visual equipment, making it possible for faculty to integrate media and computer-based content into their lectures. Many alumni remember heading to the Bookstore to purchase a blue notebook by which to write their exams.  Now, through an online service called NMU EduCattm, managed by the Instructional Design Technology (IDT) unit, students can view the class syllabus, chat with fellow students and their professor, and take tests and quizzes.  Online classes use EduCat exclusively.

But more than the technical support and technology nuts and bolts, IDT staff, through the Center for Teaching and Learning, work closely with faculty to enrich the classroom and learning experience.  NMU’s first Teaching and Learning Scholar, Dr. Jill Leonard, collaborates with the IDT staff and others on campus to support best practices in teaching.By providing consultations, collaborating on teaching strategies, learning circles, and bringing expert speakers to campus, IDT staff work and the Scholar with faculty to employ active learning technology to make the most of the classroom experience.  These services have been critical in preparing instructors for maximizing the capabilities of the new Jamrich classrooms, which were designed based on IDT staff recommendations.  

One example of the IDT/faculty partnership is the Active Learning Catalysts classroom, which is a departure from the traditional classroom model and instructor-centered learning (think fixed chairs, with your professor’s lectern at the front).  In the Active Learning Catalysts classroom, the design is student-centered with round tables arranged in clusters surrounding the teacher to facilitate group discussions and projects. LCD screens, other digital tools, dry erase boards, and even a dry-erase wall are available throughout the room.  Dr. Leonard, is working in partnership with IDT to incorporate student-centered techniques in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)  fields particularly, as the U.S. has experienced a decrease in students who wish to pursue research careers.  The incorporation of student-centered, active learning techniques in STEM courses has resulted in improved student understanding and student retention.

Rounding out the tour of the first floor, a Starbucks and student lounge occupy a space that was once a computer lab, and English offices before that.  NMU is the home of the first Starbucks outlet in the Upper Peninsula, and the company’s chairman and chief global strategist, Howard Schultz, is an NMU alumnus and honorary degree recipient.  Bookbinders Café is now Fieras, offering made-to-order Mexican food and an assortment of grab-and-go healthy meals.  The addition of Bookbinders Snack Shop and later, Starbucks, was proposed by President Vandament around 1996 who strongly advocated that, without a Student Union, students needed an area in which they could hang out. 


Second and Third Floors

The library, which occupies the top two floors, is named after Lydia M. Olson, an Ishpeming native, alumna, and was the longest serving librarian in Northern’s history until that record was broken by Steve Peters, who is now retired from NMU.  She began her studies at Northern State Normal School in the fall of 1899, the year the university was founded, and went on to be valedictorian of the first two-year class at the University.

Much of the library’s collection is now digital. Students, staff and faculty can access electronic research databases on and off campus.  Technology aside, there are still tangible materials to be found in the library.  Librarians work closely with instructors to ensure the library has the appropriate collections.  A map collection that focuses on Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Great Lakes region, includes topographic maps, nautical charts, CIA maps of all countries of the world, and maps from the State of Michigan.

You might be surprised to learn Northern has housed a federal depository library since 1963.  About 27% of the federal documents distributed by the Government Printing Office are stored here.  The Olson Library also receives documents from the State of Michigan via their depository program.  The government collection, both electronic and hardcopy, is available to the general public and NMU faculty, staff, and students.

Many alumni remember cramming for exams in the library’s study rooms, found on the third floor.  Students can now reserve study rooms online and the rooms come equipped with white boards and projectors, so students can go over PowerPoint presentations.

Alumni are welcome to visit and use the Olson Library. Community members living anywhere in the Upper Peninsula, and over the age of 19, may purchase a courtesy card at the Circulation desk for an annual fee of $25.00. NMU alumni can get a courtesy card with no fee.

One might wonder what Lydia Olson or President Harden might think of today’s LRC.  It has become a hub of student life. At nearly any hour of the day or night, you will find students, laptops open, studying, researching, putting the finishing touches on a paper, working together, communicating, connecting and utilizing resources and technology in new and ever-evolving ways. The LRC plays a critical role in the campus experience, providing nearly uninterrupted services to the students and faculty of NMU and making an invaluable contribution to the cultural, intellectual and economic vitality of the region.  It remains a combination of the past (print collections) and present (new information technologies).  And with the continuing advances in teaching methods and technological capabilities, it has a very bright future. 


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Learn More


NMU Presidential Finalists Announced

Four finalists have been selected for the Northern Michigan University presidency. They will be brought to NMU on select dates in early April to meet with campus constituencies. Their visits will also include a 5-7 minute public presentation that addresses what they find enticing about the NMU presidency and how their experience and credentials match the needs and vision of the university. Read more

Simulcast for Health Care Professionals

The Southeast Regional Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Social Work, and National AHEC Organization, in partnership with the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, have joined forces to help health care professionals address health issues that affect returning service members and their families. “Returning Veterans,” a free live conference and simulcast, will take place on Thursday, April 24, 2014, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Read more and registration

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Campus Information


Upcoming Alumni Events


Dakota House Reunion 2014!

July 10 - 14, 2014

Questions contact Dave Bonsall at dbonsall@nmu.edu or by phone at 906-250-0245.

25th Reunion - Attention Classes of 1988, 1989 and 1990

A 25th Reunion Committee is being formed to celebrate the anniversary of those who graduated from NMU in 1988, 1989 and 1990 during Homecoming 2014.  Please contact the NMU Alumni Office if you are interested in being on the reunion planning committee. 


to apply please visit https://employme.nmu.edu

Title:  Operation Manager-Food and Nutrition

Department:  Dining Services
Targeted Salary Range: $40,080-$50,100

Submit application April 4, 2014

Title:  Buildings and Grounds Attendant

Department:  Housing and Residence Life
Hourly Rate:  $12.47 starting rate; $13.86 training rate; $14.59 interim rate; $15.32 working rate

Submit application April 4, 2014

Title:  Lab Director

Department:  College of Arts and Sciences
Targeted Salary Range:  $54,357-$67,946

Submit application April 8, 2014

Full-time Faculty Recruitment

Northern Michigan University is currently recruiting for full-time faculty to begin teaching August 2014.  For information regarding our open faculty positions, please visit https://employme.nmu.edu.

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Staying Connected

Kathy Lewis '69, '04, of Palos Heights, Ill., stopped by the office to update us on what has been happening. Thank you Kathy for taking the time to visit.

Phoenix Alumni Gathering

President David Haynes spoke to a group of Phoenix area alumni March 12th. Alumni gathered at Blanco at the Biltmore for great conversation, reminiscing and hearing about what's new at NMU.




Thank you to everyone who visited the Alumni Office while on campus. Whenever you’re in town, please drop by 607 Cohodas Hall to say hello. (You don’t have to be visiting. For those of you who live in Marquette, we want to see you too!  Please stop in.)  If you can’t get to campus because you’re off exploring the world, be sure to send us a photo of you wearing your favorite Wildcat gear so we can share it with other alumni.

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questions and comments to:

Contributing Editors:
Marina Dupler '03, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
Brad Hamel '99, '11, Assistant Director of Advancement Communications