Minutes of the Formal Session


Friday, April 30, 2010



A formal session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Friday,

April 30, 2010, in the Cohodas Hall of Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 9:00 a.m. in the Board of Trustees Meeting Room, 602 Cohodas by Chair Douglas B. Roberts.


Trustees present included:


      Dr. Douglas B. Roberts, Chair                  Mr. Larry C. Inman                 Dr. H. Sook Wilkinson

      Mr. Stephen F. Adamini                           Mr. Jon G. LaSalle                  Mr. Gilbert L. Ziegler

      Mr. Brian D. Cloyd                                   Dr. L. Garnet Lewis                Dr. Leslie E. Wong, ex officio


Senior staff and counsel present included:


      Ms. Catherine L. Dehlin, General Counsel

      Dr. Susan J. Koch, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Mr. R. Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer of the Board

      Ms. Theresa M. Nease, Executive Assistant to the President and Secretary of the Board





Dr. Ronald Sundell, President of the American Association of University Professors thanked the President, Provost, and Board of Trustees for taking time to stop in at the AAUP Office to talk with members of the AAUP Executive Board.  He distributed packets of material related to the AAUP. 





Mr. William Bernard, Associate Provost for Student Services and Enrollment, presented a memorial for Ms. Becky Blackburn, a student in the Hospitality Management program who passed away as a result of an automobile accident.  The Academic Senate has awarded Ms. Blackburn a posthumous degree.  The Board of Trustees observed a moment of silence in her memory.





President Wong stated the Board talked at great lengths at the February Retreat about the long-term and short-term issues facing the University and the particular challenge of trying to do significant planning and positioning of the University when two of the most important pieces to the puzzle are unknown – tuition and appropriation.  There are things that have to be done right away, and assumptions need to be made about what could or could not happen.  Any decisions made must position NMU well in the event of various scenarios in the long term that might be different than the short term.  There is also a deep commitment from the Board, President, faculty, staff, and administration that NMU’s programming, identity, who we are what we do and what we want to do remains at a high level.  Dr. Wong presented the two-part plan which was presented at a University forum on April 7, 2010. (Addendum #1). 


The ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee is reviewing the long term issues.  Mr. Cloyd reviewed the work of the ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee indicating the group was convened to look at long-term thinking while acknowledging that there are short-term issues like tuition.  The Committee identified three most important strategic issues to review: tuition elasticity, branding, and entrepreneurial initiatives.  All three connected focus on increasing the student value proposition, which is key to students knowing about what is here and what is good about coming to NMU.  This will increase revenue streams and increase NMU’s ability to be recognizable anywhere.  This will involve going through the process of identifying strengths, weaknesses and main programs.  Mr. LaSalle added that the Board spent quality time at the retreat looking at what the Strategic Planning Committee is doing and identifying our fastest growing programs, identifying our customers and looking at the historically largest programs. 


Discussion followed.  Topics and suggestions raised included 1.) accreditation and other restrictions on enrollment in programs (ie. Nursing), 2.) the need to be realistic about what size NMU will be and then shape the budget and programs around that number, 3.) the challenge of increasing efficiencies to accomplish the same goals without losing the value that comes with it, 4.) the need to market NMU’s strengths and identify a marketing plan for each one, 5.) concerns regarding declining high school enrollment and per capita income in the upper peninsula, 6.) out migration, 7.) the increasing gap between urban and rural high schools in relation to drop out and pass rates, 8.) the shifting paradigm for universities where high school students are shifting to community colleges and the need to move our recruitment and marketing strategy to two-year schools as well as high schools, 9.) strategic planning for on-line courses and the need to decide what NMU’s niche is in terms of students on campus, online courses, and different course delivery, 10.) if a big part of NMU’s four-year cost for incoming freshman is remedial, changing our tuition rate for incoming transfer students from two-year schools that already have remedial education built into their program, making students look at NMU as a university of choice knowing it would be cheaper the last two years, 11.) elevating the focus on high school completion and graduation so more people want to go on to college, 12.) trends of universities to set targets for out of state enrollment which pays at a higher rate, 13.) pricing and positioning of out of state students,  and

14.) marketing to middle school students to bring college awareness at a younger age,



RECESS – Chair Roberts recessed the meeting at 10:15 a.m. for a break.



RECONVENE Chair Roberts reconvened the meeting at 10:25 a.m.





Mr. Bernard introduced Mr. Brenton Fizpatrick, from Boyne City, MI, who will represent the graduating class at Commencement ceremonies tomorrow.  He is graduating with a Social Studies/Secondary Education major.  On behalf of the Board, Chair Roberts congratulated Mr. Fitzpatrick and presented him with a plaque.  A photo was taken. 





President Wong announced Senator Michael Prusi, Senate Democratic Leader, as the Winter 2010 Commencement Speaker.  Senator Prusi will also receive an Honorary Doctor of Public Service.





Mr. Jason Morgan, 2009-2010 ASNMU President introduced Ms. Lucia Lopez, 2010-2011 ASNMU President.  Ms. Lopez reported on the recent election and referendum voting results, the ASNMU Representatives for 2010-2011, and upcoming projects.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #2). 


Chair Roberts congratulated Mr. Morgan on his success and presented him with a gift on behalf of the Board.  A photo was taken. 





President Wong distributed James Collins’ book, Good to Great to Board members.  The book states Universities need to talk about how good they are and what they need to do to be great.  He thinks there is a lot of discussion to be had about NMU on its way to greatness.


Mr. Michael Rotundo, Director of Financial Aid, and Ms. Cindy Paavola, Director of Communications and Marketing, presented on a new interactive financial aid tool for students.  Tools showcased included the NMU cost comparison calculator which allows potential students to do personalized cost comparisons for up to seven schools and the scholarship search.  Mr. Rotundo and Ms. Paavola responded to questions and comments from Trustees.  Mr. Ziegler suggested adding another component which would show the savings for a student graduating in four years versus five years.


President Wong introduced Dr. Terrance Seethoff as the new Associate Provost/Graduate Studies Dean and Dr. Michael Broadway as the new Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  Each appointment will begin on June 1, 2010 and will continue for a two-year period.  The Board congratulated and applauded Drs. Seethoff and Broadway on their appointments.





Academic Affairs


Mr. LaSalle, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, reported on a meeting held Thursday, April 29, 2010.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #3). 


The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee LaSalle, seconded by Trustee Lewis, and supported unanimously that the resolution to authorize the approval of debt to be issued to the North Star Academy for construction of a new K-5 facility be approved.  The resolution requirement allows the University an opportunity to review loan documents and related material to assure that NMU credit will not be used or impacted by the academy’s debt.




Mr. Adamini, Chair of the Finance Committee, reported on a meeting held Thursday, April 29, 2010.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #4). 


The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Inman, seconded by Trustee LaSalle, and supported unanimously that the Master of Business Administration tuition rate be set at $540 per credit hour effective for the Fall 2010 semester.




Mr. Cloyd, Chair of the Executive committee, reported on the meeting held on April 29, 2010.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #5). 


The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Cloyd, seconded by Trustee LaSalle, and supported unanimously to grant Trustee Emeritus Status to Mr. Samuel Benedict and Ms. Mary Lukens.



Ad Hoc Strategic Planning


Mr. Brian Cloyd, Chair of the Ad Hoc Strategic Planning Committee, reported on meetings held on December 11, 2009 (Addendum #6), January 29, 2010 (Addendum #7), and April 29, 2010 (Addendum #8).  Copies of the reports are appended to these minutes.





It was moved by Trustee Inman, seconded by Trustee LaSalle, and unanimously supported by the Board of Trustees to approve the Formal Recommendations.  (Addendum #9)





President Wong made this announcement for the public record. 







Chair Roberts adjourned the meeting at 11:25 a.m.



Respectfully submitted,




Theresa M. Nease

Secretary of the Board