Minutes of the Formal Session


Friday, September 24, 2010



A formal session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Friday, September 24, 2010, in the Cohodas Hall, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 9:30 a.m. by Acting Chair Brian D. Cloyd.


Trustees present included:


      Mr. Brian D. Cloyd, Acting Chair            Mr. Jon G. LaSalle                  Mr. Gilbert L. Ziegler

      Mr. Stephen F. Adamini                           Dr. L. Garnet Lewis                Dr. Leslie E. Wong, ex officio

      Mr. Larry C. Inman                                   Dr. H. Sook Wilkinson          


Trustee absent included:


      Dr. Douglas B. Roberts, Chair     


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





Mr. William Bernard, Associate Provost for Student Services and Enrollment, presented a memorial for NMU student, DeVante Billups, who drowned in Lake Superior on August 27, 2010.  Mr. Billups was a newly enrolled freshman who was planning to earn an associate’s degree in Electrical Technology.


Mr. Bernard presented a memorial for NMU student, Juliana M. Vitale, who died unexpectedly on August 28, 2010.  Ms. Vitale was a sophomore majoring in Media Production and New Technology with a minor in Entertainment/Sports Promotion. 


Mr. Bernard presented a memorial for NMU student, James McCoy, a 76 year old student, who died on September 9, 2010. Mr. McCoy was retired from the aircraft industry and was a senior in the Mechanical Engineering Technology bachelor degree program. 


The Board of Trustees observed a moment of silence in their memory.



FOCUS DISCUSSION  (Addendum # 1)


Mr. Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration; Dr. Terrance Seethoff, Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research; Ms. Felecia Flack, Director of Information Services; and Ms. Gerri Daniels, Director of Admissions, presented on building a smarter campus.  Mr. Leach reported on the use of technology to identify key trends in enrollment, classroom size, and financial indicators.  Ms. Flack demonstrated how the Information Technology department acts as a liaison between data systems and the users (President, Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors, and Department Heads) by creating custom reports to support planning and analysis.  Dr. Seethoff demonstrated how the data is used by Deans and Department Heads to manage courses, programs and resources.  Ms. Daniels reviewed how data is used by the Admissions staff to aid in their communications with prospective students.  Ms. Flack outlined the next steps including:  1.) development of  key performance indicators in the areas of enrollment, student success, finance, and human resources, 2.) further development of dashboards, 3.) further use of metrics and benchmarking, and 4.) providing continued instruction to department heads on use of these tools. 



RECESS – Chair Cloyd recessed the meeting at 10:40 a.m. for a break.



RECONVENE -- Chair Cloyd reconvened the meeting at 10:50 a.m.







Mr. Cloyd, Chair of the Executive Committee, reported on the meeting held on Thursday,

September 23, 2010.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #2).


Academic Affairs


Mr. LaSalle, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, reported on a meeting held on Thursday, September 23, 2010.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #3). 




Mr. Adamini, Chair of the Finance Committee, reported on meetings held on September 9, 2010, and Thursday, September 23, 2010.  Copies of the reports are appended to these minutes

(Addendums #4 and #5).


Recruitment and Retention Committee


Mr. Ziegler, Chair of the Recruitment and Retention Committee, reported on the meeting held on September 23, 2010.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #6).


The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Lewis and seconded by Trustee Inman to dissolve the ad hoc Recruitment and Retention Committee and to have a report on recruitment and retention on an as-needed basis through the Academic Affairs Committee


Discussion followed.  Trustee Ziegler said he voted against this motion in the Committee as he believes enrollment is the heart of the university, should be on the front burner, and deserves its own place in front of the Board of Trustees for continued review.  Trustee Lewis said the discussion topics at the last three to four Committee meetings have been redundant, and the issues of enrollment can be more effectively addressed through making it a standard agenda item on the Academic Affairs Committee.  Trustee Inman said since the Committee’s inception a number of great ideas have been presented and have inspired good conversation with the leadership team at the university.  Based on discussions that have taken place at the Committee level, he is comfortable that staff have appropriately acted on all of the ideas that have been presented and have a plan to continue to focus on the retention and enrollment factors within the university.  The Committee felt there were not a lot of other innovative things the Committee members could offer in terms of suggestions through the committee system, and that the matters could be dealt with within the academic report.  Trustee Wilkinson said especially after the report on the data management system this morning she concurs that the enrollment issues should be part of the Academic Affairs report.  She stated the leaders in the departments have an up-to-date grasp of what is going on and what the next steps should be; however, the Board does still need to be involved.  Trustee Adamini said that as part of the AQIP process the Board will be reviewing the whole committee structure at the February retreat, and perhaps this topic could be taken up as a part of the overall study of committees.  Trustee Cloyd said enrollment is one of President Wong’s performance key indicators; and, therefore, enrollment is one of the things the Board pays close attention to whether it is part of the ad hoc committee or the Academic Affairs Committee.


It was moved by Trustee Lewis and seconded by Trustee Inman to amend the motion and to suspend the Committee until discussion at the February Retreat.  Chair Cloyd called the question, and the amendment was thus approved with six (6 ) for the motion and one  ( 1 ) against.



Chair Cloyd called the question on the motion, as amended, to suspend the ad hoc Recruitment and Retention Committee until discussion at the February Retreat.  The motion, as amended, was thus approved with six (6) for the motion and one (1) against.



Ad hoc Strategic Planning


Trustee Cloyd, Chair of the ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee, reported on the meeting held on September 23, 2010.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #7).



Ad hoc Nominating


Mr. Adamini reported on behalf of Committee Chair Trustee Roberts.  The Ad hoc Nominating Committee meeting held on August 27, 2010 (Addendum #8).  Following the recommendation of the Committee, and there being no nominations from the floor, the election of officers was held:


It was moved by Trustee Inman, seconded by Trustee Lewis, and supported unanimously by the Board to elect Trustee Cloyd as Chair and Trustee LaSalle as Vice Chair of the NMU Board of Trustees for calendar year 2011. 


The Board congratulated Trustees Cloyd and LaSalle, and Trustees Cloyd and LaSalle thanked the Board for their support.  Trustee Cloyd said he thinks the university is in a very good position and has had good leadership in the past.  He and Trustee LaSalle hope to continue to provide good leadership to move the University forward.





President Wong reported on the kick off of the NMU Foundation Faculty/Staff Campaign and Student Involvement Campaign.  He also reported on five graduates from Northern Michigan University’s graduate programs in English who will be featured in this year’s Best New Poets anthology.  President Wong and the Board congratulated Dr. Ray Ventre and the English Department faculty on this achievement.





Ms. Lucia Lopez, 2010-2011 ASNMU President, reported.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #9).   





It was moved by Trustee Inman and seconded by Trustee Lewis to approve the Formal Recommendations.


It was moved by Trustee LaSalle and seconded by Trustee Wilkinson to amend the motion by setting aside item #C6 from the formals for separate consideration.


Mr. Inman withdrew the motion


It was then moved by Trustee Inman, seconded by Trustee Lewis and unanimously supported by the Board to approve the Formal Recommendations with the exception of Item #C6 which will be considered separately.


With regard to the arbitration decision concerning denial of tenure:


It was moved by Trustee LaSalle and seconded by Trustee Wilkinson that the Board of Trustees grant tenure to Dr. Jeanne Lorentzen, Assistant Professor of Sociology/Social Work, and that the Board continue to have a dialogue on the nature and standards of granting tenure with participation from all stakeholders in the tenure process.


Trustee LaSalle said the reason for the motion is that NMU is part of a collective bargaining agreement entered into and negotiated in good faith by the parties, and part of that negotiated agreement is a dispute settlement procedure culminating in final and binding arbitration. We were given an award that recognizes the prerogatives of the Board of Trustees with respect to tenure, and it is in the interest of the university to move on from this issue and address some of the underlying, or behind the scene, issues that are involved in recommending tenure and the standards that the respective parties are dealing with in arriving at those recommendations.  There are some differences that need to be worked through by both the faculty and the administration.  At the same time, the Board of Trustees needs to have a better understanding of tenure as it works on this campus within higher education.  Trustee Adamini said he concurs with Trustee LaSalle and said ultimately tenure is granted by the Board of Trustees.  There is a filtering process before it comes before the Board, and although he feels the Board should not micro-manage it, he also feels it should not be a rubber stamp.  Since he’s been on the Board, the Board has not had a good discussion on tenure.  This experience gives the Board a good reason to address this question and to make sure that all stakeholders are involved in the process, but also to ensure the Board is all in sync with what is expected by the Board when the Board grants tenure.  Trustee Lewis said she supports it as well and that the element of rigor of how tenure is awarded should be closely reviewed.  In an institution that is accredited we need to ensure the tenure process meets the rigor that other institutions have set forward in higher education.  It should be an expectation from NMU’s faculty that there will be greater rigor attached to the way in which tenure is awarded on this campus.  Everyone should come to the table and be involved in putting together a process that everyone can support, be proud of, and not question.


            Chair Cloyd called the question, and the motion was thus unanimously approved.





President Wong made this announcement for the public record. 




Chair Cloyd adjourned the meeting at 11:40 a.m.



Respectfully submitted,




Theresa M. Nease

Secretary of the Board