Minutes of the Meeting of the Alternative Funding Subcommittee

Thursday, September 29, 2011


The meeting of the Alternative Funding Subcommittee of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Friday, September 9, 2011.  It was convened by Chair Stephen L. Gulis at 10:41 a.m. 


Members present:                           

Mr. Stephen L. Gulis, Chair                                        

Mr. Stephen F. Adamini

Mr. Gilbert L. Ziegler

Mr. Brian D. Cloyd (ex officio)


Staff present:

Mr. R. Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration

Dr. Paul Lang, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Mr. Andrew Smentkowski, Associate Director – Grants and Research

Mr. Steve Reed, Interim Athletic Director and Associate Director-Operations, Intercollegiate Athletics/Rec Sports

Ms. Bridget Berube, Associate Director of Athletics

Mr. Carl Bammert, Associate Director-Facilities, Intercollegiate Athletics/Rec Sports

Mr. Brian Gaudreau, Interim Director – USOEC and Associate Director-Programming, Intercollegiate Athletics/Rec Sports

Ms. Robin Burke, Business Manager – Athletics


Presentation – Grants Office

Dr. Paul Lang and Mr. Andrew Smentkowski provided the committee with a presentation that gave an overview of the Grants and Research Office and the current process of how grants are administered at NMU.


The grant office at NMU works in conjunction with a faculty or staff member who proposes the grant.  The staff in the office provides assistance to those faculty and staff in the submittal process.


Difference between gifts and grants:

·         Gifts are given to the university with an expectation of what the funds will be used for, but there is no contract associated with it.


·         Grants have a contract associated with it that must be followed or the funds; if not followed, the university would be required to return the funds to the granting agency. If there is more than a 5% change needed for the grant, it must be approved by the granting agency.  In order to receive the funds for the following year, a report on the current year must be provided to the granting agency.


Statistics on Grants

o   65 – 70% of the grants NMU receives are federal

o   Minimal amount of grants received from foundations, corporations, and other private sources.  NMU needs to determine how to strategically address the idea of getting more funding from private foundations.

o   7.4% average number of faculty who submit grant proposals each year – this is an area where NMU can increase opportunities.


Indirect funds – many of the federal agencies provide additional funds for things that are not allowed in the grant budget (e.g., heating, office space, secretarial support).  NMU will get extra funds to cover part of wages of the faculty member who is administering the grant, and then there is a lower cost on the backside for teaching.


Mr. Adamini asked what would be one or two wishes of what the Board could do to make the grant program more effective.  Mr. Smentkowski said the assistant provost position is one.  Faculty need more time to do the research because to get research grants, you need to have a track record established.  Faculty time is reassigned to the grant program which allows them to do the research needed to get the grant.  NMU can bring more students to campus because of research grants that would not necessarily come here – these grants would allow NMU to recruit to a specific program.


Need to look at how to measure the success of the grant and how the economics affect NMU.  At this time we do not have a strategic approach.  This is a place where we need to start.  In addition to the nursing program, other programs NMU could get some additional funding for are Art and Design, Exercise Sciences, Clinical Lab Sciences, Outdoor Recreation, and Biology.


Athletics Presentation

Mr. Reed gave an overview of the athletic revenues main sources – ticket sales, advertising sales, rentals, and memberships.


A new ticketing software program has been added to make NMU PCI compliant.  This system could also offer other opportunities such as offering buyers event packaging options.  This system could be used as an opportunity for brand building.


NMU has strong community partnerships and support (e.g., Mining Journal, TV-6, The Point radio station) – could be more aggressive in getting corporation sponsorships such as Kohl’s and Target, which could increase advertising sales.


Some areas to look at include the price of tickets, creating demand, increasing capacity which has the potential of increase the ticket sales, and increasing staffing to allow a more aggressive marketing and sales model.  Time and resources are a bit limited in the department which limits the opportunities for additional sales.


Rentals – NMU could have a more aggressive sales approach for rental opportunities and summer sports camps and summer programs.  Staffing has been an obstacle in this area.  The new ticketing system could be used for marketing opportunities in the rental area.  The ability to register for camps and pay on line is a positive approach.



Mr. Gulis adjourned the meeting at 11:16 a.m.




Respectfully submitted,


Stephen L. Gulis, Jr., Chair