President’s Report to the Board
Focus on Teaching Excellence
December 16, 2005
2005-06 NMU Excellence in Professional Development Award Recipients
Dr. J. Marek Haltof
Associate Professor, Department of English
Marek Haltof is a world authority on film studies, particularly Eastern European and Australian national cinema. According to critic Allan Reid of the University of New Brunswick, “Prof. Haltof is clearly one of the leading lights of contemporary film studies. . . . His very impressive list of publications and conference presentations demonstrate the range and depth of his knowledge and contributions, and this is reinforced and even expanded by the exceptionally positive reviews of his work.” Professor Haltof has published (in English and Polish) five monographs; edited a collection of his own essays; co-edited another collection of essays; and authored approximately forty articles in refereed book collections and journals, along with numerous book and film reviews. Our students enjoy the fruits of his scholarship in his always fully-enrolled courses and in the new minor in Film Studies that he designed and administers. His professional life illustrates the mutually nourishing relationship between research and teaching.
Dr. David Prychitko
Professor, Department of Economics
Professor David Prychitko has established himself as a leading representative of the Austrian School of Economics, and one of the leading scholars of heterodox economics irrespective of school of thought. His work on workers' self-management, as well as his 2-volume reference work, has received international acclaim. And his work on Austrian economics and the history and methodology of political and economic thought in general has been widely regarded by the leading scholars in the field. He has been asked to give economic lectures to Congressional Staff on Capitol Hill and to college students in programs that attract students from throughout the US. His ability to communicate economic ideas is reflected in his work on the textbook The Economic Way of Thinking, which is now in its 11th edition. Professor David Prychitko has emerged as among the best and the brightest of his generation of economists.
Dr. Neil Russell
Associate Professor, Department of Physics
Dr. Neil Russell has maintained an outstanding record of theoretical physics research while teaching the standard course load and performing regular service and outreach duties. It is very difficult to maintain a world class research effort in an undergraduate institution, yet since joining NMU, Dr. Russell’s determination to continue his work has resulted in four publications in some of the most prestigious, peer reviewed physics journals, as well as four non-technical articles including the cover article in New Scientist magazine. He has been asked to do ten invited talks at conferences in the US and Europe and has many other conference presentations, proceedings or reports to his credit. Dr. Russell is a referee for Physical Review and the Journal of Physics. He is also an excellent teacher who is well-liked by his students. The Physics Department and Northern Michigan University are very fortunate to have Dr. Russell as a member of the faculty.
Dr. Kerri D. Schuiling
Department Head, Associate Dean and Professor, School of Nursing
Dr. Kerri Schuiling was nominated for this award by the faculty in her department who describe her as an inspiration in the area of professional development. Dr. Schuiling’s long history of professional development demonstrates a commitment to women’s health. In June her co-authored textbook, Women’s Gynecologic Health, was published by Jones & Bartlett. Dr. Schuiling has published nine (9) peer-reviewed articles in nursing or midwifery journals and is an internationally recognized expert in the area of comfort and pain during childbirth and abnormal uterine bleeding. She has presented findings from her groundbreaking research on “Comfort in Labor’ at local, national and international conferences. She has had nine funded grants, the most recent of which was a $1.9 million grant to support an accelerated nursing program at NMU. She is most deserving of this recognition.
Dr. Phillip B. Watts
Professor, Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation
Dr. Phil Watts has gained recognition as a world expert in the physiological aspects of sport rock climbing. He has been published in the prestigious European Journal of Applied Physiology, European Journal of Applied Physiology, the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and the International Journal of Sports Medicine, as well as many American journals including Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Dr. Watts has, since 1982, published 50 journal articles, half of which were concerned with rock climbing. A majority of the others were concerned with the physiology of cross country skiing. A closer look at this impressive catalogue of publications reveals the true nature of the university research professor, and that is, the importance of involving their students in the research process. Dozens of his graduate students have been co-authors on many of these research articles. Dr. Watts is an outstanding example of what it means to be a faculty scholar at Northern Michigan University.
2005-06 NMU Excellence in Teaching Award Recipients
Dr. M. Kathleen Heikkila
Associate Professor, Department of Education
Dr. Kathleen Heikkila is an outstanding teacher whose teaching is passionate and inspirational. She models what she teaches and is able to make the course content meaningful and relevant while pushing her students to stretch their horizons and reach for greater goals. She has implemented an inquiry approach to teaching and learning, a model wherein the professor is not the “sage on stage,” but a partner and guide in research. She relentlessly advocates for her students and shows a genuine concern about their well-being. She has outstanding course evaluations, and students and colleagues describe her as: “inspirational,” “caring,” “passionate,” “challenging,” “demanding,” “flexible,” “respectful,” “and “knowledgeable.” Her students have a deep knowledge of course content while also learning the process to truly be lifelong learners. She is an exceptional educator, worthy to be recognized for her excellent teaching, innovative practices, ability to create learning communities, and advocacy for her students.
Prof. Laura B. Soldner
Professor, Department of English
Professor Laura Soldner is the epitome of a great teacher. Her syllabi and assignments show her careful, thoughtful planning, and her student evaluations, regardless of the level of her courses, are off the charts. Her diligence and caring are unparalleled. She not only insists that her students learn, but she also becomes their ally, someone they trust and respect and who will do whatever she can to help them succeed. A learning skills specialist, Professor Soldner carries the flag for students at NMU who are not yet prepared to succeed in college. Nothing gives her more professional joy than to help a weak student improve and go on to a successful academic career—and a successful life. Through her efforts in her own courses and her development of programs like the First Year Experience, she has helped a remarkable number of NMU students become active, enthusiastic learners. This is a wonderful legacy, one for which she can be justly proud and for which she deserves to be recognized and rewarded.
2005-06 TLC Faculty Award Recipient
Prof. Sandra Poindexter
Professor, College of Business
Professor Sandi Poindexter has been integrating the laptop into her courses since the TLC began. She works extensively with academic service learning, often using university-related technology projects to enhance student learning. She wanted to find a way to improve the system of scheduling her advising appointments where students came (or didn’t) to her office door to sign up for a slot. Her goals were to: increase the number of students who scheduled academic advising appointments by making it easier to do so; find a more effective way for faculty to identify available appointments from a location other than an office door; and generate a service learning experience for an advanced programming course. The result is an easy to use online appointment scheduler whose usage has spread to other faculty in the College of Business. Advisees are emailed the web address to make an appointment using their laptop, while the advisor checks the schedule on theirs. Her colleagues say the system has increased their ability to get students in for advising and streamlined the whole appointment process.
Introduction of Catherine Dehlin, Equal Opportunity Officer
It is my pleasure to introduce to you Northern’s new equal opportunity specialist, Catherine Dehlin. Catherine reports to me on equal opportunity issues and helps the university comply with civil rights, equal opportunity and affirmative action requirements. She will receive, investigate, and resolve or refer internal civil rights inquiries. She will also function as training and special projects coordinator for Human Resources.
Catherine previously worked in private law practice for 15 years in Phoenix and Washington, D.C., with a specialization in employment defense, mediation and litigation. A Michigan native, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a juris doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Provost Search Update
A brief update on the Provost search: Dr. Peter Goodrich, Professor of English, and Professor Darlene Walch, Dean of Academic Information Services, have agreed to co-chair the Provost Search Committee. Joining them on the committee will be two members from each of the following: the College of Arts and Sciences (including one department head), the College of Professional Studies, and Student Services; and one representative each from the College of Business, Academic Information Services, an academic dean, ASNMU, and the Marquette community. Catherine Dehlin, our new equal opportunity officer, will serve in an ex officio capacity and Pam Grundstrom will provide staff support. We solicited nominations for the committee from the university community with the goal of finalizing membership by the end of the fall semester. The A.T. Kearney Executive Search Firm will assist us with the search. Our goal is to have a new Provost on board by July 1, 2006.