and Phyllis Wong were
introduced to faculty and staff attending Wednesday’s forum. They
have returned to campus this week for the first time since Les was
named Northern’s 13th president. He is meeting with students and
employees in an effort to acquaint himself with various aspects
of the university in advance of starting his new appointment.
used a baseball metaphor to describe the transition period between
feel like I’m trying to steal second base with my foot still on
first,” he said. “When you become president of a university, the
community that helped you achieve that goal – in my case, Valley
– becomes very special and it
is emotionally hard to leave. But eventually you have to pick your
foot up and make a move toward that new opportunity. I am ready
to run. At VCSU, I was part of a team that is innovative and action-oriented.
That experience has given me confidence, which I am thrilled to
carry with me to Marquette
… NMU is healthy and thriving. The essential ingredients for a great
university are already here.”
said the adjustment to his first presidency will be made easier
by Mike Roy’s effective leadership in the interim.
He will rely on Roy and others to help educate him on fiscal, legislative
and other issues facing higher education in Michigan.
need to get up to speed quickly on those and learn names and places,”
Wong added. “I hope to knock on the governor’s door to introduce
myself and let her know that there is a very important university
in the Upper Peninsula.
I also need to become familiar with the U.P. delegation.
own mentors were good role models. I don’t think a president can
make decisions on the first day. I like to think of myself as pro-person
– someone who is a catalyst for ideas and action. I make a point
to listen to people so I can be in touch with the dreams and aspirations
of others – whether they are students, faculty, staff or community
members. A university should be intimate partners with the community.
The boundary should disappear and become porous. That will be part
of my responsibility.”
director of online learning at VCSU, Phyllis said she works closely
with faculty and on course management. She also teaches a Web course
in English for Baker University.
am looking forward to another laptop university and the potential
it has to enhance face-to-face learning,” she said. “I would like
to help the university advance in this area in any way I can.”
added: “The challenge with technology is how it makes the practice
of teaching and learning more human. It shouldn’t divert from our
efforts to turn out better citizens.”
couple praised the area’s quality of life, natural environment and
walking around and talking with people, it is clear to me that this
may be a cold climate, but the people have warm hearts," Phyllis
said. "We feel very welcome here."
Wongs plan to make a permanent move to Marquette in June. Les will
begin serving as NMU president by July 1.