NMU's Communit Connection

 

Volume 13, Issue 4 -- December 23, 2013

 

Dear NMU Community Connection Members,

Happy Holidays to you and your family. NMU has enjoyed a successful, but very busy year. I wanted to close 2013 with a note to send season’s greetings and update you on a few campus happenings.

Quiet Campus: The university will be closed from Dec. 24-Jan. 1, reopening Thursday, Jan. 2. If you have an urgent NMU need during the closure, please contact NMU Public Safety, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at 906-227-2151.

Mark Your Calendars:  Some key dates for you to note for the upcoming semester include the first day of classes on Monday, Jan. 13 and no classes on Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Jan. 20. NMU will celebrate the latter as a day of service with many campus and community volunteer activities planned for students, faculty and staff. More details on that will be announced in early January. NMU’s spring break takes place Saturday, March 1 through Sunday, March 9. The spring Wildcat Weekend is Saturday, March 22, and will bring hundreds of prospective students and their families into Marquette for the weekend. Final exam week is Monday, April 28 through Saturday, May 3 with commencement at 10:30 a.m. May 3 in the Superior Dome.

ROTC Update:  In the last newsletter, I told you that Northern’s ROTC program was one of 13 nationwide announced for possible closure in May 2015. Since then, NMU received notification from the Army that it is putting its ROTC reorganization on hold, pushing back any decisions about program suspensions until spring 2016 and providing a clearer set of criteria for the decision-making process. Recently, NMU was visited by an Army official who oversees the regional ROTC programs and we’ve met with high-ranking Army officials in Washington D.C. , on this matter. In all cases, those we’ve talked with have stated they are impressed with the quality of NMU’s ROTC program (which has been cited in recent years as among the best in the nation). One of the most helpful discussions we’ve had regarding the program's future focused on the limited diversity of our cadets and the need to have a program that more closely reflects the makeup of today’s U.S. Army. So, we’ll be working on improving that component as we move forward.

Board Decisions:  The NMU Board of Trustees was busy when it met last week. The board was updated on enrollment, NMU’s financial aid program and the presidential search progress (and viewed the search website: www.nmu.edu/presidentialsearch). Among the action taken at the meeting, the board approved the purchase of the property on the corner of Fair and Presque Isle from mBank. We do not have definitive plans yet for this building, but are discussing several options. As most of you are aware, any property along that stretch of Presque Isle is of interest to NMU because it separates our main campus from the sports complex, and we hope to one day connect those two parts. The board also approved NMU becoming the chartering institution for three downstate schools. We do not have a lot of charter schools compared to many universities, but we believe adding these three supports our strategic goals regarding charter schools. The board also approved the recommendation for NMU to become a tobacco-free campus as of Aug. 1. There are about 800 tobacco-free colleges and universities in the United States including three in the U.P.  – Bay, Finlandia and Michigan Tech. As you can imagine, some people are very happy about this decision while others are quite upset. It will be a big change for NMU, but a healthy one.

Personal Decision:  Speaking of the presidential search, I want to update you on my decision not to apply for the position. I informed the campus last Thursday (Dec. 19). I am honored to have had the opportunity to spend two years working with Trustees, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members to fulfill our shared hopes and visions and to work toward achieving common goals and objectives.That being said, as you know, from the first day of my appointment I have expressed my desire to ultimately return to teaching. For decades I have been fortunate to serve NMU in many capacities. They have all been rewarding, but none more so than working side-by-side with my colleagues to educate students and help them achieve personal and professional success. That is why, after much consideration, I have decided not to submit an application and support papers to the Presidential Search Committee. It takes a long time for a President to develop and implement strategies under the guidance of the Board of Trustees. Accordingly, a search committee for a university president usually operates under the assumption that the chosen candidate's tenure will be a minimum of five to six years. I do not want to commit that many additional years to this position. I would like to thank the Board of Trustees for their support and their leadership. Between now and June 30, I pledge to work tirelessly to advance the mission, vision and goals of NMU. This university is my alma mater and has been my workplace, my home and my passion for over thirty years; it is good to know that, going forward, the dedicated people of the university will continue to work toward our common goals and objectives. And I thank the community for its continued support.

Academic Impact:  Most of you have heard me call NMU a world-class university at some point, and it is. Here are examples of two organizations that think so, too. First, our human-centered design students were asked by Menominee’s Lloyd Flanders to develop concepts for contemporary wicker woven furniture that would appeal to younger consumers. From what I head, the Lloyd Flanders administrators were thrilled by the designs and  the company plans to produce some of them for display in upcoming national and international exhibits. You can read more about this project here. In the science area, Dr. Josh Sharp is directing a new research collaboration involving NMU biology students and Micro Imaging Technology Inc. of San Clemente, Calif., in an effort to differentiate between common staph infection and the “superbug” known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in order to more quickly treat patients. This is really exciting research that could have a major impact on the medical world someday, and it’s being done in your back yard!

More Kudos for NMU: Northern Michigan University ranked No. 1 among Michigan’s colleges and universities for the most affordable online degree programs, according to Affordable Colleges Online. AC Online focused specifically on distance learning options from public and private non-profit institutions with full accreditation. NMU offers full online master’s degree programs in criminal justice, public administration (MPA) and the following education specialties: learning disabilities, reading specialist (K-12), reading (K-8), instruction and education administration (traditional K-12 or American Indian education emphasis). The loss prevention management bachelor’s program also is completely web-based.

Season's Greetings! For whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year, from all of us at Northern Michigan University, we wish you a joyous time with family and friends, along with happy, healthy and prosperous 2014.

Sincerely,

David S. Haynes, President

 

P.S. I try to post quick notes and updates daily on my Twitter account. If you’d like to view those posts, go to www.nmu.edu/president or follow me at www.twitter.com/davidshaynes.