The President's Community Connection

Volume 12, Issue 3 – February 22, 2013

NMU Community Connection Members,

Happy WinterFest, NMU’s annual winter celebration. Or maybe I should just say, “Happy Winter” as I see little but a solid picture of white while looking out my window while writing. The NMU students are busy with all kinds of crazy and fun events this week, and it seems Mother Nature didn’t want to miss out on the action.  I know the groundhog didn’t see his shadow a few weeks ago, which is supposed to mean an early spring, but I have my doubts about that at the moment.

YOU’RE INVITED:  Among the many events of this WinterFest week, there are a few I wanted to point out and invite you to attend. Today (Thursday, Feb. 21), a university forum will be held at 3:30 p.m. in room 103 of Jamrich Hall. If you can’t attend but would like to hear what was presented, go to the NMU home page Friday and a video link will be available there. Today through Saturday, the Forest Roberts Theatre puts on its production of FALLUJAH, a play that looks at war through the eyes of a war correspondent. On Sunday (Feb. 24), the Black Student Union will host a soul food luncheon from 1-3 p.m. at the Jacobetti Complex as the final event of NMU’s Black History Month. The menu consists of fried or baked chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, baked macaroni and cheese, green beans and corn bread, a beverage and dessert. Tickets are $7 for NMU students with ID, $10 for the general public, $5 for children 6-12 and free for children 5 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the Multicultural Education and Resources Center, located at 3001 Hedgcock and there will be a limited number available at the door.  

MUST BE SPRING:  It may be snowing outside, but students are gearing up for spring break, which is March 2-10.  Another spring event that is just around the corner is Wildcat Weekend, being held Saturday, March 23.  This event will bring nearly 800 prospective students and parents to Marquette to explore Northern as a university option. During our fall Wildcat Weekend, 287 prospective students and 426 family members attended. To those of you who have storefront windows or marquees, we hope you’ll consider welcoming Wildcat Weekend visitors that day. If you need new window cards, contact the NMU Communications and Marketing office at or 906-227-2720.

FUNDING ISSUES: This past Monday (Feb. 18), Charlie Rose, a recent general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education, presented “Emerging Trends in Higher Education.” To see his talk, click here.  Mr. Rose served as the general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education from May 2009 to July 2012. He advised the secretary of education on the department's signature reform initiatives, including Race to the Top, the innovation fund, and Native American education initiatives. … Recently, Gov. Rick Snyder presented his executive budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.  In it, higher education receives a 2% overall increase in funding.  Universities are held to a 4% tuition increase cap for maximum funding consideration. Each of the 15 public universities is measured on several elements of a funding formula that was developed last year and includes such things as increase in enrollment, increase in graduation rate, increase in retention, levels of financial aid assistance and more.  Under the current formula, NMU would receive a 2.1%, increase, or $852,400, over last year’s state appropriation total. The governor’s proposal now moves to the House. NMU is scheduled to give its annual testimony to the House Higher Education Appropriation Subcommittee Tuesday, March 12, in Lansing. Both the House and the Senate higher education subcommittees will make funding proposals, then the differences between those two proposals and the governor’s budget will be worked out.

PARKING CHANGES COMING: For those of you who regularly frequent NMU’s Lydia Olson Library, I want to give you a heads up on parking changes that will be taking place the last week of March. As soon as the weather hints at spring, the construction companies involved in building our new Jamrich Hall will start moving their trailers on site and begin breaking up asphalt and site preparation in and around the parking lot (Lot 28 - located between the Learning Resources Center and C.B. Hedgcock), a portion of which will be the site of the new facility.  They will be fencing off half of Lot 28, although a portion of the handicap spots will remain as they are until the end of the semester. In May, the entire parking lot will be fenced off for the construction. We’ll provide the public more specific details as we get closer to spring, but we are starting to inform people about the changes that will occur when the snow begins to melt. … Speaking of new facilities, our new energy plant will have its first test burn the week of March 4. We’re excited to see that building progressing right on schedule.

WILDCATS ROAR:  The NMU Nordic men’s and women’s ski teams won their respective Central Collegiate Ski Association titles and are now headed to the NCAA regional meet. Go ’Cats! … The Wildcat swimming and diving team finished third at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships, the program’s best finish since 2004. Heidi Voigt was named the Dewey Newsome Coach of the Year. … The NMU Baja racing team won last week’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Winter Race, beating out 45 competitors. NMU also placed first in the fastest lap event. Wildcats everywhere are extremely proud of the hard work, dedication and focus needed to compete with and surpass so many excellent teams in this race. It's a testament to the high-caliber engineering students produced by NMU's Engineering Technology Department. … The NMU College of Business has had two recent opportunities to roar with pride.  First, it maintained its business accreditation by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Less than 5 percent of the world’s business programs have earned AACSB accreditation. Our Master of Business Administration (MBA) program received a “Rising Star” designation by, just one of 35 international programs chosen. … Northern was one of nine universities nationwide named by University Business magazine in its “Models of Efficiency” program, praising our new online scholarship application and selection process. Each day I enjoy NMU success stories.  These are just a few recent examples.

GLOBAL REACH: If you were among the volunteers to participate in our recent gaming theory event for international recruitment, thank you. We certainly appreciate your time and ideas. There may be future opportunities for other area community leaders to help us with gaming theory events. If we call, I hope you’ll consider participating.  If you’re not familiar with gaming theory and would like to learn more, click here.  As I write this letter, I’m just days away from leading a small NMU team to Abu Dhabi to reconnect with Mohamed Rashed Al Hameli, a senior economic adviser with the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, who visited Marquette last October. We will be continuing our discussion of NMU possibly collaborating with United Arab Emirates’ institutions to offer courses and programs. Growing NMU’s international on-campus student population, as well as our global outreach, is one way for us to help address the current national and regional demographic decline of 18-year-old high school graduates – the largest portion of most universities’ traditional student population. But beyond the enrollment aspect, it’s exciting for me to introduce new parts of the world to NMU and the Upper Peninsula. We’re a great fit for many international students – not too large or small, and having a friendly and safe community.  Thank you for all you do to make our international students and guests feel welcome here. You can be sure I’ll share many great things about NMU and the Upper Peninsula while in the United Arab Emirates.  I just won’t show them any photos of this week’s weather!

Thank you for your continued support of NMU.

David Haynes, President
Northern Michigan University