Team Success Stories

Distinguished Team Stories


Northern Michigan University congratulates Distinguished Team Award recipients at the annual Faculty & Staff Recognition Luncheon.  The Distinguished Team awards are presented work teams that demonstrate exemplary performance and/or innovation while working together in an open and collaborative manner to achieve a task or charge that furthers the University’s mission, core values, and goals.


2017 Honorees:

Centralized Advising Team

Jim Gadzinski (Academic and Career Advisement Center), Megan DelBello (Academic and Career Advisement Center), Mark Dellangelo (Academic and Career Advisement Center), José Garcia (Academic and Career Advisement Center), Peter Holliday (Student Support Services), Kyle Lannon (Academic and Career Advisement Center), Tory Mattson (Academic and Career Advisement Center), Katy Morrison (Academic and Career Advisement Center), Josh Santiago (Student Support Services), Sarah Santiago (Academic and Career Advisement Center), Linda Sirois (Student Support Services), Michele Stephenson (Academic and Career Advisement Center)









Nominated for Community, Rigor, Connections and Innovation

The Centralized Advising Team was charged with increasing our retention of first year students by instituting a new advising system.  Most first year students are now advised by the Academic and Career Advisement Center advisors, even if they think they know what they want to study.  In April of their first year, the students are transitioned to a faculty member if they have officially declared a major.  If they have not chosen a major they continue to be advised by ACAC advisors.

The team utilized three approaches to combat attrition and retain students:  ensuring students are in a major that is a good fit for them; assisting students to become better students and providing appropriate referrals; working cooperatively with academic departments to ensure students are in appropriate courses.  We know that students change their majors often in their first year of college; this program allows them to stay with the same advisor no matter what their major is—research shows the advisor relationship is often key to success in that first year.  When you compare the 2015 entering cohort to our ten-year average we saw a 7.43% increase in students reaching good standing after their 1st semester; 6.12% increase after their 2nd semester; 5.65% increase after their 3rd semester.  They were retained at a 5.66% increase for the 2nd semester; 5.72% increase for the 3rd semester.

Centralized advising is helping us reach our goal of helping students attain THEIR goals.  This is all about student success.  ACAC has built strong connections to academic departments in order to make this work—this was a collaborative effort.  And, of course, this program has fostered strong connections to  students.  This was a bold move, a big departure from how we have done things in the past.

Chorale Video Team

Rusty Bowers (Music), Erin Colwitz (Music), Josh LeClair (Marketing & Communications), Mark Shevy (Communication & Performance Studies)




Nominated for Connections

The vocal performance of the Arts Chorale Select under the direction of Dr. Erin Colwitz was outstanding.  Most of us saw the video for the first time because someone else shared it on Facebook or said, “you’ve got see this.” To date, the video has been viewed or shared over 600,000 times. This is what happens when people from different departments on campus collaborate to form a sum far greater than the individual parts. The audio production expertise of Dr. Mark Shevy along with the captivating video work of Josh LeClair told our story in a creative yet authentic manner. Rusty Bowers’ used this message to help promote NMU in ways standard advertising simply cannot do.

Watch Landslide performed by NMU Choral.




Online Fellows Program - Center for Teaching and Learning

Stacey DeLoose (AIS – Instructional Design Technology), Tom Gillespie (AIS – Instructional Design Technology), Scott Smith (AIS – Instructional Design Technology), Matt Smock (AIS – Instructional Design Technology)








Nominated for Community, Rigor and Innovation

The Center for Teaching & Learning Team’s work has furthered NMU’s core values in several ways. Each Online Fellows cohort brings faculty together from across campus to improve teaching. Over time, this community of online faculty will grow and their connections will be a positive contribution to campus-wide changes in online teaching. Teaching online and doing it well is not an easy task and takes much more thought and effort than simply assigning readings or posting PowerPoint lectures with online quizzes. The Online Fellows program stresses the importance of using Quality Matters standards and sound pedagogical foundations as the framework for developing online courses. This is essential to developing rigor in the courses.

The Center for Teaching & Learning team consists of highly skilled individuals and they have developed a program that is both rigorous and effective. Faculty are talking about their courses. They are using new tools like VT, and advanced features of EduCat to engage students. Faculty in the Online Fellows Programs are engaged, excited and sometimes exhausted, but they are definitely changing the way they plan their online courses. It is obvious from faculty interactions that the group had developed supportive connections and they were proud of their accomplishments.



Preventative Maintenance Team

Esko Alasimi (Plant Operations), Carl Bammert (Intercollegiate Athletics & Rec Sports), Chris Busch (Intercollegiate Athletics & Rec Sports), Ben Constance (Plant Operations), Tom DePetro (Intercollegiate Athletics & Rec Sports), Tom Helgren (Auxiliary Services), Cheryl LaJoye (Plant Operations), Greg Lynn (Plant Operations), Travis Reamer (Housing & Residence Life), Tim Schmeltzer (Housing & Residence Life), Josh Wasilewski (Plant Operations), Don Werholm (Housing & Residence Life)










Nominated for Community, Rigor and Innovation

The Preventive Maintenance team led by Esko Alasimi, Associate Director of Plant Operations, has successfully transitioned the building maintenance operation from reactive to preventive maintenance (PM) for the mechanical system equipment in the all campus buildings. The operational change to preventive maintenance has impacted all of the buildings on campus utilized by faculty, staff, and students. This new maintenance method provided a more reliable mechanical system providing for a comfortable environment in each building. The change required the preventive maintenance technicians to learn and implement a new process and actively track the scheduled preventive maintenance. The implementation took great communication, planning skills, positive energy, and persistence. After two years, the change was then expanded to the remaining buildings on campus. The team continues to refine and improve the impact that this process has on our campus. 

Throughout this process, the team has exemplified no less than three of the NMU’s core values; innovation, community, and rigor.  Their willingness to foster a cultural and operational shift in service delivery is truly innovative. Working with their staff and an external service provider to make this process a success. The team fully embraced the concept of community and collaboration. Their five-year resolve to learn, communicate, develop, and implement a complete change in service delivery demonstrated untiring rigor. Leading a process that increased system reliability which in turn improved the teaching and working environment. The transition in the building maintenance service delivery to preventive maintenance was an example of an initiative that embodied many of the university’s core values and will have a long lasting beneficial impact on the success of the university.


View a list of past award recipients

Distinguished Team Award Nomination

Is there an outstanding team who carries out NMU initiatives, programs, and projects though the consideration of NMU's mission and core values?


The 2017-2018 Nomination Period is now closed.

Winners will be announced in March 2018!