MARQUETTE, Mich.— Northern Michigan University will offer the first Native American studies academic major in Michigan, beginning with the fall 2016 semester. The NMU Board of Trustees today approved a recommendation by its academic affairs committee to build upon the previously established academic minor.
April Lindala, director of the Center for Native American Studies, told the committee on Thursday that the new major will enhance existing relationships with tribal communities in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota and further acknowledges the important role Native Americans play in the region’s history and culture. She said it also aligns with NMU’s core values and offers students an interdisciplinary approach to Native American issues.
Martin Reinhardt, associate professor of Native American studies, attended today’s meeting of the full board and addressed trustees after they approved the major.
“It’s a very historic, momentous occasion,” he said. “I commend you for making a decision to support indigenous and non-indigenous relations. [The center] has always been at the lead of the university’s interactions with the Native community and this cements that even stronger.”
The board also approved the facilities five-year master plan and the 2016-17 capital outlay project request. Universities are required to submit both annually to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The top three priority projects identified by NMU in its capital outlay request are: renovation to the Learning Resources Center; an Academic Teaching and Business Innovation Center addition to the McClintock Building; and the renovation of Cohodas Hall.
In other action at today’s meeting, the board:
-Authorized two structural changes: the English Language Institute and international outreach/recruitment will be reassigned to the extended learning and community engagement division; and the Counseling Center operations will be reorganized under the management and supervision of Dr. David Luoma of the NMU Health Center
-Appointed Michael McKerchie to the board of Bahweting Public School Academy with a term expiring June 30, 2018
-Approved the previously negotiated agreement between NMU and the administrative/professional Union, UAW Local 2178, covering Oct. 1, 2015-Sept. 30, 2018.
-Approved a long-term maintenance project of replacing the University Center’s cooling tower at a cost of $285,000
-Accepted nearly $5,300 in gifts to the university, including 45 Frank Lloyd Wright lithographs (Wasmuth Portfolio)
-Elected Sook Wilkinson chair and Thomas Zurbuchen vice chair of the NMU Board of Trustees for calendar year 2016; and
-Approved the following board meeting schedule for calendar year 2016 (all Thursday-Friday): Feb. 18-19 retreat; April 28-29; June 16-17 (tentative); July 21-22; Sept. 22-23; and Dec. 8-9.