Catching Up

NMU Expands Educational Broadband Across U.P.

Image of Upper Michigan with laptop

“We have found a way to solve the problem of bringing high-speed educational internet access to rural communities using an affordable subscription system.” - Dr. Erickson

High-speed internet is critical for economic vitality and education, yet many rural communities nationwide lack access. NMU is helping to bridge the digital divide in the Upper Peninsula and potentially beyond through its innovative Educational Access Network. The EAN is available to any students taking NMU courses—whether they are on campus seeking a degree, at a partner high school offering dual enrollment or at home taking a class for continuing education, professional development or personal fulfillment.

The Federal Communications Commission is allowing Northern to expand its footprint to new service areas in the U.P. over the next two years. The EAN is currently available through much of Marquette County, with Escanaba, Iron Mountain and Gogebic County going online next. Tribal communities, schools and community colleges throughout the U.P. are also slated for access. Packages range from $199 for six months to $420 for a year.

“I believe this is transformative,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson. “We have found a way to solve the problem of bringing high-speed educational internet access to rural communities using an affordable subscription system. This will create new populations of students and create a true national identity and presence for us. Learn more at nmu.edu/ean.


New NMU Center to Address Autism and Other Behavioral Concerns

Teacher and Child

The Psychology Department plans to establish an applied behavior analysis center that will address the regional shortage of assessment and therapeutic services for young children with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities and other behavioral concerns. The non-profit clinic and research facility will serve as a training site for NMU students pursuing a degree or certification in the field. It will also be a resource for parents, schools and community agencies.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is used to help individuals improve their social, verbal, motor and reasoning skills. It can also decrease maladaptive behaviors such as aggression and self-injury. Autism experts widely recognize ABA as the safest and most evidence-based therapeutic approach.

“The U.P. is significantly under-serviced for Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said Jacob Daar, NMU psychology professor. “There are only 10 Board Certified Behavior Analysts in the entire Upper Peninsula and not all of them work with individuals with autism. This center at NMU will provide Upper Peninsula residents with access to high-quality assessment and therapy at no cost."

NMU offers a bachelor’s degree in psychology/behavior analysis and a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis. Master’s students who fulfill the specialized course requirements and more than a year of supervised clinical experience at NMU are eligible to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). According to a recent job analysis report, there is a high demand for BCBAs, with 118 percent growth in the field since 2012.

NMU will also allow students to pursue other levels of certification through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. An entry-level Registered Behavior Technician requires a high school diploma, a two-course sequence and 40 hours of experience supervised by a BCBA. The courses and supervised hours can be offered online, meaning students anywhere can become a Registered Behavior Technician through NMU’s program.


CSI: NMU 

Northern is moving forward with plans to develop a new academic program in forensic anthropology, the science of analyzing human remains to determine an individual’s identity and the timing and manner of death. NMU’s program will include a secured outdoor research station that would be the eighth worldwide and the first cold-weather facility.

Relatively little information exists on the effects of freezing and thawing on human decomposition. NMU students and faculty will conduct this pioneering research in varying conditions and scenarios, creating the baseline data so critical to the quickly advancing field of forensic anthropology. The facility also has the potential to enhance the regional economy by offering specialized training and research opportunities for law enforcement, government agencies, military personnel and visiting scientists.

A proposed research site is on a 2.3-acre wooded bluff off US 41. It is located on state land between the Marquette Branch Prison and Department of Natural Resources, in the vicinity of the Marquette Area Wastewater Treatment Facility. Several other properties were considered.

In addition to the outdoor facility, NMU’s program will include an on-campus laboratory, possibly in the proposed NMU Research Institute in the former Lee Hall, and a curated osteological collection. 

“Based on the enormous public interest in forensic research and crime scene investigation, we expect enrollment to increase with students coming to Northern for courses that revolve around this multidisciplinary program,” said Alan McEvoy, head of the NMU Sociology and Anthropology Department.

Forensics students at Northern


NMU Foundation Welcomes New CEO

Smiling people at the NMU foundationMarquette native Brad Canale has been appointed chief executive officer of the Northern Michigan University Foundation. He most recently served as executive director of advancement and senior adviser to the dean for the University of Michigan College of Engineering.

“I have enjoyed a lifelong connection with Northern through family and friends,” said Canale, whose late father, Gildo ‘56 BS, was a longtime professor and athletic director. “The potential for Northern is significant. I look forward to beginning this new opportunity and contributing toward the long-term future of NMU.”

Public Comments on NMU Requested

Group of students on campus

Northern Michigan University is seeking public comments that address the quality of NMU or its academic programs in advance of its regional accreditation evaluation. A team representing the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will visit NMU in March to review the university’s ability to meet the HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. NMU has been accredited by the commission since 1916.

Comments should be received by the HLC by Feb. 20. Submit online at www.hlcommission.org/comment or by mail to: Public Comment on Northern Michigan University, Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1411.

Fresh Water, Fresh Voices

Student on the beach

Looking for an excuse to jump start that novel, polish those poems or become a better writer in your career? The English Department is offering a unique conference July 20-23 featuring a blend of workshops, craft talks, and outdoor activities along Lake Superior. Be inspired by the one-of-a-kind landscape of the U.P. and learn how nature and landscape can invigorate your writing.  Attend craft talks and workshops with Pam Houston, Diane Les Becquets, Frank X Walker, and other award-winning authors. Bike, hike, kayak, fly fish. Try paddleboard yoga. Or of course, relax on the beach with your journal in hand. Sign up at nmu.edu/freshvoices.


Wildcat WillyHigh Five!

Our reputation keeps growing. A few recent accolades include:

  • 6th most affordable online public administration degree in the country (SR Education Group)
  • 10th best online college in Michigan (affordablecollegesonline.org)
  • 17th best construction management program in the nation among four-year schools (AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org)
  • 19th top public school in the Midwest (U.S. News & World Report)
  • 21st safest college town in America (The SafeWise Report)
  • 43rd best college for veterans in the country (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Gold-level status for student veteran support (Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency)
  • Top 10 best travel destinations in the world—Upper Peninsula (Lonely Planet)