The President's Parent Partnership

Volume 15, Issue 9 - June 16, 2017

Dear NMU Parents,

Often people think that “summer break” at a university means nothing is happening on campus for four months, but nothing could be further from the truth. The pace is different, but there is always a lot going on from summer courses to youth programs to work on facilities and infrastructure. One of my favorite parts of summer campus life is interacting with all of the visitors who are here for orientation and special programs. I also enjoy wandering through the academic mall to say hi to the students studying for their summer courses out in the sunshine. Courses for the first of Northern’s two summer sessions began on May 22; the second session begins July 5. A reminder that our summer business hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some offices close during the half-hour lunch break from noon to 12:30 p.m. NMU returns to 8 a.m.-5 p.m. business hours on Monday, Aug. 21. Wherever you are, I hope your summer is off to a great start. Here’s an update on current happenings, as well as a look ahead to fall 2017.

STATE FUNDING: Northern will received $47.1 million in state appropriations, according to the recent conference committee report on higher education appropriations. The bill now awaits the Governor’s signature. That is a 1.9 percent increase from last year. Increases for the 15 public universities ranged from 1.5 to 2.7 percent. The state’s overall increase to higher education was 2.0 percent. The tuition restraint language remained the same through the conference committee review, meaning no changes are necessary to the board’s tuition and fee rates decision made in May. The increase for both resident and non-resident undergraduates is $237.50 per semester. NMU’s board made no changes this year to any fees or to our flex tuition rate, the latter allowing students to take up to 16 credits for the price of 12. Our full slate of rates are at Fall semester billing statements will be sent the week by July 21 with a due date of Aug. 11.  Information about payment plans can be found at

THREE ROUNDABOUTS: The City of Marquette is constructing three roundabouts along the edge of the NMU campus. They will be located at the intersection of Lincoln and Wright Streets, Sugarloaf Avenue and Wright, and Presque Isle and Fair Avenues. Unfortunately, construction will not be done by the start of the fall semester. From now until about mid-October, be prepared for detours in those areas. These are not complicated detours, but be aware that your usual route to residence halls and the other campus facilities along Wright Street and Presque Isle Avenue may be modified. The roundabouts will greatly improve traffic flow on these city streets, especially during the class change periods, as well as improve the safety of students crossing these busy streets. Additional roundabouts are being constructed downtown to facilitate the new hospital’s location off of Seventh Street. The most up-to-date information about traffic rerouting and construction timelines will be posted on the city’s website at The roundabouts along campus are city projects, meaning no NMU tuition dollars are being used in their construction.

FACILITIES UPDATE: There is a lot of work being done on our physical campus right now. We will begin construction on the new Forensic Research Outdoor Station (FROST) in July. It will be only the eighth outdoor forensic research facility in the world and the only one located in a cold weather climate. Additionally, we are creating a new and larger nursing simulation lab in West Science as we’ve outgrown the current one. We’re also developing a new digital media tutoring center in the Lydia Olson Library.

Residence Halls - The new residence hall complex, named The Woods by NMU students, is coming along nicely. Two halls, Birch West and Cedar West, will open for the fall semester. The demand for rooms in the new halls has been tremendous and those facilities are nearly reserved to capacity. Birch and Cedar East will open in January. To watch the progress of the residence hall complex construction, go to and click on “New Student Housing” (it may take a moment for the stream to start). Orientation students and parents who have toured the model rooms in the new hall loved the design and features. We have also started on the new satellite recreation center being put in Quad II. I know students will really enjoy that area, as well. Along with residence halls going up, one – Halverson Hall – is in the midst of coming down. Also slated to come down this summer are three of the Center/Summit Street Apartments, with the remaining four set to be taken down next summer.

Project Planning/Design Phase - We will receive the next set of architectural renderings for the University Center renovation project soon. These will incorporate many of the suggestions and ideas collected from the campus and community discussions held last year. We’re also in the design phase for next summer’s renovation of the Marketplace, NMU’s main dining service area, as well as for a reconfiguration of the first floor of the Olson Library.

NMU PROGRAM RECOGNIZED: Northern was 25th on the list of the “Top 50 Best Value Industrial and Product Design Programs of 2017” compiled by Value Colleges. The independent online guide ranked regionally accredited institutions based on three data points: reputation according to U.S. News & World Report’s overall score, prospective salary, and non-resident tuition rates. “NMU is a major force in bringing professional and technical education to the [Upper Peninsula],” wrote Value Colleges. “That includes premier programs in technology and engineering, as well as other job-market ready degrees suited to Michigan’s industry and business. Such programs include NMU’s BFA from the School of Art and Design, which includes potential specializations like human-centered design and furniture design. These majors are perfect entry points into industrial design and product design, giving students an education in practical, hands-on skills as well as planning, development and execution.”

SUCCESSFUL INITIATIVES: Along with successful programs, we’ve also enjoyed significant recognition for some of our latest initiatives. The recently opened Behavior Evaluation Analysis and Research (BEAR) Center is meeting the critical need for assistance to U.P. families with children with autism and other behavior situations while also providing outstanding hands-on learning experiences for NMU’s psychology students. Northern’s Education Access Network (EAN), which provides high-speed educational broadband to U.P. students, continues to grow in both access areas and the number of network participants.The “Reimagine STEM” Academy, put on by the NMU Center for Native American Studies and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, garnered national attention with student applicants from seven states and educator applicants from 11 states vying for spots to participate in the innovative National Science Foundation (NSF) grant-funded program. When we say NMU is strategically implementing ideas that are “Distinctly Northern,” these are three examples that put NMU on the regional and national map.

NMU EMMY: A documentary produced by Dr. Dwight Brady and students in his multimedia journalism class earned a Michigan Emmy Award at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' annual gala June 10 in Detroit. Boxed In explores how some big-box retailers have successfully argued to the Michigan Tax Tribunal that their valuations should be compared to older big-box stores elsewhere in the state that closed and remain vacant. AnnMarie Kent, a multimedia journalism major from Traverse City, said she relished the opportunity to work on the documentary. “The education I received was priceless. This project gave me an opportunity to do journalistic work inside and around the state Capitol. This is such a complicated topic and might not interest many people, but it affects communities across the state.” Boxed In won for Best Politics/Government Special.

HONORED PROFESSOR: NMU’s David Wood was selected as one of three recipients of the 2017 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award as chosen by the academic affairs officers of the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU). The other winners were Michigan State’s Ann Folino White and Michigan’s Barry Fishman. Dr. Wood, a Shakespeare scholar, is a professor of English and director of NMU’s Honors Program, which has doubled in enrollment under his leadership. David has taught at Northern since 2007. He was the recipient of the NMU 2015 Distinguished Faculty Award and 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award. He also was co-chair of the Liberal Studies Program Task Force in 2012, which restructured general education at the university. “Professor Wood represents the very best of teaching, innovation and dedication to student success,” said Dan Hurley, MASU CEO. “He’s reinvigorating student programs, symbolizing the excellence in higher education for which Michigan’s public universities are globally renowned.” We are so pleased to have David receive this statewide recognition.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Here are some of the dates you may want to note on your calendar. Northern is closed for the 4th of July holiday on Monday and Tuesday, July 3-4. Fall Convocation is at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, and you’re invited to attend if you’re in the area. NMU’s residence halls officially open at 9 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 24. Computer distribution at the Superior Dome is Wednesday through Friday. Students scheduled to receive a new computer this year will receive notification of an assigned pickup time in late July or early August. That information will be emailed to returning students and mailed to new students. To learn more about Northern’s technology program, go to Fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 28, which is also when we hold Fall Fest. Homecoming Week is Sept. 17-23. The 12th Annual UNITED Conference is Sept. 25-26. Family Weekend is Oct. 6-8. Thanksgiving break is Nov. 18-26 and final exam week, Dec. 11-16.  Commencement is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Superior Dome. If you will need lodging for commencement, please make reservations NOW. Hotels and motels within the city fill to capacity for that weekend months in advance.

HAVE A QUESTION?  We all know that college can be confusing and at times, not just for students, but for parents as well. That’s why our Dean of Students Office has created a form on the parents section of its website where family members can ask questions about an office at NMU, the school year schedule, services NMU has to offer, or really just about any topic.  See  Once you submit your question, someone from the Dean of Students Office will get back to you with an answer. If they don’t know the answer to your question, rest assured they know someone who does. This is just one more way NMU wants to make sure you, and your whole family, are a part of our Wildcat family. And, of course, you still have access to the email account as well.

I look forward to seeing you on campus this fall.

Fritz Erickson, President