Dear NMU Parents,
It’s hard to believe that we have only a little more than a month remaining in this semester. With time rushing by, I wanted to update you on some important dates and upcoming deadlines for your NMU students. If you have questions or comments, you can send them to NMUPres@nmu.edu.
THANKSGIVING BREAK: The Thanksgiving break for students begins Wednesday, Nov. 27. The university remains open that day for business, but there are no classes. All university offices are closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 28-29. If there is an emergency while the university is closed, please contact NMU Public Safety at 906-227-2151, which is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
ON THE ROAD: Now is a good time to mention some helpful travel resources. Students can check road conditions at the Michigan State Police website at www.michigan.gov/roadconditions or hotline at 1-800-381-8477. Dozing Discounts is a program sponsored by ASNMU, Northern’s student government, and it provides students with discounted rates at select hotels and motels in the event of inclement weather or if a student becomes too tired to continue driving. To receive the discount, a student must show his or her NMU ID card. Lastly, when they’re away, students can check the weather on campus via the NMU webcam at www.nmu.edu/webcam.
INCLEMENT WEATHER: When bad weather is predicted, a team of NMU officials monitors the situation and then decides whether to close the university or not. The final decision is made by the provost with input from NMU’s Public Safety staff and the Michigan State Police. When the weather turns ugly during the night or early morning, the decision about canceling classes is typically made by or before 6 a.m. When the weather turns bad during the day, a decision about canceling evening classes is made around 2 p.m. In both cases, the announcement is posted on the NMU website, sent to the local media, e-mailed to NMU students and sent to those who have signed up for emergency text alert messages for their cell phones (www.nmu.edu/alerts). A message is also put on the NMU B-R-R-R telephone line (906-227-2777). Inclement weather cancellations do not apply to online course tests and assignment deadlines since those are not influenced by poor travel conditions. If classes are canceled during final exam week, the examinations are rescheduled to take place Friday and/or Saturday. I’m including a photo of the NMU Wildcat Shuttle here as a reminder that it provides an alternative to walking in the cold.
PARKING IN MARQUETTE: The City of Marquette has a ban on parking along city streets from 1-6 a.m. from Nov. 1 through April 1, which allows for the snowplows to clear the streets. We have sent several e-mails to all NMU students, as well as posted this information on the daily NMU student announcement page, over the past two weeks. Students were informed that they needed to arrange for off-street parking by the start of the ban if they live within the city. The fine for a violation is $50, which increases when not paid on time. On campus, NMU Public Safety fines students $25 for parking in non-residence hall lots overnight at any point of the year, but they are particularly vigilant in ticketing once the snow falls and we need to do our snowplowing. You may want to ask your student if he or she received these messages. We don’t want them to get a ticket.
REGISTRATION: Registration for next semester is now under way. Your NMU student has already been sent an e-mail alerting them to the fact that the winter semester course offerings are now posted on the Registrar’s Office website at www.nmu.edu/records and on MyNMU (http://mynmu.nmu.edu). They also received information on when their registration period opens. Students with holds on their records must take care of them before they will be allowed to register for classes. Students who plan to graduate in May need to enter the correct graduation code (participating in commencement, not participating, etc.) when they register for their courses. Registration dates are assigned in descending class order with seniors first, followed by juniors, sophomores, freshmen and incoming freshmen. Also, remember that freshmen are required to meet with an adviser before registering for courses because an adviser hold is in place until they do so.
STUDENTS CHANGE MAJORS: Registration time sometimes brings big surprises for parents when they learn that their student has decided to change majors. As a university president, faculty member and dad of two grown daughters who went to college, my advice is to not panic if your son or daughter announces a change in major – at least don’t panic right away. National studies have found that college students change majors, on average, three times. Of course, a student must be careful that changing majors too many times doesn’t begin to add significant time (and cost) to graduation. But typically if a student is trying different majors as a freshman or sophomore and if they are still taking as many general education (liberal studies) courses as major/minor courses, they shouldn’t lose too much time if they make a switch. We have to remember that a big part of the college experience is exploration of career choices.
GRANTING ACCESS: New this year, students have the option of sharing certain aspects of their academic record (grades, class schedules, degree evaluations, etc.) with others through our Proxy Access system. Granting access is done easily through the student’s MyNMU account. All they need is the e-mail address of the person they want to give access to. If your student isn’t sure how to grant you access, they can find the steps at Proxy Access – Student. For parents and others designated as a proxy by the student, go to Parent Proxy login for more information.
ROTC PROGRAM: Obviously we were surprised and disappointed when we received the letter stating the U.S. Army had chosen 13 ROTC programs nationwide to close down, including NMU’s. We had no previous warning that this might happen. In fact, several times since 2005, our program and our cadets have been recognized as being among the best in the nation. The primary reason we’ve been given for being identified for closure is that NMU’s program has not consistently commissioned 15 officers per year. Last year we commissioned 13 officers. This year we anticipate commissioning 10 and next year 14. Right now, we have 65 cadets in our program. All of the 13 programs identified are rural schools, which often impacts officer class size. The closure is slated for May 2015, so juniors and seniors will be able to finish their officer training. We’ve asked those freshmen and sophomore cadets thinking of transferring if they would bear with us for a while as we continue to try to reverse this decision. We’ve been contacting Army representatives, as well as our Washington, D.C., legislators. I want to thank Congressman Dan Benishek and Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, all of whom have expressed an interest in the issue. One of the points we’ve been trying to emphasize in all of our talks is that the Army can train an officer for a lot less at NMU, due to our affordable tuition, than most programs in the nation.
TOBACCO-FREE CAMPUS: NMU is considering becoming a tobacco-free campus. There are more than 1,000 colleges and universities in the United States that are either 100 percent smoke or tobacco-free, including 27 in Michigan. In the Upper Peninsula, Bay College, Finlandia and Michigan Tech are tobacco-free. Last week (on Oct. 30), Central Michigan announced it will go tobacco-free as of July 1 and Western Michigan is tentatively scheduled to do the same next summer. NMU has sent out a survey to students, faculty and staff to get a measure on the level of support for this proposed change. If the recommendation is approved for implementation, the start date would tentatively be Aug. 1, 2014. The ban would include all of the NMU campus except for personal vehicles parked on campus with closed windows, the NMU Golf Course and city-owned sidewalks that border the campus.
BRANDING STUDY: Northern continues to work on the rebranding efforts with our consulting firm Genesis, an international marketing company. While considerable progress has been made on the project, we’re a long way from a finished campaign. Genesis representatives have been on campus multiple times since last spring, holding focus groups to discuss preliminary ideas for brand taglines and university brand and markekting pieces. During focus group testing last summer, the tagline that seemed to get the most traction among all types of stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, alumni) was “Fearless Minds.” Our goal in changing the NMU tagline is to broaden what we started with, “Northern. Naturally,” so that it speaks to even more potential students, especially millennial, graduate and international students. Right now, Genesis is working on conceptual pieces so people can see “Fearless Minds” with stories and images, and show how they can still bring in NMU’s strong tie to our unique location. There is an NMU branding work group made up of students, faculty and staff that is assisting Genesis in making sure that what is created looks, feels and sounds like Northern. You’ll see and hear a lot more about this toward the start of the new calendar year.
THE CAMPAIGN: NMU kicked off the public phase of its $25 million fundraising campaign – The Campaign for the Students of Northern Michigan University – on homecoming weekend in September. As of the kickoff, we had raised about 90 percent of the goal and hope to go over that before the campaign’s end on June 30. Thank you to all of you who have participated in the recent fundraising campaign for the Parent’s Fund. Because of your commitment, the Parents’ Fund continues to be one of the strongest annual funds at NMU. Your gift to the Parents’ Fund enhances academic programming, student travel initiatives, social and cultural awareness activities, and student life.
I hope those of you who were able to make it to campus for Family Weekend enjoyed your time here. I know some of you participated in Make a Difference Day with your student. There were about 1,000 volunteers helping about 280 sites, so NMU really made a positive impact on Marquette County that day. If you were a part of that effort, kudos to you and your student. While a bit early, I want to take this opportunity to wish all NMU families a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your NMU student’s semester has gone well so far this year and that he or she is looking forward to a strong finish over the coming weeks.
David S. Haynes, President