The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved a 2017-18 general fund operating budget of about $110 million. The budget is $2.2 million, or 2.1 percent, higher than last year. The increase is attributed mainly to contractual obligations and inflationary cost increases related to supplies, materials and support of designated operations and services.
Along with the budget, trustees approved an addendum advanced by the finance committee that instructs the administration to address NMU Intercollegiate Athletics targeted operational support needs for fiscal year 2018, and to develop a three-year comprehensive strategic plan for Athletics to be presented to the committee at the Dec. 14 board meeting.
“I so much appreciate the action of the board today because I believe we still have untapped potential in leveraging athletics to advance the mission of the entire university,” said Trustee Rick Popp. “Athletics are so important in community engagement, bringing and cultivating diversity on campus, building pride in NMU, enhancing student life, increasing enrollment, leadership development, personal growth and more. And there is also the importance of the fan experience—every person who attends an athletic event in person, online, or in the media must come away with a remarkably positive experience with NMU.”
The board also approved the facilities five-year master plan and the 2017-18 capital outlay project request. Both are required annually by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The top two priority projects identified by NMU are: a revitalized Career Tech and Engineering Technology Facility; and an Academic Teaching and Business Innovation Center.
The first project would modernize the Jacobetti Complex into a “vibrant, modern, high-tech teaching facility for future engineers and technical career professionals.” The second would transform the McClintock Building into a state-of the-art teaching and business innovation facility.
“We will be actively pursuing the Career Tech and Engineering Technology Facility in Lansing this year,” said Gavin Leach, vice president for Finance and Administration. “It will put cutting-edge career and technical education (CTE) training tools and technology in the hands of Northern students, enhancing their learning experience. It will also support the U.P.’s high-demand CTE workforce of tomorrow, which aligns with the State of Michigan’s goal to increase CTE education to meet the statewide demand for skilled workers.
“Last year, we finished fourth on the points list and the state approved three projects. We went back and made some refinements based on feedback from people in Lansing and think we have a great plan to submit this year. Should that project be approved, the state would pay 75 percent of the cost and Northern would be responsible for 25 percent.”
Trustees authorized a $50,000 incentive bonus for President Fritz Erickson, based on an executive committee review of his performance evaluation. They recognized several of his accomplishments over the past year: a double-digit percentage increase in freshman enrollment; success with the Educational Access Network initiative that delivers educational broadband to U.P. communities; program investment and planning on new academic initiatives; quality of campus facilities; and increased community engagement. Trustees also voted to accept Erickson’s submitted goals for the current fiscal year.
In other action, the board:
-Approved the negotiated three-year agreement between NMU and its AFSCME 1094 union representing food services staff, maintenance employees and police officers.
-Approved the university’s new mission and vision statements. The mission statement reads: “Northern Michigan University’s distinctive academic and career programs are nurtured by exceptional teaching and extensive opportunities for scholarship, creativity and engagement. Our supportive, connected community empowers students, graduates, faculty and staff to contribute to a diverse and sustainable world.” The vision statement reads: “Northern Michigan University promotes an active environment to foster strong minds and bodies, inspires innovation and inclusion through community engagement, and develops leaders capable of local and global impact.”
-Agreed to set the following meeting schedule for calendar year 2018 (all Thursday-Friday dates): Feb. 15-16 retreat; May 3-4; July 12-13 retreat; Sept. 20-21; and Dec. 13-14. Also approved a motion to reduce the required advance notice from those wishing to address the board from 14 days before a meeting to five days.
-Authorized naming classroom 224 in Lydia Olson Library the “Bobbie Marie Henderson ’75 Classroom.” Henderson, of Marquette, is a 1975 NMU graduate and a Professor Emeritus from Olson Library. She received NMU's Distinguished Faculty Award in 1988 for her accomplishments as a teacher, librarian and campus leader.
-Agreed to rename the Division of Advancement the Northern Michigan University Foundation.
-Agreed to add an Outstanding Global Campus Student Award to the NMU Board of Trustees student achievement awards.
-Approved the following Public School Academy board appointments (all terms expire June 30, 2020): Mary Covington, reappointed to Burton Glen Charter School Academy; Charlotte Harris and Jackie Kang, Nah Tah Wahsh Public School Academy; Julie Kostich-Connors, North Star Academy; and James Dobson, Walton Public School Academy.