News for NMU Employees

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014

Senate Testimony Follows Governor’s Budget Proposal

NMU President David Haynes testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education Feb. 20 as another step in the legislative budget process. The Senate and House will draft their own budget proposals after Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled his earlier this month. The governor’s proposal invests an additional 6.1 percent in higher education. The amount distributed to each institution would vary according to a modified version of the performance funding formula adopted in the 2014 budget. NMU would receive a performance increase of 6.3 percent, or $2.6 million, on top of its operations funding of $41.7 million. Full Story


NMU Makes Peace Corps Volunteer Rankings

This is Peace Corps Week (Feb. 23-March 1) and NMU has made its debut appearance on the agency’s annual list of the top 25 volunteer-producing midsized colleges and universities nationwide. With 17 alumni serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers, Northern ranks No. 22, jumping 25 spots from its position last year. Over the agency’s history, 195 NMU graduates have made a difference as volunteers, according to a Peace Corps press release. Alumna Carly Hampton is pictured center. Full Story

Touch Perception Research Crosses Disciplines

A head-mounted display transports a subject to a virtual environment that she can reach out and touch, testing her perception of hot and cold temperatures. Using EEG as a brain-computer interface enables someone to move a cursor with his mental activity; no hands required. A piano player can identify Beethoven’s 5th Symphony not by sound, but through fingertip vibrations. Ceramics students deprived of either vision, touch or the audible sound of the spinning wheel perform just as well throwing pottery, but the height of their vessels is noticeably impacted. In a tactile approach to the Ebbinghaus visual illusion, fingers pass over raised dots to see if touch alone can detect that the inner circles are in fact the same size.

These five research projects under the direction of Mounia Ziat (Psychology) are being demonstrated or presented this week at the IEEE Haptics Symposium 2014 in Houston, Texas. All involve students. Full Story

Longyear Environmental Assessment Completed

An advisory committee should be formed to develop a comprehensive land management plan for the university-owned Longyear property. That is the recommendation of students who conducted an environmental assessment of the area through a course taught by Ron Sundell (Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences). The 160-acre parcel was donated to NMU in 1949. It sits adjacent to Forestville Road about two miles northwest of campus. Because of its diverse landscape of mixed forest, a rocky bluff and three water resources, it is used by faculty and students for education and research. It is also used for recreation because both the Noquemenon Trail Network (NTN) and North Country Trail transect the property. Full Story

NMU Students Help Superior Central

With support from an academic service learning grant, NMU students in a protected area management course took a field trip to Superior Central School in Eben Junction. They braved frigid temperatures to tour the grounds on Feb. 7 and learn more about several service learning projects they will conduct this semester.

"This year we chose to work with Superior Central because of the variety of outdoor land management projects they are undertaking,” said instructor David Kronk (Health and Human Performance). “Under the direction of teacher Tim Bliss, the school has embarked on a food and natural resources initiative.  They are growing their own food in a hoop house, developing forest management plans and designing ski trails, hiking trails, fit strip trails and nature trails to incorporate their school's abundant natural resources into their curriculum.” Full Story

Black Box Has New Seats

Audiences for the recent Comedy of Errors production were the first to experience new seating in the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre. Ergonomically designed, padded theater seats—complete with armrests—have replaced the folding chairs that once surrounded the stage. Ansley Valentine (CAPS) calls it a significant improvement. Full Story

Anti-Bullying Art Exhibited

An anti-bullying art exhibit titled “Sticks and Stones” will be on display through March 21 in the University Center student art gallery. The works being showcased were entries in a contest associated with NMU's campaign to raise awareness and stop the spread of bullying on college campuses. Students from any major using any medium were eligible to enter. 

First place went to Nina Lehto with her piece, "Safe Inside.” Nicolette Chastain was second with “Adhesive” and Brianna Cousins third with “Take a Stand.” The top two places and the viewer's choice award winner will receive cash prizes. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. 


Randy Tryan (Housing and Residence Life) brings donuts to his custodial office in Van Antwerp every Tuesday and Friday, encouraging students to stop by and say “hi.” As a kickoff to each new academic year, he takes the resident advisers and directors four-wheeling at his secluded camp in the Hiawatha Forest. Before Thanksgiving, he seeks out students who can’t make it home for the holiday and invites them to his family dinner, making sure they leave with a container full of leftovers. This past fall, he helped to arrange a Pictured Rocks boat cruise at a reduced group rate so Van Antwerp residents could experience one of the Upper Peninsula’s finest features. And after a student’s grandpa passed away, it was Tryan the mother called to request that he check in on her daughter. Full Story