Minutes of the Regular Session


Thursday-Friday, July 16-17, 2009


A formal session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Friday,

July 17, 2009, in Cohodas Hall, at Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 9:00 a.m. in the Board of Trustees Room, 602 Cohodas, by Chair Douglas B. Roberts.


Trustees present included:


      Douglas B. Roberts, Chair                        Larry C. Inman                       Gilbert L. Ziegler       

      Stephen F. Adamini                                 Jon G. LaSalle                         Leslie E. Wong, ex officio

      Brian D. Cloyd                                         L. Garnet Lewis                                             


Trustees absent included:


      H. Sook Wilkinson


Senior staff and counsel present included:


      Catherine L. Dehlin, General Counsel  (part of meeting via phone)

Susan Koch, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

R. Gavin Leach, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer of the Board

Theresa Nease, Executive Assistant to the President and Secretary of the Board





Dr. Ronald Sundell, President of the NMU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors addressed the Board.  He said his purpose is to ask the Board to focus on NMU’s core mission, that is, to provide the best education possible for NMU students.  To do that, NMU must set priorities which require a commitment to three major principles:  1.) NMU needs a sufficient number of faculty members to provide enough courses, class sections and quality instruction, 2.) NMU needs to develop a salary structure that allows NMU to recruit and retain high quality faculty, and 3.) shared governance is critical for maintaining the quality of education for our students and the level of scholarship that characterizes a university.  He asked the Board to keep these priorities in mind when making a decision on the cost of tuition and to approve a tuition increase that will allow the University to sufficiently fund its core educational needs.





President Wong reported on several recent NMU achievements:


“Anatomy ‘59”

“Anatomy ‘59” was premiered on June 29th on public TV.  It is a local program that takes viewers behind the scenes of the movie “Anatomy of a Murder.”  The show was produced by NMU in cooperation with Mining Journal writer, John Pepin.  All Michigan Public TV stations aired the program at the same time at 9:00 p.m. (prime times slots are almost never offered state-wide for local programs).  Fundraising on TV13 the same evening brought in $7,967 as well as 19 new members who never before pledged to WNMU.  DVDs were mailed to the Board members.


·         DVD sales are expected to raise and additional $24,000.

·         Broadcast rights for the program will run 5-years and based on previous experience with locally produced programs, they’ll continue to raise additional revenue as the program is rebroadcast win the years ahead making it a revenue generator.

·         NMU may well see an Emmy for this one.

·         Vice President Emeritus, Matthew J. Surrell, was the narrator for the program.


LEEDS  Accredited Professional


Brandon Sager, Owners Representative/Sustainability Coordinator in Engineering and Planning, and Michael Andary, Assistant Professor-TAS in Technology and Occupational Sciences, have passed the LEED Accredited Professional exam to become a LEED Accredited Professional. 


UMASS Competition


A team of four NMU employees attended the 15th annual Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference, where it is proclaimed that world street food is set to become the hottest food trend on campuses this year and for years to come by some of America’s top chefs.  The team included

Chef Nathan Mileski, Food Production Manager, Jill Hayes, and Food Service II cooks Marty Casey and Jim Rector.  The conference focused on many street foods from Latin American, the Mediterranean Region and Southeast Asia and was lead by 15 world renowned chefs.  On the final day of the conference fourteen teams from across the United States and Canada competed in an American Culinary Federation-sanctioned team competition.  A panel of 8 American Culinary Federation chefs judged the competition on kitchen sanitation, flavor, presentation of food, cooking techniques, organizational skills, utilization of product, and time of preparation.  Northern Michigan University completed the competition with the highest score and won a Gold medal. 


Roadmap Update


The Roadmap will be updated at the President’s Council Retreat scheduled on Monday, July 27, 2009.  The update will be presented to the Board at the September meeting.





Budget and Tuition Discussion

Mr. Adamini reviewed the discussion held on Thursday at the Finance Committee.  He said this country and the State of Michigan is in a sad state of financial affairs, and he recognizes the need for education.  He realizes the significance any raise in tuition will have on tax payers, students, and student families.  He doesn’t think the committee was unmindful of the many contributions the faculty and staff have already made and the struggle that has already taken place.  This year the state of Michigan is providing the same amount of dollars to this university as they were 10 years ago, yet 1,800 more students are being served.  The fact that we are doing this is a testament to the efficiency and sacrifice we have already made.  While recognizing the savings that have already been achieved as NMU has cut budgets for seven years we have to continue to assure the quality of the education for our students. 


It was moved by Mr. Adamini upon the recommendation of the Finance Committee to raise tuition and fees 4.8%. 


            It was moved by Mr. Cloyd and seconded by Dr. Roberts to amend the motion by striking 4.8% and inserting 5.3%.  Discussion followed.


Discussion followed.  Trustees shared thoughts and opinions on the tuition issue, and the pros and cons between the 4.8% or 5.3% increases. 


Comments favorable to the 5:3% increase included:  1.) the university has done a tremendous job of controlling finances, 2.) NMU has focused more on budget cutting as opposed to tuition increases than its peers for the past several years, and it is time to change that philosophy, 3.) there is need for a balance between cost containment, budget cutting, and tuition increases, and the difference between the 4.8% and 5.3% will position the university better for the future, 4.) even with the 5.3% tuition increase, a proposal will still need to be made to reduce the budget by $2.8 to 3 million, 5.) NMU’s tuition rate will still be second lowest in the State of Michigan, 6.) the increase in financial aid and Pell grants should address significantly the concerns and needs of the individuals with the greatest financial needs, and 7.) NMU needs to do what it can to maintain a quality academic experience.


Comments favorable to the 4.8% increase or lower included:  1.) wage freezes and budget reallocation would go a long way in solving budget issues. NMU needs to be prudent right now and keep the status quo, and 2.) the budget problems are created not by NMU but by the fact that the state has decreased funding to higher education over the past 10-15 years.  Education benefits not only students and their families, but society as a whole. The value difference between 4.8 and 5.3 is not great but it may be enough to prevent some students from coming to college.  We are further eroding the notion of the universal education. 


Chair Roberts called the question on the amendment to strike 4.8% and insert 5.3%. 

On a roll-call vote, the Board voted as follows:


                                         Aye                                                Nay                                        

                                    Mr. Cloyd                               Mr. Adamini

                                    Mr. Inman                               Mr. Ziegler

                                    Mr. LaSalle

                                    Dr. Lewis

                                    Dr. Roberts



The amendment to the motion was thus approved with five ( 5 ) for the motion and two  ( 2 ) against.



The Board continued discussion on the pros and cons of the proposed tuition increase and expressed concern about Northern's ability to continue to provide a quality, affordable education while reducing costs.  Even with the 5.3% tuition increase NMU will still be taking $2.8 – 3 million in budget cuts.  The recommendation also includes a $1 million increase in financial aid.  If received, Stimulus funds will be directed to student accounts as a credit against tuition.  This will help alleviate the burden of the tuition increase on students and families.


Chair Roberts called the question on the motion, as amended to increase tuition and fees by 5.3%.  On a roll-call vote, the Board voted as follows:


                                         Aye                                                Nay

                                    Mr. Adamini                           Mr. Ziegler     

                                    Mr. Cloyd

                                    Mr. Inman

                                    Mr. LaSalle

                                    Dr. Lewis

                                    Dr. Roberts



The motion was thus approved with six ( 6 ) for the motion and one  ( 1 ) against.



RECESS – Chair Roberts recessed the meeting at 9:50 a.m.  



RECONVENE -- Chair Roberts reconvened the meeting at 10:00 a.m. 



Future Policy Issues for the Board of Trustees


Dr. Wong said the volatility of the student market (recruitment and retention) has been and remains a concern for some time.  A key issue is understanding the demographic pressures in this region and in Michigan.  He introduced Dr. Terrance Seethoff, Dean of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Seethoff discussed demographic variables based on the presence of 18 year olds as a starting point to this discussion. 

Dr. Seethoff distinguished this data as a projection rather than as a forecast given many economic and sociological variables. If we can understand what our future freshman class will be, we can derive from that what the rest of the class enrollment will be, add them up, and produce a university-wide enrollment projection.  Historically, the freshman class is largely drawn from the high school graduation class.


Observations made in his report were:


            a.) The 18-year-old population will decline through 2016 in Michigan in the Midwest recruiting region, b.) The Michigan 18-year-old population is projected to remain stagnant for the           foreseeable future, c.) The 18-year-old population in neighboring states is projected to rebound after 2016, but not as robustly as the nation, d.) Undergraduate enrollment estimates based upon projected 18-year-old populations are probably too high, and e.) The total state population as projected in 2005 is substantially higher than recently revised estimates.


The model suggests that 2008-09 will signal a decline in undergraduate enrollment.  From 2000 to 2009 NMU’s enrollment did better than demographics because of the effort in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota.  An expected 15% decline in FYES between now and 2015 (around 8,000 headcount) is likely.


Dr. Wong and the Executive Committee suggested a Strategic Planning Process be developed for the Board to review ways to develop better thinking about the future.  This is different than policy development.  How should we think about programming and courses if the U.P. is getting older and more childless?  NMU needs to start thinking of niches and markets differently.  How to do this without losing the value and flavor of NMU?


Board members discussed possible opportunities for NMU including:  1.) expanding programming to include programs in environmental issues, renewable energy, and clean energy; 2.) discuss methods of attracting not only students, but quality faculty and staff, 3.) thinking about internal processes to be able to be more agile to respond to more niches and markets, 4.) continued attempts to attract out of state students, 5.) expand online education opportunities to include cutting edge technology opportunities, 6.) find a niche to position NMU for the future, 7.) capitalize on NMU’s community college component and the job training needs, 8.) continued efforts in international education and 9.) do the above while accepting the reality of the current economic conditions.





Mr. LaSalle expressed concern that Board agendas should include more time for Board discussion and time for brainstorming.  Dr. Roberts proposed that the agenda for September and include time from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on Thursday.  Board members should submit discussion topics to the President, and no more than two ideas will be on the agenda each time.



RECESS – Chair Roberts recessed the meeting at 11:10 a.m.  



RECONVENE -- Chair Roberts reconvened the meeting at 11:28 a.m. 







Mr. Cloyd, Chair of the Executive Committee, reported on the meeting held on Thursday,

July 16, 2009.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes. (Addendum #1)

Based on the recommendation of the Executive Committee, the Board took the following action:


            It was moved by Mr. Cloyd, seconded by Mr. Ziegler, and supported unanimously by the Board to approve the cost to install roof anchors on Kaye House totaling approximately $2,500.





Academic Affairs


Mr. LaSalle, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, reported on a meeting held on July 16, 2009.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #2)




Mr. Adamini, Chair of the Finance Committee, reported on the meetings held on July 1, July 8, July 14, and July 16, 2009.  A copy of the reports are appended to these minutes.  (Addendums #3, #4, #5, and #6)


Recruitment and Retention Committee


Mr. Ziegler, Chair of the Recruitment and Retention Committee, reported on the meetings held on July 8 and July 16, 2008.  (Addendums #7 and #8)





Chair Roberts announced the appointments to the Ad Hoc Nominating Committee as follows:


            Chair:              Mr. Jon G. LaSalle     

            Members:        Mr. Stephen F. Adamini

                                    Mr. Larry C. Inman





Mr. Jason Morgan, 2009-2010 ASNMU President, reported.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (See Addendum #9). 





        It was moved by Mr. LaSalle, seconded by Mr. Adamini, and unanimously supported by the Board of Trustees to approve the Formal Recommendations.





President Wong made this announcement for the public record. 





Chair Roberts adjourned the meeting at 11:52 a.m.



Respectfully submitted,




Theresa M. Nease

Secretary of the Board