Minutes of the Regular Session


Friday, July 9, 2010


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

July 9, 2010, in Cohodas Hall, at Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 9:07 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                         H. Sook Wilkinson

      Brian D. Cloyd                                         L. Garnet Lewis                      Leslie E. Wong, ex officio                 


Senior staff and counsel present included:


      Catherine L. Dehlin, General Counsel

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 he represents almost 300 NMU faculty members, and they strongly believe NMU’s mission to provide the best possible education to students.  As the amount of state funding continues to decline for higher education, it requires NMU to find new ways to cut costs and find adequate revenue streams for university operations.  As part of the last AAUP contract, the faculty agreed to a three-year contract which includes no pay increase for the next two years.  Such action has helped to hold the line on costs.  However, revenue sources much also be examined, and student tuition and fees are an important revenue source.  He urged the Board to determine an appropriate level for tuition and fees to ensure NMU maintains an adequate number of faculty along with sufficient educational resources and support services to continue to provide our students with the best education possible.  He said the faculty fully support the tuition and fee increases that will be recommended to the full Board today.  The faculty believes the proposed increases are absolutely necessary to help maintain the quality of NMU’s educational programs, retain and recruit faculty, and provide the educational resources to give NMU’s students the best opportunity to succeed here at NMU and as they move on to graduate school or to find gainful employment.  He urged the Board to approve the tuition and fee increases proposed by the Finance Committee.




President Wong reported on several recent NMU achievements:


Award Recognitions


Dining Services:

·         Mr. Nathan Mileski, Senior Chef and Unit Manager of Dining Services, was recently featured on the cover of the Pre-conference edition of Campus Dining Today of the National Association of College and University Food Services.  Nathan was the first place and Silver Medal winner at the 2009 Culinary Challenge. 

·         Mr. Eric Moe, Production Manager, took first place in the Midwest Culinary Challenge with the highest score and a gold medal at the National Association of College and University Food Services Midwest Conference in Akron, Ohio.  Chef Moe competed against 8 other chefs in a challenge where contestants had to use portabella mushrooms as an ingredient in a nutritionally balanced plate.  Chef Moe’s winning recipe was his play on traditional Upper Peninsula Venison “stew.”  Eric is representing the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin) at the National NACUFS Conference in San Jose, California today (July 9). 


Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 2009-2010 - Community Engagement Award


The Community Engagement award is presented to the GLIAC Institution that hosts the “Best Community Engagement Event” as defined by the NCAA.


The event that won this award for NMU was the Fall Sports Kick-off held on September 12, 2009.  This event was free to everyone.  The purpose was to engage the community by inviting them to campus to have a great time. 


The event involved student athletes, coaches, NMU faculty and staff, student organizations, the United Way of Marquette County, and Marquette General Health Systems EMS.  Over 3,000 people of all ages attended.  Activities included – Pony Rides, Inflatable Games, Dunk Tank, Clowns, Carnival games, NMU Marching Band, Obstacle Course, and more.  Food was free sponsored by Econo Foods, an area grocery store. 


It is notable that NMU also won the NCAA National Community Engagement Award of Excellence in 2008.  


Student Athlete Awards:

·         2009-10 All-Americans

o   Hockey

Mark Olver (forward) was a first team selection while Erik Gustafsson (defenseman) was a second team pick.  The team was the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Reebok All-American Ice Hockey West Team. Olver was also a Top 10 Finalist for the Hobey Baker Award (an annual award given to the top NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Player).

o   Nordic skiing

Laura DeWitt placed eighth in the 5K classic for her All-American status.



President Wong introduced two new staff members to NMU:


·         Dr. Jamal Rashed, Dean of the Walker L. Cisler College of Business

·         Mr. Doug Lewis, Head Men’s Basketball Coach. (Coach Lewis was unable to attend the meeting)


President Wong gave an update on WNMU.


·         NMU has received the new FCC license which is valid until the 3rd quarter of 2013.  This is a significant milestone in our digital conversion project and represents nearly 6 years of preparation work.  Wireless spectrum (which broadcast frequencies are now a part of ) is increasingly valuable.  New licenses in the VHF spectrum are impossible now to obtain as competition for frequencies becomes increasingly intense.  This authorization from the FCC is an asset, similar to real estate owned by NMU.  As long as we abide by its terms and conditions, no one else can use it.

·         WNMU has recently submitted a 63-page binder demonstrating our compliance with hiring and recruitment requirements as part of a FCC audit.  NMU’s last successful audit was in 2005 and no problems are expected for this one.  NMU more than exceeds the minimum recruitment activities, and our EEO policies clearly document efforts to promote fair and equitable hiring practices.

·         With the recent signing of agreements for Sawyer and Gwinn, NMU now has all required permissions to operate WiMAX transmitters from existing municipal towers and structures owned or managed by communities of Marquette, Marquette Township, Negaunee, Ishpeming, Big Bay, Sawyer, and Gwinn.  When added to the Foundation’s property that houses our WiMAX transmitter in Chocolay, we now cover a significant portion of the population centers in Marquette county.  While additional sites may be added in the future, this is a significant start to NMU’s build-out project.  Current projects that are either in place or in progress include a Negaunee teacher using WiMAX to support one of her high school classes; activating WiMAX for some city services in Negaunee and Ishpeming and county services at Sawyer; the Upper Peninsula Central Educational Development Committee (UPCED) is prepared to work on teacher training once we have approval for the Big Bay project; and we’ve discussed the possibility of hosting a WiMAX users group sometime this fall that would bring together representatives from each WiMAX enabled community to discuss areas of common interest such as how each of them are using WiMAX and ways these units of government might work together to share common services that can now be enabled over this new network. 


Northern Michigan University, A Personal History, 1899-1943, by Francis Roy Copper, edited w/ an introduction by Russell M. Magnaghi, was distributed to Board members.





Budget and Tuition Discussion

Mr. Adamini reviewed the discussion held on Thursday at the Finance Committee.  He thanked

Dr. Ronald Sundell for his statements to the Board today and for the AAUP’s support for the tuition and fee recommendations from the Finance Committee.  He said the recommendation from the Finance Committee will go a long way in ensuring that NMU can continue to provide a quality educational experience to students and yet keep tuition within the bounds of being affordable for most families. 



Trustee Adamini explained that the increase of $205 per semester for resident undergraduate students will be mitigated by the fact that NMU is applying the remaining stimulus funds as tuition credits for the fall semester.  Each student will receive a $192 credit.  Therefore, the net result for the fall semester will be an increase of $13.  With the increase of $205 for the winter semester, this results in an increase of $218 for the year.  In addition, a great number of NMU students receive financial aid including Pell Grants.  The increase for many of the students receiving Pell Grants will actually be a negative increase.  The result before applying financial aid is an $18 per month increase annualized over a 12-month period.  The Committee believes NMU cannot maintain the current quality and not dilute the value of the NMU diploma without this tuition increase.


President Wong and Mr. Leach presented on the analysis of the tuition setting process. (Addendum # 1)


It was moved by Mr. Inman and seconded by Mr. Cloyd to accept the recommendation of the Finance Committee to increase full time undergraduate tuition and fees by $205 per semester, to increase non resident undergraduate tuition and fees by $226 per semester, and to increase graduate tuition and fees by $28 per credit hour.               



Discussion followed.  Trustees shared thoughts and opinions on the motion to increase tuition.  


Mr. Ziegler said he cannot support the motion for the tuition increase due to the current economic situation.


Mr. Inman said he is very much in support of the recommendation of the Finance Committee for the following reasons: 1.) Even with this increase NMU will continue to be the second lowest tuition in the State, 2.) NMU continues to be affordable to families, 3.) NMU is helping students with an offset to tuition from the stimulus funding, 4.) NMU is one of the more aggressive institutions in terms of financial aid, and 5.) It is important to keep the University going forward, to keep faculty paid fairly, and to keep the legacy of NMU.


Mr. Adamini said he has the same emotional response as Trustee Ziegler for many of the problems families in the State are facing; however, with the decrease in funding from the State he feels NMU has no choice but to raise tuition in order to preserve the quality of the NMU education. 


Mr. LaSalle said he agrees with the motion, and it comes down to value.  NMU has more of a revenue problem than a budget problem in terms of cuts across the university.  The “fat” is long gone from NMU.  The question now is whether we are going to preserve the value of the educational dollar.  Students he has spoken with say NMU is a good value, but NMU is also a very good school.  Future budget cuts will keep NMU low in tuition but will erode the value.  Students want value for their spending, and NMU provides that value.  It is a balancing act between preserving the value to our customers (students and their parents) and continuing to chip away at the quality of the educational experience that NMU provides.


Mr. Cloyd said it is difficult to see costs going up the same time the support of the State continues to decline.  This puts the Board in a difficult position, but we need to preserve the quality of the student experience.  He congratulated President Wong and his team for the “belt tightening” they have done and for cutting costs while continuing to support faculty and staff and preserving quality. 

Ms. Wilkinson said we need to look at all reductions in costs, and she thinks President Wong and his team has done a wonderful job.   She thinks we can continue to look further at cost reduction to make the University run more efficiently.  She agrees that NMU needs to protect the investment of the current students and the alumni as well.  NMU needs to protect the current value of the NMU diploma.


Ms. Lewis said a strong educational system bolsters and makes for a strong economy.  We are in tough times right now, but at some time this will turn around.  As an institution NMU has done a good job in understanding that there has to be an investment.  Sacrifices are being made across the board by everyone.  It is everyone’s reality in the State that funding will be less and less.  NMU is not asking for the parents and students to make this investment by themselves as NMU is putting in a lot to help the students secure their future. 


Dr. Roberts said it gets down to the basics.  Tuition will be increased by $205 per semester.  This will be reduced by stimulus money which means the first semester’s tuition will go up by $13.  The second semester the tuition will go up by $205. Tuition for the year will go up by $218. 


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


                                         Aye                                                Nay

                                    Stephen F. Adamini

                                    Brian D. Cloyd

                                    Larry C. Inman

                                    Jon G. LaSalle

                                    L. Garnet Lewis

Douglas B. Roberts

                                    H. Sook Wilkinson

Gilbert L. Ziegler       



The motion was thus approved with seven (7) for the motion and one (1) against.


Dr. Roberts commended the Board, the President and the staff with how they handled this issue.



Wildcat Innovation Fund

Dr. Susan Koch, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, reported on the success of the Wildcat Innovation Fund.  The Wildcat Innovation Fund was conceived with the idea to use a portion of the revenue from rental leases in NMU buildings as a source of funding to support the University’s mission.  The purpose of the fund is to support initiatives that advance the strategic goals of NMU.  The Fund was rolled out in December of 2009 with focus areas in Recruitment, Retention, Revenue Generation and Quality Improvement.  Projects have been funded in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $25,000.  Forty-two (42) proposals have been submitted with twenty-two (22) projects funded at a total investment of $289,121.  Examples of successful projects are 1.) Young Wildcat Scholars Program, 2.) College Prep Medicine Wheel Academy, and 3.) Increasing Research Funding at NMU.  The creativity, expertise, and enthusiasm of the project leaders has made this endeavor successful.  The roll out of the next funding cycle will be announced the first week of classes.  Dr. Koch responded to questions and comments from Trustees.  Full-time faculty and staff are eligible to apply for these grants, and all are required to submit a final report within one year of completion of the project.



RECESS – Chair Roberts recessed the meeting at 10:15 a.m.  



RECONVENE -- Chair Roberts reconvened the meeting at 10:45 a.m. 







Mr. Cloyd, Chair of the Executive Committee, reported on the meeting held on Thursday, July 8, 2010.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes. (Addendum #2)


Academic Affairs


Mr. LaSalle, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, reported on a meeting held on July 8, 2010.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #3)




Mr. Adamini, Chair of the Finance Committee, reported on the meetings held on June 21 and July 8, 2010.  A copy of the reports are appended to these minutes.  (Addendums #4 and #5)


Ad hoc Recruitment and Retention Committee


Mr. Ziegler, Chair of the ad hoc Recruitment and Retention Committee, reported on the meeting held on July 8, 2010.  (Addendum #6)


Strategic Planning Committee

Mr. Brian Cloyd, Chair of the ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee, reported on the meeting held on July 8, 2010.  (Addendum # 7





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


            Chair:              Dr. Douglas B. Roberts         

            Members:        Mr. Stephen F. Adamini

                                    Dr. L. Garnet Lewis






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



RECESS – Chair Roberts recessed the meeting at 11:00 a.m.  



RECONVENE -- Chair Roberts reconvened the meeting at 11:10 a.m. 





Chair Roberts said trustee emeriti recognition is given to former trustees who have demonstrated total devotion to NMU.  The individual must have provided by action a willingness to give their time and their treasure as well as a willingness to share their wisdom.  That wisdom has to have produced positive results.  Both of these candidates have clearly demonstrated such attributes on behalf of NMU. 


Dr. Roberts presented Trustee Emeriti Plaques to Mr. Samuel Benedict and Ms. Mary Lukens in honor of their service to NMU.  Photos were taken.





President Wong made this announcement for the public record. 





Chair Roberts adjourned the meeting at 11:25 a.m.



Respectfully submitted,




Theresa M. Nease

Secretary of the Board