Minutes of the Formal Session


Friday, September 18, 2015



A formal session of the Board of Trustees of Northern Michigan University was held on Friday, September 18, 2015, in the University Center of Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.  The meeting was convened at 9:03 a.m. in the Marquette/Nicolet/Cadillac Rooms by Chair Richard M. Popp.


Trustees present included:

Mr. Richard M. Popp, Chair                                    Ms. Tami M. Seavoy

Mr. Scott L. Holman                                                Dr. H. Sook Wilkinson

Dr. L. Garnet Lewis (via ZOOM)                           Dr. Thomas H. Zurbuchen

Mr. Robert E. Mahaney                                           Dr. Fritz J Erickson, ex officio

Mr. Steven M. Mitchell                                           


Senior Staff and Counsel present included:

Ms. Martha Haynes, Vice President for Advancement

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

Dr. Kerri Schuiling, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Steven R. Neiheisel, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Services

Dr. Steven A. VandenAvond, Vice President for Extended Learning and Community Relations

Ms. Cathy A. Niemi, Secretary of the Board of Trustees

Mr. Kurt McCamman, Legal Counsel  





Dr. Rebecca Mead, President of the American Association of United Professors (AAUP) addressed the Board.  Dr. Mead thanked the Board for the faculty event that was held Wednesday evening (September 16) and for attending the Faculty and Staff Scholarship Recognition event later that evening.  She discussed the enrollment issue, budget cuts that are a result of the enrollment decline, strategic planning process, town hall that was held on for the College of Arts and Sciences, retention, collaboration, and shared governance in the decision-making process.




It was moved by Trustee Seavoy, seconded by Trustee Zurbuchen, and supported unanimously by the full Board, to approve the Formal Recommendations.  (Addendum #1)




Mr. Forrest Karr, Special Assistant to the President / Athletic Director, presented the Board with a report on intercollegiate athletics, including department review and compliance reporting, academic and competitive success of the student athletes, the two new sports (women’s golf and men’s swimming and diving), the two new sports slated to begin fall 2016 (men’s soccer and women’s lacrosse), projects that were completed during the previous year (golf simulator and renovation of the   U. S. Olympic Training Site strength and conditioning facility, and the renovation of the Izzo-Mariucci Video Analysis Room, which was funded through the NMU Foundation), projects that are currently in the works (four-sided, high-definition video display system in the Berry Events Center which would be used for basketball and hockey and renovation of the Nordic Ski Teams’ locker and tuning/wax rooms), current organizational chart, GLIAC member institutions, sports sponsorship, number of student athletes, and gender equity.  Staff responded to questions and comments from Trustees.


RECESS – Chair Popp recessed the meeting at 10:00 a.m. for a short break.


RECONVENE – Chair Popp reconvened the meeting at 10:19 a.m.




Academic Affairs


Dr. Zurbuchen welcomed Dr. Martin Reinhardt to speak about the new Native American Studies major that was approved earlier with the formal recommendations.  Dr. Reinhardt thanked the Trustees for making the important decision to approve the first Native American Studies major in Michigan, which will support the future of tribal and non-tribal relations at Northern Michigan University, across the State, and the nation.


Dr. Zurbuchen, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, reported on a meeting held Thursday, September 17, 2015.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #3)




Mr. Holman, Chair of the Finance Committee, reported on a meeting held on Thursday, September 17, 2015.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #4)


Ad hoc Nominating


Ms. Seavoy reported on the Ad hoc Nominating Committee meeting held on Thursday, September 17, 2015.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes (Addendum #5).  Following the recommendation of the Committee, and there being no nominations from the floor, the election of officers was held:


It was moved by Trustee Lewis, seconded by Trustee Holman, and supported unanimously by the Board, to elect Trustee Wilkinson as Chair and Trustee Zurbuchen as Vice Chair of the NMU Board of Trustees for calendar year 2016.




Mr. Popp, Chair of the Executive Committee, reported on the meeting held on Thursday, September 17, 2015.  A copy of the report is appended to these minutes.  (Addendum #6)






The following action was taken:


It was moved by Trustee Mitchell, seconded by Trustee Holman, and supported unanimously by the Board, to approve the 2016 Board of Trustees meeting schedule as follows:


Thursday – Friday, February 18 – 19, 2016

(Retreat – May be held off campus)


Thursday – Friday, April 28 – 29, 2016

(Commencement – Saturday, April 30)


Thursday – Friday, June 16 – 17, 2016 – if needed – or only one day, if needed


Thursday – Friday, July 21 – 22, 2016

(Business Session – Held on Campus; Retreat – May be held off site)


Thursday – Friday, September 22 – 23, 2016


Thursday – Friday, December 8 – 9, 2016

(Commencement – Saturday, December 10)




Ms. Lindsey Lieck, President of the Associated Students of Northern Michigan University (ASNMU), presented on the following:


·         Homecoming week – have had a high number of attendees at the events held this year.  There was an event held every night of the week with different groups of students being involved.

·         ASNMU has been busy building their team for this year and are on target for having a full board by October 1 – started with 9 members, currently up to 16, with 10 more positions left to fill.

·         The team will be brainstorming goals and determine what to focus on for the academic year.

·         Items currently working on are improving the structures and changing how ASNMU is engaging with the student body, how can they get more students to get involved with university committees and bring their knowledge to the students, working with the President’s Office to have discussions with the student body on budget cuts and what it means for them and how they can get involved with the future of the university,


Ms. Lieck answered questions from the Trustees.




President Erickson reported the following:


·         Northern continues to garner national attention for affordability, quality, safety, and veteran student support

·         In the past year, NMU was ranked as one of the safest (21st in the nation) and the friendliest campuses in the United States (the friendliest in Michigan).

·         National rankings for affordability:

o   Northern’s Learning Disabilities program was ranked the 33rd most affordable in the nation (by Spring Arbor was the only other Michigan school on the list.

o   Our undergraduate entrepreneurship program was ranked 15th best in the nation for cost and quality by – the only Michigan school on the list.

·         NMU faculty members are outstanding and continue to be recognized nationally and internationally with honors, awards, and grants.

o   This summer, English professor Rob Whalen received a quarter of a million dollar ($250,000) National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarly Editions Grant for his research (expert on George Herbert’s works)

·         NMU was selected one of four finalists for prestigious University Business Tech’s AMX Innovation Award for smart technology use in Jamrich Hall.  We didn’t win, but it was impressive to be selected as a finalist.

·         Numerous NMU students recently completed outstanding summer internships – many that are nationally competitive.  One example – one of our NMU physics majors earned an internship at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland, where physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe.

·         I am extremely proud to report that Northern was the only Upper Peninsula school to achieve gold-level status from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for supporting the academic and transitional needs of student veterans.

·         Making progress on hiring a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

o   Completed on-campus interviews with three outstanding chief diversity and inclusion officer candidates.

o   Candidates brought different strengths to the table, but one common strength was enthusiasm.

o   This is a critical position for many reasons, including curricular development, recruitment and retention, career placement, and for meeting our mission to prepare global citizens.

·         New research collaboration with Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and Upper Peninsula Health System – Marquette.  This created a research identity between the three institutions.  MSU provided the funding and has hired two researchers to be housed and work on NMU’s campus.  This was so successful that we have already begun discussions on how we can extend that partnership.

·         Increased focus on ensuring that NMU is providing a safe environment and addressing all issues related to sexual assault awareness education and support.  He commended Mr. Mike Bath, Dr. Kerri Schuiling, and the entire team that has put in a great deal of effort in reviewing our policies and procedures and ensuring that NMU is responsive to the needs of survivors and victims of sexual violence, as well as doing everything possible to reduce those incidents on campus.

·         Our sexual assault awareness work group is serving as Northern’s coordinating unit for the university’s participation in First Lady Sue Snyder’s Sexual Assault Summit and grant awards program.  The two grants NMU would be applying for are:

o   U.P. wide collaboration to seek to bring a series of speakers and opportunities for discussion on sexual violence to campus

o   Creating an app that our students can use to provide them with guidance in terms of how to deal with issues of sexual violence, whether as a victim, a survivor, or a friend.


President Erickson answered questions from Trustees.




President Erickson made this announcement for the public record. 




Chair Popp adjourned the meeting at 10:55 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Cathy A. Niemi

Secretary of the Board of Trustees