Friday 29, 2011
            MARQUETTE, Mich.—The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved 2011-12 housing and dining rates. The annual cost of a standard double-occupancy room and the “constant meal pass” option will be $7970, an increase of $148 of 1.9 percent.

“Northern made a deliberate effort to keep this part of the student cost equation as low as possible,” said Art Gischia, associate vice president for business and auxiliary Services). “When you consider that we serve about 890,000 meals per year, this is a 20 cent per meal increase. Our food costs are projected to rise 6 percent next year, partly because weather conditions have impacted produce and there is a lingering effect of the Gulf oil spill on seafood. Also, food cost is driven by fuel costs. Because it’s a greater distance to transport goods to the Upper Peninsula, the price of delivery will go up as well.

“We are working internally to leverage down the cost of food. For example, we deal with a single vendor for most of our product now. We regularly work with that vendor to review our usage, possible brand substitutions and other steps we can take to lower costs while still delivering a quality product to students.”

Trustees also authorized continuation general fund and designated fund budgets until new versions are approved when state higher education appropriations are finalized. The budgets will not exceed the current level, except for increases required by existing or newly negotiated union contracts.

In other action, the board:

▪Voted to renew President Les Wong’s contract for one year and offer no increase in his compensation for this year because of the state’s economic situation and the university’s internal budget.

▪Approved a new bachelor of science degree in fisheries and wildlife management through the biology department and agreed to eliminate the human geography and physical geography majors as part of departmental restructuring, all effective this fall.

▪Authorized geography to change its name to the department of earth, environmental and geographical sciences. The environmental conservation major will be renamed environmental studies and sustainability, while the geographical information systems major will be renamed geomatics.

▪Approved the merger of continuing education with workforce development effective July 1. The office will be located in the Jacobetti Center.

▪Accepted nearly $3,500 in gifts and $1.1 million in external grants.

▪Appointed two new department heads: Chet DeFonso in history and Mary Jane Tremethick in health, physical education and recreation. The board also granted tenure to the following faculty members, who were promoted to the rank of assistant professor: Derek Anderson, education; William Bergmann and Gabe Logan, history; Keith Ellis and Peter Pless, art and design; Hsin-Ling Hsieh, economics; Michael Joy, modern languages and literatures; Elizabeth Monske, English; Mark Shevy, communication and performance studies; and Will Tireman, physics. The following faculty members were promoted to full professor: Randall Appleton and Andrew Poe, mathematics and computer science; Robert Engelhart, music; Tawni Ferrarini, economics; Mitchell Klett, education; Nelly Kupper, modern languages and literatures; Stephan Larson and Steven Leuthold, art and design; Mark Paulsen, chemistry; Russell Prather, English; and Roger Strand, biology.

 ▪Reappointed the following individuals as board members for NMU public school academies (all with terms expiring June 30, 2014): Kenneth Dunton, Jack Thompson and Regina Rolstone, JKL Bahweting Charter Academy; Mary Covington and Richard Vanderkarr, Burton Glen Charter Academy; and Maria Carl and Anthony Colbert, Walton Charter School. NMU also reauthorized the contract with Burton Glen through June 2016 and approved a new contract with Walton for the same period that will convert it to “School of Excellence” status in accordance with the Michigan School Code.  

▪Changed the July Board of Trustees meeting dates from July 14-15 to July 13-14 because of the university’s decision to close most buildings on Fridays during the summer as a cost-saving measure.

▪Received updates on “Road Map to 2015” progress from the divisions of academic affairs and finance and administration and planned maintenance or facility-related projects for the summer.

▪Participated in a focus discussion on strategically branding the university.


Kristi Evans
News Director