SISU: The Innovation Institute at NMU is an institute for innovation and transformational education encouraging the cultivation of ideas leading to relevant and sustainable university services and academic programs. As an internal hub for innovation, SISU provides a welcoming and inclusive space for members of the NMU community to bring or generate, collaborate, and develop ideas for programs and services.

SISU uses a design thinking framework to gain insights, and refine ideas. It serves as a home for experimental academic programs and services.

For further information on the center, explore the proposal PDF linked below. 

Recent News

Digneit Honored for SISU's 'Culture of Innovation'

  • Bill Digneit, director of SISU: The Innovation Institute at Northern Michigan University, received the Culture of Innovation Award from TrendHunter at the Future Festival World Summit in Toronto. He spoke on stage about the SISU innovation process and was presented with his 3D-printed rocket ship trophy by a NASA representative.

NMU's SISU Institute and Innovate Marquette Host Innovation Week

  • SISU: The Innovation Institute at Northern Michigan University and Innovate Marquette are partnering to present their inaugural Innovation Week, a professional development conference bringing together thought leaders and creative minds in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 

2021-2022 PIF Recipients

SISU: the Innovation Institute at NMU has announced the recipients of 2021-2022 Program Incentive Funds. Five programs have been chosen to move on to the next steps of innovation. 

Recipients include...

  • Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute (UPCI) to fund the creation of a NMU Automotive Cybersecurity Certificate program.
    • Project Champion: Doug Miller, Director, UPCI
  • Center for Teaching and Learning to assemble a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) to explore the HyFlex, a course delivery model combining face-to-face (F2F) and online learning.
    • Project Champion: Matt Smock, Director of Instructional Design and Technology
  • Fresh Water, Fresh Voices, a collaboration between English Graduate Programs, Earth, Environmental, & Geographical Studies (EEGS) and Fresh Coast Film Festival. This will produce a local conference offering an "interdisciplinary experiential learning opportunity that centers on NMU's unique landscape and established leadership in sustainability and graduate writing programs."
    • Project Champion: Dr. Rachel May, Associate Professor of English
  • Indoor Agriculture Program to assist in the creation of a Commercial Crop Lab in the former Aviation hangar located at NMU's Jacobetti Complex.
    • Project Champion: Evan Lucas, Assistant Professor of Technology and Occupational Sciences
  • Construction Management and Trimball Labs to enhance learning activities by incorporating new virtual reality technology and developing higher quality labs for a new fully online degree.
    • Project Champion: Evan Lucas, Assistant Professor of Technology and Occupational Sciences

In order to be approved, all programs had to go through a design thinking workshop centered around their PIF, which included a diverse range of area experts. Project champions will be reporting progress on their projects quarterly. The projects not chosen were given action items to further develop their ideas for the future and an opportunity to attend a design thinking workshop focusing on their idea.

Congratulations to this year's recipients!  The 2022-2023 PIF cycle will begin in August. SISU will be holding PIF submission workshops August through October, with submissions beginning in October. SISU is always accepting new innovations via the submission form


SISU Charter

SISU: The Innovation Institute at Northern Michigan University is NMU’s hub for front end innovation shattering preconceived limitations in higher education. With determination and resilience, we ignite and accelerate creative ideation to develop effective interdisciplinary programs, curricular innovations, high impact learning experiences, and sustainable university services. The Institute’s success is measured by opportunities discovered, innovations implemented, and value delivered to our students, campus, community, and region.

9 Aspirations of SISU

Celebrate our Environment
Leverage the UP's natural beauty and NMU’s rural serving mission to develop unique, relevant, and life-changing programs that are distinct to our university and our region.

Ignite Discovery
Engage faculty, staff, and administration as they innovate the future to improve the student and campus experience.

Transform Education
Be distinct, think differently, and take action to encourage high impact learning experiences and meet the needs of our future learners.

Reward Effort & Risk
Champion a solution-seeking and forward-thinking culture. Celebrate stepping into the unknown.

Unite & Catalyze Campus
Put people, programs, industry, and innovation at the intersection of campus and cross disciplinary education.

Build Unique Learning Environments
Drive opportunities to provide students with meaningful learning experiences and interactions beyond the classroom

Foster Inclusive & Sustainable Communities
Support zero-barrier & healthy environments to equitably allow everyone to engage with innovation.

Build A Culture of Action
Create opportunities to advance entrepreneurship and public service on campus and within our region.

Be Data Informed 
Leverage data to illuminate potential and opportunity for NMU and the U.P. 


Ice Climbing


SISU: The Innovation Institute at Northern Michigan University exists to facilitate, incubate, and drive innovation on campus.


SISU Think Session

Core Values

Beyond innovation, we will build from our core values...

  • Interdisciplinary
  • Collaborative
  • Agile
  • Inclusive
  • Transparent


SISU Process NMU

The SISU Innovation Process

Step 1: Idea Intake
What's your idea?

Step 2: Research & Analysis
What type of project?

Step 3: Pilot & Pitch
Let's incubate it!

Step 4: Realization
Launch & Release

Contact Us

Phone 906-227-2050