For the weeks of December 15, and December 22, 2003

Our holiday wish for you

From the 6th floor

Yes, we will have a white Christmas. I was pretty sure there wasn't much doubt about that, it was just a matter of time before the snow came. And it came. More plentiful in some locations than others. Here in Marquette, even though we had a Snow Day last Thursday, we really only received about 6-8 inches of snow. The National Weather Service reported a record 11.5 inches in Negaunee Township at the former Marquette County Airport on Wednesday, December 10. Roads were hazardous and that led to the first official Snow Day and it impacted all of Marquette County, Thursday, Dec.11.

Board of Trustees votes on budget proposal

The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees approved a plan that will implement nearly $3.4 million in budget adjustments and a winter-semester tuition increase.
The NMU President's Council had recommended $3.4 million in adjustments over the next two years. They feature a combination of reductions, cost-avoidance, reallocations and revenue-generating measures designed to offset an executive order for the current fiscal year and a projected decrease in state support for fiscal year 2005.
The President's Council classified the adjustments as having a lower impact on the university's ability to fulfill its mission statement and vision, and to preserve the quality of the student academic experience. They will result in the loss of about 16 full-time equivalent positions, some of which are vacant.
“In my mind, these are high-impact adjustments because we are cutting into some serious bone, especially when you factor in the last round of budget reductions still being implemented,” said Karl Weber, vice chair of the board. “Northern's tuition increase this fall was well below the state average and now our hands are tied. None of us wants to raise tuition, but we can't rely solely on cuts at this point or we will be looking at eliminating programs and services. That is something I am unwilling to do.”
The plan approved by the board will increase annual tuition and fees by $100 per semester for resident full-time undergraduate students and $160 per semester for nonresidents, effective in January.
ASNMU President Kyle Ortiz told the board that students were willing to accept a modest, mid-year tuition adjustment. They had endorsed a previous option that included an increase of $77 per semester.
“Given the unknowns of the state economy, students would rather see a smaller increase now rather than face a large one next fall,” Ortiz said. “They just want to keep it small enough that it doesn't become a hassle for them to scramble and adjust their loans or financial aid on short notice. Overall, students said the process was very satisfactory and President Roy and the President's Council deserve to be complimented.”
A midyear increase applied to extension courses will result in an additional $8 per credit for undergraduates and an extra $9.50 per credit for graduate students. The plan also includes revised summer college tuition rates.

NMU Board updated on presidential search

The NMU Presidential Search Advisory Committee has identified “11 qualified candidates at this time” for the university's top post, according to PSAC Chair Sam Benedict. He presented a progress report to the NMU trustees at their Dec. 12 meeting.
“We plan to conduct additional background searches on the credentials of these candidates and would like to begin interviewing toward the end of January,” Benedict said. “Overall, the search process is on track and on schedule. It is progressing as we hoped it would. We hope to be in a position to bring five names to the board in February.”
Benedict said the committee reviewed the professional vitae of 28 individuals. They are among a total pool of 70 compiled by A.T. Kearney, an executive search firm contracted by NMU to assist in identifying qualified candidates to serve as the university's 12 th president.
An online survey of employees and other constituent groups found that professional characteristics desired in a new president include the following: effective interaction with legislators; a commitment to build partnerships; and an ability to increase external grant support. Many said the candidate should have experience in higher education, but not necessarily in a presidential capacity.
Personal characteristics cited as important include being trusted to make the right decisions, hard-working and energetic, friendly and personable, and possessing strong leadership qualities.
ASNMU student government initiated a separate online poll aimed specifically at Northern students. Results show that the top-ranking desirable qualities in a new president are a direct, honest communication with students, employees and the community and a willingness to engage in shared governance – facilitating student involvement in discussions and decision-making. When asked what the new president should value as a university priority, the top two responses were academic excellence and “high touch,” or an emphasis on individualized attention to students.
“The board was pleased with the amount of thought and effort that went into the responses to both surveys,” Benedict said. “These results help augment the board's own efforts to identify important qualities that a candidate should possess in relation to the university's mission and vision.”

Alumni reception planned for Lansing

Wildcat fans will be getting together before the hockey game, Saturday, January 3rd in Lansing. Friday and Saturday, January 2 and 3, the Wildcats take on the MSU Spartans. A pre-game party will be held at Trippers on Frandor Road on Saturday, January 3, 2004, beginning at 4:30.

Join Wildcat fans for food, fun and prizes. Beverages will be available for purchase.

Party starts at 4:30 and goes until game time.
Open to all NMU Alumni and Friends!

Attempt to break world record lands on Today Show

Instructional Media Services Supervisor Bryant Varney constructed a model of New York City’s Rockefeller Center, which is on display in the Olson Library.

Varney used over 10,000 Jenga blocks to create the structure, which may make it into the Guiness Book of World Records as the “largest free-standing Jenga sculpture.”

The structure was featured on The Today Show this past weekend where Northern Michigan University was prominently mentioned.

Could Ed Harris be sportin' Wildcat wear?

Remember this title: "Winter Passing." Tuck it away in your head and then a year from now, I'll remind you of it. "Winter Passing" is a film currently in production from Stratus Film Company. It stars Ed Harris and Zooey Deschanel. From what I've been able to research, Harris toplines as a reclusive novelist who has an estranged relationship with his daughter (Deschanel). She returns home after a seven-year absence to a house full of strangers that include a wandering loner (Will Ferrell) and one of the writer's former students (Amelia Warner). The daughter's arrival is the catalyst for change in all of them. Rumor has it the movie takes place in a small town in the Upper Midwest, possibly even the Upper Peninsula. What I do know is that at the request of the film company, Northern mailed out an assortment of NMU sweatshirts for one of the characters to wear. Does that mean Ed Harris will be seen in the green and gold of Northern? Sounds like we'll have to wait until Christmas of 2004 to find out. That's the only release date published.


Don't forget Northern at the end of the year

Many people make the bulk of their charitable contributions at the end of the year to make sure they can count donations on their list of tax deductions for the year.

If you find yourself faced with decisions about charitable giving, don't forget Northern and the wonderful work your donation can do on the campus of Northern Michigan University.

The Development Fund office in 603 Cohodas will be closed, along with the rest of the University, during the December holiday break, from Wednesday, December 24th through Thursday, January 1.
If you would like to make a contribution for the calendar year ending December 31, 2003, please take advantage of one of the following opportunities:

Up until 5:00 p.m. December 23rd, you can contact us at regular business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

After December 23rd,

All gifts postmarked prior to December 31st or placed in the drop box over break will be processed as contributions in 2003.

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