President’s Update for November 16, 2015

Thank you all for everything you do in pursuit of “Keeping Learning at the Center.”

Activities of Note: Faculty and Staff
This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Agenda, Strategic Directions and Goals are provided where possible.

  • NMC has been certified as a gold-level Veteran-Friendly School by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. Please see attached documentation.
  • The CIT Department held two open advising sessions in October to help students with their advising needs for Spring 2016 semester. During these two-hour sessions they met with a total of 69 students, assisting both first year and second year students in selecting their courses for spring semester. Because of the success of this event, they are planning to do this again next semester with a goal to meet with as many students as possible and to ensure that each works with an advisor to schedule their classes. (IE1, E3)
  • CIT held their first Industry Night Out event on November 2. Frontier Computer Corporation, a local IT Solutions provider hosted a tour of their facilities and discussed what they do. The event was advertised to not only NMC students, but also students of the TBA Career Tech Center IT Academy. Approximately 30 students attended from the two groups, as well as some parents of the students from the CTC. It was a great networking event and provided NMC with an opportunity to connect with both a local company and future students from the CTC.  A video of the event can be viewed at and future events are being planned to occur on a monthly basis with different organizations in the Grand Traverse area. (E2)
  • Senior executives from American Steamship Co., Great Lakes Fleet, Great Lakes Towing, The Interlake Steamship Co., Grand River Navigation, as well as representatives from the Lake Carriers Association and the GLMA Alumni Association held their annual Board of Visitors (BOV) meeting at NMC’s GLMA. Agenda items included support for GLMA, especially with respect to supply underway communication, internships and a program dedicated to facilitate a military veteran’s ability to transition to service in the U.S. merchant marine. The BOV also held a “closed door” with the cadets, with no GLMA faculty or staff in attendance. (IE2)
  • GLMA hosted representatives from Military Sealift Command (MSC), Grand River Navigation, and two of the Great Lakes Pilotage Associations to conduct recruiting visits. Each entity employs numerous GLMA alumni and are very interested in hiring graduates of the class of 2016. MSC is a division of the U.S. Navy and operates Navy owned civilian manned vessels, such as fleet oilers. Last year MSC offered well-paying jobs to every GLMA cadet who applied for a position as a ship’s officer. MSC also actively recruits Great Lakes Culinary Institute graduates. Later this month Crowley Maritime, McAllister Towing, and G& H (Galveston and Houston) Towing will hold recruiting events at GLMA. (IE3)
  • As of this November 4, GLMA has enrolled 22 cadets to begin their training in August 2016. More importantly, this number is evenly split between deck and engine (IE5)
  • The Admissions Office participated in the statewide initiative College Application Week, October 23-28, 2015. Admissions staff were out in several area high schools helping their staff and students fill out applications for fall semester 2016. NMC received 1,251 applications from over 189 different high schools across Michigan. The amount of applications received shows that the relationships NMC is building with the community and other schools across the State is growing and the interest in NMC is reaching far beyond our 6 county area. (Last year we received 870 applications, 589 were admitted and 223 ultimately enrolled.) (IE2, E3)
  • The Advising Center has taken a proactive approach to registration and conducted face-to-face outreach on main campus.  This is in addition to sending targeted email communications to students, following up with phone calls and on-campus marketing. In the week before registration opened, members of the Advising Center team set up tables in Health/Science and West Hall to give students information about spring/summer registration and to schedule appointments with academic advisors. Academic Advisors also held Express Advising in East Hall to meet the needs of resident students. These advisors introduced students to MAP (My Academic Plan) and helped them create academic plans for spring semester and beyond. (IE1, E3)
  • Disability Support Services hosted the Allies for Inclusion exhibit from St. Louis University October 18-20. This exhibit promoted awareness of civil rights and inclusion for those with disabilities. Bringing this traveling exhibit to NMC required partnering with outside agencies as well as several departments from NMC. Visitors included many middle school and high school students/staff, general community members, and NMC students/faculty/staff. (IE2, E3, E4)
  • The Student Life Office was awarded a $953.00 grant from the Campus Sexual Assault Grant program through the Michigan State Police Department. This grant will give funding for our counselors in the Student Life Office to provide trauma informed training and education to our NMC Police Academy students and NMC Campus Safety and Security staff. (IE2, E3, E4, E5)

Activities of Note:  Tim

  • I attended the Munson Board Retreat on October 28.  As you know, I find these sessions extremely informative and beneficial as we consider the future state of higher education in this country and our area.
  • NMC and Traverse Downtown Development hosted an Economic Development Leadership Meeting at the NMC Hagerty Center on October 28 with directors of the various local taxing authorities.  The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of the success of a collective vision for downtown’s Old Town area that was realized with help from a 30-year development and tax increment financing (TIF) plan that created hundreds of jobs, dozens of new residences and an increased tax base, as well as to discuss how to continue economic growth in our community.  Input was received to develop strategies for other potential TIF areas, other approaches and the return on investment within the TIF area(s).
  • I traveled to Denver to attend the CQIN Executive Team meeting November 2-4.  Our summer conference will be held in Denver this year and will focus on results and predictive analytics.  I’m pleased that we continue to participate in this unique network.  It is the only group I know of that looks outside of higher education at other industries and organizations to learn lessons that can lead to learner success and institutional improvement.
  • I returned to Lansing to provide testimony on November 5 on postsecondary enrollment patterns at a join hearing of the community colleges and higher education committees.  The hearing was to discuss issues surrounding declining enrollments in higher education institutions, i.e. is it happening, what is the outlook, how are schools planning on addressing declining enrollment. We highlighted the fact that community college enrollments correlate very closely with unemployment rates, and note the increase in degree productivity on Michigan campuses.
  • While in Lansing, I also attended the first meeting of the budgetary task force reviewing community college performance funding on November 5 to present the MCCA recommendation.  The Senate has appointed Senators Darwin Booher and David Knezek; the House has appointed Representatives John Bizon and Henry Yanez. Dan Horn, Higher Education and Community Colleges Budget Analyst, participated on behalf of the State Budget Office. In general, participants were appreciative of the work MCCA did, although they would like to see a greater shift toward performance and away from sustainability.
  • At the MCCA Presidents Committee in Lansing on November 6 we reviewed updates, legislative issues and MCCA activities including the 60 credit hour transfer committee, veteran’s initiatives, and the progress of the Michigan Colleges Online registration improvements.
  • Nancy and I, along with Linda Laughlin, attended the Great Lakes Great Chefs dinner last Friday evening, November 6.  The event was sold out and the guest chefs (all but one a GLCI graduate) along with our chef instructors and student volunteers provided wonderful cuisine and a fantastic evening.  Everyone I talked with thoroughly enjoyed the night.
  • Thank you to all who were able to attend the annual Mariner’s Memorial on November 10 at the NMC Great Lakes Campus.  This is a wonderful event to honor those lost on the Edmund Fitzgerald, as well as other vessels, and this year the weather was very cooperative as well.
  • NMC also held a Veterans Day Event on November 11 that included a breakfast for veterans and a flag raising ceremony.  This year’s event included a Three-Volley Salute performed by the VFW Post 2780 Color Guard.  I’d like to thank the large group of participants this year who helped express gratitude to our veterans, and to Scott Herzberg for coordinating the event.

Legislative Issues

  • On Wednesday, November 4, the House Appropriations Committee took testimony on Senate Bills 70-71. The bills would lift the current $50 million cap on the Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNJTP) as well as extend the sunset on borrowing ability under the current law. MCCA staff is working to ensure that there is adequate support, as the Committee is considering a vote on SB’s 70 and 71 in early December.
  • We continue to monitor and work with other groups regarding the “dark stores” tax issue that is a serious threat to local taxing entities.


President’s Update for September 24, 2015

Thank you all for everything you do in pursuit of “Keeping Learning at the Center.”

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible.

  • The math department held its annual summer, continuing education meeting over the week of August 10-13. It was attended by all math regular and adjunct faculty plus new science/math faculty. They spent the time learning changes in the Moodle gradebook, course software, quantitative reasoning course outcomes and linking course outcomes to examinations. This is an annual event and builds on the already excellent skills of our faculty. (IE1, IE3)
  • The NMC community and King of the Mountain staff are proud of some of our very own Great Lakes Maritime Academy students who are a testament to our institution and the Maritime Program itself and the standards and integrity expected out of each of our cadets. The King of the Mountain 5k obstacle course challenge, held September 19 at Mt. Holiday benefiting the Grand Traverse Veteran’s Coalition, was designed by the Army. NMC’s GLMA team dubbed “Wild Hogz” was made up of Nicholas Burcicki, Brandon Gotha, Liam Armstrong, and Avery Perez. This team appeared for the news crews talking live on radio and TV, and just being out in the community, leave a lasting impression with everyone they came in contact with. Staff members from King of the Mountain report being impressed with the professionalism, politeness, and maturity with which they interacted with everyone, and the true gratitude they have expressed to the Fit For You Gym owners for sponsoring their team in this competition. NMC and Maritime should be extremely proud of this representation.  As a result comments have been received as to the quality program we obviously have for Maritime and NMC—thank you to Sherry Trier for this submittal. (SD1, SD2, SD3, IE2, IE3)
  • The NMC University Center celebrated its 20th Anniversary this past week, recognizing its current and past staff and University Partners who have all contributed to the success and positive impact on the Traverse City community and surrounding region by offering higher learning opportunities to community members without having to leave their current jobs and local lifestyles. Thank you to those who were available to attend and help celebrate this momentous occasion.

Important Updates from Tim

  • I would like to take this opportunity to, again, offer NMC’s gratitude to longtime college supporters Diana and Richard Milock for their gift of $2 million that will create nearly 9,000 square feet of expansion at the Dennos Museum Center.
  • Consultant Kathy Cole reported to the Foundation Board on the results of the feasibility study she has conducted pertaining to a potential comprehensive campaign. Her study revealed very positive support for NMC and she recommends moving forward with next steps in preparing for a comprehensive fundraising campaign.
  • Thank you to Terry and Wayne Lobdell and the culinary students and staff for a wonderful Lobdell’s Scholarship Dinner on September 18. This event brings together many different friends of NMC, including alumni, business partners, community leaders, culinary enthusiasts, Dennos Museum supporters, and local agricultural leaders.  In fact, one of the strategic next steps for the Culinary Institute is to strengthen the relationship with our local agricultural producers.  There have been 34 scholarships awarded as a result of this annual event ($78,750).
  • Thank you to Courtney Sorrell, Annual Giving Specialist, and other personnel involved, for organizing this year’s Annual Fund kickoff event that occurred at Parsons-Stulen on September 23. Some of the speakers even addressed the crowd from the top of the recently installed Water Studies Institute water tank funded through the CSTEP grant. Attendees were able to see many of NMC’s unique program offerings that were exhibited, i.e. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Freshwater Studies, and Advanced Electronics.  These programs are preparing students for careers that did not exist 10 years ago.
  • A team from NMC visited the campuses of Southwestern Community College and Jackson College this past week to tour their libraries and housing. These are areas that NMC will be focusing on in the upcoming year for capital projects.
  • With the help of recently hired firm of Kelley Cawthorne, I am having many personal meetings with legislators in Lansing regarding the state capital outlay request process and discussing NMC’s potential project request for 2016.
  • Please find attached a press release announcing the results of an EPIC-MRA poll demonstrating overwhelming support for expanding community college authority to offer four-year degrees in certain workforce-oriented areas, including nursing. EPIC-MRA posed the following question to the public: “Under current state law, Michigan community colleges can offer four-year degrees in culinary arts, energy production, cement technology, and maritime technology. Legislation under consideration would change state law to allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees in nursing, as well as several other technical fields. Do you favor or oppose this legislative proposal?”  Eighty four percent (84%) of respondents support expanding community college baccalaureate authority.  In 2012, the Legislature granted community colleges in Michigan the authority to join community colleges in 20 other states by conferring baccalaureate degrees in four applied and technical program areas – concrete technology, maritime technology, energy production technology, and culinary arts. The rationale for that legislation was improving college access, affordability, and responding to workforce demands. It was always clear that the legislation would need to be revisited over time as employer needs changed. Senator Mike Shirkey’s bill (SB 98), reported from the Senate Commerce Committee and awaiting Senate vote, does just that by extending the authority to confer degrees in nursing, allied health, ski area management, information technology, and manufacturing technology (see MCCA Brief on SB 98).


  • Several of the Trustees will be attending the upcoming Association of Community College Trustees national Leadership Congress, which provides valuable learning opportunities through a wealth of session offerings.

President’s Update for September 10, 2015

Thank you all for everything you do in pursuit of “Keeping Learning at the Center.”

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible.

  • Congrats to NMC’s unmanned aerial systems program for being named one of the top 15 training colleges! We ranked 10th this year. (SD1)
  • Thanks to the efforts of Auditorium Manager and Technical Director Jack Conners, the support of the Begonia Foundation and the co-operation of Grammy award winning performer Bob James, the concert Bob James performed with his quartet on May 3, 2014, has become a live CD from Milliken Auditorium. The CD was released in Japan in February 2015 and in the USA in March 2015. Jack Conners recorded, engineered and mastered the CD, and NMC’s own Dave Dalquist took the concert photos that were used for the CD cover and liner notes.  (IE2, IE3, IE4)
  • Jason Dake, Curator of Education at the Dennos Museum Center, will have a case study published in an upcoming issue of MuseumsEtc. currently scheduled for December 2015 – January 2016. The case study outlines the development and implementation of the exhibition, Sideways: Exploring Skateboard Art & Culture, which included skateboarders and graphic designers from the community.  MuseumsEtc is an independent publishing house based in Edinburgh and Boston creating books and magazines that share museum best practices around the globe. (IE2, IE3)
  • The goal of the GLMA Business Plan is to have 60 cadets arrive each fall. On August 16 we welcomed 67 cadets. (IE1)
  • In order to facilitate cadets that were transitioning from the GLMA associate’s degree to BSMT, a spring license prep class was held in order for six cadets to graduate and license early. All six passed their merchant marine exams. All 40+ GLMA graduates have passed their exams, and all are now sailing on their license. (IE1)
  • NMC’s Visual Communications Area (VCA) updated all the Mac software in both labs, and are now running the new Mac OS, and the newest versions of all software and this is the first full academic year that we will roll our Apple and Adobe Certification for all VCA students integrated into the core VCA program.
  • Institutionally enacted the Choice Act tuition benefit for VA students; and certified enrollments for 63 veterans. (IE3, IE5)
  • Creative Writing and Poetry adjunct faculty member, Teresa Scollon, has been named this year’s Writer-in-Residence by Traverse City’s Front Street Writers. In her role, Teresa will join TCAPS educator, Kerrey Woughter, in co-teaching the Front Street Writers workshop, a year-long course for highly motivated and talented high school students from the local area. (IE1, IE2)
  • Kristen Salathiel and Nancy Gray attended a summer seminar, entitled “Leadership Community of Practice (Reading Apprenticeship Train the Trainer) in Oakland, California, that is part of a year-long study of Reading Apprenticeship practices. Kristen and Nancy will become certified trainers upon completion of the study and will share their experience and expertise with colleagues across the disciplinary areas of the college. (IE1, IE3, IE5)

Important Updates from Tim

  • Vice President Stephen Siciliano and I participated in a conference call with other community college leaders and officials from the White House Office of Public Engagement and Domestic Policy Council to discuss efforts to make community college free for responsible students through the American’s College Promise Proposal shared as part of President Obama’s State of the Union. The call was to share ideas, best practices, and work towards a common path forward that will support community college students, and how colleges and communities can get involved.
  • Our consultant Kathy Cole, West Wind Consulting, has completed her feasibility study to inform the planning process for a potential comprehensive campaign and she will be presenting her report to the Foundation Board at a special meeting on September 16.
  • The new Coast Guard Commander Gregory Matyas visited our Great Lakes Maritime Academy and we had lunch with the Cadets aboard the ship.
  • I participated in the Munson Healthcare Board retreat, as a member of the Munson Medical Center Board. The beneficial relationship between NMC and Munson is continually reaffirmed for me with the coordinated legislative efforts to gain an NMC BSN offering, the Health Education Institute and the potential shared healthcare simulation labs.
  • Stephen Siciliano has been appointed to the MCCA Block Transfer Committee due to his knowledge and experience with these issues. The committee was established to build upon the success of the Michigan Transfer Agreement
  • In response to legislative language that creates a committee to review the current performance funding process for community colleges, the first meeting of the MCCA performance funding taskforce, of which I am a member, met to begin preliminary discussions on the issues and metrics that need to be reviewed in order to make recommendations for change to the existing performance funding formula used to allocate annual increases in community college funding. The committee will be reviewing data trends over the past 10 years which will help inform discussions on what changes, if any, need to be made to the existing formula.


  • MCCA has hired Dr. Erica Orians as the new Executive Director for the Center for Student Success, replacing Chris Baldwin who recently accepted a position with Jobs for the Future to help establish Student Success Centers in several states across the country.

Everyone Plays a Role in Learning and Learner Success

Part I of a coming series

I’m compelled to write to you after what I believe was an ill-informed Forum article in the Record Eagle on July 4, 2015.

First, let me thank the taxpayers of Grand Traverse County and the State of Michigan for supporting Northwestern Michigan College over its 64 year history.  Next, thank you to the tens of thousands of learners who have chosen to experience NMC.  And lastly, I want to thank all the staff and faculty who have dedicated their energy and passion to changing lives and building our community.

Higher education has changed a lot since I first attended college in 1971.  We as a nation have recognized that many more of our citizens need some form of education beyond high school.  When I attended, about 20% of high school grads went on to some type of college experience.  Today in our region, that number is approaching 80%.  With that increase has come the implementation of many services that were not needed nor offered in the past.  A constantly growing spate of regulations, reporting and audits face all educational organizations.  For those of you who are old enough to remember 1971, we do not live in the same world and our citizens do not have the same expectations.

NMC has made significant investments in learning as it is delivered today and will need to be delivered tomorrow.  Investments in technology, in learning coaches, in campus security, in recruiting, in advising, in institutional research that helps us improve student learning, in instructional design, in professional development for faculty and staff, in financial aid management.  We have special services for veterans, new and expanded programming including NMC baccalaureate degrees, University Center programs and national accreditation for nursing and other areas.  The staff that support these efforts are critical contributors to learner success.

Many colleges and universities during the past 15 years have significantly reduced the number of full time faculty.  NMC has not been one of these.  In 2001, when I became president here, we had 88 regular career plan faculty and they represented 57% of the direct instructional staff.  In 2014 we had 96 regular career plan faculty representing 57% of the direct instructional staff.

Adjunct faculty play an important role in today’s learning environment.  They are often practicing professionals who want to give back to their community and profession.  They may be retired faculty from other institutions who wish to continue to teach on a limited basis.  They may be NMC staff with special qualifications or backgrounds.  This group of dedicated individuals is critical to our ability to provide quality learning experiences.

Other learning experiences that our community expects include training in the workplace for businesses and their employees.  A robust College for Kids, Life Academy and year round Extended Education programming have all blossomed.  Our Dennos Museum Center is a leader in the state and the nation for its work in the area of arts and culture.

NMC makes considerable investments in our facilities.  Our taxpayers voted a bond in late 1999 that allowed us to leverage funding to repair and replace long neglected buildings.  We promised not to allow that to happen and allocate close to $1.5 million per year in their upkeep.

The notion that any expenditure not directed at full-time faculty is an administration expense is false.  It takes all of us and all of these services to assure student success and I thank each and every one of you for all that you do every day.

Timothy J. Nelson, President
Northwestern Michigan College
July 8, 2015


The next article in this series will provide simplified data and information on NMC’s budget.

NMC ends consideration of an EDUStaff partnership

Dear NMC Community,

This is an update to let you know that we will no longer be investigating a partnership with EDUStaff.

Last week on May 20, the Michigan House of Representatives passed House Bill 4052 which if fully adopted could significantly change the relationship NMC would have with adjunct faculty or supplemental staff employed through EDUStaff. I am not interested in pursuing an approach where NMC could not set wages, conditions of employment, evaluation, and provide professional development resources as it currently does. It appears this legislation could prohibit this.

We first began investigating this option because we thought it had the potential to:

  • Save some employees money by offering alternative retirement and health care options.
  • Save the college money by reducing the payroll covered by MPSERS. As a reminder, each dollar of covered payroll requires a college payment to the state of between 20 and 26 cents. The current covered payroll requires close to a $600,000 MPSERS payment each year.
  • Increase pay rates to those opting for this approach by sharing college savings with them.

This was to be optional for current employees and we had yet to determine whether it would be optional in the future.

Throughout this process we believed it was critical that we keep the high level of service offered here at NMC and that all employees feel part of the campus community. In order to accomplish this, we needed to retain important hiring, wage, supervision and evaluation decisions with our employees. But under the new legislation NMC could lose the ability to decide those issues, and the relationship with those employees would have turned into complete outsourcing. This is not acceptable. It is critically important that NMC continues to have the best team of employees possible to ensure our learners continue to get an exceptional education. It’s also important for everyone to feel valued and heard as we strive toward our common goal of providing lifelong learning opportunities.

We must also ensure that our learners are not unduly burdened by the cost of higher education. As the funding structure for higher education continues to change, we must all keep looking for ways to ensure we are fiscally healthy for years to come. This will cause us to examine alternatives that on their face are uncomfortable. However, it does not remove our responsibility to do so.

I thank those who participated in forums, spoke at the Board meeting and shared perspectives in unit meetings. Thank you for all you do.

Timothy J. Nelson, President
1701 E. Front Street Traverse City, MI
Phone: (231) 995-1010

President’s Update for April 24, 2015

Thank you all for everything you do in pursuit of “Keeping Learning at the Center.”

Activities of Note: Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Agenda, Strategic Directions and Goals are provided where possible.

  • When senior management from The Interlake Steamship Co. visited GLMA on 03 Feb 15, Fred Laughlin, director of Great Lakes Culinary Institute (GLCI) gave a presentation. Interlake has recently hired a GLCI graduate to serve in the steward’s department on one of their vessels, and they are extremely pleased with her perform GLMA will continue to work with GLCI in an effort to ensure those culinary who are students, who are interested, are able to obtain requisite Merchant Mariner Documents, and ideally an internship on a commercial vessel prior to graduation. This will provide them with the opportunity to sail on a commercial vessel immediately after graduation. (SD1, SD3)
  • On March 24th, the First Annual Jobs For Vets Hiring Fair at the Hagerty Center. The event was coordinated and initiated by Scott Herzberg and sponsored by NMC, who partnered with NW Michigan Works! and Bill Marc Nearly 175 veteran job seekers were in attendance to meet with 55 employers with over 200 available jobs. Some being offered a job on location and many offered formal interviews. This was a community supported event with local businesses donating their products and services. (SD3, SD4)
  • April 6-9 was Sexual Assault Awareness Week with a series of events on our campus designed to bring awareness and education to our campus community about the concern of sexual assault on college cam The week is culminated with an event in East Hall on April 8 that addressed the warning signs of unhealthy relationships and gave information on being an advocate for self and others to promote healthy relationships. On April 9 there was a documentary shown in Scholars Hall following the life of four college student sexual assault survivors, with a candlelight vigil and student dialogue following the documentary. (SD3)
  • Sweet Earth Arts and Music Festival is an all-day event on Saturday, April 18, that is a student and community festival featuring live music, workshops, and food and demonstrations related to Earth Day and the importance of our environm This event promotes a number of community collaborations with musicians, vendors and workshop presenters. (SD3, SD4)
  • NMC’s Director of Financial Aid, Pam Palermo, was nominated by the Director of the Michigan Student Financial Services Bureau to serve on the newly created Advisory (SD4)
  • Leanne Baumeler (Disability Services Specialist) accepted an appointment to the MiAhead (Michigan chapter of the Association of Higher Education and Disabilities) Board in January and is currently helping them plan their Spring Conference for May 14-15 in Lansing. (SD4)
  • On Friday, April 24th, our Native American Success Coach Todd Parker will be hosting the fifth Bead Work Social and a meeting for those interested in helping with planning a Pow Wow for Saturday, October 10th (partially funded by the NMC BBQ Board) as a lead up to the First Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday, October 12th, First Indigenous Peoples which will culminate with a Night of Native Music in Milliken Auditorium. (SD1, SD3, SD4)
  • On Saturday, April 11, GLMA held its second annual Captain’s This was a fundraiser for the following student groups: Women on the Water (WOW), Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME), and the GLMA Sailing Team. There are two seatings of 75. Both seatings sold out in advance. At this time the gross revenue is $10,500. That number does not include what was raised from the silent auction. The Great Lakes shipping industry contributed $4,500 to this event. (SD4)
  • GLMA faculty members Ben Minor and John Biolchini, and Karen Ruedinger from NMC ORPE observed the USCG audit of California Maritime Academy’s program. GLMA will be audited in Sep 2017. The maritime expertise provide by the GLMA staff, and the knowledge of quality assurance auditing provided by Karen will (hopefully) ensure GLMA is ready for its audit. (SD1, SD2)
  • GLMA Admissions Specialist Judy Druskovich safely escorted nine GLMA female cadets to/from the S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point where they attended the WOW Conference. GLMA will host this conference in the fall of 2017. (SD1, SD2, SD4)
  • Working from a template provide by D Weber, GLMA complete the first Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) for an alumni that wished to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. The PLA process, combined with the credits he earned at NMC/ GLMA twenty years ago, resulted in a determination that he was three credits short of the BSMT degree. We anticipate many GLMA alumni will be interested in using the PLA process to earn an NMC Bachelor’s Degree. (SD5)
  • Brian Heffner officially became the new director of the NMC Police Academy and is working hard on new strategies to help boost the program enrollmen (SD3)
  • A new student group—Students for Human Rights—has been formed with John Zachman as the faculty The group works to raise awareness of human trafficking and sexual slavery in the US. (SD3)
  • The Early Childhood Education AAS degree program has been implemented, along with the two new certificates for Childhood Development Program cred (SD5)
  • Keri Schneider, 2014-2015 NMC Dental Assistant student, was selected as a recipient of the Robert Mitus scholarship award from the Michigan Dental Association Foundation (MDAF). The award is for $1,000.00. (SD1)

Activities of Note: Tim

  • I attended the reception and round table sessions for the two finalists of the TCAPS superintendent search that were held the evenings of March 18 and 19. As you are most likely aware, Paul Soma was the successful candidate for TCAPS Superintendent.
  • The morning of March 19, most of NMC’s executive staff and several trustees attend the Board Member Basics training hosted by the Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s Office. Those in attendance found it to be a very beneficial session and materials provided are being made available on the Board’s web portal.
  • Nancy and I have enjoyed attending Great Lakes Culinary Dinners, including the Middle Eastern Dinner on March 20 and the Italian Dinner on April 10.
  • As a Michigan Tech alum, I was visited by their advancement officer Connie Scott on March 24. It was great to reconnect and receive an update from her, both as a graduate studies alum and past faculty mem
  • I attended the MPSERS Board meeting in Lansing on March 26, as well as the Health Insurance Committee meeting prior to the full MPSERS board m
  • Rebecca Teahen, Courtney Sorrell and I had lunch with Foundation Annual Fund co-chairs Bill March, Jr. and Sara Harding on March 27.
  • The afternoon of March 27 most of the campus community attended a farewell reception for Aaron Beach, which was his last day as NMC’s Human Resource Director. We wish Aaron well as he begins a new chapter in his professional life that will also increase his family time, working closer to hom
  • We held a small signing ceremony at GLMA on April 1 to sign a memorandum of understanding with the US Coast Guard for continued cooperation in meeting our mutual training needs.
  • I participated in an orientation session for new Foundation Board members to provide an overview of NMC, the Foundation, and their role as a Foundation Board me
  • I continue to have one on one meetings with new NMC hires from all departm It is proving to be a great opportunity to informally meet with each new employee to learn more about them as they join the NMC community.
  • I, along with many NMC faculty, staff and trustees attended the annual scholarship luncheon hosted by the NMC Foundation staff. I was personally touched by the stories shared and know that donors enjoy this opportunity to personally connect with recipients of their generosity.
  • I had a short visit with Congressman Benishek during his recent visit to Traverse City. The Congressman has continued to support a number of NMC interests in Washington D.C.
  • Saturday, April 11, was an eventful day for NMC. That morning I participated in the Big Little Hero Race put on by NMC’s Professional Communications class as a fundraiser for Northern Michigan’s Big Brothers Big Sisters. Community members of all ages were invited to dress up as their favorite superhero and run, or walk, for a good cause. The event was well attended with participants in three different categories—the free, untimed one mile fun run/walk; the timed 5K, and the timed 10K.
  • At noon I attended the funeral of Sally Malone, wife of NMC Fellow and Foundation Board member Terry Malone.
  • The evening of April 11 Nancy and I attended the Captain’s Dinner, along with trustees Kennard and Judy Weaver and Ross and Helen The event is a fundraiser hosted by several of the NMC GLMA student groups.
  • Ross and Helen Childs and Nancy and I attended the NMC International Club’s International Dinner and Fundraising this past Tuesday evening, April 21. It was an evening featuring global cuisine, performances from around the world and opportunities to connect with our NMC International Club mem I want to thank Lindsey Dickinson and the International Club students for all their work in hosting such a wonderful event.

Legislative Issues

  • See Attached MCCA Update


  • Many positive comments have been received pertaining to the process used to select new Trustee Chris M. Bott to fill the Board of Trustee vacancy due to the March 23 resignation of Cheryl Gore Follette. The appointed Trustee Search Committee of Kennard Weaver, Ross Childs, and Steve Rawlings did an outstanding job of of creating an efficient process to attract 10 excellent candidates and the full Board conducted an interview and selection process that primarily took place at a special meeting the afternoon of April 20 and finalized the selection of Chris Bott at their regular meeting that evening.
  • Honors Convocation is next Friday, May 1, from 4:45 p.m. until 7:00 p. at the Dennos Museum Center.
  • Commencement is next Saturday, May 2, at the Traverse City Central High School Gym The Board should arrive no later than 1:15 p.m. I will send more information separately pertaining to these two events.

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President’s Update for March 6, 2015

Thank you all for everything you do in pursuit of “Keeping Learning at the Center.”

Activities of Note: Faculty, Staff and Students

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Agenda, Strategic Directions and Goals are provided where possible.

  • Two NMC Water Studies Institute students have received scholarships from The Hydrographic Society of America (THSOA)—John Lutchko ($4500) and Alan Holcombe ($3500). This is the first year that two winners have come from the same institution. Alan also won a scholarship to attend the THSOA conference in Maryland this year, providing an all-expense paid opportunity for him to network with future potential employers. John also won the THSOA academic scholarship last year and was the recipient of a conference scholarship in 2013. NMC has had 7 students win the conference scholarship in the last 4 conferences and has had 4 different academic scholarship recipients for the last 3 conferences. In addition to the networking opportunities, the conference features an extensive series of workshops including technical sessions and a poster session on the latest developments and application in hydrographic surveying multibeam and side scan sonar, data management, electronic charting, marine archaeology, and related topics. The mission of THSOA is to promote education in hydrography. (SD1,SD2, SD3)
  • NMC student Kathy Tahtinen is the top scoring student from Michigan on the All-USA Community College Academic Team competition, for which more than 1,700 applications were received this year. Nominations were evaluated on academic achievement, leadership, service and a response to a significant endeavor. Recipients of this award will be presented with a $2,000 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Foundation and Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, and will be recognized at the Annual Phi Theta Kappa Presidents Breakfast held during the American Association of Community College’s Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX, in April. Kathy will also be recognized in Lansing at the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Convention on March 24 and at NMC’s Honors Convocation at the end of the semester. (SD1,SD5)

Activities of Note: Tim

  • As I shared with the campus community in a separate email, I was part of an NMC team of eight who attended a strategy forum as required in our Higher Learning Commission AQIP accreditation process in February. It was a very intensive and beneficial workshop with the outcome of a new AQIP action project of Our NMC: Cultivating a Connected Community to improve internal engagement with a focus on communications. I have assigned this action project to our already established Leadership Group who met on Friday, March 6, to begin developing the charge and structure of the project. See the attached document describing the event’s outcomes.
  • Nancy and I, along with trustees Marilyn Dresser and Kennard Weaver, attended the GLMA Alumni Association Dinner the evening of February 21. This is a very nice annual event that provides an opportunity for GLMA alumni to reunite and catch up with each other. It was one of the largest attendances in recent times and represented their 40th anniversary for the alumni group.
  • Following the Foundation Board meeting on February 26, I flew to Dallas to attend the Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN) CEO and Reps Meeting, also attended by Darby Hiller. It was a good session preparing for the CQIN 2015 Summer Institute that will feed nicely into our new AQIP action project on cultivating a connected community, mentioned above. We will be selecting an appropriate NMC team to attend that summer session. CQIN is a higher education membership organization for CEOs of both colleges and universities as well as associated corporations to foster continuous improvement and achievement of performance excellence by studying non-higher education partners.
  • I returned to Traverse City in time Friday, February 27, to attend the Taster’s Guild Dinner with Nancy that benefits NMC’s Culinary Program. This was the 21st anniversary of the event and, as has been its history, was sold out. Almost $90,000 of scholarships were awarded to culinary students that night! Thanks to all who worked to make this a great event.
  • I have recently been appointed to the Networks Northwest Workforce Development Board and Regional Prosperity Index Committee. This Board is the regional board for implementation and oversight of the Governor’s Prosperity Regions. I attended an orientation session for new members of that board the afternoon of March 4.
  • Friday morning, I had a good meeting with our SGA leadership team. They asked great questions (attached) and are certainly invested in helping to make NMC a fantastic experience for all of our students.
  • Friday afternoon we held a farewell reception for Darby Hiller, our Executive Director of the Office of Research, Planning and Effectiveness, who will be leaving NMC on March 11 to continue her career as Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs and Institutional Research at Wittenberg University in Ohio. We will miss Darby’s leadership, but NMC will continue to benefit from the strong foundation she has developed for the use of data in decision making at NMC.

Legislative Issues

  • See attached MCCA Update


  • The NMC Student Government Association will have dinner with the Board of Trustees at 5:00 p.m. at the NMC Hagerty Center on Monday, March 23, and will make a presentation to the Board at their regular meeting that same evening at 5:30 p.m., also at the Hagerty Center.

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President’s Update for February 16, 2015

Thank you all for everything you do in pursuit of “Keeping Learning at the Center.”

Activities of Note:  Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Agenda, Strategic Directions and Goals are provided where possible.

  • Great Lakes Maritime Academy Faculty are among 6 finalists for the prestigious Lloyd’s List North American Maritime Awards 2015 in the Training Award category.  This award goes to a company for outstanding commitment in training its employees ashore or at sea; or a company or institution that can demonstrate a contribution toward improving training standards across the maritime industry as a whole.  Judges will be looking for examples of investment in new facilities and courses, innovative training solutions and a sustained, effective approach to developing quality staff in the maritime sector.  The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony and dinner to be held on February 18, 2015, at the exclusive Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa, Houston.  The nomination submission is attached. (SD1)
  • GLMA reports another great year of U.S. Coast Guard license exam results. The Engine Program had 13 who tested, taking all 7 modules including the 2 steam modules. Eight passed all modules, with the other 5 having to retake 1 or 2 modules; all passed the two steam modules. These results indicate a 92.3% passing rate of exams administered. The
  • Deck Program had 23 tested, with 16 passing all modules, 5 only needing to retake 1 module and the remaining retaking 2 or 3 modules. The Deck results reflect a 94% passing rate of exams administered. Any wonder why our GLMA faculty are award finalists!  Thanks to everyone’s efforts.  (SD1, SD5)
  • NMC has been invited to participate, along with 11 other Michigan Community Colleges, in Cohort I of the Michigan Guided Pathways Institute. As a participant, NMC will become part of a state and a national network of colleges working to implement a set of principles
  • and practices which research suggests will improve processes to help students connect, enter, progress and complete programs of study leading to credentials of value in the labor market. The selection was based on materials submitted, which indicated our institution is well positioned to take on this work. As a member, NMC’s team will have access to educational resources provided through the Kresge Foundation. (SD1, SD3)
  • NMC faculty has won top honors in two of three categories (student, adjunct, full-time) at the LAND Conference in Grand Rapids this past week for best conference presentations. Fellow LAND attendees cast ballots.
    • Adjunct Faculty, 1st Place: Teresa Scollon, “Five Ways to Use Poetry to Teach Even if You Don’t Get Poetry”
    • Full-time Faculty, 2nd Place: Regis McCord, “Five Things in Thirty-five Years (or one thing every two minutes!): Reflections of a Slow Learner and a Fast Talker”
    • Full-time Faculty, 1st Place: Melissa Sprenkle, Michael Anderson, and Susan Odgers, “Whose Writing Workshop is it Anyway?”
  • Earlier in the day, NMC was awarded this year’s Institutional Excellence Award (and a check for $1000!) for Melissa, Michael, and Susan’s work with the Homeless Writing Workshop. An added bonus: Stephen Siciliano braced the icy roads from TC to Grand Rapids, arriving in time to join the lunch-time award presentation.
  • NMC’s Nancy Parshall, who in recent years has served as both an officer and president has taken the LAND Conference to new heights. Her visionary thinking and steadfast leadership have helped birth LAND’s invigorating “lightening talks” format. Many thanks, Nancy, for your many years of service and dedication!
  • In addition to yesterday’s Lightning Talk winners, LAND awarded NMC student (and WRC reader) Kristy Groth second place in the fiction category for her short story “Bank Shot.” Congratulations to Kristy and her Creative Writing instructor, Teresa Scollon! (SD1, SD3)
  • On Sunday, February 15, six NMC choral music groups performed at Lars Hockstad Auditorium.  It was great to see community members ranging in age from elementary school to retirees sharing their passion for music. Thank you to Jeff Cobb, the other conductors, administrative managers, and volunteers for a great example of lifetime learning! (SD3, SD4)

Activities of Note: Tim

  • We’ve been holding a series of Open Listening Sessions that have been facilitated by the vice presidents. These sessions have been well attended and with good participation asking questions and discussing the various topics brought up during the sessions.  Thank you all who have participated. The vice presidents look forward to any feedback provided on these sessions.
  • The evening of January 24, Nancy and I attended the Dennos Museum Center opening reception for the new exhibits that will be on display through May 17, 2015. The exhibits include HWEH – GEEH Returning Again an installation by Jinwon Chang, Jae Yong Kim:  Lusting After Donuts, ReTooled:  Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, and Michigan Ceramic Artists Exhibition 2014.
  • I attended the MCCA Legislative Summit in Lansing on January 29 and also met with six state legislators individually while there.  I address some of what was discussed under Legislative Issues below.
  • The evening of January 30 I stopped by the Hagerty Center staff holiday party that had been postponed due to severe weather when previously scheduled. We provided a separate holiday party for this group as they work during the NMC employee holiday party held at the Hagerty Center.
  • Elaine Wood, Doug Luciani and I continue to have regular breakfast meetings to touch base on common initiatives. We met on on February 3 and discussed the new Prosperity Zone classifications and economic development issues within the region.
  • At noon on February 3, Kennard, Ross and I attended a luncheon reception for Mark Barker, President of Interlake Steamship Company, and Glenn Kolke, Marine Personnel Manager, who gave an informational presentation to Cadets later that afternoon.
  • I met with representatives of Grand Traverse County Planning Department on February 4 to discuss potential support for the creation of an economic development strategy for GT County.

Legislative Issues

  • The Governor has issued his executive budget that includes his funding requests and priorities for the coming year. Attached is a summary of the Community College section. There is continued support for community college activities with a particular tilt toward workforce talent preparation. His capital outlay recommendations identify two planning grants and did not include NMC. We will continue to work with the JCOS to secure funding. Remember that the House and Senate now go to work to craft their budget recommendations that may, or may not, be in agreement with the Governor’s.
  • The Business Leaders of Michigan (BLM) have issued their report on “How Higher Education can Help Michigan Become a Top Ten State:. Among their recommendations are strengthening performance based funding for community colleges. This is an influential group of leaders that have been successful in influencing state policy. The report and summary are attached.
  • For other issues we are addressing, please see the attached MCCA update.


  • A team of 8 from NMC will be participating in a Strategy Forum as part of our HLC AQIP accreditation process. The team will be focusing on two targets for change during this intensive workshop—expanding community awareness and engagement and the shared governance process. By the end of the meeting we are required to have a work plan that will lead to identification of our next AQIP project. Thank you in advance for the team’s work on this issue.

Read more »

Fiscal Year 2015 budget update

The fiscal year 2015 budget was approved by the Board of Trustees at their regular meeting on  June 23, 2014. I thank everyone for their work during the budgeting process and appreciate  those who attended Employee Conversation meetings last spring. Because of your hard work and input, the approved FY15 budget was balanced using a combination of expenditure  reductions, modest tuition increases, and additional sources of revenue. The budget does not rely  on reserves and will assist us in achieving a long-term sustainable business model.

The final FY15 budget included tuition rate changes of 5.3% for all in-state tuition and 7.2%  change for out-of-state tuition. The Dental Assistant program will now be included in Tier I  differential tuition rates and an International rate for fiscal year 2016 was approved by the Board of Trustees. Additional revenue from the Foundation of $68,000 and from Marine Technology  portfolio B projects of $135,000 is included.

Changes in expenses included reductions in the capital outlay (COAT) allocation of $50,000,  professional development of $40,000, general E&G of $187,000, and personnel of $420,000.  These adjustments came as a result of the Planning and Budget Council asking for additional reductions based on the analysis of personnel and other expenses. Also included in the budget is  a placeholder for changes in employee compensation. As you are aware, the recommendation  from Planning and Budget Council was to align the date of compensation changes to January 1 in  conjunction with employee health benefits. This alignment will provide a more complete picture of fall tuition revenue and allow time for the Compensation Study and its implementation to be  reviewed by the Board of Trustees at their September meeting. We acknowledge that there are  still questions regarding the implementation of any compensation changes and we will keep you  informed as recommendations are finalized. I expect implementation will be a multi-year  activity. Please refer to my memo of June 11, 2014 for more on this issue.

As always, I will keep you informed of any changes to the situation. I ask everyone to continue  the good work you are doing in recruiting students and helping them on their completion  pathway.

Thank you.

Timothy J. Nelson, President


Recent accomplishments

The Board of Trustees and I are thankful for the outstanding contributions everyone at NMC made this past academic year that helped us to successfully meet the learning needs of our students and region. Here are a number of important accomplishments you helped to achieve this past year.  Many will have a lasting impact on NMC and our future.

  • Received Higher Learning Commission accreditation for the Bachelor of Science in Maritime Technology and became the first community college in Michigan to award baccalaureate degrees.
  • Received national accreditation for our LPN and ADN Nursing Degrees.
  • Submitted and received positive review of our Higher Learning Commission AQIP (Academic Quality Improvement Program) Systems Portfolio.
  • Made good progress in the execution of the new NMC Foundation business plan. While not yet fully implemented, this approach will lead us into an era of continual significant resource raising.
  • Made significant progress toward completion of the evaluation of total compensation and classification plans and processes. A progress report was provided at the May Board of Trustees Meeting.
  • Continued the implementation of our globalization agenda including working jointly with TCAPS and executing Memorandums Of Agreement and/or Memorandums Of Understanding with Chinese partner schools and universities.
  • Established position sharing with TCAPS, TBA-ISD, Michigan State University, and the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments that save all organizations resources and demonstrate institutional collaboration.
  • Established first in the country joint degrees in water studies with Western Michigan University.
  • Expanded our partnerships with manufacturing, construction and health care sectors.
  • Implemented the first cohorts in our new Engineering Technology programs.
  • Made positive progress in student completion and persistence as evidenced by metrics.
  • Established a student advising system by which every NMC degree-seeking student connects with an advisor every semester.
  • Presented a year of world class (and in many cases U.S. firsts) exhibitions and conferences at the Dennos.
  • Continued the structural realignment of the college to meet the environmental challenges we have projected for the near future.

I am grateful that everyone at NMC works to ensure that learning is at the center of everything we do.

NMC sails past 24 Hour Donor Challenge goal

24hr-youmeNMC-stackThank you to everyone who participated in the NMC Foundation’s 24-Hour Donor Challenge on Thursday and Friday.  The outpouring of support from our community and especially our campus community helped make the event a success that exceeded expectations.

In just 24 hours, more than 120 donations, exceeding $20,000 were received.  That money will go into the Foundation’s Annual Fund and support scholarships, programs, facilities and services here at NMC.  I’m proud to have pledged $24 for each of the first 100 donations, and very happy that the great outpouring of support means that my full pledge will be honored. (more…)

FY15 Budget Update

Below, you will find a Budget Update from Planning and Budget Council that summarizes the progress we have made, since the beginning of the year, towards providing a balanced budget recommendation to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

As part of providing greater stability in future budgets, starting in the next fiscal year, we will recommend in the budget that is presented to the Board of Trustees for approval to award total compensation increases starting on January 1. Shifting to a January 1 annual compensation change will enable shared governance committees to have a more complete picture of the largest drivers in our budget, fall tuition revenue and healthcare costs. This allows us to align all total compensation increases together. The timing of the salary increase determination will be aligned with health benefits enrollment in October. The attached memo explains the rationale for this change. (more…)

Update on Board of Trustees Communications

Last week NMC President Timothy J. Nelson sent the campus community an e-mail in regard to an issue that would be addressed at last night’s Board of Trustees meeting.  As promised here is an update from the president.

Last night the regular April meeting of our Board of Trustees was held at our Parsons-Stulen building, and it was the first meeting to be video recorded.  I want to thank Kyle Morrison and Dennis Schultz of our Educational Media Technologies department for their work in creating a very professional and unobtrusive process for recording the meetings.  The meeting will soon be posted on the NMC website and that process will be the same for all future regular board meetings.

The college and the Board of Trustees value input from the public, and public input was a key factor in the decision to begin recording the meetings.  Transparency is an important factor in keeping the public trust, and we are committed to maintaining that trust.


Board of Trustees Communications

Campus Community,

Here’s an update from NMC President Timothy J. Nelson:

As many of you know, at its March 24th Board meeting NMC Trustees approved a videotaping policy in order to archive and record all special and regular meetings of the NMC Board. Trustees began reviewing the benefits and concerns regarding adopting this policy last fall.


State Budget Update

State Budget Update 

The Governor released the executive budget on February 7, 2014. The process for getting to an approved budget follows this path. First the Governor establishes and releases the executive budget; next, individual departmental budgets are taken up by the appropriate subcommittees in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. The community college budget starts this year in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Community Colleges. Once they complete a budget through House processes, it moves to the Senate. Assuming the budgets are not the same, they go to a conference committee to resolve the differences. They then return to the House and Senate for votes and finally go to the Governor for his signature. In the past few years, this has been done early enough that we can appropriately plan. Legally, they must have a budget by October 1, 2014, the beginning of the State fiscal year.


Enrollment Update – Spring 2014

The trend of enrollment at Northwestern Michigan College in the past five fall and spring semesters mirrors the unemployment rate.  When unemployment increases, enrollment at community colleges increases (including NMC) as students seek education to enhance their current skills or pursue different careers.  Student enrollment began increasing related to unemployment in SP2009 and then peaked at the height of the recession in 2010-2011.  During this time NMC experienced the highest enrollment in our history, with 5,440 students in FA2010 and 5,194 students in SP2011.  Since that time enrollment is returning to levels prior to the recession.  Current student enrollment is similar to the enrollment during 2007-2008.