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.


Update – September 20, 2013

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

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

  • As part of NMC‘s increasing global footprint, the Office of Outreach Services recently coordinated the placement of seven NMC students in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. While there, the students spent the month of July teaching English to Brazilian students at a technical high school in the city center. Students applied and were selected through an interview process to work through US-Brazil Connect, an organization of community college partners based out of Denver, Colorado. Actual work for NMC students began long before their time in Brazil as they were required to manage regularly scheduled on-line tutoring sessions with their selected students beginning this past April. After a very successful experience, five Brazilian students and two chaperones have been selected to visit NMC November 3 – 12. In a unique partnership developed with TCAPS, the students will be hosted at Traverse City Central High School during the morning and at NMC during the afternoon and evening. We look forward to their visit, and to further strengthening our association with the country of Brazil. (SD1, SD3)
  • NMC is now a member of Campus Compact, a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and universities who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum. We were awarded a grant to host an AmeriCorps – Michigan Access Corps member to work with our Commitment Scholarship Program. This individual will work full time with the coordinator over the next twelve months to increase the capacity and impact of the expanded program, with a focus on college readiness, college access to first generation students and student self-efficacy. (SD3)
  • Last week, the Detroit Red Wings organization hosted over 30 NMC veterans at their training camp at Centre Ice. Veterans were honored with free tickets and unlimited access to the daylong event. Two of our students were even given the chance to go on the ice with Red Wings starters for a ceremonial puck drop before the team scrimmage. This event was coordinated through the Office of Outreach Services – Military and Veterans Services. (SD4)
  • On September 17 – 19, four accreditors from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) visited the college to review our Association Degree in Nursing and Practical Nursing Certificate programs for initial ACEN accreditation. They met with several NMC faculty, staff and students as well as Munson Medical Center employees. A preliminary report of their findings will be available within 30 days with a final ACEN decision being made next April. The team expressed their appreciation for our hospitality and support and our work to prepare for the visit. Two more steps will occur before a final answer in the spring will be known. Special thanks to Laura Schmidt who directed the selfstudy process and to all members of the Nursing faculty and staff. GREAT JOB! (SD1,SD5)
  • The Michigan Civil Rights (MCR) reviewers conducted an on-site audit of NMC September 17 and 18. The group of reviewers was very grateful for the precise, organized documentation provided by NMC staff, as well as the hospitality extended from all of the NMC campuses. In addition, they were very impressed with the beautiful facilities. We were informed that we were likely to have only one or two findings. Kudos to all for the excellent NMC presentation!! (SD3)

Activities of Note:

  • Thank you, trustees, for taking the time out of your busy schedules to meet with me over breakfast or lunch over the past several weeks. These informal conversations provide valuable insights. I will schedule another round during spring semester.
  • Last week I met with Helen Grove, recently retired Senior Vice President and Provost of Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. She has relocated to Traverse City and wanted to connect with NMC.
  • I participated in an MCCA conference call on September 10 to discuss the potential of convening a Futures Institute for the MCCA colleges in February, as a follow up from the discussion this summer with the presidents in Traverse City. I led a session at the presidents meeting in July and was asked to chair a group that would keep this topic in front of the Association. I will keep you advised as we move forward.
  • On September 11 Marguerite and I attended a Michigan Aeronautics Aviation event to support Aaron Cook as he received the Michigan Aviation Excellence Award for an individual.
  • I had the opportunity to be in the classroom setting again on September 11 when I joined the ENV105-Introduction to Freshwater Studies class to discuss relevant topics related to water, economy and society. As in previous years, the students seemed to enjoy learning about the role of innovation at NMC and the future of the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute and its programs.
  • Last Wednesday evening I joined the Friends of NMC Committee at the home of Ross and Helen Childs to debrief on the recent unsuccessful millage campaign. Again, my personal thanks go out to Ross, Kennard Weaver, Bonnie Alfonso, Bill Marsh Jr., and Barb Benson for their leadership in the campaign.
  • We are working with the Business News as they prepare a fall issue that will take an in-depth look at NMC. Each year they focus on an area business or organization, and this fall it is us.
  • Thank you all for your participation in the Fellows Dinner event on the evening of September 12. It was a wonderful gathering of friends, family and Fellows honoring two very special people to NMC—Dr. Don Good and Walter “Jay” Hooper. Both of these men expressed their appreciation to be honored by the NMC Board of Trustees with this prestigious recognition.
  • The very next night Nancy and I attended the annual Lobdell’s Scholarship Dinner, which raises funds to support our NMC Culinary Institute. The restaurant was full, the food was wonderful, and the students performed flawlessly. My thanks to Wayne and Terry Lobdell, Blackstar Farms and Don Coe, and SYSCO for their contributions to this great event.
  • This past Monday, September 16, I spoke briefly at the NMC Foundation Annual Fund kickoff event at Lobdell’s. It was a nice informal gathering of students, Foundation members and staff as they prepare forthe new campaign. A short video was prepared and we will make it available to the campus, as well as show it at the next board meeting.
  • I’ve been meeting with a Chinese Exchange Advisory Committee comprised of various community members including NMC, TCAPS, the Chamber and Council of Governments. As TCAPS considers this program, we are all aware there will need to be ongoing communication with our community and opportunities for dialogue and learning.
  • We continue to work with TCAPS in other areas, including curricular alignment, technology integration and sharing, and development of an early college program.
  • On Wednesday of this week, I welcomed the participants of the Proud to Manufacture in Michigan Conference that took place over a two-day period at our Hagerty Center. Thanks to Ross Childs, Kennard Weaver and Bill Myers for attending. Thank you to our NMC Business Training area for leadership in the event.

Legislative Issues

  • Two significant issues are being taken up in the State Legislature. First is House Joint Resolution M. This resolution calls for an amendment to the constitution that would require Boards of trustees to provide in-district tuition to veterans, reservists and active duty military regardless of their legal residency. Please see the attached MCCA Analysis.
  • The second issue is an act that would allow the annexation of non-contiguous areas to a community college district. The process would require multiple approvals and could change the face of community college coverage within the State. I will provide you with a brief analysis of this topic at our Monday meeting.


  • As noted above, this was a busy week with two important site visits occurring simultaneously. Both visiting teams expressed their appreciation for the hospitality and prep work of our staff, as well as being impressed by our web site and campuses. This is confirmation of the good work being done by all at NMC!


President’s Update – September 6, 2013

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.

• On July 23, the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute and Technical Division hosted Darian Breaux, Training Manager for Oceaneering International, Inc., for a comprehensive look at NMC’s facilities, curriculum and faculty/staff in support of developing a specialized training program for offshore ROV technicians to work in the global oil and gas exploration market. I had the opportunity to meet with Darian and discuss Oceaneering’s need for a skilled workforce. This training program is proposed to be an intensive 10-15 week program designed to provide industry recognized credentials for preparation in hydraulic, electronic/electrical, mechanical and safety systems. The current global demand for these types of trained personnel exceeds 1000 and very few academic institutions offer this type of training in the US. Darian was thoroughly impressed with all that NMC has to offer and indicated that he had not been to an institution in the U.S. with the caliber and strength of NMC. Program development and delivery is ongoing and I will keep you updated as this progresses. (SD1, SD2, SD3, SD5)

• Attached is an an article written by NMC’s Hans Van Sumeren for Sea Technology regarding our specialties in water/marine training. (SD1, SD2, SD3, SD5)

• Thank you to all who made the startup of the semester so smooth for our learners. We will have a full enrollment report at the September Board Meeting. It looks like we are down about 2% in headcount and in contact hour delivery. Our mix of in/out district students has changed and the resulting shortfall in tuition revenue vs. budget looks to be in the $70,000 range. Final numbers will be available soon. (SD1)

• Thank you to all who participated in opening conference and in the professional development activities that followed. (SD1)

• Congratulations to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy for successful achievement of their STCW International Accreditation. The report required was well over 700 pages long! Thanks to all the staff who participated and made this happen. (SD1, SD2, SD5)

• Thank you to Laura Schmidt and the nursing faculty for preparing for our national accreditation visit coming this month. (SD1, SD2, SD5)

Activities of Note:

• Ross Childs, Marguerite and I met with Dean Laura Lein and Susan Himle, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations from the University of Michigan School of Social Work to discuss potential internships.

• NMC executive staff and I have met with retired Alpena Community College president Don Newport and some of his new colleagues from Ferris State University to discuss potential NMC/FSU collaborations with educational opportunities with China.

• I saw several of you at the NMC Scholarship golf outing on August 1. The event was very successful and the Grand Traverse Resort did a wonderful job as this year’s venue. The NMC Foundation netted over $75,000 for scholarships.

• I participated in a president’s panel at the Michigan Association of Continuing Education and Training (MACET) conference in early August. This is a conference that brings together community college representatives from across Michigan to talk about relevant issues around economic and workforce development.

• As you know, we hosted two reviewers from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) August 5-6, while they conducted a focus visit as part of the accreditation process to allow NMC to offer a bachelor’s degree in maritime technology as part of NMC’s Great Lakes Maritime Academy. I want to thank those trustees who were able to spend time meeting with the review team. We feel that the visit went very well and expect a final determination by the end of this fall semester.

• Thank you Doug, Cheryl, and Kennard for attending Opening Conference. It was very well attended and I have received positive feedback that our NMC community is motivated to play an active role in transforming our college into the future leaning needs of our learners.

• I had dinner with Robert and Janice Lang the evening before Bob’s L3C presentation at the Hagerty Center on August 22. Bob Lang is the creator of the L3C and Founder of Americans for Community Development. Bill Myers, Ross Childs, Kennard Weaver and I attended the open community morning session, as well as the invitation only afternoon session that was a participatory format with discussion of local projects of interest. Bob provided examples of existing L3Cs and ideas for individual projects that participants bring forth. NMC was one of the sponsors of this event.

• Andy Dolan and I met with Jason Jones, Director of the Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation Department, and John Robert Williams about a potential comprehensive recreation center for our community. Jason Jones is also the liaison for the Parks and Recreation Commission’s Business Development Team charged with researching and making a plan for such a center. Rotary Charities just awarded grant monies to the County, in care of the Parks and Recreation, to conduct a community recreational needs assessment.

• We honored Peg Jonkhoff, who was selected as one of NMC’s Outstanding Alumnus, along with Paul Britten. It was a wonderful event providing an opportunity to celebrate, not only Peg, but the many successful alumni of NMC who become such beneficial contributors to their communities.

• NMC hosted a 40 Under 40 reception on August 28 to welcome new and continuing members. We will be hosting a more structured conversational session with this group in October to explore and identify ways to work together and engage their energy and resources.

• I had lunch with Bill Marsh, Jr. last Thursday to learn more about him and his business. Bill is the current co-chair for our annual fund and was a co-chair for our recent millage campaign. Their company is focused on being the reference point for customer service in our area. Bill also publishes a blog at Take a look.

• I Met with Linda Viswat regarding Japan exchange programming with Otemon University in Japan. NMC has had a long history with this institution and they have now reached a point where they would like to expand an exchange program. I will keep you posted.

• Elaine Wood, Doug Luciani and I met over breakfast last week to discuss how our strategic plans intersect and how we might continue to leverage our resources.

• NMC has become a member of the Michigan Campus Compact (MiCC), a coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education, which includes the development of personal and social responsibility as integral to the educational mission of their campuses. Stephen and I, along with Jim Bensley and Nicholeen Frusti from Outreach Services, met with visiting MiCC staff as part of our orientation process.

• I met with Hans Voss, Executive Director of the Michigan Land Use Institute, who is seeking to partner with academic institutions in order to advance specific goals in food, energy and transportation.

• NMC held it’s kickoff meeting this morning for the first cohort of the Foundation of Leadership. Our guest leader’s panel included Bill Marsh, Jr., Megan Madion, and Bruce Byle. All are accomplished leaders, supporters of NMC, and shared some wonderful insights. The Foundation of Leadership program is a 6 month leadership series as part of our Talent III project.

• I met with a group of local leaders who have been asked to help TCAPs as they work to establish a more robust partnership with China. NMC is a partner in this program and you will see more about it after the TCAPs September 9 Board Meeting.

Legislative Issues

• Reported from Inside Higher Ed, President Obama appears to be making good on his vow to propose a “shake-up” for higher education. Early Thursday, August 22, he released a plan that would:

– Create a new rating system for colleges in which they would be evaluated based on various outcomes (such as graduation rates and graduate earnings), on affordability and on access (measures such as the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants).

– Link student aid to these ratings, such that students who enroll at high performing colleges would receive larger Pell Grants and more favorable rates on student loans.

– Create a new program that would give colleges a “bonus” if they enroll large numbers of students eligible for Pell Grants.

– Toughen requirements on students receiving aid. For example, the president said that these rules might require completion of a certain percentage of classes to continue receiving aid.

To read more about the President’s plan in advance of his speech today, please visit:

Also see attached ACCT Statement on President Obama’s Plan to Make College More Affordable.


• Congratulations to Trustee Cheryl Follette who completed this year’s Mackinac Bridge Run. I’ve attached a copy of her story, and the other lucky runners can be found at Cheryl’s story is a great example for those involved in our wellness initiatives here at NMC!

• We are planning a number of communications and outreach activities that will begin shortly.

They include:

o An EES class that is a bus tour of our facilities with presentations by departments open to the community.

o A series of community conversations to share college accomplishments and discuss the future.

o A series of internal discussions to provide an opportunity for faculty, staff and students to share their thoughts, accomplishments and questions.

o Watch your email and the NMC Communique for dates and times.


President’s Update – July 22, 2012

Personal Note: 

I returned to work full time last week and thank you all for the extra work and attention you absorbed during my month-long absence. It’s hard to believe we are only a little over five weeks away from opening conference. There is a lot going on between now and then that will have significant impact on NMC and our future. Two important events occurring on the same date are our Higher Learning Commission visit for accreditation of NMC’s first baccalaureate degree (Maritime Technologies) on August 5 and 6, and the Grand Traverse County election for NMC operating millage on August 6. It will be a busy two days for a lot of people. Next week is the MCCA annual meeting here in Traverse City. There is a great line-up of national speakers including Jeff Selingo, the Editor-at-Large from the Chronicle for Higher Education, author of the just released book, College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students. I know many of you have signed up to attend portions of the conference and I encourage you to participate as much as you can. This is an important year of continued transformation for the Association and all colleges.

I have asked the office to begin scheduling breakfast or lunch meetings with members of the Board as we have in the past. Additionally, I will be scheduling coffee, lunch, and evening get together times open to the campus community to provide an opportunity for more informal discussions about the good work people are doing.

I intend to begin distributing more reading materials throughout the year, to the Board and all employees, that will serve as thought starters for the continued strategic conversations that we are holding. Look for those soon.

Finally, it is good to be back. We have a lot of important work to do and I am thankful to all who give of their time, treasures and talent to make NMC such an important asset within our region and state.

Faculty and Staff Activities of Note: 

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

• NMC will be participating in the centennial celebration at Camp Grayling on July 20. We will have an exhibit tent showcasing our Unmanned Systems and Robotics Center technology in the air, sea and land arenas for this event. This will include our unmanned ground vehicle, unmanned aerial systems, and remotely operated vehicle. We have been encouraged by SFC Beth Lamphere, career counselor for the National Guard/Michigan Works to participate and showcase the educational opportunities NMC has for National Guard reservists. It is anticipated that several thousand persons will be in attendance and the event opens

• Nikoline Sanderson, a student from Northwestern Michigan College, is helping a WWII veteran’s daughter finally get answers to her life-long questions about her father. Donna Gerhard, who is wheelchair bound due to multiple sclerosis, approached the NMC history department hoping that they could help her find more information about her father, Sgt. Donald Fox, a soldier that fought in WWII. Sanderson was assigned to the project by Jim Press, NMC history teacher, and has done countless hours of research to help Gerhard find the information she needs about her father’s life during the military, and after. Scott Herzberg, Assistant Director for NMC’s Outreach Services and POC Military and Veterans Services is now helping to raise funding through donations for Gerhard and himself to make a trip to a reunion with her father’s military troop. (SD3, SD4)

• Ten GLMA staff, faculty and adjuncts attended Fast Rescue Boat (FRB) Training that was provided by Texas Maritime. As a result, GLMA will be able to provide this training to cadets so they can receive the FRB endorsement on their Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) upon graduation. (SD1, SD3, SD5)

• GLMA has also received Coast Guard approval for their Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) class. This is another MMC endorsement the cadets will be able to earn while at GLMA. (SD5)

Saturday morning with multiple National Guard units conducting reviews in front of Governor Snyder. Several other defense industry companies will also be in attendance. (SD2, SD3)

Activities of Note: 

• I attended the Coast Guard Air Station Change of Command Ceremony that took place on June 7, along with trustees Doug Bishop and Ross Childs and GLMA Superintendent Jerry Achenbach. We have always had a great relationship with the Air Station and I have full expectations that will continue. Since that time, we have met with the new USCG Northern District RADM.

• As is the normal schedule, I participated in the Munson Healthcare Finance Committee, the Munson Medical Center Board meetings and the ribbon cutting for the Webber Heart Center. I will be spending half a day with Al Pilong, the new President of Munson Medical Center on July 19. This is a chance for me to show him facilities, discuss current and future partnerships and get to know one of our new community leaders.

• Andy Dolan and I met with Neal Ronquist, Publisher of the Record-Eagle, on June 25 and gave him a tour of most of our campuses. Yesterday, Andy, Doug Bishop, Bill Marsh Jr., Barb Benson and I met with the editorial staff to discuss NMC and answer questions about the August 6 Grand Traverse County millage election.

• Bill Marsh, Co-Chair of Friends of NMC, and I were interviewed on the Ron Jolly show the morning of June 26.

• We continue to meet with TCAPS personnel to discuss how our two organizations might better utilize technology through our combined shared resources. We are both publicly supported institutions and continue to look for ways to leverage resources for the benefit of our students, community and taxpayers.

• Bonnie Alfonso, Marguerite Cotto and I toured Village Press on July 2 to see their IT infrastructure. Village Press is a fascinating example of a company in growth mode in an industry that is not. We are examining ways in which we might use their knowledge to benefit NMC.

• Last Thursday was the MPSERS Board meeting on July 11. As you can imagine, there are changes occurring in the retirement system and in retiree health care. I can share these with any of you who are interested.

Legislative Issues 

• Implementation of segments of the Affordable Care Act has been delayed. We are examining what this means for NMC and will report out to you in the next week or so.


• Reminder that the MCCA Summer Workshop is next week, July 24-26. Several of you are signed up for some of the events and sessions. Please call Dawn in the President’s Office with any questions.

• Traverse City Light and Power signed a contract with HDR Engineering from Ann Arbor to complete the feasibility study for the co-generation project on main campus. We are anticipating a final report from them within 60 days.

• The Army Corps of engineers released the pre-solicitation notice for the harbor project. Due date for RFP returns is August 12. Construction would begin after selection is made. Likely in September. We will keep you informed.

President’s Update – April 5, 2013

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. 

  • Stephen Siciliano attended the GLMA alumni dinner on Saturday, February 16. Steve Rawlins, our 2012 Outstanding Alumni, was the keynote speaker. He gave an information talk on the role of energy in the state. Admiral Achenbach gave a state of the academy presentation, highlighting our achievement of the community college bachelor’s degree and the acquisition of the maritime simulator. Thank you to the alumni society for awarding two $750 scholarships to two of our cadets. Thanks also to Board Chair Doug Bishop and Board Trustee Kennard Weaver for attending this event. (SD4) 
  • On February 4, the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute participated in a panel discussion at the GT Civic Center regarding Great Lakes water levels. Hans Van Sumeren’s talk, “Influences on Great Lakes Coastlines,” was part of a broader discussion aimed at providing baseline information for interested parties to better understand past, present and future trends likely to be seen on the Great Lakes. Given the current state of Lake Michigan water levels, there was a great deal of interest with both local and regional stakeholders in attendance. The event also included speakers from Michigan Sea Grant, US Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. (SD2, SD3, SD4) 
  • The 2013 Tasters Guild Auction was our “best ever” bringing in more than $92,000 for culinary scholarships. This represents a 17% increase over last year. Trustee Bill Myers and Nancy Johnson attended the event in addition to many NMC staff. The Taster’s Guild Committee, culinary faculty, staff, and students deserve a huge pat on the back for putting on this fantastic event featuring fabulous culinary treats, local wine, beer, and even a local vodka this year! (SD2, SD4)
  • The Board of Trustees Retreat was a great success. Thank you for the time you took to participate in the review of our strategic plan progress. Thank you as well to the Vice Presidents who provided the support and helped manage the program in my absence. (SD1-SD5)
  • A group of NMC students participated in an Alternative Spring Break. During the week of March 25, thirteen NMC students and two chaperones who are staff at United Way, went down to New Orleans and served the St. Bernard Parish by continuing to reconstruct homes in this area affected by Hurricane Katrina. This Alternative Spring Break trip is a collaboration between NMC and United Way to provide an avenue for college students to give of their time through service and volunteerism. Staff at United Way reported that our NMC students worked very hard and demonstrated a great willingness to help others. (SD3)
  • Thank you to all who planned, executed and attended the Signing Ceremony for Reverse Transfer Agreements this week. This is an important set of relationships for our students. (SD1)


Activities of Note: 

  • As Acting President, Stephen and the other Vice Presidents hosted the March 5 Town Hall meeting in my absence. These open forums are scheduled twice a year and continue to provide a good opportunity for open sharing and addressing questions of faculty and staff. 
  • Nancy and I had dinner with Senator Walker and his wife on March 8.
  • TCAPS Superintendent Steve Cousins and I did a joint presentation at the noon Rotary Club on March 12 on how K-12 and Community Colleges are funded. There were good questions from the audience and I have received positive feedback since. The presentation is available from our office if you wish to see it.
  • I attended the MCCA Spring Meeting in Detroit March 14-15. Two important presentations about the skills gap in Michigan were presented. I’ve asked for electronic copies of these and will make them available when I receive them.
  • Nancy and I hosted a table at the Culinary Institute’s Germany Dinner. As you would expect, the evening was a great success and our guests enjoyed it.
  • I continue to serve on the Munson Healthcare Finance and Audit Committee, along with serving on the Munson Medical Center Board and attended meetings for both last week. As I learn more and more about health care reform, it influences my thinking about the future reforms facing higher education.
  • I spent the day in Lansing on March 21 attending the MPSERS Board meeting, the Prima Civitas Foundation Board meeting, and a meeting at the Governor’s Office with Bill Rustem, the Governor’s Chief Strategist.
  • We are fortunate to be one of 15 institutions to be invited to Washington D.C. for a full day discussion on the Future of Nursing Education in the United States. This program is funded by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, the AACC and ACCT. I’ve been in conversations with our faculty, senior executives at Munson and private consultants to gather information prior to my attendance. I look forward to this opportunity and will provide a report at our next Board meeting.


Legislative Issues 

  • The budget process continues in Lansing with the House presenting their budget and the Senate’s to follow soon. Attached you will find the most recent legislative update from the MCCA. 



  • The next time you are in the President’s Office, please welcome our new Administrative Coordinator Sara Hartley, who joined us on March 18. 



Update: February 15

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. 

• Northwestern Michigan College’s Dennos Museum Center recently hosted 51 Chinese students, along with their teachers and TCAPS chaperones, for a two-hour visit. The docent team organized project materials in the activities room and exhibits were reviewed. Curator of Education Jason Dake described the purpose of the day’s program by saying, “This group came to see us and our community. First we wanted to show them what Traverse City has culturally for students. Secondly, they were anxious to immerse themselves in our culture, so we wanted to facilitate that. We would like these kids to leave here with an appreciation for our museum and its collection and also with some excitement about looking at and making art a unique experience. Regardless of the culture, a universal theme of art is that there is some narrative to share. We tried to do that today.” The Chinese students are from Dalian High School visiting Central and West Senior High Schools as part of an exchange program. They are very impressed with our region, and want to promote all it has to offer. The experience at Dennos Museum was a highlight! Marguerite Cotto was part of a conversation with the Headmaster and Vice Principals about extending the partnership to NMC and its university partners. (SD1, SD2, SD4)

• We have received word from the product manager at Microsoft that MTA certification exams are delivered in 49 of 50 states, Michigan is in the top 10, and NMC leads in Michigan. Microsoft considers NMC as international leaders in this certification initiative. Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is a recommended entry point into IT certification and job preparation. (SD1, SD5)

• NMC is collaborating with the COG to leverage a shared position through the Small Business Technical Development Center (SBTDC) that will provide direct services to students interested in developing a small business plan or who have an interest in the more detailed exploration of a start-up proposal. This position will add strength to NMC’s efforts to improve recognition of entrepreneurial activities across campus while extending our capacity to support business and industry through the Regional Entrepreneurial Collaborative (REC). (SD1, SD2, SD3)

• NMC and MSU’s Institute of Agricultural Technology have developed language for a shared position that supports our joint program offering in Applied Plant Science (which includes the MSU specialty certificates in viticulture, commercial horticulture, commercial turfgrass, landscape & nursery). This endeavor will provide capacity for industry outreach designed to better articulate and implement student internships and apprenticeships, and will improve our ability to understand and respond to the changing professional development needs of this economic sector. (SD1, SD2, SD3)

• The Compensation and Classification Work Group continues to make good progress in their discussions. Attached is my January progress update and a February update from the facilitators, Linda Racine and Aaron Beach, will be sent out next week and forwarded to you. As I’ve said before, this is important work for our future and I appreciate the effort the Group is expending.

Activities of Note: Tim 

• The vice presidents and I participated in a conference call meeting with the president of US-Brazil Connect to learn more about their exchange program. This program is different than many travel abroad ventures in that our students serve as fellows, are eligible to apply for a federal scholarship, teach English as a second language to Brazilian students, and receive a stipend. In Michigan, Jackson Community College is in their third year of this activity. We are evaluating how this program can fit into our global education efforts this year or in the future.

• The vice presidents and I also met with Steve Cousins and several of TCAPS executive level staff to continue our discussion on collaboration. We have agreed to evaluate the possibility of creating a STEEM (science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship, mathematics) early/middle college. Our target is to make recommendations within 90 days.

Legislative Issues 

• In my earlier update, I promised to provide a “deeper discussion” on some of the important legislation that was passed last year. Attached are documents on two of those pieces. The first is related to establishing more seamless transfer opportunities for community college students as they transfer to senior institutions. Our appropriations bill required the establishment of a taskforce to provide recommendations by this March to the legislature. The second is a description of the Right to Work legislation passed during lame duck. I asked our college attorney to draft an “easy to understand” document that describes this legislation. While we have only one union on campus, I think it is important to understand what this legislation is. I will be attaching one or two deeper dives in future updates.

• The Governor presented his budget for fiscal year 2014. As has been reported in the news, community colleges receive on average a 2% increase. Using the Community College Funding Formula, NMC’s increase is estimated to be approximately 1.5%, an increase of $129,300. Additionally, the budget calls for a one time investment in the Community College Association Virtual Learning Collaborative of $1.1 million to implement the next generation of this program. Those funds go to the MCCA. An analysis of the Governor’s budget from the Senate Fiscal Agency can be found at


• NMC SGA members will be joining trustees for dinner at 5:30 p.m. in the Oleson Center on February 25. The regular Board of Trustees meeting will, therefore, not begin until 6:30 p.m.

Update on the Committee on the Transferability of Core College Courses

February 2013


In 2012 the Michigan legislature included boilerplate language in the community college appropriations bill that focused on improving the transferability of core college courses by revising the current Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers (MACRAO) agreement. The language (see below) creates a committee that includes 5 community colleges representatives, 5 individuals from the public universities, and 4 legislators (two from each chamber). The legislation also requires an interim report in March 2013 and a final report in September 2013.

To launch this work, the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) and the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan (PCSUM) identified individuals from a previous study committee to develop recommendations to be vetted by each sector. Community college representatives (from Glen Oaks, Macomb, Mott, North Central, and Schoolcraft) met with their university counterparts (represented by Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Michigan State, Oakland, and U of M – Dearborn) to identify the critical issues and/or barriers and lay out a process for vetting recommendations for improving the transfer of core college courses. Individuals from the leadership of MACRAO have also participated in these discussions. The draft recommendations developed by this group are below.

Guiding principles and draft recommendations for a revised “Michigan Transfer Agreement” 

Guiding Principles:

• Make the agreement simple and easy to understand

• Keep the agreement student-focused

• Treat transfer students the same as native students at the receiving institution


Draft Recommendations for the revised Michigan Transfer Agreement: 

To fulfill the requirements in the agreement, students must successfully complete at least 30 credits, with a 2.0 in each course, at a Michigan community college according to the following distribution:

• 2 courses in English Composition and/or Communications

• 1 course in Quantitative Reasoning

• 2 courses in Social Sciences

• 2 courses in Humanities and/or Fine Arts

• 2 courses in Natural Sciences including one with laboratory experience

Rationale for the draft recommendations 

Providing institutional flexibility and while eliminating existing provisos – There is a consensus that the current MACRAO agreement has too many provisos or exceptions. The goal of this revised agreement is to establish requirements that would fulfill many of the general education requirements at Michigan public universities. Similar to the autonomy provided by High Learning Commission, our accrediting body, the agreement does not attempt to dictate specific courses as this is the purview of individual colleges and universities—specifically the faculty.

Recognizing multiple student paths – The recommendations recognize that students enroll in higher education institutions with different education goals and needs. For example, students intending to pursue programs in the social sciences or liberal arts may not require more rigorous courses in mathematics. The recommendation of one quantitative reasoning course, while acknowledging the need for numeracy, is intended to avoid creating a barrier for students to satisfy the requirements of the agreement.

Treating the 30 credits in the agreement as a block – The draft recommendations treat the requirements as a block of courses that would not be subject to individual review by the receiving institution as long as students earn a least a 2.0 in each course. Further, several community colleges are currently offering some form of a general education certificate that could be a model for how to treat these core courses statewide and, along with new name of the Michigan Transfer Agreement, these type of certificates could help to minimize misunderstandings about what the agreement is.

Promoting credential attainment – There was a discussion among the group about the need to promote credential attainment. The concept of a general education certificate may contribute to this goal, but the committee also acknowledged the more important aspect of improving the transfer between community colleges and universities is to help students move more quickly to bachelor’s degrees.

Next steps 

These draft recommendations will be shared broadly to solicit additional input and feedback. The Michigan legislature requires the submission of an interim report to the legislature by March 1st. MCCA and PCSUM will facilitate the discussion with appropriate legislators and their staff to ensure this requirement is met. Following the March 1st deadline, the committee will incorporate additional feedback from the colleges and universities, facilitate any additional discussions that are needed, and work through the appropriate channels with in each sector and MACRAO to finalize this agreement by the end of summer 2013. This will allow the group to submit the required final report to the legislature by September 1, 2013.

The “Right to Work” Act, Public Acts 348 and 349 of 2012 

The “Right to Work Acts” was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder on December 11, 2012, and will take effect on April 1, 2013. There are actually two acts. The two acts are virtually identical; however, Public Act 348 addresses private sector employers and unions; while Public Act 349 addresses public sector employers and unions. Any contract between an employer and a union in effect or expiring after April 1, 2013, will be subject to the “Right to Work Act.”

The Act outlaws “closed shops.” What this means is that neither an employer nor a union may require that an employee join a union or pay union dues. Under current law, an employer and a union may agree in the collective bargaining agreement that any employee within the unit represented by the union must join the union and pay union dues as a condition of employment. This is no longer allowed. The Act also sets forth civil fines for violations and creates a mechanism where an individual injured by a violation of the Act may file a court action for damages and an order to stop the violation. Public police, fire departments, and state police unions are exempt from the Act, meaning their collective bargaining agreements may still contain a “closed shop” provision.

Unions can still request that employers include a “dues checkoff” clause in the collective bargaining agreement, which will permit the employer to deduct union dues from employees who sign authorizations for such deductions. This type of provision ensures that the union receives a steady collection of dues, which is a union’s primary source of income.

Although union membership and dues payment may no longer be mandatory under the Act, the Act does not change the existing law regarding union representation. A union representing an employee group will still represent all the employees in that group regardless of whether the employee is a member of the union, pays union dues, or agrees or disagrees with the union’s bargaining position in negotiations with the employer. Each union has its own rules regarding who can vote to approve a contract with the employer and who can be on the bargaining team. Typically those rules exclude employees who are not in good standing with the union or who do not pay union dues to the union.

As in other states, there will likely be challenges to the new legislation. The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction to hear any legal challenges to the Act. The Court of Appeals is authorized to consider any challenges on an expedited basis. Since the Act allocates money to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the Act is not subject to a vote of the electorate to determine whether it should remain on the books and may only be repealed by the legislature.

SHRR 2387006v1

To: Campus Community

From: Timothy Nelson, President and the Compensation Review Work Group

Date: January 18, 2013

RE: Progress Update – Compensation and Classification Review

We are now almost three months into this important project and I wanted to provide an update on our status. First, I thank all of those members of the Work Group who are devoting considerable time, energy and thought to this job. As you recall, we asked each employee group to provide three members and I appointed three at large members. This group has been meeting every other week for two hours plus and have been meeting outside of that with their employee group members, plus working on issues outside of the meeting times. Next, thanks to Linda Racine and Aaron Beach who are providing great facilitation and guidance in the process. Lastly, thank you to all of you who are providing feedback to members of the Work Group.

If you have not yet visited the intranet site we have set up, I encourage you to do so. Minutes of the meetings and work that the Work Group is generating are found there. One of the operating principles we started with was transparency and we are working hard to meet that commitment. There is a separate link on the MyNMC page that will take you to the Compensation site.

At our last meeting, we recognized that while we are including all of our notes on the intranet site, we need to summarize where we are for all of our sakes on a monthly basis. This will be done in the future by Linda and Aaron with input from the entire Work Group.

Summary of Activity to Date 

As a reminder, the Board of Trustees adopted a Board Level Goal last year that stated:

B5. NMC will evaluate the employee classification and compensation systems and make adjustments as required. (Institutional Effectiveness #4) 

The Target/Metric adopted this year as it relates to this goal states:

Complete review and adjustments, as necessary, to the employee classification and compensation systems in time to inform FY14 budget. 

Our College policies and practices instruct us to use the Mutual Gains process for this class of work. In reality, we use that approach pretty consistently throughout the College and it is fundamental to shared governance. We get representation from the affected stakeholder groups around the table, identify issues of interest and work toward a solution that is in the

best interest of all involved and the College. The process the Work Group adopted is described in the picture below.

While the process appears to be linear, it is iterative. As we progress and learn, we sometimes circle back and add to or refine previous work.

Important to our work is that as we review compensation, we are looking at “Total Compensation” or what one reference listed on our Work Group web site calls a “Total Rewards Model”. We have defined this model as including the following elements:

1. Pay

2. Benefits

3. Performance & Recognition

4. Development & Career Opportunity

5. Work Life

As you can see, this is a comprehensive view that requires significant effort to evaluate.

The Work Group has identified 18 different values/interests to examine and determine if they fit into this Total Rewards Model framework and if so, how that might work. The Work Group is currently discussing whether a particular interest is a large, moderate, small or no piece of one of the five elements in the model. The Work Group recognizes any value/interest may fit and be demonstrated in different ways for different employee groups and that will require small group work.

The 18 values/interests we are working with right now include:

Longevity, marketplace equity, peer equity, internal equity, transparency and consistency, growth, credentials, experience, leadership skills, thoughtful risk taking, going above and beyond, social equity, performance/competency, achievement of organizational goals, achievement of individual goals, and choice.

Here is our work plan for next few months:

Last year, a good deal of work was done in examining our staff classification system. That work is continuing and is an important component of our review. In our meetings, questions have been raised about the efficacy of the current system and whether it appropriately differentiates among jobs. The work to address these issues is shown in the second row of the above diagram.

I am very pleased with the work we have done so far. It is important and not easy. As with all we do in our plan-do-check-adjust approach to work, we will examine our targets and make adjustments as needed. If we believe extra time is needed beyond our initial target, I will request that from the Board of Trustees.

Thank you all for your efforts and your support of all we are doing.