BATA seeks community input

bata-busThe Bay Area Transportation Authority is trying to better understand community transportation needs in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties. In the summer, BATA conducted two focus groups and a survey of community and business leaders to develop transportation plans that respond to changes in our region.

BATA is now engaged in Phase 2, conducting a broad-based online survey of citizens throughout the two counties. What forms of transportation do people in the area use, and what are their attitudes toward and uses of public transportation? What would they like to see from BATA? These are the types of questions asked in our 8-minute confidential survey online here:

Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey and let BATA know about your transportation needs.

“The People’s Choice: Music at the Oscars”

“The People’s Choice: Music at the Oscars”

TRAVERSE CITY — The NMC Concert Band under the direction of Pat Brumbaugh presents “The People’s Choice: Music at the Oscars,” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in Milliken Auditorium.
General Admission. Tickets are $12 for adults, $7 for students and seniors and available from Tickets are also available at the door. Call (800) 836-0717 for more information.



Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

Hoodies for the Homeless

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week is November 12-20, and we want to help! Donate a new or gently used hoodie or coat at the NMC bookstore, and get a coupon for 30% off one regular priced apparel item. Donations will be accepted November 7-18. All donated items will go the Goodwill Street Outreach program for distribution to people in need.

FLSA Meetings

Please join HR for an overview of the Fair Labor Standards Act rules and how they apply to non-exempt (hourly) employees.  Choose the time that fits your schedule best:

  • Monday, October 24, 3:30-4:30 p.m.- Osterlin 205
  • Tuesday, October 25, 1-2 p.m.- University Center 07
  • Thursday, November 3, 9-10 a.m.- Osterlin 205

2017 Medical Benefits Discussion

Please join HR and members from the Benefits Advisory Committee for a discussion on the medical insurance renewal for 2017.  Choose the time that fits your schedule best:

  • Tuesday, October 25, 2-3 p.m.- University Center 07
  • Thursday, October 27, 4-5 p.m.- Osterlin 205
  • Friday, October 28, 8:30-9:30 a.m.- Health Science 101


KUDOS- (praise or respect that you get because of something you have done or achieved) defined by

Submit a Kudos here.

Kudos to Zeb McCauley, Paul Martin, Alan Beer, Michelle Schneider and Justin- Talk about creative problem-solvers! I needed to retrieve film footage of class guest speakers from an external hard drive. Many of these speakers no longer live in our community or are able to continue speaking. For a variety of reasons retrieving the footage was more complicated than it should have been.
Justin and Michelle tried first.
Then Alan got involved.
Alan then suggested I see Zeb and Paul.
Zeb and Paul had several possible solutions and within 24 hrs. it was done!
One of my students helping me with the film footage saw the colleague collaboration unfold. She was so impressed and heartened. She asked me how we could acknowledge everyone involved.
I work with THE best group of colleagues!

Kudos to Cindy Szmania-  Cindy went above and beyond to help me when I was at the Bookstore. I went into the Bookstore to buy a couple of shirts; however, I didn’t have that much time, so I wasn’t able to try anything on. Cindy took the time to explain to me how the return policy works, which I never knew existed. While I was there, I decided to do some quick Christmas shopping for my parents, it’s always nice to get them some NMC decor!! Not knowing what size to pick, Cindy actually tried on one of the shirts to help me visualize what it would look like on my parent. Nobody since I have worked here has ever done that for me. With Cindy’s assistance, I was able to get new shirts for myself, as well as two sweatshirts for my parents for Christmas. Thank you so much Cindy for all of your help; words alone can’t tell you how thankful I am. You are definitely an asset to the Bookstore, and NMC is lucky to have you as an employee.

Kudos to Michelle Schneider, Kay Harris, Kyle Morrison- Kay, Michelle, and Kyle dedicated significant time to creating the opening video for the October PD Day. Michelle latched onto Kay’s original idea and visited multiple departments to collect spontaneous testimonials about student success and Kyle worked his editing magic to create a wonderful video from the multitude of video footage that Michelle collected. Their hard work and dedication to NMC’s PD Day is very much appreciated!

Kudos to Lori Hodek and Kristen Salathiel-  Lori and Kristen did an outstanding job in planning our first PDD for faculty and staff. I appreciate the time that these ladies took in all that this project entailed! I can’t wait until the next PDD!

They did an outstanding job of designing and executing the Staff Development Day on October 18. Bringing Faculty and Staff together in a united purpose with a mix of content, some of which was of interest to both groups, felt like an important step in establishing common cause (student learning!) between the groups. The day was nearly flawless, the course content relevant, the presentations were well-prepared and worthy of our College. It was a proud day. Thank you!

Position Vacancies

Are you looking for career opportunities? Find it here! Current openings include:

  • Enrollment Services Assistant
  • Hagerty Center- Server, Bartender and Dishwasher
  • Welding Adjunct Instructor
  • Visual Communications – Web Design Adjunct Instructor
  • Construction/Carpentry Adjunct Instructor

Holiday Art Fair at the Dennos Museum

dennos-holiday-art-fairThe annual Dennos Museum Holiday Art Fair will open Thursday, October 27, 5-8 p.m. and continue Friday through Sunday, October 30, throughout the museum.  Fine arts and crafts from 45 Michigan artists, Christmas and Chanukah gifts, arts and crafts kits and more are just a few of the enticements for holiday shoppers.  Hours will be Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

NMC staff, faculty and students receive 10% discount by showing staff or student ID. Please present to museum staff before paying for purchases.

Again this year there will be an education benefit raffle to help raise funds to offset the cost of school visits.  Many schools in the region have had budget cuts, which prohibit them from visiting the museum.  Schools will be able to apply for funds to help offset the cost of buses or admission.  Last year over 2,000 students benefited from this fund last year.  The holiday artists have generously donated a piece of art for the raffle. Tickets will be only sold on site for $2 each and 6/$5.

For more information, call the Museum Store at (231) 995-1586 or visit

Northwestern Michigan College fact sheet

Northwestern Michigan College fact sheet

TRAVERSE CITY — As the election nears, we assembled a brief fact sheet on some of the main topics currently being discussed. Please use the following information and citations as background information for any voter discussions or coverage.


Total enrollment this fall is 4,167 students, which generated 43,956 contact hours. This is an approximately 4.6% decline in contact hours. There are two major trends influencing enrollment at the college:

  1. A decline in the traditional student age population, predicted to continue past 2020.
  2. Improved state of the local economy causing older, potential students to choose employment over education.

Budget and Tuition

Based on a number of factors including expenditures and declining enrollment, NMC increased tuition from $96.35 per credit hour to $103.70 for in-district students. For comparison, as cited by the Traverse City Record Eagle, students attending one of Michigan’s 15 state universities will pay “about $350 while some cost more than $460 per credit hour.”

Campus Improvements

  1. Residence Hall and Fitness Center: This building has broken ground and the new 140-bed residence hall and fitness center has the target opening date of August 2017.
  2. The Dennos Museum Center: In October 2016 NMC broke ground on a 14,000 sq. ft. addition, made possible because of kind contributions from Richard and Diana Milock and Barbara and Dudley Smith. Additional funding is being raised as part of larger efforts from the NMC Foundation.
  3. Okerstrom Fine Arts Building: Updates and improvements are coming for this building including: facility repairs for this building, windows, drainage, exterior siding repairs and internal restroom redesign.

Union Negotiations

The NMC faculty chose to recognize the Michigan Education Association (MEA) as their collective bargaining agent on March 12, 2015. Since that time NMC has participated in almost 25 bargaining sessions with and without a mediator and has bargained in good faith. The College bargaining team arrives prepared at each session and in the most recent session on October 7, 2016, additional progress was made. NMC is committed to a contract that will best serve the faculty, our students, the college and our community.

Specifically, since the faculty voted to unionize in March 2015, NMC has done the following:

  • Presented numerous written proposals and counter proposals for the union’s consideration, the first on June 12, 2015; a comprehensive proposal and set of tentative agreements on June 29, 2016; and, most recently, a revised comprehensive proposal and set of tentative agreements on October 7, 2016.
  • Followed established negotiating practices, engaging in 17 collective bargaining sessions with union negotiators between May 15, 2015, and March 7, 2016.
  • Requested mediation through MERC on March 7, 2016.
  • Participated in eight sessions with MERC mediators between March 22 and September 29, 2016.
  • Petitioned MERC on August 8, 2016, for fact finding analysis to advance negotiations.
  • Reached at least 18 tentative agreements with the union.

Committee Involvement

Faculty and staff are invited to participate in dozens of NMC councils, committees, task forces and project teams. Some of the many opportunities include:

  • Four faculty members, of the total thirteen members, serve on Policy Council.
  • Faculty comprise four of the sixteen members of Planning and Budget Council.
  • A faculty chair and seven faculty members of the fifteen members, serve on the Developmental Education Committee.

Specifically regarding curriculum, all new curriculum issues continue to flow through the Curriculum Committee comprised of 11 faculty and 5 staff. This committee makes recommendations to the president who then takes appropriate items to the Board. During his 16 years as president, President Nelson has never overruled a recommendation from this committee. Additionally, faculty lead their classes and develop curriculum under NMC’s academic freedom guidelines.

Faculty Reports at Board of Trustees Meetings

Faculty Council asked to have the faculty report removed from the Board of Trustees agenda via email on November 9, 2007. After hearing from faculty that they would like the reports reinstated, the College proposed to immediately reinstate faculty reports on the Board of Trustees agenda on March 7, 2016, and presented a modified version based on discussions and feedback on May 17, 2016. Thus far, the Union has not responded to that proposal.


Issues of compensation, including salaries/wages and benefits, are mandatory subjects of all collective bargaining, and it is something the MEA has brought up in negotiations. It is important to take the following facts into consideration:

  • Average NMC faculty salaries are above the national averages for community college faculty as reported by the AAUP (American Association of University Professor).
  • All other salaries on campus are being benchmarked against national averages.
  • NMC has never proposed to reduce faculty compensation.

Release date: October 19, 2016



Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

NMC students work to feed thousands of families

NMC students work to feed thousands of families

TRAVERSE CITY — Students from Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) are teaming up with the Northwest Michigan Food Coalition to feed nearly 4,500 local families this holiday season with the Food for Thought Food Drive.

The fourth annual event runs from October 19 through November 19. Organized by NMC students as a service learning class project, the Food for Thought goal is to collect enough non-perishable food and hygiene products to stock pantries throughout the Northwest Michigan region through the holiday season.

Coordinators say it is much more than a gift for the families who receive the food. “It’s not just a blessing for some pantries, it is survival,” said Val Stone with the Northwest Food Coalition.

Donation events include:

  • Tom’s Food Markets: West Bay, East Bay, Interlochen, and Fourteenth Street: October 29, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Traverse City Walmart: November 5, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; November 6, Noon–6 p.m.
  • Technology Exploration Day at Aero Park Campus – Parsons-Stulen Building: November 12, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Red collection bins located at:

Local businesses have donated raffle prizes. Anyone who donates five non-perishable food items or makes a $5 donation will receive a raffle ticket. Community members can also donate through the NMC Food for Thought Facebook page or online through the NMC Foundation.

RELEASE DATE: October 16, 2016


Kristy McDonald
NMC Instructor
(231) 995-1059

Robinson Grant-Wagner
Student Leader Contact
(231) 866-6078



Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

NMC Fall 2016 Update

Timothy J. Nelson, President
October 13, 2016


Let me start the update by thanking you all for what you do to create a great learning environment that helps to prepare our students for success in this rapidly changing global society and market. Each of you plays an important role in achieving this success. Together, we model values and help create experiences that will have a lasting impact on those we serve.

This communication is intended to provide our NMC campus community an update on the state of the college. As the 2016-2017 year gets underway, it is important to review where we’ve been and where we’re going. The goal of this letter is to provide detailed information on many of the critical initiatives and programs affecting our campus. Some of these topics are included below:

  1. Updates to “Opening Conference”
  2. Student Enrollment
  3. Community Engagement
  4. International Relationships
  5. Employee Professional Development
  6. Compensation and Talent
  7. Facilities
  8. Higher Learning Commission Accreditation
  9. Leadership and Governance
  10. Budget
  11. Legislative and Regulatory Issues
  12. Board of Trustees
  13. Spring Semester Opening

Community engagement is important for our continued success. I invite you to reach out with questions and thoughts on any of the items discussed in this update.

Updates to “Opening Conference”

During the summer, I was approached by the AQIP Learning Outcomes Team co-chairs about a proposal from the faculty members on the team to expand the normal time for the August faculty professional development day to include the time normally devoted to Opening Conference. The faculty wanted to invite a presenter on active learning and significant learning outcomes to campus who could assist all instructors over a two-day period. I welcomed the faculty request, as it aligned with our goal to improve student learning outcomes. The faculty and staff from the Center for Instructional Excellence along with the Learning Outcomes Team then worked to make this two-day professional development event a success. The event was funded from the president’s office strategic fund.

As a replacement for the traditional Opening Conference breakfast, we hosted an “end-of-summer-beginning-of-fall campus picnic.” This allowed many staff and faculty members who often struggle with serving students during the final registration weeks the opportunity to engage in a campus event.

In the spirit of check-and-adjust, we have decided to replace the town hall originally scheduled for October 12 with small group meetings. In place of Opening Conference, I committed to providing this written update to the campus. The small group meetings will provide a more accessible space to discuss questions or concerns related to the state of the college. We will send out appointment times for these meetings. Thank you all, again, for all you do to help make our learners successful.

Students and Enrollment

Total enrollment this fall is 4,167 students, which generated 43,956 contact hours. We budgeted for a 6% decline and ended with approximately a 4.6% decline in contact hours. There are two major trends influencing enrollment at the college. The first is a decline in the traditional student age population that is predicted to continue past 2020. The other is the improved state of our local economy where older, potential students choose employment over education. These trends require us to continue to seek students from outside the region to take advantage of our specialty programs. This year, we saw growth in the number of students from out-of-state, international and our non-service areas of Michigan.

Another observation about our enrollment is that we continue to see a decline in the average age of our students. One reason for this is that the combination of dual enrolled and early college enrollment is up from 282 in 2013 to 497 in 2016. This is reflected in the increase of students aged 17 and under and contributes to a declining average age, now 23.7 years old. These gains have been made, despite the decline in the population of this age group across the region.

Even as we seek to expand enrollment in our region and beyond, it is important to remember that a significant percentage of our students are first generation college students. This means they need additional guidance, mentoring and wayfinding assistance. It is critical that we recognize they are not familiar with our systems and processes.

Student success and degree completion continue to be a paramount goal for NMC. Every new level of regulation and monitoring is placing more emphasis on this outcome. While we have made progress over recent years, we have much to do. I am asking our planning groups to establish additional metrics, which will help us to both succeed and to manage our performance. Achieving these goals is directly connected to government support. Financial Aid that NMC students received in 2015-16 totaled over $19 million.

NMC Student Financial Aid Sources

Community Engagement

Extended Education Services (EES) has been refreshing its catalog, pricing models, and preparing for a stronger online registration presence over the past few years. Specialty enrichment programming such as “College for Kids” is often a family’s first experience with NMC. Participant comments indicate great enjoyment with the challenging and new content, and high marks for a setting in which they can build new and lasting relationships. Area learners over the age of 50 continue to discover and use Life Academy programming in record numbers. These learners praise the great content from highly experienced instructors, gaining new sharing communities in the process. We will continue to see strong use of EES for personal and professional learning opportunities.

Training Services provides significant contributions to the community. It is the regional office for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Corporation, the leader in our Michigan New Jobs Training Program, a regional leader in LEAN programming, and now coordinator of a new stackable credential precision machining program with regional manufacturers. Training Services is a net positive in its revenue/expense profile. Below are some specific achievements:

  • New Jobs Training Program results
    • 495 jobs created with a minimum of 175% times minimum wage
    • 31 participating employers
    • $3.2 million of training
  • MMTC Employers served during the last 12 months reported the following results
    • $14.5 million of increased sales
    •  $16.3 million of retained sales
    • Net new investments made $9 million

Service Learning is yet another way in which students can connect their career aspirations to global concerns through targeted projects with their instructors. Examples at the local level with faculty members Kristy McDonald and Brandon Everest have earned important local and state recognition. Other similar projects include construction technology students participating in Habitat for Humanity, business students helping to install wi-fi technology in an Andean community and culinary students assisting a startup restaurant in Ecuador.

The International Affairs Forum (IAF) is another example of community engagement. IAF brings the experience of the world to our region through its annual lecture series, specialty ‘hot topic’ events, providing access to specialists on global policy for credit and noncredit presentations, and facilitating a growing network of professionals who now know Traverse City and NMC. Their membership program provides free admission to lectures for NMC students and their instructors.

International Relationships

NMC continues to be a leader in creating global learning experiences for students, faculty and staff. We are well into the implementation of our global endorsement, which is being reviewed as a model for other community colleges in Michigan and a potential MCCA submittal for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. We are finalizing plans to provide joint degrees/certificates with Yellow River Conservancy Technical Institute. Our faculty could begin delivering short-format courses in China in the next 18 months, and we could see more international students from this endeavor in about 12 months.

Employee Professional Development

The August learning outcomes professional development days were well attended and a great addition to this important project. Regional and national accreditors have made this a prime directive, and we will continue to make this a priority for the college.

Last spring, the Higher Learning Commission passed new regulations that require certain levels of graduate education for those teaching college. While I believe our faculty and instructional staff are excellent teachers, a number of our regular faculty do not meet these updated standards. As a result, NMC is paying for 80 percent of the tuition and fees to help current faculty secure appropriate credentials. This is in line with the fact that NMC is in the top 6 percent of all reporting community colleges for the investment in professional development.

Compensation and Talent

Staff and Administration Classification and Compensation implementation is in progress. We continue to complete work as identified on the implementation plan. I expect us to continue efforts to align staff salaries with their national benchmarks. As you recall, staff and administration, including the president, have been classified and benchmarked against national scales, as part of the implementation plan that started a few years ago. I am proud to call the faculty, staff and administrators on this campus my colleagues and believe this process will ensure NMC maintains its commitments to employees and taxpayers and students.

Fair Labor Standards Act changes will go into effect on December 1. The Human Resources office will be working with employees and their supervisors to prepare for these significant changes before the December 1 implementation date.

Faculty and faculty chair contract negotiations are continuing to move forward with the help of MERC appointed mediators. Additionally, we have requested a fact finding analysis, which will identify items of possible compromise in order to reach a final contract. The NMC administration and Board of Trustees remain strongly committed to reaching a fair agreement that is in the best interest of NMC faculty, students, the college and the community.

To offer additional facts, below is a summary of the negotiations thus far. Since the faculty voted to unionize in March 2015, NMC has done the following:

  • Presented numerous written proposals and counter proposals for the union’s consideration, the first on June 12, 2015; a comprehensive proposal and set of tentative agreements on August 19, 2016; and, most recently, on October 12, 2016.
  • Followed established negotiating practices, engaging in 17 collective bargaining sessions with union negotiators between May 15, 2015, and March 7, 2016.
  • Requested mediation through MERC on March 7, 2016.
  • Participated in eight sessions with MERC mediators between March 22 and September 29, 2016.
  • Petitioned MERC on August 8, 2016 for fact finding analysis to advance negotiations.
  • Reached at least 18 tentative agreements with the union.

Maintenance and Custodial Contract Negotiations with the SEIU union that represents maintenance and custodial employees are proceeding well and should come to conclusion soon.


Campus security installed a number of security upgrades over the summer. This includes blinds/shades and security film on windows. As part of our current campus upgrades, we will be bidding out enhanced security camera systems. I thank everyone who has been involved and engaged in building security practice events, and ask everyone to remain observant and diligent in this area.

Residence Hall and Fitness Center has broken ground. The new 140-bed residence hall and fitness center has the target opening date of August 2017, and we will be recruiting students for this hall. Rental housing in the region continues to be in short supply. Students coming to us from our region, outside the area or the country expect to have access to housing as they complete their studies. This project is critical as we work to expand enrollment in certain areas and specialty programs. Additionally, the facility is designed to accommodate other uses for example internships, workforce and/or married housing, as our college and community demographics change.

The Dennos Museum Center is breaking ground on a 14,000 sq. ft. addition beginning in October 2016. This is made possible because of kind contributions from Richard and Diana Milock and Barbara and Dudley Smith. Additional funding is being raised as part of larger efforts from the NMC Foundation.

Okerstrom Fine Arts Building updates and improvements are coming. We are in the selection process for an architectural firm to schedule facility repairs for this building. Windows, drainage, exterior siding repairs and internal restroom redesign are a few of the items on the list.

Funding sources for NMC, in addition to gifts named above, include funds in the plant fund reserves and the housing fund balance. NMC has issued general obligation bonds earlier this summer to fund these projects. The NMC Foundation is actively engaged in securing additional resources for the college that includes these projects. Residence halls are self-liquidating and will generate resources to retire their debt.

Facilities planning activities include selecting design firms for two more projects centered on the current site of West Hall. These two new facilities will result in an approximate 53,000 sq. ft. modern learning facility that will serve both our students and faculty, as well as the community at large. Combined with new housing, we envision this new learning facility to be open 24/7. Faculty, staff, students and community members will be involved in the design process. The innovation center is authorized for planning through the state, and the library is an internally funded (through bonding) project.

Higher Learning Commission Accreditation

Regional accreditation is required for NMC to provide access to federal and state funding for the college and our students. NMC follows the AQIP pathway offered by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Our cycle requires submission of our system portfolio by November 2017, a strategy forum in Chicago for a team of board, administration, staff and faculty in February 2017, and a campus visit in late 2018 or early 2019. Our last accreditation visit outlined four strategic challenges in need of improvement:

  1. Aligning our continuous improvement processes for learning outcomes at the course, program, and general education levels
  2. Expanding institutional awareness, accessibility of, and the use of data in terms of metrics, targets, and goals
  3.  Developing deeper understanding of student needs related to developmental education
  4. Developing a more robust peer benchmarking process in order to inform future planning

NMC already had initiatives in place for strategic challenges (1) and (3) to address the concerns identified by the HLC review team. For strategic challenge (1) NMC identified a strategic goal in the FY15 strategic plan to “develop and implement an integrated and aligned learning outcomes system that includes the articulation of and means of documenting learning outcomes, assessments, results, and actions for improvement at the course, program, and institutional levels.” NMC began operationalizing this goal by chartering an AQIP action project, Learning Outcomes, by forming a team for implementation. The most recent Learning outcomes summary was reviewed in October 2015. Additionally, the course outlines and instructions were revised so that all courses will have been reviewed and revised, if necessary, in order for course level learning outcomes to align with program and general education outcomes. For strategic challenge (3), NMC chartered an AQIP action project, Enhancing Developmental Education. The team implemented several initiatives in developmental English and math, closing the project in 2015.

For strategic challenges (2) and (4), we continue to work through our cycle of the aligned planning process using the A3 metrics and planning tool. We expect to see our processes related to using data and benchmarking metrics to be refined and expanded. As with everything we do, we will follow a plan, do, check and adjust cycle.

HLC accreditation is important to each and every one of us. Many of you will be involved in the process and all of us will be affected by the outcome.

Leadership and Governance

Our goal is to maintain a collaborative community and we believe in the power of engagement. That is why faculty, staff and students are invited to participate in dozens of NMC councils, committees, task forces and project teams. I believe it is important that we, as a college, review and recommend any modifications to our shared governance and leadership systems. An unanswered question for staff and administration remains as to what the future of employee groups is within the leadership and governance processes. These groups are currently foundational to representation on governance councils and many committees. The Leadership Group has been key in aligning planning processes at NMC. I have asked employee groups to remain intact as they continue their participation and representation on councils, committees and taskforces.

We have begun a clarification process with PBC and will review that with the campus. A more comprehensive review calendar for leadership and governance review will be established prior to the end of the calendar year.


Last year we built the budget on moderately increasing revenue, reducing cost, and shifting priorities. The budget reductions included; $450,000 reduction in salary expenses, $200,000 reduction in COAT purchases, $250,000 reduction in professional development and $300,000 reduction in transfers to the plant fund. It is important that NMC operates in a responsible way to students and taxpayers, and the budget plays a key role in our commitment to both constituencies.

Right sizing and adjustments
When we built the budget last year, I stated that I did not want to take budget actions that might later have to be reversed depending on fall outcomes. We have a long history of reviewing all vacant positions, asking whether positions can be combined, eliminated or revised to result in cost savings. We have done this in a number of areas during the summer and early fall. In all of these cases, we have committed to monitor the impact, review the decisions and welcome your feedback.

We recognize we have approximately 1,200 fewer students today than we had at the peak of the recession. We also continue to see more competition from online and other education delivery methods. Consequently, we must continue to review and revise how we accomplish our work and make adjustments in our budget. Our projections last spring indicated we needed to remove over $1 million from our budget. We set a target of $450,000 of that to come from salary costs. Our hope was to achieve some savings through employee attrition and consolidations; and we continue to work toward our targets. An update on the targeted savings will be provided at the October Board of Trustees meeting. The budget will continue to evolve. I ask you to stay engaged, ask questions, and offer suggestions.

NMC Foundation and Resource Development
Four years ago, we began a comprehensive redesign of the NMC Foundation and Resource Development department. We know that we need significantly more resources to fund scholarships, programs, people, facilities and equipment. We also know that more of this needs to come from NMC Foundation efforts. To that end, we are executing a plan that will provide those resources. You will see additional personnel in this department as we continue down this path. In the coming weeks and months, you will begin to hear more about this exciting effort on the part of our Foundation, its volunteers and employees. Funding for this effort is shared by the Foundation and the college’s strategic fund, fund for transformation and reserves.

Legislative and Regulatory Issues

We continue to engage and inform our state and federal elected officials about the breadth of work that we are involved with here at NMC, as well as some of the challenges we face. So far this year, we have convened several legislative roundtable discussions both in Traverse City and in Lansing, hosted a legislative campus tour, welcomed Governor Snyder to NMC and showcased a real world implementation of NMC’s technical education capabilities for a U.S. senator.

As a result, we have found success in raising legislative awareness of all that we do at NMC and appreciate the legislative support we have received to move forward with important projects, such as the West Hall Innovation Center.

As we look forward to a legislative session at both the state and federal levels following the election in November, as well as what the legislature and administration might be focused on in 2017, there are several legislative and regulatory items that we continue to track and monitor. These include the following 2017 State Legislative Advocacy Issues:

  • State FY18 Budget – Community College Base Appropriations
    •  We will continue to press for additional increases in state base appropriations in FY18.
    •  We expect the Governor to announce his FY18 proposed higher education budget in early February 2017.
  •  Capital Outlay – West Hall Innovation Center
    • Following NMC’s successful capital outlay planning grant request in FY17, we are hopeful that the legislature will approve construction funding for our West Hall Innovation Center project in FY18.
    • The total project cost was reduced by over 20% from the proposed project cost in FY16 and once complete will transform and renovate 38,000 square feet of space to accommodate the use of simulation, team-based and project learning across all curricula.
  • Community College Baccalaureate Legislation – Offering New Credentials of Value
    • To meet the needs of the business community, our region, state, nation and world, NMC must have the flexibility to offer new credentials from technical certificates to baccalaureate degrees.
    •  SB 98 would expand the ability of community colleges to offer a baccalaureate degree in nursing, a credential that is needed by healthcare employers in the region and state.
  • Guided Pathways – Start with the End in Mind
    • Support the implementation of the Guided Pathways Design Principles.
    • These principles include helping students with goal-setting from the start and simplifying their choices with clear roadmaps.
    • The principles also include a redesigned intake with the goal of helping students choose and successfully enter a program of study while monitoring students’ progress, giving frequent feedback and support as needed.
    • The principles would also empower faculty and staff to lead the redesign process.
  • Transfer Management and Community College Collaboration
    • The Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) provides every student in Michigan access to earn 30 college credits at a low-cost community college with the guarantee that all 30 credits will transfer to a four-year institution and count towards a bachelor’s degree
    •  We are supporting expanding this opportunity by creating career pathways to guarantee seamless transfer of an associate degree.

2017 Federal Legislative Advocacy Issues

  • FY18 Federal Budget
    • We will be watching closely as the next administration releases its FY18 budget proposal and the levels at which higher education is funded.
    • One specific issue that we will be advocating for will be the reinstatement of year-round-Pell Grants.
  • Higher Education Policy Positions of the New Administration
    • This year, President Obama outlined an ambitious agenda to combat rising college costs and make college affordable for American families. 
    • We are actively tracking the policy positions of the presidential candidates as they relate to higher education.
  • Department of Education Oversight
    • We will continue to monitor issues related to rules and regulations from the U.S. Department of Education and how they might affect the operations of NMC.

Board of Trustees

The NMC Board of Trustees is a volunteer body that continues to do critical work for the future of the college and community. The election in November has two open seats. One seat is due to the retirement of Bob Brick, who has been a tireless supporter of NMC first serving on the Foundation Board and then on the Board of Trustees. I thank him for all he has done and have been assured he will continue to support NMC. The second seat is currently held by Chris Bott, who was appointed to the Board following Cheryl Gore Follette’s resignation. Trustee Bott is one of six candidates seeking this position. The League of Women Voters will hold a Board of Trustee Candidate Forum in Milliken Auditorium on October 18 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.

Following, are the six candidates in alphabetical order:

  • Chris M. Bott
  • Carolyn Collins
  • Christopher Dailey
  • Michael Estes
  • Michael Haynes
  • Rachel Johnson

Spring Semester Opening

We have not made a decision on the nature and design of spring semester Opening Conference. I want to talk with a number of groups, including the Learning Outcomes Team, CIE, and Staff Development Team to get their recommendations. I hope to have a decision by mid-November.

Closing Comments

We live in a time of not just change, but transformation. Whether talking about society in general, or the college as a microcosm of society, I think the following is true. We have the technological capability to be more connected than at any other time in history. Yet, we seem to be less connected than any time in recent history. It is far too easy to blast off an email or text without regard to factual basis. It is far easier to use technology to support a position than it is to listen to a colleague and examine our position. It is more comfortable to talk only with people who have a like mind. It is hard to feel uncomfortable. Everyone, close your eyes, breath deep breaths and consider for a moment all the gifts we have in our lives.

I ask each of us to understand the discomfort that accompanies transformation. I ask each of us to learn to embrace today, work to build tomorrow and truly live out the values adopted by the NMC community in 2007. Never forget, it will take all of us to get to the future. It will take all of us to make a difference in our learners’ lives. It will take all of us to make a difference in our community. We have a proud history of service and innovation. I believe this college, this community, more than many others has the will and capacity to continue growing to meet new needs within our world. It is up to us.

Thank you for all you do, have a great semester.

Thank You…

Please extend my gratitude to President Nelson and everyone at NMC for the fall flower arrangement acknowledging my father’s recent death. My father lived in England and having the support of my NMC family is especially important to me right now.

Susan Odgers
Social Science Adjunct Faculty

Walk In Advising: October 17-24

walk-ins-welcomeThe Advising Center will be offering Walk In Advising sessions for students October 17-24* from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. We’re here to help students create their academic plan, check progress toward degree completion, and plan for transfer — all in preparation for Spring/Summer registration. No appointment is necessary and sessions are offered on a first-come basis.

Questions? or 995-1040.

*Please note that we will see walk ins from 1:30-4:00 pm on October 18.


Benefits Corner: NMC Open Enrollment

NMC Open Enrollment is set to kick off on Monday, November 14, 2016. Overview meetings will be held at the Oleson Center at 9:00 am and again at 1:30 pm. Vendors will be joining us again this year to answer any questions you may have. Calendar appointments will be coming shortly!



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Kudos to Phillip Trowbridge. Phil is part of the NMC Grounds crew and he worked diligently to clear the path between the Cherry Lot and Eastern Elementary School last week. He was able to finish before Walk to School Day and did a wonderful job! Thanks Phil!