Sad News

Stephen Ballance photoLongtime NMC instructor and Art Department head Stephen Ballance passed away on October 21, 2020.

Steve joined the NMC faculty in 1971 as a part-time instructor of photography, taught Photography and Art Appreciation from 1981 through 2000 and served as the head of the Art Department from 1986 through 2000, according to his obituary. He also headed the Physical Education Department from 1981 through 1986 and taught sailing to Great Lakes Maritime Academy students. He considered his work with his students as his most important accomplishment.

At Steve’s request, a private memorial service will be held in the spring. Recognitions of Steve’s contribution to the community should be directed to the Paul & Delphine Welch Art Department Scholarship at Northwestern Michigan College, 1701 E. Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49686. Read more and share your memories here.

Health & Science Building atrium will be a city polling place and bookstore will be closed Nov. 3

The Health & Science Building’s first-floor atrium on NMC’s main campus will be used as a city polling place for Precinct 9 voters again this year, including on Tuesday, Nov. 3 between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Some parking in the Cedar lot will be set aside for voters at those times.

Voters are asked but not required to wear masks at the polling place. Masks will be provided for people who don’t have them but would like one, sneeze guards will be in place within the polling place where voters and election workers most interact, items will be sanitized and social distancing signs will be in place. Those not voting are asked to avoid the polling place during voting. (NMC’s Keep Safe plan requires that face masks be worn and social distancing practiced – staying at least six feet apart – in all other NMC common areas, hallways and classrooms.)

The NMC Bookstore will be closed Nov. 3 as well, and will reopen with normal hours Wednesday, Nov. 4.

Sad News

John PahlLongtime NMC instructor John Pahl passed away on September 20, 2020.

Pahl was hired to teach in NMC’s Communications department in 1966 and remained an instructor at the college for 48 years, while also coaching NMC’s cross country and tennis teams and taking part in the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program, where he spent a year Germany and had sabbaticals at Cambridge University and Oxford University. He also wrote stories, articles and poems and served on the board of Michigan Writers.

One former NMC student, regional historian and author Kathleen Firestone, established the John Pahl Literary Prize at NMC in honor of her teacher and mentor, and to inspire and reward NMC students for good writing.

Visitation and a Celebration of Live will be held Oct. 3. Read more here.

Parking enforcement starts Sept. 21

The Traverse City Parking Patrol will begin issuing citations for parking violations at NMC on Monday, September 21. All NMC students and employees must have their 2020-2021 permits displayed by that date. If you haven’t received your permit, they’re available at the Campus Safety & Security office in the West Hall Innovation Center (#9 on the Main Campus Map). 

The Traverse City Police Department has provided the following information on how to avoid parking tickets on campus by properly displaying your parking permit:

  • Place your permit in the bottom left-hand corner of your windshield.
  • Place your permit right side up. An upside-down permit will be considered invalid.
  • Hang tags must be on the rear view mirror. 
  • Be sure that the expiration date on your permit can be seen from the outside of your vehicle. (Some vehicles have a tint on the edges of their windshield, so be sure your permit is not behind a tint, as it will make it difficult to see from the outside.) When it doubt, get out of your vehicle and be sure you can see the entire permit from the outside.

If you do get a ticket, payment can be made at the red drop-off payment box at the east end of the Cedar lot in front of the Health & Science Building on main campus. You can also mail the fine in to the city, or pay at the parking services office in the public parking garage at 303 E. State St. Payment information is also on each ticket.

If you have any questions about parking enforcement on campus, please call Campus Safety & Security at (231) 995-1111.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee announces subcommittee chairs, seeks applicants

NMC continues its commitment to making meaningful change in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion at our College and providing you with updates on that work.

This summer the College created a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. The committee is proud to announce the following chairs and advisors of the subcommittees:

  • Employee subcommittee
    • Hollie DeWalt – co-chair
    • Brie Mills – co-chair
  • Community subcommittee
    • Nicole Speelman: co-chair
    • Nicco Pandolfi – co-chair
  • Student subcommittee
    • Sarah Montgomery-Richards – advisor
    • Sally Smarsty – advisor
    • (student co-chairs to be determined)

These chairs and advisors will be seeking applicants for those students and employees who want to help advance this important work by serving on the subcommittees. Please watch your email for more information on how to apply for these opportunities to serve.

The NMC DEI Committee will continue to update you on progress and action related to efforts of making our College and community a more diverse, inclusive and equitable place to learn, work and live. If you have any questions please email Thank you for your continued support.

Governance Vacancies

Dear Colleagues:

The college is seeking nominations for the following open seats on NMC’s Governance Councils:

Policy Council (Responsibilities)

  • Staff (1 seat)
  • Faculty (1 seat)

Planning & Budget Council (Responsibilities)

  • Staff (1 seat)
  • Faculty (1 seat)

The term of office is three years, with a limit of two consecutive terms. Terms end August 31 of the third year in office. Further criteria for service and responsibilities for each council are attached.

Your active participation in our shared governance system is greatly encouraged. You may also nominate a colleague other than yourself for council membership, but must have the nominee’s permission before submitting their name.

Please send your interest and/or nominations to the President’s Office by responding to by Tuesday, September 8.

Thank you,

President’s Office
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI
Phone: (231) 995-1010

NMC August Conference 2020

Dear Colleagues:

We look forward to seeing you Monday at our annual August Opening Conference — virtually this year! A calendar appointment was sent to you previously, and recently updated with the appropriate Zoom link. Below is the agenda for the morning, which will include a short break midway through the conference. (more…)

NMC and Oleson Family celebrate final NMC BBQ while continuing student support and community connection

Good afternoon NMC community,

We have some important news to share with you about one of our college’s oldest traditions. After 65 years and nearly $2 million of projects funded, Northwestern Michigan College and the Oleson Foundation have made the decision that 2020 will be the final year of the NMC BBQ event. Despite the change, the Oleson Foundation remains dedicated to supporting our students and the College will continue the strong community connection established through the event’s proud history.

Throughout the decades, many of you have given countless hours of your time, in all kinds of weather (including snow, occasionally) to make the BBQ a success. For years, it served as an “open house” where we could invite our neighbors, friends and family to come to our college and see the amazing people, programs and places that make us all so proud. Thank you for that work. It is because of you that the connection to our community, and the support of our College and students remains strong today.

“We’ve come a long way in 65 years since the Oleson family and the community first joined together to help build our community’s college. We have accomplished much and our college and region have grown and changed considerably over the years,” said Brad Oleson, NMC BBQ committee member. “As we reflect on that success, we feel now is a great opportunity to look toward the future for new ways to support the college as our students’ needs, and our community, continue to grow and change. We celebrate what we have done together and are excited to extend that path into the future to benefit our students, our college and our community for years to come.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the Oleson family’s commitment to Northwestern Michigan College. Our college might not be here today if it wasn’t for their vision and dedication,” said Dr. Nick Nissley, president of NMC. “The Olesons and the BBQ not only rallied support and resources over the years, but allowed us to open our campus to the community to celebrate all that we’ve done together for our students. I am confident we will continue the spirit of the BBQ and Oleson family for many years to come and I look forward to it.”

While the traditional BBQ event will not be returning, the College would like to host a celebration for volunteers, supporters and community members when it is safe to do so in the future.

Since the BBQ first began, there are now a wide variety of ways for the community to learn about, engage with and support the college including through the NMC Foundation, advisory boards, volunteer positions and more.

The Oleson Foundation has pledged to continue their support for the college and its students, just as they have for nearly thirty years. Most recently the Oleson Foundation made a gift of $100,000 to NMC’s new West Hall Innovation Center. Marty Oleson will also continue to serve on the NMC Foundation Board.

The NMC BBQ Committee established an endowed scholarship in 2015 that will provide scholarship support in perpetuity for local students with financial need.

Since the BBQ began, you have developed new ways to connect with our community and to support our students and we are excited to continue that important work together as a college and celebrate with you along the way.

With sincere gratitude,
Diana Fairbanks

Health & Science Building atrium will be a city polling place and bookstore will be closed Aug. 4

The Health & Science Building atrium on NMC’s main campus will be used as a city polling place for Precinct 9 voters again this year, including on Tuesday, August 4. Some parking in the Cedar lot will be set aside for voters at those times.

Masks will be provided for people who don’t have them but would like one, sneeze guards will be in place within the polling place where voters and election workers most interact, items will be sanitized and social distancing signs will be in place.

The NMC Bookstore will be closed that day as well, and will reopen with normal hours Wednesday, August 5.

President’s Office delivers three babies in less than a month

Administrative Coordinator Lynne Moritz and her husband Chris welcomed Evelyn Rita Moritz to the world April 14, while Assistant Jeff Linsell and his wife Dessa welcomed Taylor Rey and Jackson Dean on May 7.

“A big congratulations to Jeff and Lynne,” NMC President Nick Nissley said. “Amidst this time of darkness, to invite such light into the world; it’s extra joyful and beautiful to share this part of your journeys with you. Appreciative of your possibilitarian attitude!”

Extension of “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order

Dear employees:

As our state continues efforts to mitigate the health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has extended the Stay Home, Stay Safe order through May 15. To support this effort, and comply with the order, Northwestern Michigan College will extend the closure of all five of its campuses in Traverse City through May 15.

College employees are already categorized into essential and non-reporting/on call classifications. If you must come to campus, please wear a face mask, as specified in the governor’s order. For more information and resources for working while campuses are closed, including instructions on mail pickup and delivery, please visit the “keep working” section of

The governor’s order also allows landscaping and lawn care work to resume. At NMC, that work will include landscape work for the new West Hall Innovation Center and annual spring lawn care and landscaping work with our grounds crews. 

For those who do not need to report to campus at this time, please follow these stay at home safety guidelines:

  • Don’t leave the house unless you absolutely have to.
  • Don’t socialize with people outside your family.
  • You are allowed to go outside for essentials like groceries or prescriptions, but you should limit those trips to no more than once a week if possible.
  • You can visit someone if you are their caregiver.
  • You can walk the dog or exercise outside (for brief periods) as long as you keep a six-foot distance from others.
  • Avoid face to face contact, especially in close-up and confined spaces.
  • Who should do this? Everyone who lives in an area with a mandatory stay home, stay safe order.

Summer semester will be delivered virtually, as announced on April 8. You can see a list of canceled events here. The College is currently planning several possible scenarios for fall delivery of instruction and will communicate with you when those plans are finalized.

This is an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation. We will continue to communicate with you to keep you safe and limit the disruption to learning as much as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your supervisor.

As we get updates and changes, we post them first on Please continue to check here for the latest information.

NMC Public Relations

Innovation Grants due April 3

The deadline for this semester’s round of Innovation Grant applications is April 3, 2020. Applications must be submitted to your area Vice President by this date. It is strongly recommended that you discuss your proposal idea with your Vice President before developing the full proposal. VPs do have the authority to reject an application, but can also provide valuable feedback to help develop great proposals that are more likely to be successful! More information about Innovation grants can be found on the employee site under Forms>Resource Development & Foundation.

Please note that ALL applicants are required to do a 5-minute presentation for the committee plus plan 5 minutes for Q&A.

Flu Shot Sale

The Health Services office is holding a $10 Flu Shot sale now through Wednesday, Nov. 27. The office has a limited supply left, so get yours today!

Walk-ins are welcome.

Biederman Building LB106, (231) 995-1255

Free Health Insurance!

Free Health Insurance for students who qualify, and most do!

Help Available for Sign up

Qualified representatives from Northwest Michigan Health Agency will guide you through the process

Helpful to bring but not necessary:

  • Driver’s License or Birth Certificate
  • Most Recent Pay Stub

Tuesday, October 15 ~ 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. ~ Osterlin Lobby Room 113

Osterlin Library and the Writing & Reading Center will be open Oct. 8

Please inform students working on and seeking help on their research and writing assignments that Osterlin Library will be open Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (its regular Tuesday business hours), despite the college being closed for the NMC October Conference.

Because Scholars Hall will be closed Oct. 8, the Writing & Reading Center (WRC) will offer students walk-in appointments with WRC staff in the Osterlin Library reference section during the WRC’s regular Tuesday business hours (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.).