Thank you to Admissions for fielding questions about Futures for Frontliners!

Hawk Owl Helper logoFutures for Frontliners logoThank you to NMC’s Admissions team for fielding a series of open Q&A sessions via Zoom about the state’s new Futures for Frontliners program to provide tuition assistance to Michigan’s front-line workers. Admissions Director Cathryn Claerhout reports that the program has generated “tons of emails” from interested students, many of whom have applied for the program. Over 100 sessions are available through December for people to get their questions about the program answered.

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Thank you to the IAF at the start of its 27th season!

Hawk Owl Helper logoIAF logoThank you to the International Affairs Forum for reengaging with its audiences for a new season dedicated to Finding Solutions to Global Crises, and for reimagining how that engagement happens in the midst of a pandemic.

The IAF kicks off its 27th season this Wednesday at 5 p.m. with a timely discussion on Grappling With Pandemics: Global Public Health Policy In The 21st Century, hosted by global health expert Dr. Julio Frenk and moderated by IAF board member Kenneth Warner, former dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Anyone can register for the virtual event here and pay what they can to attend, and all are invited to submit questions for the discussion to

Join the discussion here.

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Thank you to the Dennos for The Art Of:_ Series!

Hawk Owl Helper logoSally Rogers sculpture, NexusThank you to the Dennos Museum Center for launching a virtual, pay-what-you-can version of its The Art Of: _ programming. This series of programs helps connect the visual arts to broader topics in our busy lives.

The next installment, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, features The Art Of: Sally Rogers, an NMC alumna whose sculpture, Nexus, is located on main campus. Join the conversation here.

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Thank you to NMC faculty and staff!

Hawk Owl Helper logoWe want to say a huge thank you to YOU in this week’s NMC Helpers and Heroes post! Our college kicked off the new fall semester last week and we could not have done it without each and every one of our faculty and staff rising to meet the challenges and opportunities presented during this time — from retooling courses and procedures to reminding students to wear face masks and practice social distancing. You continue to demonstrate our NMC values in meeting the needs of our students and college community. Thank you for all you do to help our learners succeed and make NMC such a great place to work!

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Thank you to Welcome Week volunteers!

Hawk Owl Helper logoNMC welcome week volunteersThank you to the dozens of NMC volunteers who helped move over 200 students into North and East halls over the past weekend and who continue helping with NMC Welcome Week events and handing out maps and masks!

They include: Marcus Bennett, Linda Berlin, Kishion Bragg, Kevin D’Alessandro, Cindy Deemer, Lisa Eiden, Cheri Garvin, David Gates, Dan Gentry, Amy Gordon, Brittany Hanbury, Roger Heeres, Lydia Henion, Scott Herzberg, Patrick Hill, Jackson Hollocker, Jennifer Hricick, Jessica Johnson, Camille Johnson, Jackie Jorgensen, Kari Kahler, Keith Kasper, Rita Kucera, Rachel LaLonde, Amy Loeb, Amari McGee, Sean McKay, Kyle Morrison, Todd Neibauer, Nick Nissley, Michelle Poertner, Alexis Reid, Shayenna Rossell, CJ Schneider, Shannon Schultz, Sally Smarsty, Jen Strauss, Alison Thornton, Amanda Van Oordt, Alex Walsh, and Meg Young.

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Congratulations to this year’s Staff Excellence and Team Excellence award winners!

Hawk Owl Helper logoBobbi GarnerCongratulations to Bobbi Garner (right), Office Manager of the Science & Math Academic Area, for winning this year’s Staff Excellence Award. During the spring semester, she worked late into the night and over a weekend to get 70 students rescheduled in their classes after an instructor had to cancel classes due to an emergency. Her work helped 23 of those students graduate on time in the spring.

Educational Technologies (EMT) teamCongratulations also to the Educational Technologies (EMT) team (left), who were integral in the transition to virtual learning this past spring. They held daily Zoom office hours and fielded five times as many help desk tickets this past March as the previous March due to the shift. This summer, they provided their teaching solutions course to over 90 instructors rather than the typical 12 to 15.

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Advising Center staff and faculty advisors conduct over 1,200 virtual appointments

Hawk Owl Helper logoNMC Advising Center logoThank you to the Academic & Career Advising Center, including Deb Maison, Taylor Nash, Kim Schultz and Lindsey Dickinson, who have conducted more than 950 appointments with new and continuing NMC students since the end of April, and to the faculty advisors who have met with more than 300 students during the same period. The Advising Center lets students schedule virtual assistance appointments through NMC’s MySuccess service and chat live via

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Donors and Scholarship Open volunteers step up to support NMC students

Hawk Owl Helper logoThank you to donors and volunteers for stepping up to support NMC students and our entire campus. Donors made more than 1,300 gifts this spring to support students and programs in need — the second highest donor number ever recorded at the NMC Foundation. This support allowed the Foundation Board to pledge an additional $1 million to the college during this challenging year.

Thank you, also, to the volunteers of the Scholarship Open Committee, who reworked the event to accommodate current health guidelines. The 2020 Scholarship Open, in memory of Jim Beckett, will be held this Thursday, Aug. 6 with more than 200 participants and is one of the college’s most important fundraising events, raising over $100,000. You can still register to golf or support the Scholarship Open today at

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Residence Life staff make NMC home for students, interns

Hawk Owl Helper logoThank you to Residence Life staff Lisa Eiden, Amari McGee, Charles (CJ) Schneider and paraprofessional (student) staff Keith Kasper, Kishion Bragg and Monte White, who have been working with Associate Dean of Campus and Residence Life Marcus Bennett to help the dozens of students and interns who have called NMC home since early May. Staff has worked to ensure their stay in the residence halls has been an enjoyable one, and are working on plans to ensure that Fall 2020 is a success as well.

East Hall and North Hall are slated to be home to more than 100 students each in Fall 2020, as new and returning NMC students are welcomed back to campus Wednesday, Aug. 19 through Wednesday, Aug. 26 with a series of free socially distanced and virtual events.

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NMC retools and reopens programs to keep students learning

Hawk Owl Helper logoThank you to all of the NMC employees who have worked hard to retool and reopen their programs so students can keep learning while working to keep them safe, including those in Aviation, Culinary, Dental, Maritime, Police Academy and at the Dennos Museum Center.

As one example, Culinary Director Les Eckert noted that Patty Cron-Huhta and Mike Skarupinski set up new COVID-19 safety protocols for the baking lab and dining room for Cafe Lobdell’s. Program staff also worked with Facilities to ensure all sanitizing supplies are available for cleaning during and after Cafe Lobdell’s operating hours. The moves enabled Cafe Operations students to make up a spring lab class and to ensure a timely end of summer graduation.

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Faculty steps up to offer more teachingSOLUTIONS

Hawk Owl Helper logoTeaching Solutions logoThanks to Janet Lively, Scott Powell, Tricia Lincoln, and Sarah Montgomery-Richards, who have been a huge help assisting the Educational Technologies team in delivering the teachingSOLUTIONS virtual boot camp program for teaching online and hybrid courses this summer, due to high demand. 

In mid-May the team  facilitated the first boot camp since the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, with over 80 faculty starting the program and many finishing since then. Another virtual boot camp is being offered the week of July 20. To sign up or to ask questions that haven’t been answered here, please reach out to Mark DeLonge ( or Ryan Bernstein (

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Dennos keeps the arts alive via virtual events while planning to reopen

Hawk Owl Helper logoThanks to the Dennos Museum Center staff for reimagining how to keep the arts alive while the museum’s doors were closed, as it prepares to reopen to the public June 1. Virtual events included a series of Facebook Live concerts that drew hundreds of viewers and raised money for a local artist relief fund, live artist conversations on Facebook and Zoom, and a virtual pet photography exhibit for K-12 students that culminated in a virtual tour and reception. The museum also retooled its collaborative “Draw Northern Michigan” (Draw NoMI) program for online art education delivery, with Education Curator Jason Dake posting a series of instructional videos.

The Dennos is now planning a limited reopening June 1 with reduced hours and capacity, following a June 23-25 “Membership Appreciation Week” to thank museum members and supporters for their generosity during this challenging time. Learn more at the museum’s Planning Your Visit page and via its Facebook announcement.

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Committee Reimagines Fall Opening

Hawk Owl Helper logoThanks to the three dozen NMC faculty and staff members of the Reimagining Fall Opening Committee who have been meeting regularly since May 7 to create the fall semester plan. While the most complex of the three strategies under consideration, the plan to offer face-to-face classes where required and a mix of hybrid, livestream and online courses otherwise will provide the most flexibility to our students while maintaining the safety of students, employees and the community. It will also allow the college to adjust quickly as the pandemic situation evolves.

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Anti-racist reading list shared at virtual town hall as diversity committee forms

Hawk Owl Helper logoThanks to librarian Joelle Hannert for sharing the library’s anti-racist reading list at Friday’s town hall meeting. You can read the list here.

The list follow’s last week’s announcement by President Nick Nissley that the college is forming a committee to address inequities and injustices faced by students, employees and the community, in the wake of global protests over the police killing of George Floyd. The committee will be led by Mark Liebling, associate vice president of human resources, and Lisa Thomas, dean of students. “We’ve had a great number of staff and instructors volunteer,” Lisa said Monday. People interested in the initiative or with questions about it can email Mark.

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Police Academy and Dental Assistant program leaders work overtime to restart classes

Hawk Owl Helper logoMonte White photoPolice Academy Director Gail Kurowski and Health Occupations Academic Chair and Dental Assisting Instructor Beckie Wooters oversaw the first face-to-face instruction on NMC’s campus since mid-March.

Following strict health and safety protocols, police academy and dental assisting students resumed face-to-face training at Northwestern Michigan College May 18 in accordance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s latest executive order, which amends the scope of previous orders to allow training for first responders and healthcare workers. (Police Academy recruit Monte White, right, is shown taking a defensive driving course at Camp Grayling as part of the academy training.)

Some class days stretched 11 or 12 hours in order to compress necessary training into efficient delivery. Read more.

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Dennos director helps at Midland museums hit by flooding

Hawk Owl Helper logoCraig Hadley in MidlandDennos Museum Center Director Craig Hadley responded to a call from the Michigan Museum Association to assist museums in Midland, Mich, damaged by the massive flooding that occurred there last week. 

According to the MMA, widespread damage was done to collections and buildings in the city, including the Midland Center for the Arts/Midland Historical Society. It put out a call for volunteers with Collections/Curatorial training to lead small teams of volunteers with the removal of artifacts.

Hadley volunteered on Saturday, May 23. He de-framed waterlogged works on paper and packed oversize works on paper for transport to an offsite facility for further assessment and care.

“It was a challenge trying to do salvage work amidst a pandemic,” he said. 

Volunteers worked in small, socially-distanced groups.

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Financial Services CARES

Linda Berlin and the Student Financial Services staff have moved quickly to distribute federal CARES Act dollars as well as scholarship dollars to students affected by COVID-19. As of May 15, they had distributed $168,175 in federal emergency relief funding and $47,600 in scholarship funds to 355 students. Awards averaged $608 per student. Some students commented it was the first income they had received since mid-March, when Michigan’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order forced many businesses to close.

“The emergency aid from NMC came just in time,” said visual communications student Randi Upton, 33.

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Reassuring Residence Life Director

Director of Residence Life Marcus Bennett oversaw the mid-semester move of East Hall residents to North Hall, where about 50 remained quarantined until the end of the semester. As a resident of campus himself, Bennett was a constant reassurance for students and their families.

As one parent said, “He’s been an absolute blessing, even meeting my son on campus to retrieve his belongings when it was a holiday and campus was closed. Living hundreds of miles away makes things extremely difficult and I’m not sure we would’ve made it through this tough time without Marcus.”

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