August 2021 Conference Recording

The recording of the college update portion of the conference held on August 23, 2021, is available for viewing here. As a reminder, the Values Workshop segment of the morning was not recorded. Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in both portions of the morning. Please contact our office with any questions or concerns.

We hope your semester is off to a great start!

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

Message from the President: Martin Luther King Day Announcement

Dear NMC Community,

I am pleased to share that one of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) related opportunities for students and employees coming in the 2021-2022 academic year will be a celebration of Martin Luther King (MLK) Day. Programming and activities will begin on Monday, January 17, 2022, (which is also the first full week of spring semester.). A team of faculty and staff is working to organize this celebration and provide many opportunities, including classroom/curriculum ideas, programming/events, music, and volunteer opportunities for students and employees both on campus and in the community.

The goal of this celebration is to provide students and employees an opportunity to learn more about the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and through service, embody the values he so embraced and upheld for the just treatment of all people from all walks of life. This holiday is an opportunity to educate and explore ways to value, embrace, and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in real and tangible ways. Programming and events from MLK Day will lead into February’s Black History Month.

Please watch for more information coming this fall on how MLK Day activities can be infused through the classroom, through volunteerism, and in programming/events during the months of January and February.

More information will follow soon. We look forward to this special opportunity!

Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Message from the President: Guiding Principles for the Future of Work at NMC

Dear NMC family,

For more than a year now one of the most common questions I’ve heard is, “when are we going to return to normal?” With more of us getting vaccinated, and restrictions loosening, soon we will have more freedom in how we interact with each other and our students. But to be honest, I don’t think we should automatically return to how things used to be. While the pandemic has been challenging, it has also been liberating and, in some ways, even inspiring to see what we have all been capable of doing! Why would we want to limit ourselves to return to how we used to do things?

As I first mentioned in our spring town hall, I’ve asked Diana Fairbanks and Mark Liebling to lead a “Reimagining Work” team to explore this issue when it comes to how we do our work at the college. They, with input from President’s Council and a cross-campus team of co-workers, have drafted the attached “Guiding Principles” document that sets out a high level vision for the future of work at NMC. Our college has a history of leading innovative change, and this could be another great example of that tradition. To continue being honest with you, while it sounds exciting, it’s also a little scary for me, and likely some of you. Personally, I actually like a little structure and predictability, but I also know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to assess and reset our work culture for the benefit of our employees and ultimately our students. That is simply too important to pass up. Our learners will be entering, or in some cases re-entering, work environments that are also changing and we need to model agility and innovation for them. 

So what happens next? We expect the state will soon ease restrictions, as vaccination rates increase. As that happens, and COVID-19 cases fall in our region, we will also begin to ease restrictions on our campuses. That will likely take place this summer and we will continue to communicate these changes with you. But while everyone will be allowed to return to campus with fewer restrictions, there will not be a mandate to do so. Please collaborate with your teams and vice-presidents to assess what is best for you, your co-workers, students, donors and other stakeholder groups impacted by your work. We have a wonderfully diverse set of programs and departments at our college and there will not be a “one size fits all” approach to this opportunity. It’s also important to embrace this through our well established spirit of innovation and thoughtful risk-taking. As with our “PDCA” (Plan; Do; Check; Adjust) model, we will continually review the decisions we make in the near term against our values and desired outcomes, to adapt and refine our approach.

By June 11, the “Reimagining Work” team will share some tools to help you and your teams assess your area’s needs, and guidelines on how to develop a draft flexible work plan. Then over the summer, the “Reimagining Work” team will gather more input and address potential challenges and opportunities to help you be successful. We will continue to communicate with you on this important initiative throughout the process. Diana, Mark, the HR Team, and your vice presidents are resources to help you work through these decisions with direction from the attached “Guiding Principles” document.

This is an incredible opportunity that will take work, but has the potential to have an enormous, positive impact on our community. I know for some of you it may feel uncomfortable to not have all of the answers, and I understand, but ultimately, it’s more important to get it right than to rush resolution. During this time, communication and patience will be critical. Please continue to be kind and considerate of each other, our students and other stakeholders. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions for the “Reimagining Work” team please email Mark and Diana. And as always, I am here for you and look forward to doing this important work with you.

Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Message from the President: Letting go of the need to know

Dear NMC family,

I hope you have had a chance to catch your breath after a busy semester. Personally, I am still floating from this weekend’s commencement and seeing the joy on our students’ faces! Now as we  look ahead to what’s next, I’d like to share with you a column I wrote in this month’s Traverse City Business News. It’s worth a read and reflection, I believe, as it speaks to the reshaping of our understanding of our roles as leaders and co-workers in a time of rapid change, specifically ‘letting go of our need to know’ and the expectation that we will have all of the answers.

The pandemic has driven this point home to me, and you too, I am sure. The pandemic has also heightened my awareness around the need for us to encourage each other to be more values-driven versus rules-bound. I believe that the pandemic has forced us to accept that we just don’t have all the answers. But, what I am more sure of, now – is that we must embrace the spirit of our mission, continue to be values-driven, and trust in the courageous creativity of our NMC faculty and staff.

Thank you for all you do,
Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Message from the President: Congratulations and thank you!

Dear NMC family,

During this busy time of year, I hope you can take a moment to reflect on the incredible work you’ve accomplished this semester in the face of historic challenges. When I think about this past year, I think about how I feel when running a race. At the start, the adrenaline gives us a boost, we know it will be difficult, but we are determined. As the miles, or in this case months, click by, our energy starts to fade, the doubt creeps in and the finish line feels too far. We may even think about quitting. But with each race I’ve done, I find that there is a point, maybe ¾ of the way through, that I realize how far I’ve come and it’s really not too much further to go. My body and brain start to shift perspective, and even though I am tired, I want to finish more than I want to quit. It’s often about that point that I turn off that voice in my head and start to hear the cheers from the spectators and see the nods from my fellow runners. Their support gives me even more of a boost. I may be running my own race, but I am not doing it alone.

This is where we are now as a college community. We are each overcoming our own challenges running this race, but we’re also doing it together. We are here to cheer each other on, help each other succeed and acknowledge the incredible hard work it takes to complete this race. We are almost at the end and I know we will get there! Thank you for all of the work you have done this semester, at our college and in your personal lives. I know it has been a lot and I am so incredibly proud of you. Let me remind everyone, that vaccination is the fastest way to return to fewer restrictions. I know, we’re all looking forward to a fall semester with fewer restrictions. So, please get vaccinated, if you haven’t already.

To our graduates, I offer you heartfelt congratulations and look forward to our commencement ceremony together this weekend. I am confident that you will continue to achieve your goals no matter where life takes you, because that’s the spirit you’ve already shown while you were here at NMC. Remember, you are part of our NMC family for life.

Stay safe and I hope you can take some time to enjoy our beautiful northern Michigan summer.

Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Be What’s Possible Campaign Gift Announcement

Dear NMC Community,

I am thrilled to announce that Richard and Diana Milock have just made a gift of $3 million to NMC. This gift will support the college’s Audio Technology Program, Great Lakes Culinary Institute, and Dennos Museum Center through a combination of current and planned gifts.

This gift is the culmination of many years of the NMC Foundation and many of you across our campuses working with the Milocks to understand how their philanthropic goals best align with college priorities. Thank you for all that you have done to build trust and confidence in NMC to make this gift possible.

This is the largest single gift from a living donor in the college’s history. Richard and Diana Milock have now given more than $5.3 million to the NMC Foundation as part of the current Be What’s Possible campaign, making them the lead donors in this effort.

With this gift, Richard and Diana join you in supporting student success as well as the sustainability of the Dennos Museum Center, a treasured cultural asset. This gift makes much possible for the entire community as it:

  • Commits a planned gift to create an endowed fund to support the greatest needs of the Dennos Museum Center with $1.5 million;
  • Commits a planned gift to create an endowed fund to support students at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute through scholarships and the greatest needs of the program with $1 million;
  • Supports the current needs of the Audio Technology Program and the Dennos Museum Center, including key equipment updates to the Milliken Auditorium and support for the Audio Tech program to encourage student success with $500,000.

Your dedication to student success and the arts have inspired the Milocks to support the Dennos Museum Center and NMC’s Great Lakes Culinary Institute for nearly two decades. 

The relationships that you build every day at NMC not only help our students succeed, but also inspire others to trust NMC to make a difference with their philanthropic gifts. 

Thank you,
Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Strategic Planning: NMC needs your help

Dear NMC family,

I am pleased to announce that NMC is kicking off its strategic planning process, and I invite you to take an active role in helping us chart the course for the College’s future. As we embark on our eighth decade as an institution, our ability to take thoughtful risks and remain agile and innovative in a fast-paced environment is more essential than ever.

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been charged with coordinating an inclusive approach to engaging all of the College’s primary stakeholders as we clarify who we are, what we want to become, and how we can achieve our desired future state. As co-chairs for the Steering Committee, Vicki Cook and Stephen Siciliano will lead a transparent and open process, culminating in a future-focused plan that will refocus our energies and resources for the next three calendar years as we leverage our past successes to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. (more…)

Message from the President: Thank You to Marguerite Cotto

Dear NMC community,

One of the points of pride for our college is how many of you have dedicated decades of your careers here to serve our learners. That expertise and historical knowledge have been invaluable to me as I work to learn more about how we can best meet the needs of all of our stakeholders. But with that longevity, we will eventually begin to see some transitions and must take time to recognize and honor those individuals who have helped create the college we know and love today.

It is my privilege to thank Marguerite Cotto for her nearly four decades of service to Northwestern Michigan College as she prepares to retire at the end of 2021. It is incredibly rare to demonstrate such service to one organization these days, but we can all agree how rare she is in many ways. (more…)

Message from the President: Thank You NMC Community

Dear NMC community,

One year ago, today, we made the difficult decision to close our physical campus as a new virus began quickly spreading around the world. Since then, we have lived through an incredible period of transformation, and I want to take a moment and say just one thing. Thank you.

Thank you — for all that you’ve done to work together, to compassionately help each other and our community. Thank you for creatively helping us navigate through a period of uncertainty and isolation, to where we can now see the light of hope growing brighter every day. (more…)

Message from the President: Thank You to Holly Gorton

Dear NMC community,

We’ve undergone significant change during the last year in many aspects of our world and here at our college. Later this year the President’s Office will also face a significant change when Holly Gorton retires from NMC on June 30, 2021. As Chief of Staff to the President and the Board of Trustees she has been instrumental in many critical areas of our institution. While much of her work is done behind the scenes, her warm and engaging personality fills every room she enters and she will be greatly missed at the college. (more…)

Message from the President: Thank You to Vicki Cook

Dear NMC community,

During the last year our society and our college have undergone significant changes due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have been so proud of NMC’s ability to adapt while remaining true to our mission. Vicki Cook, Vice-President of Finance and Administration, has demonstrated incredible leadership during this time, not only in managing the operational response to the pandemic, but also limiting the financial implications. Her work has been critical in allowing us to achieve our goals of keeping our students and employees safe, while limiting the disruption to learning as much as possible. We all owe her a tremendous amount of gratitude. Which is why it is difficult for me to share the news that Vicki will be retiring from full-time work at the college beginning in March, so she may spend more time with her family. However, in true Vicki form, we have worked together to create a plan that will ease the impact of this transition while we move toward the future and through this change in leadership. (more…)

Message from the President: MLK Day Message

Dear NMC community,

Today, as we recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I encourage us all to take time to reflect on his impact. Lately for me, one of the most meaningful passages is from Dr. King’s 1968 speech at the National Cathedral, just weeks before his assassination. He proclaimed, “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

This is an unparalleled time in our nation’s history. The images from the violence at our nation’s capital on January 6th are still fresh in our minds, and the effects are still unfolding. I want to acknowledge how deeply disturbing it was to see the U.S. Capitol under siege that day, but also how important it was to witness members of Congress complete their constitutional responsibility and certify the vote. (more…)

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…)

Message from the President: Making meaningful change together

Dear NMC Family,

As I look out to the world from our northern Michigan community, my heart breaks at the frustration and anger that is overflowing onto the streets of cities across our country in response to years of racial injustice. My first reaction is to acknowledge the pain, seek to understand the struggle and empathize with the emotions. As important as that response is, I also know it is not enough. I must also take action. We must take action. It is not enough to be “not racist” we must actively work to be “anti-racist.”

When I first arrived at Northwestern Michigan College earlier this year, I was proud to see the work that we are already doing on diversity and inclusion through areas like the Experiential Learning Institute, the Dennos Museum Center, International Affairs Forum, and throughout our classrooms, student groups and support services. And while we will continue to use those areas to live our values, I believe we can and must do more.

Starting this week, I am championing a new committee at NMC that will focus solely on addressing inequities and injustices faced by our students, employees and the community. This will be led by Mark Liebling, associate VP of human resources, and Lisa Thomas, dean of students. We will look closely at our own NMC community and act as a convener of discussions for the larger community to engage thoughtfully and work collaboratively.

I also intend to lead and learn by doing. This week I have actively sought input from throughout our college community, participated in robust discussions with President’s Council, we will continue that discussion in our virtual employee town hall Friday, and I will join our Phi Theta Kappa students in their Racial Justice Issues/Honors in Action meeting and other student and employee groups. I know this is just a start, but it is a start and I am committed to prioritizing this work as your president.

I also remain committed to listening. I know that will be essential to seeking deeper understanding. I encourage you to share your thoughts with me and together we will work to make meaningful change in our world.

Nick

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College

Northwestern Michigan College

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Release date: June 4, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
dfairbanks@nmc.edu
(231) 995-1019

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY NOTICE

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.edu/non-discrimination

Message from the President: NMC Foundation seeking $1 million emergency funds

Good evening NMC family,

I want you to be among the first to know that the NMC Foundation Board has taken a bold step to commit $1 million to help meet the immediate emergency needs of both students and the college in response to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are challenges that you are engaged in and working to solve every day. I have seen your incredible fortitude. You have stepped up to provide support to our students in new and unprecedented ways.

Yet the need is still great. (more…)

Message from the President: NMC’s 4R’s Model

Good afternoon NMC family,

It’s hard to believe we are entering the final week of spring semester and my first as president of our college. It’s certainly not the semester any of us could have planned for, but I am more confident than ever that this is the right place for me to be at this time. Seeing your work to help our students to achieve their goals, and your work helping each other has been amazing.

While finishing the work of this semester, we are also looking toward the future. I know that may seem challenging given how much uncertainty we face, but as we talked about at our recent virtual town hall, I have a framework that I believe will help us focus our attention and actions as we live into our new normal. It’s “The 4R’s.” (more…)