Strengthening our NMC team and beginning our shared journey

Let me begin with a sincere thank you for your warm welcome at our January Conference. It was great to meet you and share a little bit of what shaped me as a person as we begin our journey together. Best of all was feeling the student-centered passion that filled the room! Yes, that was your energy. 

As part of our journey, over the next five weeks, I will be sharing personal reflections on what shaped me as a leader each week in “The Intercom” employee e-newsletter. I will begin with the importance of trust; then, work my way through – conflict, commitment, accountability, and results. My intention is twofold:

  1. To offer the College community a sense of what’s important to me as a leader and what I believe is essential for us to realize our mission. I value not only focusing on the ‘what’ of our strategies, but also on the ‘how’ of working together, effectively. The overarching ‘why’ behind all of this is that I truly believe in the transformative power of education for our learners. Simply, we must be doing our best work together, so that in turn, we’re best serving our students.   
  2. To offer us some shared language around teamwork and organization effectiveness, as we seek to face our challenges, leverage our strengths, and realize our aspirations. These are not answers to problems or prescriptions. Rather, they speak to values that when embraced might shape how we work and grow together. Think of them as levers that we might pull on as we seek to develop more effective teams within the College organization. Again, so we might ultimately better serve our mission and the students.

Years ago I was introduced to the team/leadership development model of “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.” It offers a roadmap that guides teams through a journey to strengthen five areas that are key to productive team dynamics. Simply, the model has informed my leadership practice and I’ve found it to be true to my experience. Think of the behaviors as opportunities and challenges that all teams face as they seek to grow together. The five behaviors are:

  • Trust One Another—Members of great teams trust one another on a fundamental, emotional level, and they are comfortable being vulnerable with each other about their weaknesses, mistakes, fears, and behaviors. This is essential because …
  • Engage in Constructive Conflict Around Ideas—Members of teams who trust one another are not afraid to engage in conflict around ideas that are key to the organization’s success. They do not hesitate to disagree with, challenge, and question each other, all in the spirit of finding the best answers, discovering the truth, and making great decisions. This is important because…
  • Commit to Decisions—Teams that engage in constructive conflict around ideas are able to gain commitment to decisions, even when various members of the team initially disagree. That is because they ensure that all opinions and ideas are put on the table and considered, giving confidence to team members that no stone has been left unturned. This is critical because…
  • Hold One Another Accountable—Teams that gain commitment to decisions and standards of performance do not hesitate to hold one another accountable for adhering to those decisions and standards. What’s more, they don’t rely on the team leader as the primary source of accountability. This matters because…
  • Focus on Achieving Collective Results—Team members who trust one another, engage in conflict around ideas, gain commitment to decisions, and hold one another accountable are more likely to set aside their individual needs and agendas and focus on achieving collective results. 

I look forward to communicating more about my leadership style with you over the coming weeks in the “The Intercom” and in person, as I continue meeting with groups and individuals throughout our College. I also look forward to hearing from you as we work to strengthen our NMC team together. 

 – Nick Nissley, Ed.D.

Hello and Happy New Year from Nick Nissley!

Good Afternoon NMC Community!

There’s nowhere that I’d rather be today. Being here, at NMC, is a sort of calling. It’s a calling for me to share my strengths as: a possibilitarian and a servant leader. As a servant leader, I understand that my role is primarily to assist in the accomplishments and fulfillment of the hopes and expectations of others. Ultimately, that means my role is to help you as you transform student lives through the power of education. And, as a possibilitarian, I am committed to helping others to think and act beyond boundaries, and to achieve more than was originally imagined. It’s obvious to me, NMC is a strong college in a strong community – it has a proud history and a future of possibilities. As NMC’s 11th President, I am well aware that I am the beneficiary of smart decisions made by my predecessors, and I am equally passionate about sharing my leadership strengths to make a difference for our students, the faculty/staff, and the institution of NMC. I believe in NMC’s role, that we have played historically, and that we must imagine together as we look to the future – our role in improving the lives of people and strengthening the fabric of our community. So, together, let’s be driven to think and act beyond boundaries, and to achieve more than was originally imagined. That’s the possibilitarian spirit of NMC.

I appreciate that the presidency is a privileged position, not a position of privilege. I feel privileged to be able to serve and be a steward of such an awesome, profound mission. I have been preparing over the past few months, ‘doing my homework’. I have been devouring all that I can put my hands on in terms of ‘orientation materials’ (e.g., College reports, budgets, history books, and briefings), as well as engaging in conversations with the former President, Tim Nelson, and our NMC Board Chair, Chris Bott. While the very steep learning curve will obviously continue, I feel like I have a growing foundation of knowledge about the College, strong support from the College/community, and a desire to work together to continue to make a difference in the lives of those that we serve.

Northwestern Michigan College has been referred to as the community’s college, not just a community college. And, it’s already becoming clear to me, that what distinguishes NMC faculty and staff is that you have diligently served the mission-inspired tagline from the first NMC Catalog in 1951: “Community Centered, Community Serving”. We will continue that mission-driven focus.

As I’ve been going about the work of transitioning into the President role, and to further my learning, I’ve met with some other college presidents, over the past few months, including Jim Votruba, past president of Northern Kentucky University. Jim’s family owns Votruba Leather Goods, here, in Traverse City. A piece of advice that I took away from my conversation with Jim was his counsel, “Be sure that people know that you’ve unpacked your bags.” His point – that I need to demonstrate that I’m committed to the College/community for the long haul. Rest assured, my bags are unpacked. Our family has bought a home on Old Mission Peninsula. While my wife and daughters are finishing up the school year, back in Cincinnati, given that I have a high school senior and freshman; they will be joining me in early summer. That means I’ll be looking forward to being 100% present for you!

So, what can you expect from me as we get started? I will be listening and learning. Together, with NMC Board Chair, Chris Bott, and the NMC Executive Team, we have developed an ‘onboarding plan’ – a plan to identify the ‘first steps’ to guide my orientation to NMC, and pave the way for me to become acclimated and informed relative to the role and responsibilities.

Specifically, the onboarding plan will help me hear from the College community: 1) gather information, develop understanding, and build relationships; 2) develop understanding of what requires immediate attention; 3) begin an inventory of perceived organizational strengths and weaknesses; 4) identification of key strategic challenges and opportunities; and, 5) afford me insight to aspirations/possibilities.

The activities detailed in the plan serve as a blueprint for my entry into NMC. As with all blueprints, adjustments may have to be made as we progress. It’s intended to be a ‘living document’. The plan has been intentionally developed to acknowledge my areas of focus: listening and learning about the College’s history; the institution’s strengths and weaknesses; and, challenges and opportunities. Ultimately, the listening and learning will help inform our ‘next steps’ as we seek to advance the College mission, together.

I look forward to meeting you next week at the January Mid-Year Opening Conference, and as I visit you in your areas around campus. Together, let’s be what’s possible!

 – Nick Nissley, Ed.D.

President’s Update for December 31, 2019

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible.

(more…)

President’s Update for November 25, 2019

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible.

(more…)

President’s Update for October 29, 2019

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible.

(more…)

President’s Update for September 9, 2019

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible. (more…)

Congratulations to Dr. Nissley

I offer my congratulations to Dr. Nissley as the incoming president of NMC.  Thank you to all of the campus and community members who participated in the search process. It was open, transparent and effective.  Our Board of Trustees should be commended.

The next four months will race by and there will be much to accomplish during the transition to new leadership. I am confident that we will all work to provide information and support that will assure Dr. Nissley’s successful entry to NMC and our college’s continued success into the future. Holly Gorton, Chief of Staff to the President and Board will coordinate the transition process working with the Board, the campus, members of the community and me.

I look forward to welcoming Dr. Nissley and his family to Traverse City and am certain he will be a great asset to the college and community.

Tim

Timothy J. Nelson, President
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI
Phone: (231) 995-1010

Update on NMC and MMTC

Dear Colleagues:

I would like to share an important next step in our relationship with a long-standing economic development partner, and what this means to our programs and services supporting workforce and economic development. (more…)

President’s Update for June 20, 2019

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible. (more…)

President’s Update for May 23, 2019

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible. (more…)

President’s Update for April 22, 2019

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible. (more…)

President’s Update for March 18, 2019

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible. (more…)

President’s Update for January 28, 2019

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible. (more…)

President’s Update for December 17, 2018

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible. (more…)

President’s Update for November 19, 2018

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

Notable Accomplishments provided by Faculty and Staff

This section recognizes the good work being done and linkages to the Strategic Directions (SD) and Institutional Effectiveness Criteria (IE) are provided where possible. (more…)