Additional funding available from the Office of Possibilities

Do you have an idea or project that needs resources to reach its full potential? If so, the Office of Possibilities wants to hear from you! OOPS seeks to provide resources for education-related projects as well as projects related to community partnerships with NMC.

The Office of Possibilities is hosting it’s final pitch event for the academic year on Tuesday, May 14 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in room 104/105 of the Timothy J. Nelson Innovation Center. Take advantage of this opportunity to kick-off the next innovative project! The timeline will be very tight and the turnaround quick!

Those interested should submit an application by May 7 to determine their eligibility and to be connected with an OOPs team member to assist in planning the pitch.


Third annual Experiential Learning Institute Learning Symposium April 29–May 2

NMC Experiential Learning Symposium

The 3rd annual Experiential Learning Institute Learning Symposium will celebrate learning from April 29–May 2. Throughout the event, attendees can browse poster displays and artifacts that showcase the diverse ways students engage in high-impact learning at the Timothy J. Nelson Innovation Center (TJNIC) on NMC’s Front Street Campus. The schedule also includes:

Monday, April 29:

  • 12:15 p.m.: Study abroad panel with Jim Bensley and Marina Call. Pizza Included. (TJNIC, room103)
  • 6:00 p.m.: EGY 105 Sustainable Building Design presentations with Charles Macphee’s students (Aero Park Laboratories, room 110A, Aero Park Campus)

Tuesday, April 30:

  • 10:30 a.m.: MFG 203 Manufacturing/Engineering Processes presentations with Hollianne McHugh’s students (TJNIC, room 106/107)
  • 12 p.m.: Student groups and student projects reflective table talks (TJNIC Hallways)

Wednesday, May 1:

  • 1 p.m.: SOC 201 Modern Social Problems final presentations with Brandon Everest’s students (TJNIC, room 104/105)
  • 3 p.m.: BUS 231 Big Little Hero Race Reflection with Kristy McDonald’s students (TJNIC, room 106/107)

Artwork created by Marcus Johnson, Morgan Reames, and Kane Williams.

Success Story: Abundant scholarships something to celebrate

April 10, 2024

Illustration showing NMC scholarship recipients and faculty

This National Community College Month, NMC has news the entire Grand Traverse region can celebrate: higher education here is more affordable to more people than ever before, including high school students.

Thanks to Michigan Reconnect, a state scholarship program intended to encourage degree or certificate completion, for the rest of this year tuition is free to county residents 21 or over who don’t already have a degree or certificate. After Nov. 15, the free tuition offer reverts to those 25 and older.

Michigan Achievement, another state scholarship specific to 2023 and 2024 high school graduates cuts the cost of their full-time tuition nearly in half. In total, NMC more than doubled the amount of state scholarship funds it awarded this year — $3.5 million — compared to $1.7 million in the 2019–20 year, before the COVID pandemic.

“These dollars go directly toward students’ tuition bills, helping them achieve their career goals as well as financial security for them and their families,” NMC President Nick Nissley said. “I am really proud of all of the new ways the state, and NMC, are working to help students make college more affordable.”

A new, lower dual-enrollment rate for high school students who live outside Grand Traverse County, plus NMC scholarships plus a plan to make those dollars more easily accessible all add up to a considerably reduced tuition burden. NMC scholarships are awarded through the generosity of local donors. This year, 1,075 students received $1.3 million in funds.

Starting next year, students will be automatically placed into the scholarship pool upon admission to NMC. Skipping a separate application requirement is expected to increase the number of students who receive scholarships. The most recent National Postsecondary Student Aid Study states that only 6 percent of public 2‐year college students receive institutional aid. NMC’s rate has been as high as 30 percent.

Helping students pay for college helps them complete college, which is the state’s ultimate goal. Reconnect and Achievement are both tactics of Michigan’s Sixty by 30 goal, which seeks to increase the percentage of Michigan adults with college degrees or certificates to 60 percent by 2030. Currently, 51.1 percent do.

Recent enrollment increases are also indicative of progress toward the goal. NMC’s enrollment headcount ticked up 3.3 percent this spring semester. Summer headcount is also up, while fall semester admissions are up, too.

For students interested in college who are not yet admitted, NMC is hosting Quick Start drop-in events from 4–7 p.m. Monday, April 15, Monday, May 20, and Monday, June 17. All admission tasks can be completed at the event.

For students who are admitted, online and in-person orientations are scheduled throughout spring, starting April 19. Online and in-person information sessions for dual enrollment are scheduled tonight, April 10, at 6 p.m.

“Enabling student success is truly something all NMC faculty and staff take to heart, and there’s never been a better time to be a college student,” Nissley said.

Spring textbook return and buyback

Spring textbook rentals are due back by Tuesday, May 7.

Books that have been purchased can be sold back during April 29 – May 3.

The NMC Bookstore is open Mondays–Thursdays from 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m and buyback is available until 30 minutes before the store closes.

Student group spotlight: Critt Happens

Critt Happens, a new, diverse and engaging student group, emerged this past fall at NMC. Spearheaded by student Eragon Byers, and overseen by Advisor Corbin Thompson, the group made a quiet entrance into the student group arena with just a handful of students. However, the Dungeons and Dragons based ensemble has quickly grown and presently holds an impressive membership number of forty-two. With its unique blend of storytelling, strategy, and camaraderie, the group provides an experience that fosters belongingness and community on campus.

Northwestern Michigan College DnD student group

Critt Happens handed out dice to prospective members at the annual student group expo, Winterfest, in February.

Currently, the group is collaborating with the Maker Space to develop a dice creation event for DnD enthusiasts and has recently received a generous supply donation from local business, TC War Room. Their last event, Adventure Palooza Two, achieved a 300% increase in attendees from Adventure Palooza One earlier this year. Byers surmises their focus on inclusivity has contributed to the rapid increase in numbers. “This group strives to include as many as possible into each session, not just based on DnD level, but also ability, gender identity and more.” Byers believes the consistent meeting times and structure have also contributed to its popularity. 

Northwestern Michigan College DnD student group

Fall Fest 2023 pictured left to right: Critt Happens group member, Brady Barry; group advisor Corbin Thompson; and group leader Eragon Byers.

Looking ahead, the Dungeons and Dragons group is poised to continue its pivotal role in student engagement at NMC. Their hope is that as students enjoy roleplaying in this fantasy and adventure game, that they also sharpen their critical thinking skills and solidify lasting friendships and memories from their time at NMC. Critt Happens meets twice per week both Saturday and Sunday from 6:30-11:30 p.m. in the basement of the Timothy J. Nelson Innovation Center. Interested students are welcome to stop by or contact Eragon Byers at

Do you want to see a specific student group featured? Email

GLMA hosts ‘open ship’ aboard State of Michigan

TRAVERSE CITY — The community is invited to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy’s “open ship” showcasing the training ship State of Michigan from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 20. The day will include:

  • Self guided tours of the T/S State of Michigan
  • Interaction with current maritime cadets
  • An opportunity to learn more about the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, maritime careers, how to become a chef on a ship and U.S. Navy commissioning options
  • Merchandise will be for sale. Cash only.

Tours will begin at the pier security gate entrance on the north side of NMC’s Great Lakes campus, 715 E. Front St. Low-heel, closed-toe, soft-soled shoes are highly recommended. The event will occur rain or shine.

Release date: April 5, 2024

For more information:

Great Lakes Maritime Academy
(231) 995-1200


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.

University Center partner campus visits

Do you want to finish a bachelor’s after NMC but stay in the area? NMC’s University Center partners will be at the Front Street Campus throughout the spring semester on these dates:

    • Tuesday, April 9, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Scholar’s Hall
    • Tuesday, April 24, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Health Science Building

Stop by to meet representatives from Davenport University, Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University and Central Michigan University and gets answers to your questions about transferring after NMC.

NMC, LSSU sign engineering transfer agreements

TRAVERSE CITY — Engineering students have four more options to complete a bachelor’s degree thanks to new articulation agreements Northwestern Michigan College has signed with Lake Superior State University.

The agreements allow students to complete an associate degree at NMC and guarantee both admission and transferability of the credits to LSSU, in Sault Ste. Marie, toward a bachelor of science degree in four specialty areas: Computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and robotics engineering.

The computer and robotics engineering pathways in particular provide students with new options for majors while beginning their education at NMC. Depending on the degree program chosen, students could spend two years at NMC, saving nearly $20,000, and two at LSSU to earn their bachelor’s. As an added benefit of the robotics engineering pathway, students can typically earn a minor in electrical or mechanical engineering within their final two years at LSSU.

“These new agreements complement our already robust transfer pathways, providing our students with greater options for majors all while enjoying guaranteed admissions and course transferability to an exceptional engineering program” said Jay Smith, engineering instructor. “Like NMC, LSSU has a student-centered approach with small class sizes and a focus on student success, which I am confident our learners will appreciate.”

LSSU engineering graduates have 100-percent job placement with a median salary of $70,000. The campus is also home to a $2 million robotics lab.

Find out more at


Release date: April 1, 2024

For more information:

Jay Smith
NMC Engineering instructor
(231) 995-1270

IAF Freshwater Focus programming April 17 & 18

Northwestern Michigan College’s International Affairs Forum turns its focus to our freshwater resources in back-to-back events on April 17 and 18. The programs are presented by IAF in partnership with Interlochen Public Radio, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and NMC’s Great Lakes Water Studies Institute. Both events are supported by a grant from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Relentless documentary screening NMC IAF

Relentless Documentary Screening & Panel Discussion

Wednesday, April 17, 6–8:30 p.m.
Milliken Auditorium, Dennos Museum Center

The International Affairs Forum, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and Interlochen Public Radio present Relentless, a documentary narrated by J.K. Simmons on the deadly invasion of sea lampreys into the Great Lakes and the tenacious scientists who were determined to find a solution.

After the screening, stay for a panel discussion including:

    • T. Lindsey Haskin, Director, writer, producer of Relentless
    • Heather Hettinger, Fisheries Management Biologist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
    • Jennifer Read, Ph.D., Director, University of Michigan Water Center
    • Frank Ettawageshik, President, American Association on Indian Affairs
    • Ellie Katz, moderator, Environment Reporter, Interlochen Public Radio

This is a free event. Space is limited. Reserve tickets at

NMC IAF Freshwater Focus Peter Annin

Global Water Tension & The Great Lakes Compact

Thursday, April 18, 5:30–8 p.m. (7 p.m. ET livestream)
Milliken Auditorium, Dennos Museum Center

Peter Annin will present a keynote address on Global Water Tension & The Great Lakes Compact. Annin is the director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation and the author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, the definitive work on the Great Lakes water diversion controversy. Before coming to Northland College in 2015, Peter served as a reporter at Newsweek, the associate director of the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources, and the managing director of the University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Change Initiative. He continues to report on the Great Lakes water diversion issue and published the second edition of The Great Lakes Water Wars in the fall of 2018.

In his latest book, Purified: How Recycled Sewage Is Transforming Our Water, Annin shows that wastewater has become a surprising weapon in America’s war against water scarcity — and a potential global model for innovation.

The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and will feature freshwater-related content from event partners NMC Great Lakes Water Studies Institute & Interlochen Public Radio. GLWSI will brief reception attendees on its new associate degree in water quality environmental technology — a.k.a. the Wet Tech degree. IPR will highlight its Great Lakes reporting via its Points North podcast team. These brief “breakout” presentations will be delivered in a gallery adjacent to the museum’s sculpture court.

The keynote address will follow at 7 p.m.

Admission is $15 per person. Admission is free for all students and educators. For tickets and all event details, visit


IAF logo

Board of Trustees to hold special meeting April 2

TRAVERSE CITY — The NMC Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting Tuesday, April 2 at 4 p.m. in the Timothy J. Nelson Innovation Center, Room 14 (lower level), on NMC’s main campus, to discuss the Benzie County annexation. The meeting notice is available here.

For more information, please contact the President’s office at (231) 995-1010.


Release date: March 28, 2024



Northwestern Michigan College does not discriminate in admission, campus activities, education, employment, housing, public accommodation or public service on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender identity/expression, handicap, height, marital or familial status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, service in the military, veteran’s status, weight, or any other legally protected status under federal, state, or local law. No act of retaliation shall occur to any person making a charge, filing a complaint, testifying or participating in any discrimination investigation or proceeding.

Success Story: Experiential Learning Institute aims for new endorsement

March 20, 2024

NMC Audio Technology program students view a music production studio in East Lansing
NMC Audio Technology program students check out a music production studio in East Lansing.

Imagine a classroom where “sticky” experiences occur regularly, the kind that students remember for years and develop skills they’ll draw upon in the future, like solving problems and communicating more clearly, whether in their work, family or civic lives.

More and more of those classrooms now exist at NMC, as the college marks a giant leap toward its goal of offering experiential learning opportunities (ELOs) to every degree-seeking student by September 2024.

The latest tracking update shows that in the fall 2023 semester, 92 percent of students had ELOs, the often hands-on activities designed to engage them in a cycle of experience, reflection and action. That’s up from 66 percent in spring 2023 and 54 percent in fall 2022.

“It’s about intentionally changing the fundamental student experience in the classroom,” said faculty member Brandon Everest, who has co-directed the Institute with business faculty member Kristy McDonald since 2016.

Some 113 instructors offered ELOs in 263 classes last fall, reaching 2,685 students. The method has been so well received that Everest and McDonald are considering a future EL endorsement students could add to their degree or certificate that would help distinguish them in the job market and NMC among other colleges.

“This is a real differentiator for us here at the college,” Everest told NMC trustees at a board meeting Monday. ELOs, which can occur in courses, internships, apprenticeships, community research, service learning, international services and extracurricular activities also reinforce the material learned, and improve student retention, meaning it’s more likely students will complete their goal.

Trustees wholeheartedly support the ELI, board chair Laura Oblinger said.

“You have the same enthusiasm among this board of trustees. We’ll be continuing to root for you,” she said.

Examples of ELOs include:

  • The NMC Motor Sports Club’s participation in Baja endurance races, which involved automotive, engineering and welding students. 
  • The ninth annual Big Little Hero Race, organized by McDonald’s  professional communications students and set for April 20
  • The Lunch and Learn held today for Holi, a Hindu festival celebrating the arrival of spring and love. (See slides 12-16)

In addition to ELOs, which can be as short as a single assignment, NMC began offering Experiential Learning Designated courses, where at least 80 percent of the course it taught through experiential learning.  McDonald’s Professional Communications class is one of them. A “co-curricular mapping” project is now underway to identify ELOs in every degree and certificate program, class and section, with a goal of providing ELOs as early as possible to students.

The proposed voluntary endorsement would be a credential students could earn in addition to a degree or certificate. It would also enable students to easily choose EL classes when they register.

“It would be a real clear pathway for them to select,” said McDonald, who added that she and Everest often field inquiries from colleges around the country about how to implement ELOs. They will present at a teaching conference in New Orleans this summer.

“One of our goals is to showcase that we are that leader,” she said.

On the menu: Daily specials at the Hawk Owl Café

The Hawk Owl Café serves specials daily on Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30–6:30 p.m. The protein option is $9.99 and the vegetarian option is $7.99.

Monday, March 18

Entrée: Sausage & mozzarella pasta bake or roasted vegetable tortellini bake
Sides: Broccoli and garlic crostini

Tuesday, March 19

Holi celebration menu
Entrée: Tandoori Chicken thighs or tandoori braised tofu with basmati rice
Sides: Indian spiced roasted root vegetables, grilled naan bread and tzatziki sauce

Vegan samosas will be available all day!

Wednesday, March 20

Entrée: Chicken or tofu coconut curry with jasmine rice
Side: naan bread

Thursday, March 21

Entrée: Spaghetti with meatballs or red lentils & roasted vegetables
Sides: garlic bread & green beans

Friday, March 22

No daily special offered. The Hawk Owl Café will be closing at 2 p.m. for spring break.

Drop-in speed coaching

NMC drop-in speed coachingAre you planning to attend the Walk-in Wednesdays with the advisors? Finish your semester strong and see a coach too! The Student Success coaching team is hosting drop-in speed coaching to help with study tips, time management, organization skills and stress management!

Drop-in speed coaching will be available on:

Wednesday, April 3
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Timothy J. Nelson Innovation Center, rooms 124 & 125

Resident Assistant information nights

Residence Life is looking for student leaders to be Resident Assistants during the 2024-25 school year.  If interested, please visit the student jobs board to apply and attend one of the upcoming RA information nights. The student jobs board can be accessed in the Careers section on the lower lefthand side of

Upcoming information sessions:

  • March 18, 7 p.m., Timothy J. Nelson Innovation Center, room 15
  • March 19, 8 p.m., East Hall basement
  • March 20, 9 p.m., North Hall, 2nd Floor Enclave

For more information, contact Brooklyn Golnick, Corbin Thompson or Marcus Bennett at (231)995-1400.