Psychologist Mary Pelton-Cooper will give a presentation titled "Psychotherapy with People on the Autism Spectrum: A Clinician's Perspective" on Friday, Sept. 22, at Northern Michigan University. The event begins at 3 p.m. in 1322 Jamrich Hall. It is part of the Department of Psychological Science Colloquium Series.
Pelton-Cooper, who has a private practice, will discuss the challenges and rewards of treating people with mild Autism Spectrum Disorder. She will also report on the LifeMAP life management assistance program she attended at the Asperger's Autism Network in Boston, Mass.
Herbs, greens and other vegetables cultivated at the NMU Hoop House near the Jacobetti Complex are now being sold to Dining Services, an area restaurant and community members. The new venture follows requests from chefs interested in using fresh, locally grown food. In addition to generating sales revenue to pump back into its operation, the NMU Hoop House will continue donating produce to its volunteers, local food banks and culinary students in training.
The Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences (EEGS) Department oversees management of the hoop house after several years of oversight by the Marquette Food Co-op.
“Having a hoop house on campus gives students, staff and community members a chance to experience the pleasure of growing and harvesting good food that doesn't have to travel far before it is consumed,” said Susy Ziegler, head of EEGS. “Fresher food may be tastier and more nutritious, and not as much fossil fuel is consumed when transporting and refrigerating the produce. The first sale to Dining Services was made over the weekend, and the Wildcat Den will feature NMU Hoop House produce this week. Chef Nathan Mileski wanted to add this element to the variety of locally produced food products—including BSB eggs and Superior Angus—that are now served.”
DIGS Gastropub, a downtown business with alumni connections, recently used items harvested from the NMU Hoop House in its second Chef Dinner Series event. Hospitality management graduate Alex Palzewicz, the catering and events manager at DIGS, developed and prepared the vegetarian menu featuring locally sourced produce.
“The hoop house provided me with onions, several extraordinarily flavorful herbs and some plants that I used in floral arrangements,” she said. “We'll definitely include produce from there at the Sept. 23 NMU Hospitality Gala being held during Homecoming. I don't think people realize how difficult it is for restaurants to purvey local food. I'm always looking for smaller farms to work with for special events or to supplement normal ordering here at the restaurant and fill in when we need lettuces and herbs. It's nice to have the NMU Hoop House as another option for that. I first became acquainted with it during a brief tour while I was in the program at Northern.”
Biology graduate student Rachel Ochylski coordinates activities at the hoop house. She recruits volunteers for daily watering shifts and for work sessions from noon-2 p.m. Saturdays.
“We've completed some extra side projects outside of the hoop house recently,” she said. “Last summer, we built compost bins from pallets. We take people's food scraps, mix them with yard waste and let them decompose so we can use the material to enrich the soil in the hoop house. We started a pollinator garden of milkweed plants and flowers popular with monarch butterflies. And we have a “three sisters” garden based on Native American legend. Corn, squash and beans are often planted together because they support each other's growth and complement each other nutritionally.”
A hoop house's primary purpose is to extend the growing season, but Ochylski said Northern's can also serve as a resource for research. “If students are interested in soil amendments, plant ecology or plant diseases, we're open to working with them on their undergraduate capstone or graduate thesis projects.” Shayna Schroeder is also assisting at the hoop house this year for her Freshman Fellowship experience.
For more information or to find out about volunteer opportunities, visit https://www.facebook.com/marquettehoophouse/
Happy Homecoming NMU.
Great things are happening at Northern – and we're only a few weeks into the new school year. At convocation, I kicked off the year reminding the campus of our many accomplishments of the past year. It was a list of which to be proud. Now, more good news continues to roll our way, giving us more than Homecoming to celebrate this month. Now that the semester is well underway, I thought I should give the campus an update on several topics on which I've received questions or comments. Please keep up the good work on the enrollment front.
IN THE RANKINGS: This year's U.S. News & World Report rankings, announced last Tuesday (Sept. 12), had Northern listed in four categories. Among regional universities in the Midwest, NMU was a top 100 school, tied for 83rd best overall and 18th among the top public institutions. We ranked 67th as a “best value” and tied for 52nd among the best colleges for veterans in the Midwest. I wonder where we will be ranked in five years after we've completed implementing the innovative and strategic ideas we're working on, talking about, or that come out of the Strategic Resources Allocation project?
10th DAY NUMBERS – RETENTION: Monday (Sept. 11) was Northern's 10th day of classes, which is significant in that it is the day Michigan universities are required to do official enrollment counts and submit them to the state. Among the various enrollment statistics we collected and are analyzing, one of the most exciting ones was our 1st to 3rd semester retention rate, which at 75% appears to be highest since Northern began tracking that information. That is a 3% climb from last year's 72%. There are a number of reasons to celebrate this feat. It means our students are making progress toward completing their degrees. It might also mean that more students are receiving the assistance needed to remove learning and university navigational barriers. Increased retention directly influences Northern's enrollment picture, which directly impacts the budget. The least expensive student to recruit is the one who already attends. I anticipate continued retention improvement as the university implements recommendations from the NMU Retention Committee and others on campus.
10th DAY NUMBERS – OVERALL ENROLLMENT: Another big highlight from the 10th day enrollment report is that we're up in new freshmen, new graduate students, transfer students and have added nearly 600 EAN students to our enrollment totals. The new freshmen numbers held to double-digit growth at 10.8% (146 students), which might be the largest percentage increase in the state this year. The numbers demonstrate our ability to distribute education traditionally, as well as through modern, non-traditional means. Today our traditional enrollment is 7,612. Our EAN enrollment is 585. Northern also has enrolled 2,960 students who don't fall into other traditional student categories (such as workforce development, Police Academy and MARESA partnership programs), which gives Northern a total students served enrollment of 11,157. On the traditional enrollment side, we've made a big dent in the hole created by the large graduating classes and small incoming freshman classes of the past few years. We whittled our overall enrollment decline down to 1.8%, which defies demographics and national/ regional projections. That is quite an achievement for any university, but especially noteworthy of a rural one. Keep in mind that we would have needed a +24% increase in new freshmen to not see an overall decline in total headcount. The goal now is to find ways to duplicate this success as we move forward.
THE IMPACT OF HURRICANES– Our thoughts and best wishes are with Northern students, faculty, staff and alumni whose families were impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Northern reached out to 36 students from the Hurricane Harvey-hit areas. We're in the process of doing the same for those impacted by Hurricane Irma. We let these students know that the university stands ready to assist with such things as pushing back financial due dates until their family's situation has been stabilized, connecting them with counseling services, and notifying faculty members for excused absences if a student must travel home at some point. The NMU Alumni Association has been emailing Harvey and Irma-area alumni. A number of alumni, especially graduates of our line tech program, are working as part of the recovery efforts. Some students and employees who are National Guard members have been called into duty to help as well. Please do everything possible to help hurricane-impacted students and deployed Guard members deal with any added responsibilities from the storms. The Dean of Students office is the starting point for students and Guard members with questions or issues related to the hurricane situation, and Human Resources for staff and faculty.
DACA DETAILS – Following President Trump's action to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, I've been asked how many “Dreamers” attend Northern. My answer: I don't know since NMU does not track DACA students. Several national organizations of which NMU is a member, as well as university presidents' groups to which I belong, have sent letters to the president and members of Congress in support of university-attending “Dreamers.” NMU has a strong history of supporting the idea of educational access for all who seek it. We will continue to monitor the situation. While Congress works on this issue, please know these three things regarding recent immigration executive orders:
BUDGET MATTERS – I want to congratulate NMU departments on their conservative spending last year, which resulted in a $1 million savings. Nearly all departments closed out the 2017 Fiscal Year with carry-over funds. This is great news because our overall enrollment decline leaves us with about a $1 million structural budget imbalance. Rather than do budget cuts to correct this, I'm asking departments to continue to spend conservatively again and we'll manage the deficit this year through cost savings and one-time funding methods. By doing so, we can see how the recommendations of the Strategic Resources Allocation project influences the budget. It would make little sense to do a budget reduction in an area today through across-the-board cuts only to determine through the SRA process that it is an area recommended for investment. Let's see how the SRA recommendations shake out and do all of the budget restructuring that is needed at one time.
SEPTEMBER CHALLENGE – Speaking of the SRA project, the first SRA forum of the semester will be held at 8 am. Thursday, Sept. 28, in 1100 Jamrich Hall. All members of the NMU community are encouraged to attend and be an active and informed participant of this campus-wide initiative. The SRA forum is just one of many September events at Northern. This week (Sept. 17-23) we celebrate Homecoming, which includes the Dead River Games, annual parade, Step Competition, and NMU's Alumni Awards and Sports Hall of Fame events. The following week (Sept. 25-26) is Northern's annual diversity conference, known as UNITED (Uniting Neighbors In The Experience of Diversity). I challenge all Northern community members to attend one or more of these events. Faculty and staff, we need to be the example for campus involvement that our students see and follow. Students, joining the complex conversation about university decision-making for the future (SRA), introducing yourself to world and community leaders (Alumni Awards and Sports Hall of Fame), and expanding your world and cultural perspectives (UNITED) are not always easy things to do, but they present great learning and growing experiences for you.
An incoming freshman told me this summer that he chose Northern because we're a “happenin' place.” This month, all of us – whether we've been on campus 40 years or 4 weeks – have a chance to stretch beyond our daily campus routines and get involved in what's going on.
It's a great time to be a Wildcat.
President Fritz Erickson