Michigan Tech, Portage Health Lauded by the Peace Corps

by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer

Michigan Tech has the largest Peace Corps Master's International Program (PCMI) in the nation, with 55 students enrolled in seven programs. But it isn't just the quantity of volunteers that brought the national manager of the PCMI program to the University Tuesday; it's also their quality.

"We're fortunate to have Michigan Tech people involved in Peace Corps," said Eric Goldman. "They are premier Peace Corps volunteers, and we extend our thanks to you for what you have created. It's astonishing."

"No one comes close to your commitment and accomplishment," he said. "Not only are you highly regarded at Peace Corps, but there are countries around the world that want Michigan Tech Peace Corps volunteers."

Goldman also expressed Peace Corps' gratitude to Portage Health, which provides a discount of up to 30 percent toward the cost of Michigan Tech's PCMI students' medical examinations. "To be a Peace Corps volunteer requires a rigorous medical process," said Goldman. "It's a considerable expense, and Peace Corps only provides a small amount. I don't know of anyone besides Portage Health who has done this. It's a fantastic example of corporate social responsibility."

Under the direction of forestry professor Blair Orr, Michigan Tech started its first PCMI program in 1995, the Loret Miller Ruppe Master's International Program in Forestry. Since then, a total of 155 students have enrolled and six more programs have been established, in civil and environmental engineering; applied natural resource economics; natural hazards mitigation (geology); civil and environmental engineering; science education; rhetoric and technical communication; and mechanical engineering.

President Glenn Mroz accepted a plaque from Goldman that expresses the Peace Corps' appreciation to the University community. It reads, "Your extraordinary commitment to, and accomplishment in, the Master's International program has made significant contributions to the lives of thousands of people around the world."

Volunteer Julie Herrick had recently returned from her Peace Corps assignment in Panama and is completing her master's. For her, the program offered a way to conduct research and get involved in community service. "I wanted a practical way to apply what I knew as a geologist in context. It was a commitment," she said. "But it was the right way to go about this."

Mroz was involved with the program from the start and recalled the first class heading out to Camp Alberta, where they learned "guts forestry" in preparation for their Peace Corps assignment. "From those five students, we've grown to the largest program in the US," he said.

The program also benefits the University by bringing a diverse mix of students to campus, where they undergo two semesters of intensive academic preparation before entering Peace Corps. "It's not high paying," Mroz said. "But as an experience, Peace Corps is priceless. They learn that you can make a significant impact on people's lives for a long time to come."

Both Mroz and Goldman emphasized the role Orr has played in establishing and nurturing Michigan Tech's Peace Corps program and noted his tenacity and willingness to speak his mind. "Blair is an absolute blessing," said Goldman. "He does a superb job of keeping the Peace Corps honest."

Reminder: Time to Verify Health Care for Dependents

submitted by Benefit Services

Employees covered under Michigan Tech's health care plans will receive a letter from Aon Consulting in April outlining the steps to take to verify dependents' eligibility.

A marriage certificate, birth certificates for children, and the front page of the most recent federal tax return filed are among the documents that will be used to determine eligibility.

For more information about the required documentation, go to Benefits and click on the first link.

If you submit documentation (such as a tax filing), you may black out any social security numbers or financial information.

Employees will have two options to submit their documentation--via USPS or upload through a secured website. Aon has systems in place to protect your information securely. You can find their process FAQ's at the above link as well.

The first letter employees will receive will provide the information needed on how to submit the information. A call center at Aon Consulting (the phone number will be provided on the letter) will also be set up for employees to call regarding any questions or concerns they have about the process and the required documentation.

For more information, contact Renee Hiller, manager of Benefit Services, at 487-3309 or at rlhiller@mtu.edu .

Senate Committee Will Conduct Presidential Survey

submitted by Gerard Caneba

The Administrative Policy Committee of the University Senate will conduct the annual president's survey from Wednesday, March 31, to Friday, April 9.

The entire University community is invited to participate in this online survey, in which electronic tokens will be individually provided through the University email system.

The survey should take less than 15 minutes to fill out and will include questions regarding the following topics:

* Performance aspects of the president and his executive team.
* Relevant issues or decisions that have been made, or are pending, by the president's executive team.
* Questions the president requested to be included regarding strategic plan and vision for the University.

This academic year, we are using software developed in-house--in conjunction with University IT personnel--to implement the electronic survey process. As well, we will send flyers to University constituencies to improve response rates. We plan to present results of the survey in the April 14 Senate meeting.

Identities of respondents will be protected through a system in which electronic tokens linking with survey takers will be erased as soon as the electronic survey is submitted.

In addition, comments made in the electronic survey will be summarized, synthesized and paraphrased to conceal writing and semantic tendencies.

More details of the survey will soon be available through the university Senate website.

For more information, contact Gerard Caneba, chair, Administrative Policy Committee, at 487-2051 or at caneba@mtu.edu .

Enroll Now for the Voluntary Sick Leave Pool

April is open enrollment month for the Voluntary Sick Leave Pool for benefit-eligible employees (FTE .75--FTE 1.00).

If you are not a member of the pool and have accrued enough sick time hours, you will receive a letter asking if you would like to join. You must have three days, or 24 hours, of sick leave available by April 1 to join the VSLP

For employees with an FTE between .75 and .99, eligibility is 2.25 days or 18 hours.

Once you have donated to the VSLP, you can apply to use sick days from the pool in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury to you or an eligible family member.

If you have previously donated, you need not donate again. The registration form and policy can be viewed at sick leave .

For more information, call the Benefits Office at 487-2517 or email Nancy Bykkonen at nabykkon@mtu.edu .

Preschool Announces Registration for Fall Classes

Registration for fall preschool classes will begin at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 6, for families with children who have previously attended the MTU Preschool. Families who are new to the preschool may enroll starting at 8:30 a.m., Monday, April 12.

The licensed, nonprofit preschool, located in Daniell Heights, serves children ages 3-5.

The curriculum is play-based and gives children opportunities to make friends, develop social skills and learn. The preschool also offers teacher-directed activities, in large and small groups, using music, games, stories and arts and crafts.

The preschool has a new playground and a newly remodeled indoor classroom.

Children must be three years old by December 1 for the three-year-old class and four years old by December 1 for the four-year-old class.

Non-English-speaking children are welcome.

Children must also be toilet-trained to be eligible for enrollment.

Tuition discounts are available for families living in Daniell Heights.

For more information, contact Kay Waite at 487-2720 or at kaywaite@gmail.com .

Also, visit the website: http://www.mtupreschool.org .

SAD? Get Help Thursday

The Benefits Office will host a Lunch and Learn on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) on Thursday, not today.

The session, which will be presented by Don Williams, director of Counseling Services, will begin at noon in Memorial Union Ballroom B3.

Attendees can enter to win prizes; beverages will be available; bring your lunch.

Reminder: Annual Fashion Show for Women's Month Today

See the new spring fashions from local businesses for work, after hours and Husky Fridays at the Women's History Month Fashion Show from noon to 1 p.m., today, in Memorial Union Ballroom A. The show is titled "Fashion That Works" and includes clothing, accessories and shoes from the following businesses:

* 20 Below
* JcPenny
* Maurices
* Christopher & Banks
* Shopko
* Payless Shoes
* Mary Kay Cosmetics

There will be a raffle, coupons from the sponsers, and refreshments and food will be provided. Also, a clothing donation table will be set up to collect items for Goodwill.

Come support the Michigan Tech faculty, staff and students who are modeling the lastest looks to freshen up your work wardrobe for spring.

This event is sponsored by the Center of Diversity and Inclusion.

For more information on Women's Month events, visit http://www.multicultural.mtu.edu/womenmonth.php .

Eggs Rock

What would Easter be without eggs?

To insure your eggs last yearlong, the Seaman Mineral Musuem Gift Shop has the perfect answer--a new arrival of stone eggs!

Come see these lasting Easter eggs in dyed and natural calcite, a variety of gemstones, marble and selenite. The glass "mini" eggs are just too adorable to pass up.

The museum gift shop, on the fifth floor of EERC, is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

New Test Procedure for Driving Vans

Effective Tuesday, April 6, there will be a new way to complete the 12- and 15-passenger van training.

Pete Pelissero, manager of Fleet Services, and Janet Hayden, director of Risk Management, have contracted for a streaming version of "Coaching the Van Driver." Coaching Systems has provided a web-based program that will eliminate the need for a student or staff person to have to make an appointment with Fleet Services and complete the test at its facilities.

Starting on April 6, then, University students and staff can simply email Fleet Services to request an authorization key to complete the training at their leisure. Testing results will be forwarded to Fleet Services for review.

To take advantage of the new process, simply email the following information to motorpool@mtu.edu : First name, middle initial, last name, and student/staff M number.

Fleet Services will send a confirmation email with instructions, and an authorization key will be issued.

For more information, contact Pete Pelissero, Facilities, at 487-2700 or at pjpeliss@mtu.edu .

Pick Up Your Tech Apparel

The Campus Bookstore would like to remind 67 employees who have not picked up their free polo shirts to do so as soon as possible.

Bone Marrow Initiative

submitted by Cory Padilla

The brothers of Lambda Chi will host a bone marrow registry from noon to 5 p.m., Friday, April 2, in the Memorial Union Commons.

Every day, thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases hope for a donor who can make a bone marrow transplant possible. Seventy percent of these patients do not have a donor in their family.

When you join the Be The Match Registry, you have the power to heal, the power to save a life.

For more information, contact Padilla at 367-0831.

Reminder: Humanities Speaker Series

The humanities department will host a presentation by Stuart Kendall on “Design Culture and the Future of Our Educational Institutions“ at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 1, in the atrium of the forestry building. A reception will follow.

Kendall is a California-based writer, editor, and translator working at the intersections of modern and contemporary art and design, critical theory, poetics, and theology.

For more information, contact Kette Thomas at 487-3251 or at kthomas@mtu.edu .

BME Seminar

The Department of Biomedical Engineering will present a seminar by Dr. Hongmei Chen of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique of Montreal, Canada, titled, "Developing artificial cells for therapeutic applications and refining bone marrow stimulation techniques for cartilage repair," at 3 p.m., Monday, April 5, in Fisher 129. Chen is a biomedical engineering faculty candidate.

Physics Colloquium

Amalia Anderson and Madhusudan Savaikar, graduate students in the physics department, will present, respectively,“Record-breaking statistics and reversibility: applications in global temperature variability” and “Quantum Behavior of Multi-Quantum Island Single Electron Transistor (SET) Devices” at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 1, in Fisher 139.

For more information, contact Claudio Mazzoleni at 487-1226 or at cmazzoleni@mtu.edu , or Petra Hüntemeyer at petra@mtu.edu .

New Staff

Traci Bishop joins the Plant Fund in Accounting Services as an office assistant. Previously she worked at Somero Enterprises. She earned a bachelor's degree in business management with a concentration in accounting in 1994. She and her husband, Mike, have two children and live in Pelkie. Traci enjoys family, fishing, camping, reading and baking.

New Funding

Joan Chadde (CEE and the Center for Water and Society) has received $15,000 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for "Great Lakes Maritime Education for K-12 Teachers."