Tech's Enrollment Tops 7,000

by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer

With well over 7,000 students, enrollment is at its second-highest point since 1983.

Data reported to the State Budget Office on Wednesday, Sept. 7, show total enrollment at 7,031, a 1 percent increase over fall 2010's official figure of 6,976.

Female enrollment is up for the sixth straight year to an all-time high of 1,837, or 26.1 percent of the student body.

Graduate enrollment increased approximately 5 percent, with a record 1,303 students seeking master's and PhD degrees, up from 1,256 in fall 2010. "We broke through 1,300 for the first time and processed 3,000 applications, another record number," said Jacqueline Huntoon, dean of the Graduate School. "Graduate enrollment continues to increase in accordance with our strategic-plan goal of having 3,000 grad students by 2035."

"Of our on-campus enrollment, growth is strongest among international students, and we are very pleased that students are drawn here from all over the world to pursue a graduate degree," she said. Many are self-supporting or are supported by their employers or home countries, she noted. "They provide an economic boost both to the University and to the local community."

Another area of growth is distance learning. The number of students seeking a graduate degree online is up markedly, from 58 to 106.

Undergraduate enrollment is up as well, with 5,728 students compared to last year's 5,720. The number of new first-year students grew from 1,115 to 1,161, an increase of approximately 4 percent. The freshman class will also include more women: 288 as compared to 273 in 2010.

In addition, the academic credentials of the entering freshman class are up for the sixth straight year, with a record-setting average ACT composite score of 26.4, compared to last year's 26.1.

"Smart, adventurous students want to study with other smart, adventurous students," explained John Lehman, assistant vice president of enrollment services.

The enrollment count also reflects the fact that more students are staying at the University. The retention rate from undergraduates' first to second year of study has risen to 83.3 percent, approximately 2.5 percent higher than 2010's 80.9 percent.

The COMPASS program employs a variety of strategies to improve student retention. "Our orientation program helps new students acclimate to the community and learn about the resources that can make them successful," said Director Susan Liebau. The office offers special services for transfer and commuter students, along with the ExSEL program, which combines leadership development with tips for improving academic performance.

In addition, the University tracks first-year students' mid-term grades and has stepped up efforts to reach out to those who are struggling. "That's been one of our most effective efforts to ensure the success of students," Liebau said.

Michigan Tech, SmartZone Collaborate to Help Research Move to the Marketplace

by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations

To help commercialize innovations that develop at Michigan Tech, the University recently created Superior Innovations. This for-profit company will help move entrepreneurs and their early-stage discoveries from labs and classrooms into the marketplace.

MTEC SmartZone has joined with Tech and Superior Innovations to help entrepreneurs establish intellectual property protection and prepare go-to-market strategies for their ideas.

Entrepreneurs will also have access to small business funding resources through the new collaboration. Fundraising strategies, prototype development and management recruitment are examples of early-stage issues that Superior Innovations can help an entrepreneur navigate.

For more than seven years, MTEC SmartZone has successfully provided resources and support to high-tech entrepreneurs, many of whom come from Michigan Tech. MTEC SmartZone, like the other SmartZones supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, provides technology-based facilities, resources and programs to high-growth entrepreneurs and companies, with the goal of increasing employment, income, wealth and recognition in the communities it serves.

Jim Baker, executive director for innovation and industry engagement, and John Diebel, vice president of Superior Innovations, said that the collaboration will help entrepreneurs build significant relationships with industry and Tech alumni-- connections that often prove critical to business growth. Baker and Diebel will work to provide early-stage ventures with appropriate resources inside and outside the University.

Once entrepreneurs are established with Superior Innovations, they can access additional statewide resources and actually grow their technology-based company inside the MTEC SmartZone.

"Often entrepreneurs start at Michigan Tech with grant funding, but that will only last through the prototype phase," says MTEC SmartZone Program Director Jonathan Leinonen. "We work with companies for additional investment--between fifty thousand and a half million dollars."

The collaboration between Tech, Superior Innovations and the MTEC SmartZone will continue to create companies and family-sustaining jobs in the Keweenaw. Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes said, "The MTEC SmartZone has created more than 300 jobs, and that number continues to grow. The idea of Superior Innovations is exciting because it will fuel even more job creation and keep Michigan Tech talent here."

For more information about Superior Innovations, contact Jim Baker at 487-2228.

For more information about the MTEC SmartZone, contact Program Director Jonathan Leinonen at 487-7004.

Reminder: Input Needed for the Michigan Tech Strategic Plan

The Executive Team invites the campus community to comment on proposed revisions to the University's strategic plan--part of a systematic review process that occurs every three years.

Comments will be accepted through Sept 19. Input will be reviewed with the proposed changes over the coming academic year. The goal will be to have the Board of Control approve the recommended changes in May 2012.

To review both the current and proposed plans and to post your comments, visit the Strategic Plan.

School of Technology Begins New Minor

A new minor in data acquisition and industrial control begins this semester in the School of Technology.

The focus: an understanding of the electrical and electronic systems that control modern industrial processes.

"Engineers need this experience," said Dean Jim Frendewey, "and it will help them and us."

Associate Professor Nasser Alaraje, chair of the School's electrical engineering technology program, put together the new minor. He said, "It's a valuable skill that is highly marketable, highly respected, and highly desired by industry. There is great interest."

The minor addresses gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data as a component of designing and conducting experiments and industrial functions.

Alaraje said the capability is ideal for engineers of every discipline being offered on campus. "It's the basis for collaboration on multidisciplinary projects, because most real-world work involves several disciplines." The specialty, he added, brings together electrical systems, computing, sensing hardware, data acquisition software and control systems.

The minor, the first in the School, entails 16 credits. All of the required and elective courses are already being taught on a regular basis by existing faculty.

9/11 Service Project Will Help Habitat for Humanity

A "Be Better Together for 9/11" service project will take place on Saturday, Sept. 10, in memory of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The project will begin at 9 a.m. and will entail the final grounds preparation and cleanup at the Habitat for Humanity house on the west side of Agate Street, between 7th and 8th Streets.

At least 20 volunteers (students, faculty and staff are welcome) are needed for the project, which is part of an interfaith movement on campuses across the country and is cosponsored the Lutheran Campus Ministry at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Houghton.

"When so many people say religion can only divide us, we can prove different," said Rob Bishop (Student Affairs), who is helping organize the project.

For more information, contact Rev. Bucky Beach, pastor of Good Shepherd, at 482-5410 or at , or Bishop at 487-1964 or at .

Forestry Group Picks Michigan Chapter as Nation's Best: It's Thick with Tech Alumni

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

The Michigan Chapter of the Association of Consulting Forestry has been honored by the national association as the best in the country for 2011, and Michigan Tech alumni helped make it happen in a big way.

According to Michigan chapter chair Justin Miller '00, 60 to 70 percent of the members are Tech alumni (including four of Miller's employees in his Upper Peninsula consulting business). The ACF honored Michigan "as the state chapter that displays the highest level of commitment to the promotion and practice of professional consulting forestry."

"We have a very active group of twenty-five to thirty," Miller says. "The Michigan chapter is also hosting the 2012 national conference in Grand Rapids, and we are doing this all in our free time as volunteers." That's tough duty for a group who makes its living in the woods.

STIHL Inc. sponsored the national award for the first time this year and netted the Michigan chapter $750. "We plan on using the money to promote forestland management and forest consultancy," Miller says.

"We need to increase the awareness of the consultancy profession, especially among private landowners," Miller adds. "People need to know that ACF members are legitimate consultants with experience and education. We want to be better known in Lansing, too."

For example, Miller says, state or county consultants may be hired by private landowners for consulting and land management work, but, "if their funds run out, the landowners can be left high and dry."

Consulting foresters can help landowners with a management plan that maximizes their return on investment, Miller says, not only by helping them decide what to do with their land, but by helping with the bidding process and marketing of their resources.

The award to the Michigan Chapter is a reflection of this dedication, Miller says. "It helps give the state of Michigan and consultants in general a plug. We have qualified, experienced consultants all over the state."

And most have a Tech seal of approval on their 4WDs.

There's a new bill of fare at the Aftermath Café in Fisher Hall.

The venue, which serves from 300 to 500 customers daily, is five years old. "It was time for a change," says Associate Director Matt Lean (Dining Services). "We cleaned it up, we shaped it up, we stocked it up, and now we're ready for service."

The main new feature on the menu is "Hot Stuff Express" items--"a really good product," says Lean. It includes:

Hot sandwiches (cheeseburger, turkey pepperjack)

Hot dog wraps (jalapeno and smoky cheese)

Breakfast (ham, egg and cheese croissant; sausage, egg and cheese bisquit)

Pizza by the slice (cheese and pepperoni; five-cheese and pepperoni; sausage and pepperoni; and breakfast).

Calzones (what Lean calls "pizza pasties"--sausage and pepperoni, and five cheeses and pepperoni)

Pop (Coke and Pepsi), NOS, Monster and Lion energy drinks, Arizona tea, juices, and a Seattle's Best coffee bar.

As well, there are cold sandwiches and salads from Peppers and Pickles Deli.

The café is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As part of an effort to "get the word out" that the café is an enticing place to patronize, Dining Services will give away 32-ounce, reusable beverage bottles as part of promotions at Tech sporting events this fall. Normally, they cost $3. They are less expensive to fill up than buying a bottled beverage.

Who knows what Dining Services will cook up in the future: "As people ask, we change," says Carol Asiala, who manages the venue and oversaw the reconfiguring. She has worked in dining services for more than 20 years and looks forward to a new and busy routine. "It's here," she says. "We gave it a nice look, and we freshened everything up, including the menu. It's another good spot where people can come."

Brockway Portrait Session Set

The first University portrait session of the year will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 3, in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge.

This session is open to all faculty and staff members--no appointment necessary. Although you are not required to attend, you are encouraged to do so if a year or more has passed since your last portrait. The subsequent session is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 10.

Portraits will be taken by Mike Galetto, of Brockway Photography, and will be available for viewing online. Please note that you will receive an email notification when your photo is posted to Brockway's password-protected gallery. A note card with log-in information will be provided at the session, so make sure to keep it if you would like to access the gallery. Each participant will receive a retouched portrait via email when it becomes available; if you would like your photo to be sent to someone else in your area, please notify Karina Jousma, photography coordinator, at 487-2330 or at .

To order a print from University Marketing and Communications for University use, send your request to Jousma. Pricing is available on UMC's website.

To purchase a print for personal use only, contact Brockway Photography at 482-1900.

For questions, contact Jousma.

Football Opens at Home Saturday; Tech Ranked Nationally

The Huskies will play their home opener vs. Lake Erie Saturday, Sept. 10, at Sherman Field. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.

Tech jumped into the Division 2 national rankings this week at number 22. The Huskies defeated Winona State 23-6 last week in their season opener.

Tech was ranked No. 24 in's final regular season poll of 2010, but didn't appear in this year's preseason poll.

Tech is one of three GLIAC schools in the poll. Grand Valley State (numer 3) and Wayne State (number 16) are the others.

Parade of Nations Upcoming: Encourage Your Students to Participate

This year's Parade of Nations and Multicultural Festival will be on Saturday, Sept. 17, and the theme is "Spice is Always Nice."

Steer your students to the fun.

They can express their creativity and artistry by designing a float that represents the theme. Walking floats are allowed this year.

There will be these prizes for University floats:

1st Prize--$250
2nd Prize--$150
3rd Prize--$100

Recognized clubs and organizations can apply for an activity grant and receive up to $100 to offset the cost of materials. Register a float or apply for an activity grant at parade.

Students can also participate by walking with their country's group. If they need help contacting compatriots, they can email . Transportation to the start of the parade will be provided.

For more information, contact Shezwawe Fleming at 487-2920 or or contact Bob Wenc at 487-2160 or at .

Environmental Engineering Seminar

Richard Donovan (ChE), operations manager, senior engineer and scientist at the Sustainable Futures Institute, will present "Bioenergy Sustainablity Programs at the Sustainable Futures Institute" from 3 to 4 p.m., Monday, Sept. 12, in M&M U113. The public is welcome.

EPSSI Seminar

Dr. Joseph Meert, of the University of Florida, will present an EPSSI seminar, "India's Place in Precambrian Supercontinents: A latitudinal Study," at 4 p.m., Monday, Sept. 12, in M&M U113. To see an abstract, visit Seminar.


The School of Business and Economics has the following:

* Copier, Xerox Document Centre 420DC

If interested, contact Phyllis Williamson at 487-2669 or

University property may only be transferred between departments. It may not be given or sold to individuals.

Healthy Tip of the Week

brought to you by HuskyPAW

Choose physical activity appropriate to your current fitness level and health goals.

New Funding

Professor Andrew Storer (SFRES/ESC) has received $63,000 from the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, for a 10-month project, "Quantified Ground Survey Technologies for Emerald Ash Borer."

* * * * * *

Professor Martin Jurgensen (SFRES/ESC) has received $30,000 from the USDA, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, for "Using Wood Stake Decomposition in the Forest Floor and Mineral Soil to Evaluate Soil Productivity Across the Northern Research Station."

Teaching at Tech: Measuring Learning: Learning to the Test

by William Kennedy, director, Center for Teaching, Learning and Faculty Development

In 1956, educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom produced, “A Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Cognitive Domain.” Bloom and his colleagues created this hierarchical array of educational goals and objectives. They argued that curricula should follow a common path--beginning with the rote acquisition of basic facts, terms, and procedures; and culminating in students demonstrating their ability to assess the validity and utility of domain-related ideas using defined criteria. Simply put, Bloom said that school learners should be progressing along a path from rote acquisition of the basics to demonstrating their own ability to engage in autonomous expert thinking.

Over the last 55 years, the concepts put forth in Bloom's work have had an enormous influence on curricular design in higher education. Across the academy, beginning classes are focused on acquainting students with fundamental concepts, terminology and basic operations; while later courses shift the emphasis to wrestling with evermore complex applications, problem solving, and reflection.

Near the end of many degree programs, educators inject a design project or capstone experience to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate foundational disciplinary mastery--including selecting the right tools, methods and procedures in pursuit of actually producing their own verifiable artifact of professional work.

Educational psychologist John Biggs, and many others, argue that it is the routine assessments employed in college classes that largely determine the type of learning that will occur. For example, if tests and quizzes routinely focus on assessing rote memory and "plug-and-chug" protocols, most students will dutifully adapt their study methods and depth of learning to meet those requirements. If these sorts of assessments are evident in most of their courses, students will come to equate the type of learning required to pass such tests as the activities associated with being an educated person.

There's no doubt that it's very tempting for busy teachers to rely on computer-generated examinations that use the bank of multiple-guess questions provided by textbook publishers. This type of testing arguably measures reading comprehension, limited-term recall, as well as the obfuscatory skills of the question writer(s). Many grade-driven students prefer such predictable assessment strategies over open-ended challenges, projects or other assessment strategies that require the instructor to make subjective judgments about the quality of a student's individual efforts.

Most disturbingly, some large-scale studies of university-level examinations have found little difference between the types of examinations employed in the first year of college from those employed during the senior year. Employing those assessment tools intended to measure lower-level learning outcomes towards the end of a college course of study is grossly inconsistent with Bloom's notion of educational programs designed to produce self-directed professional learners able to assess their own progress towards achieving educational goals.

The assessment methods you use will drive student learning. Giving students what they want may run counter to giving students what they desperately need. If we are serious about preparing students to create the future, they must have some time at the tiller so that they might become masters of their own educational journeys.