Michigan Tech Receives $110,000 Grant from GM


In an effort to expand student competencies related to emerging technologies in the automotive industry, yesterday (March 2), long-time University supporter, General Motors (GM), awarded Michigan Tech a $110,000 grant through its University/Organization Partner Program.

The grant will provide continuing support for a variety of student activities, including the Advanced Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Advanced Motorsports Enterprises, Manufacturing Engineering Initiatives, pre-college STEM outreach and diversity programs.

A highlight of this year’s grant is GM’s focus on providing significant funding for diversity programs administered by Tech’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI).

"With continued support from GM, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion was able to enhance our Social Justice Lecture Series and helped us bring well know educators and quality speakers to campus that enrich our community,” said Kellie Raffaelli, CDI director.  

Kurt Wiese, GM's VP for global manufacturing engineering said, "As the corporate landscape continues to evolve, it becomes even more evident that diversity will play a major role in corporate success.

“With the consumer market evolving and customer demands exceeding new levels, it is imperative that organizations remain agile and adaptive. Michigan Tech’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion provides the experiences and support for engineering students to become important contributors to society. As a company, General Motors values diversity, in all forms, as a core strength in our ability to meet or exceed customer’s expectations today and going forward.”

Michigan Tech and General Motors share a long-standing partnership dating back to at least 1940.

Through the University/Organization Partner Program, GM annually grants $3 million to support leading universities and partnering organizations across the country. The program aims to strengthen higher education curricula in STEM and other fields important to the automotive industry, with a goal of preparing more students to graduate with related organizations, and career development resources.

Teaching at Tech Luncheon and Hands-On Workshops The Superlative Syllabus: Attitude, Alignment and Avoiding Assumptions

A syllabus not only sets the tone for a class, but lays out course objectives, assignments and policies. In this luncheon session, participants will learn how to set a desired tone, write assessable student learning objectives and align course work to achieve them. The follow-up hands-on workshop (held twice) will provide opportunities for real-time work and individual coaching on student learning objectives for a future course. Join us at noon Tuesday (March 21) for this luncheon workshop.  Lunch will be provided to those who register by Friday (March 17).
The same hands-on workshop will be offered twice:
  • 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 21. Register.
  • 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 22Register.
You may attend a workshop even if you don't attend the luncheon.

Spring Break Shuttle Service Schedule

Transportation Services shuttle service will operate from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during spring break, March 6-10. The shuttle serves the Memorial Union Building to the SDC and stops at both the Lower and Upper Daniell Heights' bus stop. The shuttle will also stop hourly at the Lakeshore Center.

The City of Houghton will not operate on campus, which includes the Michigan Tech afternoon shuttle, during spring break. For questions or concerns, contact Transportation Services at 7-1441 or parking@mtu.edu.

Scholarships Available

Sons and Daughters Scholarships
A reminder that Michigan Tech Employee Sons and Daughters Scholarship applications, valued at $100 each, are available for the 2017-18 academic year. Applicants must be children of Michigan Tech employees. Applications must be submitted by Friday, March 10, and are available online.

Leann Becia Family/AFSCME Scholarships
Two $250 Leann Becia Family/AFSCME Scholarships are available for 2017-18. Applicants must be the son, daughter or spouse of a current AFSCME Local 1166 member. Applications, which must be submitted by Friday March 10, and are available online.

Both scholarships require that applicants be full-time Michigan Tech undergraduates in their first four years of study or high school students planning to enroll for Fall 2017.

For more information contact the Student Financial Services Center at 7-2622 or finaid@mtu.edu.

Deans' Teaching Showcase: Don Lafreniere

This week, the Deans’ Teaching Showcase returns to the College of Sciences and Arts, where Dean Bruce Seely has selected Don Lafreniere, an assistant professor in the Social Sciences Department. 

Seely says that he nominated Lafreniere partly to highlight the area in which he is teaching — geographic information systems (GIS).  

According to Seely, "Much of Don’s teaching helps students grasp the importance of geography generally and geospatial thinking specifically. This is what he cares about, and his enthusiasm and energy show in every discussion on this topic."   

But Seely says his primary reason for recognizing Lafreniere in this year’s Teaching Showcase comes back to his approach to student learning.  

“In all my classes," Lafreniere notes, “I strive to provide an environment in which students are comfortable questioning themselves and each other while facing the discomfort of challenging their accepted viewpoints. In small classes, I arrange the students in a circle, allowing for more intimate discussions and debates. I sit with my students, asking provocative questions and telling stories that push them to question their assumptions and inquire about how things are interconnected.”

Seely was intrigued by Lafreniere's way of introducing the topic of homelessness. After assembling in the classroom, he told students to take off their coats and “follow me outside on a February morning. We stand in the snow, shivering, as I briefly outline the origins of homelessness in cities. We return to the warmth of the classroom to watch a short documentary in which homeless people share their experiences, then conclude with a discussion of the complexities of this social issue.”

This approach surely makes homelessness a more real situation to college students. For similar reasons, Lafreniere creates field experiences in every class, such as sending students to local grocery stores to "investigate the origins of fresh produce and to record all the manufacturers of a category of products, such as soup or cereal.”

This information informs a required report on how changes in the global food system are observed locally.

Lafreniere's classroom effort also recognizes that “today’s university students live technologically-saturated lives.” Therefore he “embraces the use of technology to engage them.”

Lafreniere uses both Mentimeter and Poll Everywhere, two response systems that allows students to answer questions via their laptops or cellphones. The results are displayed in real-time on a PowerPoint slide and help gauge student comprehension.

Frequently Lafreniere brings online digital exhibits into courses. For example, he “illustrated the process of socially-constructed places with PhilaPlace, an interactive archive which allows residents of Philadelphia to map their own stories of places in their neighborhood.”

While Lafreniere spends much of his time helping students master the computer-based technology of GIS, he presents that tool as only a technique for continuing to question themselves about the natural and built environment that surrounds them.  His enthusiasm for that task is why he is part of this year’s Deans Teaching Showcase.   

Lafreniere will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with 11 other showcase members, and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large-class teaching, innovative or outside-the-classroom  teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.

Special Operating Hours Over Spring Break

Business Operations has posted the departmental hours of operation during spring break on their website.

This will be updated regularly. If your department has not yet submitted your Special Operating Hours, do so using the google form posted on the website.

Note: For employees in units considered critical areas of operation, regular hours and shifts will continue as usual and as needed over the entire break. Check with your supervisor to determine if you or your area is considered a critical area of operation.

For questions, contact business operations at 7-2148.

Green Film Series

The next offering in the Green Film Series is "Last Call at the Oasis," a World Water Day film. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 23 in the Michigan Tech Forestry Building's Hesterberg Hall (G002).

The 2012 documentary on the world's water crisis sheds light on the vital role water plays in our lives, exposes the defects in the current system, shows communites already struggling with its ill effects and introduces us to individuals who are championing revolutonary solutons.

There is no admission charged but a $3 donation is suggested. The Green Film Series is co-sponsored by Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Keweenaw Land Trust.

Korean Cuisine at Khana Khazana

The taste of Korea is featured at today's Khana Khazana in the Memorial Union's North Coast Grill and Deli.

The menu features:

  • Korean Rice Ball — Cooked rice mixed with spices, vegetables and meat and served on lettuce leaves
  • Chapchae — Sweet potato noodles, stir fried in sesame oil with vegetables, and flavored with soy sauce and sweetened with sugar
  • Korean Pickle — Brined in soy sauce and a perfect side dish with rice.

Serving is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today. The cost is $7.95 and includes a fountain beverage. Visit Khana Khazana at Michigan Tech on Facebook.

Tech Women are 5th in NCAA Regional Rankings

The Michigan Tech women's basketball team moved up one spot to number five spot in the latest NCAA Division II Midwest Region Poll, announced Wednesday.

The Huskies were ranked sixth in the poll the previous two weeks and continue to be one of five teams to represent the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in this week's edition of the rankings.

The complete NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Regional Rankings can be viewed by clicking here.

Women's Basketball Takes on Top-Ranked Ashland

The Michigan Tech Women's basketball team travels to Ashland, Ohio to take on the top team in the country in the Ashland Eagles. Ashland sits atop the national polls and was the GLIAC South winner with a spotless 29-0 record. 

Last time they met Tech gave Ashland all they could handle on their home floor back on Jan. 5. The Huskies fell that night 82-75 and are the only GLIAC team to stay within single digits of the Eagles this season.

The game can be heard on local radio on 93.5 FM and online at pasty.net. There is also a video stream, and live stats

In Print

Feng Zhao's (Bio Med) research team published "Aligned Nanofibrous Cell-Derived Extracellular Matrix for Anisotropic Vascular Graft Construction" in the journal "Advanced Healthcare Materials."

You can find the publication online.


C-Cubed Week 8 

C-Cubed lunches are offered from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the school year in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. 

Chicken Tikka Masala (GF)
Paneer Tikka Masala (GF, V)
Basmati Rice (VE)
Warm Flat Bread (VE)

V — Vegetarian, VE — Vegan, GF — Gluten Free

Send any suggestions to Christina Fabian or fill out a feed-back form online.


Break-2-Collaborate with the Great Lakes Research Center

Join the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) for a Break-2-Collaborate event from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (March 7) at the GLRC 201/202. 

This TechTalks style session will feature seven new collaborators presenting from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. A social and networking opportunity with refreshments will follow the talks from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. 

To RSVP for refreshment ordering purposes, submit your response here. For more information see the event poster.


March First Friday Social

Faculty, staff and graduate students are invited to join Auxiliary Services from 4 to 6 p.m. today  (March 3) in Memorial Union Ballroom A for this month's First Friday Social. Complimentary soda, beer, wine and appetizers will be served.

For more information, read previous Tech Today article.


Computer Science Seminar

For our Friday Seminar Talk, Ali Jalooli will discuss "Delay Efficient Disconnected RSU Placement Algorithm for VANET Safety Applications" from 3 to 4 p.m. today (March 3) in Rekhi 214. 


Chemical Engineering PhD Candidate Seminar

Jeff Lowe, a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, will present "Examining Beyond Li-ion Battery Technologies with Density Functional Theory" at the Chemical Engineering PhD Candidate Seminar at 11 a.m. today (March 3) in Fisher 101.



Brian Via, associate professor for the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and Biosystems Engineering at Auburn University, will present "Across Campus Collaborations in Research and Education in Forest Products/Biomaterials" at 3 p.m. today (March 3) in Forestry G002.


Seeking Nominations for the 23rd Annual Student Leadership Awards

On behalf of the University, we are seeking nominations for the President's Award for Leadership, Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement Award for Service, and various other student leadership awards. The recipient of each award will be honored at the 23rd Annual Student Leadership Awards Ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, April 14  in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

For more information, read previous Tech Today article.