Guest Blog: Supply Chain and Pandemics

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need for supply chains to evolve to meet demand flux and minimize risk.It seems that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the world stand still. Often, this outbreak has been compared to a world war situation.

While there are many similarities between the two, there exist certain differences: namely, staying in versus being called out to help, and a lockdown on businesses rather than ramping up production.

Read the full story on

Ombuds: A Confidential Navigator for Difficult Times

The spring semester is wrapping up and the world looks a lot different now than it did when the semester began. With all of the changes that have happened, it is inevitable that people working closely together will experience differences in opinions, needs and values. Although normal, these differences can lead to unintended tension or conflict which can impact those working relationships. In addition, students, staff and faculty may also experience new difficulties with their altered work environment. These are all situations that the Michigan Tech Ombuds Office can help you navigate.

Fun fact: The name “ombudsman” (om budz man) is Swedish and literally means “representative.” 

The Ombuds Office is a place where you, as a member of the University community, can go for informal conflict mediation services or confidential discussions as to how you wish to proceed in a difficult situation. The Ombuds will explore possible options and scenarios with you and help you to find the resources you need. This process can include communicating questions or concerns confidentially on your behalf or facilitating meetings and conversations between people in many contexts.

We encourage you to contact the Ombuds Office if:

  • You would like to discuss a sensitive question or issue confidentially
  • you feel you have been treated unfairly or that an expressed concern has been ignored  
  • you have a situation requiring negotiation or help in facilitating communication with another person associated with Michigan Tech
  • you are unsure which policies, procedures, or regulations apply in your situation; you are unsure of where to go or what options exist to solve a University-related problem you are experiencing.

Please note that the Ombuds has a neutral/impartial position with respect to the concerns raised and is independent of formal organizational structure and so does not adjudicate disputes or act as a final decision maker in University matters. 

If you wish to talk to the Ombuds for Michigan Tech, please call Susanna Peters at 7-2391 and leave a message for a return call. You may also email or Phone calls are the best way to protect your confidentiality but you may also use email for initiating or continuing conversations with the Ombuds. 

2020 University Professor Announced

The Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs is pleased to announce the selection of a new Michigan Tech University Professor. The University Professor title recognizes faculty members who have made outstanding scholarly contributions to the University and their discipline over a substantial period of time.

Yoke Khin Yap, a professor in the Department of Physics, was selected to become Michigan Tech’s newest University Professor during the 2019-2020 academic year, through a highly selective process. Yap joined the Department of Physics in 2002 and was promoted to full professor in 2011. Ravi Pandey, chair of physics, said “Dr. Yap is enthusiastic about both teaching and research and treats the two as inseparable.”

In the classroom Yap has redesigned the undergraduate optics laboratory in order to encourage cooperative learning for students, taking the time to plan and instruct in a way that leads to students’ understanding of the state-of-the-art laboratory techniques required to characterize nanoscale materials. He has created a fully online course, and teaches an introductory physics course for freshmen using both traditional and contemporary pedagogies. He has also developed a nanotechnology workshop for high school students; more than 300 students from nine area high schools have participated between 2014 and 2017. In the area of research,  Yap has received more than $10 million of funding from federal and industrial sources and has published several research papers in high impact journals. From those who wrote recommendations for Yap it is clear that he has made significant contributions to the area of nanotechnology over the last two decades — not only improving knowledge in carbon materials but pioneering new areas of study related to the synthesis and study of boron-nitride nanotubes. Some believe that his recent work regarding gold clusters on the surface of BNNTs will result in a new subarea of research. In 2018, Yap received Michigan Tech’s research award.

The confidential process for selecting recipients spans the academic year, and recipients for each award are notified late during the spring semester. Additional details regarding the award and selection procedures can be found on the provost’s web site.

Copper Country Events Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Here are some of the Copper Country Events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day

  • Now through May 10, Any time — Self-guided walk featuring Houghton Elementary 4th grade Earth Day Art at KLT Paavola Wetlands
  • April 21 and beyond: View "Planet of the Humans" (90 min.)  The film takes a harsh look at how the environmental movement has lost the battle through well-meaning but disastrous choices, including the belief that solar panels and windmills would save us, and giving in to corporate interests of Wall Street.
  • Now through June 20 — Stewardship Network Spring Invasive Plant Removal Challenge. Pull invasive species from your yard, natural area, anywhere. Submit location, number of people, and weight of invasive plants removed
  • Now through – May 20 — Great Lakes Bioblitz in your Backyard. Community members, families, and students across the Great Lakes states and Ontario are invited to participate in finding and identifying as many wild, living things as possible in a specific area (backyards and other outdoor spaces) during the next month
  • Today (April 23) at 7 p.m. — Native Plant Symposium Part 1: Brent Hanson, co-owner of Hanson’s Garden Village, in Rhinelander, Wisconsin will present “Singing in the Rain—N. WI & U.P. Rain Gardens.” Carol Maass of Friends of the Porkies, in Ontonagon, will present: “Pollinator Garden as a Service-Learning Project.” Register here.
  • Today (April 23) 6 to 7 p.m. — "U.P.'s Energy Future" with Jenn Hill, Marquette City Commissioner and U.P. Energy Task Force member and Elise Matz, Michigan Utility Consumer Participation Board. Have you wondered why U.P. energy costs are so high? How can we secure our energy future and join the renewable energy transition? Sponsored by the Friends of the Land of the Keweenaw (FOLK). The meeting will be held via Zoom. (Meeting ID: 882 5715 7452. Password: 967297)
  • Saturday (April 25) from 6-8 p.m. — UPEC 2020 Celebrate the U.P. Presentations will be available later on YouTube. Speakers include Monica Lewis-Patrick, We The People of Detroit; Sarah Green, International Climate Action; Angie Carter, Western UP Food Systems Council, and several more. The event will wrap up with short videos on how some have turned the stay-at-home order into a positive experience.
  • April 28, 7-8 p.m. — "What Happens to Houghton County Recyclables?” with Eagle Waste & Recycling owner, Alan Alba, and sponsored by Copper Country Recycling Initiative.
  • April 30, 7 p.m. Native Plant Symposium Part 2, Sue Trull, botanist for the Ottawa Nat. Forest, will present “Monarchs & Milkweeds—All Hands-on Deck,” and “Using Native Plants to Support Pollinators” by Jackie Manchester-Kempke, of Houghton, an extension master gardener. Register here.
  • May 7, 7 p.m.— Keweenaw Land Trust's Natural History. Book Club discussion of Doug Tallamy’s "Nature's Best Hope" via Zoom. (Password: 703851)
  • June 27  — (Stay tuned) MTU’s Sustainability House Waste Reduction Drive will be rescheduled. Keep collecting Styrofoam containers, plastic bottle caps, batteries and foil lined granola and energy bar wrappers.

Hands-On and Project-Based Learning Online, Friday

Please join us for the next in our series of virtual IDEA hub/CTL Online Education Sessions from 3 to 4:30  p.m. Friday (April 24) followed by our IDEA Pub social (half) hour from 4:30 - 5 p.m. Given the urgent need to generate ideas for offering hands-on, project-based, and experiential learning experiences in online and remote environments, we've asked two guest speakers to share their expertise in this area with us.

3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday (April 24) — Hands-On and Project-Based Learning Online. Guest speakers:

  • Joseph T. Samosky, PhD, course director, "The Art of Making: An Introduction to Hands-On Systems Design and Engineering;" director, Simulation and Medical Technology Research and Development Center; assistant professor of bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering.
  • Ilya V. Avdeev, PhD, director of Innovation and Kellner Entrepreneurship fellow, Lubar Entrepreneurship Center and associate professor of mechanical engineering College of Engineering & Applied Science University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Samosky, teaches design, innovation and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh and is an enthusiastic advocate of project-based experiential learning. He enjoys building bridges between design, engineering and clinical medicine.

Avdeev is an engineering professor teaching design and lean startup at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is a faculty director of the Lubar Entrepreneurship. Avdeev and a group of students and researchers recently participated in a Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Design Challenge where they developed a concept of a mobile triage clinic using the city bus platform. The team is accelerating the idea and building a working triage clinic prototype.

Our guest speakers will share their experiences with fostering hands-on and project-based, experiential learning in online environments. After their presentations, participants will brainstorm and share ideas for offering these types of educational experiences in online and socially distant settings. Prior to the session, please watch this three-minute video about Joe's Art of Making class — this is the class he converted to an online format. The video shows some of the things they do and mindsets that are fostered in the class.

Click the links to register and be added to the calendar invite which will include the Zoom link. If you have questions or do not get the calendar invite, please email

Immediately following the education session, join us in our virtual “IDEA Pub” for a happy half hour from 4:30 - 5 p.m. (No registration necessary).

Strategies for Helping with Student Motivation

The end (of this semester) is in sight. Students are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. They might also be experiencing online learning burnout, trying to figure out how they’ll study for exams with a 10-year-old sibling butting into their room every 20 minutes, and dealing with the emotional pain of losing a summer job or study abroad opportunity.

Thankfully, during our conversations about how we keep ourselves motivated, last week’s IDEA Hub attendees also discussed ways to help motivate our students:

  • Help give students a sense of control. Offer multiple ways to demonstrate mastery of content — written, bullet points, video, etc.
  • Watch out for students regressing to old behaviors, living at home with parents can do this in a matter of minutes (who doesn’t want mom to cook, clean and comfort them — especially during a pandemic). Point it out when you notice ‘helplessness’ and praise examples of students making it through this tough time!
  • Try competency-based grading (for an assignment or two, or your whole course)
  • Help students break down assignments into shorter ‘chunks’ - this is one tip that I can’t stress enough. So many students struggle to figure out how long an assignment will take, and they aren’t always great at judging how to break larger assignments down into pieces. It’s human instinct to turn away from overwhelming tasks, ensure that your assignments come with a roadmap through the ‘overwhelmingness.’
  • Give social incentives to show up and create community — have #crazy hat day Tuesdays, add quick team-based competitions, or host a live Kahoot session to help prep for exams.
  • Pass out some praise! Shout out to those of you who shared that you’re seeing students who are normally shy in class finally speaking up, noticing students who are helping each other (and sometimes their profs), and their amazing ability to adapt to online learning even though this isn’t what any of us signed up for! As my friend and colleague Whitney Boroski says: "Throw that praise like confetti!”
  • Encourage students to find a healthy life balance - remember that list of tips for ourselves? Remember yourself at age 20? I know I certainly would have needed a little extra help staying on track at that age. Share your own experiences with staying motivated and give students an opportunity to share what’s working for them.

For more tips and tricks to help with motivation, student mental health and wellness, check out the Counseling Services blog.


Search for the Dean of the Graduate School: Public Forum Recordings and Feedback Survey

Recordings of the public forums for the candidates for the Dean of The Graduate School are now available for viewing along with a Google feedback survey on the candidates.

If you couldn't attend the virtual meeting, feel free to familiarize yourself with the candidates and send your feedback to the committee and the provost. The survey can be filled out anonymously and is open to the entire Michigan Tech community.

Links are available below. Should you have any questions, email  Carlos Amador or Robert Hutchinson — chairs of search committee 

Graduate School Dean Search Public Forum - Will Cantrell, April 15, 2020. Meeting Recording.

Graduate School Dean Search Public Forum- David Flaspohler, April 16, 2020. Meeting Recording.

Graduate School Dean Search Public Forum - John Gierke, April 17, 2020. Meeting Recording.

Feel free to fill our the Google Feedback Survey.


 Native Plant Symposium

The annual Native Plant Symposium, usually held in Hesterberg Hall in the U.J. Noblet Forestry Building, has moved to Zoom this year.

Gardeners and native plant enthusiasts can shelter in place and still enjoy free talks today (April 23) and next Thursday, April 30. “We have some wonderful speakers this year,” said organizer Maria Janowiak, an extension master gardener and deputy director of the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science at the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, on the Michigan Tech campus.“While everyone has loved our in-person events, this will let gardeners from all over attend from the safety of their homes.”

The two-day symposium begins at 7 p.m. Today. Brent Hanson, co-owner of Hanson’s Garden Village, in Rhinelander, Wisconsin will present “Singing in the Rain—Northern Wisconsin and U.P. Rain Gardens.” Next, Carol Maass of Friends of the Porkies, in Ontonagon, will speak on “Pollinator Garden as a Service Learning Project.”

At 7 p.m. Thursday April 30, Sue Trull, botanist for the Ottawa National Forest, will present “Monarchs and Milkweeds—All Hands on Deck.” The final talk, “Using Native Plants to Support Pollinators,” will be given by Jackie Manchester-Kempke, of Houghton, an extension master gardener.

To attend, register in advance for one or both talks.

In Print

Adam Wellstead (SS), alumnus Brad Barnett (SS PhD '18),  and Michael Howlett (Simon Fraser University) published "The evolution of Wisconsin's woody biofuel policy: Policy layering and dismantling through dilution" in Energy Research & Social Science.

In the News

Laura Connolly (CoB) was quoted in the article "Local Businesses see Impact from Shutdown," in the Daily Mining Gazette.


Kelly Kamm (KIP) was mentioned in the article "Five counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula await arrival of coronavirus," in the Bridge.


 The Michigan Tech COVID-19 testing lab, opened last week, was covered by UP North Live.


Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was mentioned in the article "Native of Michigan's UP in Sweden conducting energy research," in The Hour. Pearce is working with Copper Harbor native Nelson Sommerfeldt who is in Sweden conducting research that could lead to lower energy prices back home.


Guy Meadows (GLRC) was listed among the presenters at the second High Water Summit webinar Town Hall Tuesday (April 28) hosted by the ad hoc Michigan High Water Action Team. The story was covered by TV6 in Marquette.


The mobile unit built by Michigan Tech to clean COVID-19 PPE was featured in the article "Converting a Shipping Container into a Mobile Sanitizer" in Hydraulics and Pneumatics and in Machine Design.

Today's Campus Events

To have your event automatically appear, please submit them to the University Events Calendar.

ONLINE: GEOHERITAGE AND THE ARTS: Music in the Keweenaw Mines

ROSE, William I., GMES Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, RUSH, Stephen, School of Music, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 SCAPPETTONE,...


Master's Defense: Davide Saviano

Geology Co-advisors: Simon Carn and Gianluca Groppelli Reconstruction of the 2018 Anak Krakatau Collapse Using PlanetScope Imaging and Numerical Modeling Attend Virtually:...


C-Cubed Luncheon

This week's C3 luncheons take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge (#107). All faculty and staff, along with their...


Seminar with Dr. Casey Huckins

The CFRES Seminar Series is sponsored by faculty in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and the Department of Biological Sciences. Distinguished...


Master's Defense: Vongdalone Vongsikeo

Applied Natural Resource Economics Advisor: William Breffle The Value of Carbon Sequestration in the Developing World: Making the Economic Case for Tree Planting In Lao PDR...


Student Commission Meeting

The Student Commission is a broad based group of students, staff and faculty that work together to enrich the student experience for everyone at the University. They do this...


Master's Defense: Prangya Rani Parida

Mathematical Sciences Advisor: Melissa Keranen Uniform Three-Class Regular Partial Steiner Triple Systems with Uniform Degrees Attend Virtually:...


UP's Energy Future

Copper Country Events Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Jenn Hill Marquette City Commissioner and UP Energy Task Force member Elise Matz Michigan Utility...


Native Plant Symposium Part 1

Copper Country Events Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Learn about beneficial native plants that are suited to our unique local conditions. Experienced gardeners...


Earth Day Film: Planet of the Humans

Copper Country Events Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day View Planet of the Humans (90 min.) The film takes a harsh look at how the environmental movement has...


Environmental Graphiti Online Exhibit

The Art of Climate Change Alisa Singer The work of Chicago-based artist Alisa Singer, Environmental Graphiti is a series of digital paintings created to enhance public...


Great Lakes Bioblitz in Your Backyard

Copper Country Events Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Community members, families, and students across the Great Lakes states and Ontario are invited to...


Self-Guided Walk at KLT Paavola Wetlands

Featuring Houghton Elementary 4th Grade Earth Day Art Copper Country Events Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day The 4th grade art classes at Houghton Elementary...


Stewardship Network Spring Invasive Plant Removal Challenge

Copper Country Events Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Pull invasive species from your yard, natural area, anywhere! Submit location, number of people, and...