Return to Campus: Cleaning

Editor's Note: Today we begin a series detailing several aspects of campus operations as the University enters Step Three in our Return to Campus Plan this fall. This semi-weekly series will run Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next several weeks.

Last week, Michigan Tech entered Step Two in our Return to Campus Plan. As the University prepares for Step Three this fall, students and employees, understandably, have questions. Theresa Coleman-Kaiser, associate vice president for administration, discussed specifics of the University's plan for cleaning when Step Three begins.

Q: How will we be cleaning classrooms? Doorknobs? Computer mice and keyboards?

A: When we return to face-to-face teaching, classrooms will be cleaned daily, and instructional personnel will be asked to use sanitizing wipes on any shared classroom equipment such as computer keyboards, mice, and document cameras before and after each use. High-frequency touchpoints will be wiped on a regular basis throughout the day, but users should always treat these touchpoints as having the potential for harboring the virus and take steps to protect themselves. Disinfectants will be those approved to kill SARS-CoV-2 by the EPA.

Q: How often will bathrooms be cleaned in academic buildings and in residence halls? 

A: Bathrooms in academic and administrative buildings will be cleaned once a day, five days per week, which has been our usual schedule during non-pandemic times. Bathrooms in the residence halls will be cleaned twice a day, seven days per week, which is a higher frequency as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College Health Association (ACHA).

Q: Tell us about the kitchenettes, water fountains and other high-contact areas. What’s the plan for those?

A: A specific plan will be put in place for public spaces, water fountains, and other high-contact areas. Building custodians will be spending less time in departmental spaces so that they can redirect their effort to more frequent sanitizing of high-frequency touchpoints such as water fountains, doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons and handles.

Departments will need to do their part by continuing to bring their trash and recycling to the common designated area(s) within their building and regularly wiping the high-frequency touchpoints within their individual offices, office suites, kitchenettes and break rooms. Custodians will visit offices on a weekly basis for vacuuming and maintenance checks.

Michigan Tech Appoints Interim Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

The University has appointed Audrey L. Mayer (CFRES) as interim vice president for diversity and inclusion, while the University continues the search for a permanent vice president for diversity and inclusion. Mayer's appointment takes effect on July 1. 

Currently, Mayer serves as the assistant to the provost for academic equity and inclusion, chairs the University Diversity Council and oversees the University Climate Study. She also serves as Michigan Tech’s institutional diversity representative for APLU, MASU and the King Chavez Parks program. In her new role, Mayer will be responsible for leading all of the campus's diversity and inclusion initiatives, including the activities of the Diversity and Inclusion Tech Forward initiative. 

Mayer is also a professor of ecology and environmental policy in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. 

Her research focuses on sustainability science and conservation policy.   

MTU Flex for Academics Update for the Week of June 15

In an effort to provide continued communication from the MTU Flex for Academics group, the following is a recap of the topics discussed by the group during the week of June 15.

After determining that instructors will wear a face shield while teaching and a mask to and from the classroom, Michigan Tech’s 3D printing group, headed by Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) and David Holden (Van Pelt and Opie Library), will test a third face shield prototype that they designed specifically for instructors. The design is intended to promote safety in the classroom while making it easy for students to see instructors’ faces. Will Cantrell’s (Physics) research group will test the shields in the coming weeks to learn more about how aerosols are dispersed away from the wearer. The group’s agreement that shields can be used in the classroom is made under the assumption that all students in the class will be wearing some sort of face covering — typically cloth masks.

The CTL has been working diligently with IT to determine classroom technology needs, and these are in the final stages of review and recommendation to University leadership. Once approved, guides for using the technology will be created so that instructors who need to do a particular task will know which hardware and software tools they should use. The group knows faculty need time to practice using new tools and strategies before the fall, and the goal is to have all rooms open and ready as soon as possible.

Much of the discussion centered around students and courses. The group has reviewed the classroom occupancy limits imposed under the assumption of six-foot physical distancing. The registrar is working with deans and chairs to determine which, if any, courses should be moved to a fully online or remote format for pedagogical reasons. Once these decisions are made, particularly for large lecture-based courses, some classrooms may be freed up for use by other courses. Strategies for prioritizing the use of available spaces will be discussed in the future. It is now understood that there are many innovative approaches being considered across campus to serve students in the same course who are attending face-to-face or remotely.

The group made suggestions to other teams on topics such as what they would like to see communicated to students about the fall and how the campus community as a whole would benefit from having more information about topics such as testing, contact tracing, plans for isolation/quarantining, clearing people to return to work/school, etc. Faculty, student, and staff representatives on the group agreed that communication is valued by everyone. The group understands that such communications can only take place after policies, procedures, and protocols have been finalized.

Lastly, the group would like to reiterate that while we all want to come back together for face-to-face experiences in the fall, this will only be possible if we all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. A recent article in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (Zhang et al., 2020) summed up the authors’ findings as: “We conclude that wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with extensive testing, quarantine, and contact tracking, poses the most probable fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, prior to the development of a vaccine.”

We all have a role to play in protecting the campus and local community from a large outbreak of COVID-19 because relatively simple and low/no-cost actions such as washing hands, wearing masks, cleaning shared surfaces frequently, and physically distancing from others limit the spread of disease. If we all commit to doing these things—both on campus and in the community—we have a very good chance at having a very successful fall semester.

Registration for the GSG Poster Presentation Session Open

The Graduate Student Government recently announced a virtual poster presentation session at this year's Alumni Reunion. We now know that this event will occur during the first week of August. As a reminder, the Alumni poster presentation session is a continued tradition designed to increase the interaction between graduate students and MTU alumni.

It is a unique opportunity for graduate students to share their research, receive feedback, and expand network connections. This event is also a great opportunity for students to work on their presentation skills and prepare for upcoming conferences. Participation is open to graduate students from all departments. The event will consist of elevator pitch-style, pre-recorded poster presentations.

With the successful step up to Step Two of the MTU Flex Return to Campus Plan, the GSG has decided to extend the registration deadline for the event until July 17. We hope this enables students whose research was affected by lab closures to participate.

Registration for the event will close at 11:59 p.m. on July 17. Limited seats only. Detailed instructions and guidelines to record your presentation will be sent out to you once you have registered. Alternatively, you will also be able to find the instructions on the GSG website. For more information, please contact Sarvada Chipkar.

Thermal Mattress Control of Sleep Quality

Do you ever suspect that you may be a poor sleeper? Do you have trouble maintaining or falling asleep? A multitude of factors may be impacting your sleep. One of the potential culprits is temperature control at night. Core body temperature dropping at night is essential for sleep efficiency, but when abnormalities in body temperature occur, it can be detrimental to your sleep. Help us to study the effects of a thermal heating and gradual cooling feature within a mattress that may improve sleep quality.

We are currently recruiting participants. The time commitment includes three overnight stays in the MTU Sleep laboratory: one familiarization and two consecutive testing nights.

Please read the attached flyer for additional information regarding the screening process as well as participation.

'Bridging Barriers' Book Launch to Support Guatemala's COVID-19 Response

The Rotary Club of Milwaukee and Engineers Without Borders USA will host a Zoom virtual author visit with Michigan Tech alumnus Mike Paddock to promote his new book, "Bridging Barriers," which shares stories from the Marquette University EWB-USA chapter's work to provide clean water and hospital access to a remote community in the Guatemalan highlands.

EWB-USA CEO and Michigan Tech alumna Cathy Leslie will also be speaking at the event. Registration for the event is online, and the book can be purchased. All proceeds from the book go to EWB Guatemala.

Matt Roy Named LA Kings' Best Newcomer and Top Defenseman

Former Michigan Tech hockey player Matt Roy received four team awards for his performance with the Los Angeles Kings in 2019-20, the team announced last week. Roy was honored with the Mark Bavis Memorial Award for Best Newcomer and was also named the Outstanding Defenseman, the top Defensive Player, and Unsung Hero.

The Unsung Hero Award was voted on by his King's teammates and the other three were selected by the media that covers the Kings.

Roy was one of only four NHL rookies to play in every game, appearing in 70. He scored four goals and added 14 assists.

Roy led the Kings and was fourth amongst NHL rookies with a plus-16 rating. He was also fourth amongst NHL rookie defensemen with 112 shots and 13th amongst all rookies with an ice time average of 18:07 per game. Roy led the team with 100 blocked shots and was third with 132 hits.

LA's season ended on March 12 when the NHL suspended play due to COVID-19. The league is planning to resume the season with the top 24 teams in the standings. The Kings were 29-41-6 in 2019-20 and are 28th in the standings.

Roy was a seventh-round (194th overall) selection of the Kings at the 2015 NHL Draft and played 115 games over three seasons (2014-17) with the Huskies, recording 55 points on 12 goals and 43 assists before signing after his junior season on March 27, 2017. Roy was Tech's team leader in assists with 21 as a junior and had the assist on the game-winning goal six times. He was a two-time All-WCHA selection.

Roy received his diploma from Michigan Tech in December 2019 after he completed his bachelor of science in sports and fitness management. He was also recently named the LA Kings NHLPA representative.

PLGC Holds Senior Scramble

Michigan Tech’s Portage Lake Golf Course held a three-person Senior Scramble Wednesday (June 17). PLGC members Chuck Lucchesi, John Vaara and James Parker took home the title, shooting a score of seven-under-par 65. The winners birdied five of their last six holes to secure the victory. Two teams finished one stroke behind with scores of 66: the team of Dennis Harbour, Dan Farrell and Dick Gray, and the team of Scott Peck, Mark Young and Bruce Seely. Finishing in fourth place was the team of Chris Roy, Thomas Kearly and Robert Vial with a score of 3-under-par 69.    

Closest to the pins were won by James Melchiori and Dale Niemi. The next senior scramble is set for July 10. The next event is a ladies two-person scramble on Tuesday, July 9. For more information, email PLGC or call 7-2641.

Items Available

The Office of Advancement has the following surplus items available to give away to another department on a first-come, first-served basis:

  • Leather Couch
  • Two Chairs
  • Wall Coat Hooks/Rack

Contact Mary Stevens or call 7-2312 if interested. As always, University property may only be transferred to other University departments. It may not be given away or sold to individuals.


TIAA Virtual Retirement Sessions Thursday and Friday

TIAA is offering virtual retirement counseling sessions on Thursday and Friday, June 25/26.

If you'd like to schedule an appointment with TIAA, call 800-732-8253 or book an appointment online.


Upcoming IDEA Hub/CTL Teaching Q&A Sessions & Flex Fall Workshops

In our past IDEA Hub/CTL online sessions, a number of challenges have been discussed in regard to MTU Flex:

  • How to teach face-to-face safely and while maintaining social distance
  • How to teach students face-to-face and remotely simultaneously
  • How to facilitate student engagement and assess learning in remote environments
  • How to offer hands-on, project-based and lab-based learning experiences remotely or with social distancing

These next two Teaching Q&A sessions and workshops will support you in developing and prototyping innovative solutions to address these teaching challenges.

Registration is not required for the Teaching Q&A portion of the sessions; we will share a calendar invite to all faculty and staff with the Zoom link. Registration is required for the workshops. To register, click the below links to be added to the calendar invites for these events, which will include the Zoom link.

If you have questions or do not get the calendar invite, but would like to attend the Teaching Q&A or workshop sessions, please email

  • Session #3 — Develop Innovative Solutions, 3-5 p.m. Wednesday (June 24). Teaching Q&A: 3-3:45 p.m. Design Thinking Workshop - Develop Innovative Solutions: 3:45-5 p.m.
  • Session #4 — Prototype Your Innovative Solutions, 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, July 1. Teaching Q&A: 3-3:45 p.m. Design Thinking Workshop - Prototype Your Innovative Solutions, 3:45-5 p.m.

Video recordings, transcripts, and other materials from the past two Teaching Q&A sessions are available in this Google Drive folder.

Today's Campus Events

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PLGC Junior Tournament

PLGC Junior Tournament


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