Tech Topics online, faculty and staff newsletter Return to MTU home Return to Tech Topics home University Relations

Feb. 25, 2005

Entertainment and Enrichment

8. Keweenaw Symphony Presents Basham, McConnel in Concert

9. A Home of One’s Own: An Exploration of Working-Class Neighborhoods

10. How Big Is Your Ecological Footprint? Find Out Friday

Seminars and Workshops

11. Forestry Graduate Research Forum Friday

12. MEEM Seminar Tuesday

Regular Features

13. New Funding

14. In Print

15. Calendar

16. Job Postings

Marcia Goodrich, Tech Topics editor, 906-487-2343

Anna Schultz, Tech Topics editorial assistant, 906-487-2343

You can reach us via e-mail here. The deadline for submitting information for Tech Topics is 5 p.m. the Friday before anticipated publication.

Subscribe to e-TechTopics:

“No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own.”

-Hunter S. Thompson

MTU News

Tech Topics Home



Each year, Michigan Tech recognizes two educators for their outstanding contribution to the instructional mission of the university. The first stage in this process involves the identification of 12 Distinguished Teaching Award finalists (six in the Lecturer/Assistant Professor category and six in the Associate Professor/Professor category). Over 45,000 MTU Student Rating of Instruction scores from the spring and fall 2004 semesters were used to determine the 12 finalists. The selection committee will solicit and review comments from students, staff, faculty and alumni of Michigan Tech in making its final decision. Comments on the nominees should be sent to by April 1. The finalists are

Associate Professor/Professor Category
  Tomas Co (Associate Professor) - Chemical Engineering
  Dean Johnson (Associate Professor) - School of Business and Economics
  Dennis Lynch (Associate Professor) - Humanities
  Charles Nelson (Associate Professor) - Humanities
  John Sandell (Associate Professor) - Chemical Engineering
  Anne Wysocki (Associate Professor) - Humanities

Assistant Professor/Lecturer Category
  Ann Brady (Assistant Professor) - Humanities
  Sean Clancey (Lecturer) - Chemical Engineering
  Brian Davis (Assistant Professor) - Electrical and Computer Engineering
  Karyn Fay (Lecturer) - Biological Sciences
  Michael Moore (Lecturer) - College of Engineering
  Michael Powers (Assistant Professor) - School of Technology

The process for determining the Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from this list of finalists involves the additional surveying of their classes by members of ODK. The Distinguished Teaching Award Decision Committee makes the final determination of the award recipients.



The Board of Control is expected to act on six new degree programs and a new University Senate constitution at its next meeting, on Friday, Feb. 25.

The Department of Chemistry is proposing BS degrees in Cheminformatics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. The Department of Fine Arts has developed its first degree programs: BS degrees in Theatre and Entertainment Technology and in Audio Production and Technology; and BA programs in Theatre and Entertainment Technology, and in Sound Design.

If approved by the Board of Control and the State Board of Academic Officers, the measures will come before the board for a final vote. If they receive final approval, the programs will be instituted this fall.

The board is also expected to act on the new University Senate constitution, which garnered a two-thirds vote of the constituency in January.

The old senate constitution excluded union members, so after the tenured and tenure-track faculty voted in September to form a bargaining unit under the auspices of the American Association of University Professors, the faculty senators were effectively excluded from senate membership.

The new constitution would change the definition of faculty and professional staff, so union membership does not preclude membership in the senate's constituency. It also allows two of the six at-large senators to be staff. Under the current constitution, only faculty may be at-large senators.

The board is also expected to revisit a proposal to hire a university counsel.

The board meets at 9 a.m. in Memorial Union Ballroom B. Board meetings are open to the public, and members of the MTU community are welcome.



Student Affairs is seeking student nominations for the President's Leadership Award and Vice President for Student Affairs Service Award.

The recipient of each award will be honored at the spring student awards banquet and will receive a monetary award.

To qualify for the President's Leadership Award, nominees must be an undergraduate in good academic standing and enrolled full time during the spring semester 2005.

Nominees must write an essay describing the leadership activities they have performed while a Michigan Tech student and what was accomplished by those activities. The leadership may have been performed at Michigan Tech or for community, church or charitable organizations. The nomination/essay form for the President's Leadership Award can be submitted on the web at .

To qualify for the Vice President of Student Affairs Service Award, nominees must be an undergraduate in good academic standing and enrolled full time during the spring semester 2005.

Nominees must write an essay describing the volunteer services they have performed while a Michigan Tech student and how that experience has benefited them and the people served. The service may have been performed at Michigan Tech or for community, church or charitable organizations. The nomination/essay form for the Vice President of Student Affairs Service Award can be submitted on the web at .

If you know of a deserving student, please make sure they complete the nomination/essay form and submit it to the Office of Student Affairs by Friday, March 18. If you have any questions, contact Lynda at 487-2212 or


Submited by the Michigan Tech SmartZone

The SmartZone Enterprise has partnered with Brooks Kushman of Southfield to provide patent assistance to high-tech entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Upper Peninsula under a grant from Michigan’s Technology Tri-Corridor Fund (MTTC). The new program will provide entrepreneurs and businesses in the U.P. with local access to a full-service intellectual property (IP) firm. Brooks Kushman will travel to Houghton quarterly to conduct seminars related to IP followed by meetings with individual businesses and entrepreneurs to assist them with IP strategies, patent applications, trademark and copyright issues, license negotiations, etc. The SmartZone will schedule those meetings and subsidize some of the costs.

“We are pleased to partner with such an experienced and respected firm as Brooks Kushman,” the SmartZone’s Project Manager Jonathan Leinonen said. “Any business will be able to take advantage of what will effectively be Brooks Kushman’s local office without the time and expense required to travel out of the area to meet with patent attorneys. The firm is a great fit, demonstrating flexibility in working with entrepreneurs and small businesses, coupled with experience in Michigan’s Technology Tri-Corridor and related fields.” William Abbatt of Brooks Kushman said, “I am delighted that we will be working with the SmartZone. We are very interested in working with entrepreneurs and companies in the U.P. and supporting the economic growth of the region.”

IP Law & Business magazine lists Brooks Kushman as one of the top 10 IP firms according to the Fortune 250 in the Who Protects IP America survey (


Submitted by the Office of the Provost

Proposals from faculty who are interested in teaching sections of UN1001 (Perspectives on Inquiry) for fall 2005 and spring 2006 are now invited. Funding is available to support instruction.

Perspectives on Inquiry is the seminar for first-year students that begins the sequence of general education courses. About 80 different instructors from nearly 20 departments have now taught UN1001. The participation of excellent teachers from across the university has been key to the success of this course. These faculty find that Perspectives is exciting to teach. Individual sections address topics chosen by and of central interest to the instructor; the course focuses on an enduring or unresolved question that is addressed by different academic disciplines. The topic and question should be intellectually stimulating to both instructors and students. Sections are small, capped this year at 22.

General and catalog descriptions of the course are available on the Perspectives web site ( Some sample proposals from previous calls for proposals are also available on the Perspectives web site. Note that these proposals are in an earlier format.

Instructors who have taught UN1001 previously and who wish to teach their same topic for next year should indicate this in an email to Helene Hiner ( A change of topic requires a new proposal and review by the Perspectives Committee.

New tenure/tenure-track instructors should first discuss teaching Perspectives with your chair/dean. Most decisions on departmental assignments have been made. Tenured and tenure-track faculty who have not previously taught Perspectives should submit a one-to-two page proposal stating the proposed course title, the central unresolved question, and how different academic disciplines approach the topic. The proposal should also indicate the type of readings or other materials to be used. Please note that no textbooks may be used, nor are exams permissible.

At times we are able and pleased to invite instructors who are not tenured and tenure-track faculty to propose a course. The preference order will be those with a PhD, graduate students who have passed their doctoral comprehensives and done some teaching and those with other terminal degrees (e.g. MFA, MBA, JD). 

Submitting a proposal is only an expression of interest in teaching a section of UN1001. It becomes a commitment when you schedule a section(s) with Hiner.

For academic year 2005-06, we expect that the current arrangements for funding sections of UN1001 will be continued. This means that $4,000 will be transferred to the SS/E accounts of their home departments. Instructors are free to arrange with their department chairs and school deans for the disposition of these funds. (Exceptions apply to those departments with assigned commitments to UN1001.)

The Perspectives committee (chaired by Professor Martha Sloan) of six faculty and professional staff will read and respond to the proposals. The committee may also consult the Center for Teaching, Learning and Faculty Development to ensure the selection of effective teachers. It may make suggestions to you or ask for additional information.

Workshops for new and current instructors are planned for fall semester, usually during orientation week.

Interested individuals who wish more information about this request for proposals or who simply want to discuss their ideas for topics are asked to contact Sloan at 487-2845 or or Mary Durfee at 487-2112 or



Student Life announces the 11th Annual Student Awards, a university-wide recognition program for student leaders at Michigan Tech. It is important to recognize students for their excellence, leadership and contributions within the community. Students participate in the coordination of numerous activities, lead their peers in a multitude of clubs and organizations, participate in university decision-making and assist the university in reaching a wide variety of goals and objectives each year.

The committee has identified a variety award categories and criteria. Please take a few moments to nominate those students who you would like to recognize for their contributions. In addition, an award will be given to a faculty or staff member who has served as an exceptional student organization advisor.

You can submit nominations online at or you can pick up additional nomination forms at Student Life, Administration 135 or First-Year Programs, DHH G044. Please submit your nominations no later than Friday, March 11.

Students nominated for their excellence, leadership and contribution to the university during the 2004-05 academic year by their peers, faculty and staff will be invited to the Student Awards Banquet on Sunday, April 24.

If you would like additional information about this event, please contact Beth Wagner at 487-3558 or via email at


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

"You've got to break a few eggs to make an omelet," the old saying goes. By definition, educational experimentation and innovation involve change. Some students welcome change, while others clearly prefer that their instructors "stay within the lines."

Over the years, several department chairs have expressed concern that some of our most innovative teachers have been effectively excluded from consideration for the Distinguished Teaching Awards because those awards are primarily driven by student evaluation scores. The chairs argued that profoundly reengineering a course is unlikely to generate the kinds of student evaluation scores that make one eligible for the traditional teaching award. This sort of problem is compounded when the course being retooled is one perceived by a majority of students as onerous, unnecessarily challenging or not directly related to their major area of study. Point granted.

To begin to address these concerns, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Faculty Development has created the Fredrick D. Williams Instructional Innovation Award. Our retired colleague Fred Williams was an educational innovator and directed the Center for Teaching Excellence. He regularly faced classes of 400-500 first-year chemistry students and engaged them with his gift for simplifying complex concepts, his sense of humor, his obvious level of caring and concern and his innovative instructional embellishments. Alumni and colleagues fondly recall, for example, Fred soliciting and then reading in class sometimes outlandish and always entertaining chemistry limericks written by students. Fred intentionally used these occasions to give students a momentary mental break and an opportunity to reset their attention clocks. Fred also concocted startling in-class demonstrations such as blowing up pickles to concretely demonstrate what otherwise might seem abstract chemical principles.

Each year, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Faculty Development will be soliciting nominations for this award from members of the faculty, department chairs and deans. Nominations will be reviewed by a panel of volunteer faculty members who have themselves received the Distinguished Teaching Award. Over time, the selection committee will be increasingly populated by instructors who have received the Instructional Innovation Award.

The Fredrick D. Williams Instructional Innovation Award is intended to recognize the efforts of faculty members who have made an extraordinary and significant contribution to the instructional mission of the university in the design, or redesign, of one or more of its educational offerings. This award will not be given automatically each year, but will be given only when a nominee's contribution is deemed to be truly exceptional and substantial by the reviewing committee.

Nominees will be publicized to the academic community and alumni, and additional feedback will be sought as a part of the deliberation process. Nominations for consideration for this year will be received by the center through March 15. The nomination form is available on the center's webpage at .


Two outstanding musicians well-known to local concert-goers return to Houghton this week for a special appearance with the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rozsa Center. Violinist Glenn Basham and violist Pamela McConnell, both members of the Bergonzi String Quartet and faculty members at the University of Miami, will play a Mozart masterpiece, the Sinfonia Concertante in E flat (K. 364), and Basham will also be featured in Michael Irish's "Suite from Scenes From the Keweenaw." The program, conducted by Milton Olsson, also includes the premiere of Elizabeth Meyer's "Shouting Teresa," written especially for this concert.

Basham's and McConnell's performances during the Pine Mountain Music Festival have delighted audiences throughout the Upper Peninsula for the past 10 years. Their careers as soloists and chamber musicians have taken them to major concert halls throughout the United States, Asia and Europe. They have each made numerous highly regarded recordings.

The appearance of guest artists with the Keweenaw Symphony is made possible by grants from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Friends of the Rozsa.

"This is a truly exciting concert," says Olsson, the KSO's music director and chair of the Department of Fine Arts. "It brings together a wonderful group of enthusiastic, gifted musicians who will make glorious music together." In addition to Basham and McConnell, featured players include the two composers, Meyer and Irish. Meyer holds a doctorate in composition from Northwestern University and is director of the Copper Country Suzuki Association, as well as principal violist of the KSO. Irish is associate professor of music and director of jazz studies at MTU as well as performer, composer and arranger.

Meyer's "Shouting Teresa" features a string orchestra plus quartet (KSO Concertmaster Jubal Fulks, with Katie Salmi, Laurel Premo and Patrick Quimby) and an actor reading the words of Italo Calvino's humorous short story, "The Man Who Shouted Teresa." Irish's suite, based on his six-movement "Scenes from the Keweenaw," features solo violin (Basham) and jazz quartet including Irish on guitar, keyboardist Charles White, jazz bassist Dan Komarzec and drummer Mark Lucier. Bryan Suits will be featured on alto flute.

Mozart's famous Sinfonia Concertante, a virtuoso piece for violin, viola and orchestra, fits well with the newer pieces, Olsson says, because they all center on intriguing rhythms combined with fascinating melodic and instrumental experiments (for which Mozart was famous during his lifetime). And all three pieces are a delight to play and to hear.

In addition to tours with the Bergonzi Quartet, solo performances and teaching, McConnell's activities include directing the string program and Strings for Kids at the University of Miami, arranging music for viola ensemble and string quartet, and adjudicating at national and international competitions. Basham is noted for his activities in jazz performance and improvisation in addition to his distinguished classical career. At the University of Miami he teaches one of the few courses in the country in improvisation for string players, and he finds time to perform and record with jazz ensembles.

Tickets for the Feb. 26 concert are available for $15 general, $5 students from the Rozsa Center Box Office, 487-3200 and http:/, the SDC Central Ticket Office, Tech Express in the Memorial Union Building and the Calumet Theatre.



Graduate students in Michigan Tech's industrial archeology program recently set out to explore the history of several working-class neighborhoods in the Copper Country and will report on their research at a public presentation. The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, in the community room of the First United Methodist Church at 401 Quincy St. in Hancock. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Copper Country mining companies built more than 3,000 houses for their workers, but these housed only a fraction of the workforce. Other members of the working class were left to locate housing in neighborhoods developed outside of company property--and often outside of company control. These neighborhoods offered important housing alternatives, as well as opportunities for home ownership to working men and women.

Presenters and neighborhoods will include Rachael Herzberg's survey of Coburntown, Suika Rivett's work with Dodgeville, Dave Vago's examination of Dakota Heights and the work of Erin Timms, Pat Baird and Scott See on the two Hillside Additions to Hancock. All were students in Kim Hoagland's class on the documentation of historic structures. Hoagland will provide an overview of the project, and then give attendees the opportunity to interact with the students and view exhibits of their research. The event will include a treasure hunt, with prizes for audience members who uncover historical information from the students and their displays.

This presentation is part of the "Fourth Thursday in History" program jointly sponsored by Keweenaw National Historical Park and the MTU Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. Additional support for this event is provided by the MTU Graduate Student Council and the First United Methodist Church of Hancock.

Presentations are free and open to the public. For further information, including specific directions to this event, contact the MTU Archives at 487-2505.



Susan Burns, managing director of the Global Footprint Network, will give a presentation, "Lighten Up: Explore Sustainability with the Ecological Footprint," on Friday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. in M&M U115.

Burns will outline approaches for measuring and reducing human impact on the natural environment using the planning tool, The Ecological Footprint. Using this method, she determines whether or not our lifestyles' footprints fit within the ecological capacity of our nations, states and regions. She also discusses whether these lifestyles provide a high quality of life as measured by her "satisfaction barometer."

"Equipped with these two tools, we can find ways for everybody to secure their quality of life within the means of nature," said Shalini Suryanarayana, director of special academic programs and a member of the Environmental Sustainability Committee. The committee is among several organizations at MTU and Finlandia University hosting Burns' visit to the area.

Burns will discuss the impact of human populations on earth and show how communities, individuals and regions can monitor that impact and compare it to the biosphere's capacity to regenerate itself. She will also explain how sustainability concepts have influenced business thinking, political policy and scientific studies.

Burns, who is also principal of Natural Strategies LLC, has consulted for 18 years with more than 50 corporations and other organizations on a variety of sustainability issues, including product design, consensus building, management systems, business strategy, forest policy and stakeholder communications. She is an expert in The Natural Step Framework for Sustainability (TNS) and coauthored the TNS curriculum used by colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

"Come and see how the Footprint is being used to make sustainability specific, tangible and local," Suryanarayana said. "Learn a few tricks about how you can apply this tool in your own life."

Burns' talk is free and open to the public. Her visit is sponsored at Michigan Tech by the Environmental Sustainability Committee, the Graduate Student Council, the Vice President of Research, the Sustainable Futures Institute, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, the Department of Social Sciences and the Society for Environmental Engineers; and by Finlandia University and the Finlandia University Campus Enrichment Committee.

For more information about Burn's visit, see or call Suryanarayana at 487-2262. To calculate your ecological footprint, see .

News  |  Entertainment & Enrichment  |  Seminars and Workshops   |  Regular Features  |  Calendar


The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science will host its first Graduate Research Forum on Friday, Feb. 25. Public viewing of the posters will be from 3 to 5 p.m. in the atrium of the Noblet forestry building.

Thirty-eight posters will focus on a broad variety of research topics, including carbon cycling, biotechnology, wildlife, ecology and forest insects and disease. Two graduate students will receive grand prizes of $500 each, with an additional six students receiving merit awards of $100.

The forum is sponsored by the School's Ecosystem Science Center and the Biotechnology Research Center.

"Some students are just beginning their program of study, while others are nearly finished and are beginning to think about the next phase of their career," organizers said. "Please come, enjoy the posters and share your own ideas with the students we are so proud to have at Michigan Tech."

For more information, contact Jessica Bibbee, 487-3564,



Bei Lu from North Carolina State University will present a seminar entitled "Linear Parameter-Varying Control Technique and Its Application" on Tuesday, March 1, from 9 to 10 a.m. in MEEM 402.


Jeffrey S. Allen (ME-EM) has received a $12,040 research grant from the NASA for “Microscale Investigation of the Thermo-Fluid Transport in the Transition Film Region of an Evaporating Capillary Meniscus.”

James Mihelcic (CEE) has received a $104,086 research grant with a potential three-year project totaling $320,000 from the National Science Foundation for “REU Site: REU in Sustainability.”

Victor Busov (SFRES) has received a $167,466 research grant for a five-year project from Oregon State University for “Field Evaluation of Semi-Dwarfism Transgenes for Biosafety of Transgenic Woody Plants,” a potential three-year project totaling $320,000.

Assistant Professor Yoke Khin Yap (Physics) has received an NSF CAREER Award for his project, “Synthesis, Characterization and Discovery of Frontier Carbon Materials.” The amount is $117,020 for the first 12 months, and the total funding potential for five years is $506,227.



Professor Emeritus Vernon P. Dorweiler (SBE) and Mehenna Yakhou (Georgia College & State University) published two papers, “Conduct of Corporations and Corporate Officers” in Issue 6, Volume 14, of Managerial Law and “Corporate Governance Reform Impact on Accounting and Auditing” in Issue 2, Volume 11 of Corporate Governance Review.



5 p.m.--Patrcia Hampl reads from her works--McArdle Theatre
5:30 p.m.--Women’s basketball, Grand Valley State at MTU--Varsity Gym
7 p.m.--A Home of One’s Own, An Exploration of Working Class Neighborhoods--First United Methodist Church, Hancock
7:30 p.m.--Men’s basketball, Grand Valley State at MTU--Varsity Gym

9 a.m.--Board of Control meeting--Memorial Union Ballroom B
3-5 p.m.--Forestry Graduate Research Forum--Noblet Atrium
6 p.m.--Susan Burns, “Lighten Up: Explore Sustainability with the Ecological Footprint”--M&M U115

1 p.m.--Women’s basketball, Ferris State at MTU--Varsity Gym
3 p.m.--Men’s basketball, Ferris State at MTU--Varsity Gym
7:30 p.m.--Basham, McConnel in concert--Rozsa Center


9-10 a.m.--Bei Lu, “Linear Parameter-Varying Control Technique and Its Application”--MEEM 402



Job descriptions are normally available at 1 p.m. on Friday. You can visit the Human Resources Office, call 487-2280, e-mail <JOBS@MTU.EDU> or go to .

The following positions will be posted Friday, Feb. 25, at 1 p.m. through Friday, March 4, in the Human Resources Office.

Food Service Helper--Memorial Union (Regular, part-time, nine-month position; 30 hours a week; AFSCME internal posting only)

Applicants from the recall pool will be given first consideration for non-bargaining-unit positions only. Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.

News  |  Entertainment and Enrichment  |   Seminars and Workshops  |  Regular Features  |  Calendar  |  Top

Tech Topics Home