Susan Liebau Wins 2017 Diversity Award

Posted by Mark Wilcox, Tech Today, May 11, 2017

Established in 2014, Michigan Technological University’s Diversity Award recognizes the accomplishments of a Michigan Tech faculty or staff member who contributes to diversity and inclusion through exemplary leadership and actions.

Susan Liebau, director of the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Michigan Tech Diversity Award.

To qualify for the award, individuals must be nominated by fellow employees, students, alumni, University groups, employee networks and community organizations or other University partners. The award is intended to honor those who have gone above and beyond to further and foster diversity and inclusion at Michigan Tech.

In one of three nomination letters on Liebau’s behalf, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Bonnie Gorman stated, “It’s always gratifying when a student comes and asks for your support because they want to submit a nomination for an award. That’s what happened in this case for Susan.”

Gorman wrote that Liebau, for years the advisor for the Society of African America Men, was approached by members of that organization when the previous advisor left and the group was about to fold. Gorman notes Liebau is an active supporter of the Society of Intellectual Sisters Bra Show and oversees the training of the Orientation Team Leaders and the Wahtera Center coaches which involves nearly 100 students annually.

In another nomination letter, Heather Simpson, assistant director of the Wahtera Center, wrote, “As director of the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, Susan places an emphasis on diversity and inclusion in all areas she supervises. She actively recruits and encourages underrepresented students to work for the Wahtera Center, in a variety of positions, include key student leadership roles.” Simpson writes that she knows of “no one more deserving” of the Diversity Award than Liebau.

“I feel honored and humbled.”Susan Liebau

“The 120 Wahtera Center staff connects with every first-year student and hundreds more each year,” wrote Ryan Bennett, assistant director of orientation programs. “To say their ability to relate to students is essential would be an understatement. … The stories that result from their efforts provide extremely compelling evidence of Susan’s commitment to promote a diverse and inclusive campus culture.”

Bennett writes Liebau “works determinedly to cultivate and change the norm from the ground up, through the development of meaningful individual relationships and dialogue.”

Kellie Raffaelli, director for the Center of Diversity and Inclusion is chair of the award selection committee, a subset of the University’s Diversity Council, says Liebau is a worthy recipient of the award.

“Susan has been a consistent champion of increasing students understanding of diversity and inclusion throughout campus as well as continually working toward underrepresented students having a stronger sense of belonging here at Tech.”

Raffaelli says Liebau embodies what it means to be an ally and most certainly has “gone above and beyond to create an inclusive campus community.”

Liebau says she looks to ensure students feel welcome, valued and part of a community that will support and encourage them.

“I feel honored and humbled that others recognized how much this means to me and took the time to nominate me for this award,” she says.

“It isn’t always simple or easy, but creating an inclusive and supportive campus is something we should all strive for as a campus community.”

Liebau will receive a $2,500 award and will be recognized during the Faculty Awards Dinner in September. In addition to Liebau, Allison Carter, director of admissions and Josh Olson, chief information officer, were also nominated for the award.

Stephanie Carpenter winner of 2017 Press 53 Award

Humanities Professor Wins Fiction Award

Stephanie Carpenter (HU) has been named winner of the 2017 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction for her short story collection “Missing Persons.”

Besides publication by Press 53 in October, Carpenter will receive a $1,000 advance and a quarter-page color ad in Poets & Writers magazine. The judge for the competition was Kevin Morgan Watson, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Press 53.

Of the winning manuscript, Watson says, “These stories are diverse in voice, setting, conflict and style. Ms. Carpenter’s skills shine in this collection, as does her ability to step into the shoes of a wide range of people while peeling back the complex layers of their lives. For a group of stories to rise above 230 other manuscripts competing for my attention, every story has to deliver an interesting, satisfying and powerful experience, and ‘Missing Persons’ did just that. I’m looking forward to sharing this collection of stories with readers everywhere.”

Carpenter’s prose has appeared in prestigious journals and magazines such as Witness, Nimrod, The Cossack Review, Big Fiction, The Crab Orchard Review and others. She teaches creative writing and literature at Tech. “Missing Persons” is her first book-length publication.

A limited number of advanced reading copies of “Missing Persons” will be available for review. If interested, contact Press 53 at 336-770-5353 or email editor@press53.com.

Gupta and Langston Broadcasting Award

[From Tech Today, “Notables,” March 14, 2017]

A radio interview featuring Latika Gupta (SBE) and Nancy Langston (SS) won the Michigan Association of Broadcasting Award for Best Feature Programming. The Copper Country Today Segment discussed the Dakota Access Pipeline Controversy and initially aired on Dec. 18, 2016.

Gupta had provided her expertise as an energy economist and Langston had focused on sovereignty and environmental justice issues. The entire interview can be found on the Copper Country Today website.

Julie Seppala Named Vice President for Finance

Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz has appointed Julie Seppala as vice president for finance. Her appointment was effective on Dec. 18.

Previously, Seppala was appointed treasurer of the Board of Trustees, the executive director of financial services and operations and treasurer of the Michigan Tech Fund Board of Directors. She will keep those duties in her new position.

Seppala is responsible for all financial functions of the University and the Michigan Tech Fund, including financial reporting, investment and treasury management and overseeing all accounting functions.

In making the announcement, Mroz says “Julie is a remarkable, no-nonsense leader and we are looking to her to continue to make significant strides to organize our ever-increasing financing reporting responsibilities using Lean principles.”

Mroz says Seppala has been advancing the visibility of Michigan Tech through the National Association of Research Administrators and her highly-respected work with the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP).

“She’s been leading efforts to combine the reporting of finances of the University and the Michigan Tech Fund and has brought us through clean audits for both organizations for several years now.”

Seppala says “I am honored and humbled that President Mroz has given me this opportunity to take on a new role as vice president for finance. I’m looking forward to working with the University community to support the strategic initiatives of the University.”

Seppala has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and has completed Lean Facilitator training. She has facilitated numerous campus process improvement events since 2008.

Through her work with FDP, a cooperative initiative of 10 federal agencies and 155 research universities, she seeks to reduce the administrative burdens associated with research grants and contracts.

“Michigan Tech was one of three FDP universities to participate in a national pilot on documenting time and effort charged to federal grants and contracts,” Seppala says.

She led the four-year Project Payroll Certification Pilot and the two-year federal audit of the project.

Seppala is a member of the National Association of Business Officers and the National Association of Research Administrators.

She participates in the Council on Governmental Relations and the Michigan Association of State Universities State Business Affairs Officers Committee.

Charlesworth and Stevens head Postdoctoral Affairs Office

Graduate School Announcements

by Graduate School

The new Postdoctoral Affairs Office will be housed in the Graduate School. This move will expand the services offered to Postdoctoral Fellows and ensure compliance with University and federal regulations related to these positions.

Debra Charlesworth has been appointed the assistant dean for graduate studies and postdoctoral affairs and in her new role will coordinate professional development activities and other initiatives to enhance the experience of Postdoctoral Fellows at Michigan Tech. Charlesworth will work closely with HR in this new role. Departments or faculty members that seek to hire postdoctoral fellows in support of their research will continue to initiate these requests with their HR employment representative.

The Graduate School announces that Mary J. Stevens has joined them as the assistant to the dean. Stevens has many years of experience working with graduate students in IPS and we look forward to her contributions to the Graduate School. In her role, Stevens will coordinate Dean Murthy’s activities and serve to support the Graduate School in new initiatives.

4 Steps Toward Making Endowed Chairs More Equal

Creating a pipeline for women and minority faculty who are woefully under-represented among Endowed Chairs. Article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Nicholas D. Hartlep (Nov. 13, 2016)

http://www.chronicle.com/article/4-Steps-Toward-Making-Endowed/238374?cid=db&elqTrackId=d56cd25dabcd41eb95e19445ab605e02&elq=99e0608895b54423b012219063c358df&elqaid=11483&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=4498

Pioneering Women in Business

Helping the future women of business to become leaders and entrepreneurs is the essence of the Pioneering Women in Business (PWB) scholarship.

The vision for the PWB scholarship was inspired by the memory of Joyce Cayler Lyth ’72 and implemented by her husband David Lyth ’73 in 2015.

The Lyths realized the nation needs more women in business-leadership roles. This notion is backed by data that shows nearly 60 percent of companies who were researched did not have a single female board member and nearly 50 percent did not have a female C-suite executive.

To help Michigan Tech transform the future of global business leadership we are asking for help.

Visit the Superior Ideas project for more information about the scholarship and how you can make a difference.

Tech Today by Bryant Weathers, Office of Advancement
September 7, 2016

Faith Morrison Appointed Associate Dean of Graduate School

Faith Morrison (Ch E) will serve Michigan Tech in the capacity of associate dean of the Graduate School beginning this semester. The position is half time, with Morrison continuing in her faculty role for the balance of her time.

Morrison will be involved in a number of projects in the Graduate School. A major project will be the development and implementation of university-level assessment of graduate student learning and graduate program review. She will also work to develop, implement and support efforts to attract and retain a diverse graduate student body and on other projects aimed at improving the graduate student experience at Michigan Tech.

Morrison brings 26 years of faculty and service experience to her new role. She has worked closely with ABET and Higher Learning Commission accreditation in the chemical engineering department as well as working as an academic advisor and as an advisor to student groups.

Her research expertise is in polymer rheology and she is well known nationally for her service in her professional society, the Society of Rheology, as well as for her authorship of two textbooks, including a popular introductory rheology text.  Morrison’s national activities also include serving on the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), as well as serving as chair of the AIP Audit Committee.

Morrison says, “I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to address new challenges and to contribute to Michigan Tech in this new way. The team in the Graduate School is terrific and have been very welcoming.”

Pushpa Murthy, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the graduate school said, “Professor Morrison brings a wealth of experience in student learning assessment and program review to the graduate school. In addition, her deep interest and passion in increasing the diversity on campus will be of great benefit as we continue to make the campus a more inclusive and welcoming place. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to benefit from her experience by involving her in the day-to-day operations of the Graduate School.”

Posted by the Graduate School

Minerick and Reed Receive WEPAN Award for “Year of Action on Diversity”

Tech Wins Awards for Diversity Efforts in Engineering Education

by Jenn Donovan

Michigan Tech’s efforts to increase the numbers and diversity of women in engineering have been recognized by Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN), a national network of women engineers, engineering educators, universities, corporations and non-profits who are working together to develop a diverse and innovative engineering workforce.

Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics received the WEPAN President’s Award for what the organization described as “outstanding accomplishments” in the National Science Foundation-funded engineering diversity initiative, TECAID (Transforming Engineering Culture to Advance Inclusion and Diversity).

The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) won the WEPAN Strategic Partner Award. ASEE was honored for its “Year of Action on Diversity,” a project conceived and designed by the ASEE Diversity Committee, led by Adrienne Minerick and Teri Reed. Minerick is associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Engineering and a professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Tech. Reed is assistant vice president for research at the University of Cincinnati.

“These awards are a testament to the dedication, heart and trailblazing work our faculty and staff are doing to increase knowledge and awareness of the value of diversity and to cultivate environments that are inclusive of all individuals,” said Minerick. “These activities expand and strengthen the perspectives and education of all of our students such that they can engineer to present and future world demands and lead in a complex and changing society.”

President Glenn Mroz called the awards “a real honor for Mechanical Engineering and the entire university. We’ve been clear that it’s the responsibility of everyone at Michigan Tech to serve all students, regardless of gender or race, to have an impact on our world. This national recognition serves as evidence that people are taking that seriously, and it’s being noticed at the highest levels of our professions. The leadership that this team of people has shown is truly inspiring.”

Murthy Named Dean of Graduate School, Associate Provost

by Office of Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

Pushpalatha Murthy, currently the associate dean of the Graduate School, has been selected as the new associate provost for Graduate Education and dean of the Graduate School.

Murthy will begin serving as dean on Sunday, June 19. Prior to being selected as dean, Murthy served as associate dean of the Graduate School during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Provost Jackie Huntoon stated “I am very happy that Dr. Murthy has agreed to take on this responsibility. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position that will serve the University well. The quality of our graduate programs is very important to Michigan Tech, and Dr. Murthy is committed to undertaking efforts to continue to increase their quality through time.”

President Glenn Mroz said, “Pushpa brings her national and international perspective and experience to the position, and her passion and dedication as well. She’s served on countless groups in her career to sort out ways that we can make Michigan Tech a better place to study and to work. And she’s done it with common sense, grace and a sense of humor that puts people at ease in even the most difficult conversations.”

Murthy joined Michigan Tech in 1985, serving first as a visiting assistant professor. In 1986 she moved to the tenure track as an assistant professor.

She gained experience in administration through her service as chair of the Department of Chemistry from 2001-04 and as a program director in the Division of Graduate Education at the National Science Foundation from 2012-15. In 2014, Murthy traveled to India to conduct a series of workshops for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to serve as the Associate Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School at Michigan Tech. I look forward to working with the university community to enhance graduate education at Michigan Tech” Murthy said.

She was awarded the Michigan Tech Faculty Distinguished Service Award in 2011, is a member of the editorial board for Protein Expression and Purification and is active in COACh International, a grassroots organization working to increase the number and career success of women scientists and engineers.

Through her work with COACh, she has gained experience designing and delivering professional development programs. Murthy’s work with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and COACh will greatly benefit Michigan Tech’s graduate students.

“Our campus will benefit from the expertise Dr. Murthy brings to us as a result of her work providing professional development to professionals around the world,” said Huntoon.