Archives—August 2017

Handling In-house Immigration Work

As Michigan Technological University continues to lead as an influential university, recruitment of exceptional professionals sometimes means bringing talent from outside the country. Hiring a foreign national employee differs significantly from hiring a U.S. citizen, as it requires Michigan Tech’s hiring department to obtain an employment-based visa before the individual can work in the United States.

Immigration and Visa Services assists by handling or co-counseling foreign faculty and staff in the areas of immigration, employment, relevant governmental regulations, and procedures. This area of Human Resources prepares and files normal and complex immigration petitions with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, monitors and updates expiration information and documentation regarding immigration status, and provides a high level of service to campus on a variety of immigration issues.

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The University has immigration counsel on retainer for immigration support. However, with the in-house services provided by the Immigration and Visa Services Specialist, we are able to assist with the employment of foreign nationals. More specifically, TN visas, H1B visas; H1B portability; green card (EB-2) petitions, and other immigration related requests.

A combination of in-house immigration services with outside immigration counsel means significant savings on legal fees for the University and the employees as well as higher level of customer services for the departments, applicants, and employees. For the last three years, the savings in attorney’s fees have been between $30,000 and $35,000 annually. This is a cost effective, and efficient approach to handling immigration procedures for the University.

Immigration issues are a major concern for employees and potential employees and it can have a direct impact on our University’s recruitment and retention efforts. Having immigration counsel on retainer as well as the Immigration and Visa Services Specialist has had a positive impact for our Institution, faculty, staff and their families.

For more information on this and other immigration news, please visit the Immigration Services website at http://www.mtu.edu/hr/current/immigration/


Safety Tip—Fire Prevention and Safety

Business Operations and Environmental Health and Safety present the Michigan Tech Safety Tip of the week: Fire Prevention and Safety! There are many ways to prevent fires and stay safe in the event of a fire. One of the first thing you should do to protect yourself and ensure your safety in case of a fire is to learn the evacuation routes for buildings that you frequent from maps located inside the buildings along with knowing the safety routes it is also a good idea to know where fire extinguishers are located in case of small fires that can easily be put out. Staying vigilant is one of the best ways to prevent a fire from starting. Old electrical cords are a big cause of fires in homes and at work, this can be avoided by checking all electrical cords for cracks or cuts in the cord. Also, making sure flammable liquids and materials are in their proper place and not allowing paper and trash to accumulate outside of garbage receptacles will help you protect yourself and the environment from being set on fire.

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If you have any questions on this or other safety topics, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at 906-487-2118 or ehs@mtu.edu


Updated Facilities Management Capital Request Form

The capital project request process has been in place since May 2011 and applies to remodeling, building additions, landscaping, or exterior site work. The Capital Project Request (CPR) Form begins the process and should be used for all new projects.

Based on customer feedback, the CPR form is a revised version that replaces the three separate forms that were required prior to the revision. The new digital form allows for electronic signatures as well as the ability to attach any supporting documents. The electronic process keeps all relevant documents together and allows for easy retrieval for project information, up to date tracking, and early notification of potential projects.

00-15-04AdminSidewalkdrawings_Page_1The electronic process also allows the documents to be shared electronically via email, and will eliminate the need to print hard copies to then circulate through campus mail for signatures. People out of the office are now able to electronically sign the documentation, saving the submitting department’s time and avoiding costly delays in the project. The new process eliminates hard copy documents and keeps the workflow from being lost or misplaced, which would require re-submission and result in a potential delay of the project.

The CPR form requires the approval from a department director or dean from the requesting department. Further, the financial requirements and indexes are requested up front which encourages the customer to think about budgets and timing. This requirement guarantees that the project has been vetted and that the estimated cost has been discussed and approved.

Finally, a section at the end of the form allows for notes to be added to help track the process or describe any changes that occurred during the process.

The form and instructions are located on the Facilities website.


The Bookstore/University Images Merchandising Catalog

University Images 2015_16 catalog_brochure-01Recently, Michigan Tech’s Merchandising department (the Bookstore and University Images) chose to eliminate the printed catalog of Tech apparel and accessories and instead only sell its products on its online store. The online store is the best source for up to date products that can be purchased at the Michigan Tech stores. In the catalogs’ last several years, the Merchandising department was producing almost 40,000 copies that were mailed to alumni and friends across the country costing the department from $15,000 to $20,000 a year in production and postage. Transitioning fully to the website has made it less of a hassle for potential customers to check and see what products are still being offered and in what varieties making off-campus shopping easy.

The physical catalog became steadily less customer friendly when showing products that were often no longer available at the store when customers tried to order them through the post or over the phone. By discontinuing the catalog, people will have a more enjoyable shopping experience while using the online store. Customers are now able to access an accurate representation of the Bookstore’s physical stock. Over time, the percentage of orders received from the website reached the point where it was no longer practical to continue with the printed catalog. The website is able to be updated much faster to better reflect what can be found in the stores and online. Overall, the website became an easier interface for potential customers to see what is available, so the decision was made to discontinue the physical catalog.

You can visit Michigan Tech’s online merchandise store here: http://www.bookstore.mtu.edu/michtech2/


Safety Tip of the Week—Heat Stress Prevention

Business Operations and Environmental Health and Safety present the Michigan Tech Safety Tip of the week: Heat Stress Prevention! Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. There are many ways to prevent heat stress and stay comfortable while working outside in the summer. First, know the symptoms of heat exhaustion to help yourself and those around you: dizziness, headaches, nausea, weakness, and breathing problems. If you notice these symptoms, find a shaded or air-conditioned area to rest at and drink plenty of fluids. Steps to reduce heat stress can involve wearing the right attire such as a brimmed hat and light colored clothing, allowing yourself to acclimate to the heat by gradually increasing your workload, arranging frequent rest periods in shaded or air conditioned areas, and drinking water every 15 minutes or one pint per hour.

If you have any questions on this or other safety topics, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at 906-487-2118 or ehs@mtu.edu

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Success Stories—New Gearbox

montRipley-20-smallThe Mont Ripley Ski Area bought a $5,000 spare gearbox to have as a back up to the one they are currently using. Nick Sirdenis, Manager of the Mont Ripley Ski Area, commented that the new spare gearbox is operational, but could use new seals and bearings to be safe. In the last 10 years, four similar gearboxes have failed in the Midwest alone. To repair a gearbox after failure costs about $30,000, but, more importantly, fixing a failed gearbox could take up to six months, and potentially, an entire ski season.


On the Road—2017 Michigan Lean Consortium

A number of Michigan Tech staff and students attended the 7th Annual Michigan Lean Consortium (MLC) Conference that was held on August 2-4 in Traverse City, Michigan. The conference was well attended and focused on topics including: enabling organizational improvement through effective change management, business engagement in Lean Facilitation through participant centered learning, coaching for professional performance improvement, and a workshop called “The 7 Quality Tools for Steering to True North” taught by Ruth Archer, Director of Continuous Improvement at Michigan Tech. Also, Michigan Tech student Process Improvement Coordinators from the Office of Continuous Improvement prepared materials for a display table and met with MLC leadership to brainstorm on the start-up of Student MLC Chapters.

Theresa Coleman-Kaiser, associate vice president for administration, participated in a pre-conference Board of Directors meeting and has been elected to the position of Vice Chair of the MLC. She is entering her last year of a three-year term of the ten-member board. The MLC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is governed by an all-volunteer board, with a membership that is dedicated to spreading Lean principles throughout every public and private sector industry in Michigan.

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Conference attendees include Theresa Coleman-Kaiser; Ruth Archer; Brenda Randell, Executive Assistant for the Associate Vice President for Administration; Colin Neese, Business System Analyst for the Office of Information Services; Andi Barajas, Communications and Media Specialist for the Business Operations office; Annelise Doll, Scholarly Communications and Repositories Librarian for the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library; Laurie Stark, Staff Development and Lean Initiatives Coordinator for the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library; and three Process Improvement Coordinator (PIC) student employees from the Office of Continuous Improvement, Rylie Store, Matt Chard, and Ari Laiho.

Staff and students alike were very pleased with the quality of presentations and the wealth of new information and perspectives on Lean methodology that the networking events and active learning sessions provided.

If you would like more information on this or other Lean events, please contact the Office of Continuous Improvement at 906-487-3180 or email improvement-l@mtu.edu.


Announcing: 8.01—Use of University Identity Marks

The University Policy Office, Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement, and University Marketing and Communication announce the issuance of new University Administrative Policy 8.01—Use of University Identity Marks.

This policy provides guidelines having to do with use of Michigan Technological University’s Identity Marks. The policy states that the use of any Identity Marks of the University which is approved must meet the standards outlined in the brand, marketing, editorial, and other associated guides published and maintained by UMC.

The policy is found here: http://www.mtu.edu/policy/policies/pr/8-01/

If you have questions about the policy, please feel free to contact The Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement (7-2228), or University Marketing and Communication (7-2354).


2017 ACUPA Policy Conference

Andi Barajas, Media and Communications Specialist for Business Operations under the Office of the Vice President of Administration, attended the annual Association of College and University andiPolicy Administrators (ACUPA) conference held on June 21-23, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The conference was well attended and focused on topics including analyzing gaps in a university’s policy collection, University Policy in tumultuous times, student organizations, Title IX, enterprise risk management, employing student interns, automating policy and procedure management, contract management, and the partnership of forms with policies.
Andi has been a part of the Business Operations Office and assisting with University Policy since late 2016. She thought this was a great opportunity to expand her knowledge-base on policy and network with other university policy offices to gain insights on how our peers are handling the same challenges and situations we find ourselves in.
You can find more information on this and other ACUPA events at The ACUPA website: acupa.site-ym.com. To discuss a need for a policy or policy changes please contact policy@mtu.edu.


New Initiatives—Allergen Awareness

AllVerticalSome people have allergies that can be life threatening and Dining Services, along with Michigan Tech, strives for a safe and inclusive environment. Part of process improvement in Dining Services is to identify that our customers (faculty, staff, students, and general public) require allergen information as many people suffer from food related allergies. In an effort to create a safe environment, Dining Services has begun the task of identifying the “big eight” food allergens (eggs, wheat, soy, fish, shell fish/crustaceans, tree nuts, peanuts, and milk/dairy) in their recipes and convenience food products. Dining Services has created icons to help identify these allergens in an effort to communicate the food allergens in a graphic based, non-textual manner.

The process involves going through every recipe, reading every product ingredient label and identifying which foods contain the “big eight” allergens. During this process, Dining Services has discovered that they must read all of the labels and not just the allergen information as they have found the allergen information to be incorrect or incomplete. An example of such an incomplete allergen label was found when the allergen listed for wheat tortillas was “wheat” but when all of the ingredients were read through, Dining found that the tortillas contained “soybean oil” as well. The FDA exempts highly refined soybean oil from being labeled as an allergen. Studies show most (but not all) individuals with a soy allergy can safely eat soy oil that has been highly refined (not cold-pressed, expeller-pressed or extruded soybean oil). However, Dining Services wants to have all of the allergens listed no matter how small the risk to the customers.

Another part of the process consists of identifying the ingredients or products that may list the product allergen as “may contain” which means the product may be produced in a factory that also process products that contain one or several of the “big eight” allergens, such as peanuts. Dining Services is listing these products as it contains that allergen as we wish to be safe rather than sorry.

Dining started this process in the residential dining halls about a year and half ago, listing the allergen icons on the food lines. The next step being the addition of the food allergens on the Dining website.