Category Archives: Academics

CSA Researchers Participate in first TechTalks

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 11.55.24 AMOn Thursday, November 10, 2016, several researchers gave two minute presentations for the inaugural TechTalks session of the Michigan Tech Research Forum. Seven of the 13 researchers presented work from CSA disciplines, including the Distinguished Lecture:

  • Steven Elmer– Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, Exercise As a Form of Medicine
  • Yang Yang – Department of Mathematical Sciences, Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations
  • Selin Philip – Department of Coginitive and Learning Sciences, Creating a Culture of Better Mental/Behavioral Health among the American Indians in the Keweenaw
  • Loredana Valenzano– Department of Chemistry, Molecules, Surfaces, Crystals: A Quantum Chemical Quest from Fundamentals to Applications.
  • Nabanita Saikia – Department of Physics, Emergent Frontiers in 2D Nanomaterials for Biomolecular Recongition and Self-Assembly.
  • Lynn Mazzoleni– Department of Chemistry, Introducing the New 2D-Liquid Chromatograph and High-Resolution Mass Spectrometer in the Chemical Advanced Resoulation Methods (ChARM) Core Facility at Michigan Tech.
  • Tarum Dam – Department of Chemistry, Enriching Health-Related Research Through Glycobiological Approaches.

Michigan Tech Research Forum events are presented by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in coordination with the Office of the Vice President of Research. Additional TechTalks sessions are coming up in Spring 2017. Interested in nominating yourself or others? Use this online form.

Browse the Twitter conversations in “TechTalks 2016: Take One,” by Allison Mills.


Distinguished Lecture –image151928-pers

Richelle Winkler gave the inaugural Michigan Tech Research Forum Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, October 13 at 4:00 p.m. in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. She discussed Making Research Matter: Democratizing Science and Other Lofty Goals.

Professor Hugh Gorman nominated Winkler, an associate professor of sociology and demography, for “community engaged scholarship” that extends across the Michigan Tech campus. Examples of Winkler’s projects include examining the feasibility—social and technical—of using mine water for geothermal heating systems in Calumet and examining the social, economic, and technical aspects of improving recycling in Houghton County. Both projects involve students and community members, and both have real impact in the communities. Winkler also conducts research on the changing demographics of anglers and hunters—and the implications for policy. She presented on this subject at the Department of Biological Sciences last spring.


Linda Ott blogs on STEM

linda-garden-small

Linda Ott, Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Special Initiatives in the College of Sciences and Arts, was welcomed as a guest blogger on STEMconnector.org.

STEMconnector.org seeks to bring science, technology, engineering, and math educators a way to connect their ideas to improve STEM education. In The Thrill of Computer Science For All, Ott details her excitement around President Obama’s initiative to expand K-12 computer science education funding.

“We can make a difference more quickly through a concerted effort to attract more students today.  Here are some of the things we are doing at Michigan Tech.  Perhaps others will find inspiration here for immediate action:

If all of us involved in computing do something—help advise a local FIRST Robotics team, teach a Saturday class on programming at a local library, talk to a local Girl Scout troop, invite area students and parents to see how you actually use programming—there will be an immediate impact.”


Tech Student Wins Scholarship, Recognition for New Student Organization

On January 20, Michigan Tech student Amanda Marciniak was named the recipient of the Lt. Col. Bill Morley Academic Scholarship by the Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings national headquarters. The $2000 scholarship recognizes superior academic merit and dedication to advocating for our nation’s aerospace power.

Silver Wings is a national, co-ed, professional organization dedicated to creating proactive, knowledgeable and effective civic leaders through community service and education about national defense. Members are civilian students who desire to work with and support Air Force ROTC programs at universities around the country. Michigan Tech’s own Dotsie Stewart Chapter of Silver Wings was chartered last year and works closely with Arnold Air Society, an Air Force ROTC cadet service organization. Together these two student organizations work hard together to support community events, provide volunteers for local veteran’s organizations, raise money for charities and promote the activities of Air Force ROTC.

Ms. Marciniak’s essay and student record was selected from among nearly one hundred submissions around the nation, and is one of only seven winners. Her achievement puts Michigan Tech and our Silver Wings chapter on a short list of successful and noteworthy schools which will be recognized at the Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings National Conclave in Dallas, Texas this March. Ms. Marciniak will travel and attend for free and have the opportunity to meet General Robin Rand, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command; Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX and Peter Bergen, author, journalist and National Security Analyst for CNN. Congratulations Amanda Marciniak!

From Tech Today, by Jason Engler, Chair Aerospace Studies (AFROTC).


Seely Gives Keynote at IC-AMMN-2K16

IC-AMMN-2K16

Bruce Seely, dean of Michigan Tech’s College of Sciences and Arts, was the keynote speaker at an international conference on “Advances in Applied Mathematics, Materials Science and Nanotechnology for Engineering and Industrial Applications” in Kochi, India.

From Tech Today.

Located in Kerala, India, FISATTM (Federal Institute of Science and Technology) is a private self financing Engineering College.

The goal of IC-AMMN-2K16, the international conference on Advances in Applied Mathematics, Materials Science and Nanotechnology for Engineering and Industrial Applications, was to provide a common platform for scientists, academicians, industrialists and young researchers from different parts of the world for active discussions and fruitful interactions.


House Family Foundation Gives $2.3 Million for Endowed Professorships, Graduate Student Assistantships

Kui Zhang, Dave House and Min Song
Kui Zhang, Dave House and Min Song

Recipients have been named for two professorships endowed by Dave House, an alumnus and longtime supporter of Michigan Technological University. The House Family Foundation gave $1 million to support each professorship and another $270,000 to fund graduate student assistantships.

Min Song, chair of the Department of Computer Science at Michigan Tech, will hold the Dave House Endowed Professorship in Computer Science. Kui Zhang, professor of mathematical sciences, will hold the Dave House Endowed Professorship in Statistics, Data Mining and Data Analytics.

The graduate student assistantships will provide $30,000 annually to each of three graduate assistants in Michigan Tech’s new Master of Science in Data Science program for three years. They will contribute to the research of the Alliance for Computing, Information and Automation Research Center at Tech.

Read more at Michigan Tech News.


Three Inducted into Academy of Educators 2015

The Academy of Educators induction ceremony was held on Saturday, October 3, 2015. This year two alumni educators and one honorary member were recognized as those who brought distinction to themselves, Michigan Technological University and the Teacher Education program, through their participation, commitment, outstanding leadership, and/or public service in the field of education.

Awards were presented by Bruce Seely, Dean, College of Sciences and Arts, Susan Amato-Henderson, Chair, Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, and Shari Stockero, Director of Teacher Education, Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences.

The 2015 inductees are:

Dennis P. Harbour
Master’s in School Administration, ‘77
Bachelor of Science, Business Education, ‘74
Superintendent of Schools (retired)
Copper Country Intermediate School District

Darrell R. Hendrickson
Bachelor of Science, Forestry, ‘77
Secondary Teacher Certification, ‘01
7th Grade Teacher
Washington Middle School
Public Schools of Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw

Charles G. Schepke
Master of Science, Applied Science Education, ‘05
Bachelor of Arts, Biology, ‘87
Secondary Teaching Certification, ‘94
5th – 8th Grade Teacher
Roscommon Middle/High School

Portraits and brief vitae of these distinguished academy members will be prominently displayed in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences to serve as inspirational role models for Michigan Tech students.

Academy of Educators 2015
Academy of Educators – 2015 Inductees

Exploring Majors Live Streaming Event July 23

Exploring majors is a good thing! Not being sure what you want to major in means you’re open to exploring options and finding what is best for you. Join academic advisor, Sylvia Mathews, for an overview on the benefits of being undecided and the many options available at Michigan Tech to help you find a major that best suits your interests, talents and values without delaying graduation or losing money pursuing a major that isn’t right for you. Questions? We’ll be happy to answer them live!

Attend the Preptalk “Exploring Majors: the benefits of being undecided” at 2:30 pm on Thursday, July 23, 2015.

Exploring Majors


Reception for Pat Martin on May 15, 2015

Pat Martin
Pat Martin

The Department of Social Sciences invites the campus community to recognize Pat Martin for his 38 years of service to Michigan Tech as Professor of Archaeology. The department will hold a reception to recognize Pat from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, May 15, on the 2nd floor of the Annex to the Academic Office Building.

Pat, who has served as the Chair of Social Sciences for the last six years, was instrumental in the creation of the department’s Industrial Archaeology graduate program. After his retirement, Pat will remain active as a research professor, initiating projects and advising students, as well as serving as the Executive Secretary of the Society for Industrial Archeology and as the President of The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage — so “retirement” is slightly misleading.

From Tech Today, by Department of Social Sciences.


Dean’s Teaching Showcase: David Olson

David A. Olson
David A. Olson

Dean Bruce Seely of the College of Sciences and Arts has chosen to recognize David Olson, a senior lecturer in mathematical sciences as the final Dean’s Teaching Showcase member for spring 2015.

Dean Seely commented on this selection by saying, “Up to this point I have selected younger faculty whose ideas and approaches seem naturally to align with the national patterns of past practices in the class room. For the third selection, however, I am focusing on a person whose demonstration of sustained excellence in teaching and instruction should motivate everyone–David Olson. He has been a leader in teaching in a department noted for excellence. He has taken on the task of adding the necessary knowledge and the external certifications of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) that allow him to guide the department’s actuarial sciences concentration. He has helped advise majors and served on numerous curricular committees. But the most important reason for recognizing Olson is the length of time he has been so good.”

Olson’s initial reaction to Seely’s nomination was “Yikes, I’ve been here 20 years. How did that happen?” But his second reaction was more serious and significant, for it signals the reality of the challenge university faculty face in the classroom. “Teaching technology is progressing so rapidly that I’m hopelessly far behind,” he noted, before adding “If anyone is not hopelessly far behind, they’re not paying attention. I’m sometimes on the bleeding edge, like when Canvas came out, but mostly I look for items where the process just got simpler, like recording class for student-athletes. BIG change, and one that will make it much easier to put together videos.”

Seely sees this technology question as “an obvious conundrum for faculty today.” He and Olson agree that it’s not enough just to know “what the newest ideas and approaches are.” Instructors need to find out “…which ones make sense for the needs at Michigan Tech.” Seely emphasizes, “Novelty for its own sake almost never makes sense in such a dynamic environment. DavidO’s key understanding is that technology needs to facilitate student learning.”

In order to help with this process, Olson focuses on interaction. “My biggest trick is that I listen to students, face-to-face. How is the class going? Concerns? Are there any issues that aren’t clear? What’s really helping you learn? Do you have a good study group? How’s life? What’s your favorite movie? Every now and then a student tells me that some random classroom activity really helped, and so I’ll do more of it, and ask other students whether it’s helping them.” Moreover, Olson notes the vital necessity of talking to other faculty members as well to find out what they are trying, what’s working, and what’s not.

The point is that Olson is never satisfied. “In that last desperate 15 minutes before class, I’m usually asking myself the following questions: ‘What am I trying to accomplish? What activities might work?’ Experiment. Tweak, tweak, tweak.”

The final gauge of this desire to always seek better outcomes can be found in Olson’s last comment. “I have dreams of a revolution, a new STEM sequence that takes advantage of what’s now possible with multimedia and the internet: Scientific Modeling with Calculus and Computers.” Seely indicates that this goal matches nicely with some ideas circulating within the department, so he fully expects to see such a class take shape in the near future. Seely emphasizes, “But at root, this initiative will grow from Olson’s constant drive to do things better to help students learn.”

Olson will be formally recognized with the 11 other Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominees at a luncheon during 14th week. Please join Dean Seely and the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in thanking Olson for his outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the College of Sciences and Arts.

From Tech Today, April 17, 2015, by Mike Meyer, director, William G. Jackson CTL.


Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Andrew Galerneau

Andrew Galerneau
Andrew Galerneau

Bruce Seely, Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, provided significant context for this week’s Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominee, Andrew Galerneau. Andrew, a lecturer in the chemistry department, is primarily responsible for teaching Organic Chemistry, which, according to Seely is “one of the more dreaded foundational courses for majors and non-majors.” Seely knows that student evaluations are generally lower in classes that are “large, required and foundational”, and Organic Chemistry is all three of these.

But according to Seely, Andrew “sees this situation as a challenge, not a limiting factor.” By making use of research-based active learning strategies and motivational techniques like gamification, Andrew helps students “really learn the material”. At the same time, Andrew’s enthusiasm and excitement helps him “bring students – even those who are initially reluctant – to see material as interesting and important.” Andrew’s passionate commitment to helping students learn keeps the course positive in this challenging environment.

Andrew demonstrates this passion as he describes his teaching methods. Speaking about his technique of having students answer three open-ended pre-lecture questions before each lecture, he says: “ I personally grade at least of third of these questions prior to lecture and deliver direct feedback on my student’s assignments. I want them to know that I am reading what they write and that I am actively interested in how they are learning the material.” He also provides small incentives for discussion board participation and uses an “achievement system” to recognize students using anonymous monikers and Canvas announcements for perfect performance in certain elements of the class. His goal is to “foster a community of students who are passionate to engage in peer-to-peer learning.”

Seely sees Galerneau as the latest committed faculty member to bless the chemistry department, placing him on a list with people like Fredrick Williams (for whom the instructional innovation award was named) and Paul Charlesworth (an instructional innovation award winner who has extensively developed content and methods in the introductory chemistry course.) Seely feels “very lucky to have people who possess such passion and excitement about, and dedication to, teaching.”

Andrew will be formally recognized with the 11 other Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominees at a luncheon near the end of spring term. Please join Dean Seely and the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in thanking Andrew for his outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the College of Sciences and Arts.

From Tech Today, March 6, 2015, by Mike Meyer, director, William G. Jackson CTL.