Category Archives: Faculty Spotlight

They Can See Clearly Now: Couple Donates Washer Fluid for Student Travelers

By Mark Wilcox, University Marketing and Communications

Roger Woods (engineering management faculty) and Teresa Woods (Math) often travel during the holidays. For a while now the Woods have been looking for a way to make a donation related to residential life, when the idea of helping students traveling home for the holidays came to mind.

Drone photo of campus and Portage Canal

“In our various Thanksgiving and Christmas travels we have always gone through gallons of washer fluid heading downstate or to Wisconsin,” Roger Woods says. “We recognize that most Tech students do the same but may not have factored washer fluid into their plans. We came up with the idea of donating cases of washer fluid to the residence halls for whomever needs it.”

The Woods reached out to Auto Value of Houghton which sold them 100 gallons of washer fluid at cost. The washer fluid will be available beginning today at the desks of each residence hall.

Joseph Cooper, director of Student Financial Services, is also interim director of Residence Education and Housing Services. He applauds the Woods for their creative donation. “Many of us have been in the predicament where we’re struggling to get to the next gas station to fill up on washer fluid. This is an incredibly generous idea and we appreciate Roger and Teresa supporting our students in this unique way.”

Gallon bottles of washer fluid are available for students on a first-come, first-served basis along with a wish for safe travels from the folks who donated them. “From your fellow road trippers, R & T Woods — Be safe.”


Milligan and Wall are 2019-20 Ten Haken Faculty Fellows

Exterior of Academic Office Building

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Michigan Technological University announces the appointments of Sheila Milligan, senior lecturer in accounting, as the Richard and Joyce Ten Haken Faculty Fellow in Accounting/Finance, and Jeff Wall, assistant professor of management information systems (MIS), as the Richard and Joyce Ten Haken Faculty Fellow in Business.

Photo of senior lecturer Sheila Milligan
Senior lecturer Sheila Milligan (center)

Dean Johnson, dean of SBE, says the fellowships shine a light on the important work Milligan and Wall do in the classroom and beyond: “Our faculty stand a part for being large enough to lead and small enough to care. They know our students’ strengths and goals, and they play integral roles in guiding them with hands-on learning and mentoring.” 

Milligan, a 17-year veteran at the University, says that Richard and Joyce’s giving inspire her every day. “I want to be my best for our hardworking students, who are very conscientious about their education,” she says. 

Photo of professor Jeff Wall with student
Jeff Wall (left). assistant professor of management information systems (MIS)

Fellowship funds will be used for student travel, experiential education, student scholarships and to provide teaching assistant positions and professional development for faculty. “Attending conferences in forensic accounting is critical to keeping my teaching agile and relevant to prepare students,” Milligan says. 

Wall intends to direct his fellowship funds toward undergraduate scholarships for students dual majoring in accounting or finance and MIS. “Using the funds–more than $8,000 in total–in this way can help support Michigan Tech’s enrollment goals for business students,” Wall says of the new initiative directed at growing the School of Business and Economics.

Trends in industry are placing a greater emphasis on the intersection of accounting and finance with MIS.  Wall anticipates seeing top-quality, interdisciplinary students through these scholarships.

The Ten Haken Faculty Fellowship positions were created in 2017 to attract and retain high-quality business faculty and to inspire teaching and research activity amongst business faculty. Both accounting majors with bachelor’s degrees in business administration, Richard and Joyce Ten Haken are pillars of support for SBE’s students and faculty. 


Tech’s MIS Students Benefit from Corporate Partnership

Drone photo of campus and Portage Canal
Students in a management information systems (MIS) course at Michigan Technological University are seeing the benefits of a partnership with the provider of the largest cloud platform for developing integrated, custom business applications. Students in Russ Louks’ MIS 4100 capstone course have developed applications using the Quick Base low-code/no-code platform.

Louks, management information systems professor of practice in Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics, said “One of the challenges we face in providing experiential learning opportunities for MIS students, is ensuring the tools and projects offered are in line with the learning curve.”

He said MIS intersects business and technology with graduates developing into “IT Swiss Army Knives.”

Relying on nearly three decades at Ford Motor company, Louks maintains a network of professionals eager to support his business students. One of those connections, Tech alumnus Evan Rice ’06,  senior director of IT operations, information and analysis services for CCI Systems, an Iron Mountain-based communications solutions provider.

Rice, who is also a member of Michigan Tech’s MIS advisory board, was instrumental in implementing a new classroom technology tool that is rapidly becoming a model for educational settings across the country.

“Evan suggested low-code/no-code as a concept our students should learn,” Louks said. CCI employs Quick Base in their professional work and offered to sponsor the licensing of the emerging technology for capstone students.

CCI Systems Business Analyst and Application Development Manager Janet Plumley, led the student project for the past two years. She said, “In traditional settings, students would start by writing code, which can lead to frustration and inefficiencies.” MIS students use a data-model first approach; it’s an easier development environment.”

Louks added “Students enjoy the experience of going from nothing to having a finished product in one semester and a possible career path using the skills they have developed in the program.”

Plumley, who serves on the Builder Advisory Board for Quick Base, has another Husky connection; her son, David, is a current student.

The collaboration was so successful after the first year that CCI Systems expanded the program to include multiple student teams with Tech’s MIS faculty and Quick Base’s Builder Program, that provides no-cost builder accounts for learning purposes. Additionally, CCI adopted the application students developed in class and hired Tom Strome, a Houghton native and ’19 MIS grad.

Plumley said this real-world knowledge of up-and-coming technologies in their toolkit makes Michigan Tech MIS students even more valuable, whether they pursue IT or another high-tech field like finance. “It empowers them to solve their process improvement challenges.”

She added that because these students have a sound knowledge base, they catch on to new challenges quickly. “They aren’t doing theory — they are doing real work that can positively impact a real company.”

“The applications the students presented at the end of the semester were amazing in how closely they mapped to the requirements provided to them by CCI and Michigan Tech,” said Mark Levitt, Quick Base builder program team member. “These students are very well prepared to solve business problems that they encounter in the workplace.”

What began as an industry partnership between CCI Systems leaders and MIS faculty has now evolved into a great lesson about the value of this kind of partnership between universities, commercial organizations and service providers dedicated to helping to equip students with the tool and training they will need in the workplace.

Management information systems at Michigan Tech continues to provide Huskies with a broad background in modern technologies to solve business problems so employers will continue to value hiring its graduates.


School of Business and Economics Announces Teacher of the Year

Each spring, senior-level students in the School of Business and Economics (SBE) select a slate of faculty to be considered as SBE’s teacher of the year. These faculty are known to go above and beyond and have a positive impact on our students, the School, and the University.

This year’s finalists include: Heather Knewtson (finance), Sheila Milligan (accounting), and Joel Tuoriniemi (accounting). Candidates are voted on by all SBE students and the 2018-19 teacher of the year is Junhong (Jun) Min (marketing).

Min is recognized for his dedication, passion, and for going the extra mile to support students. One nominator wrote: “Jun Min genuinely cares about his students and their success. He goes out of his way to hold meetings after class, just to get to know his students and their goals.” He gives his time and resources, developing connections for students that lead to paid internships, co-ops, and full-time employment.

Min also serves as the advisor to the Michigan Tech student branch of the American Marketing Association (AMA). Congrats, Jun, and thank you, students!


Professor Dana Johnson Retires

After more than 22 years at Michigan Tech, Dr. Dana Johnson, Professor of Supply Chain and Engineering Management with an affiliate appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, retired from Michigan Tech at the end of fall semester.

Johnson’s time at Tech dates back to 1976 when she was a freshman. After completing her MBA and PhD, Johnson returned to Michigan Tech as an instructor of accounting and finance in the School of Business and Economics.

Her career in industry spanned General Motors Corporation, General Physics Corporation, Grant Thornton, and Competitive Advantage, a consulting contract firm she owned.

At its regular meeting on December 14, the Michigan Tech Board of Trustees granted Johnson emerita status.

Earlier in the semester, Johnson served as opening keynote speaker for the 21st Excellence in Services International Conference (EISIC) held in Paris, France. In “Impact of Service Quality on Overall Patient Satisfaction,” Johnson summarized the culmination of multivariate modeling of psychometric variables as predictors of patient satisfaction. She was the first woman keynote speaker in the history of the conference.