Category: News

Live Music Lunchtime in the HDMZ Friday, Dec. 11

The Humanities Digital Media Zone will be hosting live music from some of our talented student community Friday, Dec. 11 in Walker 120C. The following students will be featured:

  • Sam Balk, playing songs from his new album, from noon to 12:30 p.m.
  • Emma Hitch, Matt Langlais and Zak L’Italian, from 12:30 to 1 p.m.
  • Levi Schubert, from 1 to 1:30 p.m.

Come support wonderful local music and enjoy some festive holiday cookies. Bring your lunch and a friend!


(This article originally appeared in Tech Today.)

New Assistant Professor Sarah Bell

BellSarah Bell joins the Department of Humanities as an assistant professor. Before coming to Michigan Tech, Bell was at the University of Utah. Bell earned a PhD in Communication (rhetoric and writing studies) from the University of Utah and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington.

Her work has been published in Journal of Business and Technical Communication and Computational Culture. She also belongs to the Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology.

(This article originally appeared in Tech Today.)

New Assistant Professor Alexandra Morrison

MorrisonLesley (Alexandra) Morrison joins the Department of Humanities as an assistant professor. Before this appointment, Morrison was a visiting assistant professor of philosophy in the humanities department at Michigan Tech. Morrison earned a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Guelph and a Master’s in Philosophy from the University of Toronto.

Her areas of specialization are continental philosophy, feminist philosophy and philosophy and art. She also knows the languages Czech and French, and she has a reading knowledge of German and Ancient Greek.

(This article originally appeared in Tech Today.)

Upper Peninsula Poet Laureate to Read Here

Andrea-ScarpinoAndrea Scarpino, the U.P. Poet Laureate, will be on campus tomorrow for a poetry reading. The reading will be at 5 p.m. in Walker 134.

Scarpino is the author of three books; “What the Willow Said as it Fell,” “The Grove Behind” and “Once, Then” along with numerous publications in several literary journals, including PANK.

Scarpino will be on campus most of the day and has some time to meet with faculty or students. If you are interested in scheduling a time with Scarpino, contact Adam Feltz (CLS) or Stephanie Carpenter  (HU).

Refreshments will be provided as part of the English Department Coffee House series.


(This article first appeared in Tech Today.)

Humanities at Tech Ranked in the National Top 100 for Research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released its annual research spending report, and Michigan Tech has moved up in its rankings. Of 634 institutions that received research funding in 2014, Tech received $68.5 million, ranking 163rd overall nationwide. The University ranked 117th among public institutions. Mechanical engineering research at Tech received $13.1 million in research funding, ranking 19th in the nation. Atmospheric science—a new interdisciplinary category—received $3.1 million and ranked 34th.

14 Disciplines in Top 100

Fourteen disciplines at Michigan Tech ranked in the top 100 for research spending.  They are:

  • atmospheric science (34th)
  • business and management (76th)
  • biomedical engineering (94th)
  • chemical engineering (90th)
  • civil engineering (89th)
  • electrical engineering (62nd)
  • environmental science (52nd)
  • humanities (94th)
  • mechanical engineering (19th)
  • metallurgical and materials engineering (58th)
  • mathematical sciences (88th)
  • oceanography (56th)
  • overall engineering (84th)
  • visual and performing arts (85th).

“The research funding environment is increasingly competitive, and our improvement in overall ranking, as well as the increases in last year’s funding that will impact future rankings, all indicate the exceptional efforts of our faculty, staff, and students,” said David Reed, vice president for research.

NSF ranks research activities by discipline, not by organizational structure, Reed pointed out, so the spending in some of Tech’s institutes and centers, such as the Michigan Tech Research Institute, the Keweenaw Research Center and the Great Lakes Research Center, are included with the appropriate academic departments rather than reported separately.

(This article originally appeared in Tech Today.)

Syd Johnson Speaks at KIP Seminar Series

SydThe final KIP Faculty and Graduate Student seminar is today, Friday Dec. 4, at 3pm in the ATDC Conference Room. Dr. Syd Johnson from the Department of Humanities will be presenting on the ethical and legal implications surrounding concussions and CTE (chronic traumatic en​cephalopathy). This is timely as there is a new movie out this month called “Concussion” (features Will Smith) which highlights Dr. Bennet Omalu’s discovery of CTE in NFL athletes and how his scientific findings were challenged by the NFL. Below are a few background links that might be of interest. This should be a great talk to wrap up the fall seminar series!

Head trauma: Key questions on CTE lack answers

HOUGHTON – Decades after the first research on concussions and chronic head trauma, there’s a widespread effort to mitigate their damage. But many of the most pressing questions still don’t have answers.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese (subscription required).

UP-STEAM Summer Workshops

UP-STEAMMichigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula is organizing summer week-long workshops starting in June 2016 for academics interested in the interrelation of the liberal arts, humanities, and STEM fields at the college level. Following movements in K-12 education, we seek to address for higher education the observation that STEM plus Arts = STEAM, and that STEAM is crucial to universities, especially tech-heavy ones.

Our first workshop will take place June 13-17, 2016, on the campus of Michigan Tech.  We will bring faculty, campus leaders, and researchers together to discuss the state of the liberal arts, humanities, and sciences in higher education. Located near the tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior, Michigan Tech is a tourist destination for many people from the Midwest and beyond.

Convening Committee

Andy Fiss (Humanities) writes and teaches about the communication of science and the history of STEM education. He is especially interested in mathematics education and in its intermittent partnerships with science education, engineering education, arts education, and language education.

Scott Marratto (Humanities) works on philosophy of technology.

Patricia Sotirin (Humanities) works on communication, language, and gender.

Ron Strickland (Humanities) writes on the cultural politics of the Humanities and higher education. He is Chair of the Department of Humanities at Michigan Tech.

Steven Walton (Social Sciences) is a historian of technology and science with a background in mechanical engineering. He studies how technical systems are developed and how technicians make sense of their systems and their wider role in society.

For questions, please contact Jacqueline Ellenich, UP-STEAM Coordinator at (906) 487-2008 or

Elie Wiesel Essay Contest

Every year the Elie Wiesel Foundation presents awards to college students for top essays on ethics. First prize is $5,000. This year’s prompt is: Articulate with clarity an ethical issue that you have encountered and analyze what it has taught you about ethics and yourself.

Note this topic is only a suggestion. Students may write about any topic they wish, as long as it explores the theme of ethics. Essays must be submitted by Dec. 14. Find out more here.

(This article first appeared in Tech Today.)