President Koubek’s Fall Letter to Families:

Welcome class of 2023!

A Message to Families from President Koubek 

The following message is a written adaptation of a speech given to students and families by President Koubek at Michigan Tech’s first year student welcome night on August 24, 2019.  

“Good evening! First, pep band, I am a fan. Thank you. Second, welcome class of 2023. I can tell you that this week campus has been abuzz with excitement about you joining us today because we know the incredible talents you are going to bring to our campus. This incoming class has the highest academic credentials in the history of MTU. Congratulations! 

As you were comparing other universities with Michigan Tech during your college search, I am sure you came to realize just how special Michigan Tech is among the approximately 4,600 universities in the United States. Of the 4,600 new freshman classes engaging in orientation activities just as you are, Michigan Tech is one of two universities in the United States where you have your own ski hill. There is no other university that can lay claim to its very own Mushing team. Your university is the only one in the state of Michigan that has its own College of Computing. And, Michigan Tech is the only public university in the state with a varsity esports team. It’s by no accident that we have been ranked the safest college campus in America. And, lastly – I can suspect that no other university lets classes out early so students can build life-size ice sculptures in the middle of February. Truly, there is no other place like it. 

As mentioned, I’ve been the president of Michigan Tech for a year now. And you will find, like I did, that Michigan Tech is indeed a special place. I talked about the many things that I think are unique, but I will tell you what I believe to be the secret of success at our university. It is not what we are as an institution, but rather who we are. The people are what define our institution. You saw all of those people in yellow shirts today. Those folks came out and volunteered because they are excited for you to be here and they want to help you. What you are going to find at Michigan Tech is that our faculty, our staff, and our students are committed to your success in a special way.  

As I was preparing for tonight’s talk, a colleague asked, “So, are you going to give them the speech? You know…the look to your left, look to your right…only one of us will graduate speech.” 

I said, “Yes, but I am going to give the Michigan Tech version…which is look to your left, now look to your right…because we want all of you to be together at graduation four years from now.” And, that is what this institution is committed to do. That in four years all of you are sitting here again. Only this time, it’s to celebrate graduation. 

So, I have one request for you. 

That is to ask. Everyone here is oriented toward you succeeding. If you are having an issue with your roommate, ask. If you are not sure how to solve a math problem, ask. If you are missing home and need to talk to someone, ask. If you don’t know where a building is, ask. 

Please know our entire university is set up for you to succeed here. All you have to do is ask.” 


MTU’s Moonshot!

Click the image above to watch the Keweenaw Rocket Range team’s amazing journey to liftoff.

The Michigan Tech student organization Keweenaw Rocket Range — aptly named after an isolated NASA launch pad once located on the northern tip of the peninsula — participated in their first Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Challenge at Spaceport America in New Mexico this past June. The rookie team of ten’s hard work definitely paid off as they successfully launched and recovered their rocket. Click to watch their amazing journey to liftoff.  


It Takes A Village…

By Amber Bennett, Counseling Services

The modern day interpretation of the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” suggests that an entire community of people must interact with children for them to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. And, yes, while technically Michigan Tech students are now young adults, we realize the importance of creating an inclusive, caring environment for our students to thrive. As a counseling professional, I know that the years spent in college are typically among some of the most tumultuous times an individual experiences in their lifetime. Normalizing these stressors and validating the feelings that come with these experiences is a simple, but critical component that families can provide. 

We find many students begin to struggle with confidence, sadness, isolation, and academic distress between weeks four to seven. This is typically when their first exams are scheduled, and it may be the point when material in classes is more challenging than anticipated. First year and transfer students are not always prepared for the difficulty of the course material and exams, and therefore may receive lower grades than anticipated. Sleep schedules and healthy diets are often sacrificed to complete homework and study for the next round of exams. 

Families are encouraged to keep a constant dialogue going with their students via regular texts, calls, and video chats. Initiating an open and honest conversation with your student about how they are doing and encouraging them to let you know how they are handling the stressors of college life may set the stage for later conversations when they are struggling. Here are a few questions to help jumpstart those conversations. 

How are you sleeping?

How is your appetite? Are you finding enough to eat in the dining hall?

Tell me about the best part of the semester: What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far? What is your favorite part of the day? 

Signs of distress may include: 

Difficulty getting to class or completing academic work. 

-or-

Difficulty falling or staying asleep, trouble getting out of bed, forgetting to eat, lack of appetite, eating too much or too little, or facing challenges to complete the daily activities necessary to take care of themselves (showering, brushing teeth, doing laundry, etc.). 

-or-

Difficulty feeling connected to others, believing everyone else is making friends more easily than they are and expressing a lack of belonging on-campus. 

You know your student best. If you feel their behavior has changed significantly or you have cause for concern, encourage them to make an appointment with Michigan Tech’s Counseling Services or you may use the Report a Concern tool to express your concerns to us.  We are happy to assist. 


Tech Forward: Policy, Ethics, and Culture

By Heather Herman, Presidential Communications

Ever wonder just exactly how Amazon knows what “you might also like?” It’s all thanks to big data and algorithms. For those wondering, an algorithm is a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer. And big data—well, that’s simply a warehouse of the world’s data transmitted through the internet. Computer scientists and programmers are putting all of this data to good use through complex algorithms to give consumers a pretty accurate picture of “what they might like,” along with thousands of other applications such as predicting future health outcomes and crimes. But what about the policy and ethics behind it all?   

This July, Michigan Tech will begin planning for the launch of a new institute that will explore the policy implications, ethical considerations, and cultural significance of the massive technological changes and disruptive forces currently underway worldwide. The Institute for Policy, Ethics, and Culture (IPEC) will address such issues as algorithmic culture, medicine and biotechnology, technology and autonomy, surveillance and privacy, and reconfiguring human relationships in and with the environment.

The mission of IPEC is threefold: research, policy, and teaching. Through research, the IPEC will serve as a hub for innovative research and collaboration on policy, ethics, and culture. Through policy, the institute hopes to counsel policy and lawmakers on the societal and ethical implications of innovation. Lastly, through teaching, IPEC will design a University-wide curriculum component that provides students with the tools to act and work effectively, ethically, and proactively in this emerging technological environment.

“I am excited about the future of Michigan Tech’s new Institute for Policy, Ethics, and Culture,” said Rick Koubek, president. “This new institute has the potential to position Michigan Tech as a national leader in this regard, and the knowledge that comes with the curriculum changes will certainly differentiate our graduates amongst their peers.”

 


What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

By Heather Herman, Presidential Communications

I think it was around the age of two, when I first asked my children what they wanted to be when they grew up. They are now 15 and I still can’t get a straight answer. Perhaps you can relate. I mean, after all, a career is for life and making the wrong choice—well, that’s not such an easy fix. But fear not. Michigan Tech’s Career Services office can help, thanks to their Career Cruising aptitude assessment program. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jennifer Wall in the Career Services office to talk about the program.

What is Career Cruising?

Career Cruising is an online self-assessment that lets students explore careers based on their education, interests, skills, and abilities. Anyone with a Michigan Tech email address has free access to the program. Login information can be found on Career Services website.  

Taking the assessment

After students login and create a personal profile, they can begin taking the Matchmaker assessment in two parts. Part one asks students to examine their likes and dislikes with questions like:

How would you like a career that includes…

  • working in an office
  • understanding and using physics
  • presenting ideas and information in writing
  • operating machines

The first section is 39 questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Students then see a list of career options that meet their interests after part one.

Section two asks students to evaluate skills they already have or skills they would like to develop.This section asks 61 questions and takes less than 20 minutes to complete.  

After completing both sections of the assessment, students receive a ranked list of careers that suit their interests and skill set. Each career listing has an associated link that lets students explore job descriptions, work environments, salaries, and education paths for that specific career. Students can also utilize a job search tool that lets them find available jobs with that job title in any given zip code.

When should a student use Career Cruising?

We recommend students take the assessment early in their college education and before they start exploring internships and job opportunities. We also advise students to utilize Career Cruising if they are struggling with multiple courses and are questioning their chosen major.

The assessment can be taken countless times and throughout a student’s college experience.

What will a student learn?

Career Cruising is an idea generator. The right career may be one you’ve dreamed of your whole life or one you’ve never heard of before. The Matchmaker tool builds self-awareness and lets students explore options.

Can a student meet with an advisor to discuss their test results?

Career Advisors are available by appointment to review results with students year round. The role of an advisor is not to tell students what to do, but instead, help them make informed decisions for themselves. Advisors help students talk through their assessment answers and discuss how they relate to careers that top their interests list. Advisors can also give students tips and tools to move forward in their career journey.  

If a student’s career interests and skills don’t match their declared major, advisors will work with students to find out why.   

Jennifer’s Two Cents

Career Services did extensive research before purchasing Career Cruising for Michigan Tech in January 2018. I was thoroughly impressed with Career Cruising. My job title was ranked number one on my Matchmaker, and career counselor was listed in the top 20. The staff and faculty who have also taken the assessment found similar results. It’s also fun to take and easy to navigate. Reviewing assessment results and exploring career options with students is so rewarding. It’s one of my favorite appointment types, second only to job offer acceptance letters!

To learn more or access the Career Cruising website at Michigan Tech, click here.  


Did you know?

  • Michigan Tech alumni have access to the services offered through Career Services for their entire career.
  • Michigan Tech is ranked as the safest college campus in America.
  • Michigan Tech is one of only two universities in the country to have our own ski hill—and we are the only university in the country to offer snow skiing in the winter and surfing in the summer.
  • Michigan Tech’s placement rate for undergraduates is 92 percent (meaning they are employed within their field of study, enlisted in the military, or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation).
  • According to the Washington Monthly magazine, Michigan Tech ranked No. 36 in the nation for its contributions to the public good based on social mobility, research, and public service.
  • Michigan Tech ranks No. 18 in the US for Best Return on Investment, according to BestColleges.com.
  • SmartAsset ranked MTU # 1 in the state for Best Value.
  • Forbes.com, a financial news website, ranks Michigan Technological University 12th in the nation for public universities whose graduates earn the highest mid-career salaries.

President Koubek’s Summer Letter to Families

Greetings and congratulations to our spring 2019 graduates and their families!  

With the spring semester, finals, graduation, and (hopefully) the snow behind us, I wanted to highlight a few examples of our faculty’s forward-leaning research, which includes projects such as:

  • Developing biometric clothing and artificial intelligence that will empower each of us to self-diagnose illnesses before real symptoms appear
  • Discovering techniques to diagnose the presence of cancer, as well as its type and malignancy, in less than two minutes

Yes, Michigan Tech research teams are leading the way in developing these new technologies. But our students will be the ones who decide how they get used. And we will all have to live with the consequences of their decisions.   

Complicating those decisions is the rapid and often disruptive rate of change in which we now live.

As technologies continue to advance, how might we prepare the student of today to address the needs of society at a level that machines and technology cannot?

And how might we align our programs to support the economic wellbeing of our future state?

We all know it’s a race to keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology.  Just as our students have adapted how they express their creativity and talents in new ways, we as educators must adapt and change with the times. Yes, universities have on occasion been characterized as traditionalists, but we are, at our core, about growth and opportunity. This is evidenced in our research and development agenda. It is truly part of Michigan Tech’s DNA.

In July, we will open a new College of Computing. Building on our strong foundation, the new college will help continue the University’s transformation into an academic institution that is poised to nimbly respond to—and even predict—the technological, economic, and social needs of the 21st century. The College of Computing will prepare students to be agile and adaptable in a rapidly changing job market. It will allow our faculty to collaborate on high-impact, translational research in new ways, and it will better meet industry’s insatiable demand for talent in AI, software engineering, data science, and cybersecurity. But most importantly, it will provide the next generation of graduates with the skills needed to lead the industries driving our state and national economies.  

We have also engaged in a process to expand our Pavlis Honors College experience across the entire curriculum…for all students. The curriculum cultivates critical reflection, design thinking, and interdisciplinary collaboration. This approach is critical because we realize we are no longer training students for the jobs of today—but equipping them with the skills and competencies to be successful in the rapidly changing economic environment of the future.

These are exciting times at Michigan Tech, and we thank you for your vote of confidence in our mission and future direction.    

Wishing you the happiest of summers!

Sincerely,

Rick Koubek
President


President Koubek’s Spring Letter to Families

Dear Families and Friends:

“Home for the holidays” took on new meaning for me this past holiday season. As the father of three grown children, it’s difficult to get the entire family together but this year we managed to pull it off! And, it was wonderful. I imagine many of you experienced that same joy when your Husky returned home after a long semester away.  

Several of our students and families also celebrated the joy of graduation this December. It’s always exciting to learn about their plans, be it the start of a new career or the return to school for a graduate degree. Wherever their path takes them, I know they will be well equipped for success. For those students who returned to Michigan Tech on Monday to start the spring semester, let’s congratulate them on being one step closer to achieving their goal of graduation.

Speaking of goals, the campus will address several this year regarding how we best prepare our students to succeed in the new digital economy. A common theme among the planning conversations is how the rate of change is intensifying as new technology improves the way we work, live, and interact with one another. As an institution, Michigan Tech must provide 21st century, data-capable graduates who understand how technologies and information impact the lives of people in high-skill, high-need areas and in areas as diverse but interconnected as the manufacturing and health industries.  

Over the next several months, campus leaders will develop a plan to create a new unit focused on computing. We will also work to propagate the Pavlis Honors College educational outcomes across Michigan Tech’s core curriculum. These are just two examples of how Michigan Tech is working to ensure that our students graduate not only with a singular set of skills, but also with the ability to reinvent themselves to remain relevant with the changing times.

From my perspective—this punctuates the value of higher education in our society and the role we all play as faculty, staff, students, and families in creating the future.

My best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2019.

Sincerely,

Rick Koubek
President

 


Live and Learn Takes On A Whole New Meaning at Michigan Tech

At Michigan Tech we believe that every opportunity is an opportunity to learn. Which is why in 2018, the Department of Housing and Residential Life implemented a residential curriculum to reinforce the ideals of creating a 360 degree campus learning environment.  

The residential housing curriculum is structured to promote well-being, learning, and mindfulness in a manner consistent throughout all of the residence halls. The residential assistants (RAs) work with seven live-in professionals to deliver both passive and active content over the fall and spring semesters. Topics range from learning communication skills, personal goal setting, and self care. According to the Associate Director of Residential Life, Alexandra Marshall, “Implementing a residential curriculum has allowed us to engage with students in a different way, helping them connect to the staff living in their building, the students in their community, as well as resources throughout campus as soon as they arrive. We want students to become prosperous, resilient, and conscientious members of the Tech community, and we hope they take what they learn with them upon graduation.”

Each week, the RAs follow a thorough engagement plan, which includes themed bulletin boards, intentional meetings and group activities. Additionally, the professional staff will meet regularly with students in need of additional assistance to ensure they are connected with the resources they need to succeed. “Having a curriculum means that we are holding ourselves accountable to giving students an education in the residence halls. It’s not just about giving students a great living experience, the curriculum means that they are learning skills for life,” says Benjamin Petrie, one of the Residence Life Coordinators.

Thus far, the RAs have completed more than 1,000 intentional conversations with the residents living in the halls. According to Anna Browne, RA of Hyrule II, “The residential curriculum, although in its early stages, has already paved the way for me to connect on a deeper level with my residents. The best example of this is the intentional conversations, which are a group of questions asked three times over the semester to check in on residents. These intentional conversations help ensure that all the questions are asked, and that the residents feel like they don’t need to hide it, whether it be about grades, financial aid, family issues, or mental health.”

The program was fully implemented this fall to all first year students and the plan is to scaffold the learning each year to reinforce the learning outcomes. Next year, the program will expand to upper class students, as well as those living in themed communities. As the program matures, Marshall plans to partner with other units on campus to better collaborate on learning outcomes.  She says, “One of the challenging, but exciting parts, of the program is that it will never be done.”

 


Did you know?

  • Michigan Tech ranks in the top one percent of best colleges in America for your money based on net price and alumni earning as reported by Business Insider.
  • According to Niche.com, the mid-career average earning of a Michigan Tech graduate is $64,700 — higher than many private schools.
  • 57% of our students learn about Michigan Tech from their friends and family.  Help us recruit the next class of huskies by participating in our recommend a husky program.
  • Studies show that students who use Michigan Tech’s Learning Centers earn better grades.  Encourage your student to visit one of the 15 discipline specific learning centers and the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success to receive specialized coaching and general studying and test taking tips.  Most centers offer weekly appointments for long-term improvement, walk-in hours for short-term help with an immediate problem, and team/peer learning. 
  • Michigan Tech is offering a free workshop series to help your student learn positive life strategies, cope with the roadblocks the semester will bring, and connect with fellow students.