Author: hlherman

Information for parents, families, and guardians of current MTU students

Dear Michigan Tech parents, families, and guardians: 

In light of the aggressive spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implied that Michigan Tech should leverage the timing of the University’s spring break in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus in our campus community. Therefore, the University made the decision to temporarily transition from face-to-face classes to an online format and allow students to remain off campus while completing classes virtually, if they choose. This does mean that Michigan Tech’s educational delivery method will change for a period of time. However, we believe that our faculty, staff, and students deserve the widest possible breadth of options to prioritize their health and safety.  

I thought I might take a moment to provide you all with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we are receiving relevant to our student experience. Please keep in mind that this is a fluid situation and circumstances can change rapidly. The most up-to-date information is available at

I will keep you updated as the situation evolves.  


Bonnie Gorman 
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students



How long will it take to stand up online learning environments? Are students required to participate or can they opt to withdraw from the University and re-enroll next semester? 

Virtual classes will be available to all students by Wednesday, March 18, including labs and seminars. Students may opt to withdraw from Michigan Tech and re-enroll next semester, if they choose. The deadline to withdraw from the University with a grade of “W” has been extended to week 14. 

What quality controls are in place for online instruction? 

For many years, Michigan Tech has been offering more and more classes online. Currently, about one-quarter of our instructional staff have received intensive training on how to deliver online classes. These individuals are a great resource for the University and their colleagues. For others who need additional assistance, the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will be working with faculty to transition their courses to an online format in the next few days. 

Faculty will be using a variety of tools and platforms to deliver courses—these include Google Collaborate, Zoom, Canvas, and other platforms already in use across campus. Much of the software faculty and students need for courses is available for free download thanks to Michigan Tech’s IT group.

For lab-based courses, instructors may video and narrate demonstrations. Others may choose to use simulations. And others may ask students to conduct experiments at home. 

What should I do if my student has not received instructions for online course delivery from their professor? 

Faculty are to notify students by Wednesday, March 18, 2020, regarding online course delivery. If your student has not received instructions from their faculty member by that time, please send an email to Please include the course, section number, and name of the professor in your email.

Will Michigan Tech provide prorated refunds on tuition, housing, or dining plans if my student withdraws or is no longer living on campus? 

Normal policies apply with regards to refunds on tuition and room and board. If your student remains enrolled at Michigan Tech, but chooses not to return to campus, no prorated refunds on room and board will be offered at this time. Should the University resume face-to-face instruction in the coming weeks, all students will likely return to the residence halls for the remainder of the semester. 

Why did Michigan Tech decide to keep the residence and dining halls open? 

Michigan Tech made the decision to keep the residence and dining halls open because most of our students travel a significant distance to attend the University and our hope is that this will be a temporary situation. In addition, some students have nowhere else to live. However, as indicated in President Koubek’s email, Michigan Tech strongly advises high-risk populations to not return to campus and remain at their permanent place of residence.  

How are you keeping our students safe? 

We understand there is some concern about large student groups congregating in the dormitories or dining halls. Our facility services staff underwent additional sanitation training on Thursday, March 12, 2020, and will implement stringent cleaning protocols throughout campus beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020. Additional hand sanitizer stations and disinfectant wipes are being installed in strategic areas. Dining Services is preparing to transition to disposable food serviceware as well as offering takeout service and grab-and-go food kiosks in our dining halls to minimize personal contact. Appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventive public health and hygiene measures will also be expected of our students. To reinforce this behavior, the University has installed additional hygiene protocol signage around campus. We are implementing a revised on-campus visitor protocol that prohibits anyone who fits in the following categories from being on campus: 

• Are infected with COVID-19

• Believe they may be infected with COVID-19

• Believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 within the last 14 days

• Travelled internationally within the last 14 days

In addition, specific buildings, laboratories, and residential housing may have even stricter protocol that applies given the nature and use of each individual space.

If my student’s roommate falls ill (regardless of the sickness), will you allow my student to move rooms? 

Students in this situation should contact for additional guidance. 

Will you continue with commencement? 

Commencement is still scheduled as planned. The University will reconsider this decision in early April in consultation with local health officials and CDC guidance.

Will the library and other student support offices remain open? 

Currently, the library and other student support offices are operating normally. Hours of operation and services offered may change as the situation evolves. These decisions will be made based on the health, safety, and well-being of our students and employees. 

Will Michigan Tech offer academic support services such as career and counseling services for students who do not return to campus? 

Yes. Student support services, counseling services, and case management will be provided virtually, where they are feasible. If students are ill, we will request they participate in counseling via telephone or video. More information about virtual support services will be provided at as information becomes available.  

My student lives in a county or has visited a county with confirmed cases of COVID-19.  Will he/she be allowed to return to campus? 

Students who live in a county with confirmed cases will be allowed to return as long as they self-monitor for 14 days. Self-monitoring includes checking for a fever twice per day and remaining alert for a cough or difficulty breathing. Any student or employee who has completed travel internationally OR believes they may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus will not be allowed to return to campus for a 14-day period. The 14-day period commences from their date of return or their last day of suspected contact. 

Pitch Perfect!

By Husky Innovate

Congratulations to Husky Innovate Idea Pitch contestants and winners. Twenty-six students and 19 teams participated in an Idea Pitch competition held at the Great Lakes Research Center late last fall. Contestants pitched innovative ideas by reframing problems as opportunities. Judges from across campus voted to select Idea Pitch winners, and 14 Floors alums acted as a panel of experts.

Seven cash prizes were awarded. Prize winners include:

  • First Prize – Jacob Soter with Cellular Beach Network, $200 cash award
  • Second Prize – Kyra Pratley with PowerPendants, $100 cash award
  • Third Prize – Mitch DeLong with FreightMate, $50 cash award
  • Honorable Mention – Morgan Flynn with Adult Atlas, $25 cash award
  • Honorable Mention  – Baillie McGirk and Brandon Oja with CartSkis, $25 cash award
  • Honorable Mention – Harrison Shields with Shields Hydrotech, $25 cash award
  • Audience Favorite  – Baillie McGirk and Brandon Oja with CartSkis, $25 cash award

The Pavlis Honors College, Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and College of Business sponsor the Husky Innovate Event Series – a succession of workshops and events that build on each other with the intention of guiding students through key phases of innovation or business development while emphasizing evidence-based strategies for success.

Dress for Success

by Heather Herman, Presidential Communications

“I believe that we not only transform the students’ external appearance with new clothing, but an amazing transformation occurs internally as well—they stand taller, hold their head up higher, and look more confident! I am so grateful to be a part of this transformation in our students during every career clothing event!”  

— Susan Amato-Henderson, Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences and founder of the Michigan Tech Career Closet

With Career Fair quickly approaching, now’s the time for students to not only polish up their resume but also their wardrobe. Unbeknownst to most students, Michigan Tech opens the Career Closet boutique prior to both the fall and spring Career Fairs. This service allows students to shop (free of charge) for gently used professional attire. Faculty and staff volunteers also provide free coaching sessions on how to dress appropriately for all types of interviews and offer interviewing tips and advice on proper etiquette in social settings. 

The Career Closet is open the Saturday before each Career Fair in the Meese building. In addition, students may also contact Susan Amato-Henderson at any other time to browse the inventory (contact information below). 

Approximately 200 students utilize the service each semester, but recently there has been an uptick in interest due to the lack of retail stores in the area, according to Amato-Henderson.  Because of an expanding interest by our students, the Career Closet committee encourages families to support the program by donating gently used professional clothing or by volunteering to collect clothing from their place of work. They are in particular need of accessories like shoes, ties, belts, jewelry, tights, dress socks, etc. In addition, they work with students to make small sewing repairs and alternations to the clothing, so donations of sewing supplies (needles, thread, pins, etc.) are needed. People interested in donating should contact Susan Amato-Henderson at or via phone at 906-281-0231.

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. 


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.). 


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
  • SmartAsset ranked MTU # 1 in the state for Best Value.
  •, a financial news website, ranks Michigan Technological University 12th in the nation for public universities whose graduates earn the highest mid-career salaries.

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, 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.