Return to the Classroom-January 2021

January 15, 2021

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

Students return to the classroom next Tuesday after being forced to be remote for the first week of the semester to comply with the Governor’s Covid orders. We are trying to provide as much face to face instruction as possible this semester, including holding classes in the Rosza Center and the MUB ballroom!

Winter Carnival remains a go, and statue construction has begun. But, alas, there is a severe shortage of snow and it is currently raining outside my office window! Across the canal at Mont Ripley, only half the ski hill is open and warm weather has hindered snow making. The Tech Trails have just closed for cross-country skiing. For the first time since I arrived at Tech we are in desperate need of snow! Fortunately, the forecast calls for a shift to much colder weather next week, and hopefully some more of the white stuff.

Our faculty and staff continue their great work dealing with the pandemic. Despite the disruptions, Fall 2020 was a great semester for research and creative activities in the College of Sciences and Arts! Mary Cyr, Lecturer in Visual and Performing Arts, was the first honoree for the 2021 “Dean’s Teaching Showcase.” Cyr runs the costume shop, teaches our costuming classes, and oversees costuming for all our student theater productions. Her ingenious use of document cameras and monitors, as well as constructing take-home kits, allowed our students to preserve the essential hands-on experience that is part of every Tech education.

We are continuing our aggressive testing and contact tracing program, I hope for the last semester! A generous donation of equipment from the Portage Health Foundation has helped us double our testing capacity on campus, and the goal is to test almost all the returning students very early in the semester. Vaccinations are underway locally, with nursing homes, health care providers and first responders mostly complete.

Meanwhile our recruiting season is here, as we attempt to bring in another large, crazy smart and diverse class next year! Completed applications for CSA are up 40% from last year, with huge increases in students interested in health professions.

Some of you have already heard from our new Director of Advancement, Karin Van Dyke. Many of you have worked with Ben Larson over the years; Ben is now the Houghton County Administrator! Karin is a proud Tech alumna who was previously Director of Advancement at Finlandia University. She is looking forward to connecting with many of you in the months ahead.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. They will play an even bigger role over the next year with decreased state support expected. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:

If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.