New Faculty Books and a Thank You to Donors — Spring 2021

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

Spring has arrived early here in the Copper Country. The last full weekend of skiing at Mont Ripley a few weeks ago featured sunshine and 60-degree temperatures and all across campus grass is showing through the remaining piles of snow.

Meanwhile students are back on campus after spring break, and our large COVID surveillance testing on their return has only detected 12 campus cases in the last 14 days. President Koubek has announced our intention to return to normal conditions and normal classroom capacities in the fall, and planning is underway.

More than a third of the Western UP has already been vaccinated, and I welcomed my first shot!

We recently received exciting news that our health research building (temporarily dubbed “H-STEM”), is back on track after a year of covid-induced uncertainty. Faculty across campus are currently working on designing the research and teaching lab spaces. Groundbreaking is tentatively slated for about a year from now. It would be finished near the end of 2022.

I have taken some time recently to read some of our new faculty books. Our professor emeritus Jim Spain, the founding chair of our biological sciences department, has a fascinating autobiography out, Perusing for Pioneer Pathways, documenting his incredible life, much of it here in the Copper Country. Dr. Spain will be inducted this fall into our distinguished Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Book cover of Performing Math

As a mathematician I took particular interest in a new book from our Humanities Professor Andrew Fiss, titled Performing Math: A History of Communication and Anxiety in the American Mathematics Classroom, published by Rutgers University Press. The book is a wonderful combination of history and technical communication with relevance to today’s mathematics classroom.

In my ‘to read’ pile are two books from Humanities Professor Patty Sotirin, including Feminist Vigilance, with MTU colleagues Victoria Bergvall and Diane Shoos, and also Making Data in Qualitative Research, applying a humanities perspective to data collection.

Our recruiting season is well under way as hundreds of prospective students visit this week for “Preview Week” and many more are attending virtual events this week. Applications are at record highs! Our deposits are slightly trailing last year’s but rapidly catching up as financial aid packages go out. Many of these were delayed due to the difficulties students encountered with taking standardized tests.

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.

Best wishes,

David Hemmer
Dean – College of Sciences and Arts