Category: Notes from the Dean

Thanksgiving Message

Quincy Mine with colorful fall foliage
Spectacular fall colors!

Hello Again from the Copper Country!

Its been an interesting fall in the Copper Country. November only added to it. Election Day. My birthday: my new age is the smallest number with 10 distinct divisors, which makes it what mathematicians (like myself) call a “highly composite number”! Blood moon and lunar eclipse (the last for a few years). The first prolonged snowfall (thankfully not as significant as Buffalo’s). And now the mass exodus as students, faculty, and staff leave campus to spend Thanksgiving Day with family and friends.

It has been a magnificent Fall season in Houghton, with an epic leaf-peeping season and beautiful weather, sunny and not too cold, and barely any snow to be seen up until last week. Nevertheless, the crews on the lawn outside my Walker office were busy setting up three broomball courts for the upcoming season! You can view them in real-time on one of our many webcams live streaming from campus, like this one from Walker. Drop me a note. I’d love to hear about your favorite broomball memory.

Our CSA students and faculty continue to excel in the classroom and beyond. Dr. Sarah Green, our chemistry department chair, led a dozen Huskies to the 2022 United Nations climate change summit. Held November 6-18, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, these Huskies joined more than 35,000 participants at the 27th Conference of the Parties United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27). Based on their work in previous summits, they have secured badges granting them insider access to the “blue zone.” Our Visual and Performing Arts faculty are involved as well. Delegates in the VIP lounge listened to a piece, Melusina Calls to the Loon, written by our own composer and Teaching Professor Libby Meyer, with an additional soundscape from MTU Distinguished Professor Christopher Plummer! You can follow their adventures on the Huskies at the Climate Conference blog. We’ll be adding more stories in the coming weeks.

Kathy Huerta Sanchez stands in front of the COP27 sign in Sharm El-Sheik.
Environmental and Energy Policy graduate student Kathy Huerta Sanchez at the COP 27 UN climate conference.


Earlier my wife and I were honored to be formal “guests of the mess” at the Air Force ROTC Dining Out. The event gives the cadets an opportunity to experience a formal dinner but with a twist. The different groups of cadets combined to create a “grog” in a large punch bowl. Ingredients included spicy V8, pickle juice, sardine juice, crunchy peanut butter powder, etc… Throughout the night violations of the elaborate “rules of the mess” were punished by trips to drink from the grog. By the end of the evening, just about every cadet had imbibed at least once!

Dean Hemmer and Lieutenant Colonel  Zuniga stand at attention at Michigan Tech's Air Force ROTC Dining Out celebration.
Lt.Col. Benjamin Zuniga (left) hosts Dean Hemmer at Air Force ROTC’s Dining Out.

At this time of year, I am grateful for many things: family and friends; the hard work our faculty and staff put in throughout the year to educate our students and help them to create a future for themselves; the support from our alumni funding facilities, scholarships, fellowships, professorships, and more; the beauty of the Copper Country.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Fall 2022 Off to A Great Start

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

Second Largest 1st Year Class Ever!

The fall semester is off to a wonderful start on our campus! The arrival of the second largest first-year class in 35 years (2nd only to last year!) left us scrambling to find housing for everyone. Our new international graduate student numbers have also returned to pre-pandemic normal. The weather has been mostly beautiful. Fall colors are starting to pop. And the main campus mall was lined each day with tents hosting employers eager to hire our students. Our first fully in-person career fair since before the pandemic followed, and a record 370+ employers recruited on campus.

Academy of Sciences and Arts Inducts Two New Members

Image of Michigan Tech alumnus and Academy of Sciences and Arts Inductee Sarah Carlson
2022 Academy of Sciences and Arts Inductee Dr. Sarah Carlson

Thursday, September 15th, was our annual induction ceremony for the Academy of Sciences and Arts. You may recall the Academy recognizes our most distinguished alumni. I was honored to induct two amazing Tech alums. The first, Dr. Sarah Carlson, is a 2003 graduate of our chemistry department. She is now a vascular surgeon and Associate Chief of Surgery for Operations at the VA Boston Medical Center. Dr. Carlson completed prestigious research and training appointments at both Harvard and Dartmouth earlier in her career.

The second, Steve Yang, is a 1991 graduate of Biological Sciences. He is now co-CEO of WuXi AppTec, a leading global pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and medical device R&D capability and technology open access platform company with operations in China, the US, and Europe. While Sarah is a native of the UP, this was Steve’s first visit back to campus since graduation. We were honored that Steve could make the stop in Houghton while traveling between Europe and Asia. Both gave gracious and inspiring remarks at the ceremony.

Image of Michigan Tech alumnus and Academy of Sciences and Arts Inductee Steve Yang
2022 Academy of Sciences and Arts Inductee Steve Yang

Undergraduates Continue to Amaze

There is no shortage of students here at Michigan Tech choosing to follow Sarah and Steve on the path to improving patient health outcomes. Two that come to mind are Jenna and Colleen. Jenna Disser ’22 completed her BS in Medical Lab Science and Minor in Pre-Health Professions in April. Her experience doing research at Tech as an undergraduate led her to pursue an MS in Biological Science, and continue her research. Hear her talk about her experiences in research, the community she found at Tech, and her love for the outdoors.

Colleen Toorongian ’20 graduated from Tech with a BS in Exercise Science. Colleen did research in the Clinical and Applied Human Physiology Lab, volunteered in hospice, worked as a Student Athletic Trainer, shadowed various healthcare providers, and assisted with outreach projects. She recently completed an MS at Purdue University Northwest (PNW), in the Biological Sciences department. Her next stop is New York to start the Cardiovascular Science and Perfusion Medicine program at Hofstra University. Read more about Colleen and her journey.

And our social sciences students worked over the summer engaged in fieldwork documenting everyday buildings and their cultural meanings for people in the Keweenaw—past, and present. Dr. Sarah Scarlett and her students are working on publishing a 2024 Vernacular Architecture Forum conference guidebook featuring local architecture and conference tour sites. Themes include exploring cultural identity, environmental change, industrial communities, and contemporary heritage practice. Read more about the fieldwork school on the Social Sciences blog.

External Research Funding Record and Academic Program Growth!

Finally, in late September we hosted our annual college-wide faculty and staff meeting and social. And we had much to celebrate. CSA faculty smashed the previous record, with $12 million in new external research funding in the past fiscal year! The physics department led the way with $5 million, much of it in support of our amazing cloud chamber on campus. The College launched several new degree programs too, including a BS degree in Policy and Community Development, an MS degree in Sustainable Communities, and a BS degree in Business Analytics, in partnership with the College of Business. And we now offer fifty different minors and eight certificates.

Come 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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

Summer Reflections

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

Students immerse themselves in concepts like mechanics,
electric circuits, electromagnetics, and nuclear reactions in SYP’s Introduction to Computational Physics.

July 1 marked my four-year anniversary at Michigan Tech and with it the end of my first term as dean. I was pleased to accept President Koubek’s offer to continue in the position. I look forward to leading the College going forward. With President Koubek and three other new deans also starting the same day I did, the formation of a new College of Computing, and then a global pandemic, my first term was certainly “interesting”. A little more boring would not be unwelcome for the next few years!


Campus is fairly quiet now, although each week a new group of youngsters arrives for our amazing Summer Youth Programs (SYP) for grades 6-12. An enormous variety of offerings is available for both local commuting students and to students who stay in the Wadsworth dorm. My eighth-grade son stayed in the dorm and took “Stock Market with Blizzard: Turn $1000 into $1 Million,” offered by the College of Business. He had a wonderful time and is already talking about all the classes he wants to take at Tech. He also managed to lose $300,000 of play money on June 23, a day the Dow Jones was up 800 points! Something about leverage and using options to bet against the market?! I need to have a talk with COB Dean Johnson. I can’t recommend SYP enough for your kids or grandkids!

A student practices the art of creative writing in our great outdoor classroom in SYP’s Wild Writing, taught by Jennifer Nance.

A little further off campus… I wrote in the Spring about our amazing Study Away programs. Almost a dozen students recently finished their program in Costa Rica. They learned how Costa Rica has been creating a more sustainable society in terms of the environment, ecology, energy, water treatment, and more. They have been based at the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica for 6 weeks. You can follow their adventures on their blog. We cannot wait to welcome them back to campus in the fall.


I just returned from a two-week vacation to visit family in Central New York. I took along some “light reading”, a recent book by Social Sciences professor Sarah Fayen Scarlett titled “Company Suburbs- Architecture, Power, and the Transformation of Michigan’s Mining Frontier.” It is a fascinating tale of “company towns” and “elite suburbs” during the mining heyday from 1875-1920. It includes lots of fascinating tales (and photos!) of houses in East Houghton, East Hancock and Laurium, many of which are now Greek houses at Tech. Yes, what is now College Avenue and Agate Hill was a “suburb” of Houghton. Read the book to learn why! Dr. Scarlett is one of our many CSA faculty producing interesting scholarship, both in and out of the lab. Sarah and her colleagues have also been hard at work digitally mapping the history of the Keweenaw. They created the Keweenaw Time Traveler, an online interactive historical atlas that is changing how we learn about, share, and research the history and heritage of Michigan’s Copper Country. Check it out here!

See images of the past and maps galore at the Keweenaw Time Traveler.

Spring (Finally!) Arrives at Michigan Tech

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

Spring arrived in the Copper Country with sunshine and 70+ degree temperatures last week melting away most of the remaining snow. Alas, Spring also brings construction season as the second half of the two-year project on route 41 through town is underway just west of campus, requiring southbound traffic to detour all the way up to Sharon Avenue and down Macinnes Drive.


Spring also brings exciting construction to campus! On April 29 we broke ground on our new $50+ million H-STEM building. This magnificent structure will lie just to the east of the ChemSci building and will host our departments of Biomedical Engineering and Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology as well as the offices of our Health Research Institute. Large numbers of CSA faculty do human health research, and we are all looking forward to the building opening in 2024. You can watch the construction on a live webcam here.

Image of Michigan Tech students sitting on an Amtrak train studying, working and chatting.
Michigan Tech students aboard the rolling Amtrak classroom heading into Glacier National Park.

CSA also leads the way on campus in providing summer study abroad and study away opportunities for our students. Social Sciences faculty member Dr. Mark Rhodes is leading a three-week Amtrak tour of the western U.S. titled “Amtrak Tourism: Trains, Cities, & Sustainability”. See our students experiencing this terrific learning opportunity. Another Social Sciences faculty member, Dr. Richelle Winkler, is taking students to Costa Rica to study global sustainability, Costa Rican culture, and the Spanish language.

Image of Joel Nieves, music director of the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra.
Joel Nieves Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra Music Director

The end of the semester brought our Spring Board of Trustees meeting and final approval for a dozen faculty promotions in CSA. This year’s batch of dossiers was particularly impressive; our faculty are exceptional in the classroom, in the laboratories, and in performance venues! Indeed, we have three new full professors in Visual and Performing Arts! One of them, Dr. Joel Neves, led the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra as it celebrated 50 years with a performance of Carmina Burana on April 23. Another, Dr. Jared Anderson, led our choirs during the same performance.


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. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! Learn more about CSA giving opportunities.

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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

Musings on the start of Spring Semester

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

Spring semester started with a frigid blast of snow and ice that closed the K-12 schools for a couple days and unfortunately caused enormous headaches for students trying to get back into town, with multiple flight cancellations and closures of both Route 2 and 28 between here and the Mackinac Bridge. Undaunted, our PE skiing classes got underway as scheduled with below zero temperatures on Monday evening; Tech students are hardy!

In-Person Graduation Ends 2021

Picture of two graduates
Social Sciences MS graduates: Ryan Williams, (MS GIS) and Gary Spikberg (MS IHA)

Before the break we had an in-person graduation ceremony for the first time in two years! It was wonderful to don my regalia and congratulate the graduates walking across the stage in the Wood gym, including about 100 from our College. And, of course, the ceremony ended with a rousing performance from the Husky Pep Band! The graduation ended a successful semester of in-person instructions with only very limited disruptions from COVID. Fingers crossed we can repeat this success the semester without too many Omicron disruptions!

Applications to the College of Sciences and Arts continue to grow

Last Fall we welcomed our largest freshmen class since 1982, and our momentum is continuing with applications for Fall ’22 up 5.5% over last year’s already record-setting number. For the next five months our recruiters, faculty and students will focus relentlessly on convincing our incredible admits to join us in Houghton next Fall. Outreach includes personal notes to students, evening texting events, and some upcoming in-person events in Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis. If any of our alumni are interested in potentially helping, please let me know. 

New H-STEM building coming soon!

Later this semester we will break ground on our new “H-STEM” building, which will house the departments of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, and the Health Research Institute. Our faculty can’t wait to move into this beautiful space. Find out more here https://www.mtu.edu/h-stem/

Deedra Irwin ’15 to compete in the Olympics

Picture of Deedra Irwin competing in biathlon
2022 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team member and MTU alum Deedra Irwin

We were excited to learn Deedra Irwin has been named to the 2022 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team. She was at Michigan Tech from 2010 to 2015 while earning her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a Coaching minor. 

Congratulations to Deedra! We are all wishing her the best of luck when she competes for gold February 5-19 at the 2022 Beijing Olympics in the Zhangjiakou Zone!

A return to teaching

And finally, I am back in the classroom, teaching “Combinatorial Representation Theory” this semester. I’ve always thought it was useful for administrators to teach on occasion, and I’ve greatly enjoyed teaching our students, although I could do without the mask!

Thank you for your continued support

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. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

Greetings and Happy Veteran’s Day from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

SSgt Shaniqua S. McKnight, Dean Hemmer, and Lt. Col. Joseph C. Pulliam ready to take flight

November 11, 2021

One of the interesting parts of my job is that the College of Sciences and Arts includes our departments of Military Science and Aerospace Studies, i.e. our Army and Air Force ROTC programs. While our cadets hail from majors across the university, for academic purposes the programs are housed in CSA and the commanders, Major Gwosch from Army and LTC Pulliam from Air Force, bring a unique perspective to our College Council.

A flight out with Air Force and Army ROTC

On October 28 they invited me to join a large group of Air Force cadets and cadre, and a smaller group of Army cadets, on an “incentive flight” that rewards them for their performance. The Michigan Air National Guard flew in two KC-135 Stratotankers to Marquette. We had planned to refuel F16s and an A-10 that would take off from Wisconsin but, to my surprise, they were unable to take off due to icing conditions! (“The F16s are great in the desert,” quipped LTC Pulliam) Undaunted, we had a wonderful flight, circling Mackinac Island at low altitude, flying all the way back to campus, and then back to Marquette. Our plane hit a flock of birds just before we landed, sending the other plane screaming back up in the air to circle around and leaving the crew stranded in Marquette for the night until the engines could be inspected. The co-pilot was a great Tech alum who currently flies for Delta airlines.

The wonderful support we give to our military was one of the things that drew me to Michigan Tech, and our cadets continue to make us proud. Most recently business student Caleb Brulke was named the number one Army cadet in the nation! Read more here: https://bit.ly/3C6I4d7

Dr. Datta receives major grant to research toxin reduction

With everyone back on campus, I have resumed my efforts to hear about each of our faculty member’s research. I recently visited the lab of Biology Professor Rupali Datta. Dr. Datta is one of the stars of our department, an expert in plant biochemistry and molecular biology. She recently received a $700,000+ grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue her incredible research on using various plants to absorb toxic metals like lead and arsenic in the soil. Her work has been applied in settings ranging from backyards in New Jersey to former mine sites in the Southwest and, closer to home, to the land where the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community grows wild rice.

Dr. Datta recently received a large grant from HUD

Thank You for your support

Critical to everything we do, including the success of our ROTC programs, are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. Thank you so much for supporting Michigan Tech! For CSA giving opportunities please visit:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

Early in the Fall Semester 2021

September 16, 2021

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

Our Fall semester is off to a wonderful start! The beautiful summer weather we had has continued into the Fall with abundant sunshine and mild temperatures. My family and I enjoyed a great afternoon of Huskies Football last Saturday at the recently dedicated “Sherman Field and Kearly Stadium”, which features a brand-new artificial turf field. Alas the Huskies fell 12-9 to Division I opponent St. Thomas. It was great to see the Husky Pep Band at full strength on the field.

Our aggressive recruiting efforts paid off with the largest freshman class (1480 students) since 1982 on campus, up more than 20% from last year and increasing our overall campus enrollment by more than 2%. Our president has laid out an ambitious growth agenda to get us to 10,000 students, and this large (and extremely gifted and diverse!) class is a great start along the way. Enrollment in the College of Sciences and Arts has been growing steadily for the last four years, and we are planning a large digital marketing campaign this Fall targeting some of our exciting new programs.

Two of these programs include our new BS in Human Factors, which is a sort of combination of psychology, computer science and engineering. Another is our recently introduced BS in Sustainability Science and Society. We are also targeting students interested in health careers, including medical school, dental school and physical therapy.

More than 95% of our classes this semester are face to face at full capacity. It is wonderful to see our beautiful campus once again full of students and to meet in person with all my colleagues. We are still working hard to keep our students and staff safe. Wastewater testing continues to show very low presence of COVID on campus, and we offer walk-in testing on campus, supported by our own campus testing lab.

Let me close by highlighting the achievements of Steve Techtmann, one of our star young faculty members in Biological Sciences. Steve was recently awarded the 2021 Future Insight Prize by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, along with research collaborator Ting Lu, professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The prize is one million euros for unrestricted support of research. Techtmann is an environmental microbiologist who studies how microbes could be used to convert plastic waste into safe and edible proteins. His work has also been supported by several million dollars of funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). I had the opportunity to tour his lab and was blown away by his work!

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:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

Beginning of summer 2021 on campus.

June 21, 2021

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

Normalcy returned to Tech as this week marks the official return of face to face work. Our weekly Dean’s Council meeting was in person for the first time since March 4, 2020!  Outside my office kids walk by from our in-person Summer Youth Programs. Michigan’s remaining COVID restrictions end tomorrow, and we are planning return to normal instruction this Fall.

Spring semester ended on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon when we hosted an outdoor graduation parade of sorts. Graduates from the past two years and their family and friends walked to various stations around campus while we faculty lined the way in our academic regalia and the Husky Pep Band provided musical entertainment. In the Rozsa lobby, a replica graduation stage served for photo ops while Pomp and Circumstance played in the background. It was wonderful to see colleagues face to face for a change. Some, including my boss the Provost, I had not seen outside of Zoom in more than a year! More than one of my colleagues suggested we continue this tradition in future years in lieu of the lengthy formal ceremony.

Our incredible faculty finished the year strong with some really notable honors. Biological Sciences Professor Thomas Werner was awarded “Distinguished Professor of the Year” from the Michigan Association of State Universities. Thomas brings this award back to Tech after an eight-year hiatus. His outstanding work in the classroom, in the laboratory, and especially mentoring undergraduate researchers, made this a well-deserved honor.

Over in the Physics department, Professor Robert Nemiroff was named a “University Professor”, the highest honor we bestow on our faculty. There are currently four University Professors at Tech, and three are from the College of Sciences and Arts! I highly recommend checking out his Astronomy Picture of the Day website: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

Finally, in Social Sciences, Dr. Nancy Langston received the Distinguished Scholar award from the American Society for Environmental History. This is the highest honor in her field, and recognizes a lifetime of scholarship.

At the recent Board of Trustees meeting, nine of our faculty received tenure and two others were promoted to Full Professor. Congratulations to them all!

As the May 1 deadline passed we got the exciting news that our deposits for new students are up 22% over last year and are the highest in 10 years. CSA outperformed even this number, with our deposits up 30%! We are looking forward to bringing in a record-breaking incoming class next Fall!

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:  https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

A Splendid Graduation, Faculty Honors and Looking Forward to Fall

Three faculty members with signs saying "you did it" and "congratulations."
MTU faculty holding congratulatory signs for the outdoor strolling celebration.

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

Spring semester ended on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon when we hosted an outdoor graduation parade of sorts. Graduates from the past two years and their families and friends walked to various stations around campus while we faculty lined the way in our academic regalia and the Husky Pep Band provided musical entertainment. In the Rozsa lobby was a replica graduation stage for photo ops while Pomp and Circumstance played in the background. It was wonderful to see colleagues face to face for a change. Some, including my boss the Provost, I had not seen outside of Zoom in more than a year! More than one of my colleagues suggested we continue this tradition in future years in lieu of the lengthy formal ceremony.

Our incredible faculty finished the year strong with some really notable honors. Biological Sciences Professor Thomas Werner was awarded “Distinguished Professor of the Year” from the Michigan Association of State Universities. Thomas brings this award back to Tech after an eight-year hiatus. His outstanding work in the classroom and laboratory, and especially mentoring undergraduate researchers, made this a well-deserved honor.

Over in the Physics department, Professor Robert Nemiroff was named a “University Professor,” the highest honor we bestow on faculty. There are currently four University Professors at Tech, and three are from the College of Sciences and Arts! I highly recommend checking out his site Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Finally, in Social Sciences, Dr. Nancy Langston received the Distinguished Scholar award from the American Society for Environmental History. This is the highest honor in her field, and recognizes a lifetime of scholarly achievement.

At the recent Board of Trustees meeting, nine of our faculty received tenure and two others were promoted to Full Professor. Congratulations to them all!

As the May 1 deadline passed, we got the exciting news that university-wide, our deposits for new students are up 22% over last year and are the highest in 10 years. CSA outperformed even this number, with our deposits up 30%! We are looking forward to bringing in a record-breaking incoming class in the Fall!

President Koubek has announced our intention to return to normal conditions and normal classroom capacities in the Fall, and planning is underway to do that. About 50% of the Western UP has already been vaccinated, and I was grateful to receive my second shot a few weeks ago.

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! Our site has more about CSA giving opportunities. https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

Blizzard T. Husky mascot hugs a graduate.
A photo opportunity under balloons and with MTU mascot Blizzard T. Husky proved popular.

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: https://www.mtu.edu/sciences-arts/giving/

 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 djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or offer suggestions.

Best wishes,

David Hemmer
Dean – College of Sciences and Arts