Naturally Slim Program Update

Michigan Tech’s Human Resources has teamed up with Naturally Slim as a challenge program for staff and faculty to participate in and learn healthy eating habits. Naturally Slim is a 10 week online program that uses weekly videos, online tools, dashboards, and an online interactive community to teach participants how to have a better relationship with food. The main principle of the program is “It’s not what you eat, but when and how you eat.” It teaches you to slow down and enjoy your food and to only eat when you are actually hungry. The program is research based and is proven to reduce weight, lower risk for diabetes, reverse metabolic syndrome, reduce elevated fasting glucose, reverse elevated triglycerides, and reverse high blood pressure. At the end of the first 10 weeks, participants then enter into an additional 10 week phase of the program called NS4You, with additional videos, online tools, and interactive community support. NS4You is used to continue to reinforce the principles learned in the first 10 week core. Following NS4You participants are able to be continue with the Naturally Slim principles and online community support with the final phase of the program, NS4Life. The online format allows participants to continue to utilize videos, dashboards, and the interactive community in the final phase of the program.

Results from the Naturally Slim pilot program Survey

Naturally Slim End of 10 Week Program Results

  • Total combined weight loss for the 43 participants over the 10 week program was over 300lbs
  • 30% of the participants lost more than 10lbs
  • 54% of individual participants lowered their diabetes risk

Michigan Tech Survey Results 

  • 97% of the participants that responded to the survey completed all 10 weeks of the Naturally Slim program
  • 91% of the participants that responded to the survey rated the videos and online platform positively with either a “Very satisfied” or “Satisfied” response.
  • 97% of the participants that responded to the survey utilized the videos as the main component of the program they used during the first 10 weeks.
  • 61% of the participants that responded to the survey utilized the Naturally Slim app during the first 10 weeks.
  • 83% of the participants that responded to the survey responded positively when asked if they are satisfied with the behavioral changes made as a result of the Naturally Slim program.
  • 89% of the participants that responded to the survey would recommend the Naturally Slim program to a coworker.
HR recently sent a call out to the campus community to sign up for the second Naturally Slim cohort. The class size for the most recent round of Naturally Slim is expect to be 20 participants. For more information about this and other Wellness programs visit the Human Resources Naturally Slim website!

Inclusive Access Project Update

The changing world of textbooks continues to present interesting and new ways for students to save on course materials. The Campus Store incorporated Inclusive Access, digital materials for students in Canvas, last fall and it seems to show no signs of slowing down. We are seeing new publisher driven rental programs, subscription programs, and additional digital options for students that are geared toward saving students money.

Opt out screen shot

Inclusive Access was first used on our campus during the Fall 2017 semester with two Engineering Fundamental courses. Students saw approximately 33% savings on their course materials. For Spring 2018, we expanded the program to include select sections in three additional departments: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Course participants are contacted via email before the beginning of the semester explaining the program. Students then receive several emails thereafter with information about the program, costs affiliated and saved, in addition to opt-out instructions. With the exception of one course, we saw an opt-out rate of under 2%, highlighting that 98% of students are using Inclusive Access to obtain their course materials when offered. The Campus Store has also experienced benefits from Inclusive Access including reduced costs, which keep the price down for students. As we continue to evolve the program and outline ways to measure success, we will seek the best solutions for students. Stay tuned for more info as we roll into Fall 2018!

For more information on this and other initiatives the Campus Store is involved in, please visit the Campus Store Website.

Business Operations and OIS Host the Introduction to Lean Workshop

Colin Neese, Office of Information Services (OIS), and Andi Barajas, Business Operations, hosted the Introduction to Lean workshop on Thursday, June 21. In this introductory course, staff, faculty, and students learned basic Lean concepts and methods they might encounter on the job. Colin and Andi paid special attention to teach about Lean culture and the principles of Lean thinking. The attendees participated in problem-solving activities using the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust) model. Colin led the class in an exercise on the 5 Whys to discover root causes; Andi had the class identify waste and unsafe acts and conditions in a practice scenario; and both led the class in coming up with recommend process improvements. When the class finish the workshop, they were armed with the vocabulary and guidelines they would need in order to actively participate in a kaizen (improvement) event led by any of our on-campus Lean Facilitators.


Colin and Andi are both recent graduates of the Office of Continuous Improvement’s Lean Facilitator Training and were excited about the opportunity to host a Lean Workshop.

For more information on Lean Workshops and Continuous Improvement, please visit the Office of Continuous Improvement’s website.

Golf Course Featured in Michigan Live Article

Our golf course was featured in the Michigan Live article “Here are the must-play golf courses in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula” published on June 14, 2018.

Stating “Why it’s worth the drive: It is one of the oldest courses in the state and offers many scenic views overlooking Portage Lake. The back nine was built in 1903 and the course has been Michigan Tech’s home course since 1945.

Signature holes: Hole No. 4 is a short par 3 but it plays uphill 40 feet uphill. No. 17 is a short par 5 that plays downhill and is guarded by a treacherous green that slopes toward the lake.”

Golf Course

Auxiliary Services Monthly Report-Out Update

Auxiliary Services hosts a monthly Lean report-out to provide an avenue for Lean Teach-backs, Kaizen Report-outs, Project Updates, Lean community contact, and a space to ensure accountability.  

The teach-back method, also called the “show-me” method, is a communication confirmation method used, primarily, by healthcare providers to confirm whether a patient (or care takers) understands what is being explained to them. If a patient understands, they are able to “teach-back” the information accurately. Lean Teach-back sessions are used to demonstrate an understanding of Lean methods and tools, as well as an ability to teach others. These sessions could include new ice-breakers, creative or interactive activities to stimulate problem solving, or a Lean method that is seldom used or understood. For example, Ernie Beutler and Daryl Matthews from Dining Services used a creative problem solving activity they had learned from Karyn Ross’ workshop on “How to Coach for Creativity and Service Excellence” that involved inventing as many products you could try to sell using a piece of string, a bouncy ball, a paper bag, a paper clip, and a straw. It sounds like “McGyver: The Game,” but it showed the participants that if they got out of their comfort zone enough to stop being afraid of seeming a little silly, creativity is contagious and a group can come up with upwards of 20 suggestions in a few minutes with these objects.

Ross' Workshop on Creativity
Ross’ Workshop on Creativity

The Kaizen Report-outs cover all of the Lean improvement events that the divisions of Auxiliary Services participates in. These include any 5S work or process improvement events that have been completed within Auxiliary Services. The last report-outs have been covering the massive 5S MUB Basement Project that took a year of work and involved multiple departments within Auxiliary Services.

The next report-out will take place on Wednesday, July 18 at 2 p.m. at the MUB Superior Room. The report-outs are one hour on the third Wednesday of every month. The venue varies, and the event planners are open to suggestions to improve the functionality and appeal of the report-outs. If you are interested in attending the Aux Report-Out, please contact for more information!

Ann Kitalong-Will Attends 2018 Policy Administrators’ Conference

Photo of Ann Kitalong-WillAnn Kitalong-Will, Michigan Tech’s policy administrator and executive director for Business Operations (Vice President for Administration), attended the 2018 Annual Conference for the Association of College and University Policy Administrators (ACUPA), held April 29-May 2 in Anaheim, CA. This year’s conference was held in conjunction with the Western Association of College and University Business Officers (WACUBO).

The 2018 ACUPA conference included sessions on developing effective policies for children on campus and children’s programming, Title IX policy development, ways to effectively produce policies to support compliance and risk management, and the importance of including faculty and front-line staff in the policy development and review processes. Kitalong-Will also attended the ACUPA pre-conference workshop, focusing on logistics of managing an effective policy program in higher education.

Kitalong-Will is a founding member of ACUPA, having served on the Committee to Explore Incorporation prior to ACUPA’s formal filing as a business entity in 2013.

Safety Tip—Illness Prevention

There are many things that can be done to prevent the spread of illnesses in the workplace and around campus. Simple things like washing your hands with soap and water after using the restroom or coughing into your arm or into a tissue can stop the spread of germs and keep people from getting sick. Disinfecting a surface or object that may be contaminated will greatly reduce the risk of spreading your own or someone else’s illness to unsuspecting individuals. Some of the best ways to stay healthy are by drinking plenty of fluids, exercising, and making sure to get enough sleep.

Image of germ graphic

Lean Topic—Improving the Flow

Dining Services has taken steps to improve the flow of people through the food ordering process. The latest effort has been to change the menus so all food options can be viewed on the screens on both ends of the food court. Dining Services has decided to stop thinking about the North Coast Grill & Deli as four different shops, and instead view all the sections as one business and made the menus accordingly. The new menus include an eight-week cycle that rotates through three sandwiches and one salad each week, during the school-year it will also rotate through three additional weekly specials.

Picture of the MUB Counter

Before this project, Dining Services considered the different working stations as separate businesses and made the menus to reflect that. On average, the grill received about half of the orders, while the deli, located at the opposite end of the food court, received a fourth of the orders. This unbalance has led to the employees working in the grill section to have to work at a much higher pace than the employees working in the deli. Due to the grill’s high order rate, the customers tend to congregate at the east side of the food court to order and wait for their food. Dining Services hopes to even out the order numbers and the congestion by having more people order at the west end of the food court.

Student eating in the dining center

While the menu board changes were being deployed, Dining Services also moved the location of the deli sandwiches and salads station and the commissary to the pizza production area at the east end of the court kitchen for the summer.

Dining Services plans to keep this menu configuration in the food court for the school year as well. To accommodate the high number of customers, they plan to move the commissary and salad production to the west end of the court kitchen, while keeping the sandwich and pizza production at the east end. They expect that this new configuration, along with a new vendor for power snacks and grab and go items, will reduce the labor requirements of the food court area.

If you are interested in holding a Kaizen Event at Michigan Tech, contact the Office of Continuous Improvement at or call 906-487-3180.

Memorial Union 3S

Dining Services reported out the results of the “3S” that was facilitated in order to improve the safety and standardization of storage areas within the Memorial Union.
The previous situation and problems were the lack of designated places for all the items the Memorial Union houses in storage areas. Also, there was a need to create some standardization between the different areas in the Memorial Union

MUB Basement—Before
MUB Basement—Before

The following tasks were completed:

  • Proper amounts of custodial supplies were determined
  • Ordering system was developed for the Custodial Supply area
  • Removed all signs and labels from old 5S and Kaizen
  • Unnecessary items were thrown away
  • New labeling system was implemented
  • Audit system was put in place
  • Proper spaces for items were determined and labeled
  • Audit forms were created
MUB Basement—After
MUB Basement—After

For more information about how you can implement a 5S in your work area, contact the Office of Continuous Improvement!

Welcome Home—Lonsdorf’s Skis Returned to Mont Ripley

Fred Lonsdorf was not your ordinary ski enthusiast or coach. He played a much bigger role in the Keweenaw skiing community and the Midwest.

Fred TeachingFred found a love for skiing during World War II as a soldier in the 10th Mountain Division. As a legendary WWII fighting man, Fred started Division training in Colorado. While at training they learned mountain skills and skiing. The mountain skills included navigation and survival skills, to ensure the soldiers would not get lost and to keep them safe in the hash weather conditions of the mountains. Upon completion of his training, Fred fought the Germans in the Alps, putting his new skills to the test. After the war was over, and the soldiers had returned home, many of the 10th Mountain Division Soldiers helped start ski hills across America including major resorts like Vail, Aspen, and Whiteface Mountain. The Mont Ripley Ski Area was no exception, the ski hill’s activity took off after Fred was hired as the manager at about the same time Fred became the Michigan Tech ski team coach in 1947.

Fred SkiingDuring his 32 seasons coaching for Michigan Tech Skiing, Fred was a key player in bringing Alpine Ski Racing back to the upper Midwest, as well as, being the 1st full-time ski coach in the region. Alpine ski racing can be divided into different events such as downhill, slalom, giant slalom, or even combined events. The most popular events at Mont Ripley were downhill ski racing and slalom racing. The objective of the downhill race is to go long distances with as few turns and as quickly as possible. In slalom racing, skiers go shorter distances but they must navigate a course with many turns. During his time with the ski team, Fred coached three national team skiers and one Olympic skier. This Olympic skier, Charles Thompson “Chuck” Ferries, started skiing under Coach Lonsdorf at the age of 7, and later became a part of the United States Olympic Ski Team in 1960 and 1964. Although he did not place in the Olympics, he was the first American to win a major international; slalom race in 1962, according to Skiing Heritage Journal (Dec 2009). Because of Fred’s impact and many years of hard work, he was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame on October 30, 1999.

Fred's skisThat is just his resume, Fred made an impact on many people during his time as ski hill manager and coach. Doug Hill skied for Fred in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Recently, when Doug was shopping at a thrift store in Iron Mountain, MI he came across a familiar name on a pair of skis, these skis read, “Fred Lonsdorf, Coach, Mich Tech”. Doug was gracious enough to purchase and donate the skis to Mont Ripley. These “head ski” style race skis are 210 cm tall and in very good condition. The bindings on the skis are the first version of the modern step-in binding.

In the 1980s, Michigan Tech cut a variety of varsity sports including skiing. However, Fred Lonsdorf will always be remembered at Mont Ripley for “Fred’s Landing,” located between the Husky Chair Lift and Center Bowl Run. In addition, Nicholas Sirdenis, General Manager of the Mont Ripley Ski Area, says Mont Ripley plans to display Fred’s skis on a prominent wall in the new ski chalet. He also attributes the progress of the ski hill from 1946 to 1979, as the biggest set of improvements for the ski hill to Fred Lonsdorf. Displaying these skis will help to ensure that Fred Lonsdorf’s legacy lives on at Michigan Tech.