Humanities Area Change

Good afternoon NMC Community,

Our college, like many in our state, has faced declining enrollment. In just the last five years, our enrollment has declined by more than 20%. In an effort to help balance the budget for next year, that currently has a $1.9 million deficit, limit the tuition impact for our students and balance work load, departments college wide have been looking for ways to save money and create efficiencies.

One way to do that is to examine open positions when an employee retires. This spring we found ourselves in just that situation when humanities chair, and long time NMC history instructor, Jim Press retired. Jim himself recommended the college not fill his faculty position due to a decreasing class load. Stephen Siciliano, vice president for educational services, decided to realize the full savings of this retirement by combining the duties of the humanities chair with those of one of the current academic chairs, Sean Ruane, of Social Sciences. After working with Sean and Deirdre Mahoney, communications chair, Stephen agreed to implement a plan of combining the two academic areas for a year to determine whether such a combination could become a more long-term structural change. Humanities faculty and staff, along with social sciences faculty and staff, will be lead by Sean and Cindy Duby, office manager, beginning this week.

Here are some important things to keep in mind with this move:

  • NMC is NOT dissolving or dismantling the Humanities area.
  • There is NO change to humanities curriculum or programs for students.
  • The new Social Sciences and Humanities area is similar in size to the current Math and Science and Communications areas.
  • No one will be laid off as a result of this plan.
  • The current humanities office manager will move to an open position as student life office manager.
  • This change will not necessarily be a permanent move. NMC is a Plan-Do-Check-Adjust college in all we do. We will check and adjust this change to make sure the needs of our learners are met.
  • The humanities office manager is working with the social sciences office manager to address the support needs of faculty to meet all of the program goals.
  • Lifelong & Professional Learning (LPL) will provide administrative support to Music and Audio Technology. In the past, support had been shared between Humanities and LPL. This shift will help balance the work load of the social sciences office manager, while meeting the support needs of the music faculty.
  • NMC continues to invest in Humanities, including the expansion of the Dennos Museum to include new music classroom space, music instrument storage area, and a permanent collection gallery for increased arts integration into curriculum.
  • Within the last five years NMC has implemented similar solutions with more than 15 staff positions.

We at NMC all work to keep learning at the center of all we do. Finding ways to save money for our students without impacting learning in the classroom is another example of that effort. Thank you for the work you do to benefit our students. If you have additional questions about this please let me know.

Thank you,

Timothy J. Nelson, President
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.