HOUGHTON - For first-time students at Michigan Tech University, everything will be new, but returning students will also encounter new faculty, structures, programs and systems, according to Les Cook.
Cook, MTU vice president for student affairs and advancement, said there will be 37 new faculty members this year, with 23 tenure-tracked and 14 non-tenure.
"Every year we have people that retire and new programs," Cook said of the reason for the new faculty members.
Students at Michigan Tech University will see some new things for the fall semester, such as the Active Learning Center in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics building shown here. There are also other structural changes and some program changes at Tech. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Kurt Hauglie)
In the last few years, Cook said Tech has hired about 200 new faculty members.
There are several physical changes to the Tech campus this year, as well, Cook said. An addition to the Memorial Union Building is the J. Edgar McAllister Welcome Center, which Cook said replaces the former welcome center in the administration building that wasn't as efficient for visitors as it should have been.
"People can really get the feel of what Tech is about," he said of the new visitor center, which will have a ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 20.
No Tech money was used for the construction of the new visitor center, Cook said.
"That is all being funded by donor dollars," he said.
Also in the MUB, the dining area is being remodeled and new menus are being added, Cook said.
"It has a U.P. /(Lake) Superior feel," he said
There is now an application for smart phones available, called Tapingo, which Cook said will allow a user to order food to pick up at various locations on campus and have the cost placed on their credit card. There is also an online version of the service at mtu.edu/dining/centers/food-court.
The computer lab once known as the "fishbowl" in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics building has been remodeled and updated with new computers and monitors, including large monitors mounted on the walls and ceilings. The new facility is called the Active Learning Center. It is constructed in such a way that there is no front of the room, which allows for both individual and group teaching and collaboration.
Cook said a bronze statue of a husky dog - the Tech mascot - will be placed in front of the J.R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library by October. To pay for the statue, 642 brick pavers were sold, 112 of which were paid for by first-time donors.
There have also been some updates inside the library, Cook said.
Another change on the campus is the installation of 110 new spaces for bicycles, which Cook said was done to accommodate students who come to Tech because it's in a rural location.
"The bike spaces are indicative of the students coming to Tech," he said. "So many come here for the environment."
The academic changes at Tech include the new Pavlis Honors College, which will allow students to get instruction beyond what is needed for their degrees, Cook said. It will include existing honors programs, plus new programs.
"The scholarly-type students are looking for things that are distinctive," Cook said.
Also new this year is the doctor of physical therapy program, which Cook said is a collaboration between Tech and Central Michigan University. He expects the program to work well at Tech because of its existing emphasis on science, math and technology programs.