Construction management professor Michael Andary ('06 MPA) was visibly perplexed when administrators and colleagues recently walked into his Jacobetti Complex classroom and purposely interrupted a morning lecture. His confusion soon gave way to a smile, followed by a round of applause from his students. The delegation was there to deliver a surprise announcement. Andary is the first member of the NMU Faculty Association to receive the university's Distinguished Faculty Award. NMUFA represents those who teach in the College of Technology and Occupational Sciences.
Delivering the good news to Andary in person were: Provost Kerri Schuiling; Associate Provost Dale Kapla; Robert Eslinger, dean of TOS and associate vice president for Workforce and Economic Development; John Centko, academic department head; Michelle Kimball, executive secretary; and faculty colleagues Heidi Blanck and Evan Lucas.
“The intrinsic reward I get from being in the classroom with the students is what has kept me here since 2001,” Andary said. “Through the years, seeing the growth from new NMU student to alumnus, and then from alumnus to spouse or parent or recently promoted professional ... all add to the rich and close-knit feeling that our faculty and students build.
“The DFA award is incredibly humbling, and the presentation of it was very special. After seeing the list of past recipients, I feel even more fortunate. It's an understatement to say that I was surprised to see my faculty colleagues alongside Michelle, John, Bob, Dale and Kerri entering the room during my scheduled lecture. I won't forget the experience; the people involved made it memorable in all the right ways. I'm extremely grateful to be part of the NMU team, and want to thank my nominators, Heidi and Evan, along with all of the students and alumni who contributed to the effort.”
“Mike has taught me so much,” said Blanck. “He's an incredible advocate and supporter. And he's all in when it comes to the students. There is nothing he won't do for them. He goes above and beyond what's required. The payback for that is relationships with students that continue well beyond graduation, whether it's attending their weddings or working with them as professionals to secure job opportunities for our current students.”
Lucas added, “We are all extremely proud and grateful for having Mike be the heart and soul of this program.”
Andary previously worked in the construction industry. He was a journeyman carpenter for both Gundlach Champion Inc. and CCMS Inc., where he was later promoted to foreman. He ended his private sector career as a project superintendent with Barton Malow before joining the NMU faculty in 2001. His research interests have included construction spending and economic impact; environmentally and economically responsible development; the construction waste stream; and the impact of academic service learning on student experiences.
Before this year, all past recipients of the NMU Distinguished Faculty Award were members of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) union.