NMU Professor Gary Brunswick was surprised to learn this week that an extra set of ears had been periodically listening in on his Introduction to Marketing class since it transitioned online in March. It only became obvious when a student asked if her Dad—within earshot in an adjacent room at their Marquette home—could ask a question during Tuesday's lecture. The two men engaged in a complimentary email exchange afterward.
Jerry Couts said comments made during the Zoom meetings pertaining to his professional expertise and personal knowledge of U.P. culture have particularly caught his attention, and stimulated several discussions with his daughter, Emily.
“Dr. Brunswick, I wanted to take a minute to say how much I have enjoyed your lectures since you went online,” wrote Couts in the email. “Many of the items you talked about I could relate to within my professional life. Thank you for being so interesting during the boredom of COVID-19. Only thing, Emily tells me your graduate degree is from Arizona State and my degree is from Michigan State. Will your Sun Devils stop beating my Spartans in football?!”
Couts said Brunswick's insight related to dental practices was particularly spot-on. His is a well-qualified opinion. Couts spent 22 years as business manager for Dental Associates of Marquette—the largest practice in the U.P. at that time, according to the Michigan Dental Association.
“When you talked about K.I. Sawyer closing, it also had a huge impact on our practice. I, too, had to put together a new business model to fill the gap we experienced in patients from the closing. Our emphasis moved from Air Force families toward education facilities in Marquette [MAPS and NMU].”
In his response, Brunswick thanked Couts for the kind words and said he was a bit surprised when Emily, a junior social design major, mentioned her Dad's consistent presence since the Zoom lectures began.
“Thanks, also, for sharing some of your professional experiences in the email you sent,” Brunswick added. “In a year or two, I am not sure if the closure of K.I. Sawyer will be more or less significant (in terms of economic impact here in Marquette County) compared to COVID-19, but I suspect it may be more—or close, in terms of the net impact. So much is unknown in terms of how much time will be required to get the economy back to full speed ahead.”
Brunswick ended his message by addressing the critical Arizona State-Michigan State football issue raised by Couts. He wrote that he is not a huge ASU football fan, but enjoyed going to a few games in Tempe while pursuing his doctorate. Many of the early fall games were held at night because of the desert heat.
“The first year I was there, ASU won the Pac-10, went to the Rose Bowl (first time) and won (beat U. of Michigan, January of 1987). Our intra-state rivals—University of Arizona—have never gone to the Rose Bowl, which is a real point of discussion when ASU plays U of A each year for the Territorial Cup, the huge rivalry game in Arizona. My apologies for any football success achieved by ASU at the expense of Michigan State.”
This week marks the end of Couts' opportunity to listen to portions of Intro to Marketing lectures for a diversion (not academic credit, of course). NMU's final exam week, with its revised format caused by COVID-19, is scheduled April 27-May 1.