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Ask the Dean: What’s something you want to change about Tech?

Ask the Dean is a weekly column by MTU’s Dean of Students, Dr. Wallace Southerland III, where students can submit questions for him to answer. To submit a question, email or fill out this form


Q: What’s something you want to change about Tech? 


My perspective is based on being at Tech for eight months, so I ask for people’s forgiveness if I sound uninformed. I recognize that some probably think I shouldn’t have an opinion about changing anything after eight months. I respect that. But I still have an opinion.


Let’s first acknowledge the obvious: Michigan Tech is a great institution with reasonably high expectations. We are not for everybody and that’s okay. We offer no apologies for who we are and what we are: a nationally respected STEM university nestled in the Upper Peninsula. We embrace our winters and cherish our summers. If students choose Tech, they need to come in knowing that we “Husky UP,” get it done, and we make no excuses (maybe this will be my slogan for t-shirts!).


Now, what would I want to change about Tech? Tech should have a bold, envied, required, and clearly defined out-of-classroom “Husky Experience” shared by all students which strengthens our sense of belonging and community. Our nation and the world are changing too rapidly, and I want to make sure all my Huskies graduate truly prepared to tackle the grand challenges of our time.


My change would require students to participate in certain experiences designed specifically to prepare them to be great and grateful; resilient and resourceful; competent and compassionate; ethical and just; and, of course, formidable – all focused on creating positive social change in the world.


That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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