NMU faculty and staff data available online


Northern Michigan University’s department of institutional research recently updated their Web site to include detailed demographics of Northern’s faculty and staff including the average age of faculty and staff and the census of minorities and Caucasian members.

According to the Web site, the number of minorities in 2007 was 23 minority males and 18 minority females out of 294 male members and 242 female members respectively on faculty, and 12 females and 14 males out of 325 and 329 respectively on Northern’s staff.

“This data is nothing out of the ordinary,” said Katie Schoonveld, institutional research assistant, of the staff demographics. “It’s nothing we didn’t expect.”

With these statistics, Aaron Whitaker, a junior media production major, felt that Northern could benefit from a more diverse faculty and staff.

“It would help to have a greater minority count,” Whitaker said. “Northern could use more female and minority professors. I’m fine with how it is, but I would like to see a rise,” she added.

However, other students don’t see the diversity at NMU as a problem. “Honestly, I don’t think the diversity of NMU is as important as how good the faculty is at doing their job,” said Madeline Hunsaker, a junior criminal justice major.

Among other information listed is the average age of faculty, 50 years old, and staff, 45 years old.

Emily Westphal, a senior art and design education major, thinks that the older age of the faculty and staff here at NMU is a good thing.

“It’s good that they have more life experience,” Westphal said. “They’ve been through more of an education; that’s respectable. I would say that life experience and teaching experience are respectable.”

Junior Nick Gray, an ecology major, agrees that the older age of some of the faculty and staff brings experience and knowledge to the student body, however, he also realizes how it might be a problem.

“[The professors] know the issues,” he said. “However, sometimes they are so set in their ways that they won’t change to accommodate students better.”

The changes in the institutional research Web site include the addition of the sections detailing the characteristics, including age, ethnicity, education, etc., of the members of Northern’s faculty and staff.

The project was spearheaded by Schoonveld, who put the data together along with the Administrative Information Technology department, and the Affirmative Action office, she said.

The demographic information has always been available through the department of institutional research, however, now it has been put online, making it more readily accessible, which was one of the goals of this online project, Schoonveld said.

Now when department heads, administrators and others call her office, she can point them to the Web site, she said.

People from different departments, as well as administrators, sometimes call her office to request information about certain demographics, she added.

The main goal in gathering this faculty and staff data, however, was more than just making it available online, Schoonveld said.

“The main goal is to provide people with what the faculty and staff environment is like at NMU,” she said.

Demographics of the faculty and staff’s age and ethnicity are just two collections of data that can be found on the institutional research Web site.

To find more information regarding the educational background and and other characteristics of faculty and staff visit the Insititutional Research Department’s Web site at www.nmu.edu/ir/.