Fall 2007 GPA breaks records


The grade-point average for NMU’s freshman class reached a record high in fall semester 2007.

The GPA for fall semester was 2.76, with the previous high at 2.70, which was achieved fall semester 2006, said Paul Duby, associate vice president for Institutional Research.

Duby also noted that 82.7 percent of first-time, full-time freshmen received a C average or higher, compared to 79.9 percent in fall semester 2006. This means that the number of freshmen who are not on academic probation has also risen, Duby said.

The incoming class of first-time, full-time freshmen in fall 2007 also had a higher average high school GPA than the previous year’s class, according the Office for Institutional Research.

However, admissions standards have not been raised or lowered in the recent years, said Michelle Mattes, senior admissions counselor.

Duby cites the various freshmen support programs created by the university, such as the First Year Experience (FYE), for helping raise the freshmen GPA.

The First Year Experience began in 1995 and 10 percent of freshmen participated in the program; in fall 2007, 60 percent of the freshman class participated in the program, said Susan VerDuin, coordinator of First Year Programs at NMU.

Katherine Reynolds, an assistant professor of business, has seen the impact of the FYE program through teaching UN 100, a required freshman seminar course in each FYE block.

“I feel the First Year Experience program is well-run and an excellent program in helping acclimate students to NMU and helping them succeed,” she said.

Beyond the FYE, Northern has many other programs designed to help freshmen succeed in their first semester, said Duby.

“We have other supports in place, like the PALS [Peer Assisted Learning] program, plus Student Support Services, plus other services such as the Writing Center and the Math Lab. Our goal has been to put a lot of supports in place to help students in that first semester,” said Duby.

“After all, the university is here to help students to become successful and that is what we are trying to do,” he added.