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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian
Features Editor

Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

NMU conducts branding study

NMU hired Stamats to conduct a branding study of the university in order to obtain data from the inside and outside audiences about their perceptions of Northern.

“If there’s a trend that shows up across all of the groups, then that’s considered one of the prized values of the university,” said director of communications Cindy Paavola.

Stamats specializes in higher education research and will identify the values of Northern according to its stakeholders –– NMU students, staff and faculty.

Paavola said the information will show what people consider NMU’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and core values.

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“We get a lot of anecdotal feedback, but we don’t have data across all of these audience and stakeholder types on perceptions, Paavola said.

It’s not solely a marketing study, Paavola said. Although marketing is involved in certain aspects, the purposes run much deeper.

The project is headed by the Board of Trustee’s strategic planning committee and financed by the general university fund.

“The truth is, it’s very expensive to make a mistake through decision making right now,” Paavola said. “To have data that can serve you for a while and help make really sound decisions, that’s going to keep us from making a really costly mistake.”

The Board discussed the project in depth, Paavola said. They calculated how many more students would have to attend Northern in order to cover the costs of the study, and it would require 10 to 12 for the one-time expenditure.

Although the study might expose a couple areas that can be fixed immediately, most of the effects will be long-term.

“Our hope is that it will reveal a couple quickies, but honestly I think the places where we’ll have the biggest effect on the university will take several years of time to change,” Paavola said.

Stamats does its field research in various way, depending on audience. All Northern stakeholders were sent an email with a survey, phone call surveys were used for prospective students and focus groups within the community.

“We hope to help the institution better understand what is relevant –– what you actually do and what you say about yourself,” said Chuck Reed, senior vice president for client services at Stamats.

NMU is classified as a regional public university, so Stamats will compare it to state and public universities in Michigan.

“We provide the research, the findings and the recommendations for action,” Reed said. “What the university actually does with it is always up to the university.”

Although field research is still being conducted, Stamats will begin analyzing the data in November and the process will continue into spring of 2012.

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