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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Rachel Pott
Rachel Pott
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I am a marketing major about to start my second year at Northern Michigan University, however, this will be my third year in college. I previously attended a small community college...

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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 Wiertella April 30, 2024

NMU’s heading in right direction with Road Map 2015

After reviewing NMU’s Five-Year Master Plan from November 2012, I found areas in which Northern excelled and others where the university did not meet expectations.

At the close of yet another semester, I took it upon myself to give an in-depth look at NMU’s progress on the Road Map to 2015.

According to NMU’s mission statement, the university “challenges its students and employees to think independently and critically.”

With that in mind, I reviewed the “strategic elements” in the Five-Year Master Plan.

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The emphasis of this review will focus on enrollment growth (or lack thereof), green innovation on campus and rates of involvement in the Superior Edge program.

There was a projected enrollment of 9,250 students for the Fall 2012 semester, but a head count on the tenth day of classes showed that there were 9,098 students enrolled.

Of these 9,098, 75.6 percent were pursuing a baccalaureate degree, 7.1 a graduate degree and 17.3 percent were involved in community college courses.

NMU has made it a goal to continue efforts that help increase enrollment.

The data presented in the Master Plan revealed that there was a slight decrease in equated student change from 2011 to 2012; in the past four years, though, there has been a 1.8 percent increase in enrollment.

While enrollment is slowly growing and retention rates look promising, the amount of international students studying at NMU is disappointing.

There were 128 non-U.S. students studying at NMU in the Fall 2012 semester, a 97 percent increase since 2007, when only 65 non-U.S. students were enrolled.

Compare the Fall 2012 number to the Fall 1997 number of non-U.S. students, 117, and there has been a net 9.4 percent increase in non-U.S. enrollment since 1997.

The Institute of International Education Open Doors report from Tuesday, Nov. 13, indicates that international student enrollment in the United States has increased by six percent in 2011-12: that is a record high of 764, 495 non-U.S. students.

Midwest universities see some of the highest rates of enrollment in regard to international students, according to the Associated Press article “US colleges look to foreign students.”

The University of Illinois alone has 9,000 international students, which is the second highest rate in the United States.

NMU has worked so hard to create a brand for the university, and now it is time to start aggressively marketing that brand abroad to increase international enrollment at NMU.

While enrollment has been building at a slow but steady rate, NMU’s efforts to create a greener, more environmentally friendly campus have been significant.

The new steam plant, which is nearing completion, will use renewable resources, wood chips and wood by-products, to generate energy for Northern’s campus.

It is estimated that the plant will meet 87 percent of NMU’s thermal needs.

Over a 20-year period, it may save the university as much as $5.1 million.

This is a great step toward becoming a greener campus. NMU has made strides to upgrade facilities to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, in addition to the creation of the new steam plant.

A major part of the Five-Year Master Plan is promoting and fostering community engagement, which places an emphasis on the growth of the Superior Edge program on campus.

In 2006, the Superior Edge program was started to provide a unique experience that allowed students to become active in the surrounding community.

Students give back to Marquette, creating a positive image for NMU. In doing so, students also form strong ties in the area and this can have a positive effect on retention rates.

Since its establishment in 2006, Superior Edge has turned out 379 students who have completed either various or all edges of the program.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 4, there are 2,918 students enrolled in the Superior Edge program, and 2,173 are actively working towards their edges.

From 2006 to 2012, there has been a 21.4 percent overall growth of students graduating with all four edges complete.

This is NMU’s greatest accomplishment because it engages the community, provides students with real world experience and helps retain enrolled students.
There are still many things that NMU can improve before reaching the end of the road, but significant progress has been made thus far.
It is imperative that the administration looks into marketing strategies for reaching a broader international audience. This is the greatest area of increased enrollment and tuition revenue, and it should not be ignored.
International enrollment is one of the largest factors that the university must address in the coming years.
The university’s emphasis on innovation, meaningful lives, campus attributes and community engagement are important strategic elements that will push NMU further toward its goals of creating “productive citizens in the regional and global communities,” as well as lifelong learners.
As the Fall 2012 semester comes to a close, NMU should take stock and make the necessary improvements to ensure a future of promise and growth.

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