Current University of Idaho Vice President of Enrollment Steven Neiheisel has been hired as the new vice president for enrollment and student services for NMU. He will begin his duties on Friday, Nov. 1. Neiheisel has held similar enrollment and student services positions at various other universities nationwide, though most notably spent seven years at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay as an assistant dean for enrollment services.
“My background includes enrollment management,” said Neiheisel, who received his master’s and doctorate degrees from Ohio State. “I actually started my career as orientation coordinator at Ohio State, so that was first taste of administration — running freshman orientation‚ which was actually one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had.”
Neiheisel, having lived in Green Bay for seven years prior to taking a job at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, said he is particularly drawn to the experience of small regional universities, and that Northern is particularly alluring because of its relative rural-ness and the surrounding wilderness.
“There’s a lot to say for mid-sized public institutions in terms of the kinds of experiences that students can have there,” Neiheisel said. “I think with a school of about 9,000 and the breadth of the programs (at NMU), it’s a really great opportunity — I think students can have a great experience because it’s big enough to have choices but small enough to stay really personal.”
Neiheisel added because his sons played hockey while his family lived in Green Bay, he has quite a bit of familiarity with the Upper Peninsula and the northern Midwest in general, having traveled all over the U.P. for hockey tournaments and games.
“One of the things that I noticed was flying in, I looked out and at least this time of year it was very green, though I do know it turns white,” Neiheisel said of the U.P. landscape. “But it’s beautiful country in terms of environment, it’s got the trees, it’s got the lake, it’s got a lot outdoors. The Pacific Northwest and the Upper Midwest are the two regions my wife and I just love.”
However, some challenges lie ahead as Neiheisel becomes part of the enrollment and students services department at NMU, and especially so as Northern administrators look at big goals for the future.
“Obviously there’s the enrollment goals of the institution that need to be trimmed up and achieved,” he said, referring to his broadest goal as a new vice president. “I think the success of the students is really going to be a key in that…obviously better retention, better graduation rates, more successful students, and I think from what I’ve seen, things are fairly positive. I think really working with the students and the staff to help students be more successful.”
According to NMU President David Haynes, Neiheisel was chosen from over 18 candidates, and was ultimately hired after a search committee narrowed the candidates down to three.
“The other two candidates were very strong people, very talented, big names in their field, but everyone felt that (Neiheisel) fit us the best, so we’re excited about it,” Haynes said. “(Neiheisel) will be seeing whether we are providing the best and most appropriate services to our customers called students. I want him to work with students on that, I want him to engage students in that conversation. He’s got a big job.”
With his start date of November 1 approaching quickly, Neiheisel said what most excites him about his move to the Upper Peninsula is being able to work with the faculty, executives and students at NMU.
“I’m really looking forward to the people, as well as the challenges and opportunities,” he said. “I had a great experience at the interview, I think it’s a great group of people to work with there, everyone from the executive level to the faculty that I met.
I’m looking for some new challenges professionally, and look forward to working with a really exciting group of people.”