July 8, 2011

"Happiness breeds happiness" - Otis Wilson (1934 - 2011)

This past Sunday the Northwood family lost a much loved and revered member in professor Otis Wilson following a courageous battle with leukemia AMS. A loving husband, father and grandfather, Otis will be dearly missed by those who knew and worked with him.

Known for his outgoing spirit, enthusiasm and leadership, Otis was a proud servant to his family, Northwood University, his community and our nation. A former Midland County commissioner and Rotarian, Otis served in the United States Army for nearly 29-years retiring as a Colonel in 1985.

He taught management, public relations, business ethics and history here at Northwood from 1990 to 2010 and served as grand marshal at our Winter Commencement this past December. A well-read individual who was deeply conversant with past and current events he is perhaps best known to members of the Northwood Community for his ability to capture the essence of an idea or a particular piece of wisdom succinctly and often humorously - known in Northwood lore as "Wilson-isms." Among his many gems are:

  • "Why is it so hard to listen? I'll tell you why: you can listen faster than I can speak."
  • "As that great philosopher B.B. King once said, 'I know the cost, 'cause I pay the bills.'"
  • "You will never see a rubber band do its job without being stretched."
  • "Are you able to yell at yourself? If you can't, develop that habit."
  • "Give people an opportunity to think. "
  • "The only way to get even with someone is by staying back with them."
  • "One of the best ways to get a person to stop listening to you is to tell them they are wrong."

In these and his countless other contributions to the good life, Otis leaves a legacy of wisdom from which we can and should continue to learn for the remainder of our years. While one can only speculate on what he might draw to our attention as we mourn his loss and reflect on his life I think it's fair to suggest that he would remind us of the following: "Happiness breeds happiness," and of course, "Stay away from strong Coca-Cola's."

We will miss you Otis. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your wife Bonnie, your children, family and friends.

Peace Through Business

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the partnership between Northwood University and the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women's (IEEW) Peace Through BusinessTM program. The partnership, which began in 2007, has had a wonderful impact on everyone fortunate enough to be involved. During this time 60 female business owners from Rwanda and Afghanistan, using curriculum provided by Northwood, mastered the knowledge and skill sets necessary for successfully managing their own businesses.

Next week, July 11-15, 15 students from Afghanistan and Rwanda will participate in a Leadership Development program hosted on our Texas Campus. In addition to furthering their formal business education, participants are given the unique opportunity to live with and receive mentoring from an American woman business owner in the same trade. Following completion of this program, participants will attend the International Women's Economic Summit at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., July 25-26. As part of the graduation celebration, participants commit to sharing the knowledge and insight gained with other women in their home countries for the same goal and purpose of empowerment.

We look forward to meeting the 2011 visiting entrepreneurs
-whose businesses range from cell phone distribution to silk worm farming - and to working with them further to strengthen and grow the global, free-enterprise society.

Recruitment Excellence

I am very happy to report that our recruitment efforts continue to move forward during a most challenging year and that our faculty, staff, alumni and supporters are "pulling out all the stops" to succeed.

One such effort involves a new training initiative utilizing RecruiterTM a customer relations management (CRM) solution that we launched in fall 2010 to support and manage our recruitment and enrollment efforts. RecruiterTM streamlines processes across Northwood campuses and allows us to market all programs as ONE Northwood. Among its many benefits, the software allows us to detail our conversations with prospective students, streamline admissions procedures, process applications for admission and build detailed reports. In addition, new applications were developed for our residential, Adult Degree, returning student, international and DeVos Graduate School populations respectively.

Employees who complete the training receive certificates and the information is documented in their training record. This past May and June 41 Northwood staff system-wide completed the requisite training, which included three (3) different training modules:

Rose Avery Michael Fenning Carla Powers
Matthew Bennett Heidi Forbes Lisa Rasak
Brett Blythe Diana Garcia Brendan Robinson
Phylecia Boomhower Nicole Gonzalez Brian Rolfes
Rachel Charbonneau Julie Hanna Michelle Rottiers
Maria Cifani-Stepp Karyn Hughes Stacy Smith
Gary Cocking Marla King Kris Swogger
Stephanie Cramton Kathryn King Rachel Valdiserri
James Croan Kim Leach Anita Whitney
Andrea Diaz Kima Light Heather Wilkins
Wendy DiGirolamo McKenna Long Roy Wilson
Doug Doran Kelly Moultine Tracie Wood
Colleen Dow Michelle Perri
Edward Downing Lorena Pittman

In Florida and Michigan we have undertaken a "Billboard Blitz" to drive enrollment for our MBA, ADP and residential programs. The campaign utilizes key messages and themes created and developed by our Marketing Services team and members of the Northwood staff and student body, including:

  • Global. Business. Leaders.
  • The local choice for a world-class degree.
  • Leadership begins here.
  • Industry-driven. Employer-desired.
  • Start your own company. Be your own boss.
  • Evening, Weekend, Online, On Campus.
  • More than a degree.
  • The economy is flat. Your education shouldn't be.

In Florida, our Admissions team hosted "Jumpstart" Orientations in May and June and will host a third on July 29th. In addition, they co-hosted an open tryout with our Florida Athletics staff in June are working closely with the Financial Aid office to ensure that all of our new student awards are completed in a timely manner.

Marla King and our Florida Adult Degree Program staff are busy working on a number of fronts, including:

  • Continued involvement with the Business Development Board of West Palm Beach County, including a breakfast with corporate decision-makers on June 30th and a possible luncheon to be held later this month
  • Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital Education Fair on July 25th
  • An American Society of Training and Development event on August 14th
  • A Palm Beach County Business Network event on Campus August 24th
  • Higher Education Partner of South East Florida (HEPSEF) corporate education fairs
  • Ongoing Corporate "Lunch and Learns"

Our Admissions office in Michigan hosted a "Hot Summer's Night" Open House on June 23rd. Soon-to- graduate seniors who are still undecided, as well as soon-to-be-seniors who are just beginning the visit process, were invited. The event consisted of a brief NU presentation by James Hopp, chair of Entrepreneurship, a student panel, campus tours and concluded with an outdoor dinner in the NADA Courtyard.

Our Academics team in Michigan is working hard to get new transfer students evaluated and registered for classes. These duties are in addition to conducting sessions for both students and parents at six Freshman Orientations. Marisa Toschkoff, registrar and Carmel Evon, assistant registrar, get the process rolling by evaluating transcripts for new transfer students. This is followed by a "results review" with our Admissions team.

Once transfer students are committed, they can opt to register for classes online or to meet with one of our Academic Advisors - Gail Maday, Mandi Swafford, Ellen Iwanow plus Marisa Toschkoff and Kayte Aspray - who provide guidance and coaching regarding their individual degree programs and assist in coordinating student/family visits with the Financial Aid and Business Office, or to view Housing accommodations. In addition, our transfer students are encouraged to call and/ or email their Advisor during the summer if questions arise. As Katie Aspray explains, "We strive to have the student and family leave campus feeling that they have been well assisted and welcomed to Northwood, and that there is a connection to the campus environment."

Our Texas Campus renewed its contract with popular Dallas radio talk show host and The Dallas Morning News columnist Mark Davis. In addition to helping us grow NU's brand awareness on a statewide and regional basis, Mark's place as one of the leading voices in America for limited, responsible government and the creative power of free-markets is key to our spreading the philosophy of The Northwood Idea.

As Sylvia Correa reports, the Admissions and Financial Aid offices on our Texas Campus continue to host "Financial Aid Nights" for traditional and ADP students to help them complete their FAFSA and other financial paperwork. These two offices are also working together to ensure new students are aware of any missing financial information through additional phone call, email and postcard reminder outreach efforts.

In addition, the Texas Admissions and Athletics offices are working closely to recruit nearly 100 new athletes for this fall and summer orientations continue to serve as a great way to engage our new students and keep them committed to us. Students not only get their student IDs and housing assignments, they also receive personalized admissions, financial aid and registration packets to guide them through the enrollment process. Student Orientation leaders provide activities that are not only fun but allow students to get to know one another and thus build their Northwood network long before they start classes. Members of the Texas faculty, in turn, are on hand to interact with their new students and answer any last minute questions they may have about their programs.

I look forward to sharing more updates with you regarding our recruitment efforts in the coming weeks.

Have a great weekend.

Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640
989.837.4203 (phone)
989.832.9590 (fax)