October 14, 2011

Curriculum Alliances and the Growth of Northwood University

One of the ways that Northwood University works to ensure that our business curricula are as current and relevant as possible is through the use of curriculum advisory boards for our various degree programs system wide. Each board consists of national and local leaders who are asked to review curricula and make both new and enhanced course suggestions based upon the latest industry developments and trends.

In addition to shaping and influencing our classroom education, these strategic alliances also serve our students in four important respects:  

  • Experiential education
  • Networking and relationship building
  • The opportunity to attend and participate in key industry sponsored events
  • Job placement following graduation 

NU’s Corporate & Industry Curriculum Alliances 

As a leading business school with a global footprint, it is vital that Northwood establish and grow alliances with local, regional and global corporations and industries. Examples include:  

  • Academy of Finance, West Palm Beach, FL: Quarterly meetings with large and small business leaders identifying skills needed by today’s graduates for success in business, and specifically, financial services.
  • American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), which includes the following certifications for our students:
    • Introduction to Hospitality Management (HRM 1010)
    • Facilities Engineering (HRM 2100)
    • Resort & Club Management Certification (HRM 3100)
    • Human Resource Management Certification (HRM 4100)
  • Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo/Specialty Equipment Market Association (APEX/SEMA)
    • Includes NU’s Aftermarket Education Award which recognizes industry leaders for their contributions to the educational process in the automotive aftermarket field
  • Automotive dealership affiliations
  • Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals (AFIP), which includes a certification for our students enrolled in the F&I course (AM 3650)
  • International Association of Venue Managers
    • Includes NU’s IAVM/NU Venue Education Excellence Award for venue industry leaders around the world (sports arenas, convention centers, museums and performance centers) for industry and educational excellence – NU is the only university that sponsors an award of this type in conjunction with IAVM
  • AutoTrader.com:
    • Includes an Internet sales certification course for our students
    • NU students have also conducted research in partnership with AutoTrader
  • eBay Motors: Includes an online sales certification course for our students 
  • Elite Coaching Concepts
    • This is a unique partnership forged by our ESPM Program in Florida which provides athletic coaching workshops for youth sports programs within the Palm Beach, Broward, and Martin County area. The program will also develop Athletic Coaching Workshops geared to the high school and college coaching levels. It a great example of locally-driven efforts that will provide a variety of benefits to both the community and NU, including additional learning opportunities for current and future students.
  • Institute of Management Accountants, West Palm Beach chapter: Monthly discussions and continuing education with professionals on emerging accounting issues within various industries to help ensure NU accounting courses are addressing pertinent accounting knowledge and skills.
  • National Restaurant Association (NRA), which includes the following certifications for our students:
    • ServSafe Sanitation Certification (HRM 1030)
    • Food & Beverage Management Certification (HRM 2050)
  • National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
    • Includes NU’s Dealer Education Awards which honors industry leaders for their commitment to excellence in automotive marketing, education and community engagement.
  • SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing)

 The SAP Alliance: A Proto-Type for Future Growth

One example of how Northwood is working to establish and grow industry alliances globally is our participation in SAP’s University Alliances Program (UAP). In fact, Northwood is the only not-for-profit university in Michigan today to be part of this cutting-edge program.

In short, the SAP University Alliances program utilizes advanced curricula, technologies and academic research to support the formation of customized courses and projects aimed at developing “industry ready” graduates. This effort has paid dividends both for our graduates and the Northwood University stature and brand. Today, for example, NU alumni with SAP coursework are working for a number of businesses, including:  

  • Dow Chemical
  • Dow Corning
  • Consumers Energy
  • Adecco
  • The Manitowoc Company Inc.
  • GE
  • Steelcase Inc.
  • PepsiCo 

Under the leadership of Joseph Wulffenstein, division chair for Quantitative Studies and department chair for Management Information Systems, Michigan Campus Northwood continues to enhance its curriculum offerings with the goal of not only teaching SAP ERP but to align our curricula with proven and current business processes supported by the right SAP ERP enabling component.

As of today, we have six faculty members who are trained in SAP ERP; five in Michigan and one in Texas. The degree programs and courses using SAP as of the fall 2011 are: 

  • Management Information System
    • MIS1110 Intro to Management Info Systems
    • MIS3250 ERP Systems
    • MIS3300 Project Management
  • Management: MGT4300 Managing Information Technology
  • Entrepreneurship: ETR1010 Intro to Entrepreneurship
  • Accounting: ACC3500 Accounting Information Systems 

Plans to add more faculty and classes from Florida, Michigan and Texas by 2012 are under way. NU faculty are committed to expanding the curriculum to include more SAP enabled components in several majors and have the full support and encouragement of our administration which is providing necessary funding for faculty training both on and off campus.

Disciplined Dreaming at Northwood

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our faculty and staff for completing the Disciplined Dreaming exercises and answering the questions in chapter one, page 18. The information shared with our officers has been received and reviewed and by all accounts this effort was very successful. As Texas Provost, Dr. Kevin Fegan noted, Northwood faculty and staff were, “…engaged, active and worked through a very good assessment of where we’ve been, where we are at now, and where we need to be in the future.”

The feedback, insight and recommendations everyone provided is currently being organized and will be presented system wide in a forthcoming report. In the meantime, I hope and trust that all units throughout Northwood, including our faculty and students in the classroom, will continue to act on and utilize the insights and lessons from Disciplined Dreaming.

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)