January 6, 2012

New Beginnings

The New Year provides us an opportunity to approach our work with renewed determination and hope. With that in mind, we do well to review the goals we established at the start of the academic year at Convocation, see how we are doing, and rededicate ourselves to their achievement:

1.      “Hit the Books”

For our students, “hitting the books” means taking full advantage of their Northwood education. One way they are accomplishing this is through compressed course offerings, formerly known as “minis.”

During the holiday break which runs to mid-January, we have a 435 duplicated headcount (some students are in more than one course) in 42 different course sections. The benefits of this are many: degree acceleration; on-time graduation; international student articulations; and flexibility in achieving school-work-life balance—NU students can enroll in day, evening, online, seminar, or weekend courses or a combination of any of the latter; whatever works best for them.  

For our faculty, this means doing everything we can to provide a Northwood education. To that end, our faculty members are active on several fronts, including:

  • Teaching compressed courses
  • Scholarly research and writing
  • Continuing education and study
  • Ramping up courses for the spring 2012 semester and beyond

For staff, it means doing all they can to sustain an educational environment built on rigor, healthy change, and creativity. Thus, our staff is busy on many crucial fronts, including:

  • Driving student registrations and retention
  • Campus life, including a special residency incentive program
  • Accreditation efforts through the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
  • Updating and refining our Systems Portfolio
  • Ongoing implementation of our Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) which we first started in 2003: http://www.northwood.edu/aboutus/aqip/default.aspx

2.      Get Involved

When we say “Get involved,” at Northwood we really mean it. Northwood students have the opportunity to engage in any of the 66 registered student organizations (RSOs) on our residential campuses, a full range of athletics programs, degree related internships, and study abroad programs.

In addition to community volunteering and partnerships, Northwood faculty and staff are busy mentoring our students and RSOs and working in a more structured way with Admissions and Marketing to drive student enrollment and retention.

3.      Immerse Yourself in The Northwood Idea

Free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and an intimate understanding of the “architecture of ordered-freedom” made the exceptionalism of America and countries around the world possible. Only by understanding where it is that we came from will we be positioned to achieve similar success in the future.

Naturally, this is a topic that remains at the forefront of our activities. For our students, it entails topics and themes in our curricula including courses such as Philosophy of American Enterprise. For our faculty, staff, and university community as a whole, it involves ongoing study—both theoretical and applied—of The Northwood Idea as seen at work throughout history and today.

4.      Dream big

For our students, “dreaming big” is about putting their educational and career goals into action. For faculty and staff, it means inspiring those who look to us for leadership—most especially these same students—and working with them to advance our goals. As Simon Sinek, our Spring Omniquest author, notes in Start With Why: “With a little discipline, any leader or organization can inspire others, both inside and outside their organization…We can all learn to lead.”

And one example of how we are working to do just this is a system-wide program with last semester’s Omniquest author (Disciplined Dreaming) Josh Linkner on Tuesday, February 28.

As the daily news reveals, our mission is more and more critical every day. Thus, I invite you to re-focus on these goals in the coming year; allow them to animate everything you are and do. In so doing, we will succeed in our mission and renew the exceptionalism that gave rise to our existence as an institution.

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)