June 29, 2012

Everyone Can Make a Difference

During our Quarterly System-Wide Update Meeting earlier this month, many thought-provoking questions were asked, but it was the last question of the day that was of particular interest: “What can we, who are not part of the Admissions staff, do to help increase student enrollment?”

It’s a great question and one we might all consider further. It’s easy to think, “There’s nothing I personally can do,” when it comes to a situation that lies outside our experience, expertise, or comfort zone. We may have asked that question at one time or another due to our individual perspectives (“Visitors to Northwood don’t want to hear from me”), or to our roles within our University (“I’m not in Admissions or Academics or Financial Aid or…so there’s little of value I can offer in the area of increasing student enrollment.”).

But in truth, we can all make a difference, even if it doesn’t seem to be in the most immediate way. Each of us can have a positive impact in many ways. All it takes is a little perspective and a little creative thinking.

With that in mind, here is a random list of “helpful” ideas put together by some of our colleagues that we all can do to make Northwood University a great place to be for students, their families, and all our colleagues: 

  1. Determine to be the best person you can be - each and every day.
  2. Do your job to the fullest of your ability.
  3. Smile!! You, and everyone around you, will feel better.
  4. Offer to help in our Admissions departments.
  5. Attend one or more student orientation events this summer.
  6. Post Northwood success stories and press releases on your personal social media pages (Facebook and LinkedIn for example).
  7. Keep our campuses clean. Pick up rubbish and dispose of it properly.
  8. Wear Northwood gear when you’re out in public.
  9. Spread the word about the student Business Start-Up Pitch Competition and the Northwood University Venture Hatchery offered through the Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity & Enterprise.
  10. Greet campus visitors with a smile and handshake. Introduce yourself and tell them what you do at Northwood.
  11. Volunteer for a fundraising phone-a-thon.
  12. Connect with student visitors and their parents.  Ask them about their interest in being part of our communities.
  13. Bring your family and friends to Northwood events such as athletic competitions, guest speakers open to the public, etc.
  14. Share department/major success stories with our Marketing department.
  15. Engage our guests. Ask how you might be able to assist them or answer any questions they may have.
  16. Make sure you have a Northwood University lapel pin you can wear to off-campus activities.
  17. Provide good customer service by returning phone messages and e-mail inquiries promptly.
  18. Encourage, compliment, and thank your co-workers: your peers, those you supervise, and your supervisors.
  19. Volunteer to be a presenter on a special topic in a classroom presentation.
  20. Assist during Welcome Weekend activities.
  21. Show your support for, and encourage others to be part of, non-athletic events by attending student award banquets, Omniquest/guest speakers, Freedom Seminar, etc. 
  22. Be an active participant in one of our campus Specialty Days.
  23. Make sure your office or work area is neat and professional-looking.
  24. Take family and friends on a campus tour.
  25. Let young people and parents know about our unique offerings as a business school like the EXCEL program, Student Government Association, American Marketing Association, DECA, Crossing Over, Auto Shows, Mock Trial Association, the Entertainment, Sports, Promotions & Management Association, and Competitive Speech.
  26. Dress and act professionally by observing our dress and conduct codes at all times.
  27. Participate in culture-building and physically-challenging events such as the Get Fit Competition, Values Emphasis Week, 5K Fun Runs, and other campus activities.
  28. Volunteer at residential campus and Adult Degree Program/DeVos Graduate School Center Open Houses.
  29. Brainstorm on other ways we can grow Northwood University to new heights - and send them to me at president@northwood.edu (we can’t promise we’ll be able to use every one of your suggestions, but they will be read and considered).

This is one list among many on which we can work. Admissions Counselor Kurt Bowhuis (NU ‘10) noted, “The work done within each department at Northwood University affects enrollment…enrollment is already a team effort, whether we recognize it or not.”

It’s important to know our efforts will make a difference, directly or indirectly, on our long term University success by encouraging more potential students to take advantage of what we have to offer.

Enjoy your weekend and the July 4th activities next week!


Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640