November 23, 2011

IACBE Assessment Update

Between now and the end of the semester, we are taking our assessment efforts to a new level by launching comprehensive examinations for all December graduates. As we reported in a weekly message last year, we achieved candidacy status with the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). The IACBE requires that we gather assessment data for each Northwood graduate, at the BBA and MBA levels.

This semester, we are expanding assessments that we piloted last spring to include our BBA graduating seniors at all US locations as well as our MBA students who are completing this December. At the BBA level, we are testing seniors on the Business Core Curriculum common to all majors. At the MBA level, we are testing graduating students on the business acumen components of their curriculum. Starting with our 2012 cohorts, the DeVos Graduate School of Management will conduct pre-tests and post-tests of business acumen in order to better document the significant learning gains of those who complete the MBA program.

Not only are these assessments an important milestone in fulfilling IACBE accreditation requirements, but also an important milestone in Northwood’s quality and continuous improvement efforts.

I look forward to providing you more information on this important exercise next week. In the meantime, please join me in encouraging all students graduating in December to complete these exams.

Happy Thanksgiving

One of America’s hallowed traditions, enshrined and codified by our nation’s framers, is its annual Thanksgiving holiday. Tomorrow is a day set aside for us to reflect upon and rejoice in our many blessings, including those principles, persons, and institutions responsible for the liberties and securities we enjoy.

As highlighted during Convocation, America’s colonial experience was a watershed moment in our history. Human nature being what it is, the equal distribution of land and responsibility did not result in equal contributions of work and harvest. As a result, the extant challenges posed by disease, starvation, and harsh living conditions were made even more insurmountable and together they decimated the early Jamestown and Plymouth colonies.

Prior to planting in the spring of 1623, Governor William Bradford implemented a new economic system based on private ownership. While land was allocated equally among the colonists, ownership and the right to its produce were private rather than public. The results as we know were nothing short of amazing. The Plymouth Colony transformed itself from a struggling and financially-strapped community into a thriving one. Combined with the introduction of the first grist mill in the new world, the Plymouth Colony grew from a grain producer and exporter into a flour producer and exporter– a significant achievement at that point in history– as well as an exporter of a growing number of other finished goods.

Only when the colonists acted on sound theory reinforced by experience did they begin to flourish and give rise to one of the most rapid eras of economic, industrial and culture development in the history of the world.

Thus, I invite you this Thanksgiving to reflect upon and give thanks for the experiences, wisdom, and leadership that gave rise to America’s exceptionalism and that will continue to serve–as expressed in The Northwood Idea–to the exceptionalism of the generations to come.

On behalf of the entire Northwood family, I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.


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