March 9, 2012

More for less: Northwood's 2012 Summer Session and the Future of Higher Education

“More for less.” It’s an often-used phrase—especially in the world of business and consumer spending—and one that describes human action since the beginning of time. By our very nature we tend to look to achieve more for less at some level within our work and lives.

The world of higher education is no different. In today’s competitive landscape of colleges and universities, the demand for more learning options at increasingly competitive rates is a message that continues to rank high. As an institution that prides itself on understanding the nature of consumer markets, we’ve heard that message loud and clear and we continue to respond in new and innovative ways.

One example is this year’s Summer Session. In addition to initiatives such as Seamless Enrollment-Flexible Delivery, we will provide a 25% discount on tuition for traditional students taking classes this summer. This cost-savings will enable students to complete NU course work on campus, online, or at one of our off-campus locations for just $477 per credit hour (this discount does not apply to the Study Abroad program, internships or practicums, and excludes ADP students). And, as an added bonus, students attending this year’s Freedom Seminar can also apply the discount to the cost of the seminar tuition (discount is for tuition only and does not include meals and lodging).

Not only will students benefit by saving money, they will be able to take extra classes, work on a second or third major or minor, get caught up on their degree program so they can graduate on time, or enroll in that special class they’ve “always wanted to take” but did not have the time or resources to do so. And we’re offering them the opportunity to take advantage of on-campus housing options.

Naturally, this is a benefit to our current students but it will also serve to attract guest students who want to take advantage of Northwood University classes, including our cutting-edge, specialized course offerings. The latter is significant in at least two respects: it will drive up our summer enrollments and help us meet our annual enrollment goal, and it’s another way we are working to grow year-round enrollment from the ground up.

It is imperative for us to remember this fact: every “guest” student who sits in our classrooms and engages our award-winning faculty and programs this summer is also a prospective Northwood alumnus or alumna. In the same way you and I become loyal customers of one brand or another in the consumer goods market, students often make long-term choices regarding their education based on one successful experience. We need to do all we can to ensure our Summer Session—from marketing it, to registration, to the classroom—enables our guests to experience firsthand how and why we are positively different from other business schools around the world.  That will encourage them to want to become a member of our Northwood community.

Beyond this, our Summer Session points to the changing face of higher education. As the volume of students looking for alternative ways to complete their education in four years rises, we need to embrace and lead the way both in terms of the academic calendar and mode of delivery. The traditional fall and winter semester system (with a summer break), based largely around conventional classes, is giving way to a year-round model where courses are conducted via blended, hybrid, online, and express modes of delivery. As leading higher education thinkers Clayton Christensen (a Harvard Business School professor and world-renowned innovation guru) and Henry Eyring (advancement vice president and educational strategist at Brigham Young University‐Idaho) point out in their book The Innovative University, the traditional university must find new and innovative ways to remain viable and relevant in light of these changes. We should not do this by abandoning our existing system of on-campus faculty and face-to-face meeting spaces, but rather by leveraging them in new and creative ways that drive home their value and uniqueness to the changing education market.

If you know of someone who may be interested in taking a closer look at Northwood, please encourage them to check us out at www.northwood.edu/summer-sessions.

Have a great weekend.

Keith

President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640
989.837.4203 (phone)
pretty@northwood.edu