April 13, 2012

The Northwood University Degree - A Balanced Approach

Our March 30 Weekly Message shared an editorial from the Midland Daily News about the good things that are happening here at Northwood University. It’s not necessary for you to read every article to which we refer but one that appeared in the April 5 edition of the Wall Street Journal, “Wealth or Waste? Rethinking the Value of a Business Major,” is one that is well worth our review. To read the article, click here.

While not all the points the author makes are in congruence with the Northwood Idea, many are very relevant to us. Like the institutions mentioned, we have consistently broadened and deepened our business degree programs with courses and exercises that develop writing, creative thinking, communication, and debate skills today’s employers demand. In our 53 year history, our curriculum has ascended from a core of almost all business courses to a balanced composition in which general education or liberal arts accounts for roughly 50% of our degrees while the remaining 50% is split between general business and specialized degree courses.

Our Omniquest selections, small group offerings, and guest speaker events such as Pulitzer Prize winning historian Gordon Wood, economist and political scientist John Blundell, and entrepreneur and venture capitalist Josh Linkner are much more than vocational programs and certainly not what one could describe as the “nuts and bolts” of the typical business education today. They are a reflection of the core values that make up The Northwood Idea and enable us to educate creative and innovative minded students who are prepared to help make their co-workers and the businesses they work for even more successful.

One of the many ways we ensure a substantive education with real world skills, and one in which so many of our faculty are now busily engaged, involves our curriculum advisory boards. By collaborating with industry and business leaders to revise our curriculum, we maintain the highest degree of accountability by ensuring we take a fresh and innovative look at our degree programs on an ongoing basis. And there are many other significant ways each of us can and should be engaged to ensure ours is a business degree fit for people ready to lead and serve other people in the marketplace.

So while some question the worth of a business degree today, we know full well it continues to offer tremendous benefit if it is offered in a real and valuable way. We can always find pessimists who question the value of a general business degree, but that is not what we offer at Northwood University.

This is just “scratching the surface” on this topic and we welcome your feedback on how we can highlight how we are doing things differently. We want to hear your thoughts on other innovative ways in which we are educating the future leaders of global, free enterprise society. You may send your comments to: president@northwood.edu

Have a great weekend.


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