Marquette - Northern Michigan University's strategic plan "The Road Map to 2015 and Beyond," that was announced in March 2008 is under way despite the current slow economy.
"We may have slowed down our travels a bit, but the overall plan remains intact," said NMU President Les Wong. "NMU wants to be at the forefront of what's possible at a 21st century comprehensive university."
The academic master plan or "Road Map to 2015" identifies four thematic areas, including innovation, meaningful lives, campus attributes and community engagement.
Northern Michigan University President Les Wong speaks about NMU’s new strategic plan to a crowd of NMU faculty, staff and students, and community members at Jamrich Hall . (Journal photo by Miriam Moeller)
Since it's introduction, Road Map initiatives have began under these four areas.
"Some examples of Road Map initiatives under way have been a significant increase in the number of corporate partners for internship opportunities, a strategic increase in our global engagement opportunities both on campus and off, starting to build our WiMax network, submitting the Hunt Hall renovation for LEED certification (we think we'll get silver certification), undertaking a study on 'trayless' serving in our dining facilities, expanding online course and program offerings and increasing the number of articulation agreements we have," Wong said.
In addition, NMU has used its technology capabilities to create a new online resume system, devise an incomplete grade system and complete the transition to a paperless payroll.
"Maybe one of the most significant achievements to date had been applying for and receiving the voluntary Carnegie classification as a 'community-engaged campus,' for which we received the highest rating," Wong said.
Wong said NMU will stand out from other universities because of its location, use of technology and international experience.
Other priorities include expanding programs in nursing, allied health and information technology and exploring creating graduate degree programs before "other universities step into the U.P. offering doctorates and master's programs," Wong said.
A reward system for innovative faculty, interdisciplinary and interdepartmental collaboration; more corporate partners; and the development of financial resources were also on Wong's list of priorities.
"We have a number of companies interested in our wireless (technology), faculty use of laptops and students' abilities to write programs," Wong said. "We have solved many problems that companies haven't even encountered yet."
He also proposed revamping NMU's liberal studies program.
"I find our current liberal studies program unfathomable," he said, adding that a reorganized liberal studies program must prepare students to lead meaningful and responsible lives.
Another part of the road map focuses on following NMU's Campus Master Plan and becoming a model of a sustainable university.
"We're going to become a more green and learner-centered campus," Wong said.
The campus will also focus on engaging the community more, Wong said.
"I think Northern can play a role in helping communities tackle problems," he said.
The full plan can be viewed at www.nmu.edu/roadmap2015.