Edge Taking Shape
order to achieve the Superior Edge, NMU students will complete requirements
in four focus areas – leadership, citizenship, diversity and real-world
applications – and leave with an e-portfolio to document their experiences.
are the proposed components of the value-added initiative presented
by the Superior Edge Task Force at a forum last week. The event
included small-group discussions (pictured), which provided feedback
that will help fine-tune the plan. Four task force members were
scheduled this week to visit Purdue University-Indianapolis, a school
that has successfully implemented a similar model.
chair of the committee, said members have wrestled with a variety
of issues related to the depth and breadth of the program since
the group formed in October.
have struggled to reach a balance between inclusiveness versus exclusiveness,
involving many students in some activities versus involving a few
students in intense experiences, and balancing extensive program
demands with limited available resources."
four focus areas correspond to the desired outcomes of the Superior
Edge program. The goals are that students will grow as competent,
ethical and effective leaders; become engaged, involved citizens;
develop a world view and better understand and appreciate diversity;
and develop the ability to relate theory to practice.
would require students to compile an e-portfolio record and write
a reflective paper. Most would be comprised of about 100 hours of
related activities or experiences on top of specific educational
requirements unique to each area. For example, the leadership edge
would include a choice of the Student Leadership Fellowship Program
or a military science minor and at least one ethics course. The
citizenship edge would involve attending local political and governmental
pursuing the diversity edge would choose from three options: a combination
of study abroad and diversity presentations; a diversity class beyond
the World Cultures requirement plus 40 hours or related activities;
or 100 hours of diversity-themed experiences. The real-world edge
(working title) would require students to select at least two of
the following: an Academic Service Learning experience (40 hours);
relevant approved campus/community employment (40 hours); internship,
practicum, teaching and research apprenticeships for course credit;
and noncredit professional activities outside the classroom, such
as tutoring or professional conferences.
would receive a certificate, be honored at an annual reception and
recognized on their transcripts for each edge certification. Completing
all four areas would enable students to achieve the Superior Edge.
In addition to the benefits above, they would be nominated for scholarships/fellowships
for national student engagement graduate programs, be eligible to
compete for one of three annual Superior Edge awards, be listed
in the commencement program and receive a special cord to wear at
an intensive program that involves a major commitment of time and
energy to accomplish all four specific edge goals," said Dave
Bonsall (Student Activities
and Leadership Programs), a member of the task force. "It's
not for everyone, but it's available. The nice thing is its flexibility
and the fact it can be adapted to personal interests. Students could
complete only the edges they're really interested in, or they can
do all of them."
general consensus among those attending the forum was that the time
commitment was realistic, albeit challenging. Several pointed out
that students are already fulfilling many of the requirements; this
program would coordinate and document their efforts to maximize
the benefit for career or graduate school preparation.
Research) said the task force is exploring the idea of taking organization
and coordination a step further by creating a Center for Student
Development and Civic Engagement.
done a lot at NMU with Academic Service Learning, community service
programs, leadership programs, and student activities and organizations,"
Duby said. "It would be nice to have one center to pull all
of those elements together with one person to devote time and energy
into that area. That person could also do ASL and community service
grant writing, which would allow us to tap into funds we know are
it's a center or office will be hammered out in the end. The important
thing is finding a way to do a better job of organizing and handling
the increase in operations. Right now, we offer a great experience
for 50 students a year in the SLFP
. Can we ramp it up so we're
helping 200 or 500 students become leaders? To do that requires
a different approach – a way to effectively increase the scale."
Superior Edge Task Force will be giving presentations to various
campus groups through April, and members will share their progress
with the NMU Board
of Trustees on May 6.