New Programs Debut


Several new academic programs will be offered at Northern this fall. Students may now pursue associate of applied science degrees in radiography, respiratory therapy and surgical technology; a certificate in plastic injection technology; graduate-level certificates in criminal justice management, facilitated training and performance improvement; a post-master’s nursing educator certificate; a bachelor’s degree in loss prevention management; and a master’s degree in experimental psychology.


Loss prevention management is Northern’s first completely online bachelor’s degree program. According to Bob Hanson (Criminal Justice), it had been in the planning stages for several years. But because the primary market is non-traditional students who work full time, implementation had to wait until technology made it possible to deliver the program in a strictly electronic format.


“We worked with our advisory board to identify essential courses,” Hanson said. “Based on that, we identified content experts from across the United States to work with faculty here to deliver classes. From what we can tell, this is a unique program in terms of the specialized audience it targets. We identified a niche – people already working in the loss prevention field whose upward mobility is limited because they don’t have a degree – and worked to develop something tailored to their needs. Target recently became the first retailer to require employees in its asset protection division to hold a bachelor’s degree.”


The national advisory board includes representatives of Target, along with Shopko, Lowe’s, Sears, Walgreens, Game Stop and other retailers representing more than $100 billion in sales. As of this week, 17 students had been accepted into the program this fall and another 20 are in some stage of the application process. Only one hails from Marquette, which shows the far-reaching recruitment potential.


“It’s an excellent career field that combines skills in business and investigation,” Hanson added. “They also have to be problem solvers. Loss prevention is about much more than catching individuals who shoplift on impulse or employees who pilfer items internally. They also deal with highly coordinated threats such as organized retail crime gangs and even terrorists who financially support their efforts by stealing.  As a result, they might work with the FBI or Secret Service on occasion. The loss prevention professionals are a crucial part of the management team because they help preserve the profit margin. The employment outlook and salary potential are positive, especially for women.”


Professionals are the primary market, but Hanson said there has been growing interest among current students since the loss prevention program was announced.


The Registrar’s Update reported that, in addition to adding new programs, Northern has temporarily suspended the following for the 2007-08 year because of low enrollments: majors in botany, business secondary education, chemistry (non-ASC certified), media studies, planning, social science, technical communications and water science; a certificate in carpentry; a diploma in collision repair technology; and certifications in corrections and labor leadership. NMU discontinued the labor studies minor and the surgical technology certificate. The latter was replaced by an associate degree.


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Updated: August 22, 2007

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