Haynes Delivers Convocation
In his first convocation as NMU’s interim president, David Haynes encouraged faculty and staff to help him rethink, renew and reconnect.
“We need to rethink how things are done in order to increase recruitment, retention and revenue and deliver the best possible student experience and the highest levels of academic excellence,” he said. “We must renew commitments to each other, students and their families and the community to position NMU graduates to be exemplary global citizens and outstanding leaders. And we must reconnect with alumni, friends and benefactors to help them understand how they help to move NMU’s mission forward for everyone’s benefit.”
More specifically, Haynes said the efforts should be focused on four areas:
1. Enrollment: As universities rely increasingly on tuition revenue as a funding source, Haynes said NMU must rethink where and how to reach out to potential students. This includes forging new opportunities to increase the international student population, helping veterans fulfill the promise of the G.I. Bill, strengthening connections to regional K-12 schools and being more responsive to the needs of non-traditional students in terms of where and how courses are delivered.
2. Excellence: Haynes said NMU will expand and strengthen public and private partnerships that support economic development and generate internship, research and career opportunities for students. “We will recognize and embrace the powerful connections between education, enterprise and entrepreneurism by promoting financial literacy and by helping the region and the nation to create and fill jobs. And we will continue to reconnect with our graduates for mentorship, guidance and inspiration.”
3. Experience: It is critical to the vitality of the university, Haynes said, to retain current students and continue to recruit the best and the brightest. “That is why we are dedicated to providing a student experience that addresses every skill level, learning style, natural ability and diverse background and recognizes that the full continuum of the campus experience, from academics to housing, must meet the highest standards. Our goal is to provide all students—non-traditional, commuter and resident—with an enriching college experience so that they can, in turn, enrich the world around them.”
4. Endowment: Haynes said the belief at NMU is that all students deserve the opportunity to concentrate fully on their studies and to graduate in a timely manner, with minimal debt, in the best possible position to find a job and prosper. One key to reaching these goals is to increase private financial support. “About 80 percent of our students rely on some sort of financial aid. Over 40 percent hold down a job while taking classes. Many are the first in their families to attend college. Sixty-five percent of our 2010 graduates left NMU burdened by an average debt of over $18,000.”
“We will continue to renew our partnerships and reconnect with our alumni, friends and supporters to build a dynamic, competitive portfolio of financial resources, including scholarships and grants. We will do this not only to help ease the financial burdens of our students and families, but also to attract more outstanding faculty and high-achieving students by rewarding excellence, innovation and service.”
Before asking the campus community to strive to do better, Haynes outlined several qualities that faculty and staff can expect from him as he embarks on his first academic year as the administrative leader of NMU.
“I will not be a placeholder president. I will dedicate every waking hour to the furtherance of this institution. Your needs and the needs of our students cannot be put on hold. I will bring people into the decision-making mix and engage the critical thinking skills, knowledge and experience available in abundance on this campus. With your input and guidance, I will not be afraid to make tough decisions, but I will not lose sight of the fact that this institution is, first and foremost, about teaching and people.”
Haynes added that he will keep the lines of communication open, address issues in a timely, detailed manner and serve as a relentless advocate for NMU on campus, in the community and in Lansing.
To view his entire address, visit Convocation.