University President
Position Specifications

SealConfidential Search conducted by

Witt / Kieffer

Prepared by

The NMU Board of Trustees, L. Garn Lewis, chair of the NMU Board of Trustees
H. Sook Wilkinson, NMU Board of Trustees member and chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee
in conjunction with Katherine Haley, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, Witt/Kieffer Higher Education Practice
November 2013

Table of Contents

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The Opportunity

Northern Michigan University, located in Marquette, Michigan, is a dynamic four-year, public, comprehensive university that has grown its reputation based on its nationally recognized academic programs, award-winning leadership programs, and cutting-edge technology initiatives.

With a stunning 360 acre campus on the shores of Lake Superior, Northern Michigan has a population of about 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 180 degree programs, including 18 graduate programs. NMU is one of three Michigan public universities to also serve a community college role for its region, which means the breadth of NMU’s academic programs range from one-year diplomas through master’s degrees. NMU will offer its first doctoral program – the Doctor of Nursing Practice – in fall 2014. Some of the NMU degree programs to receive national or international recognition in the past three years have been art and design, business, computer science, education, English and nursing. As part of its broad range of programming, NMU also offers an entrepreneurship major, diagnostic molecular science, cytogenetics programs, ski management and wildland firefighting.

One of NMU’s most consistent traits is providing outstanding personal attention to students coupled with great placement rates. Northern Michigan University offers two highly acclaimed leadership programs: the Student Leader Fellowship Program (SLFP) and Superior Edge. The SLFP is a highly selective, two-year leadership experience. The Superior Edge program is open to all NMU students and has nearly a third of the student population participating in the program’s four edges: citizenship, diversity awareness, leadership and real-world application.

Snow WalkOver the past 13 years, Northern Michigan University has been selected for numerous international and national awards for its use of next-generation technology in the higher education setting. One of the largest notebook computer campuses in the United States, NMU has been cited as one of the most wired and most densely wireless campuses in the country. NMU’s leadership in technology resulted in President Barack Obama choosing the NMU campus as the site to announce his national wireless initiative in 2011.

The president serves as chief executive officer responsible for leading the faculty, staff and students in envisioning and creating the future of Northern Michigan University. The next president will demonstrate outstanding leadership ability, evidence of successful higher education administrative and academic experience, commitment to and understanding of the mission, and the interpersonal and communication skills to build and maintain strong, effective relationships with a broad range of constituents – faculty, staff, students, the Board of Trustees, the community, alumni, and the legislature. The president will possess the ability and inclination to be an active fundraiser. In this highly competitive admissions marketplace, understanding of and demonstrated success in enrollment management (recruitment and retention) is critical. Strong educational credentials, including a terminal degree and a broad understanding of and appreciation for academic life including teaching, scholarship and service are essential, with an earned doctorate highly preferred. 

The Location

Northern Michigan University’s hometown of Marquette is a city of 20,000 residents located along the southern shore of Lake Superior. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is known for its safe, friendly and natural environment. The Marquette community and Northern Michigan University are intricately intertwined, which adds to the vitality of the area and to the opportunities available to NMU students. The diversity of the U.P.’s geographical terrain serves the NMU community as an extensive outdoor classroom. 

The President

The president serves as chief executive officer responsible for leading the faculty, staff and students in envisioning and creating the future of Northern Michigan University. The next president will demonstrate outstanding leadership ability, evidence of successful higher education administrative and academic experience, commitment to and understanding of the mission, and the interpersonal and communication skills to build and maintain strong, effective relationships with a broad range of constituents – faculty, staff, students, the Board of Trustees, the community, alumni, and the legislature. In this highly competitive admissions marketplace, understanding of and demonstrated success in enrollment management (recruitment and retention) is critical. The president will possess the ability and inclination to be an active fundraiser, and demonstrated competence in sound fiscal management. Strong educational credentials, including a terminal degree and a broad understanding of and appreciation for academic life including teaching, scholarship and service are essential, with an earned doctorate highly preferred. 

 


 

University Profile

Mission
Northern Michigan University challenges its students and employees to think independently and critically, develop lifelong learning habits, acquire career skills, embrace diversity and become productive citizens in the regional and global community.

Vision
Northern Michigan University will become the university of choice in the Midwest for students seeking a quality academic program with individualized attention in a high-tech learning environment.

Diversity Statement
Northern Michigan University strives to be an inclusive community where differences are recognized as assets of the institution, respected attributes of the person and a valuable part of the university experience.

Today’s NMU

HallwayNorthern Michigan University, located in Marquette, Michigan, is a dynamic four-year, public, comprehensive university that has grown its reputation based on its award- winning leadership programs, cutting-edge technology initiatives and nationally recognized academic programs.

Northern Michigan University has a population of about 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 180 degree programs, including 18 graduate programs. The university has two semesters per year, a fall and winter semester, and two summer sessions.

NMU is one of three Michigan public universities to also serve a community college role for its region, which means the breadth of NMU’s academic programs range from one- year diplomas through master’s degrees. NMU will offer its first doctoral program – the Doctor of Nursing Practice – in fall 2014.

NMU’s most popular bachelor’s degrees are art and design, nursing, criminal justice, elementary education and biology. The university’s fastest growing academic areas are clinical science, biology, and the geographical and environmental sciences. 

Recognized Programs. Personal Attention.

Some of the NMU degree programs to receive national or international recognition in the past three years have been art and design, business, computer science, education, English and nursing.

Some unique aspects of NMU’s academic menu include being the only university to offer five national Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science accredited programs in the United States and one of three universities nationwide with both diagnostic molecular science and cytogenetics programs.

NMU is one of only two Michigan universities to have an entrepreneurship major. It also has one of the few programs in the country for both ski management and wildland firefighting. Programs that boast 90 percent placement rate or higher are business, clinical sciences, engineering technology, music education, line and power technician, and theater, as well as our pre-medical and pre-dental students for professional school admittance. In fact, NMU has programs in 43 of the 50 fastest growing occupations as identified in the “Training for Michigan’s Hot Jobs” report.

One of NMU’s most consistent traits is for providing outstanding personal attention to students. More than 75 percent of NMU’s 300- plus full-time faculty members have doctorates or a terminal degree in their fields, and a hallmark of the NMU experience is that full-time faculty members teach at all levels — freshmen through graduate courses. NMU’s 1,100 employees view helping students succeed as not only a university priority, but a personal goal. 

A Pioneer in Leadership Building

Northern Michigan University has two highly acclaimed leadership programs: the Student Leader Fellowship Program (SLFP) and Superior Edge. The SLFP, which has been in existence for more than 20 years, is a highly selective, two-year leadership experience for 50 selected students each year.

The Superior Edge program is open to all NMU students and has nearly a third of the student population participating in the program’s four edges: citizenship, diversity awareness, leadership and real-world application of classroom theory.

These two programs, along with NMU’s efforts in academic service learning, an active volunteer center on campus that does extensive outreach throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula region, and about 300 student organizations combine to make the NMU campus a place where involvement is a natural component of the Northern student experience.

Northern Michigan University was selected as the recipient of the 2013 Engaged Campus of the Year Award from Michigan Campus Compact. The Compact is a coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education. NMU also is one of about 300 colleges and universities nationwide to have the Carnegie Foundation’s “community-engaged campus” designation.

Other NMU programs of note include the First Year Experience program, Honors Program, and Freshman Fellows, which matches incoming freshmen with faculty members for collaborative research. NMU also offers outstanding study abroad opportunities. 

Technology

Over the past 13 years, Northern Michigan University has been selected for numerous international and national awards for its use of next-generation technology in the higher education setting.

NMU is one of the largest notebook computer campuses in the United States, with all full-time students receiving either a ThinkPad or MacBook as part of tuition.

The university has been cited as one of the most wired and most densely wireless campuses in the country.

Northern Michigan University was the first U.S. university to own and operate a WiMAX (4G) network, which now spans about 40 square miles. NMU’s work with WiMAX technology was so innovative it resulted in President Barack Obama choosing the NMU campus as the site to announce his national wireless initiative in February 2011. 

Research

Although not classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a research institution, Northern Michigan University has faculty and staff who conduct significant research, often with students, including many opportunities for undergraduate students. A few examples include:

  • Dr. Adam Prus, psychology, uses funding from the National Institutes of Mental Health to conduct research on new medications for people with schizophrenia.
  • Dr. Robert Winn, biology, works in concert with The Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center to explore novel treatments for patients suffering from brain tumors.
  • Dr. Jill Leonard, biology, has conducted extensive research on the biology of migratory fish with a recent focus on the restoration of coaster brook trout to Lake Superior tributaries.
  • Josh Sharp, biology, is directing research on clinical applications of Micro Identification Technologies, a system from a California company designed to quickly differentiate between the common Staphylococcus aureus infection and the “superbug” known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Dr. Jaspal Singh, English, a Fulbright Research Scholar, recently studied the representation of Sikhs in literature and culture and is the author of Representation and Resistance: Indian and African Women’s Texts at Home and in the Diaspora.
  • Dr. Renxin Yang, sociology and anthropology, has published research on China’s marital/family fragmentation during economic reform. 

Elite Athletes. A Community of Fans.

HockeyNMU sponsors 13 intercollegiate sports: five men’s teams (basketball, football, golf, ice hockey Nordic skiing) and eight women’s teams (basketball, cross country, Nordic skiing, soccer, swimming and diving, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and volleyball). Most of the programs compete at the NCAA Division II level in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Wildcat men’s ice hockey program is NCAA Division I and a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

NMU has won NCAA team titles in football (1975), men’s hockey (1991) and women’s volleyball (1993, ’94). The university also has strong club sports and intramural programs.

NMU is also home to an Olympic training site for elite-level Greco-Roman wrestlers and weightlifters. NMU has had an Olympic training center or training site on campus since 1985. 

115 years of teaching and tradition

MarquetteNMU’s 360-acre campus features 52 facilities, including the Seaborg Science Complex, a state-of-the-art venue with more than two dozen laboratories. A new $33 million academic classroom building is scheduled to open in fall 2014.

NMU’s campus also houses a university theater, recital hall, award-winning library, university center, two art galleries, a history museum and a three-structure sports and recreation complex of which one is the Superior Dome, the world’s largest wooden dome.

The diversity of the U.P.’s geographical terrain serves the NMU community as an extensive outdoor classroom. The university also owns an 18-hole golf course and a large woodland area.

One aspect of the NMU campus that students say they enjoy is that everything is within easy walking distance. 

The History of Northern Michigan University

When it first opened its doors in 1899 as Northern State Normal School, 32 students were greeted by a faculty of six on a 22- acre campus. For many years, educating teachers was the sole mission of the school.

As enrollment swelled in the ‘50s and ‘60s, this small teacher’s college became a diversified institution with dramatic growth in faculty and facilities.

Under the state constitution in 1963, NMU, like all public institutions in Michigan, was granted university status and an autonomous Board of Trustees. 

Award-winning city

Northern Michigan University’s hometown of Marquette is a city of 20,000 residents located along the southern shore of Lake Superior. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula region is known for its safe, friendly and natural environment. Marquette enjoys four distinct seasons that are celebrated by a wide variety of festivals and activities throughout the year. The Marquette community and Northern Michigan University are intricately intertwined, which adds to the vitality of the area and to the opportunities available to NMU students.

The Marquette area offers 11 hiking trails; 96 miles of cross country ski trails; 500 miles of snowmobile trails; 11 accessible waterfalls; and about 10 miles of city bike paths. Some of the City of Marquette’s most striking natural features include Presque Isle Park, a 328-acre peninsula park with dramatic lake and sunset views; Marquette Mountain, a downhill skiing and snowboarding site with one of the longest vertical runs in the Midwest; and miles of scenic and accessible Lake Superior shoreline. 

A real Quality of Life

  • OutsideAmerica’s Top Mountain Bike Towns, USA Today (Oct. 2013)
  • Most Romantic City in the United States, Redbox (Feb. 2013)
  • Top 20 Micropolitans in the U.S., Site Selection magazine (March 2011)
  • Winter Wonderlands for Retirement, U.S. News and World Report (Jan. 2011)
  • National Medal for Museum and Library Service—Marquette’s Peter White Public Library, The Institute of Museum and Library Service (2010)
  • Ten Best Small Cities to Raise a Family, Forbes (Oct. 2010)
  • Five-Star Top Performing Entrepreneurial Community, University of Michigan-Dearborn (Oct. 2010)
  • Bicycle Friendly Community, League of American Bicyclists (2010)
  • 7 Top Midwest City Beaches, Midwest Living (Aug. 2010)
  • 10 great places to feel like an Olympic Champion, USA Today (Feb. 2010)
  • 2010 Dozen Distinctive Destinations and No. 1 Fan Favorite, National Trust for Historic Preservatio (Feb. 2010)
  • 100 Best Communities for Young People, America’s Promise Alliance (2008, 2007, 2005; Only 3-time winning community in Michigan)
  • Best places to live in rural America, Progressive Farmer (2008)
  • Top 200 Towns for Outdoorsmen— Marquette is #7, the only town in Michigan. Outdoor Life (2008)
  • Top Ten Winter Outdoor Family Getaways, Weather.com (2008)
  • Top 25 Shortest Commutes—No. 1., CNNMoney.com (2008)
  • Top 8 Running Towns in the Country, Trail Runners Magazine (2008)
  • Top 25 Places for Singles to Meet Their Match, CNNMoney.com (2008)
  • Best places to buy vacation property—the Upper Peninsula, Men’s Journal (2006)
  • Top 10 global summer vacation destinations—the U.P., Sherman’s Travel (2006)
  • Best Art Towns in America, book by John Villani (2005)
  • America’s Most Livable Communities, Partners for Livable Communities (2004)
  • Michigan Cool City, State of Michigan (2004)
  • All-America County, National Civic League (2003) 

NMU at a Glance

The University

  • NursingEstablished 1899
  • Public university
  • 360-acre campus
  • David Haynes, 14th president
  • Employees: 1,133
  • 180 degree options - diplomas through master’s
  • Second most affordable tuition in Michigan (since 2000)
  • Average financial aid package: $11,171 - from all sources (grants, scholarships, loans)
  • Students receiving financial aid: 85%
  • 13 intercollegiate teams
  • U.S. Olympic training site on campus

Our Students

  • Enrollment: 9,000
  • Graduate students: 700
  • Out-of-state students: 19%
  • StudyMale/Female: 47%/53%
  • Minorities: 8%
  • International: 1%
  • GPA incoming freshmen: 3.13
  • ACT average: 22.5
  • Admittance rate: 67.8%
  • Most popular majors (in order):
    • art and design
    • nursing
    • criminal justice
    • elementary education
    • biology
  • 65,000+ alumni 

Points of Pride

Top Ratings

  • U.S. News and World Report lists NMU as one of the Top 100 Universities in the Midwest.
  • The Huffington Post listed NMU’s MFA program as one of the Top 25 Underrated Creative Writing MFA Programs (2011- 2012) in the country.
  • The College of Business is one of only five percent of schools in the world to earn accreditation from the prestigious AACSB.
  • NMU is named a Top 50 Undergraduate Game Design Program by The Princeton Review and GamePro magazine.
  • The London Times’ Good University Ranking Guide listed NMU first in furniture design schools, which is part of our School of Art and Design.
  • GI Jobs has named NMU a Military Friendly Institution five years in a row.

Prepared to succeed

  • NMU graduates with a bachelor’s in music education have close to a 100 percent placement rate.
  • In the past six years, 92.8% of teacher education graduates passed the Michigan tests for Teacher Certification subject area tests (the statewide average is 85.38%).
  • The placement rate for pre-medical and pre- dental students recommended for professional school has been in the 90% range over the past 20 years.
  • Of graduates who have responded to NMU’s post- graduate survey since 1998, more than 96 percent are employed or pursuing additional education.
  • A team of seven cadets in NMU’s ROTC program outscored all other teams in the nation at the Leadership Development and Assessment Course in Fort Lewis, Wash., the largest Army training event. 

Advancement

The Advancement Office comprises the NMU Foundation and Alumni Association.

The NMU Foundation works with individuals, groups and organizations to support NMU programs and students. The members of the Foundation Board of Trustees, along with the staff, oversee the activities of the Foundation. Its main development efforts include raising private funds for scholarships, endowments, academic departments and affinity clubs.

The Alumni Association serves as the gateway to information about NMU and ways for alumni to reconnect with the university and former classmates. The Association, which has a board to guide decision making, provides benefits and activities to NMU’s approximately 60,000 living alumni.

The Advancement Office is in the final stages of The Campaign for the Students of Northern Michigan University, which is near its goal of raising $25 million to increase access to and sustain the affordability of an NMU education, attract the best and brightest students and faculty, grow research and career-building opportunities and develop innovative learning environments. 

Financial Overview 

For the year ended June 30, 2013. In millions.

Revenues

  • Operating: $102.0
  • Student tuition and fees: $61.8
  • State appropriation: $40.8
  • Nonoperating: $58.9
  • Auxiliary enterprises: $26.5
  • Other operating: $13.7
  • Net position: $231.7

Expenses

  • Operating and nonoperating: $155.5
  • Research, instruction, student aid and student services: $67.2
  • Operations and maintenance and depreciation: $25.9
  • Auxiliary enterprises: $24.5
  • Other operating: $20.1
  • Academic support: $13.4

See www.nmu.edu/finance for full report and 10 year financial statements

Tuition and Fees. Room and Board.

CampusUndergraduate, per semester

Flat rate for 12-18 credits

Resident
$4,518.72
$349.50/credit

Nonresident
$7,056.72
$561/credit

Graduate, per semester

Rate for 8 credits

Resident
$3,740.72
$427/credit

Nonresident
$5,240.72
$614.50/credit

MBA
$5,308.72
$623/credit

Online and off campus courses

$349.50/credit hour

Room and Board

$8,696 per year 

Administrative structure

Walking

A Board of Trustees, eight members who are appointed by the governor, oversee the administration of the university and the president.

Four divisions oversee the activities of the university:

  • Academic Affairs
  • Advancement
  • Enrollment Management and Student Services
  • Finance and Administration 

Academic Areas

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Health Sciences and Professional Studies
  • School of Art and Design
  • School of Clinical Sciences
  • School of Education, Leadership and Public Service
  • School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation
  • School of Technology and Applied Sciences
  • Office of Graduate Education and Research
  • Academic Information Services
  • Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship
  • Center for Native American Studies
  • Center for Rural Community and Economic Development
  • Center for Student Enrichment
  • Center for Upper Peninsula Studies

A Union Campus

The faculty and staff at NMU are represented by five bargaining units:

  • Administrative/Professional: UAW 2178
  • Technical and Office Professional Staff: UAW 1950
  • Food Services/Maintenance/Police Officers: AFSCME 1094 AAUP Faculty: AAUP
  • NMUFA Faculty: NMUFA

Accreditations

Northern Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. 

The Higher Learning Commission
30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400
Chicago, Illinois 60602-2504
Phone: 312-263-0456; 800-621-7440
Fax: 312-263-7462
Internet: Info@ncacihe.org

All education programs are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). The Athletic Training Program has accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Other accreditations include the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology; American Chemical Society; American Society of Cytology; Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Professionals (Surgical Technology); Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs; Council on Social Work Education; Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration Certification; International Association of Counseling Services, Inc.; Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology; Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation, State Board of Nursing; National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences; and the National Association of Schools of Music.

In addition, the nursing programs (practical nursing, baccalaureate and master’s degrees) are fully approved by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation, State Board of Nursing and the baccalaureate and master’s degrees are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The baccalaureate degree programs of the College of Business are accredited by the AACSB International — the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. 

 


 

The Role of the President

CohodasThe president of Northern Michigan University has overall responsibility for ensuring the fulfillment of the university’s mission, for assuring the highest standards of academic quality and fiscal integrity, for maintaining and developing the strategic relationships essential for the university’s success, and for leading efforts to maximize the university’s access to resources.

The president of Northern Michigan University is appointed by and reports to NMU’s independent, governor-appointed board of trustees.

In the current organizational structure, the following positions report to the President of NMU and are members of the President’s Council:

  • Advancement Office - Alumni and NMU Foundation
  • Communications
  • Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
  • Intercollegiate Athletics, Recreation Services and United States Olympic Training Site
  • Internal Auditor
  • Public Safety and Police Services

Also reporting directly to the president are:

  • Provost and vice president, Academic Affairs
  • Vice president, Advancement
  • Vice president, Enrollment Management and Student Services
  • Vice president, Finance and Administration

See the university’s administrative organizational chart at www.nmu.edu/finance/orgchart

 


 

Preferred Qualities and Qualifications

From the AirThe new president of Northern Michigan University will be an exceptional and talented leader, dedicated to and passionate about public higher education and the impact that institutions can have on their region, their state and society as a whole. The president of NMU is expected to serve as an active participant in the community, a model of citizenship and a strong advocate for the university’s values of academic quality, access, concern for its people and student success. The president must also possess well-honed administrative and management skills

in order to lead effectively a complex, multi-faceted organization that is facing an array of complex challenges and opportunities. The president must be able to foster
an inclusive and supportive environment for gathering input from the internal and external communities while moving the university forward. NMU is proud of its sense of community, spirit and friendliness and of the leadership role it plays in supporting the region’s well-being. The president must be able to forge highly effective, productive relationships with a broad range of people, groups, organizations and entities. Strong educational credentials, including a terminal degree and a broad understanding
of and appreciation for academic life including teaching, scholarship and service are essential, with an earned doctorate highly preferred.

In addition, the president will demonstrate:

  • Capacity to establish a compelling vision for the university and develop support and engagement amongst a broad community;
  • A servant leadership philosophy — respectful, willing to engage multiple constituencies in decision-making, and always placing the institution and students first;
  • An understanding of the advantages and challenges facing a regional, public, community college/master’s comprehensive university in contemporary society, and how to capitalize on the strengths of its people and programs;
  • Experience working with an independent, governor- appointed governing board, helping board members, collectively and individually, to identify how they best serve the university in new and continuing successful endeavors, as well as meeting the public mission of the institution;
  • A track record of effective institutional advancement efforts, and a willingness to be an active participant in fund-raising activities of all types;
  • An understanding of how to work with a legislature to build connections and support for the university;
  • The ability to communicate the university’s mission, values and role in the community in an engaging and compelling manner;
  • An understanding of and ability to articulate the value and potential inherent in a diverse community;
  • Successful, positive experience with and/or support of the collective bargaining process;
  • The ability and desire to maintain a high level of visibility and involvement with student life through attendance at student, cultural, athletic and social events;
  • Experience with shared governance;
  • An understanding of the role of the president in working with an affiliated foundation board, coupled with the ability to support board education and development;
  • The ability to lead and model productive recruitment, retention and engagement of faculty, staff and students from diverse backgrounds;
  • Understanding of public institutions of higher learning;
  • Transparency as a personal value, being both open- hearted and open-minded, approachable and inclusive;
  • A willingness to make difficult decisions;
  • Political savvy and sensitivity, with a keen understanding of the need for public and political support for the institution, as well as the institution’s connections with the community;
  • Fiscal management acumen;
  • Experience with strategic planning. 

 


 

Opportunities and Expectations for Leadership

NMU enjoys the affection and support of the surrounding community due in no small part to the success of its graduates and its impact on the Upper Peninsula. The university recognizes that transition to new leadership is an opportunity to coalesce around a new vision for what it means to be a contemporary, state-of-the-art, regional university in a global society. It is a propitious moment for NMU and for the new president to capitalize on the university’s successes, traditions, resources and relationships to build a vision for the future of the university and the region. The new president will have significant internal and external responsibilities to which to attend and will need to balance the attention due to the campus and administration with the need to advocate for NMU with a variety of important external constituencies, such as the board, the legislature, the community, alumni and donors. 

Develop a Strategic Plan and Distinctive Identity for NMU

AlumniAs the economy has tightened and competition for students has increased among nearby institutions, NMU’s programs are well-positioned to provide graduates with excellent preparation for careers and to serve established and emerging businesses, schools, health care and other organizations. It will be important for the new president to establish a consultative and open strategic planning process that will clarify the university’s vision and identity and unite the community in a common purpose. Current work with university branding will need to be integrated into the strategic planning process. The president will work with the board, the faculty and the administration to build a common vision and plan. Important considerations will be:

  • How will NMU shape its programs for the future in order to distinguish itself from the competition and consolidate enrollment?
  • What does student “access” mean for Northern Michigan University, and how can resources be marshaled to ensure the university is affordable/ accessible to a student body diverse in many ways — including socio-economic and college preparedness?
  • How can the university diversify its revenue streams and garner philanthropic support for its strategic goals and mission?
  • How can NMU develop an even stronger sense of united identity and purpose?

Enrollment and Retention

Most institutions of higher learning face a challenge these days in enrollment due to competition, demographic downturns in high school graduates and the need for financial aid to support students. NMU also faces a shrinking population in the Upper Peninsula. NMU has taken proactive steps to address enrollment and retention through the creation of a new vice presidential position to oversee enrollment management. With a real dedication to access, 42% of NMU’s students are Pell-eligible and 90% receive some kind of financial aid. The university has the second lowest tuition of all of Michigan’s public universities; it also hosts the third largest out-of-state population. 36% of its revenues are provided by the state; the rest must come from other sources, tuition being the largest. The next president must actively address enrollment in the strategic context to assure a sustainable financial model—and to fulfill the university’s mission to serve the public. 

Develop Strong Relationships with Faculty, Staff and Students

AdvisingNorthern Michigan University’s emphasis on quality, personalized teaching and preparation for a competitive, skills- and knowledge-based employment market is highly valued by students and employers alike. Graduates praise the university for its programs, personal attention and access to faculty. The staff are equally dedicated to student success, and the sense of community in Marquette and the university is palpable.

NMU’s faculty is first and foremost a teaching faculty. NMU faculty are deeply committed to student success, interacting directly with students in and out of the classroom. NMU faculty shoulder a workload not uncommon in teaching universities, with full course loads (3-3) throughout the year, along with advising and service responsibilities.

The president will develop excellent, collegial relations with faculty and staff, typified by transparent communication and consultation. The president, with the provost, will support faculty work and shared governance. The president should be accessible to students and take an interest in their pursuits and goals.

Continue Leadership in Emerging Technologies

NMU has distinguished itself as a leader in technology. NMU was the first U.S. university to own and operate a WiMAX (4G) network, which now spans about 40 square miles. NMU’s work with WiMAX technology was so innovative it resulted in a visit from President Obama. One of the largest notebook computer campuses in the United States, NMU’s full-time students receive either a ThinkPad or MacBook as part of tuition.

The university has been cited as one of the most wired and most densely wireless campuses in the country. The next president will forward this leadership by supporting innovation and creativity in the use of technology to support learning and community development. 

Build Relationships with External Stakeholders to Stimulate Cooperative and Progressive Resource Development

AlumniAll institutions of public higher education must be proactive and strategic with resource development. The university seeks a new president with the vision and ability to leverage NMU’s position into an even more pivotal role in the region and the state. Northern Michigan University is the principal catalyst in the economic, cultural and intellectual development of Marquette and the Upper Peninsula. The university wants to be even more of a strategic partner in regional innovation and workforce development and to work ever more collaboratively with various sectors in the regional economy to ensure that the university provides needed education and training programs.

Nurturing and expanding linkages between the university and regional and national companies and enhancing relationships with elected officials and governmental agencies at the local, regional, state, national and international levels will further enable the university to fulfill its mission and develop momentum. The university will need to be nimble, entrepreneurial and responsive to be successful in effort.

The president will also be active in developing the relationships that lead to private philanthropy as well as foundation and corporate support. NMU has distinctive strengths and a strong, relevant case to make to the philanthropic community, the for-profit sector and state and federal government. The new president must continue to play a leadership role in partnering with the university foundation on active cultivation and solicitation of private donors, relationship building with regional and national businesses, and community and government outreach, and to find new ways to enhance resource development efforts.

Leverage and Enhance Diversity

One of the university’s most interesting characteristics is its growing population of international students, a potentially rich departure point for a range of educational and cultural learning experiences on campus. At the same time, the university has not reached the diversity goals it desires for students, staff and faculty.

The new president will have the opportunity to engage the community in dialog and planning to enhance its efforts to leverage and enhance diversity, engage the community in articulating what it means to be a regional university in a global society, and make manifest the contemporary university NMU seeks to become. 

 


 

Procedure for Candidacy

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For fullest consideration, applicant materials should be received by March 3, 2014.

Candidates should provide a curriculum vitae, a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the Leadership Profile, and the names and contact information of five references. References will not be contacted without prior knowledge and approval of candidates.

These materials should be sent electronically via e-mail to Northern Michigan University’s consultants:

Witt / Kieffer
Katherine Haley, Ph.D., Senior Consultant khaley@wittkieffer.com

Documents that must be mailed may be sent to:

Witt / Kieffer
Katherine Haley, Ph.D., Senior Consultant
2015 Spring Road, Suite 510
Oak Brook, IL 60523

The consultants can be reached by telephone at:

603-748-4399. 

 


 

Northern Michigan University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. NMU is strongly committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty and staff. NMU is committed to equal opportunity for all in employment and services, regardless of ancestry, race, color, ethnicity, religion or creed, sex or gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, age, height, weight, marital status, familial status, handicap/disability, sexual orientation, military or veteran status. Violations of this policy and/or state and federal law could lead to disciplinary action and possible dismissal or expulsion.

The material presented in this position specification should be relied on for informational purposes only. This material has been copied, compiled, or quoted in part from Northern Michigan University documents and personal interviews and is believed to be reliable. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, the original source documents and factual situations govern. 

 

Witt / Kieffer
Leaders Connecting Leaders

Witt/Kieffer is the preeminent executive search firm that identifies outstanding leadership solutions for organizations committed to improving the quality of life. The firm’s values are infused with a passion for excellence, personalized service and integrity.