The Inspiration

March 26, 2008


Northern Michigan University has faced many challenges and we have established a record of success that is a source of pride for all of us. Through these challenges, we have experienced and achieved growth, excellent community relations and an efficient campus. Our students are served well and the university provides an essential and critical component of the regional economy.


In 2007 we unveiled our Campus Master Plan that details plans to build and develop a greener and more learner-centered physical campus. Now is the time to begin work on the other half of the equation—the Academic Master Plan. The new strategic plan, which I have come to call the Road Map to 2015 and Beyond, identifies four thematic areas that will guide our commitment to an active and dynamic curriculum, our work on and off campus and our resolve to continue to improve the NMU experience. The plan also identifies specific priorities that we must begin to address today. These changes and those coming from your input will support the evolution of this document as we achieve goals and seek new ones. We will arrive at our destinations, but the Road Map is never completed because our trip is never really done. Most of the destinations are planned and desirable, and some will surprise us as interesting and newfound opportunities.


The Road Map is and will be an evolving document. But it must also provide benchmarks by which to guide our decision making and our work with students. The Road Map doesn't define specific times, dollars or locations; but like the plan for the physical campus, it identifies opportunities and challenges and will help us avoid distractions along the way.


The Road Map is also not meant to redefine or divert our attention away from the work we already do well. We have strong departments and units on campus that continue to improve and remain strong. The Road Map supports and builds on that work while recognizing distinctive features that separate NMU from its competitors.


The importance of a strategy that renews itself with the successful attainment of each goal and priority must be clearly understood. Each goal and priority achieved will be replaced by goals and priorities that continue to motivate and energize us. Northern Michigan University needs to be bold but not reckless, progressive, and not constrained by the status quo. The change we seek is a challenge to improve and not a threat to our current efforts. The ongoing evolution of this Road Map reflects our commitment to continuous improvement and intellectual renewal.