Board of Trustees

Ad Hoc Strategic Planning Committee

April 29, 2010



Members Present:                                                    

Brian Cloyd, Chair                                                      Brent Graves              

L. Garnet Lewis                                                          Martha Haynes           

Michael Andary                                                          Gavin Leach                           

Howard Cohodas                                                        Jason Morgan

Kathleen Godec                                                          Cynthia Prosen


Members Absent:

Mary Campbell                                                          



The ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m.


Mr. Cloyd updated the Committee on the February Board of Trustees Retreat and reviewed the work of the Committee to date.  As a result of the Committee’s conversations, the Committee laid out three strategic issues:  1.) tuition elasticity, 2.) branding, and 3.) entrepreneurial initiatives.  At the February Board Retreat the discussion centered on tuition and branding and a small amount on entrepreneurship initiatives.  The Board agreed with these three strategic issues and emphasized that balancing short-term and long-term initiatives is important.  The Board also discussed the need to distinguish between branding and marketing. 


Mr. Cloyd stated the need to gather information from all of the University stakeholders to get a sense of where we are and where we need to be in terms of branding and entrepreneurship, ie., data collection, surveys, and focus groups on a professional level.  The Committee agreed with this approach and cautioned that the structure of the questions for the survey is important in order to not set up false expectations.  Other points raised were the need to not only survey parents, students, faculty, and staff but to do a market survey on pricing for other schools and the need to include donors and alumni in the list of stakeholders,


The Committee discussed branding raising the following issues:  1.) it is important to ask alumni and donors what their view is of NMU’s brand and to consider the question of how it would affect alums and donors if NMU changed its brand, 2.) need an implementation plan to change the brand,  3.) the results of a recent survey show students want a brand, 4.) need to keep sustainability and growth in mind when crafting the brand, 5.) faculty are willing to help and are anxious to have a direction to follow in regard to NMU’s portfolio of programs, and 6.) need to carefully create a communications plan (Cindy Paavola).


The Committee discussed the need to hire a consultant and discussed possible funding sources.  Alums could be a valuable resource in identifying a list of possible consultants.  The consultant would be hired to do an overall review of NMU and identify NMU’s brand.  Branding, tuition, and entrepreneurial process all need to be included in the consultant’s recommendation.  It is important to not limit the consultants too much in order to get the value from their input.  The Strategic Planning Committee will create the expected outcomes with input from the Board of Trustees and the President. 


The Committee agreed to the following timeline:


1.  Mr. Leach will collect sample Requests for Proposals (RFPs) (within three weeks).

2.  Charge Vince Grout with creating a Case (Mr. Cloyd will meet with Mr. Grout).

3.  An NMU draft Request for Proposals (RFP) will be completed between now and the end of  
     May.  Input will be obtained from the Strategic Planning Committee and alums.

4.  Review final draft of RFP at July 8, 2010 Strategic Planning Committee.

5.  Select Consultant by September 23, 2010 Strategic Planning Committee meeting.

6.  Survey to start in Fall 2010.




The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 a.m.