Tuesday 27, 2009
            Northern Michigan University has been selected for the 2008 Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. NMU is one of 119 higher education institutions in the nation to earn the distinction.

Colleges and universities were invited to apply for the classification by submitting documentation describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community, be it local or beyond. Business Professor Sandra Poindexter played a pivotal role in compiling NMU’s material.

“There is not an area on campus that does not have a community tie,” she said. “Youth and sports outreach, academic service learning and student volunteer efforts are only the tip of the iceberg. Community-based research and consulting by faculty and students, facilities and partnership planning and continued training for U.P. educators and other workforces is very strong.

“Community involvement is also impressive. Between the Volunteer Center, Superior Edge, and Student Leader Fellowship Program, students volunteer more than 100,000 hours per year. And it was learned that, over the past three years, 49 administrators held 58 leadership positions in 76 local or regional organizations.”

Institutions were classified in one of three categories: curricular engagement, outreach and partnerships or a combination of both areas. NMU received the maximum recognition by qualifying for the latter category.

“Community engagement is a goal central to NMU’s strategic plan, the Roadmap to 2015, and achieving the Carnegie classification reinforces our commitment to that goal,” said Susan Koch, NMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Students who attend a community-engaged university learn the broad context in which they live, work and grow, while the community benefits greatly from the many contributions of those students.”

The application highlighted NMU partnerships with several local and regional entities. These include Marquette General Health System in the areas of brain tumor research and surgical technology, cytogenetic and molecular pathology education; Lake Superior Community Partnership and the U.P. power industry for an electrical line technician program; various law enforcement agencies through the NMU Public Safety Institute; Michigan Board of Light and Power on a proposed biomass-fueled heat and power cogeneration plant that would meet NMU’s thermal and electrical needs, allow MBLP to accommodate increasing electrical needs in the area and generate steam for adjacent Marquette General Hospital.                                                         

Examples of community outreach included educational and professional development programs offered by the Seaborg Center, educator and administrator support through the U.P. Center for Educational Development, the “One Book, One Community” initiative, the annual “Learning to Walk Together” pow wow sponsored by the Center for Native American Studies, an instructional Web site maintained by the NMU and Central U.P. Archives on the history of immigration on the Marquette Iron Range, and activities involving the U.S. Olympic Education Center and the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship.

The Carnegie Foundation in Stanford, Calif., is an independent policy and research center dedicated to the improvement of teaching and learning. The full NMU report is available at

Kristi Evans
News Director