Update from Provost Kerri Schuiling

Thursday 19, 2017

A belated welcome back to campus! First and foremost, congratulations and a big thank you to everyone for all of their dedication, commitment and work to increase our enrollment. As you know by now, our new freshman numbers are up by 11%, which is truly amazing. Our overall enrollment remains down, but only by a very small percentage. Truly, a double-digit increase in new freshman is nothing short of amazing. So thank you again!

In this update from Academic Affairs, I will cover:

China recruitment

I had the opportunity to accompany Steve VandenAvond and Yan Ciupak on a recruitment trip to China. This was my first trip to Asia and because we are focusing on recruitment of students and faculty scholars from China, in addition to recently welcoming five Chinese scholars to our campus it was suggested I go and learn about the country, its people and culture. I spent almost two weeks visiting 14 schools/universities and the US Embassy. Most of these visits were follow up visits and it became clear to me that follow up is vital if we are to be successful in recruiting students from China. Our hosts were incredibly gracious and welcoming. In fact, I do not recall visiting any country where I felt more welcomed. I also noted that we are focusing on schools that enroll students who are from families similar to our students: hard working folks who want the best for their children. Attending a school in the US is a goal of many students in China and we offer many of the programs in which they are interested. I learned that our potential for recruiting students from China to NMU is very good. I also thank Dr. Ciupak for her outstanding guidance, leadership and organization of our trip. We were able to meet with many faculty and administrators that had it not been for Dr. Ciupak we probably would not have access to.

Kim Barron’s resignation and Director of Accreditation and Assessment

As many if not all of you know by now, Kim Barron, Director of Assessment and Accreditation resigned effective October 6, 2017. She has taken a similar role at a much larger university in CO. As one would expect, Kim left us in great shape and provided detailed a list of where we are at and what next steps need to be taken for maintaining our accreditation. She definitely will be missed! To that end, the plan for replacement is under development. I had the opportunity to discuss current models that other universities use during my recent Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU) meeting this past week. We plan to move ahead with a search in the near future. Currently Dale Kapla (who is the ALO—academic liaison) is overseeing related aspects of Kim’s job. I will keep you updated as we move forward.

Part time faculty teaching award

I hope you all saw the announcement regarding an Excellence in Part Time Teaching Award. This award is long overdue and I am thrilled that we will be bestowing the first award this December during our Celebration of Scholarship activities. If you know of a deserving colleague for any of these awards please know the deadlines are looming!

SRA forum – September 28th @8am JXJ 1100

We held an SRA form in late September. The turnout was good was taped and is now available on media site live. The feedback evaluations indicated that people in attendance were satisfied with the content of the forum and the transparency of the project. Gavin and I continue to meet with the co-chairs of each task force bi-weekly. If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact any of us involved or check the SRA website: www.nmu.edu/sra

Retention Efforts

We have established a committee that is focusing on retention led by Dean of Students, Chris Greer. While our retention is above the national average, it is our sentiment that we can do even better. Starfish is a great aid to this goal. Many universities are using Starfish successfully and as we, all know providing support to our matriculating students can assist us in keeping our enrollment up and help our students reach their goal of graduating.

Student Ready University—

I recently read the book Becoming a Student Ready College authored by T McNair, S Albertine, M Cooper, N McDonald and T Major (published by Jossey-Bass). I highly recommend it to everyone. The book asks us what we are doing to be student ready versus students being ready for us. In that light, our associate provost, Dale Kapla, has pulled together a group of key individuals to work on NMU becoming designated as an autism-friendly campus. The initial group had its first brainstorming session two weeks ago with plans to meet again this month. The idea for this came about as we learned about more and more children diagnosed as on the autism spectrum. What are we at NMU doing to be ready for students who are on the autism spectrum and how can we best support them to be successful? Look for more updates from Dale in the future. It is a very exciting project.

I can hardly believe we are well into October already. The academic year is indeed off to a great start in no small part to the good work of faculty, staff and students. Thank you so very much!