Downtown Marquette early morning

Rural Roots

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and Office of Management and Budget, all communities within the Upper Peninsula are rural, and because of its location and the students that it serves, NMU is considered a rural-serving institution (RSI), according to the criteria set forth by the Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges. NMU is located on the ancestral and current homelands of the Anishinaabe Three Fires Confederacy and serves rural communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Northern is uniquely positioned to leverage its geographic location and provide educational programs and research focused on rurality and rural issues. As an important community partner, NMU has a responsibility to contribute to the economic strength and sustainability of the U.P. in a manner that honors its connection to the land, its people and its rich cultural history while fostering the physical and mental health, and the education and employment needs of its residents.

Action Plan: Rural Roots

Rural Roots_Track Changes






Cabin in autumn woods


  1. Analyze rurality as a key component of NMU's future strategic identity.
  2. Coordinate and implement community engagement initiatives that improve quality of life for our region.
  3. Develop and enhance community engagement initiatives that increase campus, community, and regional access (e.g., arts & culture, the humanities, and athletics).
  4. Improve community supports to increase accessibility of internet services and other critical infrastructure throughout the UP.
  5. Expand professional training and continuing education opportunities for rural residents and employers to increase rural engagement, partnerships and enrollment.
  6. Advance economic development opportunities for NMU by optimizing relationships with UP partners and rural-serving institutions.