Strategic Initiative · College of Business Transformation with a Rural Economies Focus

While there have been some notable changes in the College of Business, it is clear that the time is right to rethink the direction, focus and identity of the college. Business and industry have undergone dramatic changes, in part due to new technologies, over the past quarter century. Combine this with the opportunities that specifically exist in the Upper Peninsula, it is now time for Northern to reimagine what knowledge and skill set a graduate of one of NMU’s business programs will need to be successful in the fast-changing 21st century marketplace. Where once having business programs that resembled other successful business programs was the preferred strategy, today’s competitive higher education market demands that Northern find a way to distinguish our business academic programs from the masses. That distinction could be a focus on rural economies. This transformation proposal is already in discussion and planning phases. 

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In order to accomplish this transformation, the College of Business will create a dynamic strategic plan, designed around the concept of a new COB-designated facility. The new facility will be located closer to the Academic Mall and include faculty and administrat

Today’s technology enable us to research and trade on mobile devices. Business decisions are transacted quickly using various technologies to communicate, inform and influence. Our business education and experience will focus on critical thinking, problem solving while introducing students to new and innovative business practices. We will continue to offer a quality business education that focuses on 21st century skills. Having a high-tech space that allows students to practice and refine business expertise will enhance the student experience and prepare them for meaningful careers.

Providing space for retail and catering activities will provide a “laboratory” rich with exercises in customer service, inventory management, human resource management, staffing, etc. The College will also explore offering a “Main-Street Academy” or “READI” Rural Economies Academic Delivery Institute or Initiative to support rural economic development and business. This will create a bridge between the rural economy of the UP and academics that will train and educate existing entrepreneurs and those up and coming.

How this will add to NMU’s prestige and distinction:

The vital element of this big idea will be a focus on rural economies that will make Northern’s business programs nationally unique and will support the University’s future Rural Leadership doctoral program.

Thinking even bigger:

A focus on rural economies offers the opportunity for distinction in a number of ways including a focus on cybersecurity unique to a rural environment. Doing so has an opportunity to make Northern a national leader not only around rural economies but on cybersecurity related to rural communities