Other universities have leadership programs, but Northern is the only university in the U.S. that packs community engagement, diversity awareness, leadership development and real-world experience into one life-changing program.

And you don't have to already be a leader to participate. Superior Edge is open to all students, regardless of major, year in school or GPA.  When you graduate, you'll get a student enrichment transcript showing your accomplishments in Superior Edge along with your academic transcript.  That's doing the right thing AND getting credit for it.

Learn to live a life that matters

You'll get to see, hear and experience things that change the way you think.  You'll create a program around your interests and career goals, volunteer some of your time, and reflect upon your experiences.

Superior Edge will change you.  It'll also change the way your first employer thinks of you.  In an era when most people have a college degree, employers and grad school admissions counselors are looking for applicants who have experience beyond the classroom.  They are also impressed with Superior Edge graduates who can communicate, lead, work in teams, analyze problems, work hard and manage their time.


This innovative program is the result of a challenge to ensure NMU’s curriculum meets the needs of students who will be part of the 21st century workforce.  A task force made up of faculty, staff and students worked to create a program that combines Northern’s high-quality academic programs with student support activities which encourage personal development in addition to academic growth. 

Within 18 months of beginning its task, the Superior Edge task force launched a semester-long pilot program with approximately 100 participants.  In the fall of 2006, Superior Edge opened to all NMU students, and by the end of the 2006-07 school year, there were over 900 NMU students participating in Superior Edge.  In 2017-18, we now have over 2,000 students participating.


Northern Michigan University's Superior Edge is a student development program encompassing a wide range of experiential activities complementing classroom instruction to provide students with a distinct advantage by preparing them for lifelong learning, graduate school, careers and life as engaged citizens.


Northern Michigan University's Superior Edge is predicated upon the belief that student learning emanates from a variety of sources throughout the college experience.  Lessons which begin in the classroom are in many cases most effectively internalized when they are complemented by applied activities which promote development of both the intellect and character.  Co-curricular experiences found both on-campus and in the surrounding community provide students with opportunities to:

  • become engaged, involved citizens
  • grow as competent, ethical and effective leaders
  • refine communication/interpersonal skills
  • develop a world view/better understand and appreciate diversity
  • foster confidence and self-esteem
  • enhance the ability to relate theory to practice
  • value lifelong learning

Northern Michigan University highly values these activities as an important part of a student's education.