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NMU Strategic Plan updated for ‘post-pandemic phase’

Feedback on the plan will be accepted through April 19.
(WLUC)
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 6:23 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (NMU/WLUC) - Northern Michigan University President Fritz Erickson is seeking campus-wide input on proposed updates to NMU’s strategic plan that reflect new priorities for the “post-pandemic phase.” The revised Investing in Innovation plan includes the additional focus areas of equity in systems and processes, along with mind/body wellness. It also includes two new strategic outcomes: advancing the rural agenda and moving NMU toward carbon neutrality.

“While we continue to work on the many initiatives of the Strategic Resource Allocation (SRA) project, the new Campus Master Plan and the Big Ideas campaign, the update also identifies a set of post-pandemic priority strategic initiatives, currently grouped as Phase I and Phase II projects,” Erickson stated in an email.

Post-pandemic Phase I initiatives have been categorized into three areas: priority facilities, addressing current issues, and elevating the student experience.

Priority facility projects include a Career-Tech & Engineering facility, for which NMU has received capital outlay funding to proceed, and a new College of Business facility closer to the heart of campus with a rural economies focus.

Current issues to be addressed are reimagining inclusion and equity at NMU and promoting collaborative sustainability. Related to the latter, NMU will create a task force to work on a new energy master plan, as well as develop an overall strategic sustainability plan that goes beyond energy conservation and on-campus recycling.

The university would elevate the student experience by expanding online education options and developing new academic programs. It would also integrate campus health-related and counseling services.

As Phase I initiatives are completed, NMU would begin work on Phase II projects designed to enhance the academic and student experience, as well as campus facilities. The former includes plans to create graduate and honors colleges and enhance career services and internship programs.

New facilities identified in Phase II include a research addition to the Seaborg Complex, a centrally located student union, and a fine/performing arts center and amphitheater. Renovations are planned to Harden Hall and in the Athletics and Recreation district.

With all of the post-pandemic initiatives, ongoing campus discussions and identified federal, state, private business and donor funding opportunities will help to create a specific priority order. Key stakeholders will be included in the planning process to ensure alignment with university and program goals.

The updated “Investing in Innovation” states that moving forward with these select strategic initiatives creates a bold plan for Northern to simultaneously and strategically consider new programs; recruit top-caliber students, faculty and staff; and develop innovative responses to local, regional and state issues and needs, the plan states.

“Obviously, there are many unknowns about the post-pandemic world into which we hope to soon enter,” Erickson said. “As we learn more, we will change our strategic planning as needed. For now, this update is meant to meet the goal of continuing to provide campus-wide guidance for university decision-making and advancement of the institution.

“Planning for the post-pandemic world and higher education landscape has further emphasized the need to invest in innovation, which is the focus of Northern’s strategic plan. The plan’s challenge—to have ‘the vision and courage to lead transformational change’—has become even more meaningful as our campus emerges from the pandemic to face new realities, challenges and opportunities.”

Erickson said feedback will be accepted through Monday, April 19, at NMUPres@nmu.edu. Those who email are asked to type “Strategic Plan” in the subject line.

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