Northern Michigan University looks to the future with community input

MARQUETTE — Did you know that Northern Michigan University has the most distinguished faculty in the state? Not many know what a great place Northern is, but the school is trying to change that.

Wednesday night, President Fritz Erickson invited the public to discuss the Strategic Plan for the university. Northern has been working on it for about a year and a half and so far, they’ve mainly focused on identifying the schools core values: Community, Opportunity, Rigor, Environment, Inclusion, Connection and Innovation.

“This year we’ve really put that into the next phase of the strategic plan, which we’re calling ‘Investing in Innovation.’ This is a time for us to embrace change, a time for us to invest in innovation, invest in the university and invest in the community,” said Erickson.

The university hasn’t come up with any definitive plans yet, but that was the point of the forum. Erickson has outlined some focus areas, but he wants to make sure the community had a say in which strategies and outcomes were most important.

“Those focus areas include and begin with what we’re known for most, and that is academic excellence. Of course, right behind that is student success. Outreach and innovation is another one of our focus areas and then the last one is innovation and investment,” Erickson added.

Northern tentatively plans to present the plan to the Board of Trustees in early December.