Northern holds forums for campus community

View of campus green with pillars

President Schnoor held two campus forums on Thursday in the JFAC Berggren Recital Hall, providing the campus community an update on the university strategic plan.

Various topics were discussed at the sessions, and faculty, staff and students had a chance to ask questions and offer feedback.

Schnoor discussed the university’s initial strategic priorities and actions:

  • Build a growth strategy to expand student access, success and educational attainment to increase students’ socioeconomic mobility while serving the public good.
  • Build an increasingly diverse, engaged, inclusive, welcoming and supportive culture that nurtures achievement and success for all students, faculty and staff.
  • Build sustainable collaborative public/private partnerships to advance academic, cultural, health, recreational and economic opportunities that serve the public good and produce value for NSU, Aberdeen and the region.
  • Engage the campus and community to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability.
  • TBD: The Provost in conjunction with faculty will create a fifth strategic priority and actions surrounding distinctive learning.

Schnoor said a consultant will help Northern develop a comprehensive branding and marketing strategy as well as a strategic enrollment plan. Data will be shared with campus for analysis and feedback to maximize effectiveness.

Enrollment Update: In an enrollment update, VP of Enrollment, Communications and Marketing Justin Fraase said admissions counselors are excited to get back on the road and visit schools after being unable to do so last year. The department also plans to aggressively promote early financial aid estimates, getting information to students months earlier than they previously would have it. Fraase also discussed several initial investments to increase Northern’s visibility across the region.

Opportunity for All: In discussing the BOR’s Opportunity for All initiative, Schnoor said Northern is implementing an Opportunity Center with a unified and comprehensive focus and student retention and focused collaboration between offices and services in the Student Success Center and Avera Student Center. A single webpage will unite all into a virtual one-stop shop and ease of access for students.

Center of Rural Innovation: Provost Wanous discussed a partnership with Aberdeen Development Corp., which was approached by the Center of Rural Innovation. CORI identified Aberdeen as a community where they wanted to invest in the digital economy ecosystem. Now, NSU is working on a grant proposal to develop this on campus. To provide incubator space for this and other economic development opportunities and collaborations, NSU will design space within a new Business and Innovation Center building that the Board of Regents recently approved to advance to the planning stage.

Foundation Update: NSU Foundation President and CEO Zach Flakus said the Foundation has focused on infrastructure for the past several years. Now that it’s in place, the Foundation is partnering with the university to enhance marketing, Flakus said, and is also developing scholarship resources to recruit more students to NSU.

SB55: Schnoor discussed SB55, which asked the university system to take a look at efficiencies. He said finding efficiencies is not always about belt tightening; there are opportunities to grow. He shared copies of the main topics of the report, which now moves forward to the legislature.

When asked whether people should still bring up new programs ideas if they exist elsewhere in light of SB55, Schnoor said there is language that speaks to programs with high regional need. He encouraged faculty members to always bring forward ideas.

PowerPoint and Feedback Form: If you were unable to attend the forum, the PowerPoint presentation can be viewed here. If you wish to provide additional feedback, you may do so through this online form.

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