Higher Education

Northwood expands programming for corporate, executive sectors

June 19, 2015
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Northwood University is launching an initiative to tailor existing programs and opportunities to better meet the needs of corporate partners and students.

Northwood University, a nonprofit institution specializing in managerial and entrepreneurial education, announced June 9 it is establishing a strategic initiative that leverages and expands its current programming for the corporate and executive sector by tailoring existing programs and opportunities for industry partners.

The new Corporate and Executive Education program is part of a system-wide, strategic restructuring program and will build upon its foundation of offering specialized corporate learning programs to the global business community, according to a press release. Through the enhanced business program, students will have the opportunity to begin or complete a degree or certification tailored specifically for university corporate partners’ needs.

Timothy G. Nash, Fry Endowed Professor in Free Market Economics and senior vice president for strategic and corporate alliances, said the program will be offered throughout the university’s locations and focuses on putting all of the university’s strengths under one strategic planning umbrella.

“We are dedicated to further building committed strategic partnerships with the corporate sector. Our specialty degree programs have long fostered strong industry ties that have helped us attract knowledgeable faculty and guest lecturers; develop industry-specific, targeted curriculum; create and offer scholarships; and help our graduates find quality jobs in their area of study,” said Nash. “We’re taking these relationships to the next level.”

Programs and development opportunities that can be tailored for industry partners include continuing and executive education, undergraduate and graduate degree tracks, training and development, certification programs, traditional undergraduate internships and career development, and research partnerships.

“We are trying to make certain we are meeting all of the needs of our corporate and executive clients,” said Nash.

“In other words, what are the things we can offer? We can offer degree programs if they are business online, we can offer executive MBA programs, we can offer a whole potpourri of non-degree programs from leadership to financial statement analysis to market and economic analysis, and we can offer research projects and research studies to meet their needs.”

Keith Pretty, president and CEO of Northwood, said as organizations continue to invest in their employees by offering increased training and development opportunities to stay relevant and lean in today’s economy, the demand for programming like Corporate and Executive Education will increase.

“Our corporate and executive education programming offers solutions designed to provide students with enhanced business acumen, critical thinking skills and even personal effectiveness,” said Pretty. “Combined with our ability to deliver industry-focused programming based on business-relevant, applied research and fast-turnaround solutions, our corporate and industry education program offers a true return on investment for companies that want to invest in their people, products and processes over the long term.”

As an educational institution founded in 1959 to focus on providing business programs at the undergraduate, graduate and non-degree level, Nash said Northwood is leveraging its history across some of its early successful programs, such as the automotive marketing and automotive aftermarket and management degrees to assist companies in providing specialized learning.

“We also have a very strong accounting program, finance program, marketing program, economics program, and so with our continuing executive education, we are leveraging to the industries and to the companies all the benefits Northwood can bring to the table,” said Nash.

“For example, we have a relationship with General Motors and we do continuing and executive education programs. Right now we have launched a couple of programs in leadership focused for GM dealers and their employees, the sales and service side of the General Motors Corp.”

Northwood also provides online undergraduate BBA programs for GM dealership employees and has also launched recruitment for another cohort for the executive MBA program involving dealers, dealer employees and GM employees, according to Nash.

“Those are three areas within our corporate and executive education area where we go to a corporation and we say, ‘We can meet your needs as it relates to non-degree programs, as it relates to the leadership courses and degree programs,’” said Nash. “A lot of these dealers have employees that are mid-career; they might be 25, 30 or 35, with a family. They can’t stop working for the business; they are oftentimes too valuable for the business. These are individuals who need to take classes in the evening, classes and seminars on the weekend and online.”

The Corporate and Executive Education programming is focused on providing specialized learning opportunities for those who already are employed and in need of skill enhancement, who may be working full time without the ability to enroll as a traditional student.

Nash said individuals who have prior experience in the field can complete a prior learning assessment to earn up to a year’s worth of academic credit.

“Our experts would analyze all of their work and the seminars they have been to, and the achievements they have had work-wise,” said Nash. “The highly successful student or highly successful learner who becomes a student that is an employee at one of these companies could earn up to one full year of credit, and if they have prior college learning at another community college or university, they may only have to take a year or year and a half at Northwood to get their BBA degree.”

The new programming will be led by Nash, with assistance from Kevin Fegan, who currently serves as president of Northwood’s Texas campus. Fegan will assume the role of vice president for the new business initiative. Both Nash and Fegan are alumni of Northwood and have had long, successful careers at the university, which will benefit the success of the program, according to Pretty.

“This new program, designed to build key relationships with corporate and industry partners, is in good hands,” said Pretty. “They are well connected in the business world and truly believe in Northwood’s philosophy of free enterprise and entrepreneurship.”

Headquartered in Midland, Northwood has regional education centers located in Grand Rapids, East Lansing and Troy in Michigan, and Cedar Hill in Texas. Through its DeVos Graduate School, Northwood has also developed in-house MBA cohort corporate programs for The Hantz Group and Dow Chemical Co.

Nash said Northwood’s program is unique since most colleges and universities have the programs in silos.

“Our teams leading those areas are working together with our corporate team to offer the best possible degree program needs and non-degree program needs for a corporation,” said Nash. “It is human capital, it is the entrepreneur driving change and making this country great. It is invention, innovation, and making certain companies’ needs are met so they can maximize their return on investment.”

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