HANCOCK, Mich. – Two Upper Peninsula of Michigan universities, Finlandia University in Hancock and Northern Michigan University in Marquette, have launched a joint initiative to explore high-level collaborations between the schools.
NMU President Fritz Erickson and FinnU President Philip Johnson, in conjunction with their respective governing boards, are announcing that the two institutions have created a task force to develop proposals for possible partnerships and collaborations of programs, university operations and student opportunities.
“What began as a conversation about how to help Finlandia students gain entrance into Northern’s new Master of Social Work program two years ago has advanced in depth over time regarding a wide range of collaborative possibilities,” said Erickson. “It seemed appropriate at this point to let the public know that these conversations are taking place.”
Finlandia is a private, ELCA Lutheran-affiliated school with about 400 students. Northern is a regional public institution with about 7,400 students.
“The perpetually changing and challenging landscape in higher education in North America continues to urge more durable collaborations among college and university campuses,” said Johnson. “Building on institutional strengths, brand, and shared vision for higher education in the U.P., Finlandia and Northern believe that working together will benefit each and better serve the higher education needs of Upper Peninsula communities and beyond.”
The task force is considering such things as early acceptance programs for FinnU undergraduates into NMU graduate programs, areas of possible technology integration, program synergies and enhancements, and assessing potential operating efficiencies.
The two presidents said there is no formal timeline for the work of the task force, and that each university’s governing board will be updated on the discussions as any preliminary proposals are developed.