Taking Things to the Next Level

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Northwood Launches Master’s Programs for People Who Want to Get Ahead

The essence of entrepreneurship is identifying a need and finding a way to meet it. So Northwood is practicing what it teaches as it launches four new master’s degree programs, meeting a need for post-bachelor’s education in several growing business disciplines.

Northwood now offers Master of Science degrees in accounting, applied economics, finance and taxation. Classes began in August at Northwood’s campus in Troy, providing a needed opportunity for people in the Detroit metro area to improve their skills and boost their careers.

“It’s all part of our free-market philosophy,” said Dr. Kristin Stehouwer, Northwood’s executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief academic officer.“We identified an unmet demand in southeast Michigan for working professionals to upgrade and specialize their skills."

The Master of Science (MS) degree can also be a productive next step immediately after earning a bachelor’s degree, offering advanced skills that give graduates a leg up at the beginning of the career track.

“It’s critical to provide a combination of academic and practical knowledge. Both are very important when you’re working out in the real world,” said Dr. John Moore, faculty leader for the MS programs and associate dean of Northwood’s DeVos Graduate School. “Our curriculum is designed in an innovative way to allow professionals to build a wide range of business skills.”

Enhancing the effectiveness of that curriculum is a top-notch faculty team.

“We have highly credentialed faculty members who combine quality teaching with street credibility. Their extensive experience at the management and professional levels prepares our graduates to immediately apply what they learn in their everyday jobs,” Moore said.

And the Troy campus, where Northwood also offers degree completion and MBA classes, is a modern, high-tech environment with a corporate atmosphere.

An important factor in the need for the Northwood master’s programs is the reality that today’s employees must take responsibility for their own professional growth, even midcareer.

“Many businesses used to have extensive in-house training resources, but that isn’t the case anymore,” Moore said. “The idea of someone working for one company for 30 years and going out with a nice retirement party is just not the norm. A typical career is going to have multiple stops. So organizations can’t dedicate the resources to training when many of those people will be gone in a few years.”

Companies do, on the other hand, provide higher pay and career advancement to employees with the enhanced skills that make them high performers. And that’s what Northwood master’s degrees offer.

All in the Lewis Family

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The Lewis Family’s commitment to the United States Military is just as strong as their dedication to academics. Four of their family members have served in the U.S. Navy and pursued a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Northwood University’s Fort Worth Program Center. When Charles Ray Lewis III retired from the U.S. Navy in 1988 as a Naval Officer and went to work at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Corporation (formerly General Dynamics) while earning his degree from Northwood University, he didn’t realize he set in motion a legacy of scholars stemming from his own example of leadership, perseverance and commitment to academia.

Ten years later, in 2010, his youngest son, Robert “Brian” Lewis, graduated from Northwood University with a B.B.A. degree, gained a commission, and is now serving in the U.S. Navy Reserves as a Supply Officer. Genuinely speaking, Brian stated, “The adult degree program (ADP) taught me the importance of working as a team to develop new ideas. Also, without this degree, I wouldn’t have received my commission in the U.S. Navy.” He recommended offering a Master’s program at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base.

He attended classes on base and the convenience of evening classes made it possible for a lot of different military personnel to achieve their academic goals. When asked the question about inspiration, Brian said, “I have always wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps as a Naval Officer, and to become an officer I needed a degree to even be considered. So how cool is that, not only are we both graduates of Northwood University, we are also both Naval Officers.”

Soon after, in 2011, the eldest son, Charles “Ray” Lewis IV enrolled at Northwood University after retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2009 as a Chief Intelligence Specialist and is currently pursuing a B.B.A. degree. “I am employed at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway working as a Train Dispatcher,” he stated. “After serving 21 years in the Navy and spending the last half of my military career in management, the ADP program reinforced what I have already learned thus far in life, so what I want from this program is to legitimize my experience and keep me competitive in my civilian career path.” He continued, “speaking on behalf of my family, I think the B.B.A. degree confirms our life experience in management.” When asked if he considered Northwood military friendly, he responded, “I have been to several colleges over the years trying to complete my bachelor’s degree but it doesn’t get any friendlier than here at the Fort Worth Center. I have always been impressed with the service I receive from the staff, it is really nice when you stop by the office and they know your name. It makes you feel good about going to college; I would say their service is second to none and I have always been treated very well.”

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Another son following in his father’s legendary footsteps is Timothy Lewis who recently retired from the U.S. Navy in 2013 as a Chief Petty Officer after 23 years of military service and is currently enrolled at Northwood pursing a B.B.A. in Management.

Both brothers are taking advantage of their VA education benefit, Post 9/11 GI Bill, which pays tuition fees to the college and pays each qualifying veteran a monthly housing allowance equivalent to an E-5 with dependents, which also includes a stipend for textbooks.

Timothy stated that his father had been trying to convince him to go to college since about 10 years into his Naval career and even intensified his push as both brothers got closer to their military retirement. “My father always told us that it’s not good enough to work hard and have the experience anymore, now you need a degree to be competitive!”

If three sons were not enough, a daughter-in-law, Jennifer Lewis, who is married to Brian, is also currently enrolled at Northwood and pursuing a B.B.A. in management with a minor in marketing. Jennifer shared her thoughts about attending Northwood by stating, “I think the Adult Degree Program is a great program for those who work full-time and can still earn a full year’s worth of credits. I was previously attending a junior college, but I was only able to complete one or two courses per semester due to time constraints and working full-time.” She also stated, “I honestly feel that the instructors at the Fort Worth Program Center are helping me grow as a leader because they bring real life topics into our lessons. The structure has been more of a discussion-type setting versus being completely lecture oriented.”

Jennifer Lewis continued, “I also feel that the Fort Worth Center is military friendly. I have known the professors to work with military students in unforeseen circumstances especially if they were on TAD” (Temporary Active Duty travel orders). Jennifer’s husband, Brian, is proud of his wife and her academic achievements.

“The Lewis family is a great example that The Northwood Idea is working and going full speed ahead,” said Diana Garcia ‘02, Asst. Program Center Manager and Veterans Certifying Official, who has been employed with Northwood for 16 years and has a place in her heart for each and every graduate. “A military friendly environment is the best place to work, because I can relate to their experience as a military dependent growing up in Germany when my father, CSM (RET.) Luis Cavazos served in the United States Army and later when I became a West Point Officer’s wife. Moving to a different base every 18 months was not easy, but it made me more adaptable to change and challenges.”

The Fort Worth Program Center has been in operation with the support of the Michigan and Texas campuses, three staff members and 17 faculty members. 

“September 2014 will mark our 30th Anniversary and we plan to celebrate with over 700 alumni and counting,” said Garcia.

History Of The Fort Worth Program Center

NAS Fort Worth JRB 1564 Headquarters Ave. Fort Worth, Texas 76127

In September of 1984, Richard Gibson, Resident Director and Retired Senior Chief, US Navy opened the door to the Fort Worth Extension Center of Northwood Institute which originated at the Naval Air Station in Dallas, Texas. The program provided an opportunity for military service men and women to attend college on base in eight-week terms, with classroom facilities provided by the government.  This format enabled them to complete their degrees before being reassigned to their next duty station. (In regular cases, service members are on a three to four year rotation.) This also provided an excellent opportunity for advancement and promotion within the ranks.

“Education became a high priority to the military,” stated Brenda Devaul, Retired Chief Petty Officer and alumna of Northwood University who recalled her earlier studies at NAS Dallas. Chief Devaul retired from the United States Navy in 2004 and recently returned to her home state of Texas to complete a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2011. She also used her Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit, which pays tuition at a full-time rate depending on years of active duty service and pays the base allowance for housing (BAH) equivalent to an E-5 with dependents, while pursuing a Masters of Business Administration degree at DEVOS Graduate School of Management. She graduated in 2013.

Ten years later, during President Clinton’s administration, and as a result of the 1993 Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Recommendation (BRAC), all tenant commands including the Fort Worth Extension Center were transferred from NAS Dallas in 1995 to the newly established Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, Texas; becoming the country’s first Joint Reserve Command. At this time, Carswell Air Force Base was officially closed and the Department of Defense (DOD) transferred the majority of the management responsibilities to the United States Navy. NAS Fort Worth JRB is currently under the command of Captain Gilbert Miller, Commanding Officer, US Navy.

At this time, there was also change for the institution. Northwood Institute was renamed Northwood University and gained another ten year accreditation from the North Central Association. Thereafter, the extension centers of Northwood University were renamed Program Centers.

The Fort Worth Program Center has been in operation for nearly 30 years facilitating both military and civilian students who want to earn an Associate of Arts or Bachelor of Business Administration Degree. The operation has survived not only the transfer from NAS Dallas to NAS Fort Worth, but also managed to operate uninterrupted during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on our nation. This involved evacuation of non-essential base personnel and relocation of the Fort Worth Program Center office, staff, faculty and students to the Green Oaks Convention Center in the vicinity until threat conditions decreased and operations resumed back on base two months later.

The Fort Worth Program Center continues to thrive in enrollment growth, nearly 1000 enrollments annually, with the productivity of three staff members and approximately 20 faculty members. The student body is comprised of retired, reserve and active duty military service members, corporate employees, federal government employees, and dependents of the armed forces. Northwood University also operates program centers on military bases in New Orleans, Louisiana and Selfridge, Michigan.

- Diana Garcia

 

New Adult Degree Program & DeVos Center

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Northwood University opened the doors to a new state of the art facility in Troy, Michigan on March 21. The launch was the culmination of Northwood’s efforts to continue to provide dynamic programming and learning environments to aspiring business leaders throughout Southeast Michigan. The new center is located at 1500 West Big Beaver Road in Troy. According to Keith A. Pretty, president and CEO of Northwood University, “This dynamic new facility will serve a diverse group of graduate and nontraditional undergraduate business students throughout the region in our efforts to further develop the future leaders of a global free-enterprise society. Furthermore, sharing this facility with a comprehensive financial services firm like Rehmann made great business sense. We have enjoyed working with this organization throughout the years and placing graduates of our business programs in the company.”

This expansion in Troy further signifies Northwood University’s commitments to innovation in education and design aimed at economic, business, and community success. The 8,000 square foot center features innovative classroom technologies, executive conference space, and an extensive pod learning environment aimed to drive student and faculty interaction which will result in an exemplary student experience.  

The Troy Center will deliver MBA courses through Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School of Management, as well as undergraduate courses for adults seeking to earn a bachelor’s degree in one of several business majors. With evening, weekend, and online classes available, Northwood provides quality delivery options to students at any level of their career.

According to Dr. Lisa Fairbairn, dean of Northwood’s Richard DeVos Graduate School, the center will serve the growing educational needs of leaders throughout the region and state. “As a global business university, we need to provide current and future students with a high quality education that includes an elevated level of flexibility and the best learning environment possible,” she stated.

- Dr. Matthew Bennett

A partner in business, education, and community success!

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Northwood University recently supported a regional business symposium hosted by The Community House (TCH) in Birmingham, Michigan. The event was extremely successful in its effort to provide a professional forum for aspiring and experienced leaders throughout Southeast Michigan to develop skills and techniques necessary to work more efficiently and effectively in the marketplace. TCH hosted the “How to Work Smarter” symposium on Thursday, October 25. The mission of The Community House, an independent, nonprofit organization established in 1923 is to strengthen communities by providing educational, cultural, and wellness programs and scholarships to improve people’s personal and professional lives.

Today, The Community House offers over 800 yearly class options including everything from cooking and art history classes, to yoga and fencing.  The Community House is home to the Early Childhood Center (child care and preschool), TCH Dance Academy, and the Sara Smith Youth Theatre. The public is welcome to join various Community House special interest sponsored groups including Friends of the Gardens, the International Community Club, the Newcomers Club, as well as the Senior Men’s and Women’s Clubs.

Northwood University’s relationship continues to grow with TCH leadership and members in their unified effort to positively impact the lives of those throughout the region and to further develop the future leaders of a global free enterprise society.   

The event was sold out attracting professionals from for profit and nonprofit sectors throughout the region. Stephen Polk, president and CEO of R. L. Polk & Co., served as the event’s keynote speaker.  Each participant attended three moderated seminars with four expert panelists providing key tips and tools of how to work smarter in areas such as sales and marketing, the internet strategies, and planning.

The half-day conference was modeled off business symposiums previously held by Camille Jayne, president and CEO of TCH, in California which combined the successful formula of relevant business learning and structured networking with raising money for charity. Jayne commented, “We are thrilled that the response to the symposium was an overwhelming success! We had a great cross section of people, industries and professional talents.”

Northwood University’s relationship with TCH is a clear illustration that when business, civic, nonprofit, and educational institutions collaborate to drive creativity and innovation in the marketplace everyone is better off.  We all must continue to promote the vision and understanding that these sectors comprise an important part of a larger one, uniting us all. According to Dr. Matthew L. Bennett, admissions director for the Adult Degree Program, “this event epitomized the strength of community collaboration as it provided a forum to help aspiring individuals, help themselves!  We were honored to be a part of this event and it is a privilege to continue our relationship with TCH as a partner in business and education.”

For more information more about TCH or the TCH symposium you can visit online at www.tchserves.org or www.tchsymposium.org

- Dr. Matthew Bennett

Overcoming Pain

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It all started with an ordinary ink pen, a blank notebook, and a vivid imagination. Marcus Allen’s dream of becoming a published author was fulfilled in 2009 when he released his first book, The Corporate Genius. Penned as Alexander DeMarcus, he has since published four more books. Allen is not just a writer, but he is also a student of Northwood’s Adult Degree Program (ADP) in Livonia, Mich. He began his education at Northwood while working at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Plant. In 2008, Allen decided to dedicate himself to his writing and his education. “I wanted to learn everything that I could about being a better writer and manager, and I didn’t want to return to the workforce again (if ever) as an unskilled laborer,” he said. “Something that was, in and of itself, mentally and emotionally painful.”

His book, Pain: A Force of Nature is the first of a seven book series. He hopes to teach others how to overcome and even control the forces of pain, fear, and love. “By understanding these forces better, people can learn how to overcome their pain.” Allen knows firsthand what it means to suffer mentally and emotionally, having grown up fatherless in the rough neighborhoods of Detroit. “After experiencing mental and emotional pains myself as a child and then witnessing the pains of others, I became curious to know why human beings suffered in the first place,” he said. 

For him, the long road to becoming a successful writer began in 1981, after enlisting in the Army. “I not only wanted to serve my country, but I wanted to know what it meant to be a man,” he shared. Allen served nearly 12 years, earning the rank of Sergeant before leaving the military. “While I was serving in the Gulf War, I got a better understanding of why men feel that they have to go to war to solve their differences, but I was more surprised to discover that humans everywhere suffer both mentally and emotionally during wartime.”

For Allen, writing is a liberating experience, “because a writer can create a world that never existed before and turn this fictional world into a form of reality for others.” He enjoys writing both fiction and non-fiction books equally. While there is no single author that has personally influenced him; he does, however, admire the work of author James Patterson, someone he has shared correspondence with, but only through blogging and emails.

Overall, Allen credits much of his writing skills to his professors at Northwood. “My education at Northwood has broadened my perspective on writing.” Adding that, “without it, I might not be who I am today. My education here at Northwood has brought out the best in my writing. I still try to keep in contact with many of my professors,” Allen said, as he is presently looking forward to collaborating with one or more of his past professors on future writing projects.

“Marcus is a multi-talented person with many exceptional skills,” said Eileen Figure Sandlin, an author and adjunct instructor of ENG 4010 – Communication & Interpersonal Relations. “He’s not only a deep thinker; he’s a musician and an author, among other things. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being president some day!” As Sandlin indicates, “writing is just one of Mr. Allen’s many talents.” 

Allen has been performing professionally on the trumpet since he was in high school. His musical talents were greatly enhanced after studying at the Army School of Music. Allen spent the majority of his military career performing in the U.S. Army Field Bands. As a civilian, he has held the position of principal trumpeter for the Detroit Wind Symphony Orchestra (DWSO). 

In 2005, Allen founded the jazz group Diamond Steele, who released two CDs – Late Bloomer and Lavish Living before disbanding in 2011. In addition, he loves to teach music in his spare time. He is also an international martial artist of Taekwondo. 

Apart from the world of books, music, and martial arts Allen is also a patented inventor. He is founder and CEO of his own home security company, LatchLock One1. After experiencing a home invasion himself in 2001, Allen designed and patented the Deadbolt Latch-Lock, an invention that greatly reduces the threat of home invasion. 

Allen is expected to graduate from Northwood earning a bachelor’s degree with honors in May 2013. He also hopes to further his education this fall at DeVos Graduate School of Management. He is currently working on two new books; Fear: A Force of Nature, and the sequel to his novel The Curse of the Trumpet, entitled Little Gabe. Both are expected to be released next spring.

- Nikki Gonzalez