Northland College in Ashland to stay open under refocused model

The latest from Northland College is that they are going to remain open, under a new model. School leaders posted an update online, which said the Board of Trustees approved a refocused model. That includes adjusting the number of majors to eight and restructuring the organization.

Also, the intercollegiate athletics program will continue.

“Today’s news is thanks to the incredible work done by faculty and staff in a very short amount of time,” said Chad Dayton, Northland College president. “Together with the Board, a plan was built to keep Northland College open and serving students in a way that is aligned with our mission and the values that define us. I am immensely grateful to all involved for securing the future of this incredible College.”

WDIO has been following the process since earlier in March when the Northland College Board of Trustees launched an urgent fundraising campaign. The nation’s first environmentally-focused liberal arts college was facing potential closure.

RELATED STORY: Northland College receives generous donations to keep it open

Northland College has been in Ashland, Wisconsin for 132 years.

“To save Northland, we needed to significantly reduce the deficit in the short term and develop a compelling, financially feasible and sustainable model for the long term,” said Ted Bristol, chair of the Northland College Board of Trustees. “Achieving this was an iterative process that included reviewing all ideas including the submitted faculty ad hoc proposal, validating them against the budget, and refining as needed to arrive at a workable plan. Now we need to execute on this plan.”

According to a post on Northland College’s website, the refocused model will focus on the following core elements:

  • Significantly focusing the curriculum. Going forward, the College will offer a total of eight high-demand, mission-aligned majors and focused offerings: natural resources, business, education (emphasis options in teacher education, outdoor education, and environmental education), biology (chemistry minor), psychology and social sciences, Earth studies (emphasis options in water science, geology, and climate Science), environmental humanities, and sustainable community development. These programs stay true to Northland’s liberal arts and interdisciplinary studies commitment while accommodating student demand and focused outcomes.
  • Restructuring the organization and operations. The model will require a right-sized academic and operational structure that aligns with the refined curriculum. Significant changes to the operational budget and necessary faculty and staff organizational adjustments will help the College realize approximately $7 million in savings.
  • Securing additional short-term funding. In addition to the savings realized in the restructured curricular and operational plan, the Board secured several million dollars in additional funds during the exigency process to bridge the short-term deficit.
  • Creating long-term stability. The long-range projection of the refocused model puts the College on track for long-term stability. Projections look at data on enrollment trends, operating expenses, and funding sources. The College will also continue to explore new revenue streams.

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