State of University Address Presents Positive Outlook

Kate Martin | June 25, 2012

Dr. Wiles addressed staff, faculty and students on June 20.

Dr. Michael Wiles, Provost and Interim President of Northwestern Health Sciences University, delivered the annual State of the University Address to students, staff and faculty on June 20. His address gave an overview of University activity, performance, and planning for the next fiscal year. Highlights of the address included:

A review of financials, noting that despite the fact that core operations have sustained losses in recent years, the 2012-2013 budget projects a profit, as well as a reduction of long term debt of $500,000.  In addition, the budget allows for 36 of 94 proposed new initiatives submitted by departments for the upcoming year.  

Chiropractic tuition is major source of University revenue – and continues to be among the lowest in the country in the 40th percentile among chiropractic colleges. Dr. Wiles pointed out that rather than implement significant tuition increases to move our ranking upward, the University decided to limit tuition increases as much as possible. However, tuition is increasing by 3.5% effective fall term, which is parallel with the University of Minnesota tuition increase, despite the fact that they also receive significant public funding. Dr. Wiles noted that he will be working closely with the Faculty Senate and Employee Council to determine the best way to accommodate a small salary increase or salary supplement for staff and faculty in the upcoming budget year.

Dr. Wiles reviewed improvements and changes in the area of admissions which include:

  • Implementing Enrollment Rx, a CRM system for tracking and reporting
  • Four new staff members with a wealth of experience in higher education admissions
  • Changes in admissions and communications processes to include a “high-touch” approach with prospective students
  • Introducing 60 new scholarships
  • Launching Search Engine  Marketing campaign focusing on Google ads
  • Adapting our admissions requirements to account for new CCE changes which will be effective January 2014

He reviewed the clinic transformation project, which includes implementing an electronic health record and developing a collaborative practice model. Dr. Wiles praised the work of the research team on publishing the findings of the neck pain study in a major medical journal, which was widely reported in dozens of major news outlets. He reported that, thanks to a large private grant, the HC Sweere Center for Clinical Biomechanics and Applied Ergonomics is now in development.

Dr. Wiles reported that Dr. Chris Frazier is leading and facilitating a process to reframe and renew our strategic plan.  Between now and August 1, the campus community will have an opportunity to comment on the reframed plan and in August will launch community teams to recommend priority actions.

Regarding the presidential search, he announced that a search committee has been named and an announcement would be forthcoming by the Board of Trustees. That announcement was sent June 21.

Dr. Wiles concluded his address with some personal notes and observations, emphasizing that his goal is “for this campus to look, feel, sound and act like a great university. We need to grow all of our programs,” he stated, “and to continue to attract the brightest students and faculty to a vibrant academic community and a culture of inquiry.”

He ended by saying that transitional periods can be challenging for organizations and his goal is to provide stability to the university during this time – building on the strength of our traditional “community of caring” spirit.

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