Good afternoon NMC family,

It’s hard to believe we are entering the final week of spring semester and my first as president of our college. It’s certainly not the semester any of us could have planned for, but I am more confident than ever that this is the right place for me to be at this time. Seeing your work to help our students to achieve their goals, and your work helping each other has been amazing.

While finishing the work of this semester, we are also looking toward the future. I know that may seem challenging given how much uncertainty we face, but as we talked about at our recent virtual town hall, I have a framework that I believe will help us focus our attention and actions as we live into our new normal. It’s “The 4R’s.”


1. Refocus – As we transition our focus from crisis to recovery, we must deliberately refocus our attention from pre-coronavirus to now, and what lies ahead. We must hit pause on our old goals so we can reevaluate where they should be situated in terms of refocused priorities, and articulate new priorities/goals for the next 100 days. We must cascade this throughout the organization, to ensure folks are not stuck where we were. And, so we can begin creating greater clarity about where we’re going.

2. Reopening and Reengaging – While there’s no indication, yet, of what post ‘stay at home’ looks like, we’re beginning to hear signaling that reopening is on the horizon and being planned for. We’re also hearing that we’re not likely going back to the old normal. Rather, we will need to begin to formally develop explicit scenarios about our possible futures. We will each need to help our colleagues by working together on reopening and reengaging as we come back to work. Again, our challenge will be to not assume we’re getting back to the old normal. Rather, we must each begin to reimagine our future and our new normal.

3. Reimagining – Based on the above mentioned scenarios, we must breathe life into these reimagined work processes. We will need to leverage the courageous creativity and innovations that have already been born during this time of great challenge and equally great possibility. This new (or, renewed) college, and supporting new business model, will ensure that we’re weathering the financial storm resultant from the coronavirus pandemic.

4. Righting the Ship – Refocusing, reopening and reengaging, and reimagining, will allow us to right the ship – to ensure the college’s financial stabilization and the ultimate sustainability of the institution. We’ll need to be good fiscal stewards – engaging in weeding (answering what we need to stop doing), pruning (answering what we need to cut back on) and, we’ll need to plant some new crops – e.g., new approaches to delivering a community college education.

Nick Nissley, Ed.D. | President | Northwestern Michigan College | 231.995.1010

Northwestern Michigan College

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