Skip to content


Strategic Plan 2020-2035



Strategic Plan Components

4 Strategic Directions

Remain in place to guide North Central for the 15 year planning cycle.


4 Strategic Goals

Support the Strategic Directions and are on a 5-year cycle.

Goal 1:  Increase Student Success
Goal 2: Update and expand academic programming
Goal 3: Foster employee engagement and retention
Goal 4: Grow to be the region's community leader in the areas of sustainability and community collaboration

24 Action Plans

Support the Strategic Goals and are on a 2-3 year cycle.

Action Plans have divisional/departmental objectives with KPIs to measure yearly performance.

graphic of strategic planning elements

sp triangleNorth Central's Commitment

THRIVE 2035 augments the College’s commitment to its people, programs and places.


North Central is driven by student success and equity and institutionalizes a collective sense of belonging for its students and employees to feel cared about, accepted, respected and valued. The College is dedicated to helping each student succeed by increasing student engagement, improving completion rates and closing the Opportunity Gap by striving for equitable access and outcomes for underserved and low-income students. The College focuses beyond the classroom, enriching connections with the community, supporting the paths of students after their time with us and bolstering the regional economy and workforce.


North Central is committed to transforming the lives of our students through quality instruction rooted in collective efficacy. The College will develop and maintain innovative, relevant programming aligned with student and labor market demands for our graduates to obtain well-paying jobs.


The college must have buildings/classrooms, technology, human resources and expanded services to support student success and the expectations of tomorrow’s higher education students and lifelong learners. At the same time, we will not lose sight of the natural environment and sustainability of the College.

Invest in what’s working
Update & expand academic programming and build strength in transfer education
Modify what’s not
Deliver new and re-vamped occupational programming
Meet today’s needs
Strengthen workforce development and lifelong learning programming
Focus on student success, engagement and support
Plan for tomorrow
Student success and equity is at the center of all we do
Focus on employee engagement and retention
Growth in community leadership and support
Create a truly consumer-oriented approach to higher ed

  • Mission, Vision, Values Created - February 2020
  • Mission, Vision, Values Approved by Board of Trustees - March 2020
  • Strategic Directions & Goals Created - Dec. 2020
  • Strategic Directions & Goals Approved by Board of Trustees - March 2021
  • 2021-22 Action Plans with Objectives and KPIs Created - April 2021
  • 2021-22 Divisional/Department Work Plans Created - June 2021
  • 2021-22 Strategic Plan Implementation - July 1, 2021
  • Progress against 2021-22 Objectives Analyzed - June 30, 2022
  • Comprehensive Strategic Plan Revision - December 2022
  • 2022-23 Action Plans with Objectives and KPIs Finalized - January 2023
  • Revision approved by Board of Trustees - February 2023
  • 2022-23 Strategic Plan Implementation - February 2023
  • Progress against 2022-23 Objectives Analyzed - June 30, 2023
  • 2023-24 Strategic Plan Implementation - September 2023


To provide exceptional, accessible, relevant higher education to the benefit of all.


To become the premier student-centered college, as partners on the learning journey.

As such, North Central will be recognized for student success and equity, transfer education, workforce development, and lifelong learning, energizing the social and economic vitality of the communities it serves.


Excellence – We hold ourselves to the highest professional standards, exceeding expectations by providing transformative learning experiences and exceptional service.

Integrity - We model ethical and honest behavior, building trust and inspiring confidence. Accountable for our words and actions, we are genuine, transparent and respectful.

Results - On and off campus, we continually deliver on our commitment to improve the lives of our students, our institution and its relevance to those we serve through innovation, agility and thoughtful risk-taking.

Stewardship - We commit to the responsible care and growth of the human, environmental, economic and cultural resources entrusted to us.

Compassion - With kindness, caring and dignity, we seek to understand and address the complex and unique needs of others.

Inclusion - We strive to create a welcoming environment that embraces and respects the uniqueness of each individual and celebrates the power of a diverse community.

The college’s vision, mission and values drive the Strategic Plan. The Environmental Scan and SWOT Analysis set the stage by depicting the current external and internal environments under which the plan was developed. The College’s Master Plan is a key element in aligning our strategic agenda with our programs and facilities. This knowledge informs the annual planning process.

Strategic Plan Implementation Graphic

The planning process pyramid shows the strategic alignment of measurable actions (KPIs) based on the College priorities used in developing and implementing the strategic plan. The plan is implemented in planning cycles, providing annual accountability and evaluation of progress as outlined in the pyramid.

pyramid chart

Cabinet Liaison:

David Roland Finley, President

SPAT Co-Chairs:
Carol Laenen, VP of Marketing & Strategy
Stephen Strom, VP of Academic Affairs
SPAT Members:
Renee DeYoung, Vice President of Student Affairs
Tom Zeidel, Vice President of Finance & Facilities
Chelsea Platte, VP of Advancement, Foundation Executive Director
Scott LaDeur, Political Science Professor
Christy Lyons, Dean of Corporate & Community Education
Dallas Culvahouse, SCRC Director
Nicki Morris, Assistant Registrar
Melissa Mansfield, Executive Assistant to the President
NCMC students cheering at a game

What will tomorrow look like?


. . . will be transformed into a more sustainable, resilient, inclusive and equitable institution, driven by student success and equity. 

. . . will be recognized for its strength in transfer education, workforce development, and lifelong learning, energizing the social and economic vitality of the communities it serves to meet the profound demands of the global, digital, knowledge economy.

. . . will have embedded as part of the College’s Culture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) principles into all college-wide operations, practices and procedures, and institutionalized a collective sense of belonging for our students and employees to feel cared about, accepted, respected and valued.
Strategic Planning Brainstorming Session


Together We Thrive logo


Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of participants in this strategic plan, including employees, community members, donors, students and alumni, North Central will reach even higher in service to our students and Northern Michigan, through efforts at enhancing our relevance and preparedness to meet the needs of a changing student population and a region that relies on the strength of its community college.