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Nicolet College - Northwoods professionals, Nicolet College partner to improve education

Northwoods professionals,
Nicolet College partner to improve education


Connecting the skills needed in the workplace with what is taught in the classroom is a top priority for Nicolet College. And to help keep that sync tight, 170 working professionals from dozens of different career fields recently gathered at Nicolet to advise the college on up-and-coming trends they see in their areas of expertise.

“The information these individuals provide to Nicolet is invaluable,” said Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster. “We take great pride in ensuring our students graduate from Nicolet with the skills they need to get jobs. This is good for the students and the employers. It works to make both successful.”

The structure Nicolet uses to gather this information is based on the college’s 21 different Academic Advisory Committees, covering all academic disciplines offered at Nicolet.

After a meeting of the whole in the Nicolet Theatre, committee members met in their specific groups to advise Nicolet faculty and administrators about developments they are seeing in their fields.

“This is a long-standing practice at Nicolet,” said Kenneth Urban, Nicolet’s vice president of teaching, learning and student success. “Workplaces are constantly changing and it’s our job as a college to stay in tune with the changes. A big challenge for us is to actually stay ahead of the changes. When a student starts a two-year associate degree at Nicolet, they aren’t necessarily going to need all the skills of today but, instead, the new skills that will be relevant two years down the road.”

Over the past five years Advisory Committee members have helped the college develop and refine more than 20 new academic offerings. These cover the gamut from health care, business, and manufacturing to information technology, the building trades, digital media arts, and hybrid vehicle technology.

In all, 269 Northwoods professionals serve on Nicolet Academic Advisory Committees, representing virtually every corner of the 4,000 square miles of the Nicolet District, which includes all of Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties and portions of Lincoln, Langlade and Iron counties.

“The volunteer service these individuals provide is invaluable to the college and especially to the students who enroll at Nicolet,” Burmaster added. “It works to ensure that future graduates will have what it takes to build a stronger Northwoods.”