Northeastern ‘Global Network’ to help support, scale educational programs

At the Faculty Senate meeting on Wednesday, university leaders outlined the vision for the Northeastern University Global Network, a platform to strengthen the university’s global leadership in professional experiential graduate education.

The meeting featured a combined annual report from Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Philomena Mantella, senior vice president of enrollment management and student life. Mantella is also the CEO of the Global Network, which will enable Northeastern’s colleges to deliver more experiential graduate professional programs through online and hybrid learning channels.

“It’s a platform for the colleges,” Mantella said. “The colleges need to know that when they are bringing a program to market, the market research will be there, the enrollment coaching will be in place, and the support and infrastructure will be there.”

The Global Network will work directly with the colleges to leverage graduate programs that meet an industry need and can be scaled into an online or hybrid education model, while continuing to offer an experiential learning component. The Global Network will help coordinate aspects such as business development, market entry, and regulatory support.

“Master’s degrees are really emerging as the new bachelor’s degrees,” Mantella said. “More and more students are saying that is going to be their terminal degree. And hybrid delivery continues to the most desirable and highest achieving.”

Northeastern now has 12,000 online and hybrid learners, 6,000 of those at the graduate professional level. Mantella said Northeastern delivers a greater number of graduate professional programs through the hybrid, flexible model than most other institutions. “We have a very strong position in the market today,” she said.

Part of that strength comes from Northeastern’s regional campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington. Since the launch of those two campuses, Northeastern has seen a 24 percent growth in online and hybrid enrollment. The university is planning to announce new regional campus locations in the coming months.

Wednesday’s presentation to the Senate also included updates of activities and projects around campus, as well as admission statistics about the impressive new class of first-year students.

For Fall 2014, Northeastern experienced its highest ever number of applicants, while the mean SAT score for incoming students increased to 1413 from 1390 last year. The mean SAT for new students in the University Scholars Program was 1505. What’s more, international students comprise 20 percent of this fall’s incoming class. The retention rate for second-year students this year remained at 96 percent.

“You and your colleagues play a significant role in attracting that caliber of students,” Director told the Senate.