Northern Vermont University’s very creation reimagines the role a public university can play in 21st-century Vermont.

The university has been greatly strengthened by the successful unification of two well-regarded colleges — Johnson and Lyndon. Our two-campus model, with campuses at Johnson and Lyndon, is unique to Vermont, and the way we are executing it is unique to higher education across our nation.

NVU is garnering national attention for our groundbreaking initiative and, most importantly, is serving students better than ever before.

The unification of Johnson and Lyndon state colleges has had significant budget savings and is helping us better serve our students by maximizing the impact of our resources.

Among the most important benefits of NVU’s creation are our expanded and improved offerings to students. We are excited about the creation of four academic schools across our campuses, creating interdisciplinary groupings that foster new connections across disciplines and catalyze new academic opportunities for our students.

The combination of the schools and our new general education core sets NVU apart by addressing the challenges of the 21st century. NVU students will graduate with the courses, experiences and soft skills that employers demand — creative and critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, teamwork and research.

As part of this core education, students think through solutions to some of society’s greatest challenges, including climate change, social justice and sustainability. As a result, our students will graduate with the foundation they need to succeed in the global economy as active, engaged citizens.

NVU has launched new degrees for a changing world, in data science and digital communications, offering relevant programs that meet workforce demands. Our cutting-edge, interdisciplinary climate-change science degree leads the industry with a study of climate change through multiple lenses. Students graduate with the in-depth science and communications skills they need to effect change.

With NVU Online, we are meeting students where they are as students, so they can pursue a degree no matter where they live or what their schedule is. Today’s online students can choose from 16 degree and certificate programs.

New offerings include criminal justice with a restorative justice concentration, a sport management concentration, general studies, and NVU’s first fully online master’s degree — in leadership studies. Three online certificates offer professionals credit-bearing certificates as an avenue for improving their career trajectory: small business management, sustainability and accounting proficiency.

NVU’s Center for Professional Studies offers boot-camp-style skills training to meet the complex needs of adult learners. Through online, on-campus, and hybrid delivery, these non-credit-bearing courses help motivated individuals keep pace with technology and build new skills.

Classes such as data analytics, project management and Microsoft skills provide workforce readiness that is in high demand by employers across all industries. The Center for Professional Studies also offers professional credentialing by national providers in avalanche rescue and wilderness outdoor first aid.

Employers like the bite-sized learning in specific skills areas and customization that NVU offers. Kingdom East Supervisory Union, Brattleboro Regional Development Corp., Mobile Medical Corp., Revision Military, and Mount Snow, Burke Mountain and Smugglers’ Notch resorts are among the institutions NVU has recently helped with their workforce training needs.

One of the most important functions our university serves is keeping our young people in Vermont while simultaneously drawing new people to our state — thousands of whom have stayed to become active citizens who work in our communities. NVU is an innovative, strong institution with a bright future. With our two campuses at Johnson and Lyndon, we are integral to Vermont’s successful economic future.

Our commitment to driving and supporting the economic, educational, environmental and cultural vitality of Vermont communities will never waver, and we look forward to continuing to serve generations of students to come.

Elaine C. Collins is president of Northern Vermont University.

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