Northeastern’s grad­uate cam­puses in Char­lotte, N.C., and Seattle, com­bined with its hybrid online edu­ca­tion model — which pairs per­sonal inter­ac­tions between stu­dents and fac­ulty with top-​​notch online learning — are placing the uni­ver­sity in the lead in an increas­ingly com­pet­i­tive higher-​​education envi­ron­ment, uni­ver­sity leaders said Wednesday at the Fac­ulty Senate meeting.

I think it’s exciting and thrilling: What we’re talking about here is being at the front of the pack,” said Terry Fulmer, the dean of the Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences.

The Senate meeting included a dis­cus­sion with Stephen Zoloth, dean of aca­d­emic affairs for external pro­grams and vice provost for health research, who explained how Northeastern’s online edu­ca­tion pro­grams — which enroll 6,500 stu­dents in 48 states — and grad­uate cam­puses are opening up new oppor­tu­ni­ties for cur­rent stu­dents, fac­ulty and alumni.

Our pres­ence in Char­lotte, for example, brought ben­e­fits that flow back to the uni­ver­sity,” Zoloth said. “Our insti­tu­tion now has a rep­u­ta­tion in regions we were not better known in before, and it gives us a way to work with people we would oth­er­wise have had little access to.”

The Seattle and Char­lotte cam­puses are part of a world­wide net­work that cre­ates oppor­tu­ni­ties for co-​​op, research and industry part­ner­ships, Zoloth explained.

All of a sudden we have a new portal,” he said.

Grad­uate cam­puses and online edu­ca­tion let North­eastern look beyond Boston to pro­vide the same quality edu­ca­tion to areas where pro­fes­sional master’s degrees are not as readily avail­able, he said.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the Fac­ulty Senate voted to sup­port the rec­om­men­da­tion of its Finan­cial Affairs Com­mittee for a 4 per­cent increase in the merit pool for the next fiscal year and to estab­lish a new Master of Design for Sus­tain­able Urban Envi­ron­ments, an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary pro­gram in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design that com­bines archi­tec­ture, envi­ron­mental sci­ence and plan­ning to address issues of sustainability.

This is a pro­gram that is in full align­ment with the mis­sion of our col­lege,” said Xavier Costa, the college’s dean. “This is really a cen­tral step toward our efforts in devel­oping new activ­i­ties in sustainability.”