As I begin my first official week as NIU’s 12th president, I have been meeting regularly with the leadership team at Northern Illinois University on how to translate the 2020 vision of becoming the most student-centered public research institution in the Midwest into reality.
I have articulated six priorities essential to student career success and am forming task forces consisting of alumni, faculty, staff and community leaders to provide me with an external assessment of these priorities.
I intend to communicate regularly with students, faculty, staff, alumni and policy leaders in the region to report on NIU’s progress in these key areas. This communication will take many forms, including on the NIU Today and NIU.edu websites, through emails, and through a social media presence on both Facebook and Twitter.
Early in my teaching career, I realized that the best lessons do not always originate from textbooks. NIU offers our students tremendous transformational learning opportunities that include a vibrant University Honors Program, Themed Learning Communities, Research Rookies, study abroad, more than 200 clubs, service learning opportunities and academic enrichment programs – but we have room to grow in our efforts.
Every student should be able to find gainful employment in their field of choice or admittance to graduate school if those are their goals. NIU has over 230,000 alums, many of whom live in the Chicago metro region. We need help from our alumni who have gone before to assist our current students to find career success upon graduation.
Over the coming months, I will share in more detail about how this will occur. NIU’s brand can best be summarized as Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow. Our students and alums each live their part of the brand. Now it is up to NIU to bring both students and alumni together to ensure that today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders.