This week, I attended the Association of Governing Boards conference with trustees John Butler and Marc Strauss in Washington, D.C. I also attended the APLU Council of Presidents summer meetings, which focused on important topics affecting higher education such as improving student retention. On Tuesday, I enjoyed meeting with six of NIU’s D.C. interns who are receiving great, hands-on learning experiences that will help them in their academic, personal and career pursuits.
Last week, the NIU Board of Trustees approved the appointment of NIU alumnus Harlan Teller as interim vice president, reporting directly to me as a member of the senior cabinet and overseeing the Division of Marketing & Communications. Brad Hoey will continue in a marketing communications operational capacity, reporting to Harlan.
At the board meeting, we also recognized the service of student trustee Elliot Echols, who graduated with his master’s degree in May. I am thankful for Elliot’s leadership, both in the Student Association and as a trustee in representing student interests and making NIU a better place to be.
The board also said goodbye to Sharon Banks-Wilkins, who has served as the board’s recording secretary since its inception in 1996. Sharon is retiring at the end of this month. To date, there have been approximately 200 retirements and approximately 150 resignations for the entire year, a rate similar to recent years. I am thankful for the many contributions these people have made to NIU during the course of their careers.
We have made a good deal of progress over the last 12 months and are poised to do even more in the coming year. Priorities include managing our human and budgetary resources in a sustainable manner, setting expectations for an ethically inspired campus leadership and building thriving communities with a focus on enrollment. Strategic planning workshops will take place in July, and while we have great challenges, there are also tremendous opportunities. I am convinced we can realize them.