Campus update: Program Prioritization

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NIU President Doug Baker

NIU President Doug Baker sent this message today to members of the university community.

Program Prioritization continues to progress, and I’m energized by the momentum that is building.

Members of the Senior Cabinet and I reviewed initial drafts of the divisional action plans during an all-day retreat last Wednesday. We began to explore and discuss the creative ideas and thoughtful reactions that were contained in their specific responses to the task forces’ recommendations.

These were first, and not final, drafts – and we will continue to have meaningful and deliberative dialogue about what makes sense and what, on further consideration, might not. Some action plan items are fairly simple and their implementation is already in progress. Others will require deeper examination and multiple conversations across departments, colleges and divisions before we can make and carry out responsible decisions.

The implementation of Program Prioritization will continue to honor our system of shared governance. Proposals involving the creation or deletion of academic programs will be subject to the established processes for curricular revision because NIU’s constitution and bylaws provide for faculty predominance in all policy decisions relating to the university curriculum.

Clearly, this effort will take some time because of the number of recommendations and the complexities associated with their implementation.

We are committed to moving forward. We are carefully and consciously determining how to align mission and goals with our resources to ensure a vibrant future, and we will continue to strengthen these processes at NIU in coming years.

Mission- and priority-based resource allocation must become our core practice, and from what I have seen thus far in the action plans, that concept has largely been embraced and elaborated upon in very creative ways.

The task before us now is to translate that energy and creativity into lasting change.

altgeld-bannerDuring the first 18 months of this process, a coordinating team and two ~20-member task forces provided guidance and advocacy for our university community. Those teams completed their duties in May, and the divisions have responded with their action plan proposals.

We now turn to the critical steps of finalizing and implementing those plans.

To that end, I’ve appointed Chris McCord, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Matt Streb, professor in the Department of Political Science, to serve as liaisons and facilitators for the implementation phase.

Chris and Matt believe strongly in Program Prioritization and the foundational compass it provides, and I am grateful to both of these busy campus leaders for their willingness to take on these important tasks going forward.

Between now and November, when we will issue our first progress report, you will begin to see and hear early and exciting results.

For example, the act of writing the narratives has revealed immediate, agreed upon opportunities, some of which are now under way.  Other areas have begun to explore collaborations and shifting resources to become more efficient and effective.

As we continue to uncover the paths that Program Prioritization will set for us, I ask you to join me in building on the powerful spirit of making things happen – and of attaining our keystone goal of Student Career Success. Working together, we thrive.

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