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Academic Programming Working Group makes enriched learning opportunities its top priority

June 30, 2011

Vision 2020 logoThis is the second in a series of articles offering a brief overview of the Vision 2020 working group reports.

The Academic Programming Working Group is developing a plan to improve the education of NIU students by increasing access to enriched learning opportunities.

The 13-member working group, comprised of faculty, staff, students and alumni, outlines a detailed set of recommendations on how to achieve that goal, and several others, in a report compiled as part of the Vision 2020 Initiative, NIU’s effort to become the most student-centered public research university in the Midwest by the year 2020.

That report (and five others) is online and available for review and comment so that the university community can help define the path to that goal.

Members of the Academic Programming group compared NIU to similar schools across the state and region to examine levels of participation in enhanced learning activities such as the honors program, classes that incorporate engaged learning, study abroad, themed learning communities and undergraduate research. The working group made specific recommendations on how to expand and improve each of those programs at NIU.

The working group also recommended:

  • significantly increasing online learning opportunities.
  • adopting the Collegiate Learning Assessment to better measure student mastery of critical thinking, analytical reasoning and written communication.
  • increasing the percentage of alumni who believe that their degree prepared them “well” or “very well” for their career.

Each recommendation includes: justification for why it is important; specific steps required to carry out the recommendation; organizational or policy changes that might be required; budgetary considerations; a list of planning documents that might help guide the effort; and a suggestion as to which organizations on campus should be charged with approving and implementing work toward attaining the goal.

“The recommendations set forth in this report, and the others, offer a clear path forward,” said NIU President John Peters. “What we are looking for now is feedback from the NIU community as to which of these priorities should be treated as most important to help us set the course toward our future.”

The campus community can share thoughts on those issues by visiting the Vision 2020 website, where six of the seven reports (both full reports and executive summaries) are currently available for review and comment. Deadline for input is Friday, July 15.