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President: Vision 2020 sustainability group posts its report online for review, comment

August 17, 2011

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

Aerial view of central campusColleagues,

Today I am pleased to announce that the sixth and final Vision 2020 Working Group report is available online for review and comment.

This report, from the Sustainability Working Group, focuses on what Northern Illinois University must do to remain a thriving, viable institution of higher learning in an economic and social climate unlike any other we have ever faced. It is, in some regards, a synthesis of the ideas of many of the other working groups, touching upon a wide range of topics including:

  • Growing enrollment;
  • Boosting private giving;
  • Engaging with the region;
  • Improving the quality of academic programs;
  • Recruiting and retaining world class faculty and staff;
  • Providing exceptional out-of-class experiences for students;
  • Developing and maintaining state-of-the-art facilities and campus.

The final analysis of the Sustainability Working Group concludes that the institution must focus first on basic survival and integrity of the core institution over the next decade, with an increasing emphasis on efficiencies along with stabilized and then increasing enrollment. Moving forward, the second phase is an investment perspective where resources can be allocated toward those aspects of the university mission that have the greatest impact on student success, retention and the institutional mission.

This, they believe, will allow NIU to maintain its legacy as a quality academic institution. It will generate academic programs and services within a learning environment. It will foster student experience that is conducive to student growth and development outcomes.

The report also includes an appendix of charts and graphs to illustrate and illuminate many of the complex concepts examined in the report.

The complete package provides a comprehensive look at the financial realities that confront NIU today, how they affect every facet of our operation and thoughts on how to overcome those challenges in the decade ahead.

While this report will inform some of my comments during my Sept. 1 State of the University Address, I am extending the deadline for comment on this important document until Aug. 31 so that you have adequate time to review it and provide thoughtful comments.

This document will help shape our course for the future. I urge you to share your considered opinion on its content and help us ensure that the path we choose leads to a better and stronger NIU.

John G. Peters
President, Northern Illinois University