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Baker Report: Faculty key to Bold Futures

October 3, 2013
Doug Baker

Doug Baker

Last week, Dana and I hosted a dinner to welcome NIU’s new faculty. It was a wonderful evening, and we found ourselves buoyed by the breadth of background and depth of expertise these new colleagues exhibited. They will undoubtedly enhance our students’ academic experience through their teaching, research and outreach.

NIU students frequently cite the importance of faculty to their success. Indeed, they call it integral. For obvious reasons, faculty have a tremendous influence on our students in the classroom; yet many students engage faculty outside of the classroom, tapping their networks and expertise and seeking guidance as they explore internship, campus leadership and research opportunities. These are exactly the type of student career success experiences NIU seeks to provide.

NIU offers students rich resources – our faculty chief among those – to build and develop their own personal paths to bold futures. Just as we see multiple interests converge in each of our students, and we try to help them determine their own versions of career success, we are at the stage now where we must think more about how we are organized. Our students expect us to think and help them flourish in a multi-disciplinary, global marketplace; that translates into the university functioning in an integrated and collaborative manner across the campus.

I am encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response from the university and local communities to a series of “Bold Futures” workshops intended to enhance student career success at NIU. These workshops – along with an ongoing assessment of our programs – will help us develop a plan and build momentum toward a “Bold Future.”