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Baker Report: Restructuring for efficiency and opportunity

February 28, 2014

Integration and collaboration have been my goal since I first came to NIU. In October, we announced administrative changes to several units to better align our operations to facilitate student career success. These changes are ongoing, and today we announce additional restructuring that will allow us to be more efficient and better able to realize our opportunities and address our challenges.

After an extensive search process that led to a very strong pool of candidates, NIU has chosen Brett Coryell as the new CIO and VP for Information Technology. This position formerly reported to the Vice President for Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development. Because of the importance of IT to every aspect of our work at the university, the newly constituted position will add duties that have been spread out under other vice presidential areas and will report directly to the President. Brett is currently the Deputy Chief Information Officer at Emory University and comes to us with many years of experience.

Effective close of business Friday, Feb. 28, Brad Hoey will assume responsibility for Marketing and Communications. Brad has served the university for 23 years, most recently as Director of Communications & Marketing. He replaces Kathy Buettner, who will no longer serve in that capacity.

The uncertain future of pension reform in Illinois has led to a complex and uncertain landscape for current and future retirees. I have asked Steve Cunningham to devote his full attention over the next few months to sorting through these issues on behalf of the university to clarify the new retirement landscape and thereby help NIU employees. Steve has agreed to take this on, but has expressed interest in pursuing other employment opportunities when that work is completed. We thank both Kathy and Steve for the years of dedicated service to NIU.

These changes will allow us to consolidate two vice presidential areas into one reporting structure. Effective immediately, Bill Nicklas becomes the Vice President for Operations and Community Relations. He will add the responsibilities of Facilities and Human Resources to his existing portfolio of Public Safety and Community Relations. Bill also serves as the liaison to the Board of Trustees.

One additional change related to this structural reorganization is that the Police Chief, Tom Phillips, will be added to the President’s Operations Cabinet and have a dotted-line reporting relationship to the President. These steps are being taken to enhance the coordination of senior leadership in helping Chief Phillips efforts to ensure a safe campus and community environment.

We are committed to our guiding principles in alignment with NIU’s mission, strategic goals and our keystone goal of student career success. These changes are a reflection of that commitment as we constantly assess and evaluate our progress in meeting these critical goals.