This report describes an enhanced program of baccalaureate studies at Northern Illinois University – one of advancement and distinction that will help set NIU apart as a 21st century institution of higher education.
Beginning with the provost’s charter in January 2013, the PLUS Task Force has spent 21 months exploring pedagogical aims, instructional quality and curricular practices that integrate major studies, general education and high-impact practices.
The task force has steadfastly reached out to students, faculty, administrators, alumni and community college partners to discover best institutional practices and develop a shared purpose for the future. Members worked hard to set ourselves above the specific interests of individual faculty, departments and disciplines.
“Our philosophy has instead focused on creating structured ‘pathways’ of interdisciplinary course bundles that are centered upon timely intellectual issues, pathways that culminate in an earned general education PLUS minor and segue into the major areas of study,” wrote Michael Kolb, general education coordinator at NIU. “We believe that the purpose of general education is not to attract students into a discipline, but rather infuse disciplines into the lives of students.”