Three NIU students joined me Thursday to appear before the House Appropriations Committee in Springfield to talk about state funding for higher education.
I was impressed by their articulate advocacy, which illustrated the power of an NIU education and showcased our high-impact learning opportunities such as internships and undergraduate research.
These hearings are part of a long legislative process in which the House and Senate will hear testimony from NIU and other areas of state government as they develop state budgets. In turn, those budgets will be negotiated with each other and the executive branch in a process that will last until a resolution to the difficult state budget challenges is agreed upon.
During the hearing, I spoke about our many accomplishments as a public university. The accomplishments and excellence of our students, faculty and staff were too numerous to fully recognize, but here are just a few:
- a top online Masters of Education program;
- a nationally recognized accountancy program;
- a popular nursing program with the lowest cost per credit hour in the state;
- a top 45 engineering college;
- a diverse, best-value law school;
- Top 100 visual and performing arts programs producing accomplished alumni; and
- highly regarded liberal arts and sciences programs known for research and faculty quality.
These programs in each of our colleges, and the faculty and staff who make them go, have helped NIU to claim strong national rankings, return on investment and student social mobility.
Our goal is to provide our students with a broad-based education and enriching student experience tailored to their passions, ensuring their timely degree completion and success in securing employment in their field of interest or graduate school enrollment within six months of graduation if they choose.
Beginning next week, the university salutes the talent, resourcefulness and accomplishments of NIU students, faculty, staff and alumni in support of our mission during “Celebrating Excellence.” During April and May, awards and recognition ceremonies will honor those who have exhibited excellence in fulfilling the university’s mission during the academic year.
As part of this annual observance, many events will take place including presentation of the university’s most prestigious faculty awards, presentations of outstanding research by graduate and undergraduate students, recognition of outstanding alumni and lectures by top faculty.
I invite the campus community, area residents, alumni and others to participate in these events and join NIU in recognizing the “best of the best” that the university has to offer.