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Expanded Program Prioritization committee to pick task force members

April 16, 2015

Photo of a banner on Founders Memorial LibraryWith more than 100 nominations received for service on two program prioritization task forces, the group charged with picking final task force members has been expanded to include three additional faculty, one member of the operating staff, one member of the Supportive Professional Staff and one student.

Together with the provost, chief financial officer and executive secretary of the University Council, the task force selection group will begin reviewing nominations next week.

Once named to the academic and administrative program task forces, members will begin training and conducting some preliminary work that will last well into the summer. The bulk of the task force work will begin in October and last through March of next year.

Program prioritization is an effort to match resources with university mission, vision and priorities. Spurred in part by current budget concerns, the process will be repeated every five years at NIU, regardless of financial climate. Task force members will receive standard data on each identified program, as well as narratives submitted by the programs themselves.

Using criteria established by NIU’s shared governance system, the task forces will make recommendations about each program, ranging from the need to invest more resources and expand current operations to scaling back, merging, or eliminating programs.

The program prioritization coordinating team voted to expand the selection group after hearing concerns about how task force membership would be constructed.

“We’ve said this will be an inclusive and iterative process, and this is an example of what we mean by that,” said Bill Pitney, president of the Faculty Senate, executive secretary of the University Council and coordinating team member.

Bill Pitney

Bill Pitney

“Program prioritization is a process all of us are involved in for the greater good of our university and its future. That’s an important charge,” Pitney added, “and if groups want more involvement in various steps of the process, we will listen and we will make adjustments accordingly.”

Dillon Domke, undergraduate student member of the coordinating team, says a recent trip to Springfield brought home to him the importance of the program prioritization process.

“A lot of institutions are waiting to see what happens in Springfield, but NIU is being proactive,” Domke said. “There is no money to be found in the capitol, period. We have to take charge of our own future, and I like that the program prioritization process is planful and strategic.”

Domke suggested a new feature that has been added to the Program Prioritization website: Interested departments and individuals can request a visit from members of the coordinating team to discuss questions and concerns. Those requests can be submitted online.