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President Baker emails university community on Program Prioritization

May 2, 2016
NIU President Doug Baker

NIU President Doug Baker

NIU President Doug Baker sent this message today to members of the university community.

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

The Program Prioritization process was designed to help us best align our resources with our mission so that we can become a stronger, more innovative and sustainable university. The Academic and Administrative Task Forces have completed their work, and their recommendations can now be accessed online.

After it was announced at the Town Hall that the reports would be posted in their entirety, concerns were raised by the Faculty Senate and others that making the recommendations widely available on the web posed the risk of creating public misunderstanding or misinterpretation – especially without the context of the narratives or any feedback. After careful consideration, I’ve given approval for the full reports to be password-protected, along with the narratives, and to make the executive summaries available today to the general public.

This by no means reflects a change in our commitment to transparency as all faculty, staff and students will have full access to both the reports and the narratives while they contemplate their responses during this feedback phase. Rather, this action will allow us the time and process necessary to add clarity where needed and develop the university’s full strategic plan for action. I will issue a Program Prioritization President’s Report late this fall and will make available the full Task Force reports and action plans at that time.

During the coming weeks we will happily work with alumni and the community to meet their requests and information needs so that they also can be a part of the feedback process.

The next steps are for each of us to objectively review the recommendations, and to work collaboratively across the university to identify synergies, efficiencies and ways to advance our mission of excellence in teaching and learning, research and artistry, and outreach and engagement, and to support our cornerstone goal of Student Career Success. The results of these efforts will be used to inform action plans and invest in excellence.

The process has been thorough, inclusive, comprehensive, data-driven and transparent, and will continue to be as we move into this new phase. Providing feedback is critical in the coming weeks, and is encouraged to be shared directly with program owners and/or via the web.

Thank you again to the Task Force chairs and members for their time, talent and commitment, and thank you to all of you who work each day to deliver a high-quality academic environment.

Together Forward,


President Baker