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President’s Program Prioritization progress report released

November 28, 2016

ppppr-coverAfter more than two years of preparation, examination and evaluation, the NIU campus community received status reports on Program Prioritization that begin to map out changes resulting from the process.

The reports were posted on the university’s Program Prioritization website Monday.

A report from President Doug Baker covers recommendations from the Program Prioritization Administrative Task Force, while Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman addresses recommendations from the Program Prioritization Academic Task Force.

The report from Baker recaps each of the 236 administrative programs reviewed and states whether or not he agrees or disagrees with the recommendation. Where appropriate it discusses next steps. In some instances, the report will discuss actions already taken. For instance, it recaps the creation of the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office, an idea that the president endorsed and all involved supported, so it was pursued without delay.

His report also explains which programs have been set aside for “complex conversations.” In those instances, it was determined that decisions could potentially be applied across multiple programs, colleges or divisions, and more time was needed to ensure that all of the issues were explored in appropriate depth. In each of those cases, Monday’s update provided a deadline for when a report on those conversations is due.

Freeman’s report recaps and comments upon recommendations made regarding academic programs. Particular attention is paid to ways that programs within Academic Affairs might cooperate with other divisions to strengthen academic priorities.

Unlike the report regarding administrative programs, Freeman’s report contains few final decisions.

“Because recommendations by the task force would directly affect curriculum they must go through our standard curricular process and shared governance,” Freeman explained. “That is the only way that programs can be created or eliminated, and Program Prioritization does not change that.”

That is not to say, however, that recommendations from the Academic Task Force have not already had an impact. In some cases, academic units agreed with suggested changes and pursued them without waiting for the final report. For instance, the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology voluntarily eliminated several undersubscribed minors within its Technology program, working through the existing channels to do so. Similarly, a new master’s in accountancy is working its way through the curricular process as a result of recommendations from the task force.

Both reports shine a light the tremendous efforts that have been undertaken all across campus since the task forces issued their reports in early May.

“This process is helping us to reshape the institution by aligning our budget with our mission,” Baker said. “An enormous amount of work has gone into this effort over the last two-plus years. While some things will take years to implement, this report will demonstrate that we are off to a great start.”

A final President’s Report is due in May 2017, but the process will continue to guide decision making on campus for years to come.