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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

‘Back to the Pack’ to bring stopped out students to NIU

Kaitlyn Lee-Gordon
Stephanie Richter speaks about Faculty’s upcoming move to Black Board Ultra. Faculty members are wary to switch to the new program. (Kaitlyn Lee-Gordon | Northern Star)

DeKALB– Previously stopped out students may be getting the opportunity to return to NIU with financial assistance according to Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting.


Students who left NIU in the past year and are looking to return may be able to receive assistance from the Division of Finance.

During the meeting, Faculty Personnel Advisor Carrie Kortegast said that a new initiative called “Back to the Pack” is in the works. The program would allow students who have taken time away from school to return with financial aid and scholarship assistance.

Kortegast said that other plans to guide students who have left the university but came back to NIU are being made as well. 

“We also have other opportunities to attract students that are coming back,” Kortegast said. “We have two counselors at the Academic Advising Center who are working with students who stopped out within the last year, and then we’re also working with a company called ReUp that will be reaching out to students who have stopped out longer than a year.” 


Since the transition from Blackboard to Blackboard Ultra, many faculty members have had some difficulties adjusting to the improved system. Blackboard has been the main platform for teaching and learning for NIU for over 20 years. 

Due to a deadline that requires faculty to become familiar with the system by Spring 2024, NIU has issued a few opportunities to support confused faculty. 

Online workshops will be held once a month along with recordings for those who are unable to attend. Blackboard Ultra Transition Academy is a three-week online course that will be offered twice in the Fall along with a self-paced version that is completely asynchronous. 

Stephanie Richter, director of teaching excellence and support, urges faculty members to become accommodated with Blackboard Ultra and take advantage of provided resources. 

“We’re trying to get the word out as many ways as we can so that anyone who does need that support knows that we’re here and available,” Richter said.

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