Faculty discusses changes at meeting

By Dawn Panka

Changing technology and rising costs are both significant reasons for a move to off campus course consolidation, said NIU President John La Tourette.

At Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, La Tourette spoke to senate members about the reasons for NIU’s off campus consolidation and the need for off-campus programming in the western suburbs.

“Our involvement in the western suburbs is essential,” La Tourette said, “if one were thinking where to put a major university now, you would put it in the western suburbs.”

One reason for consolidation is rapidly changing technology, La Tourette said. An off-campus site, would allow computer labs to be linked to mainframe computers and software. This is not available at NIU’s campus because computer labs are spread among as many as 30 different sites, he said.

Rising costs of off-campus facilities is another reason for consolidation, La Tourette said. Off-campus sites are charging expensive fees for the use of classrooms and laboratories, but a one-time expenditure for a consolidated building would eliminate those costs, he said.

When speaking to the senate, La Tourette quoted statistics on NIU’s enrollment. In Fall of 1989, 4,000 of 18,000 undergraduates were not residents of DeKalb County, he said. Three thousand graduate students commuted to NIU and another 2,400 were enrolled in courses at off-campus facilities. A total of 5,400 out of 7,000 graduate students were not residents of DeKalb County, he said.

“We have to exploit the opportunities that are out there,” La Tourette said.

La Tourette also answered senate members’ questions concerning university expectations of teaching faculty at an off-camus site.

“I do not want anyone going to the center that does not want to go out there,” he said.

La Tourette said a consolidated off-campus site would be less of a burden for faculty. Presently, faculty teaching off-campus are responsible for taking books to the site and collecting fees during the first week of class, but this would not be necessary at an off-campus site.