Forum held to answer education questions

By Vickie Snow

Four university officials will hold an open forum Thursday to question the future and funding of Illinois higher education.

The panel discussion, sponsored by NIU’s Social Science Research Institute, will offer students, faculty and others a chance to raise concerns about anything regarding the state’s position on higher education.

The forum will assemble at 3:30 p.m. in the lower level of the institute on the corner of Locust and Third Streets.

Board of Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves is one of the scheduled panelists.

Cheryl Peck, assistant to the chancellor, said specific topics are not planned and he is “leaving it open to see what kind of issues will arise.”

William Monat, NIU Regency professor of public administration, said the topic of “funding prospects over the next decade for higher education” probably will be a focus.

He also said changes among public, community and private colleges might spark discussion.

Monat is a former Regency chancellor and former NIU president.

Other panelists are Thomas Hoffer, a research associate at the institute, and Michael Bakalis, a professor at Loyola University’s School of Education.

Hoffer said the issues “remain to be seen.”

“The public is invited to come and pose questions that are of concern to them,” he said.

Bakalis is Illinois’ last elected superintendent of public instruction, a former state comptroller and a former NIU history faculty member and assistant dean.

The Regency system governs NIU, Illinois State University in Normal and Sangamon State University in Springfield.