College program dismantled

By Dawn Panka

Growing independence and a bulging bankroll might have contributed to the dismantling of the College of Continuing Education, a former dean says.

William Young, former dean of NIU College of Continuing Education, was removed from his position and the term “College” was dropped from its title in August as part of a “reorganization” of external programming.

Continuing Eduction increased its budget by more than $4 million from 1984 to 1990, making it the second largest college at NIU, Young said.

“The degree of flexibility the college had in spending was probably as great as the funds the provost an all other deans combined had at their disclosures,” Young said.

The other factor in its dismantling could be the lack of outside control over functions in the college, Young said. “To some degree the college was doing things outside the boundaries of the provost’s office and the academic departments,” Young said.

“My peer colleagues do not feel this (the dismantling) is the right move for NIU to make,” Young said, “I feel as though I am the wrong person to ask; I don’t have any ideas of why the president and provost may have moved in this direction.”

The College of Continuing Education is an administrative unit which serves the needs of faculty and students in an off-campus environment, Young said. The college does not have any teaching faculty of its own and does not offer a degree program, he explained.

In 1984, University of Alabama Dean Dennis P. Prisk reviewed the college at NIU to help determine its future growth. In the review, Prisk recommended few changes.

He recommended keeping the title of dean, although a name change should be considered such as College of Extended Studies.

Prisk also suggested the college work more closely with the academic departments, and develop a marketing position.

“The review stated that there was a lot of support for keeping (the college) the way it is,” Young said. “The provost hired me to head this unit and to keep it going.” Young was hired as dean of th college by then-Provost John La Tourette in Aug. 1984.

The next step in the dismantling process came with a memo from Provost Kendall Baker in May 1989.

Baker recommended “colleges and departments should be encouraged to include off-campus programming in their mission statements, and the general concept of continuing education be changed to reflect this shift of focus.”

A May 1989 memo to all academic deans from the Executive Committee of the college senate focused on Baker’s memo stating, “There is a selfish, venal, almost mercenary call to grab the financial resources of the College of Continuing Eduction in order to fund the special interests of th academic colleges.”

In July, 1990, Baker released a press statement stating “Northern Illinois University soon will begin replacing its current College of Continuing Eduction with an alternative external programming operation.”