College structure reviewed

By Dawn Panka

The College of Continuing Education is not in the process of being dismantled, and there has never been any intention to do so, said NIU Provost Kendall Baker.

The provost’s office has taken over control of the college—removing the dean and changing it’s title—to gain access to necessary information to strengthen and enrich the College of Continuing Education, Baker said Friday.

“We are not dismantling the college. The word dismantling was never used in this office, especially not by me,” Baker said.

“We have not abolished the College of Continuing Education,” Baker said, “The Board of Regents approval is necessary to abolish a college, and we have not sought this. The concept of a deanship and college still exists.

“This office has taken control of continuing education at NIU, because it is necessary to address the issues of what an alternative model will be,” Baker said.

Baker said the question of reorganizing the college started in the summer of 1987, the year he was hired.

“Questions of the quality of off-campus programming; faculty participation in it, and the distribution and allocation of funds were generated by the college of continuing education,” Baker said.

“When I came to NIU, I put together a document called an Academic Plan which put together all of the program reviews done in that year. Off-campus programming is the one that generated the most discussion,” Baker said.

In December 1988, Baker asked the college to develop a strategic plan, which was given to Baker in June 1989.

“There continued to be great dean concern about how off-campus programming was viewed at the university,” Baker said.

In May 1989, the Council of Deans put together a document addressing Baker’s “Barriers to Developing Off-Campus Programming”.

These documents, the college of continuing education’s strategic plan and Baker’s barriers document proved to be the most important in the ultimate fate of the college, Baker said.

“The College of Continuing Education’s strategic plan was to keep the college centralized, the barrriers document called for decentralization,” Baker said.

“Over this period of three years, a lot of interaction went on between faculty and the provost’s office,” Baker said, “I didn’t come up with these ideas myself. I was simply saying what I was told.

“I feel that what is proposed, at least as a starting point, could improve the situation of the College of Continuing Education,” Baker said.

“The ultimate structure of the college will be talked about during the remainder of the fall term,” Baker said, “We may return the college structure and it’s dean, or it may be replaced by some other kind of model.

“It is my very great hope to be able to get an acting person in the College of Continuing Education by the spring,” he said.

Because of the need for direct access to information, the provost’s office did not appoint an acting director to the college, Baker said.

“I appointed Sharon Dowen to serve in that capacity, but the responsibility of the College of Continuing Education is ultimately mine,” Baker said.

Baker said “college” was dropped from the title because it currently is under control of the provost’s office.