New center worries U of I

By Vickie Snow

DECATUR – NIU’s green flag to establish a Rockford Center seems to have the University of Illinois worried.

Although NIU President John La Tourette assured Stanley Ikenberry, president of the University of Illinois, there will be no duplication of courses, Ikenberry wants to make sure.

Ikenberry said he is “delighted to see NIU increase efforts,” but wants to protect U of I investments in Rockford.

Since both colleges offer courses in Rockford, U of I is concerned about duplicate courses.

La Tourette said he wanted to “set the record straight” because some people called the center a branch campus. “It would be highly inappropriate to establish a full-fledged program in Rockford. This is a very carefully defined mission,” he said.

However, Ikenberry said NIU plans to offer a graduate nursing program which U of I already has.

NIU’s programs won’t compete with existing courses, he said.

In efforts to work with U of I, La Tourette said he invited them to occupy part of the center last July.

Additionally, U of I hopes NIU’s center will be built on its Rockford campus to make it “bigger and better,” Ikenberry said.

NIU students then would have use of an existing library as well as security and parking benefits. In return, U of I students could take courses at the NIU center, he said.

Although he has no objections to the idea, La Tourette said several sites are being looked into.

Ikenberry said he is encouraged that talks between representatives from both schools are planned.