Council hears concerns over merging depts.

By Tom Omiatek

In reaction to the lack of support for the proposed merger of NIU’s journalism and communications departments, NIU acting Provost Daniel Wit has formed an ad hoc committee to review problems in the proposal.

Jerrold Zar, dean of the Graduate School, said Wit has asked for representatives from university groups, including the Graduate Council, to serve on this committee. The committee will “review the procedures that have taken place and hear the concerns of the journalism department,” Zar said. The journalism department had withdrawn their support for the formation of a School of Communications.

“It’s a very confusing situation. (The lack of support) from the journalism department poses a dilemma to the provost … whether to give the proposal to the Board of Regents or to abandon it or to revise it,” Zar said.

The council nominated Rodney Borstad, professor of Curriculum and Instruction, as the Graduate Council representative, Wit said. With this nomination, the committee is complete, said Zar.

The council originally asked Irene Rubin, associate professor of the divison of public administration, to be their representative on the committee. Rubin was on the committee, formed two years ago, which drafted the original proposal, Zar said.

ubin said, “Many faculty hours were taken in the first process. What I don’t want to do is waste that many hours again.”

Zar said Rubin is “frustrated” because of the time spent on the proposal and because the issue still is unresolved. Zar said Rubin still is interested in the merger of the two departments and would serve on the committee “only if the goals of the committee are clear and achievable.”

ubin said she didn’t understand what another committee could do to help resolve the problem. “I can’t see what input will be helpful,” she said.

Samuel Oddi, professor of the College of Law, said it seemed that this was an opportunity for the faculty to be involved in the decision of the merger. “This is a difficult problem. I think he (Wit) needs advice,” Oddi said.