Q&A with Lisa Freeman


By Taher Zeitoun

The following is an interview conducted with President Lisa Freeman. It  has been edited and condensed for clarity.


Q: What is the progress of the union contract for the tenure faculty?

A: The contract is in negotiations and the bargaining teams are meeting regularly.

Q: What aspects of our mission statement and values do you plan to revise?

A: I thought our value statement really captured our vision, but it did not have a specific value statement regarding ethics. I thought that should be something the group should look at. I wanted to make sure the university captured who we really are in 2019 in a way that made our value propositions clear to prospective students or employees.

Q: You emphasize working on improving relations with shared governance groups, what groups were you referring to in particular?

A: When I think about shared governance at NIU, I think about groups that represent our key constituents on campus, particularly the faculty center, the operations staff council and the SPS council.

Q: Whats steps do you have in place to recover from the budget impasse?

A: As we establish NIU as a 17000 to 18000 student university, we need to figure out over the course of multi-year financial and strategic planning how we recover and make sure we invest appropriately in people and programs.

Q: What is the status on the hiring of a full time provost?

A: The search committee is reviewing between 80 and 100 applications, and they will be interviewing candidates and bringing around four finalist to campus for interviews with the university community. We expect the interviews to take place before spring break.

Q: You served under president Baker, how do you feel your leadership qualities differ from his?

A: Everyone who enters a leadership position has to do it their own way — a way that reflects their personal value and is responsive to the needs of the institution. I tried to be very cognisant of what the university needs and what will make the university sustainable and to do it in a way that allows me to be authentic to my values.

Q: Do you plan on allocating funds from the next fiscal year toward reducing the 7-year timeline placed on improving Wifi quality around campus?

A: Every year we discuss the funds and how we can allocate them, and there will always be more needs than resources, so we will make decisions that support our students and that help us continue to grow. This question will be revisited annually, we will look at the progres we have made, we will look at how technology has changed and assess and reassess where funds should be allocated.