Program Prioritization has $16.1 million impact on the university

By Lindsey Salvatelli

The university has had $8 million in spending reductions since the implementation of Program Prioritization.

Acting President Lisa Freeman said Program Prioritization wasn’t designed to eliminate funding but was formed to realign program admissions to ensure quality based on “data-informed” decisions per expectations placed on the university by the Higher Learning Commission, the Board of Trustees and Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Since its implementation in 2017, Freeman said realignment efforts have had a $16.1 million impact on the university while, reducing its spending by $8 million.

The overall cost of implementing Program Prioritization was $287,000, which was mostly allocated to employee training and compensating members of the task force for their efforts, Freeman said.

Of all various programs recommended for additional support by the Program Prioritization Task Force, 26 percent of academic programs and 32 percent of administrative programs received funding.

“One thing that we all feel badly about is the intersection of Program Prioritization and the 700-day budget impasse and the fact that that prevented us from enhancing resources to the extent that we would have liked to,” Freeman said.

Convocation Center projects approved

Two projects to update and enhance the Convocation Center were approved by the Board.

The NIU Foundation has received a donation for an update to the Nelson Suite.

The suite is to receive renovations to its seating, lighting, flooring and food service area and will be available to rent when the donor is not occupying the space.

The Board also approved funding to replace the center’s video display board and scoreboard.

Sarah McGill, vice president for Administration and Finance, said the boards are used during all events held at the Convocation Center, which draws crowds of up to 215,000 people a year, and components needed to fix them are obsolete.

Both boards were installed when the Convocation Center was built in 2002 and require frequent repairs to operate, McGill said.

“The video display board and the scoreboard are essential to provide a quality experience to hosts and visitors and serves as a critical element to enhancing the potential revenue generation for the attendance and advertisement sponsorships,” McGill said.