Letter to the Editor: Students have input in selecting priorities

By Lisa Freeman

The Northern Star’s Monday editorial suggested student voices will not be heard in NIU’s important Program Prioritization initiative.

I am writing to correct that misperception. Student voices will be important to this initiative.

This week we launched a faculty-staff survey on criteria used to judge program efficacy and value. Survey results will go to the Academic Planning Council and the Resource, Space, and Budget committee for evaluation — both of which have student members to represent the interests and concerns of their fellow students. Selected others, including members of the Student Association, will be invited to join in the shared governance discussions.

Next month, faculty and staff will nominate peers with lengthy records of service to the university and intimate knowledge of data analysis and budgeting processes to serve on two program prioritization task forces. Task force members will evaluate program information that includes analysis of data that reflect student preferences as well as program narratives to which students will be invited to contribute. Furthermore, students will be encouraged to provide feedback to the task force members most closely associated with their areas of study and interest.

Throughout the process, students and other members of our shared governance system can ask questions and supply feedback through the Program Prioritization website at niu.edu/program-prioritization. Every question or concern will be addressed by members of the Program Prioritization coordinating team, either by private email or by posting to the FAQ section of the aforementioned website.

On behalf of all of us working on Program Prioritization, I sincerely invite students to participate through their elected representatives, program administrators and ongoing communication vehicles. We are here to create the best possible experience for students, and we welcome your thoughts and ideas on how to achieve that goal.