NIU town hall: Lipman Hearne helps with enrollment, program prioritization explained

By Jackie Nevarez

NIU President Doug Baker hosted two town hall meetings Thursday to talk about recruitment, retention and program prioritization.

Retention decreased by 1.2 percent to 87 percent between the fall and spring semesters, with enrollment dropping to 19,000, a 2.6 decrease from a year ago.

Baker said consulting group Lipman Hearne has aided Enrollment Management by working on recruitment and enrollment methods. Most recently, the consulting group’s advice to email former NIU inquirers, applicants and students has resulted in 24 students enrolling this spring.

Anne Birberick, vice provost of Academic Affairs, said MAP-Works surveys have served to identify issues students are facing. The surveys are used by the university to give first-year students resources to help them transition into college.

A town hall attendee asked if the MAP-Works could be expanded to upperclassmen and Birberick said NIU first needs to get more students to take the survey.

Provost Lisa Freeman said prioritization, the process of bringing university programs within NIU’s mission and vision, will honor employee contracts and allow students to graduate with whichever academic program they are a part of. Freeman said there are no “sacred cows,” meaning prioritization will not favor any programs when it comes to evaluating programs with specific criteria.