NIU PLUS report sent, to begin fall semester


General education coordinator Michael Kole presents an NIU PLUS task force update at the University Council meeting Wednesday in the Holmes Student Center, Sky Room. NIU PLUS decreases the number of credit hours needed to fulfill general education requirements for undergraduate students.

By Jackie Nevarez

General education coordinator Michael Kolb said a final NIU Progressive Learning in Undergraduate Studies report was sent to the provost two weeks ago and will be made public at the end of the week.

NIU PLUS decreases the number of credit hours needed to fulfill general education requirements for undergraduate students while allowing students to use credit earned from their general education courses toward major requirements. The plan is set to be implemented starting fall 2015, with undergraduate catalog language for the program.

At Wednesday’s University Council meeting, Kolb presented an anticipated schedule for pathway development of the NIU PLUS Plan. Pathways, according to the NIU PLUS report to the provost, consist of interdisciplinary coursework focusing on intellectual issues and lead into major study areas. A call for suggested pathways is being made with pathway proposals due in February. Pathways will be developed in spring and summer, with the schedule indicating a fall 2016 implementation for pathways.

Anne Birberick, vice provost of Academic Affairs, said NIU PLUS is also working on making UNIV 101 and 201 a requirement for future students who use the catalogue with NIU PLUS. After discussions with NIU colleges, Birberick said the program will work with departments to allow introductory courses as a replacement for the UNIV 101 and 201 requirement.

President’s announcements

NIU President Doug Baker said he spent Tuesday in Springfield, where he said there was a “great deal of uncertainty” concerning the election of Republican Governor-elect Bruce Rauner.

“Even the old timers in Springfield don’t know what’s going to happen with a Republican governor for the first time in some time and two veto-proof houses,” Baker said.

A positive referendum to raise the minimum wage for the state would lead to Gov. Pat Quinn signing it into law, which would mean a $10 minimum wage, Baker said. The $10 minimum wage would lead to a $3 million increase to what NIU pays to employees, Baker said.