Accreditors to review NIU


By Jackie Nevarez

University Council approved to advance a budget priorities proposal and had its first reading of a grievance procedure policy for students Wednesday.

Higher Learning Commission

Doris Macdonald, Steering Committee chair of the Higher Learning Commission accreditation self-study, spoke about the commission’s campus visit, which will be Monday to Wednesday.

The commission is responsible for accrediting institutions that provide post-secondary education and degrees in the North Central region.

A team of 11 peer reviewers will verify NIU has been compliant with federal law for the past 10 years and will give recommendations for improvement.

Commission criteria includes the university’s commitment to its mission, integrity, teaching, learning and institutional effectiveness.

The process to prepare a self-study for the commission has taken the steering committee, made up by the Office of the Provost’s staff and several faculty members, two and a half years to prepare.

Macdonald urged the council to prepare for the commission’s visit by reading the self-study report and attending the meetings that will be held during the commission’s visit.

“Finally, do show your Huskie pride,” Macdonald said. “We do a lot of really good things around here. A self-study is not just an evaluation of places we can improve; it is also a celebration of what we do well.”

Budget priorities

Paul Carpenter, department chair of kinesiology and physical education and chair of the resources, space and budgets committee, asked for the University Council’s approval to further a proposal of budget priorities to NIU President Doug Baker.

The proposal, presented at the last Faculty Senate meeting, intends to express the committee’s ideas on the allocation and reallocation of funds regarding the budget.

“Last year we cast a resolution through this party and also through Faculty Senate to encourage more active involvement of the committee in the budget process and also to provide us with more timely and relevant information,” Carpenter said.

The council voted to pass the proposal of budget priorities with 41 yeas, one nay and two abstained votes.

Proposed grievance procedures

Bill Pitney, chair of the university affairs committee, presented a grievance procedure proposal for students to address the treatment of students.

The issue has been talked about at NIU for 10 years and has become more prevalent in the past several years, Pitney said. Only six of 12 Illinois public universities have student grievance policies in place. NIU is not one of them.

“It’s based on fair, adequate and civil treatment of our students, [which] they certainly deserve,” Pitney said.

The committee would also like to include a pool of students to become involved with the process.

Kendall Thu, council member and chairperson of the department of anthropology, commended Pitney and the university affairs committee for their work on the proposal.

“This is something we do need,” Thu said. “I had an occasion a couple years ago to deal with a small group of students who were suffering from this problem that is being treated poorly and there was no process to figure out which way to turn. In the end, those students ended up leaving the university.”

The proposal needs a 2/3 majority, or 41 council members, to pass. It will go to a vote at the next University Council meeting on April 2.