University Council talks student retention


Student Association President Jack Barry (right) speaks at the University Council meeting Wednesday on retention, enrollment and how he is excited about the upcoming academic year.

By James Green

NIU President Doug Baker’s first University Council meeting was brief and upbeat.

In his opening announcements, Baker emphasized not only retention and enrollment rates, but also student involvement, career success and reaching out to alumni. He believes NIU has the potential to be a “24/7 total immersion experience” for students.

“If we create an engaged environment where students have access to co-curricular activities, it will greatly enhance their learning experiences and prepare them to be successful after graduation,” Baker said.

Student Association President Jack Barry expressed similar sentiments in the SA report. He stressed helping students “find their initiative at Northern” and getting hands-on experience outside the classroom.

“The best way to get involved at NIU is to find that out-of-class experience you can love,” Barry said. “Find out what you’re passionate about and do it.”

Baker also expressed interest in reaching out to different student markets, like graduate and transfer students. Workshops are being prepared for October to give insight on how to accommodate and appeal to those demographics.

Representatives of the Board of Trustees talked about Illinois’ new concealed weapon policies. Educational campuses like NIU are exempt from the law, meaning a ban on concealed weapons is still in effect on university property. This extends to branch campuses, like those in Naperville and Rockford.

Deborah Haliczer, a representative for supportive professional staff, said faculty members have expressed concerns about safety in spite of the ban, especially in isolated classroom settings. Another point of apprehension was the fact that major streets that cut through campus, like Annie Glidden Road, may not fall under the guidelines of the concealed weapon ban.

Representatives said the Board of Trustees will continue working to form official policies based on the new law.