Editorial: NIU should solve problems, not roll with them

When NIU receives a positive ranking for any number of programs, schools or athletic teams, media relations seems to scream their success from the rooftops.

However, when NIU received an unflattering review this semester, media relations would have much rather shoved it under the rug than talk about it.

In March, NIU was placed on U.S. News and World Report ranking of the best colleges. NIU was ranked with several other schools at 194, the lowest published rank, according to a March 19 Northern Star article.

In the same article, Brad Hoey, director of communications and marketing, seemed to dismiss the ranking.

“The guide can be a useful tool, but visiting the institution and speaking with the faculty is better,” Hoey said in the article.

The ranking is based on grouping schools into different categories, then comparing missions, FAQ Academic quality, according to the article. Only 25 percent of the ranking is based on surveys from school presidents, provosts and deans.

Though the Northern Star Editorial Board agrees that visiting a school carries more weight in a person’s choice of university, the board also thinks NIU missed an opportunity to level with students and respond to constructive criticism in a positive way.

When NIU receives a bad review, it isn’t something that should be brushed off. Public relations officials need to accept that the university isn’t perfect, but acknowledge that people are working tirelessly to make it better.

Besides, this university has many departments to be proud of, like the School of Business, the School of Visual and Performing Arts, NIU Athletics and the School of Engineering, to name a few. It is widely known that these departments are successful with sources like NIU Today pumping them up.

The Northern Star Editorial Board believes NIU should keep screaming from the rooftops when given a high ranking for a well deserving program. But when UNWR places the university last on a rank, it’s only fair to own up to flaws and explain what it’s doing to correct these areas.

Every one is a critic, but not every critique is bad. Surveys and rankings are meant to help push improvement along. That’s the beauty of criticism; the university can’t fix a problem if it doesn’t know there is one to begin with.

This way NIU can take the information, good or bad, and grow from it.