BOT Committee recommends program changes, sabbatical leaves

By Kyla Gardner

DeKALB | The Board of Trustees’ Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Personnel committee approved recommendations for several academic program changes Thursday.

NIU President John Peters will present these recommendations to the Board of Trustees on March 24, where they will be officially approved.

The committee voted to recommend three new emphases for two existing majors: a sustainable energy emphasis for the mechanical engineering major, and an environment and health emphasis and health promotion emphasis for the public health major.

Committee vice chair Cherilyn Murer said the emphases are a way to repackage the resources and courses NIU already has to benefit students as they enter the job market. The new emphases cost nothing to implement.

The committee endorsed the deletion of the specialization in comparative and developmental administration within the public administration master’s degree. Raymond Alden, executive vice president and provost, said the specialization was intended for international students but only two have pursued it in recent years.

Murer said it is important to constantly re-evaluate the use of NIU’s resources.

“It is important that we’re current, and we’re relevant, and the resources we are using are optimized,” Murer said.

The committee also voted to approve a minor in international marketing through the College of Business and a minor in deafness rehabilitation through the College of Health and Human Sciences.

The committee unanimously approved support for 40 faculty members and one supportive professional staff member to take sabbatical leaves during the 2011-2012 academic year.

The committee also accepted a report on faculty oral English proficiency and was informed about NIU’s outreach and engagement activities.