Lacking leadership

I entered the graduate program in journalism in fall 1992 and found the department full of enthusiasm. A new chairman had been hired with a strong background in research and teaching and several new faculty members recently had been hired, also with teaching experience and a strong interest in research. The department looked to be on the rise.

Almost immediately I found the IBHE, with NIU’s support, recommending that the M.A. program be eliminated. How ironic. In the three semesters I’ve been here, I’ve witnessed the administrative bozos spend much effort to change the name of the university, build a new parking garage, completely remodel a street (Lucinda Ave.) that didn’t really need remodeling and build a new entrance wall on West Lincoln and Castle Drive.

All of these “improvements” are being done to enhance the reputation and quality of the university. However, at most universities being run by competent individuals, enhancing the reputation of the school means tougher admissions standards, better faculty and stronger programs. Here at Northern, that’s being done with walls, parking garages, endless construction and M.A. program cuts.

Which would NIU graduates rather hear from a prospective employer? “Oh, you graduated from NIU? That’s the school with that up-and-coming graduate program in journalism or that improved law school.”

Or would they rather hear, “Oh you’re an NIU grad? Isn’t that the school with that great entrance wall and the never-ending construction on campus?”

Cosmetic changes like new buildings and roads won’t provide NIU with the strong national reputation it so desperately desires. Competent leadership is the way that will be achieved. And on that measure, NIU is surely lacking.

Wester S. Wuori

Graduate Student