Self-study draft report released for suggestions

By Lesley Rogers

NIU released a self-study draft report on Friday that is designed to evaluate and examine all aspects of NIU for its 10-year accreditation process.

Over 160 NIU faculty members, staff, students and administrators contributed to the self-study. The second draft is available for everyone in the university to read and make suggestions.

Copies are available in the seven college offices, in the reserve room of the Founders Memorial Library and in the Human Resources area, said English Professor James Mellard, chair of the self-study.

A steering committee was formed last spring to begin the study. Twelve subcommittee chairs led groups of faculty members, staff and students who conducted the actual study.

A cover letter on the draft explains the rules for making suggestions and explains that the current publication is only the second of four planned drafts.

“We ask that any corrections or suggestions for improvement be made in writing to me,” Mellard said, noting that Nov. 1 is the corrections deadline.

The self-study is helpful to the university to examine areas of the school, but it also is a requirement for reaccreditation.

Every 10 years NIU goes through a reaccreditation process including a site-visit from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The last site visit was in 1983-84 and a new 13-member team will visit NIU from Feb. 28 to March 2, 1994.

The NCA is a Chicago-based accreditation agency serving Midwestern universities and colleges. The site-visitation committee members are chosen from universities with similar size and backgrounds.

The NCA sets up criteria the university must meet in order to be accredited, then the university must continue to meet the standards to be reaccredited.

NIU President John La Tourette said he is pleased with how the evaluation has been conducted.

“The self-study is a clear picture of the university and its current prospects. It is a perfect example of how people have been involved together through shared governance,” La Tourette said.

La Tourette serves on many site-visit teams once or twice a year, so he said he is very familiar with the process.

He said the site-team probably will pay close attention to the outcome of NIU’s assessment of its graduates.

NIU has set procedures to review the satisfaction of graduates and how they are faring in the work force and their satisfaction with NIU.

“Looking at the university (since the last study) it has matured a great deal since 1983 in terms of research and public service components. The 1983 report from the site-visit team was looking for this to occur,” La Tourette said.

According to the 1983-84 report, problems outlined at NIU were a result of inadequate funding to satisfy the needs of a growing university. The current draft report addresses the past problems and the solutions NIU has devised.

These next few weeks will be the only opportunity the public will have to examine and add to the report before the NCA site team visits, Mellard said.

“The process has a great deal of integrity,” La Tourette said. “Over 400 people, in some way or another, have contributed to the report, and I appreciate the fact that so many people have been involved.”

“Looking at the university (since the last study), it has matured a great deal since 1983 in terms of research and public service components. The 1983 report from the site-visit team was looking for this to occur.”