Committee caved in to PQP

The members of NIU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee should have stronger backbones.

The committee bowed down to its tyrants when it reversed its original decision to table the proposal to eliminate the M.A. in journalism and instead endorsed the fatal proposal. The committee only teased us with its early inactiveness and left us snapping at the bait. Now, the M.A. in journalism has been hooked and gutted.

By doing so, the committee basically just signed off any slim chance the program had to survive at NIU and despite all of their remorse, the members knew what they were doing. Although pressure stemmed from the administration, their hands were not tied and their decision was not the only way out. The committee could have stood its ground and refused to consider the proposal.

Granted, this probably wouldn’t have saved the program because its fate lies ultimately in the hands of the Board of Regents, but it would have sent a signal to the Regents and the Illinois Board of Higher Education that something is seriously flawed in the IBHE’s Priorities, Quality and Productivity initiative.

If the committee had sat on the proposal, at least the process would have been stalled. This stalling might have opened the eyes of some of the members of the IBHE.

When the committee first took no action, it finally looked as if faculty input in shared governance would make a difference and have an impact. Now that has been wiped away. The committee members conformed to the company line instead of sticking to their guns.

Journalism Department Chair Dan Riffe nailed the problem when he said “the whole process is faulty,” with the main villain in this issue being the IBHE and its original program hit list which was compiled using questionable data.

Riffe should be angry when faced with the fact that all of his efforts to strengthen the M.A. in journalism have been wasted. The IBHE should have taken this into account in its original proposals if its main priority was to make higher education as efficient as possible.

As long as faculty keep ducking down and hoping the storm blows over, the stronger the storm will become.

The IBHE keeps winning its battle bit by bit. It looks like nothing’s going to stop it now.