Professor fills position

By Lesley Rogers

A new president of the NIU Faculty Senate and executive secretary of the University Council has stepped in to fill the shoes of a resigned administrator.

Curtiss Behrens, associate professor of management, is taking a year off from teaching to fill in the positions. Originally, former NIU art professor Norman Magden was to serve the one-year term, but he accepted a job this summer at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

“The classroom is my first love. This all happened pretty quickly. Norm had been elected in May and afterward got the job opportunity,” Behrens said. “We had a special meeting of the Senate and I agreed to do it. It is a humbling honor, and I’ve enjoyed it so far.”

The University Council and the Faculty Senate lead NIU’s elaborate governing system.

Established in 1967, the University Council consists of 30 elected faculty members, one member of the Supportive Professional Staff Council, the president of the Operating Staff Council, the president of the Student Association and 14 student members.

The Faculty Senate, on the other hand, is a relatively new organization, having formerly been the Faculty Assembly. The Faculty Senate consists of the 30 elected faculty staff members of the University Council, and in 1988 added one member elected by and from each academic department to the newly formed Senate.

The Senate, the central campus governing body on all matters specifically concerning the faculty, does not have the authority to pass bills, but they advise and recommend proposals to the University Council, Behrens said.

“The faculty plays a central role in academic planning,” he said.

NIU President John La Tourette leads the University Council meetings. Behrens’s role as executive secretary is to prepare and plan agendas and meetings. As Faculty Senate president, Behrens runs the monthly meetings.

“This is a chance for me to practice what I preach in my human resource management courses,” Behrens said.

Behrens, the 27th executive secretary in the history of the University Council, has been at NIU for 14 years and is in the middle of his third three-year term on the University Council and Faculty Senate.

The student members of the University Council also play an important role in NIU campus government.

“There are 15 students on the University Council, and since it is the highest policy-making body on campus, this is the one place where student opinions can be heard,” said Abe Andrzejewski, Student Association president.

The Advisory Committee from each of NIU’s seven colleges nominates one student from their college. The seven students, along with the Student Association president, nominate an additional seven students.

“The student members play an active role. Not only can the people who make decisions hear our concerns, but we actually have a tangible influence with our votes,” Andrzejewski said.

“This is a chance for me to practice what I preach in my human resource management courses.”

-Curtiss Behrens,NIU Faculty Senate president and University Council executive secretary