Task force report sees light today

By Josh Albrecht

The findings of the President’s Task Force on Undergraduate Life will be presented formally to President John Peters at 3 p.m. today at the Holmes Student Center’s Heritage Room.

Nolan Davis, assistant to the president and task force chairman, has finished compiling the report and is confident with its recommendations about what areas of student life to fix.

“I think they are great,” Davis said. “The findings will move the university forward in dealing with student needs.”

The task force began last October when Peters sought a better understanding of student concerns and, in an open letter to students, stressed the importance of a panel to address those concerns.

“As faculty, staff and administrators, we need to understand the needs and desires of these individuals for whom this institution exists,” Peters wrote.

Students then were able to voice their concerns through a number of town hall meetings sponsored by different campus organizations through surveys and on the Internet.

“I was surprised at how willing faculty, staff and students were to go the extra mile,” Davis said.

Concerns that came up during the meetings included campus safety, busing, parking and academic advising, among others. Some of the concerns already have been addressed by NIU, such as the need for more parking spaces and a new meal plan in the dorms. However, other projects still need to get underway.

But first, the task force’s report has a few more steps.

Once the report is presented, Peters will review the findings and send them to various committees throughout campus for an additional evaluation, Davis said. Then NIU can begin implementing any improvements that will be made.

Robert Wheeler, interim associate provost and chairman of the Committee on the Undergraduate Academic Environment, will oversee the report’s recommendations. While some aspects of the report can be addressed right away, Davis said other areas could take years to be completed.

Because of the amount of time the report took to complete, Davis doesn’t expect it to be a yearly practice & rather, every few years & but insists that it doesn’t mean student concerns won’t be heard.

“Whenever they have a concern, they should bring it forward,” Davis said.