NIU leaders to voice PQP concerns at hearing

By Brian Slupski

NIU leaders will voice their criticisms and concerns about the Priority, Quality and Productivity (PQP) initiative, which could cut 190 academic programs across the state, at a Nov. 23 public hearing in Chicago

Speakers from NIU will include Student Association President Paul Middleton and Gordon Dorn, president of the American Association of University Professors Illinois chapters.

Dorn said he will make several points about PQP and emphasize the need for joint planning and adequate communication between the IBHE, campus administrators and faculty.

He said there is a great deal of uncertainty and suspicion among the NIU faculty concerning PQP.

Dorn said, “This process developed suddenly and there is not a lot of understanding of what it means or where it is going. This suggests a lack of communication.

“There is a suspicion among faculty that the state wants to lessen its responsibility and obligation to higher education and that this downsizing process is an attempt to accomplish this.”

Dorn said faculty should be very involved in the process, campus-level review and governance processes should be respected and more time should be allowed for the campus-level processes.

Dorn said the IBHE should not make any determinations about PQP until the campuses present their reports Oct. 1, 1993.

Dorn added that if the IBHE takes unilateral action at the Nov. 24 meeting, it will usurp the authority of the university governing boards.

The IBHE is the coordinating board of Illinois’ higher education governing boards. NIU’s governing board is the Board of Regents which also governs Illinois State University at Normal and Sangamon State University at Springfield.

Dorn said if the IBHE moves unilaterally, it will be behaving more like a governing board than the coordinating body it is.

Middleton said he is concerned with some of the outdated data which was used to judge programs. He pointed to the “absurd” recommendation to eliminate the College of Law as a good example of how poor some of the recommendations are.

“Streamlining higher education is one thing, but to take away educational opportunity and to reduce the quality of higher education for low dollar savings is quite another,” Middleton said.

He said most of the programs on the chopping block are so small that dollar savings will be minimal and there are other areas in which significant savings can be generated and academic programs spared.

Middleton said he will make the IBHE aware that “students are very concerned about what the IBHE is doing.”

Other individuals who would like to voice their PQP concerns can do so at the Nov. 23 hearing. The IBHE will allow registration up to an hour before the hearings are to begin.

At the hearing, oral testimony will be limited to five to seven minutes. Written testimony of any length, however, will be accepted.

If written testimony has not previously been submitted, 20 copies of the testimony will be needed in order to provide each board member with a copy.

The hearings will be held from 1:30 to 5 p.m. in the Cotillion Room of the Westin Hotel, North Michigan Avenue at Delaware, Chicago.