NIU, IBHE take next step in controversial PQP initiative

By Brian Slupski

NIU and the Illinois Board of Higher Education are taking the next steps in the controversial Priorities, Quality and Productivity (PQP) initiative which could eliminate 190 academic programs statewide.

The initiative, which started over one year ago, is expected to reach a climax on Nov. 23 when the IBHE will let the public voice their concerns at a public hearing in Chicago.

The goal of PQP is to improve the use of available resources in higher education by setting priorities and reallocating funds to programs of the highest priority.

Earlier this year, the IBHE staff made recommendations under PQP for the elimination of 190 academic programs. The state’s 12 public universities also reviewed their programs and made their own recommendations.

NIU President John La Tourette said NIU is reviewing the IBHE’s and NIU’s recommendations on programs. The review should be completed by late January.

La Tourette said NIU will produce a report outlining what actions the university plans to take. He said the university will meet with the IBHE staff in March and further discuss the initiative.

In Oct. 1993, NIU will present its report to the Board of Regents and the IBHE.

La Tourette said he feels PQP will begin to shift its emphasis from academic programs to other areas in higher education.

“Programs which have not been identified should be reassured that it is highly unlikely that they will come under this kind of review,” La Tourette said.

He said programs which are still apprehensive should not be because programs only will be reviewed in “a more regular” format rather than under the massive comprehensive review which the IBHE undertook.

Ross Hodel, deputy director of the IBHE, said further programs could be recommended for elimination under the regular period of review.

All programs in Illinois are reviewed on a five-year cycle, about 20 percent per year.

In 1991, 11 programs statewide were recommended for elimination and nine were restructured or consolidated as part of the review.

La Tourette said he expects PQP to shift its emphasis to areas which he has pointed to throughout the initiative as being “areas of big savings.”

Hodel said the IBHE already has begun to look into several areas of higher education including athletics, research and public service, the academic calendar and faculty workload.