Report concerns art department

By Jami Peterson and Mark Mazzone

An NIU professor believes an administrative report needs polishing to keep a School of Art degree alive.

Art Professor Gordon Dorn expressed concern at Wednesday’s University Council meeting that the IBHE might misinterpret a passage about the School of Art’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) curriculum in NIU’s 1992 Productivity Report.

The report contains a program evaluation of priorities, productivity and quality and came in response to the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s recent efforts to streamline state universities. NIU was asked to identify programs which could possibly be eliminated or curtailed.

Dorn said the passage about the art school’s BFA is “misleading and could be misunderstood.”

Dorn quoted Board of Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves as saying, “‘NIU is giving consideration to the elimination of its AFA of Arts program,'” at Tuesday’s IBHE meeting.

“It just demonstrated this particular paragraph is poorly written,” Dorn said.

He said NIU is considering consolidating emphases within the program, not eliminating the entire program.

The report states, “The School of Art is examining the structure of the BFA curriculum with an eye toward streamlining it. The examination is likely to result in the elimination of some emphases and/or the consolidation of some sub-units of study within the program.”

Dorn said the confusion might have come as a result of the placement of the paragraph within the report.

The passage was placed under the heading of “Other Programs

Under Consideration” which listed programs that eventually could be eliminated through the initiative.

“The heading is misleading,” Dorn said. “The assumption is this (BFA of Arts) too will be eliminated.”

Because the curriculum has over 800 declared majors, it is unlikely NIU would eliminate it, Dorn said.

NIU President John La Tourette said he would look at the passage and evaluate it. If it needs to be clarified, a statement will be sent to the IBHE, he said.

“I don’t think that these things (in the report) are etched in stone,” La Tourette said.

Also at the meeting, the University Council approved the extension of the interim appointments of three administrators until June 30, 1994.

Acting Provost J. Carroll Moody, Associate Provost Rosalie Hewitt and Vice President for Development Thomas Mitchell had their contracts extended to provide NIU with continuity in leadership and to save the cost of national searches, La Tourette said.

La Tourette said another reason for the move involved the savings in salary achieved when an interim administrator is used instead of a permanent administrator.

La Tourette also announced at the meeting that plans have been made by the IBHE to schedule hearings for Nov. 23, the day before the IBHE’s next regular meeting in Chicago.

He said people will speak on issues related to the IBHE’s Priorities, Quality and Productivity initiative. “I’m not sure what the hearings are on,” he added.

Anyone who would like to speak at the hearings should notify the IBHE by Nov. 5, he said.