Reports’ impact on NIU outlined

By Jami Peterson and Sean McClellan

NIU President John La Tourette rubbed his crystal ball Wednesday and attempted to predict the future of NIU’s academic programs.

At the Faculty Senate meeting, La Tourette handed out NIU’s 1992 Productivity Report and the IBHE’s Priorities, Quality and Productivity initiative. After breaking down the reports for faculty members, La Tourette outlined the impact he expects these reports will have on NIU.

“We’re going to have to stir things up,” he said. “We’re going to have to throw things into a windstorm head on, and something is going to fall out the other end.”

La Tourette predicted that the reports will be further discussed at the Nov. 24 meeting, but action probably will take place on Oct. 1, 1993.

“Before we launch World War III, we should wait and see what happens next week and what will unfold over the next month,” he said.

Programs on the “hit list” will be evaluated further, not immediately eliminated, he said. The IBHE does not have the authority to eliminate programs. Programs are recommended for elimination by NIU and the IBHE and must be eliminated by the Board of Regents, he said.

“We don’t pick out a program, look at it overnight and eliminate it,” he said. “This (the reports) gives us a pretty good base on which to operate.”

La Tourette said the IBHE might be looking in the wrong direction for savings. “We are focusing on the wrong end of the equation,” he said. “There are some savings that have not yet been realized. The big savings are outside the program areas.”

He cited an example of a $2.5 million savings with a 5 percent shift in faculty workloads. Big savings also could come from athletics and departmental administration, he said.

Also at the meeting, acting Provost J. Carroll Moody said NIU plans to consult with academic departments and deans before issuing any 1993 report. “We will do an additional analysis of the programs,” he said.

But, FS member Bob Lane, a professor of Operations Management and Information Systems, said the IBHE report needs to be clearer. “I’m not sure whether this is a money game or a program game,” he said. “If what they want is money, do you think they are going to say so some time soon?”

La Tourette responded that once funds have been reallocated, NIU will receive the money it needs from the IBHE.

The IBHE is recommending that 6 to 8 percent of funds, or $7 to $10 million be available for reallocation. This involves cutting 15 graduate level programs, including the College of Law.