Assistant to the president named

By Mark Mazzone

NIU President John La Tourette has named a replacement for the retired Ken Beasley after getting approval from the executive committee of the Board of Regents last month.

Alan M. Voelker, previously the chair of the curriculum and instruction department in the College of Education, took over as the assistant to the president for Government Relations on Tuesday. Beasley retired to accept a director of research position at Butler University.

“Alan is a very experienced administrator, a person who has a great deal of respect among the faculty and staff,” La Tourette said. “He has strong credentials for all of the internal aspects of the job. I decided to select someone internal to the university because of the budget situation and Al’s familiarity to the campus.”

Also, during last week’s announcement La Tourette gave an indication of what Voelker’s priorities and responsibilities will be, saying he will deal with state and federal legislators and do a great deal of staff work.

“Where he will put his primary emphasis in the next few weeks is to become more familiar with the Springfield scene,” La Tourette said.

Voelker echoed that sentiment, saying that he is confident with his familiarity of the campus, but needs to learn about the government relations aspect of the position.

“That area of the job (Springfield) is the area where I have to learn a lot quickly,” Voelker said. “My priorities would be to do whatever I can to promote the future of the university.”

The College of Education is already making plans to fill the position vacated by Voelker. College of Education Dean Charles Stegman said the college will send out notices this week and interview applicants for an interim chair slot next week.

An interim chairperson will be named for one year, during which time the college will be able to conduct a formal search for a permanent chair.

“It will be a faculty member of curriculum and instruction,” Stegman said. “Typically we get four or five applicants, but by the end of the week we’ll know for sure.”

Voelker, 59, has been an NIU faculty member since 1973. He earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Voelker has held positions at NIU in the office vocational, technical and career education areas, the public opinions laboratory and the Center for Governmental Studies.

Voelker previously taught at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Ohio State University at Columbus.