La Tourette selects review coordinator

By Amy Callaghan

NIU President John La Tourette announced the new coordinator for NIU’s reaccreditation review, a massive institutional evaluation that is conducted every ten years.

James Mellard, an NIU English professor, will take on the new responsibilities. La Tourette selected Mellard because he was “looking for a senior faculty member who had broad experience in the university and was well regarded by the faculty,” said Anne Kaplan, executive assistant to the president.

Mellard said his major responsibility will be to produce the report given to the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. “The report will describe and analyze what NIU is doing and how well we are doing it,” Mellard said.

The NCA is a not-for-profit voluntary organization that evaluates schools, colleges and universities in the midwest for accreditation. The association will evaluate NIU in late February of 1994, Mellard said.

When evaluating an institution, the NCA has four main criteria. “The NCA asks us to take a look at ourselves and ask ourselves: do we have a mission statement clearly articulated, are we organized to fulfill the mission, are we currently succeeding and are we capable of succeeding in the future?” Mellard said.

Mellard also will be spearheading a steering committee consisting of 10-20 faculty members.

Each committee member will chair a subcommittee. These committees will be directly involved in the reaccreditation process because their reports will make up the evaluation given to the NCA, Mellard said.

When the NCA comes to NIU, they will look at the campus as a whole, talking to faculty members, students and organizations. Also, they will look at the data and reports the committee worked from to produce the summary report, Mellard said.

He said it is important for students, faculty and staff to know about the review. He added that a draft of the report will be available so people can read and comment on it in the fall of 1993.

Mellard is taking over the position that was first assigned to J. Carroll Moody, who is now the acting NIU provost and academic affairs vice president, making it impossible for him to head the review.