IBHE approves funding for NIU improvements

By Brian Slupski

Two NIU improvement projects received the final rubber stamp at last Thursday’s Illinois Board of Higher Education meeting.

The IBHE, meeting at Sangamon State University, approved the final funding for NIU elevator improvements. The total estimated cost of the elevator modernization is $1.3 million.

This project will improve 20 elevators in Grant and Stevenson Towers, the Holmes Student Center and Huskie Stadium.

The first phase of the Lincoln Hall renovation, which will cost $700,000, was also approved. The rooms in Lincoln will be modernized into a suite-style arrangement.

The IBHE also passed grant allocations for fiscal year 1993’s Higher Education Cooperation Act. Among the HECA grants approved was $50,000 for NIU’s project “Minority Access to Law.”

The program provides black and hispanic pre-law students four weeks of summer on-campus instruction at a sponsoring law school to stimulate interest in the legal profession and develop analytical and writing skills.

The IBHE also issued a report on faculty salaries.

The report states that “increases in weighted average salaries for faculty at Illinois non-public institutions and community colleges exceeded the rate of inflation since fiscal year 1975 as measured by the National Consumer Price Index, while average salaries at public universities did not keep pace with inflation.”

Public university faculty salaries have not only fallen behind Illinois private school salaries and inflation, but with neighboring state schools as well, the report stated.

“Weighted average salaries for faculty at Illinois public universities have not kept pace with median salaries at comparable institutions nationwide, and the data for fiscal year 1992 indicated continued erosion when compared to salaries in other states,” the report stated.

This erosion is considered a serious problem as Illinois public universities compete with neighboring states for faculty.

The report suggests that savings generated by the IBHE’s Priority, Quality and Productivity guidelines might improve the salary situation.

“One of the outcomes of the initiative to improve priorities, quality and productivity should be improvements in salary levels, a high priority for all colleges and universities,” the report concluded.