Northern Illinois University

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News Release

Contact: Melanie Magara, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-1681

October 19, 2009

Northern Illinois University to offer
bachelor’s degrees for first responders at Harper

Palatine, Ill. — Northern Illinois University will offer a Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Management with an emphasis in Public Safety degree on the campus of Harper College beginning next summer. NIU’s new degree was recently approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and will allow working police officers, firefighters and emergency management personnel to earn an accredited bachelor’s degree affordably and close to home.

Bachelor degrees for first responders have become increasingly important given new complex training requirements since 9-11. Many municipalities in the northwest suburbs now require police officers and firefighters to have a bachelor’s degree to be hired or promoted.
NIU President John G. Peters and Harper President Kenneth Ender
NIU President John G. Peters and Harper President Kenneth
Ender announce NIU’s Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Management /  Public Safety Emphasis program at Harper College.
(Photo courtesy of Harper College)

The new offering on Harper’s campus is part of a larger, regional response to the needs of emergency personnel, according to NIU President John Peters.

“Workforce issues are regional issues, and we’ve taken a regional approach to meeting those needs,” Peters said. “The Bachelor’s in Applied Management degree is a flexible program that will be available at various locations throughout northern Illinois – including Harper and Oakton Community College – to meet the needs of several different groups of professionals. The associates of applied science or AAS degree held by so many in the emergency response field has not previously been designed for transfer to a four-year university, so this is really a groundbreaking development we are now able to offer our community college partners.”

For its part, Harper College has agreed to work with NIU and put on hold efforts to pursue baccalaureate degree authority for its own campus. 

“We must continue to develop partnerships that leverage increasingly scarce public resources to meet changing workforce needs,” said Harper College President Dr. Ken Ender. “We will also continue to aggressively pursue innovative avenues and relationships that make higher education accessible and affordable for the people of our district.”

The bachelor’s degree-completion program builds on associate of applied science degrees in law enforcement, fire science or emergency management. About two-thirds of the coursework can be taken at a community college, with the final third taken with NIU, also on the respective community college campus. The bachelor’s degree will be awarded by Northern Illinois University.

For more information about Northern Illinois University’s Bachelor’s of Science in Applied Management / Public Safety Emphasis program at Harper College, call (815) 753-7097.

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