Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Earl 'Gip' Seaver
Earl “Gip” Seaver

Greg Long
Greg Long

 

Baccalaureate Review group begins
drafting report, planning for next stage

June 1, 2009

Members of NIU’s Baccalaureate Review Task Force will have a preliminary report of the spring semester forums and surveys in their hands by July 1.

Two final versions of that report – a two-page executive summary and a longer, more-detailed account – will become public Sept. 1.

Its release will launch the planning and implementation stage of the group’s work to define the meaning of an NIU bachelor’s degree and then set a course for self-analysis of how an NIU education achieves those goals.

Their data set is a large one, including responses from more than 45 focus groups and more than 900 visitors to an online survey.

In the meantime, committee members are reviewing a booklet titled “What I Will Learn In College” and a short book titled “Revising General Education – And Avoiding the Potholes” to fuel more discussion among themselves.

Among their conversations are how high school students narrow their choices when looking at colleges. Studies show prospective students are mostly interested in the outcome of their time in college, Vice Provost Earl “Gip” Seaver says, whereas a school’s academic reputation is the least of their concerns.

Faculty buy-in is key to any overhaul of undergraduate curriculum, group members agree. Faculty should look at changes as a multi-year evolution and not a revolution, they say.

Greg Long, a professor of allied health and communicative disorders who chairs the group, already is planning several September visits to groups such as the Faculty Senate, the University Council and the Committee on the Undergraduate Curriculum.

“Fall will be a good time to take the temperature of the faculty,” Seaver says.

Members of the steering committee also include David Changnon, Jes Cisneros, Carolinda Douglass, Barbara Fouts, Elisa Fredericks, Omar Ghrayeb, Jeff Kowalski, Michelle Mingas, Paul Stoddard and Lucy Townsend.