Northern Illinois University - Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow

April 24, 2014

President BakerBAKER REPORT: Change

Our campus stands poised for a period of great opportunities as we re-envision the university and address our significant challenges. Some of these challenges are externally imposed, such as the new pension laws, which are expected to spur a record number of retirements this spring. Those retirements will result in a loss of valued employees and institutional knowledge. The uncertain implications for our employees’ retirements have also caused a good deal of stress for those faced with retirement decisions as well as those staying. 

Last week, I spoke with the University of Illinois trustees and, this week, with the other public university presidents to see what—if anything—can be done at this late date. We are continuing to make our case in Springfield, but it is a difficult and complex situation.

In recent weeks I have also testified in the state House of Representatives and Senate about the impact of potential funding cuts on higher education and NIU. There seems to be an emerging understanding of the impact of further state budget reductions.  

We do face a significant revenue reduction due to our declining enrollments. This is an area where we can make a big difference through our recruitment and retention activities. I appreciate the efforts of people across the university who have been working to address our enrollment decline, but we all still have a great deal of work to do.

While all of this change can be unsettling to contemplate, I ask that you keep in mind that the changes will also create new personal and professional opportunities that expand our skills. These changes also afford the opportunity to reinvigorate our campus community, sharpen our focus and ultimately redefine our institution.

To aid in that process, I ask everyone to keep the lines of communication open and information flowing. If you are among those pondering retirement by the end of the fiscal year, I ask that you discuss your plans with your supervisor as early as possible so that he/she can plan accordingly. By the same token, I’m asking managers to keep employees aware of any potential changes before they become finalized and keep them abreast of new opportunities as they become available.

In that same spirit, I will keep the lines of communication open as we work through the summer and begin strategic planning in earnest. Last week, we celebrated the SPS employees for their service at a luncheon event, and this afternoon we recognized our faculty with a ceremony and reception. Both functions reinforced for me the important contributions of all of our employees in building this outstanding university.  We will need dedicated efforts in a strong community culture to face our challenges and turn them into positive opportunities. 

Forward Together,

Doug
facebook  twitter             

Top Stories


NEWS

Celebrating ExcellenceHenningsen, Pynn, Van Laarhoven, Gatz honored for teaching
There’s an old saying that a teacher’s purpose is not to create students in her or his own image, but to develop students who can create their own images. This month, during Celebrating Excellence, NIU honors four of its finest educators who strive to do just that.

Coller, Kolb, Myers named 2014 Presidential Teaching Professors
The late Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, once described a litmus test on whether he – or anyone else – truly grasped what they claimed to comprehend.

Christine Malecki, Jon Miller named 2014 Presidential Engagement Professors
Teachers and administrators at K-12 schools across the northern Illinois region are singing the praises of this year’s NIU Presidential Engagement Professors.

NIU to offer fellowships to Southeast Asia youth program alumni
President Doug Baker announced the establishment of the Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program (SEAYLP) Fellowship, a program that will provide tuition waivers to students who have participated or will be participating in the U.S. Department of State program administered by NIU since 2009.


STUDENT LIFE

Student LifeUndergrad student researchers dazzle in URAD event
More than 300 students displaying and discussing their original research Tuesday during Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day.

Lincoln Laureate’s service project creates awareness of lives of disaster victims
NIU’s first-ever Lincoln Laureate service project begins at 10 p.m. Friday, April 25. Participants are asked to donate $5 at the door, but any contribution is appreciated.

Law student Emily Perkins wins National Law Review writing competition
Emily Perkins, a third-year student in the NIU College of Law, was selected as one of the winners of The National Law Review’s Winter 2014 Law Student Writing Competition.

MAP Matters Day: Students urged to rally in Springfield
Students from NIU and colleges and universities across Illinois are encouraged to join Gov. Pat Quinn for a “MAP Matters Day” rally Wednesday, April 30, in Springfield.


ALUMNI

AlumniNIU public history grad brings Sycamore past to life
If you walk into the archives of the Sycamore History Museum, you will see shelves and shelves of neatly organized and indexed files and boxes.

Pagán joins Hospital Sisters leadership team
NIU alumna Evelyn Pagán was recently named chief performance improvement officer at Hospital Sisters Health System-Western Division in Eau Claire, Wisc.

Grange appointed to N.C. Port Authority board
The Office of Governor Pat McCrory announced that Northern Illinois University alumna Holly Grange has been appointed to the North Carolina Ports Authority Board of Directors.


SPORTS

SportsNelle Youel, Haley Dekkinga claim MAC tennis honors
wo members of NIU’s women’s tennis team have been recognized in the Mid-American Conference’s yearly awards.

Battaglia’s squeeze bunt seals Huskie baseball win
A squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth by senior Joe Battaglia broke a 2-2 deadlock for Northern Illinois as it defeated UW-Milwaukee, 3-2. Battaglia recorded the bunt in his only plate appearance of the game.

Tracksters Day, Tillmon place at Penn Relays
The NIU track and field team opened its week in a big way Wednesday, as Claudette Day and Logan Tillmon finished second and third, respectively, in the heptathlon.


NIU Today is distributed by NIU Media & Public Relations.

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube