Critical to the life and growth of the academic home department or school are groups and individuals outside the department. These may include departments (often in other colleges) whose curricular requirements include one or more courses from the home department. Multidisciplinary research projects can build networks of collaboration across departments. Professional accrediting agencies can also be stakeholders in sustaining curricular quality and rigor. Of special importance are the prospective employers of NIU’s baccalaureate and graduate degree recipients. These businesses, agencies, and organizations can be fertile ground for student internships. NIU’s regional proximity to a vast community-college network can facilitate potential partnerships between departments; in fact, a significant portion of community-college instructors in the Northern Illinois region are NIU alumni. See also Section X. External Relations.