On October 5, 2006, NIU President John Peters used the occasion of his annual State of the University Address to launch a comprehensive strategic planning effort firmly grounded in the embrace of academic excellence. Dr. Peters charged Provost Ray Alden with oversight of the project's first phase: creation of an academic-based planning template that would give direction to all university planning in the next five years.
One month later, Provost Alden solicited nominations for a strategic planning task force and engaged the services of well-known planning facilitators from The Learning Alliance at University of Pennsylvania. The six-month process which followed saw more than 125 faculty, staff, students and alumni engaged in large- and small-group planning, roundtable discussions and creation of draft eports.
Task force efforts culminated in June 2007 with issuance of a report that identified four strategic imperatives to guide NIU's planning efforts: 1) Preserve, strengthen and extend NIU's teaching and learning environment; 2) Develop a strategy for investing in multidisciplinary scholarship and artistic clusters that complements NIU's focus on individual scholarly and artistic achievement; 3) Strengthen and extend NIU's global/regional impact; and 4) Make NIU an institution of 'first choice' for faculty, students and staff.
President Peters and Provost Alden presented the report to members of the NIU Board of Trustees in September 2007, and the president made strategic planning the focus of his State of the University Address on September 27, 2007.
Phase I of the NIU Great Journeys Strategic Plan was initiated through a planning framework developed by the University Strategic Planning Task Force in the Spring of 2007. College and unit plans were reviewed during the Summer of 2008 and Phase I was implement in FY09 (Fall of 2009) and continued through the end of FY11.
Planning for Phase II began in Summer of 2011 by the Provost's Working Group on Strategic Planning. Continuing and new proposals were reviewed during the Fall of 2011. Implementation for FY12 began in the Spring of FY12 and will continue through the end of FY14.