September 18, 2017
Freeman to continue moving university forward with full support of board
DeKalb, Ill. – After thoughtful consideration and garnering insight from the university community, the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees has decided that it will begin a formal search for a permanent president in fall of 2018 with a goal of having a new leader in place by July 1, 2019.
Acting President Dr. Lisa Freeman will continue to lead NIU and advance the university’s goals and initiatives through the duration. “After thoroughly examining the existing and near-term needs of the university, the Board of Trustees believe it is the best interest of the university to delay the search for a permanent president,” said Board Chair Wheeler Coleman. “Acting President Freeman has the full confidence of the board. She is an exceptional leader who will provide stability, and has the expertise and passion required to lead NIU while we take the necessary time to execute a thoughtful, inclusive search for our next leader.”
Coleman and Vice Chair Dennis Barsema met in August and September with seven university stakeholder groups: the Operating Staff Council, the Supportive Professional Staff Council, the Faculty Senate, the Council of Deans, student leaders, the NIU Alumni Association Board and the NIU Foundation Board. The groups provided feedback on the search process, the qualifications they hope to see in a new president and thoughts on when a search should begin.
“We appreciated the different perspectives we heard and it confirmed our decision to take our time with the search,” Coleman said. “The board greatly values that our university community wants to be engaged in the process and we’re committed to seeing that happen.”
The first step will be the formation of a search preparation committee in the spring of 2018 to help shape the formal search process. The committee will be comprised of a cross section of representatives from shared governance and other members of the NIU community.
The formal search process will begin at the start of the 2018-19 academic year, and is expected to take approximately nine months. That effort will involve support from a reputable search firm, to be identified at a later date.
While that work takes place, Dr. Freeman will continue working to strengthen and advance the university. “Acting President Freeman and her leadership team have the full support of the Board of Trustees. We are working jointly to establish goals and priorities that will address key areas such as academic and research excellence, financial sustainability and enrollment growth,” Coleman said.