Preamble - NIU Constitution

Original Policy Source NIU Constitution - Preamble
Primary Audience Faculty
Status Active
Policy Category/Categories Faculty & Academics
Governance / Administration

The basic purposes of Northern Illinois University are to preserve, augment, criticize, and transmit knowledge and to foster creative capacities. These purposes are achieved by a community of scholars free to exercise independent judgment in the planning and execution of their educational responsibilities in an environment designed to allow maximum effectiveness within a framework of university government. Such a governmental framework should be rooted in the following principles:

  1. Respect for the intrinsic dignity of each member of the university community, both by the university itself and by each member of that community, is the basic cornerstone governing all community activities. Each member of the community must be recognized as a person of equal and limitless individual human value, possessing significant intellectual potential, and entitled to all the rights and privileges guaranteed to them under the laws of the United States and the State of Illinois.
  2. University governance shall be a shared process involving the faculty, students, administrative officers, supportive professional staff, and operating staff, each performing a role appropriate to the affected governance activities.
  3. Faculty shall predominate in all policy decisions relating to the faculty personnel system, to the university curriculum, and to policy decisions concerning admissions and academic standards.
  4. Students shall predominate in all policy decisions for which the Student Association has initial jurisdiction.
  5. Administrative officers shall facilitate, support, and provide leadership in the development and implementation of policy in the academic and non-academic areas.
  6. Supportive professional staff shall participate in all policy decisions affecting the personnel system for supportive professional staff employees.
  7. Operating staff shall participate in all university-level personnel policy decisions exclusively affecting operating staff employees.
  8. A requirement of the governance of the university shall be the development of a mix of faculty, students, supportive professional staff, operating staff, and administrative officers which is appropriate to the nature of the decision being made.
  9. A requirement of the governance of the university shall be the delegation of authority to the appropriate level. Matters of substance should be decided at the lowest level appropriate.
  10. Final decisions on issues of governance should be made on a timely basis with consideration for necessary planning.
  11. Department chairs shall act as advocates for faculty and students, and as representatives of the university administration.
  12. Appropriate faculty and administrators should have a significant voice in the selection, review, and reappointment of university officers and academic administrators by having a clearly defined role in search and review processes.
  13. Students, supportive professional staff, and operating staff should be assured a meaningful input into the selection, review, and reappointment of university-level administrators by having a clearly defined role in search and review processes.
  14. Students have perspectives on university programs and activities which can be unique, informed, thoughtful, and significant. Student perspectives should be considered in university decision making at all levels.
  15. Faculty constituent groups should select, directly by election or indirectly through nomination or selection by elected bodies of faculty members, their representatives on all governance, personnel, and curriculum bodies. 
  16. The purposes of university governance shall be to promote the pursuit of knowledge and the appreciation of the intellectual value of the arts, the humanities, the sciences, and the professions; to enhance the quality of campus life for all members of the university community; and, to these ends, to protect and promote the individual rights of all members of the university community. To achieve governance guided by these principles, the Northern Illinois University Council is established, together with its related councils and committees, to participate in the establishment, direction, and control of educational policy.

In order to achieve these purposes, Northern Illinois University has adopted this constitution subject to the limitations imposed by the Board of Trustees Governance Documents.

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