The projection (a visual in the speech, not provided in the transcript, possibly available in the webcast, and as far as I know not adjusted for the effect of the Ryan, Blagojevich, and Quinn administrations' policies driving people out of the state) provides for more graduates than were present in the early 1990s, and about the same number as were present in the middle 1990s. A special task force on right-sizing (Nineties-speak for strategic planning) determined that our enrollment target was around 19,000 students. (When I started in 1986, our enrollments were around 24,000, and there were 23 tenure-track faculty in economics. That task force determined our faculty size to be 15 for that 19,000. We are currently nine for the 25,400.)And yes, I repeated myself. And again. To no effect. So I tendered my resignation.
Perhaps headquarters will pay attention to the students, specifically, to the editorial board at the Northern Star.
Vision 2020, which calls for enrollment of 30,000 students by 2020, has always seemed unattainable to the Editorial Board.Their advice:
In September 2010, just days after the plan was announced, the Editorial Board wrote, “But nothing good will come from everyone drinking the same Kool-Aid; NIU needs to adapt if it turns out that a particular goal is either immeasurable or impossible.”
That advice hasn’t been taken and Vision 2020’s goals have not been reevaluated, even though enrollment continues to plummet — including a 3.3 percent drop to 21,138 from fall 2012 to fall 2013.
NIU must focus on retention and bringing in transfers, since fewer freshmen are going to universities across the state.I'll gripe about the retention follies another day. It occurs to me, though, that having the departments properly staffed so that students are able to complete their schedules without having to deal with irregular offerings either of foundational courses or key electives, might pay off in retention and completion to orders of magnitude greater than more money in student affairs.
NIU should have an enrollment of 25,000 by 2020 — that reflects statewide falling enrollment while giving us something to work for.
How will we reach that goal? The university should provide more scholarships to upperclassmen, transfers and non-traditional students, make it easier for credits to transfer over and introduce transfers to NIU in the same way we do freshmen instead of treating them like seasoned Huskies.
Again we’ll warn: NIU must stop sipping the Vision 2020 Kool-Aid and create a plan with realistic goals and detailed steps for hitting those marks.