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Program Prioritization

2015-2016
Administrative Task Force Report

Submitted by the Administrative


Task Force
April 30, 2016

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NIU Program Prioritization 2015-2016


Final report of the Administrative Task Force

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Administrative Task force was charged with placing 236 administrative programs into five
categories with roughly 20 percent of the programs placed in each category. The distribution is as
follows:

Candidate for enhanced resources (12%, 28 programs)


Continue with no change in resources (28%, 66 programs)
Continue with reduced resources (20%, 47 programs)
Requires transformation (23%, 55 programs)
Subject to additional review; candidate for phase-out (17%, 40 programs)

The task force believes it is extremely important, especially given the universitys limited resources, to
only enhance the highest priority programs that best advance the mission of the university. As a
result, only 28 programs are placed in the candidate for enhanced resources category. The number of
programs in the subject to additional review category is slightly below the 20 percent target, but the
number of programs in the requires transformation category is slightly above. Several of the programs
in the requires transformation category are placed there because inefficiencies exist in the way that the
university provides certain services. Phasing out the program may not be possible or necessary, but
rethinking the current business practice could save money and improve quality. The task force had
the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive review of all administrative programs on campus and
believes that identifying possible inefficiencies is one of the most important aspects of the report that
will help the university going forward.
After its review, it became apparent that certain business operations of the university need to be
modified. In particular, the task force feels that the university should work towards a financial model
that reduces or eliminates the reliance on internal charges (i.e., chargeback system) that now forms an
essential element of the business model of several units. Additionally, the task force identified several
duplicated services that must be eliminated and encourages an examination of distributed services
provided. Finally, the task force argues for the universitys data collection and assessment to become
more transparent allowing for greater accountability of programs. Regular, robust assessment of
services (using both qualitative and quantitative approaches) from all units is necessary for leadership
to make appropriate strategic decisions on performance, resource allocation, or potential future
transformations.
In reviewing and categorizing individual programs, the task force identified a number of functional
areas that have many interrelationships between multiple programs. Those functional areas fall under
one of three broad categories: students, university operations, and community connections. The task
force made several larger-scale suggestions on subjects including advising; financial aid; recruiting;
retention; tutoring and academic support; data and reporting; marketing, communication, and media
production; facilities management; information technology; off-campus and online course delivery
and fee structure; athletics; communiversity relationship; external programming and conferences; and
school partnerships. These suggestions include increasing collaborations, developing synergies,
mergers, and changing funding models. It is these suggestions that the task force feels will most
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improve the quality and consistency of services that the university provides to its students, faculty,
staff, alumni, and community.
Although NIU has some inefficiencies and areas that can be improved, the task force repeatedly saw
evidence of devoted, exemplary, hard-working individuals and well-intentioned programs. It is clear
that NIU has a tradition of doing more with less. The task force is hopeful that the Program
Prioritization process will result in better alignment and efficiencies, which will allow the university to
excel. NIU will survive the economic hardships and societal shifts expected to continue in the near
future and will thrive.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Executive Summary.............................................................................................................................................................. ii
I. Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................................ 1
1. Background and Context............................................................................................................................................... 1
2. Goal, Guiding Principles and Key Elements ............................................................................................................ 2
3. Phases, Timeline, and Evaluation................................................................................................................................ 4
4. Task Force Selection, Orientation and Support ..................................................................................................... 5
II. TASK FORCE OPERATIONS................................................................................................................................................. 8
1. Task Force Charge ........................................................................................................................................................... 8
2. Administrative Task Force Ground Rules ................................................................................................................ 9
3. Administrative Task Force Working Rules ........................................................................................................... 10
III. TASK FORCE METHODOLOGY...................................................................................................................................... 10
1. Initial Scoring ................................................................................................................................................................. 11
2. Program Grouping into Functional Areas ........................................................................................................... 11
3. Final Categorization .................................................................................................................................................... 13
IV. DISTRIBUTION OF PROGRAM OUTCOMES ............................................................................................................... 14
V. THEMES ACROSS FUNCTIONAL AREAS ..................................................................................................................... 15
1. Chargeback System ..................................................................................................................................................... 15
2. Distributed Services vs. Duplicated Services ...................................................................................................... 15
3. Accountability and Transparency........................................................................................................................... 16
VI. PROGRAM RELATIONSHIPS .......................................................................................................................................... 18
1. Students........................................................................................................................................................................... 18
2. University Operations ................................................................................................................................................. 23
3. Community Connections .......................................................................................................................................... 28
VII. CATEGORIZATION........................................................................................................................................................... 30
1. Candidate for Enhanced Resources (Enhance) .................................................................................................. 30
2. Continue with No Change in Resources (Sustain) ............................................................................................ 36
3. Continue with Reduced Resources (Reduce) ..................................................................................................... 46
4. Requires Transformation (Transform) ................................................................................................................... 53
5. Subject to Additional Review; Candidate for Phase-out (Review) .............................................................. 66
VIII. CONCLUDING REMARKS ............................................................................................................................................. 73
Appendix A: Nominations for Membership on the NIU Program Prioritization Task Forces ..................... 74
Appendix B: Northern Illinois Universitys Program Prioritization Charge and Charter for Academic and
Administrative Task Forces ................................................................................................................................................. 76
Appendix C: Northern Illinois University Administrative Program Prioritization Criteria Questions ...... 78

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Appendix D: Administrative Scoring Rubric ................................................................................................................. 80


Appendix E: Program Relationship Network Analysis ............................................................................................... 82
Appendix F: Programs by Category .......................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Appendix G: Programs in Alphabetical Order .....................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Appendix H: Programs by College or Division ....................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.

I. INTRODUCTION
1. BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
This report is a product of the Northern Illinois University (NIU) Program Prioritization Administrative
Task Force. To preserve the autonomy of this group, only this first introductory chapter has been
written by administrative staff at NIU. The purpose of this opening chapter is to provide background
information related to the Program Prioritization effort undertaken at NIU and to offer context for this
report. The remainder of the report is solely authored by the Administrative Task Force.
NIU began work in the fall of 2014 on a comprehensive program prioritization process. The impetus
for the process was multifactorial: (1) strong enthusiasm and support for program prioritization arose
following key changes in senior leadership including the arrival of a new President in 2013 and the
appointment of a new Executive Vice President and Provost (EVPP) in 2014, both of whom were
dedicated to maximizing the alignment of NIUs resources with its mission to advance the university
and NIUs cornerstone goal of student career success; (2) the Higher Learning Commission Site Team
that completed NIUs 10 year comprehensive accreditation visit in 2014, cited a lack of a demonstrable
link between budget and mission and encouraged NIU to consider a process such as program
prioritization to address this deficit; (3) a commitment by NIU to maintain good stewardship of public
funds was gaining increased importance at a time when the campus was confronting the economic
reality that state funding would continue to decrease in an environment where tuition increases
would be incompatible with NIUs mission of access and affordability; and (4) these factors resulted in
an exploration of program prioritization undertaken in the fall of 2014 by a group of 11 individuals
representing various shared governance bodies across the university. In November 2014, the
individuals in this group were named by the EVPP to the NIU Program Prioritization Coordinating
Team that has guided this process for the past 18 months. Shortly after this group initiated their work,
three additional members were added to the team, two students and one staff member-at-large. The
Coordinating Team members and their affiliations include:
Table 1: NIUs Program Prioritization Coordinating Team
Team Member Name
Ibrahim AbdelMotaleb
Brett Coryell
Brian Cunningham
Dillon Domke
Carolinda Douglass*
Marc Falkoff
Lisa Freeman

Home College/Unit
College of Engineering
Division of Information
Technology
College of Law
College of Liberal Arts
Academic Affairs
College of Law
Academic Affairs

Affiliation/Role
Chair of the Resources, Space, and
Budget Sub-Committee of the University
Council
Representative for the Senior Cabinet
Representative for graduate students
Representative for undergraduate
students
Vice Provost for Academic Planning and
Development
Vice-chair of the Academic Planning
Council
Executive Vice President and Provost

Susan Mini
Bill Pitney
Jeff Reynolds
Diana Robinson

Denise
Schoenbachler
Andy Small

Kelly Wesener
Michael

Academic Affairs

Vice Provost for Resource Planning

College of Education

President of Faculty Senate and Executive


Secretary of University Council
Data/Reporting Support and Supportive
Professional Staff
Member-at-large

Academic Analysis and


Reporting
Division of Outreach,
Engagement, and Regional
Development
College of Business
College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences

Division of Student Affairs


and Enrollment Management

Representative for the Council of Deans


Former President of Operating Staff
Council and Chair of the State University
Civil Service Systems Employee Advisory
Council
Member-at-large

* denotes Coordinating Team Facilitator

2. GOAL, GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND KEY ELEMENTS


From the start, Program Prioritization at NIU was undertaken as a way to better align resource
allocation with NIUs mission and priorities. It was not designed as a cost-cutting exercise. Specifically:
The goal of Program Prioritization at NIU is to allocate our resources to maximize the impact of our
institutional program portfolio, across both academic and administrative programs. Further, the program
prioritization process is a data-informed process aligned with NIU's vision, mission and strategic
framework.
While some universities undertake program prioritization as a cost-cutting exercise, this was not the
primary purpose of program prioritization at NIU. That said, the recent budget impasse in the state of
Illinois has led to an absence of state funding for all public higher education institutions for the past 10
months. Therefore, the need to better align our resource allocation with our priorities has gained
increased significance. The campus now looks to program prioritization not only as an endeavor to
align resource allocation with mission, as it was initially intended, but also as a potential means of
addressing the continued lack of state funding support through strategic allocation of limited
resources and responsible stewardship of available funds.
There are three Guiding Principles of Program Prioritization at NIU:
All academic and administrative programs will be reviewed
All contracts with all employees will be honored
All students will be guaranteed to be able to complete their current academic programs
With this goal and its associated guiding principles in mind, the program prioritization process at NIU
was built upon four key elements that are crucial to NIUs culture and operations:
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The first of these is that program prioritization was to be inclusive of all campus stakeholders. This
element was first enacted through the composition of the Coordinating Team which included
representatives from faculty, staff, and students. It was further demonstrated in the development
of Program Prioritization Criteria by gathering input from the university community and
empowering shared governance groups to determine the final criteria and their weighting.
Finally, the selection process and ultimate composition of the task forces charged with conducting
the review of academic and administrative programs included representation from multiple
campus constituencies.
Second, program prioritization was to be standardized and data-informed with the best available
data delivered through central sources and in a centralized data platform for program authors
(those writing the narratives for their programs) in support of their data analysis efforts and the
creation of their narratives. Though data provided centrally were primarily quantitative in nature,
program authors were encouraged to include additional data, both quantitative and qualitative,
to elucidate their program narratives.
The third key element of program prioritization at NIU was that it was to be an open and
transparent process. Toward this end, communications about the process were issued through a
number of channels including open Coordinating Team meetings; presentations to multiple
audiences including formal shared governance groups as well as informal student groups, faculty
groups, and staff groups; discussions at Presidential Town Hall meetings; articles in NIU Today
(NIUs online campus communication) and Northern Star (NIUs student newspaper); and, most
notably, through a comprehensive and highly active program prioritization website at
http://www.niu.edu/program-prioritization/. Further, communication has been designed as a
reciprocal practice. Feedback has not only been welcomed but expected across all divisions and
from faculty, staff, and students at multiple points in time. Individuals wanting to provide
feedback on this report may do so via the program prioritization website. Feedback (anonymous
or otherwise) will be accepted through May 23, 2016 and distributed to the appropriate
individuals charged with developing action plans during the implementation phase.
The fourth key element of NIUs program prioritization process was that it should be conducted
with rigor and integrity. At every stage in the process, evaluation has been executed for the dual
purpose of generating formative data for creating process improvements in the current round of
program prioritization and providing summative data for the overall assessment of the process.
Understanding what was accomplished, how it was achieved, and what was positive and negative
about each phase of the process is critical to the rigor and integrity of the process and essential to
NIUs institutional culture.

3. PHASES, TIMELINE, AND EVALUATION


To date, the program prioritization process at NIU has included five phases with distinct purposes
although, at times, temporarily overlapping time periods:
Phase 1. Planning and Launch: including the development of the Coordinating Team and its
subgroups; establishment of planning documents to guide the process; and development of a
communications plan for increasing awareness of program prioritization on campus. As part of this
planning and launching phase, the program prioritization process was designed with NIUs unique
culture in mind and with attention to all of the key elements. One example of this is the inclusion of all
campus stakeholders as demonstrated by the ways in which NIU has brought in student voices at
multiple points in the process.
Phase 2. Process Development: including the creation of support teams; the establishment of Program
Prioritization Criteria through a campus-wide process that had at its core the key element of inclusion
of all campus stakeholders; the selection of task force members; and the execution of an ongoing
evaluation process, all of which were developed through methods conducted with rigor and integrity.
Phase 3. Data Platform Development and Population: including the construction of program definitions
and inventories; the selection and specialized customization of a data platform, Prioritization PlusTM;
the identification and population of data within that platform; and the training of campus
constituents in the use of the platform.
Phase 4. Program Narrative Writing: including providing training, assistance, and communications in
support of completing 223 Academic Program narratives and 236 Administrative Program narratives.
Phase 5. Task Forces Scoring and Report Development: including supporting the Task Forces with
resources, meeting space, technical support, and communications assistance during the scoring of
program narratives and report development.
Although the Coordinating Team has overseen each of these phases, multiple individuals and groups
have been drawn into the process at various points based upon their occupational expertise and
campus perspectives. Thus far, nearly 500 distinct individuals have played an important role in
program prioritization at NIU. This number is expected to increase in the upcoming Phase 6,
Implementation.

Planningand
Launch

Process
Development

DataPlatform
Development
andPopulation

Program
Narrative
Writing

TaskForce
Scoringand
Report
Development

Implementatio
n

A full description of each phase of program prioritization is beyond the scope of this report. In
alignment with the key elements of an open and transparent process, creating standardized and datainformed practices, and having program prioritization conducted with rigor and integrity, a Program
Prioritization Evaluation Report will be issued by the Evaluation Team, a subgroup of the Coordinating
Team, to the university community in fall 2016. That report will include descriptions of all
components within each phase of the process, associated evaluations of each of those components,
and recommendations for the future. At this juncture, a description is needed of the manner in which
the Administrative Task Force was selected, how the members were oriented to their task, the charge
they were given, and the support that was provided to them during their work on program
prioritization (aspects of Phases 2, 3, and 4).

4. TASK FORCE SELECTION, ORIENTATION AND SUPPORT


The task force selection process began in March 2015. The Coordinating Team developed a
nomination form (see Appendix A) that was distributed widely and communicated in an open and
transparent process via the program prioritization website, NIU Today (the online communication for
the NIU campus), and through shared governance groups. As can be seen on the nomination form,
the Coordinating Team believed that individuals chosen to serve on the Administrative Task Force
should:
Understand and embrace NIUs mission as a student-centered research and teaching institution
with a strong commitment to engagement within our region.
Enjoy the respect of their peers and have achieved a high level of credibility.
Have participated in university-wide initiatives such as service on committees, task forces, shared
governance bodies, etc.
Have a reputation for getting things done and meeting commitments within a specific timeframe
Have the ability to consider the universitys long-term vision and participate as a representative of
the entire university, not just his/her own department or unit (i.e., have a trustee mentality).
Be committed to the principle of confidentiality in all task force work.
Be willing to take the time needed to fully participate in all task force activities.

Further, potential nominees were informed that the work of the task force would be time-intensive,
and estimated to take at least 6-10 hours a week over a five month period. (In actuality, the task was
even more time-intensive than originally believed, taking many task force members twice as much,
and in some cases, three times as much time as initially anticipated.) Because of the heavy time
commitment predicted by the Coordinating Team and the possibility of power differentials among
task force members, the Administrative Task Force membership was limited to faculty and staff.
Faculty included on the task force were required to be tenured faculty or non-tenure track instructors.
Faculty who were on the tenure track but not yet tenured and students were not invited to participate
in the task force. However, in keeping with our key element of being inclusive of all campus
stakeholders, nominations could be made by all campus constituents including faculty of all types,
staff, and students. Nominations were open for four weeks from March 16 to April 10, 2015. A total of
97 individuals were nominated for the Administrative Task Force.
The Coordinating Team supported the creation of an ad-hoc Task Force Selection Group, with
representation from shared governance groups, to select the members of the Administrative Task
Force. This was seen as a way to further underscore NIUs commitment to being inclusive of all campus
stakeholders. (See Table 2).
Table 2: NIUs Task Force Selection Group
Member

Title

Group Represented

Lisa Freeman

Executive Vice President and Provost

Senior Cabinet

Melissa Lenczewski

Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts and


Sciences

Faculty Senate

David Long

Operations Manager, Holmes Student Center

Operating Staff
Council

Greg Long

Distinguished Teaching Professor, College of


Health and Human Sciences

Faculty Senate

Nathan Lupstein

President, Student Association

Student Association

Jeanne Meyer

Director, Office of Student Conduct

Supportive
Professional Staff

Bill Pitney

Executive Secretary, University Council and


President, Faculty Senate

University Council
and Faculty Senate

Richard Siegesmund

Associate Professor, College of Visual and


Performing Arts

Faculty Senate

The Task Force Selection Group was asked to select 20 members for the Administrative Task Force
based on the nomination criteria and to ensure that there was at least one member on the task force
from each of NIUs nine divisions; the group ended up selecting 21. Keeping in mind that all Task Force
members were expected to participate as representatives of the entire university, not just their own
units or divisions, the Coordinating Team felt it was also important that the perspective of each
division be included in the composition of the task force. The Task Force Selection Group identified
members, alternates, and a chair for the Administrative Task Force. After the group was formally
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convened, they decided to elect a second individual to share the leadership role, resulting in two cochairs.
Table 3. Administrative Task Force Members
Member

Group Represented

Patrica Arndt

Academic Affairs

Brian Becker

Outreach, Engagement, and Regional


Development

Karinne Bredberg

Research and Innovation Partnerships

Josephine (Jo) Burke

Academic Affairs

Joy Coates

Academic Affairs

Amy Franklin

Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

Chad Glover

Human Resource Services

David Haas

University Advancement

John Hulseberg

Administration and Finance

Sarah Lindell

International Affairs

Chris McCord

Academic Affairs

Jennice OBrien

Marketing and Communications

Michelle Pickett (co-chair)

Academic Affairs

Nick Pohlman

Academic Affairs

Joe Przybyla

Administration and Finance

Stephanie Richter

Academic Affairs

Alan Rosenbaum

Academic Affairs

Mike Stang

Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

Matt Streb (co-chair)

Academic Affairs/Intercollegiate Athletics

Lynne Thomas

Academic Affairs

Mary Wyzard

Information Technology
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The Administrative Task Force was first convened as a group on September 3 and 4, 2015 and
completed an initial training those days with Larry Goldstein from Campus Strategies, LLC. The task
force members were informed that they were to sign a charge and charter agreement form to help
ensure that this stage of program prioritization would be conducted with rigor and integrity (see
Appendix B), and they were to utilize the Program Prioritization Administrative Criteria developed
through a campus-wide survey and shared governance group process in early 2015 (see Appendix C).
The Administrative Criteria were linked to specific program questions and centralized data sources,
where available, for individuals who authored program narratives. In subsequent meetings, the task
force was trained to use the data platform, Prioritization PlusTM, and was given assistance in
customizing the platform for scoring purposes by members of the Data Support Team.
During the months that ensued, and particularly during the months in which the task force was
reviewing program narratives and categorizing programs, the Task Force Support Team supported the
efforts of the Administrative Task Force. This included meeting with task force co-chairs biweekly to
assess current progress and needs of the task force; providing training and customization to the
scoring system as needed; providing meeting rooms and materials for weekly task force meetings; and
working with task force co-chairs to provide relevant communications to the university community.
However, throughout this time period, members of the Task Force Support Team were not privy to the
content of the task force deliberations nor to the evaluative work they performed in order to generate
this final report. Now that we have reached the conclusion of the task force work, we thank the task
force members for their commitment, diligence, and trustee-mentality and we look forward to
reviewing the results in this report.

II. TASK FORCE OPERATIONS


This section of the report discusses the task force charge; ground rules and working rules; and the
scoring, grouping, and categorizing processes.

1. TASK FORCE CHARGE


The Administrative Task force was charged with placing 236 administrative programs into five
categories with roughly 20 percent of the programs placed in each category. The categories and their
descriptions are listed in Table 4.
Table 4. Description of Categories
Category

Description

Candidate for enhanced


resources (Enhance)

These programs are essential or important to the functioning of the


university, high quality or high performing, and are either underresourced or have the potential to expand because of unmet demand.

Continue with no change


in resources (Sustain)

These programs are essential or important to the functioning of the


university, are performing well, and have adequate resources.
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Continue with reduced


resources (Reduce)

Programs are placed in this category generally for one of two reasons.
First, these programs may be performing well, but are not essential to
the functioning of the university or are viewed as being less of a
priority than other programs. Second, some programs in this category
may be performing well and are important to the mission of the
university, but are over-resourced. These programs can maintain
appropriate quality even with a reduction in resources.

Requires transformation
(Transform)

Programs are placed in this category generally for one of two reasons.
First, these programs may be essential or important to the university,
but are not performing at high levels. As a result, the program may
need to rethink how it conducts business or needs more resources to
improve. Second, programs may fall in this category as part of a larger
reassessment of how the university addresses a functional area. This
might involve restructuring or combining multiple programs that
contribute to that area.

Subject to additional
review; candidate for
phase-out (Review)

Programs are placed in this category generally for one of two reasons.
First, the program is not considered to be important to the primary
mission of the university. Second, the program could be consolidated
into another program that is serving a similar function. In that case, it is
the program that might be phased-out, with the service provided by
that unit transitioning to another program.

In determining which category to assign to a program, the Administrative Task Force was charged to
evaluate the programs using the following criteria (with weights in parentheses).
Importance to mission (22%)
Quality/Effectiveness (22%)
Productivity/Efficiency (22%)
Internal and external demand (22%)
Opportunity analysis (12%)
A more detailed discussion of the criteria can be found in Appendix C. To evaluate programs against
the criteria, the task force developed a rubric (see Appendix D).

2. ADMINISTRATIVE TASK FORCE GROUND RULES


The task force committed individually and collectively to the following principles:
Maintain an institutional perspective
Preparation: complete homework and upload data prior to meeting

Evaluate objectively based upon shared data


Designate time during meetings for off-line and on-line (Be present)
Respectful and purposeful discussion

3. ADMINISTRATIVE TASK FORCE WORKING RULES


In addition, the task force adopted the following working rules:
1. Attendance policy: Any task force member who has more than three unexcused meeting absences
(either physically or electronically) or who fails to score their assigned narratives will be considered
for removal from the task force. Decision for removal will be made by the task force co-chairs.
2. Program narratives were reviewed individually. They were not reviewed by institutional divisions.
3. Consensus: Decisions about a program required a consensus of more than 80 percent of the
voters. When all 21 members voted, 18 votes were required to categorize a program; when eleven
members voted, nine votes were required.
4. Initial review of program narratives: The task force randomly assigned eleven members to review
each program initially. This decision was made to allow sufficient time to effectively review and
evaluate program narratives.
5. Program categorization: The task force used a two-step process. The first step scored the program
using the established criteria and weights to assign values of Importance and Performance.
This scoring was used to assign a preliminary categorization when scoring consensus could be
met. Each program was reviewed a second time to determine if the preliminary categorization
should be retained or adjusted. If the task force did not reach a consensus based on the initial
scoring, then all 21 members reviewed the program during the categorization stage.
6. Conflict of interest: The task force decided that members did not need to recuse themselves from
the narrative review or voting process. The prevailing thought was that members were charged
with maintaining a trustee mentality and will do so in evaluating and categorizing programs.
However, task force members were not initially assigned to review programs that they directly
report to or oversee.

III. TASK FORCE METHODOLOGY


The task force arrived at the categorization of programs through a two-step process:
First, each program was scored individually against the published criteria.
Second, programs were grouped into functional areas, and all programs in a functional area
were discussed and considered simultaneously yet categorized individually with awareness of
how other programs in that area were treated.
The details of each of these steps are as follows:

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1. INITIAL SCORING
Programs were initially reviewed by eleven members of the task force using the specified rubric (see
Appendix D). The scores for the five criteria were combined to produce composite scores for
Importance and Performance:
Importance Score = .22 x (Importance to Mission Score) + .22 x (Internal and External Demand
Score) + .06 x (Opportunity Analysis Score)
Performance Score = .22 x (Quality/Effectiveness Score) + .22 x (Productivity/Efficiency Score)
+ .06 x (Opportunity Analysis Score)
If the initial reviewers reached consensus on their scores, the average of those scores was used to
locate each program on a two-dimensional scatterplot. If the initial reviewers did not reach
consensus, then all 21 task force members reviewed the program during the categorization stage.
The distribution of the programs that had achieved rubric scoring consensus was displayed on the
scatterplot, which was then used to divide the programs into five roughly equal groupings by shifting
the axes to normalize the distributions:
Those with both the highest importance and the highest performance were provisionally
designated for Enhance.
Those with higher scores for performance and lower scores for importance were provisionally
designated for Reduce.
Those with higher scores for importance and lower scores for performance were provisionally
designated for Transform.
Those with the lowest importance and lowest performance scores were provisionally
designated for Review.
Those whose scores fell in the mid-range on both performance and importance were
provisionally designated for Sustain.
This process was valuable as a first pass at categorization, because it allowed the task force to get a
sense of the strengths and weaknesses of each program. However, the task force recognized that this
process did not ensure that programs were placed in the category to which they truly belonged. In
particular, the task force recognized that an overly-mechanistic process risked mis-categorizing
programs, if that mechanism did not allow for a holistic judgment of the program. For example, a
program might have both high importance and high performance (which would tend to place it in
Enhance based on scoring) but did not demonstrate the need for additional resources, and therefore
better belonged in Sustain.

2. PROGRAM GROUPING INTO FUNCTIONAL AREAS


While the initial scoring was done for each program in isolation, the task force recognized that the
appropriate categorization of programs required considering each in the context of all of the other
related programs. Therefore, the task force used the program narratives to identify functional areas
and the programs that contributed to that functional area. For example, Academic Research Data was
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identified as a functional area, with Academic Analysis and Reporting, Assessment, Institutional
Research, and Testing Services as programs that had an important role in the area. A program could
fall into more than one functional area (e.g. the Child Development Lab was included in both
Childcare and Clinical Training Programs). A functional area could have as few as two programs in it
(e.g., Policy Research) or could have a dozen or more programs (e.g., Communications). Appendix E
provides a network analysis of the relationship between programs. The functional areas identified by
the task force are listed in Table 5.
Table 5. Functional Areas Identified by the Task Force
Academic Research Data

Health Services

Admissions

International Relations

Advising

IT Customer

Alumni

IT Hardware

Athletics

IT Software

Campus Recreation

Marketing

Career Services/Readiness

Media

Childcare

Museums, Collections, Exhibits

Clinical Training Programs

Off-Campus and Online Course


Delivery

Communications

Orientation

Community Service

Personnel Issues

Communiversity

Policy Research

Conferencing

Public Safety

Diversity and Inclusion

Purchasing and Procurement

External Programming

Recruiting, Domestic

Facilities Management

Recruiting, International

Financial Aid

Research Support

Food Services

Retention

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Fundraising

School Partnerships

Governance

Student Records

Government Relations

Tutoring and Academic Support

For each functional area, the task force deliberated whether it was appropriate to consider the
programs within that area independently, or in conjunction with each other. For example, the IT
Customer Support programs were seen as very much meriting an examination that took all of the
programs into account, while the Museums, Collections and Exhibits programs were categorized
independently of one another. A later section, Program Relationships, summarizes the task forces
thoughts on program connections that were relevant to the categorizations. If a program did not fit in
any functional area (e.g., Bursar), it was evaluated and categorized on its own.

3. FINAL CATEGORIZATION
To categorize programs, the task force used a series of decision rules to reach consensus:
1. If scoring consensus was reached, then the eleven task force members who scored the
program voted on whether they agreed with the categorization of the program based on its
placement on the scatterplot referenced above. If consensus was reached, then the program
was placed in that category. If no consensus was reached, then all 21 task force members
reviewed the program and the task force moved to preference voting.
2. Preference Voting: If consensus could not be reached on the categorization placement after
scoring, then each task force member selected the category in which they preferred to place
the program. If consensus was reached on a category, then the program was placed in that
category.
3. Acceptability Voting: If no consensus could be reached based on the preference voting, then
members voted for all categories in which they would accept placing the program. If
consensus was reached on a category, then the program was placed in that category.
4. Sequential Voting: If no consensus could be reached on acceptability, then the task force
voted sequentially, yes or no, to place the program in Enhance, then Sustain, then Transform,
then Reduce. If the task force did not reach consensus on any of these, then, by default, the
program went to Review.
The task force almost always reached consensus after acceptability voting. Only about half a dozen
programs had to be categorized using sequential voting.
The task force took great care to make sure that a program was placed in the appropriate category.
After all programs were categorized, task force members were allowed to propose that a programs
categorization be reconsidered. If the proposed re-categorization achieved the necessary voting
consensus of 18 task force members, then the program was moved to its final category; those

13

receiving insufficient votes for change remained in the category assigned via the categorization
methods described above.

IV. DISTRIBUTION OF PROGRAM OUTCOMES


Although the task force was charged with placing approximately 20 percent of programs in each
category, it did not want to artificially place programs in categories simply to hit an arbitrary goal. The
task force believes it is most important to make sure that a program is placed in its appropriate
category. On the other hand, the task force takes its charge to prioritize programs based on
importance and performance seriously, which requires it to make difficult choices. Placing 70, 80, or
90 percent of all programs in the Enhance or Sustain categories would have been easy, but it also
would have made this process a waste of time because the status quo would be maintained; no clear
signal would be sent regarding how the university should prioritize resources in the future. Following
the initial request for distribution, a maximum of 40 percent of the programs were allowed to remain
in the Enhance and Sustain categories.
Table 6 summarizes the categorization results, including the percentage and number of programs in
each of the five categories.
Table 6. Summarization of Categorization Results
Percent
of Total

Number of
Programs

Candidate for enhanced resources (Enhance)

12%

28

Continue with no change in resources (Sustain)

28%

66

Continue with reduced resources (Reduce)

20%

47

Requires transformation (Transform)

23%

55

Subject to additional review; candidate for phase-out


(Review)

17%

40

Category

The task force believes it is extremely important, especially given the universitys limited resources, to
only enhance the highest priority programs that best advance the mission of the university. As a
result, only 28 programs are placed in the Enhance category. The percentage of programs placed in
the Sustain category exceeds 20 percent, but when combined with the programs in the Enhance
category comprises 40 percent of the programs, which is consistent with the task forces charge of
placing approximately 20 percent of programs in each category.
The number of programs in the Review category is slightly below the 20 percent target, but the
number of programs in the Transform category is slightly above. Several of the programs in the
14

Transform category are placed there because inefficiencies exist in the way that the university
provides certain services. Phasing out the program may not be possible or necessary, but rethinking
the current business practice could save money and improve quality. The task force had the
opportunity to conduct a comprehensive review of all administrative programs on campus and
believes that identifying possible inefficiencies is one of the most important aspects of the report that
will help the university going forward.

V. THEMES ACROSS FUNCTIONAL AREAS


While examining the administrative program narratives and the program network analysis (see
Appendix E), it became apparent that certain business operations of the university need to be
modified. The task force identified three issues that appear across, and directly impact, multiple
functional areas.

1. CHARGEBACK SYSTEM
The university should work towards a financial model that reduces or eliminates the reliance on
internal charges that now forms an essential element of the business model of several units (e.g.,
broadband, creative support services, facilities management or project services, use of bond revenue
buildings). Such a system creates inequalities between programs and leads to substantial differences
in quality between units. For example, students in academic departments who do not support
wireless access in the classroom are disadvantaged compared to students in those departments who
do. In many cases, the products or services being charged are essential to all programs on campus
and, as a result, the university should make a commitment to funding them through a central source
rather than having each division dedicate a portion of its budget towards covering chargeback costs.
Similarly, the university should eliminate the practice of moving internal money between budgets to
use an existing university resource. For example, any space, if available when scheduled, should be
free to use by a unit internal to the university. There is a basic level of campus services that should be
centrally funded, with additional services on a chargeback system.

2. DISTRIBUTED SERVICES VS. DUPLICATED SERVICES


A recurring theme across several functional areas is the presence of multiple programs or units
providing similar services. In some cases, the units are providing essentially identical services to
essentially the same audience, and so may be considered duplicated services. An example is
conference organizing services. In other cases, similar services are provided to differentiated, nonoverlapping audiences, and so may be considered distributed services. Academic advising,
personnel issues, and IT customer service are examples.
In general, where the task force identified services that appear to be duplicated, it recommends the
elimination of the duplication. For distributed services, the task force is seeking a more nuanced
approach. It recognizes that in different situations, fully centralized services, fully distributed services,
and a hybrid of centralized and distributed services can all be valid service models. In cases where the
15

task force has called for an evaluation of distributed services, it is not forejudging the best model, but
hopes that any model adopted will have certain features:
Intentionality: the global structure across the university should be purposeful, not the
accumulation of disconnected local decisions;
Collaboration and effective communication across units;
Cross-training and advancement opportunities for staff across all units;
A shared sense of what the institutional goals and protocols are;
Non-duplication of services: It might be appropriate for two or more units to do the same
work, provided they interact with different audiences, and if there is enough demand to keep
all units fully engaged. For example, it is not a duplication of instructional effort to offer
multiple sections of the same course, if they are all full. So, it is more about avoiding some of
the downsides that can come with duplication:
o

Excess capacity;

Confusion among the clients/audience about who to call on;

Inconsistent delivery of the service;

Economy of scale vs. diseconomy of scale: different models can have different unit costs. It is
not always the case that bigger means more efficient.
Ultimately, the measures for whether a model is working or not might come down to two factors:
does it meet the needs of the institution in terms of quality or outcomes (which might be measured by
the extent to which it meets the needs of the clients); and does it do so in an efficient fashion?

3. ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY


Regular, robust assessment of services (using both qualitative and quantitative approaches) from all
units is necessary for leadership to make appropriate strategic decisions on performance, resource
allocation, or potential future transformations. In many cases, the task force had a difficult time
evaluating a program when only qualitative assessments or unconnected quantitative assessments
were provided within the program reports. In several cases, no pertinent data were included. The task
force does not want new programs to be created to make up for the fact that an existing program is
not held accountable for their work.
Likewise, there are several narratives in which a program title includes multiple, apparently distinct,
functions, and then only report on some of those functions. This means that the task force has little or
no information about the other functions that are ostensibly included in the narrative. The task force
feels unable to evaluate those functions, and expresses concern over the gaps. It strongly
recommends that further review should occur for the programs listed in Table 7.
Table 7. A List of Program Narratives with Gaps
Program Code

Program Name

Gaps in the Narrative

16

D-FA00000-05

Center for Governmental Studies,


IIRC, broadband support and
administration

IIRC, broadband support, and


administration

D-BP00000-01

Gender and Sexuality Resource


Center

Gender/women's services

D-OK00000-02

Holmes Student Center

All of the functions of the HSC


were covered in a single
narrative. It was difficult to
isolate out information about,
say, the hotel, conferencing
services, food services, and
recreational facilities.

D-CN00000-01

Housing and Dining

Housing

D-FA00000-02

Outreach Managed Online and


Regional Academic (ORA) and
Continuing Professional
Education

Continuing Professional
Education

D-FM00000-01

P-20 initiatives: Center for Child


Welfare and Education, Center for
P-20 Engagement, Econ Illinois,
Education Systems Center, Illinois
Report Card, Northern Illinois
Regional P-20 Network

Center for Child Welfare and


Education, Econ Illinois,
Education Systems Center, Illinois
Report Card

D-SR00000-01

Presidential Commissions and


Presidential
Research/Engagement/Teaching
Professorships

Presidential
Research/Engagement/Teaching
Professorships

D-FA00000-06

Regional Centers, UCLC, Taft,


EIGERLab, Registration and
Conference Services

UCLC, Taft, EIGERLab, Registration


and Conference Services

D-CS00000-03

Student Life Services

Emphasized Greek life, but not as


many non-Greek centric activities
such as Campus Activities Board,
Community Services, and Event
Production Services.

17

The task force is also concerned that some programs are neither named in any narrative title nor
discussed in any narrative report. For example, the IT Help Desk does not appear in any report, while
the Office of Community Affairs is mentioned in one sentence in the narrative of the Office of the Vice
President for Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development.
To aid future prioritization efforts, the task force strongly recommends that clearer definitions of
programs be created. During this inaugural prioritization exercise, the task force noted that some
operational units of campus may have had tasks assigned but did not warrant specific program
designation; while other units may have been combined together under a management structure but
are clearly separate programmatic activities that should have been described separately. Having a
clearer definition of what constitutes a program will help future task forces better evaluate the
programs importance and performance.

VI. PROGRAM RELATIONSHIPS


In reviewing and categorizing individual programs, the task force has taken note of the many interrelationships between programs. The task force identified a number of functional areas, such as
Retention or IT Customer Support, that involve multiple programs. To be classified in a functional
area, that area must be the primary focus of that program or a significant element of the programs
activities. As the task force discussed its recommendations for individual programs, it looked across all
of the programs that touched on a given functional area, identified overall recommendations for
addressing those functional areas, and considered the ways in which a recommendation for one
program impacted the recommendations for others. This section will summarize these larger-scale
recommendations.
For each functional area, the task force identifies both the programs that are significantly involved in
that function, and its recommendations for addressing that function. For some functional areas, clear
over-arching messages emerge; in other areas, the recommendations are more program specific. If
the task force found that all of the recommendations for a functional area were program specific (e.g.
Public Safety or Food Services), then there is no discussion of that functional area in this section.
The functional areas can be grouped into one of three broad categories: Students, University
Operations, and Community Connections. Under each broad category, functional areas are listed
alphabetically.

1. STUDENTS
Advising
Academic advising is important in fulfilling the mission of the university and an essential element of
student retention. The academic advising narratives illustrate the various advising models used across
the university. With these varying models, there is evidence that there are significant imbalances in
the resources available to provide quality academic advising to all NIU students.
Table 8. Advisor to Student Ratios in Seven Main Advising Areas

18

CLAS
Advisor:
Student
Ratio

1:900

No
Mandatory
Advising
Registration
Holds

CHHS

CBUS

CEET

CVPA

CEDU

AAC

1:533

1:500

1:470

1:370

1:250

1:158

Some

Some

Most

Some

Some

Yes

The task force is concerned with the current model of advising. Table 8 outlines the advisor to student
ratio in each of the seven main advising areas. Based on a survey by the National Academic Advising
Association (NACADA) in 2011, the median case load of advisees to full-time professional advisors at a
four-year, public, doctoral granting institution is 285 to 1. Academic advising is critical to student
success and needs to be enhanced. The task force recommends the following:
Prioritize funding to the advising programs that are most understaffed;
Enhance advising services campus-wide to balance advising loads across the seven main
advising areas;
Improve coordination on the varying types of software being used (e.g., GradesFirst, MAPWorks, FileMaker Pro, Cranium Caf);
Use technology more efficiently to focus on the students who need the most attention;
Consider consolidation of units not within the college structures (e.g. ESP/CHANCE, ESP/SSS,
Office of Student Academic Success);
Strengthen institutional training and professional development of academic advisors
(professional staff and faculty).

Diversity and Inclusion1


Creating and maintaining an inclusive, diverse community is central to NIU's mission and identity.
However, many of the long-standing administrative programs designed to do so date from an earlier
era, when diversity initiatives were understood and implemented differently. As a result, many of the
programs devoted to improving diversity and creating a more inclusive environment are placed in the
Transform category (e.g., Affirmative Action and Diversity Resources, Asian American Center, Center
for Black Studies, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, International Affairs, Latino Resource Center)

The task force fully recognizes that diversity and inclusion are issues that affect more than just students.
Indeed, faculty, staff, and the community as a whole benefit from a more diverse and inclusive campus.
However, most of the diversity- and inclusion-related programs that the task force reviewed dealt directly with
students, so the task force chooses to address the issues here.

19

or Review category (e.g. Presidential Commissions, Black Male Initiative). While individual nuances are
noted for each program, these placements broadly reflect the task forces sense of occasionally
duplicative services and historic funding models that limit program effectiveness. Two diversityrelated programs recommended for enhancement are the Disability Resource Center and the
International Student and Faculty Office. The recent hiring of a chief diversity officer to offer a more
coherent campus-wide vision for the campuss diversity and inclusivity programs may improve the
environment in this area.

Financial Aid
The efficient use of scholarship and financial aid resources is absolutely critical to the viability of the
university. The task force recommends the consolidation of Financial Aid Services and Scholarship
Services into a single office. That consolidated office should receive both the staffing and software
enhancements necessary for it to allocate resources effectively. As processes change, the task force
supports the integration of all scholarship and financial aid resources that are controlled by NIU and
the NIU Foundation, so that students receive a consolidated financial aid package that serves them for
their entire NIU career, and so that the university can strategically deploy these resources to achieve
desired recruiting and retention goals.

Recruiting
The university has multiple overlapping student populations, each with at least one program
responsible for recruiting. Table 9 provides a list of student populations and the program(s) with
direct responsibility for recruitment.
Table 9. Student Populations and Programs with Direct Responsibility for Recruitment
Student Population

Program with Direct Responsibility

Traditional Undergraduates

Prospective Admission Services

Adult Learners

Outreach Managed Online and Regional


Academic (ORA) and Continuing
Professional Education
Prospective Admission Services

Online Learners

Outreach Managed Online and Regional


Academic (ORA) and Continuing
Professional Education
College external programs

CHANCE Students

ESP/CHANCE

Graduate Students

Graduate School Admissions


20

Law Students

College of Law, Admissions and


Financial Aid

International Students

International Student and Faculty Office

In addition, there are a variety of other offices that have an active, direct role in recruiting, such as the
Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development (DOERD), College Relations (CEDU),
and Graduate Academic Affairs (CBUS), as well as Precollegiate Programs and the college offices in
CEET, CHHS, CLAS, and CVPA.
Recruiting is incredibly important, but it is not clear that the universitys activities have been
appropriately optimized. Transformative work is ongoing in this area, and the task force recommends
assessing current efforts and determining additional changes that may serve the university well. In
some cases, realignment or consolidation of resources may be appropriate. The task force thinks that,
for instance, College of Law recruiting can be consolidated with Graduate School recruiting. At the
same time, the task force feels that undergraduate recruiting and graduate recruiting are dissimilar
enough activities that they should not be combined. However, any areas of possible overlap (e.g.,
software) should be identified as well as opportunities to increase efficiencies. The task force also
notes and supports the distinction between international and domestic recruiting and support
systems. While broadly supportive of the directions of the universitys international efforts, the task
force prioritizes the programs and services that directly impact students and faculty (e.g. Study
Abroad) and considers programs and services that are mostly cost recovery or serve smaller groups to
be less important.

Retention
Improving retention rates is important for student success and the financial health of the university.
The task force recognizes that all activities across the university ultimately contribute to retention.
Some programs do so indirectly, as a byproduct of other missions, while other programs have
retention as a fundamental rationale. For the former, everyone who offers a service needs to be
mindful that how that service is provided impacts retention. However, it is the programs that fall into
the latter category that are of concern here. Offices directly aimed at impacting retention as their
central mission approach retention in numerous ways: some offices focus on retention-related
functions for all students; some provide particular student populations with a wide array of services;
some are college- or discipline-based activities. Units directly involved in retention activities include:
Academic Advising Center
Black Male Initiative
College-based advising offices
ESP/ACCESS
ESP/CHANCE

21

ESP/SSS
Office of Student Academic Success
Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning
Student-Athlete Academic Support Services
In the past two years, the university has seen small increases in retention rates. These increases are
encouraging, but the task force is concerned that the university is not organized to impact retention
rates as efficiently as possible. Some programs appear to be duplicating services; some programs are
effective, but not coordinated; some are centrally coordinated, but not documented as effective; some
serve small, sometimes overlapping, populations. For example:
ESP/SSS duplicates services of many offices;
The Office of Student Academic Success did not provide evidence that its work is effective;
The Center for Black Studies does not appear to be coordinated with other complementary
campus programs;
Different programs use different methods of identifying students to serve and documenting
progress, from paper to computer systems, that are not integrated;
There appears to be very uneven funding for different initiatives.
What is lacking is a central strategy for how the university spends its retention money and energy. The
university needs to ensure coordination and strategic distribution of resources to the different
retention initiatives across campus. A centralized retention strategy could better develop programs
for respective student populations (e.g., ethnically diverse students, first-generation college students,
at-risk student populations).

Tutoring & Academic Support


Another important element within the universitys retention efforts is tutoring and academic support.
Programs providing such services include:
Black Male Initiative
ESP/ACCESS
ESP/CHANCE
Public Service (Libraries)
Student Academic Success
Student-Athlete Academic Support Services
University Writing Center
In addition, there are a number of locally-operated tutoring services housed in department and
college offices. Some of these services are organized around serving a distinct population; others
around a specific discipline or topic. There appear to be opportunities to better coordinate these
22

services to eliminate duplication of services and possibly reduce administrative overhead. It is


important for the service model to be sensitive to both the audience served and the discipline/subject
matter being addressed.

2. UNIVERSITY OPERATIONS
Data and Reporting
For both external reporting and internal decision-making, it is essential for the university to have
timely and accurate data, and to produce actionable reports and analysis from that data. The program
prioritization process itself highlights the universitys lack of data infrastructure to support a datadriven, decision-making culture. The current structure appears to be disconnected and inefficient, and
to inhibit rather than support effective use and sharing of data and reporting. Responsibility for data
reporting and analysis lies in at least five programs:
Academic Analysis and Reporting
Accreditation
Assessment Services
Institutional Research
Testing Services
The task force recommends that there should be consideration of consolidating these five programs
into a single Office of Institutional Effectiveness. As there may be data and reporting functions in
other programs that escaped the task forces attention, it is possible that other units might be
included as well. The task force hopes that a stronger, more centralized unit will strengthen the NIUs
assessment of its efforts, and position the university for a more powerful understanding of itself when
program prioritization next takes place.

Marketing, Communication, and Media Production


Marketing and Communication
While the lines between marketing and communication are not sharp, the task force finds it useful to
distinguish between the two functions, seeing marketing as primarily concerned with communicating
the value of the institution to external audiences such as prospective students, their families, and
alumni. The two functions can be somewhat distinguished by the resources involved, with the
communications function largely involving personnel, while marketing also includes resources for
advertising and branding.
The following units have some marketing functions:
Advancement office (CBUS)
Advertising (Division of Marketing and Communications (MarComm))
Alumni Relations
23

Branding (MarComm)
CLAS College Office
College Relations (CEDU)
Marketing (Athletics)
Outreach managed online (DOERD)
It appears that advertising budgets are widely diffused and vary significantly across programs. All
distributed marketing efforts ought to be better coordinated with MarComm. Advertising budgets
need to be more centrally controlled and distributed to provide equity across programs, and ensure
that the university is obtaining the greatest possible value. As there may be advertising functions in
other programs that escaped the task forces attention, it is possible that other units might be
included as well.
Communication functions, apart from marketing, include internal communications, media relations,
and public relations. As noted above, the resources involved are largely personnel. Within MarComm,
the programs include:
Branding
Campus Communications
Community Outreach and Strategic Partnerships
Compliance
Crisis Communications
Emergency Communications
Executive and Advancement Communications
Media Relations
Social Media
In addition, there are programs outside of MarComm specifically dedicated to communications, such
as Athletics Communications and the Business Advancement Office, as well as communications
functions embedded in many other areas, such as offices of vice presidents and college offices.
Most of these functions need to be sustained. In particular, the college communication functions are
an important part of the universitys new advancement strategy; therefore, they must not be
eliminated. However, a number of programs need to be reexamined to eliminate redundancy or
overstaffing (e.g., Community Outreach and Strategic Partnerships, Athletics Communications), or
reduced or transformed because they are situational rather than consistently necessary (e.g.,
Emergency Communications, Executive and Advancement Communication).
Media Production
The production of media content is now distributed between the Department of Information
Technology (DoIT) and MarComm:
Creative Support Services (MarComm)
24

Document and Print Management (DoIT)


Multimedia Production and Support (DoIT)
Website Management and Support (MarComm)
There appears to be significant unevenness in the access that different units on campus have to the
services of these units. For example, Multimedia Production and Support is devoted almost
exclusively to the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. Some of the services of the other three
programs are provided to the campus community on a chargeback basis, while others are built into
the base budgets of the programs. Moreover, the funding model that determines which services
involve chargebacks and which do not appears to be very unsystematic. In particular, chargebacks for
design and branding work strongly discourage uniform branding and design standards from the very
units that could most benefit from them. Basic website design and branding templates, current NIU
letterhead, and standard brochure templates should be available to, and required of, anyone who
needs them at no cost to the units. Materials that, for functionality, need to depart from templates
should still be developed in coordination with the media production units listed above.
There must be strong coordination and appropriate campus-wide resources between these programs
services so that any materials (print or online, still or moving) produced for public consumption meet
NIU's design and branding standards. Moving design services from Document and Print Management
to Creative Support Services will help move NIU towards this goal. As there may be media production
functions in other programs that escaped the task forces attention, it is possible that other units
might be included as well.

Facilities Management
The university needs to be proactive about taking care of its buildingsa pattern of deferred
maintenance has led to infrastructure that is out of date and difficult to repair at best. This critical
infrastructure not only directly affects the learning and working environments for current students,
faculty, and staff, but it is also an important feature for recruiting new students. As a result, Building
Maintenance and Heating Plant are in the Enhance category.
There are opportunities for transformation, consolidation, review, and/or outsourcing as well.
Functions within Architectural and Engineering Services are not required nearly as much given the
trend towards outsourcing many functions on recent large scale projects, including donor-funded
projects and new housing and dining facilities. Certain functions from Building Services and Grounds
should be considered for outsourcing, while many functions under Environmental Health and Safety
are already being performed by outside contractors.
The Regional Centers are separately addressed in the current system, but need to be considered in the
overall framework of how the university appropriately resources and maintains its physical
infrastructure, and whether continuing to maintain them is in NIUs best financial interest. Likewise,
the university should determine whether occupying and maintaining aging buildings located outside
of NIUs core campus (e.g., Monat, original Monsanto) is in the universitys best financial interest going
forward.

25

Information Technology
IT Customer Support
IT customer support at NIU has grown organically over the years and displays wide variability. There
are two program narratives in DoIT, and seven program narratives in other divisions, that are either
wholly devoted to IT customer support, or have IT customer support as an important component of
their operations:
CBUS Administration
CEET Computer Operations
CLAS Distributed IT
Collaboration and Conferencing Support (DoIT)
Desktop and Media Technologies Support (DoIT)
Distributed IT (CEDU)
Distributed IT (HRS)
Housing and Dining (Residential Technology)
Technology Initiatives and Support Services (University Libraries)
The number of programs has produced inequities in service and support, as well as created challenges
for efficient use of resources. The issues of efficiency appear to be less about personnel than about
consistency and efficiency in hardware and software purchasing.
The task force calls for a systemic evaluation of all of these IT support functions, including both
personal/desktop support and classroom/computer lab support. The task force does not have
sufficient information or expertise to specify what configuration the universitys IT support should
have, but it recognizes that the support should be both centralized and local, and should ideally have
the following features:
Support for highly specialized hardware and software is more appropriate to deliver locally;
support for basic hardware, software, and connectivity is a better candidate for centralization;
Standardization of basic software and hardware will increase efficiency, but needs to be
balanced by diversity of needs. An effective mechanism for the campus community to have
oversight and input into the selection of hardware and software is essential.
IT Hardware
The task force put the following hardware programs in the Transform category:
Network Architecture and Support
Server Hosting and Administration
Voice Services
The unifying theme of these programs is the need to transform both the business model and the
campus coverage. The current chargeback model for these services produces inequities in access to
26

services that are now absolutely essential infrastructure. It also encourages local solutions and
workarounds that limit the efficiency, and compromise the effectiveness and security, of the
universitys IT infrastructure. While the task force takes no position on the specific technical solutions
proposed, it believes IT hardware must be considered and centrally funded as a campus-wide utility.
Baseline infrastructure (e.g., internet connection, server space) should be universal for every member
of the NIU community, with the ability to enhance and/or adjust that infrastructure for high-impact
and/or more complex projects as needed.
IT Software
The task force placed in the Transform category the three programs associated with PeopleSoft:
Financial Systems Support
Human Resource Systems Support
Student Administrative Systems Support
While the task force does not have the expertise to comment on particular software solutions, one of
the glaring issues noticed across these reports is that the university has paid for, but not yet
implemented, numerous PeopleSoft modules. Those modules have the possibility of transforming
how the university works, providing better data-driven decision-making and cross-campus
efficiencies. The university should consider whether and where implementation is feasible, and
reexamine its processes to move away from inefficient workarounds and/or custom solutions.

Off-Campus and Online Course Delivery and Fee Structure


The university has a historic distinction between on-campus and off-campus courses, and has evolved
structures in response to that model. The advent of online courses has created a complex three-fold
division of on-campus, off-campus, and online course offerings. The current structure, with multiple
offices involved in the logistics of delivering online and off-campus courses, reflects this evolution:
CBUS Graduate Academic Affairs
CEDU External and Global Programs
CEET External Programming
CLAS External Programming
CVPA External Programs
Faculty Development
Office of the Vice President for Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development (OERD)
Outreach Managed Online and Regional Academic (ORA) and Continuing Professional
Education
Regional Centers, UCLC, TAFT, EIGERLab, Registration and Conference Services
In addition, there appears to be duplication of marketing, recruiting, record-keeping, and other
administrative functions between those housed in OERD and those located in central offices such as
27

Admissions, Marketing and Communications, and Registration and Records. The task force
recommends a deep examination of the model for online and off-campus course delivery, including
the organizational structure and fee model.

3. COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
Athletics
The task force is supportive of NIUs membership as a Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) NCAA
institution. Participation as a FBS institution provides the university with substantial earned media,
engages alumni, and improves the campus experience for students, faculty, and staff.
That said, as noted in the numerous athletics program narratives, the intercollegiate athletics
department must find ways to become more self-sustaining. Spending on athletics comprises about 2
percent of the universitys general funds and a portion of student fees. Therefore, the intercollegiate
athletics department needs to leverage its relationship with alumni and the community to rely less on
university resources.
Reducing costs is difficult unless the university wants to reconsider its standing as a FBS institution.
Per NCAA rules, FBS schools are required to sponsor at least 16 sports. Since NIU currently sponsors
17, there are limited opportunities for reductions. In order for NIU to remain in compliance with Title
IX, any reduction in sports programs must come from a non-revenue generating, male sport. The task
force recommends that the intercollegiate athletics department examine whether it can continue to
support 17 sports programs. If the department can become more self-sustaining, then eliminating a
sport program may not be necessary. However, if it cannot, then such a move may be required.

Communiversity
The task force recognizes that NIU's residential campus makes place very important in providing
students with a rich learning, cultural, and social environment. It also wishes to underscore the
importance of NIUs role in supporting thriving communities, and the role of community engagement
as part of students learning experience. The universitys commitment to strong, positive relations with
the local DeKalb/Sycamore community, referred to as communiversity, should remain a component
of the universitys mission. The program narratives reveal that NIU expends resources in the
local community in a variety of ways. The task force notes examples of functions that serve the
broader communiversity mission in the narratives from the following programs:
Center for Black Studies
Child Development Lab
Community Outreach and Strategic Partnerships
Couple and Family Clinic
Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic
Latino Resource Center
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Office of the Vice President for Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development
Physical Therapy Clinic
Police
Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic
Student Engagement and Experiential Learning
Student Life Services
The list above is not comprehensive as the task force recognizes that there are likely additional ways
that programs support the communiversity mission that are not included in the narratives.
While some of these local efforts that support the communiversity mission may be important and
effective, what is lacking is evidence of a central strategy for how the university spends its money and
energy on communiversity initiatives. The narratives include a single reference to an Office of
Community Affairs, while the Community Outreach and Strategic Partnerships narrative did not
indicate any role in leading or coordinating efforts. The university needs to ensure coordination and
strategic distribution of resources to support these functions, and to integrate them as part of the
universitys education/research/engagement mission. A coordinated strategy could match allocation
of resources with efforts that have the greatest impact on improving the quality of life for our students
and our neighbors in the community.

External Programming/Conferences
The university offers a variety of services to the public, such as conference organizing, hosting events
and summer camps, and delivering non-credit training programs, and has a variety of offices for doing
so. Some of the units with a presence in this arena include:
Alumni Relations
Athletics Camp Clinics
Athletics Event Management
CEDU External and Global Programs
CEET External Programming
CLAS External Programming
Convocation Center
CVPA External Programs
DOERD Registration and Conference Services
Holmes Student Center
Office of the Vice President for Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development
Presidents Office Special Events

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Some differences are market based, and some are not. For example, CVPA External Programs focuses
specifically on art, music, theatre and dance; while the Holmes Student Center, DOERD Registration
and Conference Services, and Special Events appear to offer very similar services that differ only in the
venue being used. This is just one example of what appears to be considerable redundancy/overlap in
the services provided.
The task force recommends a campus-wide examination of how to produce cohesion, collaboration,
and possible consolidation across these efforts. For example, registration and conference planning for
all types of external programs is widely divergent. However, because of its unique contribution to the
local arts community and its strong connection to the curriculum, the task force feels particular
respect for the contributions of the CVPA External Programs office and recommends that any
restructuring should take particular care to preserve the distinctive strengths of that program.

School Partnerships
As NIU has evolved out of its normal school origins, it has developed a distinctive profile for its
engagements and partnerships with school districts. The evolution of that profile was, at some points
in the past, quite contentious. Perhaps as a result of that complicated history, the administrative
programs that support teacher licensure (and related K-12 programs) are diffused across multiple
units. Five colleges (CEDU, CEET, CHHS, CLAS, and CVPA) contribute academic programs and training,
along with support and reporting functions; a central Office of University Educator Licensure Programs
in Academic Affairs provides additional support and reporting functions; and a largely separate P-20
Center within Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development is involved in multiple outreach
activities to school districts. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has a separate Teacher Certification
Office to support its programs; the other colleges provide that support within the college office. This
very diffused structure results in multiple, sometimes conflicting, channels of communication to
school districts. The task force recommends examination of the consolidation of support services such
as accreditation, outreach, and clinical/student teaching placements into a single office that would
work with academic programs across the university.

VII. CATEGORIZATION
Below is a listing of each program, its categorization, and justification for categorization. Within each
category, the programs are listed alphabetically. See Appendix F for a list of programs by category,
Appendix G for an alphabetized list of programs, and Appendix H for an alphabetized list of programs
by department or college.

1. CANDIDATE FOR ENHANCED RESOURCES (ENHANCE)


Academic Advising Center
Quality advising is important to the success of NIU students. Although this program does not advise
as many students as some other units, it regularly works with the most at-risk student population that
requires high-touch involvement. Advising efforts are uneven across the many units that provide
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advising services, and this current structure may contribute to the "Huskie Shuffle." The task force
strongly recommends more consistent advising, and feels that the Academic Advising Center should
be leading the coordination process for improving advising across campus. This should be a high
priority, and will require more resources.

Academic Technologies Support


The core academic applications supported by this program are integral to the student learning
experience. Blackboard Learn provides a rich, online learning environment with nearly universal usage
by faculty and staff. Students expectand demand24/7 access to this learning environment.
Providing a recurring source of funds for salaries, hardware, and annual software licensing could
enhance this program.

Building Maintenance
Having comfortable working and learning physical environments is necessary for producing highquality, efficient work by our faculty, staff, and students. Presenting an attractive campus, that is well
maintained, is essential for recruiting and retaining faculty, staff, and students. As important, these
groups must be able to work in a safe environment. Many of the campuses buildings have suffered
from years of neglect owing to deferred maintenance. The university cannot let its physical resources
continue to deteriorate. The task force recommends that additional resources be contributed to
building maintenance, prioritized so that those resources are dedicated to areas of greatest need.

Campus Childcare Services


This program provides high-quality childcare to the community, in particular students. It is an
important program to attract and retain students, faculty, and staff. The program has the potential to
grow as demand for childcare is great. Although the task force does not necessarily recommend
merging this program with the Child Development Lab because their missions are different, the two
entities should consider opportunities for synergies. The university should consider housing both in
the same facility. The task force recommends enhancing the program by investigating the ability to
expand the facility's capacity, providing more competitive salaries, and hiring more staff to meet the
significant demand for childcare services.

Campus Recreation Office Operations


A vibrant campus recreation program is central to the student experience and important for
recruitment and retention. With the exception of the new intramural complex, the recreation facilities
are woefully outdated and subpar compared to our nearest competitors. Enhanced recreation
facilities will attract prospective students and make the campus more vibrant. Faculty and staff will
benefit from improved campus recreation facilities as well. The task force does not believe that this
office needs more staffing. The program is placed in enhanced solely because it oversees the
recreation facilities, which need to be improved.
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Child Development Lab


This program provides high-quality childcare to the community and excellent educational experiences
for students interested in early childhood development. It is an important program to attract and
retain students, faculty, and staff. The program has the potential to grow as demand for childcare is
great. Although the task force does not necessarily recommend merging this program with Campus
Childcare Services because their missions are different, the two entities should consider opportunities
for synergies. The university should consider housing both in the same facility. The task force
recommends enhancing the program by investigating the ability to expand the capacity of the facility
and improving the physical space in which it is housed.

CLAS College Advising


CLAS College Advising works with more students and has the highest student-to-adviser ratio of all
advising units on campus. The extremely high student-to-adviser ratio is adversely impacting the
programs ability to deliver excellent advising. Quality, high-touch advising from this office is
extremely important to improve retention. The narrative identified some suggestions for
enhancements such as increasing advising staff and implementing electronic record-keeping. The task
force strongly encourages that this program be given the resources to implement those
enhancements.

Collections and Technical Services


The services provided by this program are the lifeblood of a university. The ability of faculty and
students to conduct research is threatened because the librarys collections budget has been reduced
substantially. As a result, the program cannot support research appropriately without more resources.
The task force strongly recommends that the library receive additional resources to provide research
materials to support the needs of its patrons.

Counseling and Consultation Services


The mental wellbeing of students is of utmost importance to promote health, happiness, and
academic success. Even with declining enrollments, demand for this program is increasing and will
only continue to grow as community partners and the local hospital lessen their mental health
services. The program provides 24/7 coverage and is an important resource for students who
experience crises at night or on weekends, and also helps to mitigate university liability with respect
to students at risk of self-harm or harming others. NIU should be a national leader on improving
student mental health, which will improve retention of students experiencing mental health and
substance abuse problems. The task force recommends additional resources be provided for
increasing staff and a review of salary competitiveness.

Creative Support Services


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This program does impressive work and is important to maintaining a consistently high-quality
reputation. The task force recommends eliminating the chargeback system and investing in this
program through centralized funding, because the chargeback system makes it difficult for units with
limited resources to improve their promotional materials. Additionally, the task force recommends
centralizing the campus design pool by moving resources from programs such as Document Services
and Outreach Creative Services to this program.

CVPA College Office


This office is significantly understaffed, so much so that it has difficulty providing valuable services,
such as IT support, donor development, and communications, to the College of Visual and Performing
Arts. To adequately serve the students and faculty of this college, the university should consider either
providing additional resources to the College or increasing the level of support to the college from
partner departments across campus (e.g., IT, alumni support, marketing). As additional resources are
provided, the College should work closely with the central offices providing the respective service to
ensure that there is no duplication of services.

Disability Services
As the number of students with disabilities continues to grow, supporting them appropriately in a
central office is key to recruiting and retention. This program helps NIU to be an inclusive university.
The program is significantly understaffed and will only continue to be more so as the definitions of
disabilities broaden and the population of students with disabilities continues to increase. The
program also must adhere to a rising number of federal and state mandates, which taxes capacity
even further. The task force recommends providing enhanced resources to expand facilities to make
them more accessible and increase staffing.

Employee Assistance
The task force feels that enhancing this program could boost employee performance and morale, and
contribute to a positive culture across campus. Providing employees and managers with the tools,
resources, and training necessary to promote a healthy work environment could yield cost savings by
reducing performance issues and employee turnover. Although this program is hiring a new director,
it has long been under-resourced in relation to its importance.

ESP/ACCESS
The narrative provides evidence that effective tutoring increases student retention and making an
additional investment in this program will likely improve retention rates further. There is already high
demand for the program's services and it appears to be understaffed. Providing more resources will
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also allow the program to offer tutoring services for additional courses. There are multiple units on
campus providing tutoring services that should be consolidated into this program.

Faculty Research Development and Support


This program is essential in assisting faculty in conducting high-quality, high-impact research. More
seed money is needed to help faculty obtain grants. Additionally, the universitys research start-up
packages lag behind its competitors. Providing this program with additional resources for seed money
and start-up packages should facilitate recruitment and retention of world-class faculty.

Financial Aid Services


Financial Aid Services is critical for a large percentage of NIU students. Because so many of students
rely on this program, the university should ensure that sufficient resources are provided to it.
Additionally, based on the narratives for Scholarship Services and Financial Aid Services, the task force
concludes that the role of the Scholarship Services program should be absorbed by Financial Aid
Services. Given that the program is crucial to the boosting both enrollment and retention, the new
combined program should be a high priority for increased support.

Fundraising (Major Gifts/Planned Gifts/Annual Gifts)


Given the history of decreased appropriations from the state and the concern that this trend will
continue, it is imperative that the university develop alternate funding streams, including private
donations. The old adage It takes money to raise money applies here. This program is understaffed
and, as a result, is not able to contact sufficient numbers of potential donors necessary to raise the
amount of money that it could with appropriate staffing. As a result, the university is missing out on
substantial revenue.

Heating Plant
The heating plant is doing an excellent job maintaining an infrastructure that is seriously antiquated.
Keeping campus buildings adequately temperature controlled is crucial for everyone on campus,
especially given the wide range of temperature changes throughout the year. Resources to improve
the heating plant infrastructure to make it more efficient and renew the equipment lifecycle must be a
high priority.

Innovation
This program has potential to bring in substantial money for the university. As a research institution, it
is imperative to have an active program in innovation. However, the program was created recently
without the appropriate resources for it to be successful. For example, the university cannot afford the
attorneys to protect NIUs intellectual property with the current funding level for this office.

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International Student and Faculty Office


This program is important to build the universitys international profile as a research institution with a
global perspective and for recruitment purposes. The international student population at NIU has
grown significantly, and this office should be given resources to adequately support that population
and to help it continue to increase. The focus of the office must first be on compliance, so the program
should explore its recommendation to automate visa processing. However, the program also has a key
role to play in continuing to position NIU favorably in the growing international market.

Prospective Admissions Services


Although this program has struggled for years, the new director is making progress with changes in
operations. Although many programs have the ability to grow enrollments, none have a more direct
effect than this one. As a result, the programs funding needs to be enhanced to be certain that the
university has the appropriate number of experienced recruiters (with the right skill sets) and the IT
resources needed to operate effectively. In addition, the task force encourages this program to
consider opportunities to expand its recruitment efforts to include online and adult students, allowing
other units to cede recruitment functions to Prospective Admissions Services.

Sponsored Projects Administration


This program is essential at a research institution and has the potential to help faculty and staff secure
significant grant money. Additional resources to this program will provide the university with a
positive return on investment, attract and retain excellent faculty and staff, and enhance the
universitys reputation.

Study Abroad
This program offers students an opportunity to engage globally and provides them with potentially
life-changing educational experiences. Additionally, having a program that provides students with
the ability to study abroad in one of dozens of countries can be a valuable resource in student
recruitment. Prospective students and their parents expect universities to provide this kind of
transformational education opportunity. Program costs make it impossible for some students to study
abroad, so the university should invest more money in travel scholarships.

Training
The resources allocated to this program have limited its ability to provide adequate professional
development programming. Recently, the lack of programming has been more problematic because
budget cuts have made it difficult for employees to go to conferences for professional development.
The program is particularly important for the advancement of staff without other professional
development opportunities. The task force recommends additional resources devoted to Training to
increase professional development opportunities for all staff, and to implement a more substantial
"on-boarding" for new employees.
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University Council, Faculty Senate, Operating Staff Council, Supportive Professional Staff Council
The university has a long commitment to shared governance and active, engaged shared governance
bodies are essential to a vibrant campus community. Support for the three staff councils is
inconsistent, which limits the ability of the Operating Staff and Supportive Professional Staff Councils
to engage with shared governance. The task force recommends providing additional funding, such as
administrative assistance or release time, to support the Operating Staff and Supportive Professional
Staff Councils.

University Honors Program


This program has the potential to increase enrollment as well as improve the academic profile of the
institution. The program has several positive features, although it does not appear to receive
adequate funding when compared to other peer institutions. Limited funding has restricted the
program to serving more as a unit to track honors program requirements as opposed to providing a
vibrant and engaging opportunity for honors students. In addition, there is a conflict for faculty who
cannot teach dedicated honors courses because of the need for courses within their home
departments. The task force recommends additional resources for the University Honors Program to
increase honors programming and assist departments and faculty with offering honors courses.

University Writing Center


The University Writing Center is a critical element in the new requirement for writing-intensive courses
as part of the PLUS/General Education curriculum. The program serves both undergraduate and
graduate students and represents a great resource to departments and programs, especially those
having significant writing requirements. Demand for this program is already high and capacity is
insufficient to meet demand. The task force recommends additional resources to increase staffing and
reconsidering whether the programs current location is serving students well.

Website Management and Support


The university's website is a critical tool for communicating, recruiting students, and branding.
Maintaining and transitioning the hundreds of websites associated with the university is a gargantuan
task for the relatively small staff in this program to coordinate. Although full centralization is not likely
possible or even advisable, the university does need a strong team to maintain the most important
portions of the website and provide centralized support and oversight for its entire web presence. The
task force recommends providing additional resources for this program to accomplish that, and
considering moving resources from other units that deal with website support to this program.

2. CONTINUE WITH NO CHANGE IN RESOURCES (SUSTAIN)


Anthropology Museum
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The program has done an excellent job increasing engagement of students, faculty, and the
community with their collection and has become a source of pride for the university. In spite of
limited university funding and staffing support, the program has been tremendously successful at
obtaining federal grants and endowed gifts. The program should be encouraged to continue doing
so.

Board of Trustees (Governance, Legal Counsel)


The availability of general legal counsel is essential for operations of the Board of Trustees. The
narrative suggested that the program is adequately funded.

Board of Trustees (Liaison)


An essential position in facilitating the work of the Board and serving as an intermediary between the
Board and the administration, this position comprises less than one FTE and is adequately funded.

Branding
Operating this as a distinct and unique program is valid because the university has suffered from the
lack of a uniform, coherent brand. The task force feels it is important to promote a consistent message
to various audiences, including alumni, prospective students, and community stakeholders. These
efforts will improve the reputation of the university.

Bursar
This is an essential program that is performing efficiently and well.

Business Advancement Office


Although NIU as a whole has lagged behind its peers in fundraising, this program has been successful
in securing private gifts. The task force believes that the fundraising apparatus of the university as a
whole should be enhanced and not one particular unit. As more gift officers are hired, the Foundation
may decide to invest additional resources in this particular program.

Campus and Community Outreach, Planning, Gifts, Annual Fund, Revenue Generation
The task force believes that the intercollegiate athletics department should become more selfsustaining. Unlike other areas in the department, this program should not be reduced because
increased private giving is one way to become more sustainable. The staffing levels of the program
are consistent with peers. Private donations, partnerships, and corporate sponsorships should
continue to be pursued.

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Campus Communications
Recent restructuring of this program has allowed for a more cohesive operation. The program has
adequate resources.

Campus Recreation Services


Campus recreation services (e.g., intramurals, club sports) appear to be functioning well and the
staffing of such programs is adequate. As noted under the write up for Campus Recreation Office
Operations, the task force believes that recreation facilities generally need improvement, but the
programs that use those facilities appear fine and should be sustained.

CBUS College Office


This program appears to be functioning effectively with adequate resources.

CEDU College Office


This program appears to be functioning effectively with adequate resources.

CEET College Office


This program appears to be functioning effectively with adequate resources.

Center for Burma Studies


The program is unique and strives to make a seemingly obscure collection relevant to today's diverse
student population. While small, this program greatly impacts curriculum, diversity, and community
through its keen engagement with students, faculty, and staff and makes an important contribution to
NIUs global visibility and reputation through its scholarly research publications.

Center for the Study of Family Violence and Sexual Assault


This program provides students with an excellent experiential learning opportunity and the
community with a valuable service. The task force commends the program for its recent expansion
into research on trauma and trauma informed care. The resources devoted to the program appear
adequate as it is performing at a high level and is largely self-supported.

CHHS College Advising


This program identified several cost savings opportunities and the task force recommends that the
unit implement those measures. Doing so will allow the program to efficiently spend its current
resources. Cost-saving measures include utilization of the new SSC CAMPUS for note-taking,
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appointment scheduling, and tracking of students not likely to be successful in their major. This
program should also consider collaboration with the Academic Advising Center for targeted advising
of pre-major students who are not competitive for admission to their programs. These changes will
ease the demand for advisors and allow faculty advisors to focus more on career mentoring and
advising.

CLAS College Office


This program appears to be functioning effectively with adequate resources.

CLAS Distributed Tech


This program helps facilitate faculty research and saves the university money by repairing equipment
in research and teaching labs. The program is adequately staffed and resourced to serve the College of
Liberal Arts & Sciences. However, the task force suggests that the university consider whether
providing this program as a centralized resource would better serve the entire campus.

Compliance (Marketing)
This program is paired with FOIA in the Office of the General Counsel. FOIA requests have become
increasingly common in the past few years and the collaborative model developed by the two
programs to handle them appears to be adequately resourced. Given the workload, the task force
does not believe that the program should be reduced, but it sees no evidence for enhancement either.

Conduct Services
This is an essential program, and it appears to be functioning well with adequate resources.

Contracting Office
This program was recently created to have oversight over procurement contracts and appears to be
an improvement to the process. The program seems to be adequately staffed and has appropriate
resources.

Controller
This program provides an essential service and is performing well. In the future, and as resources
become available, the university should consider hiring a tax accountant, as requested in the
narrative.

Couple and Family Clinic

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This program provides students with an excellent experiential learning opportunity and the
community with a valuable service. The resources devoted to the program appear adequate as it is
performing at a high level.

Crisis Communications
The employees in this program have done an admirable job responding to various crises that have
confronted the campus in the last several years. Although the staff is on call 24/7, the task force does
not believe that a FTE dedicated solely to this program, as is requested in the narrative, is necessary.
The program has adequate resources.

Donor Relations
This program has lost staff that is currently slated to be replaced in order to maintain positive relations
with donors and continue cultivation. The current practice of hiring students to replace lost full-time
staff is not sustainable and will eventually have a detrimental effect on fundraising.

Emergency Management
This program is responsible for complying with several state and federal mandates related to
emergency management. The program in place seems to be meeting those mandates appropriately
for NIU. The task force believes the current resources are sufficient to continue being in compliance
and effectively carry out its various emergency management-related functions.

Faculty Athletics Representative


The resources for the Faculty Athletics Representative are adequate. The position is mandated to
ensure institutional control over the intercollegiate athletics department and to uphold academic
integrity. As such, the programs budget must remain independent of the department of
intercollegiate athletics.

Faculty Development
This program provides valuable training resources for both newer faculty who have yet to teach an
independent section and senior faculty looking to learn how to use emerging technologies in the
classroom. The program appears to be staffed at an appropriate level.

Federal Relations
This program is providing an important, quality service to the university and doing so much more
efficiently than by hiring an outside lobbying firm. The program is still relatively new, but the minimal
investment in the program will likely pay dividends.

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Financial Services
This program is a necessary component of a university foundation office and is adequately staffed.

FOIA Review
This program is paired with Compliance (Marketing). FOIA requests have become increasingly
common in the past few years and the model developed by the two programs to handle them
appears to be working. Given the workload, the task force does not believe that the program should
be reduced, but it sees no evidence for enhancement either.

Graduate School Administration and Office of the Dean


This office oversees valuable initiatives for graduate programs (e.g., Future Professoriate) and is
effective and efficient in its operations.

Graduate School, Enrollment


The narrative makes a persuasive argument that the program should remain separate from
Registration and Records. Graduate programs and monitoring the requirements for graduate degree
completion are distinctly different from undergraduate programs and their degree monitoring
requirements. As a result, the program serves several important purposes for the graduate school and
appears to be staffed adequately.

HR, Budget
This program is run efficiently and functioning well.

Identity and Access Control


The university must have secure identity management systems. This program is functioning well with
adequate staffing levels.

Insurance and Benefits


Although evidence of quality is not clear from the narrative, this program is essential for the university
and has adequate staffing.

Internal Audit

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This program serves an important function, but the task force sees no evidence of a need for
enhancement. The unit would benefit from an IT auditor, but such an addition is a minimal
investment and the task force does not believe it rises to the level of enhancing the program.

Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic


This program provides students with an excellent experiential learning opportunity and the
community with a valuable service. The resources devoted to the program appear adequate and it is
performing at a high level.

Marketing
The task force believes that the intercollegiate athletics department should become more selfsustaining. One way to do so is by selling more tickets. As a result, unlike other areas in the
intercollegiate athletics department, this program should not be reduced. However, the staffing of
the program is consistent with peers, so more resources are not justified. Also, the marketing program
should put greater emphasis on promoting revenue-generating sports.

Media Relations
This program is important to promote the success of our faculty, staff, and students, which, in turn,
creates positive earned media for the university. The office appears to be staffed at appropriate levels,
especially when one includes the media relations staff working directly in various colleges and offices.

Messaging and Communication


Email and messaging applications are critical to the functioning of the university in order for users to
effectively perform their duties. Based on the narrative, there has been a significant decline in total
costs of this program over the past three years, in large part due to moving the email server and
storage infrastructure from on-premises GroupWise and NetMail to the Office365 and Gmail cloud
offerings. Although a request is made for additional FTE support, the task force is not convinced that
such a position is needed given the declining costs of the program.

NIU Alumni Association and Office of the Executive Director


The program is important to the university and performing well. There is a strong relationship and
partnership with the NIU Foundation that should be continued. Though university budget cuts have
increased the demand for a coordinated relationship with alumni, the program is able to secure
revenue through corporate partnerships and outside investment. Therefore, the task force
recommends that the program be sustained.

NIU Art Museum


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Based on compelling data supplied in the narrative, the quality of this program appears to be
excellent. Although the program suffers from some limitation issues with its storage and public space,
it has operated in a manner to make its multi-roomed exhibition space one of its strengths. The
program has great educational value for faculty, students, staff, and the community at-large and
appears to be innovative and effective at working within its means.

NIU Foundation and Office of the Vice President for University Advancement
With a new vice president in place, the program should be given time to assess the new directions
being implemented by this office. The three current employees are essential for the leadership of this
division, the duties related to the vice president, and board operations.

Northern Star
Although the future of print journalism is uncertain, this program provides excellent experiential
learning opportunities for students. Alumni consistently reflect on it positively. The task force
strongly encourages the university to no longer charge the program $30,000 rent for its office space
and still allow the Star to maintain its independent voice.

Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost


Given the portfolio of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the size of the staff and the budget
allocated to the office seem appropriate. The task force appreciates that this office has been making
significant changes in operation from the past.

Office of the Ombudsperson


This program is required by a bylaw in the NIU constitution, and serves very well a small but diverse
portion of the university community in a neutral capacity. As there are related services, like the Faculty
Personnel Advisor, the Employee Assistance Program, and Conduct Services on campus, the task force
does not believe this program needs to be enhanced.

Office of the Vice President for Marketing and Communications


The Office of the Vice President for Marketing and Communications appears to have appropriate
resources, but as the task force notes elsewhere certain units within the division should have their
budgets enhanced, including advertising and website support.

Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovative Partnerships


This program was recently restructured and appears to be currently operating adequately. The recent
elimination of an Associate Vice President has provided significant cost savings. The program should
be reviewed in another year or two to assess organizational improvement. A focused university effort
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on the internal and external communications of the successes of this program may attract more grant
applicants and awards.

Office Operations
The presidents office staff is consistent with the size of the presidents office staffs at peer universities
and does an admirable job.

Orientation and Family Services


Orientation and Family Services has recently undergone a significant transformation (moving from a
one-day program to a two-day program) and the program should be evaluated over the next year or
two to determine if the transformation has impacted enrollments and retention. The narrative makes
the case to combine other programs orientations (e.g., international students, ESP/CHANCE) into one
orientation, but the task force is uncertain that this consolidation makes sense given the specific focus
of those programs. Additionally, the program currently is operating in a deficit and should strive to be
revenue neutral.

Payroll
An essential program that is performing efficiently and well.

Physical Therapy Clinic


This program provides students with an excellent experiential learning opportunity and the
community with a valuable service. The resources devoted to the program appear adequate and it is
performing at a high level.

Police
The police department appears to be functioning well and has improved its relations with the campus
and community. There does not appear to be a need to grow or reduce the program.

Public Safety
A recently changed protocol requires two dispatchers on call at all times (as opposed to one as was
previously the case), which has increased costs. However, the task force notes some potential
investments that may produce cost savings over time (such as more automatic locking buildings as
identified in the Identity and Access Control Program), which will offset the costs of increasing
dispatcher staffing.

Public Services
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Some traditional key performance indicators have declined slightly, such as the number of questions
answered at the reference desk and the number of books checked out, which reflects a shift to online
services and requires emphasizing different working methods. However, it is imperative that a
research university has the functions provided by this program (e.g., inter-library loan, reference desk,
subject experts). Demand is steady with University 105. No further reductions should be made if
service is to be maintained.

Research Compliance
This program is run competently and appears to have adequate resources. The program can be more
efficient by using OnBase. Even with potential cost savings, this program is essential for a research
institution and should be sustained.

Research Computing Support


There is internal growth opportunity for this program, but the program needs to be better marketed
so it can be used more widely. The program serves an important function, especially as big data
analysis continues to grow. The task force does not believe that this program is essential to the
functioning of the university, but the increasing emphasis on big data analysis convinced the task
force that this program should be sustained.

Social Media
An increasingly important medium to promote the university, provide information about the
university, and increase enrollments, this program appears to be appropriately staffed.

Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic
This program provides students with an excellent experiential learning opportunity and the
community with a valuable service. The resources devoted to the program appear adequate and it is
performing at a high level.

State and Government Relations


An important program given the current climate in the state, this program has adequate resources.

Storage Administration
Although this program appears to have adequate resources, the task force agrees with the narratives
call for a mandated, centrally-managed storage offering.

Student Engagement and Experiential Learning


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This program demonstrates high-value impact for students that participate in it. The programs
discussed in this narrative appeal to high-achieving students and, thus, serve a recruiting function.
The task force recommends that the office identify any duplicative programming with other units on
campus and work to coordinate efforts. Cost savings realized from this coordination may be redirected
to fund student involvement in the programming offered through OSEEL. Additionally, although the
program should be applauded for the services it provides to high-achieving students, more
programming needs to be directed at the student body as a whole.

Student Services in the College of Education


This program provides a unique combination of recruitment advising and retention services within
one office in an academic college. Services are coordinated well to support the needs of College of
Education and its students. The structure of this office is a potential model for recruitment and
retention functions. The student-to-advisor ratio is reasonable and the narrative identified cost
savings that, if implemented, could enhance the quality of advising.

Treasury Operations
A necessary program that has given the university a positive return on investment. The program
should continue pursuing automation of its systems.

Undergraduate Academic Affairs


This program appears to be functioning effectively with adequate resources.

University Libraries Administration and Office of the Dean


This program has lost some personnel, but does not appear to be understaffed. The task force
recommends that the university consider updating physical spaces within the library to make it a
more inviting place to do research and study.

3. CONTINUE WITH REDUCED RESOURCES (REDUCE)


Accounts Payable
Although an essential function for the university, the narrative indicates demand for this program is
down. In addition, the narrative states that this program has positions that could be reduced.

Application Development and Hosting


The narrative describes an excess of customized applications being developed. The task force urges
the campus to utilize more of the packaged platform software systems already available.

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Athletics Communications
This program is essential in a Division I intercollegiate athletics department. However, the department
is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining.

Camp Clinics
The task force recognizes the potential value that these camp clinics can have for NIU and for
generating revenue within the intercollegiate athletics department. The task force recommends that
these clinics become more self-sustaining and use fewer internal university resources.

Campus and Community Outreach, Sport Performance, and Equipment Ops


This program is essential in a Division I intercollegiate athletics department. However, the department
is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining.

CBUS College Advising


Although the task force believes students should receive excellent advising, it feels that much of this
units advising could be done by the individual departments similar to how other colleges on campus
provide advising. In addition, this unit seems overstaffed compared to other college advising
programs on campus.

Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy


The task force encourages the Center to become more self-sustaining by continuing to apply for
grants/contracts and reducing reliance on university resources. The narrative addresses a key cost
saving opportunity by phasing out the CISLL Graduate Certificate program and instead supporting the
Graduate Certificate program for Post-Secondary Reading (GCPSR), which is fully online and national
in scope.

College Relations in the College of Education


This program appears to be duplicating some of the functions already completed by the college office
or other offices on campus (e.g., video production). The narrative states that the program is in the
process of reducing and consolidating their efforts with other campus units. The task force
encourages the centralization of services that should lead to a reduction of resources needed.

Compliance (Athletics)
This program is essential in a Division I intercollegiate athletics department. However, the department
is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining.
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Contracts
With the establishment of the new Contracting Office, attorneys in the Office of the General Counsel
will be able to reduce the amount of time spent reviewing contracts. Thus, fewer resources will be
required for this program.

Convocation Center
The narrative does not provide sufficient productivity data to justify the large number of full-time staff.
The task force recommends relying less on full-time staff and more on extra help or student
employment. Additionally, some functions such as event management and/or building services staff
may be better handled by other campus entities.

Cross Country
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

Dispute Resolution and Mediations, Litigation, Arbitration


Although, the programs narrative states that the number of cases remains at a consistent, but
manageable level, the office should be able to reduce some financial expenditures by forming a
litigation coordination team and streamlining processes through OnBase. The task force encourages
this program to limit use of outside counsel whenever possible.

Division of Academic Affairs, Executive Staff, and Office Operations


The evidence of quality in this narrative does not justify the number of personnel in the Division. This
program may want to consider reducing the number of people with vice-provost and associate viceprovost titles. There seems to be an imbalance of direct reporting lines to the various roles and an
absence of mechanisms for faculty and staff to provide feedback for the services provided by the
Division.

Document and Print Management


The university needs to reduce the quantity of documents moved around campus. In particular, the
university must move to a more paperless system and develop a records management plan.
Anywhere Printing does not seem to be working well (e.g., excessive wait times to fix printers) and
should be reexamined. The university should consider moving Document Design Services to Creative
Support Services to allow for more centralized design services and improve alignment with university
branding standards.

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Emergency Communications
The role that the Division of Marketing and Communications plays in Emergency Communications
should be reduced. The police department should assume additional responsibility for this program
and allow the current personnel assigned to this program to focus more of their efforts on other
marketing and communications tasks.

Environmental Health and Safety


The task force notes some of the services mentioned in the narrative are being performed by outside
vendors/contractors, therefore the staffing levels are not justified. In addition, the task force believes
certain functions currently being performed are not essential, and therefore could be reduced or
eliminated.

Ethics
Although this program is state mandated, the program narrative does not justify that a full-time
employee is needed to be in compliance with the state statute.

Event Management, Parking, Facilities/Game Ops


This program is essential in a Division I intercollegiate athletics department. However, the department
is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining.

Facilities (Administration)
This program is essential in a Division I intercollegiate athletics department. However, the department
is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining. The program narrative suggests that the
department is overstaffed in the area of event/facilities management as compared to other MAC
schools.

Football
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

Grounds
The overall appearance of the campus must be improved. However, there appear to be inefficiencies
in this program. The university should consider outsourcing additional aspects of the program (e.g.,
snow removal) so that sufficient resources are available when needed, but overall staffing levels could
be reduced.

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Gymnastics
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

Law College Office


Given the size of the College of Laws faculty and the number of students it serves, the size of the
office seems too large, especially when compared to other college offices and the number of faculty
and students they serve.

Legal Requirements
Although the function of this program is required in a university, the narrative fails to indicate the level
of demand for this program. As a result, the task force recommends that the amount of time that the
Office of the General Counsel spends on these tasks be reduced. A number of these functions
mentioned are also covered under separate narratives.

Materials Management
As more communication is done electronically, the need for traditional mail service declines. As a
result, fewer resources are necessary for this program. There is also a decrease in demand for instock supply items. Materials Management should seek additional exemptions through Central
Management Services (CMS), which could help reduce the resources needed. It is important to note
that other functions provided by this program (e.g., furniture repair, surplus pick up) should not be
reduced. In fact, the task force recommends better utilization of existing surplus items.

Mens Basketball
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

NIU Broadband and Development Services


This program helps to support the university's mission of being a regional institution and is
impressive, especially in terms of resources generated from grants. However, the task force believes
that, given the external funding received by this program, it can remain strong with reduced
university resources.

Office of the Associate Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics


This office is essential in a Division I intercollegiate athletics department. However, the department is
encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining.
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Office of the President


The President is responsible for setting institutional strategic priorities, providing an effective
organizational structure, and delegating responsibilities that will enable the university to fulfill its
mission. Given the breadth of the presidents responsibilities, this program strongly aligns with the
universitys mission and has high demand from a variety of constituents. However, the task force feels
that this program should implement stronger productivity and quality measures to document its
effectiveness. Furthermore, it should consider additional cost saving measures to reduce utilization of
campus resources.

Office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance


This program is functioning well, especially since its recent transformation. However, the program
does appear to have some excess staff. The Office is actively investigating process re-engineering and
the task force believes that this investigation will enable a reduction in resources to occur.

Procurement Finance
This office is essential in a Division I intercollegiate athletics department. However, the department is
encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining.

Regional History Center/University Archives


While the task force recognizes the importance of documenting the universitys history and the
regional outreach provided through this unit, it does not find the productivity data provided to be
clear. Closer collaboration and coordination with the University Libraries overall may help this
program improve their assessment practices and find budget efficiencies.

Registration and Records


This program is essential for the university to function. However, the staffing of the program is higher
than at peer institutions. Efficiencies through the use of technology should help reduce resources
needed for this program.

Research and Development


Although this program has been successful in securing grant money and it is important for CEET to
have a specialist in promoting engineering research, some of this programs functions are redundant
from Faculty Research Development and Support.

Softball
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The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

Student-Athlete Academic Support Services


The task force is impressed with the academic success of the universitys student-athletes. Although
the needs of student-athletes are unique given eligibility requirements, this office duplicates some
services that can be completed by academic advisors, ESP/ACCESS, and other campus offices.

Student Government
The student government provides valuable services to students and is an important part of shared
governance giving students a voice in university operations. However, the budget for the executive
staff appears to be excessive, and funding for the student organizations it sponsors varies widely.
Because its funding comes from student fees, the task force recommends that the student
government engage in an internal analysis of its own spending to ensure that it is a responsible
steward of its budget, with the goal of reducing student fees if possible.

Student Life Services


This program oversees certain important areas that influence recruitment and retention, including
Greek Life, the Student Association, community service, and leadership development. However, the
narrative focused primarily on Greek Life, so it was difficult to determine the quality of these other
offerings, the cost of maintaining them, and how many students actually participate in the other
programs. As many of these functions seem to duplicate services offered by other programs (e.g.,
community service, leadership training), the task force recommends reviewing these potentially
duplicative programs to identify areas for collaboration with other programs, increase efficiencies, and
reduce any redundancies. This review will allow the program to refocus on the most essential aspects
of its mission.

Testing Services
The program serves an essential function for the university. Although the program currently has high
demand, the demand for the program will likely decline as more courses go online and smaller
sections of writing-intensive courses are added as part of the new general education requirements.
Additionally, the research and analysis component of the office is redundant from Academic Analysis
and Reporting and Institutional Research.

Track and Field


The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

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Volleyball
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

WNIU/WNIJ, NIRIS
This program provides excellent regional exposure for the university, but it is difficult to tell from the
narrative how much the program relies on university funding. As with the intercollegiate athletics
department, the task force encourages this program to find ways to become more self-sustaining. The
program may need to engage in additional fundraising given the declining federal support for public
radio.

Womens Basketball
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

Womens Golf
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

Womens Soccer
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

Womens Tennis
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to support its sports programs by
becoming more self-sustaining.

4. REQUIRES TRANSFORMATION (TRANSFORM)


Administration
It is important that faculty, staff, and students have access to highly-functioning computing resources.
However, maintaining independent technology support units is creating unnecessary redundancies
and increased costs. The task force calls for a systematic evaluation of all distributed IT support
functions, including both personal/desktop support and classroom/computer lab support. The
current organization and cost of a distributed model due to lack of central funding creates an
inconsistent allocation of IT resources and support across the university. The task force does not have
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sufficient information or expertise to specify what configuration the universitys IT support should
have, but it recognizes that a transformation is required.

Advertising
Advertising is extremely important to help increase enrollment and improve the reputation of the
university. However, the narrative fails to provide evidence that the program is operating effectively
and efficiently. The task force is concerned that advertising dollars are scattered across units within
the university, which is inefficient. Funding for advertising buys needs to be centralized and leveraged
more effectively. Resources are also necessary to assess the effectiveness of advertising buys. The task
force recommends that more money should be devoted to ad buys, but not personnel for this
program.

Advocacy Services
This program is required per the Violence Against Women Act. The program has recently undergone a
transformation by moving from Wellness Promotion to Counseling and Consultation Services. The
task force believes this move is appropriate and the new reporting arrangement should be given the
opportunity to work. Between compliance requirements and the increased focus on sexual assault on
campus, this program is necessary and will likely need more funding in the future. There are
opportunities for this program to better coordinate with other units on campus, particularly the newly
transformed Affirmative Action and Equity Compliance office.

Affirmative Action and Diversity Resources


Affirmative action and diversity resources do not need to be housed under the same program. This
program has already begun its transformation by refocusing on Affirmative Action and Equity
Compliance functions. The task force believes that diversity resources for the campus, outside of
affirmative-action-related compliance issues, should be coordinated by the new chief diversity officer.

Asian American Center


Creating and maintaining an inclusive, diverse community is central to NIU's mission and identity. The
task force recommends transformation for many of the programs devoted to improving diversity and
creating a more inclusive environment. In particular, the task force encourages these programs to
develop a more cohesive campus-wide vision for supporting diversity and inclusivity. In addition,
these programs should establish more robust and ongoing measures of quality and impact, which
may require more collaboration among programs. The narrative for this program indicated a strong
focus on recruiting and retaining international students, which duplicates the functions of the
International Student and Faculty Office and does not appear to be necessary. It also focused more on
student organizations rather than its specific services. This program should also examine ways in
which it can support the retention of Asian American students through developing stronger
relationships with academic advising and other retention focused offices.
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Budgeting
The program narrative mentions the need to improve efficiencies, communication, and collaboration
around budgeting with the rest of the campus. This could include cost and time savings through more
comprehensive budgeting software. In addition, the narrative recommends developing a unified,
long-range budget plan. The task force encourages these efforts to transform budget processes.

Building Services
This program appears to be adequately staffed. Although the level of quality differs from building to
building, the overall quality level is positive. However, the task force strongly recommends that this
program consider outsourcing as an option to deliver similar services, which could potentially save the
university money. The task force is not able to ascertain how much savings will occur and has some
concerns about security issues if the program is outsourced, but believes the university should study
the possibility.

Career Services
Given the universitys current focus on student career success, this program is important to the
mission of the university. However, surprisingly few students seem to be taking advantage of the
services offered, particularly first and second year students. Furthermore, to meet their students
needs, other programs on campus have created similar services. Given the importance of coordinated
career services, the task force strongly recommends that this program reassess the career services
functions campus-wide and meet the needs of all these areas. The task force also believes the Career
Opportunities and Professional Development program in the College of Law should merge with this
program. This merger would allow for expanded resources for their students and staff. Collaboration
with various advising units could also strengthen the programs connection to first and second year
students.

CEET College Advising


The narrative indicated that advisors are overstretched serving students who declare an engineering
major without being adequately prepared in critical areas (e.g., mathematics prerequisites). The task
force suggests that the College should be more selective in their admissions standards, such as
requiring additional prerequisites for program admission. Regardless of admissions requirements, the
College Advising Office should develop a stronger partnership with the Academic Advising Center to
assist in providing high-touch advising support to their most at-risk students. This should lessen the
burden on the College's central advising office. Additionally, the task force thinks that the tutoring
services offered by the College should be absorbed centrally by ESP/ACCESS.

CEET Computer Operations

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It is important that faculty, staff, and students have access to highly-functioning computing resources.
However, maintaining independent technology support units is creating unnecessary redundancies
and increased costs. The task force calls for a systematic evaluation of all distributed IT support
functions, including both personal/desktop support and classroom/computer lab support. The
current organization and cost of a distributed model due to lack of central funding creates an
inconsistent allocation of IT resources and support across the university. The task force does not have
sufficient information or expertise to specify what configuration the universitys IT support should
have, but it recognizes that a transformation is required.

Center for Black Studies


Creating and maintaining an inclusive, diverse community is central to NIU's mission and identity. The
task force recommends transformation for many of the programs devoted to improving diversity and
creating a more inclusive environment. In particular, the task force encourages these programs to
develop a more cohesive campus-wide vision for supporting diversity and inclusivity. In addition,
these programs should establish more robust and ongoing measures of quality and impact, which
may require more collaboration among programs. In terms of this program, the Center for Black
Studies is responsible for administrative functions to support diversity as well as serving as an
academic department. The task force recommends considering dividing the Center for Black Studies
into separate academic and administrative units, similar to other diversity units on campus.

Center for Governmental Studies, IIRC, broadband support and administration


This program furthers the universitys public service and engagement missions and is a valued partner
to a variety of internal and external groups. The task force believes there are some redundancies
between this program and the Research and Evaluation Policy Studies program and, therefore,
recommends that the university explore whether increased synergies and efficiencies could be
realized by combining these two programs. Of the two programs, the Center for Governmental
Studies (CGS) is larger and has a broader range of activities, so the task force recommends that the
Research and Evaluation Studies program be moved into the CGS program if the decision is made to
combine the two programs.

CHHS College Office


The program narrative states that the CHHS College Office's current structure leads to inefficiencies.
As a result, the program is in the process of being reorganized. The task force believes that this
transformation should continue and be re-assessed at a future date.

CLAS Distributed IT
It is important that faculty, staff, and students have access to highly-functioning computing resources.
However, maintaining independent technology support units is creating unnecessary redundancies
and increased costs. The task force calls for a systematic evaluation of all distributed IT support
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functions, including both personal/desktop support and classroom/computer lab support. The
current organization and cost of a distributed model due to lack of central funding creates an
inconsistent allocation of IT resources and support across the university. The task force does not have
sufficient information or expertise to specify what configuration the universitys IT support should
have, but it recognizes that a transformation is required.

Desktop and Media Technologies Services


It is important that faculty, staff, and students have access to highly-functioning computing resources.
However, maintaining independent technology support units is creating unnecessary redundancies
and increased costs. The task force calls for a systematic evaluation of all distributed IT support
functions, including both personal/desktop support and classroom/computer lab support. The
current organization and cost of a distributed model due to lack of central funding creates an
inconsistent allocation of IT resources and support across the university. The task force does not have
sufficient information or expertise to specify what configuration the universitys IT support should
have, but it recognizes that a transformation is required.

Direct Health Services


This program is hiring a new director and will likely undergo a significant transformation to review
staffing models and organizational structure as well as efficient means of addressing the health care
needs of students. The program might consider moving to more physicians assistants or hiring more
staff under nine or ten month contracts since demand is significantly reduced during the summer.
Certain aspects of the program could be considered for outsourcing, although the task force does not
have enough information to know whether outsourcing would be more efficient financially.

Distributed IT (CEDU)
It is important that faculty, staff, and students have access to highly-functioning computing resources.
However, maintaining independent technology support units is creating unnecessary redundancies
and increased costs. The task force calls for a systematic evaluation of all distributed IT support
functions, including both personal/desktop support and classroom/computer lab support. The
current organization and cost of a distributed model due to lack of central funding creates an
inconsistent allocation of IT resources and support across the university. The task force does not have
sufficient information or expertise to specify what configuration the universitys IT support should
have, but it recognizes that a transformation is required.

Distributed IT (HRS)
It is important that faculty, staff, and students have access to highly-functioning computing resources.
However, maintaining independent technology support units is creating unnecessary redundancies
and increased costs. The task force calls for a systematic evaluation of all distributed IT support
functions, including both personal/desktop support and classroom/computer lab support. The
57

current organization and cost of a distributed model due to lack of central funding creates an
inconsistent allocation of IT resources and support across the university. The task force does not have
sufficient information or expertise to specify what configuration the universitys IT support should
have, but it recognizes that a transformation is required. The task force recommends that the HR
Service Center included in this narrative be considered as part of the transformation recommended for
Employment.

Employment
The narrative for this program includes little evidence of program quality or productivity and is
primarily focused on compliance issues. While the task force acknowledges the requirement to
maintain compliance vigilance, it also supports the programs intent to automate the hiring process
and manage positions online (online applicant tracking system), expand employee self-service
functionality (PeopleSoft), and implement the online evaluation module (PeopleSoft). Every effort
should be made to reduce the amount of manual paperwork processing in favor of electronic
processing and automation.

ESP/CHANCE
This program supports the universitys mission of serving first-generation college students from
under-resourced high schools. However, some of the programs students have had poor academic
success rates. To transform, it needs to find ways to strengthen the academic performance of its
students, better serve their needs, and further assess the programs impact on degree completion.

Executive and Advancement Communications


The task force believes that clear and regular communication to both internal and external
constituencies from campus leadership is important and supports providing some operational
assistance to provide these communications. Given limited resources, an examination of the time
spent on these communications and the focus of their content is warranted. The task force
recommends a transformation of executive and advancement communications to focus more on
providing useful information for campus constituencies and celebrating the accomplishments of
students, faculty, and staff as opposed to positioning the president as a national higher education
authority.

Financial Support Services


The university is paying for modules that are not implemented in PeopleSoft and this must be fixed.
Years of not implementing these modules have cost the university significantly in slow and redundant
processing on top of the irresponsibility of paying for services it is not using, which the university
simply cannot afford. Implementation of these modules should be an immediate priority, and the
processes or systems that kept the modules from being implemented should be analyzed and
transformed to prevent such barriers in the future. Implementing these unused modules through
58

one-time expenditures will save the university money in the long run. The university must also make
sure that Financial Systems Support, Human Resources Systems Support, and Student Administrative
Systems Support interact to improve the campus-wide business practices/processes that go across all
three systems.

Gender and Sexuality Resource Center


Creating and maintaining an inclusive, diverse community is central to NIU's mission and identity. The
task force recommends transformation for many of the programs devoted to improving diversity and
creating a more inclusive environment. In particular, the task force encourages these programs to
develop a more cohesive campus-wide vision for supporting diversity and inclusivity. In addition,
these programs should establish more robust and ongoing measures of quality and impact, which
may require more collaboration among programs. The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center is the
result of a recent merger. Perhaps because of this recent transformation, the narrative essentially
ignores how the Center serves women, a core component of the Women's Resource Center that was
absorbed into this new program. The task force cannot adequately determine how well the Center is
serving this aspect of its mission.

Graduate School Admissions


The processing of graduate student applications functions well, but the task force is less clear on the
effectiveness of recruiting. Many departments are primarily responsible for recruiting students to
their programs, although Graduate School Admissions may be more effective in recruiting students to
some professional degree programs. Also, the task force feels that international students should be
recruited through the international office, instead of this program. Finally, the task force encourages
the university to consider combining this program with law school admissions. Although the law
school admissions process is unique, redundancies between these two programs may exist. The task
force concurs with the plans to use customer relationship management (CRM) software for improved
efficiency.

Health Services Support and Office Operations


The hiring of a new director will allow this program to transform some of its services and business
practices. The program has the opportunity to centralize IT, possibly outsource billing, and identify
more affordable health care plans for students. These reforms may reduce costs.

Holmes Student Center


The Holmes Student Center (HSC) is the central hub of the campus and needs substantial upgrades
and transformation. Because the narrative discusses the HSC as a whole, it is difficult to evaluate
different units under the HSC. The task force encourages the university to consider remodeling many
of the heavily-used student areas as well as outsourcing areas including food services, the hotel, and
the bookstore if doing so would increase financial stability.
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Housing and Dining


Because this unit is such a large and complex department, the task force is challenged to assign an
appropriate categorization for this program. Little useful data on housing is provided in the report as
the narrative focuses primarily on dining. Housing and dining already appear to be undergoing a
transformation as they are being split into two separate units and a new director of the campus dining
program will be in place by fall 2016. Based on the limited information available to the task force, this
transformation seems appropriate. In terms of housing, the task force is not able to evaluate the
current housing plan and whether it is sufficient due to a lack of information in the narrative.

Human Resource Systems Support


The university is paying for modules that are not implemented in PeopleSoft and this must be fixed.
Years of not implementing these modules have cost the university significantly in slow and redundant
processing on top of the irresponsibility of paying for services it is not using, which the university
simply cannot afford. Implementation of these modules should be an immediate priority, and the
processes or systems that kept the modules from being implemented should be analyzed and
transformed to prevent such barriers in the future. Implementing these unused modules through
one-time expenditures will save the university money in the long run. The university must also make
sure that Financial Systems Support, Human Resources Systems Support, and Student Administrative
Systems Support interact to improve the campus-wide business practices/processes that go across all
three systems.

International Affairs
This program is important in helping the university meet its commitment to globalization. This
program has been without permanent leadership and is waiting for a necessary operational review. As
a result, the university has several fragmented international programs. This model does not serve the
university well, because it creates unnecessary inefficiencies and prevents a coherent strategy
regarding international affairs from being developed. The task force strongly recommends
transforming this program to strengthen existing global partnerships and devoting resources to
creating additional partnerships.

Latino Resource Center


Creating and maintaining an inclusive, diverse community is central to NIU's mission and identity. The
task force recommends transformation for many of the programs devoted to improving diversity and
creating a more inclusive environment. In particular, the task force encourages these programs to
develop a more cohesive campus-wide vision for supporting diversity and inclusivity. In addition,
these programs should establish more robust and ongoing measures of quality and impact, which
may require more collaboration among programs. In terms of this program, the Latino Resource
Center is important because of the rising Latino/Latina population. However, based on the narrative

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this program does not appear to have a strong impact on the success rate of the students it serves, as
seen through the decreasing number of degrees received by this population.

Law Library
This program is important to the mission of the university. The task force recommends transformation
that may include consolidating with the main library to increase administration and operational
efficiencies. The law library could remain a stand-alone facility, but the reporting lines may be adjusted
in the transformation.

Learning Center/Blackwell History of Education Museum


This program is a combination of two separate entities. They appear to have been combined as a
function of administrative duties due to retirements, not because of synergistic functions. The task
force recommends that the Blackwell History of Education Museum and Research Collections, along
with the One Room Schoolhouse, receive appropriate museum curatorial oversight and the Learning
Center continue to deliver its usual services.

Network Architecture and Support


Comprehensive and working Wi-Fi coverage is essential on todays college campuses. Students,
faculty, staff, and guests expect access to Wi-Fi in their living and working environments. The task
force acknowledges that the financial model that supports this program is flawed and in desperate
need of repair. The task force strongly recommends that campus-wide Wi-Fi be a centralized
commitment of the university thereby eliminating the chargeback model to programs.

Off-Campus and Non-Traditional Student Services and Military Student Services


This program has recently undergone a transformation. It is too soon to tell whether the
transformation is a success, so task force recommends that the program be allowed to continue the
transformation. The program should assess effectiveness after the transformation is complete.

Office of the CIO and Vice President for Information Technology


This program coordinates a significant number of units as part of DoITs structure along with the
current implementation of the recharge costs for IT services. The chargeback system is used to cover
DoIT management for many services not allocated through central university budgeting, including
network, telephone, and personal computer support. As suggested by the task force in the Program
Relationships section, a transformation of the chargeback model is strongly recommended, which
would include changing this programs activities of account maintenance, billing, and accounting.
Additionally, as the leadership unit for the division, the task force recommends that the program
assess the complex organizational structure of the unit in order to identify any redundancies and
increase efficiency of the division and its managing office.
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Office of the Vice President and General Counsel


The Office of the General Counsel is essential to the success of the university. After reviewing all of the
narratives related to this program, however, the task force believes that the Office of the General
Counsel may be more involved than necessary in functions managed by other programs, such as
Contracts and FOIA Review. The task force recommends a thorough review of activities and functions
led by this program and a potential transformation of staffing and resource allocation to those
activities.

Office of the Vice President for Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development
This office serves an important part of the universitys mission to serve the region, but there appears
to be little logic to the programs that fall under it. Some of the offices operations are also handled by
colleges (e.g., external programs) and there seems to be some administrative redundancy with a large
number of senior administrators. While the delivery of online or adult for-credit courses was once
seen as an ancillary task, this has changed over time, and the task force believes that this division is no
longer the appropriate division to provide oversight for adult, regional, and online degree programs.
These should be treated as core elements to the university's academic mission. This office has great
potential and the task force believes the transformation of the organizational structure of the office
will identify inefficiencies and better promote programs that fall under it.

Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
This program performs a number of important functions for the university. However, the lack of
uniform data available to assess the quality of those initiatives makes it difficult for the task force to
determine the effectiveness in serving these functions. Divisional restructuring and position vacancy
control has resulted in what seems to be a positive trend towards fewer staff in this unit. The task force
strongly recommends that the office continue to review appropriate staffing levels and structures as
well as the implementation of better data collection for assessment of office effectiveness.

Outreach Managed Online and Regional Academic (ORA) and Continuing Professional Education
It is critical that all students receive a consistent NIU experience, whether traditional/on-campus,
online, regional, or adult learner. NIUs online course fee model is dated and needs a substantial
overhaul. There is no reason that an online, on-campus course should have different fees than an
online, off-campus course. Other efficiencies could be created as well by limiting the duplication of
functions. The task force recommends moving online programs to Academic Affairs, utilizing
Prospective Admissions Services and Graduate School Admissions for recruiting and admission, and
utilizing Advertising in the Division of Marketing and Communications for promoting programs.

P-20 initiatives: Center for Child Welfare and Education, Center for P-20 Engagement, Econ Illinois,
Education Systems Center, Illinois Report Card, Northern Illinois Regional P-20 Network
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The combination of so many initiatives in a single narrative makes it nearly impossible to understand
how these units perform and whether the resource allocation is appropriate. The narrative does not
provide the task force with data for the majority of the initiatives under this program. The task force
encourages transformation by collaborating with University Licensure Educator Preparation to
improve communication to school districts. One way to achieve this goal is by creating a centralized
office that combines this program with teacher licensure programs in the colleges and University
Licensure Educator Preparation.

Parking Services
Having adequate parking and an office that oversees that parking is important, but the program must
improve its performance. The task force strongly recommends that this program utilize more
technology to increase efficiencies. A mobile application for parking availability could be developed
and more automation of payments and registration should be implemented. Making these changes
will require costs upfront, but will likely save the university money in the long run.

Pharmacy Services
The program provides necessary medications in support of the Health Care Services at the university.
The task force encourages a review of staffing models including moving to ten-month contracts
and/or limited hours when student use is lowest. Certain aspects of the program could be considered
for outsourcing or automation, such as a secure prescription vending machine being used at other
universities.

Procurement Services
Materials, equipment, supplies, and service contracts are necessary for university operation.
Completing transactions with vendors requires a substantial number of approvals in the current
structure. This program is already undergoing a long-needed transformation. The task force strongly
recommends that this transformation continue, be fully implemented, and then assessed for
operational effectiveness and efficiency.

Regional Centers, UCLC, Taft, EIGERLab, Registration and Conference Services


This narrative is difficult to evaluate given the diverse array of programs that are included. Not all
programs are treated equally in the narrative limiting the task forces ability to comment on UCLC,
Taft, and EIGERLab. The regional centers, which are the primary focus of the narrative, appear to
operate well. However, the university should examine whether the continued use of those facilities is
still the best way to have a regional presence. The chargeback system for the regional centers needs
to be reconsidered. The task force recommends that the university examine its various units devoted
to conferences, including the regional centers, and see whether the current system can be made more
efficient.

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Risk Management
This program plays a crucial role on campus in managing liabilities and crisis management. A job this
important requires more than a single employee to oversee the program. The task force supports
transformation by cross-training other personnel so that knowledge and responsibility can be shared
rather than managed by an individual. The university should continue to review all insurance levels to
ensure that it is not over-insured in some areas and under-insured in others.

S-A Insurance and Athletic Training/Testing


The well-being of student-athletes in competition and the classroom is important. Given the structure
of the program, there is a potential conflict of interest within the department of intercollegiate
athletics that may compromise student-athlete health and well-being. The task force recommends the
university consider having the athletic training program report to Direct Health Services.

Server Hosting and Administration


This program manages virtual and physical machines that provide computing support to the
university. As with other DoIT functions, it is already undergoing substantial transformation and the
task force encourages this change to continue. Centralization and standardization will improve this
programs ability to function effectively.

Software Licensing and Distribution


Although this program will eventually be able to be reduced, the way the campus purchases software
needs to continue to change before the reduction takes place. The program must continue moving
toward more automation, which will eventually allow the program to function with reduced
resources.

Student Administrative Systems Support


The university is paying for modules that are not implemented in PeopleSoft and this must be fixed.
Years of not implementing these modules have cost the university significantly in slow and redundant
processing on top of the irresponsibility of paying for services it is not using, which the university
simply cannot afford. Implementation of these modules should be an immediate priority, and the
processes or systems that kept the modules from being implemented should be analyzed and
transformed to prevent such barriers in the future. Implementing these unused modules through
one-time expenditures will save the university money in the long run. The university must also make
sure that Financial Systems Support, Human Resources Systems Support, and Student Administrative
Systems Support interact to improve the campus-wide business practices/processes that go across all
three systems.

Students Legal Assistance


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This program provides valuable pro-bono legal services for students to help them prevent and
overcome legal issues. The task force recommends further review to determine whether services can
be transformed by charging a modest fee for more time consuming activities, such as representation
in court outside of the county. The program should also consider policy changes that hold students
accountable for missed client appointments and court appearances in order to maximize the
resources this program is allocated by the Student Association.

Technology Initiatives and Support Services


It is important that faculty, staff, and students have access to highly functioning computing resources.
However, maintaining independent technology support units is creating unnecessary redundancies
and increased costs. The task force calls for a systematic evaluation of all distributed IT support
functions, including both personal/desktop support and classroom/computer lab support. The
current organization and cost of a distributed model due to lack of central funding creates an
inconsistent allocation of IT resources and support across the university. The task force does not have
sufficient information or expertise to specify what configuration the universitys IT support should
have, but it recognizes that a transformation is required. In particular to this program is the need for a
campus-wide system, policies, and resources for long-term access to, and digital preservation for,
research produced by the university, as required by current and future federal grant agency data
management plans (e.g. NSF) and the IL Open Access to Research Articles Act. This system should also
incorporate electronic records created through the running of the university, as required through the
Illinois State Records Act and NIU's Records Management Policy.

Transportation
The narrative for this program demonstrates that the NIU fleet of vehicles for department use is
considerably older than those at other universities. In part, this is evidence of the cost-effective impact
of the maintenance done in-house at NIU Transportation. Given the significant expense in owning,
replacing, and maintaining a fleet of vehicles, the task force recommends investigating the services
offered and whether a third-party fleet management system could be used for some services. The task
force recommends that the program explore other sources of revenue for new and different-sized
vehicles that more comfortably and efficiently serve the many outreach and student excursion
programs at a more cost-effective scale.

University Licensure Educator Preparation


NIU is highly-regarded for its teacher preparation programs, but distributing support for licensure
across colleges causes confusion for students and school districts (as indicated in the Teacher
Certification program narrative). Consolidating support for student clinical placement and assessment
requirements will decrease this confusion and the expense of maintaining separate units for licensure.
As the central office for licensure, this program needs to be transformed to serve all of the colleges'
educator licensure/preparation and certification programs.

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Voice Services
Although some voice service system is still needed on campus, the demand for this service has
declined substantially, in part due to the cost to departments to maintain phone lines. The current
phone system is antiquated, and maintaining the equipment is expensive. The current model no
longer appears to be sustainable. The task force strongly recommends that DoIT transform how voice
services are implemented on the campus.

Wellness Promotion Services


The health and wellness of students are important factors in their success. However, the narrative does
not provide sufficient evidence that this program is having an impact on student wellness. The task
force recommends reviewing the program's functions and processes to determine effectiveness and
identifying opportunities to better serve NIU students. In addition, there may be possibilities to reduce
administrative costs and increase synergy with other units.

5. SUBJECT TO ADDITIONAL REVIEW; CANDIDATE FOR PHASE-OUT (REVIEW)


Academic Analysis and Reporting
The university has multiple units that are performing data analysis and reporting functions. As such, it
would benefit from a centralized data office. This program appears redundant with Institutional
Research and the two are recommended to be merged to improve efficiency both financially and in
terms of function. Additionally, the program has synergies with Accreditation and Assessment, which
would also be logical candidates to include in a new data analysis and reporting office, possibly titled
the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

Accreditation
This program provides a necessary function for the university, one that is becoming more important in
an increasingly regulatory environment for higher education, and is adequately staffed. The program
is a logical fit for a new data analysis/data reporting office and, as a result, may be phased out as
stand-alone program.

Admissions and Financial Aid in the College of Law


There are substantial resources dedicated to the recruitment of 85 to 100 students, and the task force
recommends that this program be evaluated for possible absorption by the Graduate School's
admissions office and the central Financial Aid and Scholarship offices. This program's financial aid
component is barely addressed in the narrative except to acknowledge a liaison role with the central
financial aid and scholarship offices, perhaps another reason that consolidation is appropriate.

Alumni Relations
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This narrative is identical to that of the NIU Alumni Association and the Office of the Executive
Director. As such, there is no clear justification for why this is submitted as a stand-alone program. See
the discussion of the NIU Alumni Association and Office of the Executive Director in the section for
Continue with No Change in Resources.

Architectural and Engineering Services


The task force recommends that the purpose of this office be examined. Most projects are contracted
externally, and the architectural renderings and building plans are mostly digitized and easily
accessible to the trades. It is not clear that this program is cost-effective based on the majority of the
work being outsourced. A liaison role could be absorbed by another facilities department like the
Physical Plant.

Assessment
The university has multiple units that are performing data analysis/data reporting functions. As such,
it would benefit from a centralized assessment function. Given the focus of this program, it would be
a logical candidate to incorporate into the new data analysis/data reporting office mentioned under
Academic Analysis and Reporting. Such an office would lead to more efficiency, both financially and
in terms of function.

Baseball
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining. If that
is not possible, then the department should consider eliminating a male, non-revenue sport.

Black Male Initiative


This program has had positive results in impacting the lives of African American and Latino males at
the university. The narrative shows that it is a strong resource and advocate for the academic and
social needs of students, which impacts their retention. Because many of the services provided by this
office duplicate those provided by other campus offices (e.g. mentoring, career resources, financial
aid, and community service), the task force believes that this programs services should be absorbed
by those programs. Remaining functions appear to be similar in form to the clubs and organizations
funded through the Student Association and, as such, should be funded similarly.

Career Opportunities and Professional Development


This career services function in the College of Law duplicates the efforts of the Career Services office in
Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. The program could benefit from merging with the
central office to allow for expanded resources for their students and staff.

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Cheerleading
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining. If that
is not possible, then the department should consider eliminating cheerleading. Unlike some other
programs (e.g., Compliance) in the intercollegiate athletics department, cheerleading is not essential.

Clery Counsel
Since the functions of this program are closely linked to campus safety, the task force recommends
that the activities be absorbed by the new Director of Clery Compliance in the Department of Police
and Public Safety.

Collaboration and Conferencing Support


This narrative is difficult to evaluate, and perhaps should not have been treated as a standalone
program since it is more about future possibilities than a measurement of the quality and importance
of an existing program. The university has an opportunity to look at distributed programs and
consolidate licensing and support for videoconferencing services/systems.

Collections
The narrative does not make a strong case for why this program is needed. Although this program
provides some training for students, it brings in limited revenue especially given the effort expended
and program costs. The collections effort is being paid for twice since an external collections agency
has already attempted to collect these debts.

Community Outreach and Strategic Partnerships


The task force believes that the services of this program are best aligned with the Division of Outreach,
Engagement, and Regional Development (DOERD). Housing these services under this Division will
allow for a stronger, consistent voice to the universitys external constituents. Community Outreach
and Strategic Partnerships is an unnecessary, duplicative program in the Division of Marketing and
Communications. The task force recommends that Campus Communications partner with the DOERD
to assess the communication needs for community outreach.

ESP/SSS
The program serves a small percentage of the universitys student population and recently lost its
federal funding. The university should not devote resources to it given the redundancy in functions
that exist in other campus department (e.g., ESP/CHANCE, Disability Services, Career Services).

External and Global Programs in the College of Education

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The task force strongly recommends eliminating college-specific external programming units and
establishing a university-wide office to handle the outreach, engagement, and educational programs
that these programs sponsor. Doing so will save resources by creating more efficiency. Additionally,
the university needs to investigate scheduling online or off-campus courses the same way that
scheduling on-campus courses is done (through academic departments with college support).
Scheduling courses through an external programming office is unnecessary.

External Programming (CEET)


The task force strongly recommends eliminating college-specific external programming units and
establishing a university-wide office to handle the outreach, engagement, and educational programs
that these programs sponsor. Doing so will save resources by creating more efficiency. Additionally,
the university needs to investigate scheduling online or off-campus courses the same way that
scheduling on-campus courses is done (through academic departments with college support).
Scheduling courses through an external programming office is unnecessary.

External Programming (CLAS)


The task force strongly recommends eliminating college-specific external programming units and
establishing a university-wide office to handle the outreach, engagement, and educational programs
that these programs sponsor. Doing so will save resources by creating more efficiency. Additionally,
the university needs to investigate scheduling online or off-campus courses the same way that
scheduling on-campus courses is done (through academic departments with college support).
Scheduling courses through an external programming office is unnecessary.

External Programs (CVPA)


The task force strongly recommends eliminating college-specific external programming units and
establishing a university-wide office to handle the outreach, engagement, and educational programs
that these programs sponsor. Doing so will save resources by creating more efficiency. However, the
task force believes that any restructuring should preserve the unique contribution that this program
makes to the local arts community and its strong connection to the curriculum. Additionally, the
university needs to investigate scheduling online or off-campus courses the same way that scheduling
on-campus courses is done (through academic departments with college support). Scheduling
courses through an external programming office is unnecessary.

Graduate Academic Affairs in the College of Buinsess


It is unclear from the narrative why the services provided by this program cannot be done by the
Graduate School. Key areas of the narrative are not addressed. It is not apparent what resources the
program has, why it needs the resources, and how it uses them. It also appears that this program is
taking credit for the success of academic departments within the College.

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Institutional Research
The university has multiple units that are performing data analysis and reporting functions. As such, it
would benefit from a centralized data office. This program appears redundant with Academic Analysis
and Reporting and the two are recommended to be merged to improve efficiency both financially and
in terms of function. Additionally, the program has synergies with Accreditation and Assessment,
which would also be logical candidates to include in a new data analysis and reporting office, possibly
titled the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

International Training
This program was difficult to assess given its confusing narrative, which did not convince the task
force that it serves an important function within the university.

Legislation, Drafting and Proposal


Several of the functions of this program seem to be covered by the federal relations and state and
government relations programs. Additionally, given the relatively small staff in the Office of the
General Counsel, it may make more sense for the staff to focus on more essential areas (e.g.,
compliance, legal services, and legal advice).

Mens Golf
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining. If that
is not possible, then the department should consider eliminating a male, non-revenue sport.

Mens Soccer
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining. If that
is not possible, then the department should consider eliminating a male, non-revenue sport.

Mens Tennis
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining. If that
is not possible, then the department should consider eliminating a male, non-revenue sport.

Multimedia Production and Support


The narrative suggests the program cannot be sustained without additional resources, and the task
force does not see evidence that the program deserves more resources. If this program is required to
be maintained because of the contract with ESPN3, then the program should be moved toand
funded bythe intercollegiate athletics department.

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NIU Press
Although the NIU Press has published some impressive books in niche areas, the sustainability of
university presses in general is questionable. The ability of the NIU Press to generate outside revenue
and rely less on university resources is highly unlikely. This program may be a non-essential service
that the university cannot afford to afford.

Precollegiate Programs
The data shows that very few students are being served by this program, especially given the
resources devoted to it. Moreover, many of the functions could be absorbed by other units on
campus (e.g., Admissions, Orientation, ESP/CHANCE, Center for Black Studies).

Presidential Commissions and Presidential Research/Engagement/Teaching Professorships


Creating and maintaining an inclusive, diverse community is central to NIU's mission and identity. The
commissions do admirable work, but it is not clear that the current structure is having an impact on
diversity. The task force recommends a thorough evaluation of how NIU promotes diversity to
determine whether the commissions should be continued, or what their role and mission should be. If
the commissions are continued, it may be more effective to re-position them under the authority of
the chief diversity officer. The narrative essentially ignores the Presidential Professorships and, as a
result, the task force is not able to evaluate them. It is not recommending that the professorships be
reviewed. The task force is unclear why these two programs are combined into one, because they
serve two different purposes. As a result, they should be evaluated separately.

Professional Leadership and Public Relations in the Division of General Counsel


This narrative is difficult to evaluate given the lack of data and quality measures. Given the time
demands placed on the Office of the General Counsel, the task force believes that employees time
would be better spent on the many and varied functions they serve within the university.

Research and Evaluation Policy Studies in the College of Education


This program provides valuable research, but the task force believes that it is redundant with the
Center for Governmental Studies (CGS). Since CGS covers more areas in its research, the task force
recommends moving this program under CGSs umbrella to create greater synergies and more
efficiency.

Scholarship Services
Based on the narratives for Scholarship Services and Financial Aid Services, the task force believes that
a more efficient process can be created by merging the two programs. Given that the program is
crucial to boosting both enrollment and retention, the new combined program should be a high

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priority for the institution. The assignment and deployment of scholarships may need to be
reevaluated.

Special Events
There are a number of units on campus that can handle event management. Therefore, this program
can be absorbed elsewhere. The task force encourages the university to consider creating a new
conferencing office that would oversee the function of this program, but combine it with several other
units on campus, which would lead to greater efficiencies.

Student Academic Success


Although increasing retention is important to the future health of the university, this program
provides little evidence of success and duplicates many of the services that advising offices and other
campus units (e.g., academic departments) provide. The task force believes that the resources
devoted to this program could be better leveraged by those other units. Moreover, the Early Alert &
Referrals System (E.A.R.S.) is redundant with other programs (e.g., Attendance Matters, Center for Black
Studies/S-Plan).

Teacher Certification
Although the function of this program is essential, it is not necessary at the college level. The
university should consider combining this program as well as similar programs that are housed in
other colleges (and for which separate narratives do not exist) with the University Office of Educator
Licensure and Preparation. Such a consolidation will create a central office that provides one-stop
shopping for teachers in training. Additionally, placement sites will have one point of contact, which
will lessen confusion and improve relationships between the university and placement sites.

Ticket Office
Although selling tickets is essential for an intercollegiate athletics department, this office does not
appear to be efficient from a resource standpoint. Most of the tasks associated with this program seem
to be outsourced already.

University Service
This program seems redundant with the responsibilities of the Office of the General Counsel.

Wellness Promotion Mandates


Although the functions of this program are required by law (e.g., Title IX education), there appear to
be several offices on campus that already do or could be serving these functions (e.g., Advocacy
Services, Affirmative Action & Diversity Resources).
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Wrestling
The intercollegiate athletics department is encouraged to find ways to be more self-sustaining. If that
is not possible, then the department should consider eliminating a male, non-revenue sport.

VIII. CONCLUDING REMARKS


The task force believes that the Program Prioritization process was a valuable exercise and is confident
that this report will provide a useful blueprint for improving the university moving forward. This
process made clear the importance of having appropriate data to make strategic decisions. Reviewing
the various narratives demonstrated the importance for all programs to regularly collect meaningful
and relevant data reflecting the effectiveness and quality of the program.
While the task force recommends some multifaceted programs be reviewed in order to have them
provide assessments of each of their distinct operations, it could very well be that more programs may
wish to undergo their own internal program prioritization process in order to review, evaluate, hone,
and fine tune their operations.
Finally, the task force appreciates the unique opportunity to learn about the multitude of programs on
campus in a holistic fashion; a perspective that few, if any other, individuals have ever had. Although
NIU has some inefficiencies and areas that can be improved, the task force repeatedly saw evidence of
devoted, exemplary, hard-working individuals and well-intentioned programs. It is clear that NIU has a
tradition of doing more with less. The task force is hopeful that the Program Prioritization process will
result in better alignment and efficiencies, which will allow the university to excel. NIU will survive the
economic hardships and societal shifts expected to continue in the near future and will thrive.

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APPENDIX A: NOMINATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP ON THE NIU PROGRAM PRIORITIZATION


TASK FORCES

NIU seeks nominations for membership on two task forces that will evaluate all academic and
administrative programs as part of the universitys Program Prioritization initiative.
While qualifications differ slightly between the two task forces, the following characteristics are
sought for nominations for membership on either group. Successful nominees will:
Understand and embrace NIUs mission as a student-centered research and teaching institution
with a strong commitment to engagement with our region.
Enjoy the respect of their peers and will have achieved a high level of credibility
Have participated in university-wide initiatives such as service on committees, task forces, shared
governance bodies, etc.
Have a reputation for getting things done and meeting commitments within a specific timeframe
Have the ability to consider the universitys long-term vision and participate as a representative of
the entire university, not just his/her own department or unit (i.e., have a trustee mentality)
Be committed to the principle of confidentiality in all task force work
Willingness to take the time needed to fully participate in all task force activities.
Task force work will be very time-consuming. It is estimated to take 6-10 hours per week during the
intensive part of the process which is expected to last approximately five months from mid-October
2015 to mid-March 2016. The university will provide support to departments for this temporary loss of
service and to individuals for additional work hours.
Academic Task Force Requirements
1) Tenured Faculty and Instructors
2) At least one member from each college
3) No more than 20 total members

Administrative Task Force Requirements


1) Staff and Faculty
2) At least one from each division
3) No more than 20 total members

Nominations
Nominations may be made from March 16 to April 10, 2015 and may be submitted electronically
through the Program Prioritization website; sent by email to cdoug@niu.edu; or printed and sent to
Office of the Provost, 215 Altgeld Hall, Attention Program Prioritization.

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Nomination Form
I am nominating the following individual to serve on the:
___Academic Task Force
___Administrative Task Force
___Either Task Force with preference for ________________________________________________

Nominees name & department


___________________________________________________________

Nominees current position


________________________________________________________________

Brief narrative explaining why the person should be selected based on the characteristics required in
the call for nominations (350 words max.)

Names of up to two other individuals who may be contacted in support of this nomination:
1) ________________________________________________________________________
2) ________________________________________________________________________
Nominators name and contact information:
__________________________________________________
__________________________________________________
__________________________________________________

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APPENDIX B: NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITYS PROGRAM PRIORITIZATION CHARGE AND


CHARTER FOR ACADEMIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE TASK FORCES
Delivered September 3 and 4, 2015
This document serves as the Charge and Charter for the Academic and Administrative Task Forces for
Northern Illinois Universitys (NIU) first Program Prioritization Process.
Program prioritization challenges us to plan changes that enhance institutional quality and
effectiveness, and that encourage innovation, informed by experience and inspired by the needs of
our region. An essential component of the prioritization process is the work of the two task forces,
whose members are charged with conducting an evaluation of all academic/administrative programs
at NIU. This work will help NIU to better align resources with institutional priorities, strengthen the
overall program portfolio, and provide the highest possible value to students and other stakeholders.
The task forces will work with the criteria and weightings developed through NIUs shared governance
process with collaboration from the Academic Planning Council and the University Councils
Resources, Space, and Budgets Committee. Further, in their program reviews, the task forces will
utilize data and narratives populated by centralized data offices and local program authors within the
Prioritization Plus data platform. The task forces will work to develop scoring, decision-making, and
program ranking processes within a rigorous and equitable framework.
The task forces are charged with evaluating all identified academic/administrative programs, using the
approved criteria to determine relative strengths and weaknesses, in a fashion consistent with the
core values of: impartiality; fairness; confidentiality; integrity and efficiency. The purpose of this
evaluation is to support the classification of each program into one of five categories (to be labeled by
the task forces). The categories will correspond to recommendations regarding varying levels of
future resource commitment.
The task forces will receive administrative and logistical support from the Task Force Support Team
and expert human resources from across the campus. The task forces will also have access to advice
from Larry Goldstein, President of Campus Strategies, LLC, who will serve as a trainer-consultant to
assist with this process.
Working with NIUs President, Executive Vice President and Provost, Vice President of Administration
and Finance, and the Program Prioritization Coordinating Team, the task forces will provide
communications to ensure that the broader NIU community remains fully informed of this effort. As
such, the task forces will work with the Communications Support Team to ensure that the process is
undertaken in an appropriately transparent manner, with the review criteria, task force membership,
program lists, submission and scoring templates available to the community prior to completion of
the review process, and the program narratives and final results available for comment when the task
force work is finalized. At the same time, the task force members are expected to maintain
confidentiality in accordance with the ground rules and guidelines they establish. Recognizing the
bias in favor of process transparency, three specific items must remain confidential at all times:
recommended scores of individual programs, votes taken with respect to individual programs, and
commentary attributed to any individual task force member.

76

Following training events in fall, 2015, the task forces work is expected to begin by January 4, 2016
and continue through May 13, 2016. It will culminate with the submission of a written report to
shared governance bodies on campus for their review and comment, and ultimately, to the President
of NIU. In addition to describing the process and acknowledging the task force and support group
membership, the report should contain an alphabetical listing of the academic/administrative
programs assigned to each category. The report may also include an addendum addressing
supplemental information deemed relevant by the task forces (e.g., recommended policy changes).
In carrying out the work of the task forces, members are advised that they are expected to maintain a
focus on what is best for NIU, rather than what might be advantageous for themselves or any
particular program. They are expected to act with a trustee mentality throughout the process.

My signature below indicates acceptance of the responsibilities described within this document and my
commitment to adhere to the confidentiality principles detailed above.

Signature: _____________________________________________

Date: ___________________

Task Force Members Name (printed) ____________________________________________________

77

APPENDIX C: NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATIVE PROGRAM


PRIORITIZATION CRITERIA QUESTIONS

Criterion 1: Importance to University Mission /Operations [22%]


Question 1.1 Importance to Mission: Describe how the program is aligned with the universitys
mission, to promote excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship,
creativity and artistry, and outreach and service.
Question 1.2 Importance to Operations: Describe how the program is essential to the university's
strategic plan and/or operational requirements.
Question 1.3 Program Portfolio: Explain why the program has an important role to play in the
university's program portfolio.
Question 1.4 Program Synergy: Discuss any synergy the programs functions have with other units
on campus.
Criterion 2: Quality / Effectiveness [22%]
Question 2.1 Functions and Services: Describe the functions and services provided by the program
as well as the demand for services, as demonstrated through a needs assessment. Where possible
please describe any unmet demand for services.
Question 2.2 Measures of Quality: Explain the measures used to evaluate program quality. Where
possible please include measures of student perception, engagement and learning.
Question 2.3 Evidence of Quality: Provide evidence demonstrating the quality of the programs
services or functions.
Question 2.4 Quality Improvement: Describe the program's initiatives/actions to improve the
delivery of service(s) and/or execution of functions (e.g. increase training for personnel, expansion
and/or modifications of program services).
Criterion 3: Productivity / Efficiency [22%]
Question 3.1 Scope of Program: Explain the scope of duties performed by the program. Where
possible, provide evidence that demonstrates the volume and complexity of work performed.
Question 3.2 Productivity Comparison: How well does the program perform compared to peer
institutions?
Question 3.3 Resource Comparison: How does the programs resources (e.g., number of personnel,
facilities, equipment) compare with programs from peer institutions?
Question 3.4 Cost and Revenues: Discuss the trend of program costs (direct/indirect), and revenues
as applicable.

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Criterion 4: Internal & External Demand [22%]


Question 4.1 External Demand: Describe the local, state and national demands for the programs
services. Explain whether there are any external mandates that might indicate a continuing need or
expansion of the programs services.
Question 4.2 Internal Demand: Describe the internal demand for the programs services. Explain any
compliance requirements that might indicate a continuing need or expansion of the programs
services.
Criterion 5: Opportunity Analysis [12%]
Question 5.1 Cost Savings Opportunities: Describe opportunities for cost-savings (e.g. automating,
consolidating, collaborating, or eliminating functions, and/or performing functions elsewhere in the
university or by an outside contractor).
Question 5.2 Future Revenue / Resources: Describe opportunities for additional revenue or resource
generation.
Question 5.3 Improvement Opportunities: Describe potential opportunities to improve the
program's products/services, or increase effectiveness and efficiencies (e.g. development, technology,
elimination of redundancy, cross-training).
Question 5.4 Opportunities in the Field: Describe the actions necessary to make the program
exemplary, if not already, in the field (e.g. staff, equipment and/or technology, removing barriers to
success, additional functions, restructuring, greater impact).

79

APPENDIX D: ADMINISTRATIVE SCORING RUBRIC

7: Slightly
above

4: Slightly
below

1: Well
below

expectations

expectations

expectations

The program is
fundamental
and essential
to the
universitys
mission,
strategic plan
and/or
operational
requirements.

The program
has an
important
role in
supporting
the
universitys
mission,
strategic
plan, and/or
operational
requirements.

The program
has some
ability to
support the
universitys
mission,
strategic
plan, and/or
operational
requirements.

The program
is not
essential to or
does not
align with the
universitys
mission,
strategic
plan, and/or
operational
requirements.

22%

The program is
well above
expectations in
executing
functions,
providing
services,
and/or
meeting the
needs of
clients.

The program
is slightly
above
expectations
in executing
functions,
providing
services,
and/or
meeting the
needs of
clients.

The program
is slightly
below
expectations
in executing
functions,
providing
services,
and/or
meeting the
needs of
clients.

The program
is well below
expectations
in executing
functions,
providing
services,
and/or
meeting the
needs of
clients.

Productivity/Efficiency 22%

Given current
resources, the
program
serves an
exceptional
number of
people or
entities and/or
facilitates a

Given current
resources, the
program
serves a
moderate
number of
people or
entities
and/or

Given current
resources, the
program
serves a
limited
number of
people or
entities
and/or

Given current
resources, the
program
serves few
people or
entities
and/or
facilitates a
narrow range

Criterion

10: Well
above
Weight
expectations

Importance to
University Mission and
Operations
22%

Quality/Effectiveness

80

Internal and External


Demands

22%

Opportunity Analysis

12%

comprehensive
range of
activities and
services.

facilitates a
moderate
range of
activities and
services.

facilitates a
limited range
of activities
and services.

of activities
and services.

The program
has
exceptional
internal and/or
external
demand and
may serve an
external
mandate.

The program
has moderate
internal
and/or
external
demand and
may serve an
external
mandate.

The program
has limited
internal
and/or
external
demand and
serves an
external
mandate.

The program
has low
internal
and/or
external
demand and
serves no
external
mandate.

The program
has
exceptional
opportunity to
improve
efficiency,
grow revenue,
and/or
improve
services.
Opportunities
provide clear
benefits based
on investment
required.

The program
has moderate
opportunity
to improve
efficiency,
grow
revenue,
and/or
improve
services.
Opportunities
provide
moderate
benefits
based on
investment
required.

The program
has limited
opportunity
to improve
efficiency,
grow
revenue,
and/or
improve
services.
Opportunities
provide
limited
benefit based
on
investment
required.

The program
has little or
no
opportunity
to improve
efficiency,
grow
revenue,
and/or
improve
services.
Opportunities
provide little
or no benefit
based on
investment
required.

81

APPENDIX E: PROGRAM RELATIONSHIP NETWORK ANALYSIS

82