Baker Report: Toward a more vibrant college experience
On Monday, Northern Illinois University—along with the rest of the nation—honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., celebrating the values of equality, diversity and community he taught us.
These values are woven throughout the fabric of our university—in our student body, our faculty and staff, alumni and in the community and region we serve, and we are continuing to build upon these strengths.
I am proud to announce NIU will soon launch a national search for a Chief Diversity Officer who will also serve as Associate Vice President for Academic Diversity. The new Chief Diversity Officer will serve on both the President’s Cabinet and the Council of Deans and will report to the Executive Vice President & Provost. This new colleague will work closely with other members of the university’s senior leadership to significantly enhance the recruitment, retention and social integration of faculty from diverse backgrounds and historically under-represented groups.
Among the university’s top priorities are to create a more vibrant experience for DeKalb residents and students—a diverse and thriving college town where students want to attend school and where residents are excited to have a major university as one of their neighbors.
It was fitting that Monday’s Daily Chronicle described NIU’s efforts to create a more diverse, global campus experience for our students. During the Fall semester, I announced organizational changes that included forming a division of International Affairs led by Vice President Ray Alden. In that role he has already led a team of senior administrators to China for high-level discussions with two new partnering institutions and hosted a delegation from Chinese universities on campus in December.
It is our goal to provide our students with the skills to serve them well in a global economy. Ideally, they would be able to take advantage of study abroad opportunities, but if not, a diverse international student body on campus would provide the chance to develop a global perspective right here in DeKalb.
Isn’t that the type of understanding Dr. King dedicated his life to promoting?