President's Message Regarding Program Closures
Dear NLU Community,
|Closures at National Louis University effective Fall 2012|
|Undergraduate degree programs|
|BA Political Science|
|Graduate degree programs|
|EDD Adult Education|
|EDD Community College Leadership|
|MED Adult, Continuing & Literacy Education / Adult Education|
|MED/MSED Human Learning and Development|
|MS Gerontology Counseling|
|Certificate (non-degree) programs|
|Certificate in Adult, Continuing & Literacy Education|
|Certificate in Counseling Studies|
|Certificate in Counseling Studies for Psychology Students|
|Certificate in Corporate Written Communication|
|School Nurse Concentration|
Over the past three years dramatic forces have shaped the higher education landscape - increased competition, increasing regulation, and pressure to demonstrate accountability and provide clear evidence of learning outcomes, all in the wake of a prolonged recession. Because of our history of resourceful innovation, National Louis is better positioned than many to recast itself and make necessary changes. But doing so today requires us to have a concrete vision for the future and make sometimes difficult decisions to support our strategic direction.
Accordingly, and in alignment with our strategic plan, our institution has undergone a transformative review process to allocate resources according to our strategic priorities. These strategic priorities are: academic excellence through a robust and rigorous contemporary curriculum; an educational experience that supports student success; and financial sustainability based on a cost effective model that provides opportunity for those who seek to better themselves through education. Since January we have engaged in a multi-stakeholder, shared governance review of all administrative functions and our academic portfolio.
As a result of the review, we have made the difficult decision to close four academic departments, nine degree programs, and five non-degree certificate programs effective with the fall 2012 term. The primary rationale for program elimination was low to negligible enrollment over the past several years, indicating lack of student demand for the program as offered by National Louis. Moreover, in many cases eliminated programs had no current enrollment. Other variables considered in the review process included mission-relevance to NLU, demand for graduates relative to the employment market, program quality, and cost of instruction relative to net revenues. In all cases, more than one variable contributed to the recommendation to eliminate a program. In keeping with our shared governance approach, recommendations for program closure were supported by NLU's Faculty Senate Academic Planning Committee and the full Senate, and were approved by the Board of Trustees. For a complete list of closures, please see table to the right.
We will ensure that the impact of these closures on our current students is minimally disruptive, both through "teaching out" the programs over a reasonable timeframe and ensuring that courses that serve students outside the specific program continue to be taught. More painful to our community is the outcome that in accordance with our policies program closures will involve the elimination of a limited number of faculty positions. The affected faculty members are our friends and colleagues, and have been respected contributors to the life of our University; in no way should decisions about program closures be viewed as reflecting the value and work of these colleagues. Our current focus is on easing the transition for affected faculty and ensuring that students enrolled in closed programs have the opportunity to complete their degrees.
A number of the eliminated programs and departments are in the "liberal arts" and this deserves some explanation. These offerings have experienced persistent low enrollment, an indication that the liberal arts have not been viewed as a core strength of National Louis University by our students. By no means, however, should these decisions be interpreted as a lack of focus on general education for our students. In the coming year a key strategic initiative will be to develop a contemporary approach to foundational general education that better prepares and serves the needs of our "new traditional" population. This foundation will serve as a key element of NLU's holistic education developing our students' professional identities, leadership and communications skills, technology and quantitative literacy, and orientation to global citizenship so that they may succeed and lead in the workplace and in life. Experts from within and outside our institution will work together to build this new general education curriculum in accordance with our governance model. In addition, the University will focus on developing new programs that reflect our core strengths in areas such as business and management, behavioral and social sciences, and education — professional programs that are related to people, leadership, service, and giving back to our society and communities.
The development of a new general education foundation at NLU integrates with other important work happening across our institution that builds on NLU's track record of distinction. The National College of Education has been engaged in a shared governance process of re-envisioning the college to ensure professional relevance and meet the evolving needs of students and the schools in which they will work. This vision has been enthusiastically endorsed by the Board of Trustees and senior leadership. The College of Arts and Sciences will continue to build on a track record of success in the social and behavioral sciences, and the College of Management and Business will continue to focus on leadership with an emerging emphasis in areas such as nonprofit management and women in leadership. To remain accessible and cost effective for our students, the University will enhance its online and hybrid programs so that students can experience both quality and convenience in their education. These new delivery approaches are increasingly relevant to our adult students, including Veterans, as we seek to address their specific needs.
Over the coming two months NLU will announce additional changes resulting from our strategic portfolio review. These changes reflect a promising strategic path for our future. During this time of transition, we remain focused, diligent and confident. However, these changes also represent a time where our institution will collectively share a sense of loss. It is a time when we must provide compassion and support for all our colleagues. If you have any questions related to these changes or NLU's future direction, you may send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all that you do for NLU and our students. Your continued commitment and support of our students and our University are particularly important during this time, and are profoundly appreciated.
Nivine Megahed, Ph.D.
National Louis University