NIU Board of Trustees

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Northern Illinois University's Board of Trustees voted without dissent to appoint Dr. Lisa Freeman as the institution's 13th President Thursday.

She's been the Acting President since last year, and her contract for the new position will run through August 2022. Board Chairman Wheeler Coleman says Freeman will be paid a base salary of $450,000, but it also includes provisions from a new state law that caps severance pay at twenty weeks.

Chase Cavanaugh

As of Thursday, Northern Illinois University is one step closer to having a permanent president.

Northern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved Dr. Lisa Freeman as their candidate for university president. She's been serving in an "acting" capacity since the resignation of Doug Baker in 2017. Trustees praised Dr. Freeman for her past year of leadership in a time of declining enrollment and budgetary realignment.  Former state representative and current board trustee Bob Pritchard says her leadership will be invaluable.

Victoria Lunacek

Republican Bob Pritchard resigned his post in the Illinois House this summer. He’s now a member of the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees. When he’s not serving constituents, Pritchard, of Hinckley, can be found on his family farm. In this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Jenna Dooley talks with Pritchard as he reflects on his time in the General Assembly and looks ahead to his new role at NIU.

A row of bright green farm equipment lines the back of a large shed. It’s all John Deere on this farm.

NIU Board Of Trustees Seeks Community Feedback

Aug 2, 2018
WNIJ

The NIU Board of Trustees is considering Acting President Dr. Lisa Freeman for the university’s permanent president. They are seeking feedback from the university community before making a decision.

Trustees will attend listening sessions throughout August with faculty, students, alumni, and other community leaders. The schedule for the listening sessions is as follows:

August 2: Operating Staff Council

August 2: Alumni & Foundation Boards      

August 14: Senior Roundtable

August 14: Chairs/Directors/First-line Supervisors 

Victoria Lunacek

Former Illinois State Rep. Bob Pritchard joined NIU’s Board of Trustees on Monday.

Pritchard previously served in the state House of Representatives for the 70th District (which encompasses parts of DeKalb, Kane, and Boone Counties) from December 2003 to July of this year. Pritchard says he’s eager to tackle the challenges facing NIU.

Victoria Lunacek

Northern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a plan Monday that puts Acting President Lisa Freeman in the running to take the position permanently.

They are putting forward Dr. Freeman as their preferred candidate and will gather feedback from local constituents later this year. Board Chair Wheeler Coleman says the trustees are quite pleased with Freeman’s work over the past year.

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

Thursday’s meeting of Northern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees was long, reflecting a lengthy agenda. What it wasn’t, was fraught or contentious.

niu.edu / afscme.org

The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of a collective bargaining agreement Thursday with AFSCME Local 1890.

The five-year contract provides union members an immediate 3% wage raise and various job-related protections. Barbara Andree is President of the NIU Operating Staff Council. She says the agreement makes up for stagnant clerical worker pay.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The search for a new president for Northern Illinois University is getting underway. The Presidential Search Preparation Committee held one of several public meetings Thursday.

The committee’s announced mission is to create benchmarks based on current practices and trends related to presidential searches and contracts, and prepare a draft of the job description as well as a document listing “points of pride” for the university.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The $600,000 severance agreement with former President Doug Baker was approved again Thursday morning by the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees.

The re-vote came as the result of a lawsuit brought by DeKalb resident Misty Haji-Sheikh, who contended the trustees didn’t give the Presidential Transition Agreement proper public notice the first time in violation of the Open Meetings Act. A DeKalb County Circuit Court judge agreed and declared the original approval null and void.

Guy Stephens/WNIJ

A 3-percent pay increase for Northern Illinois University faculty and staff was approved this morning by the NIU Board of Trustees, which then voted to extend the raise to employees in union bargaining units that still are negotiating contracts but have signed off on the increase.

NIU Acting President Lisa Freeman recommended the increase in her State of the University address last month for all NIU employees hired before Jan. 1, 2017.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University won't begin a formal search for its next president until next year.  The Board of Trustees said the timing is in the best interest of the university.

In a letter released Monday to the NIU community, Board Chairman Wheeler Coleman and Vice Chair Dennis Barsema said feedback from faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders led to the determination to start the search in fall of 2018.

The two said there was a strong push for an open and inclusive process, however long that would take.  

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A lawsuit between the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees and Misty Haji-Sheikh regarding former President Doug Baker’s resignation continues.

A DeKalb County judge extended the temporary restraining order barring NIU from taking further action on Baker’s severance package. The next hearing is scheduled for late November.

Diane Drake / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees has released its final annual evaluation of former NIU President Doug Baker. It echoed earlier reviews by the Board, with a few notable exceptions.

A “360 degree review” using feedback from across the NIU community served as the basis for the evaluation.