University Engagement and Forward 150

Dear UPI – I think it is very important for as many of us as possible to be part of these discussions that start tomorrow.

I hope to see you there – sjm

TO: University Community

FROM: Richard J. Helldobler, Interim President

DATE: January 12, 2017

RE: University Engagement and Forward 150

If I had to quickly summarize my first 100 days as Interim President, I’d boil it down to two things. First, it’s that you are the most important part of the University. What makes Northeastern Illinois University great is not any one person, office or program, but it is our University Community.

It is because our community makes us great that Northeastern’s success is dependent upon everyone’s active participation. Sure, we all have our roles to play — as students, faculty and staff members. But it’s not until we work together, understand our different perspectives and actively engage in University life that we grow as an institution. Throughout the semester I will be exploring this theme of University engagement. We will focus on the different kinds of engagement and how you can become more involved in our University Community. We will also learn more about the people who make this place special.

The second thing is that a changing world demands a transformation. From the way we operate the University to the way we teach and prepare students to be future leaders, nobody does transformation better than Northeastern. Yet we must support and nourish what is working and not hesitate to disrupt, change or discontinue ineffective and obsolete models. This will take great courage, and I know we are up to meeting the challenges that will preserve our future. We must tap Northeastern’s immense brainpower and drive the innovations that advance our mission and strategic plan. This will help us chart our course for the next 150 years; in fact, this is the spirit that prompted us to begin the new series of discussions called Forward 150.

In preparation for tomorrow’s Forward 150 kickoff, which I first introduced in my Jan. 4 email (attached for your reference), I ask that you come with an open mind and your best ideas. I ask that you wear your “Northeastern” hat, framing thoughts and remarks around what is best for the University and most importantly our students. You might also want to refresh your memory on our Strategic Plan to which I’ve linked in the new Forward 150 channel in NEIUport. In that channel, you will also find a link to the University Feedback Form, which is where I encourage you to submit your input, thoughts and ideas if you are unable to attend in person. Speaking of which, you may view a livestream of Friday morning’s discussion by clicking this link ( when it begins at 9:30 a.m.

Remember, our Forward 150 discussions start tomorrow morning from 9:30 to 11:30 in Alumni Hall. I hope you can be there in person or view it online.