Dean McCord is the senior administrator of the college. He deals with officers of the university and of other college to represent the interests of liberal arts and sciences. A multi-layered staff working in conjuction with the Dean makes successful management of the College possible.
The college's two interim associate deans, David Ballantine and Zhili Xiao, support the Dean and supervize in matters of budget and personnel, undergraduate advising, and curriculum and space.
Additional support is provided by the dean’s assistant, the college business manager and staff, the college communication office, a team of undergraduate advisors, the office of external programming, and an extensive clerical staff.
Nearly 400 regular faculty members make up the professoriate of the college. Approximately seventy-five percent are tenured. Another 100 positions are held by adjunct faculty. Almost eighty-five percent of NIU’s Presidential Research Professorships have been awarded to College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty.
In addition, the vibrancy of NIU’s research community has brought national and international recognition to College scholars in anthropology, biology, chemistry and biochemistry, history, mathematics, geology and environmental geosciences, political science, public administration, psychology, and physics. NIU is a member of the Universities Research Association, a prestigious consortium of universities across the country that supports the work of important national laboratories such as Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory in partnership with the Department of Physics.
NIU’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies is part of the College and is a world-class resource on Southeast Asia; the Center recently received a four-year Title VI Award and accolades from the U.S. Department of Education for its exceptionally strong ties with institutions in Southeast Asia and innovative language teaching.
Other College faculty are involved in diverse ground-breaking research projects such as the sub-Antarctic investigation of causes of global warming; the development of hydrogen-powered earth and space vehicles; automated online testing for reading comprehension; and exploration of the subatomic universe.
The College faculty is also recognized for its outstanding teaching achievements. Excellence in research supports excellence in teaching, in which research-active scholars across all disciplines come together with students in the classroom, from freshman through senior and graduate courses. Forty percent of the university’s Presidential Teaching Professorships at NIU have been awarded to College faculty.
A substantial portion of the faculty’s teaching responsibility is at the undergraduate level. CLAS generates just under 60 percent of all undergraduate credit hours at NIU, and undergraduates majoring in CLAS subjects represent approximately 35 percent of all undergraduate majors in the University. Because CLAS has a good completion rate and attracts some students from other colleges, forty-three percent of all NIU baccalaureate degrees are awarded to students majoring in the liberal arts and sciences. At the graduate level, students working on CLAS subjects account for 19 percent of degree recipients.
A substantial portion of the enrollment growth at NIU has occurred in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Between FY01 and FY06, the number of majors within the College grew by 994 to over 6500. Graduate enrollment increased between FY01 and FY04 by 157; since then, it has remained at approximately 1100 students. The student population within the College is diverse, with both traditional and non-traditional students, and a large commuter sector; one in four College majors is a student of color.
The College not only offers 29 baccalaureate majors leading to the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science, but also provides the majority of general education courses for undergraduate students from across the university. Pre-professional students can focus on programmatic study that supports admission to schools of dentistry, law, medicine, optometry, podiatry, and veterinary medicine.
Undergraduates can also choose from six Certificates of Undergraduate Study in areas that range from Actuarial Science through Homeland Security to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies.
The College is also home to 10 Ph.D. programs and 17 master’s programs, including the Master’s in Public Administration, recognized in 2005 by U.S. News and World Reports as one of the top graduate programs in the country.