The Future of Higher Education Universities, Colleges to Go over Academic Needs of Region

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Thompson Daily Herald State Government Writer

SPRINGFIELD - Planning for a new public university in the North and Northwest suburbs - either a virtual or physical campus - gets under way here Tuesday as educators try to determine how to meet growing suburban needs into the next century.

The College of Lake County, Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois and DePaul University will tell the Illinois Board of Higher Education Tuesday what they have found about the region's education needs and how those could be met. Two Lake County hearings are set for one week later.

In addition to checking the need for a new campus in one of the state's fastest-growing regions, educators will gauge interest in creating the state's first virtual or cyber-university. There, students would be primarily linked to each other and their classes through technology such as the Internet, satellite transmissions and e-mail.

Suburban employers, meanwhile, will be surveyed on what they want to see from graduates, and their willingness to work with the new university.

Educators want to use the hearings and surveys of students, families, businesses and governments in the Lake County area as a model for the rest of the state as part of their "Illinois Higher Education in the 21st Century" plan. …