Faculty Say Dr. Wamucii Njogu Is Fundamentally More Qualified To Lead NEIU Out of Multiple Crises

Scott Andrews, Writer

On Jan. 26, 2023, over 170 faculty, staff, and students sent a letter to Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Board of Trustees asking that Dr. Wamucii Njogu be instated as the Interim President of Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). Dr. Njogu is no stranger to NEIU, the fiscal, and enrollment crises the current administration cannot solve adequately. She has worked at NEIU since 2006 in various administrative and leadership roles, and since 1996 as a professor in Sociology, making her the perfect candidate according to the faculty who authored the letter. She received her B.A. from the University of Nairobi in 1979, an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1984, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1989.


Dr. Njogu has been an NEIU faculty member since 1996 in the Sociology department. She held the positions of department coordinator and chair from 2001-2003 and 2006-2007, respectively.  In an administrative capacity, Dr. Njogu was Assistant/Associate Provost from 2006-2009 and Dean of the College of Art and Sciences from 2009-2017. Experience in executive leadership includes Acting Provost from 2017-2018, and in 2018, the Board of Trustees nominated Dr. Njogu as Interim President from April 1, 2018 to May 31, 2018, until Dr. Gloria J. Gibson began her tenure.


As Dean, she built innovations in academic degree programs, including the Social Work’s Masters degree, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, and EMERGE, a Summer enrichment program for English and Mathematics. Dr. Njogu has experience in grant writing, having written a Department of Education Title III grant to support Environmental Sciences and a multiyear Illinois Board of Higher Education grant to fund programs for student success. She maintains close relationships with Chicago and the international community as a board member, past vice president, and president of the human rights organization Pan-African Association.


Dr. Njogu’s attitude toward a fiscal crisis is noted. She said back in 2017, when she was the acting Provost, “The budget has not removed instruction in any way. The teaching part of the university remained intact. I think the budget is going to allow us to breathe easier. I think the university would have been in a very difficult position if we didn’t have the budget. And actually, the budget will allow us to plan for the future.”


In March 2012, at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), the faculty passed a motion of “no confidence” against President Benjamin Allen and Provost Gloria Gibson. A letter was circulated and signed by 30 faculty members alleging budget cuts and a restructuring plan being carried out “without faulty input.” In April 2014, Provost Gibson resigned from UNI.


Several faculty members voiced their concerns of mismanagement and lack of communication with the university executive cabinet regarding the proposed budget cuts and restructuring plan at the Town Hall protest on January 24, 2023. 


NEIU faculty, staff and students believe Dr. Njogu is more in touch with the university, has a better track record with NEIU affairs, and the local community as a whole and is better equipped to lead us out of fiscal and enrollment crises.