The NGOLD center oversees the new CLCE major, and Castle is currently teaching Introduction to Public Service (CLCE 100), which will also be offered during the spring semester.
“The CLCE major allows me to combine my academic interest in civil society studies with years of experience in disability advocacy and community engagement,” Castle said. “I wish the major had been available when I was a student because it would have spared me the pain of having to seek the information on my own and administering service programs seemingly by the seat of my pants.”
Castle has a long history with NIU. She transferred to the university in 1975 and earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees here in psychology. She has been a faculty member with NIU since 1991. Prior to joining NGOLD, Castle was a professor in the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders.
“We are delighted to have Dr. Castle on board as a CLCE faculty member. Her experiences working with a variety of nonprofit organizations combined with her commitment to students are true assets to the center,” said Judith Hermanson, director of NGOLD.
“She exemplifies NGOLD’s philosophy of bringing theory and practice into alignment so as to prepare CLCE majors for community leadership roles and service-oriented careers,” Hermanson added. “Students will find in her a great resource. We are both fortunate and proud that Dr. Castle has joined NGOLD at this exciting time of launching the CLCE major.”
Beyond her role as professor, 25 percent of Castle’s time is spent as “service-learning facilitator” for the campus.
In this position, she works not only with NGOLD but also with the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning and the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. Service-learning merges community service with classroom instruction to enhance the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen community involvement. This position reports directly to the vice provost.
“Service-learning is not only the thread that runs through the CLCE major, but it’s also a way by which all faculty can work toward the universal goal for higher education to prepare students for civic responsibility, regardless of their major,” Castle said. “As such, I truly enjoy being involved with service-learning and civic engagement from a variety of angles, all of which respond to the NIU Strategic Plan imperatives and ultimately work to the benefit of our student body.”
NGOLD was established in 2010 as NIU’s resource for excellence in the study, research and practice of nongovernmental organizations.
Its mission is to enhance and strengthen civil society through nonprofits and other avenues of public service. To do this, NGOLD provides comprehensive programming and services to students, faculty, researchers and nonprofit organizations by focusing on four primary areas: Academics, Research, Service and Enhanced Practice.
In addition to the interdisciplinary CLCE undergraduate major, NGOLD is planning to offer a certificate program that will allow students in other majors to gain specialization in nonprofit leadership.
More information is available on the NGOLD website.