University Honors welcomes new director

Todd Gilson
Todd Gilson

NIU is pleased to welcome Dr. Todd Gilson as the new director of the University Honors Program as of July 1, 2016.

An associate professor in the Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE) department at NIU, Gilson’s research focuses on the link between key psychological constructs that help distinguish highly successful leaders and performers from less successful ones. The lessons acquired from his research about confidence, resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges are interwoven into his university honors classes.    

As the director for University Honors, Gilson will be charged with working closely with academic colleges, departments and units on campus in facilitating a rich program for over 1,100 students. Specifically, the University Honors Program provides students with such benefits as small and interactive classes with distinguished NIU faculty; the opportunity to apply for honors only scholarships; unique travel abroad experiences that can accrue course credit; honors engaged events that enhance students’ understanding of regional, national and international affairs; and the opportunity to live in the Honors House in New Hall. 

Regarding his new role, Gilson shared, “I have been teaching for the NIU Honors Program since 2012, and it did not take long to realize that the opportunity to work with highly motivated students and a staff that is dedicated to providing a truly unique academic experience makes this appointment both a tremendous honor and responsibility.”

“Dr. Gilson understands the transformative power of the college experience,” said Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs Anne L. Birberick. “He recognizes that deep learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom.”  

Gilson has been a faculty member at NIU since 2008, and since that time has amassed 29 peer-reviewed publications and dozens of presentations. Furthermore, he has been a section editor for Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science. At NIU, he has served on the University Council, Faculty Senate, the College of Education’s Curriculum Committee, chaired KNPE’s department personnel committee and provides sports psychology consulting services to NIU athletes. His previous administrative experiences include director of Undergraduate and Graduate studies for the KNPE department and secretary-treasurer for the Association for Applied Sports Psychology.

“The NIU Honors Program will benefit from Dr. Gilson’s leadership, and his experience as an effective undergraduate teacher, a strong mentor of undergraduates,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa C. Freeman. “Todd will challenge innovative Huskie students to think creatively and be challenged academically.”

 He earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management from Ohio Northern University; a master’s degree in human performance from Oregon State University; and a doctorate in kinesiology from Michigan State University.

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