NIU Athletics partnership with Jobs PLUS continues to grow

During the spring semester, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics hosted its fifth Jobs PLUS event. This event continues a partnership that began with an initial conversation in the summer of 2016 that focused on the use of the Convocation Center as a venue for Jobs PLUS events, pairing those events with a variety of games held at the arena, and connecting students with coaches, administrators, staff, alumni and other partners associated with NIU Athletics.

“As we build out our program we have been very interested in experimenting with different locations on campus, in integrating our events with other things happening at NIU and in designing creative combinations” said Director of Jobs PLUS Chad Glover. “What I found is that we have a division of athletics full of people who are willing to give of their time, knowledge and experience to benefit all students.”

Glover worked with Senior Associate Athletics Director Melissa Dawson and Senior Associate Athletics Director Ryan Sedevie along with Convocation Center Director Heather Priest and staff Jori McCullough, Julie Ream, and Sheri Voss to schedule the first event in the fall of 2016 titled, “Working Effectively in Teams.” That event featured NIU alumnus Derrick Strand as the facilitator. Strand, who has his own consulting practice in Virginia, was a student-athlete and member of the Men’s Golf team during his time at NIU. The event took place immediately before a NIU Volleyball game and several of the students who came for the Jobs PLUS event remained afterward for the volleyball game.

“Being an NIU student-athlete showed me the importance of teamwork which has been critical to my success in the workplace,” said Strand. “Skills like communication, collaboration and critical thinking for problem solving are even more important now in this ever changing, disruptive economy. Connecting the lessons from athletics to the Jobs PLUS program is a huge win for everyone involved.”

In the spring of 2017 an event titled, “Team Building” was offered that was led by NIU Volleyball Coach Ray Gooden and featured a panel moderated by Senior Associate Athletics Director and Chief of Staff Debra Boughton comprised of Gooden, Matt Lipman, John Cheney, Evan Klepec, Christina Sutcliffe, Kiera Miller, Paige Shinberg and Connie Teaberry. That event took place before a Women’s Basketball game.

“I felt very fortunate to be included in such a positive program for the students,” said Gooden. “Each event is an opportunity to learn and grow.”

In the fall of 2017 there were two events hosted by Athletics that Boughton helped organize. The first event was a session on “Leadership and Networking” that featured a workshop from Women’s Basketball coach Lisa Carlsen and a panel moderated by Boughton that included Carlsen, Randi Napientek, Morgan James, Adam Tandez and Jennifer Groce that took place before a volleyball game. Later in the semester, Mahesh Subramony, Ph.D., from the College of Business, delivered a session titled, “Leaders as Runners” before doubleheader Women’s and Men’s basketball games.

“We are fortunate to partner with Chad Glover and NIU Jobs PLUS,” said Boughton. “The opportunity to share the experiences and knowledge of our coaches and staff with students at NIU confirms our department’s commitment to the mission of student success. I hope our partnership continues for years to come.”

The event held in the spring semester involved then Senior Associate Athletics Director Jerome Rodgers as the point person from Athletics. The event included a workshop from Terry Bishop from the College of Business called “Be Prepared to Make the Tough Calls” and included a panel of Bishop, TJ Feuerbach, Scott Foelske, Cathy Doederlein and Jack King. That session was integrated into the professional development course in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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