Jesse “Woody” Johnson and Jessica Reyman have been selected as the recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award. Established in 2015, the award recognizes outstanding graduate faculty members for their scholarly achievements and exceptional contributions to graduate education at NIU.
“Both Dr. Johnson and Dr. Reyman are extraordinarily dedicated to the graduate students whose lives they touch,” Bradley Bond, dean of NIU’s Graduate School, said. “They are not anomalies on the faculty at NIU but they are exemplars of great mentorship.
Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in psychology from East Carolina University and doctorate in education from NIU. An associate professor in the Department of Special and Early Education, Johnson has more than two decades of experience working with children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities, serving as a behavior analyst and education consultant in school and community settings
Among his many contributions to NIU’s graduate level education, Johnson designed and implemented NIU’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst program where he currently serves as program coordinator.
“Behavior analysis has always been a passion of mine, and the Board Certified Behavior Analyst program has given me a wonderful opportunity to focus on what I love and work with an amazing group of people,” Johnson said.
Greg Conderman, chair of NIU’s Department of Special and Early Education, said Johnson’s work is exemplary and extends far beyond the classroom.
“He is highly respected for his work in designing programs, courses, and rigorous assessments; mentoring students through advising, courses, dissertations, and internships; and engaging with graduate students on cutting-edge research,” Conderman said.
Jessica Reyman earned her bachelor’s degree from Millikin University, master’s degree from Southern Illinois University and doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota. She is currently an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of English.
“Professor Reyman’s credentials in rhetoric and professional writing—as well as her scholarly accomplishments in technical communication, intellectual property, and legal ethics—promised that she would become the ideal colleague to contribute to this program’s growth and help our students thrive,” Brad Peters, acting chair of the Department of English, said.
Peters said since Reyman joined the department in 2006, she has continued to surpass expectations, acting as a mentor and role model for her students.
For Reyman, the award is a reminder of why she does what she does.
“I take pride in helping my graduate students to accomplish their goals, such as becoming faculty members themselves and winning national research awards,” Reyman said. “An award like this, which comes from nominations from current and former students, is a wonderful reminder that I made a difference in their graduate education.”
In addition to receiving a $2,000 award and a plaque, Johnson and Reyman will be recognized during the Graduate School commencement ceremony on Dec. 15 at the NIU Convocation Center.