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Pi-Sui Hsu
Pi-Sui Hsu

Pi-Sui Hsu wants to see more children enter the fields of science and engineering.

Hsu, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment, has launched numerous initiatives over her career to advance that goal.

These have included summer camps for children, online interactions between eighth-graders in Downers Grove and Taiwan to participate in scientific argumentation and an ongoing after-school program at Rockford Environmental Science Academy to help sixth-graders explore Next Generation Science Standards and makerspaces.

And now, as the College of Education’s newest Senior Faculty Fellow, Hsu expects she can better further her self-professed “little bit ambitious” agenda inside Graham and Gabel halls and at her partner sites.

“It’s very important to cultivate students’ interests and aspirations in science at a very young age, and I think middle school is about the right age,” says Hsu, who joined NIU in 2005.

“Making an impact on students is one way, but making impacts on our future teachers, and teachers in the classroom right now, is also important,” she adds, “so, hopefully, I would like to teach how to enact this practice in a more interesting way in their classrooms, and get more students interested in science. And, hopefully, they will choose STEM majors when they go to college or when they choose their careers.”

Launched in 2018, the Senior Faculty Fellow program recognizes and rewards high-performing, tenured faculty and promotes research and/or scholarly activity in the college.

Pi-Sui Hsu demonstrates a 3D printer.
Pi-Sui Hsu demonstrates a 3D printer.

Recipients of the title receive either $3,500 to help finance their project or release from one course; the college will grant one Senior Faculty Fellowship per year. Melanie Koss was the first, followed by Jim Ressler last year.

For Hsu, the honor comes after a conscious effort to build her confidence to write the letter.

“I was interested in applying for this program two years ago,” she says, “but I waited and, finally, I made up my mind this year to apply for it. I see the Senior Faculty Fellow program as a good way to share and highlight my research. I also see it as a great opportunity to represent the college by participating in various events, engaging graduate and undergraduate students and interacting with fellow faculty members, policymakers and stakeholders.”

Hsu plans to focus her term on educational technology, STEM and partnership to “produce young adults who can think critically and argue effectively about important issues in their world.”

She has implemented her curriculum of scientific argumentation since 2012, and has collaborated with Reva Freedman, associate professor in the NIU Department of Computer Science to create an intelligent tutoring program to support students in their development of scientific argumentation.

“With the funding from the Senior Faculty Fellowship, I will be able to actually pilot this program in classrooms,” Hsu says, “and, hopefully, with the pilot data, I will use that to help me prepare to write a large-scale grant for the STEM area to implement scientific argumentation in many classrooms.”

Meanwhile, she wants to expand the power of the after-school program she designed with Eric Monsu Lee, a visiting assistant professor in the NIU Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Hsu works with Reva Freedman (right) and Shobhit Srivastava.
Pi-Sui Hsu collaborates in 2018 with Reva Freedman (right) and NIU Computational Software major Shobhit Srivastava on an intelligent tutoring program.

The Rockford Public Schools recently awarded $25,500 to fund Hsu’s “Scientific Argumentation in Transportable Invention Space (STATIS) 3.0,” and “I will be able to release my teaching time and make more trips to the school to implement the curriculum and refine my ideas.”

Even though participation of the sixth-graders is limited this year for COVID-19, Hsu still can meet with a reduced number of Rockford students to use the school’s 3-D printers and laser engravers.

“It requires face-to-face interaction,” she says. “It’s really challenging to do that remotely.”

Knowledge from this work will continue to enrich her courses at NIU: “I believe I will be able to bring these experiences into my teaching.”

“When I teach undergraduate technology integration courses, I will be able to show the real examples from the classroom and have a discussion with the students about the instructional strategies they can use to integrate various, emerging technologies into their classrooms,” Hsu says.

“When I teach graduate-level courses, particularly doctoral-level classes,” she adds, “I will be able to share the challenges and the successes, based on my experiences, which will help them gain more insight into the research process and maybe help them with their dissertation studies.”

Pi-Sui Hsu in her home office.
Pi-Sui Hsu in her home office.

For Hsu, the interest in science began as a child in Taiwan.

At Penn State University, where she completed her Ph.D., she found inspiration to blend her expertise in instructional technology with science education in a research-based exploration of that intersection.

“My dissertation was about that process of how to integrate different technology into science-teaching and the learning process,” Hsu says of the doctoral studies that founded her academic interests and will fuel her time as Senior Faculty Fellow. “I like to do creative work. I like to brainstorm ideas, and to further develop them and implement them. I am really grateful, and I feel really lucky, to get this recognition.”

Date posted: October 14, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Pi-Sui Hsu begins Senior Faculty Fellow work in promoting STEM fields to youth

Categories: Faculty & Staff Homepage Students

The pandemic may have prevented the Latino Resource Center’s typical celebration of Latino Heritage Month, but efforts to embrace the Latino culture at NIU remain strong.

And those efforts are growing along with the Latinx population on campus.

According to the official census on the 10th day of attendance this year, Latinx enrollment accounts for 23 percent of the incoming class. That’s up 3 percentage points from last year.

Known as the LRC, the Latino Resource Center serves a central resource for Latinos on campus and in the community.

Along with cultural, social and academic programs to enhance the classroom experience of students throughout the year, the center typically provides a firsthand look at Latin culture and its influence on the United States and American society with a variety of Latino Heritage Month events.

Latin culture is imbued with passion and expressed through art, dance, music and literary contributions, among numerous others.

Even in a virtual world, that passion can be felt.

Luis Santos-Rivas, director, stands outside the Latino Resource Center.

“The pandemic has been very challenging for everybody, but we’re still working to keep our culture alive and celebrate our culture in the best possible way,” Latino Resource Center Director Luis Santos-Rivas said.

Among recent events were a virtual open house, open forum, induction ceremony and Noche de Colores, a free will paint night with materials provided by Student Affairs and distributed in the center.

Due to COVID-19, the center’s hours of operation are limited this semester, but students are encouraged to visit or reach out at (815) 753-1986 or via email at [email protected]

Sharing a building with the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies, the LRC provides programs and resources to help students fulfill their dreams.

A unit of the Academic Diversity Equity and Inclusion (ADEI), the center partners with programs across campus to facilitate internships and community service projects and introduce Huskies to student organizations and other opportunities to develop leadership and career skills.

Past celebrations of Latino Heritage Month have included a popular Latin Chill kick-off event, tailgates, el grito, Noche de Gala and more.

Latin Chill not only kicked off Latino Heritage Month, it served as the center’s welcome to new and returning students, Santos-Rivas said. Although this year’s celebration had to be cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions, he wants students to know the center is open and eager to embrace all as recruitment efforts ramp up.

“We’re doing the best we can to make a home away from home environment for all the students on campus,” he said.


Date posted: October 12, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Latino Resource Center welcomes growing Latinx population at NIU

Categories: Faculty & Staff Homepage Students Uncategorized

Andrew consistently provides support with everything related to Microsoft 0365, and 95% of it is not his issue, but still maintains a 100% support to NIU and informing of the issues. Kudos.

Applaud a Colleague

Date posted: October 12, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Andrew Johnson – Division of Information Technology

Categories: Applause

Jim Suttie
Jim Suttie

Jim Suttie was only 4 when he first encountered what has defined the rest of his life and his still-growing list of internationally celebrated accomplishments.

“My dad was a physician – a pediatrician – in DeKalb. He played golf, and he got me out there,” says Suttie, one of the country’s top golf coaches over the last half-century. “I practiced a lot, and I got pretty good at the game. I never played the tour, but I’ve always been a good player.”

Indeed, he has fully embraced golf and its challenges “for all areas of the brain – mental and physical” as well as its independence: “It’s a sport you can do on your own. You make the mistakes. You get the ball in the hole. You’re not pinning it on anyone else.”

Suttie served as “the No. 1 man” on the golf team at DeKalb High School, where he graduated in 1964.

Coming to hometown NIU to major in Physical Education, he golfed for the Huskies, starting at second or third on Coach Nye LaBaw’s depth chart until he “got better than the rest of the guys eventually.”

Yet despite those successes, Suttie knew that his future on the golf course lie not in playing but as “a club pro or a teaching pro.”

And in that realization, he scored a hole-in-one.

Look at his biography in the NIU Huskie Hall of Fame, written for his induction in 2001: “Consummate teaching pro. Ranked No. 1 in state and No. 18 in nation on elite list of ‘America’s 50 Greatest Teachers for 2007-08’ by Golf Digest. Included on Golf Digest ‘Top 50 Greatest Instructors in America’ ratings since 2000. Gained ‘emeritus’ status and permanent membership on national Top 100 Teachers list by Golf Magazine. Selected PGA Teacher of Year (2000) and three-time Illinois PGA Teacher of Year. Graced cover of PGA Magazine. Listed as one of country’s Top 20 instructors in Golf Digest.”

Jim Suttie
Jim Suttie

There’s more: “Tutored PGA and Champions Tour stars such as 2008 Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, Loren Roberts, Chip Beck, Mark Wilson, Tom Purtzer, David Ogrin, plus LPGA pros Silvia Cavalleri, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman and Carin Koch.”

Now Suttie, who holds bachelor’s (1970) and master’s (’71) degrees from the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE), is making a “remote” return to his alma mater to serve as to serve as the College of Education’s Fall 2020 Educator in Residence.

During his two days of virtual interactions, he will deliver a “Whiteboard Wednesday” presentation on “Golf Talk with Dr. Jim Suttie: How Your Body Determines Your Swing Type” from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. All are invited and welcome to attend, and registration is free and available online.

He also will meet with KNPE faculty, spend an hour with the current NIU Men’s Golf Team (and Coach John Carlson) and Women’s Golf Team, and speak to students in KNPE 310: Psychological Aspects of Sport and Exercise, taught by Jenn Jacobs.

Dean Laurie Elish-Piper, who launched the Educator in Residence program to honor and celebrate remarkable alumni and to foster their interactions with current students, is excited to welcome back Suttie.

“Dr. Suttie is a perfect and excellent example of what the NIU College of Education promises in our Value Proposition, and that is we prepare students to succeed and lead in their careers and communities,” Elish-Piper says.

“Through his study of kinesiology and physical education, Dr. Suttie developed not only a knowledge of the athletic function and capability of the human body but also the ability to effectively share, teach and nurture his techniques in golfers at every stage,” she adds.

“I look forward to hearing – and I’m especially eager for our students to hear – how he was able to make such positive differences for so many golfers, and what motivates him to keep working and teaching after 50 years.”

Jim Suttie and PGA golfer Loren Roberts.
Jim Suttie and PGA golfer Loren Roberts.

Returning temporarily to a university setting makes perfect sense for Suttie, known as “the teacher that teaches the teacher.”

First, he holds the academic credentials – a doctorate in biomechanics from Middle Tennessee State University, where his dissertation examined “A Biomechanical Comparison between a Conventional Golf Swing Learning Technique and a Unique Kinesthetic Feedback Technique.”

Second, he coached collegiate golf teams at Eastern Kentucky University, Brevard Community College (where he mentored Azinger, who went on to 12 PGA victories), Northwestern University and Florida Gulf Coast University.

Third, he’s delivered numerous presentations to golf teachers who transfer his methods to their own clubs and students.

But it’s in teaching golfers at all levels, from beginners to pros, that Suttie has sculpted his legacy by helping people to find “their most natural way” to swing.

“If I’m known for anything in the teaching world, it’s that there is no one way to swing a golf club. Your swing depends on your body type, how you’re built, your flexibility pattern, your physical characteristics, your height,” says Suttie, now based in Bonita Springs, Fla.

“There are many, many ways to swing, and lots of fundamentals, and I’m a fundamentalist,” he adds. “I’ve gotten to that point now where I can just look at a guy’s body and I can almost tell right away how he should swing.”

What continues to challenge him, though, is the responsiveness of his students.

Jim Suttie works in 2012 with then 7-year-old Logan Zurn of Texas as he prepared for the Junior World Championship.
Jim Suttie works in 2012 with then 7-year-old Logan Zurn of Texas as he prepared for the Junior World Championship.

Beginners “will listen to you,” he says. “To teach a tour guy, though, you’ve really got to convince them because they’ve been doing this for a long time, and a lot depends on how much you give them. You give them too much, and they get nothing out of it. You’ve got to be sparse in your information and teach them over time.”

Nonetheless, he adds, pros are “always willing to learn and they’re always willing to screw themselves up. They’ll take lessons from teachers who put them into a method, but there’s no method that really can work with everybody. I’ve seen just as many players get screwed up as who get better.”

During his own years as a student, when he studied physical education and kinesiology, Suttie remembers tough classes that taught him motivation, discipline and punctuality.

He especially remembers a course taught by then-NIU Football Coach Howard Fletcher, who made sure that all students “learn something besides the academic area: how to exist in life. He taught me that. I took a class from him, and he says, ‘You either do this, or you don’t. It’s just like life.’ ”

What’s his own life advice for college students? “Do what you like, and then you’ll be good at it. If you don’t like what you do, you won’t be good at it, and you’ll wish you did something else.”

In speaking to NIU audiences next week, he expects people will want to hear his stories about his visits with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. He also plans to share wisdom gained over five decades of teaching and coaching golf – which, he says, are different things.

“Coaching is more motivating, telling kids that they can do it – the mental side – whereas teaching golf is more of the mechanical stuff,” Suttie says.

Fortunately, he adds, either or both types of guidance pay dividends.

“There are no limits with golf,” he says. “If you don’t have the hand-eye coordination, you can only go so far, but I haven’t ever seen anyone who can’t get better.”

Date posted: October 12, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Noted golf-swing guru Jim Suttie named Fall 2020 ‘virtual’ Educator in Residence

Categories: Alumni Faculty & Staff Homepage Students

When given lemons, Tatyana Coleman makes lemonade. It’s fitting for the senior who is majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Coleman is enrolled in Hospitality 320, a food production course where students create menus, purchase ingredients and prepare meals that are served at Ellington’s Restaurant in the Holmes Student Center. But since Ellington’s is temporarily closed because of COVID-19, Coleman and fellow students needed to follow a different recipe to hone their culinary skills.

“This class gives students a real-world industry experience,” said John Boswell, director of Retail Dining, NIU Campus Dining Services and course instructor. “And just like the hospitality industry has had to adjust to the pandemic, we had to adjust as well.”

Mission accomplished.

Students in the course have taken their talents to The Depot, selling fresh, made from scratch carry-out meals each Tuesday and Thursday. Over the course of the semester, students are working in small teams planning menus, purchasing ingredients, preparing meals and packaging them for customers to enjoy.

“Although it may not be the same experience other students have had in this course, this shift still provide students with good industry experience,” Boswell said. “I have been so impressed by what these students are doing and by the food they are preparing.”

Coleman agreed.

“I’m impressed with the food that has been produced,” said Coleman. “The different concepts I’ve seen are intriguing and it pushes my group to be more unique when it comes to picking meals for our production day.”

Diners have been delighted by things like a cranberry salsa turkey wrap and sweet potato chips, a crispy chicken wrap with corn and bean salsa, a falafel pita sandwich and chicken shawarma with a Shirazi salad.

“It’s a great value, everything is fresh and the presentation is exceptional,” Boswell said. “We have been really happy with how creative the students have been with their menus and the effort they have put into the process.”

It’s a win-win for the students and the campus community, who can enjoy inventive and delicious meals at a considerable discount.

Visit The Depot each Tuesday and Thursday to purchase the creative carry-out meals and to support Huskie students. Meals are $7.99 and can be purchased with Dining Dollars and Huskie Bucks in addition to cash, credit or debit.

Date posted: October 12, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Learning never tasted so good

Categories: Centerpiece CHHSnews Community Faculty & Staff Students Uncategorized


Huskies help Huskies, but we also help neighbors and friends. We are innovators, artists, problem-solvers and changemakers. We are “thousands strong” and shaping the world together.

In celebration of our impact, Huskies the world over are invited to participate in the NIU Foundation “Thousands Strong” virtual events, Nov. 18-20.
Change Makers

Wednesday, Nov. 18 – “Chicago Fire” Star to be Featured on Free Opening Night 

From the comfort of your home, please join us from 7-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, as we commemorate all that makes NIU extraordinary. Don’t miss this opportunity to make history together with thousands of your fellow Huskies. Opening Night festivities will include an inspirational and entertaining lineup on YouTube Live, with NIU President Lisa Freeman and special celebrity guest Joe Minoso, M.F.A. ’04, who plays firefighter Joe Cruz on the NBC drama “Chicago Fire.” Minoso’s unique NIU story and post-graduate experience in theater and television make him an ideal as star for this tribute to Huskies’ success.

This event, which borrows its name from a famous line of “Hail NIU,” the university’s alma mater, will honor the outstanding alumni and donors who help make NIU an engine for innovation, creativity and social mobility and include an “all-star” line-up of NIU scholarship recipients. Opening night will provide hope and support for current and future NIU students who are facing barriers to education at such an uncertain time, while also kicking off our Day of Giving.

Nov. 18-19 – Generosity Sets Us Apart

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and going through Thursday, Nov. 19, the Huskie community will come together for an online Day of Giving, supporting the NIU Foundation’s incredible scholarship and fundraising opportunities. We are asking our alumni and friends to dig deep and pull together to show that we are truly “Thousands Strong” by making a donation or being a champion for this important day of philanthropy. Gifts of all sizes will go a long way to helping ensure the next classes of Huskies have what they need to make the most of their time on campus.

In addition, over these three days, alumni and friends of the university will also have the opportunity to upload videos of themselves describing why they are proud to be among the “Thousands Strong” who represent NIU. This can be accessed via

On Nov. 20, the NIU Alumni Association will select video submissions to include in a special “Thousands Strong” highlight reel on its social media pages, which will also include some exciting celebrity messages.

‘Steadfast, Devoted, True,’ Huskies Are Here for One Another
In our 125th year, more than ever, we want to remember who we are. As Huskies, we are proud to blaze trails and pave the roads less travelled for those who will come next.

It is who we are. Huskies help Huskies.

Just ask senior Morgan Cunningham, who is looking forward to getting a job in special education after she earns her degree. A grateful NIU Foundation scholarship recipient, Cunningham was touched last semester when an NIU instructor went so far as to lend her some professional clothes for an impromptu and much-needed work wardrobe.

“I didn’t even ask. She just did it,” Cunningham said. “She’s one of the most understanding, wonderful people I think I ever could have had the gift to meet.”

Similarly, after working in public health for the better part of a decade, Catherine Andrews returned to NIU to pursue her nursing degree. A recipient of an NIU Foundation’s scholarship, Andrews said going back to college after years in the workforce was a bit intimidating, but the experience she been able to garner in the college’s state-of-the-art facilities has made her confident in her decision.

“NIU’s nursing program is highly respected and competitive,” Andrews said. “The resources and equipment here are really impressive. Donors have contributed really great tools. There are state-of-the-art mannequins that talk and respire. You can run IVs on them; one mannequin gives birth to another mannequin. You get real hands-on experience.”

Our students could share thousands of stories of collaboration and assistance, and the impact these acts of kindness have had on their success. Our Opening Night festivities will feature more examples like these, from actual students who have benefitted from scholarship support. Don’t miss the chance to learn more about incredible student and alumni successes and the very real ways we are changing the world, one bright, determined student at a time.

To learn more about how you can take part in this special one-time event and change NIU history for the better from your favorite spot on the couch, visit

Date posted: October 11, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on ‘Thousands Strong’ event promises incredible stories, celebrity guests 

Categories: Alumni Centerpiece Community Events Faculty & Staff Students Uncategorized

Nominations for honorary doctoral degrees to be awarded from Northern Illinois University are now being accepted.

Awarding an honorary degree is an opportunity for the university to recognize someone especially outstanding in a field of interest to the university. It is necessary, though not sufficient, for a nominee to be accomplished and renowned in their field; an honorary-degree recipient should be clearly exceptional among other outstanding persons in that field.

While a connection to NIU or to the state of Illinois is not a requirement for nomination, any such relationship should be noted and will be considered during the selection process.

A nomination must be accompanied by:

  • A supporting narrative that clearly indicates the nominee’s distinction, as mentioned above, in business, education, the liberal arts and sciences, technology, the fine arts, other professional fields or public service.
  • One or more standard biographical statements from appropriate reference sources (these are not substitutes for the narrative indicated above).
  • Current contact information for the nominee.

Any person affiliated with NIU may submit a nomination, indicating the nominator’s identity and connection with the university. The Honorary Degree Committee encourages nominations by groups as well as by individuals. Nominators should alert all university departments and divisions related to the area of the nominee’s accomplishments and invite those units to provide the committee with input regarding the merits of the nomination.

As the university does not intend to award more than two honorary degrees in a year, the selection process is stringent. Furthermore, as the committee recommendations subsequently pass through several other approval steps, the process is lengthy.

This year’s nominations, with the required supporting information, should be submitted to Bradley Bond, dean of the Graduate School and associate vice president for Graduate Studies by Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.

Names of past recipients of the NIU Honorary Degrees are available on the Division of Academic Affairs website.

Date posted: October 7, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Graduate School seeks nominations for Honorary Doctoral Degrees

Categories: Faculty & Staff Homepage Uncategorized


Tim Sleep, M.S.Ed. ’89, was drawn to music as a child.  After a 30-year career in education, he has dedicated his talents to being Naperville’s City Carilloneur.

Tim Sleep, M.S.Ed. ’89, does not remember deciding to be a musician, per se. But, then again, he cannot remember a time when he did not play an instrument. The music was always a part of him.

“I was very into music as a child and took up playing the clarinet, piano and organ in 4th grade,” Sleep remembered. “I began playing for Sunday school services at age 10 and have continued to this day. I was not a virtuoso, just determined.”

Growing up in Warrenville, Illinois, Sleep found his voice through playing music. He attended North Central College in Naperville, earning a bachelor’s in music education and went on to be a middle school band director for 21 years. He earned his M.S.Ed. at NIU, and moved into administration, finishing his public education career as the principal of Crone Middle School in Naperville, Illinois. Throughout all this time, Sleep also held church music positions, serving mostly as organist and choir director, even during his time as principal.

When he retired in 2003, he had to decide what to do next. Many of his colleagues had stayed in education, but Sleep knew he wanted to return to music full-time.

“I looked around and saw that Naperville was building a carillon,” he said, which is only a few miles from his home in Warrenville. “A close friend of mine oversaw the project and suggested that I learn to play. I started lessons in 2001 and passed my Guild of Carillonneurs in North America advancement exam in 2004. In 2007, I was named Naperville City Carillonneur, the position I hold to this day.”

For those unfamiliar with carillons, the musical instrument is typically housed in a bell tower or belfry of a church or municipal building. The set of bells is played using a keyboard or by an automatic mechanism controlled by a computer.

Naperville’s Millennium Carillon in Moser Tower and the Visitor Center is a special attraction to the city. Visitors can climb the 253 steps to the top of the tower on the guided tour and enjoy the spectacular view, where on a clear day the Chicago skyline can be seen.

“I perform regularly on the 72 bells of the Naperville Millennium Carillon,” Sleep said. “I schedule other local and guest carillonneurs throughout the year and also oversee the maintenance of the instrument, news releases, and the teaching of prospective carillon students.”


There are 72 bells in the Millennium Carillon in Naperville’s Moser Tower.

In addition to playing in Naperville he often tours during the summer months giving concerts on carillons throughout the country.

Although retired now, Sleep has also been a member of and has held positions with the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America for 18 years. He served as corresponding secretary, board member, vice president and served four years in the role of president.
“Where NIU really helped me was as I sought leadership positions within the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America,” Sleep said. “The educational leadership training was invaluable in managing an international organization of highly independent members.”

Sleep remembers his time at NIU fondly, although it was a busy time in his life. While earning his master’s in educational leadership, he attended night and summer classes while working full-time as a band director.

“For me, I was so appreciative of the networking that my instructors encouraged during my classes at NIU,” he said. “School administrators don’t get a lot of chance to talk to others. I found NIU’s commitment to make my degree relevant and practical, in addition to the philosophical underpinnings, to be priceless. They seemed to try to make the evening classes as robust as those during the day.”

As a second career, Sleep could not be happier with his choice to become a carillonneur. His role in Naperville continues to bring him joy each day.

“I enjoy being able to bring music from the bells in the tower as well as giving tours, playing special concerts, and generally being the spokesperson for the instrument,” he said. “I really enjoy seeing the looks on people’s faces as they see how the instrument is played and get to see the bells on the instrument up close.”

Date posted: October 7, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Tim Sleep, M.S.Ed., ’89, chimes in on his lifelong music career

Categories: Alumni Faculty & Staff Homepage Students

Nandini Patel came to NIU School of Nursing to gain real-world experience that would prepare her for a successful career in nursing. Being a student during a pandemic doesn’t change that.

“As nurses we will soon be in the trenches so to speak, with COVID-19 and other diseases,” Patel said. “The more hands-on learning we have, the better nurses we will be when we graduate.”

Kari Hickey, director of NIU School of Nursing undergraduate program, said the school is committed to providing experiential learning opportunities during COVID-19 and has mitigation measures in place to do so.

Nursing students screen students entering school at St. Mary’s School in Sycamore. 

“We’re balancing safety with a commitment to experiential learning that just can’t be eliminated for our students,” Hickey said.

Mitigation measures include things like reducing clinical course sizes and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to nursing students. In addition, some courses have been adapted, like Population Focused Nursing (NURS 443).

Nursing students provide information in the form of a bingo game while at Carpenter’s Place in Rockford.

Population Focused Nursing is a course that normally places students in community settings to both learn and provide health care information and services to regional residents. This semester, nursing students from the course went to St. Mary’s School in Sycamore to screen children as they arrived at school and to discuss how to deal with the stress of the pandemic. Another group of nursing students went to Carpenter’s Place, a homeless day center in Rockford, where they provided health and wellness information in the form of a bingo game.

“This is the next generation of nurses,” Hickey said. “At NIU, we are committed to ensuring they have the knowledge and experiences to become leaders in delivering safe and effective nursing care to diverse populations.”

Go to NIU School of Nursing to learn more.

Date posted: October 7, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Nursing students press on during pandemic

Categories: CHHSnews Community Faculty & Staff Homepage Students Uncategorized

Heather MekkelsonThe sculpture area of the NIU School of Art and Design is hosting a virtual Zoom presentation by visiting artist Heather Mekkelson, Thursday, October 8 at 5 p.m.

Mekkelson is a sculptor and installation artist based in Chicago. She has had several solo exhibitions at chicago galleries such as 65GRAND, 4th Ward Project Space and STANDARD.

She has exhibited in group shows in galleries and institutions nationally since 2001. Mekkelson’s work has been featured in Art Journal, Art21 Magazine,, Artnet, Flavorpill, Hyperallergic, Newcity, Time Out Chicago and others.

She has been the recipient of several fellowships and grants, including the 2012 Artadia Award, and the Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship in Sculpture in 2020.

The event is open to the public. To join in, log into your Zoom account or go to The Meeting ID is 921 8632 1445 and the passcode is 539303.

Date posted: October 6, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU Sculpture to host visiting artist talk

Categories: Faculty & Staff Homepage Students Uncategorized

This summer, NIU’s Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development (OERD) coordinated with community and campus partners to respond to the needs of small businesses and nonprofits during the COVID crisis. The result was 40TUDE Business and 40TUDE Nonprofit.

“40TUDE is community/university engagement at its finest,” says Jennifer Groce, NIU director of community promotions and 40TUDE project manager. “40TUDE brings together the expertise of NIU faculty, staff and students along with local business owners and nonprofit leaders to respond to needs identified by the community.”

Krystal Hegg, 40TUDE Business

When undergraduate Krystal Hegg heard about 40TUDE, she was thrilled to have the chance to participate. Hegg, a senior majoring in accountancy and minoring in business analytics, completed a tax internship this past summer and recognizes the benefit of real-world employment in understanding the day-to-day work of a given job. “I’m really looking forward to both the real-world experience and the experience of being able to work in a team,” Hegg says.

Hegg, along with fellow students and NIU College of Business Instructor Federico Bassetti, will be helping DeKalb area small businesses amplify their online visibility and sales capacity with design and web services.

“We’ll work essentially as a creative agency team for which success is measured by the value received at the customer’s end,” Bassetti says. “It doesn’t get any more real than the 40TUDE setting. Problem solving, meeting tight deadlines, helping clients with real needs and a tight operating budget, managing multiple and conflicting priorities.” Most of all, Bassetti says he is thrilled that the team will get to work with and learn from Brian Oster, creative director and president of DeKalb’s own marketing and creative firm OC Creative. “To work with a successful creative firm, which is producing two regional Midwest Superbowl commercials, for example, is an amazing experience for our students,” says Bassetti.

While 40TUDE Business team members gain hands-on experience as part of a creative team, 40TUDE Nonprofit team members will gain practical experience in the nonprofit sector, in areas such as data collection and analysis, fundraising and communications. These paid positions ease students’ current finances and are a stepping-stone to future career success.

Sydney Webster, 40TUDE Nonprofit

Sydney Webster, a senior majoring in organizational and corporate communication with a minor in nonprofit and NGO studies, is looking forward to expanding her skills. “As a senior, I am starting to look into what I want to do and where I want to be, so having skills such as working with a team to help nonprofits prosper is a really great thing. I hope to be able to expand my network, hone my skills and really make an impact in a nonprofit’s mission.”

Webster and fellow team members will work with NIU Associate Professor Alicia Schatteman, director of the Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies, to apply what they’re learning in class.

“40TUDE Nonprofit is very important for undergraduate students to gain practical experience in the sector, which will make them more competitive in the job market when they graduate and help them determine potential career options,” Schatteman says. “Real-world projects are by nature multi-faceted, so students will be introduced to many different challenges that nonprofits are facing.”

One of the major benefits students receive from this kind of employment is the chance to put into practice the concepts they’re learning in the classroom. With such a creative and accomplished group of students, the mix of different experiences and academic specializations they bring to the table is truly impressive.

Sheila Martinez, 40TUDE Nonprofit

Senior Sheila Martinez, for example, is majoring in marketing with an emphasis in sales, and she is also proud of her minors in Latino and Latin American studies and Spanish, as well as her nonprofit and NGO studies certificate. She’s excited to apply her knowledge to help local nonprofits, especially Randy’s Rescue, an organization in Kingston, Illinois, dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming elderly and abused horses. “I cannot wait to see how we can give more exposure and resources to the organization for the animals and for the community,” she says.

Emily Alvarado, 40TUDE Business

Emily Alvarado, a senior studying operations management and information systems (OMIS) and pursing her criminology certificate, grew up with many small businesses in her family and has been a small business owner herself. She hopes her experience with everything from designing menus to managing IT for small businesses will help her contribute to the community as part of the 40TUDE team.

The student team members will be paid through an Illinois Board of Higher Education grant, managed by NIU’s JobsPLUS.

According to Chad Glover, director of JobsPLUS, “These are the kinds of work experiences that we frequently hear from employers that they looking for when recruiting graduates. So we hope this experience will not only have immediate value for the student but also lasting impact into their career after graduation.”

“40TUDE is a truly collaborative and interdisciplinary effort that internally cuts across colleges and departments, spans both the operational and academic sides of NIU, and engages the local community to help solve real challenges,” Glover continues.

The student team members are motivated by the chance to solve these challenges and make a positive difference in the community – especially at a time when so many businesses and nonprofits are facing challenges due to COVID-19.

Nolan O’Rear, 40TUDE Business

Nolan O’Rear, a junior majoring in finance with a minor in business analytics, says thinking about the end results of his work helps to keep him motivated.

“It’s really exciting to me to help DeKalb businesses specifically,” he says, “especially because COVID has negatively impacted a lot of businesses. It would be really special for me if our work is able to impact DeKalb businesses in a positive manner.”

Learn more at

40TUDE is still hiring team members. Interested NIU undergraduate students should contact Chad Glover at [email protected].


Date posted: October 5, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU students respond to community needs with 40TUDE

Categories: Community Faculty & Staff Homepage Students Uncategorized

Educate Global logoAs the initial dust of COVID-19 settled in the spring, Laurie Elish-Piper and David Walker began mulling what the virus meant for the near future of the college’s signature hands-on learning programs.

“It became pretty apparent that our entire Educate and Engage series, from local to U.S. to global, was likely going to go online and was not going to be in-person in the fall,” says Walker, associate dean for Academic Affairs.

“We put in place plans for Educate and Engage Local and U.S., but we were still brainstorming about Educate Global,” Walker adds, “and Laurie said, ‘You know, David Nieto has some contacts with institutions in Spain and also in Mexico.’ ”

Nieto, an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, was excited by call he received from Walker and the dean as well as the subsequent discussions with colleagues at La Universidad de Alcalá in Madrid.

The result of those talks – and of local planning with Jennifer Johnson, the NIU College of Education’s director of Teacher Preparation and Development – is this fall’s launch of the latest Educate Global experience.

Fifty Huskies will collaborate in the cultural and academic exchange with 50 counterparts from Spain during three online, synchronous seminars in September, October and November via Zoom.

Educate Global trips traditionally offer in-person, up-close, perspective-broadening experiences with different cultures, international colleagues and a support system for developing the practice of teaching and exploring the host countries.

David Nieto
David Nieto

COVID-19 currently prevents travel – normally, thanks to generous donors to the College of Education, students make these voyages at little or no cost to themselves – but this fall’s Zoom alternative multiplies the human impact by eliminating expenses of airfare, room and board.

“The virtual model presents an amazing opportunity for more of our candidates to participate in this transformational experience,” Johnson says. “The design is engaging, and they’re going to be able to connect with multiple teacher-mentors and multiple representatives from Spain.”

And, despite the circumstances of restricted travel, Nieto is confident that the fall agenda will prove meaningful.

“Hopefully,” Nieto says, “this will spark a conversation between students in Spain who are earning their degrees to be bilingual teachers and prospective teachers over here who are also interested, not only in bilingual education but in education in general in that they want to understand how the education system operates in another part of the world.”

Seminar One took place on Monday, Sept. 21, with welcomes and introductions, rules of engagement and icebreakers.

Participants received a comparison of U.S. and Spanish educational systems based on a template created by Patrick Roberts, associate professor in the NIU Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations and faculty director of the Blackwell History of Education Museum.

Both institutions also presented biographical overviews.

Alcalá, founded in 1499, enrolls around 29,000 students in 40 undergraduate programs, 56 master’s degree programs and 30 doctoral programs.

The university is also home to the Franklin Institute, which hosts the “Teach & Learn in Spain” program that offers native English-speaking students the opportunity of pursuing master’s degrees while serving as language assistants in schools in the Madrid region.

The Oct. 26 meeting will explore “The World of Bilingual Education: Teaching in Multilingual Classrooms” while the Nov. 16 finale will examine “Multiculturalism and Interculturality.”

Each session also will place participants in break-out discussions on ideas that “caught their attention,” Nieto says, as well as time for questions-and-answers and debriefings.

Nieto, who was born and raised in Spain but moved to United States for his higher education, is eager to begin.

“Our students will have a good idea of how to look at these concepts from a different point of view,” he says.

“Sometimes, you’re just looking from another perspective and believing, ‘This is how things are,’ ” he adds, “but I think it’s always enriching to hear others say, ‘Oh, there’s another way to knowing this same concept, or understanding this concept,’ and, ultimately, that’s what we want all participants to leave with.”

David Walker and Jennifer Johnson
David Walker and Jennifer Johnson

Walker also is excited for Educate Global in Spain in its promotion of collaboration between college students; previous incarnations in China, Taiwan and Finland have paired NIU students with K-12 children in those countries.

“This is more peer-to-peer engagement and interaction,” he says. “Some of the ideas are to use guided prompts and observations from the two educational systems to provide our candidates and their candidates some considerations to assist them in discovering varied approaches and value assessments of the two teacher-education models.”

After the pandemic subsides, Nieto and Walker hope to expand the program by sending NIU students to Madrid (and bringing Alcalá students to Illinois) and by renewing discussions with Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico, where Nieto also has contacts.

Date posted: October 5, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Educate Global reaches Spain via Zoom, participants will join in online seminars

Categories: Faculty & Staff Global Homepage Students