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There is a great need to diversify faculty at Illinois’ universities to reflect the student body and society to address educational disparity.

NIU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and College of Education will host a statewide conference on Saturday, Feb. 24, for Diversifying Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellows.  The all-day conference, titled Preparing Future Faculty, will consist of presentations, mini-workshops and roundtable discussions in an effort to inspire graduate students of color to consider the professoriate as a career path and to show students how to prepare for a career as a college professor. Among the topics addressed will be beginning the job search through conferences and networking; developing a curriculum vitae, teaching philosophy and research agenda; and seeking mentors.

“A quality college education is one that is centered on inclusive excellence — how well it values and engages the rich diversity of its students, staff, faculty, and administrators. In order to create and maintain that excellence, we need to create an environment that represents the varied backgrounds of the world we live in,” explains Janice Hamlet, conference coordinator and Director of Diversity and Inclusion Programs for CLAS. “A diverse faculty positively affects student retention and success by exposing students to the richness of human experiences and perspectives, teaching styles and diverse learning environments.”

The Preparing Future Faculty conference will present information about the professoriate at the various types of institutions of higher learning — community college, public liberal arts college, private liberal arts college and public research university. The fellows will learn about the expectations in the area of teaching, research and service required of professors in each type of institution. The conference will end with the graduate students sharing their research and engaging with a panel of current professors.

Graduate students of color from Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois –Chicago, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, DePaul University, Governors State University, Illinois State University, National Louis University, Loyola University and Northern Illinois University will participate.  

Conference activities will start in the Sky Room in the Holmes Student Center beginning at 8 a.m. For more information, contact Janice D. Hamlet, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at 815-753-7954.

Date posted: February 19, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on CLAS and COE host conference to diversify future faculty members

Categories: Centerpiece Faculty & Staff Students Uncategorized

Sylvia Earle

Legendary oceanographer and TED Prize winner Sylvia Earle will visit DeKalb on Thursday, Feb. 22, for an Egyptian Theatre screening of “Mission Blue,” a film looking at her personal mission to save the world’s oceans.

Earle will make brief remarks prior to the film’s screening at 7 p.m. After the screening, she will take questions from audience members.

A National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence and former chief science officer for NOAA, Earle has spent six decades exploring the oceans. She has led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater.

“Sylvia is the most famous and inspirational oceanographer in the world,” said Reed Scherer, an NIU Board of Trustees Professor of Geology. Earle’s company, DOER, built specialized gear used by Scherer and colleague Ross Powell in their Antarctic research.

“We’re honored that Sylvia is visiting DeKalb, especially since NIU students and the public will have an opportunity to interact with her,” Scherer added. “Sylvia tells a compelling story and is a particular inspiration to young women considering careers in science.”

The screening at the Egyptian is part of the Green Lens Film Series, a collaboration between DeKalb environmentalist Nancy Proesel, NIU scientists Scherer and Pat Vary, and NIU film scholar Jeff Chown.

Shot during a three-year period in numerous locations around the world, “Mission Blue” traces Earle’s remarkable personal journey, from her earliest memories exploring the ocean as a young girl to her days leading a daring undersea mission in the Virgin Islands.

The film weaves her unique personal history with the passion that consumes Earle today—creating a global parks system for the ocean. Earle believes that the ambitious plan is the best way to restore ocean health. But as she travels the Gulf of Mexico, the Galapagos Islands, the Coral Sea and beyond, the daunting challenges become clear.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Professor Scherer at [email protected].

Date posted: February 15, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on Legendary oceanographer to visit DeKalb for film screening

Categories: Centerpiece Community Faculty & Staff Students

For the past decade, the recipients of NIU’s Forward, Together Forward Scholarships have embodied the university’s commitment to emerge from the darkness of Feb. 14, 2008, stronger than ever.

Intended to honor the spirit of those lost that day, the scholarships are given each year to up to five students who demonstrate not only academic excellence, but also strength of character, motivation, inspiration, integrity and a high regard for others.

The 2018 winners of the scholarships once again highlight the diversity, strength and integrity of the NIU student body.

  • Lianne Abellar is an elementary education major who is preparing for her future in the classroom by teaching refugees;
  • Megan Gardner, who is studying dietetics, plans to battle global hunger and hopes to change the world one meal at a time;
  • Margaret Hitchcock is an outspoken advocate on LGBTQA issues who works on behalf of that population on campus and in the broader community;
  • Edgar Lopez is a leader in the Latino community in Rochelle, who is already looking past graduation to the day when he can pay forward his NIU experience by supporting future Huskies.
  • Christine Wang, the speaker of the NIU Student Association Senate, has studied abroad in five countries, worked in government at the county and federal levels, and helped revitalized campus mental health programs is preparing for a career in public service.

The latest class of recipients brings the total number of beneficiaries of the Feb. 14th Memorial Fund to 50, each of whom has received a $4,000 scholarship.  More than 1,800 donors have given more than $745,000 to support the fund.

The five 2018 winners embody all of the best qualities of not just of the Huskies lost in 2008, but of NIU in general. Profiles of the Forward, Together Forward Scholars can be found in the NIU Newsroom.


Date posted: February 13, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on Forward, Together Scholars excel and inspire

Categories: Centerpiece Faculty & Staff Students

Northern Illinois University will hold a series of events, beginning Friday, Feb. 9, to mark the passage of 10 years and honor the lives of five students lost on Feb. 14, 2008.

NIU Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Kelly Wesener-Michael, who led a campus-wide committee to plan the commemoration, said that great care was taken in creating the events. “We wanted to provide opportunities for all to remember those we lost, and to reflect on how we have moved forward since that day.”

The events are designed to provide individuals a variety of opportunities to participate and reflect. All of these events are free and open to the public.

  • Community Appreciation Reception, 4:30 p.m., Friday Feb. 9, Capitol Room, Holmes Student Center
    University faculty and staff, community members, first responders, public safety staff, and medical personnel who actively contributed to the response and healing of the community 10 years ago are invited to gather for refreshments and fellowship.
  • Candlelight Vigil, 6 p.m., Friday, Feb. 9, Duke Ellington Ballroom, Holmes Student Center
    All are invited to light candles and reflect on the healing and strength of the community since Feb. 14, 2008. The event will include brief remarks by NIU campus leaders. Candles will be provided.
  • Reflection Walk, 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, NIU Recreation Center
    A 2.14-mile walk that will allow individuals and groups to walk through a course in the NIU Recreation Center with opportunities for reflection along the route.
  • First Responders Recognition, Saturday, Feb. 10, NIU Convocation Center
    First responders who came to the aid of the university in 2008 will be honored during the men’s/women’s basketball double header. At the women’s game against Bowling Green (tip off at 1 p.m.) first responders will participate in a pre-game flag presentation and a halftime ceremony. At the men’s game against Buffalo (tip off at 3:30 p.m.) first responders will participate in a pre-game honor guard ceremony and are invited to attend a half time reception.
  • Forward, Together: A Concert in Tribute, 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, Boutell Concert Hall, NIU Music Building
    This School of Music concert will embody the themes of resilience and healing.
  • Laying of Memorial Wreaths, 3 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 14, outside of Cole Hall
    The public is invited to gather as wreaths are placed on the memorial stones at the Peaceful Reflection Garden and to observe a moment of reflection. Bells will be tolled at 3:06 p.m.

The Pick Museum of Anthropology will also host a special exhibit, Forward, Together Forward: Remembering, in the Gallery Lounge of the Holmes Student Center. The installation will include items from the NIU Archives that show the campus, community and national response to the tragedy, as well as examining how the campus has rebuilt and recovered since that day. The exhibit will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Feb. 5-8 and Feb 11-14, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 9 and 10.

A complete schedule of public events can be found online.

For more information about Remembrance Events at NIU, please go to, or call 815-753-1573.

Date posted: February 7, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on Events planned to commemorate Feb. 14, 2008

Categories: Alumni Centerpiece Community Events Faculty & Staff Students

Semester-to-semester retention rates remained strong, with 88 percent of freshmen and nearly 91 percent of transfer students enrolled at NIU in the fall returning for the spring semester. Those figures match the robust performances of the last several years.

Sol Jensen

“The strength of those numbers is very encouraging as they demonstrate that students who choose NIU are continuing to find value here and connecting with the university,” said Sol Jensen, NIU vice president for Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications.

Law school enrollment was up 3 percent compared to last spring. Graduate school enrollment slipped 6.3 percent compared to a year ago.

Total enrollment for the spring semester stands at 16,673, a dip of 4.7 percent compared to last spring.

“Based upon the 5.1 percent drop in the fall, we would have expected to see the same in the spring,” Jensen said. “So these numbers are actually slightly better than anticipated. It is a subtle but significant point as we look for indications that we are beginning to turn the tide.”


Date posted: February 5, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on Spring enrollment numbers include positive signs

Categories: Centerpiece Faculty & Staff

With valuable time on its side before work commences this fall to pick a new leader for the university, NIU’s Board of Trustees is getting ahead of the game.

Members of a board-appointed Presidential Search Planning Committee began meeting in January to research and identify best practices and trends nationwide in the hiring of university CEOs.

Given the mission “to help plan for the selection of a president who will move NIU into the next decade,” the committee also will draft a possible job description, create materials to tout the university to candidates and provide input on the “design of an inclusive and transparent selection process.”

Public notices of the planning committee’s meetings will be posted online at

NIU Trustee Dennis Barsema, who is chairing the committee at the request of BOT Chair Wheeler Coleman, intends to deliver the committee’s recommendations to the board in May.

He also expects the work will give NIU a competitive advantage. “When you’re in a presidential search, you’re in a race. You’re not the only university out there looking for a president. It’s a very competitive process,” Barsema says.

“My hope, and the hope of the Board of Trustees, is that this will give us a jump-start on all of the other universities doing a presidential search this fall,” he adds. “Our hope is that it will give us an opportunity to get to the great candidates first, and maybe cause them not to even look at the other universities and to put NIU at the top of their lists.”

Furthermore, he says, the committee supports NIU’s mission of shared governance.

Barsema is certain that the planning “will save us several months of work and give us a head start on getting to the best candidates,” a belief rooted in what he observed as a participant in the last presidential search.

“Once the search firm was hired through the procurement process, it took a long time before they actually started talking to candidates because the first few months of the process was spent developing the ‘NIU Points of Pride’ marketing collateral,” Barsema says.

“It was spent developing the job description. It was spent deciding how the search was going to be run, what the best practices were going to be,” he adds.

“Spin the clock forward to 2017. The Board of Trustees made the decision to delay the search because of our confidence in President Freeman, in wanting to give her and her team time to implement their ideas, which I still feel was the right decision.”

Upcoming tasks include examinations of State of Illinois guidelines on hiring, current presidential contracts and salaries at similarly sized and budgeted public universities and delineating NIU’s points of pride.

Planning Committee members also will consult the NIU Constitution and Bylaws for guidance on the makeup of the search committee. (Service on the Presidential Search Planning Committee neither mandates nor precludes its members from serving on this fall’s search committee.)

Members of the Presidential Search Planning Committee:

  • Dennis Barsema, Board of Trustees (chair)
  • Fred Barnhart, Council of Deans
  • Pete Garrity, Alumni Association board member
  • Montel Gayles, NIU Foundation board member
  • Katy Jaekel, faculty member
  • Kevin Luginbill, graduate student
  • Debra Miller, Supportive Professional Staff Council member
  • Linda Saborio, Executive Secretary of the University Council
  • George Slotsve, faculty member
  • Kendall Thu, faculty member
  • Mary Wyzard, Operating Staff Council member
  • Undergraduate student (seat currently open)
  • Instructor (seat currently open)

NIU expects to have new president in place by July 1, 2019. Freeman stepped in the acting role July 1, 2017.

Date posted: January 31, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on Presidential Search Planning Committee begins work

Categories: Centerpiece Faculty & Staff Students

Even casual bettors may like to put down a wager during the Super Bowl or March Madness, but doing so on university time or with university resources is not allowed.  Additionally, placing such a bet is likely considered illegal gambling in the State of Illinois.

Under State law, gambling includes any game of chance or skill played for money or anything else of value. While there are a number of provisions in the law that permit gambling in certain settings and situations (for example, the Illinois Lottery, licensed casinos, licensed video gaming in local businesses, etc.), unlicensed sports betting and office pools are not among them.

Illegal gambling at NIU or during work time violates Illinois law and university policy. This includes Super Bowl “squares,” March Madness office pools and other similar games. In addition, State law and NIU policies do not allow for use of university resources, including computers, e-mail, paper, printers or work-time, for gambling purposes.  Employees who operate, participate in or collect winnings from such gambling activities could be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge, especially in the most egregious of situations.

For more information, talk to Human Resource Services, the Office of General Counsel, or the NIU Ethics Officer.  If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) or contact the NIU Employee Assistance Program.

Date posted: January 31, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on Don’t roll the dice on office pools

Categories: Faculty & Staff Homepage

The History of Science Society recently announced the 2017-2018 HSS/NASA Fellowship in the History of Space Science has been awarded to Andy Bruno, an associate professor of history at Northern Illinois University. He will use the fellowship to study the history of the mysterious Tunguska explosion of 1908 that happened over a desolate region of Siberia and the efforts by amateurs, scientists, and even science fiction writers to understand it.

The explosion, which decimated 770 square miles of forest, was alternately attributed to an air burst from an asteroid, a meteor or comet, the release and explosion of natural gas from the Earth’s crust, and even a nuclear explosion from a UFO crash.

Bruno will use research surrounding the event and the contested explanations to illuminate various aspects of Soviet science during the Cold War. He has already spent time researching at the “Threatened Orders” Collaborative Research Center at the University of Tübingen and traveling to Russia in 2012, 2013, and 2017 to conduct research in the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow and the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg.

Bruno is also Faculty Associate in Environmental Studies at NIU. His first book, The Nature of Soviet Power: An Arctic Environmental History, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. As part of the HSS/NASA prize, he will give a public talk this spring.

Date posted: January 24, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on Professor Andy Bruno awarded prestigious HSS/NASA fellowship

Categories: Accolades

Anna Quider

Anna Quider

NIU’s Anna Quider will play a leading role this year in advocating for federal research funding to the nation’s universities.

Quider, NIU’s director of federal relations, recently was elected president of the board of directors for the Science Coalition, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization representing more than 50 of the nation’s leading public and private research universities. In addition to NIU, organization members include Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Boston University, Notre Dame, Penn State and the University of Illinois.

Based in Washington, D.C., the Science Coalition is dedicated to sustaining the federal government’s investment in basic scientific research as a means to stimulate the economy, spur innovation and drive America’s global competitiveness. As president, Quider will be responsible for leading the organization’s strategic direction and operational management. Her one-year term began Jan. 1.

“My goal is to encourage robust federal investments in fundamental research through creative, strategic communications and initiatives that showcase the importance of this research for all Americans and position the United States as a global leader in scientific discovery,” Quider said.

Federal funding is the primary source of support for fundamental research conducted at higher education institutions across the United States. In addition to the discoveries and innovations they generate, university research labs foster the education and training of the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators who are in high demand across numerous industries.

“The work of the Science Coalition is important because federal investment in fundamental research fuels innovation that saves and improves lives, creates jobs and leads to economic growth,” said Quider, who also serves on to the Executive Committee of the Council on Governmental Affairs (CGA) for the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU).

Quider took on the role of NIU’s federal relations director in 2014 and has served on the Science Coalition Board of Directors for the past two years. She is well-versed on the topic of science, having earned bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy, in religious studies and in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Marshall Scholar.

In the past, Quider has served as a principal investigator on a Hubble Space Telescope research project and as an elected member-at-large on the Executive Committee of the Forum on Physics and Society, a unit of the American Physical Society. She also worked previously on international science issues at the U.S. Department of State.

“We’re thrilled that Dr. Quider has taken on this leadership role with the Science Coalition,” said Jerry Blazey, vice president of NIU’s Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships. “Her work with the Science Coalition benefits our nation’s scientific community, while naturally offering opportunities to raise NIU’s profile.”


Date posted: January 24, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on Anna Quider elected president of D.C.-based Science Coalition

Categories: Faculty & Staff Homepage Research Uncategorized

NIU is more than familiar with the amazing stories students tell about their engaged learning experiences with faculty.

Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day

The ninth annual Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day and the fifth annual Community Engagement Showcase are planned Wednesday, April 18.

However, this spring will introduce a new event that uncovers and recognizes the faculty perspective of collaborations with students and community partners. The first Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 6.

Several faculty and staff will present on best practices in engaged learning, teaching and scholarship in the Holmes Student Center. All are welcome to attend; registration is open online.

Renique Kersh

“Engaging students and the local, regional, national and global community is critical to NIU’s mission,” says Renique Kersh, associate vice provost for Engaged Learning and director of the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning.

“We want to celebrate the tremendous efforts by faculty and staff across the campus to create and support opportunities that lead to significant learning and community and economic impact,” Kersh adds. “We hope to inspire potential collaboration, to engage in thoughtful discussions about the future of engaged learning at NIU and to learn from one another.”

Kersh says “engaged learning” comes in many forms:

  • Undergraduate research;
  • Service-learning;
  • Project- or problem-based learning;
  • Innovative practices;
  • Practical ways that community engagement, reciprocity and mutual benefits are obtained through strategic partnerships that result in positive economic or social benefits; and
  • Engaged research, scholarship, creativity and artistry, in addition to engaged learning, teaching and community partnerships.

“At the crux, engaged learning as a practice puts the learner at the center,” she says. “It involves intentionality, application of knowledge and active participation.”

For students, she adds, “the results are significant learning, the ability to think more deeply and understand complex materials, and to better understand and embrace the ways that they connect with the world around them.”

Lisa Freeman, acting president of NIU, will deliver the opening remarks as well as the keynote address: “Bringing NIU’s Mission to Life through Engagement.”

Concurrent “Best Practice” sessions begin at 9:15 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. A plenary session is scheduled from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m., and a poster session will begin at 11:45 a.m.

Participants will close the day with a discussion on “The Future of Engaged Learning at NIU.”

“We hope to learn more about the ways that faculty interpret and implement engaged learning at NIU,” Kersh says. “Engaged learning represents pedagogy, practice and scholarship that is high-impact and has long-term benefits that extend beyond the classroom and the brick-and-mortar.”

Co-sponsors of the Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference are the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning; the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center; the College of Business Experiential Learning Center; and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, call (815) 753-8154 or email [email protected].

Date posted: January 17, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU launches conference on engaged learning, teaching, scholarship

Categories: Centerpiece Community Engagement Events Faculty & Staff Prospective Students Students

The theme for this year’s Martin Luther King Celebration week  is “Keep moving forward in beauty, love, and justice.”

The weeks celebration continues on Tuesday, January 16. Visit the Regency Room in Holmes Student Center between 2:00-7:00 for the Journey Toward Justice exhibit. This walking exhibit introduces visitors to social movements and coalition building across time. At 5:00 there will be a formal program in the Regency Room with remarks and a presentation on historic social movements.

Wednesday, January 17, at 6:30, also in the Regency Room, the group Circles & Ciphers will present Circles of Love, Ciphers for Justice. Circles & Ciphers is a hip-hop based restorative justice organization led by youth impacted by violence in Chicago. The group will perform original spoken word poetry fused with written and improvisational hip hop.

On Thursday, January 18, the community is invited to the Social Justice Think Tank from 5:00-7:30. The “think tank” will focus on coalition-building, activism, and forward movement across the NIU-DeKalb community. Strong and actionable ideas may receive funding.

The week concludes with the MLK Concert at Boutell Memorial Concert Hall. The concert will be open to a live audience and streamed online as well.

All activities are free to the public and all are welcome.

All events are sponsored by the Office of Academic Diversity, equity and Inclusion. Additional sponsors include the DeKalb Public Library, Beloved Community, and the Center for Black Studies. Special thanks to NIU Helping Huskies Thrive Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program for their generous support for the Circles & Ciphers event.

Date posted: January 15, 2018 | Author: | Comments Off on Martin Luther King Celebration Week in full swing

Categories: Community Events Faculty & Staff Homepage Students

Northern Illinois College of Law is proud to announce that the passage rate for first-time takers on the Illinois July 2017 bar was 84%, four points above the state average.  NIU also  placed fourth among the nine Illinois law schools with only the University of Chicago, Illinois, and Northwestern having higher passage rates as noted by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. This was the second year in a row in which NIU has been four points above the state average for first-time takers, reflecting the school’s strong commitment to academic excellence and preparing students for successful careers.

“We are delighted to receive the report of these impressive results,” said Jeanna Hunter, director of NIU Law’s Academic Success Program, which coordinates the school’s bar passage initiatives. “Bar passage and practice readiness are critical goals for our law students and we take this preparation seriously.”

Hunter also noted that from the moment students walk in the door, these skills are incorporated  into their courses and we continue to emphasize them throughout law school, culminating in the bar passage courses in students’ final year.

“These extremely positive results demonstrate NIU’s focus on a strong curriculum and teaching, and providing students the individual attention necessary for success,” added Interim Dean Mark Cordes. “Strong bar exam results also lead into our excellent employment outcomes, where NIU has consistently been among the top schools in the state in job placement after law school.”

Date posted: December 13, 2017 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU Law earns 84 percent passage on Illinois July Bar Exam, placing fourth in state

Categories: Centerpiece Faculty & Staff Law Students