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Northern Illinois University College of Law has been named a top law school for criminal law by PreLaw Magazine with an A- rating. NIU Law is one of only three Illinois schools on the list joining Northwestern and Chicago-Kent, both also receiving A- ratings. Law schools were graded based on the breadth of their curricular offerings including concentrations, clinics, centers, externships, journals, student groups, certificates and others.

This honor follows similar accolades in 2017 when NIU Law was named by as one of the top schools in the nation for graduates going into public interest and in 2016 from National Jurist and prelaw magazines, which recognized NIU Law as one the nation’s top schools for delivering students to public service careers.

“We are proud to see NIU Law named a top law school for criminal law,” says NIU Law Interim Dean Laurel Rigertas. “Many of our graduates go to work in state’s attorney and public defender offices, which aligns with NIU Law’s core mission of public service. It is wonderful to see our excellent curriculum in the area of criminal law get recognized and honored.”

NIU Law has been consistently named a top law school nationally for diversity, value and for careers in public service. NIU Law provides unique opportunities for its students beginning with its highly accomplished faculty who are personally invested in the success of their students in the classroom and throughout their careers. Although many alumni serve as public interest attorneys, elected officials and judges, they are equally prepared for careers in private practice, ranging from solo practitioners to lawyers in multinational firms.

Date posted: March 4, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU Law named a top school for criminal law

Categories: Homepage Law Students

Dr. Kenneth C. Chessick (’84) was selected to 2020 Super Lawyers, an honor for only the top 5% of each state’s attorneys.

Dr. Kenneth Chessick

Chessick, of counsel to Clifford Law Offices, is a well-respected and well-known lawyer and doctor. Principal partner of the Law Office of Kenneth C. Chessick, M.D. for nearly 30 years, he made his mark in the area of fighting for patients’ rights in medical malpractice cases, having obtained numerous record verdicts and settlements.

Chessick received a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in psychology and zoology from the University of Illinois in 1965. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree with scholarships from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1968. He served a straight internal medicine internship at Michael Reese Hospital in 1969, and four years of general surgery residency at Hines VA Hospital in 1970 and the prestigious Boston City Hospital in 1973. He then served a fellowship in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at the University of Florida Shands Teaching Hospital in 1979. Chessick is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

He obtained his Juris Doctor cum laude from Northern Illinois University College of Law in 1984. He is an experienced trial and appellate attorney, admitted to the State Bar Associations of Illinois and Nevada. Chessick has achieved record verdicts in several jurisdictions, including a $10 million verdict in Ogle County in 2001. Consistent with his specialized medical training and broad experience, his main focus is medical and hospital negligence that caused catastrophic injuries to innocent patients. Chessick has published numerous articles on these topics in both medical and legal literature. Clients of the Law Office of Kenneth C. Chessick, M.D. have received well-deserved compensation for catastrophic injuries exceeding $100 million in the counties of Cook, Winnebago, Ogle, Boone, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake, Lee, Stephenson and Whiteside.

Chessick maintains a close affiliation with NIU. He was given the prestigious NIU Alumnus of the Year award in 2001. He is a member of the board of directors of the NIU Foundation, a member of the board of directors of the NIU Alumni Association and chair of the board of visitors to the NIU College of Law. Chessick has taught or been the moderator of a number of law seminars on Medical Negligence Law, Personal Injury Law and Trial Technique attended by the practicing legal community. A generous donation from Chessick helped create the Kenneth Chessick, M.D., J.D. Technology Center at the NIU College of Law, designed to help train lawyers in the use of technology in the practice of law and in the courtroom.

He gives back to the community in many ways. His legacy is the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Facility at NIU. With a generous multi-million-dollar gift to the school, Chessick and his wife’s donation allowed for the building of a state-of-the-art practice facility for athletes at the university. The facility opened the last weekend in October 2013, just as the Huskies’ football team was 7-0 in their conference and were ranked 18th in the country as they appeared headed to another bowl game. The Chessicks’ strong belief in the value of a successful athletic program is only surpassed by their firm commitment to a strong academic program, something that goes hand in hand in enhancing the entire college experience for all students, faculty, administrators and alumni.

“We are dedicated to helping to provide the best possible college education experience for our NIU students, and our student-athletes are instrumental to that positive experience,” Chessick said.

As a 1984 graduate of the NIU College of Law, Chessick established the Kenneth C. Chessick Legal Training Skills Center in 2004, providing students with experience and expertise in using computerized software to present ideas. Three years later, he created a series of academic scholarships named in honor of his clients, and there are now five endowed scholarships in the Kenneth C. Chessick Civil Justice Endowed Scholarship Program, which is presented annually at the school.

Chessick is now CEO and chairman of the board of directors of, where he was one of the creators of this internet marketing organization for restaurants and restaurant consumers. has tens of thousands of restaurant partners in all fifty states in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as 350 full-time employees, and more than 1,000 independent consultant partners.

Date posted: March 4, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Dr. Kenneth Chessick, ’84, selected to 2020 Super Lawyers list

Categories: Alumni Homepage Law Students

When inclement weather strikes, students and university employees have a number of resources available to stay informed regarding whether classes are cancelled or campuses are closed.

The decision to declare an emergency weather suspension of campus operations, including class cancellations, is a data-informed, consultative process involving several areas, including Public Safety, the Physical Plant, Environmental Health and Safety, and representatives from other university divisions.

Decisions concerning class cancellations are finalized by the provost, and emergency weather closures require presidential authorization.

Inclement weather
When inclement weather strikes, NIU is ready to respond. To help make any weather-related cancellations or closures, NIU uses available data to assign a numerical value to criteria contained within the NIU Severe Weather Model for School Closures. As a general rule, the university is always open until otherwise notified.

Winter Weather Advisories, Watches and Warnings
Check for current National Weather Service Winter Weather Watches, Warnings or Advisories for your location:

“The process for evaluating weather conditions before making a closure decision allows the university to weigh the potential safety risks presented by the forecasted weather and gauge how these risks may be mitigated by state and local snow and ice clearing operations,” said John Heckmann, associate vice president for Facilities Management and Campus Services. “The process also allows for a review of the campus operations and events which may be impacted by the weather so snow removal operations might be prioritized for best support.”

Heckmann said that snow and ice removal planning starts as soon as a forecast is available. Also, severe cold conditions are closely monitored by heating plant personnel to ensure building temperatures are adequately maintained.

“The response provided by NIU’s grounds maintenance, building services and heating plant crews commonly involves working under difficult conditions including darkness, cold temperatures and typically labor-intensive efforts,” Heckmann said. “These campus-wide efforts to clear snow and ice and maintain heat distribution occur whether the university is closed or open.”

In the event of inclement weather, any changes in operational status will be posted on the NIU Home page, NIU’s official Facebook page and the university’s Twitter feed. You can also view details about the operating hours of campus units or services during times when classes are canceled but campus remains open, or when classes are canceled and campus is closed.

As a general rule, NIU is always open until otherwise notified. It is the personal responsibility of all students, faculty and staff to make their own decisions and judgments concerning travel conditions. Go to NIU weather for more information.

Date posted: March 2, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU is ready to respond when inclement weather strikes

Categories: Community Faculty & Staff Homepage Parents Students

Settled into their new space on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building, the staff in Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) invite you to their open house on Friday, March 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

ADEI moved into the suite previously occupied by the Disability Resource Center, which moved to the first floor of the Campus Life Building.

The fourth-floor suite now includes the ADEI offices dedicated to Social Justice Education, Academic Diversity and the main office of Chief Diversity Officer Vernese Edghill-Walden. Those offices used to be spread across two floors in Altgeld Hall.

The Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is now located on the fourth floor of the Student Health Services building.

The move to the Health Services Building on Wirtz Drive has brought the ADEI teams in closer proximity to each other, ADEI Assistant Vice President Monique Bernoudy said, and represents an enhancement for students.

“The people in our offices need to interact on a regular basis and be able to maintain our good rapport, and that wasn’t always easy in our previous arrangement,” she said.

“We also are a little more centrally located for students, and when they come here, we have a broader set of services that we can connect them with at once.”

Others recently moved to the fourth-floor suite include the office of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Education, previously housed in the Campus Life Building, and Brandon Lagana, director of planning and assessment for the Office of Undergraduate Studies and ADEI.

The ADEI office of Undocumented Student Support remains in the Campus Life Building, and the Diversity and Cultural Resource Centers will remain in their current locations as well.

The moves align with university-wide efforts to provide welcome and inclusive spaces for students and encourage collaboration.

For information on the upcoming ADEI open house or the office in general, call 815-753-1568 or visit the ADEI website.

Date posted: March 2, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on ADEI hosts open house in new campus location Friday, March 6

Categories: Faculty & Staff Homepage Students

Last October, the Illinois Interactive Report Cards office at NIU released Illinois Postsecondary Profiles, a cutting-edge application that allows users to browse or search institutional data from community colleges, universities and professional training schools throughout Illinois.

“There’s never been a site quite like this before,” says Lima Chatterjee, a consultant on the project who was the original database designer. “We are sourcing data from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission with plans to add more sources in the near future, and each of those data source systems are different from one another. So it’s been an evolving process from the beginning. We knew what we wanted to achieve, but we needed to work out the parameters. How are end users going to want to see the data – what do they want to know? What are they trying to achieve? How do we balance our desire to provide them rich information with the need to keep it understandable and engaging? Those are the challenges, but also the exciting opportunities of this kind of project, which allows you to take a challenge and solve it.”

As Chatterjee has worked on this project with Alan Clemens, director of NIU’s Illinois Interactive Report Cards office, they’ve gathered a small but talented team of women database and web designers with experience in for-profit and non-profit settings: Swathi Rayanapati, the lead web developer who built the screens and interfaces for the public-facing website; Niti Srivastava, the database manager in charge of day-to-day data processing, analysis and preparation; Zhuomingna Li, the quality assurance engineer who does testing and data quality checks on the site; and Swetha Palakoti, a graduate assistant from the NIU Management Information Systems program who recently joined the group.

From left: Niti Srivastava, Lima Chatterjee, Swathi Rayanapati, Swetha Palakoti and Zhuomingna Li.

According to Clemens, both the team and the project are special. “No matter how much time you put into conceptual development, a project with this many contributors and stakeholders continues to change constantly,” he says. “As each stage of the project is completed, it gives you a fresh perspective on what you can accomplish if you push it and yourselves just a bit further. Building a system designed as a resource for the public just fuels your motivation to rise to that challenge.

“In an industry where women are still significantly under-represented, it’s refreshing and notable to be able to highlight the accomplishments of a team like this one,” he adds.

The team says they appreciate the challenge of customizing the website and the fact that they have the flexibility to try out the latest technologies as they create prototypes and update this ever-evolving system.

“When you go to the website, whatever you see on the screen is unique,” says Rayanapati. “There are certain visualizations on the site that you can’t see anywhere else on the internet because those are customized only for Illinois Postsecondary Profiles (IPP), and there are certain libraries that we wrote on the front end to make that possible. It was also quite a challenge to make the website responsive and mobile friendly, as well as functional on the tablet and on any browser you see on the market.”

Rayanapati appreciates the opportunity she’s had to continue developing her skills and exploring new technologies. “I’m very happy because our director and all the senior staff members support us in trying new technologies and keeping our profile up-to-date with whatever is going on in the market,” she says.

Srivastava, who recently completed her master’s degree in management information systems at NIU while also working full-time for Illinois Interactive Report Cards, says this position has helped her apply and strengthen the skills she learned in her master’s program.

“When I was joining this team and also completing my graduate degree, I faced a dilemma: how would I be able to manage my work and study, too? But after I transitioned to full time, I found that whatever I work on here helped me a lot in my studies. I got practical knowledge here that I could implement in my courses, and vice versa, as well. When I was introduced to new technologies in my courses, I could implement them here.”

According to Chatterjee, the team typically brings a new graduate assistant on board each year, which allows the students to build marketable skills and the team to develop homegrown talent. (Srivastava, for example, first joined the team as a graduate assistant before moving to full time.)

“This job opportunity provides the graduate assistants with a competitive advantage,” Chatterjee says. “This kind of project gives them the opportunity to have intense, hands-on experience with their respective technologies and competences, which is quite different from many graduate assistant jobs. Here, they’re getting into the system and getting into deep hands-on learning mode. What they’re learning theoretically, this is the practical application where they can learn in parallel.”

Although Palakoti only joined the team in mid-October, after the soft launch of IPP, she already appreciates the learning opportunities the position provides.

“I was so fortunate to learn about this – a highly technical department that provides an assistantship!” she says. “If you want to be a full-stack developer, or somebody like Swathi who’s now an architect, you have to have an understanding of the entire architecture of an application. So when I found out about this position, I was obviously very excited. I’m still in the initial stages of learning this new project, which is always confusing, but I’m looking forward to being able to jump in and work in any part of the application.”

In addition to the excitement of mastering new technologies and designing an application from the ground up, the team also appreciates the chance to make a positive difference.

Chatterjee, who worked as a database architect and manager at Fortune 500 companies before coming to NIU, says, “What we’re contributing is going to make a difference in students’ lives, and that was one of my motivations when I decided to join NIU four years ago. This is very different from a for-profit company that revolves around profit and loss. Here, what we’re doing as part of our day-to-day jobs is going to make a difference in somebody’s life.”

As they celebrate the successful launch of their application and website, the team is already gearing up for the next stage of the project.

Clemens, who compares the current website to the “the first terminal at the airport,” says the site now allows users to search by institution to access a variety of data related to enrollment, cost, student progress and completion rates. In upcoming months, the team is excited to add two new components to the site: one which allows users to access data across institutions related to specific degrees and occupations, and one to access data based on student demographics such as age, race and gender.

As the application continues to evolve, Clemens is thrilled to be working with this group of people. “This team really enjoys and celebrates opportunity. They love the challenge of exploring new technologies and creating something innovative, and who could ask for anything better than that? From my position, I couldn’t ask for a more refreshing group to work with.”

The Illinois Interactive Report Cards Office is part of the Northern Illinois University Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development. IPP has been produced with funding from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board. 


Date posted: March 2, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Meet the team of NIU women behind Illinois’ new cutting-edge educational data application

Categories: Centerpiece Faculty & Staff Students

This past fall semester, NIU’s Outdoor Adventure (OA) department hired and trained seven new trip leaders (NTLs). During this semester-long training, this relatively novice group of outdoors’ people had to show up for weekly skills training sessions, staff meetings, attend a two-day first aid training, participate in an overnight camping/hiking trip at Rock Cut State Park, and finally, design/facilitate a weeklong wilderness trip of their choosing.

Starting in September, our OA team interviewed 10 applicants and hired seven of the most qualified and passionate. This group became our 2019 NTL training cohort and consisted of: Ben Warren, Caleb Flynn, Heather Anderson, Joe Nelson, Maddie Grobe, Michael Gonzalez and Julian Cazares. Their training began with a welcome orientation, where we reviewed the semester training schedule, discussed expectations and outlined the timeline for acceptance into the trip leader role.

Throughout the fall, the NTLs attended weekly scheduled events and trainings. In November, NIU sent our NTLs to Chicago for a two-day NOLS Wilderness Medicine Training. During this intense 16-hour certification program, these students learned and practiced wilderness medical skills to deliver first aid in a remote wilderness context where access to definitive medical care may be hours or days away.

These NIU trip leaders learned and practiced the NOLS Patient Assessment System, which is used to provide care to students in a remote wilderness context. Students were asked to perform these newly learned skills in hypothetical medical scenarios during the training. They also were asked to demonstrate these skills a few weeks later on the weekend overnight training at Rock Cut State Park. This training provided our leaders with the knowledge to splint a broken bone, wrap a sprained ankle and assess a patient with less apparent symptoms to better serve future participants of NIU Outdoor Adventure trips.

One of the most significant hurdles that we asked our NTLs to jump over to work for Outdoor Adventures was the planning and execution of the end of semester training trip. Our NTLs planned out a weeklong trip to the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico in December 2019. In organizing this trip, the new trip leaders had to practice vision and planning skills to prepare for every aspect of this weeklong course (transportation, gear, food, routes, permitting, risk management, time management, etc.). The NTLs had to successfully execute this trip as the final challenge in their semester-long training to prepare them to take on the trip leader role this spring.

In total on this weeklong trip our new trip leaders:

  • Drove an NIU van and trailer over 3,000 miles.
  • Hiked 10 miles.
  • Crossed an ice cold and partially frozen river 24 times.
  • Prepared 14 group meals (using backcountry cooking equipment).
  • Carried roughly 40 pounds of food, climbing gear and camping equipment in the wilderness on each of their backpacks.
  • Spent 7+ hours giving and receiving feedback to each other during debriefs.
  • Planned the trip and organized gear.

There were some hiccups, but these new trip leaders did a fantastic job rising to the challenge and thinking on their feet when things did not go to plan. By showing their competence in completing the entire semester of training, delivering wilderness first aid effectively and executing such a complicated cross-country weeklong course, we are certain that these experienced new leaders will help facilitate amazing NIU Outdoor Adventure Trips for years to come!

Date posted: February 19, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU Outdoor Adventures trains new trip leaders

Categories: Faculty & Staff Homepage Students

The NIU undergraduate mock trial teams competed in the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) Evanston Regional Tournament, hosted by Northwestern University on Friday, Feb. 7 through Sunday, Feb. 9.

NIU’s A team finished with a record of 5-1-2 and earned a bid to the next round of the national tournament – the Opening Round Championships (ORCS). 

Top row (L-R) Coach Mitch Pickerill, Connor McGraw, Nick Matousek, Alexandria Herbst, Sanjeev Viswan, Gabrielle Sims, Hannah Westfallen, Paola Ascencio, Wilfredo Najarro, Assistant Coach Kaitlyn Harper Bottom row (L-R): Kameron Brown, Jose Cantu, Chelsie Verstraete, Shkelcim Zeciri, Andrea Alcantar, Rayna Ryan, Raquel Olivencia, Emily Winter, Adil Erradi

The A team also won the Spirit of AMTA Award, and Sanjeev Viswan won an Outstanding Attorney Award. The NIU B team finished with a record of 4-4. This is the sixth year in a row for an NIU team to advance from the regional round to ORCS. The top six teams from each of eight ORCS will advance to the National Championship Tournament (NTC) in April, which will be hosted by Loyola University Chicago at the Daly Center. 

In August 2019, more than 700 teams across the country received the same case problem from AMTA and work all year long for the chance to compete and advance in the national tournament. Throughout this academic year, the NIU teams have competed in invitational tournaments in preparation for regionals, including tournaments hosted by Illinois State University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Iowa, University of Arizona, Indiana University and University of Florida.

“This has been a long season,” said co-captain Wilfredo Najarro. “We worked hard with the goal of earning a bid to ORCS, and it paid off. Now the goal is to get to NCT!”

Throughout the year, NIU had numerous other award winners. In addition to Viswan’s award earlier this month, Hannah Westfallen, Rayna Ryan, Paola Ascencio, and Shkelcim Zeciri have all won individual attorney or witness awards at invitational tournaments this year. 

For the third year, NIU is honored to co-host ORCS at the Kane County Judicial Center on Friday, March 6 through Sunday, March 8. The tournament will host 24 of the top teams in the country, including teams from California, Oregon and Washington. The tournament organizers are currently seeking volunteers with legal experience to help judge and score at the tournament. If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering as a judge or would like more information, please contact the coach of NIU Mock Trial, Professor Mitch Pickerill ([email protected]). 

Date posted: February 19, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU Mock Trial Team advances in national tournament for sixth consecutive year

Categories: Alumni Faculty & Staff Homepage Students

Think you might have the spark of an idea for a clever invention? Ever wonder what it would be like to start up your own business? A series of upcoming NIU workshops might help you turn your dream into reality.

The NIU JobsPLUS program, in collaboration with the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships (RIPS), is organizing the 71 North Entrepreneurship and Innovation Series for NIU students, faculty, staff and community members.

The series will feature workshops focusing on different aspects of entrepreneurship and innovation. All events are free and open to the entire NIU community, unless noted below. Advance registration is requested.

Workshop topics will include how to approach angel investors, alumni success stories, entrepreneurs and their own personal health, and local and regional entrepreneurial success stories.

Most of the events will be held in the 71 North Partnership Studio on the lower level of Founders Memorial Library, adjacent to Discover Financial Service’s code_orange collaborative space.

“We wanted to create a series of events that would appeal to students, faculty, staff and community members who are already engaged in entrepreneurship or innovation, as well as those who might want to learn more about it,” said Chad Glover, director of JobsPLUS. “We welcome all students and anyone from the community who is interested in attending.”

The 71 North Partnership Studio, set to be renovated later this year, is a dedicated space on campus designed to promote innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship among students, faculty and staff, said Karinne Bredberg, RIPS assistant director for commercialization and innovation.

“We envision the 71 North Partnership Studio as the place where the spark of creativity and innovation will happen on a regular basis,” Bredberg says. “We hope this series of workshops will help us get the word out on this space—not only to students but to the entire NIU community.”

The series also will allow NIU to introduce its partnership with Innovation DuPage (ID), a nonprofit organization that supports the entrepreneurial community in the western suburbs. ID is focused on nurturing entrepreneurs building startups, innovative brands and vibrant small businesses. The organization will be among the NIU workshop series presenters.

Scheduled events (more may be added) include the following:

  • 5 to 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, 71 North – Design Thinking for the Social Impact: A World Café Experience. For NIU students only. The Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs will host a World Café-style discussion about the most pressing environmental and social issues facing our world. At the event, students will have the opportunity to participate in design-thinking, a process for creative problem-solving. Register in advance.
  • 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, 71 North – Preparation for Angel Investors. Travis Linderman, managing director of Innovation DuPage, will talk about the common thread that ties all startups together—the need to secure funding. Approaching investors too early can burn bridges and waiting too long hurts chances of breaking into new markets. Linderman will speak to attendees on how to prepare for angel investment and venture capital. Learn how to prepare your pitch, avoid devil investors and more. Advance registration for the public is available with 71 North; students should register with JobsPLUS.
  • 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, 71 North – Exploring Entrepreneurship. Travis Linderman, managing director of Innovation DuPage, will moderate a panel discussion with regional entrepreneurs building products, innovation brands and game-changing technology. Discussion will focus on each phase of launching a fast-growing business, and entrepreneurs will talk about how they attract talent, grow sales and raise early investment. The discussion will provide an opportunity to ask questions and learn from startup founders taking different paths to build their businesses. Advance registration for the public is available with 71 North; students should register with JobsPLUS.
  • 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, 71 North – Aspiration to Entrepreneurship. Local entrepreneurs in business, technology, arts, education, health care and social justice will share their experiences of going from aspiration to entrepreneurship. The event will include an engaging panel discussion followed by Q&A and networking. Advance registration for the public is available with 71 North; students should register with JobsPLUS.
  • 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, 71 North – Be Your Own Boss: Alumni Entrepreneurship Panel. If you’ve ever dreamed of going into business for yourself, you can hear firsthand from some of NIU’s finest alumni entrepreneurs. Panelists include NIU alumnus and Board of Trustees Chair Dennis Barsema, ’77; Ralph Strozza, ’81; Nick Strozza, ’08; and NIUAA Board Member Kimberly Moore, ’01, M.M. ’04. This event is free to students; cost for other attendees is $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Advance registration for the public is available with 71 North; students should register with JobsPLUS.
  • 5:30 p. m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 16, Barsema Hall Auditorium – Health, Well-being and Entrepreneurship. Hosted by Management Professor Tim Michaelis, this unique event will focus on the role of personal health in association with new venture creation. You’ll hear from world-leading experts, practicing entrepreneurs, community members and current students on how your personal health relates to starting and growing an entrepreneurial venture. Resources will be provided on the Chicagoland entrepreneurship ecosystem and how to get more involved in entrepreneurship at NIU. Advance registration for the public is available with 71 North; students should register with JobsPLUS.
Date posted: February 17, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on Workshop series: How to become an entrepreneur

Categories: Community Events Faculty & Staff Homepage Students

Think you know what anthropology is? Make plans to join NIU’s Department of Anthropology to celebrate World Anthropology Day on Thursday, Feb. 20.

“Anthropologists examine human culture, language, anatomy and evolution in the past and present,” explained Leila Porter, department chair. “The four subfields (archaeology, cultural, physical/biological and linguistic anthropology) accommodate diverse student interests and complement many other disciplines. Anthropologists are everywhere, in every corner of the globe and have many different types of careers in areas such as industry, medicine, museums and teaching.”

NIU’s activities tie into an international celebration of the field, she added.

Exploring Anthropology Presentation, Stevens Building 170A, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Learn about each of the four subfields of Anthropology and career options for anthropologists. 

A 45-minute panel presentation will be followed by a question and answer session. Our panelists include Kendall Thu, Ph.D. (Department of Anthropology), Giovanni Bennardo, Ph.D. (Department of Anthropology), Rachelle Wilson-Loring, Ph.D. (alumna and Curator of Pick Museum of Anthropology), Tim Bransford, Ph.D. (post-doctoral fellow, NIU) and Anna Pivoras (alumna and director of Boone County Museum of History).

Anthropology Open House, Stevens Building and Pick Museum of Anthropology, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Come explore our laboratories, classrooms and museum.

Tours and activities available in the Human Skeletal collection, Human Evolution collection, Zooarchaeology laboratory, Archaeology teaching collection, Primate Nutrition Laboratory, Linguistics and Cognitive Anthropology Laboratory, and Pick Museum of Anthropology gallery and storage areas.

For more information about the activities, contact the Department of Anthropology at 815-753-0246

Date posted: February 17, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU celebrates World Anthropology Day Thursday, Feb. 20

Categories: Community Events Faculty & Staff Homepage Students

Drawing more graduate students of color than ever before, an upcoming “Turning Fellows into Faculty” conference at NIU remains the only program of its kind in Illinois.

At least 70 Diversifying Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Fellowship recipients and other graduate students of color interested in the professoriate as a career path are expected at the fifth-annual statewide conference. The program will take place Friday-Saturday, Feb. 28-29 in the Holmes Student Center.

Janice Hamlet

“I am elated with pride at how much this conference has evolved,” said conference coordinator Janice Hamlet, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Communication and a senior faculty mentor in the Office of the Provost.

“This is geared toward DFI fellows interested in becoming tenure-track professors, to expose them to all the types of institutions and opportunities available to them,” she said.

The upcoming conference will include students from 15 different institutions throughout the state—an “all-time high,” Hamlet said.

Hamlet started the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences event in 2015 to increase diversity among the professoriate. The DFI program annually provides competitive fellowship awards to about 100 students of color in Illinois.

A proponent of the program, Hamlet saw the need to recruit, encourage and educate those fellows to become professors in Illinois to counter the lack of diversity prevalent in universities nationwide.

“We need to do a more intentional job of recruiting faculty of color, so this conference is a way to try to contribute to increasing diversity among the professoriate,” Hamlet said.

The first conference drew 18 DFI fellows, and the program has grown more successful every year.

NIU Assistant Professor Shondra Clay of the College of Health and Human Sciences.

This year’s event will include research posters and digital presentations by some of the DFI fellows on Friday, Feb. 28. A welcome dinner will feature former DFI fellow and NIU Assistant Professor Shondra Clay, Ph.D., of the College of Health and Human Sciences, with the keynote speech, “Never Settle, Go Further, Reach Higher: From DFI Fellow to Tenure-Track Professor.”

Following the dinner, the NIU Black Graduate Student Association will sponsor a social for the DFI fellows. 

The Saturday, Feb. 29, workshop sessions, hosted by NIU faculty and higher education leaders from throughout the state, will include information on job market trends, the diversity of academic institutions, positioning yourself as a scholar in your discipline, creating and maintaining a hassle-free curriculum vitae, faculty roles and responsibilities, mentoring, establishing an online presence and preparing for interviews.

Other sessions will focus on “Negotiating Race, Gender, Sexuality in the Academy,” “Combating Cultural Taxation in Higher Education,” “Dr. Mom: The Challenges and Triumphs of Juggling Both Worlds,” and “Invisible Labor by Faculty of Color: Another Part of the Cultural Tax.”

Jerlando F.L. Jackson, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present the Saturday, Feb. 29, keynote address, “Planning for Success: Being Strategic about the Promotion and Tenure Process.”

“Although we’re trying to promote the professoriate, we don’t paint a rosy picture for them,” Hamlet said.

“We let them know, as faculty of color, they’ll have challenges. For example, believe it or not, in this day and age, they will have students in their classes who will be surprised to see them there as professors. They may even have colleagues who are not as welcoming as they should be. Because of this conference, these prospective professors won’t be shocked by these challenges but will be prepared and committed to not only surviving but making a positive difference in academia.”

Date posted: February 17, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU conference aims to diversify faculty at Illinois’ universities

Categories: Alumni Events Faculty & Staff Graduate School Homepage Students

Already using a holistic application review process, the University Honors Program at NIU has its own timeline when it comes to the use of standardized test scores as part of the admission process.

Through the fall of 2020, entering freshmen interested in becoming part of the program can choose whether they want their test scores considered or not. Starting in the spring of 2021, the program won’t consider standardized test scores at all.

The timeline allows for a smooth transition between old and new admissions guidelines.

The program actually began its holistic application review process before NIU’s recently approved “test-blind” policy.

That policy removes the use of standardized test scores for general admission and merit scholarship decisions for all students applying to NIU for the fall of 2021.

It reflects well-documented findings nationwide and at NIU that standardized test scores often are more reflective of a student’s socioeconomic background than academic abilities.

The University Honors Program wants students who are driven, curious and committed to improving themselves. Those qualities are reflected in areas like academic achievement, student involvement and leadership, said Andrea Radasanu, acting director of University Honors.

“We took very seriously the fact that ACT and SAT scores have been discredited in terms of the kind of predictive value they have for success,” she said. “Test scores are not fruitful for predicting academic success, but, rather, speak to privilege. They weren’t predictive or useful, and yet they were disproportionately keeping out underserved populations who could benefit from the program and who could, in turn, enrich the program.”

The holistic application review process used by the University Honors Program identifies active, engaged students who want to make positive contributions to the NIU community and beyond, she said.

As part of the program’s application process, students are asked to submit essays of up to 500 words.

Continuing students applying through fall 2020 will be admitted if they have maintained an NIU GPA of 3.30 or higher (or 3.20 or higher if they started at NIU prior to fall 2018). Those who do not meet that criteria, but believe they can maintain it in the future, are also encouraged to apply and have their applications considered as a whole. Applicants must be able to give evidence of their involvement, leadership and commitment to joining the University Honors Program.

The holistic application review process will remain when the University Honors Program goes completely test-blind starting in the spring of 2021. At that point, standardized test scores will no longer be considered.

Date posted: February 17, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on University Honors Program seeks students motivated to achieve

Categories: Faculty & Staff Homepage Prospective Students Students

Photo Credit: Fil Sansa (Vernon Hills, IL)

In November 2019, as part of Dan Dunne’s ongoing professional development within his role as a graduate assistant in NIU’s Outdoor Adventures, he traveled to Wyoming to take part in a weeklong National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Wilderness Medicine Instructor Training Course. A rigorous training that mirrored the selective and demanding application process to secure a seat in the course itself. Of 500 people applying to take the course, 120 received interviews and just 19 of those were invited to participate in the training. After the weeklong training and final evaluations were complete, 16 participants were offered a job.

Participants came from far and wide for a chance to teach wilderness first aid certification courses: Chile, Finland, Mexico and from all over the United States. They also had diverse experiences in medicine, from being a seasoned outdoor educator like Dunne to working as practicing physician, combat medic, search and rescue coordinator, and active firefighter.

“It was an impressive room of experience from which to hear medical horror stories,” said Dunne.

After successfully completing this training, Dunne will be able to instruct NOLS Wilderness Medicine certification courses around the country, but will likely work most of these two-day weekend contracts here in Chicagoland with NOLS and Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI). Dunne will be teaching a NOLS Wilderness First Aid Training course this coming fall semester here at NIU.

Outdoor Adventures will be organizing this course as part of their new outdoor trip leaders training and also have spots available for those who are interested in learning more about treating injuries and illness in the backcountry.    

Date posted: February 12, 2020 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU Outdoor Adventure’s graduate assistant trains to teach wilderness medicine

Categories: Faculty & Staff Homepage Students