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Natalie T. Churyk

Natalie T. Churyk

The NIU College of Business has announced that Natalie T. Churyk, professor of accountancy, has been appointed the William Doyle Endowed Professor in Accountancy.

Churyk completed her Ph.D. at University South Carolina in 2001 and joined the NIU faculty shortly thereafter.

She teaches in the Masters of Accounting Science (Leadership) program, specifically graduate accounting research. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Accounting Education and serves on a number of state and national committees relating to education and student initiatives within the accounting arena.

She will start a two-year term as president of the Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Section of the American Accounting Association in August of 2016. Her primary research interests include financial reporting, education and fraud.

Alumnus and successful businessman William F. Doyle (B.S. Business Administration, 1959) was an analyst at Amoco Oil for decades.

He was a private and quiet man who never married and had an interest in coin collecting. When he passed away in 2011, he left his estate to NIU, which totaled more than $1 million. His coin collection was his window to the world, and has now become his legacy for NIU and the Department of Accountancy.

William Doyle

William F. Doyle

“Dr. Churyk is an extremely accomplished professor and researcher,” said Rebecca Shortridge, Kieso Endowed Chair of Accountancy.

“Dr. Churyk, a prolific writer, is devoted to helping students learn. Many of her articles are case studies developed with professionals that help prepare her students to begin their accounting careers. We are very honored to have her on our staff, teaching students at NIU. Our accountancy program is one of the best in the world because of great faculty, like Dr. Churyk.”

The NIU Department of Accountancy is one of 173 accountancy programs that has earned the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accounting accreditation at both the undergraduate and graduate levels out of more than 1,000 accountancy programs nationwide.

Date posted: June 28, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Churyk named William Doyle Endowed Professor in Accountancy

Categories: Alumni Business Faculty & Staff Latest News

NIU Parking Services offers permits on an annual or per-semester basis for students, faculty and staff with a variety of price points.

Photo of parking ticket on windshield

Don’t risk getting a ticket! Order your 2016-2017 parking permit now.

When purchasing a parking permit, five payment options are available:

  • CASH – in office only
  • CHECK – for full amount (made out to NIU), in the office or by mail
  • CREDIT CARD – (all major cards accepted), in the office or online
  • HUSKIE BUCKS – in office only
  • BURSAR ACCOUNT – in office or online

There are several ways to purchase a permit:

  • Online: Purchasing parking permits online is strongly suggested. Visit the Parking Services website and click on NEW – Buy Permits and Pay or Appeal Tickets Online.
    Note: No additional fee is applied for this option. Permits purchased this way will be mailed out July 5.
  • In Person: Beginning July 5, parking permits may be purchased at the Parking Services offices, 121 Normal Road, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Note: There is an additional $10 fee applied to all permits purchased in person, excluding reserved permits.
  • By mail: Download and print the Permit Application Form. Mail the completed form, along with a check (payable to NIU) for the amount of the permit to: Northern Illinois University, Campus Parking Services, 121 Normal Road, DeKalb, IL 60115. The parking permit will be mailed within three business days of receiving your order.

An annual motorcycle permit may be purchased at the discounted rate by those with a valid vehicle permit (excluding green permits).

This year, a free parking option is also available to any interested student, faculty, staff or visitor. Those who take advantage of this option, after registering their vehicle with Campus Parking Services, will receive a green permit which allows them to park remotely in Lot C3 near the Convocation Center on the west side of campus. A map of all campus parking is available online.

For more information, contact Campus Parking Services at (815) 753-1045 or [email protected].


Date posted: June 23, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Parking permit deadline approaching

Categories: Latest News

NIU Law alumnus Vincent Cornelius (’89) will be installed as president of the 32,000- member Illinois State Bar Association on Friday, June 17. Cornelius will make history as he takes the helm of the ISBA, the state’s largest bar organization, and becomes the first African-American president in its 140-year history.

Vincent Cornelius_low res (1)

Vincent Cornelius

Cornelius, the principal of the Law Offices of Vincent F. Cornelius – with offices in Wheaton and Joliet – concentrates his practice in civil and criminal litigation. He has been a member of the ISBA for his entire legal career and was first elected to the ISBA Board of Governors in 1999 as a downstate Under Age 37 member. He served as the chancellor of the ISBA’s Academy of Illinois Lawyers and as the president of the Illinois Bar Foundation from 2008-10.

A major focus of Cornelius’ year as president will be the future of young lawyers. Cornelius has ambitions for a collaboration with Illinois law schools and law school deans, the Illinois Supreme Court, the American Bar Association, and others to prepare young lawyers for the profession. As a small-firm attorney, Cornelius understands the concerns of his peers, including solo practitioners, and he plans to address their issues as well.

In addition, Cornelius will focus on offering assistance for small-firm members through enhanced Law Practice Management Resources – as well as highlighting diversity and inclusion in the profession, and the issue of implicit bias.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Vince in his role as ISBA president, as he focuses his term on preparing young lawyers to practice and highlighting diversity and inclusion in the profession,” said NIU Law Dean Eric Dannenmaier. “We have seen firsthand the difference Vince has made at our school, exemplified by his role as the founder of the NIU Law Minority Reception as well as his ongoing commitment to public service.”

As an alumnus, Cornelius maintains a close relationship with NIU Law. Most recently, he delivered the commencement address during the NIU Law Commencement Exercises in May. He currently serves a member of the NIU Law Board of Visitors and served on the NIU Law Alumni Council for many years. He further contributes as a mentor to law students and young alumni and as a frequent speaker on alumni panels. His most visible contribution to the NIU Law is the hosting of the school’s Minority Reception, which he began in 2004. Since then, the event has become an annual tradition and important networking opportunity, bringing together scores of NIU Law alumni, faculty and law students.

Cornelius was honored in 2010 with the NIU Law Outstanding Alumni Award, and in 2005, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the NIU Law Alumni Council.

Cornelius began his legal career as an assistant state’s attorney in DuPage County before joining the law firm of James D. Montgomery and Associates in Chicago. He opened his own firm in Wheaton by age 30 – a long-term goal. He later opened a second office in his hometown of Joliet.

He served as assistant treasurer and as chair of several committees of the DuPage County Bar Association and is a founding member of The Black Bar Association of Will County.

Cornelius received his law degree in 1989 from NIU Law and his B.B.A in 1986 from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, where he was an Academic All American.

Date posted: June 16, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU Law Alumnus Vincent Cornelius to be installed as New ISBA President

Categories: Alumni Latest News

William A. Pitney has been named Associate Dean of Research, Resources and Innovation at the NIU College of Education, effective July 1.


William Pitney

Currently a professor in the Athletic Training Program within the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, (KNPE), Pitney’s research focuses on employment issues experienced by athletic trainers in various practice settings. As such he has investigated professional socialization, role strain, work-family conflict, mentoring, and professional development. His administrative experience includes director of resources and planning in KNPE, athletic training program director, president of the faculty senate, and executive secretary of the university council.

“I am so pleased that Bill will be taking on the role of Associate Dean for Research, Resources and Innovation,” Dean Laurie Elish-Piper said.  “He approaches his work with a trustee mentality and his leadership from a servant-leader perspective, and I am confident that he will be able to make many meaningful contributions to help lead the College into the future.”

In his new role, Pitney will lead several initiatives on behalf of the college, to include: leading the development of a research cluster focused on innovation in teacher education; developing and overseeing professional development, mentoring, and job coaching for faculty and staff and creating new innovative faculty initiatives related to e-learning and other methods of delivery for courses, conferences, and symposia.

Prior to NIU, Pitney worked as an athletic trainer at the clinical, high school, and intercollegiate settings. He has since spent 21 years as a faculty member at NIU where he has had a consistent record of productivity including over 60 refereed journal publications, four textbooks and dozens of presentations. Moreover, he has held professional leadership posts as the Editor-in-Chief of the Athletic Training Education Journal, section editor of the Journal of Athletic Training, chair of the Board of Certification’s Task Force on Continuing Professional Education. Pitney’s role as an educator and scholar has earned him many recognitions including the 2013 Outstanding Educator Award from the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association, the 2013 Dedicated Service Award from the Illinois Athletic Trainers’ Association, the 2015 Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), and, later this month, he will received the 2016 Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educator Award from the NATA’s Executive Committee on Education.

Regarding this new appointment, Pitney shared, “Our college has exceptional faculty and staff. I am honored and excited to be in this leadership position to work collaboratively with such great individuals. I look forward to playing a role in fulfilling the vision of making the College of Education the best place to study, teach, work, serve, and conduct research. I will strive, therefore, to create an environment that promotes research and scholarly activity, supports professional development, and encourages innovation.”

He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education (with specialization in athletic training) from Indiana State University; a master’s degree in physical education from Eastern Michigan University; and a doctorate in adult continuing education from Northern Illinois University.

Date posted: June 16, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Pitney named associate dean for research, resources and innovation

Categories: Education Latest News

A hand-written note with hateful language and biblical citations was found over the weekend by a member of the Building Services staff in the Holmes Student Center.

NIU police assessed that the campus was not in imminent danger, but out of an abundance of caution, increased security patrols on campus.NIU Police badge

Police investigated this matter fully and have arrested Thomas Gurskis, 59, – a homeless man with a last-known address in Chicago Heights, Ill.  Gurskis will appear in court Wednesday, June 15.

NIU takes these matters very seriously and will not tolerate any words or actions that could compromise the safety of our community.

Sadly, these types of occurrences on school campuses throughout our nation are increasing in frequency. As a university family, we are all responsible for alerting authorities if we see or hear something concerning.  Now more than ever in our country, we must demonstrate daily with our words and actions the importance and benefits of respect, diversity and inclusion.


**Due to the offensive nature of the note, the exact language of the quote is not being provided.

Date posted: June 14, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Homeless man arrested on campus

Categories: Latest News

Greg Conderman has been named chair of the Department of Special and Early Education (SEED) in the College of Education effective July 1. Conderman has been serving as acting chair for SEED since last June.


Greg Conderman

Dean Laurie Elish-Piper offered her congratulations, stating “Greg Conderman has done a remarkable job as acting chair of the Special and Early Education Department this past year. The faculty and staff have rated his performance as excellent, and I am thrilled to have him take on the role as chair for the next four years. He brings a depth of knowledge, collaborative approach, and problem-solving stance to his leadership which will allow him to effectively lead SEED into the future.”

 Before entering higher education, Conderman taught special education for seven years, and worked as an educational consultant for two years. His previous faculty positions were at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and St. Ambrose University. He joined the NIU faculty in 2003. At NIU, he has worked as faculty adviser for the Student Council for Exceptional Children and a faculty sponsor for T.E.A.C.H. House.

“I’ve learned a great deal this past year serving as acting chair,” Conderman said. “I continue to be impressed with the SEED faculty and staff regarding their excellent work ethic, their collaborative spirit, and their willingness to support students. I am looking forward to facilitating new initiatives within the department that will further advance our undergraduate and graduate programs in early childhood and special education. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue to work with a great team at both the College and department levels.”

He is the author of two books and more than 90 peer-reviewed manuscripts. His areas of interest are co-teaching, strategy instruction and instructional methods for inclusive classrooms. To that end, he serves on several review boards, is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences and conducts faculty development on co-teaching in school districts in Illinois.

Conderman’s dedication to his field have garnered him awards and recognition, such as the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s University Excellence in Teaching Award, the Wisconsin Teacher Educator of the Year, the Illinois Special Education Excellence in Teaching Award, and the NIU College of Education Exceptional Contributions to Teaching Award.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from the University of Northern Iowa; a master’s degree in special education from the University of Northern Iowa; and a doctorate in special education with an emphasis in learning disabilities and college teaching from the University of Northern Colorado.

Date posted: June 14, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Conderman named chair of the Department of Special and Early Education

Categories: Education Latest News

Northern Illinois University has selected Omar Ghrayeb to lead NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology as interim dean, effective June 30.

Omar A. Ghrayeb

Omar A. Ghrayeb

Ghrayeb came to NIU in 2001 to teach in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. From 2006 until 20012 he served as chair of that department. Under his direction, enrollment in the program nearly doubled, the curriculum  was updated and he established partnerships with several major corporations, including Caterpillar, Motorola and UPS. Those partnerships provided students with opportunities for experiential learning and internship opportunities while also providing research opportunities for faculty.

In 2010 he took on the role of associated dean. In that position he has helped increase enrollment in the college by more than 40 percent, developed partnerships with feeder community colleges across the northern Illinois region, and restructured advising in the college.

“I appreciate Dr. Ghrayeb’s willingness to serve as the acting dean of NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. He has the respect of his colleagues in the college and across the campus for his creativity and collaborative leadership,” said NIU Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman. “Moving into the new academic year, we are very fortunate to have some of his caliber and experience to fill this vital academic leadership position while we conduct a national search for the next permanent dean of the college.

Ghrayeb, who holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering from New Mexico State University, has been published in several international journals, is a senior member of Institute of International Education, and has attracted more than $2 million in funding for his research.

Date posted: June 10, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Ghrayeb named interim dean of CEET

Categories: Engineering and Engineering Technology Latest News

A new partnership between College of DuPage and Northern Illinois University provides an opportunity for students to complete 30 hours of NIU course work combined with additional COD courses to earn a Bachelor of Science in Technology degree from the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology with an emphasis in Applied Manufacturing Technology.15-CEET-Student_Project_Lab-0423-WD-39_1224x817

“We are very pleased to work with a prestigious institution like NIU to offer a seamless completion program for our Associate in Applied Science degree students,” said Emmanuel Awuah, COD Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. “The field of Manufacturing Technology and related careers continues to thrive and change. Today’s increasingly automated and software driven industries often require a bachelor’s degree due to their increasing complexity. This new partnership aligns COD’s and NIU’s curricula so students are prepared to enter the workplace with solid, marketable skills.”

Under the new articulation agreement, COD students will be guided through an academic plan that ensures a smooth transition to NIU. College of DuPage students who earn A.A.S. degrees in Architecture, Automotive Services Technology, Electronics Technology, Electro-Mechanical Technology, Facility Management, HVACR, Manufacturing Technology (Automated Manufacturing Systems, Drafting and Design, Manufacturing Engineering Technology) and Welding are eligible to participate in this new transfer program.

“We welcome students from these technical programs at COD to go on with the B.S. in Technology at NIU. The Applied Manufacturing emphasis focuses on the leadership and supervisory skills students will use to move up the career ladder. And since the NIU courses are offered online, students can continue their education while they work in the field,” said Meryl Sussman, NIU’s Assistant Vice President, Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development.

Date posted: June 8, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU partners with College of DuPage for engineering

Categories: Degree Completion Programs Engineering and Engineering Technology

Promod Vohra in 1995.

Promod Vohra in 1995.

After 30 years on the NIU campus as a student, member of the faculty and dean, Promod Vohra has announced that he is leaving the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology for a job in private industry.

“It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life,” Vohra said. “But I am confident that I am leaving the college in an excellent position to thrive, and to continue its mission of educating innovative engineers to meet the needs of the region.”

The college is a far different place than when Vohra arrived in 1986, enrolling as the first-ever graduate student in the brand new college to study electrical engineering. After earning that degree in 1988, Vohra became an instructor in the college and went on to attain the ranks of assistant, associate and full professor in the Department of Technology, earning awards for his teaching in the process.

He earned his Ed.D. degree in instructional technology from NIU in 1993 and was named associate dean of CEET in 1997.

In 2005, he was selected to lead the college as dean.

Under Vohra’s leadership, the college experienced significant growth and has had the fastest-growing enrollment of any of the university’s seven colleges. At the same time, Vohra forged new and stronger relationships with industry throughout the northern Illinois region, including with companies such as Caterpillar, John Deere, Woodward Governor and Ideal Industries

“Promod has been a great ambassador for NIU and for engineering as a discipline,” said NIU President Doug Baker. “He has provided a model for how to position a college for long-term, sustainable growth, and has embraced connecting the classroom, community and industry in every aspect. His myriad contributions to the university will continue to be realized for years to come.”

Under Vohra’s leadership, CEET has been the fastest growing college on campus for several years. This year, enrollment exceeded 1,800 students, an increase of nearly 40 percent since 2010. The college also has risen to national prominence, currently ranked 45th among undergraduate engineering programs by U.S. News and World Report magazine.


Vohra in one of the labs in the NIU engineering building, which opened in 1995,
10 years after the college was established.

Those gains were largely due to an array of outreach programs initiated under Vohra.

Since he took over the college, he has aggressively worked to build partnerships with dozens of community colleges, more than 300 high schools and even middle schools to get students interested in careers in engineering. During the 2014-15 academic year alone, CEET hosted nearly 13,000 students from those schools for visits.

Recruitment efforts also extended to the international realm, as Vohra oversaw development of relationships with several universities in India, China, South Korea, Columbia, Europe and Malaysia to attract students from those countries and provide them with innovative dual-degree programs. He was also a champion for diversity.

“Dean Vohra has been a trailblazer for NIU, not only in developing relationships with businesses and establishing innovative agreements with community colleges, but also in advocating for student diversity and encouraging more women to enter the ranks of engineering,” said NIU Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman.

“Promod’s passion for international education, social justice, diversity and inclusion has inspired students and faculty in CEET to form strong organizations focused on social entrepreneurship and inclusive professional excellence, including chapters of Engineers Without Borders, National Society of Black Engineers, Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers and Society of Women Engineers.”

Under Vohra’s leadership, CEET also expanded its research output activity and established strong collaborative relationships with industry partners as well with the Argonne and Fermi national laboratories. The college’s current roster of corporate partners numbers more than 500. Those relationships have not only kept the college in tune with the needs of industry; they also have yielded scholarship and internship opportunities for students, and have been a source of senior design project topics and, ultimately, careers for students.

Throughout his time at NIU, Vohra has worked to ensure that CEET is aligned with the needs of the region, with particular emphasis placed upon supporting the manufacturing community in nearby Rockford. There he helped initiate major private/public partnerships including ROCK (Rapid Optimization of Commercial Knowledge), the Rockford Area Aerospace Network, the Joint Institute of Engineering and Technology for Aerospace and the Illinois Center for Defense Manufacturing.

Promod Vohra“Connecting with the region has always been a priority. You need to have an active dialogue with industry to bridge classroom theory with applications on the factory floor,” Vohra said.

“We have always placed a premium on providing a very practical and functional program. As a result, companies tell us, they are confident that our graduates will hit the ground running and contribute from Day One.”

Another recent example of Vohra’s efforts to meet the needs of the region, while expanding the college’s sphere of influence, was his work to help create the NIU Engineering @ RVC program.

Set to launch this fall, this innovative program will allow individuals to earn degrees in engineering from the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology while taking all required classes on the campus of Rock Valley College. It is one of several efforts launched under Vohra with the goal of helping Rockford foster local engineering talent to revitalize manufacturing in the region.

Vohra worked to keep the college aligned with the needs of the region in other ways, including development of a number of interdisciplinary programs including biomedical engineering, computer engineering, simulation and health.

Under Dean Vohra’s leadership, faculty members in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology worked with colleagues in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to develop an interdisciplinary specialization in nanoscience within the Ph.D. programs in chemistry and physics. CEET also collaborated with the College of Law to create a six-year integrated sequence that leads to both the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Engineering and Engineering Technology and the Juris Doctor (J.D.).

“Dean Vohra has always advocated that engineers are the innovators who drive economic development, and he has encouraged every student in the college to embrace that role,” Freeman said.

“His recognition of the increasing need to produce engineers and technologists with expertise in patent, intellectual property and environmental law has driven curricular innovation across disciplines and promoted collaboration across colleges. Dean Vohra has been a champion of interdisciplinary learning and his influence in this area has positioned CEET and NIU for a bright future.”


Family has always been important to Vohra (in cap) and his wife, Anju (right), seen here with eldest daughter, Divya, granddaughter, Diya, and son-in-law Vishi Behl.

Despite a hectic work schedule, Vohra has always drawn great strength from his family during his time at NIU.

His wife, Anju, has been a constant source of support and encouragement, as she herself rose to the position director of echocardiography at Kishwaukee Hospital.

Together the couple raised three children.

Their son, Neil, is currently completing law school, and their daughter, Neha, is chief medical resident at Mercy Hospital, in Des Moines, Iowa. Their eldest child, Divya, earned two degrees from CEET and is currently a vice president at Sycamore-based Driv-lok.

“My proudest days in the college were the two times that as dean I was able to award my daughter her degrees,” Vohra said.

While he is excited for the opportunities that are ahead of him, Vohra said that he will remain closely connected to the college that he helped build and shape.

“I plan to be an engaged alumnus, a responsible donor and look for opportunities where I can use my expertise and experience for the good of the college,” Vohra said. “I owe all of my success to the university and its leaders who have provided me with these opportunities. I feel fortunate that I was able to make a little difference in the success of NIU and of its students. My success story is an NIU success story.”

Promod VohraReplacing Vohra will be a challenging task, Baker said.

“In many regards, Promod is the ultimate embodiment of student career success that we try to help every NIU graduate attain. We wish him all the best on the next leg of his journey and express our sincere gratitude for his leadership and passion,” Baker said.

NIU will appoint an acting dean of CEET for the 2016-17 school year, and it is expected that this temporary appointment will be brought by President Baker to the Board of Trustees for approval at its June 2016 meeting. NIU plans to conduct an international search for the next permanent dean of CEET to find the most qualified successor to Vohra; the formal search process will commence in fall 2016.

A retirement reception for Vohra is planned for 3 to 5 p.m. Monday, May 16, in the Sky Room of the Holmes Student Center. Remarks begin at 3:45 p.m.

Date posted: May 12, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Promod Vohra leaving NIU after 30 years

Categories: Alumni Education Engineering and Engineering Technology Events Faculty & Staff Latest News On Campus

After 10 months without a budget, legislators in Springfield today approved a stopgap funding measure for higher education that Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign.baker-town-hall

Under terms of the legislation:

  • Most universities in the state, including NIU, will receive approximately 30 percent of last year’s appropriation. For NIU, that amounts to $26.4 million.
  • MAP grants will receive about 43 percent of what is needed to fund FY2016 awards.

While we are encouraged by the General Assembly’s action today, and the bipartisan spirit in which it was taken, we remain disappointed we still don’t have a full-year budget. We believe an FY16 budget and an FY17 budget solution that ensures funding for colleges and universities is required in the very near future to restore confidence in the state’s commitment to public higher education. Failure to do so will continue to impact student application and enrollment decisions, as well as employment decisions being made by faculty and staff.

We are encouraged by comments from legislators indicating they will continue to work toward completely resolving the budget impasse, and are hopeful this means further funding for FY2016 is forthcoming. There are no guarantees, however.

We will continue to study the implications of today’s actions and will provide more information at the town hall meeting scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, in the Regency Room of the Holmes Student Center.

Date posted: April 22, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on State approves partial funding for higher ed

Categories: Latest News

NIU President Doug Baker

NIU President Doug Baker

Two pieces of information released this week – a letter to the state Higher Learning Commission and a bond rating update from Moody’s – offer a glimpse into the relative financial strength of Northern Illinois University as it continues to cope with the ongoing budget stalemate in Springfield.

In the letter to the HLC, NIU President Doug Baker informed the commission that, despite the hardships created by the state budget impasse, NIU plans to remain open for business. Earlier this month the commission had asked all universities in the state to respond to a series of questions about how they were coping with the lack of state support so far this fiscal year.

“Our current ability to maintain operations despite the lack of state funding support eight months into FY2016 is strong. Further, I’d like to note that we have not publicly, or privately, indicated that our institution will close or suspend operations in the immediate future,” Baker said in the letter.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all universities across Illinois. One has already declared financial exigency (essentially bankruptcy) and this week cancelled spring break so that they can make it through the spring semester. Two others have announced plans for large scale employee layoffs and elimination of programs should the impasse continue.

NIU is not contemplating any such actions, Baker told the HLC. It has avoided such measures so far because over the last two years the university has undertaken a series of steps that make it less vulnerable than some other schools. Among those measures are:

  • Significant cuts in spending for goods and services;
  • Extremely conservative hiring practices, which have saved millions of dollars by temporarily leaving many vacant positions unfilled;
  • Elimination of capital spending, except for projects directly related to the safety of the campus;
  • Implementation of an entirely new budgeting process that has created greater financial clarity and allowed for tighter controls on spending.
Al Phillips

Al Phillips

At a town hall meeting on campus last week, NIU Vice President for Finance and Administration Al Phillips said thanks to those measures the university saved $15 million during the first half of the fiscal year. He believes similar savings can be found during the second half of the year.

Those measures should ensure operations through at least the fall semester, Phillips said last week. However, they are not long-term solutions.

“You can do that for a while, but at some point that won’t be enough without state funding,” he said. “There has to be some level of funding fairly soon or the entire higher education system in the state will be at risk.”

The measures Baker highlighted in his letter to the HLC also provided a silver lining to the news from Moody’s Wednesday. The bond rating agency downgraded NIU and two other Illinois universities by one step. The change means the university would pay slightly higher interest rates should it attempt to sell bonds. There are no plans to borrow at this time.

The moves were expected, said Phillips, due in large part to the tremendous uncertainty about the financial condition of the state in general. Those worries were exacerbated by the lack of state funding for public universities over the last eight months.

However, Phillips said, analysts from Moody’s came away impressed by all that NIU has done over the last two years to prepare itself for difficult times.

“Moody’s said the actions we have taken to date put us in a different category from other institutions around the state. More importantly, she noted that because we have found ways to save, and because of the new budgeting processes we have put in place, when we do get funding from the state we are positioned to succeed.”

Baker agreed.

“We will be a better institution when we come out on the other side of this,” he said.

Date posted: February 25, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU responds to HLC: ‘We are open for business’

Categories: Latest News

Top row: Peyton Gunnison and Bethlehem Hailu Middle row: Erin Hernandez Bottom row: Laura Lorenzen and Rachel Shapland

Top row: Peyton Gunnison and Bethlehem Hailu
Middle row: Erin Hernandez
Bottom row: Laura Lorenzen and Rachel Shapland

Northern Illinois University announces the selection of five Forward, Together Forward Scholars who will receive a $4,000 non-renewable scholarship for the coming academic year.

The 2016 scholarship recipients are:

“Students who receive this prestigious award are leaders who are truly working to make a difference in our community,” said Kelly Wesener Michael, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “Recipients are those that exemplify the spirit of giving and strength of character of those we lost on Feb. 14, 2008.”

Over the past eight years, NIU students, faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters have banded together to honor the spirit of Gayle Dubowski, Catalina Garcia, Juliana Gehant, Ryanne Mace and Daniel Parmenter through the Forward, Together Forward Scholarship program.

“Each of those outstanding individuals was involved in the campus community, had taken on leadership roles and demonstrated their commitment to service,” Wesener Michael said.  “Not only is it important that we honor their memory, we also must acknowledge and celebrate their contributions.”

First awarded in 2009, the Forward, Together Forward Scholarship recognizes Huskie students who demonstrate integrity, motivation, a strong work ethic, a high regard for others and intellectual curiosity.

Thanks to the generosity of more than 1,770 donors, 35 students have been recognized as Forward, Together Forward scholars, receiving $140,000 in scholarship awards so far.

Next month, five more students who excel in and out of the classroom join them as recipients of the Forward, Together Forward Scholarship, as the scholarship award winners will be recognized at a private event in early March.

Date posted: February 14, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Forward, Together Forward scholars announced

Categories: Awards Centerpiece Engineering and Engineering Technology Faculty & Staff Health and Human Sciences Latest News Liberal Arts and Sciences Students