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Research and Innovation Advisory Council

The Research and Innovation Advisory Council (RIAC) provides insight and counsel to the Vice President for Research and Innovation Partnerships (VP-RIPs) regarding the research, scholarly, innovative, and creative activities of NIU faculty and staff. General functions of the RIAC are: 


The Council will facilitate information sharing and promote constructive dialogue between RIPs and research community stakeholders.


As needed, the VP-RIPs will consult with the Council on issues relevant to the operation, safety, and development of the university research enterprise. Many such requests will be accompanied by an explicit charge. Areas of consultation may include and are not limited to:

  • advice about areas of research, scholarly activity, innovation and creative work that should be a target of University investment;
  • identification, evaluation, and recommendation of solutions to issues that inhibit faculty productivity; or
  • advice regarding specific policy, safety, and procedural research issues.


Gerald C. Blazey, Chair

Vice President
Research and Innovation Partnerships

Jahred Adelman

Assistant Professor
Department of Physics

Betty Birner

Department of English

Rebecca Houze

Associate Professor
School of Art and Design

James Ciesla

Professor and Associate Dean
College of Health and Human Sciences

Julie Crouch

Center for the Study of Violence and Sexual Assault

Mark Frank

Associate Professor
Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences

Dan Gebo

Department of Anthropology

Chih-Chen Lee

Department of Accountancy

Nestor Osorio

University Libraries

Nicholas Pohlman

Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering

Todd Reeves

Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Technology

Karen Samonds

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology

Jim Horn

Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry

Mansour Tahernezhadi

Professor and Associate Dean
College of Engineering and Engineering Technology

Christina Abreu

Professor and Director
Center for Latino and Latin America Studies

Rena Cotsones, Ex-Officio

Associate Vice President
Engagement and Innovation Partnerships

Dara Little, Ex-Officio

Assistant Vice President
Sponsored Programs Administration

Cathy Cradduck

Assistant to the Vice President for Research
Research and Innovation Partnerships