Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Northern Today - August 13, 2007

Grant to help NIU improve instruction
of regions’s English language learners

A competitive federal grant ultimately worth $1.5 million will help NIU improve the instruction of English language learners across the top third of the state.

Called “Project Success,” the five-year initiative boosts by 350 the number of classroom teachers and other educators with approval to teach English-as-a-second-language (ESL) and/or bilingual students.

Two hundred and fifty of those are certified K-12 teachers, half of whom work in rural areas and can complete much of the coursework online. Students enroll for a year, including the summer, and will complete six courses worth 18 credit hours.

The rest are principals, superintendents, curriculum leaders, college and university professors and field supervisors of pre-service teachers. These students will attend only a workshop rather than classes.

NIU’s partners include Aurora University, Benedictine University, Judson College, Lewis University and North Central College, all of which can reserve spots for their professors and field supervisors. Partner school districts include DeKalb, Elgin, Schaumburg, Waukegan and the Lee-Ogle Regional Office of Education.

NIU will receive $300,000 each year in the renewable grant, the remaining years of which are subject to annual review. The first round of funding came in July; the first cohort of the students begins in January.

Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Education under Title III of the No Child Left Behind legislation.

Richard Orem, author of the grant and a Presidential Teaching Professor in NIU’s Department of Literacy Education, said the participants of Project Success all will gain a richer understanding of students for whom English is not their native tongue.

“Children of these immigrants are learning English at a faster rate and losing their native tongues at a faster rate. There’s no reason to force them into an English-only world,” Orem said. “The more foundation students get in literacy skills in their own language, the more successful they’ll be in transitioning into mainstream programs. The research is pretty solid in this area.”

Meanwhile, Orem said, enlightening teachers to the value of first-language development should create a ripple effect through schools. The project’s workshop component for school administrators also means that important wave will come from the top.

Project Success comes at a time when English language learners are the fastest-growing population in Illinois schools, especially in NIU’s service region. In fact, Orem said, enrollment in K-12 public schools would show a net loss without the ELL students.

“A lot of teachers aren’t prepared,” he said, adding that many teachers are aware of that deficiency in their training and mention it when surveyed.

“We’re helping school districts to meet the requirement of having highly qualified teachers in their buildings. Teachers also tell us that their building principals want to help but don’t have the right tools,” he added. “We’re going to make a significant impact on the quality of instruction in our northern Illinois region.”

Graduates of Project Success will become slower to criticize a student’s occasional use of his or her first language, Orem said.

They’ll also have instructional strategies such as collaborative teaching and grouping of students – “These students rely on interactions with others,” he said – along with assessment tips and formal and informal instruments for those measurements.

An unusually high mobility rate for English language learners can make assessment difficult, Orem said, but instruction could work to improve the stability of those populations.

Project Success follows on the heels of Project QUILL, an earlier program also focused on raising the number and quality of teachers who serve English language learners. Project QUILL’s five years of federal funding expires Sept. 30.

NIU also is involved in the Transition to Teaching Program, another federally funded project that recruits and trains bilingual teachers. Partners in the grant include the Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois Resource Center, where the program is managed.

The Title II grant, part of No Child Left Behind, addresses the critical shortage of bilingual teachers in Illinois by identifying and assisting candidates from other fields who wish to change careers and become bilingual teachers.

Participants are fluent in English and another language targeted by the state and already have bachelor’s degrees in any subject. The first cohort of 30 began the two-and-a-half year curriculum in the fall of 2005. Similar cohorts have started each semester since then, and the final group begins this fall.

For more information about Project Success, call (815) 753-8556.

Blazey takes temporary assignment
with U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is calling on the expertise of NIU Presidential Science Adviser Gerald Blazey.

Blazey, a Distinguished Research Professor of physics, recently accepted a one- to two-year Intergovernmental Personnel Assignment with the DOE Office of Science, where he is serving as manager of the International Linear Collider Program in the High Energy Physics program office.

“This is a great honor for Dr. Blazey to be selected for this assignment,” said Rathindra Bose, NIU vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. “That the Department of Energy sought out his assistance also speaks to the high caliber of our faculty researchers at NIU.”

The Intergovernmental Personnel Act authorizes temporary assignments of skilled personnel between federal agencies and institutions of higher education.

The proposed International Linear Collider (ILC) represents the next generation of particle accelerators, which smash together tiny bits of invisible matter to produce new particles. The experiments help researchers identify and understand the most basic building blocks of nature and the structure of the microscopic universe. The more powerful and efficient the accelerator, the more deeply scientists can probe into the subatomic realm.

DOE has expressed an interest in the possibility of hosting the 20-mile-long facility at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia. The collider would allow physicists to explore energy regions beyond the reach of today’s most powerful circular accelerators, the Tevatron at Fermilab and the Large Hadron Collider, due to come online at the CERN laboratory on the French-Swiss border.

The ILC is currently in the research and development phase. Blazey will monitor and review a DOE program with a proposed budget of $60 million for FY 2008. He also will help develop the program’s future annual budgets.

Before accepting this position, Blazey served as co-director of the Northern Illinois Center for Accelerator and Detector Development (NICADD). He also served two terms as co-spokesperson for the DZero collaboration at Fermilab. DZero is among the world’s premier experiments in particle physics.

“DOE’s Office of High Energy Physics seeks out scientists for this exchange who are active in the field,” Blazey said. “I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to support the ILC, collaborate with personnel at the Department of Energy and learn more about how the federal system works.”

Departments, faculty realign
in Health and Human Sciences

A realignment of professors in NIU’s College of Health and Human Sciences is expected to cultivate shared strengths, spur collaborative research, enhance teaching and possibly bolster the faculty ranks.

The realignment and its subsequent cost savings are the results of a year-long self-study that has produced new names for some of the college’s schools and new academic “homes” for many professors, Dean Shirley Richmond said.

All programs will remain in the same building locations. Meanwhile, professors keep their physical office spaces as they gain new partners in curriculum and research.

Students should find the realignment “transparent” as they enjoy a cutting-edge education that embraces and promotes the health care industry’s current trend of multidisciplinary team concepts.

“This realignment allows the college to be positioned well for many opportunities,” Richmond said, “and to move forward into the 21st century.”

NIU’s School of Nursing and Health Studies will encompass nursing, public health and health education. Brigid Lusk will chair. The School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders will contain clinical laboratory sciences, physical therapy, audiology, communicative disorders and speech pathology and rehabilitation. Sue Ouellette will chair.

Unaffected are the School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences, still chaired by Laura Smart, and the Department of Military Science, still chaired by Craig Engel.

Advising services will expand while becoming streamlined and more student-accessible. Freshmen and sophomores, and pre-majors and minors, will find their advisers in the dean’s office. The move frees time for professors to work more closely with upper-level students and to concentrate on their teaching and research.

NIU’s Board of Trustees was supportive, voting in June to approve the reassignment of the tenure and tenure-track faculty to the newly formed schools.

Investigation of possible changes in college configuration began following the retirement of a department chair and with an eye toward the business of health care, Richmond said.

“A little over a year ago, the college conducted what we call a self-study to determine our strengths, areas where we could improve and ways we could foster synergy among our units,” Richmond said.

“I charged the committees of faculty and staff from across the entire college – representatives from every group – to look at possible ways for synergy and also for efficiencies in fiscal opportunities,” she added. “Finances were not the driving force, but I thought that if we could save anything from our resources, we would put that back into faculty positions. Our college has grown tremendously.”

Enrollment in the college has risen 41 percent over the last five years, Richmond said.

Partnerships with hospitals across northern Illinois, along with state grants, have brought dozens of new students to the nursing program. A relatively new emphasis in hospitality, part of the School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences, is “just bursting at the seams.”

Many programs in the college serve professions in which there is a critical workforce shortage, and employment opportunities in these professions are plentiful.

“This growth is a good problem to have,” Richmond said, “but we just needed to see how we could reallocate resources to help ourselves.”

The process stretches back to the days of former Provost Ivan Legg and later was welcomed by current Provost Ray Alden, who’s heading up the university-wide strategic planning.

It’s proven a good fit with those efforts, Richmond said; Lusk, chair of the School of Nursing, chaired one of the Strategic Planning Task Force work groups. Mary Pritchard, the college’s associate dean, also was involved in one of the other work groups.

NIU’s 45-member Strategic Planning Task Force concentrated its efforts on issues related to strengthening the teaching and learning environment, identifying and fortifying clusters of research excellence, recognizing and enhancing the university’s impact on Chicagoland and building campus community.

Some major themes include engaging learners, thinking broadly and deeply, embracing and expanding diversity, conversing about ideas, collaboration, multidisciplinary scholarship, involvement of students in faculty research, matching regional needs with NIU assets and connection with alumni.

“We wanted to have somewhat of a pulse that our efforts were consistent with what appeared to be the overall strategic plan,” Richmond said.

Once the college’s committees began to meet, Richmond and Pritchard stepped away to let the faculty and staff drive the process.

Information from the delegates was brought forward in reports to faculty at large and senior administrative teams in search of comments. Subsequent reports and materials then were returned to the delegates for review and incorporation as appropriate in the final reports.

The final draft eventually laid out the realignment and an implementation timeline.

“Of course, there was some anxiety at first: ‘What will we look like?’ ‘Will programs be closed?’ ‘Will people lose control?’ A good sign for me was when the department personnel committees began to talk about how to get along and became excited about what we’re doing,” Richmond said.

Meetings were held monthly throughout the fall and spring to keep faculty well-informed of the activities and progress of the various workgroups.

Fortuitously, the realignment comes at a time when some of the college’s clinics are preparing to move off campus and share a roof at the Monsanto Building.

For example, the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic and the Physical Therapy Clinic will reside in the same school and in the same clinic facility. “This will be an excellent model of clinical teaching and faculty interaction,” Richmond said.

Putting those programs in the same unit also provides for interesting collaboration: the Department of Communicative Disorders recently launched a doctoral program in audiology; faculty in physical therapy are moving forward with a doctorate in physical therapy.

Pernell accepts deanship
at Florida A&M law school

After serving 10 years at the helm of the Northern Illinois University College of Law, Dean LeRoy Pernell will leave DeKalb in January 2008 to assume the deanship at the Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law in Orlando.

The appointment is pending the formal approval of the FAMU Board of Trustees, scheduled for Sept. 13.

As dean at FAMU College of Law, Pernell will continue efforts aimed at re-establishment and full accreditation of the law school, which reopened in 2002. In the troubled civil rights history of the United States, the loss of the previous Florida A&M College in Tallahassee (established in 1949) occurred in 1968. According to Pernell, the law school’s closing “represented a severe blow to legal education opportunity for African Americans in particular.”

The deanship at FAMU will offer Pernell a unique opportunity of national historic significance. Although he realizes the successful journey to full American Bar Association accreditation will not be easy, Pernell is convinced that he can provide positive leadership in an enterprise that is “emotionally close to my heart and symbolic of the very reason why I have dedicated my professional life to legal education.”

Pernell assumed the deanship of NIU Law in 1997. He came to NIU after serving as vice provost of the Office of Minority Affairs at The Ohio State University since 1994, where he also was a professor since 1975. As only one of two African-American deans at an Illinois law school and only one of a handful across the country, Pernell has long been recognized as a leader in diversity. It is at the core of his educational philosophy, and that focus is expressed throughout NIU Law.

Under Pernell’s leadership, NIU Law has been nationally recognized for its diversity efforts. The Princeton Review has ranked NIU Law among the Top 10 law schools in the nation as having the most diverse faculty for three straight years in 2005, 2006, and 2007. In its 2007 lists of America’s Best Graduate Schools, U.S. News and World Report ranked NIU Law among the top law schools for having a diverse student body. Furthermore, NIU Law has been honored to receive the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Diversity Award in 2002, 2003 and 2006 in recognition of the school’s continuing commitment to diversifying the legal profession.

Pernell also established the clinical educational program and live client program, including the 2001 opening of the Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic in Rockford, Ill., which allow students, under direct supervision, to provide legal services to persons who might not otherwise have access to legal representation.

“Dean Pernell’s work to establish and grow the Zeke Giorgi legal clinic in Rockford exemplifies the leadership he has shown, setting a course that has established the college’s commitment to public service law that has grown into one of its great strengths,” said NIU Provost Raymond Alden III.

Other major accomplishments during Pernell’s tenure as dean include substantial growth in the integration of technology in the classroom. In 2004, NIU Law opened the Kenneth C. Chessick Legal Skills Training Center, which features a high-tech courtroom, “Smart” classroom, and deposition room to provide technology-enhanced training for law students.

In addition, Pernell has been active on national committees, including being an elected trustee of the Law School Admissions Council and an elected member of the American Law Institute. He also has had extensive participation in the accreditation review of numerous law schools on behalf of the American Bar Association.

While excited at the challenges that lay ahead at FAMU, Pernell said it will not be easy to leave NIU Law behind. “I have loved being dean here for the past 10 years because there has existed here a shared commitment to principles of fairness, access and positive change that has transcended ideological and political differences. This type of shared commitment is rare, and it has allowed us to accomplish a lot.” 

A national search for Pernell’s replacement will begin shortly, Alden said. Strong leadership and demonstrated skills in building constituencies and fundraising will be among the criteria, he said.

Where the bugs are

New ag-weather Web site predicts pest migrations

Farmers have long known the breeze can carry crop-damaging bugs. Now a new Web site launched by NIU tells agricultural producers in the Midwest which way the wind blows and when pests might be hitching a ride.

The agriculture weather site, located at www.agweather.niu.edu, produces a daily Insect Migration Risk Forecast, geared for farmers, agricultural producers and entomologists. It was created and is maintained by NIU’s David Changnon, a professor of meteorology, and Mike Sandstrom, an NIU meteorologist and research associate.

“It’s a tool for people who need to know where the bugs are today and where they might be tomorrow,” Changnon says. “Farmers and others in the agricultural industry need to know just when insects might be migrating to their fields.”

Changnon says the site initially is focused on tracking the location and migration of corn earworm, a major pest of late-season sweet corn, but might be adapted in the future to track other insect migrations as well. Corn earworms migrate northward during the summer. If left uncontrolled, the pests can cause millions of dollars in damage to Midwestern corn crops in a single season.

The Web site was prompted by research that Changnon and Sandstrom conducted in recent years with entomologist Brian Flood, manager of pest management for vegetables for Del Monte Foods, which provided support for the Web site development.

“Our forecasting can tell the growers not only when and where pesticide treatments are necessary, but also if it is even necessary to spray,” Sandstrom says. “If weather conditions are not favorable for insect migration, there’s no sense spending the time and money involved with applying pesticides. Brian wanted something that would answer these questions. That’s how this Web site came about.”

Corn earworms migrate as moths, carried by winds. Cold fronts and rain prompt the moths to drop to the fields. “Part of our risk forecast identifies locations experiencing southerly wind and where the pests could drop out from the atmosphere, usually near a cold front or thunderstorm,” Changnon says.

The moths eventually lay eggs, which hatch into caterpillars that feed on the tips of ears of corn. Corn crops are susceptible to earworm during the silking phase.

“An earworm, if you don’t get it, will eat about 20 kernels of corn,” Flood says. “The ag-weather Web site provides a good predictive tool. Agriculture can’t be managed with historic weather maps alone. Growers have to be ahead of the game.”

NIU’s Analytical Center for Climate and Environmental Change at NIU provided funding for development of the agriculture-weather Web site. Research scientists Phil Young and Rick Schwantes in the Department of Geography provided the technical expertise needed to assemble the site.

Academic Convocation to showcase
movie internships, community nutrition

For two proud members of NIU’s faculty, the opportunity to showcase the accomplishments of their students in front of thousands of people has proven irresistible.

During NIU’s annual Academic Convocation ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 24, professors Laura Vazquez and Amy D. Ozier will share the real-world learning experiences of two outstanding student project groups in their respective disciplines of communication studies and nutrition.

Academic Convocation long has served as NIU’s official welcoming ceremony to thousands of new freshmen and transfer students. For the past three years, however, faculty members have competed for the chance to present faculty-student projects at the annual event.

Because of the huge crowds that are now a regular occurrence at Academic Convocation, the ceremony is held in NIU’s Convocation Center.

“We have several objectives in showcasing these projects at Academic Convocation,” said Denise L. Rode, director of Orientation and First-Year Experience and co-chair of this year’s Academic Convocation planning committee.

“Not only do we want to publicly honor the accomplishments of Northern’s faculty and students, but we also want to demonstrate to our new students that NIU is an institution that offers them the chance to work closely with teaching faculty on projects that impact the world beyond the classroom,” Rode said. “When students make a commitment to academic excellence, amazing opportunities can unfold for them.” 

Students in Ozier’s FCNS 410 (Community Nutrition) class certainly represent this excellence.

Thanks to collaborative partnerships Ozier established with several community agencies, students were able to apply the best practices of community nutrition in settings as varied as an elementary school, a retirement center and the Women, Infants, and Children program. Students conducted needs assessments and focus groups, developed original materials for use with specific client populations and even found that some of their materials were adopted for use by WIC programs in other parts of Illinois.

Ozier said that the community nutrition students applied behavioral theory to address the sensitive issues of overweight in families and to combat the “all or nothing” thinking that often prevents families and individuals from making smaller dietary changes that can add up to big differences in nutritional health.

To see the impact that Vazquez’s students have made, be sure to check out “Slipstream,” a film directed by Anthony Hopkins scheduled for release this winter.

Vazquez led a group of six undergraduate and graduate communications majors to Los Angeles in the summer of 2006, where they served as movie production interns. While working on “Slipstream,”the interns impressed Hollywood with the characteristics employers love about NIU students: skill, perseverance, a tremendous work ethic, flexibility and a positive attitude.

Academic Convocation guests will have the chance to see “behind the scenes” movie footage as well as the interns’ handiwork, as clips from the movie’s wrap party video (which was edited entirely by NIU students) will be shown.

This internship also demonstrates the strong relationships that NIU faculty maintain with alumni: It was through Vazquez’s partnership with Hollywood producer and NIU alumnus Robert Katz that the “Slipstream” internships were made possible.

Ozier and Vazquez participated in a competitive selection process in which nominations from a number of disciplines were evaluated for the opportunity to present these projects at Academic Convocation. Faculty project submissions are reviewed by the Academic Convocation planning committee.

Committee co-chairs Brandi Hephner LaBanc, assistant to the vice president for Student Affairs, and Rode led their committee of faculty members and Supportive Professional Staff through the difficult process of selecting two projects to represent NIU at Academic Convocation.

“We were thrilled with the quality of the projects that were submitted this year; our committee had some challenging decisions to make,” LaBanc said. “We can’t wait to see the actual project presentations at Academic Convocation, and hope that increasing numbers of faculty and students will decide to submit their projects for consideration next year.”

For information about how to nominate faculty-student projects for showcasing in the 2008 Academic Convocation, contact Rode at drode@niu.edu or LaBanc at bhl@niu.edu.

Academic Convocation is a program of the Division of Student Affairs, which invites all interested faculty, staff and students to attend this important event. Although the deadline to order rental regalia for marching in Academic Convocation has passed, faculty or staff members with master’s or doctoral degrees who possess their own regalia are welcome to join the processional. To participate, contact Clare Andres at (815) 753-1573 or via e-mail at candres@niu.edu.

Kudos

Frank P. Sesko, student teacher supervisor for NIU’s English department, and his wife, Mary Ann Sesko, a senior consultant for Allstate Insurance, have just published their first children’s book, “Santa & Sam’s Big Secret.”

The book and the authors’ home page is http://outskirtspress.com/santaandsam. The book also will become available soon at other online book sellers.

Castle Drive resurfacing delayed by heavy rains

Heavy rains have slowed progress on the resurfacing of Castle Drive. That work is now tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 14. The road will remain open, but heavy construction equipment will extremely limit access. NIU faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to avoid using Castle Drive if possible.

Law Library posts fall semester hours

The David C. Shapiro Memorial Law Library has announced its hours for the fall semester.

Fall hours begin Monday, Aug. 20. The library is open from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and from noon to 11:30 p.m. Sundays.

Exceptions include Labor Day weekend (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2, and from 2 to 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3.) and the Thanksgiving
recess (open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, from noon to 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, and closed in between).

The extended scheduled for final exams week begins Saturday, Dec. 1.

Call (815) 753-0505 for more information.

Christian prayer luncheon
scheduled for Aug. 21

The Christian Faculty and Staff Prayer Luncheon is scheduled for noon Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the East Room of the Blackhawk Cafeteria.

Participants may bring a lunch or purchase one there. All are welcome.

Media Services offers training
for SMART classroom equipment

Media Services is offering training on using the audiovisual equipment in Provost-sponsored SMART classrooms. New equipment was installed in many classrooms this summer, and there are major changes in how the equipment is operated.

Both new and returning instructors should benefit from these brief seminars in DuSable Hall 348:

  • 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21.
  • 1 to 4 p.m. and 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22.
  • 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23.
  • by appointment during the day of Friday, Aug. 24.

These seminars are open-ended and run continually; guests will miss nothing no matter what time they arrive. The program takes approximately an hour.

Those who cannot attend one of the above sessions can call SMART classroom trainers to arrange convenient times. Once the semester begins, it will become difficult to schedule weekday training sessions because the rooms are in near-constant use.

Contact Jim Bollenbach at (815) 753-6677 or via e-mail at jbollenbach@niu.edu for more information.

Volunteers still needed for Welcome Days activities

Thousands of new and returning students will arrive on campus Thursday, Aug. 23. More than 100 faculty and staff have signed on to welcome students and demonstrate the caring attitude that is the spirit of NIU.

However, still more volunteers are needed to drive golf carts full of student belongings to the residence halls on Opening Day (Aug. 23); to take part in Huskies Helping Huskies, manning kiosks to give directions on the first days of class (Aug. 27 and 28); and House Calls (Aug. 28), in which faculty and staff visit students in their residence hall rooms and extend a warm welcome to NIU.

If you haven’t done so, please visit Housing and Dining’s new Web site and follow the links to volunteer for one, two or all three events. Show our new and returning students how much they matter to you. Your help is truly appreciated.

Also, check out the Opening Day Web page at housing.niu.edu, and view volunteers from past Opening Days.

SMART training available
for new interactive monitors

The computer monitors in the Provost-sponsored general purpose SMART classrooms throughout campus have been replaced with new interactive monitors.

These new touch screens enable software to be activated by using a stylus instead of a computer mouse. The stylus also can annotate and highlight over anything displayed on the computer monitor in a variety of ways.

Media Services is offering introductory training on the use of these interactive displays. SMART Technologies representatives will demonstrate the hardware and introduce the accompanying software from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, in Cole Hall 101.

Contact Jim Bollenbach at (815) 753-6677 or via e-mail at jbollenbach@niu.edu for more information.

Community Dance School offers classes for autumn

NIU’s Community Dance School, sponsored by the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, begins its 12-week fall session Monday, Sept.10.

Classes taught include creative movement, ballet, tap, Irish step dancing, jazz/hip-hop and ballroom/Latin/swing. Adult classes in ballet and tap also are being offered.

Registration takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, in Anderson Hall studio 130. The cost of the session is $95.

For more information, call Diane Rimmer at (815) 756-4092 or Outreach Services at (815) 753-0277.

Rotunda Gallery to host ‘Some Enchanted Evening’

NIU’s Art Museum will host “Some Enchanted Evening: 100 Years of Evening Gowns (1900-1999)” in its Rotunda Gallery from Tuesday, Aug. 28, through Saturday, Oct. 13.

The public is invited to an opening reception from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30. Collector Barbara Cole Peters will speak briefly about the exhibit at 5:15 p.m., and again
at 6 p.m., during the reception.

“Some Enchanted Evening: 100 Years of Evening Gowns (1900-1999)” includes nearly 30 evening gowns from the private collection of Peters. The garments, created by anonymous dressmakers and famous designers, are presented with contemporary newspaper text alongside written commentary by Peters that examines cultural developments decade by decade.

Richly adorned with embroidery, appliqué, sequins and intricate beading, these garments speak to the artistry of fashion design and serve as an ornate and visceral historical timeline reflecting the 20th century’s changing notions of beauty, elegance, romance and fantasy.

The exhibition also features 20th century dance music and a brief journey though social dance. Additional vignettes display the influences of psychedelic design, Orientalism and the Ballets Russes on garment design.

The NIU Art Museum’s Rotunda Gallery is located on the west end of the first floor of Altgeld Hall. The gallery is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and by appointment for group tours.

Exhibitions are always free. The exhibitions of the NIU Art Museum are funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, the Friends of the NIU Art Museum and the
Arts Fund 21.

For more information, visit www.vpa.niu.edu/museum or call (815) 753-1936.

‘Dafatir’ exhibition comes to museum’s Hall Case Gallery

NIU’s Art Museum hosts the traveling exhibition “Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art” in its Hall Case Galleries from Tuesday, Aug. 28, through Saturday, Oct. 13. The public is invited to an opening reception from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30.

“Dafatir” brings Iraqi art to Illinois at a crucial time when daily news images fail to present a living culture which is reacting to both its history and recent events. This exhibition is the third in the museum’s series of artist-made books. 

“Dafatir” (“notebook” in Arabic) presents the works of three generations of Iraqi artists working in the book form. Iraqi art historian Dr. Nada Shabout curated the exhibition featuring the work of 17 artists, some still working in Baghdad, as well as several others living in exile for various lengths of time.

The selections of “Dafatir” present experimentation with book arts, ranging in subject from contemporary events to modern poetry and stylistically from representation to abstraction.

“Dafatir” was organized by the University of North Texas Art Gallery in Denton, Texas, and supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts.

The NIU Art Museum’s Hall Case and North galleries are located on the west end of the first floor of Altgeld Hall. The Hall Case Galleries are open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Exhibitions are always free. The exhibitions of the NIU Art Museum are funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, the Friends of the NIU Art Museum, and the Arts Fund 21.

For more information, visit www.vpa.niu.edu/museum or call (815) 753-1936.