Great teachers stir sparks of ambition and curiosity into fires of success. Great teachers push students far beyond what they thought capable. Great teachers build on their own passion to inspire generation after generation of bright thinkers, leaders and, yes, teachers.
NIU has many great teachers, and Anne Britt, Edward Klonoski and Melissa Lenczewski stand tall among them. The three are this year’s recipients of the Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
Britt, from the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Klonoski, from the School of Music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts; and Lenczewski, from the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, now enjoy the university’s longest-standing honor.
The recognition stands in a class of its own because the nominations and subsequent words of support originate with the young minds on the other side of the classroom.
“It’s most rewarding,” Klonoski says. “I value that the students appreciate the work we do together enough that they’d nominate me for this award. I genuinely care about the students. You have to care enough to work hard for them and you have to want them to succeed.”
Initiated in 1966, the awards honor excellent undergraduate teaching in the university, encourage improvement of instruction and promote discussion among members of the university community on the subject of teaching.
Nominees must be full-time faculty whose major responsibility is teaching and must have worked at least five full academic years at NIU. Britt, Klonoski and Lenczewski each receive a check for $2,000.
Joining them in honor is John Bradley, an instructor in the Department of English, who has received the university’s third Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction award.
“NIU has a lot of good instructors,” Bradley says. “I’m thrilled to get this and thrilled that instructors are being recognized.”
Here is a closer look at the four.
Psychology students in Anne Britt’s research methods course have no argument: Britt is an excellent teacher.
Britt’s work in argumentation determines how people understand and evaluate arguments and how they construct their own. She also undermines assumptions about arguments: that they always are meant to seem clear when perhaps confusion is the goal, or that the only point of argument is to win.
The underlying concept for students to learn, she says, is the profound value of questions.
“I believe that the teachers who affected me the most were the ones who taught me to ask good questions and to ask those questions in ways that gave me satisfying answers,” Britt says. “It’s a powerful thing to find your own answers.”
Many psychology students are wary of the research methods course, one that many faculty even prefer not to teach. Not Britt, who concedes that students arrive the first week with “bad assumptions. Fear. They don’t think they can do it. They don’t want to do it. Just a lot of negativity.”
She quickly vanquishes those worries with demonstrations of how the course will boost their careers and improve their lives.
“I love teaching that class. I bring enthusiasm, because I know they’re not going to have it, and a lighthearted atmosphere. They don’t expect that,” the avid bicyclist and video gamer says with a laugh.
“Every single term there are new students. Every single term you get to see them grow. They’re at a point in life when they’re so energetic but in a way they need so much direction,” she adds. “I also like the challenge of helping someone understand something they didn’t understand before.”
Britt, a native of Ohio with degrees from the University of Dayton and the University of Pittsburgh, says her students develop the skills to make good decisions whether they’re weighing job offers, new cars or presidential candidates.
They also learn that failure is an amazing teacher.
She points to video games for an example: Perfection is impossible at first. Players must play again and again to learn how their characters will die – game over – as they slowly realize how to beat the machine.
Britt is also among 11 researchers developing Operation ARIES, an online educational game that will teach scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills to children and adolescents. The U.S. Department of Education awarded $2 million to NIU over four years for development of the educational game.
“Dr. Britt does not take herself too seriously and even injects humor when she commits a mistake,” former student Brett Anderson says. “This attitude conveys the inevitability of error, even in the scientific disciplines, and gives her students license to make their own discoveries without fear of failure.”
Britt, who also teaches cognitive psychology, keeps her research methods sharp outside the PSYC 305 classroom.
On sabbatical this semester, she recently returned from five weeks in France where she and colleagues from other universities studied how people consider information and make sense of contradictory accounts: How do we determine the credibility, possible motives and limits of knowledge of information sources?
Meanwhile, she finds herself analyzing an award based on a course known for its difficulty.
“I was shocked, because I teach a challenging course,” says Britt, who also advises the Student Psychological Association. “When you challenge students, you’re not sure how they’re going to respond. It says a lot about how the students enjoy being challenged.”
Imagine, Ed Klonoski asks, the heaviest of heavy metal bands, electric guitars primed to pound ear-splitting power chords through ominous towers of black Marshall amplifiers.
And then, he says, pretend that the first chord is an F major seventh, an airy and pretty yet syrupy concoction often used by hopelessly romantic singer-songwriters from the 1970s.
For Klonoski, an associate professor of music theory, it illustrates well that musical styles have conventions. Listeners have expectations. There are boundaries to respect. When students compose in the style of Mozart or Haydn, there are stylistically right and wrong decisions.
But ultimately it’s the process, and not the results, that this outstanding teacher values the most.
“Mistakes are natural opportunities for students to learn,” Klonoski says. “It’s when they don’t know something that I can help them to think in new ways.”
He believes that U.S. high schools, burdened by standardized testing and federal “No Child Left Behind” legislation, aren’t preparing students well for college. As long as pupils provide correct answers, he says, numerical measurements declare them ready.
“Students are bright. They have lots of data,” he says. “But they often don’t know how they know what they know.”
Klonoski considers his teaching as “private lessons in a classroom setting.”
In class, students must sing, move, march -- whatever it takes to physically engage the music in class. They must answer questions posed to Klonoski by their classmates. They must compose in various genres for in-class performance and peer critique.
Fortunately, their professor understands where they’re coming from.
“I was not a stellar student as a freshman in music theory class. I’ve been there. I can relate. That helps me a lot. Having high expectations for them helps them to know they can succeed,” Klonoski says. “Music theory is really their foundation of knowledge, regardless of what area of music they’re going to pursue.”
A native of Scranton, Pa., Klonoski was largely a self-taught musician until he took up classical guitar in preparation for studying music in college.
By his early teenage years, he was playing the electric six-string in local rock bands and nurturing an affinity for blues and blues-based rock. He eventually started teaching private guitar lessons.
When he decided to study music “for real” at Marywood University, Southern Methodist University and Ohio State University, he discovered classical guitar and Renaissance church music. “I had never heard it before,” he says. “It just blew me away.”
So did “counterpoint,” the technique of setting melodies in conjunction with one another. “It lit my fire,” he says.
After a stint playing rock ’n’ roll six nights a week in the resorts of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, he realized his future lie in teaching and not on stage.
“For me, teaching is an experience unlike any other in my life,” Klonoski says. “There’s a certain part of me that teaching speaks to, and it’s only gotten stronger over the years.”
Klonoski makes sure students hear the same voice.
“He always said things that made me think harder about my choice to become a music teacher,” former student Kendall Nathan says, “such as, ‘I cannot let you go out into the teaching world teaching music theory until I know I could trust you to teach my own children music theory.’ ”
Those children are Grace, 8, and Olivia, 6. Klonoski and his wife, Patricia, have been together since their Marywood days, some 26 years ago.
Science flows in Melissa Lenczewski’s blood.
A native of Midland, Mich., world headquarters of the Dow Chemical Co., Lenczewski’s high school offered and encouraged advanced science courses. Her science teachers, including her beloved Mrs. Shields, held master’s degrees. Every day of classes included an hour of lecture and an hour of lab work.
“I fell in love with it,” says Lenczewski, a self-labeled science geek. “As a junior in college, I was hired as a lab tech – a dishwasher – in a lab doing water quality work. I got involved with grad students’ research projects. I saw what it did for me; now I get undergraduates working in the lab.”
Research into water quality also whet her thirst for microbiology, the contaminant hydrogeologist’s specialty.
After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, she spent a summer in Base Borden in Canada collecting groundwater samples with “the best hydrologists in the world” from the University of Waterloo.
Working in the lab that summer, she often would demonstrate techniques to the others. “They would say, ‘Oh, you’re a good teacher,’ ” she says. “I was inspired by the people in the lab. Teaching was never on my radar.”
By the time Lenczewski embarked on her Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, she realized she wanted to become a professor.
And as was her fortune, lab and field work are paramount for her undergraduates. Every summer, she teaches GEOL 477, a field course around northern Illinois to test groundwater quality and research pollution. The class occupies 10 hours a day, six days a week for four weeks.
“Students learn better by doing the actual work, and I go out with them,” Lenczewski says. “I always think, ‘I’m getting paid to do this? I can’t believe it.’ Really, I could pump water all day. I just love it. It’s exciting and fun, and I can’t imagine not doing it.”
“Melissa always tried to build in ‘real world’ components,” says graduate student Andrew M. Greenhagen. “With her readily available guidance, I gained valuable analytical laboratory skills through trial and error. Melissa is not afraid to let her students falter when she knows the experience will be rewarded with valuable knowledge.”
Lenczewski’s goal is to excite students about the topic and to expose them to new ideas.
Her examples are powerful ones: Students learn about the environment and how “green” actions can make a positive difference. Business majors in her introductory courses are asked how they will bring Earth-friendly ideas to the corporate America jobs. Education majors are asked how they will promote recycling at the schools where they will teach.
She sparks classroom debates on real vs. artificial Christmas trees, the problems of plastic bottles and the eternal supermarket question of “paper or plastic.” She surprises them with discussions of the petroleum used to make candles or plastic bottles for water and soda.
“I ask them to look at the world and make a change,” she says. “I want them to think about what they’re doing.”
Lenczewski also is a friend to students: She is a faculty adviser in Douglas Hall’s Science, Engineering and Technology House. She pushes graduate school. She attends every commencement for handshakes and hugs: “I’m just so proud of them.”
She also practices what she preaches. Lenczewski and her husband, Scott Bellis, and their 11-year-old daughter, Liz, live near campus. “I wish more faculty lived in town,” she says.
John Bradley weaved a circuitous route to his current position as an accomplished poet and teacher of rhetoric and composition.
The man who failed freshman English twice – “It’s ironic. It was frustrating,” he says – pursued instead a bachelor’s degree in history.
After college at the University of Minnesota, he held jobs as a night custodian and a dishwasher. He worked in a bookstore and as a painter for a general contractor. When working as a clerk in the U. of M. Graduate School, he enrolled in creative writing classes.
Bradley soon decided to finish his bachelor’s degree in English, a choice ultimately critical to the lives of countless young poets, writers and even students wary of the pen and empty page.
“My first time teaching a freshman English class was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I had no experience whatsoever, and only a week and a half of training. I learned by trial and error. I learned from students and colleagues,” says Bradley, speaking of graduate school days at Colorado State University.
“I gradually enjoyed teaching. If someone would have told me that in 1977, I never would have believed them. Never,” he adds. “But it’s rewarding to see someone get the idea, to understand ... and to express themselves.”
Students in Bradley’s classes indeed must pour their hearts out to the instructor through their writing. They must spin their personal experiences into stories with characters, settings, plots and suspense – and they must tell their tales beautifully.
“They have to come see me three times a semester and bring a draft. I show them they have ability. They have incredible stories, just incredible stories,” he says. “Their language has to come alive. Their personality has to come alive with it. We have to feel we’re there with them.”
When the muse is taunting students, Bradley helps them to find inspiration.
“One was writing about why she’s so shy. She came to me with so many drafts,” he says. “I said, ‘Tell me about giving a speech. Why was it was so hard? What did your classmates say? What did your teacher say? A storyteller with shyness is a really good topic.’ ”
A native of Lynbrook, N.Y., Bradley has merged his two academic backgrounds to craft poetry that is historical in theme.
The voracious reader won a National Endowment for the Arts grant to write a book of prose and poetry where he assumes the voice of the obscure 13th century Chinese poet Cheng Hui. He also published a book of poems about a man in hiding in Italy during the fascist years of the earlier 20th century.
Bradley’s students also must read. This semester’s text is “Enrique’s Journey,” the true story of a Honduran boy who journeys to the United States in search of his mother.
“Reading is a very indirect and subtle way to improve their writing,” he says. “I also want them to become critical readers. They will always use that in my class and in other classes and take it with them the rest of their lives.”
Mostly, however, they must write, write, write.
“When you are in Mr. Bradley’s classroom, you feel validated, not intimated,” says former student Marty Fletcher. “He doesn’t care where you come from. Mr. Bradley believes we all share something in common, and that is our story. He instills in the students the importance and the power of their voices.”
While continuing to encourage suggestions from the NIU community, the Memorial Committee has begun to establish requirements and criteria for a fitting permanent memorial to victims of the Feb. 14 tragedy on campus.
Suggestions for a memorial can be sent via e-mail to email@example.com. The due date for submissions is Tuesday, April 29.
“We’re looking for concepts that can be expressed in a sentence or two,” said committee co-chair Michael Malone, NIU vice president for university advancement. “So far we’ve seen a number of creative suggestions, ranging from a peaceful garden to lighting or fountain displays to works of art.”
“We want to hear from everyone who has a suggestion,” added former NIU Provost Lynne Waldeland, co-chair of the committee. “Every voice will be heard, and every idea considered.”
At its first meeting earlier this month, the committee began to identify possible requirements for the memorial. Committee members were then polled on the topic in a subsequent survey. They generally agree that the memorial must be accessible, fundable through private donations, in keeping with long-term plans for the physical development of campus and completed or substantially completed by Feb. 14, 2009 – the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.
Additionally, the committee is working to establish a specific set of criteria that would be used to further assess concepts that meet all of the requirements. Most committee members believe the memorial should be appropriate and dignified, have meaning well into the future, reflect the entire NIU community and create an inviting and special place.
“We’ll be further refining the requirements and criteria,” Malone said. “In order to be viable, proposed memorials must meet all of the requirements. Then we’ll apply the criteria to help us weigh the relative merits of each viable option.”
The Memorial Committee boasts more than 30 members, including NIU students, faculty, administrators, alumni and staff as well as victim advocates and members of the Sycamore and DeKalb communities.
Bob Gleeson and Diana Robinson of the NIU Center for Governmental Studies have volunteered to facilitate the process of developing recommendations. They bring extensive experience and specialized professional expertise in working to bring large groups to consensus.
At the committee’s next meeting, Gleeson and Robinson will utilize a process known as “hoshin affinity analysis,” whereby every idea will be considered in an interactive, orderly and equitable fashion. By using this process, the group facilitators can distill, sort, prioritize and archive each idea.
The Memorial Committee is acting as an advisory board to President John Peters. He has asked the committee to provide a summary report by the end of May. The recommendations will provide a platform from which the university can develop specific plans for a fitting tribute.
The Memorial Committee is not examining issues related to the future of Cole Hall, however. Those issues are being addressed separately by various campus groups.
Several significant administrative changes will take effect this summer in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, following a reorganization by Dean Christopher McCord.
McCord announced his plan last fall and recently completed internal searches for administrative posts. “The reorganization will make us more responsive to the various missions of the college,” he said, adding that all changes will be effective July 1.
Liberal Arts and Sciences is the largest of NIU’s seven colleges with 17 departments, 385 faculty positions, more than 6,500 undergraduates and more than 1,200 graduate students.
Under the administrative reorganization:
“The new configuration will allow us to better focus on fundamental curricular issues,” McCord said. “The changes also will give more visibility to the college’s research and graduate missions, and they will help us approach our decision-making in an informed, data-driven manner.”
Additionally the college will see four new department chair assignments: Colin Booth will succeed Jonathan Berg as geology chair; Beatrix Hoffman will succeed Kenton Clymer as history chair; Greg Waas will succeed Chuck Miller as psychology chair; and Bill Minor will succeed Kay Forest as sociology chair.
Minor will return to sociology after serving as associate dean for curriculum and space, a post being reconfigured in the new administrative changes. Carla Montgomery and Bob Self, who came back from retirement to share administrative responsibilities in the college on a part-time basis, will return to retirement.
“I’d like to take the opportunity to offer my thanks for the efforts and accomplishments of Bill Minor, Carla Montgomery and Bob Self as associate deans,” said McCord, who became dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in July. “They have all done important work on behalf of the university, and they have all made my transition into the dean’s office much smoother.
“I’d also like to congratulate those taking on new roles and thank all of those who are stepping down from positions, including Jonathan Berg, Kenton Clymer, Chuck Miller and Kay Forest. Their contributions have made a difference to the college and university, and we greatly appreciate their service and leadership.”
NIU’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women honored three women from the faculty and staff ranks at Sunday’s annual Outstanding Women Student Award ceremony.
Barbara McCord of Building Services received the 2008 Women Who Make a Difference Award. Debra Bryant, assistant to the associate vice president of operations, finance and planning, and Sally Webber, professor of accountancy, received the 2008 Outstanding Mentor Awards.
Elizabeth Stoever, a sophomore journalism and communication media major, is the recipient of the 2008 Martha Cooper Journalism Award. Stoever will receive her award Friday, April 25, at the Journalism Awards Banquet.
Here is a closer look at the four.
McCord, who has 14 years of service to NIU, is described as a person who demonstrates incredible strength, courage, determination, respect and a winning attitude with integrity, a sense of balance, faith, hope and love both in her professional and personal life.
She does her job with such perfection that it reflects her excellence, always willing to step up to the plate and help others out in their areas.
Anyone who knows McCord loves her. She always has a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a joke to share and a smile that is contagious. She is described as a perfect reflection of what the human spirit is all about: a person with a kind and gentle spirit who always is willing to pitch in and go the extra mile.
McCord possesses the Huskie spirit: to not allow circumstances to overcome you, but to overcome those circumstances and persevere.
Honorable mentions: Mary Crocker, Rebekah Kholi, Margo Santiago
Bryant, who began her professional career with NIU in December 1984, knows the majority of the 850 to 900 Finance and Facilities divisional employees by name. She is a resource for anyone wanting to look for new job opportunities.
Bryant consistently demonstrates characteristics of a role model in her daily ethical conduct: Her standard of excellence promotes honesty, truthfulness, humility and loyalty in those she influences. She is always positive and treats others with compassion and empathy. She is described as a good listener and a person who can tell the truth gently and find strengths even in weaknesses.
As one of her nominators said, “I can count on Deb’s guidance to be prudent, sensible and reasonable.”
Webber, who has been with NIU for nine years, has been a valued mentor for many of the women associated with the Department of Accountancy. That includes those who work within the department as well as those who have worked their way through the academic program.
She graciously shares teaching aids and course management tools, encouraging changes that would benefit students. She is a skilled listener who has a gift for communicating constructive criticism in a balanced and productive way. She provides insights to other faculty members regarding committee activities and helps to think and act strategically with respect to scholarly activities.
Webber provides colleagues with useful advice about how best to manage their careers and has been an invaluable resource in finding a balance with work and home, having raised a family while working herself.
Her nominators describe her as a person who “keeps a positive attitude” and “focuses on the good things in your life.” She is dedicated to her students and active in their organizations and projects.
Honorable mentions: Gulsat Aygen, Beverly Henry, Aimee Prawitz, Julie Robertson, Margo Sutorius
Stoever is a reporter for the Northern Star who has written several stories for the newspaper of interest to women, including an examination of language abusive to women in music and the phenomenon of women receiving free drinks at bars.
Some of her other Northern Star articles searched underlying messages for women in television shows including “Ugly Betty,” explored possible gender discrimination in schools that could lead to achievement gaps on test scores and asked local police and counselors from Safe Passage whether there is any greater danger for women during Halloween.
During the fall 2007 semester, Stoever worked an unpaid internship as a reporter for the Sauk Valley Newspapers as she continued her job at the Northern Star and carried a full load of classes with a near-perfect grade point average.
She will take journalism classes at Georgetown University this summer while interning at a newspaper in the Washington, D.C., area.
Drop in for a cup of tea. Enjoy Dr. Suess’ “The Lorax” while hearing native bird calls. Trade a nature story Friday, May 2, or Friday, May 9, for a massage by artist/curator Gabriel Akagawa.
Pick up a free seed packet donated by Prairie Moon Nursery. Look at how community artists and NIU students have reflected on mankind’s relation to nature in the local area, and join in the dialogue. Add your eco-friendly event to the calendar and your ideas on the needs of the community on chalkboards in the gallery.
All of these are ways to get involved with the social artwork of Akagawa at the NIU Art Museum. The NIU Art Museum hosts “Gabriel Bizen Akagawa: Unpacked / Offset” through Saturday, May 10, as part of a suite of nature-themed exhibitions.
“Unpacked / Offset” is a collaborative installation project in which area students, community artists and visiting artist/curator Akagawa recreate “nature” within reclaimed art shipping crates, and contribute additional artwork commenting on environmental concerns, such as offsetting carbon emissions.
Throughout the course of the exhibition, Akagawa is encouraging and seeking further community participation such as contributing a “tree story,” joining him on a nature walk and contributing to a dialogue by contacting him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone can contribute to the project in this way.
More information about these and other related projects is online at http://www.unpacked-offset.wikispaces.com.
Akagawa, who considers his art practice a form of medicine, is asking for community input to help reflect on the health of the DeKalb area community. Part of art’s healing qualities manifest in Akagawa’s use of massage as a form of trade. He connects to the community with conversation while providing personal interactions that promote health.
Akagawa has been giving free massages as part of his artwork for more than five years. He was taught by his family in Japan who give massages as part of their barbering practice. He extends this into the gallery as an exchange program where he trades free head, neck, arm and hand massages for stories about nature in the DeKalb area. He is looking to create a gallery and online archive of the history of natural events, ecologies and any experiences with nature in this region.
There will be 10-minute sessions May 2 and 9 during gallery hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at the NIU Art Museum. He will massage by appointment and for limited walk-ins. To ensure a massage, please e-mail him at email@example.com with a desired time and a nature story. Participants also can choose to dictate an audio recorded story on site.
Akagawa, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has experience working on community collaborations.
He recently was awarded a residency at the Alternator Gallery for Contemporary Art in Canada, where he conducted environment-based, community-collaborative projects. One involved school children who released biodegradable balloons to visualize air pollution from car exhaust. Attached to the balloons were statements from each student about pollution with a request to the finder to respond by e-mail their own message concerning pollution.
The NIU Art Museum is located on the first floor, west end of Altgeld Hall. Galleries are 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 free; donations are appreciated.
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.
Professor Milivoje M. Kostic of NIU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering has been invited to deliver a plenary lecture at the WSEAS International Conference on Energy, Environment, Ecosystems and Sustainable Development.
The conference is from June 11 to 13 in Algarve, Portugal. Kostic’s plenary lecture focuses on philosophical and practical aspects of energy.
The difficulties that will face every nation and the world in meeting energy needs over the next several decades will be more challenging than what we anticipate now, because the two things are certain in the not-distant future:
The traditional solutions and approaches cannot solve the global energy problem. New knowledge, new technology and new living habits and expectations must be developed to address both the quantity of energy needed to increase the standard of living world-wide and to preserve and enhance the quality of our environment.
Kostic’s teaching and research interests are in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and related fluid-thermal-energy sciences. More information is available at www.kostic.niu.edu.
The Office of the Provost presents the second issue of “The Multiculturalist,” the online publication that focuses on multicultural curriculum transformation at NIU.
This issue features tips on working with students who have disabilities and integrating LGBT materials throughout one’s curriculum. Professors Greg Long and Sally Conklin share insights and methodologies.
Direct questions and suggestions for “The Multiculturalist” to Donna Askins at firstname.lastname@example.org or (815) 753-0816.
Eligible faculty and staff now can obtain their new NIU OneCards.
To get new IDs, members of the faculty and staff should bring their current NIU OneCards to the OneCard Office, located on the lower level of the Holmes Student Center across from the University Bookstore, from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Lost ID charges will apply for failure to return current cards. Call (815) 753-9569 for more information.
The Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities (PCSM) will host its ninth annual Friendships Abloom Spring Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 22.
All are invited to attend the luncheon in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center. Brief remarks and award presentations begin at 12:15 p.m.
Nobel Laureate Gerard ’t Hooft, a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, will deliver a lecture titled “Black Holes in Particle Physics” at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, in the Altgeld Hall Auditorium.
The 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to ’t Hooft and Martinus Veltman for having placed particle physics theory on a firmer mathematical foundation. ’t Hooft continues to be a highly active researcher in many branches related to particle physics, studying such topics as gauge theories, quantum gravity, black holes and determinism in quantum mechanics.
His NIU presentation will be geared for students and faculty in physics and the hard sciences. He will discuss how the very nature of black holes causes unforeseen difficulties when scientists try to formulate theories consistent with quantum mechanics.
The event is sponsored by the Graduate Colloquium Committee.
On the menu at Ellington’s this week: Passaporte a Brazil is scheduled for Tuesday, The Dancing Sombreros takes over Wednesday and Garden of Eden concludes the week Thursday.
Passaporte a Brazil features Brazilian parmesan-filled cheese puffs or mango jicama chopped salad for starters, Brazilian churrasco beef skewers or Brazilian churrasco vegetable skewers for entrees and coconut bread pudding with dried apricots or Brazilian coffee banana surprise for dessert. Each table also will be served a guacho bean dip with tri-colored tortilla chips.
The Dancing Sombreros features chili con carne or Mexican toastadas for starters, Mexican flank steak or chili rellono soufflé for entrees and churro with chocolate dipping sauce or margarita angel food cake for dessert. Each table also will be served a basket of tortilla chips with fresh guacamole and sour cream.
Garden of Eden features mango spring rolls or fiery carrot and avocado soup for starters, stuffed green peppers with a side of basked sweet potato fries or spaghetti with roasted zucchini and olives for entrees and peach melba crisp or chocolate cake for dessert. Each table also will be served vegan blueberry smoothies.
Seating is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with service until 1 p.m. The cost is $8 per person. Ellington’s is located on the main floor of the Holmes Student Center. Call (815) 753-1763 or visit www.ellingtons.niu.edu to make reservations.
Congratulate the newly named Presidential Teaching Professors and Presidential Research Professors and the recipients of the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Instruction Award at a ceremony and reception held in their honor from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in the Altgeld Auditorium.
The awards ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. Direct questions to the Office of Special Events at (815) 753-1999 or email@example.com.
The David C. Shapiro Memorial Law Library has announced its schedule through May 30, which includes reading period and final exams.
Extended hours from Thursday, May 1, through Wednesday, May 14, are from 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays. The library is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 15.
Hours from Friday, May 16, through Friday, May 30, are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The exception is Memorial Day Weekend, when the library is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 24, and closed Sunday, May 25, and Monday, May 26.
Call (815) 753-0505 for more information.
Friends of the NIU Libraries invites the public to attend its second annual Book Appraisal Fair from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 4, in the Heritage Room of the Holmes Student Center.
Members of the Friends of NIU Libraries will receive their first three books appraised free of charge, with additional appraisals at a rate of $5 each. Appraisals for non-members will cost $10.
“We will gladly accept new members that day for non-members who wish to take advantage of the ‘member rate’ for appraisals,” said Lynne Thomas, faculty liaison to the Friends of NIU Libraries and head of Rare Books and Special Collections.
Thomas Joyce of Thomas J. Joyce & Company and the Chicago Rare Book Center, who has also appeared on HGTV’s “Appraisal Fair,” and Bill Butts of Main Street Fine Books in Galena, will serve as book appraisers. Joyce specializes in printed books, and Butts has extensive experience in appraising autographs and other ephemeral materials.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Friends of the NIU Libraries. For more information on the book fair, call (815) 753-8091.
NIU’s School of Music will offer a new choral ensemble during the fall 2008 semester.
Women’s Chorus, a one-credit, non-auditioned elective course is open to NIU undergraduate students (MUSC 369, Sect. P-2) and graduate students (MUSC 769, Sect. P-2). NIU full- and part-time female faculty and staff and alumni also are invited to join.
The chorus will rehearse from 4:30 to 6:40 p.m. Mondays in Room 171 of the Music Building and will hold one performance each semester. Glenda Cosenza, associate professor of music education and an experienced choral conductor, will be the group’s director.
Repertoire will include treble voice works by male and female composers from the Western art music tradition and from non-Western oral traditions as well. While the ensemble will be primarily a vocal one, instruction also will be given on ethnic instruments, and performances occasionally will include dances and mimes.
MUSC 369/769 cannot be considered as meeting required choral ensemble credits for NIU music majors. Applied voice majors are admitted by permission of School of Music Voice Area only.
The Friends of NIU Libraries invites the public to attend “Emersonian Borrowings: Sufi Poetry in 19th-Century America” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 23.
Jeffrey Einboden, assistant professor in the Department of English, will talk about the evolution of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s translations of Sufi poetry as he introduced it to the American reading public. There will be an opportunity for discussion and light refreshments after the presentation.
The program will be held in the Staff Lounge, located on the lower level of Founders Memorial Library. Free parking is available after 7 p.m. in the Visitor’s Parking Lot located on Carroll Avenue.
Call (815) 753-8091 for more information.
Stephen Kinzer, author of the recently published book “Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq,” will speak Thursday, April 24, at NIU.
The presentation will focus particularly on U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Central America during his 7 p.m. address in Room 173 of the NIU Music Building. The talk is free and open to the public.
Kinzer comes at the invitation of the DeKalb Interfaith Network, the NIU departments of history and communications and the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies.
An award-winning foreign correspondent who has spent 20 years working for the New York Times, Kinzer has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. He has reported on the emergence of post-Communist Europe and spent many years in Central America, including 1983-89 when he was bureau chief in Nicaragua.
Currently, Kinzer teaches journalism and political science at Northwestern University and contributes articles to the New York Review of Booksand other periodicals. He also is writing a book about Rwanda.
For more information, call (815) 793-0950 or visit www.dekalbinterfaithnetwork.org.
The Division of Research and Graduate Studies will hold its Outstanding Graduate Student Reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday, April 28, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center.
An awards ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. to honor students who are receiving the following awards: the Carter G. Woodson Fellowship, Jeffrey T. Lunsford Fellowship, Dissertation Completion Award, University Fellowship, Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Award and the Outstanding Graduate Student Award.
Graduate faculty and advisers are encouraged to attend the event. Refreshments will be served.
NIU’s Division of Student Affairs will bid farewell to Micki Emmett, assistant vice president for Student Services, and wish her good luck in her new adventures as executive director of the DeKalb County Red Cross.
The reception is scheduled for 3 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 30, in Neptune Central. A program will begin at 3:30 p.m. Friends and guests are invited to bring photos, letters or stories to be included in a memory book; memories also can be sent in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIU’s Alumni Travel Program is getting ready for some exciting trips over the summer to Alaska and Russia.
Travelers can head to Russia to experience Moscow’s rich history, and then it’s off to Finland to discover the Nordic mystery of Helsinki.
Or, have an Alaskan adventure in July featuring majestic mountains, lush forests and magnificent national parks as well as immense glaciers and icy inlets. Explore it all by foot, rail, sea and motorcoach on this dynamic touring itinerary with a land and sea tour.
More information about these and other NIU Travel Programs is available online.
Get-on-the-Bus trips hosted by the NIU Art Museum offer opportunities to enjoy regional culture and innovative historical exhibitions and to keep up with what’s happening in the art world without the hassle of traffic, tolls and parking.
The NIU Art Museum schedules the trip and makes the itinerary and arrangements. Travelers need only sign up and prepay by the deadlines posted. All trips depart from the NIU School of Art parking lot.
The bus will head Friday, April 25, to “ARTropolis: Art Chicago and International Antiques Fair,” a citywide celebration of arts, antiques and culture.
The Merchandise Mart will feature two main events: “Art Chicago” and The International Antiques Fair, including more than 100 galleries from around the world and more than 100 top antiques dealers. Also included in the ticket price are two contemporary art expos, NEXT and the Artist Project, as well as the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art. More details are available online at http://www.artchicago.com/.
The vans depart DeKalb at 10:30 a.m. with return arrival to be mutually determined by the group but certainly by 10 p.m. Lunch and dinner costs are not included. Transportation and ticket costs are $30 for NIU Art Museum members, $33 for students and seniors 65 and older and $35 for others. The registration and repayment deadline is Tuesday, April 22.
To register stop by the museum on the first floor of Altgeld Hall, call (815) 753-1936 or e-mail email@example.com. More information about the museum and its programming is online at www.vpa.niu.edu/museum. Payment may be made with cash, a check made out to NIU or a major credit card. Payment must be made in advance to guarantee a seat on the bus.
To perform maintenance and repairs on high pressure steam lines on campus, the Physical Plant and Heating Plant will conduct the annual steam outage.
West Campus: 9 p.m. Monday, May 19, through noon Friday, May 23. This will include all buildings west of Carroll Avenue, except Stevenson and the Neptune Complex, and various other smaller buildings not served by steam. Domestic and heating hot water will not be available.
East Campus: 9 p.m. Sunday, May 25, or Monday, May 26, through noon Thursday, May 29. This will include all buildings east of Carroll Avenue and the Neptune Complex, except for various other smaller buildings not served by steam. Domestic and heating hot water will not be available.
Address any questions or concerns to Kevin Vines, chief engineer, at (815) 753-6090 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.