Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Northern Today - April 7, 2008

Three honored for excellence in teaching
with Presidential Teaching Professorships

This year’s winners of the Presidential Teaching Professorships come from dramatically different disciplines, but all three share traits in common, the most impressive of which is that they don’t just impart information to students.

They also change lives.

Selected for the honor were: Toni Tollerud, of the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education; Dan Gebo of the Department of Anthropology; and Dave Changnon who teaches meteorology in the Department of Geography.

Each has legions of students eager to tell the stories of how these teachers opened their eyes to new vistas, exposed them to new challenges and motivated them to achieve goals they never dreamed could be within their reach. Similarly, their colleagues praise the work of these individuals in the classroom, speaking with admiration of their ability to inspire, energize and mold students.

“We are justifiably proud of the work our faculty does when it comes to research and service, but at the heart of our mission lies teaching. All three of these individuals are truly gifted teachers and their work in the classroom brings great honor to the university,” Provost Ray Alden says.
“They typify the excellence found throughout our teaching ranks and will serve as a tremendous example for all those who aspire to excellence in the classroom.”

The NIU Presidential Teaching Professorships were established in 1991 to recognize and support faculty who excel in the practice of teaching.

Recipients of this award have demonstrated their commitment to and success in the many activities associated with outstanding teaching. The recipients receive budgetary support and release time for the enhancement of their teaching skills.

After four years as a Presidential Teaching Professor, each of these eminent faculty members is designated a Distinguished Teaching Professor.

Captivating climatologist

Students who know him best might describe Meteorology Professor David Changnon in a word: wooshkie.

It’s a term used often among NIU meteorology students and one Changnon coined himself to express his excitement over something wonderful, such as an “aha moment” that a student experiences when a difficult concept suddenly makes sense.

Enthusiastic, challenging, helpful, knowledgeable – that’s how students describe their mentor. Animated and funny, too.

“He definitely uses his comedic skills to make the class laid back,” says graduate student Jenni Prell, who took several of Changnon’s undergraduate courses. She has seen the demonstrative professor spin around, sit on the floor and kiss the blackboard in order to get a learning point across.

“You can’t help but be upbeat around him,” she says. “But he’s also a structured grader, and his courses are very challenging. What sets Dr. Changnon apart is that he really cares about students and goes above and beyond to make sure they understand the material.”

Changnon earned his a Ph.D. in climatology from Colorado State University in 1991 and came to NIU a year later. Even as a rookie professor he knew that he wanted to give students something that was absent from his undergraduate experience at another university.

“I didn’t feel that connectedness with my professors. In a sense, I felt like a number,” he says.

“At NIU, I want to help students succeed, not only by helping them to finish their degrees but also by identifying ways they can challenge themselves – by getting into the honors program, conducting research or publishing a research paper.”

By all accounts, Changnon has been successful. His teaching reputation is such that he was appointed earlier this year to lead an NIU task force exploring ways to improve teaching across the university. 

Students credit him with connecting textbooks to their life experiences and inspiring their meteorology careers. An accomplished scholar, Changnon has published dozens of research articles that demonstrate how the science of climatology can be applied to real life, from developing insect migration forecasts for farmers to predicting how El Niño weather patterns will impact businesses and agriculture.

More than a third of his research papers have been co-authored with NIU students.

“I have never met anyone as successful as Dave in integrating scholarship with teaching,” says Andrew Krmenec, chair in NIU’s Department of Geography, which oversees the meteorology program. “Not only are students actively involved in his research projects, but many become lead authors on scientific publications with Dave.”

Changnon also connects students with top professionals in the field. For years, he has provided a stream of interns to one of the nation’s top meteorologists – WGN’s Tom Skilling.

In the mid-1990s, Changnon won a prestigious grant to develop an applied climatology course that also has resulted in students working alongside professionals, winning internships and landing jobs. Students in the course conduct research that helps businesses such as Allstate Insurance, Del Monte Foods and United Airlines make better-informed, weather-sensitive decisions.

Mike Ritsche first met Changnon on a visit to the geography department in 1994. Changnon’s enthusiasm convinced Ritsche to attend NIU, a decision he never regretted.

Ritsche took numerous Changnon courses, published a paper with his professor and now works for Argonne National Laboratory’s Environmental Science Division, traveling the world collecting weather data for climate-change research.

“He’s so positive about everything,” Ritsche says. “Dr. Changnon has encouraged me and others to meet challenges we would have never before thought possible.”

Natural (award) selection

Eric Sargis was pursuing a business degree at NIU in 1990. That’s when he took an introductory course in physical anthropology taught by a young professor, Dan Gebo.

By the semester’s end, Sargis had dramatically changed his career choice.

“I can honestly say that this class changed my life,” Sargis says. He took more of Gebo’s courses, went on to publish with his mentor and is now a professor of anthropology at Yale University.

“Dan is, without exception, the best teacher I have ever had as an undergraduate or graduate student,” Sargis says.

Such words of praise aren’t unusual. Joanna Lambert, now an anthropology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, had a similar experience when she took Gebo’s primate-evolution course.

“From the first day I was galvanized – not only because of the material and content of the course, but because of Dan’s passion and utter dedication to teaching,” she says. Later, as a graduate student, Lambert conducted research with Gebo in Uganda, where she continues to study primate biology and work in conservation.

Gebo, who holds a joint appointment in anthropology and biological sciences, is best known across the university as one of its top researchers. He won the Presidential Research Professorship in 1998 and has produced numerous articles on the biomechanics and evolution of primates for top-tier scholarly journals, including Science and Nature.

His work captures mainstream-press headlines, too, including in 2000 when he led a research team that discovered the fossils of 45-million-year-old, thumb-length primates. The find made the front page of the New York Times, Washington Post and newspapers across the world.

Gebo is equally prolific as a teacher. He began his NIU career in 1987, a year after earning his Ph.D. in anthropology at Duke University. He since has taught nearly 6,000 students, typically leading an introductory anthropology course each semester, along with an advanced course in evolution. He has supervised or been a committee member on 45 master’s-level theses and four dissertations.

Within his department, Gebo has won six outstanding teaching awards, as voted on by students, who appreciate his open-door policy and one-on-one mentoring. Many have co-authored papers with their professor and accompanied him into the field. He also oversees anthropology’s extensive teaching collection and has generously helped fund student travel and research.

In class, Gebo incorporates his own research and introduces new fossils and theories that can’t be found in the textbook.

“I always try to work in new information that might challenge current views on primate or human evolution,” he says. “This allows students to understand that science is not a static, all-is-known enterprise. It also makes them think critically about the stories we tell about evolution.”

He’s also a stickler for good writing, which he believes is essential to any paleontologist’s toolkit. “Good writing equals good thinking,” he says.

It’s not only anthropology students who benefit from Gebo’s university service. Nearly a decade ago, he proposed a concept that became USOAR – for Undergraduate Special Opportunities in Artistry and Research. The program has provided more than 100 undergraduate students from all disciplines with funding for research in the United States and abroad, including in China, Peru, Ireland and Cuba.

“Dr. Gebo’s tenure at NIU contradicts the misconception that brilliant teaching and brilliant research conflict with one another,” colleague Michael Kolb says. “His excellent research skills provide him with an ability to inspire and motivate students in ways that most other faculty cannot.”

Teacher identity

As a new gym teacher in 1968, Toni Tollerud spent weeks helping a high school senior build the strength and confidence to do a simple somersault. The interaction taught Tollerud lessons about teaching that she has never forgotten, and students have been flipping for her ever since.

That student confirmed for Tollerud that teachers truly can change the lives of their students. She also helped her develop a teaching philosophy built around: lessons that are as relevant as possible; always using innovative teaching techniques; and building relationships with students based upon clear expectations, respect and trust. Forty years later, the formula is still working and drawing rave reviews.

“Toni epitomizes what a teacher needs to be. She always makes you stretch, always makes you go for your vey best,” says Sandra Kakacek, a counselor with more than two decades of experience who decided to pursue her doctorate after meeting Tollerud.

Applying that same standard to herself, Tollerud throws herself into her work so completely that colleagues have a difficult time separating Toni-the-teacher from Toni-the-person.

“Toni lives her work. Her identity as a teacher is who she is. She is naturally gifted in front of the class and an excellent mentor,” says longtime friend and co-worker Francesca Giordano who, as the assistant chair of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education, frequently asks Tollerud to work with young teachers in the department.

The passion and energy that she brings to the classroom helps many students reach goals they never imagined possible.

“She gave me the strength, inspiration and will to push myself like I have never pushed myself before,” says Andrew Franklin, a counselor at Kaneland High School. “For the first time in my life I discovered my true career path, something I had been searching for since I was a kid.”

Like many of her former students, Franklin has joined with Tollerud in trying to raise the profile and status of school counseling in Illinois. Last year, he was part of an effort that got the Illinois Education Association to include language in its platform to formally recognize (for the first time) school counselors and the importance of their work.

That kind of breakthrough was a distant dream for Tollerud when she arrived at NIU in August of 1990 and was given the directive to create one of the best counseling programs in the state.

To achieve that goal she worked to enhance and reshape the curriculum and direction of the counseling program for undergraduate and graduate level students. She also created the Illinois School Counselors Academy to improve the skills of counseling practitioners, and later the School Counselor’s Institute, which works to help educators who wish to make the transition from the classroom to counseling.

Those efforts helped her establish a reputation across the state and in 2000 earned her the Outstanding Mentor Award from the North Central Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors. In 2002 the college of education selected her to receive the award for Extraordinary Contribution in Service and Outreach in 2002.

Currently, Tollerud serves as the director of training for the Center for Child Welfare and Education, but she keeps her hand in teaching by leading training sessions and professional development courses. Staying away from the classroom simply would leave too big a void in her life.

“Teaching energizes me,” she says. “Students in my classes are there because they want to do a better job as counselors, teachers or administrators, and my goal is to help them be more passionate about what they are doing.”

NIU mourns death of Manfred Thullen,
former International Programs director

Manfred Thullen, former executive director of International Programs at NIU, died Saturday, March 29, in Surprise, Ariz. He was 70.

He had suffered a massive stroke weeks earlier.

Thullen led the university’s Division of International Programs from 1993 to 2002, when he retired. He played a large role in more firmly establishing the division by consolidating study abroad programs, advocating for internationalization of the curriculum and creating a strategic plan for international efforts throughout the university.

“Manfred was a strong and widely respected leader who brought significant changes to the Division of International Programs during his nine years as executive director and who worked tirelessly for the greater internationalization of this campus,” said Deborah Pierce, current associate provost of the division. 

Thullen himself was a citizen of the world.

Born in Quito, Ecuador, to German parents, he grew up trilingual and multicultural in Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Canada and Switzerland. He studied at the University of Muenster, Germany, and then came to the United States, where he obtained advanced degrees from the University of Louisiana, Baton Rouge. In 1965 he became a U.S. citizen.

“Manfred was passionate about international education,” said Anne Seitzinger, director of the Study Abroad Office. She described Thullen as her mentor and a respected leader. “He was a positive and soft-spoken man who was nonetheless adept at getting his point across.”

Thullen’s career in academia spanned more than three decades. Prior to coming to NIU, he spent 24 years at Michigan State University, where he served in the Department of Resource Development, as well in the Dean's Office of International Studies and Programs. He also served as a faculty member at North Carolina State University.

“Manfred brought to NIU a tremendous amount of experience in international education,” Seitzinger said. “He saw the need for students to have an academic experience abroad and understood the long-term benefits. He put into place procedures to make the program stronger, and he built up the number of faculty-directed study abroad programs.”

Thullen also was active in the Association of International Education Administrators and served for a number of years on the organization’s executive committee. For many years, he also consulted with the Centro Marista de Estudios Superiores University in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, developing and implementing a service-learning plan across the curriculum.

Upon retirement, Thullen and his wife of 47 years, Dot Thullen, also an NIU retiree, relocated to Henderson, Nev., and then moved to Surprise, Ariz. They remained in touch with NIU and just this past year had established a study abroad scholarship.

In addition to his wife, survivors include daughter Christina Thullen, son Matthew Thullen, daughter-in-law Janet Thullen and granddaughters Hannah and Emma Thullen.

A private memorial service will be held Saturday, April 12, in Surprise.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: The Manfred & Dot Thullen Study Abroad Scholarship; Study Abroad Office; c/o Anne Seitzinger; Williston Hall 417; Northern Illinois University; DeKalb, IL, 60115.

New Music Ensemble to perform
Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’

Greg Beyer wants to blow your mind.

Beyer, assistant professor of percussion studies in the NIU School of Music and director of the NIU New Music Ensemble, is bringing a landmark work of 20th century American music to the stage of the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall.

“If people already know the piece then they know why they need to come – no explanation necessary,” Beyer says. “If they don’t know the piece … well, the first time I heard it, my life was forever changed.”

The work in question is Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians,” a 70-minute “journey” that will conclude the debut performance of the NIU New Music Ensemble. The free concert begins at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, with Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint,” a work for guitar choir featuring Nick Mizock.

Reich, a pianist and percussionist, is “one of the fathers of American minimalism,” Beyer says.

“ ‘Music for 18 Musicians’ is his undisputed masterpiece. It was a piece that really took him to a new level of public recognition as a composer because it received rave reviews from the SoHo News on its debut concert at Town Hall in 1976,” he says.

“Within two years, he had sold more than 100,000 copies – it was put out on the ECM record label – and was named one of the best pop albums of 1978, even though it’s a classical piece,” he adds. “It’s such an appealing work that it was making all heads stop and listen, be they classical musicians, popular musicians or jazz musicians. It borrows from all those genres in terms of its vocabulary in a manner that is eloquent and refined. It’s not a fusion work but an indisputably American work.”

Although Reich’s own ensemble performs this composition with 18 players, many of them are doubling on parts and scrambling around the stage from one instrument to another.

Beyer has assembled 19 musicians: four female vocalists (including colleague Diane Ragains), two clarinetists (who double on bass clarinet), a violinist, a cellist, seven percussionists (including himself) and four pianists (including colleague William Koehler).

The group has rehearsed this one piece all semester.

“It is challenging and eye-opening to the students who haven’t had exposure to this type of music. It’s definitely a style that needs to be taught. Students need to be trained how to perform it, and instrumentalists need to reconsider their typical roles. I’ve asked the string and wind players to think as if they were percussionists” Beyer says.

“It’s not your straight-forward chamber music piece,” he adds. “Not all the notes are written out; rather, players receive patterns in a few bars of music and then a set of written instructions. For example, ‘Play this pattern until this marimba three fades out. Watch for vibraphone cue.’ ”

Confusion was common in the beginning of the process but rehearsals have now become “a magical thing,” says Beyer, who instructed the string and wind players to “think as if they were percussionists.”

“Everyone gets it. Everyone is on,” he says. “I knew it would be a tough project to put together; not just another concert but a real journey the students would go through, and one we could go through together. Sure enough, that’s what’s happened.”

Audiences will find the harmonic language of “Music for 18 Musicians” something that is “instantly attractive,” he adds.

“It’s such a strong statement – an aesthetically sound work – and because of its scope, some 70 minutes in length, the piece feels more like a journey than a musical work,” Beyer says. “It is a piece to be experienced.”

Jazz Lab Band takes top prize
at UW-Eau Claire jazz festival

Rodrigo Villanueva knew what it would take to win the prestigious jazz festival at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire: amazing soloists.

The director of NIU’s Jazz Lab Band had guided his group to a second-place finish at Eau Claire in 2006 and, as a frequent judge himself at jazz competitions, began to plot a way to the top.

“I really wanted to win two years ago. We were so close. The students were really disappointed; they had played so well,” said Villanueva, an assistant professor of jazz studies. “I had in my mind that we could get the first place if I just tweaked a couple things, so I picked the best horses for the improvisation. My soloists were the best of the band: I had eight students soloing on the three tunes, and they all got outstanding soloist recognitions.”

Sure enough, Villanueva’s intuition was on the mark.

NIU’s Jazz Lab Band captured the top prize at the 41st Eau Claire competition, held the weekend of March 28. Overall scores from the three judges were 98, 96 and 95, and the NIU band earned a 96 for sight-reading.

Competitors among the 11 other collegiate bands included the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State University, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Guest artists at the festival, sponsored by the International Association of Jazz Educators, were saxophonist Benny Golson and drummer Dave Weckl.

“We were very thrilled to win. This is probably the most important festival in Wisconsin,” said Villanueva, who lives in the Dairy State city of Janesville. “I must be honest. Eau Claire’s jazz program is very strong – there are five big bands at that school, the strongest in Wisconsin – and the NIU Jazz Lab Band sounded better. We have a better rhythm section and better soloists.”

Villanueva can admit now that he took a risk in choosing his soloists.

Part of the score that judges assign comes from how good the rest of the ensemble sounds while playing behind the soloists, he said.

“You can have a very good interpretation of the theme in a chart, but when you go to the solo section, it’s weak,” he said. “I was concerned about putting the best of the band on the solos, but it turned out really well.”
Soloists were Nate Baker (guitar), Mike Bjella (sax), Quentin Coaxum (trumpet), Katherina Illescas (sax), Ryan Nyther (trumpet), Dan Pratt (drums), Micah Shaw-Rutschman (vibes) and Celia Whiren (sax).

Other lab band members are saxophonists Brett Hedrick, Marybeth Kurnat and Natalie Scharf; trumpeters Jason Fritcher and Ryan Jordan; trombonists Henry Chong, Sean DelGrosso, Andrew Hofer and Ron Jacoby; pianist Dan Houglum; and bassist James Miller.

Sight-reading also proved easy for the group.

After performing their three prepared tunes and working with the judges, each band is given a recently published piece of music and just a few scant minutes in a separate room to rehearse.
The chart from two years ago was musically complicated, Villanueva said, and called for some instruments the band had not brought.

“When I prepared the group this year, I had them bring all the extras – clarinets, flutes, soprano saxophones,” said Villanueva, who came to the NIU School of Music in 2004. “And the chart this year was not hard as we had prepared for, so that helped. We sight-read stuff all the time that is a lot more difficult.”

The Jazz Lab Band is one several NIU’s jazz groups, which also include the All University Jazz Band and the Liberace Jazztet.

Annual fall auditions place the cream-of-the-crop musicians into the legendary and world-renowned NIU Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Ron Carter. Many of the players in the Jazz Lab Band are “almost there,” Villanueva said. Some, including lead trombonist Jacoby, already perform with both bands.

“We’re a trampoline for some kids,” Villanueva said. “My lead alto, Mike Bjella, is as good as any of the kids in the Jazz Ensemble. My solo trumpet, Quentin Coaxum, he’s as good as any of the other guys in the Jazz Ensemble. He’s been playing for Ron this semester.”

Villanueva hopes someday to take the Jazz Lab Band on a tour of his native Mexico or to Peru, site of the acclaimed Festival Jazz en Peru, where the Jazz Ensemble and the Liberace Jazztet played a few years ago.

He’s also applying to IAJE on behalf of the Jazz Lab Band for a slot on the performing schedule at the organization’s annual conference in 2009 or 2010.

There is confidence in his voice for both projects, and the victory in Eau Claire makes it hard to doubt his intuition.

“I am a drum set player, and I’m really hard on my drummers … and the drummer and the lead trumpet players define the level of the band,” Villanueva said. “This band sounds very strong.”

Matos named conductor of NIU Philharmonic

The five-year music director and conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will move this August to the NIU School of Music.

Lucia Matos, a native of Brazil, will serve as conductor of the NIU Philharmonic and music director of the NIU Opera Workshop. Matos also will teach conducting.

“I feel very fortunate to be joining NIU,” Matos said. “The NIU School of Music has an outstanding faculty, very talented students and a warm and vibrant atmosphere.”

Paul Bauer, director of the School of Music, said Matos “brings a level of artistry that will be a strong complement to our artist faculty, which includes the Avalon String Quartet.”

“Dr. Matos has previously performed professionally with several NIU faculty, and we look forward to the great potential such collaborations will provide in the future,” Bauer said. “I am confident that she will be a highly respected teacher by students and colleagues, as she is quite knowledgeable and demanding, yet supportive in her manner.”

Matos holds master’s and doctoral degrees in conducting from the University of Iowa, where she arrived in 1998 on a fellowship, and a bachelor’s degree in conducting from Campinas State University in her native Brazil.

Fluent in English and Portuguese, she also speaks Italian and French and has basic knowledge of German, Spanish, Czech, Romanian and Hungarian.

She has conducted orchestras in the United States, Brazil and Europe and has served as an opera music director across the Midwest. She recorded a CD with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra that was released in 2006. In 2007, she was a semi-finalist at the Bela Bartok International Opera Conducting Competition.

Not surprisingly, Matos calls music her “first interest in life.”

“My first memories are of seeing someone play the piano when I was 2 years old, and it has been my interest since then. The memory was engraved,” she said. “I love how much music can communicate.”

Nine years later, at the age of 11, she convinced her parents to pay for piano lessons. “I really put my heart into it,” she said.

“Then when I went to college I decided to be a conducting major. I first fell in love with choral conducting, but in the last years of the program, I had the chance to work with an orchestra,” she added. “At my first rehearsal, I knew instantaneously that I wanted to do that for the rest of my life. It was a very strong experience.”

Matos said the NIU Philharmonic will continue to perform major works of the standard repertoire. She also plans to program contemporary music and Latin American works as well.

Meanwhile, she’s started planning for the for the next year and recruiting students to NIU through her guest-conducting engagements.

“I am very much looking forward to the start of the fall semester. I hope the students will find that I am passionate about music and that I have high expectations for them,” Matos said, “but at the same time that I’ll foster a nurturing orchestral environment.”

Gordon B. Shneider to present
annual Francis X. Riley lecture

NIU College of Law Professor Emeritus Gordon B. Shneider will present the 15th Annual Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism.

Shneider will present his lecture at 2 p.m. Friday, April 11, in the Francis X. Riley Courtroom, located in Swen Parson Hall at the NIU-DeKalb campus. A reception will follow in the Thurgood Marshall Gallery, also in Swen Parson Hall. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

Shneider began his teaching profession in 1975 as one of the original faculty members of Lewis University Law School in Glen Ellyn, Ill. He remained at the College of Law after it was acquired by NIU in 1979.

During his 29-year tenure, Shneider’s areas of expertise were securities regulation, corporations, corporate finance and torts, where he taught and wrote about these subjects regularly. Upon his retirement in May 2004, the Gordon B. Shneider Scholarship Fund, a merit-based scholarship used to attract students to the College of Law, was established.

Shneider earned an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University, a J.D. from DePaul University and an LL.M. from the University of Chicago.

The Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism was established in 1994 to honor Professor Emeritus Riley, who devoted his life to the law and legal education. The lecture series brings distinguished speakers to the Northern Illinois University College of Law to discuss current issues relating to the legal profession.

Riley died Sept. 14, 2006. He was 93. This lecture series will continue to serve as part of his legacy at NIU Law and within the legal community.

President invites nominations to four presidential commissions

President John Peters invites nominations of faculty, staff and students for appointment to the four presidential commissions.

The nominations will be for appointments effective in the 2008-09 academic year. The four presidential commissions, and sources where additional detailed information on each commission can be found, are:

President’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities
Greg Long, chair
(815) 753-6508

President’s Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Norden Gilbert, chair
(815) 753-8365

President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities
Ronnie Wooten, chair
(815) 753-4739

President’s Commission on the Status of Women
Rhonda Robinson, chair
(815) 753-9323

Self-nominations are welcome. Please forward nominations, including name, address, e-mail and telephone number to

Nominations should be submitted on or before Friday, April 18.

LGBT Awareness Month workshop
to prevent, combat hate on campus

Shane Windmeyer, founder of Stop the Hate, will present free workshops today on “The Impact of Hate: Preventing and Combating Hate on Campus.” Students, faculty and staff can learn social justice tools for combating bias and hate crimes in all forms. 

The workshops are scheduled for 2:30 to 4 p.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m. Space is limited and an RSVP is required. Call (815) 753-5428.

Stop the Hate is the only resource of its kind specifically for college campuses. It helps administrators, student affairs professionals, faculty and students learn innovative tools to take action on hate crimes and bias-motivated violence on their campuses.

Stop the Hate was developed in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League, Association of College Unions International, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Wilbron Institute and the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention.

This LGBT Awareness Month event is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, LGBT Resource Center, Prism, Housing & Dining, Student Involvement & Leadership Development and Greek Affairs.

Operating Staff Council seeks
nominees for several positions

The Operating Staff Council is accepting candidate applications to fill several vacant positions.

If you are a union or non-union employee in a status position, have your supervisor’s permission and are willing to serve approximately six hours each month for monthly meeting and subcommittee participation, then you are eligible to run to fill a vacancy.

The council’s role is to promote the general welfare of Operating Staff employees through action in a communicative and advisory capacity to the NIU administration as well as any other applicable group, agency or individual. The council meets the second Thursday morning of every month.

More information and candidate data sheets for completion are available online.

What’s cooking at Ellington’s?

On the menu at Ellington’s this week: Arabian Nights is scheduled for Tuesday. Tropical Paradise is the theme for Wednesday. Home Sweet Holmes takes over Thursday.

Arabian Nights features red lentil soup or Lebanese tabouleh salad for starters, shawarma or stuffed grape leaves for entrees with stouf or macerated apricots and nuts for desserts. Each table also will be served hummus and pita bread.

Tropical Paradise features Jamaican carrot soup or tropical island salad for starters, Caribbean chicken with honey pineapple sauce or linguine with black beans and Caribbean sauce for entrees and gilled pineapples with cinnamon vanilla ice cream or coconut meringue pie topped with whipped cream and strawberries for desserts. Each table also will be served sparkling apricot-pineapple punch.

Home Sweet Holmes features Waldorf salad or French onion soup for starters, asparagus and cheese-stuffed turkey breast served with rosemary roasted garlic potato puree or baked ditalini with three cheeses and sun-dried tomatoes for entrees with apple pie a la mode or blueberry and maple-pecan granola parfaits for desserts. Each table also will be served warm whole-wheat dinner rolls with honey butter.

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 to make reservations.

HHS hosts open house

NIU students interested in becoming majors and/or involved in student organizations within the College of Health and Human Sciences can learn more about these programs Monday, April 14, at the annual “Taste of Health and Human Sciences.”

Current majors also are invited to discover opportunities within student organizations. 

Organized by the HHS Student Advisory Committee, the event takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Light Court of Wirtz Hall. Refreshments will be served.

“This is the time of year students are registering for the spring semester, and for those looking for a major, this is a good opportunity,” said Sandi Splansky, director of academic advising. 

Majors include audiology, child development, clinical laboratory sciences, public health, rehabilitation services, early childhood studies, family and individual development, family social services, health administration, health education, hospitality administration, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, physical therapy, speech pathology, teacher certification in family and consumer sciences, and textiles, apparel and merchandising. There also are several minors, including gerontology and military science.

Participants also will have an opportunity to learn about more student organizations in the college. For more information, call (815) 753-1891.

Judge James F. Holderman to speak
at NIU Law Review Symposium

James F. Holderman, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, is the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s 17th annual NIU Law Review Symposium: “The Modern American Jury.”

The symposium is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration is required and available on the College of Law Web site. Call (800) 345-9472 for more information.

Public Interest Law Society
to hold annual auction Friday

The 13th annual Public Interest Law Society Auction is scheduled for Friday, April 11, in the Marshall Gallery and the Law Library of Swen Parson Hall.

Bidding for the silent auction begins at 5 p.m. The live auction begins at 7:30 p.m. There is a complimentary dinner buffet and open bar.

Auction items of interest include a 42-inch flat-screen television; a Nintendo Wii; iPod; autographed items from Tiger Woods, Al Gore, Mike Ditka and Gale Sayers; and more than 150 other items.

Faculty, staff invited to join, form Relay for Life teams

Sponsored by Colleges Against Cancer, NIU’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life begins at 6 p.m. Friday, April 11, at the Convocation Center. The overnight fundraising gala features entertainment, games, food and the moving luminaria ceremony.

This year’s theme is “Follow the Cancer-Free Road.” NIU faculty and staff are encouraged to form a team or join an existing one (or just contribute). Cancer survivors are invited to sign up for the survivor’s celebration as well.

For details, visit or contact Blake Horras at Colleges against Cancer,

CLA workshop to explain government budgeting, finances

A public budget is about policy choices: how much money, how to raise it, how to spend it and how to account for it? Because bud­gets are about choices, they reflect the priorities and values of those who shape them.

Next week’s Civic Leadership Academy workshop, scheduled for Thursday, April 17, will offer participants a critical understanding of the processes, policies and politics that surround governmental budgeting and finance through an introductory survey of public budgeting and financial management.

Participants will leave the course with a full appreciation of the ideas, concepts and techniques important to leader­ship’s understanding of budgets and financial management. The presenter is Brian Caputo, director of finance for the City of Aurora.

Registration and more information about CLA and its upcoming workshops are available online.

NIU Women’s Rights Alliance
presents ‘Vagina Monologues’

The Northern Illinois University Women’s Rights Alliance will sponsor two upcoming performances of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.”

The performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 19, and Sunday, April 20, in the Barsema Hall Auditorium.

The events aim to raise awareness of domestic violence issues. Ten percent of ticket sales will benefit Ensler’s anti-violence campaigns, and 90 percent of ticket sales will go to Safe Passage Inc., an organization that provides services to victims of domestic and sexual violence in DeKalb County.

Tickets will be available at the door, and are $5 for students with ID and seniors and $8 for the general public. For more information, contact Rebekah Kohli at (815) 753-1044 or or visit

Art Museum schedules bus trip
to ‘ARTropolis’ art, antique fair

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

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 More information about the museum and its programming is online at 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.

Local quilters to sew tribute
to victims of Feb. 14 tragedy

The NIU Library Memorial Quilt Committee is sponsoring a community quilt project in memory of the victims of the Feb. 14 tragedy. The goal is to create a king-size quilt, as a gift from the community, which will be housed permanently in Founders Memorial Library.

The project is open to the NIU community including students, staff, faculty, affiliates and members of the greater DeKalb/Sycamore community.

Through Tuesday, April 8, the committee will distribute red, white and black fabric squares to be used in the quilt. The number of squares available will be limited to 288, and they will be provided free, one square per person. Those wishing to receive the fabric can stop by the information desk in the Founders Memorial Library lobby from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday or from 1 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Each participant is invited to create a tribute on their square; guidelines will be provided. Once all submissions are collected, the quilters will arrange them and sew them together.

Completed quilt squares must be turned in no later than Wednesday, April 30. Once the quilt is finished, all participants will be invited to a dedication ceremony.

For more information, contact Rebecca Martin at (815) 753-9896 or

April is LGBT Awareness Month

April is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness Month. A online calendar for the full schedule and details about events is available.

Some events include:

  • Tuesday, April 8, 7 p.m.: featured presenter Shane Windmeyer, “Leaders and Allies.”
  • Wednesday, April 9, 7:30 p.m.: featured presenter Dylan Scholinski, “Mental (ST)ealth, Part 1.”
  • Thursday, April 10, 11 a.m.: featured presenter Dylan Scholinski, “Mental (ST)ealth, Part 2.”

‘Girls Under the Hood’ offers
practical tips in auto mechanics

Would you know what to do if you got a flat? Does your dad change your oil and check the tire pressure on your car for you? Do you think it’s time to learn how to do it yourself?

Join the Women’s Resource Center at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, for a workshop on the basics you need to know – and often are not taught growing up – in order to deal with and maintain a vehicle. Learn how to check fluid levels, change a tire and jump a dead battery.

The group will meet in Parking Lot J, east of Grant Towers.

Art Museum offers massages

Interested in trading a story about nature for a massage?

Just e-mail a nature story with your desired appointment time to artist Gabriel Akagawa at As part of the “Unpacked/Offset” exhibition at the NIU Art Museum, artist Gabriel Bizen Akagawa will give “free” massages every Friday (except April 25) in the gallery through May 10.

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. He trades free head, neck, arm and hand massages for a story 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 each Friday during gallery hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at the museum. He will massage by appointment and limited walk-ins. To ensure a massage, please e-mail him at with a desired time and a nature story.

Participants also may choose to dictate an audio recorded story on site.

More details about “Unpacked/Offset” and other ways to participate in the project are available online.

NIU Huskies baseball team to face
Notre Dame at U.S. Celluar Field

NIU’s baseball team will face Notre Dame in a 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, contest at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. Tickets are on sale today.

Proceeds from tickets sales will benefit NIU’s February 14 Student Scholarship Fund. The Huskies and Fighting Irish last met on the diamond in 2005.

“It is an incredible show of support from the Chicago White Sox and from [head coach] Dave Schrage and the University of Notre Dame to be able to do this,” NIU head coach Ed Mathey said. “To have the ability to put together an event like this at an amazing facility like U.S. Cellular Field to generate financial support for the scholarship fund is tremendous.”

All tickets are $10 for lower-level reserved seating and are available at, Ticketmaster phone lines, Chicagoland Ticketmaster outlets, the NIU campus box office and the U.S. Cellular Field box office.

Gates to the ballpark will open at 6 p.m. Parking is free in Lots A (bus parking), B and C, and concession stands will be open during the game.

“We look forward to a great contest on the field and hope that all the NIU alumni and fans in the Chicago area will come out to support this endeavor,” Mathey said. “Because the proceeds for this event are going to the February 14 Student Scholarship Fund, I would certainly like to see this become one of the highest-attended college games in the Midwest this season.”

“The White Sox are honored to host Northern Illinois and Notre Dame at U.S. Cellular Field for this special game and important cause,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox chief marketing officer and vice president. “Both schools boast a significant fan base in Chicago that will make for a great night of baseball while serving a much more important cause.”

PCSM seeks nominations for Deacon Davis award

The NIU Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities (PCSM) invites nominations for the 2008 Deacon Davis Diversity Award. Created in 2004, this award recognizes the significant contributions made to the improvement of the status of minorities on campus by members of the university community.

The PCSM encourages nominations from the university community including current NIU undergraduate, graduate or professional students; faculty, SPS or Civil Service staff; academic units, offices, programs or organizations. Nominations and an additional letter of support must be in writing and be received by Thursday, April 10.

The Deacon Davis Award is named in honor of the founder and former director of the CHANCE (College Help & Assistance Necessary for College Education) Program. Davis died March 20, 2003.

Award recipients in 2007 were Promod Vohra, dean of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology; Luis and Clersida Garcia, associate professors in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education; and Nicole Gabriel, Ruth Molokwu and Heema Soni, student officers of the Minority Science Association.

The Deacon Davis Award is a non-monetary honor. Awards will be bestowed upon the selected recipients Tuesday, April 22, during the Annual PCSM Spring Banquet. Nomination forms and guidelines can be found at or by contacting Melody Mitchell at (815) 753-1027 or

Latino Resource Center seeks
nominees for community awards

NIU’s Latino Resource Center, along with Castle Bank, is seeking nominees for the 2007-08 Outstanding Latino Community Awards.

Self-nominations are welcome as are nominations of NIU students, NIU faculty and staff, Latino student organizations and local businesses. Nominations are due Friday, April 11, to the Latino Resource Center, LC-515 Garden Road, NIU, DeKalb, Ill., 60115.

Winners will be announced Saturday, May 3, at the annual Outstanding Latino Community Awards gala luncheon.

Nomination applications are available online. For more information, call (815) 753-1986.

Notre Dame professor to speak
on ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’

David Solomon, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, will speak at NIU at 3 p.m. Friday, April 11, on “Elizabeth Anscombe’s ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’ and Virtue Ethics.”

Solomon’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Graduate Colloquium Committee and the Department of Philosophy. It takes place in the University Suite of the Holmes Student Center.

Call (815) 753-0331 for more information.

Annual NIU seminar to salute
administrative professionals

NIU will salute administrative professionals Tuesday, April 22, during the 11th annual Administrative Professionals Day Seminar in the Altgeld Hall ballroom.

The event takes place from 7:45 to 10 a.m. and includes a deluxe breakfast buffet and several door prizes contributed by local businesses. Rita Emmett, author of “The Procrastinator’s Handbook” and “The Clutter-Busting Handbook,” will speak on “Blast Away Procrastination! Mastering the Art of Doing It Now.”

Parking is available for $5 in the NIU visitor’s parking lot for off-campus registrants. Parking passes are mailed with receipts if registration is received by Friday, April 11.

Registration is $44 per person (or $54 after April 11) and includes breakfast, the presentation and all materials. Employees of NIU and other governmental agencies are invited at a special rate of $34 per person ($44 after April 11). Registrations are not accepted without full payment, and there are no refunds on or after April 11. Parking payments are not refundable.

To register, call (815) 753-0277 or visit For more information, call (815) 753-5200 or e-mail

PCSM announces annual luncheon

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.

Steam outage planned for May

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