Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Northern Today - January 28, 2008

President writes to campus about surveys
meant to improve students’ NIU experience

January 28, 2008

Dear students and colleagues,

Every successful university realizes the incalculable value of feedback from all members of its campus community. To that end, NIU is about to embark on a series of surveys designed to tell us how we are doing and where we need to focus resources and efforts in the years ahead. 

The first set of surveys will begin two weeks from today, and will focus on the student experience as viewed by faculty, staff and students themselves. As outlined in my State of the University Address last fall, this baseline assessment is intended to identify both strengths and weaknesses in our overall teaching and learning environment. It is a critical component of our Great Journeys Strategic Plan initiative, and I urge all of you to participate.

A second set of surveys currently under development will assess faculty and staff attitudes on a much broader range of topics. That is targeted for fall and will delve more deeply into issues that affect employment satisfaction at all levels.

Beginning Monday, Feb. 11, all students, faculty and staff will have a two-week opportunity to complete an online survey that will measure our campus climate. We need to understand what our students think of their experiences here, and how they think key investments might improve that experience.

There are no right or wrong answers. Most of the survey is made up of statements; respondents will rate the level of importance, and their level of satisfaction, regarding each item.

Statements range from the sense of belonging most students feel here and whether faculty care about students as individuals to the approachability of staff, the security of campus and the availability of financial aid.

Graduate and non-traditional students will find the survey’s items geared toward their situations, many of which involve living far away from campus, working full-time jobs and tending to family responsibilities.

I must clarify the crucial role of faculty and staff in this survey. We will respond with our perceptions of how students experience NIU. This will show us possible gaps in the perceived quality and quantity of services; if we think we’re doing well and our students disagree, we quickly can identify those areas in need of improvement.

To members of the faculty: I encourage you to make time during a class period for your students to take the survey. Only 20 to 30 minutes are needed. If this is not possible, please promote the survey’s importance to your students.

This survey is not mandatory, but I urge all of you to give us your honest input. When you find the survey invitation in your GroupWise e-mail, please participate. The message should come to your mailbox, but if you do not see it there Monday, Feb. 11, check your “junk mail” file.

All responses are strictly confidential and will be added to a data file created by Noel-Levitz, the company that created the survey. All information sent to NIU by Noel-Levitz will be reported out by groups (students, faculty and staff).

Finally, remember that all Great Journeys begin with one step. Please help NIU to take a giant leap forward through your opinions.

Thank you,

John G. Peters
President

NIU to survey campus climate

NIU administrators want to know what students, faculty and staff think of the place where they live, learn and work.

As part of the Great Journeys strategic planning work, the university has commissioned an online survey that will take place from Feb. 11 through 24. Its goal is to create the most positive experience for everyone who has chosen NIU for an education.

Everyone, including undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff, will receive an e-mail through GroupWise with a direct link to the appropriate online survey. Staff without computers will have the opportunity to complete the survey in an NIU computer lab, just as they did for the state’s mandatory ethics training.

“We need to understand what our students think of their experiences here, and how they think key investments might improve that experience,” President John Peters said. “This survey is not mandatory, but I urge all of you to give us your honest input. When you find the survey invitation in your GroupWise e-mail, please participate.”

The university has contracted Noel-Levitz to conduct the voluntary survey, which takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Respondents will provide their level of interest and their level of satisfaction regarding nearly 100 statements about campus, covering everything from academics, financial aid and library resources to campus safety, parking spaces and the food available in residence hall cafeterias.

Graduate and non-traditional students will find many of the items geared to their unique situation, including the convenience of courses and advising services.

Faculty and staff will answer with their perceptions of how students regard the campus experience. This will provide a clear picture of where gaps exist between the ratings of those provide the services and those who receive them.

NIU will publish the results in the fall. Noel-Levitz can provide comparisons of NIU’s data with data collected from other colleges and universities, both regionally and nationally.

For more information, call (815) 753-0816.

IBHE honors NIU’s Karen Baldwin
with Nurse Educator Fellowship Award

Another nursing professor from NIU has received a prestigious Nurse Educator Fellowship Award from the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Karen Baldwin joins 14 nursing faculty from around the state, along with NIU School of Nursing and Health Studies colleagues and charter Fellows Judith Hertz and Donna Ploncyznski, in the program created to ensure the retention of well-qualified nursing educators.

Baldwin will receive $10,000 to further her work as a teacher and researcher. She plans to attend national (and perhaps international) conferences and to purchase the latest in texts on obstetric and neonatal health care, her specialty for 30 years.

“It’s the best field in nursing,” she said. “It’s exciting. It’s challenging. It’s fulfilling. It’s dynamic. Plus, our patients are really cute.”

She also is contemplating the purchase of technology to make some of the classroom exercises “more attractive” to the students.

“There are a lot of things I can do to become better, and this gives me the opportunity to do just that,” said Baldwin, who came to NIU in 1997. “There are absolutely fantastic things going on nationally and internationally in evidence-based teaching and problem-based learning. If I can interact with these experts and learn from them, then my lectures and discussions will become even more evidence-based. I’m going to translate that learning into even-better teaching.”

Brigid Lusk, chair of the school housed in the College of Health and Human Sciences, said Baldwin “is an outstanding teacher in that she really creates innovative learning experiences for our students.”

“She does this cute thing called ‘Friday Night in the ER’ – she teaches pediatric nursing content – and all the students have to wear scrubs. She throws scenarios at them, and they have to role-play. That’s a big hit,” Lusk said. “In an exercise called ‘Fetal Monitoring Art Gallery,’ she teaches fetal monitoring strips by posting these miles of strips all around the building. On the day of lesson, the corridors are packed with students poring over these strips, trying to figure out what they mean.”

Recipients of the nursing fellowships collaborate with the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Center for Nursing, assist in reviewing nomination materials for future fellows and participate in conferences. They also must participate in statewide nursing advocacy and prepare final reports that describe their fellowship experiences.

Illinois, like other states, is suffering from a critical lack of nurses and nursing educators.

In Baldwin’s case, the teaching comes naturally. Only a year after her own graduation, she began serving as a preceptor for new nurses, essentially a clinical teaching position. After earning her master’s degree in family health nursing, she started teaching in nursing schools as a clinical nursing specialist.

So does the learning.

Unlike some disciplines, she said, it’s critical for nurses and their professors to remain on the cutting edge of new research. Baldwin’s own scholarship concentrates on patient outcomes, quality of care and the use of electronic medical records, an area that’s evolving.

“We have to be current, and even if our teaching is incrementally better, it’s better,” she said. “Students are getting smarter, and we have to get smarter, too.”

Nonetheless, Baldwin said she did not expect the state’s honor.

“I was really very surprised,” she said. “There are so many good teachers out there.”

Professor to students: ‘You’re going to Hollywood’

Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson haven’t cornered the market on the catchphrase, “You’re going to Hollywood!”

At NIU, it belongs to NIU Communication Professor Laura Vazquez.

Vazquez next month will take 13 communications students who have interest in the television and film industry to Los Angeles, where they’ll have a chance to hobnob with alums in the biz at a Feb. 15 gathering sponsored by the NIU Alumni Association.

The students are all seniors or December graduates and were all in Vazquez’s advanced media production course last semester.

Vazquez said she is paying for their airfare with the university’s share of prize money from the Chipotle Mexican Grill video advertisement contest.

Last semester, four of Vazquez’s students – seniors Chris Darkes, Brittany Samson, Sara Honchar and Joe Giorgi – tied for first place in the nationwide contest with their entry, titled “Just the Fax.” The students received $7,500 in prize money, with an equal amount going to the university.

The NIU Vice Provost’s Office also is providing funding support for the three-day Los Angeles visit. Students will have time to take in the sights, including Hollywood Boulevard, and are being encouraged to tour Universal Studios. The “Just the Fax” foursome will be among those making the trip.

“Several of my students had already consulted with me about the possibility of finding jobs in the Los Angeles area after graduation,” Vazquez said. “I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for them to network with alums who have established careers in the industry.”

Some of the videos created by the students will be screened at the alumni event.

“Our alums enjoy engaging with students and finding out what NIU is like now,” Vazquez added. “I think it will be an energizing experience for everyone.”

Ruckus music service catching on

During the past two-and-a-half years, NIU students have downloaded more than 3.2 million songs to their computers … and there was nothing illegal about it.

That’s because students enrolled at NIU have access to Ruckus, a multimedia network that supplies free and legal music downloads. The university was a pioneer in providing such services, signing on as the company’s second client in 2005.

“We realize that downloading music is simply a part of youth culture today, so we wanted to provide our students with a safe, legal and free option to do so,” explains Wally Czerniak, associate vice president for Information Technology Services at NIU.

Students were a bit slow to warm up to the service. However, by the end of the 2006-2007 school year, slightly more than 4,000 students had subscribed.

That’s when the university began trying a new marketing tactic: showcasing the service to parents as well as students during summer orientation. Enrollment began to skyrocket, with an average of 50 students a day signing up for the service.

“About that time, the headlines were full of stories of students being sued by the Recording Industry Association of America and paying some huge settlements, so it caught their attention,” says Cindy Phillips, director of NIUTEL Telecommunications. (At least one NIU student paid a $3,000 settlement to RIAA for having 200 illegally downloaded songs on his computer.)

Last fall, Housing and Dining also began promoting the service more aggressively, using cable television bulletin boards, screen savers in computer labs and a mass e-mail to students in the residence halls.

“We tried to get it in front of them as many times as possible in as many ways as possible,” Phillips says.

As part of those efforts, Housing and Dining also held an October forum where students could get the facts about the potential consequences of illegally downloading music. “It was a very honest discussion about RIAA and how universities seemed to be a favored target,” she says.

That marketing push kept interest high and, during the first half of the school year, an average of about 30 students a day signed up to push enrollment to nearly 8,000 by the winter break. Word-of-mouth marketing eventually began to take over, and the popularity of the service began spreading beyond the residence halls to students living off campus.

“We serve several schools much larger than NIU that don’t have as many students signed up,” says Ruckus account executive Peter Opere. “Schools that have faster computer networks – like NIU – tend to have more users. The faster the downloads, the more students like it.”

It takes a fast network to make a dent in all that Ruckus has to offer, but NIU students are trying. They download about 10,000 songs a day from the company’s 3.2 million offerings, which come from the catalogs of major record labels and hundreds of independent labels.

The success of Ruckus is gratifying, Phillips says, but it is an easy sell once students give it a try.

“It’s a great service, and I think once students try it they really like it – especially the fact that they can have the music they want without having to worry about getting sued or about downloading viruses,” she says

The service is free to students and to the university (it is paid for by online advertising), but there are a couple of strings attached.

First, while it allows students to download as many songs as they want, they can only play the songs on the computer to which they are downloaded. However, for $20 a semester, students can overcome that restriction and are allowed to burn the songs to CD or load them on MP3 players. The songs are not compatible with iTunes or iPods, however, because of restrictions imposed by Apple.

Students also can use Ruckus to download thousands of music videos, documentaries and student-made films through Ruckus. It also includes a social networking component that allows students to create a personal profile page and share information about themselves and their music preferences.

“We’re excited to see it taking off,” Czerniak says, “and hope to see it catch on even bigger.”

NIU Study Abroad Office launches five new programs

NIU’s Study Abroad Office is offering five new faculty-directed study-abroad programs – two in China, one in India, one in Turkey and one in Thailand – for the upcoming summer term.

In addition, 13 programs offered during previous spring breaks and summers will continue in 2008.

The programs typically are geared for both undergraduate and graduate-level students at NIU and beyond. Students can earn three to six semester hours of credit. The NIU-administered programs provide a lower­cost alternative to a semester- or year-long experience abroad.

Here’s a look at the new offerings.

Robotics Manufacturing in China

Simon Song, a professor of mechanical engineering, will direct “Robotics Manufacturing in China.” The program will run from May 14 to June 4.

Participants will receive NIU credit in engineering and will be given the opportunity to work with faculty and students at host institutions in Harbin, Beijing and Changzhou. Professor Song will facilitate hands-on projects and lead lectures and discussions. Trips to the world’s largest tiger park, the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs are also planned.

The primary purpose of the program is two-fold. In the manufacturing area, students will gain a global view of the manufacturing industry by seeing and experiencing the massive vitality of China’s manufacturing industry. In the robotics area, students will learn theories of mobile robots and see advanced mobile-robot projects at Chinese universities.

In addition, students will have the opportunity to learn the culture of China, which will continue to be a dominant factor in the world economy.

Exploring Information Systems Application and Practice in China

Chang Liu, assistant professor in the Department of Operations Management and Information Systems, will direct “Exploring Information Systems Application and Practice in China.” Participants will receive NIU OMIS credit through the program, which will run from May 15 to June 4.

The program will provide a practical understanding of the dynamic challenges and opportunities posed by information technology (IT) in today’s highly competitive global business environment.

The program focuses on the various roles that information systems (IS) can play in an organization. Upon program completion, students will be able to readily recognize the circumstances in which various information technologies can be applied to meet business objectives. The students also will become sophisticated in issues of international culture by learning IS practices, policies and applications in China.

Students will learn effective ways of managing information technology in organizations, learn how to use information technology to compete in the global environment and explore information technology applications and practices through company visits. Program participants also will experience cultural and societal issues of economic growth in China and tour the cities of Beijing and Shanghai.

Biomedical Lab Science in India

Jeanne Isabel, associate professor of clinical laboratory science, will direct “Biomedical Lab Science in India,” scheduled to run from Aug. 19 to Aug. 29, with mandatory on-campus meetings prior to departure. Participants will receive credit in the School of Allied Health Professions and Communicative Disorders.

Students will learn firsthand about the health care system in India, health issues faced by the country’s people and health care delivery issues for clinical laboratory scientists and other professionals.

The on-campus component of the program will consist of three mandatory meetings to be held July 9, July 23 and Aug. 6. The meetings will include a series of lectures and assignments designed to prepare students for the program in India. A group presentation will be given following the overseas component.

The overseas component will consist of a cultural tour and tours of Delhi-area facilities that represent the continuum of clinical laboratory services. Students will attend and participate in the 28th World Congress of the International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science.

Nursing Care, Nursing Education and Health Care Systems in Turkey

Ayhan Lash and Judith Popovich, professors in the School of Nursing and Health Studies, will direct “Nursing Care, Nursing Education and Health Care Systems in Turkey: A Visit to Florence Nightingale.”

The program will run from June 28 to July 10, with an on-campus pre-departure meeting on Wednesday, June 25. Students will receive nursing credit upon successful completion of the program.

Participants will have the opportunity to explore emerging health care systems in a developing country, identify major public health problems and health care resources and compare North American cultural perspectives of health and illness with those in Turkey. Students also will explore the country’s historical and cultural influences on nursing education.

Another highlight of the program will be a visit to Florence Nightingale Museum in Skutari, Istanbul. There will be daily site visits to health care agencies and schools of nursing, as well as visits to local attractions such as the Topkapi Museum, the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

The Political Economy of Thailand

Political Science Professor Daniel Unger will direct “The Political Economy of Thailand.” The program will run from June 2 to June 22. Participants will receive NIU credit in political science upon successful completion.

Students will learn about the economic and political development of Thailand and experience what these abstractions mean for Thai people. Participants will spend about a third of the time in the capital city of Bangkok, while also visiting cities and villages in the north, northeast and middle south regions. 

Other highlights will include visits to open air markets, historical sites and museums. Participants will have opportunities to experience a traditional Thai massage, ride elephants and view the cutting of gemstones and the tapping of rubber from trees. They also will encounter a variety of hill tribes in distinctive dress and see ancient Khmer ruins, chili plantations and Christian churches dating to the 17th century.

The program director hopes to meet with and hear from Thai politicians and government officials, princes and architects, journalists and business people, as well as people working on slum development and other social and environmental projects.

Continuing Study-Abroad Programs

In addition to the new opportunities, the Study Abroad Office, along with various NIU departments, will continue to offer programs in Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ireland, England and West Africa.

Interested students are encouraged to visit www3.niu.edu/niuabroad/sa.htm. Students also can visit the NIU Study Abroad Office in Williston Hall 417, call (815) 753-0700 or e-mail niuabroad@niu.edu.

Kudos

Daniel J. Turner, acting director of NIU’s Academic Advising Center, met over the weekend in Chicago with other national leaders of Mortar Board to make vital decisions regarding the future of the prominent national honor society for college seniors.

Turner currently serves on the organization’s board of directors, the National Council. He was elected to serve at two-year term as the board’s president-elect at the 2007 Mortar Board National Conference. His term as president-elect will end in July 2009, and he will then serve as national president until July 2011.

He has previously served on the national council as vice president (2005-2007), as a regional section coordinator for Illinois and Wisconsin (1995-2005) and is the recipient of the Excellence in Advising Award for chapter advisers (2003) and national Ruth Mount Fellowship (2002). Additionally, he served as a student adviser to the organization’s national conference in 1995 and as the NIU chapter president (1994-1995).

Turner holds a B.S. in psychology (1995) and a M.S.Ed. in instructional technology (1998), both from NIU. He currently is working on a Ph.D. in higher education administration at Loyola University Chicago. Additionally, he serves as the adviser to the NIU Mortar Board chapter.

As a National Council member, Turner meets with other national leaders of Mortar Board, travels as an official representative of the organization and makes decisions that guide the long-term future of the organization. Specifically, Turner coordinates the work of the national standing committees. 

Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. Since its founding in 1918, the organization has grown from the four founding chapters to 223 chartered collegiate and 25 active alumni chapters with nearly 250,000 initiated members across the nation.

Student Affairs sponsors speakers on race, conflict

NIU’s Division of Student Affairs will host two events this week and next on race and conflict.

Jamie Washington, a diversity trainer and workshop facilitator, will speak on “Dialogue on Diversity, Race and Conflict,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center.

Art Munin, assistant dean of students at DePaul University, will present “White Privilege 101” at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, in the ballroom.

Call (815) 753-1573 for more information.

Black Heritage Month begins
with Thursday night speaker

The Center for Black Studies, including BSU, ASA, BMI, BROTHERS, SISTERS, EBONY Women and NPHC organizations, will present the 2008 Black Heritage Month opening ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium.

Kenneth Jackson, principal of Rockford Jefferson High School, will speak on “Freeing the African Mind, Human Rights in the New Millennium.”

This year’s opening ceremony marks 36 years of academic and community development through Black Heritage Month programming. This event provides students and organizations an opportunity to learn and interact with one another while presenting positive role models that have made significant contributions to the African community specifically and to the world in general.

Jackson brings 29 years of experience and dedication to the field of education at all levels as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal and superintendent.

As a result of these educational experiences and his many other accomplishments, he has developed a deep commitment and compassion to help the needs of children to ensure that all children receive the services and support to enhance their global success.

The event also will feature re-enactments of historical African-American leaders and events by representatives from NIU student organizations. This event is free and open to all.

For more information, call the Center for Black Studies at (815) 753-1709.

Faculty Development seeks proposals for Raymond grant

David W. Raymond, while a member of the first NIU Board of Trustees, created an endowment to fund an annual grant to faculty who are working on ways to use new technologies in their teaching.

Income from the endowment is supplemented with funds from the Provost’s Office to provide a $2,500 grant to the faculty member with the best proposal for incorporating new technologies into his or her teaching. Tenured and tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply for the grant.

Grant funds may be used for software purchases, equipment upgrades, graduate assistantship time or other costs associated with developing courseware or supportive materials that make effective and innovative use of instructional technology.

The proposal must include a budget for the project and a letter of support from the chair of the applicant’s department, school or division. Five copies of each proposal should be submitted to the Grant Review Committee, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, Adams Hall 319, by Monday, March 17.

A proposal format and additional information about the grant are availabe online. For more information, contact facdev@niu.edu or (815) 753-0595.

University Women’s Club to host wine tasting group

The University Women’s Club hopes to create a new wine tasting/study group with an organizational meeting set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, at the home of Mikel and Donna Wyckoff, 118 Terrace Drive in DeKalb.

All University Women’s Club members, spouses and friends are invited to attend and offer suggestions. RSVP to Donna at (815) 758-5553.

The University Women’s Club welcomes all women associated with the university – current or retired faculty or staff member, or wife of a current, retired or deceased faculty or staff member – to join this long-standing NIU organization.

Make Valentine’s Day a healthy celebration

Valentine’s Day is meant to spend with that special someone. Whether you choose to spend it with friends, a loved one or by yourself is up to you.

Come join the Women’s Resource Center and Health Enhancement to discuss celebrating Valentine’s Day in a healthy way. We will discuss ways to have a happy Valentine’s Day by yourself, with friends or that special someone by exploring safer sex methods and giving ideas to have a fun day Valentine’s Day, no matter what your situation is. 

The event takes place from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, in the Grant A Formal Lounge.

University Women’s Club to host TGIF party at Taxco

The University Women’s Club invites all members, spouses and friends to a TGIF party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at Taxco Restaurant in Sycamore. Join UWC for warm mid-winter fun and unlimited appetizers.

Cost is $8 per person; a cash bar will be available. RSVP to Dorothy Razniewski by Tuesday, Feb. 4, at (815) 895-8046.

The University Women’s Club welcomes all women associated with the university – current or retired faculty or staff member, or wife of a current, retired or deceased faculty or staff member – to join this long-standing NIU organization.

PCSW seeks nominations for awards

NIU’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women is seeking nominations for four awards to be presented in April.

All nominations are due Monday, March 3, to Betty Baugh, Women’s Resource Center, 105 Normal Road, DeKalb, Ill., 60115. Fax to (815) 753-0337 or e-mail to bbaugh@niu.edu. Call (815) 753-9614 for more information.

The Wilma D. Stricklin Award for the Enhancement of the Climate for Women on Campus is given to an NIU-affiliated individual who has distinguished herself or himself by making continual and extraordinary contributions to the climate for women across campus.

Created in 2007, the Outstanding Mentor Award is presented to one or two NIU civil service, professional staff or faculty employees (male or female) who have shown exceptional commitment to advancing the career and/or educational goals of NIU women students, staff and/or faculty.

The Women Who Make a Difference Award honors one or two NIU civil service, professional staff or faculty women who have shown outstanding dedication to the empowerment of NIU women by making changes at the unit level; by making important contributions to addressing issues that are important to women; and going “the extra mile” to assist others on campus.

Established in 1997, the Martha Cooper Journalism Award recognizes outstanding writing on women’s issues at NIU. Named for Cooper, a journalism alumna, the award is open to all NIU students and alumni who have written and published about women’s issues at NIU during the time frame of March 1, 2007, to the present. Eligible entries include news coverage and/or commentary, either individual articles or a series of articles on a topic or topics related to NIU women.

For details regarding eligibility, criteria and nomination process for each of these awards, call (815) 753-9614 or visit http://www.niu.edu/women/PCSW and click on Awards.

NIU Athletic Board seeks opinions of faculty, staff

As the Athletic Board strives to provide a world-class experience for the members of the NIU community, the board is asking for participation in a brief online survey.

Click on http://www.cob.niu.edu/athletics_survey and answer 10 questions as they pertain to your interests in NIU intercollegiate athletics. The survey should take only a couple of minutes to complete.

MCTI invites participants

NIU’s next Multicultural Curriculum Transformation Institute will take place the week of May 12, the Office of the Provost and the Committee on Multicultural Curriculum Transformation have announced.

Full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty, instructors and supportive professional staff are invited to participate in the institute, which assists participants in incorporating multicultural perspectives and content into their courses, improving communication with students and preparing alumni to participate in a diverse workplace and society.

Qualified faculty and instructional staff interested in participating in the institute are encouraged to apply for Multicultural Curriculum Transformation stipends. Each individual selected will receive a $1,000 stipend to support transforming existing courses or developing new classes that address multiculturalism. Faculty and staff on 12-month contracts can participate in the institute but are not eligible for the stipend.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 1. Information about applications for the institute is available on the Multicultural Curriculum Transformation Web site at http://www.niu.edu/mct/institute/application.shtml. Applications should be submitted electronically to mcti@niu.edu.

The institute features plenary sessions by prominent specialists, focused thematic discussions by NIU faculty and students, syllabi critiques, video presentations and small group discussions. The institute’s sessions focus on topics related to race, gender, social class, disabilities and sexual orientation. Plenary sessions and some panels are open to the public; small group sessions are restricted to participants.

Approximately 220 individuals have participated in the institute since its inception, and they have benefited from opportunities to learn about multicultural issues, share experiences and ideas and establish lasting professional relationships. Participants have made a significant impact on NIU’s programs at all levels across all colleges.

Contact Nakia Brown at (815) 753-8557 or via e-mail at mcti@niu.edu for more information.

Application deadline approaches
for faculty travel fellowships

The NIU Division of International Programs is accepting applications for Lillian Cobb Faculty Travel Fellowships, supporting faculty members who seek international teaching and public service experiences.

The fellowships will support faculty members for international travel through Aug. 15. All tenured or tenure-track faculty members at NIU are eligible to apply.

The deadline for proposals is Friday, Feb. 8. Applicants will be notified whether they have received an award by March 15.

A total of $8,000 will be available for awards of varying amounts. Except for extraordinary circumstances, a match of 20 percent (with a maximum of $500) is expected from the faculty member’s department and/or college.

The travel fellowship was established with an endowment from the estate of Lillian Cobb, the first chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

More information is available at www.niu.edu/international/resources/lillian_cobb.shtml.

Art Museum sponsors ‘Get-on-the-Bus’ trips

Interested in artwork, antiques or art fairs? Want to enjoy regional culture, see innovative historical exhibits, keep up with what’s happening in the art world and travel without the
hassle of traffic, tolls and parking?

Then get on the bus and enjoy the ride.

The NIU Art Museum schedules the trip, makes the itinerary and arrangements. Travelers just need to sign up and pre-pay by the deadlines posted. All trips depart from the NIU School of Art parking lot on the northeast corner of Gilbert and College.

Saturday, Feb. 23: Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper, Chicago.
Head to the Art Institute of Chicago to view large exhibitions of two American art icons, “Watercolors of Winslow Homer: The Color of Light” and Edward Hopper.

“Watercolors of Winslow Homer: The Color of Light” includes more than 100 watercolors, drawings and oil paintings from Homer (1836-1910), regarded as America’s first modernist. The work spans 30 years of production from this artist who created influential works in the watercolor media.

Hopper (1882-1967) is perhaps America’s best known realist and creator of the iconic 1942
painting “Nighthawks.” Hopper’s themes of solitude and introspection are prevalent in the exhibition which includes 50 oil paintings and 30 watercolors displayed in a literary and historical context.

These are timed tickets in a limited number, so reserve your spot early. The bus will depart from DeKalb at noon with return arrival at 6:30 p.m. Transportation and ticket costs are $21 for NIU Art Museum members, $24 for students and senior citizens 65 and older and $26 for others. No refunds for cancellation after the payment deadline will be given since these are pre-paid
tickets.

Members of the Art Institute of Chicago can ride with us and use their membership perk (being aware that tickets might not be available the same time or day due to volume). Transportation costs for those with their own tickets are $10 for NIU Art Museum members, $15 for students and seniors and $15 for others.

The registration and pre-payment deadline is Thursday, Jan. 31. 

To register, visit the museum on the west-end first floor of Altgeld Hall, call (815) 753-1936 or e-mail Jo Burke at jburke2@niu.edu. 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 your seat on the bus.

More information about the NIU Art Museum and its programming is available online.

Mortar Board seeks members

Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, one of the most distinguished active honor societies in higher education, is looking for members for the 2008-2009 NIU chapter.

Eligible students must have senior status by fall 2008, have at least a 3.2 GPA and have demonstrated commitment to Mortar Board’s ideals of scholarship, leadership and service. Mortar Board is a selective senior honor society and will choose only 50 to 60 eligible students for membership.

Founded in 1918, Mortar Board has a long history of recognizing outstanding students for their active contributions to the community. 

Please encourage eligible students to visit the chapter Web site for more information and to apply for membership: www.mortarboard.niu.edu. Applications are due Friday, Feb. 15. For more information contact chapter adviser, Daniel Turner, danturner@niu.edu, in the NIU Academic Advising Center.

Faculty Development to honor
three outstanding graduate TAs

NIU’s Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is seeking nominations for the 2008 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards. Nominations are due Friday, Feb. 29.

These awards acknowledge and recognize outstanding graduate teaching assistants for their contributions to the teaching mission of NIU. Each recipient of the award will be presented with a plaque and recognized at a reception held at the end of the spring semester. At least one will be presented to an outstanding teaching assistant pursuing a master’s degree.

To be eligible for this award, each candidate must be enrolled as a graduate student in good standing at NIU during the semester the award nominations are due, have been employed as a graduate teaching assistant for at least two complete semesters (excluding the semester of nomination) during the past two years at NIU, have been responsible for teaching a course fully or teaching-related support that involved student contact as part of the graduate teaching assistant employment, and have not previously received this award at NIU.

Each academic or academic support unit that employs graduate TAs for teaching and related activities is invited to nominate two outstanding graduate teaching assistants (one at the master’s level and the other at the doctoral level) from its department for the awards.

Nominations submitted to the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center must include supporting documents to be considered for the award. The nominations can be submitted by the head of the unit or designee, and each nomination should include five hardcopies of the following:

  • Nominee information – name, degree, major, phone, e-mail address, department where graduate teaching assistantship was/is held, semesters and years employed as a GTA in that department, course(s) responsible for as a GTA, and responsibilities handled (primary responsibilities for teaching, tutoring, recitation, lab development or supervision, etc.).
  • Nominator information – name, title, department, phone, e-mail address, how long have known the nominee, and in what capacity related to the nominee’s GTA responsibilities.
  • Reasons for nomination – explain the nominee’s outstanding contributions as a GTA at NIU, impact on the course(s) handled by the nominee and the students, efforts made by the nominee to improve teaching by participating in TA development programs, etc.
  • Supporting documents – evidence of outstanding teaching or related support, such as student evaluations, reviews by supervisors, department/college recognition, etc.

A subcommittee of the Faculty Development Advisory Committee will review the nominations and select the recipients of the award. The committee may request additional information or clarifications from the nominees or nominators.

Submit nominations to the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, 319 Adams Hall. Call (815) 753-0595 for more information.

Operating Staff seeks nominees
for Outstanding Service Awards

Nominations for the Outstanding Service Award are now being accepted.

Presented each year to up to four NIU Civil Service employees, the objective of this award program is to recognize individual Civil Service employees who have demonstrated outstanding service and have made significant contributions to the university community.

A $1,500 award, which is considered taxable wages and subject to payroll deductions, and a plaque will be presented to each recipient of the award at the Annual Operating Staff Service Awards Banquet in Spring.

Nomination packets must be received in Human Resource Services no later than 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28.

For details, including nomination forms, visit http://www.niu.edu/osc/serviceaward/index.shtml.

NIU Athletics announces faculty/staff night at Convo

NIU Athletics will host faculty/staff night at the Convocation Center as the Huskies battle Miami (Ohio) with tip-off set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30.

All NIU faculty and staff are invited to purchase up to two tickets for only $2 each, and cheer on the men’s basketball team. Call the Convocation Center ticket office at (815) 752-6800 and mention this promotion to receive the special ticket price.

CLA workshop will help leaders appreciate personnel

The most expensive and expansive asset of a governmental organization is its human capital.

“Managing Personnel and the Human Capital of Your Organization” is a two-part workshop that will help leaders better appreciate and under­stand this strategic component of any service organization. Part I is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 31.

The sessions will explore and explain why the management of governmental employ­ees is somewhat unique. How does employee recruitment, selection and retention actually work? Do these techniques matter? How do you find and select the right people? What are the ramifications if you don’t? Why are management employees different? Are they worth the money?

Leaders will learn to appreciate the impact of described but misunderstood concepts such as organizational culture and silent leadership. Are all the pieces or your organization in place, or in the right place?

Greg Kuhn, senior research associate with NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies, will present the workshops. Part II is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 14.

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

Ally Program to sponsor
spring training workshops

The Ally Program is a campus-wide program designed to foster a welcoming and supportive campus environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, faculty and staff by creating a visible network of allies.

NIU employees and students interested in volunteering for the Ally Program can learn more and register online. The online form http://www.niu.edu/lgbt/resourcecenter/programs/ally.shtml provides the specific workshop dates and times and allows registrants to indicate first, second and third choices.

Training is divided into two two-hour workshops (Part I and Part II). Volunteers must attend both Part I and Part II. Space is limited, and advance registration is required. Multiple dates are available.

Part I
Tuesday, Feb. 5: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 13: 2 to 4 p.m.

Part II
Wednesday, Feb. 20: 2 to 4 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 25: 9 to 11 a.m.
Tuesday, March 4: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

The Ally Program is a program of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, Division of Student Affairs.

Monique Bernoudy to speak at women’s networking luncheon

Monique Bernoudy, associate athletics director at NIU, is the speaker at a Friday, Feb. 8, networking luncheon for NIU women faculty, staff and students.

The luncheon takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Chandelier Room of Adams Hall. Bernoudy’s presentation begins at 12:05 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by the NIU Presidential Commission on the Status of Women and the Women’s Resource Center.

The cost is $8 per person. Reserve a place by Tuesday, Jan. 29, by calling (815) 753-0320.

Bernoudy’s presentation will focus on the current status of women in sports in relation to Title IX and how universities across the United States fare on a comparison scale. Findings indicate that much work still needs to be done.

She will conclude with recommendations for improving women’s equality and status in sports.

NIU Foundation invites Venture Grants applications

The NIU Foundation invites applications for the 2008 Venture Grants. All proposals must be received in the Foundation Office by Friday, Feb. 1. Awards will be announced no later than the first week of April.

The Foundation anticipates awarding between two and four grants at a minimum level of $5,000 and up to $25,000, with a total amount available of $55,000. All faculty and staff from units within the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, the Division of Administration and University Outreach and Intercollegiate Athletics are eligible to apply. 

For complete information about the grants as well as application information and forms, visit the NIU Foundation Web page.

The NIU Foundation looks forward to supporting faculty and staff in the pursuit of excellence in research, teaching and outreach to the larger community. Call (815) 753-7539 for more information.