Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

In Brief

February 17, 2009

What’s cooking at Ellington’s?

On the menu at Ellington’s this week: Chinese New Year is scheduled today. Spring Lunch takes over Thursday.

Continuing this semester is the option to enjoy wine with your meal. One red and one white wine choice will be available with meal service. Wine will be selected for the menu based on wine-and-food pairings made by the students. Wine selections will range from $4.50 to $6.50 per glass.

Chinese New Year features shrimp skewers with sweet hoison sauce or spring vegetable soup for starters, Mandarin pork chops or curried vegetable lo mein for entrees and five-spiced Chinese fruit salad or new year’s rice cake for dessert. Each table also will be served freshly brewed Chinese hot tea and fortune cookies.

Spring Lunch features crab stuffed mushrooms or apple barley soup for starters, lemon blossom chicken with penne pasta or vegetable strata with balsamic mixed greens for entrees and blackberry peach crisp or chocolate eruption cake for dessert. Each table also will be served blueberry streusel mini-muffins with orange butter.

Seating is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with service until 1 p.m. The cost is $9 per person. Ellington’s is located on the main floor of the Holmes Student Center. Call (815) 753-1763 or visit to make reservations.

Swedish jazz pianist to play
Wednesday concert at NIU

The NIU School of Music Guest Artist Series will feature Swedish jazz pianist and composer Stefan Karlsson and his jazz trio at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18.

NIU jazz faculty members Kelly Sill and Rodrigo Villanueva will join in the festivities. All are welcome to the free show in the Recital Hall of the Music Building.

Called “I Remember Bill,” the concert is a tribute to the great Bill Evans, considered one of the most influential jazz pianists and composers of the last century. During the 1960s, Evans, along with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian, developed a much more modern approach to the traditional jazz trio, taking a new approach to collective improvisation and interplay.

Karlsson, an associate professor of jazz studies at the University of North Texas and current member of the Eddie Gomez Jazz Trio, has recorded more than 50 jazz albums.

School of Art hosts speaker
Thursday on relics, reliquaries

The Art History Division of the NIU School of Art at Northern Illinois University will host a lecture at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, on “Relics, Reliquaries and the Audiences.”

Cynthia Hahn, a professor at Hunter College and the Graduate Centre, CUNY, New York, will speak in Room 100 of the Visual Arts Building.

Although reliquaries are one of the most creative forms among medieval art works, they have long been marginalized because of their association with relics, bones or other detrita intrinsically distasteful to modern audiences. In their own world, however, reliquaries “represented” the relic as a powerful, holy and sacred part of the larger institution of the Church.

At the same time, the relic itself might be hidden from view.

Hahn is a specialist on the cult of the saints during the Middles Ages in all its visual manifestations, from illustrated narratives recounting their lives to the elaborate bejewelled containers housing their bones. She is the author of two books, “Portrayed on the Heart: Narrative Effect in Pictorial Lives of the Saints from the Tenth through the Thirteenth Century” (University of California Press, 2001) and the commentary to the facsimile edition of an illustrated “Lives of Sts. Kilian and Margeret” (Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlaganstalt, 1988), as well as numerous articles.

This event is sponsored by the Elizabeth Allen Lecture Series. For further information, call (815) 753-1474.

Jazz Lab Band, U-Jazz Band
to perform Thursday concert

NIU’s U-Jazz Band and the NIU Jazz Lab Band will present the first concert of the Spring 2009 season at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, at the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall. All are welcome to the free show.

The Lab Band will feature Swedish jazz pianist Stefan Karlsson, an associate professor of jazz studies at the University of North Texas and a member of the Eddie Gomez Jazz Trio. The program will include the music of Thad Jones, Randy Brecker, Horace Silver, Bobby Watson, Bill Holman and more.

Members of the NIU Jazz Lab Band made the group’s first international tour in December. Director Rodrigo Villanueva and 16 students traveled to Mexico to perform concerts at seven different venues in four different cities. The group now is getting ready to perform at the prestigious Elmhurst Jazz Festival later this month.

Call (815) 753-1546 for more information.

Community School offers
class on theater improvisation

Young theater fans are invited to improve their skills in the art of improvisation at a new class offered by the NIU Community School of the Arts.

Improvisation and Acting begins Saturday, Feb. 28, and meets from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. for five Saturdays. Students gain invaluable skills by working in teams and learning to think on their feet. This class, taught by experienced teacher and NIU theater student Rachel Knouse, shows ways of expanding the imagination with creative theater games.

The class meets in the Stevens Building and is for children ages 8 to 12.

The class is one of many classes, ensembles and lessons offered by the NIU Community School of the Arts this spring. The office is located on campus in Room 132 of the Music Building. For more information, call (815) 753-1450 or check the Web site at

Faculty Development to honor
outstanding graduate TAs

NIU’s Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center is seeking nominations for the 2009 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards. The call for nominations is available online.

Nominations are due Friday, March 6.

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 the Graduate Student reception sponsored by the Graduate School 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 hard copies 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.

Accounting sets cut-off dates
for FY09 purchases orders

Purchase order thresholds and the deadlines for receiving fiscal year 2009 requisitions in the Accounting Office are as follows:

  • more than $250,000: Friday, March 6
  • $25,000 to $250,000: Friday, April 10
  • $25,000 and less: Thursday, June 4

Finalizing Purchases for Fiscal Year 2009

  • General Revenue (02 funds) – All goods must be received, invoiced and all payment paperwork is due in Accounting no later than Thursday, Aug. 6.
  • All other NIU funds – All goods and/or services must be received/completed and invoices dated by Tuesday, June 30. Payment paperwork is due in Accounting no later than Tuesday, July 14.

Fiscal Year 2010 Requisitions

  • FY2010 purchase requisitions, either for open orders or for specific purchases can be submitted now.

Call Procurement Services at (815) 753-1671 or Accounting at (815) 753-1514 with questions.

Spring ‘Toolkit’ online

NIUs’ Office of Assessment Services presents the Spring 2009 issue of Toolkit, its quarterly “nuts and bolts” e-newsletter. Toolkit is specifically designed to assist the NIU community with practical assessment issues in a user-friendly format.

This issue is devoted to highlighting the 10 outstanding assessment practices that will be featured Friday, Feb. 20, at NIU’s second annual Assessment Expo. Colleagues from around campus will share their assessment practices through posters and roundtable discussions. Details and registration for this event can be located at

Back issues are posted on the Assessment Services Web site under Toolkit. Contributions to the newsletter are welcome at any time. 

NIU offers ACT prep courses
four Saturdays beginning Feb. 21

NIU will offer an ACT test prep course in February and March.

The four-week course meets from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 21, Feb. 28, March 14 and March 21, in Room 201 of Reavis Hall.

The program will cover English, math, reading and science reasoning. The final session will cover a sample testing of an actual retired ACT test and scoring.

The fee includes instruction, textbook, CD-ROM and retired ACT tests, but does not include registration to take the actual ACT test.

Registration for this test prep course is available online. For more information, contact Mark Pietrowski at (815) 753-1456 or via e-mail at

CLA to present seminar
on disaster preparedness

NIU’s Civic Leadership Academy will host a seminar called “What Local Government Executives Need to Know When Disaster Strikes: Intergovernmental Dependence and Technical Frameworks of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response in the U.S.”

The seminar will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, at NIU-Naperville, 1120 East Diehl Road.

Seminar presenters are:

  • Jonathan Schachter, lecturer at Northwestern University and former managing deputy director for emergency management at the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications
  • Michael J. Fagel, instructor at the University of Chicago Masters of Threat Response Management Program, NIU lecturer and former FEMA staff member responding to incidents and disasters including the Oklahoma City bombing and New York City World Trade Center 9/11 attacks.

Register online at under CLA. Contact Janiece Bollie at or Greg Kuhn at for further information.

Assessment Expo scheduled

NIU’s second annual Assessment Expo is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 20, in the Clara Sperling Sky Room of the Holmes Student Center.

The Assessment Expo is designed to highlight successful assessment practices on campus. A poster session and roundtable discussions will feature representatives from academic programs and Student Affairs units across campus which have been recognized by the University Assessment Panel for their outstanding assessment practices in the previous year.

Topics presented include using rubrics to assess student learning outcomes, using multiple assessment methods, using innovative technology and “closing the loop” in the assessment process.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with a poster session scheduled for 9:15 a.m. and roundtable discussions for 10 a.m. For more information, or to register, visit or call (815) 753-8659.

Operating Staff seeks nominees
for Outstanding Service Awards

Do you know or work with a Civil Service employee at NIU who deserves to be recognized for his or her outstanding contributions to the university?

Nominations for the Outstanding Service Award are now being accepted.

Presented each year to as many as four NIU Civil Service employees, the objective of the 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 the spring.

Nomination packets must be received in Human Resource Services no later than 4:30 p.m. Feb. 27.

For more information and nomination forms, see

Application deadline approaches
for faculty travel fellowships

The NIU Division of International Programs has extended the application deadline for Lillian Cobb Faculty Travel Fellowships, supporting faculty members who seek international teaching and public service experiences.

The new deadline is Friday, Feb. 27 for proposals for travel through Aug. 15. Proposals must be submitted to the Division of International Programs.

All tenured or tenure-track faculty members at NIU are eligible to apply.

Each year the specific priorities of the Cobb Faculty Travel Fellowship program may be adjusted to support particular aspects of the strategic plan and mission.

Priority funding consideration this year will be given to proposals that support the creation of new faculty-led study abroad programs by providing travel funds for faculty to visit potential new venues. Grantees will be expected to explore logistic needs and requirements and to firm up any arrangements with local providers, colleagues and/or institutions.

A total of $7,000 is available to be awarded in this cycle. International Programs expects to award four or more grants from the Cobb endowment, with the maximum award to be $2,000. Except for extraordinary circumstances, a match of 20 percent 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.

NIU seeks student applicants
for congressional internships

Through the student-centered leadership and strong support of NIU President John Peters, the university has established a new summer congressional internship program in Washington, D.C.

This highly competitive program will provide students with the opportunity to live, learn and work in the heart of our nation’s capital. Three students will intern on the Hill for a member of the Illinois congressional delegation.

Each student will receive a $5,000 scholarship to cover the cost of housing and some living expenses. Additionally, students will receive a tuition waiver for six credit hours of political science courses.

All applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 2. Applications can be obtained from the Department of Political Science Web site or from Matt Streb at

Community School sponsors
high school Jazz Combo Day

High school jazz players are invited to audition for Jazz Combo Day, a memorable day of non-stop jazz at NIU.

Jazz Combo Day brings the best area high school jazz players together for an intensive jazz experience. The Friday, March 20, event culminates in a performance of all combos.

Students are formed into combos and work with some of the best NIU jazz faculty in the region, including Ron Carter, Willie Pickens, Kelly Sill, Art Davis, Steve Duke, Fareed Haque, Rodrigo Villanueva and Robert Chappell. This year’s guest artist is famed saxophonist Wes “Warmdaddy” Anderson.

Audition recordings (CD, video or tape) must be postmarked Friday, Feb. 27. The audition is limited to 12 minutes and must feature three contrasting styles, head and improvisation. Send auditions to Ron Carter, NIU School of Music, DeKalb, IL, 60115.

More information is available at or by calling (815) 753-1450.

Graduate student travel award
changes nomination criteria

Nomination criteria for the Howard Johnston Award for Graduate Student Travel have changed in two areas.

Each department is limited to a maximum of two nominations, and nominations must be ranked. A criteria for nomination of a group of students for travel (when group travel is appropriate) also has been added. The group nomination will be considered a single nomination.

The next nomination deadline is Saturday, Feb. 28.

To encourage excellence in research and scholarly activity, the Howard Johnston Award for Graduate Student Travel will provide travel grants for outstanding NIU students to present their research projects at national or international conferences in their discipline or to participate in other scholarly activities.

Travel grants of up to $1,500 will be awarded on a competitive basis. It is anticipated that about $8,000 in total funding will be available each year.

Alumni Association plans
trips to Peru, South Africa

Visit some of the world’s most exotic places with the NIU Alumni Association.

One of the top archaeological sites on the planet awaits visitors at Machu Picchu, Peru. In South Africa, travelers will experience one of Africa's top safari destinations in Kruger National Park. This tour also includes visits to Cape Town, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Hazy View and more.

For more information about these trips, visit