Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Northern Today - March 23, 2009

New evidence shows past global warming
had major impact on Antarctic ice

NIU scientists are key members of team publishing study in Nature

New scientific evidence fills in an important missing piece of the puzzle as scientists wrestle to determine how global warming will affect the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).

NIU’s Ross Powell is co-lead author on a paper published by a team of scientists in the March 19 issue of the prestigious journal Nature. The research, which gained worldwide media attention, shows that the giant WAIS has had a history of dynamic retreat and even collapse during past cycles of global warming and elevated atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations that occurred during the Pliocene Epoch, between 2 million and 5 million years ago.

Any substantial melting of the ice sheet would cause a rise in global sea levels.

Powell is a Distinguished Research Professor in the NIU Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences. NIU geologist Reed Scherer also is among the authors of the Nature study.

The research is based on investigations conducted by a 56-member team of scientists on a 4,200-foot-long sedimentary rock core taken from beneath the sea floor under Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf during the first project of the ANDRILL (ANtarctic geological DRILLing) research program. The drilling program was among the largest scientific projects ever conducted in the Antarctic.

The cores allowed the scientists to peer back in time to the Pliocene, when the Antarctic was in a natural climate state that was warmer than today and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were higher. Data from the cores indicate the WAIS advanced and retreated numerous times in response to forcing driven by these climate cycles.

“The sedimentary record from the ANDRILL project provides scientists with an important analogue that can be used to help predict how ice shelves and the massive WAIS will respond to future global warming over the next few centuries,” Powell said.

“The sedimentary record indicates that under global warming conditions that were similar to those projected to occur over the next century, protective ice shelves could shrink or even disappear and the WAIS would become vulnerable to melting,” Powell said. “If the current warm period persists, the ice sheet could diminish substantially or even disappear over time. This would result in a potentially significant rise in sea levels.”

“For years scientists have been trying to figure out how the ice sheet behaved during the warm periods of the Pliocene,” Scherer added. “But we had very little data. Now we know the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has a reliable record of advancing and retreating on a large scale.”
The new research refines previous findings about the relationship between atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentration, atmospheric and oceanic temperatures, sea-level rise and natural cycles in Earth’s orbit around the sun. It also shows that even a slight rise in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, one of the gases that drives global warming, affects the WAIS stability.

Tim Naish, director of Victoria University of Wellington’s Antarctic Research Centre, said the new information gleaned from the core shows that changes in the tilt of Earth’s rotational axis has played a major role in ocean warming that has driven repeated cycles of growth and retreat of the WAIS for the period in Earth’s history between 3 million and 5 million years ago.

“It also appears that when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reached 400 parts per million around 4 million years ago, the associated global warming amplified the effect of the Earth’s axial tilt on the stability of the ice sheet,” said Naish, who led the Naturestudy with Powell.

“Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is again approaching 400 parts per million,” Naish said. “Geological archives, such as the ANDRILL core, highlight the risk that a significant body of permanent Antarctic ice could be lost within the next century as Earth's climate continues to warm. Based on ANDRILL data combined with computer models of ice sheet behavior, collapse of the entire WAIS is likely to occur on the order of 1,000 years, but recent studies show that melting has already begun.”

A second related study in Nature – led by David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University and Rob DeConto from University of Massachusetts – reports results from a computer model of the ice sheets. The model shows that each time the WAIS collapsed, some of the margins of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet also melted, and the combined effect was a global sea-level rise of 7 meters above present-day levels.

Whether the beginnings of such a collapse could start 100 years from now or within the next millennium is hard to predict and depends on future atmospheric CO2 levels, the researchers said.

“From these combined data-modeling studies, we can say that past warming events caused West Antarctic ice shelves and ice grounded below sea level to melt and disappear. The modeling suggests these collapses took one to a few thousand years,” Pollard said.

Pollard and DeConto also underscored the role of ocean temperatures in melting of the ice.

“It’s clear from our combined research using geological data and modeling that ocean temperatures play a key role,” DeConto said. “The most substantial melting of protective ice shelves comes from beneath the ice, where it is in contact with seawater. We now need more data to determine what is happening to the underside of contemporary ice shelves.”

The ANDRILL program involves scientists from the United States, New Zealand, Italy and Germany. The National Science Foundation (NSF), which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), provided about $20 million in support of ANDRILL.

More info:

An elementary quest

NIU physicist Hedin explains significance of the Higgs boson

You’ll have to excuse NIU Physicist David Hedin if he gets a little excited over all that’s happening at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in west-suburban Batavia.

Over the decades, researchers at Fermilab – including Hedin and other NIU scientists and student researchers – have helped shed new light on how the universe works at its smallest and most basic level.

For Hedin, a 54-year-old Distinguished Research Professor at NIU, the quest to understand elementary particles, or nature’s building blocks, has covered the good part of three decades.

“I get carried away sometimes,” he says, adding that as of next month, he will have spent half of his life working with Fermilab’s DZero scientific collaboration. “I’m either very persistent or I lack imagination.”

Persistence on the part of hundreds of scientists has paid off at Fermilab, which is now in hot pursuit of the elusive Higgs boson, an elementary particle sometimes referred to as the holy grail of particle physics.

The Standard Model of particle physics – the best explanation scientists have of the origins of the universe – predicts the existence of the Higgs boson. Its detection would confirm the existence of the Higgs field, which is thought to permeate the universe. When elementary particles interact with this field, they gain mass.

Without mass, all particles would travel at the speed of light, never sticking together, and only these tiny mass-less particles would populate the universe.

Fermilab made headlines earlier this month when it announced a string of experimental results that narrow the territory where the Higgs boson might be found.

The latest analyses of data from the CDF and DZero collider experiments measure the mass of the W boson particle and the production of individual top quarks. Both the W boson and top quarks are heavy particles.

“We can study mass by measuring the properties of the heaviest particles,” Hedin says. “It is thought that interactions between the Higgs boson and other particles cause their mass differences. The heavier the particle, the larger its interaction with the Higgs. The mass of these heavy particles is related and measurements of the W and top quark mass can be used to predict the Higgs mass.”

It takes a monumental scientific effort to create and detect elementary particles.

CDF is an international experiment of 602 physicists from 63 institutions in 15 countries; DZero is an international experiment conducted by 550 physicists from 90 institutions in 18 countries.

Both collaborations conduct their work using the Tevatron, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, which hurls protons and antiprotons toward each other at nearly the speed of light. The scientists study the resulting collisions for evidence of new subatomic particles and forces.

NIU has been a member of the DZero collaboration since 1986.

In addition to Hedin, current NIU researchers involved in the collaboration include physicists Jerry Blazey, Dhiman Chakraborty, Michael Fortner, Alexandre Dychkant and Sergey Uzunyan; and graduate students Martin Braunlich, Diego Menezes and Lei Feng. Additionally, NIU physicist Steve Martin works in developing the underlying theory of particle interactions and the role of the Higgs boson.

“Since 2001, when upgrades were completed, the Tevatron has been collecting data 24 hours a day and usually seven days a week, including on Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Hedin says. “It requires that all 600 DZero physicists on the experiment take responsibility for such things as individual detector operations, maintenance and software algorithms.

“This type of physics cannot be done by individuals but requires dedicated teams that are willing to spend years and even decades to add to our knowledge of fundamental physics.”

It’s an important quest. Hedin believes the discovery of the Higgs boson would open new frontiers in science.

“We know from looking at the heavens that there is new fundamental physics to be discovered,” he says. “About 95 percent of the universe seems to be composed of dark matter and dark energy, and we are without any understanding of the basic nature of these two components. When the Higgs boson is discovered, its properties, including its mass, will provide us with more clues to the nature of this new fundamental physics.”

NIU celebrates art of printmaking
with many exhibitions, Sunday shows

A number of exhibitions in numerous NIU and local galleries will celebrate the art of printmaking during “Printmaking Exhibition Suite.”

The exhibitions all tie in with the annual conference of the Southern Graphics Council, which is meeting this week in Chicago. Many conference participants will travel Sunday, March 29, to DeKalb for “A Day in DeKalb.”

Special gallery hours Sunday are 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on campus, 12:30 to 2 p.m. (DeKalb Area Women’s Center) and 1:30 to 3 p.m. (Nehring Gallery). Members of the public are welcome at all Sunday showings.


NIU Graduate Printmaking Exhibition
Gallery 214 and throughout the School of Art
Organizers: Ashley Nason and Michael Barnes

This exhibition features the work of current students in the NIU graduate-level printmaking program, directed by Ashley Nason and Michael Barnes.

Play Up!
Jack Olson Memorial Gallery, second floor, Visual Arts Building
Organizer: Jack Olson Gallery and Michael Salmond, guest curator

Playing, interacting and gaming are important aspects for our development as human beings: when we play we learn. As games and interactive media have increasingly added depth to our understanding of society and self, it seems we must learn how to play. Artists Eddo Stern, Ben Chang and the group “The Guardians of the Tradition” engage with technology, gaming and social networking to explore and critique the cultural, sociological and conceptual landscape.


116 Altgeld Hall
Tuesday, March 24, through Saturday, May 9
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; noon to 4 p.m. Saturday

The Bird Machine is the name of Jay Ryan’s shop in Skokie, Ill., where colorful limited-edition silkscreen posters are produced. Driven less by technological fads than by old-fashioned visual inventiveness and hard work, Ryan’s designs have become highly sought-after worldwide. The North Gallery will recreate studio walls, with posters tacked up from floor to ceiling.

Images of Death and Life
This is a survey exhibition of prints by renowned German artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945). Kollwitz is famous for both her empathic humanity and mordant social commentary, represented through an unmistakable graphic style. This exhibit, curated by Assistant Director Peter Olson, brings together prints from Illinois and Midwest collections.

Moonlight Cocktails are the Thing
Illinois artist and printmaker David Driesbach weaves rich narratives in his complex, colorful and whimsical etchings. Although Driesbach retired from teaching many years ago, he has continued a prodigious production. This exhibition attempts to summarize a lifetime of remarkable achievements. Co-organized with students enrolled in “Museum Exhibitions and Interpretation,” a graduate-level Museum Studies course.

The Mayor of Palookaville
A selection of hand-printed, hand-bound books by David Johnson, a mid-career artist from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. Johnson’s tools are simple and direct: etching, relief printing and letterpress. His observations are not: perceptive, shrewd, satirical and compassionate views of the people around him and the quotidian spaces they inhabit.


1021 State St.
Dates: through Friday, April 24
Hours: 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and by appointment
Organizer: Lennox Dunbar

Scottish Print Folios from the Gray’s School of Art
Five printmaking portfolios from the Gray’s School of Art at Robert Gordon University in Scotland.


111 S. Second St.
Dates: through Saturday, May 2
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and by appointment
Organizer: Anna Marie Coveny

P2: Prints and Drawings by Peter Olson and Peter Van Ael
P2; Peter Squared; an exhibition of work by two printmakers named Peter. Mr. Olson is the assistant director of the NIU Art Museum; Mr. Van Ael is coordinator of the Jack Olson Memorial Gallery at NIU.

Foreign news crew will document
project promoting peace in Philippines

A video news crew from the Philippines will visit campus in early April to create a documentary on NIU’s successful Philippine Youth Leadership Program.

For the past six years, Anthropology Professor Susan Russell and Lina Ong, director of the International Training Office, have hosted young visitors from the Philippines for month-long institutes aimed at bringing peace to a conflict-torn region of the island nation.

“We’re hoping the documentary will create some international visibility for NIU’s global outreach,” Ong said. “We think this is a model program for developing young leaders with a sense of civic responsibility and commitment to community development.”

The Youth Leadership Program is geared for students from Mindanao, the largest and least developed island in the southern Philippines. Mindanao has been a frequent site of civil unrest. Muslims, Christians and tribal peoples populate the island, and several dozen groups have their own cultures and languages.

At NIU, students from these different cultural backgrounds have come together to learn leadership skills, peace-building methods and ways to strengthen inter-ethnic and inter-faith dialogue. Past participants have gone on to develop social-improvement projects in their homeland communities, including environmental cleanups, an effort to promote “peace journalism” and drives to collect books and school supplies for poor students.

The U.S. Department of State has provided $1.2 million in funding for the Philippine Youth Leadership Program and is supporting the foreign journalists’ visit to NIU as well.

“The program has been very well received,” Russell says. “I think the State Department is interested in enlightening Filipinos about its peace-building role and demonstrating to them that Muslim, Christian and indigenous youth can get along just fine.”

This year’s program will begin Saturday, April 4, when NIU will welcome 20 high school-age students and three adults from the Philippines. During their visit, they will examine the important role of volunteerism in civil society and learn about American institutions that promote tolerance and religious diversity.

The students will participate in classes, lectures, workshops and seminars, spend time volunteering at a local homeless shelter and retirement center, and meet with local government and community leaders. They also will take cultural field trips to Chicago and Indiana.

“This time around we’re putting more emphasis on leadership development,” Russell says. “We want the students to become advocates for social change, develop partnerships with other groups in their communities and leverage resources from different sources to fund their projects. The program works to teach them about organizing and volunteerism.”

The Filipino students’ first interaction with people from outside their own cultural groups often comes during the NIU program. The documentary crew, from the ABS-CBN Filipino network, will follow students on their journey. The crew also intends to interview past program participants who have started up projects in their homeland and NIU professors involved in the training.

In addition to Russell and Ong, a number of NIU faculty members are contributing to the spring’s Philippine Youth Leadership Program. They include Katharine Wiegele (Anthropology), LaVerne Gyant (Center for Black Studies), Todd Yeary (Center for Black Studies), Betty LaFrance (Communication), Wei Zheng (Counseling, Adult and Higher Education) and Laurel Jeris (Counseling, Adult and Higher Education).

Six graduate students also are providing critical assistance in organizing and implementing the program: Rey Ty, Nalika Diyadawa, Amando Boncales, Maimouna Konate, Chris Birks and Rita Reynolds.

NIU Press named recipient of Mellon grant

Northern Illinois University Press will work with the University of Georgia Press and New York University Press on a collaborative publishing project funded with $650,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Early American Places” will attempt to counterbalance overrepresented themes in early American history, such as biographies of the Founding Fathers and studies of national politics, by instead examining developments in early North America in the specific places where they occurred.

These developments, which include war, migration, economic trade and contact between settlers, the enslaved and native people, often involved far-flung parts of the world but were experienced in the local places where people lived and worked.

By restricting its focus to smaller geographic units, but stressing that towns, colonies and regions were part of much larger networks, the series will combine scholarly sophistication with modesty of scale and attention to local matters that have largely fallen from favor.

Books in the series will be revised dissertations exclusively, thus promoting the scholarship of the first-time author.

Each participating university press will focus on specific geographic areas: NIU on the Great Lakes and the Upper Mississippi Valley, including the Ohio and Missouri River Valleys; Georgia on the Southeastern colonies, the plantation economies of the Caribbean and the Gulf South; and NYU on the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic colonies, and French and British Canada.

Member presses will acquire books for the Early American Places series in accordance with its standard editorial guidelines. All copyediting and design for books in the program will occur through a single managing-editorial office run by an independent contractor. The presses will also participate in joint marketing campaigns to promote the books in the program.

“Obviously we are honored to be part of the elite group of Mellon grant recipients,” said J. Alex Schwartz, director of NIU Press. “Even more importantly, we are thrilled that during this trying economic climate, this grant will financially assist us in persisting with our long standing mission to foster the first publication of the junior scholar.”


Deborah Haliczer, director of employee relations in Human Resource Services, has been named “Social Worker of the Year” by the Jane Addams District of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Haliczer will receive her award Thursday, March 26, at the Mildred Berry Center
in Rockford.

She is a member of NASW in good standing who reflects and promotes the organization’s values and mission and is an advocate for the populations served by social work. She represents the highest ethical standards of social work, contributes to the improvement of the social fabric in tangible and intangible ways, takes risk and enlists public support for improved human services.

Her nomination demonstrated those attributes and commended her instrumental effort in organizing and implementing debriefing services for the NIU community after the Feb. 14, 2008, tragedy. She also played a major role in planning the commemorative event held last month.

Haliczer is now in the running for the same award at the state level. The winner will be announced this September in Chicago at the NASW annual conference.

Foundations of Excellence: Philosophy Dimension

The Philosophy Dimension is examining the university’s policies, practices, structures, leadership, department/unit philosophies and resource allocation in regard to how they affect the first-year students’ experiences and their decisions to continue at NIU.

As a result, this committee will identify NIU’s philosophy and how well it is shared by, transferred to and/or included in programmatic decisions impacting the first-year experience and the university’s mission.

The committee members are in the process of collecting information from individuals, offices and programs across campus that interact with first-year students (course/program descriptions and related materials, publications, brochures, Web site pages and/or anecdotal evidence).

The committee members will:

  • identify patterns in the student and faculty/staff survey results;
  • take an active part in the review of and discussions about university and/or programmatic documents;
  • conduct interviews, focus groups, etc.;
  • recommend action plans; and
  • write a committee report on the dimension.

For additional information about, to participate in, or to provide information for the Philosophy Dimension, contact co-chairs Carolyn Bershad ( or Michael Day (

More prize winners named

NIU’s Foundations of Excellence Task Force is pleased to announce that Deborah Haliczer from Human Resource Services, Kathryn Maley from the Department of History and Chris Carger from the Department of Literacy Education are also $50 cash prize winners in the faculty/staff survey drawing.

The faculty/staff survey is part of a campus-wide self-study. The survey asks your opinion about how well faculty, graduate assistants, Supportive Professional Staff and Operating Staff are doing to make the first year of college a good foundation for the success of NIU students.

The survey closes Wednesday, March 25.

What’s cooking at Ellington’s?

On the menu at Ellington’s this week: Isla del Sabor is scheduled for Tuesday. Bem Vindos! 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.

Isla del Sabor features Caribbean sweet potato and black bean salad or callaloo soup for starters, spiced chops with mango-mint salsa or grilled tofu in Caribbean coconut curry marinade for entrees and key lime meringue pie or mango sorbet for dessert. Each table also will be served Caribean salsa with blue tortilla chips.

Bem Vindos! features creamy hearts of palm soup or Brazilian potato salad for starters, black beans and turkey stew or sweet potato-stuffed eggplant for entrees and coconut custard or tropical dessert for dessert. Each table also will be served French loaf and 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.

Wellness Fair scheduled

NIU’s annual Campus Wellness Fair, co-hosted by Employee Assistance and Recreation Services, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center.

More than 75 providers from the campus and community will be in attendance to provide free information, screenings and activities for fair attendees. All are invited. Admission is free.

E-waste recycling will be provided by NIU’s Task Force on the Sustainable Campus Climate. Bring your e-waste to the fair or sign up for a timeslot (at the fair) to drop off your e-waste.

Visit for more information.

Baccalaureate Review group
to host two more open forums

The Baccalaureate Review Task Force will hold two more open forums to give the NIU community additional opportunities to provide input regarding the university’s baccalaureate goals.

NIU’s Strategic Planning Initiative has identified general education reform as a priority for the institution. The first phase of this reform is a review of the university’s baccalaureate degree goals: What skills, knowledge and abilities should NIU graduates achieve? What values and ideals should be promoted?

The two remaining open forums will last 60 minutes and will be held:

  • Wednesday, March 25: 10 to 11 a.m., Altgeld Hall, Room 315 (Board of Trustees meeting room)
  • Thursday, April 16: 3 to 4 p.m., Altgeld Hall, Room 315 (Board of Trustees meeting room)

Those unable to attend an open forum but who want to share ideas can read and respond to the Baccalaureate Review Online Survey at

Clarinetist Greg Barrett to play
music from Denmark, Finland

NIU clarinet professor Greg Barrett once again has invited his colleageus to join him at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, in the Recital Hall for an evening of music from Denmark and Finland.

Barrett and School of Music faculty members Amy Rhodes (bassoon), John Fairfield (horn) and JeongSoo Kim (piano) will perform works by Pylkkanen, Nielsen, Koppel, Kuusisto, Sibelius and Ahmas. The recital is free and open to the public, and the auditorium is accessible to all.

Inspired by the music of Jean Sibelius, Barrett has developed a wide-reaching interest in Finnish music and culture. The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs sponsored his research in Finland to meet with contmporary composers of works for the clarinet.

An associate professor of clarinet and chamber music, Barrett is a master teacher and performer. He has presented recitals and classes throughout the United States and in Austria, China, Finland and Japan. He currently performs with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Ars Viva Symphony. He has been bass clarinetist with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and with numerous other orchestras in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Virginia and the Carolinas.

Call Lynn Slater at (815) 753-1546 for more information.

Judge John W. Darrah to give
2009 Francis X. Riley Lecture

The NIU College of Law will welcome the Honorable John W. Darrah, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, to present the 16th Annual Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism.

Judge Darrah will present his lecture at 3 p.m. Friday, March 27, in the Francis X. Riley Courtroom inside Swen Parson Hall. This year’s lecture will include a special rededication ceremony of the Francis X. Riley Courtroom, featuring Phase One of the newly renovated courtroom. In addition to serving as one of the school’s main classrooms, the courtroom plays host to major speaking engagements and court visits.

Darrah was nominated by former President Clinton and approved by Congress to the U.S. District Court in 2000. Prior to his federal appointment, Darrah served as a circuit court judge in the 18th Judicial Circuit in DuPage County. Previous to his judicial appointment, he was a partner in the law firm of Ryan & Darrah. His career also has included service as chief of Criminal Misdemeanor and Juvenile Divisions at the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office, an attorney in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and special assistant to the Illinois Attorney General. 

Darrah served on the faculty as an adjunct professor at the NIU College of Law from 1976 until 2006. For 30 years, he taught numerous courses including criminal law, evidence, property and trial advocacy.

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 NIU to discuss current issues relating to the legal profession. Professor Riley died Sept. 14, 2006, at age 93. This lecture series serves as part of his legacy at the College of Law and within the legal community.

A reception will follow the lecture. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public. One hour of MCLE credit will be given to eligible attorneys.

First-Year Composition students
to showcase writing projects 

The First-Year Composition Program is sponsoring a forum for NIU students to share their writing publicly.

The Showcase of Student Writing will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 27, in the Regency Room of the Holmes Student Center.

“Students have been working hard to create projects that display the writing and research they have completed in courses taught by First-Year Composition instructors,” said Stephanie Kummerer, an instructor in the Department of English.

The projects include aspects of visual rhetoric ranging from videos, posters and brochures to games and presentations.

April is LGBT Awareness Month

Education, activism, art and entertainment are all part of the calendar of events for April’s celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Awareness Month.

A new art installation focused on the themes of pride, empowerment and community is taking shape at the LGBT Resource Center; there will be multiple dates in April for participation. The fifth annual Ally Awards reception takes place Thursday, April 2.

  • Activist Mia Mingus will visit campus Wednesday, April 15, to present “Wrong is Not My Name: The Intersections of Disability, Queerness, Race and Gender.”
  • Author Toni McNaron will speak Thursday, April 23, and Friday, April 24, to address contemporary gay and lesbian writing, and lingering homophobia in academia.
  • Two current NIU students will present Tuesday, April 28, about their internships in national LGBT organizations and their involvement in fighting for LGBT equality on the national stage.
  • Students in Professor Debbie Smith-Shank’s “LGBT Issues in Art” course will mount an exhibit in downtown DeKalb from Wednesday, April 15, through Saturday, April 25.

Many other events are also planned throughout April. Full details about all events are available by visiting the online calendar of events at Request a printed or electronic copy of the calendar by contacting the LGBT Resource Center at (815) 753-5428 or

NIU Jazz Ensemble to perform
annual spring concert April 9

The School of Music will host the NIU Jazz Ensemble Concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center.

The ensemble is directed by Ron Carter. The concert features special guest artist Benny Golson, jazz master, saxophonist, composer and arranger.

The concert is free and open to the public. It is cosponsored by WNIJ, the Northern Star, NIU Center for Black Studies and NIU Jazz Studies.

For more information, e-mail

NPR continues spring campaign

WNIJ (89.5 FM) will continue its Spring Membership Campaign through Friday, March 27.

During this time, listeners are encouraged to become members by making financial pledges of support toward the public radio programming they value. Of special concern this season is the station’s need to replace a storm-damaged antenna, which affects reception in the outlying areas of WNIJ’s broadcast range.

The daily schedule on WNIJ (89.5 FM) features nationally renowned NPR News programs such as “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” “The Diane Rehm Show” and “Fresh Air.” Popular weekend programs include “Car Talk,” “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” “A Prairie Home Companion” and “The Saturday Blues.” 

Throughout the campaign dates, radio hosts will direct listeners to call a dedicated “Pledge Line” staffed by volunteers. The radio station Web site also is quipped to receive secure pledges online at

89.5-WNIJ is a service of Northern Public Radio, the broadcast service of NIU.

HSC to host exhibition
of Steve Thiel’s artwork

NIU’s Holmes Student Center Gallery will be home to the art of the late Steve Thiel this week.

The exhibition will host some of Thiel’s more recent paintings and photographs. At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26, a group of family and friends will host a reception that will include selected readings of his poetry. The reception and reading are open to the public.

Thiel, who died Jan. 13, first came to NIU as a business student but changed his major to art in order to satisfy his creative bent, philosophical disposition and artistic output. He wrote, painted and photographed, trying to capture the ephemeral qualities of his surroundings. People, places and nature were his favorite subjects in photography; in painting, he delved deeper into physics and philosophy.

As a means of supporting himself as an artist, Thiel worked at NIU’s Information Technology Services. It burgeoned into a career that spanned more than 27 years – all of it with NIU Information at (815) 753-1000. He was the unofficial “voice of NIU,” literally and figuratively as he guided callers around the university.

Call (815) 753-5803 for more information.

CLA workshop to cover
government finances

NIU’s Civic Leadership Academy will host a workshop Thursday, March 26, titled “Understanding Your Government’s Finances.”

This workshop is designed to give participants a critical understanding of the processes, policies and politics that surround governmental budgeting and finance. 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.

After this introductory survey of public budgeting and financial management, participants will leave with a full appreciation of the ideas, concepts and techniques important to leader­ship’s understanding of budgets and financial management.

Brian Caputo, director of finance for the City of Aurora, is the presenter.

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

PCSM seeks nominations
for Deacon Davis Award

The Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities is accepting nominations for the 2009 Deacon Davis Diversity Award.

Created in 2004, the award recognizes NIU students, faculty, staff, academic units, offices, programs or organizations for significant contributions made to the improvement of the status of minorities on campus. Nomination forms and complete information regarding the nomination process are available online at

Nominations must be received by Friday, March 27, and should be accompanied by a letter of support from someone other than the nominator. The Deacon Davis Diversity Award is a non-monetary award that will be presented Wednesday, April 15, during the annual PCSM Spring Banquet.

Educational psychologist to speak
at graduate research conference

Gregory Schraw, professor of educational psychology at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, is the keynote speaker at the 2009 Graduate Student Research Conference on Education, Learning & Human Development.

Schraw will address “Six Characteristics of Effective Learners” at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 28, in the Capitol Room South of the Holmes Student Center.

A reception for Schraw will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, March 27, at Tapalaluna, 226 E. Lincoln Hwy.

The Graduate Student Research Conference takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and includes three research paper sessions, a poster fair, workshops and other events, including a breakfast discussion with Professor Eduardo Vidal-Abarca of the Universtiy of Valencia (Spain). Pre-registration is required for attendance, but is free for NIU students, faculty and staff.

Register online by Friday, March 20. The event is co-sponsored by the Graduate Colloquium Committee, the College of Education and the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations. Call (815) 753-4404 for more information.

Science fair judges needed

Volunteers are needed Saturday, April 4, to serve as project judges for the Region V IJAS Science Fair.

The judging of the high school and junior high projects lasts from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with lunch included. Contact Mark Pietrowski at (815) 753-1456 or via e-mail at to obtain a form to become a judge.

NIU to host series of forums
regarding NCAA recertification

NIU is engaged in recertification of its athletics program. A campus-wide committee has undertaken a self-study to ensure the integrity of its athletics operations, and the final draft of the self-study will be posted on or about Wednesday, April 1.

As part of the certification process, three public forums will be held to give members of the campus community the opportunity to comment on the self-study. All students, faculty, staff, alumni and interested parties are welcome to attend the forums. Those who cannot attend the forums but would like to comment are encouraged to submit feedback online.

Forums will be held:

  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, Holmes Student Center, Illinois Room
  • 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9, DiBiase Board Room, Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center
  • 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9, DiBiase Board Room, Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center

For Thursday’s forums, parking is available in Lot 35 free of charge to the public.

For further details, contact Tom Krepel at (815) 752-8362 or via e-mail at

Trip planned to I&M Canal

Join the Lifelong Learning Institute in a fascinating and picturesque trip Friday, April 24, through regional and national history: A professional tour guide will take participants on a day-long tour of the Illinois-Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor.

The opening of the 100 mile-long canal in 1848, from Chicago to LaSalle-Peru, linked the Gulf of Mexico with the Great Lakes and launched Chicago on its greatest period of growth. While eventually superseded by the Sanitary and Ship Canal, a rediscovery of the old canal and the communities along it has resulted in an impressive array of restored buildings, landscapes and historic sites. 

Participants will go to the St. James of the Sag Church in Lemont, the headquarters of the I&M Canal at Lockport. Members will visit the marvelously restored Gaylord Building along with a small museum devoted to the canal as well as the Public Landing Restaurant, where they will have lunch. Afterward, they will continue on a driving tour of Lockport and the Joliet Museum, featuring a replica lock used on the I&M and a Route 66 Experience Exhibit.

The trip will depart from the Normal Road entrance of the Holmes Student Center at 8:15 a.m. and return at approximately 6:30 p.m. Fee includes professional guide, lunch, entrance fees and transportation.

The field trip is open to everyone in the community, while LLI members, NIU Cardinal & Black Alumni members and University Women’s Club members are eligible for a discounted rate.

For more information or to register for the field trip, contact the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming at (815) 753-5200, online at or in person in Room 152 of the Monat Building, 148 N. Third St.

A minimum of 25 registrants is needed by Friday, April 10, to offer this trip.

LGBT Resource Center seeks
nominations for annual awards

NIU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center invites members of the campus community to participate in the awards and contests that recognize leadership and achievement related to the LGBT community.

The awards include the Ally Awards, LGBT Essay Contest, Eychaner Award for Outstanding Contributions on behalf of the LGBT Community and recognition of graduating LGBT students. 

Information and nomination or submission forms are available online. Deadlines range from Wednesday, March 18, to Tuesday, March 31. Award recipients will be recognized at the annual end of year Award Dinner during LGBT Awareness Month in April.

For more information, contact the LGBT Resource Center at or (815) 753-5428.

Oxford professor to speak
on Lincoln’s purpose, power

Richard Carwardine, Rhodes Professor of American History at St. Catherine College and incoming president of Corpus Christi College at Oxford University, will speak Monday, April 6, at NIU.

Carwardine is the author of “Abraham Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power” and the winner of the 2004 Lincoln Prize. In 2008, he was elected to the Order of Lincoln by the State of Illinois.

His lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Lincoln Room of the Holmes Student Center.

The event is hosted by the University Honors Program. It is sponsored by a grant from the
Abraham Lincoln Illinois Bicentennial Commission and endorsed by the Illinois Library System Director’s Organization.

For more information, visit