Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Susan Callahan
Susan Callahan


CLAS names Susan Callahan
as teacher preparation coordinator

College announces several other administrative changes

May 4, 2009

by Tom Parisi

English Professor Susan Callahan has been appointed as the new coordinator of teacher preparation and development for the NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS).

In her new post, Callahan will help facilitate interactions among those involved in teacher preparation and development within the college. She also will coordinate with colleagues in other NIU colleges, promote relationships with external partners (particularly school districts) and coordinate the college’s engagement with state and federal agencies and accreditation bodies.

The coordinator position was initially created 20 years ago, when teacher certification programs came into the college, but has been vacant for some time.

“I thought it was time to reinstate this role, given the importance of teacher preparation to the university, the diversity of efforts across colleges and the many partnerships we have with regional school districts,” said LA&S Dean Christopher McCord.

“Susan has a remarkable combination of skills that make her superbly qualified,” he added.

Callahan has been a member of the Department of English faculty since 1995, coming to NIU from Kentucky State University, where she worked with under-prepared students.

Prior to that, she taught in public schools in Michigan for 15 years. Her research interests in English education focus on assessment portfolios. Having worked with DeKalb Community Unit School District 428, she is well-positioned to lead the college’s involvement in the emerging partnership relationship between NIU and DeKalb High School.

“I look forward to working with everyone at NIU who is involved in providing high-quality teacher preparation and development,” said Callahan, who will begin her new role this summer.

“I am particularly interested in strengthening our relationships with area schools in order to enhance teaching and learning,” she added. “Our new partnership with DeKalb High School is particularly exciting for me personally because a number of current DHS faculty members are graduates of our teacher education programs.”

McCord announced several other administrative changes in LA&S that also will take effect this summer.

  • Gary Burns will leave the college office to become acting chair of the Department of Communication. He brings to the post his experience as associate dean of the college and previous experience as the long-serving assistant chair of the department. “As associate dean, Gary has had oversight over the many intricacies of the college’s budget and personnel processes,” McCord said. “His service to the college and university as associate dean is greatly appreciated, as is his willingness to take on this new role.”
  • Amy Levin will be taking a year’s leave from her role as director of Women’s Studies to serve as acting associate dean for academic administration. In addition to her extensive experience in Women’s Studies, Levin is a faculty member in the Department of English and has served as director of the Museum Studies program. She has been involved in NIU’s strategic planning process and also served as chair of the internal strategic planning committee of the National Women’s Studies Association. 
  • Nick Karonis will become chair of the Department of Computer Science. Karonis has served as acting chair since 2007. He has been active in strategic planning, in planning for the university’s research engagement with the Northern Illinois Proton Treatment and Research Center and in the college’s implementation of the MyNIU student information system.
  • Phil Eubanks has been appointed chair of the Department of English. Eubanks has served as acting chair of the department since 2007 and previously served as director of graduate studies. Eubanks also has been actively involved in various elements of strategic planning, especially the development of a humanities initiative.
  • Kurt Thurmaier will become director of the Division of Public Administration. He came to NIU in 2005 from Iowa State University, where he had served as director of the public administration program. While at NIU, he has served as director of graduate studies in the Department of Political Science. Thurmaier also has been active in the strategic planning process, spearheading the emerging non-governmental organization leadership and development initiative and other projects.

“We’re very appreciative of these individuals for their willingness to serve their units, the college and the university,” McCord said. “I’d also like to thank those individuals who are leaving administrative positions at the end of this year. They are all essential parts of the smooth functioning of the university and have allowed all of us to advance our missions of education, research and artistry.”