Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Northern Today - May 4, 2009

Three students headed to Washington
to intern with Illinois congressmen

Three NIU students will live, learn and work in the heart of the nation’s capital this summer under a new university-established congressional internship program.

Hunter Huffman, Nma “Winnie” Okafor and Matthew Venaas each have won $5,000 scholarships to defray the costs associated with the internships. The three NIU students will live in housing provided by George Washington University, located in the center of Washington, D.C., just a short walk from the Capitol.

Huffman will intern with U.S. Rep. Donald Manzullo (16th District); Okafor with U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski (3rd District); and Venaas with U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (14th District). Each of the students will report to work Monday, May 25, work 40-plus hours per week and complete the internships Saturday, Aug. 8.

“At NIU, we value experiential learning,” said President John Peters, who is a political scientist by training, specializing in studies of public policy and Congress. “These scholarships will allow some of our top students to work in the halls of Congress, network with our nation’s movers and shakers and participate in the inner workings of our democracy.”

NIU political scientist Matthew Streb and department Chair Christopher Jones worked with President Peters and Vice President for External Affairs Kathryn Buettner to establish the scholarship program.

“This is simply an opportunity that we can’t provide in the classroom,” Streb said. “I can teach the theories of Congress, but I can’t show students the experience. And, from the point of view of members of Congress, it’s a great program because we’re giving them top-notch interns.

“We’re hoping to expand the program a year from now,” Streb added. “We already have lawmakers lined up.”

The scholarships are competitive. More than 20 highly qualified students applied for the three internships this summer.

Each of the scholarship winners is not only a top student but also is highly involved in university and service activities.

Huffman, of Naperville, is a 21-year-old junior honors student, majoring in international politics with a minor in philosophy. He has been active in human rights efforts, including the NIU chapter of STAND, an anti-genocide coalition. He also has worked with impoverished youth in Bolivia.

“Words in a textbook can never match the educational experience of participating firsthand in the United States’ political process,” Huffman said. “The U.S congressional internship experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Born in Minnesota and raised in Nigeria, Okafor is a 19-year-old junior honors student (she started at NIU at age 16), majoring in political science with a minor in economics. She is a member of the NIU debate team and has been active in tutoring and peer advisory.

“The focal point of my life, having come from humble means myself, is centered on giving back to the poor,” Okafor said. “I am interested in politics in Nigeria. I hope to return home and change the political system through grassroots involvement in politics just like President Obama has done here. But also on a broader scale, my goal is to advocate for development in Africa as a whole, through microfinance and other similar programs.”

Venaas, of Ottawa, is a 21-year old junior honors student, majoring in political science. He has been actively involved in the NIU Student Association and is the current speaker of the senate. This spring he was elected to serve as the student member to the NIU Board of Trustees.

“Ever since high school, I’ve been interested in politics,” he said. “Having the opportunity to see how things work behind the scenes and to experience the legislative process firsthand will be an amazing experience.”

Humboldt Park residents teach lessons
not found in adult education textbooks

To Laura Ruth Johnson, Chicago’s Puerto Rican neighborhood of Humboldt Park is home.

To students in Johnson’s graduate-level research methods courses, the bustling hub of Puerto Rican culture and politics is a fertile classroom of sorts. Students can conduct ethnographic research on learning amid the bakeries, farmer’s markets and street festivals.

Seven of her students spent six Saturdays last summer living and observing the ways of life inside the Paseo Boricua.

They looked for examples of mentorship as well as teaching-learning processes carried out in social and work settings. They found several of those in a dynamic community that actively involves its young people and grows its own leaders.

In June, they will present their research findings at a community conference in Humboldt Park. They already made a similar presentation at a conference in Philadelphia. The group also is hoping to write a journal article together.

“Most of them live near DeKalb, and few of them had been to this area before,” Johnson said. “They describe their experience in the community as transformative, and have themselves created a research community through their hands-on ethnographic work.”

“When we go to a place that we don’t know, we need to go with an open mind and an open heart; to let the knowledge come from the people there; to not impose our own views,” said Iva Angelova. “We need to be humble and grateful when people are willing to share their experiences.”

At the community newspaper – a monthly staffed mostly by volunteers – Angelova watched an exercise in flexibility. Reporters, photographers and editors traded responsibilities seamlessly to gather information and produce their publication. There was no firm hierarchy, she learned, but an ethos of collaboration that was open to new ideas and change.

“It’s a busy place,” Angelova said.

Colleen Stribling worked at the neighborhood café and bakery, sometimes as a server and occasionally clad in an apron in the kitchen.

She discovered the traditions of Puerto Rico simmering not only in the wait staff, all of whom know that efficiency is not nearly as important as good hospitality, but also in the community-based push for local businesses along Division Street.

Residents of the community support the business and keep it hopping by congregating there not only for food and coffee but also for lively discussions of politics and neighborhood news, said Stribling, an ESL teacher who spoke the most Spanish of any student in the class.

Social interaction between customers and servers provided the greatest lessons. Otherwise, she experienced little in formal training. “I could’ve been a huge nuisance,” she said.

“It’s knowing the people, knowing what they like,” Stribling said. “Making a mistake on an order is not a really big deal, but forgetting a name or forgetting to put sugar in coffee is a much bigger deal.”

Chia Pao Hsu attended a Bombazo, a social gathering all about singing, drumming and dancing.

“They commit themselves to educating the next generation about Puerto Rican culture,” Hsu said. “People are hugging, talking. You feel like it’s a celebration.”

Bombazo leaders encouraged her to experience every role in the ensemble by learning the vocal parts, playing the drum and dancing the steps.

On her own, Hsu realized the essence of the Bombazo is the communication between singers, drummers and dancers. “They really need to understand each other,” she said.

The local farmers market attracted Anne Almburg, who found culturally relevant fruits, vegetables, baked goods and crafts as she learned about a related project: A resident of the neighborhood is leading group exercise sessions for multigenerational customers.

What began as a walking program blossomed when the woman watched exercise videos to learn and then added her own love of dance to the mix.

“A large portion of the people in the community have diabetes and are overweight,” Almburg said. “Thirty to 50 people are exercising three times a week. The people in the class have said they’ve lost weight, their blood pressure is down, they don’t need insulin, they sleep better and they’re happier.”

For Almburg, who exercised with the group, the lesson was in leadership. The woman simply wanted to help her neighbors and became a community leader in the process.

Now, Almburg said, the lessons of Paseo Boricua will transfer into classrooms surrounded by cornfields. All of Johnson’s students are teachers at some level.

“This was an observation of a community perpetuating its heritage,” said Almburg, a Title I teacher at DeKalb’s Jefferson Elementary School. “I can take that to where I live. I can take it to the students in my school.”

Stribling realized multiple benefits from her experience.

For one, she said, “all of us are moving toward major dissertation projects. We know now how to observe well, to ask questions, to participate in real experiences, to negotiate our entry into these places.”

But the six Saturdays also opened her eyes to other places and other people, she said.

“What I think I know is true is not what everyone thinks they know is true, and that’s important to me,” she said. “What I don’t know was more rewarding.”

CLAS names Susan Callahan
as teacher preparation coordinator

College announces several other administrative changes

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).

Campus will observe summer four-day workweek

The following is a letter sent to the campus last week by Steve Cunningham, associate vice president for administration and human resources.

President Peters has authorized implementation of a four-day work week for the DeKalb campus during the summer of 2009. The four-day work week schedule will be ten weeks in duration, beginning on Monday, June 8 and extending through Friday, August 14. The regular five-day schedule will resume as of Monday, August 17.

President Peters has again indicated that, while the current budget situation remains very uncertain, prior years’ savings associated with the four-day summer work schedule imply that it is prudent for the university to take every step possible to pursue efficiencies and generate resources in support of university operations. Consultation with the leadership of the employee councils has confirmed that the campus is prepared to again proceed with the four-day schedule. We appreciate the dedication of the campus community and staff in adapting to the summer work schedule.

During the Monday through Thursday work week, university offices will be open from 7:30 a.m. through 5:30 p.m. each day. All university offices will be closed on Friday with limited exceptions related to essential service functions and other events/functions that may be scheduled at the university during the summer time frame. The general lunch period is scheduled from 12:00 noon until 12:40 p.m. Individual lunch breaks may vary depending on employee schedules. Additional flex time options are also available, subject to operational needs.

As indicated above, the summer work week schedule is being implemented with the general concurrence of our staff councils and the university community. University supervisors are asked to allow as much flexibility as possible with respect to employee schedules. However, individual supervisors will also be responsible for ensuring that university offices remain open during the required hours of operation and that the business needs of the university are fulfilled. The divisional vice presidents will monitor implementation of summer work schedule options within their respective areas of administration.

2009 Summer Four-Day Work Schedule Procedures
June 8 – August 14

  • Coverage: The four-day summer schedule applies to the DeKalb campus and will include non-negotiated civil service exempt and non-exempt personnel, supportive professional staff, and twelve-month administrative faculty who normally work the regular five-day week. Negotiated employees’ work schedules will be subject to specific provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreements. The four-day schedule and overtime provisions outlined below pertain to the standard 37.5 hour work week. Related provisions shall be prorated for employees whose normal work schedules exceed the standard 37.5 hour work week. It is understood that certain operations cannot precisely conform to this schedule and designated employees therein will continue on regular or specifically amended schedules. Seven-day, twenty-four hour operations, such as Public Safety, will remain on current schedules.
  • University Business Day: The standard work day and office hours will be from 7:30 a.m. through 5:30 p.m., each day, Monday through Thursday. A standard lunch period is scheduled from 12:00 noon until 12:40 p.m. The standard work week will consist of 37.5 hours per week.
  • Lunch Period: The regular lunch period for office operations should be observed from 12:00 noon until 12:40 p.m. However, supervisors may approve alternative lunch periods depending upon employee and operational needs. Hourly employees may not forego a lunch period for purposes of late arrival or early departure.
  • Flexible Work Schedules: To provide employees with additional flexibility during the extended four-day working schedule and subject to operational needs and supervisory approval, employees may adjust the starting and ending times of their daily schedules within a 7:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. schedule. Supervisors are encouraged to provide employees with as much additional flexibility as possible for this purpose. If an employee cannot adapt to the four-day schedule, the employee (with concurrence of the supervisor) may work something less than the 9.4 hours scheduled work day and utilize accumulated vacation time for the remainder of the day or take the time without pay.
  • Overtime: Hourly employees are eligible for overtime pay or compensating time off, if the employee works more than 9.4 hours in any one day or more than 37.5 hours in one work week. Overtime schedules are subject to supervisory approval.
  • Sick Leave and Vacation Days: Sick leave and vacation days will be earned and used on the basis of 9.4 hours per day. Exempt civil service and supportive professional staff employees will claim 1.25 days while hourly employees will claim 9.4 hours for each sick or vacation day used.
  • Rest Periods: With an awareness that employees will lose 30 minutes of rest period time while working a full schedule during four days instead of five days per week, supervisors may adjust employees’ rest periods on a daily basis to allow for the additional 30 minutes per week. The rest period must be preceded and followed by a substantial work period. Rest periods may not be taken as late arrivals, early departures. Given the shortened lunch period, employees may request (on a daily basis) to apply one or both break periods to an extended lunch time frame, subject to supervisory approval and operational requirements.
  • July 4 Holiday: Thursday, July 2, will be the scheduled holiday. During this week the four-day schedule will continue to be recognized with Monday, June 29; Tuesday, June 30; and Wednesday, July 1 remaining as the 9.4 hours per day summer work schedule. Those employees who continue on a five-day workweek will observe the holiday on Friday, July 3.
  • Temporary Suspension of Rules: In order to facilitate implementation of the four-day summer schedule, applicable provisions of university policies pertaining to scheduled hours and overtime are amended as outlined above during the four-day summer work schedule time frame.

Huskie Marching Band releases new CD

Football fans who love the NIU Huskie Marching Band’s powerful horns and crashing drums and cymbals now can relive the musical highlights of 2007 and 2008 in their cars and living rooms.

NIU’s marching band has released a new CD called “Forward, Together, Forward!” that is available at Villages Common Bookstore in DeKalb and on the store’s Web site at It retails for $9.99.

The CD’s title is taken from the lyrics to the marching band favorite “Huskie Fight Song.”

Also among the 13 tracks are drum cadences and traditional pieces – “Huskie Fanfare,” “Hail to the Huskies,” “Alma Mater” and “The Star Spangled Banner” – as well as modern excursions into Latin music, radio-friendly rock ’n’ roll and soundtrack favorites from spy films.

Familiar songs include the Jackson Five’s “ABC” and “I Want You Back;” James Brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag;” themes from “Mission Impossible,” “Peter Gunn” and “Live and Let Die;” the Fifth Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In;” Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al;” and R.E.M.’s “It’s The End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”

“Our students are really excited. It’s a big deal for them. Most have never gone through the rigorous recording process we go through,” said Thomas Bough, director of athletic bands in the NIU School of Music. “The microphones don’t lie. If you don’t sound great, the mics are going to pick that up.”

Bough said Dan Nichols, the School of Music employee who engineered and mixed the disc, works with his technical team for up to three hours before the recording sessions to set up the 25 microphones, computers and other equipment needed.

Members of each instrumental section – first trumpets, second trumpets, clarinets, saxophones, drums, etc. – then gather around “their” microphones. Nichols wears headphones and maintains wireless radio contact with his team during the recording to ensure each section is playing at its proper volume.

“We really want to get it right. There are multiple takes and editing later in the sound booth – everything is digital – so we can make the band sound its very, very best,” Bough said. “Sometimes we have to stop to let a bus go by or a goose fly over.”

Usually, the recording takes place on the lawn outside the Music Building. The 160-member band also has recorded indoors at the Convocation Center, the only indoor space on campus large enough to handle the volume.

“Our shows are designed to be fun and entertaining,” Bough said. “It’s all about familiar tunes that people enjoy that are played really well by the band.”

For more information, call (815) 753-1042 or visit

PCSW bestows annual awards
to Kohli, Lamb, Morris, Rigg

NIU’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women this spring honored Rebekah Kohli, Julia Lamb, Sherrill Morris and Lesley Rigg with its annual awards.

Kohli, program coordinator in Women’s Studies and faculty adviser to the NIU Women’s Rights Alliance, won the Women Who Make a Difference Award.

The award recognizes women with outstanding dedication to the empowerment of NIU women. Winners make changes at the unit level, make important contributions to addressing issues that are important to women and go “the extra mile” to assist others.

Lamb, outreach coordinator for NIU’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and Morris, an assistant professor of speech-language pathology in the Department of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders in the College of Health and Human Sciences, share the Outstanding Mentor Award.

Winners of this award show exceptional commitment to advancing the career and/or educational goals of NIU women students, staff, and/or faculty. They consistently act as exemplary teachers, coaches, advisers, facilitators and resources in helping NIU women achieve career and/or educational goals. They creates opportunities that help protégés achieve their goals, and they demonstrate the characteristics of an outstanding role model within their areas of expertise.

Rigg, associate professor and undergraduate coordinator in the Department of Geography in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is this year’s Wilma D. Stricklin Award recipient.

Winners of the Stricklin award demonstrates exemplary leadership/service resulting in a more favorable campus climate for women. They provides continual leadership/service over an extended period of time. They expend efforts beyond expectations and work responsibilities. They achieve results and effect lasting changes that make NIU a better campus for women.

Three academic advisers honored
through Target Campus Grants

NIU Career Services, through the Target Campus Grants program, has recognized three academic advisers with the “Target” The Faculty/Advisor awards for spring 2009.

  • Jessica Ebert, internship coordinator for the Department of Communications.
  • Jack King, internship/placement coordinator for the Department of Sociology.
  • Penny McIntire, assistant to the chair in the Department of Computer Science.

Ebert, King and McIntire were selected based on how their partnership with Career Services has furthered the impact of work experiences within their academic college related to curriculum, programming and the enhancement of student learning outside the classroom.

Each received a $500 grant to expand or enhance experiential learning opportunities in their academic areas. The awards were funded through the 2009 Target Campus Grants for the purpose of developing business and community leaders.

“Jessica Ebert has been a longtime friend of Career Services and is a strong advocate of experiential education,” said Bob Huffstutler of NIU Career Services. “Her extensive support of students who are looking for a helping hand or knowledgeable guidance as they forward their careers is evident by the number of qualified alumni who have spoken highly of her insight and caring attitude.”

“Jack King is always at the internship fair assisting, supporting and encouraging sociology students,” said Teri Schmidgall, counselor with Career Services. “He encourages employers to post (positions) with Career Services to increase access for all students. Students often say that Mr. King inspired them to go into the helping professions.”

“Ms. McIntire has been instrumental in introducing me to faculty for the purpose of introducing and explaining our internship program and other resources,” NIU career counselor Bob Norwood said. “This has opened the door for numerous classroom and student organization presentations.”

Career Services is part of the Division of Student Affairs. For more information about these awards, as well as other programs offered by Career Services, call (815) 753-1641 or visit

NIU Percussion Ensemble invited to Costa Rica
for first International Percussion Ensemble Festival

Members of the NIU Percussion Ensemble, directed by Robert Chappell and Greg Beyer, have been invited to perform May 28, 29 and 30 at the first International Festival of Percussion Ensembles in San José, Costa Rica.

Ensembles from Poland, Venezuela, Costa Rica and two from the United States were invited. Each ensemble will perform a concert at Teatro Nacional in San José, a joint concert combining all of the ensembles and one run-out concert in various cities throughout Costa Rica.

Chappell, Beyer and NIU graduate student Robert Houpe also will present percussion clinics for Costa Rican percussion students at the Universidad de Distancia in San José. NIU students traveling to Costa Rica include Houpe, William Cooley, Ben Runkel and Maggie Bergren.

The trip is made possible by a Howard Johnston Graduate Travel Grant and by generous donations made to the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

NIU’s connection to Costa Rica began in 2002 when the renowned NIU Steel Band was invited to perform at the Seoul Drum Festival. That year, Korea also was the host to the World Cup and, as part of the festivities, percussion groups from each of the 16 finalists countries were invited to perform at the festival.

At one venue, the NIU Steel Band and the Ensamble de Percusión de Costa Rica shared the stage.

Chappell, a Distinguished Teaching Professor and head of percussion studies, met Bismarck Fernández, timpanist with the Costa Rican National Symphony and head of percussion at the Instituto Nacional de Música. They exchanged cards and CDs and have since engaged in faculty exchanges, presenting master classes and clinics at the other’s university. In 2007, Chappell and Liam Teague, head of steelpan studies at NIU, performed a series of concerts and clinics in Costa Rica as part of the Festival de Flores de Diaspora Africana.

The NIU Percussion Ensemble concert in Costa Rica will feature a wide range of music that reflects the depth and richness of the percussion program at NIU, including historical works, new commissioned compositions and works featuring world percussion traditions from Brazil, India and Central America.

For more information, contact Chappell at

Accounting sets dates for FY2009 closing

All deans, directors, department chairs and managers should note the following deadlines regarding the FY2009 closing and make sure the information is distributed to everyone who process accounting transactions.

Payment Processing (checks to vendors and to reimburse employees)

All transactions must be recorded in the correct fiscal year. Departments are responsible for getting all transactions completed and travel occurring during FY2009 submitted to the Accounting Office by the following dates:

  • General Revenue (02 funds) – All goods must be received, invoiced and all payment paperwork is due in the Accounting Office no later than Thursday, Aug. 6. If the invoice or reimbursement also includes other funding, the due date for the other funding applies to the whole transaction.
  • All other NIU funds – All goods and/or services must be received and/or completed and invoices dated by Tuesday, June 30. Payment paperwork is due in the Accounting Office no later than Tuesday, July 14.

Interdepartmental Sales Journals

  • All FY2009 interdepartmental sales journals for goods or services between university departments are due in the Accounting Office GroupWise inbox no later than Tuesday, July 14.
  • All transactions must be posted in year occurred.

Journal Entries

  • Journal entries for all transactions posted prior to Monday, June 1, must be submitted to the Accounting Office GroupWise Inbox no later than Thursday, June 18.
  • Journal entries for transactions posted in June, except as noted below, must be submitted to the Accounting Office GroupWise inbox no later than Thursday, July 14.
  • If the funding for the journal entry is general revenue (02 funds) only, the journal entry must be submitted to the Accounting Office GroupWise inbox no later than Thursday, Aug. 13.

Community School announces
schedule of spring recitals

The NIU Community School of the Arts has announced the spring recital schedule.

Soloists, ensembles and high school seniors are all featured on the stage of the Recital Hall and Concert Hall in the Music Building in May and June. Most performances end with a reception. All are free and open to the public.

  • The guitar students of Eric Schroeder, teacher of traditional and Suzuki guitar, perform in the Recital Hall at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 4. Following at 8 p.m. is the adult recital for students who are 15 years and older. 
  • The junior string orchestra, CSA Symphonette, performs at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 5. CSA Sinfonia, the full orchestra for high school students, performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 6. Both ensembles perform on the stage of the Concert Hall and are directed by Linc Smelser. Auditions for next year’s CSA Sinfonia are Saturday, May 30.
  • The piano students of Mei Li perform at 7 p.m. Friday, May 8, in the Recital Hall. 
  • The Suzuki violin students of Ann Montzka-Smelser, Karen Weckerly and Laurie Rodriguez perform at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 9, on the stage of the Concert Hall.
  • CSA Children’s Choir, under the director of NIU faculty member Mary Lynn Doherty, concludes its first year with a performance at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, in the Recital Hall.
  • The cello students of Linc Smelser perform solos at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 16. At 3 p.m. that day, the piano students of Georgia Price and the violin students of Laurie Rodriguez perform. The guitar students of Quentin Dover perform at 6 p.m. All performances are in the Recital Hall.
  • The Suzuki piano students of Marilyn Montzka and Susan Breitner perform at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 17, in the Recital Hall.

Six high school seniors are performing solo recitals this spring. All performances are in the Recital Hall.

  • Bill Schoenberg performs on viola, flute and voice at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 12.
  • Francie Weberpal performs on violin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 25.
  • Jim Zucker performs on clarinet at 7 p.m. Friday, May 29.
  • Dylan Larson performs on flute at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 30.
  • Lucas Ruff and Chelsea Miller perform on violin at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 4.

Sponsored by the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts, the NIU Community School of the Arts is a year-round program of private music lessons, ensembles and classes in music, art and theatre for children and adults. Summer registration has begun.

For more information, visit or call Renee Page at (815) 753-1450.

MCTI to begin May 11

NIU’s annual Multicultural Curriculum Transformation Institute is scheduled for the week of May 11.

All faculty and teaching staff are invited to attend the open sessions. All sessions are located in the Heritage Room of the Holmes Student Center except for Wednesday’s plenary workshops, which are held in the Sky Room.

Monday, May 11

  • “NIU Student Demographics,” workshop by J. Daniel House; 11 a.m. to noon.

Tuesday, May 12

  • “Including Women and Girls in Curricula: Content and Feminist Pedagogy,” by Debbie Smith-Shank, 9 to 10:30 a.m.
  • “Class” by James Brunson and Regina Curry, 10:45 a.m. to noon
  • “Religion” by Sabiha Daudi and Leroy Mitchell, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 13

  • “Plenary Workshop” by AnaLouise Keating, 9 to 10:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 14

  • “Race/Ethnicity,” by Andrew Otieno and Andres Hijar, 9 to 10:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. to noon

Friday, May 15

  • “Queer: Does It Matter?” by Josh Adair, 9 to 10:30 a.m.

Schedule is subject to change. Check for the latest.

Steam shutdowns scheduled

Maintenance on the steam distribution equipment will force two shutdowns in May.

  • West campus: 8 p.m. Monday, May 11, through 4 p.m. Friday, May 15.
  • East campus: 8 p.m. Monday, May 25, through 4 p.m. Thursday, May 28.

Domestic-use hot water and steam/hot water heat will not be available. For more information, call Kevin Howard at (815) 753-6090.

Community School announces
auditions for fall ensembles

Auditions for the 2009-2010 CSJazz Band and CSA Sinfonia are scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 30. Placement auditions for the summer String Chamber Music Camp also are scheduled on this day and time.

Call the office of the NIU Community School of the Arts at (815) 753-1450 for a time assignment and details. All rehearsals and performances are in the NIU Music Building.

CSJazz Band is a top regional high school jazz band that rehearses Sunday evenings throughout the school year. Players ages 14 to 20 of trumpet, trombone, saxophone, percussion, piano, bass and vocals are needed. Saxophonist Donnie Norton, NIU jazz alumni and experienced director, is the director. 

CSA Sinfonia is a full orchestra that rehearses Wednesday evenings throughout the school year. Players ages 14 to 20 of strings, woodwinds, percussion and brass instruments are needed. Linc Smelser, conductor of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra and cello teacher, is the director.

String Chamber Music Camp is a summer program for string players ages 12 to 19 interested in playing in small ensembles. The camp is scheduled for the afternoons of Monday, July 6, through Thursday, July 9. Campers enjoy rehearsals, music theory and history classes, a master class with the Avalon Quartet and a recital on Thursday. There is a sight-reading party scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 30. Violinist and chamber teacher Laurie Rodriguez directs the camp.

For more information about these NIU Community School of the Arts programs, as well as the many other ensembles, lessons and classes available for people of all ages, visit or call Renee Page at (815) 753-1450.

University Writing Center to move
to Founders Library for summer

NIU’s University Writing Center (UWC) will be located in Founders 302 from Monday, May 18, through Thursday, Aug. 6. The Stevenson South location will be closed for both intersession and summer school. 

UWC is a place for all writers at NIU – undergraduates, graduates, staff and faculty – to talk one-on-one about their writing with trained consultants. Writers can discuss topics and ideas, clarify writing assignments and identify strategies for planning, organizing and developing drafts.

Center consultants help writers identify better ways to use language, learn appropriate methods for persuading readers, integrate critical reading and thinking skills into written form and discover ways to effectively use and document sources. Additionally, UWC consultants help writers recognize the different types of writing required for various disciplines as well as prepare résumés and applications for internships, scholarships or careers.

Many faculty have established relationships with the UWC by providing copies of assignments, notes about specific expectations and syllabi. Faculty also frequently ask UWC consultants to visit their classrooms for presentations on topics ranging from specific assignment strategies to general writing and documentation skills to an overview of UWC services and policies.

Consultants also can provide feedback for faculty on their syllabi, class assignments and/or rubrics.

For brochures that explain the hours and services or to arrange a class visit by UWC consultants, call (815) 753-6636 or visiting

Faculty Development to offer
Teaching Effectiveness Institute

The Fall 2009 Teaching Effectiveness Institute is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 13, and Friday, Aug. 14, in the Capitol Room of the Holmes Student Center. The event is sponsored by the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.

Day One is designed to introduce faculty to basic principles of teaching, offer information about support resources related to teaching and discuss how faculty deal with students’ needs. It is geared toward an audience who is new to teaching and to those wanting to refresh their knowledge of teaching fundamentals.

Participants will have opportunities to network with both new and experienced faculty at NIU. This institute will include interactive presentations by NIU faculty and staff.

Among the day’s 10 topics: “Planning an Effective Syllabus,” “Strategies to Energize the Classroom Experience,” “Managing Academic Integrity,” “Students with Emotional and/or Behavioral Concerns,” “Accommodating the Needs of Students with Disabilities.”

Day Two – “Teaching Strategies to Help First-Year Students Do Their Best” – will feature speaker Constance Staley, professor of communication at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

According to recent reports, many new college students accept disengagement over engagement and less academic investment over more. When faced with a demanding course, the easiest solution is often to give up or change majors. What can those who value higher learning do to help students with lower expectations dig in and grapple with the challenge? How to raise the bar?

Some of the day’s six topics include “Understanding General Principles of Engagement and Disengagement,” “Introducing Initial Teaching Strategies that Generate Motivation and Engagement” and “Designing Specific Hands-on Teaching Strategies for Kisesthetic Learners.”

These workshops are open only to NIU faculty and staff.

Registered participants will receive workshop materials, lunch and refreshments and certificates of participation. Advanced registration is required by Friday, July 24, and early registration is encouraged. Register online for Day One and/or Day Two.

Call (815) 753-0595 for more information.

NIU to host conference on first year of college

“Strengthening the First Year of College: Embracing Collaborative Partnerships,” a drive-in conference for the Midwest region, is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 25, at NIU.

The conference provides a forum for faculty, academic administrators and student affairs professionals to share ideas, resources and engaging pedagogy to enhance the learning of first-year students on two- and four-year campuses.

John Gardner, founder and senior fellow of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, will deliver the keynote address. Plenary speaker is Betsy Barefoot, co-director and senior scholar for the Policy Center on the First Year of College.

A call for programs, registration and other conference information is available online. The deadline for proposals is Friday, July 31. Call (815) 753-1535 or e-mail for more information.

Assessment Services unveils
online ‘Assessment Manual’

NIU’s Office of Assessment Services has introduced a new resource: NIU’s Assessment Manual.

The Assessment Manual is a compilation of assessment tips, tools and resources from NIU, other universities, experts, committees and higher education boards. Its contents are designed to provide assistance to those who are new to assessment as well as those who are experienced.

The manual contains nine chapters:

  • Overview
  • NIU Assessment – past, present, future
  • Good Practice
  • Getting Involved – campus wide assessment
  • Implementation
  • Special Topics – diversity, disabilities, distance learning
  • History of Assessment
  • Other Resources
  • Glossary

University of Memphis professor
to speak on ‘learning on computers’

Art Graesser, of the University of Memphis, will present “Learning with Conversational Agents on Computers: Cognition, Emotion, and Metacognition” at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 7, in 01F Gabel Hall.

This event is sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Study of Language & Learning (IISLL). For more information, contact or call (815) 753-5793.

Community School to host
Webcast with Libby Larsen

NIU’s Community School of the Arts will host an interactive Webcast featuring world-renowned composer Libby Larsen from noon to 2 p.m. Monday, May 11, in Room 202 of the Music Building.

The event is free and open to the public.

The topic of the Webcast is “The Changing Landscape of Arts Education,” and the focus is on the new technologies that are changing accessibility and methods of teaching the arts. Also speaking is arts educator David O’Fallon, CEO of the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis.

The event has received a grant from the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and is broadcast from the MacPhail Center. Other host sites are in Champaign, Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee. 

For more information, contact Renee Page, NIU Community School of the Arts, at (815) 753-1450.

CLA workshop to cover
local impact of globalization

NIU’s Civic Leadership Academy will host a workshop Thursday, May 14, titled “The Local Impact and Realities of Globalization.”

This workshop explores the influence of globalization on leadership roles in local communities, and presents different strategies for coping with the challenges and maximizing the opportunities of increased competition and interconnectivity in the global economy. Participants will better understand economic development and workforce development theories which maximize the competitive advantage of local places in an increasingly global world.

Case studies from other cities and regions will be used to demonstrate emerging best practices and an interactive dialogue process will be used to help participants understand new techniques that can be used to more effectively lead their communities in this era of globalization.

Presenter: is Rebecca Steffenson, a visiting assistant professor in the NIU Department of Political Science.

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

Recreation Services offers
summer fun at Pup Camp

NIU Recreation Services invites children ages 6 to 12 for a summer of fun at Pup Camp.

Nine week-long sessions begin Monday, June 8, and run through the week of Aug. 3. A variety of exciting activities and themes are planned to keep the summer interesting and educational. Campers will swim daily, create arts and crafts, play games and sports and participate in numerous field trips that enhance the weekly theme. 

Camper registration forms, themes, dates and prices are available at For more information, contact camp coordinator Ashlea Wilson at

Faculty, staff urged to update
telephone directory information

NIUTEL will not mail individual faculty/staff directory information change forms this year.

The new online directory provides a self-service format. Employees now can update their work information, as well as choose to hide or display personal (home) address and phone number, by accessing the directory Web site. 

To update work-related information:

  • Go to
  • Click on Login, located on the top right of the red toolbar.
  • Enter Novell ID and password.
  • Click on Self Service, then Request Resource, then Continue.

Employees can update: Directory Title, E-Mail Address, Alias Address, Office Address/Location and Office Telephone Number. To make updates:

  • Click on the type of change you wish to make.
  • Enter the updated information.
  • Click on Submit.
  • When all updates have been completed, log out.

Personal employee information is hidden by default and requires the employee to change that status in order for it to be displayed. Personal information that remains hidden in the online directory will not appear in the Communiversity 2009-2010 Telephone Directory. To display this information:

  • Log in as outlined above.
  • Click on Edit Your Information, then Display, then Save Changes.

To change personal address or telephone information, contact Human Resources Services at (815) 753-6000.

All updates (work-related and personal) must be made no later than Monday, Aug. 3, in order to appear in the Communiversity 2009-2010 Telephone Directory. For more information or assistance, contact NIUTEL at (815) 753-0963.

Faculty, staff volunteers needed
for Opening Day activities in August

What better way to show Huskie Spirit than by sharing it with someone else?

Volunteers are needed to help more than 3,000 students move into the residence halls Thursday, Aug. 20. Opening Day begins at 9 a.m.

The Division of Student Affairs also needs faculty and staff volunteers to help with two more events: Huskies Helping Huskies and House Calls.

Huskies Helping Huskies: Volunteers will be stationed at kiosks across campus on Monday, Aug. 24, and Tuesday, Aug. 25, to answer students’ questions or direct them to particular destinations on campus.

House Calls: Volunteers will greet first-year students at assigned residence hall floors the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 25. The volunteers will welcome the students and answer any questions they might have.

Volunteer registration is available online. Volunteers will receive additional information over the summer. Members of the Operating Staff who wish to participate can request release from their normal duties. Staff participation is subject to supervisory approval and should not interfere with normal operational needs of the university.

For more information, visit or contact Wendy Rodriguez at (815) 753-9651 or

Alumni Association unveils
travel for summer, fall, winter

From the Galapagos Islands to Martha’s Vineyard, the NIU Alumni Association Travel Program is on the move.

Travel to Iceland in July to be surrounded by some of the most awesome scenery found on this planet.

In September, it’s off to the East Coast to discover some of America’s treasures in Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Fall is the ideal time to see the East Coast in all of its autumn splendor.

For the truly adventurous, a trip to the Galapagos Islands is planned for December. Experience the biological diversity of the islands that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution from the luxurious comfort of an expedition-style cruise ship. 

Visit for more information about these and all other travel destinations. 

Retirement reception planned
for Education’s Nina Dorsch

NIU’s College of Education is hosting a retirement party for Nina Dorsch from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, in the Sky Room of the Holmes Student Center.

Dorsch is co-chair and associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. The program will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Annuitants to attend broadcast
of ‘A Prairie Home Companion’

Members of the NIU Annuitants Association and fans of “A Prairie Home Companion,” broadcast each weekend on 89.5 FM-WNIJ, have the opportunity to see Garrison Keillor and watch a nationally broadcast performance Saturday, June 20, at the Ravinia Festival.

The group departs DeKalb at 1:30 p.m. and will have time at the festival grounds to visit one of the restaurants or enjoy a picnic before taking their seats in the pavilion for the 4:45 p.m. show. The group will depart the festival grounds in Highland Park about 7:15 p.m. to return to DeKalb.

Space and more information are available from Steven Johnson at More details about the NIU Annuitants Association can be found at

Nehring Gallery hosts
‘Peter Squared’ exhibition

The final exhibit of the 2008-2009 gallery season is a significant show of drawings and prints at the Nehring Gallery, in the historic bank building on the corner of Lincoln Highway and Second Street in downtown DeKalb.

“P2: Peter Squared” is a collection of contemporary artwork by NIU artists Peter Olson and Peter Van Ael that was assembled to coincide with the Southern Graphics Council, held last month in Chicago.

Olson, assistant director of the NIU Art Museum in Altgeld Hall, holds a master’s degree in printmaking and has accumulated a wide record of exhibitions. He works with an ornithological theme conveying a sense of his vast knowledge of species found in Illinois, Oregon and Costa Rica. Visit for more information.

Olson will share his expertise in bird walks from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday, May 10, at Wilkinson-Renwick Marsh on Annie Glidden Road.

Van Ael, coordinator of the Jack Olson Gallery on the second floor of the NIU Visual Arts Building, comes to residency in Illinois with an extensive exhibition record from Belgium and throughout the United States. Van Ael’s specialty is reduction wood cuts in which the wood block is carved, inked and printed; it then is further carved to develop the design in layers of intense hues. For more information and visuals, visit

The public is invited to a free reception to meet the two artists from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, and to participate in their gallery talks beginning at 5:00 p.m. Additional viewing hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays, from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays through May 2, and by appointment at (815) 758-1351.

Artworks are available for purchase from the artists, and a drawing for one print by Olson and one by Van Ael will be held to benefit the gallery.

Free parking is available on-street and in the city lots to the south. Entrance is under the logo awning at 111 S. Second Street to use the stairs or elevator to the second floor. All ages are welcome.

Volunteers needed for track meet

Volunteers are needed Saturday, May 9, to assist with NIU Athletics’ Inaugural Track and Field Meet. E-mail Sue Hansfield at with name and contact information.

Trip planned to ‘Twelfth Night’
at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

The NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming will sponsor a trip Wednesday, June 3, to Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” performed at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier.

Depart from the Normal Road entrance of the Holmes Student Center at 2 p.m. and return at approximately 12:30 a.m. Explore Navy Pier and enjoy dinner on your own before the performance begins at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $85 or $55 for students. Fee includes theater ticket and transportation. Parking is available at the NIU visitor parking lot for a $5 fee.

For more information, contact (815) 753-5200 or

ACT test prep scheduled

Registration is open for ACT test prep scheduled for four Saturdays in May.

Classes meet from 9 a.m. to noon May 9, May 16, May 23 and May 30 in the Monat Building, 148 N. Third St. in DeKalb.

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

Cost is $175 (or $200 one week before start of class) and includes instruction, textbook, CD-ROM and retired ACT tests. It does not include registration to take the actual ACT test.

For more information, contact Mark Pietrowski at (815) 753-1456 or