Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

In Brief

November 30, 2009

President, Mrs. Peters invite
campus to annual luncheon

President John and Mrs. Barbara Peters will host their annual Holiday Luncheon at the Holmes Student Center Duke Ellington Ballroom from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1.

All are invited to attend and join their colleagues in celebrating the start of the holiday season at this festive event.

Altgeld Hall to welcome
families for holiday party

Join President John and Barbara Peters from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, in a celebration of the holiday season inside historic Altgeld Hall.

Friday’s event promises a fun-filled evening of career discovery. Children can explore their dreams of becoming police officers, nurses, musicians, scientists and more.

Surprises await, and the fun continues, with crafts, refreshments and the occasion to visit with President and Mrs. Peters. Bring your camera for great photo opportunities.

The event is open to the public and includes complimentary admission and parking.

For more information, call (815) 753-1999 or e-mail

HRS to host blood drive

Human Resource Services will host its annual blood drive from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, at Heartland Blood Center’s mobile coach. The average time for blood donation is 45 minutes. 

Heartland Blood Centers is a community blood center open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It provides and delivers all blood products to local hospitals for total patient care.

HBC works toward collecting more than 100,000 units of blood annually, and at least 1,900 donors are needed each week to meet this need. One blood donation can save up to three people because the pint is broken down into three distinct components – plasma, platelets and red blood cells.

Appointments can be made by scheduling online at only. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments will be taken first. Donors should remember to bring a photo ID to the drive. Each donor will receive a free pair of Heartland flannel lounge pants.

Jazz Ensemble prepares
for pair of Chicago gigs

Members of the legendary NIU Jazz Ensemble will perform twice in Chicago during December.

The ensemble, directed by Board of Trustees Professor Ron Carter, will play two shows at 8 and 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, at the Jazz Showcase-Dearborn Station, 806 S Plymouth Court in Chicago. Special guest artists for the evening, which also doubles as a CD release party for both the ensemble and the NIU Liberace Jazztet, will include the NIU jazz studies faculty and the Warren Township High School Jazz Ensemble.

At 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, the ensemble and its roster of special guest from the night before will appear on the program of the Midwest Clinic, the world’s largest convention of music educators. This year’s convention is held at McCormick Place West; NIU plays in Ballroom W196.

Law Library announces
end-of-semester hours

The David C. Shapiro Memorial Law Library has announced its hours for the end of the semester and the beginning of the new year.

Hours through Thursday, Dec. 17, are from 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays.

The library is closed from Saturday, Dec. 19, through Sunday, Jan. 3, for winter break.

Hours for Monday, Jan. 4, through Sunday, Jan. 10, are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Regular semester hours resume Monday, Jan. 11. For more information, call 753-0507.

CLA workshop to focus
on fiscal performance

NIU’s Civic Leadership Academy will host a workshop Tuesday, Dec. 15, on “Evaluating Financial Condition – Looking At Last Year’s Budget Isn’t Enough! ” 

Evaluating the financial condition of a city, county or special district must go beyond a simple comparison of this year’s budget against last year’s budget. A government’s financial condition should be evaluated on a longer-term basis and take into account policy goals, available resources and principles of management as well as line-by-line financial data.

This seminar will explore the benefits and power of longer-term financial measurement. ICMA’s Financial Trend Monitoring System will be explored as a useful tool as will the sensitive subject of “selecting comparables” for any number of analyses in your organization.

Workshops are held at the NIU Naperville campus from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Continental breakfast, buffet lunch and afternoon snack are included in the registration fee. 

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

Web site highlights research
sponsored by Recovery Act

A new Web site highlights the scientific research and related activities nationwide made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), also known as the stimulus.

The purpose of the ScienceWorksForUS site is to ensure that the public is aware of the important work being made possible by the funding for scientific research that was included in the ARRA. 

ScienceWorksForUS is an initiative of the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Science Coalition. 

Community School of the Arts
to host December recitals

Join the NIU Community School of the Arts this December with a variety of music performances.

All recitals are scheduled in the Recital Hall of the Music Building unless otherwise noted, and many end with a gala reception. The recitals are free and open to the public.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 1: The CSA Symphonette, a group of talented elementary and middle school string students, performs at 6 p.m. in the Concert Hall. The group is directed by Linc Smelser, conductor of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 1: Students of Georgia Price and Lynn Vogl perform at 6:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall.
  • Saturday, Dec. 5: The Suzuki violin students of Ann Montzka-Smelser, Karen Weckerly, and Laurie Rodriguez perform solos at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. 
  • Sunday, Dec. 6: Soloists of all ages who enrolled in traditional music lessons with the Community School take center stage at the Showcase Recitals at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 7: The Suzuki piano students of Marilyn Montzka and Susan Breitner-Hurm perform solos at 5 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, Dec. 9: CSA Children’s Choir performs music from many choral traditions. This new ensemble is directed by veteran children’s choir director Mary Lynn Doherty. The performance is at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec.12: The cello students of Linc Smelser perform solos at 10 a.m. with a guest appearance of the famous cello ensemble. 

Lessons, classes, and ensembles in music, art and theater are offered for children and adults throughout the year. The spring semester begins in January. Scholarships are available for those in financial need; the deadline for spring applications is Monday, Jan. 4.

For more information about classes, ensembles and lessons, contact Renee Page at (815) 753-1450 or visit

DeKalb Festival Chorus
to present holiday concert

The DeKalb Festival Chorus, under the direction of Jennifer Whiting, will perform a holiday concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall of the Music Building.

The chorus again welcomes the Prairie Brass Band from Arlington Heights, directed by Dallas Niermeyer. Also sharing the program is special guest organist Keith McNabb, who holds degrees in organ performance from the University of Michigan and Eastman School of Music.

The program features John Rutter’s “Gloria,” with additional musical works by Pachebel, Dandrieu, Lauridsen, Alice Parker and an American premiere by Herbie Martin.

Tickets are available in advance from chorus members or at the door: $10 for adults and $5 for children, students and seniors. The concert will be recorded, so audience members are asked to plan accordingly.

Founded in 1975, the DeKalb Festival Chorus has striven for a balance between traditional and contemporary vocal works.

PCSW seeks nominations
for student, staff awards

Nominations are open for the annual Presidential Commission on the Status of Women awards.

Each year, the commission recognizes a number of women students through the Outstanding Women Student Awards. Students who are eligible are female seniors, graduate students or third-year law students who will graduate in May, August or December 2010. Nominations for these awards are open until Friday, Dec. 18.

The commission also has three staff awards; the Wilma D. Stricklin Award, Outstanding Mentor Award and Women Who Make a Difference Award. Nominations for these awards are open now until Friday, Feb. 19.

The Presidential Commission on the Status of Women encourages continued support of the annual awards through nomination and promotion. Contact with any questions about the awards.

Visit for more information on PCSW and its awards or to make nominations.

HSC to host bridal fair

Vendor space is still available for the annual Bridal Expo to be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center.

The show features more than 40 exhibitors, taste testing from the student center’s catering department and a professional fashion show at 2 p.m. Admission is free.

For more information or to register, visit or call Karen Villano at (815) 753-6389. 

Faculty invited to propose
themed learning communities

The Office of the Vice Provost is seeking proposals from NIU faculty to create themed learning communities for fall 2010.

In these communities, faculty will offer incoming freshmen a unique opportunity to engage deeply with the course theme, connect learning across the linked course(s) in collaborative and active ways, develop relationships with peers and faculty and ease the transition to college.

The goal is to create between seven and 10 themed learning communities for fall 2010. The full
Request for Proposals and proposal form are online at

All proposals are due by Friday, Dec. 11.

ITS developing Blackboard tool
for grade submission to MyNIU

At the request and under the guidance of NIU faculty, ITS has been working throughout the summer and fall to develop a building block for Blackboard that will allow NIU faculty to send course grades from the Blackboard Grade Center directly to course grade rosters in MyNIU.

The grade submission tool was designed and pilot-tested successfully with the help of faculty focus groups and the tool will be available for use in December 2009.

Faculty who use the Blackboard Grade Center to calculate final grades soon will be able to choose to export final grades from Blackboard instead of manually entering grades in MyNIU, saving time and the reducing the opportunity for data entry errors. This tool will especially be helpful to faculty who teach classes with large enrollments.

After submitting grades from Blackboard using this new tool, faculty will have to log in to MyNIU to view the final grades and post them officially.

Features of the new Blackboard Grade Submission Tool include:

  • One-time submission of final grades from Blackboard to MyNIU.
  • Submission from any of the following types of Blackboard courses.
    • individual courses
    • master courses
    • combined courses
  • Compatible with all course rosters in MyNIU regardless of grading schema.

The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, in conjunction with ITS, will offer several workshops in December to demonstrate the new Blackboard Grade Submission Tool and will provide faculty with step-by-step instructions on submitting their final grades from Blackboard to MyNIU.

For more details or to register, visit

Grad school seeks nominations
for honorary doctoral degrees

NIU’s Graduate School has issued its annual call for nominations for honorary doctoral degrees to be awarded from NIU.

This year’s nominations, with the required supporting information, are due Friday, Dec. 18, to James Erman, interim vice president for research and graduate studies.

Awarding an honorary degree is an opportunity for NIU to recognize someone especially outstanding in a field of interest to the university. It is necessary, though not sufficient, for a nominee to be accomplished and renowned in his or her field; an honorary degree recipient should be clearly exceptional among other outstanding persons in that field.

While a connection to NIU or to the State of Illinois is not a requirement for nomination, any such relationship should be noted and will be considered during the selection process.

A nomination must be accompanied by:

  • A supporting narrative that clearly indicates the nominee’s distinction, as mentioned above, in business, education, the liberal arts and sciences, technology, the fine arts, other professional fields or public service.
  • One or more standard biographical statements from appropriate reference sources (these are not substitutes for the narrative indicated above).
  • Current mailing address of the nominee.

Any person affiliated with NIU may submit a nomination, indicating the nominator’s identity and connection with the university. The Honorary Degree Committee encourages nominations by groups as well as by individuals. Nominators should alert all university departments and divisions related to the area of the nominee’s accomplishments and invite those units to provide the committee with input regarding the merits of the nomination.

As the university does not intend to award more than two honorary degrees in a year, the selection process is stringent. Furthermore, as the committee recommendations subsequently pass through several other approval steps, the process is lengthy. 

Twenty-seven honorary degrees have been awarded since 1983.

Grants available to support
improvement of instruction

NIU’s Committee for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education is administering four different types of grants to support research in and projects for the improvement of instruction in undergraduate courses.

  • Instructional Research and Improvement Grant
  • Student-Originated Instructional Research and Improvement Grant (requires a faculty sponsor)
  • Microcomputer Software Acquisition Grant
  • Project for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education

Copies of the grant forms and guidelines are attached or can be accessed through the Provost’s Office Web site. It is mandatory to use the current forms and not previous forms.

All proposals must be submitted to by Wednesday, Jan. 20. Projects must be accompanied by approval from the department chair and college dean as outlined in the proposal form.

All expenditures apart from salary must be made by June 1, 2010. Normally salary associated with projects will be paid May 16, 2010, through June 15, 2010, regardless of when the work is actually completed.

Provost’s office seeks nominees
for teaching, instruction awards

Nominees are sought for the awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching and instruction.

The Committee for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education recommends that special attention be paid to the suggested timetable: Suggested deadlines begin Tuesday, Dec. 1, the recommended date for submission of nominations to the departmental chair of student adviser committee.

Student advisory committees are encouraged to make an early start in the selection process to make the best possible presentations for their candidate.

Electronic nomination forms, complete with examples, are available. Nominations must be made using these forms.

As always, significant student participation at all levels of the process is expected, and deans and department chairs are urged to do everything possible to ensure that this occurs.

It is very appropriate for faculty to provide assistance to students with preparing the career profile, eligibility for nomination and nomination procedures. Supporting information must clearly have been prepared by students.

Please note the strict interpretation of the maximum word count listed for the various boxes on the nomination form and the limited number of required letters of recommendation.

For more information, call (815) 753-0494.

CGS sponsors art contest

NIU students are invited to participate in a juried art competition with a $1,000 prize for the first place piece, $500 for second place and $250 for third.

The competition is sponsored by NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) in preparation of its 40th anniversary celebration. CGS is a public service, applied research and public policy development center with clients throughout the region and beyond.

CGS is hosting a conference of regional leaders Dec. 10 and Dec. 11 focused on how the region can adjust to the new economic realities of the 21st century and how area residents can prosper within these realities.

The art competition reflects the focus of this event and should interpret its theme of “Returning Prosperity to America’s Heartland: Building a Shared Vision for our Region’s Future.”

Art work must be submitted by Tuesday, Dec. 8. Submitted work will be displayed during the conference. The jury panel will include faculty members of NIU’s School of Art and a CGS representative.

Winning pieces will be incorporated into the conference proceedings and provide an important and unique visual component to the event. The winning artists will be invited to a gala dinner and celebration scheduled for Friday, March 5, 2010.

Details on the art competition, including rules, regulations and registration forms, are online.