Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Northern Today - October 5, 2009

NIU will use robotic submarine to explore
melting occurring below Antarctic ice

NIU geologists are helping to lead a multi-million-dollar, five-year investigation of melting near the base of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) using a 24-foot-long robotic submarine that will be lowered through more than a half-mile of ice into ocean water.

The National Science Foundation already has awarded $10 million in support of scientists at nine U.S. institutions involved in the research. A key project component is the robotic submarine, which is being built for NIU and is nearly completed.

While the device is the length of a ski boat, the robotic submarine will collapse to a width of only two feet, allowing it to be threaded down a drill hole melted through the ice. The submarine will be equipped with five cameras, a robotic arm with “fingers” for gathering samples and more bells and whistles than a Mercedes-Benz.

The unique technology will allow scientists for the first time ever to observe melting and other conditions at the interface between seawater and the base of the glacial ice. Scientists also will use the submarine to investigate the sea floor and layers of sediment beneath.

The information that will be gathered is critical to climate modelers trying to project potential future rises in global sea levels due to global warming. Substantial melting at the base of the ice shelf and ice sheet would lead to a more rapid sea-level rise.

NSF awarded a grant of $2.5 million to NIU’s Ross Powell, a Distinguished Research Professor of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, for his lead role in the project. Powell and colleagues at NIU also received federal funding in 2004 for design and construction of the robotic submarine.

“We’ll be investigating some of the last unexplored aquatic environments on the planet,” Powell said. “One of our major objectives is to get to the bottom of the Ross Ice Shelf and West Antarctic Ice Sheet and see what's going on. We know the ice is melting there, but we don’t know how fast.”

Glacial ice flows like a river to the sea, albeit at a much slower pace. Ice sheets are grounded on land, while ice shelves are floating on seawater.

Roughly the size of Alaska, the WAIS is the world’s only “marine ice sheet,” meaning that it sits atop bedrock that is below sea level. Its margins are surrounded by floating ice shelves. They include the massive Ross Ice Shelf, which is about one-third the size of the ice sheet (or the size of Texas).

“Scientists don’t know for sure what’s happening at the grounding line between the ice sheet and ice shelf, where the ice starts to float,” Powell said. “If the bottom of the ice sheet is resting on hard rock, the ice would flow more slowly into the sea. But a film of water or muddy sediment beneath the ice sheet would provide a lubricating layer, and the ice would slide or flow much faster, speeding up any rise in sea levels.”

NIU joins the University of California at Santa Cruz and Montana State University as lead institutions on the five-year program, known as WISSARD, for Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling. The project also will include a drilling investigation of Subglacial Lake Whillans. The interior lake is hidden beneath a thick layer of relatively fast moving grounded WAIS ice and might host a complex community of microbial life.

NIU’s Reed Scherer, a Presidential Research Professor of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, also is a key member of the research team. Both Powell and Scherer are well-known internationally for their Antarctic geologic research related to global warming. NIU research scientist Stefan Vogel will be a major project contributor as well, and NIU undergraduates and graduate students are expected to participate in each of three research field seasons in the Antarctic.

Scherer led a team of scientists during the 1990s who confirmed the WAIS has been unstable and might have collapsed several times within the last 1 million years, raising sea levels by 18 feet.

ANDRILL, an international geological drilling program co-led by Powell, recently corroborated the notion that the WAIS has collapsed many times over the past 2.5 million years due to warmer climates heating the ocean under the Ross Ice Shelf, which also collapsed.

“This is absolutely the first project of its kind,” Scherer said. “Ross came up with the idea of using a robotic submarine, and we first proposed a project like this nearly 10 years ago. It has tremendous potential. Up to now, all we know about conditions at the base of the ice is from theory and remote data from surface instruments. The submarine will provide scientists with images of the environment and physical, chemical and biological measurements of the ice, water and sediment conditions.

“There is a network of lakes, rivers, and streams trapped beneath the ice sheet, well below sea level,” Scherer added. “The water flows to the grounding line and empties into the ocean cavity beneath the ice shelf, like a river flowing into the ocean at a normal coastline. At times, inland lakes beneath the ice, such as Subglacial Lake Whillans, fill up with water and then drain catastrophically. We want to find out what happens to that water, and the sediments and microbes it carries, and how these events influence ice sheet dynamics.”

The expedition will not be without adventure.

Using sleds and tractors, teams will haul the robotic submarine and drilling equipment hundreds of miles across the Ross Ice Shelf before arriving at the drilling destinations. A drill that converts snow to hot water will be used to melt through nearly 3,000 feet of ice, creating a 3-foot-wide entry for the submarine and other instruments.

Drilling to reach the ice sheet grounding line will begin in late 2012, although a dry run will be performed in the Antarctic toward the end of the previous field season. Drilling through the WAIS and into Subglacial Lake Whillans will be conducted in late 2011.

Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER) Marine of Alameda, Calif. was contracted to build the robotic submarine. It will be equipped with lights, sonar and instrumentation for recovery of ice and sediment borings and seawater samples. During explorations, the submarine will be tethered by fiber optic cables to equipment on the surface allowing it to transmit real-time images from beneath the ice shelf.

“It’s quite complex,” Powell said. “We expect to collect a huge amount of data.”

Baccalaureate Review reports posted

NIU’s Baccalaureate Review Task Force is seeking additional feedback from the university community regarding the proposed goals for undergraduate education.

Final reports from the task force are posted online. PDF versions of the reports, “Discovering What NIU Graduates Should Know, Value, and Be Able to Do,” include an executive summary, an 11-page public report and a 23-page full report.

All feedback will be considered prior to drafting a final set of goals and accompanying student-leaving objectives. A follow-up report that includes this information will be issued in Spring 2010 and subsequently submitted to appropriate university governance bodies for review.

School of Nursing celebrates 50 years

The black sign hanging from the post outside Hopkins House stated simply, in white letters, “Offices. School of Nursing. Coordinator – T.V.”

As the original and humble home of the School of Nursing, Hopkins witnessed many of its firsts.

The first class – seven strong – to graduate, 1963. The launch of the R.N. completion program, 1964. Initial accreditation from the National League for Nursing, 1965. Graduate students admitted for a newly implemented graduate curriculum, 1968.

Fifty years later, as the school celebrates five decades as a part of the university, it remains committed to exploring new frontiers. One visit to the futuristic technology at work in the Human Patient Simulation Lab quickly proves that.

“We had the lo-fidelity models in my day. They were falling-apart plastic things,” said Brigid Lusk, chair of the school since 2005. “We learned on each other – and oranges. I’ve injected many thousands of oranges in my day. It’s really tough getting blood out of an orange.”

But the school’s primary mission – to produce ethical, effective and contributing members of the nursing profession who promote health and well-being in individuals, families and communities, across the life span, through educational, scholarship, service and clinical practice – brightly reflects the honorable heritage of nursing.

A 50th anniversary celebration is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17, including a tour of the school’s current headquarters, a reception with hors d’oeuvres, a dinner with a program presented by current and former faculty and an evening of music and dancing.

Lusk, who is only the school’s fifth chair, calls the anniversary “a nice milestone” and “a good time to reflect.” Six thousand invitations were sent to alumni, former faculty and friends for “just a good time to look back to see where we were and where we are.”

“In 1959, there weren’t that many baccalaureate schools of nursing. These students were very much the crème de la crème because they were getting their bachelor’s degrees,” said Lusk, who arrived at NIU in 1989.

“We’re also thinking about the way forward. Nursing is certainly at a crossroads. There’s an effort to have the bachelor’s degree the only way you can become a nurse, which would fit with most other developed countries,” Lusk added.

“Nurses are still misunderstood by the public. Throughout the last 50 years, nursing has been a real and responsible profession. We have people’s lives in our hands. We’re there with patients 24-7. Only when members of the public themselves, or their loved ones, are in the hospital do they understand. Nurses want to be nice people, yes, but above all we are well-educated scientists.”

Two score and 10 years ago

Annette S. Lefkowitz founded the NIU School of Nursing in 1959 and served as its chair until 1978. Ann M. Hart, associate chair during those years, guided the school as chair from 1978 until 1990.

In those earliest of days, co-ed nursing students boarded buses in the morning for transportation to their clinical sites, including Forest Hospital, Sherman Hospital and the DuPage County Health Department. Professors gave lectures at 6 a.m. or, in some cases, at the front of the buses.

By 1969, when the first three graduate students earned their master’s degrees, the school won its first federal grant: $197,000 for psychiatric nursing from the National Institute on Mental Health.

The school dropped anchor at Montgomery Hall in 1969 and remained there until 1987, when it moved to its current home on Normal Road.

The former Roberts Elementary School is perhaps the friendliest academic building on campus. Walls are covered with framed photographs – of students in their white caps, of faculty in group poses, of friends and alumni – and plaques honoring students and faculty alike. Maps show locations of dozens of clinical sites. NIU School of Nursing sweatshirts are for sale. Benefactors of scholarships and other gifts are paid tribute in framed biographies and portraits.

In 1973, the graduate program earned initial accreditation. The Student Nursing Organization submitted an application to Sigma Theta Tau International in 1974; 62 students, 14 faculty and seven alumni were inducted in November of that year. Beta Omega was officially established as a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau in the fall of 1975.

In 1980, off-campus classes began when the school received degree-granting authority in Rockford. Other sites followed, of course, and the school still sustains that mission at community colleges across the top of the state.

In the 1990s – Marian Frerichs was acting chair in 1990-91, Sara Barger served as chair from 1991-95 and Marilyn Frank Stromborg held the top post from 1995-2004 – the school launched the Tri-County Community Health Center in 1994 and the Center for Nursing Research two years later.

More than 15,000 different people of all ages from DeKalb, Ogle and Lee counties have sought treatment at the bilingual clinic since it opened. Ninety-nine percent are classified as low-income; one of three is a minority. No one is turned away for an inability to pay.

The clinic’s work has earned the financial support of generous community benefactors who have contributed and pledged more than $2.25 million in recent years, crucial support after the 1998 expiration of the federal grant that created the clinic.

The new millennium

In 2001, then-U.S. Speaker of the House and NIU alum J. Dennis Hastert helped to identify more than $450,000 in the federal budget to help Tri-County buy much-needed medical, educational and office-related equipment.

Recent years have brought the school’s first-ever master’s degrees in the advanced practice role of family nurse practitioner – six completed that program in 1999 – as well as online classes and statewide nurse educator fellowship recognition and university teaching awards for several faculty members.

A reorganization in the summer of 2007 combined nursing with public health and health education.

Of course, students continue to perform well.

Nursing graduates of the School of Nursing and Health Studies who took the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Licensure Examination during 2008 posted a 95 percent passing rate. Comparatively, the pass rate was 90 percent for all nursing programs in Illinois and 87 percent for all U.S. programs.

“Our teaching focus now is that nurses don’t need to walk out of school knowing every skill,” Lusk said. “Nurses need to have a core understanding of what’s going on in the body and adapt to any situation. We’re giving them less rote information and making them more able to deal with any emergency. That, I think, is a big change.”

Meanwhile, enrollment is strong on- and off-campus.

“People have an image of a nurse as being someone with a rather exciting profession. You’re at the front line. You feel you can actually make a difference in people’s lives, and that draws a lot of people. It’s exciting, satisfying and completely interactive,” Lusk said.

“It’s also a profession where you can still get a job. You’re going to get a job, and it’s a decent-paying job,” she added. “We’re gradually seeing more men enter the profession, and we would love to have even more men in the profession. We would love to have more under-represented groups. Only 2 percent of nurses are Hispanic. We need way more Latino and African-American nurses. That’s a concern.”

Visit for more information about the school and its 50th anniversary.

COB gets first endowed professorship

One of the NIU College of Business’ oldest and strongest partners has created the college’s first-ever endowed professorship.

The KPMG Endowed Professorship in Accountancy was formally announced during the Sept. 28 football game between NIU and Idaho, with an on-field presentation featuring several of the NIU accounting alumni who are now partners at the firm, all of whom are helping to fund the gift.

The first NIU faculty member to hold the title of KPMG Endowed Professor is Pam Smith, who joined the faculty of the NIU Department of Accountancy in 1994. She has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching and, in 2008, she received the Outstanding Educator Award from the Illinois CPA Society. 

KPMG has sponsored professorship within accountancy for nearly 30 years, but this latest gift ensures that the position will be funded in perpetuity. Previous holders of the KPMG Term Professorship at NIU were John Engstrom and Donald Kieso. In fact, Kieso was the first sponsored professor in NIU history.

Smith has held the title of KPMG Professor of Accountancy since 2004, and says that it has been, and continues to be, an honor.

“I’m extremely flattered to be part of the ongoing relationship between KPMG and the Department of Accountancy,” Smith says. “The creation of this endowed professorship is just another example of the firm’s commitment to NIU, to the College of Business and to maintaining the Department of Accountancy’s legacy of excellence in accounting education.”

KPMG has long supported the NIU Department of Accountancy in variety of ways, financially and otherwise.

The firm is one of the charter members of the department’s Board of Advisors, offering advice and insight to ensure that NIU accounting graduates are up to date on the quickly evolving demands of the public accounting industry.

Executives from KPMG also give generously of their time to lecture in classes, attend “Meet the Firm” nights and participate in other activities at NIU. The firm also provided the naming gift for the department’s suite in Barsema Hall and funds scholarships for accountancy majors.

KPMG also recruits a large number of NIU accountancy students each year to participate in their national internship program and currently employs 78 NIU graduates fulltime. Among those graduates, 10 are currently partners in the firm and each has pledged his support to the named professorship.

Leaders at KPMG say they are excited to ensure that commitment will now endure indefinitely.

“NIU offers the dynamic curricula students need to succeed in today’s global economy,” says John B. Veihmeyer, chief executive officer of KPMG LLP. “And Pam Smith provides a model for students as they prepare for and begin their careers. She is an academic leader in our profession, recognized for her excellent work, and a constant advocate for ethics in business. We are honored to be associated with Pam and with NIU.”

“The Department of Accountancy has long been one of the premier programs at NIU,” NIU President John Peters says, “and we are honored that KPMG, one of the premier firms in the field of public accountancy, has chosen to support the program in such a significant and permanent manner.”

The KPMG Endowed Professorship fits nicely with the goals of the university’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, True North. That effort has raised more than $150 million for the university over the last nine years. The latest phase of that effort puts a particular emphasis on the creation of endowments.

“Gifts like the one by KPMG have a profound and long lasting impact on the university,” Peters says. “It will help to ensure that we continue to attract and retain the caliber of faculty that have made our accountancy program one of the most respected in the nation.”

Southeast Asian high school students
will visit NIU for leadership training

NIU’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies has won a U.S. Department of State grant totaling $275,000 to conduct two upcoming leadership training institutes, including one this fall for young people and educators from Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia.

A total of 32 high school students and educators from those countries are expected to arrive Nov. 21, on the NIU campus, where they will begin the three-week Southeast Asian Youth Leadership Program. A second group of 32 students and educators – from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Burma – will participate in a similar institute at NIU in April.

The programs are designed to promote high-quality leadership, civic responsibility and community activism and prepare participants to conduct community service projects in their homelands. The Center for Southeast Asian Studies is currently lining up host families to accommodate the visitors.

“The aim is to teach civic engagement to young people in Southeast Asia, with a focus on entrepreneurship and ecology,” said project director James Collins, who also directs the NIU Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

“The United States has very strong strategic interests in Southeast Asia,” Collins added. “The region stands between two of the world’s largest countries, China and India, and Southeast Asia represents a very large economic market. There are a lot of geopolitical issues that make Southeast Asia a very important locus of attention for U.S. foreign policy.”

One of only seven federally designated national resource centers for Southeast Asian studies, NIU’s center is uniquely qualified to host the upcoming youth leadership programs. Its more than 30 faculty associates and affiliates are all active researchers who teach substantial Southeast Asian content in their courses.

The center also is experienced in providing leadership training. Anthropology professor Susan Russell and Lina Ong, director of the International Training Office, have led numerous U.S. Department of State-funded leadership development initiatives with participants from the Philippines. That program is now going into its seventh year.

“The fact that we received this new grant is a tribute to the very good name NIU has in Washington,” Collins said. “This was a competitive grant, but the State Department was already familiar with the success of our Philippines program. That added to our strength.”

While in DeKalb, participants in the Southeast Asian Youth Leadership Program will study the fundamentals of U.S. civil society, community service and leadership. They will interact with NIU student leaders and peers from local high schools. They also will meet with local government officials and tour non-profit centers, including the Great Lakes Youth Leadership Council in Chicago, where they will learn about the Roots & Shoots peace initiative.

In the final days of the leadership-training program, participants will travel to Washington, D.C., to visit government officials and tour the Holocaust Museum, the Jane Goodall Institute and other historic and educational sites.

“We want to promote the responsibilities and rights of citizens within a democracy, and the institute will provide practical, hands-on training to prepare these young people to be involved in their communities,” said program administrative director Katharine Wiegele, an adjunct professor of anthropology at NIU.

“When our guests from Southeast Asia return home, they’ll be involved in a Web-based network that will link participants so they can continue to support each other and share ideas about their citizen-action plans,” she added.

The Southeast Asian Youth Leadership Program will provide a learning experience for NIU students as well. The Center for Southeast Asian Studies already has hired five graduate assistants to assist with the project and expects to have volunteer opportunities open to other students as well.

Thailand foreign minister gives
funding support to NIU center

Thailand Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya brought a gift along on his visit to NIU last week: a check for $96,000.

During a Sept. 28 luncheon in his honor, the foreign minister presented the check to NIU President John Peters. The grant will support the Thai Studies fund established recently for the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

The post of Thailand foreign minister is equivalent to the post of secretary of state in the United States. During his visit, Piromya gave a public talk on the continuing cooperation between Thailand and the United States in the areas of education, economics and foreign affairs. He was accompanied by eight Thai ambassadors, along with consuls-general from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver.

The Royal Government of Thailand first established the Thai Studies fund with a $110,000 grant late last year to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. The fund is being used to further support the university’s education, research and exchange programs focused on Thailand.

“We are grateful for the continuing support of the Thai government for our research and scholarship fund,” said Jim Collins, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. The center is hosting an international Thai Studies conference Friday, Oct. 23, and Saturday, Oct. 24.

“This gift underlines the importance of Thai Studies at NIU and the commitment that the university has made to the study of Thailand since the founding of the center in 1963,” Collins added.

Collins also singled out the work of NIU Political Scientist Danny Unger, a specialist in Thailand and faculty associate of the center who did “yeoman’s work” setting up the research and scholarship fund. 

Unger said the Royal Government of Thailand funding will specifically support Thai conferences, Thai language learning, NIU faculty and student research in Thailand, an extended stay at NIU by a Thai scholar, the establishment of awards to be presented at Thai studies conferences and the continued development of an alumni network in Thailand.

Students invited to apply for congressional internships

With the student-centered leadership and strong support of President John Peters, NIU established in 2009 an annual summer congressional internship program in Washington, D.C. This highly competitive program provides students with the opportunity to live, learn and work in the heart of the nation’s capital.

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

The program starts May 23 and continues through Aug. 7 with the first day of work on May 24.

The five NIU interns will live in housing provided by George Washington University. Each student will live in a single room with a private bath and a kitchen on the floor. The cost of housing (approximately $3,700) will be covered by the $5,000 scholarship and will be paid directly by NIU. The remaining money will cover additional living expenses, fees and travel to and from Washington, D.C.

Students’ work schedules will be determined by the individual congressional office. However, students can expect to work 40-plus hours per week.

All applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30. Applications can be obtained from the Department of Political Science or from Matt Streb at

Yale historian Jonathan Spence
to give W. Bruce Lincoln Lecture

Yale historian Jonathan Spence, among the world’s leading authorities on the shaping of modern China, will visit NIU to deliver the sixth annual W. Bruce Lincoln Lecture.

The lecture, titled “China and the West: A Seventeenth Century Chinese Pioneer,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, in the Altgeld Hall Auditorium on the NIU campus. The event is free and open to all.

British-born and educated at Cambridge and Yale, Spence has written more than 15 books, including “The Search for Modern China,” which has become one of the standard texts on the last several hundred years of Chinese history. Every edition of the book has been a bestseller. He has written about many leading figures in Chinese history, including Chairman Mao, but is known for exploring the past through the lives of everyday people.

His NIU lecture will be no exception.

“In the 17th century, it was already becoming moderately common for some Western missionaries, traders and diplomats to visit China,” Spence said. “This lecture looks at the other side of this story, to the fragments of evidence that let us study one of the first Chinese visitors to travel to England and France, and to examine what he experienced when he was there.”

Spence holds the title of Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University and has long been regarded as one of the most popular undergraduate lecturers at the university.

He has been the recipient of both the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the Guggenheim Fellowship and has received 10 honorary degrees. Other honors include the C.M.G. (Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George) from Queen Elizabeth II.

“Jonathan Spence is widely regarded as the preeminent American historian of China,” said David Kyvig, an NIU Distinguished Research Professor of History. “He is well known as an engaging speaker and possesses an amazing range of historical knowledge, from 16th century to the present day.”

Beginning in 2004, the W. Bruce Lincoln Endowed Lecture Series has brought such notable speakers to NIU as renowned religion scholar Martin Marty, journalist Mark Danner and prominent historians Walter LaFeber, Lizabeth Cohen and Matthew Connelly. The endowed lecture series is named in honor of the late W. Bruce Lincoln, a world-renowned historian of Russia who taught on the NIU faculty for more than three decades until his retirement in 1998.

Lincoln was among the first group of NIU faculty members awarded Presidential Research Professorships in 1982. The recipient of many grants and awards, Lincoln possessed a lifelong passion for learning and a gift for writing. He authored a dozen books that gained a wide audience among students, scholars and the general public alike.

NIRIS to fill reading gaps

Hundreds of print-impaired listeners of the Northern Illinois Radio Information Service (NIRIS) might find their tune-in routines revised in the coming weeks.

Because of the abrupt closure of content provider, “In Touch Network” of New York, NIRIS is now shuffling to fill a void in its programming day.

In Touch Network (ITN) had been operating since 1979, providing readings of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among others. Financial concerns eventually led ITN’s managing board, The Jewish Guild For The Blind, to its decision to cease service. An interim system might provide up to six of the eight daily hours of content NIRIS previously acquired from In Touch Network.

Currently, NIRIS volunteers account for 56 hours of unrepeated local programming each week from studios in Rockford and DeKalb. Local readers can be heard from 8 to 10 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday. NIRIS offers additional local programming from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Whenever local volunteers are not reading from the studio, NIRIS transmits content from a network such as the former ITN, and a few other out-of-state program streams.

More than 600 blind and print-impaired citizens of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin keep up to date with the NIRIS readings of local newspapers, food and shopping ads, books, popular magazines and special interest programs. NIRIS transmits on a sub-carrier (SCA) frequency, picked up by a special receiver. These receivers are loaned free of charge to eligible listeners at home, hospitals and extended-care facilities.

NIRIS is funded almost entirely by contributions and grants. Community and individual support is vital to maintaining this service. Subscription donations and delivery also are key in being able to bring popular periodicals to NIRIS listenership.

NIRIS Director Cindy Lynn Ostergard is currently working to keep the papers formerly covered by ITN on the schedule, pending local arrangements.

For more information about the service, click “About Us” at Northern Public Radio – and NIRIS – are part of the broadcast arm of NIU.

Art Education speaker
to address ‘activist art’

NIU’s art education program will welcome Karen Keifer-Boyd, professor of art education and affiliate professor of women’s studies at The Pennsylvania State University, for a 5 p.m. speech today in Room 111 of the Art Building.

Boyd will focus on contemporary technology and feminist pedagogy in a lecture titled “Activist Art and Disruptive Technologies: reStAGE<deep breadth>.”

Feminist masquerade pedagogy is more than wearing a mask to try new ways of experiencing the world; it also is the act of unmasking in the sense of exposing and critiquing assumptions. Student-enacted virtual fictions can make explicit situational circumstances that privilege some bodies over others.

Keifer-Boyd is co-editor of Visual Culture & Gender. Her research on feminist pedagogy, visual culture and cyberactivism is published in more than 40 peer-reviewed research publications and translated into several languages.

For more information, contact Deb Smith-Shank at

Duo XXI to perform tonight

NIU’s School of Music will host guest artists Duo XXI in concert at 8 p.m. today in the Recital Hall.

Duo XXI, made up of Anna Cromwell on violin and Mira Frisch on cello, will present a program of six new works for violin and cello. They include “Blue Refracted,” composed by NIU School of Music faculty member David Maki. Other composers on the program are John Allemeier, Stephen Anderson, Joseph Dangerfield and Robert Keith Parks.

Founded in the spring of 2007, Duo XXI is committed to developing the musical culture of the 21st century through commissioning, performing and recording new music.

The concert is free and open to the public, and the building is accessible to all. The concert might be broadcast live over the Internet; check the evening of the concert and click on “Live HD Webcasts.”

For more information, call (815) 753-1546.

What’s cooking at Ellington’s?

On the menu at Ellington’s this week: Castello Nascoto is scheduled for Tuesday. Taste of Thai takes over Wednesday. Comfort Café concludes the week 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.

Castello Nascoto features tomato bruschetta or vegetable minestrone for starters, Italian turkey sausage with red peppers or pasta con brio for entrees and ricotta cheesecake with strawberry topping or dark chocolate gelato for dessert. Each table will be served parmesan bread twists with garlic herb oil.

Taste of Thai features Thai veggie rolls or crab salad on cucumber rounds for starters, spicy Thai chicken kabobs or Taste of Thai veggie tofu for entrees and Thai fried bananas or Thai fruit salad with papaya mint sauce for dessert. Each table also will be served grilled chile salsa with rice crackers.

Comfort Café features apple pear salad or hazelnut squash soup for starters, classic beef pot roast or broccoli mac and cheese gratin for entrees and baked apples or pumpkin bread pudding for dessert. Each table will be served cornbread with butter and honey.

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.

Operating Staff Council
to host meet-and-greet

Members of the Operating Staff Council will host a meet-and-greet in an informal session from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the annex room of the Blackhawk Cafeteria in the Holmes Student Center.

OSC members will be on hand to answer questions and listen to new ideas. The OSC represents all operating staff in the shared governance system at NIU. 

Participants may bring a lunch or purchase one in the cafeteria. For other details, contact or visit

Art Museum, Dance Theatre
join to present ‘Technodance’

NIU’s Art Museum and the Northern Dance Theatre will present “TECHNODANCE,” a collaboration highlighting performance and visual art through interpretations of art works displayed in the current “Technology and Art” exhibition suite.

Events are scheduled at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7; 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8; and 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10.

Students under the direction of School of Theatre and Dance professor Paula Frasz will present four dance pieces of approximately three minutes each. Each arrangement will take place twice each day to allow visitors to see every dance in the galleries.

“Acephilopod” features dancers Bryan Hurd and Caitlin Foster amongst the work of Elona Van Gent in the South Gallery. In the next room, Katy Odenweller and Brittany Barnwell evoke emotions that can be sensed from Gerald Guthrie’s “boxes” and digital images in Guthrie Dialogues.

In the Rotunda Gallery, Melanie Windland, Rachel Lopez, Amaris Gholar, Ashleigh Muhammad and Elizabeth Kraus will present “Funnel Series” and “Sagrada Familia,” named after the Jessica Gondek works to which they correspond.

“RetroTech,” a solo by Monique Hickman, will be performed in Karen Hanmer’s installation of the same name.

Located on the west-end first floor of Altgeld Hall, the galleries are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and by appointment for group tours. Exhibitions and lectures are free; donations are appreciated.

The exhibitions of the NIU Art Museum are funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, the Friends of the NIU Art Museum, and the Arts Fund 21. For more information, visit or call (815) 753-1936.

College’s Linguistics Initiative
to host documentary screenings

The CLAS Interdisciplinary Linguistics Initiative will host two screenings of the award-winning documentary, “The Linguists.”

Screenings are scheduled at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in Reavis Hall 211, and at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in Davis Hall 116.

This film chronicles some of the work of K. David Harrison and Greg Anderson, two scientists consumed with documenting endangered languages. In Siberia, India, and Bolivia, the linguists confront head-on the very forces silencing languages: institutionalized racism and violent economic unrest.

Their journey takes them deep into the heart of the cultures, knowledge, and communities at stake. To view a trailer of the film, visit

Harrison will speak about “Language Extinction: Global and Local Trends” from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12, in Reavis Hall. For more information, contact Doris Macdonald at (815) 753-6601 or

Opera Theater to explore
‘Beautiful Nights of Love’

For its opening program of the year, the NIU Opera Theater will present “Beautiful Nights of Love: Scenes from French Opera.” Performances are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, and 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in the Recital Hall of the Music Building.

The program takes its title from lyrics of the opening number, the famous “Barcarole” from Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann.” Excerpts from two of Offenbach’s comic operettas, “La Perichole” and “Orpheus in the Underworld,” also are featured, as well as arias from Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet,” Gluck’s “Alceste” and Meyerbeer’s “The Prohphet.”

Composer Ambroise Thomas is represented by numbers from two of his operas, “Mignon” and “Hamlet.” The works of Jules Massenet are highlighted in scenes from “Cendrillion,” “Werther” and “Manon.”

The program is co-directed by conductor Lucia Matos and stage director James Tucker, with assistance from faculty pianist JeongSoo Kim and graduate accompanist Glenda Courtois-Garcia.

The concert is free and open to the public, and the building is accessible to all. The concert might be broadcast live over the Internet; check the evening of the concert and click on “Live HD Webcasts.”

For more information, call (815) 753-1546.

Observatory invites public
to witness lunar crash

On the morning of Friday, Oct. 9, the NIU Observatory atop Davis Hall will train its sights on the moon with hopes of observing a spectacular crash.

A NASA spacecraft known as LCROSS is scheduled to deliberately crash a launch rocket into a lunar crater, with hopes that the resulting cloud of debris will reveal evidence that water exists beneath the lunar surface.

The NIU Observatory will be open to the public for viewing that day from 5 to 7 a.m. If skies are clear, the debris plume should be viewable several seconds after impact and will peak in brightness at 30 to 100 seconds after impact, according to NASA.

It’s also expected that the morning will provide prime-time viewing of other celestial objects, including Venus and Mars.

“In case of clouds or rain, we will still meet at the same time to watch the crash via NASA TV,” said Matt Wiesner, observatory manager.

For more information, e-mail, call (815) 753-1305 or visit

Campus Child Care Center
to hold annual book fair

NIU’s Campus Child Care Center will hold its annual Children’s Book Fair during the week of Oct. 12.

The book fair will be open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. Checks and credit cards are welcome.

Come browse through a wide selection with multiple copies of books, early readers, parent resource materials, calendars and more. Approximately 1,700 books and other items are available for purchase.

The center is located just off Annie Glidden Road on the west side of Gabel Hall. The main entrance can be accessed by the circle drive in front of the white stone building in parking lot 38/S. For community visitors, parking is available in lot 38/S outside the building (request a visitor’s pass at the front desk).

Call (815) 753-0125 for more information.

Noted linguist to speak
about language extinction

Half of the world’s languages are on the verge of extinction. Who will record them before they are gone? 

K. David Harrison will speak about the demise of many of the world's languages and efforts to preserve them. Harrison is the author of “When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World’s Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge,” and one of the linguists featured in the 2007 documentary “The Linguists.”

He is currently chair of the Linguistics Department at Swarthmore College and also is the co-founder and director of research for the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, a non-profit foundation committed to language preservation and revitalization.

Harrison’s presentation will begin at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12, after a brief reception beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Reavis Hall 211. Screenings of the documentary featuring Harrison and his colleague, Greg Anderson, will be held at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in Reavis Hall 211, and at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in Davis Hall 116.

These events are sponsored by the CLAS Interdisciplinary Linguistics Initiative. Contact Doris Macdonald for more information at (815) 753-6601 or

PRP nominations sought

Nominations are being sought for NIU’s 2010 Presidential Research Professorships, which recognize outstanding accomplishment and future potential in academic research or creative artistry.

Faculty members may be nominated, or may initiate their own candidacy, by submitting letters of nominations or self-nominations to James Erman, interim vice president for research, by Monday, Oct. 12.

The nomination and self-nomination letters must include the candidate’s qualifications in accordance with the award specifications. Four complete sets of application materials must then be submitted to Erman’s office by Monday, Nov. 2.

Up to three new Presidential Research Professors are designated each year. Upon appointment, each award recipient will receive a base-salary increment of $2,000.

Additionally, a grant of $5,000 will be provided during each year of the appointment, provided the recipient remains a full-time NIU faculty member. The grant money is to be used for scholarly activities. Award recipients also receive one semester of release from teaching and other non-research responsibilities. 

More detailed information on the award and on the call for nominations is available online.

Christian faculty-staff group
to meet for prayer Oct. 13

NIU’s Christian faculty-staff prayer group will meet from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, in Blackhawk East. For more information, contact Tom Bough at (815) 753-7978 or via e-mail at

USOAR proposals invited

NIU’s Committee on the Undergraduate Academic Environment (CUAE) is seeking proposals from undergraduate students for the 2009-10 USOAR awards. The deadline for students to submit 10 copies of their proposals to the appropriate college office is Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The USOAR program provides funds to students to carry out an independent artistry or research project under the guidance of a NIU faculty or staff member. 

All undergraduates in every major are eligible to apply. Students must be available to carry out their USOAR project during part or all of the period March 1, 2010, through Feb. 28, 2011. Students can receive up to $2,500 to fund their independent artistry or research project. Proposal materials can be found online.

Information sessions are scheduled from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, and Thursday, Oct. 15, in Room 405 of the Holmes Student Center. Current USOAR students will share experiences and projects. For more information, contact Julia Spears at (815) 753-8152 or

CLA workshop Oct. 15 to cover
economic development, land use

NIU’s Civic Leadership Academy will launch its 2009-10 series Thursday, Oct. 15, with a workshop titled, “The Game Has Changed: Do the Fundamentals of Economic Development and Land Use Policies Still Apply?”

This workshop will present insights into economic development and the role governments increasingly play in this critical piece of community health in light of the historic economic downturn of 2009. Recent trends and debates in approaches, tools and the relationship between land use decisions, planning, zoning and other regulatory frameworks also will be covered.

Participants will hear key concepts and models of economic development and land use planning which, coupled with realistic expectations and strategies, equip a foundation for supporting their own existing economic development strategies.

Workshops are held at NIU-Naperville from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A 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.

Anne Feeney, David Rovics
to present concert on campus

Pittsburgh-based agitator Anne Feeney and David Rovics, the “musical voice of the progressive movement,” will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in Room 173 of the Music Building.

Feeney has performed at thousands of rallies, picket lines and demonstrations over the years, including the WTO demonstrations in Seattle, the Solidarity Day in Washington, D.C., and for 1.5 million at the April 25, 2004, March for Women’s Lives.

Her “Have You Been to Jail for Justice?” anthem is included on Peter, Paul and Mary’s CD, “In These Times,” and also was featured in “Get Up/Stand Up: The History of Pop and Protest,” a documentary of the greatest protest songs of all time that aired nationally on PBS and worldwide.

Since the mid-1990s, Rovics has spent most of his time on the road, playing hundreds of shows every year throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Japan. He and his songs have been featured on national radio programs in the United States, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and elsewhere.

The event is co-sponsored by the NIU History Department, the UUFD Social Justice Committee and DeKalb Interfaith Network. For more information, call Dan Kenney at (815) 793-0950.

Campus community invited
to join CROP Walk Oct. 18

The Sondra King CROP Walk will be held Sunday, Oct. 18. Registration begins at 2 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 830 N. Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb, with step-off at 3 p.m.

CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) is a four-mile or “one golden mile” walk against hunger.

Proceeds from this year’s walk will benefit DeKalb County agencies including food pantries, Meals on Wheels, Hope Haven and Safe Passage, as well as Church World Services and other international agencies that provide disaster relief and self-help development.

To learn more about the Sondra King CROP Walk, contact Amy Ozier at

To learn more about CROP or to register early online, visit Participants may register as individuals or as a team of at least three people. Participants also may register the day of the walk.

Financial donations are not required; just walking can help make a difference.

College of Business club
to host scholarship dinner

The Northern Illinois University Executive Club will hold its 11th Annual Scholarship Dinner Dance Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Oak Brook Hills Marriot Resort.

The event raises funds for scholarships for students attending the NIU College of Business.

The black-tie optional event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception and silent auction, followed by dinner and a live auction at 7:30. Entertainment and dancing will commence at 9 p.m. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact NIU’s College of Business alumni office (815) 753-1433.

Established in 1996, the NIU Executive Club is an alumni organization specifically designed for business executives. It was formed to bridge the business community and the NIU College of Business, providing opportunities for networking and professional development for alumni and business students alike.

Annuitants Association president
to hold meet-and-greet Nov. 11

NIU Annuitants Association President Linda Schwarz will hold a meet-and-greet with coffee from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, at Barnes & Noble, 2439 Sycamore Road in DeKalb. Refreshments are provided by the NIU Credit Union.

October is LGBT History Month

LGBT History Month this year will feature several NIU faculty presentations along with the popular "Do Ask, Do Tell" sticker day and annual Creating Community fall reception.

Faculty presentations include:

  • Thursday, Oct. 15: “Legal and Statistical Consciousness Among Gay and Lesbian Couples”
  • Tuesday, Oct. 20: “Ann and Myself: Rhetoric, Sexuality, and Silences at Lowell”
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27: “She Prefers Girls: Making Sense of Teen Girls’ Same-Sex Desire in the 1950s”

Full details about these and all other events are available by calling (815) 753-5428, e-mailing or visiting the LGBT Resource Center Web site.

Community School class teaches
documentary photography project

Learn how to use photographs to tell a story in a new two-day class offered this fall by the NIU Community School of the Arts. The class is for those 12 and older.

The Documentary Photography Project offers a chance for amateur photographers to learn to document a story through candid photography.

Saturday, Oct. 17, is the first day. Students bring their cameras to class and learn basic photography techniques for taking skillful candid (not posed) pictures. The group travels around the NIU campus with a list of places to photograph.

Saturday, Oct. 24, is the second day. Students bring prints of their photographs to class and meet for a critique session and discussion.

The class meets from 1 to 3 p.m. both days in Room 211 of the Visual Arts Building.

Teacher Jeni Lodolce is studying for her master’s degree in art education at NIU. She earned her bachelor’s degree in photography from NIU in 2006. She has been a photographer with the Northern Star and the Beacon News of Aurora.

To learn more about this and other classes offered by the NIU Community School of the Arts, call (815) 753-1450 or visit

Community School workshop
teaches craft of Pysanky eggs

Learn to design one-of-a-kind eggs, which can be given as gifts, kept as family heirlooms or treasured as holiday decorations.

The NIU Community School of the Arts is offering a workshop, Creating Pysanky Eggs. The class meets from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, in the Visual Arts Building. The workshop is for anyone ages 13 through adult.

Egg decorating is a skill that has been handed down through many generations, usually from mother to daughter. Pysanky are Ukrainian/Polish eggs, decorated using beeswax and dyes that are applied in layers.

Students learn to decorate eggs using two different styles of Pysanky: the Polish drop/pull folk style and the Ukrainian method, which uses the delrin kista tool. Both use hot wax applied to the egg surface and color dye baths. The fee includes the cost of materials.

The class is ideal for mothers and daughters or for friends; there is a discount when two people register together.

Instructor Billie Giese is an associate professor of drawing in the NIU School of the Art.

For registration forms or information about this and other programs of the NIU Community School of the Arts, visit or call (815) 753-1450.

Friends of NIU Libraries
presents ‘John Deere Story’

The Friends of NIU Libraries invite the public to attend a talk titled, “The John Deere Story: Building a Frontier Business,” presented by Neil Dahlstrom at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Dahlstrom, co-author of “The John Deere Story: A Biography of Plowmakers John and Charles Deere,” will provide insight into the first 70 years of John Deere – from the “invention” of the steel plow in 1837 to becoming the largest steel plow manufacturer in the world by 1900.

The program is free and will be held in the Rare Books and Special Collections department on the fourth floor of Founders Memorial Library. Free parking is available after 7 p.m. in the Visitor’s Parking Lot located on Carroll Avenue.

For more information, call (815) 753-8091.

Northern Public Radio seeks
volunteers to field pledge calls

NIU’s public radio stations, WNIJ and WNIU, need volunteers to help answer pledge drive phone calls during the Fall Membership Campaign.

WNIJ (89.5 FM) will fundraise during various hours between Friday, Oct. 16, and Friday, Oct. 23. Weekday morning shifts start as early as 6 a.m. with Monday through Thursday evening shifts ending at 7 p.m. There are some mid-day and weekend hours to fill as well.

Classical WNIU (90.5 FM) will fundraise on just one day, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28.

E-mail for more information about pledge drive volunteering at the Broadcast Center, 801 N. First St. in DeKalb.

International Programs seeks
nominations for 2009 awards

The NIU Division of International Programs is seeking nominations for two awards that will be presented this fall during the annual International Recognition Reception.

The “Outstanding International Educator Award” honors an NIU faculty or staff member who has contributed significantly toward international education at the university. The Division of International Programs will recognize the award recipient with a travel reimbursement of $500. 

The 2009 award recipient will have made sustained contributions to the enhancement of international education through teaching, research, public service and student-service efforts. The deadline for submitting completed nominations is Friday, Oct. 16.

The second major honor, the award for Outstanding Contribution to International Education at NIU, recognizes the academic unit or support unit that made the most significant contribution toward international education on campus during the last academic year. The deadline for submitting completed nominations is Friday, Oct. 23.

The International Recognition Reception will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, in the Holmes Student Center Sky Room. Deputy Provost Harold Kafer will speak at the event.

More information on the awards and nomination forms are available online at or by calling Sara Clayton at (815) 753-9526.

Fair to showcase diverse
suppliers of products, services

Procurement Services and Human Resource Services invite faculty, staff and student organization officers to attend NIU’s fourth annual Supplier Diversity Networking Fair.

Scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center, the fair will showcase products and services from 100 businesses primarily owned and operated by minorities, females and/or persons with disabilities.

Visitors can compare and sample a wide variety of quality products and services in a low-key, non-pressure setting. They also can enjoy free breakfast, a lunch buffet, give-aways and door prizes.

To register, e-mail name and position title, department/organization and the names and titles of those attending to by Tuesday, Oct. 6. Registration also will be taken at the door.

For more information, visit or call (815) 753-6000.

Blood drive scheduled

Phi Sigma Biology Honors Society, the Pre Professional Association and the Chemistry Club will host a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, in the Holmes Student Center Capital Room.

Refreshments will be provided after the donation, and every donor will receive a free pair of flannel pants.

To schedule a time to donate, contact Kate Krise at (815) 821-5688 or by e-mail at Walk-ins also are welcome.

Alumni plans trip to Paris, Normandy

Join NIU’s Alumni Association on a trip to France next March. This travel program combines the ambiance and culture of Paris with the history and geography of Normandy.

Whether it’s the lovely tree-lined boulevards with their animated cafes or the brilliantly illuminated monuments and squares or the exciting nightlife, Paris is inviting. The “City of Light” offers a vast array of scenic, cultural, culinary and emotional experiences.

Normandy is a distinct region on the northern coast of France famous for the D-Day landings of June 1944. Normandy also offers the beautiful French countryside with deep river valleys and forests, fine manor houses, thatched cottages and picturesque seaport villages.

International Programs hosts
series of brown bag lunches

The Division of International Programs will host its Fall 2009 Brown Bag Series from noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays in Faraday West, Room 300.

Attendees are invited to bring lunch and listen to speakers covering a variety of topics such as international perspectives, cultural diversity and study abroad experiences.

Upcoming lunches:

  • Oct. 8: Kurt Thurmaier presents “Integrating Service Learning and Study Abroad in Tanzania.”
  • Oct. 15: Mark Rosenbaum presents “Reflections of a Fulbright Scholar in Cambodia.”
  • Oct. 22: Lynn Richards presents “It’s Not Just a Good Idea – It’s the Law”
  • Oct. 29: J.D. Bowers presents “Crossing the Divide: Research, Teaching and Learning in a Divided Society.”
  • Nov. 5: Siew-Sim Chin presents “Being in the World: Narrating the Intersection of Spirituality and Global Identity.”
  • Nov. 12: Shiraz Tata presents “Managing Stress Related to Culture Shock: Going Through the Transacation Process.”
  • Nov. 19: Jean-Philippe Schmitt presents “The Psychological Effect of Studying Abroad.”

For other details, contact Heesun Majcher, director of the International Student and Faculty Office, at (815) 753-8275 or