Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Northern Today - March 29, 2010

Cunningham explains pension reform
actions under way in Springfield

The pension reform legislation awaiting Gov. Quinn’s signature substantially alters pension plans for new state employees but has no effect on current employees.

“This bill recognizes the guarantee of pension benefits that university and state employees have pursuant to the state constitution,” said Steve Cunningham, NIU associate vice president for administration. “It doesn’t try to erode that, which is a very good thing.”

The primary benefit to the state is that the new system should have a significant and direct effect on future unfunded liabilities paid into the Illinois Pension system, Cunningham said.

Getting those costs under control is a major step toward any financial reform in the state, and one that lenders were demanding. That concern on the part of lenders is one of the primary reasons that the legislation, which has been controversial in the past, raced through both houses in a single day last week.

The bill, SB 1946, would create the “two-tiered system” that has been under discussion for some time, with one set of rules for existing employees and another for new employees. For existing employees, the rules that have governed their pension since they day they began working for the state will remain unchanged.

New university employees will have two options when it comes to pension benefits. They can enroll in a self-managed plan that is essentially the same as many existing employees have, or they can enroll in a defined benefit plan – but one that is significantly different from that offered to current employees.

Among the major differences are:

  • The top salary upon which a benefit is calculated would be capped at $106,800. That figure closely approximates the maximum used for Social Security and would be adjusted annually for inflation.
  • The salary upon which for the pension would be based would be calculated over an eight-year period rather than the current four years.
  • Cost of living adjustments would be limited to 3 percent or one-half of the increase in the consumer price index, whichever is less. Had that formula been in place over the last decade, payouts would have increased by 1 percent a year instead of about 3 percent, Cunningham said.
  • The retirement age and service requirements for retirement eligibility as follows: An employee with 10 years of creditable service can claim their retirement annuity at the age of 67; an employee who is at least 62 and has 10 years of creditable service can claim a reduced retirement annuity. The annuity will be reduced by one-half of 1 percent for each month the employee is younger than age 67. 
  • Significant new restrictions are placed upon returning to state employment after retirement, for new employees.

The new defined benefit plan would be offered to all new state employees participating in the major pension systems, not just those in higher education. However, employees in the teachers’ and state universities’ systems do not also participate in Social Security. “This is the Social Security program for university employees,” Cunningham said.

The proposed defined benefit plan is considered by some to be less attractive than the current plan, which could have an impact on universities in Illinois as they compete for top talent in the national marketplace. Potential employees might choose to go elsewhere because pension benefits are more generous.

It is hoped, Cunningham said, that retaining the self-managed plan as an option will reduce the risk of that happening.

As for altering the pension plan for existing employees, Cunningham said that the legislature has taken sweeping action with respect to limiting pension benefits for future employees and anticipates no effort to do so despite calls from some groups. Making such changes would be no small matter because the current rules are written into the state constitution.

“We don’t see any such efforts on the horizon,” Cunningham said, “but we are keeping vigilant.”

Campus military veterans to host forum
on ‘Veteran Students in the Classroom’

More than 500 veterans of the U.S military call NIU home, carrying with them a different set of abilities and needs than many of their classmates.

Five of those students will speak at noon Tuesday, April 6, about what veterans offer to the university and how NIU faculty and staff can best deliver their education.

All are welcome – and urged – to attend “Veterans in the Classroom: A Panel Discussion by NIU Veteran Students.”

“Veterans come back to the classroom a little bit older than the average students and with generally a lot more real-world experience and a different viewpoint,” said Justin Faulkner, coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services at NIU.

“The students will share some of the challenges they’ve had in returning to the classroom and the strengths they bring to the university community,” Faulkner added. “Anyone who’s a professor here – anyone who’s interested in veterans’ education – will gain some insight into how faculty, staff and teaching assistants can better understand and facilitate this population.”

The free and open April 6 event will take place in the University Suite of the Holmes Student Center. Refreshments are served at 11:30 a.m.

It continues and makes public a discussion begun last fall when the Veterans Assistance Office and the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center brought veterans together for an informal focus group.

Janet Giesen, the center’s instructional design coordinator, said staffers asked several questions of the veterans about how the beginning of the semester went as well as regarding teachers, classmates and coursework.

Among them: How many instructors know of your veteran status? Did you make any of your needs known? How did your instructor respond to those? How many of your classmates know you’re a veteran? Did that knowledge change any of your relationships or participation in study teams?

“We know there’s an influx of veterans on campus, and there will be more so as they benefit from educational opportunities. We thought it would be important to be familiar with these students’ needs,” Giesen said.

“We all read every day about the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we might not know how to deal with the issues these students bring to the classroom.”

Veterans at NIU possess vast leadership skills and real-world work experience, Faulkner said.

They’re self-sufficient, boast a strong work ethic and are accustomed to shouldering great and multiple responsibilities, he said. Their military background also adds uncommon perspectives to classroom discussions.

But many are different culturally than their civilian counterparts and look at the world from a distinctive viewpoint, he said. Their physical and mental health also varies from the general population.

Faulkner is “ecstatic” about the chance for veterans to express their needs.

“This is monumental that faculty and Faculty Development are interested in learning about our population of students,” he said. “It’s exciting to see that people care about, and want to include, veterans in the development of their courses.”

Call (815) 753-0595 for more information.

Art Museum to explore Great Depression
through ‘Art of the New Deal’ exhibitions

Visions of joy and of despair. Images of employment and of joblessness. Pictures of progress and of death.

In “Art of the New Deal,” an exhibition suite scheduled to open April 8 at the NIU Art Museum inside Altgeld Hall, visitors will gain a challenging glimpse into that difficult period in U.S. history – years that have taken on a haunting familiarity in current economic times.

Photographs, paintings, etchings, lithographs, woodcuts and more – the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration sponsored the creation of many of the pieces – will complement a broad series of programming about the Great Depression that will include music, film, lectures, panel discussions, field trips and workshops.

But it’s the black-and-white faces of courage and fear, and of victory and defeat, that will make a lasting impact.

“This is persuasive and powerful imagery,” said Jo Burke, director of the NIU Art Museum.

“As an art museum, it’s important to us to show the impact art can have through both the messages it can give and the history it can document to tell the story so many years later,” Burke added. “It’s also important for us to see that people survived this once before, in much worse situations – but they did survive, and there are lessons to be learned. It shows our strength as a people.”

Museum publicity coordinator Diana Arntzen realized the “New Deal” exhibitions’ power through her fifth-grade son.

“He wasn’t getting anything out of reading about this in his history book. He wasn’t getting a sense of how bad it was, how widespread it was,” Arntzen said. “Until you see something like this it doesn’t hit you. But when we stop and look at images – maybe a black man in town with no shoes or migrant workers in California or the dustbowl – maybe they solidify what you’ve been reading, what you’ve been learning, what you’ve been told about.”

And there is plenty to learn.

The exhibition is perfect for schoolchildren, senior citizens and everyone in between. Not only does it depict human frailty and strength but also illuminates social collaboration and dissent through its history lessons.

“I didn’t know how timely it all would be, and I didn’t know it would be so political,” Burke said. “I grew up with older parents who grew up in the Depression. To me, FDR was a hero. These programs were wonderful. I had always loved WPA murals. I didn’t know there was another attitude about it all.”

“Parents and teachers can bring young children in here,” added Arntzen, whose mother has distributed post cards about the exhibition at a senior living center. “They’re not going to be shocked or upset by anything, because these are pieces of our history.”

Open through Friday, May 28, the “Art of the New Deal” exhibition suite features:

  • “This Great Nation Will Endure,” a national traveling exhibition organized by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Museum and Libraries of documentary photographs from the Farm Security Administration.
  • “Coming of Age: The WPA/FAP Graphic Arts Division and the American Print,” co-organized with students enrolled in “Museum Exhibitions and Interpretation,” a graduate-level museum studies course. Featured prints are on loan from museums and private collections.
  • “New Deal Era Images and Objects,” changing exhibits related to the period, including influential texts, colorful machine glass of the Depression era, “If FSA Today …” workshop photographs by DeKalb County high school students and posters documenting the DeKalb Public Library’s WPA mural.

Peter Van Ael, coordinator of both the interdisciplinary graduate certificate in the Museum Studies Program and the School of Art’s Jack Olson Gallery, worked with his ART 656 Museum Exhibitions and Interpretation students to curate the “Coming of Age” component.

Van Ael and students from his fall “Curatorial Practice” course worked to obtain the loans for 61 prints, conducted baseline research into the art of the era and started writing for the exhibition catalog.

This semester’s students began in January to design the publication, create educational programs, develop exit surveys for visitors and tackle the physical task of preparing the gallery space: selecting colors for the walls, painting and making text panels to post next to the prints. Another student found a corporate sponsor: Veolia Transportation, which operates the Huskie Bus Line.

Collected prints show laborers, including miners and locomotive engineers, as well as construction and the Fort Dearborn Massacre. There are 10 woodcuts by Charles Turzak that depict Illinois history. There are Chicago scenes by Max Kahn, whose daughter, Katie Kahn, is an associate professor of painting in the NIU School of Art.

Mike Rossow, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. and American History who’s enrolled in Van Ael’s museum studies course this semester, has served as head of the editing team. The work has taught the Hampshire resident more about the WPA and art itself, including the different processes of printmaking.

Rossow plans to teach history at a community college but is open to work at a museum or archive. “This kind of experience is essential for me to get my foot in that door,” he said.

Classmate Danielle Barton, who’s earning her master of fine arts degree in sculpture, has headed up the exhibition design team and assumed the role of lead editor of the catalog.

Barton has come to appreciate the enormous amount of labor necessary to curate an exhibition – “how to hang the works, how to properly light them” – as well as the WPA artwork itself.

“A lot of these works have been lost through the years,” the Stillman Valley native said. “I have really enjoyed the opportunity to bring this work to the forefront and to give it a greater awareness through large audiences.”

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. Support for the New Deal Era projects has also come from 3M Foundation, the DeKalb County Community Foundation, John and Nancy Castle, Panera Bread, Veolia Transportation, the University Honors Program and the Illinois Humanities Council.

For more information, visit or call (815) 753-1936.

‘Art of the New Deal’ events

    Opening reception: 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 8.

    Folksinger Bucky Halker will present “Woody Guthrie, the Great Depression and American Protest Songs” through the Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar Program. The event begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 8, in Altgeld Hall Room 315.

    An intergenerational art workshop for children ages 6 to 9 and their parents and grandparents will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 10. Advance registration is required. Call (815) 753-1936.

    NIU oral history students taught in the fall of 2009 by assistant professor Stanley Arnold, NIU Department of History, interviewed residents of local retirement communities who lived through the Great Depression. Their audio recordings will be donated to the Regional Archives. Arnold will chair a panel discussion of senior citizens talking about their experiences during this time period. The event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, in Altgeld Hall Room 315.

    David Kyvig, Distinguished Research Professor, NIU Department of History, will present a lecture titled “Documenting the Depression: The Farm Security Administration as the Nation’s Lens.” The lecture begins at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, in Altgeld Hall Room 315.

    Elizabeth Seaton, Eli Associate Curator at the Marianna Kislter Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University-Manhattan, will present a lecture titled “New Deal Print Exhibitions: A Historical and Critical Perspective.” The lecture begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 21.

    “If FSA Today” is a teen documentary photography workshop Saturday, April 24, and Saturday, May 1, that will produce photographs for an exhibition at the NIU Art Museum scheduled for Sunday, May 2, through Friday, May 28. The deadline to register is Saturday, April 3. Students from each of the DeKalb County high schools, as well as home school representatives, will be selected to participate in this intensive two-day workshop documenting the urban and rural scene in DeKalb County. Conducted by Wade Duerkes of NIU Media Services, this project is under consideration for a DCCF YEP (Youth Engaged in Philanthropy) grant award.

    Children ages 10 to 13 are invited to a printmaking workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 24. Advance registration is required. Call (815) 753-1936.

    A film screening and discussion of “The Cradle Will Rock,” led by faculty from the NIU Department of English and the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St. This is writer-director Tim Robbins’ chronicle of the Orson Welles-produced musical “The Cradle Will Rock,” which was created as part of the WPA-funded Federal Theater project and ultimately was censored by the government. Robbins’ movie examines the relationship between art and politics in America in the 1930s.

    Two large-scale posters about the Gustaf Dahlstrom WPA mural, located at the DeKalb Public Library, will be on display in the museum. The posters are being researched by DPL staff and designed by NIU Media Services. Funded by a grant from the DeKalb County Community Foundation, these posters will be made available (after the museum’s exhibitions) for short-term loans to local schools. They are accompanied by an optional power-point presentation given by museum staff on the WPA and FAP mural projects movement.

    The NIU Art Museum will offer a Get-On-The-Bus trip to view WPA murals in the Chicago area Friday, May 14. Stops could include Lane Tech School, Oak Park Post Office, Lakeview Station Post Office, one or more of the Chicago Park District Field Houses and The Southside Community Art Center.

Feb. 14 survivors to host exhibition
of ‘Forward, Together Forward’ art

Survivors of the Feb. 14 tragedy are beginning to plant the seeds of their legacy on campus.

Members of the programming board of NIU’s Office of Support & Advocacy will host a gallery night of “Forward, Together Forward” artwork created and submitted by students.

The event, scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in the Diversions Lounge of the Holmes Student Center, is free. However, students also will sell baked goods during the exhibition to raise money for the purchase of a tree dedicated to the Feb. 14 survivors.

“When you walk around Cole Hall, you see the memorial plaques – and they deserve those. We need to leave our mark here as well,” said Sam Brunell, a junior broadcast journalism major and a member of the programming board. “A tree is large and beautiful. Every day, people can walk by that tree that represents all of the students affected by this tragedy. What better way than to have a piece of nature that stands out?”

Brunell said the idea for the art exhibition came from the physical location of the Office of Support & Advocacy, housed in Gilbert Hall.

“The walls are kind of bare there. We thought, ‘What if we could maybe get some art to fill these walls?’ ” she said. “OSA has worked so hard. All of the people there have dropped everything to provide comfort and offer a hand. By people coming out to the gallery night and giving their support, it’s helping us to leave our mark and showing that people care not just about the survivors but the NIU community as a whole.”

Among the artwork submissions are paintings and a piece of wood decorated in marker and paint.

Those who are unable to attend but wish to make donations toward the tree fund can contact Brunell at or Jill Thomas at

NIU mourns loss of Sonya Conway,
longtime professor of biological sciences

Sonya Brotman Conway of DeKalb, a 25-year veteran professor in NIU’s Department of Biological Sciences who was well known for her passion for teaching and students, died Sunday, March 14, while visiting her son’s family in California. She was 63.

“There was really nothing that foretold this” said Barrie Bode, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He said Conway died in her sleep, and that her passing was a shock to everyone.

Professor Conway had championed online instruction within the department, where she regularly taught courses in human biology, human neurobiology and anatomy and physiology. She had been teaching three classes this semester.

Conway earned her Ph.D. in physiology and anatomy from the University of California at Berkeley in 1977. A specialist in endocrine physiology, she was a member of the Endocrine Society and the Research Society on Alcoholism. Her research in cell signaling, endocrinology and fetal-alcohol syndrome garnered more than $550,000 in grants while at NIU.

She also had been active in the local politics, having served on the DeKalb County Board from 2000 to 2004.

But her love, according to NIU colleagues, was teaching.

“She loved research and wanted to do more, but later in her career at NIU she found more passion in helping the students,” Bode said. “She was a devoted teacher. She took it seriously, and that’s what drove her. She was always coming up with new courses and ways to teach the students.”

Wahbeh Tawil, a Ph.D. candidate in biological sciences, said Conway encouraged students to think for themselves. Her commitment went well beyond the classroom.

“I knew Sonya for more than 11 years. She was my teacher, my adviser and part of my family. She would visit our home, where my daughters called her ‘Grandma Dr. Conway,’ ” Tawil said, adding that Conway was quite generous with her time.

“She always had an open-door policy for graduate and undergraduate students alike, and they frequently came to her office,” he said. “People liked to talk to her because she was a good listener and always looked on the bright side, even when graduate students would complain from time to time.”

Tawil, a native of Jerusalem, said Conway also was known to reach out to international students, inviting them to her DeKalb home for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.

“Professor Conway was a very caring, kind and loving person,” he said.

Funeral services were held in Philadelphia, where her mother, Pauline Brotman, and sister, Randy Loukissas, reside. Another sister, Cay Lana Brotman Neimeth, lives near Detroit. Conway also is survived by her son, Josh, and his wife, Judy; and her grandchildren, Jacqueline and Jameson.

A memorial service in DeKalb is being planned for later this spring.

In lieu of flowers, Conway’s family requests that donations be made to the Sonya Conway Memorial Scholarship in care of the NIU Foundation, Altgeld Hall 135, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, 60115.

Checks should be made out to the NIU Foundation with the name of the scholarship indicated on the memo line. Online donations also are being accepted.

Athletics to offer externships
to College of Law students

The NIU College of Law and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics have joined to develop a unique opportunity for law students pursuing their juris doctor degrees.

Huskie Athletics will provide externships each academic year to selected 2L or 3L students, who meet the externship requirements established by the College of Law.

“Over the last few years within most NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletic programs, a legal education is a preferred or a required qualification,” said Christian Spears, senior associate athletics director. “By working in partnership with the law school, we are creating opportunities for future athletic administrators as well as fostering the educational mission of the College of Law.”

David Taylor, director of skills training and Presidential Teaching Professor in the College of Law, said the program is a good fit for those interested in sports law and a career in this field.

“Our students have shown a great interest in the field of sports law, and the externship program will allow them to learn about NCAA compliance and athletic administration up-close.”

The externship is for academic credit only and no financial compensation will be provided.

Season tickets for 2010 NIU football season available online

All five Huskie home games cost $85

NIU football fans will not want to miss any of the five home games this fall at Huskie Stadium: With 18 starters returning from a 2009 squad that made its second straight bowl appearance, the 2010 Huskies already have been tabbed as one of the Mid-American Conference’s top teams.

The Huskies will welcome North Dakota (Sept. 11) and MAC foes Temple (Oct. 9), Buffalo (Oct. 16), Central Michigan (Oct. 23) and Toledo (Nov. 9) to Huskie Stadium in 2010.

Season tickets for all five games are currently on sale and can be ordered online.

Priced at just $85 for the general public and only $74 for senior citizens (62 and older), NIU faculty and staff, and NIU Alumni Association and Varsity Club members, season tickets offer a 20 percent discount off the single game price as well as a guaranteed reserved seat for all five home games.

For fans who cannot make every game, the three-game mini-plan is available for $50 and gives fans the opportunity to pick any three games on the home schedule and receive the same reserved seat for each game.

In addition to the ability to purchase online, fans can download the ticket order form and fax, mail or bring it to the NIU Ticket Office in the Convocation Center during normal business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday). Forms can be faxed to (815) 752-6801 or mailed to NIU Athletic Ticket Office, Convocation Center CV-203, DeKalb, IL 60115.

Tickets also can be ordered over the phone by calling the NIU Ticket Office at (815) 752-6800. 

In addition to lower per game prices, season ticket holders receive priority for road and post-season game tickets. With Northern Illinois receiving a limited number of tickets to 2010 games at Iowa State, Minnesota and Illinois, as well as a 2011 match-up with Wisconsin at Soldier Field already on the schedule, the advantage of being an NIU season ticket holder is even greater this year.

“Football season tickets are the lifeblood of our football program and building our season ticket base is extremely important to the success of all of our teams,” said Jeff Compher, NIU associate vice president and athletics director. “In addition, we’ve got some very attractive road games, including the game at Illinois, this season, and our donors and season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase those tickets.”

For questions about season tickets or information about group tickets, visit or call the NIU Athletics Marketing Office at (815) 753-1923.

‘Rock Against Rape’ concert
will benefit Safe Passage

The NIU Women’s Resource Center will sponsor the DeKalb area’s first Rock Against Rape benefit concert at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at The House Café, 263 E. Lincoln Hwy.

Admission is $5 for students and community members. All proceeds will go to Safe Passage, DeKalb County's domestic violence and sexual assault agency.

Rock Against Rape concerts are held in communities and on college campuses nationwide as fundraising events for domestic violence and sexual assault agencies. The events also are used to raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault and domestic violence.

This year’s beneficiary, Safe Passage, provides a wide range of services to victims of domestic and sexual violence, including counseling, legal advocacy, children’s services, community education, crisis intervention, medical advocacy and short- and long-term housing.

Because of state and federal budget cuts, Safe Passage’s funding has been reduced, though the need for the services has not. Concert proceeds will help Safe Passage continue to serve as a vital community agency in DeKalb and the surrounding areas.

Several socially conscious local bands and artists are donating their time and talent to DeKalb’s Rock Against Rape concert. They include Sleeping Under 47, Sweet Lucy, Jenny Franck, Eat Your Heart Out, Wienerslav, Emanuel Vinson and Lyrick. The diverse line-up promises to satisfy any musical taste.

Rock Against Rape attendees will get the opportunity to check out the local music scene, as well as contribute to an agency that provides essential community services.

This event is open to the public. No reservation is required, but tickets are available for pre-purchase. For more information, visit or call (815) 753-0320.

Faculty, staff can help to keep
best, brightest students at NIU

The generosity of NIU faculty and staff has inspired biochemistry major Tom McGinnis to give back in every way he can.

“College is about a lot more than going to class, taking tests, and writing papers,” he said. “Students have an obligation to contribute any way we can to this community that does so much for us.”

When he’s not hard at work in the classroom or the lab, McGinnis is leading other NIU students as president of a local youth ministry group, serving his country in the National Guard and playing in the NIU Jazz Combo. McGinnis knows that he is able to give back to the NIU community through these groups because of the scholarship he received from the generosity of university employees.

“I’m honored knowing that the faculty and staff selected me as a Faculty Fund Finalist. I hope to make them proud and someday support students like they have done for me.”

To help more students like McGinnis, visit


Harold “Hal” Smith, a professor in the NIU Department of Sociology since 1957 who served as acting chair for a time before his retirement in 1984, died March 24 in DeKalb. He was 93.

Sandra Scott, an employee of the university since 1992 who worked as a cashier at the Blackhawk Food Court, died Jan. 23 in Sycamore. She was 65.

In Brief

Overweight white women needed
for professor’s Vitamin D study

Wanted: Healthy, overweight white-Caucasian women from ages 18 to 50.

Judith Lukaszuk, a professor in NIU’s School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences, is recruiting for a study to determine Vitamin D status in Caucasian women in that age group to learn if a relationship exists between Vitamin D levels and body measurement.

The study is confidential.

Participants should:

  • not be pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • not have current liver or kidney disease or failure.
  • not be taking 1,000 international units or more per day of Vitamin D3 supplements.

Benefits of participation include free measurements of body-mass index, body fat percentage, blood pressure, lean body mass, height, weight and by a trained nutrition professional. They also will have their serum Vitamin D status checked by a trained phlebotomist.

For more information, or to apply, contact Dr. Lukaszuk at (815) 753-6352 or

What’s cooking at Ellington’s?

On the menu at Ellington’s this week: Bon Appètit is scheduled for Tuesday. BIA Irish Cuisine takes over Thursday.

Continuing this semester is the option to enjoy wine with your meal. One red and one white wine choice will be available with meal service. Wine will be selected for the menu based on wine-and-food pairings made by the students. Wine selections are $6.50 per glass.

Bon Appètit features French onion soup or spinach salad with cherries for starters, pork chops braised in tomato sauce or mushroom and spinach quiche for entrees and mixed berry cocktail or chocolate mousse for dessert. Each table will be served freshly baked French bread with butter.

BIA Irish Cuisine features Irish pub salad or colcannon and thyme soup for starters, Irish lamb stuffed cabbage roll or winter-vegetable shepherd’s pie for entrees and Irish cream brownie or harvest festival fruit strudel for dessert. Each table will be served Irish soda bread.

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.

Annual Wellness Fair offers
health information, screenings

The Employee Assistance Program and Recreation Services will host the annual campus Wellness Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, in the Holmes Student Center Duke Ellington Ballroom. 

The fair is free and open to all. Around 70 campus and local vendors will offer screenings, activities and information on various health and wellness topics including living in balance. 

For a complete list of vendors and more specifics on the Wellness Fair, visit

Asian American Center will
recognize April heritage month

April is Asian American Heritage Month. NIU’s Asian American Center has several activities planned, including a fifth anniversary celebration.

The full calendar of events is available online.

International Programs hosts
series of brown bag lunches

The Division of International Programs hosts its Spring 2010 Brown Bag Series from noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays in John E. La Tourette Hall (formerly Faraday West), Room 300. Attendees are invited to bring a lunch and listen to speakers covering a variety of topics such as international perspectives, cultural diversity and study abroad experiences.

  • Thursday, April 1, NIU student Anuradha Marwah presents “Healthy Diet in a Fast Food Nation.” This presentation will give some ideas for a healthy diet, discuss the hazards of easily available fast foods, provide tips on how to modify one’s home or country diet to make it both healthy and palatable, and make suggestions on how to maintain healthy eating habits while coping with a busy schedule.

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

CSEAS hosts speaker series

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies Spring 2010 speaker series is under way. Unless otherwise noted, all talks take place from noon to 12:50 p.m. Fridays in Campus Life Building 110. To order a Thai lunch, call (815) 753-1771 or e-mail by noon Thursday.

  • Friday, April 2, Amy Singer, Knox College, Department of Anthropology/Sociology, title TBA.

Reality Bytes to showcase
student-made short films

The NIU Department of Communication will host its annual Reality Bytes independent student film festival Tuesday, April 6, through Thursday, April 8.

Reality Bytes is designed to allow college and graduate students to competitively screen their films. Both short documentary films and short fiction films of all kinds are submitted and selected for screening at the festival.

For details on the festival including a schedule of films, visit

Children’s Choir to perform

The CSA Children’s Choir gives its spring recital at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 14.

This dynamic singing group is directed by NIU faculty member Mary Lynn Doherty and meets for weekly practice in the NIU Music Building. The performance is in the Recital Hall.

Details will be available at the recital about a new scholarship program for choir members that will debut in this fall. This scholarship program has been made possible by the generosity of the now defunct Northern Illinois Children’s Choir.

The CSA Children’s Choir is one of many ensembles offered by the NIU Community School of the Arts. For a complete list of spring recitals, visit or call (815) 753-1450. 

Alumni Association to host
Avalon Quartet concert

Described by the Chicago Tribune as “an ensemble that invites you – ears, mind and spirit – into its music,” NIU’s Avalon String Quartet has established itself as one of the country’s leading ensembles.

NIU’s Alumni Association invites alumni to a Sunday, April 18, reception and concert at the Merit School of Music’s Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, 38 S. Peoria St. in Chicago.

The reception begins at 2:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 4 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for Cardinal & Black and Legacy members and $30 for non-dues-paying members. Cost includes appetizers, non alcoholic beverages and a general seating ticket to the concert.

PCSM to host annual
‘Friendship’ luncheon

NIU’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities will host the 11th annual “Friendship Abloom” spring luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 20, in the Regency Room of the Holmes Student Center.

Brief remarks and an awards presentation will begin at 12:15 p.m.

For more information, contact Camyle Tate at or visit

Graduate School to honor
its outstanding students

NIU’s Division of Research and Graduate Studies will host its annual Outstanding Graduate Student Recognition Wednesday, April 21, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom.

The reception begins at 3:30 p.m. and the award presentation is at 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served. All are welcome to attend.

Journalism program to host
50th annual awards banquet

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the journalism program and its awards banquet.

Join in the celebration Friday, April 23, at the Regency Room of the Holmes Student Center. Cash bar opens at 5:30 p.m. followed by a 6:30 p.m. dinner and award ceremony.

Scholarships and awards will be presented to more than 30 journalism majors and minors.

For more information, contact Craig Seymour at or (815) 753-6989.

‘5K the Night Away’ race
supports Grad Sport Society

“5K the Night Away” is a unique, night race around the west campus of NIU. 

The event starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 23. Start and finish at the Convocation Center, stride through by the residence halls, loop around Huskie Stadium, and finish strong by the Yordon Center. 

The event will benefit the NIU Grad Sport Society. Visit for registration and complete details.

Families sought to host
youth leadership programs 

NIU is looking for area families to act as hosts in April and May for participants in two programs bringing in high school students and adult leaders from Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Home stays for the Southeast Asia Youth Fellowship Program are scheduled for April 11 to 22; home stays for the Philippine Youth Leadership Program are set for May 2 to15. Students will be placed in pairs and adults may be placed as singles.

For details, contact coordinator Leslie Shive at (815) 753-9546 or e-mail

CLA workshop to cover
‘new civic responsibilities’

NIU’s Civic Leadership Academy will present a Thursday, April 8, seminar on “New Civics/Changing Responsibilities: It’s a New World.”

This workshop provides an opportunity to explore group and individual leadership roles and responsibilities in the civic environment. Topics will include understanding the need for civic responsibility, exploring the nature of citizen participation and techniques for involving different groups in the civic enterprise.

The workshop will also examine current trends affecting the northern Illinois region, including the region’s role in the global economy and the shifting demographics of the region. This workshop is one of two core sessions required to earn a certificate.

Co-presenters are Bob Gleeson, director of the Center for Governmental Studies and associate director of the Regional Development Institute, and Greg Kuhn, assistant director and senior research associate for the Center for Governmental Studies.

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.

World music concert April 11
will explore cultural song, dance

The annual Spring World Music Concert will take place on at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 11, in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall.

NIU students will join with professionals in this festival-like concert that feature musics and dance from the following cultures: Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Indian, the Middle Eastern, Irish and Pre-Columbian Mexican.

This wide variety of musical traditions will provide the DeKalb and NIU community with a fascinating exploration of many different cultures. Sponsored by the School of Music, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the DeKalb Public Library, this concert is free and open to the public. Children are welcome.

For more information, contact Jui-Ching Wang at (815) 753-7979 or

Speaker to address diversity
concepts in corporate America

NIU’s Sociology Department Graduate Colloquium will host a 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, speech by David Embrick on “Corporate America: Diversity Ideology.”

Embrick is co-editor of “Globalization and America: Race, Human Rights & Inequality” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008). His areas of interest include U.S race and ethnic relations, race/gender diversity, human rights and social inequalities. Embrick currently is working on a book titled, “The Making and Selling of an Illusion: An Examination of Racial and Gender Diversity in Post Civil-Rights U.S. Corporations.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call (815) 753-0365.

Kick­off volunteers needed
for April 17 NIU Cares Day

Kick­off volunteers are needed from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 17, to help with registration and distribution of T­shirts and boxed lunches before NIU cleans up the community.

Registration is available online. For more information, visit

College of Law to host
5K run-walk, barbecue

NIU’s College of Law invites the university community to the first Race NIjUdicata, a 5K run-walk and barbecue that begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 24.

More information about this family-friendly event, and sign-up for a day of fun, prizes, special awards and food by Inboden’s, is available online. Group registration discounts are available.

Test prep registration open

Registration for the NIU Spring Session II GRE, GMAT and LSAT test prep is now open.

Courses will be held in Barsema Hall, rooms 310 and 315. Register by phone at (800) 345-9472 or online at

Discounts are available for NIU alumni, students and employees. For more information, contact Mark Pietrowski at (815) 753-1456 or

Convo Center seeks sellers
for ‘Colossal Clean Sweep’

Calling all sellers of antiques, collectibles, sports cards, crafts and garage sale items.

NIU’s Convocation Center will host its second Convo’s Colossal Clean Sweep from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 24, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 25. Admission is $1 for adults and free for children 6 and younger.

Vendors are encouraged to register by Monday, April 1. Only indoor space will be available for rent; rental fees range from $20 to $100 covering both Saturday and Sunday. Loading and unloading assistance will be provided.

Items prohibited from sale include, but are not limited to: guns, knives, contraband, fireworks, drugs, tires, suggestive material and animals.

To reserve a spot, visit and download a registration form or pick one up at the NIU Convocation Center box office.

All vendors must complete a registration form and return it to the NIU Convocation Center box office in person, by fax at (815) 752-6801 or by mail at 1525 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, Ill., 60115. 

Athletics seeks volunteers
for two April track meets

Athletics is looking for volunteers to assist in working at two home track and field meets Saturday, April 17, and Thursday, April 29, at the Soccer and Track & Field Complex.

Shifts are 9 a.m. to noon, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Sue Hansfield at (815) 751-0066 or via e-mail at

Accounting sets cutoff dates

As NIU prepares to finalize Fiscal Year 2010, the following cutoff dates have been established.

Purchase order thresholds and the deadlines for receiving FY2010 requisitions in the Accounting Office are:

  • $25,000 to $250,000 – Friday, April 9
  • Less than $25,000 – Thursday, June 3

Finalizing purchases for FY2010:

  • General Revenue (02 funds) – All goods must be received, invoiced and all payment paperwork is due in Accounting no later than Thursday, Aug. 5.
  • All other NIU funds – All goods and/or services must be received/completed and invoices dated by Wednesday, June 30. Payment paperwork is due in Accounting no later than Wednesday, July 14.

FY2011 Requisitions:

  • FY2011 purchase requisitions, either for open orders or for specific purchases, can be submitted now.

Call Procurement Services at (815) 753-1671 or the Accounting Office at (815) 753-1514 with any questions.

Geology hosts spring colloquia

The NIU Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences has announced dates for its Spring 2010 Colloquia, co-sponsored by NIU’s Graduate Colloquium Committee.

All talks will be held at 4 p.m. Fridays in Davis Hall 308 unless otherwise noted. For directions and updates to the schedule, visit Call (815) 753-1943 for more information.

  • April 2: Douglas Walker, Illinois State Water Survey, title TBA
  • April 9: Chris Greer, NIU, “Recharge Analyses into Shallow Glacial and Deep Bedrock Aquifers Associated with the Troy Bedrock Valley, DeKalb County, Illinois,” and Cheyenne Morgan, NIU, “Assessing the Vulnerability of Groundwater to Fecal Contamination along the Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico.”
  • April 16: Harold Rowe, University of Texas, “Evaluation of Late Quarternary Climate using Speleothems.”
  • April 23: Adino Paytan, University of California-Santa Cruz, “Using Isotopes of Phosphate to Trace Phosphorus Sources and Cycling in Lakes.”