How to Learn

NIU is committed to transforming the world through research, artistry, teaching and outreach. As part of that commitment, NIU supports lifelong learning by offering a wide range of formal and informal learning opportunities outside of traditional degree programs. No matter where you are in your life and career, we invite you to follow your curiosity and learn with us!

These are just a few of the many educational opportunities NIU offers to the community at large! Take a look at NIU’s colleges, departments and centers for learning opportunities in specific areas.

Free Community Educational Events

Lectures, talks by visiting artists and other community events are generally free and open to the public.

  • STEM Cafés – Casual gatherings where adults can eat, drink and hear from STEM experts about the latest scientific research.
  • Future Telling Science + Fiction Webinars – Fun, fast-paced webinars bring together scientists and fiction authors to talk about hot topics in scientific research and science fiction, and to celebrate creativity and innovation.
  • School of Art and Design Lectures – Lectures and workshops with visiting artists and scholars are usually free and open to the public.
  • Southeast Asian Studies Lecture Series – Insightful talks about Southeast Asian politics, history, art and more are open to the public.
  • Rebuilding Democracy Lecture Series – This series from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences explores issues impacting democracy and showcases the role of liberal arts and sciences in supporting a healthy democracy.

Check out the NIU Events Calendar for more engaging community events.

Fun Ways to Delve a Little Deeper

NIU is all about the transformative power of learning something new and offers programs for community members young and old to dig a little deeper into subjects that interest them.

The NIU Lifelong Learning Institute is a member-directed group of individuals primarily age 50+ who enjoy learning in informal, flexible, non-competitive groups. No grades, no tests – just learning for the fun of it! Join us for four- and eight-week sessions. Attend any and all sessions you wish each term for just one low fee.

NIU summer camps can be a lifechanging experience for young people. K-12 students have a chance to explore life on a college campus and learn about topics such as engineering, theatre, jazz, writing and video game design.

Professional Development Opportunities

NIU Continuing and Professional Education is a one-stop shop for non-credit programming for working professionals. Instructor-led, in-person or online courses help you earn the certification you need in Human Resources, Project Management, Facility Management or Occupational Health and Safety. Free webinars and custom workplace trainings also available.

NIU’s Civic Leadership Academy provides leadership training to government and nonprofit professionals in a wide range of areas, from grant writing to strategic planning, storm water management to public speaking.

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