Todd Gilson, Ph.D.
Director for University Honors
As the director of the University Honors Program it is my job to develop and facilitate a unique college experience that fosters both the sense of a tight knit community and provides benefits afforded by a large-scale research university. Furthermore, not only do I preach this doctrine, I model it to students in my sport psychology and sport sociology seminar classes by a being knowledgeable, enthusiastic and engaging professor, while also directing student research that has led to national presentations and peer-reviewed publications.
My current research focuses on the link between key psychological constructs that help distinguish highly successful leaders and performers from less successful ones. To best answer this question, I have worked with dozens of NCAA athletic institutions and U.S. Army ROTC programs around the country. The lessons acquired about confidence, resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges are woven into interactions I have with students in the University Honors Program.
I earned my doctorate in kinesiology from Michigan State University; a master’s degree in human performance from Oregon State University; and bachelor’s degree in sport management from Ohio Northern University. Come stop by Campus Life Building 110 to learn more about how the University Honors Program can help you succeed!
Jason Goode, M.A.
Associate Director of Scholarships, Programming and Assessment
In November 2012, I joined the University Honors Program administrative team as the assistant to the associate vice provost. I am a high-level management support professional who develops, recommends and implements appropriate goals, policies, procedures, assessment and long-term planning related to national scholarships, fellowships and academic awards and recognitions for the University Honors Program’s academically motivated student body. In addition to these duties, I serve as the University Honors Program’s liaison to the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office and the diverse array of honor societies at Northern Illinois University.
Prior to joining University Honors, I worked in NIU’s Office of Student Academic Success as a student success specialist (SSS). I was responsible for working with students who were in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This position was new to the campus and I helped brand the identity of the SSS through piloting a version of the Absence Tracking Program with an emphasis on English 103, English 104 and Communication 100. I also launched Soup & Success, now known as edible education, a program that provides students with lunch as they engage in sessions related to time management, reading strategies, public speaking, financial aid, scholarships and test anxiety. As part of the team, I helped advance the development and piloting of a new advising tool created for NIU by the Educational Advisory Board. I have also co-hosted brown bag discussions and training sessions related to Mapworks.
I am a proud NIU alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in communication with a focus on media production and a master’s degree in communication focusing on media studies. In addition to my full-time work with the University Honors Program, I am also working to earn a doctorate in adult and higher education with a focus on higher education and student affairs.
Edye Cowan, M.S.Ed.
Associate Director of Academic Strategic Planning
As the associate director of academic strategic planning, my work includes collaborating with NIU colleges and campus offices to promote and advance the University Honors Program. I also serve as the program adviser and supervisor of Honors Fellows. Mentoring students as they work to meet their professional and personal goals and complete their honors program requirements is an integral part of the work I do.
Prior to moving to Illinois in 2009, I worked as a teacher in the K-12 public education system in Shiprock and Albuquerque, New Mexico and concluded my teaching career as an inclusion specialist in Davis, California. I earned my bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University in elementary education with an endorsement in special education and my master’s degree in adult and higher education at NIU.
I come to the University Honors Program by way of the College of Education, where I worked as a university supervisor and most recently as an academic adviser for the elementary and middle level teaching and learning programs. I am excited to be part of the University Honors Program and look forward to sharing the wonderful opportunities and experiences available to honors program students.
I joined the University Honors Program in the summer of 2013. It did not take me long to realize that in my first position, as office support associate, how much I love interacting with our students. Specifically, watching students progress through the program and sharing in their achievements is a truly rewarding experience. After holding that position for almost three years, I was promoted to office manager. In my current position, I am responsible for managing the office fiscal planning and monitoring the day-to-day operations of the office.
As a student, know that my door is always open. Feel free to stop in and ask questions or just say “hi” at anytime.
Assistant Director of Programming and Communication
As the Assistant Director of Programming and Communication, I will often serve as a spokesperson for the University Honors Program. My role will be to promote the growth of the Honors community through programs, events, and the dissemination of important information to our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I will be working directly with the Honors House in addition to providing opportunities for everyone in the Honors Program. I enjoy working with students and am looking forward to this new opportunity.
Although I just joined the Honors team in August, I have a lot of previous experience at NIU. I worked as a Complex Coordinator for four years in Douglas Hall and three years in New Hall. All of the years I worked in Housing, I was working with the Honors House as well, so I feel like this will be a smooth transition. While I was serving as a Complex Coordinator, I also taught UNIV 101 and will continue to teach. Additionally, I worked in the First-and Second-Year experience Office for several months prior to joining the University Honors Program.
My connection to NIU does not stop with simply work experience. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with an emphasis on Human Resources and I also have my Master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education with an emphasis on Student Affairs. I have always had strong Huskie pride and a love for NIU that keeps drawing me back in, so I hope I can spread that around!
As the Honors advisor for the University Honors Program, my primary focus is supporting the student members to ensure they are meeting program requirements and have access to all the program benefits. In addition, I will be working with the students to engage and promote academic and co-curricular campus activities that will enrich their university experience and contribute to their personal and career development.
Prior to joining the University Honors Program in March of 2019, I held a variety of positions in the corporate business world. I graduated from Illinois State University in 2001 and started my career working for a fast paced, entrepreneurial driven company soon after. After a number of years taking on increasing responsibility, I moved into a management role in a technical, custom manufacturing environment. In my management position I was given the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people and relished the mentoring aspect of my role. This experience, along with my passion for education, is what led me to pursue an advising career at Northern Illinois University.
I am very excited to be a part of the University Honors Program and work with the students and staff members. I hope to bring a unique perspective and valuable insight with my background and also plan to start working towards my M.S.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education at NIU.
Office Support Assistant
As the Office Support Assistant, my top priority is maintaining a welcoming atmosphere in the Honors Program office and ensuring that the day-to-day needs of staff and students are met smoothly and efficiently. I’m the front door of the Honors program, so I’m in the business of good first impressions and remembering folks’ names. I also support the Office Manager, and to a lesser extent the full program staff, in clerical and administrative duties, scheduling, and documentation.
Before joining the Honors team, I earned a B.A. in English Writing at NIU, graduating magna cum laude. As a student I participated in the OSEEL/CLAS Student Engagement Fund program as a mentored student researcher, and earned both the Richard H. Howland Poetry Writing Award and the Robert T. Self Award for outstanding papers in Literature and Film. At Willamette University in Salem, Oregon I co-founded Games Unplugged, a student organization dedicated to promoting inclusivity in the board-gaming community.
Bart Sharp, Ph.D.
Faculty Adviser to the Honors House
I currently hold a position as the Mike and Kristina McGrath Professor of Entrepreneurship at NIU, teaching courses in strategic management and entrepreneurship to both undergraduate and MBA students and conducting research on corporate innovation and research methodologies.
My academic journey began with an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from Purdue University. It continued with an MBA from Middle Tennessee State University which I earned in their evening program while I worked as an R&D engineer for a company that was called The Aerostructures Corporation (now Triumph Aerostructures – Vought Aircraft Division). That eventually led me to return to Purdue for my PhD in strategic management at the Krannert School of Management, and then on to NIU.
My involvement with the Honors program began when I joined the University Honors Committee shortly after becoming a member of the College of Business faculty here in 2008. I have been a member of the committee ever since, including a lengthy tenure as Chair. I have also had the pleasure of working with a number of outstanding Honors students in mini-sections of my Strategic Management course, overseeing a couple of Capstone projects, and attending Honors events over the years. I’m excited to have this opportunity to do even more as a Faculty Adviser to the Honors House. I look forward to meeting you all.
Madelyn Anderson, M.A.
Faculty Adviser to the Honors House
I am an instructor in the Department of Communication and I have been teaching at NIU since 1992. A native of Wyoming, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Augustana College, Rock Island, and graduated with distinction from NIU with a Master of Arts in Communication and a graduate emphasis in women’s studies. In the honors program, I teach a public speaking course with an emphasis in service learning. I have been coordinator of the COMS 100 program, pre-COMS adviser and coordinator of the COMS 100 Speech Contest. In 2015 I was awarded the “Great Professor” Award by the University Honors Program.
Prior to NIU, I acquired an extensive background in arts administration. I worked for a Boston-based performing artist agency, as a graphic artist for newspapers in the west and midwest, and was a contributing writer to the Augustana Alumni Magazine. I was the director of audience development at Augustana’s public radio station before being named the director of cultural events for the college. During this time, I received statewide recognition from the Illinois Arts Council for being the top presenters’ grant recipient. I was appointed to the IAC’s Presenters’ Development Panel and conducted on-site evaluations of performing arts venues throughout Illinois. While at NIU, I have provided long-time volunteer support for local organizations including the Sycamore Music Boosters for whom I developed the “SHS Music Hall of Fame” program.