The Early Years: 1931-1960

The first known meeting of nonacademic employees at what was then Northern Illinois State Teachers College was held on January 9, 1931. College President Karl L. Adams conducted the meeting, explaining that all employees except faculty and the president's secretary were hired through the State of Illinois Civil Service System. He stressed that these were not political appointments.

Statistics from that period show that 729 students were enrolled and about 30 civil service workers were employed in such capacities as engineer, stenographer, building maintenance worker, bookkeeper, secretary to the dean of women, business manager and janitor. In his comments to the staff, Adams advised employees to be courteous and considerate in all of their contacts with faculty and students. (No doubt a man ahead of his time, Adams also asked staff members not to smoke on college grounds.)

The Non-Academic Council: 1961-1969

On April 7, 1961, the Non-Academic Council of Northern Illinois University was formed as an advisory group to the administration. Council members were elected by vote with two representatives from each of four divisions: operational services, clerical and secretarial, food services, and administration and supervision.

The council's first order of business was to report on and ratify its newly proposed constitution and bylaws. Its second agenda item was the election of a chairperson, vice chairperson and secretary. The council then elected their Publication Committee to establish a monthly newsletter. Its purpose was to disseminate information about jobs, council activities and other items of interest to staff. Next, the council's Projects Committee was created to coordinate educational and recreational activities.

This historic meeting of nonacademic employees marked the beginning of what is now known as the Operating Staff Council.

The Operating Staff Council: 1969

December 17, 1969, marks the first known meeting of the newly named Operating Staff Council. The name change was proposed by NIU's personnel office and adopted by the council to better reflect its constituency. Eventually, the constitution and bylaws were changed to permit the election of a proportionate number of members from each university division.

Many of the issues described in meeting minutes from that period and in subsequent years are important to council members today. These issues include better employee benefits, merit raises and salary increases, communication and public relations, representation on university committees, recognition awards, staff education and family activities.

Through the years, the council gained responsibility and recognition by advising the university on issues important to operating staff.

The Operating Staff Council Today

NIU is one of the largest universities in the state and employs approximately 1,800 operating staff in a wide variety of capacities: administrative, managerial, technical, public relations, secretarial, clerical, food service, janitorial, groundskeeping and other support services. The Operating Staff Council works closely with the university to enhance the quality of life for operating staff employees.

The council's 17 members are elected according to the council's constitution and bylaws. Council members and other operating staff represent their constituency on a variety of university and council committees and play an important role in the development of university policy as it relates to operating staff.

Past Presidents

Years Name
2021-2023 Holly Nicholson
2020-2021 Natasha Johnson
2019-2020 Jeffry Royce
2018-2019 Holly Nicholson
2017-2018 Barbara Andree
2015-2017 Holly Nicholson
2014-2015 Jay Monteiro
2011-2014 Andy Small
2007-2011 Jay Monteiro
1/2007-7/2007 Sara Clayton
2005-1/2007 Rachel X. Turner
2004-2005 Donna Smith
2002-2004 Sara Clayton
1999-2002 Judy Burgess
1997-1999 Andy Small
1994-1997 Kate Romano
1993-1994 Tom Miller
1992-1993 Mary Crumbacher
1991-1992 Joe Koch
1990-1991 Sandi Sosnowski
1988-1990 Shey Lowman
1987-1988 Dianna Strink
1985-1987 Pat Hewitt
1984-1985 Mary King
1983-1984 Pat Hewitt
1981-1983 JoAnn Bergren
1979-1981 Dale Parkhouse
1977-1979 Randy Culver
1975-1977 John Coleman
1973-1975 Bill Marchese
1972-1973 Andy Thornbum
1971-1972 Larry Berke
1970-1971 Vernon Ray
1969-1970 John Peterson

Contact Us

Operating Staff Council
Altgeld Hall 103

Frances Mitchell

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