Outstanding Service Award

Jill Draves

Secretary, Department of Teaching & Learning, College of Education

Many, if not most, secretaries can claim that they act as the eyes and ears of their bosses.

For Jill Draves, half of that statement is completely true.

Draves is secretary to three professors and four adjunct instructors who teach in the Department of Teaching and Learning's visual disabilities program. Gaylen Kapperman, coordinator of that program, is himself severely visually disabled.

"Without her assistance, I could not carry on with my duties here," Kapperman says. "She reads numerous pieces to me whenever that is necessary. She handles all types of confidential information that pass across my desk. Jill accompanies me to various high-level committee meetings."

Employed as Kapperman's secretary for 20 of her 27 years at NIU, Draves oversees a budget that requires her management of several externally funded grants.

Between 20 and 25 graduate assistants and between 10 and 15 undergraduate students are recipients each year of state and federal dollars as well. This year's total is $1.3 million.

She provides the program's 50 students not only information on navigating university rules and regulations but with advice and nurturing. For those who are visually disabled, she understands and makes the necessary accommodations.

In the DeKalb County community, she is known for sharing her tie-dying skills at local festivals and libraries, where she has taught that art to children. She also is a member of the DeKalb County Quilters Guild and of Angels for Hope, which crochets angels, butterflies and smiley faces to send to people in need of hope.

Jill Draves