Northern Illinois University

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University again experienced an overall drop in student enrollment this year.

The biggest loss was in total undergraduates, down 666 students from last year (from 13,454 to 12,788). NIU also saw an eight percent decline in the number of transfer students, from 1,716 to 1,577. Total enrollment now hovers at 17,169 students, which is a drop of 4.8 percent from this time last year.

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University’s acting president outlined her vision for the campus in a public address Thursday.

Speaking before faculty, staff, and students, Dr. Lisa Freeman said NIU has been successful in employing a diversity of perspectives across campus. However, she said NIU needs to evolve in order to face future challenges. Chief among those, she said, was the need to guarantee fiscal stability in the wake of an absent state budget and declining enrollment.

NIU Board Of Trustees Seeks Community Feedback

Aug 2, 2018
WNIJ

The NIU Board of Trustees is considering Acting President Dr. Lisa Freeman for the university’s permanent president. They are seeking feedback from the university community before making a decision.

Trustees will attend listening sessions throughout August with faculty, students, alumni, and other community leaders. The schedule for the listening sessions is as follows:

August 2: Operating Staff Council

August 2: Alumni & Foundation Boards      

August 14: Senior Roundtable

August 14: Chairs/Directors/First-line Supervisors 

Kinzinger Visits DeKalb On Regional Tour

Aug 1, 2018
Sarah Jesmer

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger is touring parts of his district this week. That included a stop at Northern Illinois University on Tuesday.

The 16th District Republican visited a new lab that recently opened at NIU. Officials hope the hands-on experience for students and researchers will prepare people for labs like Batavia’s Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, IL.

Kinzinger is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He said he wanted to meet people who interact with federal funding and STEM programs.

WNIJ

There was a shake-up in leadership last summer at Northern Illinois University. President Doug Baker resigned, paving the way for Lisa Freeman to step in as acting president. At that time she said she would not seek the position on a long term basis, but that has since changed. On this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Jenna Dooley learns more about Freeman's aspirations for the future.

Dr. Freeman says trustees approached her to consider the presidential post.

Northern Illinois University

James Pardew, a former U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, will speak at a Northern Illinois University conference this Thursday. He was involved extensively in American efforts to stop conflict in the former territories of Yugoslavia, particularly Bosnia and Macedonia. WNIJ's Chase Cavanaugh spoke with Ambassador Pardew about that work and his thoughts on U.S. foreign policy.

Ambassador Pardew, what do you plan to discuss at Northern Illinois University?

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A clerical bargaining unit at Northern Illinois University still doesn’t have an initial union contract with NIU after their negotiations meeting earlier this week. That’s after more than two years of talks.

The more than 600 members of AFSCME Local 1890 are now looking at their legal rights to strike, according to union spokeswoman Sara Dorner.

Dorner says that’s a different approach than the union's original plan. Clerical, administrative and paraprofessional workers planned to picket on NIU’s DeKalb campus every Monday at noon until they have an initial contract.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The search for a new president for Northern Illinois University is getting underway. The Presidential Search Preparation Committee held one of several public meetings Thursday.

The committee’s announced mission is to create benchmarks based on current practices and trends related to presidential searches and contracts, and prepare a draft of the job description as well as a document listing “points of pride” for the university.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Last week, Northern Illinois University presented its Distinguished Alumni Award, recognizing a graduate who’s achieved outstanding professional success. This year’s winner is Andrew Traver, Director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, more commonly known as NCIS.

Traver discussed his path to heading this federal law enforcement agency, and how his job compares with what is portrayed on the "NCIS" TV show.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Members of a state employee union picketed on Northern Illinois University’s DeKalb campus on Monday. That’s after recent negotiations between union members and NIU officials still have not yielded an initial contract.

AFSCME Local 1890 members and allies marched near the student center in support of an initial contract for the bargaining unit, which is comprised of NIU clerical, administrative and paraprofessional employees.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ NEWS

“Man in a Tree” -- the current show at the Rockford University Art Gallery -- is a survey of works by printmaker David Driesbach, looking at selected works over the former Northern Illinois University art teacher’s nearly 70-year career.

The title of the exhibit refers to a sepia print that looks like a line drawing of – you guessed it – a man in a tree: Driesbach himself. There also are a banjo, a light bulb and other oddments, along with a Driesbach signature -- a top hat. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees has signed on to a bill that would guarantee stable funding for the school while imposing several performance standards.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

UPDATED MARCH 9 AT 4:45 P.M.:

A union representative for a newer Northern Illinois University bargaining unit says negotiations did not go well Friday.

AFSCME spokeswoman Sara Dorner says NIU’s negotiator Jesse Perez promised to bring a thorough wage matrix to contract negotiations Friday, but she says all that was given was information of other peoples’ current wages.

“So, basically, they gave us some information that we already had and no proposals and we’ve made no progress,” Dorner said.

Pixabay

There’s a strong need for marriage and family therapists despite overall divorce rates leveling off in the country.

That's according to Mark Killmer, a professor and director of the Marriage and Family Therapy counseling program at Northern Illinois University.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Several Illinois universities are reassuring future students that disciplinary action resulting from recent protest activity will not affect their admission to those schools.

Northern Illinois University officials said in a statement this week that the admissions status of prospective students will not be affected due to any detentions or suspensions imposed for protests after the Parkland, Fla., shooting.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Matt Streb, chief of staff to Acting NIU President Lisa Freeman, says Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed allocation for higher education ignores even a minimal 1.9 percent increase requested by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Instead, it keeps cuts made in last summer’s budget deal.

“The [university] presidents,” he said, “including Acting President Freeman, have argued that the institutions in the state should revert to the Fiscal ‘15 year allocation, which was the last year that we had a full budget before FY ’18.”

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

This WNIJ special originally aired in 2008 and is a compilation of news coverage, commentary, and event audio gathered by WNIJ's news team. Hosted by Bill Drake.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It was ten years ago this Wednesday that five students were shot and killed in a Northern Illinois University classroom. Retired NIU President John Peters returned to the school this weekend to take part in a number of observances.

Peters was the public face of NIU in the difficult days after the shooting. Behind the scenes, he took on the role of comforter-in-chief for the families of the five who were murdered. He says this weekend gave him the opportunity to reconnect with the families, the students who were injured, and the community.

Northern Illinois University students recently took to social media to express concerns about supposed online watch lists kept by the university on certain student groups.

A Twitter account claimed that NIU kept social media watch lists of students in certain groups, including athletes and members of sororities and fraternities. University officials say those lists are merely entries using the software Maxient software for electronic records of certain types of incidents. NIU is one of 800 institutions nationwide that use the software.

City Wi-Fi To Come To DeKalb By Early Summer

Dec 20, 2017
City of DeKalb / Northern Illinois University

DeKalb is on track to have a better public Wi-Fi setup by early summer.

The City of DeKalb and Northern Illinois University approved an intergovernmental agreement in September to expand NIU’s free public Wi-Fi use for city visitors. The project will add more access points along DeKalb’s downtown area.

Marc Thorson heads the city’s information technology department. He says Digital Lobby, the company that would provide the access, has worked with other cities and companies before but never with a city and university combined.

NIU

Northern Illinois University held its December graduation ceremonies this weekend.

Electrical engineering major Allana Rose is a graduate who has overcome substantial personal challenges.

She was recently honored with the Prospatheia Award for her achievements at NIU. The award is given by the Department of Electrical Engineering at Northern Illinois University to a senior who has overcome obstacles to achieve success.

The 24-year-old helped design a low-cost blind spot alert system for drivers with visual impairments.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Dozens of state employee union members and Northern Illinois University employees protested Monday on the DeKalb campus.

They came in support of a fair initial contract between AFSCME and NIU. Protestors marched in the turn-around outside Altgeld Hall on campus.

AFSCME members have been negotiating with NIU officials since February 2016. Since then, union members filed unfair labor practice charges against NIU and recently won a case regarding parking pass rate increases.

niu.edu / afscme.org

A state employee union plans to seek an enforcement hearing against Northern Illinois University regarding a parking pass rate increase.

The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board ruled in September that NIU raised parking pass prices in 2016 without bargaining with the union. The IELRB also ruled that NIU should reimburse more than 600 clerical, paraprofessional and administrative employees $38 each plus interest.

New NIU Stevens Building May Be Open By Next Summer

Oct 4, 2017
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University’s new theater and anthropology building may be ready for students and faculty by next summer.

NIU spokesman Joe King says he walked through the NIU Stevens Building project site recently. He says the difference between the old and new buildings already is astounding, with a large anthropology lecture hall, brighter labs, bigger theater performance spaces and better classrooms all the way around.

King says the renovation project is scheduled for completion by next spring, but not necessarily in time to house classes for either department.

niu.edu / afscme.org

State-employee union officials say they’re concerned about the recent news of planned wage increases for some Northern Illinois University employees. 

The three-percent wage hike would apply only to NIU employees who are not in an open contract with a bargaining unit. There are about a dozen such contracts including faculty, civil service employees and food service workers. 

NIU Researchers Will Test Health App Effectiveness

Sep 27, 2017
Flickr user Leonardo Angelini / "#fitness" (CC V 2.0)

Northern Illinois University health and computer science researchers want to test how a fitness app they developed works.

Researchers say they hope to have 100 people participate in the test. The eight-week study looks at how fitness apps and health behavior may be connected.

Participants would download the app to their phones, use it when they work out, and see how effective it is. The features would be adjusted continually by researchers.

Page Limit Not A Problem For NIU Open Meeting Case

Sep 22, 2017
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

The usual length of a court document will not prevent either side from presenting its full argument in an Open Meetings Act case, according to a DeKalb County court ruling Friday.

Judge Bradley Waller says Misty Haji-Sheikh’s attorney may exceed the page limit for her argument. She says the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act and did not notify the public of former president Doug Baker’s severance package, which was more than $600,000.

Northern Illinois University

Pay raises may be on the way for some Northern Illinois University employees.

In her State of the University address Wednesday, Acting NIU President Lisa Freeman touched on subjects like the delayed presidential search, the school’s fiscal future and university building projects.

Freeman also mentioned this in her speech:

niu.edu / afscme.org

Northern Illinois University was ordered to stop changing parking fees for union members without bargaining and refund the fee changes. 

That’s according to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. They ruled Thursday that NIU raised parking pass prices in 2016 without bargaining with AFSCME-member employees.

More than 600 clerical, paraprofessional and administrative employees should be reimbursed $38 each plus interest, the board ruled. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Illinois Public Universities - Fall 2017 Enrollment
Infogram

There’s a three percent increase in freshman enrollment at Northern Illinois University this year.

Pages