NIU

Nachusa Grassland Studies Shed A New Light On Soil

Aug 8, 2017
Northern Illinois University

The Nachusa Grasslands, near Dixon and Franklin Grove, have become the focus of a major soil study for a pair of Northern Illinois University professors.

NIU Biological science professor Wes Swingley explained why soil is so difficult to study, yet so fascinating.

Susan Stephens

Funding provided under the new Illinois budget plan will benefit Northern Illinois University in several ways, Acting President Lisa Freeman said in a campuswide email moments after the veto override was announced Thursday.

“I applaud our legislators for the bipartisan cooperation required to end a stalemate that has hurt our state, our university and our students,” she said in the message. “Their actions signal that they appreciate the important role of public higher education in building a prosperous future for Illinois.”

The state budget impasse could affect the accreditation of Illinois universities, which have seen deep cuts in state funding in the nearly three years lawmakers have failed to agree on a spending plan.

The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits schools in the Midwest, recently issued a letter cautioning lawmakers that a lack of funding places Illinois universities at risk of losing their accreditation.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale President Randy Dunn says losing accreditation could make it difficult to hire more staff.

NIU Today

Northern Illinois University's College of Law dean has resigned from his position.

Eric Dannenmaier’s resignation comes after an investigation into alleged improper conduct in the workplace. According to an NIU spokesman, he opted to resign after the investigation’s conclusion, “citing his desire to see the law school remain focused on its important educational mission and to continue his own work in environmental law and policy.”

Students Aim To Become The Face Of NIU

Jun 26, 2017
Austin Hansen / WNIJ

Do you ever wonder how someone becomes the face of a university? The process might be easier than it seems.

Northern Illinois University is holding a summer casting call for students who are interested in representing life as a Huskie in upcoming publications (photographs, videos, social media posts, etc.).

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

For some kids, summer means packing your shorts and bug spray and heading off to camp. For some local teachers, camp means early morning lectures and late night discussions about race, gender, and privilege. At least it did last week at Northern Illinois University. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens stopped by Social Justice Summer Camp for this week’s Friday Forum.

Provided

The man accused of driving under the influence and causing a fatal car crash has been released and is out on his own recognizance. 

Daniel Chavez, 25, was arrested following the car crash Sunday shortly after midnight on Lincoln Highway that killed NIU graduate student Sai Kumar Adluru  and injured three passengers.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s office says they found traces of marijuana in Chavez’s Jeep, with urine tests confirming the presence of the drug in his system. He also had a blood alcohol level of .076 -- slightly below the legal limit of .08.

www.gofundme.com/saikumaradlurumemorial

A Northern Illinois University student is dead after being hit by a drunk driver early Sunday morning.

Sai Adluru, a 23-year-old DeKalb resident, died after his car was struck on Illinois 38 just east of Nelson Road.

Adluru and a passenger were driving westbound when the other car crossed into their lane.

Daniel Chavez of Rochelle has been charged with three counts of aggravated Driving Under the Influence and one count of reckless homicide. He sustained serious injuries from the incident.

Adluru was an NIU graduate student studying electrical engineering.

Goodwill Is On The Move To NIU Residence Halls

May 9, 2017

Goodwill is stationing containers in NIU’s residence halls this week as students move out for the summer.

It’s part of a bi-annual campaign to collect unwanted items that may otherwise go in the trash.

Mary Ann Stratus, with Goodwill, said that's because residence halls often don’t have the time or manpower to bring items to donation centers.

“It only made sense for Goodwill to come in, bring the bins to the students, and just make it easy for them to donate,” she said.

Stratus said they’re in particular need for items like shoes and jeans.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Enrollment at many Illinois public universities has declined in the past decade. This coincides with the state approaching two years without a full spending plan. As a result, college-bound students have tough decisions to make.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

NIU held a tribute concert Sunday to honor Cliff Alexis, who joined the university’s school of music in 1985.

Alexis helped establish steelpan studies as a major at NIU. 

He’s originally from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; it's where he started playing the steelpan at age 14.

“When I was young, most people gravitate toward the steel pan, especially coming from where I came from," he said. "I came from an underprivileged neighborhood, and that was one of the things to do.”

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Ten Northern Illinois University fraternities are in the trenches for a week-long tournament called “Tugs.”

It's been an NIU tradition for more than half a century.

Money raised will go toward a selected charity or non-profit. Devin Joseph, an organizer of the event, says the tradition separates NIU from other campuses.

NIU Scientists Push To Forefront In 'March For Science'

Apr 22, 2017
Susan Stephens

Scientists across the country will step out of the lab today and into the streets, including locations like Chicago, for the “March for Science.” The event coincides with Earth Day.

Scientists think it's time to raise awareness for their respective fields. As a result, many faculty members have found themselves pushed into more active roles.

Reed Scherer is a professor of Geology at NIU.

This week, a Winnebago County judge ordered a Rockford woman to spend up to 100 years in a mental health facility for the 2013 stabbing death of her son.

A judge earlier this year ruled Jody Kossow not guilty by reason of insanity after she stabbed her 12-year-old son Thomas more than 55 times, killing him.

She told 911 operators that “Satan was after me.”

The judge says Kossow must be confined to psychiatric care up to 100 years.

TEDxNIU Conference 'Pushes Limits'

Apr 20, 2017

The popularity of TED-branded video lectures has skyrocketed in recent years. The Northern Illinois University chapter, known as TEDxNIU, will hold its own event this Saturday, featuring a variety of speeches. "Pushing Limits"’ will be this year’s theme.

NIU student Madeline Alger is co-director of the TEDx chapter. She explains that TED is a global nonprofit organization whose goal is to spread ideas across the world.

About 200 members of NIU's chapter of Kappa Delta Pi are launching a book sale to raise money for programs to support children's literacy. 

As part of their annual service project, they plan to use profits to fund outreach programs, like bringing in authors for reading comprehension programs and supporting efforts at the NIU Literacy Clinic. 

Beth Wilkins, an NIU professor who oversees the local chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, says the sale is a chance for people to give back.

Moody's Investors Service has placed six Illinois public universities on review for downgrade, impacting a total of approximately $2.2 billion of public university debt. According to a release issued by the company, the review is prompted by  "failure of the State of Illinois to enact a budget providing full operating funding to the universities for the current fiscal year 2017 and resulting operational and liquidity strains on the universities."

Scrutiny Mounts On Travel Orders

Apr 13, 2017
Michael Gianaris / nysenate.gov

The American Civil Liberties Union recently filed 13 lawsuits requesting government documents regarding the president’s travel orders.

A national search for the new head of the Northern Illinois University Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships has found a resolution on campus.

Dr. Gerald Blazey, a physicist who came to NIU in 1996 and has served as interim vice president of the division for the past two years, is the choice to take the chair officially on May 16, pending approval of the NIU Board of Trustees.

Randy Caspersen

The documentary "Go Penguins!" features a unique theatre program in northern Illinois.  

It's the Children's Community Theatre Penguin Project

Northern Illinois University professor Randy Caspersen and his students followed the production of “The Little Mermaid” a few years ago; with nearly 500 hours of footage to edit, the documentary is nearly ready for its debut.  

Caspersen says people tend to only see the final product of shows.

NIU

Northern Illinois University is unveiling a new type of computer login security measure in response to an increase in phishing attacks.

Phishing is an e-mail scam where users are tricked into entering sensitive information by leading them to a fake website. At any large institution, this can lead to passwords getting stolen, and the account in question has to be reset. But NIU Information Security Officer Andrew Bjerkin says hackers have increasingly used compromised accounts to send out more spam.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Faculty members at  Northern Illinois University may be more involved in future evaluations of the school’s president.

 

NIU President Doug Baker faced a grilling from the Faculty Senate Wednesday: they considered taking  a “vote of no confidence” in the fourth year president. Instead, faculty members approved an invitation from NIU’s Board of Trustees to be part of future annual evaluations of the president.

 

Ibrahim Baig

Legal uncertainty remains surrounding the President’s travel ban from several Muslim-majority countries.

Northern Illinois University students and members of the DeKalb community are reaching out to those who may be affected.

“Without even us reaching out to anyone, I was getting like five, six emails per day, just of support," said Afreen Warsi, a biology major and member of the Muslim Student Association at Northern Illinois University. She says other students reached out to her following the first travel order issued by the White House.

City of DeKalb/Susan Stephens/WNIJ

College towns often benefit from those who study there, but not many NIU students are visiting DeKalb’s downtown district.  So city officials went to them directly to see how they can change this trend.

Like many cities of its size, DeKalb has a well-defined downtown district that’s home to many businesses and attractions.  Economic Development coordinator Jason Michnick says they’ve also been working to constantly improve it.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Dozens of crosses line sidewalks near the MLK Commons. Each is adorned by a red heart, and the victim’s name and age.

A number on each cross represents a murder in Chicago this year.

Greg Zanis, a carpenter from Aurora, says he plans to build a cross for each victim. He takes them to different locations, like Englewood in Chicago.

For NIU students like Matthew Moore, the collection is eye-opening. He says the community needs to work together to stop the line of crosses from growing longer.

Some DeKalb residents are petitioning for the Metra system to offer service to the city.  

Susan Stephens

In a period of declining enrollment and shrinking university budgets, adjunct and temporary faculty are taking a wider role in higher education, including Northern Illinois University.

When someone thinks of going to college, the common image is a wizened old professor lecturing to a classroom of eager undergrads. Or a teacher’s assistant holding a session for graduate students. Christopher McCord, Dean of NIU’s College of Arts and Sciences, says that’s at least the ideal.

NIU Recording Engineers Take Home A Grammy

Feb 13, 2017
NIU Today

Northern Illinois University's Dan Nichols won a Grammy Sunday.

He is head of the university's Recording Services. NIU graduate Matt Ponio also shared in the Grammy. 

They won for the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for engineering Third Coast Percussion's Album "Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich." 

Nichols is the founder and CEO of Aphorism Studios, Inc., a multimedia production company.

5 Confirmed Cases Of Mumps At NIU

Feb 10, 2017
"Box of Kleenex" by Flickr User m01229 / (CC X 2.0)

The DeKalb County Health Department says there are five cases of mumps in Northern Illinois University students.

According to a news release, outbreaks have been common across college campuses in the past year. 

It says up to half of people who get mumps experience mild symptoms, so they may not know they're infected. 

Typical symptoms include swollen glands under the ears, fever, headache, and a loss of appetite; it can take up to 25 days for symptoms to appear in an exposed person. 

egyptiantheatre.org

Northern Illinois University's visual and performing arts students are “taking the stage” at the Egyptian Theatre next week.

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