NIU

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.

Susan Stephens

The President’s recent executive order put in place a 90-day ban on entry visas for immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Yemen).  And it’s worrying the international community at NIU.

The concern is particularly strong among those present on a student visa.  Stephanie Brown, Associate Director of the International Student and Faculty Office, says only a small number of NIU's roughly 1,100 international students are affected directly. 

"Airplane" by Flickr User Sean MacEntee / (CC X 2.0)

A University of Illinois senior administrator says President Trump’s recent Executive Order halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries could be harmful to the university’s mission.

Executive Vice-President Barb Wilson says the U of I needs what she calls “open doors” to fulfill its mission.

“We need international students, and faculty, and visiting scholars to come here, and we need to be able to send our students to other countries to learn and to engage in scholarship,” Wilson said.

A new effort is calling on people to ask themselves how much time they spend sitting – and what it means for their health.

Excessive sitters can lose hours off their life, and people spend an average of nine to 11 hours sitting each day. That’s according to Northern Illinois University graduate student Sharon Moskowitz.

She's started a program at the university, called “Sitting is the New Smoking,” to promote physical wellness and staying active.

Michelle Kittling-Brewer

Emily Eckles, Dixon, Ill.

"What I want the new president to know about my community is that it is very diverse in race, gender, and sexuality. The United States is home to many different cultures and customs, and not any single group should be singled out for any reason."

Gov. Rauner Fills Out NIU Board Of Trustees

Jan 20, 2017
Susan Stephens

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has made three new appointments, including two alumni, and one reappointment to the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees.

Dennis Barsema, who earned a bachelor's degree in management at NIU, is president and CEO of Redback Networks. He also has served as president and CEO of Onetta, Inc.

He is currently on the Board of Directors for five organizations, including Carpenter's Place and Nest.

A Winnebago County judge ruled 42-year-old Jody Kossow not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Rockford resident was charged for the Sept. 2013 stabbing death of her eight-year-old son Thomas. 

Officials say Kossow had “spiritual preoccupations” that led her to believe her son was possessed and needed to be killed; it also says she suffered from depression for months before the incident. 

NIU Today

Northern Illinois University and the College of DuPage recently signed a guaranteed admission agreement.  

It allows students at the College of DuPage with at least a 2.0 grade point average guaranteed admission to NIU so they can pursue 4-year degrees.  High achievers (at least a 3.5 GPA) can also gain admission to the Honors Program.  

NIU Provost Lisa Freeman believes aspects of community colleges and four-year universities can blend together. She says the agreement is a recognition of this fact.  

Jury Acquits Ex-NIU Cop In Sexual Assault Case

Dec 15, 2016
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A DeKalb County jury found 28-year-old Andrew Rifkin not guilty of sexually assaulting a Northern Illinois University freshman student in 2011, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The former NIU police officer was accused of assaulting the student during a consensual sexual encounter. 

NIU Today

A pair of high-ranking Vice Presidents at Northern Illinois University are leaving the school next year.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Hundreds of students gathered for Northern Illinois University's undergraduate commencement ceremony Sunday at the Convocation Center. Friends, family, and relatives filled the stands for the graduation activities.

NIU President Doug Baker acknowledged what he calls "notable achievements" of several students, including Student Marshall Jessica Christofersen; she served in the United States Army, reported for The Northern Star, studied in England, and is working for commercial-pilot certification.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The Northern Illinois University campus community got a look Monday at the next phase of a plan that will shape the campus for years to come. It’s called Program Prioritization, and it’s a review of all academic and administrative programs at NIU.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

A candlelight vigil Thursday marked the end of Northern Illinois University's Transgender Week of Resilience.

Organizers read aloud names of transgender people across the world who were victims of violence last year. 

Other events this week included NIU unveiling an option for students to enter a preferred name on their school account; this name will appear for professors and in most campus systems.

Harvesting History From DeKalb-Area Immigrants

Oct 18, 2016
Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Volunteers at the NIU Founder's library are working on a new project called “History Harvest.”

They’re collecting items that symbolize the journey to northern Illinois, which can include photographs, letters, or an oral story.

Undergraduate history students are “digitizing” the collections for the public to see online.

Drew VandeCreek, an organizer of the project, says it’s a collaborative way for students to learn about immigration.  

DeKalb County Judge Robin Stuckert will meet with interested parties today in cases related to the 2015 death of Oluwarotimi “Timi” Okedina.

Police arrested two students and another man in 2015 after Okedina plunged to his death Sept. 26 from an 11th story window in the Stephenson Towers residence hall. 

Public universities continue to struggle with budgeting due to uncertainty in Springfield, Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker told a town hall meeting Thursday. He says the stopgap and partial-year budget measures aren’t enough. His suggestion to lawmakers?

"Why don’t we take the 2017 budget—that half-year budget -- and count it towards ’16 and you give us a full-year budget?," Baker asked. "That’s our story. The odds of that are probably not very high right now.”

Jessie Schlacks

The University of Chicago received national attention last month after an administrator issued a letter to freshmen telling them that the university will not condone the creation of so-called “safe spaces” where students can retreat from ideas and perspectives “at odds with their own.”

It's a hot-button issue for schools across the nation. 

For their part, Northern Illinois University leaders are looking beyond the confines of the campus to create an environment for people of all backgrounds, beliefs and experiences.

It's a mixed bag of news about enrollment from state schools in Illinois this week.

Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker says enrollment is down 5.5%, putting the school at 19,015 students university-wide. Baker tells the campus community that the largest decline is in the freshman class. Numbers from NIU show there are 457 fewer freshman compared to last year; that's a drop of 20.2%. Smaller declines took place among transfer and graduate students. 

  Northern Illinois  University campus parking officials say enforcement hours for marked lots now run from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

However, those hours do not apply to restricted parking areas like no-parking zones, handicapped spaces, and  reserved spaces. Campus lots will require permits at all times.

Enforcement hours for reserved parking spaces still run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or at all times as posted.

High Traffic Expected As NIU Students Move In

Aug 19, 2016
Susan Stephens

Around 3,000 students will move into Northern Illinois University today. 

NIU officials say this will result in nearly 5,000 vehicles on local roads. 

Traffic from I-88’s Annie Glidden Road exit will be routed down Fairview Drive and Nelson Road before going down Lincoln Highway. 

Routes on West Campus will be one-way, and increased traffic is expected along Sycamore’s retail corridor, especially around Target and Wal-Mart.  

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