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All posts by Pam DeFiglio

Tech Companies, Universities Connect To Better Prep Students for Jobs Tech companies want soft-skills, problem-solving ability, lifelong learners

161129-america-urban-campus-roundtable-020In an employer’s ideal world, universities would prepare students for their careers with the right mix of foundational knowledge, skills and practical experience that hiring companies seek. Instead, however, many potential employers, at least in the tech industry,  are finding that hiring and training newly-minted graduates can be a bumpy process.

In an effort to stem the disconnect and communicate about how universities can give students the preparation employers seek, the Illinois Technology Association convened a “Forecast Roundtable” event on Nov. 29. America’s Urban Campus, a consortium of 22 Chicago universities (including National Louis University), and World Business Chicago acted as co-conveners. Continue reading »

CBS 2 News Interviews NLU’s Schak as Expert in Report on Possible Terrorist Casing

schakonwbbmCBS’ WBBM Channel 2 TV News‘ Brad Edwards turned to the director of NLU’s Criminal Justice program, Professor Richard Schak, for his expertise on criminal matters.

Schak, who worked as a Chicago Police Department homicide detective and achieved the rank of sergeant, also worked in private investigations before founding NLU’s Criminal Justice program. Continue reading »

Governor Awards Student Nancy Zhu Lincoln Laureate Honor One student from each Illinois university was honored for achievements

 

nancy-with-certificateNLU student Nancy Zhu received the Lincoln Laureate award for her academic achievement and contributions in a ceremony Nov. 12 in Springfield,  Illinois.

Zhu, a senior who will graduate in June with a B.A. in Elementary Education with Middle School Endorsement, has a 3.75 GPA. She also serves as treasurer for Debate team, and as vice-president in the National Society of Leadership and Success, NLU’s honor society. Continue reading »

Chicago Tribune: Responding to Hungry Child, Prof Started Turkey Donations After Sadia Warsi started drive, Muslim volunteers tripled it this year

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-11-39-52-amIn “Chicago Muslims Give Thanks, 5000 Turkeys,” the Chicago Tribune’s Manya Brachear Pashman wrote about how the Chicago Muslim community has tripled the number of turkeys it gives away to parents of Chicago Public Schools students in low-income neighborhoods on Chicago’s South side.

The turkey drive started 16 years ago when Sadia Warsi, Ph.D., now an assistant professor in NLU’s Early Childhood and Special Education programs, was teaching in a CPS third-grade classroom.

A boy in her class told her he wished simply for food in his family’s refrigerator.

The Tribune quoted Warsi  saying, “I was shocked that in a country like ours that was a child’s wish.”

Warsi asked members of Chicago’s Muslim community to provide turkeys, and the effort grew. With its expansion this year, volunteers will provide turkeys to parents in eight CPS schools in three underserved neighborhoods.

Read the Chicago Tribune article here. 

Prof in Tribune On Keeping Thanksgiving Peace: ‘Relationships Outlast a Presidency’ Dr. Claudia Pitts gives tips to preserve family ties when opinions differ at Thanksgiving

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-4-13-11-pmThe Chicago Tribune turned to NLU’s Claudia Pitts, Ed.D., for its Nov. 19 article, “This Thanksgiving, Should You Go Cold Turkey On Political Talk?”

In the article, reporter Kate Thayer gave an example of an individual who was wary of gathering with extended family at the Thanksgiving table because he normally votes blue, while the rest of his family votes red. He was anticipating a lot of tension.

Pitts, associate professor in NLU’s Psychology program, cautioned that while feelings are running very high these days, it’s important to take the long view and remember that kinship bonds unite you.

“These are relationships that I hope outlast a presidency,” Pitts said. “Remind yourself that even though you disagree with these people, these are your people.”

She recommended a “diffuse, distract and decline” strategy. If someone is spouting political statements you don’t agree with, you can try to soften or “diffuse” the meaning; you could also distract by changing the subject. If there’s no escaping it, however, you can flat out decline: “I’d prefer not to talk about this at a holiday gathering.” Then before anyone else can take a breath, be prepared to launch neutral topics of conversation.

Find more tips to navigate the holiday conversation in the Chicago Tribune article. 

Also, see “15 Ways To Keep the Election Results From Spoiling Your Family’s Thanksgiving,” which includes tips from both Pitts and NLU’s Susan Thorne-Devin, LCSW, assistant professor of Counseling.

Prof on ‘Chicago Tonight’: Keep Post-Election Peace at Family Thanksgiving Table Susan Thorne-Devin gives WTTW viewers tips on how not to let political bitterness spoil family get-togethers

susantdAs families prepare to come together for Thanksgiving dinner, many are worrying that relatives’ strong–and opposing–views about the presidential election may cause unappetizing arguments.

NLU’s Claudia Pitts, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychology, and Susan Thorne-Devin, LCSW, assistant professor in Counseling, have prepared a list of 15 “Tips to Keep the Election Results From Spoiling Your Family’s Thanksgiving.” 

The Chicago Tribune interviewed Pitts, and Thorne-Devin appeared on WTTW Channel 11’s “Chicago Tonight” show.  She talked about strategies for keeping peace in the family with host Phil Ponce and fellow guest Mark Reinecke, chief of psychology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

She suggested inviting a buffer person, dialing down the intensity of the conversation, providing a segue to a neutral topic, having the hostess set a “no political talk” rule and other strategies.

Click here to view the 10-minute segment. 

Click here to view “Tips to Keep the Election Results From Spoiling Your Family’s Thanksgiving”

 

 

Faculty, Alums Champion Community Schools, Release Book Carlos Azcoitia and Ted Purinton co-edited the book, with chapters by three alums

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Carlos Azcoitia listens to a speaker, while Ted Purinton looks over notes at the “Creating Engagement Between Schools and their Communities” event, held at NLU’s North Shore campus Nov. 4.

The vision of schools as thriving community centers, enjoying camaraderie and bustling with activities for students, parents and other community members, took center stage at an NLU book release party Nov. 4.

Carlos Azcoitia, Ed.D., distinguished professor of practice at NLU, and Ted Purinton, Ed.D., dean of the graduate school of education at American University in Cairo, and former chair of NLU’s Department of Educational Leadership,  led a panel discussion on the book they co-edited, “Creating Engagement Between Schools and Their Communities: Lessons from Educational Leaders” (Lexington Books). Continue reading »

Tribune: NLU Student Went From 320 Pounds to Running Marathon The Trib's Heidi Stevens chronicled Gaylon Alcatraz' inner and outer journeys

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-10-58-51-amThe Chicago Tribune’s Heidi Stevens wrote a column about NLU student Gaylon Alcaraz, who was tipping the scales at 320 pounds when she decided to join Weight Watchers in 2012.

She started walking a little bit, too, to get some exercise. A friend who was involved with an African-American women’s running group asked her to do a 5K, running when she could and walking when she could not.  Continue reading »

Love Writing? Meet Writers, Get Inspiration and Cake at MOSAIC Party Oct. 24 Authors, writers from Tribune and Sun-Times will share tips

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-33-02-pmIf you are a writer, you know the most important reason for eating cake: to allow a few more minutes of procrastination while you stare at a blank screen.

Beat that procrastination problem Monday evening, Oct. 24, at the MOSAIC Writers’ Party at National Louis University’s Chicago campus, 122 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. You’ll get so much inspiration from four well-known writers that you won’t need excuses to start writing that first paragraph. Continue reading »

NLU Partners With Year Up To Ready Students To Achieve Program uses education, internships to prepare struggling youth to work

yearupnlubreakfast

Year Up alum Brahulio Ignez, from left, Cook County state’s attorney candidate Kim Foxx, NLU President Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., Year Up Executive Director Jack Crowe and Year Up alums Charlotte Norman and Steven Cannon pose for a photo at the Year Up breakfast on Oct. 14.

The young people who find themselves at Year Up, a non-profit which offers 18-24-year-olds a yearlong preparation for the working world, have many different stories. Some had parents who had died, or were too ill to take care of them. Many lived in challenging neighborhoods where they didn’t know people who had steady jobs and stable home lives. Most of them didn’t have plans for college or a career, and some barely had enough income for day-to-day life.

All of them eventually heard about Year Up, and in a defining moment of their lives, applied and were accepted. Year Up partners with educational institutions to offer six months of education and six months of internship in a business. After they complete the program, 85 percent of graduates become employed or enroll in higher education within six months. Continue reading »