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Events at NLU

NLU President Explores Tech Learning at Educelerate Megahed moderates keynote panel at conference



Dr. Nivlne Megahed, NLU President, from left, Raghu Krishnaiah, COO of Western Governors University and Phil Komarny, CEO of Robots and Pencils speak during the Educelerate keynote.

How can personalization in learning technology aid students? How can developers help instructors become comfortable with personalization technology? And can personalization help higher education attract more students and see them through to their degrees?

National Louis University President Nivine Megahed moderated the keynote panel at the Educelerate conference Sept. 24, guiding a discussion featuring presenters Raghu Krishnaiah, COO of Western Governors University and soon-to-be COO of the University of Phoenix, and Phil Komarny, CEO of app developer Robots and Pencils, which developed TEx, the University of Texas system learning app which debuted in early September 2015.

“Personalization is the latest trend everyone’s talking about, and it’s being proposed as an answer to the national achievement gap we’re all grappling with,” Megahed said at the day-long conference, held at NLU’s Chicago campus.

While personalized learning, often grouped with competency-based learning and adaptive learning, can mean different things to different people, the foundational idea is that it uses technology to let students learn at their own pace. For example, if a teacher is presenting a reading lesson to 30 students, the technology might enable students who have already mastered the material to receive more challenging assignments, and open up additional teaching time for students who need to catch up.

Noting the Lumina Foundation is predicting a shortage of 11 million college graduates to fill future workplace needs, Megahed asked how personalization could help address that.

“There is going to be a significant change in the way we think about education,” Krishnaiah said. In the past, education was seen as the transferring of knowledge from one person to another; it is now becoming seen as the absorption of knowledge, he explained.

Much of what Western Governors University has done involves bringing contextualization –making learning useful and putting it into context—and timing—supplying the learning at the time the student needs it— he said.

“What’s worked most for us is getting faculty engaged, and knowing what to do at that moment in time to help that student,” he said. As an online University, WGU’s faculty and students work from home, but through technology, faculty are able to have one-on-one conversations with a pool of 80 to 100 students.

That has helped Western Governors grow from 3,000 students to more than 60,000 students with graduation rates well above the national average, he said. Most graduates earn what they spent on their schooling within two years of graduation.

Komarny brought up the fact that teachers have to become comfortable with this way of teaching.

While a CIO at Seton Hall University, Komarny said he focused on using psychology to get faculty and others to use the technology. Both men agreed that faculty, students and others can be afraid of data, but if they can get over that, they will find it useful.

While they agreed data is only a tool, not the end goal of facilitating learning, Komarny said it’s important to get the right metrics in compiling data. However, holistic analytics can enable schools to take student experience and see it as one data set.

“All these things together give us a picture of the students,” he said. That’s one indicator educators can take into account as they consider personalization and responsive technologies for learning.

Grow your Student Experience this Spring; Give Back, Too The Winter blues are over, and we've planned plenty to get you out and about with your NLU Family with anything from service projects and professional development, to concerts and family art!

140512-NLU-CHICAGO-CAMPAS-MICHIGAN-AVE-41_smallIt’s spring outside. It might finally be here to stay. Around National Louis, it feels like things are just getting started. There are so many things to look forward to this term and we’re certain to keep you busy until the glory days of summer are upon us. Spring at National Louis is easy as 1, 2, 3.

#1 – Treat Yourself to Some Enlightenment & Professional Development

  • April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and activities are well under way. We will be focusing on important topics such as Healthy Relationships, Dating Violence, and Bystander Intervention. National Louis is actively working on policy changes, programming and training to ensure we have a safe and respectful environment for student learning.
  • Online Webinars are scheduled in April and May for the following topics: Domestic Violence, Overcoming Procrastination, and Making the Transition from Student to Professional. Join us from the comfort of home or work!
  • Is your LinkedIn profile polished, professional and ready to impress employers? Workshops are scheduled in Chicago, Wheeling, and Lisle the last week of April. Do not miss this opportunity, as it will help you prepare for the Spring Career Expo in Chicago on May 12th.

#2 – Show a Little Love to your Community

  • Donate to the NLU USO Drive and Support our Troops as we collect donations to send care packages overseas.
  • Join the Office of Student Experience during our Month of Service in May for a variety of community service projects including: assembling safe sex kits on May 6th, donating blood at the Lisle campus on May 13th, or visiting a high school and speaking to minority students on May 15th.
  • Looking for other ways to volunteer, or not sure what’s out there? Stop by the Virtual Volunteer Fair! Our Civic Engagement Team will be in Chicago April 28-30 from 12-6pm in the 6th floor Student Center. Not convinced? Check out our webinar Lead as You Lend a Hand on May 4th at 12pm where we will discuss how and why NLU students should be civically engaged.

#3 – Be a Part of the Inspiring NLU Family

  • April is also dedicated to Faculty Appreciation. Please take a minute to nominate a great faculty member for our annual Excellence in Teaching Award, post a Shout Out to recognize a faculty member who inspires you, and post a #nlufaculty selfie on Twitter with your favorite faculty!
  • Give back to NLU and become a SafeZone Ally. This special training program equips our students, faculty and staff with the opportunity to support the LGBTQ community on campus. RSVP:
  • Our NLU Family Day at the Art Institute of Chicago is May 16th.  All NLU community members and their guests will be granted free access to the museum. May 16th is also the Art Institute’s Family Festival; there will be activities all day for the whole family.
  • Join us for a little musical fun as we see RAIN: A Beatles Tribute at the Bank of America Theater. These Broadway in Chicago tickets will be on sale in May for $10. A limited number is available so let’s Come Together for a great night on May 21st.
  • For our graduating students, you will not want to miss Countdown to Graduation on May 27th in Chicago and May 28th in the suburbs (Lisle). Get your picture taken in a cap and gown, pick up a special graduation gift, and there will be fun activities for the whole family. Look for more details soon!

Former White House Staffer to Speak at NLU’s First Latino Family Conference Latino Families Invited to ‘Familias En Educación’ April 18

Hispanicgradandfamily¡Vamos a la Universidad! ¡Si, se puede!

Yes, you can go to college!

Come find out how to obtain grant and scholarship money for yourself, or your child, to attend college when National Louis University sponsors its first annual Latino Family Conference, “Familias en Educación,” on Saturday, April 18.

Las presentaciones e información serán in Español.  Presentations and information will be in Spanish.

Lunch and refreshments for the family will be provided at this free event, and there will be supervision for children younger than high school age.

Jose Rico, former executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and a National Louis University alum, will speak about why it’s so important for Latinos to attend college, and how a degree will open up opportunities.

You can also learn about the demand in the marketplace for educated Hispanic professionals, how parents can help students with their studies, and how to finance a university education, including grants and scholarships.

Please RSVP to or telephone 312-261-3064, so we may prepare the correct amount of food.

The event will be Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at National Louis University’s Wheeling Campus, 1000 Capitol Drive, Wheeling, Ill., in the first-floor Public Forum Room.

Join Peace Circle For Deeper Listening On Racial Understanding Tuesday event, first in a series, will focus on #BlackLivesMatter topic


By Wytress Richardson, Ed.D., and Mary Kelly, M.A., CAS

All are welcome to participate in the first in a series of PEACE CIRCLE events, which will take place at the Chicago Campus on Tuesday, March 24th from 6-8 pm.

The purpose of this series is to convene a diverse group of people (NLU students, alumni, and our community) for honest and respectful dialog about the Black Lives Matter Movement (racial understanding) . Trained circle-keepers will facilitate several intimate, interracial and inter-generational peace circle style conversations to foster deeper listening, understanding and respect, all precursors to real justice.
Peace Circles were inspired by both Native American and African Traditions of sharing dialogue in a circle to build unity. Continue reading »

Why Gestures Help Teachers Teach And Learners Learn: Profs Explain Original Research Nov. 3

ManGesturing'Speaking and gesturing are part of a single, integrated system, recent research has found.  Though people are often unaware of gesturing, hands can indeed talk—and help listen.

This finding can lend a key insight to both teachers and learners: the power of gesturing can help teachers teach, learners learn and teachers assess how much the students have learned.

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Meet the National Louis counseling team; they are here to help you!

Did you know that National Louis offers counseling services? With free support groups and mental health workshops, as well as affordable individual, couple and family counseling, there are plenty of ways to get extra support this school year.

Ask Us Anything
One quick way to get support is to send an email to with any question that you have. Your question will be answered within 24 hours by our trained counselors and you may find the answers, resources or relief that you are looking for. No question is too strange, and you might be surprised that you’re not the only one with the same concern!

Meet Your Counselors
The counselors at the NLU Counseling Center are well trained and dedicated to bringing lasting change to people’s lives. They are empathic, creative and focused on helping individuals, couples and families develop insight and health. Any of them are available for consultation. Simply email for more information.

Counseling1David Klow, LMFT
David is the owner of Skylight Counseling Center and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. David works creatively and collaboratively, drawing on ancient wisdom and modern practices to bring lasting transformation to people’s lives.

Counseling2Kristen Snell-Anzalone, LPC
Kristen works with adults, children, and couples.  Her focus is on individuals with histories of trauma, depression/mood disorders, parent-child attachment problems, spirituality, and women’s issues, particularly perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, work-life balance, and mind-body-spirit integration.

Counseling3Kathleen Farrell, AMFT
Kathleen believes that change comes from within.  As an experienced, compassionate therapist she has had tremendous success at empowering clients to effect positive change.  In addition to being a therapist, Kathleen is a certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer. She values the connection between the mind and body and enjoys working with clients to strengthen this connection.

Counseling4Kevin Lanham, LPC
Kevin focuses on empathically tuning into the client’s story and collaborating with the individual to create transformative change. Kevin aims to meet the needs of each client and discover how therapy will produce change in his or her life. Kevin’s interests include working with men, couples, anger management, depression, communication skills, and developing a sense of self-worth.

Counseling5Kate Engler, AMFT
Kate works with couples, families and individuals from diverse populations who want to live more fulfilling lives by addressing and helping to solve relationship challenges. She has a particular interest in working with those experiencing life transitions such as adolescents, couples moving into new phases of their relationship, and women exploring the “what’s next” in their lives.

Counseling6Johanna Davenport, Clinical Intern
Johanna works with adults, couples and families from diverse backgrounds who are seeking therapy to improve their lives. She focuses on individuals who have a history of trust issues, problematic relationships, substance abuse, work-life balance, depression, anxiety, low-self esteem, and transitions, particularly with twenty-somethings.

Our Next Event
Please join us for the next Mental Health & Wellness Workshop on Monday, October 27th from 4pm-5pm in the Chicago Campus Atrium. This month’s topic is on how to deal with feeling alone. When we can relate deeply and effectively with others, we become more effective in our lives, academics and work. Yet most of us don’t know the skills to be our best in our relationships with others. Learn how to instantly touch, move and inspire others and become more effective in your relationships with teachers, classmates and loved ones. More information is online available here.

This is a Free event. RSVP and join us for a chance to win a $25 e-campus gift card.

Students From Mexico Visit NLU For A Global Learning Experience

By Monica Haydee Ramos

National Louis University welcomed about 50 visiting students and professors from the Universidad del Valle de Atemajac (UNIVA) in Guadalajara, Mexico on Aug. 19.

They traveled to Chicago to experience NLU and the culture of Chicago. NLU students and faculty from the Chicago Teachers Partnership (CTPP) grant program participated in this event. Additionally, Rebeca Aguilar Quevedo, Coordinator of the Education Programs from the Department of Community Affairs at the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago, was the keynote speaker at this event. She addressed the importance of attaining a college degree and using that knowledge to foster leadership capabilities in the students’ communities and lives.

Continue reading »

‘And The Winner Is…’ NLU Faculty and Staff Receive Awards


Judah Viola, Ph.D., center, receives the Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Inquiry award from Stephen Thompson, Ph.D., and Christine Quinn, Ph.D.


Dana Piraino, M.Ed.,center, receives the Excellence in Teaching – Adjunct award from Christine Quinn, Ph.D., and Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.


Linda Kryzak, C.A.S.,center, receives the Excellence in Service and Engagement – Adjunct award from Christine Quinn, Ph.D., and Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.


Caryn Smith, center, receives a staff award from Eileen Murphy and Joel Hanshaw.


Stacy Shaw, center, receives a staff award from Eileen Murphy and Joel Hanshaw.

Peter Ploegman receives staff award.

Peter Ploegman, center, receives a staff award from Joel Hanshaw and Eileen Murphy.


Kate Zilla, Ph.D., center, receives the Excellence in Service and Engagement award from Christine Quinn, Ph.D., and Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.



Wytress Richardson, Ed.D., left, and Daniel Buckman, Ed.D., both received the Excellence in Teaching award.
























It’s always nice to receive a little extra recognition for hard work. Several NLU faculty and staff members got to enjoy that feeling of appreciation Sept. 4 at Fall Connections, when those who work and teach at NLU came together to rev up energy for the new school year.

Congratulations to the following awardees.

Excellence in Teaching Award:

Daniel Buckman, Ed.D., NCE

Wytress Richardson, Ed.D., CPSA


Excellence in Service and Engagement Award:

Kate Zilla, Ph.D., NCE

Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Inquiry Award:

Judah Viola, Ph.D., CPSA

Excellence in Teaching Adjunct Award:

Dana Piraino, M.Ed., NCE

Excellence in Service and Engagement Adjunct Award:

Linda Kryzak, C.A.S., National College of Education

Staff Awards:

Peter Ploegman

Stacy Shaw

Caryn Smith

Pulitzer Series brings big names to NLU

This year NLU has presented a strong lineup of programs to support our intellectual community.

In the fall we brought you TEDx, a series of independent TED talks exploring teacher voice.  We also hosted Startup Weekend, where an NLU alum and Dean Chris Cassirer were part of winning entrepreneurial ventures. Twice a year we partner with the Golden Apple Foundation and Chicago Shakespeare Theater to host a series of symposia on the changing landscape of the education system.

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What really happens at an educator job fair?

EJF RoomI just posted last month about how to prepare for a job interview, but what about preparing for a job fair and, realistically, what kind of results are possible?

There is no better way to answer these questions than to talk about what just happened on March 4th at the 2014 NLU Educator Job Fair hosted at NLU’s Lisle Campus. Held from 1pm-4pm with potential post-fair interviews taking place between 4:30pm-6:30pm, both the employer and student respondents to the post-fair satisfaction survey agree that the 2014 Educator Job Fair was a wild success.

Continue reading »