Spotlight on Faculty & Staff

NLU Prof Won Fulbright, Chairing Prestigious Caldecott Awards Dr. Junko Yokota credited with most diverse Caldecott book honors ever

junko yokota at wroclaw university

NLU’s Dr. Junko Yokota poses in front of the University of Wroclaw, Poland, where she is teaching on a Fulbright award.

NLU’s Junko Yokota, Ph.D., is having an amazing couple of years. Newspapers all over the world — in Korea, Turkey and Poland—are writing about her.

In 2013, she was chosen to chair the jury to determine the winners of the 2015 Caldecott  children’s book award. If you’ve ever browsed children’s books, you’ll recognize the Caldecott as one of the top honors in this category of literature.

In Spring 2014, she won a Fulbright award to teach  childrens’ literature, in English, at the University of Wroclaw in Poland. The Fulbright is a highly selective  academic exchange program administered by the U.S. State Department.

“My students are studying American literature, translation, teaching of English, and other such fields, and a few are writing their master’s theses on children’s literature,” she wrote, adding that they grew up with Polish books but speak and write English very well.

Additionally, Yokota was president of the jury for the globally influential International Children’s Book Festival on Nami Island in South Korea.

“I am quite active in the international children’s literature scene, and have served as a jury member of various awards,” she wrote.

So when the Nami Concours (book competition) started two years ago, and organizers began to assemble an international jury from Russia, Iran, Malaysia, Brazil and Japan/USA, they picked Yokota, due to her valued reputation in the children’s literature field.

They asked her to serve as inaugural chair and then continue as chair for the second term.

During the festival, a Korean newspaper quoted Yokota as saying the jury selected books with “soul” that kids would want to keep coming back to.

Meanwhile, Yokota spent a lot of time in 2014 with her Caldecott committee, reading, analyzing and studying the year’s crop of picture books. The winners they chose, announced in February, garnered praise for inclusion and diversity.

Yokota will present the Caldecott awards to the winners June 28 in San Francisco at the  annual conference of the American Library Association.

Her Fulbright duties will also wrap up at the end of June. She has been asked to speak all across Poland, from universities to conferences to book fairs. She wrote four articles during her time in Poland, and one will be published in a Polish journal.

Yokota also squeezed in time in May to keynote at the International Board on Books for Young People conference in Malaysia, about “Expanding the ways we tell stories in print and digital formats.”

Will she take time to rest after she returns to Chicago June 20?

“Rest? Why? So many exciting opportunities!” she responded.

“I have a full summer planned with CTCB work, research and writing, and more options than I can accomplish.”

She’ll  continue research and applying for future opportunities to extend her work. But first, she has a souvenir to unpack.

“I want to connect with the Polish school that meets at NLU’s North Shore campus (Skokie) and offer a talk on contemporary Polish picture books for the parents and teachers,” she said. “I am bringing home a big box of Polish picture books for exhibit in CTCB!”

NLU Prof: I’m Here to Listen, See World Through Your Eyes Oxford Blog describes NLU Prof Mark Larson's conversational approach to oral histories

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 11.47.48 AMMark Larson was interviewed twice by the noted Chicago-based interviewer Studs Terkel.

“I know what it is like to be listened to for an extended session and with intense curiosity,” Larson wrote in the Oxford University Press blog. ” I believe everyone deserves a chance to be heard that way.”

Thus Larson, an assistant professor of education in National Louis University’s National College of Education, has started his own blog, American Stories Continuum, to showcase the oral history interviews he conducts–about 200 so far. Continue reading »

Viola Posts Tips To National Association Blog

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.07.16 PMJudah Viola, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences within NLU’s College of Professional Studies and Advancement, recently published a post on the American Evaluators Association blog.

Viola provided tips to build an independent consulting practice specializing in program evaluation and collaborative community research.

You can see the post by clicking here.

 

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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Can Academics Solve the Tricky Problem of Global Illiteracy? Two NLU Profs Give It Their Best Shot

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Across the globe, 781 million adults cannot read or write, according to UNESCO.

Is it crazy to think academics can help developing nations solve that problem, even as those nations grapple with hunger, disease, lack of infrastructure and other quagmires?

Not after an enthusiastic conversation with Anthony Cree, O.A.M., an NLU visiting professor, and Professor James O’Meara, Director of NCE Program Analysis and Development  at NLU. The two Australian-born professors, who organize conferences which attract heads of state and education ministers from around the globe, talk passionately about how raising literacy levels can raise standards of living, improve health and spark learning in struggling nations.

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WBEZ 91.5 interviews NLU Professor Lauren Heidbrink on the influx of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from Central America

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.08.46 AMWBEZ reporter Odette Yousef interviewed Lauren Heidbrink, Ph.D. on her book, titled Migrant Youth, Transnational Families and the State: Care and Contested Interests, and her recent field study work in the Departments of San Marcos and Quezaltenango in western Guatemala. Dr. Heidbrink is an anthropologist, Co-Director of the NLU Public Policy program, and teaches in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department.

Full story and interview available here.

Teaching is an art, not a science

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 10.21.20 AMJohn Paulette, an adjunct professor at NLU, contributed to the Chicago Sun-times “Summer School,” series in which area teachers weigh in on the big challenges facing education. As a mentor to young teachers, Paulette shares his insight on the need for teachers to find “their true teaching selves.” Read more.

NLU Professor offers unique insight into the realities of unaccompanied migrant children

heidbrinkblogWith an unprecedented increase of Central American migrant children to the U.S., there is an urgent need to examine the realities of children beyond their initial apprehension by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. While the issue has recently garnered widespread attention, the following insights remain absent from the national conversation:

  • Detailed accounts of conditions within Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities,
  • Discussion of the long-term impacts of migration and detention on children, and
  • Experiences of children and their families following deportation.

Migrant Youth, Transnational Families, and the State, by Lauren HeidbrinkIn her book, Migrant Youth, Transnational Families and the State: Care and Contested Interests, NLU Assistant Professor Lauren Heidbrink, Ph.D. takes a timely look at how young migrants navigate the legal and emotional terrain beyond apprehension while examining essential areas surrounding this issue. Over a three-year period, she observed operations in 12 facilities, interviewed over 100 migrant youth from 19 countries both in detention and following release, and interviewed over 350 stakeholders in the U.S., El Salvador, and Guatemala.

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In the Spotlight: Monica Haydee Ramos, Student Success Coach

Monica Ramos“I came to the U.S. with the dream of providing my family with a better quality of life and the ability to help others through education and empowerment.”

Those are the words of Monica Haydee Ramos, Student Success Coach at NLU — a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, and a first-generation college student who earned her B.A. in Education and Human Development from the Universidad del Valle de Atemajac (UNIVA) before coming to Illinois eight years ago.

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A new chapter for online learning at NLU

shutterstock_97376669The power of online learning in higher education is undeniable. Classes hosted via the Web grant more flexibility to students — particularly working adults, who are trying to juggle their studies with busy lives. They give faculty the chance to bring in other media — video, audio and message boards — to better engage students. And institutions may benefit by increasing their reach beyond campus without paying for new buildings in other locations.

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