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NLU’s Reading Recovery Conference Takes Place Jan. 23-25 Event attracts hundreds of reading teachers and others to hear top speakers

Mary Ann Poparad, Ph.D., director of the Center for Reading Recovery and Descubriendo La Lectura at National Louis University, welcomed guests at a previous annual Reading Recovery conference.

More than 1,000 teachers, reading specialists and others will be attending National Louis University’s annual Illinois Comprehensive Literacy and Reading Recovery Conference, to be held Jan. 23-25 this year.

Reading Recovery is an evidence-based professional development model designed to ensure that the children who struggle the most with early literacy learning gain the skills they need. Continue reading »

Watch Lunar Eclipse Sunday, NLU Science Club Advises The moon may appear blood red, says student-led group

 

It’s time to get your binoculars and camera phone ready. This Sunday, Jan. 20,  a total lunar eclipse will take place and National Louis University’s student-led Science Club wants you to see it.

“We in Chicago, as well as half the world, will be able to see it if it’s clear outside Sunday night,” said Roy Kaelin, assistant professor of science for NLU’s Undergraduate College. Continue reading »

Tribune’s ‘Best of 2018’ Features Kendall Instructor Jim DeWan DeWan writes a 'bitingly' funny column highlighting food and recipes

Crispy, cheesy, crunchy, salty–who could resist this kind of deliciousness?

Certainly not James DeWan, assistant professor at Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at National Louis University.

DeWan has been penning a witty and informative column called “Prep School” for the Chicago Tribune since 2005. His “Cheese Toast” column, originally printed Dec. 20, featured the recipe for the parmesan- and cheddar-sprinkled gems and proved so irresistible to Tribune food writer Joe Gray that he selected them for his article,  “10 Best Recipes of 2018.” Continue reading »

NLU Ranks Highly in Educating Military Veterans College Factual ranks NLU No. 7 in Illinois for military-connected students

National Louis University ranks seventh in Illinois, out of 65 colleges, in College Factual’s 2019 Best Colleges for Veterans rankings. That places NLU in the top 10 percent of colleges and universities in the state for veteran friendliness, according to College Factual, which performs data analytics for colleges and universities. Continue reading »

‘Inside Higher Ed’ Features NLU President’s Advocacy for Students Dr. Nivine Megahed wrote an opinion essay for the national magazine

Deeply concerned about an uptick in government bureaucracy that is likely pushing students out of college, National Louis University President Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., wrote an opinion essay outlining her thoughts on the situation.

Inside Higher Ed, a national magazine covering higher education, published Megahed’s essay Jan. 8, providing national exposure and highlighting the real-world cost of raising the paperwork bar for students. Continue reading »

Tribune: Criminal Justice Prof Says Shooting Victims’ Moms Help Seek Clues Richard Schak, chair of NLU's program, formerly worked as homicide detective

A recent Chicago Tribune article shed light on the experience of Chicago mothers who have lost children to the city’s senseless shootings. The article, “75 Shot: Mothers of the slain keep waiting for the call even when cases grow cold,” profiled mothers who regularly telephone the detectives working on their slain children’s cases, and detailed the fact that mothers often beat the bushes to help find clues. They search Facebook, post flyers and ask neighborhood people for information. Continue reading »

Case Study: NLU Data, Team Helps Students Make Breakthroughs Coaches, instructors team up to monitor data for early stumbles, reach out to help students

As a National Louis University team of instructors and success coaches met for its weekly review of students’ data, they noticed that the A and B grades of one sophomore in the Pathways at NLU program had begun to drop. After conferring quickly around the table, they decided this student’s coach should reach out to the student.

The coach discovered that the student did not have a stable home and was also struggling with having a dependable job and income. Many Pathways students come from under-resourced families in underserved Chicago-area neighborhoods, so they face realities such as having to work full-time, pay rent and care for family members.  In this case, the coach worked with the student to find stable housing and employment. Without such intervention, the student would likely have dropped out of higher education.

This anecdote appears in the newly-released Case Study of Pathways at NLU, an explainer on how the Pathways team uses thoughtful data techniques, human mentoring and other strategies to help disadvantaged students enter and persist in college and graduate with four-year degrees. The team continuously refines these methods in order to improve outcomes and share the most effective techniques with other educators.

The case study highlights Pathways’ ultimate goal of educating students who might not otherwise have gone to college and preparing them for fulfilling careers and economic mobility. In the 2017-18 class of Pathways’ students, for example, 82 percent were eligible for Pell grants, 82 percent were the first generation in their families to attend college, were 94 percent underrepresented minorities and had an average high school GPA of 2.7.

Now in its fourth year, the program is succeeding on measures of growth, academic progress and retention. Enrollment has grown from the original 85 students to more than 1,000. In terms of academic performance, the number of “on track to graduate” students has grown from 60 percent for the first cohort to 76 percent for the 2017-18 cohort. The retention rate between years one and two for the first two cohorts was 70 percent, outperforming the 53 percent persistence rate for Chicago Public Schools students with similar academic profiles at other higher education institutions.

Many factors contribute to helping Pathways at NLU and its students succeed. These include an affordable $10,000 tuition rate, which is covered by grants for many students, personalized learning technology and two-day-a-week blended class schedules.

However, Pathways’ two most important weapons against failure have become people, in the form of student success coaches and instructors, and data, or more specifically, smart ways of using data to gain insights into how students are doing.

The case study explains how NLU’s Pathways team uses data to track students’ progress weekly, to help give instructors a big-picture view of how students are doing so they can adjust coursework if necessary, and identify trends or challenges in the courses and course sequences so that the team can make improvements.

Some of Pathways’ most notable successes have taken place when coaches and instructors gather weekly to go over student data, notice something that stands out, confer among themselves and then reach out to a student to offer supportive assistance. As in the story at the beginning of this post, sometimes this outreach makes the difference between a student continuing in college or dropping out.

These small successes are usually unheralded, but they are deserving of fanfare. They are the places where the “rubber” of life challenges meets the “road” of academic work, and a university prepared to help students navigate this juncture is better able to see them through to graduation. While National Louis University’s team members continue to refine methods and strategies, they are gratified at the successes so far and willing to share and expand their findings with educators, researchers, funders and others interested in closing the opportunity gap for students who face an uphill climb toward their college diplomas.

View the case study here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WTTW’s ‘Chicago Tonight’ Features NLU President, Student Channel 11 show focused on topic of FAFSA verifying students' incomes

WTTW-Channel 11’s “Chicago Tonight” show aired a segment last night featuring interviews with National Louis University President Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., and Gustavo Garcia, a sophomore student. Many other undergraduates were featured in the background footage that the WTTW crew filmed in the sixth-floor lounge on Dec. 5. Continue reading »