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Spotlight on Faculty & Staff

NLU’s Viola provides Keynote address at China Community Psychology Conference

After two faculty members from China attended the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) conference hosted by National Louis University in June, they were enthusiastic about asking Associate Professor, Dr. Judah Viola, to attend and present as the keynote speaker at the 5th annual National Conference of Community Psychologists at Hebei Normal University in Shijiazhuang, China. The keynote address, How Community Psychologists Support Health and Wellness in the United States and What Relevance this has for Community Psychology in China summarized the range of applied research and action that U.S. based community psychologists are involved in today and presented community-based research findings from Dr. Viola’s work in Chicagoland and across the country.

(Dr. Judah Viola with Dr. Houchao Lyu, Southwest University and Dr. Jiehua Huang, Guangzhou University in Shijiazhuang China)

The address described the health and social issues of chronic disease prevention and management in a variety of settings ranging from government agencies and universities, to private companies. Dr. Viola provided an overview of the work happening across the United States in collaboration with coalitions to prevent obesity, training people with disabilities and their parents to partner with schools and local officials to more fully include people with disabilities in community settings, and supporting men who are coming out of drug treatment or jail to rebuild relationships with their children. The presentation provided quantitative and qualitative data that will help China-based community psychologists to design, evaluate, and adapt similar projects described in Dr. Viola’s presentation. The research collaboration begun this summer aims to support relevant cultural, social, and health related issues across the globe.

“I was thrilled to represent NLU and U.S. community psychologists as we had a vibrant exchange of ideas with colleagues from across over 20 universities in China.  The visit will continue to bear fruit as I collaborate with Chinese community psychologists on cross-cultural research and engage National Louis students in this work going forward,” Dr. Viola stated regarding this opportunity for collaboration. Dr. Viola exemplifies NLU’s mission by sharing innovative ways to engage in the support health and wellness locally and globally. You can learn more about Dr. Viola’s research and scholarship here: https://works.bepress.com/judah_viola/.

NLU Faculty In Action: Gates Foundation Data-informed Instruction Case Study Supports Underrepresented Students

Five National Louis University faculty members partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in a new case study that explored instructional strategic “best practices” and “strengths-based approaches” for supporting students inside and outside of the classroom using data informed learnings. Tara Bryant-Edwards, Lisa Downey, Bethany Harding, Doug McCoy, Margeaux Temeltas, and Stephanie Poczos contributed their expertise to the study.

The case study spotlights the usage of data to support teaching, including faculty content meetings that help with instructional planning to meet learning objectives, individualizing instruction, and interventions to promote success with at-risk students. The case study uses specific data such as the “early-warning sign data” to provide critical support for students to persist towards graduation. These data points promote collaboration amongst other colleagues and departments to give undergraduate students the best chance at success.

The data described in the case study support faculty intervention and allow for intentional adjustments in best practices for the classroom, while also assisting in reaching students on a holistic level. The data provide faculty members the ability to make accommodations in the classroom lectures, to utilize resources on campus in the classroom such as the writing support team and student success coaches, and to create individualized plans to help break down assignments in manageable sections.

This case study led by NLU faculty and sponsored by the Gates Foundation is another step the institution is taking to support undergraduate students, ensuring the best practices are being applied in and outside of the classroom. The methods described in the case study support the use of technology, data-driven instruction, individualized instruction, faculty collaboration, interaction with students, and active classrooms. The case study can be found here.

Jason Stegemoller, Associate Professor, Has Been Appointed as Part of the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education (IACBE)

Jason Stegemoller, Associate Professor and chair of ESL/Bilingual Education, has been appointed as part of the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The purpose of the Advisory Council on Bilingual Education is to advise the State Superintendent of the ISBE on issues which relate to the educational needs of students whose first language is not English.  With NLU as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and Professor Stegemoller’s major aspect of work at NLU, teaching and serving as chair for ESL and bilingual education coursework, the advisory council position aligns well.

“I accepted this position because I am proud of the policy context for bilingual education in Illinois,” stated Professor Stegemoller. “I am excited to be part of the council that advises on policy and rules on bilingual education in a context that recognizes the assets of bilingual students. We have upwards of 400 students taking ESL and bilingual endorsement courses each term. I hope to have an impact on policies related to teaching emergent bilingual students, and preparing educators to teach them.”

The Advisory Council consists of 17 members whose experience or knowledge of the various programs of bilingual education are instrumental within the community and in institutions of higher learning. The goal of the Council is to review educational issues including certifications, finance, and special education within a bilingual setting. The group will meet 4 times a year to review, discuss, and rules pertaining to bilingual education within the state.

More information, including reports, other members, and public comment policy can be found here.

Surge Institute, Empowering Leaders of Color, Names NLU’s Perez a Fellow

Alison Regalado Perez, Associate Director of Undergraduate Enrollment and Partnerships in the Undergraduate College, has been named a 2020 Chicago Surge Fellow through the Surge Institute, whose mission is to educate, develop, and prepare leaders of color in the field of education.

The Chicago-based Surge Institute selected 25 young leaders, including Perez, for its yearlong program, which includes executive skill training, leadership development, and exposure to respected leaders and policymakers in education. Fellows will develop their own leadership and advocacy skills and will also complete individual capstone projects.

Perez joined NLU UGC Enrollment team in May 2017, and has since been working to increase enrollment by establishing strong partnerships with college access focused organizations within high school districts. According to Perez, her goal with the partnerships is to “increase awareness of NLU and of all the fantastic supports we offer to students so that they feel confident that NLU is a good fit for them.”

The Surge Institute will deepen Perez’s skills for her NLU career. Perez indicates that she is looking forward to everything she will learn at the institute. “I want to grow my professional skill set and develop my voice and executive presence so that my work can have a deeper and more meaningful impact on students,” Perez said. “I am also looking forward to gaining the resources and supports to meaningfully show up for students every day on every project and be part of a community that supports and guides me to build an education system that will change the lives of young people.”

Congratulations and good luck on this new endeavor, Alison!

Find out more about NLU’s Undergraduate College

See the complete list of 2020 Surge Fellows.

Condolences: NLU Faculty Member, Alum, Curriculum Creator Nancy Naughten earned master's degrees in education, taught at elementary, middle school and college levels

Nancy Naughten, a lifelong educator who earned two master’s degrees at National Louis University and taught here for 15 years, passed away in early February at age 69.

Naughten started her career teaching at elementary and middle schools, including St. Raymond’s School in Mount Prospect, Illinois, and Glenview District 34 schools.  In her first teaching position, she was a primary reading teacher. In order to learn more ways to meet the needs of her young readers, Naughten earned her first master’s degree in reading at Roosevelt University.

After 10 years as a reading teacher, Naughten accepted a position as an instructional specialist and reading coordinator in Glenview District 34, where she worked for 12 years. In this position, she developed an understanding of how teachers could provide educational opportunities to reach and teach young adolescents.

District 34’s Springman Middle School changed from being a junior high to a true middle school while she was working there. Springman is now a Horizon Award Middle School. This was a pivotal time in Naughten’s career which prompted her to earn a master’s degree in Middle-Level Education at National Louis University.

She began teaching at National Louis University in 2003, and earned another master’s degree as an educational specialist. Her passion was creating curriculum that engages and motivates students to want to learn.

Naughten wrote two of the Middle-Level endorsement courses for online learning which were later approved as Quality Matters Courses. Hundreds of NLU students earned their middle school endorsement in these courses.

Naughten enjoyed teaching for many reasons. She enjoyed working with energetic new teachers and those who were coming back for the Middle School Endorsement. She agreed with the philosophy of Parker Palmer, author of The Courage to Teach, “After three decades of trying to learn my craft, every class comes down to this: my students and I, face to face, (or online) engaged in an ancient and exacting exchange called education.”  Naughten retired from NLU in June 2018.

The National Louis University community extends condolences to Nancy Naughten’s family and friends.

Continue reading »

Video: Prof’s Project Helps Engage Veterans, Prevent Suicides Cari Stevenson says grant-funded project helps veterans express emotions

Veterans in PhotoVoice project.

Three of the veterans in the PhotoVoice project preview a photo. Cari Stevenson ’17, a National Louis University alum and adjunct professor, facilitates the project at Kankakee Community College with a grant from the Movember Foundation.

Click. Robert Perez, a military veteran, takes a gorgeous photo of a river flanked with trees. Click. He takes another of the neat rows of a mid-summer cornfield. Click. And a photo of the faithful brown dog following him around, tongue hanging out.

He’s participating in the PhotoVoice project, which encourages veterans to bond by capturing photo images that have meaning for them. And a new video features Perez, his fellow veteran friends and two National Louis University professors. Continue reading »

Find Out Who Won NLU Teaching, Staff Excellence Awards NLU presented four teaching awards, two staff awards

Congratulate the winners of National Louis University’s annual Excellence awards for faculty and staff. The University announced them Sept. 7.

Excellence in Teaching Award

National Louis University Professor Kristin Lems, Ph.D., second from left, holds her Excellence in Teaching award. Also pictured are Leslie Katch, Ph.D., assistant professor, at left, NLU President Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., and Assistant Provost Michael Carr, Ph.D.

Kristin Lems, Ph.D., professor of ESL/Bilingual Education in NLU’s National College of Education, won the Excellence in Teaching Award. Continue reading »

People, Organizational Culture Drew Nilsen To Human Resources, I/O Psych She'll oversee new HR and Industrial/Organizational Psych dual masters program

Janice Nilsen, Ph.D. heads a dual master's degree program in Human Resources Management and Industrial/Organizational Psychology at National Louis University.

Janice Nilsen, Ph.D., heads National Louis University’s dual master’s degree program in Human Resources Management and Development and Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Janice Nilsen, Ph.D., has used her natural  “people person” abilities to grow in a human resources career that has evolved over time.

She has spent years in the business world, including high-level training and human resources roles at Sears and Office Max. She has also valued education by earning her MBA at the University of Notre Dame and her Ph.D. in Organizational Development at Benedictine University (in 2016). Continue reading »

NLU Faculty Appear, Share Expertise On TV, In Newspapers Profs share holiday advice, discuss goals to better society

newsmediaiconDo you need a holiday gift for a child? Want to avoid family fights during the holidays? Perhaps you’d like to learn to support a grieving friend during the holidays, or find out how one of NLU’s deans formed his ideals and goals while playing basketball as a youth.

NLU faculty have appeared in the media recently discussing all these topics. Here’s a rundown: Continue reading »

Dr. Oliver: More than Sidewalks and Sewers, City Managers Can Create Justice, Opportunities Meet NLU's New Public Policy & Administration Chair

malcolmoliveratpostelectionforumWhen Malcolm Oliver boarded a plane for a study-abroad  program in South Africa in 2002, he didn’t know he was embarking on a decades-long journey trying to help create a society with opportunities for all citizens.

Nor did he imagine he would someday champion wonky city planners, even more than glib politicians or inspiring social-reform leaders, as the people who create the real-life conditions in which social justice can blossom. Continue reading »