Baseball Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean, whose illustrious career included four seasons with the Chicago Cubs, left a legacy of athleticism and personality often summed up by his famous declaration that “it ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up.”
Please allow me to brag.
For the second consecutive year, NIU is the home of the Illinois Professor of the Year.
Brianno Coller, a Presidential Teaching Professor in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, is our state’s 2015 honoree of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
To quantify the prestige of last week’s announcement, which came only one year after we celebrated Dan Gebo’s receipt of the 2014 title, consider that Brianno was singled out among the thousands of professors in our state. What’s more, the national group of honorees includes only 35 – not 50 – professors.
NIU is thrilled and proud, of course, but we are not surprised.
Our mission and vision statement values “access for a broad spectrum of students to high-quality undergraduate, graduate and professional programs that prepare them to be lifelong learners and productive, socially conscious citizens” and “engaged teaching and learning that evolves from the synergy of research, artistry and service.”
And what Brianno does, just as Dan and all of their colleagues throughout our seven colleges do, is to provide these kinds of dynamic learning experiences that ignite Student Career Success.
Stories of Brianno’s teaching reveal his passionate and tireless ambition to improve his instruction to boost the academic mastery of students.
Rather than just supplying the correct answers to questions, he’s more likely to point students in the right direction. Rather than drowning students in formulas and equations, he’s more likely to join them in applying those engineering principles by fashioning and flying drones on campus.
When he discovered years ago that his lectures weren’t reaching every student, he explored literature on how people learn and found inspiration to design educational video games. Want to win? You’d better know your physics.
Brianno’s games, both fun and educational, empower students to “construct” their own knowledge by connecting new material with what they already knew. This is the type of engaged teaching that leads to a higher order of learner that allows students to diagnose and solve real problems.
Considering our commitment to building the future, I’m excited by Brianno’s innovative spirit in and out of the classroom – and I’m thankful that he and his colleagues understand the value of teaching that helps transform students. It’s more than lectures, readings and tests. It’s about sparking imaginations, nurturing curiosities, prompting experimentation and mining valuable lessons from failure.
As president, I am grateful for the opportunities and preparation we provide to students who plan to change the world.
I hope the coming days of Thanksgiving gatherings with your family and friends bring you joy.
Despite being the top seed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, Northern Illinois was swept by Ohio in the championship on Sunday in Athens, Ohio.
DeKALB – Three games, three wins for the Northern Illinois men’s basketball team.
For the first time since 2011, the Northern Illinois volleyball team had the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year and Setter of the Year.
DeKALB – Ever since she was in grade school, Ally Lehman wanted to be a soldier.
The Northern Illinois men’s basketball team continued their hot start to the season with a win over Wright State on Sunday afternoon, 65-59.
DeKALB – One more win clinches the Mid-American Conference West title for the Northern Illinois volleyball team.
Since its grand opening in 1995, the NIU-Rockford Education Center at 8500 E. State St. has welcomed hundreds of thousands of students, clients and community members for classes, meetings, community gatherings and special events.
As part of its 20th anniversary celebration today, the university launched the NIU EIGERlab Coworking Space in what was formerly the center’s library.
“This celebration comes at an exciting time for NIU and our longstanding engagement efforts in the Rockford area,” said NIU President Doug Baker. “Over the course of the last year, we have put a number of initiatives into place to help expand the region’s innovation capacity, enhance opportunities and support for aspiring entrepreneurs and start-ups, and develop the engineering and high-tech workforce.”
EIGERlab, the well-known Rockford business incubator/accelerator, was acquired by NIU from the Rockford Area Economic Development Council in December 2014. The NIU EIGERlab continues to serve the region with business acceleration and product development services, along with the new coworking space at NIU-Rockford.
“In this space, we are continuing the EIGERlab tradition and expanding it by building an energetic ecosystem of solopreneuers, early-stage product-based growth companies and existing private business owners,” says Dan Cataldi, executive director of NIU EIGERlab. “Entrepreneurs can access business coaching, mentors, investor networks and anything else needed to accelerate the commercialization of their business ideas.”
Visitors to the NIU EIGERlab Coworking Space find a comfortable, professional space with people of all ages working on laptops, having spontaneous conversations with like-minded individuals and meeting with business partners and mentors. In operation since July 1, the coworking space has nine members.
Nicole Sdao is president of FundraisingCommittee.net, a Freeport-based startup that helps boost fundraising and operational effectiveness of nonprofits, has been an NIU EIGERlab client for one year.
“I was honored to receive the Dale Falconer Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award presented at NIU EIGERlab’s 2015 FastPitch Competition,” Sdao says. “Receiving this award has allowed me to utilize the coworking space and meet with both NIU EIGERlab and the Small Business Development Center’s business development teams.These interactions have helped me grow my business more quickly than what would have occurred without the powerhouse of these teams’ knowledge and networks.”
The NIU EIGERlab Center for Product Development (C4PD), now located at 5529 Zenith Parkway, continues to serve the region with leading-edge business, engineering and product management support services. In addition to offering functional additive manufacturing and 3D printing capabilities, NIU EIGERlab soon will introduce certificate courses for 3D printer technicians.
Marcus Smith is the co-owner of the Rockford-based startup Restoration Tool, a company specializing in the creation of innovative water and fire restoration tools.
A C4PD client for two years, Smith says “a successful invention is much more than a good idea; it requires components of product development, marketing, financing and legal planning. NIU EIGERlab helped us pull these different aspects together and design a comprehensive road map to profitability.”
“NIU EIGERlab provides a unique collection of equipment, skills and connections that is accelerating the university’s progress in developing the northern Illinois innovation ecosystem,” says Rena Cotsones, associate vice president of Engagement and Innovation Partnerships and head of the NIU Office for Regional Engagement-Rockford. “The NIU EIGERlab team will be key players in the DMDII Rockford Chapter, and there is much more to come.”
Pheanis coached at NIU for 46 years, including 37 as men’s golf head coach
network.yardbarker.com – Normally wearing a special jersey and auctioning it off for charity is a gimmick reserved for minor league teams, but the Northern Illinois Huskies are going to be doing just that for their opener against Presbyterian. The proceeds from the corn-themed jerseys celebrating their agricultural roots will be sent to three different charities. [Coaching Search]
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