Learn, Serve, Research, Engage

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Student Engagement Programs at Northern Illinois University

Transcript of Learn, Serve, Research, Engage

  • LearnServe ResearchEngage

  • Early in my career as a teacher, I realized that the best lessons do not always come from textbooks.

    I began looking for ways to get students involved in the process of discovery and to get them engaged with the messy complexities of the real world. Doing so transformed their learning into a much more active and meaningful process. Students began looking at problems in new ways and approaching

    solutions differently. They developed information literacy and cultural competence.

    This approach to teaching, known as engaged learning, shapes not just careers but also lives, by helping students develops skills that will be of value to them long after they graduate.

    Engaged learning is a hallmark of a Northern Illinois University education, and one of the things that attracted me to NIU. We provide access to engaged learning opportunities and academic enrichment programs from the very start.

    Among those opportunities are:

    ThemedLearningCommunities,whichallowyoutojoina cohort of students that explores a common subject from a variety of perspectives. For instance, you might learn the background of an issue in a history class while focusing a semesters worth of writing on that topic in an English class.

    ResearchRookies,whichmatchesstudentswithfacultymentors who invite students into their laboratories to share in the process of discovery or guide them through original research.

    TheUndergraduateSpecialOpportunitiesinArtistryandResearch,andhelpsstudentsexploreyatopicindepth,sometimes even paying for travel abroad to help them gain new insights, all with the guidance of expert faculty.

    ServiceLearningopportunities,whichcanbefoundwithinmany majors, offer the chance to apply classroom learning on behalf of not-for-profit organizations that serve the community.

    TheUniversityHonorsProgram,whichenablesstudentsto take their education a step further by designing individualized programs of study, while learning from top faculty and exploring their interests in depth.

    This booklet provides information on those programs and many other engaged learning opportunities that could transform your learning experience and better prepare you for what lies ahead. I hope you will take some time to peruse these pages, find your opportunity, embrace the challenge and change your life.

    Doug Baker


  • Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning Welcome to NIU! We want to encourage you to use this book to learn about some of the exciting opportunities to get involved in our academic community. From research projects that are searching for a cure for cancer to service projects that are providing care for home bound senior citizens, NIU students have the ability to engage in hands-on meaningful activities that bring to life the world around them.

    We believe our student engagement programs will challenge you to define your passions, your academic and professional goals, and ultimately your contribution to society.

    Moreover, understanding the breadth of your academic opportunities here at NIU can have a profound impact on your academic journey. It is our hope you will explore these exciting programs and begin to realize your potential while you move toward your degree at Northern Illinois University.

    So, as you begin your journey, seek answersdiscover your passions. Satisfy your curiousity. Get excited. You have an opportunity to integrate the questions you want answered here at NIU. We provide research and service learning opportunities. We offer integrated classes that explore topics as diverse as physics and math, conflict and creativity, and teachers for social change.

    TheOfficeofStudentEngagementandExperientialLearning(OSEEL)and the many programs and offices listed in the book are dedicated to supporting you as you begin your journey at Northern.

    JuliaSpears,PhD.Director,OfficeofStudentEngagement and Experiential Learning

    Discover your passion!

    Satisfy your curiosity!

    Get excited!


  • Themed Learning Communitieswww.tlc.niu.edu


    We value our students at NIU, so we work hard to make sure each students NIU experience is meaningful and unique.NIUsThemelearningCommunities(TLCs)maketransitioning to college life easier.

    StudentswhoenrollinaTLCbuildsocialandintellectualrelationships with classmates and faculty that can last a lifetime.ClasssizesinTLCsareusually2025studentsencouraging enhanced interaction between classmates and faculty.

    EachTLCisfocusedonacommontheme.TheTLCismadeof2to3classesteachingthisthemefromdifferentperspectives. NIU faculty work together to create commonassignmentsamongthelinkedTLCcourses.Thiscollaboration provides the student an enriched learning environment and a great introduction to NIU.


    Living Learning Communitieswww.niu.edu/housing/LLC


    ALivingLearningCommunity(LLC)consistsofseveralfloorsdedicated to students from the same academic interest or lifestylearea.LivingLearningCommunitiesbringtogetherfloors or halls of motivated students who learn as they live together.LLCresidentstakepartinthesamesocialandeducational activities enjoyed on other floors, while also enjoying special programs, speakers, field trips, and activi-ties.Tosupportactivitiesinthehouses,LLCresidentswillbecharged an additional programming fee. For a complete descriptionofNIUsLLCs,visitwww.housing.niu.edu.

    LivingLearningCommunitiesareco-sponsoredbyHousing& Dining and NIU academic colleges and departments or student support offices. Dedicated faculty members serve as guides to students as they pursue their academic goals and hone their professional skills.

    EligibilityIn most programs, priority is given to students who have a major, or who intend to have a major, in the academic field related to the program. In some cases, students with a strong interest in the academic discipline are accepted. AcceptanceintotheLLCisnotautomatic.SomeprogramsrequireaminimumGPAorACTscore.

    BenefitsThefocusonaparticularfieldofstudyenablesanLLCto offer additional benefits: out-of-class interaction with professors in your academic field; additional opportunities for career information, internships, and networking with faculty members and professionals; programs and special facilities that will enhance your classroom learning and leadership skill development; social and cultural activities with students, faculty, and staff; improved academic perfor-manceonaverage,studentsinLLCsearnahigherGPA.

    Themed Learning Communities-Learn TogetherBusiness EthicsMajor ExplorationCreativity & ConflictExploring Health MajorsGlobal Perspectives The American Experience at Home and Abroad How GREEN is your paw print? Calculus and Physics for EngineersPromise ScholarsTeachers as Ambassadors for Social ChangeCivic Engagement

    Living Learning Communities-Live TogetherBusiness Careers HouseExploring Majors HouseFine Arts HouseHealth Professions HouseHonors HouseInternational HouseScience/Engineering/Technology (SET) House

    Teacher Education and Certification House (TEACH)Transfer HouseJourneys of Spirituality & Meaning FloorReserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Floor

    Explore Your Focus!4

    Many of the universitys themed and living learning communities connect students to individuals with similar academics goals, interests and lifestyles. Themed Learning Communities consist of 2-3 courses students take together around a common theme while Living Learning Communities consist of several residence hall floors centered around a common interest or area of study.Here are some examples in the chart below:

  • I highly recommend getting

    involved in Themed Learning

    Communities. We work together

    in three shared courses and really

    help each other out. Its a great

    experience. TevinRodgers,StudentTLCProgram

    Students who have taken TLCs say they:Its a great way to feel very connected to the University. TLC classes helped me feel like I was truly a part of NIU.

    TLC is a good foundation to prepare us for college.

    These classes are nothing like my other classes, but these classes made it easier to do well in my other classes because the teachers in this TLC program are VERY welcoming and helpful.


  • First-Year Connectionsorientation.niu.edu/orientation/fyc


    Starting college at Northern Illinois University will be a majorturningpointforyou.LifeatNorthernwillbedifferentfrom your previous experiences and will challenge you in new ways both in and out of the classroom. The First-YearConnectionsprogramisintendedtohelpyoumakeasuccessful transition to university life. Its components include thefirst-yearcourse,UNIV101/201,andtheFirst-yearSuccess Series, a speaker series that guides new students in their transition to NIU.

    UNIV 101/201UNIV101isa12-week,onecredit-hourcoursedesignedexclusivelyforfreshmen.UNIV201isa12week,one-credithourcoursespecificallyfortransferstudents.Coursecontentfor101and201includesadjustingtocollegelife,gettinginvolved on campus, and joining a diverse community. The course also covers strategies for academic success, finding and using university resources, choosing a major, and preparing for a career. Sections are taught by trained instructors from departments and offices across NIUs

    campus.Sectionsarelimitedto20students,soyoullhavetheopportunitytogettoknowyourclassmates.Researchat NIU and across the country proves that students who completeaUNIVcoursehavehigherGPAsandaremorelikely to return to the university than students who dont.