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North Park University Senior Music Major Named Lincoln Academy Student Laureate

North Park University Senior Music Major Named Lincoln Academy Student Laureate

An Tran, senior, 2013 Lincoln Laureate

Senior An Tran, classical guitarist, is a music major.

An Tran honored at ceremonies in Springfield

CHICAGO (November 4, 2013) — An Tran, a North Park University senior music major from Vietnam, was honored as a Student Laureate November 2 by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

A ceremony was held in the Illinois House of Representatives Chamber in Springfield. Student Laureates also attended a luncheon at the Governor’s Executive Mansion following the ceremony.

“The School of Music faculty nominated An for this prestigious honor because we believe he is an outstanding student, both academically and artistically,” said Dr. Craig Johnson, dean of the University’s School of Music. “He has distinguished himself through the many awards and prizes he has won as an exemplary classical guitarist.”

Born and raised in Hanoi, Tran is completing a bachelor of arts in music with classical guitar as his major instrument. “I am honored to be the Student Laureate from North Park University and to represent North Park at the ceremony,” said Tran. “North Park has been helping me realize who I am, and pushes me to become a better musician and human being.”

When he first visited the University, Tran knew that he wanted to come to North Park after meeting and talking with School of Music faculty. “The professors here were exactly the people who I wanted to study from,” Tran said. “They are passionate about music and about changing the world with music. They inspired me to become a better musician right when I first met them.”

Tran has excelled academically while pursuing a busy and demanding practice and performance regimen. He received first prize in the Vietnam National Guitar Competition at the age of 12; Vietnam’s Best Overseas Student Award in 2010; a certificate of merit granted by Vietnam’s vice president in 2010; first prize in the 2013 Society of American Musicians Guitar Competition; and first prize in the 2013 North Park University Performance Awards.

This winter, Tran will tour throughout Vietnam on behalf of the Vietnam Red Cross Society. The Red Cross originally contacted Tran about the possibility of his performing at a benefit concert in Vietnam. Instead, Tran said, they developed the idea of doing a tour. “We will be doing charity concerts and visiting many places, including villages of orphaned children, hospitals devoted to victims of Agent Orange, and humanity centers,” he said.

Tran hopes that the Red Cross tour can become an annual event, featuring different artists and visiting other countries with the same charitable intention. “This is an amazing opportunity for me to grow as a musician,” he said. “I think the power of music is huge, and it can change and heal many people’s lives. Music helped me realize that it is much bigger than just my guitar and me. It brings happiness, joy, and peace to people, and brings people together. I’ve experienced it myself, so I want to do that for others.”

After graduation, Tran plans to pursue graduate school, then hopes to teach. “I want to become a professor to teach music and guitar, and also continue to provide music for people,” he said. “I want to share with others what I am learning from my teachers right now.”

Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities. Each student is presented with a medallion, a certificate of achievement, and a $1,000 grant at the award ceremony. This is the 39th year in which the Lincoln Academy has presented the Student Laureate awards.

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Next Steps

Watch Tran’s interview—featuring music he composed and performed—about North Park University’s VIVE program.

Read more about Tran.

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Substantial Progress Reported to North Park University Trustees

Substantial Progress Reported to North Park University Trustees

Board of Trustees

The North Park University board of trustees met here February 8-9.

University building project moving ahead, milestones in giving achieved

CHICAGO (February 14, 2013) — With the sounds of new building construction outside, North Park University administrative leaders told the board of trustees about significant financial milestones, plans aimed at increasing enrollment for the next academic year, and positive results from a national student learning survey. The trustees met here at the University's campus February 8-9.

"Certainly there’s great excitement on campus with the beginning of construction for the Johnson Center," said Dr. David Parkyn, president of North Park University. The $44 million Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life, now under construction in the center of the campus, is expected to be completed for the 2014 academic year. Funds to support construction of the Johnson Center have been provided through Campaign North Park, the University's comprehensive fundraising effort.

After the City of Chicago issued the foundation permit late last year, the Johnson Center construction team began excavation and concrete foundation work and installed 78 concrete caissons for the building's foundation, said Carl Balsam, executive vice president and chief financial officer. Next, the construction team expects to complete foundation walls on the east-west wing, and to excavate the lower level of the north-south wing. In March and April, the team plans to pour the slab-on-grade for the lower level. In May, steel erection should begin, and in July, the team expects to start work to enclose the structure, he said.

Two milestones announced, Annual Fund donors grow

To date, commitments to Campaign North Park are now more than $60 million, said Mary Surridge, vice president for development and alumni relations. Thus far, $39.8 million has been committed for the Johnson Center, she said, adding that additional giving was inspired by the groundbreaking in October 2012. The campaign has also secured $12.6 million for endowed scholarships, $2.6 million for academic support, and $5.7 million for the Annual Fund. The number of donors participating in the Annual Fund to date is about 1,600, twice as many as the previous year, Surridge said. She noted that Campaign North Park has helped broaden the University's donor base.

In addition, North Park University's endowment has passed the $70 million mark, Balsam reported. The endowment was $6 million when Balsam joined the University staff nearly 25 years ago, he noted.

Enrollment news shows promise

The University welcomed 93 new undergraduate students for the spring semester, the second largest mid-year new student enrollment in eight years, said Nate Mouttet, vice president for enrollment and marketing. In addition, 1,653 undergraduate students returned for the spring, he said, a 95 percent persistence rate of students eligible to return from the fall semester for the spring semester. Early trends for fall 2013 undergraduate enrollment are positive, similar to the record traditional undergraduate enrollment in 2011, he said. Mouttet emphasized that more work is needed to secure student commitments for fall. The University is also working on a multi-year strategic enrollment planning process with Noel-Levitz, a higher education consulting group, he added. That process is being carried out in concert with a multi-year University strategic planning effort.

Student survey results positive for North Park

The University president reported results of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which asks first-year and senior students about their participation in certain student activities, and the activities' relationship to the students' learning and personal development. The 2012 results showed North Park students reported high levels of satisfaction in active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, as well as a supportive campus environment, compared to results from three years earlier, Parkyn told the trustees. "We have long held, and now have research to show, that how students interact with faculty makes a difference. We need to walk alongside our students," Parkyn said, adding the 2012 results provide "lots of encouragement."

Institutional planning, leadership transition

Parkyn said he is in dialogue with University faculty and staff on an initial draft of an overall University strategic planning document, a five-year plan that includes the University's 125th anniversary year in 2016. He also reported that Andrea Nevels will leave the University this month after 10 years as vice president of student development and dean of students, to begin a new role at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Elizabeth Snezek, assistant dean of student development, is interim dean through the remainder of the academic year.



Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

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Learn more about North Park University's history, and its mission, vision, and values.

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Students and Faculty Retreat to the North Woods

Students and Faculty Retreat to the North Woods

North Woods Retreat, photo by Karl Clifton-Soderstrom

During the weekend retreat, the group used Sylvania National Forest as a setting for a discussion on framing.
Photo by Karl Clifton-Soderstrom

North Parkers sought the peace of nature to hone writing techniques and find inspiration.

By Keir Quackenbush
Student Reporter for the
North Park Press

CHICAGO (November 21, 2013) — On Friday, October 25, a group of 14 North Park students and four professors interested in nature, philosophy, and creative writing allowed themselves to retreat. No, not from an argument, the prose of Heidegger, or writer’s block, but from the realm of exhaust, excitement, and excess: they retreated from the city.

Their destination was Covenant Point, a bible camp located in the North Woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Located beside Hagerman Lake, the camp is idyllic, cozy, and accommodating, providing a perfect fit for their escapist purposes.

For two days they lived quite like Thoreau, simply, deliberately, and with home-cooked meals just a stone’s throw from their living quarters. These meals provided the skeleton structure of their schedule, which they planned out collaboratively to include frequent ‘sessions’ of learning and discussion, intermittent immersion in the forest, and lengthy periods of time spent by the fire.

The focus of the retreat was writing, particularly nature writing. Each of the accompanying North Park professors led sessions about various aspects of nature and writing, from nature journaling and the diverse meanings of ‘wonder,’ to the Native American Trickster folklore and how Arctic landscape mirrors the human soul.

After breakfast on Saturday morning, Covenant Point staffer and North Park alum Dustin Johnson led the first session by recounting how, as a young teenager growing up in the Upper Peninsula, he had stolen an egg from a crow’s nest and raised the bird to maturity. Dustin explained how the crow would cause mischief, pestering the dog for attention and burying his toys, pecking at the window when it felt ignored. He named the bird ‘Homer.’

Through stories like this and a collective intention to be attentive to their environment, the group established a sense of place in the forest. Together they weaved a new, rural weekend narrative, set apart from the urban one that had engrossed them just the day prior.

With the city’s grasp carefully peeled away, junior Anna Sardar enjoyed the calming and wild aura of the North Woods. “I felt dislocated from the glorified world of busyness and felt comfortable to fully rest,” she said. “It was a gift to get away from the man-made and revel in the world that exists without man's permission.”

Freshman Caleb McCoy expressed a similar, more succinct sentiment: “It was a nice break from the city. The total solitude was really refreshing.”

This retreat represents North Park's practice of experiential learning, a teaching technique that Greg Clark, professor of philosophy, has been employing in classes such as Zen and Archery, Intentional Christian Communities, and Philosophy of Nature. These courses instill knowledge that is learned outside of the classroom. Clark also helped organize the Covenant Point retreat.

English professor Reinhold Dooley was impressed by how well the retreat went. “This is the kind of high impact learning experience that sticks with you well beyond the classroom. Such experiences make my profession both meaningful and joyful, not just because of the contact with nature, but because I can better appreciate the quality of students at North Park.”

Adding to the voices of praise for experiential learning, Kristy Odelius, associate professor of English, considers this writing retreat as “a highlight of [her] nine years of teaching at North Park,” adding, “I was so impressed by the students—to see them thinking, dwelling, and growing together incited gratitude and wonder in all of us.”

This retreat was made possible by a grant given to the philosophy and English departments by the Domanada Foundation, a Christian organization that operates mainly in the Chicago area and central and eastern Europe. Clark and others hope that the retreat can become an annual event. He emphasizes that there is a "mutual desire to strengthen the connections between North Park and Covenant Point," adding, "[Covenant Point offers] us a setting where we can reflect on the ways [that] our city lives affect and are affected by the human and non-human lives in rural areas."

During the final evening of the retreat, both students and professors sat around the warming hearth, taking turns reading their own pieces of writing and reflecting upon the weekend. Each expressed a strong sense of gratitude and renewal, and that the fruits of the experience would last far longer than the two days spent in the North Woods. 

This article first appeared in the November 15, 2013, print edition of the North Park Press, the University's student newspaper.

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North Park University to Offer Undergraduate Major in Nonprofit Management

North Park University to Offer Undergraduate Major in Nonprofit Management

Chicago Skyline

North Park University will become the only college or university in Chicago offering nonprofit management degree programs for undergraduates.

Nonprofit management bachelor's degrees to be offered beginning in fall 2013


CHICAGO (March 11, 2013) – This fall, North Park University undergraduate students can pursue a new academic program leading to either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in nonprofit management. The new degrees replace the current academic concentration in nonprofit management offered by the University's School of Business and Nonprofit Management (SBNM), said Dr. Wesley E. Lindahl, the school's dean.

When the major is initiated, the University will be the only higher education institution in the Chicago area offering a nonprofit major for undergraduates. "The change was mainly driven by student feedback, but also driven by our school's strategic plan to be a fully engaged educational institution in the nonprofit area," Lindahl said. Students currently interested in nonprofit management are business and economics majors, and take extra courses in the nonprofit area.

A nonprofit management major, with expanded coursework, enables the University to take advantage of a growing area of interest for incoming students, and is expected to bring about 15 new students per year to North Park, Lindahl explained. Undergraduate students can also declare a minor in nonprofit management.

Students majoring in nonprofit management will learn about fundraising, building relationships with donors, working with boards, managing volunteers, understanding nonprofit budgets and accounting, and marketing in nonprofit organizations, Lindahl said. They will also take classes in sociology, and develop leadership and management skills.

Evan Woods, a sophomore from Overland Park, Kan., is excited about the new nonprofit management major, and plans to switch from his current business major. "This goes back to the reason why I came to North Park. The (University's) mission is 'preparing students for lives of significance and service.'  With nonprofits, the theme is the same." Woods is an intern with a Chicago-based nonprofit, By the Hand Club for Kids, where he works in development.

"I'm working directly with something for a cause and for a purpose," he said. "It's not just to make money. It's to help the neighborhoods in Chicago, and to help kids." Woods has worked with the University's Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management, and is also a member of the University's Nonprofit Leadership Club. He hopes to make a career in nonprofit management working in "green" business initiatives.

The new bachelor of science degree program requires 52 semester hours in nonprofit management courses, said Christa Beall Diefenbach, a member of SBNM's teaching faculty and Axelson Center associate director. Bachelor of science students will also complete requirements for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance certificate, she said.

"Every student who graduates with this certificate will be a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP), which makes students more competitive when they start their career searches," Diefenbach said. Bachelor of science students will also participate in the University's Nonprofit Leadership Club and attend one Alliance Management Institute, an annual nonprofit management educational symposium, she said. Students who opt for the new bachelor of arts program will take 40 semester hours in nonprofit management and other relevant courses, and could combine the program with another major.

Like the nonprofit sector in general, a growing field in the nonprofit arena is "social entrepreneurship," which employs innovative approaches to address the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues. "This is a hot field right now in the nonprofit sector. Organizations are looking for alternative, sustainable revenue streams. We're going to be offering a class that will focus on just that," Diefenbach said.

Among the new undergraduate degree programs, the University also offers programs leading to a professional certificate in nonprofit management, and a master's degree in nonprofit administration.


Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

Next Steps

Learn some important facts about the School of Business and Nonprofit Management.

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‘The Engagement Effect’ Theme of Axelson Center Nonprofit Symposium June 3-4

'The Engagement Effect' Theme of Axelson Center Nonprofit Symposium June 3-4

Axelson Symposium Speaker

The annual Axelson Symposium in downtown Chicago is a significant networking and learning event for leaders of nonprofit organizations.

University symposium key learning, networking event for nonprofit leaders


CHICAGO (May 14, 2013) – As many as 550 nonprofit leaders are expected to attend the 14th Annual Axelson Center Symposium for Nonprofit Professionals and Volunteers, June 3-4 in Chicago. The event is a growing and significant annual networking and professional development conference for nonprofit leaders in Chicago and the Midwest. This year's theme is "The Engagement Effect."

North Park University's Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management is hosting the symposium at the Holiday Inn, Chicago Mart Plaza. The center provides resources and learning opportunities to enhance the performance and effectiveness of individuals and organizations in the nonprofit sector through education, service, and resources. A "Pre-Conference Revenue Institute" is planned for June 3, followed by the symposium the next day.

The conference theme relates directly to constituent groups that nonprofit organizations work with regularly. "This includes policymakers, donors, the boards, the staffs, and other volunteers," said Dr. Pier Rogers, director of the Axelson Center. "All of these groups need to be cultivated to strengthen relationships." Participants will be able to choose workshop sessions arranged in categories by constituent groups, she said.

One of the two-day event's primary strengths is the variety of organizational perspectives and experiences that are represented in a diverse lineup of speakers. Another strength is the idea-sharing and conversation that takes place throughout the day, said Christa Beall Diefenbach, associate director of the Axelson Center. "Networking is an appeal of this event, and people come here because of it," she said. "Attendees make connections that will benefit their organizations for years to come."

The June 3 Revenue Institute is focused on trends and strategies related to revenue streams. Speakers are Dr. Elizabeth Trocolli Boris, director, Center on Nonprofits and Philanthrophy, the Urban Institute, and Steven D. Zimmerman, principal, Spectrum Nonprofit Services. In addition, panelists from Chicago-area nonprofits will address alternative revenue streams and changes in foundations in separate sessions.

The symposium's opening keynote address, "Founders Fired Up" will feature leaders of local nonprofits. "Six founding executive directors are going to talk about the ideas they had to start their nonprofits," Rogers said. "They'll discuss the strategies they used to build momentum, and the extent to which it is important to keep that community engaged." The six are Jenna Benn, Twist Out Cancer; Malik Gillani, Silk Road Rising; Jonny Imerman, Imerman Angels, and also a "CNN Hero;" Lisa Nigro, Inspiration Corporation; Reveca Torres, Backbones; and Jeremy Weisbach, Jimmy Insulin.

Following the keynote, symposium participants will attend concurrent workshops and forums led by nearly 50 experts. Subjects include board engagement, communication, fundraising, staffing and volunteers, engaging young leaders, management strategies, strategic partnerships, and government funding. At the symposium's conclusion, Shirley Sagawa, co-founder, Sagawa/Jospin Consulting Firm, will address "The Charismatic Organization." Some organizations believe a charismatic individual is needed to lead an organization to be successful, Rogers explained. "She really believes the notion that charisma can be infused into the organization itself," Rogers said. 

At the June 4 symposium luncheon program, the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence will be presented to two nonprofit organizations that embody exemplary management practices. This year, there were a record 55 nominations. The Axelson Center Excellent Emerging Organization Award will be presented to one young organization with potential for growth and greater effectiveness. Twelve organizations were nominated.

The late Jimmie Alford, a North Park alumnus who died unexpectedly last December at his Chicago home, will be honored at the luncheon. For 50 years, he devoted his life to the betterment of nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. Alford was founder and chair of the Alford Group, and executive-in-residence at the North Park University School of Business and Nonprofit Management (SBNM), where he taught graduate courses and workshops.


Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

Next Steps

Learn more about the University's nonprofit academic programs for undergraduate and graduate students, plus certificate programs.

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North Park University to Host Bach Week Festival Concert May 5

North Park University to Host Bach Week Festival Concert May 5

Bach Week Festival

University students to perform in first-ever festival concert in Chicago

CHICAGO (April 16, 2013) — North Park University will host a Bach Week Festival performance at 2:30 pm, May 5, at the University's Anderson Chapel, the first time a festival performance will be held in the city of  Chicago. The North Park concert—featuring works by the renowned German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach—will include performances by University musicians as well as professionals from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The Bach Week Festival is an annual event held in the Chicago area in spring. Now in its 40th year, the festival is a signature blend of solo, concerto, orchestral, and choral performances in concerts, according to a Bach Week news release.

"The North Park School of Music is honored to collaborate with the Bach Week Festival to present this concert," said Dr. Craig Johnson, dean of the University's School of Music and professor of music. "This event is a wonderful example of the advantages that North Park music students have to experience the artistic excellence so prevalent in Chicago—right on the campus." Johnson added that all undergraduate School of Music students will be able to attend and hear the musical excellence offered by the Bach Week performers.

The North Park concert features Margaret Martin, University organist. Making her Bach Week Festival debut, she will open the concert with Bach’s Toccata in F Major, BWV 540. Her spouse, Christopher Martin, principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will perform in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, BWV 1047. Cellist Katinka Kleijn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform Bach’s Suite No. 3 for solo cello, BWV 1009.

The finale will be Bach’s Magnificat in D, BWV 243, a 12-movement work for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra. Among the soloists is Dr. Julia Davids, who will make her debut with the Bach Week Festival. Davids directs the University's choral activities and holds the Stephen J. Hendrickson Endowed Chair in Music. The North Park University Chamber Singers, directed by Davids, will perform with the festival chorus and orchestra, directed by Richard Webster, director of music and organist at Boston's historic Trinity Church, and the festival's music director since 1975. This will be only the second time in Bach Week history that a guest ensemble has sung with the festival’s own chorus, and the first time for a student group, according to festival organizers.

The Chamber Singers' participation "adds a touch of historic resonance" to the festival’s first Chicago concert, Webster said. "Bach himself conducted ensembles of local university students, professionals, and guest artists at weekly public performances at Zimmermann’s Coffee House in Leipzig, Germany. This collaboration honors that tradition and will be a wonderful experience for performers and audience alike," he added.

The 2013 Bach Week Festival also features concerts April 19 and April 21 at Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston, Ill.

Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

Next Steps

Learn more about School of Music academic programs for undergraduate and graduate students.

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North Park Student Awarded Critical Language Scholarship by State Department

North Park Student Awarded Critical Language Scholarship by State Department

Isaac Bauer

Isaac Bauer, Normal, Ill., will study Arabic in Morocco this summer.

Isaac Bauer to study Arabic in Morocco


CHICAGO (May 9, 2013) – Isaac Bauer, a first-year global studies and politics and government major, with a minor in Arabic, will spend this summer in Morocco, studying the language and learning about Moroccan culture. Bauer, of Normal, Ill., was awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), and will leave for 10 weeks in Morocco in early June.

Bauer is one of about 610 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students awarded CLS scholarships in 2013 by the State Department. Recipients are assigned to one of 13 countries to become more proficient in a specific language.

Bauer, who is interested in the Middle East and Africa, has been learning Arabic only since he entered North Park last fall. He hopes to become proficient in the language and use it in a future career. In particular, Bauer's interest in the Middle East relates to the history of the region, and interactions between governments of that region and the West that have often produced mixed results. "I think that comes from a lack of understanding," Bauer said. "To a certain extent, learning the language, and knowing history and culture goes a long way toward greater understanding."

This will be Bauer's first time in the Arab world. He will live with a host family in Rabat, and study at a language institute there, with individualized tutoring and field experiences using Arabic, he said. After his CLS experience, Bauer said he hopes to continue language study by volunteering with neighborhood organizations in need of people with language skills, and study abroad in North Africa or the Middle East through North Park. He also plans to continue participation in the Middle Eastern Student Association, where he is currently an officer.

Students learn much through participation in a complete language immersion program such as the CLS, said Anis Said, University fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, and Arabic language instructor. In addition to excelling in Arabic class, Bauer is also a talented student athlete, according to Said. "Isaac is an extraordinary student who found the perfect balance between his academic duties and his extracurricular activities," he said. "I am also confident that when Isaac comes back to North Park in the fall, he will bring with him a new perspective on the Middle East and on Morocco."

Bauer's parents are Robert and Shelley Bauer, of Normal. He has three older brothers, Jesse, Matt, and Levi.

The CLS program is part of the U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical languages, according to the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It provides fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and cultural enrichment experiences.  Program participants are expected to continue their language study after the scholarship, and apply their language skills in future professional careers.



Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

Next Steps

Learn about Middle Eastern Studies at North Park University.

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Fifth Annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference Addresses “Achieving Peace by Embracing Diversity”

Fifth Annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference Addresses "Achieving Peace by Embracing Diversity"

Kanyere Eaton

Rev. Kanyere Eaton

Rev. Kanyere Eaton challenges students to lead in an "edgy time"

CHICAGO (November 14, 2013) — Nearly 600 students, faculty, staff, and organizational leaders from across the country gathered at North Park University Saturday, November 2, for the fifth annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference. North Park’s Office of Diversity, under the leadership of Dr. Terry Lindsay, provides this event to equip college students as effective leaders and agents of change on their campuses. The conference goal is that each student would be equipped to return to their college or university and engage their peers in conversations and activities that create multiethnic cooperation and increase intercultural competency.

Dr. Kevin Kruger, the president and CEO of NASPA, brought a message of encouragement for young peoples’ roles in inspiring students of color to see college as a realistic option for their futures. NASPA, a national association of student affairs professionals in higher education, sees that the demographics of American students are changing, bringing new challenges for college preparation and success, especially around issues of diversity and intercultural cooperation.

According to Kruger, research reveals that, in about ten years, more than 50 percent of college graduates will be students of color. He called on the students gathered to see themselves as crucial role models and mentors for these future students. “You are tomorrow’s leaders and will be part of the solution,” he said.

Rev. Kanyere Eaton, pastor of Fellowship Covenant Church in the Bronx, New York, gave Saturday’s keynote address. Speaking on the conference theme, “Achieving Peace by Embracing Diversity,” Eaton said that “we have inherited all kinds of attributes and attitudes” from previous generations that now must be negotiated. “What are we going to do with what they left us?” she asked. In our current, changing culture and demographics, she said, today’s students must transform the reality they’ve inherited into the future they desire. As geographic and demographic boundaries are being moved, attitudes toward diversity have not yet caught up.

Eaton charged the students in attendance to recognize themselves as leaders chosen to help shape the legacy for future generation. “You could have been someone very different,” she said, “but you are who you’re supposed to be. And you’re supposed to lead.”

“You’ve also been privileged,” she added, noting that information, connections, opportunities, and responsibilities are part of the package of a college education. “We live in an edgy time,” Eaton concluded, “and consciousness has not caught up with our condition. We’ve got to work with what we have, and take seriously the responsibility to leave things better than we found them.”

The North Park University gospel choir ensemble, step teams from North Park and Bethel University, and two African dance troupes gave inspired performances to round out the plenary activities. Following the session, conference attendees spent the afternoon at more than 30 workshops, with topics ranging from leading conversations on diversity, to developing safe, inclusive communities, to understanding the current national atmosphere of race relations.

The next Student Diversity Leadership Conference at North Park University will take place on Saturday, November 1, 2014.

Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. Learn more about North Park University.

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Explore student life and organizations at North Park University.

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Marketing Transformation Driven by New Tools, New Behaviors, Says Graduate

Marketing Transformation Driven by New Tools, New Behaviors, Says Graduate

Renee Borkowski

Today's marketers face a "paradox of choice," said Renee Borkowski C'90.

Razorfish VP speaks at North Park University Breakfast Series

CHICAGO (May 24, 2013) — There has been an incredible transformation in marketing practices in the past 15 years, much of it driven by dramatic shifts in how consumers use digital devices and experiences to fulfill their information and entertainment needs. The result is that there are many players in the marketing landscape today, creating a "paradox of choice" for many marketers.

"Deciding where to pay attention, where to spend, and how and where to stay connected with consumers is increasingly complex," said Renee (Johnson) Borkowski, Chicago, group vice president of strategic marketing for Razorfish, a global digital agency. Borkowski, a 1990 North Park graduate in physics and marketing, spoke to an audience of about 80 people at this spring's Breakfast Series event in Chicago, sponsored by the University and the School of Business and Nonprofit Management. Her topic was "Marketing Transformation in the Post-Digital Era." Borkowski, a member of the University's board of trustees, brings 20 years of experience working with top-name brands.

Agencies today are challenged to cover all bases—search engine optimization, web and customer analytics, email marketing, marketing automation, social media, social marketing and multi-channel marketing management—along with many traditional forms of communication. With the growth in marketing, channels, and agencies working in the field, "we as marketers are at the intersection of decision-making, of managing our budgets, of figuring out what is going to get us the most for our money in the midst of a very confusing landscape," Borkowski said.

What has changed for marketers? Borkowski suggested several possibilities:

  • Planning is now a continuous and cyclical process. Insights are required to inform annual, quarterly, and daily decision cycles.
  • Digital marketing is experiential. As evidence, she pointed to changes in retail marketing, where shopping is mobile-enabled or occurs in "virtual" stores. More consumers are using multiple devices at home at the same time, including televisions, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Marketing is happening in real-time more than ever. Social media demands quick, short-term, relevant messaging, but must be done responsibly. "The volume and velocity of social online behaviors requires that break-through brands adopt a real-time mindset, and establish 'always-on' teams," she said.
  • New skills and vocations are emerging in marketing. There are growing needs for "data scientists" and "chief marketing technologists."

For nonprofits and mission-driven organizations with smaller budgets, Borkowski suggested an emphasis on social media-fueled experiences, coupled with highly targeted search capabilities to help organizations set themselves apart from others. Digital storytelling can also be more powerful by inviting members and followers to capture video with smartphones and making video blogs highlighting service projects, she said.

Despite the need for real-time marketing, decision-making and communication must be considered carefully and align with business and brand objectives, Borkowski said. "Organizations that take their cues solely from their audiences or cultural happenings without a true brand purpose end up diluting or damaging their brands," she added.

Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

Next Steps

Learn more about the accredited academic programsin the School of Business and Nonprofit Management.

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University Convocation Recognizes Faculty Achievements

University Convocation Recognizes Faculty Achievements

University Convocation, September 16, 2013

More than 40 members of the University faculty and staff were honored for their recent publications, exhibitions, performances, and other scholarly achievements at Monday's Convocation.

North Park University celebrates promotions, tenures, publications, and more

CHICAGO (September 17, 2013) — The North Park University community gathered in Anderson Chapel Monday, September 16, to honor the achievements of faculty and staff at University Convocation.

“This is a day of grand celebration,” said Dr. David Parkyn, University president, as he welcomed colleagues and students to the ceremony. He noted that the annual Convocation recognizes the work that many individuals do in walking alongside students in and out of the classroom, as well as honoring the call to “spread knowledge, discover knowledge, and teach it to others.”

The ceremony announced newly promoted and tenured faculty; recognized faculty and staff who have recently published books, articles, and other scholarly and creative work; and formally installed Dr. Jodi Koslow Martin as the vice president for student engagement.

Under the direction of Dr. Julia Davids, the Chamber Singers performed an original composition by Thomas W. Jefferson, who accompanied the group on piano. Jefferson is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Music and was among the recent authors recognized during the ceremony.

Faculty promotions celebrated include:

Traditionally, the University has recognized faculty authors and editors with books published over the previous calendar year. This year’s Convocation expanded this recognition to include faculty and staff who have published books, articles, chapters, plays, reviews, and recordings; and staged exhibitions, art installations, and other creative performances. A full list of these accomplishments is available online.

Earlier this fall, the University welcomed new faculty and staff at Gathering Day festivities. New faculty welcomed were:


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