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2014


Northwestern University is offering a special massive open online course (MOOC) on Content Strategy for Professionals exclusively to Northwestern alumni and friends this summer, starting on June 9.


"Content Strategy for Professionals: Engaging Audiences for Your Organization" is taught by 10 professors, eight from the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and two with joint appointments at Medill and the Kellogg School of Management. The MOOC is designed for professionals in a variety of different kinds of organizations, public and private. It will show them how they can use credible, trustworthy and transparent content to far better engage their internal and external audiences.

 
Watch a video summary of the alumni course.


“In this complex information age, forward-thinking people know that if they and their for-profit or non-profit organizations are to thrive, they must master the most demanding communications frontier – creating engaging, strategic, honest stories and information that is valued by their most important audiences,” said John Lavine, the lead professor on the MOOC and the director of Northwestern’s Media Management Center. “If they do this, it will make their enterprise stand out.”

 

“This MOOC will give you actionable ways to create content that others will value,” Lavine continued. “From social media to audience insights, you will understand the best ways to think about digital and print content in your organization. You’ll see best-practice examples from across the globe and gain unique insight by going inside the future of content strategy in the leading organizations today that are pioneering that frontier.”

 

More reasons for alumni to take the course:

  • You can take the MOOC at your own pace: all on a weekend or some each week for six weeks.
  • There are no tests or grades – just great knowledge that will deepen your understanding of how to make all forms of print and digital content more impactful.
  • The experts in the course are 10 Northwestern faculty from Medill and Kellogg.
  • It was developed on Coursera, the largest MOOC platform in the world.
  • The course is free, but you have to register to take it.

 

Lavine underscored that this MOOC for alumni has been improved even beyond the first one that was offered widely around the world this winter.

 

“We took all that we learned in the first one and all that was possible to do in addition and refined the initial course,” he said in an interview. “Even more important, we have tailored this MOOC for all Northwestern alumni, no matter what school they were a part of and when they left the University.”

 

Register for the course here. Alumni who don’t already have an account with Coursera will be prompted to create one by putting in their name and email address. Enrollment happens automatically when a registrant reaches the voucher landing page. 

Michael Szanto ’98, MA ’98 discusses his favorite tradition at Northwestern involving the wins and losses of the NU football team.

 

 

from Northwestern News on Vimeo.

 

In April President Morton Schapiro held two “Conversations With President Schapiro,” an annual chance for him to take questions on a wide range of subjects of interest to students, faculty and staff who work at the University.

 

President Schapiro declared in talks on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses that Northwestern University is excelling in its core mission as a major research university, making discoveries that are “changing people’s lives” and attracting more federal research dollars even in times of economic hardship and budget cuts.

 

He noted that in recent years Northwestern has advanced in the elite Association of American Universities (AAU) from the bottom third to the top third in terms of research dollars earned. He said Northwestern attracted $549.3 million in sponsored research funding last year -- and so far in the current year, funding is up about 11 percent over this time last year and is on track to break $600 million this year if the trend holds.


“The numbers are important, but you’ve got to keep remembering,” he said, “we’re keeping people alive longer, we’re keeping them healthier. It’s really amazing stuff that we’re doing. And that’s just in the STEM fields.


“I’m excited about that progress, excited to be one of the 26 great private research universities in this entire country and very proud that we’re in the top third of this unbelievably prestigious group (AAU).”


Now in his fifth year at Northwestern, Schapiro said he was excited to oversee a University whose stakeholders are engaging more with the world, renovating and building new facilities, expanding opportunities for an increasingly diverse student body and mounting an unprecedented $3.75 billion fundraising campaign to amplify Northwestern’s local and global impact.

 

Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story, to watch video highlights, and to hear the complete conversations in Evanston and Chicago.

 

President Morton Schapiro declared in talks on both campuses that Northwestern University is excelling in its core mission as a major research university, making discoveries that are “changing people’s lives” and attracting more federal research dollars even in times of economic hardship and budget cuts.

He noted that in recent years Northwestern has advanced in the elite Association of American Universities (AAU) from the bottom third to the top third in terms of research dollars earned. He said Northwestern attracted $549.3 million in sponsored research funding last year -- and so far in the current year, funding is up about 11 percent over this time last year and is on track to break $600 million this year if the trend holds.

“The numbers are important, but you’ve got to keep remembering,” he said, “we’re keeping people alive longer, we’re keeping them healthier. It’s really amazing stuff that we’re doing. And that’s just in the STEM fields.

“I’m excited about that progress, excited to be one of the 26 great private research universities in this entire country and very proud that we’re in the top third of this unbelievably prestigious group (AAU).”

Now in his fifth year at Northwestern, Schapiro said he was excited to oversee a University whose stakeholders are engaging more with the world, renovating and building new facilities, expanding opportunities for an increasingly diverse student body and mounting an unprecedented $3.75 billion fundraising campaign to amplify Northwestern’s local and global impact.

- See more at: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2014/04/evanston-conversation-with-president.html#sthash.1KmDx1CI.dpuf

The Northwestern Alumni Association and several regional clubs are hosting a wide variety of events in the Chicago area and across the country over the next few weeks. Check out the links listed below for more information.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly 400 people attended last month's A Day with Northwestern event on the Evanston campus, enjoying presentations from faculty, staff and alumni on topics ranging from the history of college football to the state of the economy.


Speakers represented almost every Northwestern school, and each session showcased an academic initiative outlined in Northwestern's strategic plan.


A keynote talk from Geoffrey Baer '85 MS about Chicago as the birthplace of the skyscraper was a big hit, as Baer tested the audience on their knowledge of little-known Chicago facts. A talk by Brian Wesbury '89 MBA about the economy also drew a big crowd, as it has for the last 14 years. And the room was packed for a talk on healthcare by Andrew Koppelman, John Paul Stevens Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at the Law School.


Mark your calendars for next year's event: it's scheduled for April 18, 2015.


For more information, visit alumni.northwestern.edu/ADayWithNU

W. Neil Eggleston, a 1978 graduate of Northwestern’s School of Law, has been named the new White House counsel by President Barack Obama.


Eggleston has been a litigation partner in Kirkland & Ellis’ Washington, DC, and New York offices, regularly advising corporations and corporate boards on a wide range of legal issues, including corporate governance, civil litigation, internal investigations, and allegations of fraud.


Eggleston has represented a number of high-profile public figures, including the former White House chief of staff in the prosecution of the former governor of Illinois, the Office of the President of the United States in the Whitewater/Lewinsky investigation, a secretary of labor in an Independent Counsel investigation, a secretary of transportation in a Department of Justice investigation, and U.S. senators in ethics inquiries.


“Neil Eggleston’s commitment to public service is legendary,” said Law School Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez. “I can think of no one more qualified to advise the president on the most important policy questions and legal issues of our day.”


Eggleston has been a member of Northwestern’s Law Board since 2000, a group comprised primarily of its alumni who are law firm, corporate, and civic leaders, which assists in framing the basic direction of the school and monitors the implementation of strategic plans. The Law Board also supports and advises the dean, the administration and the faculty in areas including curriculum, faculty, financial support, research, admissions, employment, student life, planning and resource allocation.


“Neil brings extraordinary expertise, credentials and experience to our team,” President Obama said in a statement. “He has a passion for public service, is renowned for his conscientiousness and foresight, and I look forward to working closely with him in the coming years.”


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story.

An impressive list of young Northwestern students and alumni were recently honored for their innovation, creativity and leadership by Crain’s Chicago Business in their annual list of “20 in Their 20s” — people under 30 who are at the top of their respective industries.


Sam Barnett, a current Northwestern graduate student working toward a joint Ph.D. in neuroscience and finance in the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience (NUIN) program and the Kellogg School of Management, is the CEO of SBB Research Group LLC, which recently partnered with AMC Theatres to measure audience reaction to movie trailers.


Matt Bogusz, a 2009 alumnus of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, is streamlining local government as the mayor of Des Plaines, Ill.


Zoe Damacela, a Weinberg senior, started her fashion business out of her dorm room, has appeared on the cover of Seventeen magazine and has a design job lined up at Macy’s, Inc. in New York.


Mert Iseri, a 2011 graduate of the McCormick School of Engineering, and Yuri Malina, a 2011 Weinberg alumnus, are co-founders of SwipeSense, Inc., a project that spawned from Design for America, a group they created during their undergraduate days at Northwestern. SwipeSense is a portable hand sanitizer that clips to medical professionals’ clothing like an iPod to aid in hygiene compliance at hospitals.


Tristan Meline, a 2007 School of Communication alumnus, is the associate marketing manager for MillerCoors LLC, where he has carefully and successfully guided a multi-million dollar ad campaign for the company’s first line of hard cider.


Though not affiliated with Northwestern, honoree Allison Hebron, co-founder of Resonance Medical Technologies, Inc., is working with Northwestern researchers to bring to market a mechanism that fights hearing loss by continuously pumping medication to crucial areas of the inner ear.


Read profiles and watch videos of all the honorees at the original story on Crain’s Chicago Business’ website.

Northwestern University in Qatar honored its third graduating class in a May 4 ceremony where students heard an address by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jehane Noujaim.


More than 900 people were in attendance at the Qatar National Convention Centre as Northwestern President Morton Schapiro extolled the achievement of the graduates of NU-Q, which offers bachelor’s degrees in journalism and communication.


Thirty graduating seniors received their Northwestern diplomas in the presence of family, friends, and leading international figures in the fields of media, filmmaking, and journalism. Noujaim — the filmmaker behind a documentary entitled The Square, which follows characters in Cairo through the January 2011 uprising — engaged NU-Q’s graduating class, sharing unique insights from her background and diverse successes in the field of media.


In addition to President Schapiro, Northwestern’s highest-ranking officials attended the ceremony, including the chair of the Board of Trustees, William Osborn, and Provost Dan Linzer. Schapiro called the new graduates “engaged global citizens who are prepared to succeed here and anywhere due to their exceptional academic preparation and performance — as well as their professional achievements.”


The Class of 2014 included 14 different nationalities, demonstrating Northwestern’s historical role in promoting global understanding and developing a multinational alumni network for its graduates.


Visit qatar-news.northwestern.edu for the full story.

Chicago Blackhawks chairman William Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz and his wife, Marilyn, are supporting Northwestern’s School of Communication by creating an endowment that will fund innovative student and faculty projects in the Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern — and rename the center.


In recognition of the multi-million dollar gift, the center will be renamed the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, in honor of Rocky Wirtz’s grandmother, who graduated from Northwestern in 1924.


For more than three decades, the Wirtz Center has helped fuel the success of Northwestern’s top-ranked programs in theatre, dance, music theatre, and performance studies. The center produces, manages, funds, and administers the School of Communication’s mainstage performances. It mounts as many as 40 productions each year in the four performance venues within its complex on Northwestern’s Evanston campus and in the separate 1,000-seat Cahn Auditorium.


The Wirtz gift comes at an opportune moment, since in 2015 the center will be fully renovated, improving the accessibility and function of existing spaces and creating new classroom, rehearsal and performance spaces. In addition, the University’s new Music and Communication Building, which is slated to open in 2015, will be adjacent to the Wirtz Center and will house the departments of theatre and performance studies on its fifth floor.


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story.

Northwestern Wildcats and Chicago Bears taught students from across Illinois the importance of eating well, exercising, and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle earlier this month at the Bears’ training facility in Lake Forest, Illinois.


Sixteen Northwestern student-athletes representing three sports, in addition to Willie the Wildcat and the NU Spirit Squad, took part in the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 community event at a reward summit at the Walter Payton Center, the Bears’ indoor training facility at Halas Hall.


Twelve members of the Northwestern fencing team were at the event, including freshmen Julia Abelsky, Stephanie Chan, Alisha Gomez-Shah, Alex Kain, Sarit Kapon, Cindy Oh, and Ania Parzecki; sophomores Mikela Goldstein, Charlotte Sands, Kaitlyn Wallace, and Jen Yamin; and junior Tina Umanskiy.

Freshman diver Reed Dillon and senior Tim Smith represented the men’s swimming program, while sophomores Jennifer Korn and Natalie Cikos represented the women’s soccer team.


“The event was so much fun,” Korn said. “I wish that when I was in grade school they had programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 that offered these great opportunities. I'm a huge Bears fan and thought that it was so cool that the kids got to run drills in the Bears' facility and meet some players.  The kids were super pumped to be there and the whole event was filled with high energy because of their excitement.”


Visit nusports.com for the full story.

Senior La'Terria Taylor wrapped up her Northwestern women's basketball career in late March, but she then started a brand new journey thousands of miles from campus. Taylor is spending her final undergraduate quarter abroad, studying public health and development in South Africa through Northwestern's Office of International Program Development (IPD).


The Chicago native is experiencing it all while in South Africa, and she’s blogging about her adventures along the way. Taylor has a full course load with four classes and also participates in weekly service learning programming. She was placed at Prochorus, a community development organization designed to address the gaps in education among South African children.


Taylor spends a majority of her time in a Creche (a system very much like pre-school, in which parents in poor areas can drop off their children for the day for free). She’s also worked with children at an after-school program, where she helped kids with math, writing, art, and sports.


After her first few weeks in the program, Taylor had already learned some valuable life lessons that she will carry with her forever.


"This trip has been such a humbling experience," Taylor said while checking in via email from South Africa. "It has truly taught me to appreciate what you have; whether that's our thriving and mature democracy, the diversity that exists in our everyday lives in the states, or the roof over your head.


"It has also taught me what it truly means to be open-minded and non-judgmental through the many South Africans that we have been able to work alongside and the community that we have been able to help.


"Lastly, it has taught me to have more of that ‘live in the moment’ mentality. So often I'm always planning my next move or thinking so far ahead that the adventures we've had here in South Africa have definitely shown me that I have to learn to live more in the now and to just have fun."


Taylor's new "live in the moment" outlook has helped her take advantage of everything South Africa and her study abroad program have to offer. She’s hiked through the picturesque South African mountains, participated in her university's international food night, and even showed off her adventurous side by paragliding.


For more information about Taylor’s time in South Africa, visit her blog, “From the Motherland to the Mother City: An Ocean Away."

Northwestern senior Jack Perry was named a unanimous All-Big Ten first-team selection this month by the conference’s coaches.


Northwestern now has had one of the six first-team All-Big Ten members in each of the last five years. The honor is Perry's second first-team nod in a row and his first unanimous selection.


Perry finished in a tie for third at the Big Ten Championships this season to account for his sixth top-10 and fourth top-4 result in 10 team tournaments this season. Outside of an injury plagued season-opening tournament, Perry finished in the top 20 in seven of Northwestern's nine team tournaments.


Perry also competed in the Sun Bowl All-America College Golf Classic in November, where he placed 12th overall.


Junior golfer Bennett Lavin was named Northwestern's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree for 2013-14.


For more information on Northwestern men’s golf, visit nusports.com.

Twelve of Northwestern's 19 varsity programs received Public Recognition Awards this month as part of the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) program.


The programs were honored May 7 for being in the top 10 percent of their respective sports in the latest multi-year APR scores. The total number of teams honored is the second highest in Northwestern’s history, and the Wildcats tied the University of Minnesota for the most Public Recognition Awards received among Big Ten schools this year.


Northwestern also led all Football Bowl Subdivision schools with the highest percentage of teams earning APR awards, at 63 percent.


Northwestern teams recognized for earning APR scores in the top 10 percent of their sports are: baseball, field hockey, football, men's golf, men's soccer, men's tennis, wrestling, softball, cross country, women's golf, women's swimming, and volleyball. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years.


These programs have also excelled athletically. Currently, six of the 12 teams have advanced to postseason competition, while field hockey earned a Big Ten championship this season.


For more information about Northwestern sports, visit nusports.com.

Depression can hit young fathers hard — with symptoms increasing dramatically during some of the most important years of their children’s lives, a new Northwestern Medicine® study has found.


Depressive symptoms increased on average by 68 percent over the first five years of fatherhood for these young men, who were around 25 years old when they became fathers and lived in the same homes as their children. The results of the study were published April 14 in the journal Pediatrics.


This study is the first to identify when young fathers are at increased risk of developing depressive symptoms. Northwestern’s Craig Garfield, lead author of the paper, said the results of this longitudinal study are significant and could lead to more effective interventions and treatment for young men early in the fatherhood years.


“It’s not just new moms who need to be screened for depression, dads are at risk, too,” Garfield said. “Parental depression has a detrimental effect on kids, especially during those first key years of parent-infant attachment. We need to do a better job of helping young dads transition through that time period.”


Garfield is an associate professor in pediatrics and medical social sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine and a pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He discussed the study in a recent interview with Katie Couric.


Previous research has shown depressed dads will use more corporal punishment, read less and interact less with their children, and are more likely to be stressed and neglect their children. Compared to the children of non-depressed dads, these children are at risk for having poor language and reading development and more behavior problems and conduct disorders.


“We knew paternal depression existed and the detrimental effects it has on children, but we did not know where to focus our energy and our attention until this study,” Garfield said. “This is a wakeup call for anyone who knows a young man who has recently become a new father. Be aware of how he is doing during his transition into fatherhood. If he is feeling extreme anxiety or blues, or not able to enjoy things in life as he previously did, encourage him to get help.”


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story and to see the Katie Couric interview with Craig Garfield.

Northwestern researchers are the first to develop an efficient solar cell that uses tin instead of lead perovskite as the harvester of light. The low-cost, environmentally friendly solar cell can be made without fancy equipment or hazardous materials, too.


“This is a breakthrough in taking the lead out of a very promising type of solar cell, called a perovskite,” said Mercouri G. Kanatzidis, an inorganic chemist with expertise in dealing with tin. “Tin is a very viable material, and we have shown the material does work as an efficient solar cell.”


Kanatzidis, who led the research, is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


The new solar cell uses a structure called a perovskite, but with tin instead of lead as the light-absorbing material. Lead perovskite has achieved 15 percent efficiency, a level that tin perovskite should be able to match, and possibly surpass. Perovskite solar cells are being touted as the “next big thing in photovoltaics” and have reenergized the field.


Kanatzidis developed, synthesized, and analyzed the material. He then turned to Northwestern collaborator and nanoscientist Robert P. H. Chang to help him engineer a solar cell that worked well.


Details of the lead-free solar cell are published by the journal Nature Photonics. Kanatzidis and Chang are the two senior authors of the paper.


“Other scientists will see what we have done and improve on our methods,” Kanatzidis said. “There is no reason this new material can’t reach an efficiency better than 15 percent, which is what the lead perovskite solar cell offers. Tin and lead are in the same group in the periodic table, so we expect similar results.”


Perovskite solar cells have been around only since 2008. In 2012, Kanatzidis and Chang reported the new tin perovskite solar cell with promises of higher efficiency and lower fabrication costs while being environmentally safe.


“Solar energy is free and is the only energy that is sustainable forever,” Kanatzidis said. “If we know how to harvest this energy in an efficient way, we can raise our standard of living and help preserve the environment.”


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story.

Cave-diving Northwestern scientist Patricia A. Beddows is a member of an international team that announced last week that a near-complete skeleton of a teenage girl — discovered in 2007 in an underwater cave on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula — is one of the oldest human skeletons found in North America.


Scientists have determined the prehistoric girl is between 13,000 and 12,000 years old, and that her remains establish a definitive genetic link between the earliest Americans and modern Native Americans.


Details of “Naia,” who went underground in an extensive cave system to seek water and fell to her death in a large pit named Hoyo Negro (“black hole” in Spanish), were published May 16 in the journal Science.


Beddows, one of the research team’s two cave-diving scientists who have been underwater at Hoyo Negro, has hovered above the skeleton’s site and prospected in the area.


“The preservation of all the bones in this deep, water-filled cave is amazing — the bones are beautifully exposed on the rock of the cave floor,” said Beddows, a co-author of the paper. “The girl’s skeleton is exceptionally complete because of the environment in which she died — she ended up in the right water and in a quiet place without any soil. Her pristine preservation enabled our team to extract enough DNA to determine her shared genetic code with modern Native Americans.”


Beddows is assistant chair and assistant professor of instruction in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


Extensive genetic analysis shows the prehistoric girl and living Native Americans came from the same place — Beringia, what is now northwest Alaska and the Russian Far East — during the initial peopling of the Americas.


Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story.