NLU broadens global education outreach in 2014

February 14, 2014

Chicago regularly ranks high on lists of “most global cities” compiled by journals and research groups for its role as a major center in international business, travel and immigration — making it an ideal site for the continued evolution of a new kind of outreach at National Louis University.

Building on a core mission of providing access to high-quality degree programs for students from diverse backgrounds, NLU is also seeking to become part of the larger global conversation about education, contributing to meaningful policy changes and adopting new innovations and approaches to better inform the work of its own faculty.

Last year proved fruitful for NLU’s international efforts. The University hosted the Global Education First Conference, inspired by the United Nations’ Global Education First Initiative. The GEFC brought together education leaders from around the world to look at how access to quality education can improve at the local level while fostering a sense of global citizenship in students. Relationships were subsequently born at the GEFC that have continued to shape international education efforts, at NLU and abroad.

One idea that came out of conference was the creation of a system in Africa that awards badges for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) — a weakness in that developing continent — to children and adults that would be recognized inside and outside of educational settings. In November, an important workshop was held in Nigeria that brought together government officials, academics and local leaders to plot a way forward for the proposed program, which they hope will promote training in critical STEM disciplines while spurring economic growth and food security, an important issue in Africa.

The new year holds even more opportunities for NLU to distinguish itself in contributing to the global education effort, said James O’Meara, Professor and one of the leaders of the internationalization push at the University. (O’Meara is also President of the International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET) and an elected member to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Non-Government Organization Liaison Committee.)

In April, a cadre of NLU faculty and staff will attend the World Literacy Summit at Oxford University in the U.K. The biennial summit brings together a wide range of important figures — including ambassadors from multiple countries, commissioners and legislators, as well as academics and other education leaders. As a group, they will explore the major issues affecting global literacy, increase awareness of the more than 700 million people worldwide who are illiterate, foster collaboration and revise the Oxford Declaration, a major literacy advocacy document.

This is the first time NLU is sending representatives to Oxford — another link made possible by GEFC connections, O’Meara said. He will present at the summit about international literacy agendas and translational research and will be joined by Sue Offutt, Executive Director of the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, who will discuss the importance of literacy in early childhood education; Debbie O’Connor, Assistant Professor, on literacy in undergraduate programs; and Monica Ramos, Student Success Coach, who will look at literacy from the perspective of an international student.

O’Meara said the summit will be a key opportunity for NLU to share ideas on literacy and contribute to shaping the Oxford Declaration, as well as a chance to borrow new approaches to help NLU programs as they prepare the educators of tomorrow to make a local impact.

“How do the best practices of NLU translate to the other parts of the world, and what can we bring back from other parts of the world to improve the learning outcomes in Chicago schools,” O’Meara asked.

Beyond the summit, O’Meara said NLU is weighing some other opportunities overseas, with details to be released as the year goes on. The GEFC team is at work planning another conference, likely to be held in November. And before that, in August, NLU will participate in a workshop in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic, to provide hands-on field experience around the issue of literacy for current students, alumni and friends of NLU, working with orphan children to help build their reading skills and self-esteem, O’Meara said.

This continuing global focus and the fostering of a culture of inquiry at NLU in 2014, he added, can help bring the University in line with larger trends and standards in education — something that highlights NLU as a meaningful player internationally and an exciting destination for new students and partners, much like the city where it resides.

“I think in terms of distinction, NLU has a unique position as a key voice both at UNESCO and the [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development], which are the think tank and policy generators for the world in terms of education,” O’Meara said. “And being at the table sets us apart from a lot of other institutions.”

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Eisenhower Boulevard Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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  • WISCONSIN

    NLU's Milwaukee campus has a proud history of serving graduate students in education in southeastern Wisconsin. Nearly one in five certified Wisconsin teachers looks to NLU for graduate education programs – more than any other university in the state. In addition to classrooms with high-tech media equipment, the campus offers a state-of-the-art computer lab with wireless Internet access and an extensive IDS research library.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    (414) 577.2658
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