Educator in Residence

Our Educator in Residence program invites successful alumni to give back to NIU and the College of Education by sharing practical tips and tools to prepare students for life after graduation.

Graduates of the NIU College of Education are leaders in their careers and communities, maximizing their preparation here to make positive impacts on the world and the places they work and serve. Our Educator in Residence program invites one remarkable alumnus each semester to share their wisdom and life experiences with NIU and the College of Education by meeting with our students and demonstrating the amazing ways in which they have thrived with their NIU degrees. Their day on campus includes classroom visits where they speak, teach or answer questions; tours of our facilities and programs; and the delivery of a keynote address on a topic of their choosing. While the honor of becoming our Education in Residence is a great one, the program truly benefits our current students, who are able to visualize the possibilities of their professions and, possibly, their future selves.

John M. Dunn
Fall 2019

John M. Dunn, a longtime leader and administrator in higher education, is currently in his second term as interim chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SICU), where he previously served as provost, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and interim chancellor.

Dunn returned to SIUC in January following his 2018 retirement as president of Western Michigan University, which he led for 10 years. His career also includes faculty and administrative appointments at the University of Utah, Oregon State University and the University of Connecticut.

The two-time NIU College of Education alum, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees in physical education, is internationally recognized for his research on the long-term health of people with disabilities.

His visit included speaking to students in our sport management program, chatting with students in our higher education and student affairs program about their career aspirations and delivering a keynote address covering his many decades in higher education.

Read more about John Dunn's visit.


NIU President Lisa Freeman, College of Education Dean Laurie Elish-Piper and KNPE Department Chair Chad McEvoy present Educator in Residence, John M. Dunn, with a certificate after his keynote address.


Denise A. Bunning
Spring 2019

Denise A. Bunning, an educator, support group leader and advocate on behalf of children with food allergies, is the co-founder of MOCHA (Mothers of Children Having Allergies).

The parent (with husband, Dave) of two adult sons with food allergies serves on the Board of Governors for Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the Founders’ Board of Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, and the Women’s Board of Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital.

In 2010, the M.S.Ed. graduate in special education served on a committee organized by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health to author Guidelines for Managing Life-Threatening Food Allergies in Illinois Schools, which shaped school board policies statewide.

Her visit raised the awareness of our future teachers regarding food allergies, demonstrated the proper and life-saving use of epinephrine auto-injectors and delivered a keynote address on her personal journey through the world of food allergies.

Read more about Denise Bunning’s visit.


College of Education Dean Laurie Elish-Piper presents Denise Bunning with her Educator in Residence certificate after her keynote address in the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center.

Contact Us

Dean's Office
General Information
Phone 815-753-1949
Graham Hall 321

Connect with us on


Alberta Solfisburg
Director of Advancement
asolfie@niu.edu
815-753-7339

Contact our director of advancement to learn the various ways you can give to the College of Education.