Faculty members at Northern Illinois University are moving to form a union.  NIU faculty on Thursday filed an intent to unionize with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board. 

NIU Associate Professor of History Rosemary Feurer says in a news release announcing the filing that a union will give faculty a greater voice to improve NIU, for the benefit of students and the community.

The United Faculty Alliance of Northern Illinois University would represent more than 600 tenured and tenure-track faculty members across NIU.

  Earlier this week, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a measure that provides emergency spending to state higher education. 

Although a shot in the arm to some institutions, lawmakers like Democratic Representative Jack Franks say the showdown doesn’t bode well for the overall budget.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

April is National Poetry Month.  Rockford poet Christine Swanberg has achieved national recognition in a career spanning several decades.  So what did it take for her to become a poet?

First off, Swanberg says, she didn’t always know she would become a poet, or even that she could become one.

Proudly DeKalb, Inc.

 The City of DeKalb did not advance to the finals of the "America’s Best Communities" competition.  That means they won't have a chance at the 3 million dollar first prize.  But the chair of the team behind the effort says they will continue with their community revitalization efforts.

Frank Roberts says not making the finals was a disappointment. But he’s still proud of what the Proudly DeKalb team did, and of the town they represent.

NIU Prepares Campus Community For The Release Of Program Priorities

Apr 27, 2016
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Northern Illinois University's President will soon announce the results from an extensive review process of programs and departments.

The findings will be released Monday.

President Doug Baker addressed the campus community at a town hall meeting on Wednesday. He summed up some of the review's objectives.

"How do we become more efficient and effective? How do we help each other do our jobs better?" Baker said.

NIU Vice Provost Lisa Freeman says 10 academic programs were volunteered for deletion.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Illinois business leaders say they want the state to invest more money in early education to meet the demands of a growing job market centered on math and science.

Business leaders said Wednesday they support Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's plan to increase preschool funding to about $393 million, an increase of $75 million from last year.

Illinois risks losing federal money for early education programs without a budget. This year's should have taken effect July 1.

DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership, DeKalb County Community Foundation

An online philanthropy event next week could help raise more than $100,000 for DeKalb County nonprofit groups, according to community foundation officials.

The DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership and the DeKalb County Community Foundation are hosting Give Local DeKalb County for the third year in a row. The online event -- a local subset of Give Local America -- benefits area nonprofit organizations from social services to arts and culture and generated about $189,000 last year.

Winnebago County Urges Mosquito Awareness

Apr 27, 2016

  With temperatures slowly rising, so too will mosquito populations.

Last summer, the Winnebago County Health Department handled nearly 300 calls related to mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. With all the worry of mosquito-borne disease like West Nile, encephalitis and Zika, some residents wonder what can be done.

Illinois Rep. Jack Franks Pushes Redistricting Amendment

Apr 27, 2016
Illinois House Democrats

  Illinois Democratic Representative Jack Franks is advancing a constitutional amendment that would change how the state draws its voter districts.  It passed out of committee, and Franks hopes the measure will cut down on partisan redraws. 

"We've been very good at gerrymandering maps and doing our incumbent protection policy for whichever party is in power at the time.  It's not a Democrat or Republican thing.  It is a bipartisan deal where everyone takes advantage of the citizens by protecting people like me," he says.