Andrea Radasanu, Ph.D.
Director, University Honors
I am so pleased to be director of the University Honors Program. It is very exciting to lead the Honors program in encouraging academic excellence and enhanced experiential educational experiences, while fostering a close-knit and inclusive community of Huskies that will last well beyond graduation.
In my faculty role, I study the history of political philosophy and teach courses that focus on liberalism, democratic theory, the ethics of war and span both ancient and modern political thought. I am devoted to enriched undergraduate education in and out of the classroom. Among other activities in this arena, I am editor-in-chief of the online undergraduate journal Compass: An Undergraduate Journal of American Political Ideas. I am proud to have won the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2012 and the Honors Great Professor Award in 2019.
Please visit us at the Campus Life Building 110 to learn about University Honors and how we can provide you with transformative academic, co- and extra-curricular experiences.
Edye Cowan, M.S.Ed.
Associate Director of Academic Strategic Planning
As the associate director of academic strategic planning, my work includes collaborating with NIU colleges and campus offices to promote and advance the University Honors Program. I serve as one of the program advisors and supervise Honors Fellows. In addition, I support students as they complete their Senior Honors Capstone projects.
Prior to moving to Illinois in 2009, I worked as a teacher in the K-12 public education system in Shiprock and Albuquerque, New Mexico and concluded my teaching career as an inclusion specialist in Davis, California. I earned my bachelor's degree from New Mexico State University in elementary education with an endorsement in special education and my master's degree in adult and higher education at NIU.
After being part of the NIU Honors Program for several years, it has been my privilege to mentor students as they work to meet their professional and personal goals and complete honors program requirements. I encourage interested students to meet with me to explore the wonderful opportunities and experiences available to them in the program!
Connie Storey, M.S.Ed.
Assistant Director of Programming and Communication
As the assistant director of Programming and Communication, I serve as a spokesperson for the University Honors Program. My role is to promote the growth of the honors community through programs, events, and the dissemination of important information to our students, faculty, staff and alumni. I work directly with the Honors House in addition to providing opportunities for everyone in the Honors Program. I enjoy working with students and am looking forward to this new opportunity.
Preceding joining the Honors staff, I had a lot of previous experience at NIU. I worked as a complex coordinator for four years in Douglas Hall and three years in New Hall. All of the years I worked in Housing, I was working with the Honors House as well, so it was a very smooth transition. While I was serving as a complex coordinator, I also taught UNIV 101 and have continued. Additionally, I worked in the First-and Second-Year experience Office for several months prior to joining the University Honors Program.
My connection to NIU does not stop with work experience. I earned my bachelor of science degree in business management with an emphasis on human resources and I also have my master's degree in adult and higher education with an emphasis on student affairs. I have always had strong Huskie pride and love for NIU that keeps drawing me back in, so I hope I can spread that around!
As the Honors advisor for the University Honors Program, my primary focus is supporting the student members to ensure they are meeting program requirements and have access to all the program benefits. In addition, I will be working with the students to engage and promote academic and co-curricular campus activities that will enrich their university experience and contribute to their personal and career development.
Prior to joining the University Honors Program in March of 2019, I held a variety of positions in the corporate business world. I graduated from Illinois State University in 2001 and started my career working for a fast paced, entrepreneurial driven company soon after. After a number of years taking on increasing responsibility, I moved into a management role in a technical, custom manufacturing environment. In my management position I was given the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people and relished the mentoring aspect of my role. This experience, along with my passion for education, is what led me to pursue an advising career at Northern Illinois University.
I am very excited to be a part of the University Honors Program and work with the students and staff members. I hope to bring a unique perspective and valuable insight with my background and also plan to start working towards my M.S.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education at NIU.
Diane Swanson, M.L.A.
As the administrative aide, I provide office support for the directors at the University Honors Program as well as the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning (OSEEL). Prior to working in the Honors Program, I was the office manager for NIU's Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality.
After earning bachelor of arts degrees in both theatre and English from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and a master of liberal arts from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, I taught drama full time in the private schools in Atlanta and Nashville for fourteen years. I also ran my own professional pet-sitting business for ten years. Recently, my family had the chance to relocate back to Illinois to be closer to extended family residing in Dixon, Sterling and the Chicago area.
Throughout my years of teaching, I always enjoyed any opportunity to work with adults and older students as well. So, I was excited to come to DeKalb in 2021 and work at the college level. I'm proud to work at NIU and fully support our mission here to help as many students as possible reach their full potential.
Bart Sharp, Ph.D.
Faculty Adviser to the Honors House
I currently hold a position as the Mike and Kristina McGrath Professor of Entrepreneurship at NIU, teaching courses in strategic management and entrepreneurship to both undergraduate and MBA students and conducting research on corporate innovation and research methodologies.
My academic journey began with an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from Purdue University. It continued with an MBA from Middle Tennessee State University which I earned in their evening program while I worked as an R&D engineer for a company that was called The Aerostructures Corporation (now Triumph Aerostructures – Vought Aircraft Division). That eventually led me to return to Purdue for my PhD in strategic management at the Krannert School of Management, and then on to NIU.
My involvement with the Honors program began when I joined the University Honors Committee shortly after becoming a member of the College of Business faculty here in 2008. I have been a member of the committee ever since, including a lengthy tenure as Chair. I have also had the pleasure of working with a number of outstanding Honors students in mini-sections of my Strategic Management course, overseeing a couple of Capstone projects, and attending Honors events over the years. I’m excited to have this opportunity to do even more as a Faculty Adviser to the Honors House. I look forward to meeting you all.
Madelyn Anderson, M.A.
Faculty Adviser to the Honors House
I am an instructor in the Department of Communication and I have been teaching at NIU since 1992. A native of Wyoming, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Augustana College, Rock Island, and graduated with distinction from NIU with a Master of Arts in Communication and a graduate emphasis in women’s studies. In the honors program, I teach a public speaking course with an emphasis in service learning. I have been coordinator of the COMS 100 program, pre-COMS adviser and coordinator of the COMS 100 Speech Contest. In 2015 I was awarded the “Great Professor” Award by the University Honors Program.
Prior to NIU, I acquired an extensive background in arts administration. I worked for a Boston-based performing artist agency, as a graphic artist for newspapers in the west and midwest, and was a contributing writer to the Augustana Alumni Magazine. I was the director of audience development at Augustana’s public radio station before being named the director of cultural events for the college. During this time, I received statewide recognition from the Illinois Arts Council for being the top presenters’ grant recipient. I was appointed to the IAC’s Presenters’ Development Panel and conducted on-site evaluations of performing arts venues throughout Illinois. While at NIU, I have provided long-time volunteer support for local organizations including the Sycamore Music Boosters for whom I developed the “SHS Music Hall of Fame” program.