NIU Learn Abouts: Fun, Non-Credit Enrichment Classes


NIU Learn Abouts: Fun, non-credit classes for enrichment and professional development

The office of Northern Illinois University Continuing and Professional Education is excited to offer new non-credit classes focuses on learning for enrichment and professional development. Learn Abouts are new, educational events that provide a fun way to pursue interesting topics presented by NIU experts for a variety of ages.

Upcoming events include:

Beer Me Liberty! A History of Beer in Early America – Ever wonder if our early American ancestors were as hopped up on beer as we are? Join beer historian Clint Cargile to explore the drinking habits of yesteryear. Presenter Clint Cargile is a writer, editor, and historian; he has an M.F.A. in creative writing from Southern Illinois University and an M.A. in history from NIU. Cost is $25 per person.

  • October 18 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center, room 506

Jumpstart Your College Essay – Writing college essays can be hard. How can your future college students summarize their life experiences, qualifications, and career goals in a compelling way that makes admissions committees stop and take notice? This course will show students how to develop successful application essays in a meaningful and memorable way in two sessions. The instructor is Ashley E. Bartelt; she has an M.A. in English from Northern Illinois University. She has been teaching English and tutoring students on writing projects including college applications and doctoral dissertations since 2010.  Cost is $45 per person.

  • October 22 and 29 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Holmes Student Center, room 506

Building Brands: Crafting Catchy Content to Tell Your Brand’s Story – Companies and individuals alike are using digital storytelling to develop and expand their brands. This type of marketing includes multimedia, such as video and audio, and written text is at the heart of it all. But how do you craft quality written content that attracts and retains audiences? Small business owners, freelance writers and entrepreneurs—take this opportunity to enhance your marketing communication skills. Bring a notebook and pen because we’re going old-school on writing! Instructor Christine Brovelli-O’Brien holds a Ph.D. in English from NIU and has more than 13 years of experience teaching college-level rhetoric, composition and literature. Cost is $45 per person.

  • October 24 at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center, Illinois Room

Workplace Writing Strategies to Help You Succeed – Emails, reports, and annual reviews; proposals, contracts, and advertisements. Workplace writing tasks are endless. Many jobs call for good writing skills, but maybe you never received formal training or maybe you’re just looking to polish your skills. Join English instructor Ashley E. Bartelt in a fun, educational session on improving your written communication skills. Bring a sample writing project and Ms. Bartelt will evaluate your work. This event starts on Wednesday, November 7th at 8:30 PM with more dates through November 14, 2018 in the Holmes Student Center, 506. Cost is $50 per person.

  • November 7 and 14, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center

Mary, Queen of Scots – At just six days old, Mary, the only surviving legitimate child of King James V, became the queen of Scotland after the death of her father. At 16, she married into the French royalty and became queen consort of France. She was widowed, imprisoned, and found guilty of plotting the assassination of Elizabeth I of England, leading to her beheading at the age of 44. She remains one of the most intriguing women of the sixteenth century. In anticipation of the December release of the film “Mary, Queen of Scots,” join NIU English instructor and history enthusiast Lise Schlosser as she introduces you to a controversial monarch. Lise Schlosser has an M.A. in English with a focus on English Renaissance Literature from NIU and has been teaching college English for the last decade. Cost is $25 per person.

  • November 7 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Holmes Student Center, room 506

Comic Characters: Exploring the Superhero Phenomenon – Superheroes entertain, inspire, and save us while villains captivate, spook, and intrigue us. Adults and kids alike are drawn to these creative characters with splashy superpowers and colorful capes. Join instructor Mark Pietrowski, Jr. on a journey through the Justice League of inspirational superheroes and vivacious villains where you’ll discover the history behind superheroes and villains you meet in comic books, movies, and other popular media. Mark Pietrowski Jr. has a B.A. and M.A. in Communication from NIU; he has over 10 years of experience teaching college courses and working in higher education and is the current Director of NIU Continuing and Professional Education. Cost is $25 per person.View the complete Learn

  • November 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center, room 306

About program schedule and register at:

We want to hear from individuals about what Learn Abouts they would like to see in the future.

For more information or to contact us with ideas, message NIU Continuing and Professional Education by calling (815) 753-5200 or emailing

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