Shaping our Future:  Purpose, Partnership, Possibilities

Framing Sustainable Solutions

NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies Celebrates 50 Years in 2019

SAVE THE DATE: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019
WHERE: NIU Holmes Student Center, main campus, DeKalb
SCHEDULE:  8 am-4:30 pm

For 50 years, Northern Illinois University’s (NIU) Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) has provided applied research, technical assistance, and public sector capacity-building services to our region, state, and beyond.  On Nov. 7, 2019, a one-day convening will be held at Holmes Student Center on NIU’s DeKalb campus to celebrate CGS’s five decades of generating and sharing knowledge with its many university and external partners and chart a course for the future. This celebration will not only highlight CGS accomplishments, but also will be future-focused: how to understand and harness the demographic, economic, environmental, and technological forces that are reshaping our world. 

Featuring a Dynamic Line-Up of Speakers and Panelists
including Neil Howe, Rebecca Ryan, Lisa Freeman, NIU President;
and NIU’s Anne Kaplan and Jim Banovetz!

NEIL HOWE - Keynote address by Neil Howe, an authority on generations and social change in America.  He will share the results of his research on generational cycles, or "turnings" in America, which reveal predictable social trends that recur throughout history. Dr. Howe’s insights will lay the foundation for an exploration of four priority areas affecting hundreds of Northern Illinois communities with which we have worked:

  • New models and strategies to strengthen local economies
  • Environmental stewardship and energy conservation
  • Fiscal sustainability in non-profit organizations and local government
  • New and emerging community health challenges and resources

These multifaceted topics will be offered as two concurrent sessions in the morning followed by two concurrent sessions after the luncheon. Each session will feature a subject matter expert who will frame the issues/challenges/opportunities and panelist respondents who will speak to the different facets of the issue and showcase effective practices aimed at managing change.  Sessions will promote interaction between panelists and attendees to discover innovative solutions and suggestions for future partnerships with NIU.

ANNE KAPLAN AND DR. JIM BANOVETZ – The Luncheon keynote address will be given by Dr. Anne Kaplan, NIU's Vice President of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; and Dr. Jim Banovetz, Professor and Director Emeritus of NIU’s Department of Public Administration.

REBECCA RYAN – Afternoon featured keynote speaker is Rebecca Ryan, APF, futurist and economist, who brings humor to her presentations. Some folks call her a "human spark plug." Through her business, Next Generation Consulting, Rebecca helps clients figure out “what’s next.” If you knew the future, what would you do? Run a better business? Build a smarter city? Leave your competition in the dust? Rebecca Ryan knows what's next and inspires audiences to get future-ready.  She will address the top trends facing communities including access to air, water, land, and energy, changes in technology, changing demographics, and governance.

NIU PRESIDENT DR. LISA FREEMAN - President Lisa Freeman will conclude the conference with her observations on the day’s themes and the role NIU will play in addressing them.  

CGS will use information from the day to inform its strategic priorities for the next three years, and learning communities will be created for those interested in continuing to formulate innovative and effective solutions. We hope you will join us in this day of celebration and idea exchange.  You will become better connected to like-minded stakeholders as we explore the complex challenges confronting our region and share successful approaches to navigating those challenges. Your participation will also help NIU determine where its research, technical assistance, and capacity-building resources are best targeted.

If you are interested in receiving detailed program information as it becomes available, please email your contact information to Kathy Siebrasse at  For details about conference sponsorships, please see the Sponsorship Form (PDF); or contact Dawn Peters at or (815) 753-0923 or Greg Kuhn at or (815) 753-2789.

CGS Contact

Center for Governmental Studies

Northern Illinois University
148 North Third Street
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2828

Phone: 815-753-1907
Fax:  815-753-7278