North Central News

North Central makes headlines and provides expertise across a variety of media outlets

Kelly Murphy

May 31, 2023

The month of May was yet another milestone for North Central College’s subject matter experts (SMEs), as they continue to garner media attention across Naperville, Chicago and across the nation. From coverage of North Central College Commencement, to launching a master of science in nursing program, to chronicling cringe-worthy TV, this month the College’s experts delivered topics for everyone. Here’s the recap for May:

Littrell takes impromptu field trip to Ramsay’s Kitchen with physician assistant studies students, as featured in Naperville Sun

U.S. by Michelin-starred chef and television personality Gordon Ramsay opened his fifth restaurant across the nation, making its latest opening debut in the heart of downtown Naperville. The much-hyped opening was met with high praise from locals and out-of-town visitors alike. The opening day and potential prospect of meeting food guru, Ramsay himself, created quite the stir for one Naperville classroom.

Danielle Littrell, assistant professor of physician assistant studies, was quoted in the Naperville Sun sharing how her class on diagnostic methods was distracted by the buzzing around the restaurant opening. Typically the students have class from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. The only exception is Tuesdays, when there’s a multi-hour window for grabbing something more than fast food. Therefore, Littrell and her class took a walk to check out the new eatery.

Read the full story in the Naperville Sun.

North Central’s Commencement ceremony highlighted in Naperville Sun and Positively Naperville

North Central College celebrated its graduating Class of 2023 with a Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 7. The College welcomed Dr. Carmen Ayala, former superintendent for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) as this year’s Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. As a visionary leader and equity-driven educator, she oversaw more than 850 districts across the state, serving more than two million students. She was the first woman and first person of color to serve as the permanent superintendent. During her tenure at ISBE, Ayala led nearly 4,000 schools through the COVID-19 pandemic, which included the implementation of remote education and the safe return of students to classrooms.

This year’s graduating class included 579 graduates who received their bachelor’s degrees, and 122 graduates who received their master’s degrees. Of the total 701 graduates, 258 were first-generation college students; 236 graduates who came in as transfer students; 271 graduated with honors; and 13 graduates were international students representing seven different countries.

The special day was featured in the Naperville Sun and Positively Naperville.

Drake shares why so many people are drawn to cringe-worthy TV, movies and viral videos in The Conversation

Dr. Carly Drake, assistant professor of marketing, co-authored an article with Dr. Anuja Anil Pradhan, assistant professor of consumption, culture and commerce at University of Southern Denmark, in The Conversation. The piece, published May 9, focused on the concept of “cringewatching” and explains why watching things like awkward reality TV might actually be good for people.

Here is an excerpt from her article:

Why can’t you stop watching TV shows, movies or viral videos that make you cringe?

Cringe is the feeling you get when your boss cracks a joke in a meeting and no one laughs. It’s when your kid shoots a soccer ball and it misses the net by … a lot. It’s when you watch Kendall Roy from “Succession” awkwardly rap on stage at a celebration honoring his dad’s 50 years at the helm of the family company.

This secondhand embarrassment you feel for other people, real or fictional, is physical and emotional. It’s the gut punch of a gasped “oh no!” paired with a side of “I’m glad that wasn’t me” relief.

Research usually sees cringe in a negative light – as a voyeuristic emotion that allows people to gawk at the misfortune of others.

However, in a recent study, we show that cringe-filled entertainment can actually help people better understand themselves and one another. This may be a big reason why people are so drawn to cringe worthy content in the first place.

Read the full article in The Conversation.

Lohman discusses ChatGPT and its overall effectiveness in educational settings in the Daily Herald

Before the 2022-2023 academic year began, ChatGPT was likely not on the radar for many college professors and students. But less than a year later, many in higher education say they can't imagine life without it. Launched in November 2022 by San Francisco-based startup OpenAI, ChatGPT can craft essays, solve math equations, write or check the accuracy of HTML code and brainstorm ideas for graphic design, as well as complete other tasks. The artificial intelligence tool can generate readable text on demand in a wide range of styles and voices and for a variety of purposes.

Some educators are skeptical, citing ethical concerns and the potential for students to use it to cheat. However, there's also a sense of optimism and willingness among some college educators to engage with ChatGPT's vast capabilities. Many see it having a permanent place in the professional world students will enter into.

Dr. Laura Lohman, assistant provost for faculty development and innovation and the director of the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFÉ), was interviewed by the Daily Herald, where she shared the mixed reactions she has seen from faculty.

"An optimistic view would be that we can get over the crisis response and see this type of AI as a useful tool, and we start working with it," Lohman said, pointing out that similar debates brewed when graphing calculators or the internet first made their appearance in the classroom.

Read the full story in the Daily Herald.

Caliendo provides preview of Chicago Mayoral Inauguration on CBS 2 Chicago

Mayor Brandon Johnson has been sworn in as the 57th mayor of the City of Chicago. Johnson took the oath of office Monday morning at the Credit Union One Arena - also known as UIC Pavilion. Johnson – a former teacher and longtime Chicago Teachers Union organizer who had most recently been serving as a Cook County commissioner – won the race for mayor in April in a tight contest against Paul Vallas.

Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was interviewed on CBS 2 Chicago, where he provided a preview on the inaugural ceremony.

“From a policy perspective—and what we saw throughout the campaign—was that crime in the City is an important topic to take on,” said Caliendo. “I think beyond that, though, it’s coalition building.”

Watch the full interview on CBS 2 Chicago.

North Central’s Master of Science in Nursing garners local media attention

North Central College’s School of Education and Health Sciences (SEHS) has launched a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program, which will begin in fall 2023. The program aims to inspire future leaders in the advancement of the profession and to promote the art and science of nursing in an inclusive, culturally sensitive, and evolving health care environment. The program will provide advanced education and specialization for current licensed registered nurses, at a time when there is a national nursing shortage.

The MSN program offers four graduate nursing tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), Nurse Executive Leader and Nurse Educator.

This is a vital program addition to North Central College, and will help mitigate the community, national and global shortage of nurses. The role of the nurse practitioners, nurse educators, and nurse leaders have progressed greatly over the past decade as integral health care providers, who positively impact the over health of the population. Nurse practitioners in particular, have the skill and knowledge to meet the demands of the health care system, and help fill the vacancies of the current physician shortage, with a projected job increase of over 50 percent or 114,000 NP job openings between 2020 and 2030.

The program’s launch generated some media buzz; check out the coverage:


Caliendo addresses latest Illinois assault weapons ban ruling by SCOTUS Justice Amy Coney Barrett on WGN-TV

The U.S. Supreme Court, for now, will not block a new Illinois law that prohibits the sale of certain semi-automatic guns and large-capacity magazines. The high court denied an emergency request from people challenging the law, which bans so-called assault weapons. The law's opponents had asked the court to put the law on hold while a court challenge continues. The court did not comment and no justice publicly dissented. The decision from Justice Amy Coney Barrett comes a day after the Illinois Supreme Court heard a separate challenge to the state's assault weapons ban. The justices are considering putting a temporary hold on the legislation. The arguments in court focused on equal protection rights.

Caliendo spoke with WGN-TV, where he discussed the legal battles surrounding assault weapons ban.

Watch the full interview on WGN-TV.