Ellen E. Franklin

M.A. English, 1978
First-Year Composition Instructor, 1976 – 1992
Assistant to the Director of First-Year Composition, 1992 – Present

Ellen E. FranklinMs. Ellen Franklin has been a treasured member of the Department of English and the NIU community for more than thirty years. She has been indispensable in the development and supervision of the department’s Communication Skills program for educationally disadvantaged students admitted through the Deacon Davis CHANCE Program. Among her other exemplary functions as Assistant to the Director of First-Year Composition, she helped implement an electronic portfolio system that transformed the process of professional development for faculty and for student assessment and served as a university model for assessment of student writing. The assessment rubrics she helped to develop are reflected in the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s specification of writing outcomes for first-year composition.

Ms. Franklin has been a guiding force in ensuring a strong instructional program in rhetoric and composition for students in the CHANCE Program, an important voice in NIU’s Communications Skills Steering Committee, and a major supporter of the Unity in Diversity program. For over twenty-five years, Ms. Franklin has overseen editing of an annually revised textbook of student essays for Communication Skills, Contemporary Voices. She helped to launch the CHANCE Emergency Fund, engaging community support in providing students in need with such items as eyeglasses and winter coats, a program Dr. Shevawn Eaton, Director of ACCESS calls “a godsend to hundreds of poor students.”

The Department, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University, and its governing boards have all made large investments of resources to help ensure that NIU accomplishes its mission of serving all populations of our region. One of the outstanding assets in fulfilling this commitment is Ms. Franklin. She has been critical in establishing a program notable for its standards, its success, and its humanity.

Numerous colleagues and organizations have recognized Ms. Franklin’s achievements; among her awards are: the Outstanding Service Award from Educational Services and Programs (2000); the Patricia L. Francis Award for Outstanding Service to the Department of English (2004); the Unity in Diversity Steering Committee Faculty Achievement Award (1997); the NAACP Faculty Mentoring Award (1996); and the Supportive Professional Staff Presidential Award for Excellence (1995). Dr. Michael Day, Professor of English and Director of First-Year Composition, notes that Ms. Franklin “is extremely competent, professional, and compassionate in every aspect of her role… [She] is indispensable to the FYComp Program, and her constant involvement and dedication have helped to bring the program to a position of national prominence.”