Joel Stafstrom: Commander in Chief

  1. What brought you to NIU?

Way back in 1990, I was offered a job as an
assistant professor of Biological Sciences.  I had spent my life up to that time living in New England and Colorado – places with mountains, hills and trees.  Despite a few initial misgivings about living in the heartland, I have made a great life and career here.

  1. What made you want to step up as the head of the Honors Program here at NIU?

I’ve always been a strong promoter of the basic goal of Honors: to provide a small liberal arts college atmosphere within a large, comprehensive, research-intensive university.  When the opportunity to work in Honors was presented to me, I grabbed it.    

  1. When you’re not on campus, what can we find you doing?Stafstrom, unicycle 123 Pine

For exercise, I love riding my bike on countless miles of country roads around DeKalb.  Occasionally I can be seen riding my unicycle around town.  I’ve dabbled in photography most of my life.  I have a large collection of vintage cameras.  I still shoot black and white film, which I develop and print in my darkroom at home.

  1. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen in class?

The most non-sensical thing that I’ve seen (which I unfortunately have seen often) is students refusing or being unable to take responsibility for their educations.

  1. Summarize your time at NIU in 5 words.

Longer (and better) than expected.



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