Associate Dean Beverly Henry, ’83, Counts on NIU Community to Help Her ‘Stretch and Grow’

By Eva Richards

beverly-henry-croppedAssociate Dean Beverly Henry, '83, has dedicated to NIU for 35 years.

NIU Associate Dean for the College of Health and Human Sciences Beverly Henry, ’83, wears her Huskie Pride like a badge of honor.

After 35 years in health care education, she firmly believes in the University’s mission and the good its students are doing in the world.

“I think NIU continues to be an institution that promotes success for people from all directions and backgrounds to fulfill their life’s goals in many different ways,” she said. “We rate teaching and learning for students, scholarship, and service as high priorities.”

Henry knows first-hand how NIU students, instructors, faculty and staff shape the world.  She has held all four titles over the yearsfirst earning her dietetics, nutrition, and food science degree, then coming back to campus as a guest lecturer and, eventually, as a nutrition instructor. Most recently, she served as interim dean for the College of Health and Human Sciences for the first half of 2021, before stepping into her current role as associate dean of the college.

“At NIU, I think faculty have the freedom to carve their own path to success,” she said. “For example, faculty have great opportunities here to contribute to the mission and to grow their programs. Our development of the Health Sciences college-wide doctoral program is one of my favorite examples of how NIU thought creatively about how to promote interdisciplinary education and to support social mobility.” 

Growing up in Skokie and Morton Grove, Illinois, Henry was always interested in the natural sciences, and she did not have the opportunity to complete her college degree until she was married with three children.

“Being a non-traditional (student) was quite different than my classmates,” Henry recalled. “However, we were in a limited admission program and all were quite motivated to succeed – so we worked together well. We had the opportunity to complete our final semester in the hospitals in downtown Chicago.”

One of Henry’s favorite memories was when her 7-year-old daughter came to class to play the role of a child who was newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

“My classmates took turns trying to educate her,” she said. “This was education through simulation in the early days! Because of this kind of learning, I was well-prepared for a career as a registered dietitian and appreciated that my instructors and clinical experiences provided a strong foundation for professional preparation.”

After completing her doctorate, Henry found that NIU was a great place to change her role from education administrator at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine to that of assistant professor. 

“Today, I can still count on the NIU community to prompt me to stretch and grow,” she said. “Our college is made up of amazing administrators, faculty, and students. It seemed every week there was a new challenge, that we needed to work through, and I really appreciated the team effort.”

Henry is especially proud that she was able to be a resource as interim through her familiarity with the college and its programs, while focusing on keeping the big picture of what is happening today at the forefront, during pandemic times.

She has stayed connected with the University for more than three decades and makes it a priority to support her college financially, as well through her daily work.

“Today, many of our students juggle family and work obligations, and our faculty work hard to make education experiences impactful,” she said.