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State Universities Civil Service System

Merit Board
Member Profile

Dr. John Butler

Northern Illinois University
Appointed: 5/14/2019

Professional Experience

  • Currently serve in senior leadership position with the Painters District Council No. 30 and its affiliated funds, including appointment as assistant fund administrator and director of communication and strategy.
  • Founded Butler & Anderson, LLC, a strategic communication and organizational development consulting company.
  • Previously appointed as associate and director of strategic communication and research initiatives at the Ehrhardt Foundation (2005-2008)
  • Prior appointment as assistant professor and Director of Forensics (speech and debate), Department of Communication, Northern Illinois University.


  • Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh,Department of Rhetoric and Communication, Emphasis: Public Argument.
  • M.A., Northern Illinois University, Department of Communication, Emphasis: Rhetorical Studies.
  • B.A., Northern Illinois University, Department of Political Science,
    Major: Political Science/Public Law; Minor: Black Studies.

Leadership and Public Service

  • Member of NIU Board of Trustees since December 2007; served as Board Chair (2013-2015); Board Vice Chair (2009-2011); and Chair of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Personnel Committee (2009-2011).
  • Member, Board of Directors, Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture, Chicago (since 2014).
  • Presenter and participant, numerous disciplinary conference presentations at the National Communication Association Annual Conference and other disciplinary conferences (since 1994).
  • As an assistant professor, served as the academic advisor for seven master’s candidates and as committee member for eighteen master’s candidates; coordinated numerous public forums and debates on issues of local community concern; served on the President’s Commission on Sexual Orientation, Provost’s Task Force on Multicultural Curriculum Transformation and numerous search committees.
  • Pro bono consulting in strategic communication for organizations involved in workforce development, child care, food distribution, litigation, grass-roots civil rights advocacy, and municipal elections.
  • Served two terms as Student Regent, Illinois Board of Regents, 1992-1994.
  • Member and served as president of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Theta Eta Chapter, NIU, 1989-1992.

Recent Awards and Recognitions

  • Distinguished Alumni Award, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, NIU, 2014.
  • Alumni Speaker, 1st Annual Lavender Graduation, NIU, 2010.
  • Recipient, 15th Annual Eychaner Award, NIU Presidential Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Prism, 2009.
  • Member (since 1995) of National Communication Association (NCA).


  • [with Philip Dalton] Public Policy Argumentation and Debate: A Practical Guide for Advocacy (New York: Peter Lang, 2015).
  • [with Philip Dalton] "Getting Clipped: Denial and Masculinity Politics in the 2002 U.S. Senate Race in Montana," Western Journal of Communication74.3 (May-June 2010): 226-248.
  • "Transgender DeKalb: Observations of an Advocacy Campaign," Journal of Homosexuality 45 (2/3/4 2003): 277-296 (reprinted in: Queer Theory andCommunication: From Disciplining Queers to Queering the Discipline(s), Gust A. Yep, Karen E. Lovaas, and John P. Elia, Eds. (New York: The Haworth Press, Inc., 2003) 277-296.
  • "Somalia and the Imperial Savage: Continuities in the Rhetoric of War," Western Journal of Communication 66.1 (Winter 2002): 1-24.
  • "Carol Moseley-Braun's Day to Talk About Race," Argument and Advocacy 32 (Fall 1995): 62-74.