John R. Butler - NIU - Board of Trustees

John ButlerJohn R. Butler

Term Expires: January 21, 2019

Board Chair
Chair - Ad Hoc Committee on Governance
Member - Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Personnel Committee
Member - Compliance, Audit, Risk Management and Legal Affairs Committee
Member - Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee 
Member - Legislative Affairs, Research and Innovation Committee
Member - Ad Hoc Committee on Enrollment


Office Address:

Painters District Council No. 30 Benefits Office
1905 Sequoia Drive - Suite 201
Aurora, IL 60506

Professional Experience: 

  • Partner, Butler & Anderson, LLC, Chicago, Illinois (2007- Present)
  • Painters District Council No. 30 Benefits Office (Present)
  • Associate and Director of Strategic Communication and Research Initiatives, The Ehrhardt Foundation, Chicago, Illinois (2005-2008)
  • Assistant Professor and Director of Forensics, NIU, Department of Communication (1998-2005)


  • 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.

Academic Leadership and Public Service: 

  • Student Regent, Illinois Board of Regents (two terms: 1992 – 1994)
  • Presenter and Participant, numerous disciplinary conference presentations at the National Communication Association Annual Conference, and other disciplinary conferences (since 1994).
  • Academic advisor for seven master’s candidates and committee member for eighteen master’s candidates, Dept. Communication, NIU.
  • Coordinator and facilitator of numerous public forums and debates on issues of local community concern in association with position as Director of Forensics at NIU.
  • Provost’s Task Force on Multicultural Curriculum Transformation, NIU: Member, 2000-2004; Coordinator for the Day, 2002 and 2003; Presenter, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003; Small Group Facilitator, 2002; and Participant, 1999. 
  • Participant, NIU “Safe Zone Program,” (1998)
  • Member, NIU President’s Commission on Sexual Orientation (1998–2004)
  • Member, faculty search committees (3); Chair, faculty search committee for assistant professor in Department of Communication
  • Member and Representative of the North Central Region, Executive Board, Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) (Summer 2000 – Fall 2001).
  • Pro bono consulting in strategic communication (since 1998) for organizations involved in regional development, child care, and food distribution; litigation strategy; grass-roots civil rights advocacy; and municipal elections.
  • Member and President, Sigma Nu Fraternity, Theta Eta Chapter, NIU (active 1989 – 1992).

Awards & Recognitions:

  • 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).
  • Member, American Society of Trial Consultants (2005 – 2007).
  • Reviewer, Western Journal of Communication (2002 – 2005).
  • Recipient, Summer Research and Artistry Grant, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, NIU, 2000.
  • Recipient, “Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award,” awarded by the Graduate Student Advisory Committee, Dept. Communication, NIU, April 2000.
  • Recipient, 25th Anniversary Appreciation Award, Center for Black Studies, NIU (October 1996).
  • Awarded Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Dept. Communication, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (August 1994 - April 1998).
  • Recipient, 1992-93 Center for Black Studies Community Service Award, NIU.
  • Awarded Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Dept. Communication, NIU (January 1993 - May 1994).
  • Recipient, 1992 Outstanding Forensics Student Award, NIU.


  • [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 Communication 74.3 (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 and Communication: 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.