Geoffrey Decker

Northern Illinois University

Contact Details

Northern Illinois University
United States


I was born in Atchison, Kansas, but grew up and went to high school in Overland Park, Kansas. I completed my undergraduate degree, a B.A. in Music, at the University of Kansas. After graduating from KU, I worked in various jobs for a few years and eventually moved to DeKalb, Illinois, to begin the M.S. in Computer Science degree program at Northern Illinois University in June 1988. It was an eye-opening experience and difficult but I found a niche in developing software and systems -- and eventually in teaching it -- that I enjoy very much. After graduating from NIU, I worked 11 years as a software developer in Kansas City, Missouri, at both Kemper Service Company, the transfer agency for Kemper Mutual Funds, and DST Systems, Inc., a former data record-keeping company for the mutual fund industry. At Kemper and DST, I developed software in COBOL, Assembler language, C, C++ and CA-IDEAL, and spent two years as an upper-level technical recruiter in DST's Employment Department. My final two years at DST were spent in MVS systems programming. Having always wanted to teach full time and being ready for a new adventure, I moved back to Illinois in 2001 to begin my career teaching Computer Science at Northern Illinois University. I had taught courses in COBOL, Systems Analysis and Design, Music Appreciation, and the humanities at National American University in Kansas City, Missouri, and all simply increased my desire to teach full time. Northern Illinois University's Department of Computer Science provides me that opportunity. I have been awarded the Department of Computer Science Student Advisory Board's Excellence in Teaching Award for academic years 2004-2005, 2018-2019 and 2020-2021, honors I appreciate very much. I was recognized by IBM and the IBM Community as one of their 200 worldwide IBM Champions in 2022, 2023 and again in 2024. I will finish my 23rd year at NIU in mid-August 2024. With the fall semester 2024, I begin my 24th year and will have completed my 69th consecutive semester teaching at NIU. I love teaching! It's absolutely the best job in the world! The interaction with young people beginning or on the way to beginning their mainframe careers is exceptionally gratifying.