Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vice Chancellor Miller to leave UIS

From UIS Chancellor Richard D. Ringeisen:

It is with regret but also with sincere best wishes that I announce that Dr. Chris Miller, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Administrative Services, will leave UIS this summer to become Vice President for Student Affairs at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He is expected to leave in early July.

I consider Chris' departure a great professional loss for UIS, but I also have a strong sense of personal loss because he has been a wonderful colleague to me and, indeed, to all of us.

Chris leaves an important legacy that will benefit this university well into the future. He came to UIS in 2002 as Associate Vice Chancellor/Dean of Students during a critical juncture in our history and was ultimately promoted twice to his current position. In just six years, he met unprecedented needs for new student services and rapidly expanded student life even as UIS suffered budgetary downturns. Under his leadership, the residential campus grew significantly, enrollment reached record-breaking levels, the Recreation and Athletic Center opened, the university began the move to NCAA Division II status, and new traditions such as Homecoming and Springfest were established.

Chris was appointed Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs in spring 2003 and took on additional responsibilities in fall 2006 for administrative services. In that capacity, he supervised nearly half of all UIS employees in 18 units, including Enrollment Management, Housing and Residential Life, Athletics and Recreational Sports, Business and Financial Management, and Facilities and Services.

In his new position at Marquette, he will oversee almost all aspects of student life outside the classroom. Marquette is a premier Catholic, Jesuit doctoral university enrolling approximately 11,500 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 100 degree programs.

It is no surprise and certainly a compliment to UIS that a university of Marquette's stature would want Dr. Miller in its top ranks.

Please join me in wishing Chris all the best in his new venture.

A campus announcement will follow later about interim leadership while a search is conducted for Chris' successor.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Speaker focuses on globalization in the Midwest

By Courtney Westlake

Globalization is transforming the Midwest of the United States, and the region is struggling to meet the challenges.

This is the message that guest speaker Richard Longworth brought to the campus on Tuesday evening, May 20, during a presentation in Brookens Auditorium. Longworth is the author of "Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism," which describes this transformation and suggests ways in which the Midwest can fight back.

Longworth lives in Chicago, but grew up in Iowa. It was while he was traveling abroad as a foreign correspondent that he picked up an interest in globalization and spent a lot of time looking at the effects of globalization on the third world and the first world.

"I got curious recently about how the Midwest, my old home, was handling globalization, so I spent most of the year driving around the eight states of the Midwest, visiting as many places as I could and talking with as many people as I could," Longworth said. "And the short answer is that we've got problems."

Longworth said his personal definition of globalization is that the United States is in a global competition with the entire world, not only with other states or regions of the country.

New global challenges are coming about in the Midwest - challenges to the education system, innovation, a political system that is inadequate to the needs of the 21st century and more, Longworth said. And these challenges are turning both heavy industry and family farming upside down, undermining old factory towns and rural areas, destroying old jobs and putting new demands on education, government and Midwesterners themselves, he said.

"A lot of what is happening has been going on for years, but globalization is putting the final nail in lot of coffins, is making many of these trends irreversible," he said.

The Industrial Age was very good for the Midwest, Longworth said, and created thriving Midwestern towns and cities. But globalization is seemingly causing the death of many Midwest cities today, with less immigration, more unemployment and poverty-stricken inner-city areas with a dim future.

"What I really found is that the Midwest is, by and large, in denial," Longworth said. "This is a big deal; this vast inland nation that we call home may have been a winner in the industrial area but is losing in the era of globalization. Globalization is here and is not going to go away."

Two UIS online degree programs ranked among "best buys" in national survey

Two online degree programs at the University of Illinois at Springfield – the master of science in Computer Science and the master of science in Management Information Systems – were rated among the top dozen programs in a recent national survey conducted by, the only consumer-oriented, online degree clearinghouse in the country. The survey looks at tuition costs at accredited, distance-learning computer science and information systems degree programs nationwide.

The survey, "Top 29 Ranked Best Buys, Online Graduate Degrees in Computer Science and Information Technology," identifies trends in online degree pricing that directly impact consumers as they go online to earn degrees. The "Best Buy" designation indicates that the programs have been reviewed and judged to offer a high-quality distance degree to a national audience at tuition rates well below the national average and recognize an institution's efforts toward making quality education more accessible through innovative delivery methods coupled with fiscally responsive practices.

The number one spot in the survey went to Columbus State University (Georgia) with a cost of $5,436 for an online master's degree in Applied Computer Science. UIS' master's of science in Computer Science, at number five, cost $8,032 and the master's of science in Management Information Systems, at number twelve, cost $11,044. The most expensive degree in the survey, an M.S. with an Information Systems concentration, was offered by Baker College, in Michigan, at a cost of $17, 325. Honorable mentions were made to three institutions – in Arizona, Maryland, and Missouri – each with costs of over $18,000.

GetEducated CEO Vicky Phillips noted, "College costs at residential programs have skyrocketed in the last decade; however, the same is not true for online degree programs. We launched our national Best Buy award program to spotlight and promote the true affordable gems of higher education."

UIS' graduate program in Computer Science is oriented toward students interested in the design, analysis, and implementation of software programs. Graduate students must complete a comprehensive closure exercise to demonstrate the ability to formulate, investigate, and analyze a problem and to report results in writing and orally.

The master's degree in Management Information Systems is designed to provide the professional administrator/manager with a balance between technical expertise and organizational knowledge in the application of information technology to solve business problems. All MIS graduates must complete a graduate project or thesis, the nature of which is contingent on the individual's career goals, or complete the MIS Capstone course.

UIS presently offers eight master's degree programs completely online: Computer Science, Environmental Studies, Human Services Administration, Legal Studies, Management Information Systems, Public Administration, Public Health, and Teacher Leadership.

Online undergraduate degree programs include Business Administration, Computer Science, Economics, English, History, Liberal Studies, Mathematics, and Philosophy. UIS also offers certificate programs and many individual courses online.

See the complete results of the survey.

See more information about UIS Online.

UIS graduate student receives FMC Fellowship Award

Sarah Dill, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has received a Graduate Fellowship from Chicago-based FMC Technologies, Inc. Dill, who is pursuing a master’s degree in Business Administration in the program offered by UIS in Peoria, will receive $9,000 for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Established in 1971, the fellowship program honors outstanding graduate students in business administration, economics, engineering, finance or related fields. Final selections are made by representatives from FMC Technologies, the University of Illinois, and the U of I Foundation.

Dill is currently employed as Senior Director of Administration and Business Development with Children's Hospital of Illinois, the largest children's hospital in the state outside Chicago, and expects to receive her MBA in May 2009. She was nominated for the fellowship award by Paul McDevitt, director of the MBA Program at UIS.

McDevitt noted that Dill is a "high-performing MBA student" who has "built a successful career around interests in children and healthcare." In her current position, she is part of the hospital's top management team and has responsibilities for strategic direction, collaborative leadership, and oversight.

"Sara is one of those dream candidates for the MBA," said McDevitt, "a successful career executive who has decided that her formal education must catch up with her professional accomplishments. She is a smart and dedicated individual with strong communication and people skills. We believe that she will be a leader, that she will make a difference in health care."

Dill's ultimate goal is to manage a business of her own. "By the time I'm 40, I would like to be CEO of a substantial business and have around me a wildly diverse and intelligent group of people to collaborate and be part of my team," she said.

The UIS Peoria MBA format is designed to meet the needs of students who are employed full-time but wish to complete degree requirements in a timely manner. Courses are offered so that it is possible for students to complete degree requirements in less than two years.

The FMC Educational Fund (formerly the Link-Belt Educational Fund) was established in 1963 by U of I alumnus Bert Gayman, who donated a large block of company stock to the U of I Foundation. Designed to provide education and research opportunities, the fund now provides more than $135,000 annually for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships at the University of Illinois.

See more information about the programs offered by UIS' College of Business and Management

UIS students receive Avery Brundage scholarships

Five students at the University of Illinois at Springfield -- Kimberly Bartosiak, Priyanka Deo, Alexandria Janezic, Matt Reynolds, and Sarah Wellard -- were among 19 recipients of Avery Brundage Scholarships, made to U of I students who excel in both academics and athletics. Each will receive $2,500 for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Bartosiak is a freshman from Bethalto. She is majoring in Chemistry and is a member of the women's volleyball team.

Deo is a sophomore from Chicago. She is majoring in Political Science and is a member of the women's tennis team.

Janezic is a junior from Barrington. She is majoring in Psychology and is a member of the women's volleyball team.

Reynolds is a sophomore from Peoria. He is majoring in Business and is a member of the men's basketball team.

Wellard is a senior from Springfield. She is majoring in Legal Studies and is a member of UIS' cheerleading/spirit squad.

Brundage scholarship recipients are selected by a committee representing the faculties and student bodies of the three U of I campuses. Students chosen must engage in athletics for personal development, not as preparation for professional sports; must be working toward bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees at the U of I; and must be in the upper 25 percent of their undergraduate class or in good academic standing in their graduate program.

The scholarships were established in 1974 by an endowment from Avery Brundage, University of Illinois alumnus and former president of the International and U.S. Olympic committees. Since 1974, 776 scholarships have been awarded, totaling $956,200.

See more information about intercollegiate and intramural athletics and recreational sports at UIS.

Get details about the Brundage scholarship program.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Japanese Garden dedicated at UIS

By Courtney Westlake

Koto music played in the background and bonsai trees decorated the lobby of Sangamon Auditorium during a festive celebration and dedication of the Japanese Garden at UIS.

The Japanese Garden was given by Eileen Ensel as a living tribute to her late husband, Lee Ensel, who was very interested in the culture of the university. She decided on a Japanese garden after a tour of campus in May 2007, with Carolyn Ringeisen, wife of UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen, Joan Buckles, horticulturist and grounds worker supervisor, and Vicki Megginson, associate chancellor for development and vice president of the U of I Foundation.

The garden is located on the east and southeast sides of the Public Affairs Center. Ensel chose the spot of the garden due to its proximity to Sangamon Auditorium and to student housing.

"So when students come in to class from the places they live, they walk right by the Japanese Garden," Chancellor Ringeisen said during the garden's dedication. "And equally important is that this is the way many, many people come to Sangamon Auditorium to our events."

Ensel is no stranger to giving to UIS. Already established are two scholarships for students: the Lee Ensel scholarship for students interested in pre-law and the Eileen Ensel scholarship which is based on financial need. Ensel also donates to the Chancellor's Excellence Fund.

"And now on top of all those things, we have this very beautiful Japanese Garden," Ringeisen said. "Thank you, Eileen; we get the special privilege of enjoying the garden and thinking of you when we do."

Japanese gardens can represent many things, such as nature, religious ideas, philosophic ideas, frugality, self-restraint and simplicity, said Buckles, who helped to complete the project. The Japanese-style garden at UIS is in a public area, so although it doesn't provide the atmosphere for reflection or meditation common to many Japanese gardens, it still serves to provide public awareness of the bond between UIS and Springfield’s sister city, Ashikaga, Japan.

Contrary to the American idea of a garden, plant material plays a secondary role in Japanese gardens, Buckles said. Pines, junipers, boxwood and gingko have been used in dwarf, weeping and bonsai forms to represent windswept landscapes. Grasses and iris have also been added.

"Rocks are the backbone of Japanese gardens," Buckles said. "In this garden, rocks have been used to represent mountains, the beginnings of a river bed, as well as the dry river bed itself which runs the length of the garden."

Other features included are a lantern, a rock bench and a granite bridge, which is a reclaimed piece of curbing from a downtown St. Louis parking lot.

UIS’ grounds worker Cliff Edwards, with the help of Brian Beckerman and Frank Moscardelli, designed UIS' Japanese Garden. Scott Day and Gary Trammell allowed Edwards and his crew to tour their own personal gardens, offering suggestions and sparking creative ideas.

Ensel said she was thrilled with the outcome of the project and thanked everyone involved.

"I just hope that you all enjoy it, that the staff, faculty and students here enjoy it," she said. "I'm just so pleased with it, and I think Joan Buckles, and everyone else, did a wonderful job."

Monday, May 05, 2008

UIS holds first Lavender Graduation

The University of Illinois at Springfield hosted its first Lavender Graduation ceremony for graduating LGBTQ students, their families, friends, and allies, on Sunday, May 4, in the Public Affairs Center restaurant on the UIS campus.

Lavender Graduation is a cultural celebration that recognizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning students and their allies and acknowledges their achievements and contributions. The event was organized by UIS' LGBTQ Resource Office Student Advisory Board and was sponsored by the LGBTQ Resource Office, Student Life, Division of Student Affairs. Beth Hoag, UIS assistant director of Student Life, noted, "We hope this is a start of a great tradition."

Graduating students recognized for their leadership and achievements were (pictured above) Rich Sullivan, Ben Owen, Jimmy Brower, Chad Eversgerd, Heidi Fisher, and Daniel McCarthy. Online student Lucy Silva is not pictured.

Three awards were also presented. The LGBTQ Faculty/Staff Advocate of the Year award was presented to Ryan Prosser, resident director of east campus apartments. Rich Sullivan was named Ally of the Year, and Jimmy Brower received the LGBTQ Student Leader Award.

Lynne Price, director of the UIS Campus Health Service, was the keynote speaker. "I am pleased and very honored to be the inaugural speaker for Lavender Graduation," said Price. "This graduating class is reminiscent of the energy and enthusiasm for social justice that was present at the formation of our university. Those graduates we honor today have brought LGBTQ issues to the forefront. From your commitment and dedication, a new and positive climate emerges for those who follow."

Price observed that some recent campus initiatives achieved through student efforts, most notably by the student organization Queer Straight Alliance, include creation of the Safe Zone Program, which in the past two years has trained more than 200 people to become allies for LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty; the opening of the LGBTQ Resource Office; campuswide observances of National Coming out Day, National Day of Silence, and Day of Dialogue; campus display of the national AIDS Quilt project; an LGBTQ presence at campus Preview Days and Orientation; hosting such events as the annual Alternative Prom and Wig Out!, a festival that showcased nationally known drag performers, allied musical groups, and community organizations; and the installation of gender neutral bathrooms on campus.

The lavender triangle as a symbol of LGBTQ pride grew from two separate symbols used in Nazi Germany: pink triangles marked gay men in concentration camps and black triangles identified lesbian political prisoners. During the LGBTQ Civil Rights Movement, these symbols of hatred were combined to produce a symbol of pride and community.

Related links: Queer Straight Alliance, more info about Lavender Graduations

UIS will offer basic GIS skills workshop

The Geographic Information Systems Laboratory at UIS will present "Using GIS to Explore Your Community: A Fundamental GIS Applications Workshop," a daylong program, on Friday, May 16. The workshop is designed for anyone with a beginning interest in spatial visualization and mapping. Basic computer skills and familiarity with Microsoft Office are the only prerequisites. Advance registration is required and space is limited. Read more>>

UIS Theatre announces 08-09 season

UIS Theatre's 2008-2009 season will feature British comedies, both modern and classic. The fall production, Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill, is a parody of the Victorian-era British Empire and its rigid (and oppressive) attitudes. Assistant Professor of Theatre Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson will direct; six performances are set for mid-November. The spring production is As You Like It, one of Shakespeare's best comedies. Director of Theatre Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson will direct; production dates are in April. Read more>>