Monday, December 22, 2008

UIS faculty-student team publishes videos in national science collection

Two UIS faculty members and a former UIS student have published videos in the American Society for Microbiology's MicrobeLibrary Visual Collection.

"Mud and Microbes: a Time-Lapse Photographic Exploration of a Sediment Bacterial Community" is the work of Michael Lemke, associate professor of Biology; Keith Miller, professor of Computer Science; and Roza George, a former Capital Scholar at UIS now at the University of Georgia.

Lemke explained that the video is a time-lapse series that examines 40 days of experimental change of light using microbes that live in mud.

The ASM Visual Collection is a clearinghouse of high-quality, peer-reviewed images, animations, and videos about the microbial world for educators, primarily at the undergraduate level. The collection is part of the MicrobeLibrary, an online, searchable collection of more than 2,000 resources.

Susan Bagley, editor-in-chief of the Visual Collection, notes that the UIS videos are "important additions. We owe the success of the MicrobeLibrary to the high quality resources submitted by authors who are committed to sharing their scholarship of teaching and learning with a broader community of educators."

The American Society for Microbiology, the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world, has as its mission the promotion of research and training in the microbiological sciences and the facilitation of communication between scientists, policy makers, and the public.

MicrobeLibrary is a founding partner of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences BiosciEdNet Collaborative, a portal sponsored by the National Science Foundation's National Science Digital Library.

Access the UIS video.

Friday, December 19, 2008

UIS Theatre's production of Cloud 9 chosen for regional program

Play will represent Illinois at Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

The 2008 fall production of the Theatre Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield -- Cloud 9, by British playwright Caryl Churchill -- has been selected to represent the state at the Region III Festival for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, to be held January 7 through 10 in Saginaw, Michigan.

"This is quite a coup for a program that has no majors or minors as yet," observed Margot Duley, dean of UIS' College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Described by the New York Times as "intelligent, inventive, and funny," Cloud 9 explores the politics of sexuality and sexual identity through the use of cross-gender casting and role-doubling.

Assistant Professor of Theatre Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, who directed the production, explained that it was originally nominated for the festival's "Evening of Scenes" by Professor John T. Oertling, chair of the Theatre Arts Department at Eastern Illinois University, who served as the KCACTF respondent to the production. She said the regional executive committee subsequently selected UIS' entry from all nominated productions in Illinois to represent the state at the Festival's "Evening of Scenes," in which each state presents 5 to 10 minutes of scenes from its nominated production.

KCACTF Region III includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

"Right now, we hope to present at least one short scene with students Dwight Langford (Betty, Act I), and Roger Boyd (Harry, Act I), and perhaps also a second scene with Roger and Colleen Kabbes (Edward, Act I)," said Thibodeaux-Thompson.

She and her husband, Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, who is associate professor and director of Theatre at UIS, are accompanying a number of students to the Festival. Some of the students will take part in the Irene Ryan acting scholarship competition; all of them will attend various workshops and performances from colleges and universities in Region III. Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson will also serve as one of three judges from Illinois for the Irene Ryan preliminary rounds. (Judges do not judge students from their home states.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

UIS Computer Science student among winners in international contest

Tejesh Morla (left), a graduate student in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is among the recent winners in the MySQL and GlassFish Contest sponsored by SUN MicroSystems.

Morla won second place in the General Students category of the contest, which challenged participants to create a web application using MySQL and Glassfish along with Java. His winning project was a basic web application that responds to customers' needs to register on a site to place and view orders, as well as administrators' needs to view and list all registered customers. He then created an in-depth blog entry that detailed the steps he took to develop his application and how he used MySQL and GlassFish in the process. Second-place winners in each contest category received $250.

Morla said he first heard about the global contest through an e-mail sent by UIS Computer Science Department chair Dr. Ted Mims, adding, "One of my friends always says there should be something in your resume that sets you apart from the others, so I thought I should participate to get some experience."

He said that the project took a lot of time and research. "At one point, I thought I would never make it," he said. “But I am very excited and can't believe that I happened to win."

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.

Founded in 1982, Sun Microsystems, Inc. is a multinational vendor of computers, computer components, computer software, and information technology services.

For more information, contact Mims at 206-7326.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Manley book among "Best Fiction"

Church Booty by UIS graduate Carol Manley is among 2008's Best Books (fiction) as chosen by the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Church Booty, published by Livingston Press, is a collection of short stories about the congregation of a small-town black church. Reviewers who compiled the list, which appeared in the December 7, 2008, STL Today, hailed Manley as a "powerful new voice in fiction."

Manley earned the master's degree in English from UIS in December 2003 and has received a number of awards, including Friends of Lincoln Library Writer of the Year for poetry (1995) and an Illinois Arts Council fellowship (2006).

Download a pdf file (Church Booty is 21st on the list)

See a video of Manley's on-campus booksigning session last June

Thursday, December 04, 2008

UIS Holiday Stars Project makes difference in the local community

By Courtney Westlake

UIS community members from all areas of campus pitched in on Thursday afternoon, December 4, to load up a truck from the Central Illinois Foodbank with the more than 4,000 pounds of food collected during the 2008 Holiday Stars Project.

"When we created our strategic plan for the university, two of our three goals included making a difference in the world and enriching individual lives," said Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "When we look at all of this food, we know that we're talking about more than enriching lives but truly making a difference in our local world."

The Holiday Stars Project, coordinated through the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, was kicked off with a Trick or Treat event on Halloween in which students went trick or treating for canned goods through local neighborhoods. The original goal for the project, 2008 pounds, was reached that night, so the Holiday Stars Project doubled the goal.

Students, faculty and staff of more than 30 UIS departments came together to reach the new goal, even down to the kids at the Cox Children's Center raising more than $300 through collecting change.

One hundred and sixty agencies will be using this food in central Illinois, said Gloria Shanahan, communications director of the Central Illinois Foodbank.

"The foodbank services 21 counties in Illinois, and they are going to be ecstatic," she said. "To come from the chancellor and trickle down to individual students is quite an example. Our message at the foodbank is that hunger is with us 365 days a year, so this is a wonderful time to give. Every single day, there are people out there who do not know where their next meal is going to come from."

The Holiday Stars Project is led by a Holiday Stars committee, made up of representatives from many different areas on campus.

"When our committee first met, we decided we needed a goal, and our goal was to begin a UIS holiday service tradition and create a direction for what UIS could do for our community, especially during the holiday season," said Kelly Thompson, director of the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center. "We felt it was important to help our community in these times of economic uncertainty. We want to thank the community as well, who was wonderfully receptive to this effort."

UIS, teamed up with members of the community, collected more than two tons of food, Ringeisen said.

"I'm told this will probably feed 2,000 families," he said. "I'm very proud of the students, faculty and staff that gathered together to do this at this time of the year. This is a difficult time for both those who need the food and those who are giving it away, so that makes it even more special."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

UIS partners with Bonner Leader's Program

The University of Illinois at Springfield has been chosen to partner with the Bonner Foundation to offer service-based scholarships through the Bonner Leader's Program. UIS is the first campus in the state of Illinois to engage in partnership with the Bonner Foundation.

The UIS Bonner Leader's Program will select up to eight students who attain unconditional admission to UIS for scholarships through the program. To be chosen, students must submit an application to the UIS Diversity Center, demonstrate an interest in community service, apply for need-based financial assistance through the UIS Office of Financial Assistance, and represent diversity.

"The UIS Bonner Leader's Program promotes the development of student leaders while advancing active and engaged learning by connecting students with community service opportunities," said Dr. Clarice Ford, executive director of the Diversity Center.

Students are eligible to receive up to $4,000 annually for tuition and education expenses such as books, living expenses, and fees. Bonner Leaders are also encouraged to enroll in a two-year term with the Bonner AmeriCorps program and complete 900 hours of service during that time period. Upon successful completion of the term of service, the students will receive the AmeriCorps Education Award from the National Service Trust, which can be used to repay student loans, pay current educational expenses, or pay for future education at an institution of higher learning.

"It is an honor for UIS to be selected as one of the Bonner Foundation's partners," said Dr. Marya Leatherwood, interim assistant chancellor and associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs at UIS. "The Bonner Leader's Program is an excellent fit with UIS' vision for enriching individual lives and making a difference in the world."

The Bonner Foundation is based in Princeton, New Jersey. Its purpose includes supporting college students to use their energy, talent, and leadership to engage in local communities. The program goals are focused on the student, the campus, and the community.

The Bonner Leader's Program is an outgrowth of the Bonner Scholars Program that began in 1990. Currently the Bonner Leader's Program exists at 49 campuses in 22 states.