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.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

History graduate wins UIS outstanding master's thesis award

Heather Wickens has won the University of Illinois at Springfield's Chapin Outstanding Master's Thesis award for the 2007-08 academic year. Her thesis – titled "The Lasting Legacy of Eliza Lucas Pinckney" – was chosen from among 11 theses and projects nominated by graduate departments at the university.

Wickens' work describes the major influences that shaped American agriculturist Eliza Pinckney into a figure of historical significance and her key role in the development of her sons -- Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Thomas Pinckney, military and political leaders during the Revolutionary period.

Dr. Deborah McGregor, associate professor of History who chaired Wickens' thesis committee, noted, "Heather's thesis is carefully articulated and thematically developed. It establishes historical context for Pinckney's notable achievements and presents a history of a strong woman whose life as a scientist and a parent significantly contributed to the creation and preservation of the South Carolina elite during the Revolutionary period."

Wickens received the master of arts degree in History in May 2008 and currently lives and works in Boston.

Michael Rossetto, who earned a master of arts degree in Biology, received a Special Merit Award. Rossetto's thesis was titled "The Effectiveness of Cryogenic Practices to Preserve a Sediment Bacterial Assemblage from Central Park, New York." Dr. Michael Lemke, associate professor of Biology, served as his committee chair.

Rossetto's work focused on the identification and recovery of culturable bacteria from a representative sediment community. The first part of his study used a traditional, nutritionally rich clinical media for growing bacteria, while the second part used a technique that suggested that trace minerals and simple organic molecules represent the partially "starved" state of a bacteria in nature and thus favored culturing of both common and novel strains.

Noted Lemke, "I am proud of Mike's accomplishments and his significant contributions to the field. His thinking went from having a fundamental understanding of the biological world to commanding an exceptionally insightful line of investigation that embraced advanced molecular techniques as well as the appropriate application of traditional methods."

The UIS Research Board reviews nominated theses and projects and makes the final selection. Lynn Pardie, UIS associate vice chancellor for graduate education and research, said that the board was impressed by the high quality of each of the nominated reports. "Determining which among them should be singled out for special recognition was a challenging task," she said.

Other students who were nominated, their theses or projects, and their programs, are: Karina Kazintseva (Communication), "Scrutinizing the Process of Second Language Acquisition Through a Lens of the Cultural Capital Theory"; Sheldon Linker (Computer Science), "A Knowledge Base and Question Answering System Based on Loglan and English"; John Barrett (Educational Leadership), "Cross-Curricular Vocabulary Instruction Utilizing Brain Based Treatment"; Meghan Harmon (English), "And to Her Astonishment, There Was No Blood: Comprehending the (Fictional) Suicides of Quentin Compson and Milkman Dead"; Kris McDonald (Environmental Studies), "Program Evaluation of the Eco-U Summer Nature Camp"; Paula Dal Canton (Human Development Counseling), "An End to Bullying Begins with Teachers: An Informational Workshop for Middle School Teachers"; Julia Ramirez (Human Services), "Lit from Within: Insights into Successful Aging from the Dominican Sisters of Sacred Heart Convent"; Brent Judd (Liberal and Integrative Studies), "William Faulkner and the Symbolist Movement: Absalom, Absalom as a Reflection of Mallerme's L'Apres-mide"; and Stephen Newell (Management Information Systems), "An Information System Architecture and Maturity Model to Support State and Local Government Homeland Security."

All 11 students will be honored at a reception to be held in February 2009.

Research Board members are Pardie, who serves as chair; UIS faculty members Jason Barker, Thomas Clausen, Denise Somers, and Chris Mooney; and Lenore Killam, staff in UIS' College of Public Affairs and Administration.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Students gives campus a Kenyan experience

By Courtney Westlake

A tiny, one-room hut with a cot sat in the lobby of the Public Affairs Center on Wednesday, giving passerby a glimpse into the lives of people living in the slums in Kenya, Africa.

The hut was part of an all-day exhibit set up by members of Jump for Joel, an organization started by UIS student Shana Stine after she volunteered for a month at a Kenyan orphanage called the Gathiga Children's Hope Home in July 2007. In July 2008, she returned again with five additional UIS students to work at the orphanage.

"This is an exhibit from our trip to Kenya this past July," Stine said. "We're coming and showing videos and pictures, and we have a model shanty up, which is something you would see in the slum areas for housing."

The exhibit was in coordination with National Hunger and Homelessness Week this week. Members of Jump for Joel had seen a local church do a similar demonstration and liked the idea of setting up a model of a Kenyan shanty to raise awareness of global poverty.

"So we thought we'd combine it with the gallery of photos that Shana had done last year," said Lindsey Lasley, who accompanied Stine to Kenya this past summer. "As we see people walk in the door, they stop and wonder why this hut is placed in the middle of lobby. Then they have been reading the signs that explain what is going on."

Stine said she hopes the display will help to create an understanding that poverty is a real issue, not simply a collection of statistics.

"There really are kids that are hungry in this world," she said. "And the pictures - the kids are absolutely beautiful. A lot of times when we talk about Africa, we talk about just poverty, but their joy is something you don't always see here in the U.S. They're so happy, so we wanted to show that."

The Kenyan experience is also hoped to raise awareness about Jump for Joel. The group passed out information about the various ways students, staff and faculty can get involved with the effort.

"We are a group of students here at UIS and at Lincoln Land who think we don't have to be apathetic. Our generation sometimes gets a bad rap for being indifferent and unconcerned, so this is our way of helping the kids who we met," Stine said. "We're not just taking a trip; we're following up on that with action."

UIS staff and alums take top honors in national competition

Several staff members at the University of Illinois at Springfield, as well as several alumni of UIS' Public Affairs Reporting program, were among the winners of the annual competition sponsored by Capitolbeat, the national organization of journalists covering state and local governments.

The awards -- honoring excellence in Statehouse reporting in print, broadcast and online media -- were presented at the organization's annual conference, held this year in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Bethany Jaeger, Statehouse bureau chief for Illinois Issues magazine and a 2004 PAR alum, took first place in the magazine columns category for her "State of the State" column, which appears in the print and online versions of the magazine. Jaeger's winning columns touched on such subjects as gun control, feuding Democrats, Cook County property taxes, and the outlook for state policy.

Jaeger also received a second place award in the single report category for magazines for her September 2007 article "Clinic in a school," which analyzed state and national policies that contribute to the demand for health care centers in high schools, yet hinder their growth.

Daniel C. Vock, a writer for and a 2000 PAR alum, won a third place award in the same category for his Illinois Issues article on why Illinois is a friendly place for immigrants.

Sean Crawford, Statehouse bureau chief for Public Radio station WUIS, won a third place award for radio beat reporting for stories he covered ranging from the deterioration of trust at the state Capitol to more lighthearted fare such as a plan to create a special a license plate for NASCAR fans.

Amanda Vinicky, WUIS Statehouse reporter and a 2005 PAR alum, won a third place award in the radio single report category for "The Truant Legislator," which focused on Rep. Rich Bradley (D-Chicago), his chronic absences during the legislative session, and the resulting impact on his district.

Together, Crawford and Vinicky won a third place award in the radio in-depth reporting category for "Making Little Cents," a series of reports on Illinois' problems in getting a budget put together.

PAR alums Ray Long (1981) and John O'Connor (1986) were also among those honored.

Long, of the Chicago Tribune, shared a first place award in beat reporting for wire services and newspapers over 75,000 circulation.

O'Connor, of the Associated Press, received an honorable mention in the single report category for wire services and newspapers over 75,000 circulation.

Capitolbeat, formerly called the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, has nearly 300 members across the country. Illinois Issues is a not-for-profit monthly publication focusing on analysis of public policy. WUIS is listener-supported public radio for central and west central Illinois. Both Illinois Issues and WUIS are part of the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS.

UIS' Public Affairs Reporting program is a one-year master's degree program focusing on coverage of state government news. In addition to academic work, students serve six-month internships with newspaper, magazine, radio, television, wire service, or audio news service bureaus in the Statehouse pressroom in Springfield.

For more information, contact Dana Heupel, executive editor of Illinois Issues, at 206-6507.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

UIS learns about "spreading the peanut butter thin" at Hunger Banquet

By Courtney Westlake

Students, staff and community members got a small taste of what it is like to "spread the peanut butter thin" on Tuesday evening, November 18.

UIS hosted its third annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet in the Great Room of Lincoln Residence Hall on Tuesday. The event is held in observance of National Hunger and Homelessness Week.

The theme of the Hunger Banquet this year was "Spreading the Peanut Butter Thin," based on the book Spread the Peanut Butter Thin by Central Illinois author Leah Riley, who spoke at the banquet. Riley shared her family's story from a time just a few years ago when their annual household income was around $13,000, and she and her husband could barely afford to feed their children.

The family managed to keep their house, keep their lights on and keep their phone, in order to look for a better job. But they were denied food stamps originally and spent between $25-$50 each month on food for the family of four.

After Riley's husband became eligible to receive social security disability income, the family is now "OK," Riley said.

"Our three basic things that we lacked were water, food and heat," Riley said. "Water was a desperate necessity; you can't cook anything without water, so you might have food, but you can't cook it without water. And we couldn't buy food; we had no money."

"Four years later, we've never slid back, but we found we don't need what we thought we needed to live," she added.

During a Hunger Banquet, guests are randomly assigned high-, middle-, or low-income rankings and are served meals that range from gourmet fare to small portions of rice and water, depending on the guest’s designation. Instead of rice this year, however, guests were served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, to keep with the theme of the event.

Donations of non-perishable food and canned goods were accepted for the 2008 Holidays Stars Project, a campus-wide holiday service initiative benefiting the Central Illinois Foodbank.

Oxfam America, an affiliate of Oxfam International, is a relief and development organization that works to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice. "Oxfam" was the original postal abbreviation for the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, which was started in England during World War II to provide relief to war victims in Europe.

The purpose is of the Oxfam Hunger Banquet is to heighten participants’ awareness of hunger in the U.S. and internationally.

"We are here today because more than one billion Americans and other people around the world suffer from hunger every day," said Lenore Cole, who helped to organize the event. "Almost 37 million Americans live in poverty. Equality and balance do not exist; stark inequalities prevail everywhere."

UIS Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning receives major award

The Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning at the University of Illinois at Springfield was among pioneers in the use of new media technologies to be honored at the 2008 SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards ceremony hosted by the Society for New Communications Research on November 14 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The SNCR is a nonprofit global think tank dedicated to the advanced study of new communications tools, technologies, and emerging modes of communication and their effect on traditional media, professional communications, business, and society. These prestigious awards honor individuals, corporations, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and media outlets that are breaking new ground in the use of social media, ICT, mobile media, online communities, virtual worlds, and collaborative technologies.

OTEL Director Ray Schroeder noted that award recipients comprised “some of the brightest leaders in the field of new media.”

Said Schroeder, “How exciting it is to know that UIS was so wonderfully represented among those who are shaping the future of emerging technologies and communications media! Just look at the others with whom we are listed -- Network Solutions, Dell, Cisco, IBM, United Nations University, Corel, and Lexis/Nexis, among many others.”

UIS’ award, in the category Online Reputation Management/Academic Division, was accepted by Shari McCurdy Smith, associate director of OTEL and one of the authors of the winning case study documenting UIS’ collective efforts in support of the campus’ online initiative. The complete text of the case study is available at

UIS also received a Commendation of Merit in the category of External Communications from SNCR for "Newsroom@Illinois Springfield," a website where many of the campus’ news and information web pages are consolidated into one central hub.

UIS’ Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning has as its mission the promotion of faculty use of the Internet and allied developing technologies to enhance learning, scholarship, and service. More information is available at

Additional information about the Society for New Communications Research is available at

Friday, November 14, 2008

Board approves updating UIS Campus Master Plan

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved updating the University of Illinois at Springfield Campus Master Plan Thursday to include land owned by the university outside the ring road. The update builds on the current plan, which includes only land within the ring road. UIS own 745 acres of land, about 230 acres of which are inside the ring road.

The Campus Master Plan is a "blueprint" for long-term growth and development of the physical campus. According to UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen, the update was needed as UIS anticipates the need for modest campus expansion, additional services, and potential development outside the ring road. "We are talking about such things as a campustown-type mall, which would be located across from the townhouses on the west side of 11th Street," he said. "It could perhaps include a café, coffee shop, grocery store, pharmacy, pizza parlor, ice cream store, and more."

Ringeisen emphasized, however, that campustown won't become a reality until there is a private developer who feels there is enough traffic, enough students, and enough potential for businesses to survive, and is willing to partner with UIS. He noted that there are several reasons why campustown would be a viable investment. "The number of students living on campus has grown. This fall we have more than 1,000 residential students. Wal-Mart is now only two miles away, and more development such as apartments and a small mall has taken place on Toronto Road. That means traffic has increased on the 11th Street corridor even though the extension to Stevenson Drive is not yet complete."

He said other possible uses of land outside the ring road include additional athletic fields, active senior housing, and a golf driving range.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

UIS Bookstore cuts ribbon in new location

By Courtney Westlake

The UIS Bookstore is getting settled into its new home in Founders Residence Hall, where it is enjoying a brand-new store and expanded space for textbooks and merchandise.

To celebrate its new location, UIS held a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting for the bookstore on Thursday morning, November 13.

"Follett has enjoyed the 26-year relationship with UIS, and I'd like to thank everyone for coming out today and celebrating the new UIS Bookstore," said Linda Cunningham, a representative from Follett, the corporation that services the bookstore, during the ribbon-cutting.

As part of the celebration, store-goers were treated to refreshments, and drawings were held for prizes. Attendees could also purchase a single apparel or gift item at 20 percent off.

Aside from simply providing textbooks to students and other merchandise, many of the funds brought in at the bookstore help to support other services on campus, said Steve Chrans, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs.

"They've helped our childcare center, our food services department and things like that," he said. "It's a good business partner for us."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

U of I students may apply for Avery Brundage scholarships

Applications for the 36th annual Avery Brundage Scholarship competition for University of Illinois students who excel in both academics and athletics are being accepted now through Saturday, January 31, 2009. Applications can be submitted only online at

Full-time students, including incoming freshmen, graduate, and transfer students, may apply for Brundage scholarships. Grant-in-aid recipients may be eligible under specified conditions. Academic and athletic competence will be considered over financial need.

Undergraduate and transfer applicants must rank in the top 25 percent of their college, while incoming freshmen must rank in the top 25 percent of their incoming class. Graduate and professional students must be in good academic standing.

Students must also demonstrate "special athletic ability" in an amateur sport, and their participation must have been for personal development rather than as preparation for professional athletics. Previous winners represent a wide variety of sports from archery and tennis to swimming and wheelchair basketball. Last year, 19 winners were awarded $2,500 each.

Avery Brundage was a 1909 graduate of the U of I who competed in the 1912 Olympics and later served as president of both the U.S. and International Olympic committees. Before his death in 1975, he maintained his interest in the University through service as a member of the University of Illinois Foundation, President's Council, and Citizen's Committee.

Brundage established the scholarship in 1974 with an endowment to the U of I Foundation of $343,000. Over the past 35 years, 732 scholarships with a total value of $858,000 have been awarded.

Monday, November 10, 2008

SECA goal surpassed

The 2008 UIS SECA campaign has surpassed its original goal of $40,000 by nearly $1,280. This is the eighth year in a row that UIS has exceeded its goal.

Donation forms are still being accepted through the end of November. Send completed forms to Erica Michael, PAC 566A, MS PAC 563.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Prominent UIS alums to participate in Leadership Roundtable

The University of Illinois at Springfield will host 21 distinguished alumni from across the nation as the group gathers to participate in a Leadership Roundtable on Thursday and Friday, November 6 and 7, at the university.

The topic of the Roundtable, "UIS in the Global Marketplace," will focus on two main topics: What can UIS offer international markets? and What do students need to know to be prepared for today’s global environment?

The alumni will participate in meetings and panel discussions with UIS administrators, faculty, and student groups and will take part in a "speed networking" event with students. The Leadership Roundtable program is designed as a way to bring some of the best and brightest alumni together with educators to share their insights on the realities and challenges of the global marketplace.

"UIS is very fortunate to have among its alumni many extraordinary leaders," said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "These individuals have graciously agreed to share their experiences and expertise with us through intensive discussions about how we can best prepare our graduates for the future."

Roundtable participants are: Linda Baker-Roby, professor, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and president, GII of Illinois, Inc. (BA, 1985; MA, 1987, DPA, 2004); Guoxing Chai, senior vice president, Risk Management & Analytics, Global Cards/Consumer Assets, HSBC bank (MBA, 1993); James A. Downing, founding executive director of Illinois Venture Capital Association (MBA, 1999); W. Robert Felker, chief administrative officer, Chase Capital and chairman of JPMorgan Futures Inc. (BA, 1974); Kathleen D. Gowin, senior vice president of sales, Global Treasury Services at Bank of America (MBA, 1987); Karen A. Hasara, first woman to be elected mayor of Springfield and former member of the Illinois Legislature (BA,1972; MA, 1992); Gordon S. Heddell, acting Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense (MA, 1975); Brenda J. Holmes, chair of the Governmental Relations Committee, Illinois State Broad of Education and member of the Finance & Audit Committee, commissioner for the Education Commission of the States (MA, 1972); Raju L. Indukuri, independent entrepreneur and founder of Valence Energy (MA, 1992); Cheryl Alters Jamison, author of more than a dozen cookbooks and travel guides (1977 MA); Donald Johnson, chairman and CEO of ATC Technology Corporation and lead director of Accuride Corporation (BA, 1982); Thomas E. Livingston, resident vice president, CSX Transportation for the State of Illinois (BS, 1990; MPA, 1997); Syma R. Mendelsohn, senior vice president of JZA Affinity, Inc. (MA, 1975); David W. Olien, senior vice president for administration in the University of Wisconsin System (retired) (MA, 1974); Fred Parsons, owner/operator of Westview Condos LLC and Troy Development, partner in Metro East Recycling Inc. (BA, 1981); Kevin Purcell, system managing director in organization and leadership development for Memorial Health Systems (MA, 1982); Michael S. Schwartz, chairman of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (MA, 1980); Thom M. Serafin, president and CEO of Serafin & Associates, Inc. (BA, 1973; MA, 1993); Donna Fitzgerald Sollenberger, chief executive officer of the Baylor Clinic and Hospital and executive vice president of Baylor College of Medicine (BA, 1971; MA, 1974); Stanley D. Tooley, president/CEO of Southwest Regional Rehabilitation Hospital (MA, 1976); and Phillip T. Zeni Sr., CEO and senior consultant of The NEXT LEVEL Management Consultants (BA, 1973).

Monday, November 03, 2008

UIS presents Marantz with advocate leadership award

The University of Illinois at Springfield has named Tom Marantz, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Bank of Springfield, as the recipient of the 2008 William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership at UIS.

The award honors a volunteer who has shown extraordinary leadership in supporting the development goals and efforts of the University of Illinois. It is named for William Winter, a 1942 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, retired chairman of the 7-Up Company, member of the U of I Board of Directors and Ambassador for the University of Illinois.

Marantz is a long-time avid supporter and advocate of the UIS Prairie Stars athletics programs. In 2004, he established the Jack Marantz Memorial Scholarship in memory of his late father. He also funded the purchase of a state-of-the-art scoreboard for the arena of UIS' Recreation and Athletic Center through the Bank of Springfield.

Marantz was also a featured speaker at the annual Scholarship Luncheon in 2004, where he discussed the importance of private giving in the development of a top university.

"Tom has been instrumental in increasing community awareness of the athletics corporate partnership program," said Nick Dolce, assistant athletic director for development at UIS, who nominated Marantz for the award. "He goes above and beyond anything asked of him, and he understands the importance of giving student-athletes the opportunity to attend college through private giving. He has never lost sight of the value of an education."

In addition to his contributions to UIS, Marantz also serves the Springfield community in a variety of ways, including director of the Springfield Urban League, director of the Springfield Redevelopment Corporation, past president of the Land of Lincoln United Cerebral Palsy and leadership panel of the United Way of Central Illinois.

Holiday Stars Project original goal surpassed

The 10 teams that took part in the campus' first Trick or Treat for Canned Goods competition on Halloween collected 2049 pounds of food, surpassing the original Holiday Stars Project goal of 2008 pounds of food for the Central Illinois Foodbank.

Sponsored by Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, the Holiday Stars Project is a campus-wide service initiative giving focus to UIS' efforts to make a difference in the local community during the upcoming holiday season.

Kelly Thompson, director of the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, said, "Given the students' enthusiasm and energy for this project and the wonderful response they received, the Project Committee challenges the campus community to help us double our first goal and collect 4016 pounds of food by December 4."

Members of the campus community can place donations of non-perishable food items in specially marked bins around campus, now through December 3. Everything collected during the project will be presented to the Foodbank on December 4.

For more information, contact the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center at 6-7716.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Luncheon recognizes achievements of UIS faculty

By Courtney Westlake

The outstanding accomplishments of faculty at UIS were acknowledged at the 16th annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon, which was held Thursday, October 30 in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby of the PAC. The event, started in 1985, recognizes the scholarly achievements of current and emeriti faculty for the previous calendar year and pays tribute to all of the faculty members for achievements in areas of research, published articles and other writing, creative works, grants, book reviews and professional presentations.

"When you say the word 'university,' what it means is a community of scholars, scholars who are eager to share their experiences and scholarship with students," said Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "What a diverse group of scholars we are. The thing that we all have in common, no matter what our scholarship area is, is this gleam in the eye, this 'want to know.' That spark we all have in common is the essence of scholarship."

Provost Harry Berman took the time to point out the various fields, interests or recent achievements of faculty members at UIS during the luncheon presentation.

"More than anything, a public, liberal arts university is a public university where there is an active commitment to the values associated with a liberal arts education," Berman said. "Being in a public, liberal arts university has much to do with the seriousness with which faculty approach the undergraduate general education experience and the faculty's commitment to what is often referred to as liberal learning."

Meena Rao, vice president of academic affairs at the University of Illinois, traveled to town for the occasion to congratulate the faculty on their recent achievements and thank them for their contribution to the mission of the university.

"The annual Faculty Scholarship Recognition events are a favorite of mine because they highlight the many achievements of faculty as scholars, as researchers and as teachers," she said. "We cannot forget that the university's principle resource is its faculty. The excellence of our academic programs is directly related to the quality of our faculty."

During the Recognition Luncheon, Dr. Rosina Neginsky, associate professor of Liberal Studies/Individual Option, Women’s Studies and English, was named University Scholar, an award honoring and rewarding outstanding teachers and scholars at the three U of I campuses. The prize comes with a grant of $10,000 each year for three years for research and scholarly activities.

Neginsky is a literary scholar, translator, author and poet. Her primary interests include European literature and cinema, women writers and the symbolist movement in Europe.

"Her enthusiasm for learning, culture and the arts is infectious," Rao said. "She actively encourages her students, her colleagues and the larger Springfield community to join her in learning about other cultures, which is so necessary in the world we live in today."

Dr. Barbara Burkhardt, last year's University Scholar, presented Neginsky with the University Scholar pen.

"Her zest for the life of the mind is really contagious, and certainly has enriched me and I'm sure many of you too," Burkhardt said.

Neginsky thanked many of her mentors and colleagues for their inspiration, and discussed her scholarship and upcoming projects.

"My teaching has always inspired my research, and my research always inspired my teaching," she said. "I’m grateful to be with you here today, and I’m honored."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

WUIS fall fund drive ends close to goal

Public radio station WUIS 91.9 finished its fall fund drive short of its goal; however the station still raised nearly $125,000 to support programming. WUIS' goal for the drive was 1,400 pledges; almost 1,300 pledges were received. The on-air portion of the drive was conducted October 16 through 24. A pre-drive renewal campaign accounted for approximately one quarter of the total pledges.

Listener support from two annual fund drives is the station's largest source of revenue, covering 30 percent of the WUIS budget. Pledges can still be made online.

The fall drive occurred in the midst of the station's coverage of the current economic crisis, which led Development Director Randy Eccles to reflect, "Considering the mood, listeners stepped up and were generous in their support." Eccles said that many listeners commented that they would like to make a larger gift, representing the value they feel WUIS provides, but couldn't afford it.

General Manager Bill Wheelhouse said that while total funds pledged were down from campaigns in the past two years, he was pleased with the response. "Many listeners let us know that the in-depth reporting on the economy and elections were major reasons they listen to WUIS," he said. "It is gratifying to know there are so many passionate supporters of public radio in the region."

WUIS hopes to cover the shortfall with additional events and alternate fundraising plans, such as the WUIS Passports Tour listener trip to Belize. In March, Statehouse reporter Amanda Vinicky will accompany listeners to the Central American country for a tour led by Dave Cox of Lincoln Land Community College. Everyone who made a pledge during the fall fund drive has a chance to win a spot for two on the trip.

WUIS is listener-supported and a National Public Radio affiliate. WUIS content is available in the Springfield/Central Illinois area in HD at 91.9 FM, in West-Central Illinois at 89.3 FM, and worldwide online. The station's mission is to satisfy a curious, engaged audience through programming and community outreach. Program schedule, events, and other information is available online, or call the station at 217/206-6516.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

UIS Brookens Library to hold student art exhibit and competition

Brookens Library at the University of Illinois at Springfield will host a juried student art exhibit and competition, based on themes from the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The event is part of the library's participation in the Big Read program and is open to all currently registered students at UIS.

Entries must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, November 3. The grand prize winner will have an opportunity to display his or her work at jimiArt gallery in downtown Springfield.

An opening night reception and awards ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, November 7, in Mary Jane's Café, located in Brookens' lower level. To accommodate the event, which is free and open to the public, the library will remain open until 7 p.m. that evening.

Artwork will remain on display on the second level of Brookens Library through Saturday, December 20, which is the end of UIS' 2008 fall semester.

Sponsors of the event are Bevande's, The Friends of Brookens Library, jimiArt, Jeffrey Alans, Walmart, and the UIS Bookstore.

Additional information, including a downloadable entry form

UIS hosts international conference

UIS hosted the 30th Annual Conference of the Association for Integrative Studies October 23 to 26. The conference theme, "Interdisciplinarity and the Engaged Citizen: Higher Education, Public Policy, and Global Awareness," highlighted a number of aspects of UIS' current educational mission.

Karen Moranski, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education, was the program chair. She noted that the choice of UIS as conference host "signifies UIS' growing national reputation in the area of interdisciplinary and integrative studies." Moranski will serve as AIS president for 2010-2012.

The more than 160 conference participants came from 26 states and the District of Columbia, as well as Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Chile. Approximately 25 UIS faculty members presented papers; the Center for State Policy and Leadership and the Experiential and Service Learning Program provided pre-conference workshops; and Larry Golden, UIS professor emeritus and a director of the Downstate Innocence Project, was a keynote speaker.

On October 23, a dinner in the Public Affairs Center was highlighted by historian and author Dr. Roberta Senechal's address analyzing the events of the Springfield Race Riots.

The Association for Integrative Studies is an interdisciplinary professional organization founded in 1979 to promote the interchange of ideas among scholars and administrators in all of the arts and sciences on intellectual and organizational issues related to furthering integrative studies.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Three Join UIS Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame

The Bill Miller Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame will honor three graduates from the University of Illinois at Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program who have distinguished themselves in the field of journalism. Mary Bohlen, Kevin Finch, and Ray Long will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at The Inn at 835 on Monday, November 17.

The Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame was named in honor of Bill Miller, an award-winning journalist who served as the program's director for 19 years. After a semester of classroom study, students work six months in the Capitol covering state politics while being supervised by professional journalists. Over 550 students have completed the program since the first class graduated in 1973. Illinois Issues, the state's leading public affairs magazine, and WUIS-91.9, the capital city's NPR station, established the bi-annual event in 2006. Both are units of the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS.

Mary Bohlen, associate professor and chair of the UIS Communication Department, is in her 25th year of teaching journalism. She supervises nine full faculty members, six adjunct instructors, and nearly 200 undergraduate and graduate students. In 2008 she received the university's Pearson Faculty Award for Teaching, an annual honor given to one faculty member for outstanding teaching. Following her PAR studies, Bohlen was employed by United Press International full time as a Statehouse reporter for five years covering Illinois state government, especially the Illinois Senate; LPGA golf tournaments; Big Ten football; primary and general elections; and federal and state court cases. She also wrote numerous features covering Illinois. Bohlen left UPI in 1982 to become press secretary for the Illinois Senate Democrats and began her teaching career in 1983. She is a co-founder of the Springfield-area Association for Women in Journalism and a past president of the Springfield-area Women in Communications. She received her B.S. in journalism from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1972 and her master's from UIS in 1976.

Kevin Finch is a national Edward R. Murrow Award-winning broadcast journalist with 23 years of experience in radio and TV news. Finch is news director at WISH-TV, the CBS affiliate in Indianapolis, having served as assistant news director there as well. In his tenure as news director, Finch's station has won several national and regional honors, including a George Foster Peabody Award; several regional Emmys; and the Indiana AP Outstanding News and Weather Operation Awards. Prior to WISH-TV, he spent 13 years at the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis. Early in his career, he covered news for radio and TV stations in Morton, Peoria, Springfield, and Champaign. Finch has reported on major political events, serving as executive producer and organizer for 15 election nights and 10 televised political debates for U.S. Senate, governor, and other offices. He has covered four national political conventions, a presidential inauguration, and the Senate impeachment trial of President Clinton. Finch guided coverage of 9/11 from Washington and covered the anniversary of that event in New York a year later. He also produced reports from Washington on the start of the current war in Iraq. He is the recipient of numerous national and regional awards. Finch received his bachelor's degree in 1981 from Murray State University and his master's from UIS in 1986.

Ray Long has written about Illinois government and politics for more than 25 years. He is a reporter in the Chicago Tribune's Statehouse bureau, where he has been since 1998. Previously he ran the Associated Press bureau in Springfield. Long covered Mayor Richard M. Daley, City Hall, local courts, Cook County Board, and state government for the Chicago Sun-Times. He worked local, state, and federal beats for the Peoria Journal Star. Currently, he is president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association, a position chosen by colleagues in other news organizations. Long is a founding member of Capitolbeat, formerly known as the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, a nationwide organization promoting excellence in state government coverage. He is the author of a chapter about investigative reporting in the book A Guide to Statehouse Reporting. His experience includes writing about numerous scandals, questionable public spending, massive budgets, ethical lapses of government figures, and major legislative issues under four governors, including one sentenced to prison. He has received local, state, and national awards for spot news, enterprise, investigative reporting, and news analysis from numerous organizations. The Illinois AP awarded Long the 1997 Charles Chamberlain Award, a staff honor recognizing a reporter's storytelling ability. The National Commission Against Drunk Driving presented Long and a Tribune colleague its 2002 media award for a series of articles that led to the revocation of more than 3,000 licenses of drivers whose convictions -- including 67 percent of those reckless homicide offenders in prison or on parole -- had gone unrecorded in state driving records. Long received his bachelor's degree in 1980 from what was then Sangamon State University and is now UIS, and his master's from UIS in 1980.

Christi Parsons, national correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, will be speaking at the event. Parsons joined the Tribune's Washington bureau two years ago to cover the presidential election. A 19-year veteran of the paper, she covered city and suburban politics before moving to Springfield to write about state government in 1995. She is a 1989 graduate of the University of Alabama, where she was recently named a Distinguished Alumna. She holds a master's in the studies of law from Yale Law School.

The Hall of Fame event at The Conservatory at the Inn at 835 begins with a 5:15 p.m. reception, followed by the program and induction at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, and are available until November 5 by calling Illinois Issues at 206-6084.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

UIS professor receives Fulbright grant

Dr. Calvin Mouw, associate professor in the department of Political Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has received a Fulbright grant to lecture in Slovenia.

He will spend the 2009 spring semester, from January through May, at the University of Ljubljana, doing research on comparative political behavior and lecturing on electoral politics, political institutions, and public policy in the United States.

"I'm pleased because it allows me to spend time in an area of Europe that is relevant to my research on political behavior and electoral politics," Mouw said. "And the current presidential election and economic crisis in the United States make the lectures on American politics more relevant than usual."

Slovenia became an independent republic in 1991 and now has a stable multi-party democratic system, although modern democratic electoral politics is still a new concept in the country. Mouw's research focuses on examining patterns of electoral behavior across electoral systems at different stages of democratic development.

"While not directly relevant to my research or teaching, Slovenia is nevertheless interesting because of its role in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the resulting conflict and war in the Balkans," Mouw said.

Mouw wants to bring the knowledge, research, and experience he gains back to UIS, where he hopes it will advance and enlighten his teaching and research.

"When you spend an extended period of time in a country you learn and gain experiences that you do not get as a tourist," he said. "I'm looking forward to building contacts with the people of Slovenia that will last a long time."

Each year, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars awards 800 traditional Fulbright Scholar grants to college or university faculty and professionals to lecture and conduct research abroad. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Awards recognize the recipient's globally important teaching, research and service; in addition, they provide an opportunity for faculty to further their areas of expertise or pursue new directions in research.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is managed by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

Monday, October 20, 2008

UIS dedicates memorial for professor

By Courtney Westlake

Dr. Hilary Frost-Kumpf encouraged all who knew her late husband, Lee Frost-Kumpf, to be inspired by his contributions to the campus and to the world during a dedication on Monday evening, October 20, during which UIS dedicated a scholar tree and bench in memory of Lee, who passed away five years ago and served UIS from 1996 to 2003.

Several people got up to speak about Lee and share personal stories from his time at UIS, including Chancellor Richard Ringeisen, Provost Harry Berman, Dr. Steve Schwark and Dr. Mike Lemke. They each spoke of Lee's energy, thoroughness, focus and inspiration.

"He lived in a world where imagination fueled ideas, and ideas were the engine for creating reality, and I think that was special about Lee," Lemke said. "He painted a picture of what he saw of the future and made you a part of that painting, and after listening to Lee's plans, you really wanted to be a part of that picture."

If Lee were to sit on his memorial bench with a cup of coffee in hand, he'd recognize the changes he helped make at UIS, Lemke said.

"The solid stone bench is well-grounded just like Lee. And his ideas, like the growing tree, live on at UIS and in his many friends," he said.

Joan Buckles, superintendent of the grounds crew, and the UIS grounds workers put a lot of thought and work into making Lee's memorial a fitting and special tribute, Hilary said.

Hilary said she has two hopes for the memorial. The first is that it will inspire everyone who knew Lee to think of him and to build on their own visions for the campus and the visions shared with Lee.

"But I hope that the memorial itself will have second purpose," she said. "Every day people who didn't know Lee will pass that spot and see that plaque. They will know that a worthy person is being honored there for his contributions to the world."

"My hope is that they'll stop for a moment, read the words, and they'll think 'what will I do in my life to be worthy of a plaque that someone will place in honor of me?' And then I hope they'll be more committed to their own personal contributions, making the world a better place. If both of these kinds of inspiration occur, then Lee's contributions will continue for many years to come."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Larry Golden is finalist for First Citizen Award

Larry Golden, professor emeritus of Political Studies and Legal Studies and a co-founder of the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project at UIS, was one of 10 finalists for the 46th State Journal-Register First Citizen Award.

The First Citizen Award is presented annually to a local resident who has "amassed a lifetime of service to the Springfield community." This year's finalists were recognized and the winner was announced at a breakfast ceremony held October 17 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Students working with the Innocence Project help investigate cases of individuals who have been wrongly convicted. In addition to his work with the project, Golden is active in the American Civil Liberties Union and was involved in the voting-rights lawsuit that forced changes in Springfield city government in the 1980s.

Bill Clutter, Innocence Project director of investigations, called Golden the "ultimate community organizer. He would probably have that commitment wherever he lived," said Clutter. "The fact that he lives in Springfield is really our gain."

Golden arrived on campus at then-Sangamon State University in 1970; he retired from full-time teaching in 2004.

"I consider myself very lucky that I made the choices that I made and stayed here," he said, adding that he doesn't know exactly why he works to benefit people he doesn't know.
"It's important to be a good citizen," he said. "It's important to think about the nature of the world we live in."

Golden was nominated for the award by Guerry Suggs, himself a former First Citizen.

Businessman and community volunteer J. Garth "Butch" Elzea was this year's winner. Other nominees were William Boyd, retired vice president of Memorial Medical Center; Julie Cellini, board member of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation; Leland Grove Police Chief Mark Gleason; architect Earl Wallace Henderson; retired dentist Joseph Link; Springfield Ballet Company co-founder Grace Luttrell Nanavati; Paul O'Shea, planning and design coordinator for the city of Springfield; and physician Diana Widicus.

The finalists and winner were chosen by a nine-member board from nominations submitted by community members.

See more about the award, including profiles of the finalists

Thursday, October 16, 2008

AmeriCorps volunteers participate in Opening Day Ceremonies

By Courtney Westlake

A group of sixteen UIS students joined dozens of people from around the state at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in downtown Springfield to participate in the Illinois AmeriCorps Opening Day Ceremonies at the Capitol and celebrate the opportunity to make a difference.

"Today has been really amazing," said UIS sophomore Josephine Marquez, an AmeriCorps member. "I have seen people from all the way back home in the Chicago area."

The 2008-2009 Midwest Campus Compact Citizen-Scholar Fellows AmeriCorps Program is an initiative that creates opportunities for students to work together as agents of civic change in their local communities and on their campuses. UIS is one of only seven universities in the state that participates in this AmeriCorps Education Award program.

Students selected to be in the AmeriCorps program have demonstrated academic potential as well as an interest in service and civic engagement activities.

"I love volunteering; I started in high school," said Jackson Kern, a freshman. "When I got to UIS, I found out I could get a grant for $1,000 for being in AmeriCorps and doing 300 hours of service. It's well worth it; you get to meet a lot of new people."

Marquez said she has been volunteering for years as well and jumped at the chance to live in the Leadership for Life wing in Lincoln Residence Hall and volunteer through AmeriCorps.

"When applying for college, UIS had a service wing, and to me, I thought it was a great idea to be living with people who did service," she said. "This year, Kelly Thompson (director of the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center) has come in and revamped everything. I figured it'd be great to be with people who love to do service."

The UIS students who participated in Thursday's events were thrilled with the opportunity to meet others in the AmeriCorps program and participate in the Opening Day Ceremonies.

"I find it amazing that you can find so many people who are also interested in service and are doing something to impact their community," Marquez said.

Campus' recycling video available

The UIS recycling education video is now available online and on YouTube
See Part 1
See Part 2

Copies on CD are also available by contacting Marc Klingshirn at 6-8341.

This 20-minute video was produced completely in-house with support from the campus' DCEO recycling grant.

For more information, contact Tih-Fen Ting at

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lincoln Legacy lecture discusses presidential elections

By Courtney Westlake

In the midst of one of the most important presidential elections in decades, the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series drew parallels between the presidential campaigns of 1860 and 1864 and the current campaign on Wednesday evening.

The topic of the 2008 Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series, which was held on Wednesday, October 15, in Brookens Auditorium, was "Lincoln and Presidential Campaign Politics." The Lincoln Legacy lectures bring Lincoln scholars and experts from around the country to Springfield to discuss issues and topics relevant to society today as well as in Lincoln's era.

Dr. Jennifer Weber, assistant professor of History at the University of Kansas, discussed "How Lincoln Handled the Anti-war Movement." Dr. Silvana Siddali, associate professor of History at St. Louis University, spoke about "Lincoln and the Constitution in Civil War Era Presidential Campaigns." Illinois State Historian Dr. Thomas Schwartz served as moderator for the event.

Lincoln faced harsh criticism from the outset of the Civil War. Weber discusssed some of Lincoln's qualities that Americans today believe made him a great leader.

"Those same qualities, had the North lost the war, would be the qualities I think that we would cite for Lincoln being a failed president," Weber said. "What it comes down to, a lot of Lincoln's reputation rests on the victories of the military armies."

Siddali examined the relationship between the Constitution and presidential campaigns. Presidential campaigns of the time caused American voters to consider a number of crucial issues, including the issue of slavery.

"The Civil War era elections changed the Constitution and were in many ways an important referendum on the U.S. Constitution," she said.

The biggest similarity between the current presidential election and the election of 1864 is the impact of the election on the future of the country, Weber said.

"The great comparison at this point with the election of 1864 is this: we are in a nation that is experiencing a profound economic crisis, and everyone in the country is aware of that. Likewise, everyone in the country is aware that however they cast their ballot in this election is going to decide the future of this country for at least the next generation," Weber said. "It's a transformative election."

Both speakers commended UIS for hosting the Lincoln Legacy series.

"I've been to Springfield many times, and I love it every time I'm here; it's a joy to be here," Weber said. "I think the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series is a terrific idea, and there's no better place to have it."

The speakers agreed that the relevance of the topics were crucial at this point in time in the country's history.

"We're facing one of the most important presidential elections, certainly the most important of this century. It's going to be a crucial decision," Siddali said. Remembering Lincoln's ongoing legacy during this time is important, she said. "We have to remember that Lincoln was the president who made the United States what it is today because the Civil War endangered the union of the states, and what better place to honor his legacy than Springfield."

Poll finds UIS students favor Obama

If the election were held today, an overwhelming majority of University of Illinois at Springfield students would vote for Barack Obama, according to a campus poll taken between September 25 – October 4, 2008. Pollsters found that most students are not swayed by the vice presidential candidate, and the economy and gas prices are the major influences on their vote. The poll was part of a class project for the Interviewing 465 class in the Communication Department at UIS.

A total of 384 students were interviewed on campus, giving the poll a 95% confidence level +/- 5%.

Of those polled, 289 were registered to vote. If they had to vote today, 257 said they would choose Obama, and 96 said they would vote for John McCain. Only 31 said they would choose a third party.

More than two-thirds of those polled said the vice presidential candidate did not affect their decision on who should be president. More than 60% of those polled said age is not an important factor in their choice for presidential candidates.

When reviewing election issues that have the most influence on their votes as students, 40% of respondents said the economy had the most influence on their vote, followed by gas prices, the war, healthcare, and finally homeland security.

Nearly 62% of those polled believe their vote matters. And three-fourths of those polled were registered to vote.

The poll was conducted on the UIS campus as part of a class project. The Interviewing class researched polls, election issues, and the candidates and then spent considerable time formulating the seven questions that were asked of students. The questions and the results are listed below.

1. Are you a UIS student?
Yes – 384

2. Are you registered to vote?
Yes – 289
No – 95

3. If the election were today and you had to choose between McCain, Obama, or a third party, who would you vote for?
McCain - 96
Obama - 257
Third party - 31

4. Did the presidential candidates' choice for vice president affect your decision on who should be president?
Yes - 117
No - 267

5. Do you believe age is an important factor for presidential candidates?
Yes - 141
No - 243

6. Which election issue from this list has the most influence on your vote?
a. economy - 152
b. gas prices - 95
c. the war - 73
d. healthcare - 47
e. homeland security - 17

7. Do you think your vote matters?
Yes - 237
No – 147

For more information about the poll, please contact Lana Kains at 414-5956 or Mary Bohlen at 206-7362.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

UIS wins national award for quality online education

The University of Illinois at Springfield has won the 2008 Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education from the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C). UIS received the national award for innovative work in using quantitative data in a process of continuous quality improvement to assure excellence in online teaching and learning.

"This inaugural award is one of the highest honors to be granted by the Sloan Consortium," said Ray Schroeder, director of UIS' Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning (OTEL). "It recognizes the quality and leadership of our online program among the consortium's nearly 1,500 member institutions."

Shown left, OTEL staff are (from left): Ray Schroeder, director; Carrie Levin, assistant director.; Bill Bloemer, research associate; Deborah Antoine, instructional designer; Shari McCurdy Smith, associate director; and Emily Welch Boles, instructional designer.

"We are especially honored to receive this award named after the recently-retired president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Ralph Gomory. The support of Dr. Gomory and the foundation have been invaluable in helping UIS become a national leader in the quality, scale, and breadth of online learning that it provides," Schroeder said.

The Sloan Consortium, comprised of nearly 1,500 institutions and organizations of higher education engaged in online learning, is a national organization dedicated to quality online teaching. It was created with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The award to UIS was among nine given by the Consortium this year for exceptional online education. The University of Central Florida also received the Gomory Award.

In 2007, UIS won the national award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching & Learning Programming from the Sloan Consortium. In 2002, the Sloan Consortium awarded Schroeder the Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual. And in 2003, Burks Oakley II, visiting research professor in OTEL, received the award.

Online course work began at UIS in 1998 with 30 students. This fall, a total of 1,200 students are enrolled in UIS' 16 fully online degree and degree-completion programs. About half of UIS' 4,711 students are taking at least one online class.

With substantial support from the Sloan Foundation and others, UIS has embraced online learning, integrating online courses and programs into its mainstream curriculum. Online classes are taught by the same faculty members and adjunct faculty who teach on campus. More than 135 UIS faculty members are teaching at least one online course this fall.

The Sloan Consortium will present its 2008 awards at the 14th Annual International Conference on Asynchronous Learning Networks: Improving Learning in a Networked World on November 6 in Orlando, Florida.

For more information about UIS' online program, please contact Shari McCurdy at 206-7360 or go to

UIS Archives is source of materials for PBS documentary

Program on the Handy Writers' Colony will air nationwide

Inside the Handy Writers' Colony, a PBS documentary that will air nationwide on Thursday, October 23, drew extensively on archival materials housed in Brookens Library at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The program will air locally on the HD (High Definition) channels of WILL and WSEC at 9 p.m.

Founded in 1950 by Lowney and Harry Handy in Marshall, Illinois, the Handy Writers' Colony flourished for approximately 15 years. During that time it supported numerous young writers, many of whom subsequently published their work. Its most famous resident was novelist James Jones, author of From Here to Eternity.

The program explores the turbulent years of this literary experiment through flashback sequences and interviews with former colony residents, Marshall townspeople, and scholars. Narrated by Nick Clooney, the film features the voice of Jane Alexander as Lowney Turner Handy.

In 1983, J. Michael Lennon and Jeffrey Van Davis of then-Sangamon State University produced a television documentary titled James Jones: Reveille to Taps, which also aired nationally on PBS. While researching this documentary, Lennon and Van Davis acquired a large collection of material – photographs and hundreds of letters and pages of manuscripts written by Jones and others associated with the Colony – that is now preserved in the UIS Archives as the Handy Colony Collection. This collection is open to researchers, and has been a resource for several books, articles, and papers.

For the new documentary, UIS Archivist Thomas Wood assisted writer/director/producer Dawn Shapiro of Chicago-based Woodlawn Avenue Productions in selecting materials from the Handy Colony Collection. Some interview footage from the earlier documentary is also featured in Inside the Handy Writers' Colony.

For more information, go to or, or contact Thomas Wood at 217/206-6520.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

UIS announces move to NCAA Division II

By Courtney Westlake

It was a great day to be a Prairie Star on Wednesday afternoon, October 8, as UIS announced that it will be joining the Great Lakes Valley Conference for the 2009-2010 academic year after receiving an invitation into the conference.

"I'm pleased to announce that the GLVC Council of Presidents by a unanimous vote of 13-0 voted to extend membership invitations to the University of Illinois at Springfield and to Maryville University in St. Louis to bring our membership to 15," said Jim Naumovich, GLVC commissioner. "We very much look forward to welcoming our two new additions to conference competition next year."

The conference's expansion to 15 teams is the largest membership in its 30-year history, with five teams in each of three divisions. UIS will join Quincy, Lewis, St. Joseph’s (Ind.) and Wisconsin-Parkside in the new Central Division.

The Prairie Stars are currently part of the American Midwest Conference. UIS will complete its move to NCAA Division II next academic year.

"Today is one of the most memorable days for the University of Illinois at Springfield and its athletic department. I'm very excited and extremely pleased," said Dr. Rodger Jehlicka, athletic director at UIS. "Today it's a great day to be a Prairie Star."

The university has been in discussion about joining the Great Lakes Valley Conference for several years.

"One of the reasons I've been excited about the GLVC from the very beginning is because of the kinds of universities that are in the conference, and of course, it's such a highly-regarded conference in terms of athletic competition," said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen.

Ringeisen called the move a "very exciting moment for UIS" and said it verifies the positive changes and the achievements of the athletic program over the past few years.

"Among other things, we've moved from five athletic teams to 10, heading to 11," he said. "And at the same time, the university itself has been changing in ways that are all positive."

The Great Lakes Valley Conference is now the second largest conference in Division II in the country, Naumovich said. The addition of UIS into the conference is a "great fit," he said.

"UIS brings a very outstanding academic program, a solid athletic program and the geographic proximity and the current footprint of the GLVC were all positive factors in deciding to extend an invitation," he said. "We look forward to including the Prairie Stars in our schedule for next year."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Homecoming evokes pride in UIS

By Courtney Westlake

Homecoming 2008 at UIS was held September 29 to October 4. Activities during the week included a pep rally, a program by a performing group called the Neo-Futurists, a performance by comedian Alexandra McHale and a Homecoming dance.

On Saturday, the Homecoming festivities culminated in a celebration that included a campus parade, a barbeque and night fireworks. Family weekend was part of Homecoming this year, and many students and their family members joined in the activities. Saturday evening was also the Homecoming soccer game, which resulted in a a 3-0 win for the Prairie Stars against the Eagles of Williams Baptist College.

Local economic indexes predict above normal activity

Results of two economic indicators released on October 7, 2008, show that Springfield, as well as some sectors of the Sangamon County economy, can expect above normal activity in the coming year.

The biannual Springfield Enterprise Index was developed by the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the U of I.

The Sangamon County Business Economic Outlook Survey is a joint project of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

Download a pdf file of the news release issued by the Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Flag raised for National Coming Out Week

By Courtney Westlake

In celebration of National Coming Out Week, a group of students, staff and faculty gathered in front of the Public Affairs Center to raise a rainbow-colored flag that will hang directly under the UIS flag for the entire week.

"Flags are critical symbols," said Jim Korte, assistant dean of students at UIS. "People fight and die over flags; people live for flags. We salute them, we put our hands over our hearts, and we respect what they symbolize. For those of us at the university, having it fly on the staff with our UIS flag is very important. It is a symbol of how far we have come institutionally and as a university in our acceptance, tolerance, respect and celebration of who we are as a community."

Universities are important communities, Korte said, UIS boasts a "great multitude" of diverse students.

"We've come a long way," he said. "We now have a Diversity Center existing on this campus that was barely a dream a year ago. We have a resource office that is in a very public area on our campus, and we have students stopping by on a daily basis."

Through celebrating diversity and respect of different races, sexual orientations, ethnicities and backgrounds, the university and community are beginning to "layer" their resources and ensure the services provided today will be available tomorrow, Korte said.

"We have come to the point of tolerance, the point of acceptance and the point of respect, and hopefully today it is the beginning of a celebration of our future," he said.