Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tammy Craig is named 2008 UIS Employee of the Year

Watch a video of the event

Tammy Craig, director of the Career Development Center, was named 2008 Employee of the Year for the University of Illinois at Springfield at the 26th annual Employee of the Year Recognition Ceremony, held January 27 on the UIS campus.

Craig was selected from among 11 UIS staff members who had been employees of the month during the past year. She was employee of the month for April.

Materials nominating her at that time noted, “Tammy is very respectful of others and is always willing to collaborate with faculty, staff and students on various projects and programs. In addition to her professionalism and her dedication to serving our campus, Tammy is always seeking new ways to engage students and meet their needs.”

Serving as master of ceremonies, Wesley Weisenburn, director of human resources, cited all 11 employees of the month for their “exemplary characteristics and attitudes. They serve as role models,” he said. “When I think of these 11 employees, I think of dedication, determination, leadership by example and their quality of service for UIS.”

Ed Wojcicki, associate chancellor for constituent relations, made the official announcement and presentation. All 11 employees of the month also stood up to be recognized for their achievements.

As she accepted the award, Craig said, “This is a very great honor for me. I’ve been around a lot of wonderful people during my years at UIS, and I want to thank each and every one of you because every day you helped make my job that much better.”

Other employees of the month for 2008 were Ron Peddicord, senior library specialist; Donna Young, staff secretary for the offices of Access and Equal Opportunity and UIS Legal Counsel; Dennis Jones, network specialist in the information technology services department; Sharon Heflin, office support specialist in the Office of Graduate Intern Programs; Alice Bettis, administrative aide for Sangamon Auditorium; Donna Schaub, assistant to the dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Jill Voyles, applications specialist for Information Technology Services; Frank Moscardelli, grounds worker; Rowena Vail, assistant to the director of the Capital Scholars honors program; and Chrisa Potthast, disability services specialist.

The UIS Employee of the Year receives gifts that include a check for $500.

Monday, January 26, 2009

UIS receives award from State Farm

By Courtney Westlake

As part of an ongoing partnership, UIS was awarded a generous financial gift of $50,000 from State Farm Insurance on Monday afternoon, January 26.

UIS has had a relationship with State Farm through the university's computer science program, chaired by Dr. Ted Mims. UIS is one of 18 target schools across the nation for State Farm, and State Farm recruits students from these schools for internships and full-time positions.

"It's a lot of fun to come in and mark some of the work we have done together over the last few years with this gift," said Bob Clary, a State Farm representative who is also a graduate of UIS. "We have a lot of good opportunities for people to join us. The program is focused on recruitment, but there is more to it than recruitment; we're also building a partnership."

The money will be used to purchase equipment that will be housed in the department's computer lab, provide remote on- and off-campus access to students for technology-based classes and expand active problem-based online learning, Mims said.

"This is a great opportunity for us to get our foot in the door and get our students experience," he said. "Having this partnership has done a lot for us, not just to get the benefits of students getting jobs and the benefits of funding and investment in our program, but we're able to use this to build partnerships with other groups and get grant funding from other projects."

Several other UIS computer science graduates who now work for State Farm were also on hand to celebrate the new step in the partnership between UIS and State Farm.

"This has been a very rewarding relationship, and the gift now takes us to a new level in our relationship," said UIS Provost Harry Berman. "We're very pleased and honored to be the recipient of this award."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Springfield economy is predicted to rebound in spring

The University of Illinois at Springfield announces that the greater Springfield Enterprise Index (SEI) for September 2008 is 126, which means expected above normal economic activity and an increase over one year ago.

While still above normal, there was a projected downturn in activity during November and December 2008. However, the economy is projected to return to current levels in the first part of 2009. By May of 2009, the level of activity is expected to have returned to levels like fall 2008.

The forecast for the economy in late summer and one year from now is stronger growth. The index for next September is forecasted to be at 131. The Springfield area economy has not seen this level of activity since early 2001.

“The SEI forecast of the Springfield economy for this quarter is consistent with last quarter’s forecast that also indicated the economy rebounding in early 2009,” said Dr. Patty Byrnes, professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “This is also a similar pattern for the other metropolitan areas in the state.”

An index value of 100 indicates that the area economy is on its long-term growth trend. An SEI value greater than 100 indicates “above average” activity while values below 100 indicate “below average” activity.

September 2008 SEI = 126
History (Ago) = 1 Month-129, 3 Months-120, 1 Year-107
Forecast (Ahead) = 1 Month-121, 3 Months-108, 1 Year-131

What is the SEI?
The SEI is a leading indicator of the local area status of the business cycle. This means that it helps predict the trend in the local economy. It can be used by business, workers government to understand profits, job prospects and tax revenues.

The SEI is interpreted by first remembering that overtime the Springfield area economy has grown, despite ups and downs of the level of economic activity. The index measures how far away the economy is from this and growth trend. The SEI is a leading indicator which means it measures changes in economic activity before the economy starts to follow a particular pattern or trend. The SEI, like other leading indicators, can be used to predict changes in the economy but are not always accurate. As the SEI is used over longer periods of time, we can evaluate how well it predicts changes in the economy.

The SEI measures the economy based on national and local factors. The national component is from the national business cycle using the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank National Activity Index (CFNAI), which is a composite of many indicator including output and income, employment and unemployment, consumption, housing starts and sales, manufacturing and trade sales, and inventories and orders.

The local business cycle component is represented by non-farm employment in four sectors, manufacturing, construction, retail, and other sectors (including government). The sectors are based on the local employment activities and Midwest manufacturing activities estimated from the Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI).

The index was developed and created by the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois. The local interpretation and results are prepared by Patty Byrnes, Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Support is provided by The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce in arranging local focus groups for the SEI. Information on the Springfield area index can be obtained from Patty Byrnes at 217-206-7783 or

The index is a partnership between the University of Illinois at Springfield, The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the University of Illinois, Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

For more information about the news release, contact Sarah Wolin, Director of Communications for the Chamber of Commerce at 525-1173.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Illinois House of Reps sworn in at UIS

By Courtney Westlake

The Illinois House of Representatives gathered at UIS on Friday as each of the new members of the 96th General Assembly was sworn into the House and by a vote of 70 to 48, Rep. Michael Madigan was re-elected as the House Speaker over Rep. Tom Cross.

The House made history during the meeting as a new vote was made for the impeachment of the Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich.

The House voted 114 to 1 on Friday, January 9, to impeach the governor, who will now be tried in the Senate. The second vote was taken with the newly-elected House officials.

Madigan thanked all of his fellow representatives for electing him as Speaker and explained why it is important that each branch of the Illinois government live up to its responsibilities and serve the people of the state.

"I simply ask that all of us become very strong advocates of the role that we play in Illinois government," he said. "We have a role to play that is set on the constitution."

Rep. Cross also spoke about the responsibilities of the House and the purpose of the impeachment process.

"In the last ten years, two of our governors have caused a great stain on this state. They have violated the law, abused their power and totally disregarded their office, and it has a very real effect on all of us," Cross said. "We've been tested in an exceptionally difficult way. When we put politics aside and we recognize there are some things we have to do, we can get them done. The impeachment last week was necessary; it was necessary as a state for us to go through that, no matter how difficult it was. We had no choice."

At the end of the session, for the second vote of the House of Representatives, the vote to impeach the governor was 117 to 1.