Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Children at Cox collect school supplies for local district

By Courtney Westlake

A small group of children from the Cox Children's Center enjoyed the outdoors on Wednesday morning, July 29, as they read books and sang songs by the Colonnade. But, more importantly, the kids greeted and thanked several staff and faculty members who stopped by to donate school supplies that the kids were collecting in a big green wagon to give to local schools.

"We're collecting school supplies for the kids that need them," explained five-year-old Ryan. Some supplies collected included "paper, glue, pencils, colored pencils, markers, crayons," Ryan said.

Ryan and classmate Blake agreed that it feels good to help out other children and share supplies they collect.

"We need to give other kids stuff so they can go to school," Blake said.

The Cox Children's Center on UIS' campus - which cares for infants through children age five during the school year, and through age 14 during the summer - does a few service projects every year to stay involved with the local community, said Stacey Gilmore, director of the center.

"We want to help kids understand why it's important, at an early age, to get involved with the community and help others who might need our help," she said. "This is something kids can relate to. They're fortunate enough that they can go to school and have the supplies they need to succeed. It's our goal is to help others get that same early start."

Children of UIS students attend school in the Ball Chatham district, so the school supplies collected at the Cox Center will be donated to that school district, Gilmore said.

"It's important for us to help those families," she said.

On Wednesday, some of the children at Cox gathered at the Colonnade to make it convenient for anyone wanting to donate to bring supplies out to the kids, but the Children's Center will also be collecting supplies at the center until August 4. Collection boxes are set up in each classroom of the facility.

Some supplies that are needed include: #2 pencils, 24-count crayons, backpacks, red pens, large erasers, Fiskar-brand scissors, folders with pockets, 3X5 lined index cards, yellow highlighters, rulers, tissues, compasses, 3-subject spiral notebooks, pen/pencil carrying cases, Scotch tape and much more. For a complete list, contact the Cox Children's Center.

Gilmore said they are extremely proud of the children's efforts at Cox to help collect supplies to donate.

"A lot of these families are not very well off themselves, but it's amazing to me that they still will make it a point to bring in something, even if it's just a box of crayons, to help their children understand that this is important," she said. "So we are proud that they take that responsibility on."

Friday, July 24, 2009

UIS launches new home page

A new and improved look has arrived on the UIS home page. Last spring and early summer, the UIS Office of Web Services received feedback on how to do just that. Many suggestions have been incorporated in the new page.

Some of the new features include a top row of useful links, a new web-based campus directory, a right-side menu for prospective and new students, hot topics, department highlights, and many more enhancements.

“It's been two years since we redesigned the UIS home page. Technology has changed and so have viewer preferences. We made changes based on our own research and incorporated features most requested by prospective and new students,” said Sherry Hutson, director of the office of web services.

There is an additional new feature - users can select from two color themes. One theme is darker and includes more color. For those who prefer it, there is also a theme with more subdued color and clear dark-on-light contrast for the text.

“Our staff works very hard on the design and programming of the page to make it attractive, functional, and accessible to a wide variety of users,” said Hutson.

Visitors to the website will notice that the way the university’s name appears on the website has changed. Effective immediately, the university is dropping use of the word “at” and will be known as University of Illinois Springfield or, simply, Illinois Springfield. This is a decision by the Chancellor’s Cabinet.

The change modernizes the UIS graphic identity and better reflects it's status as a U of I campus. It also addresses a very real confusion between “at” and “@” when used on the website, our most important recruitment tool. The change does not alter our legal, statutory name, nor does it require purging signage or documents where it does appear. In fact, the original name remains on very permanent structures such as entrance signage, the colonnade, and the tile floors in UHB and PAC.

This new presentation does not contradict anything already in place on campus but will represent the graphic identity to the outside world going forward. There will be a period of transition and, at times, it may seem confusing. If you have questions or concerns, please direct them to Derek Schnapp at or Michelle Green at

Related Links:
UIS Home Page:
Office of Web Services:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hall selected as new director of UIS MBA program

The University of Illinois at Springfield’s College of Business and Management has announced that Dr. James Hall has been selected as the new director of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

Hall, an associate professor in the department of Management Information Systems, succeeds Dr. Paul McDevitt, who is retiring this month.

“James will continue to build on the careful foundation laid by Paul McDevitt,” noted Dr. Ron McNeil, dean of the College of Business and Management at UIS. “Our vision is to increase the quality of the program even more, with both academic rigor and relevance that attracts more qualified students in our region and beyond.”

Hall earned his MBA from UIS in 1983 and his doctoral degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the MIS department at UIS in 2000. Hall has extensive private and public sector experience in business, transportation management and information systems applications.

The MBA degree at UIS is an AACSB accredited professional graduate program for individuals who aspire to hold positions of significant managerial and leadership responsibilities in organizations. In addition to core business subjects, the curriculum emphasizes strong conceptual thinking, disciplined decision-making and essential management and leadership skills.
The UIS MBA program is offered in Springfield and at the UIS Peoria Center.

“I am honored to be selected as the MBA Program Director, especially given this stage in UIS MBA program development,” Hall said. “I plan to work with our faculty to build on our international AACSB accreditation to achieve an even higher quality MBA program to meet the needs of students and organizations in the Springfield and Peoria regions and beyond.”

Derek Schnapp selected as new director of public relations

The University of Illinois Springfield has selected Derek Schnapp as the new director of public relations in the Office of the Chancellor.

Schnapp, former communications manager for the Illinois Department of Corrections, succeeds Cheryl Peck, who retired on June 30 after 17 years as UIS' chief spokesperson.

"Derek's knowledge of the local community and his experience working with media statewide will be a big help as we strengthen our ties locally and expand our outreach in Illinois," said Richard D. Ringeisen, chancellor. "We are delighted to have him as the new spokesperson for UIS."

Schnapp worked at NewsChannel 20 in Springfield in a series of progressively responsible positions from 1990 to 2006. Among his positions there were assignments editor, executive producer, chief of photography, news photographer and sports anchor. He has a bachelor's degree in communication from Illinois State University.

His responsibilities at UIS include working directly with media; internal and external communication, and strategic planning. Schnapp will also serve as UIS' Freedom of Information Act officer.

"Being from this area, I know how important UIS is to this community. I am very excited to be a part of that," said Schnapp.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Springfield Area Economy expects below normal levels of activity through 2009

The University of Illinois at Springfield announces that the greater Springfield Enterprise Index (SEI) for April 2009 is 58 which means below normal economic activity, and much slower than one year ago (April 2008). A SEI value of 100 indicates that the area economy is on its long-term growth trend. A SEI value less than 100 indicates “below average” activity.

The Springfield area economy is projected to be below normal growth throughout the year. The SEI increases to 69 for April 2010. While this may not indicate a rebound in the economy it does project no further slowing by the end of the year.

“Compared to previous SEI forecasts, this is the first time we have seen a major slowing of the area economy,” said Patty Byrnes, professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “This is related to recent declines in local area employment and expected little improvement in the state and national economies.”

The indexes for all other areas of Illinois also are predicted to be below normal growth for that area. The Springfield SEI shows a similar pattern of activity to all other metropolitan areas with no foreseen further worsening of the each area’s economy. The Chicago area SEI shows expected below normal activity throughout 2009.

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 leaders and government workers 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. A value of 100 implies that the Springfield area economy is on its long-term growth trend. An SEI value greater than 100 indicates “above average” and values below 100 indicate “below average” growth.

How is the SEI Constructed?
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).

How Can I Learn More?
The index was developed and created by the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois. Information on the Springfield area index can be obtained from Patty Byrnes, Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS, 217-206-7783 or The Greater Springfield Enterprise Index is due to collaboration between The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Government and Public Affairs – University of Illinois, and the Center for State Policy and Leadership – University of Illinois at Springfield.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

UIS announces Spring 2009 Deans' List

The students listed below have been named to the University of Illinois at Springfield Deans’ List for the 2009 spring semester. A total of 441 students were selected; 68 are students in the College of Business and Management, 67 are students in the College of Education and Human Services, 268 are enrolled in programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 30 are enrolled in programs in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, and 8 are non-degree or undecided.

To qualify for the designation, a student must be an undergraduate who took at least eight graded semester hours and maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.75 for the semester.

Download a PDF of the list: