Monday, November 30, 2009

WUIS Public Radio launches new "Alternative" digital station

WUIS/Illinois Pubic Radio
has launched a new “alternative” digital radio station as part of a nearly $300,000 upgrade effort.

The new station called “Xponential Radio” signed onto the airwaves in mid-October and can be received by using an HD radio or listening online at The station is available on the second channel (HD-2) of the primary WUIS 91.9 FM digital signal.

“The advantage is we can offer more services to the region. We’ll be offering 3 radio stations eventually,” said Bill Wheelhouse, WUIS Public Radio General Manager.

Wheelhouse describes the “Xponential Radio” format as alternative music designed for public radio. The station’s playlist features music from artists like David Bowie, Lyle Lovett, and Elvis Costello. The primary WUIS (HD-1) channel will continue to carry NPR programming, classical music, and local news.

“With this second channel we also hope to serve UIS students more. Down the road we hope we could offer some UIS athletics on the HD-2 channel,” said Wheelhouse.

WUIS is the first radio station in Springfield to launch a secondary station designed for digital radio, but Wheelhouse feels it will catch on. He says dozens of new digital radio stations are already being started in larger markets like St. Louis and Chicago.

“We hope to see a lot of radio stations doing it to make it worth your while to buy a digital radio,” said Wheelhouse.

As part of the digital upgrade WUIS is replacing all of its studio equipment with state-of-the-art technology to improve audio quality. Wheelhouse says listeners are already noticing the difference when they tune in. The station is also putting the finishing touches on the Suggs Performance Studio, where it hopes to broadcast live music and political forums.

A federal grant paid for $137,000 in new equipment for the station. The rest of the money for the upgrades has come from listener donations and a loan taken out by the station.

For more information on the WUIS digital upgrade contact Bill Wheelhouse at 217/206-6402 or You can listen to both WUIS radio stations streaming online at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

U of I presidential search committee to hold public forums

Faculty, students, public invited to make suggestions, ask questions, present ideas

URBANA, Ill. — The University of Illinois’ presidential search committee is holding public forums on each of the University’s three campuses to give faculty, students, staff and the general public an opportunity to discuss qualities needed for the new president.

U of I trustee and presidential search committee chair Pamela B. Strobel said the forums are intended to be “listening sessions,” using the ideas of campus constituencies to help assess the qualifications and experience the new University of Illinois president should possess.

“The forum discussions will help the search committee develop a set of criteria in choosing a new president,” Strobel said. “We will then use the criteria to measure the qualifications of our potential candidates.”

The president is the chief executive officer of the University of Illinois system and is responsible to the Board of Trustees. The chancellors of the University’s three campuses report to the president.

Strobel will moderate the public forums, and other members of the 19-member Search Committee to Assist in the Selection of a President for the University of Illinois also will attend.

The first forum will be held at the Chicago campus, 3-5 p.m., on Wednesday, Dec. 2, in Rooms A, B, C, on the first floor of the Student Services Building, 1200 W. Harrison St. (Racine Avenue and Harrison Street).

The second forum will be held at the Urbana campus, 3-5 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009, in Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana.

The third forum is scheduled for the Springfield campus, 3-5 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8, in the auditorium in Brookens Library.

The presidential search committee, announced at the Nov. 12 Board of Trustees meeting, includes three trustees; eight faculty members and three students from the University’s three campuses; one representative from the alumni association and one from the foundation; one administrative officer, one academic professional and one civil service representative.

While the search committee members represent all of the U of I’s major constituencies, the board in its charge said that the committee members should not consider themselves as a representative of any single interest group. Rather, the members were charged to exercise their judgment as to the best interests of the University as a whole.

The search committee will identify and screen potential presidential candidates. The goal is to have a new president in place by July 1, 2010, or at the latest when the fall 2010 academic year begins.

The search committee’s first assignment is to develop a white paper outlining the nature of the University, the role of the president, challenges and expectations the next president may face and personal qualifications necessary for the position. The Office of the Board of Trustees will create a presidential search Web site, including the white paper, a position announcement and description, call for nominations, search committee members, news releases, announcement of open candidate forums and search firm contact information.

The Board of Trustees’ key expectations of the successful candidate are leadership experience in leading and managing a large, complex academic organization; a commitment to academic excellence in teaching, research and service; the ability to communicate with the University’s external and internal constituencies; an understanding of the changing nature of higher education and its roles in local, state, regional and national economies; the ability to adapt to changing and challenging fiscal environments; and the experience to bring clarity and rationality to a complex administrative structure.

Individuals wishing to speak to the representatives of the search committee will be asked to sign in before the forum begins. Comments may also be sent to the search committee at:


The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 71,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 18,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Students help the Central Illinois Foodbank while giving thanks

The University of Illinois Springfield Housing Residents Council (HRC) hosted its annual “Fall Feast” on Thursday, November 19, 2009 in the Lincoln Residence Hall great room.

Students who live in on-campus housing were treated to a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings for only a dollar donation to the Central Illinois Foodbank. The students were also encouraged to donate canned food as part of the UIS Holiday Stars Project.

“I think it’s really good and helps the community,” said Erin Clinch, UIS freshman education major. “It’s nice for people who can’t afford a good Thanksgiving dinner and it makes you feel good to help people out."

HRC raised nearly $200 last year from the “Fall Feast” on top of the canned food they collected. Organizers expected almost 300 students to go through the buffet line this year.

“You really can’t beat the goodness of giving a can for a Thanksgiving dinner with your UIS family because a lot of the times it’s hard to get back to see everyone from school,” said Margaret Martinotti, UIS junior and HRC Vice Chair for Programming.

The pre-Thanksgiving meal also served the dual purpose of allowing students to connect with one another before they leave campus for holiday break.

“I know my friends at other colleges don’t get as many activities as I do here,” said Clinch. “It’s really nice to just walk down from your dorm room and there’s dinner.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

UIS Lincoln scholar's book named top 5 pick for 2009

Dr. Michael Burlingame’s book “Abraham Lincoln: A Life” has been picked by The Atlantic Monthly magazine as one of the top five books of 2009. Burlingame is a professor of history at the University of Illinois Springfield and holds the Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies. Burlingame is considered a preeminent national Lincoln Scholar and has now written three books on the history of the 16th president.

“Needless to say, I am delighted to be ranked with such distinguished authors as A.S. Byatt, Richard J. Evans, James Lasdun, and Alison Light,” said Burlingame. “I am also a bit surprised, for the literary editor of the Atlantic Monthly, Benjamin Schwarz, believes that most books are too long and therefore tends to prefer short story collections to novels. In dealing with non-fiction, however, he seems willing to acknowledge that biographers (like myself) sometimes need a big canvas (two volumes) to portray heroes like Abraham Lincoln and that historians (like Richard J. Evans) need an even bigger canvas (three volumes) to describe villains like the leaders and followers of the Third Reich."

Schwarz calls Burlingame’s book “Measured, psychologically astute, authoritative when it can be.” The reviewer says “Michael Burlingame’s exhaustive narrative (2,024 pages!) is unafraid of ambiguity and indeterminacy. This is the life of Lincoln for our times.”

In the Atlantic’s original review of the book in July/August 2009 contributing editor Christopher Hitchens praised the way Burlingame describes the Lincoln-Douglas debates saying “I would say that the account given here of the famous debates surpasses all its predecessors.”

Dr. Burlingame has taught numerous courses on Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War era, and 19th century American history. He’s currently involved in research projects at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield and other Lincoln research venues.

The Atlantic Monthly picked Burlingame’s book from a crowded field of 25 other top candidates for the year. You can find the Atlantic Monthly Top 5 List at:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nationally acclaimed "Intern Queen" visits UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield welcomed Lauren Berger, “The Intern Queen” to speak to students about opportunities and answer questions on November 11, 2009 in Brookens Auditorium.

Berger is called “The Intern Queen” because she completed 15 internships during her 4 years of college. She started her own intern company, Intern Queen Inc. in 2006, with the goal of raising internship awareness and connecting students with their future.

“Students are a little lazy sometimes. I was a little lazy as a student and it’s just a little bit of a hand holder and if I can be that person they look at and say wow the ‘Intern Queen’ really helped me with these jobs then I’ve done what I’ve set out to do,” said Berger.

The UIS Career Development Center along with the Student Government Association sponsored the event. The presentation included a panel discussion featuring local businesses and their internship opportunities for students.

“We get a lot of students who come in to do their resumes and other things and get coaching and some haven’t even thought of doing an internship,” said Rachel Hasenyager, Career Development Center Employee Relations Recruitment Coordinator.

Berger was recently named one of BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs 25 and Under. “The Intern Queen” has been featured in Business Week, E! News Online, New York Post, Chicago Public Radio, Young Money, and Seventeen magazine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

UIS Sustainability Week teaches environmental lessons

The University of Illinois Springfield is raising awareness about sustainability and the environment by hosting its Second Annual Sustainability Week from November 9 through November 14, 2009.

“It’s important for our campus to remember that we’re all connected and part of our environment, so take a few moments this week and be grateful for the air we breathe,” said Mae Marie Noll, undergraduate academic advisor and co-presenter of Sustainability Week.

Sustainability Week kicked off with a campus bike ride on Monday in an effort to teach participants about reducing their carbon footprint.

“I ride my bike to work as often as possible. It’s about 6 miles each way so 12 miles round trip,” said UIS staff member Rose Scheikhart.

The campus is also hosting a Battery Recycling Drive and is encouraging people to bring in dead batteries to be collected. The group has containers in the Public Affairs Center (PAC) and University Hall lobbies.

Read more about Sustainability Week events in a previous news release.

Friday, November 06, 2009

UIS Alumnus and Department of Defense Inspector General visits campus

The Honorable Gordon S. Heddell, Inspector General for the United States Department of Defense visited his alma mater on Thursday, November 5, 2009 to meet with students in the Capital Scholars Honors Program.

“I got absolutely a top notch graduate level education here,” said Heddell referring to his 1975 master’s degree in Legal Studies.

Heddell is visiting Springfield to accept the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award for outstanding success and national or international distinction in one’s business, profession or life’s work.

“I feel humbled that the University Alumni Association is honoring me with this achievement award. I’m not sure that I probably deserve it, but I’m humbled that they think enough of me and I’m honored to be back here,” said Heddell.

Heddell was sworn in as DoD Inspector General on July 14, 2009, one year after being appointed as Acting Inspector General. Heddell began his Government service in 1966 as an Army Chief Warrant Officer, Helicopter Pilot, serving in both Korea and Taiwan during the Vietnam-era conflict. Following his military tours of duty, Mr. Heddell served for 29 years in the U.S. Secret Service, where he directed investigations of threats made against the President, Vice President, and other high-ranking government officials in Washington, D.C.

It was Heddell’s career with the Secret Service that brought him to Springfield to work in the field office. He finished his master’s degree after hours and admits it wasn’t easy, but it paid off.

“I’m a better Inspector general and a better public servant because of the things I learned here,” said Heddell.

Heddell says he’s pleased with the growth of the UIS campus over the years and the physical improvements that have been made since his time.

“I’m very proud of what Chancellor Richard Ringeisen has done here. He’s an example of exceptional leadership. I’m proud of what he’s accomplished. I’m proud of the entire University of Illinois system,” said Heddell.

Heddell just returned from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan where he meet with troops and top commanders in the region. Its Heddell’s role as Inspector General to make sure that taxpayer money is being spent wisely and to help troops get the equipment they need.

Monday, November 02, 2009

UIS hosts International Advisers

The University of Illinois Springfield hosted five EducationUSA advisers from Azerbaijan, Peru, Philippines, Oman, and Russia as part of a U.S.-based training program on Monday, November 2, 2009.

EducationUSA advisers are posted at centers around the world to help foreign students learn about higher education in the United States. The group also shared information about admissions processes for students in their home countries.

"We get an inside perspective from the advisers face to face as to what's going on in their countries, what challenges their students face and what their academic interests are," said Dana Atwell, ESL Coordinator in the Office of International Programs.

The advisers spent time in Springfield participating in cultural events as well as informative meetings and workshops. They will visit college campuses around the country and also travel to Washington, D.C.

UIS worked with Study Illinois, a consortium of over fifty accredited institutions of higher learning to bring the group to Springfield. UIS also hosted the annual meeting for the organization during the visit by the international advisers.