UIS and Springfield Public Schools collaborate for Partners in Education Institute
The University of Illinois Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium and Springfield Public Schools (SPS) have joined together to form a team that was recently selected to participate in the national Partners in Education Institute, which will take place May 5 through May 8 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Carly Shank, director of audience development and communication for Sangamon Auditorium, is the institute’s principal for the Auditorium, and Lynn Gilmore, Elementary Music Specialist for SPS, is the representative for the school district. Shank and Gilmore, along with Bob Vaughn, director of Sangamon Auditorium, will attend the institute.
“Few factors are as important to building audiences for the performing arts as the effectiveness of local educators in local schools,” Vaughn noted. “The Auditorium can provide access and opportunities otherwise unavailable to students and teachers; consequently, we have pursued this opportunity for partnership to assure a brighter future for all parties involved and for society at large.”
Lynn Gilmore believes this collaboration will help strengthen arts education throughout the district.
“The arts are essential to every child’s education. It serves as an avenue that sparks creativity and imagination in the minds of learners. In that same light, every student needs a stage and our collaboration with UIS offers a venue to express themselves via the arts,” said Gilmore.
Fourteen other teams of arts organizations and school systems were chosen to attend the institute, which promotes partnerships in communities across the country between arts organizations and local school districts, focusing on the development of arts education programs for teachers.
The institute provides training and information to design an effective arts and arts integration professional development program for teachers in their communities. Participants will have the opportunity to observe established professional development workshops in action at the Kennedy Center with teachers in attendance. They will also participate in content sessions that prepare them in how to plan, implement and evaluate professional development in the arts and arts integration for teachers.
The new teams will join the existing 90 teams from 44 states and the District of Columbia currently participating in the Partners in Education program. In addition to this institute, the program holds an annual conference in Washington, where attendees exchange ideas and address issues facing their communities.
“We look to supplement the considerable efforts of UIS in teacher education while providing a dialogue that can build meaningful and transformative relationships for years to come,” Vaughn said.
The institute is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Committee for the Performing Arts and the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund.
For more information about the collaboration between Sangamon Auditorium and District 186, contact Bob Vaughn at 217/206-8280 or Lynn Gilmore at 217/525-3264.
Springfield Police donate bicycles to UIS Diversity Center checkout program
The Springfield Police Department donated six unclaimed bicycles to the University of Illinois Springfield’s Diversity CenterGo-Green Bike Checkout Program during a ceremony on Thursday, April 22.
The concept of the program is to loan bikes, free of charge, to the University community. A user completes an agreement checkout form, agrees to the terms and conditions of use, and can borrow the bike for five days.
“Many of our students are international students, so they come to UIS and their not able to bring their own bikes,” said Jeannie Capranica, Diversity Center program manager.
Students, who often don’t have cars, use the bikes to travel off campus to shop at the grocery store and other locations. Diane Sahagun is a sophomore Communication major, who often uses a loaner bike to get around. She’s glad to see more bikes being added to the mix, because often there’s a long waiting list.
“I think it will help students a lot and it will make a difference,” said Sahagun.
The Diversity Center currently has seven bikes that it uses for the program, but maintenance has been an issue. The bikes being donated by the Springfield Police Department are safety tested and ready for use.
Springfield Police Chief Robert Williams is a UIS graduate himself. His department decided to donate to the Diversity Center because he knows the bikes will go to good use.
“It just gives us an opportunity to reach into the community and do a very worthwhile service,” said Williams.
Williams says many of the bicycles that were donated are either stolen or have sat unclaimed in the evidence room for a long period of time.
The Diversity Center is currently looking to expand its bike fleet. If you have a bicycle you’d like to donate to the program or to make a donation to the fund contact Jeannie Capranica at 217/206-6333.
Supporters lobby for state funding during U of I Day at the Capitol
Hundreds of students, faculty and alumni members spent the day lobbying lawmakers for state funding during University of Illinois Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 21.
The annual event was organized by the U of I Alumni Association as a way for people to demonstrate their support for all three University of Illinois campuses.
“We are almost a half a billion dollars that the state is indebted to the university. Today is really about engaging the legislators and getting them to understand how bad the problems (are),” said Derek Felix, UIS student representative on the U of I Board of Trustees.
The day began with a lunch briefing and review of key messages. Throughout the afternoon, participants met with legislators and staff.
“What we’re trying to get them to understand is in dollars spent at the University of Illinois by the state returns back to the state usually 13 times every dollar that’s put in it,” said Edward McMillan, University of Illinois trustee.
The lobbying group from UIS was made up of both students and faculty. They met with local representatives like Senator Larry Bomke of Springfield to share their stories about how the financial problems are affecting them.
“We will get paid. It’s just a matter of when. I hope it’s a lot sooner than later,” said Felix.
McMillan says it’s important to have students meeting with their lawmakers directly. He’s especially glad to have a campus full of politically minded students right in the capital city.
“We’re very blessed to have this campus at Springfield to be part of the University of Illinois system,” said McMillan.
At the end of the day, alumni, students, legislators, UIAA leaders and University officials held a reception at the State Library.
Good as Gold Ceremony honors student and community volunteers
In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 18-24), the University of Illinois Springfield and the Junior League of Springfield hosted the Springfield Good as Gold Ceremony, a recognition event to acknowledge community members and organizations for their volunteer efforts.
The ceremony took place on Tuesday evening, April 20, in the lobby of the Sangamon Auditorium on the UIS campus. More than 40 people were recognized during the event for their achievements and efforts.
UIS honored one staff member and one student who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to service and volunteerism with the UIS Star Staff and UIS Star Student award. Alicia Wiley, a graduate student who helped organize a winter shoe/sock drive to benefit the children she met through Contact Ministries was the recipient of the UIS Star Student Award. Kara McElwrath, training specialist in Information Technology Services, received the UIS Star Staff Award for going “above and beyond” to help her students in her Technology for Teaching (TEP 305) course.
UIS students were also recognized for their involvement in many volunteer projects over the past year, including involvement in an Americorps program where students volunteered in the Springfield Public Schools AVID tutoring program and helped out at other agencies, such as the Animal Protective League. Students are also involved in mentoring programs at Jefferson Middle Schooland Harvard Park Elementary School. The students were honored with Outstanding Community Service Awards.
The Junior League recognized Linda Galecki with its new Golden Literacy Award, which is part of the group’s commitment to addressing literacy in the Springfield. Galecki worked to keep the library at Sandberg Elementary open when it lost its funding. For the past 8 years Galecki has organized and trained volunteers, re-shelved books, and made the library an inviting and educational place for the children at the school.
Jordan Bartolazzi, was awarded the Youth Volunteer Award for volunteering over 200 hours for such causes as the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery, mentoring and tutoring middle and high school students, collecting food for pantries, and collecting coats for the homeless. Bartolazzi also single-handedly organized a basketball tournament for Haiti aid relief which collected over $2,500. Nancy Zimmers, Merle Shiffman and Cheryl Meyer from the SIU School of Medicine Enos Steering Committee were presented with the Organization Agent of Service Award. It’s given to an organization for its overall commitment, service and dedication to improving the Springfield community.
Each year the Junior League awards one of its members the Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award (fondly known as the ABCD Award). Julie Waldrop, was honored with the ABCD Award for serving on 6 committees this year, impacting the community through each of her placements.
Five nominees for the Distinguished Volunteer Award were acknowledged during the event with a short presentation. The nominees included Daniel Cadigan, Helen Davsko, Les Eastep, Ann Pitsenberg and Rachael Thomson.
The winner of the Distinguished Volunteer Award was Les Eastep, for his work with SPARC. As a board member since 1991 he’s brought his experience and passion for others to the lives of thousands of people, creating events and serving on boards and committees where he is a problem solver and creative thinker. He held an annual chili supper fundraiser for SPARC, which resulted in a 52% increase in net income from the previous year.
Thirty-four local volunteers were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. Recipients included: Carolyn Bodewes, Paul Cary, Shi Lynn Coleman, Reba Crawford, Theresa Davis, Doris Decker, Patricia Fowler, Mark Frakes, Gene Gyure, Kathleen Handy, Anita Hayes, William Kempiners, Raegan Koebler, Jennifer Pinkerton-Krueger, Eric Mayland, Marcia Milliken, Sister Trudy O’Connor, Kudus Ogunseye, Hyun Ah Oh, Christine Phillips, Kelly Ramsey, Helen Renfrow, Diamond Ross, Barbara Rowe, Barbara Salim, Farah Salim, Linda Udey, Ralph Woehrmann. The committee members of Springfield Parents for Students with Disabilities: Lisa Brunson, Mike Nellessen, Dr. Holly Novak, Katie Pavelko, Margarite Simon, and Mary Wyman were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award.
Campus radio station grows to give students more hands on experience
When ThePrairie Star, the Internet based campus radio station of the University of Illinois Springfield signed on the air in February 2008 it was broadcasting from a small room in University Hall.
Now two years later, the station has grown. It is complete with an audio lab, on-air and production studios in the Student Affairs Building (SAB). The station was designed to serve as a learning environment for students in addition to helping connect the campus.
“We’re on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week streaming on the Internet. We’re not actually over the air because there are no frequencies available. We hope one of these days that changes,” said Jim Grubbs, station creator and association professor of communication.
The station operates with a classic rock format during the day, but at 3 p.m. the “plugs are pulled out” as they switch to an alternative rock format more popular with students. The Prairie Star also hopes to broadcast some UIS athletic events in the future in an effort to give students more opportunities.
“I think it’s going to continue to grow and not to toot our own horn (we) sound very professional,” said Kyle Alewelt, a junior communication major.
In most cases students who want to get involved with the station are required to take COM 313 “Introduction to Radio”, which is being offered for the first time this semester. Grubbs says he’s also open to letting students with prior college or professional radio experience get involved.
“As a Communication faculty member I see this as a learning facility. We have a lot of fun in the learning, but it is a learning facility,” said Grubbs.
The Introduction to Radio class teaches the basics of audio production and being on the air. It’s that experience students can take with them after graduation to use in the real world.
“It’s going to look good on the resume, especially here at UIS. It’s a great university and having that experience in the past also at my other radio stations and this one will just enhance my future in the radio business,” said Michael Watson, a junior history major enrolled in the class.
The station has a loyal group of listeners and because it’s an Internet radio station they can track how many people are listening and from where.
“We have had listeners from all around the world in over 50 different countries at this point. We seem to be a big in Europe late hours their time,” said Grubbs.
UIS students win award at National Model U.N. Conference in New York
Members of the University of Illinois Springfield Model United Nations Club were honored with one of the group’s highest global awards during a week-long conference in New York City.
Model United Nations is a conference that simulates an actual United Nations meeting. The UIS delegation consisted of 14 students and one faculty member. UIS was one of 17 institutions to win the Outstanding Delegation Award at this year's conference. Over 400 other international colleges and universities competed during the event, held March 29 through April 3.
“We’ve been participating for over 25 years in the National Model U.N. Conference and this is the top award we’ve got so far,” said Driss Elakrich, UIS head Model U.N. delegate and graduate student.
Students worked for close to two semesters learning about their assigned country, drafting resolutions, working on diplomacy and consensus building, and writing position papers on specific issues (climate change, arms control, poverty alleviation, global disease, the empowerment of women, etc.). This year UIS represented the country of Azerbaijan, which is situated south of Russia and north of Iran in the Caucasus.
“I learned that diplomacy is very, very hard. Building consensus with people, it can be impossible at times. It was also very interesting trying to work out differences with people where English was their second language,” said John Tienken, a freshman political science and global studies major.
Kelsey Quinn, a senior political science major and Priyanka Deo, a senior political science and sociology/anthropology major have both been to the conference before, but say they learn something new on every journey.
“It was amazing to get to see students I know from China, from Mexico coming together at these conferences,” said Quinn.
Deo plans to return to India to pursue her law degree after graduating from UIS in May, but hopes her experience with Model U.N. will help her in the future.
“I’d like to be a lawyer within the U.N., a tribunal lawyer, so I think this experience definitely makes me more comfortable about how the U.N. works and the politics behind it,” said Deo.
Deo has been invited to attend a Global Model U.N. Conference in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia later this year. Quinn attended a similar event in Switzerland this past summer based on her excellent performance.
Members of the UIS Model U.N. group include Caitlyn Barnes, Nicole Calcagno, Priyanka Deo, Justin Doup, Driss Elakrich, Alfred Komolafe, Margaret Martinotti, Gina Massie, Nana Mkheidze, James Schweke, Robyn Stolze, John Tienken, Kelsey Quinn, and Matthew K. Wright.
For more information contact Ali Nizamuddin, assistant professor of political science at 217/206-8424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.