Tuesday, August 31, 2010

UIS-founded New Century Learning Consortium adds SUNY Empire State College as eighth member

The New Century Learning Consortium (NCLC), founded at the University of Illinois Springfield has added the State University of New York, Empire State College as its eighth member. The Consortium is designed to assist universities in implementing high quality, large-scale online and blended learning programs.

“We are very pleased to have Empire State College join the consortium. Empire State College is an institution with a strong history of quality online learning programs. Its Center for Distance Learning (CDL) is one of the largest providers of online learning in the state of New York,” said Shari McCurdy Smith, NCLC director and associate director of the Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service (COLRS) at UIS.

SUNY Empire State College is pleased to join the New Century Learning Consortium, said Meg Benke, Vice Provost for Global and Online Learning at Empire State College. The college recognizes the need for inter-institutional cooperation.

“We are particularly interested in efforts to promote degree completion and faculty exchange,” she said.

The Consortium plans to expand to 14 institutions by May of 2011. Consortium activities include developing a clearinghouse of online classes where there is excess capacity; shared research projects; shared IT expertise to support building infrastructure capacity; and peer support at the upper administration, dean, and faculty member levels. NCLC was founded utilizing a grant from the Sloan Consortium, who is also providing funding for the expansion.

"NCLC is an exciting initiative that brings together state universities spread across the U.S.," said Ray Schroeder, director of COLRS and founder of NCLC.

The member institutions are dedicated to developing vigorous online and blended learning initiatives to expand and stabilize student enrollments.

Current members are University of Illinois Springfield; California State University Easy Bay, Hayward; Southern Oregon University, Ashland; Chicago State University; Oakland University, Rochester Hills, Michigan; University of Southern Maine, Portland; and Louisiana Tech University, Ruston.

For more information about the Consortium, contact Shari McCurdy Smith at 217-206-7360 or email smccu1@uis.edu.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

UIS students volunteer as part of annual Service-A-Thon



Nearly 30 students from the University of Illinois Springfield ended their first week of classes by volunteering at three locations around Springfield. The effort was all part of the annual Welcome Week Service-A-Thon organized by the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center.

“We’re having fun. It’s not like we’re just stuck here because we have to be. All of us want to be here just to give a little extra,” said Jessica Yocum, a junior biology major.

Yocum volunteered at Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach where she helped sort medical supplies and prepare them for shipment.

“It’s great to have young people here and they’re so hard working and so focused. They’re doing a really great job,” said Jill Hawkins of Hospital Sisters.

UIS volunteers also helped build a new walking trail for the community at Ball Charter School and mulched trees at Springfield’s new Southwind Park.

“I know when I was little I always hated mulching, but now doing it with my friends makes it a much better experience,” said Kendra Tucker, a freshman psychology major.

The students say they enjoy volunteering because they meet new friends on campus and leave with a sense of pride knowing they helped out.

If you would like to learn more about service opportunities at UIS visit the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center’s website or email volunteer@uis.edu.

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UIS cuts ribbon on new LGBTQ Resource Office



After years of hard work the University of Illinois Springfield officially cut the ribbon on its new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Resource Office on August 26, 2010.

“What really brought me here was the excitement and the newness of this, the position is brand new, the office in many ways is new,” said Kerry Poynter, UIS’ first ever LGBTQ Resource Office Director.

LBGTQ students have been pushing for a resource office to help them deal with issues like coming out to their parents and to improve relations with fellow students.

“It’s a pretty emotional experience to see it opening. A lot of people have invested a lot of time and energy to have this happen today,” said Renee Rathjen, a senior political science major.

The new 750 square foot office offers a safe space for LGBTQ and allied students to meet one another and show support. Poynter hopes the office will help bring the community together, reach across cultural lines and open up dialogue amongst students.

“It’s exciting for me to bring all those people together and all that energy together and really shape something for the future here,” he said.

Poynter has previously worked for LGBTQ resources offices at Duke University in North Carolina, Columbia University in New York City and New York University.

“It’s very affirming to know that the institution is willing to put its money where its mouth is and say we really support you and we’re going to provide the services you deserve,” said Rathjen.

Poynter plans to conduct an assessment program this semester to bring students together and let them talk about their experiences at UIS. The goal is to use that information to shape the mission of the office.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chancellor's Picnic kicks off the 2010-11 academic year



Chancellor Richard Ringeisen welcomed new and returning students, faculty and staff during his annual picnic on August 24, 2010. Nearly 700 people showed up for the event featuring free hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and other food.

“This is so much fun, because the semester is just beginning and students don’t feel a lot of pressure yet and neither do the faculty,” said Ringeisen.

The picnic is designed to give students a chance to meet the chancellor, faculty and other staff members that will be important during their time on campus.

“If we went to a bigger school we probably wouldn’t have that opportunity to have a one-on-one with the chancellor. Here he noticed me from before and this time I actually got to know him,” said De’Anna Winters, a senior communication major.

Ringiesen credits the popularity of the picnic with an increasing number of students who are choosing to live on campus.

“It’s been growing and growing over the last few years,” he said.

Senior psychology major Britni Prusa came to the picnic with other members of the UIS volleyball team.

“It’s a nice way to meet people, especially for the freshmen,” she said.

The celebration is part of Welcome Week 2010, which includes a variety of events designed to get students involved on campus.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Rent-A-Text program saving students money on books



The University of Illinois Springfield Bookstore, which is operated by Follett Corporation, is offering a Rent-A-Text program to students for the first time.

The program began during the summer semester, but has really taken off as students return for fall classes. Over 1,300 textbooks have been rented so far at the bookstore. UIS students have saved nearly $45,000 combined.

Students have the potential to save up to 50% off the price of a new textbook through the Rent-A-Text program.

“We think it’s very attractive for the students and I think it will be a positive attraction for this campus,” said Stephen Chrans, assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs.

Senior Communication major Cassie Oswald usually buys her books, but this year she rented and saved nearly $250.

“Most people would rather rent a book if it’s not in their major field of study than buy the book and be stuck with it at the end of the year,” said Oswald.

Some students like senior Social Work major Arianna Adams usually buy books for cheaper prices online, but this year she’s saving more by renting.

“It’s a really cheap way to get your books. It’s an easy process to rent and then bring them back,” said Adams.

Follett currently is offering nearly 7,000 textbook titles for rent nationwide. Instructors at UIS are asked to commit to using the book for several semesters before it’s available for rent.

Students can shop for books at the campus store or online through the Follett website, which even offers home delivery for the cost of shipping.

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Fifteen new faculty join UIS for fall 2010

Fifteen new faculty members have joined the University of Illinois Springfield for the 2010 fall semester. Six will teach in programs within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; four will teach in the College of Public Affairs and Administration; one in the College of Education and Human Services; three in the College of Business and Management; and one will teach in the library.

Kristi Barnwell is a lecturer of History at the University of Illinois Springfield. Professor Barnwell received her B.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts in 2002, and an M.A. and Ph.D. (expected in 2010) in History from the University of Texas at Austin. She taught courses in the history of Islam and the history of the Middle East at the University of Texas in 2009 and 2010.

Professor Barnwell’s research focuses on the creation of the states of the Persian Gulf in 1971 in the context of Arab nationalist movements and British Decolonization in the Middle East. Other areas of research include Jordanian-American relations in the 1960s and the development of historical narratives in the United Arab Emirates.

Her personal interests include travel, knitting, reading, kayaking, and roller coasters.

Lisa Chen is a lecturer in Accountancy in the College of Business and Management at the University of Illinois Springfield. Professor Chen received her B.S. in Psychology from Beijing Normal University in 1985, M.S. in Accounting in 2006, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Accounting at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Lisa was on the faculty at the Beijing Normal University from 1985 to 1991. She has taught undergraduate courses in financial accounting and managerial accounting.

Professor Chen’s research interests are on behavioral aspects of accounting performance, corporate governance, and information system. She is an active member of the American Accounting Association and the International Association for Accounting Education and Research.

She enjoys gardening with her twins and likes being involved in their competitive swimming activities.

Corey Hoelscher is an assistant professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois Springfield. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 and his bachelor’s degree from New York University in 2002. Before coming to UIS, Corey served as Hill Assistant Professor at Rutgers University for three years.

Professor Hoelscher’s research interests are in geometry, and he studies higher dimensional objects having large amounts of symmetry.

His personal interests include travel, cooking, politics, and the outdoors.


Darla Honn is an assistant professor of Accountancy. Dr. Honn earned a doctorate in Accounting from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in 2010. She has nearly twenty years of experience teaching financial and managerial accounting, most recently at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIU-C), and at the University of Central Missouri.

Her primary research interest involves the impact of cognitive and environmental factors on accounting performance. Dr. Honn has earned various research and academic awards including the Walker Fellowship (2007-2008), Pontikes Research Award (2007 and 2008), and the SIU-C Dissertation Award (2009). She is an active member of the American Accounting Association and the Missouri Association of Accounting Educators.

She enjoys spending time with her five children, ages 10-21, watching competitive softball, and horseback riding.

Gwen Jordan is an assistant professor of Legal Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. Professor Jordan initially earned her B.A. from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, (1983) and her J.D. from the University of Denver, College of Law (1986). She began her career practicing criminal law as a deputy district attorney for the eighteenth judicial district in Colorado. After prosecuting cases for five years in county, district, and juvenile courts in both urban and rural settings, she left the practice of law to study issues of race and gender in the criminal justice system. Jordan received her M.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC), with a graduate concentration in Women’s Studies in 1993. At the doctoral level she expanded her studies to the history of race, gender, and women in our legal systems, political institutions, and reform movements. Jordan received her Ph.D. in U.S. History from UIC in 2004. From 2005 to 2008, Jordan was the J. Willard Hurst Legal History Fellow at the Institute for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin Law School. In 2008 Jordan began a two year position as visiting assistant professor of criminology at Northern Illinois University.

Professor Jordan’s primary expertise and teaching interests are in U.S. legal history, law and society, constitutional law, woman and the law, and social reform movements with an emphasis on race and gender and transnational associations.

For leisure, she prefers being outdoors – running, skiing (on water or snow), gardening, and hiking. She also loves to travel to places far and near, but most enjoys spending time with family.

Dave Kube is a visiting assistant professor of Visual Arts at the University of Illinois Springfield. He received his B.A. in Graphic Design with a minor in Communication from UIS in 2007 and an M.F.A. in Photography from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in 2009. Dave has taught as an adjunct at multiple schools around the Midwest and in Pennsylvania since 2005. He currently resides in Peoria, Illinois where he continues his artistic practice.

Professor Kube’s artwork is engaging, contemporary, and at times, humorous. Based upon the ideas of queer theory, Dave questions how identity is placed upon gay men and their reactions to this often socially stigmatized counter-culture. Without pedantic preaching, he explores issues of vulnerability and misunderstanding in relation to gay experiences.

His personal interests include traveling and experiencing other cultures and countries such as Europe (Italy, London, Netherlands, France), Japan, and Mexico. He loves going to art museums and galleries, live theater, and movies. He is extremely interested in contemporary art and culture, and enjoys reading about queer theory and theories involved with visual culture.

Michael Lane is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield. For the past three years, Dr. Lane has served two years as a clinical assistant professor and one year as a visiting assistant professor, fulfilling the same position that he will now be entering as a tenure-track assistant professor.

Dr. Lane received his B.S. in Education from Western Illinois University (WIU) in 1971, an M.S. in Education with a major in Educational Administration from WIU in 1977, and an Education Specialist degree from Western Illinois University in 1995. He completed the requirements for his doctorate of education from Illinois State University in 2006. His doctoral work was in the field of public school administration. He spent over thirty years in the field of public school education, serving in the following positions during that time period: teacher, coach, assistant junior/senior high principal, principal (elementary, junior high, high school levels), assistant superintendent, and superintendent.

Dr. Lane’s research interests lie within the realm of educational reform, rural education, and the effectiveness of online teaching and learning. He recently was appointed as a Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) Faculty Research Fellow at UIS.

His hobbies include reading and serving in leadership and musical activities at his church. He also enjoys watching football at both the university and professional levels.

Michael G. Miller is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and the Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. Miller received a B.A. in Political Science and Business Administration from Concordia College, an M.A. in Political Science from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University.

Miller’s broad research focus is on American elections and political behavior. To date, his work has sought to evaluate the effects of public election funding programs and other electoral reforms in the American states, the relationship between candidate gender and electoral outcomes, and how citizens respond to political scandal.

Originally from Minot, ND, Miller is an avid runner and father of three whose first job after college was as a lead guitarist in a rock band. He is also a lifelong, diehard fan of the Minnesota Vikings.

Amanda Poffinbarger is an instructor of Biological Sciences in the Biology Department at the University of Illinois Springfield. She received her B.S. in Zoology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIU-C), in 1997 and M.S. in Zoology, also from SIU-C, in 2000. Ms. Poffinbarger’s thesis was on nesting habits of fishes. From 2000 to 2009, she was on the faculty at Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, where she taught courses in introductory biology, environmental science, and human physiology. She has also taught as an adjunct instructor for Danville Area Community College, Lake Land College and Parkland College.

Her hobbies include travel, golf, and reading. She is also an animal lover, with two cats, a parrotlet, a rabbit, and a chinchilla.

Shuang-Yueh Pui is an assistant professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Springfield. She received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Idaho in 2004, M.S. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Bowling Green State University in 2007, and a Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Bowling Green State University in 2010. During her time as a graduate student at Bowling Green State University, she taught courses in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.

Professor Pui’s research interests focus on the role of individual differences in judgments and choices that people make, especially as it pertains to the workplace; the lay perceptions that people have toward standardized personnel selection procedures; and the role of customer and coworker hostility on employee’s well-being and performance.

Her personal interests include traveling to new and unique places; training for a cycling tour; and training for a triathlon.

Sarah Sagmoen is a visiting assistant professor in the Library Instructional Services department at Brookens Library at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah received her B.S. in English Education from Illinois State University in 2006 and her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University in 2008. After completing her MLIS, she was the night time supervisor at Loyola University Chicago’s Lewis Library in downtown Chicago. She came to UIS in November of 2009.

In addition to her role as an instructional librarian, Sarah manages the Information and Reference Desk. While managing the day-to-day functions at the desk, she is working to implement new technologies to support reference services at Brookens Library. Her research interests include Web 2.0 technologies and the role of social media in academic library settings. She serves on the Brookens Library Web Committee, Library Cabinet and Publicity Committee, as well as the Campus Senate Undergraduate Council

Her person interests include reading, cooking, movies, new technology and gadgets, and spending time with friends and family.

Gloria Simo is an assistant professor of Public Administration at the University of Illinois Springfield. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Northern Illinois University, with major emphasis in Public Administration, Public Policy, and Urban Studies. She has more than ten years of administrative experience in federal and local government and has taught for almost twenty years in both graduate and undergraduate programs in public administration, public services, urban studies and political science. Most recently she was on the faculty of DePaul University’s School of Public Service from 2000 to 2010, where she primarily taught graduate courses in metropolitan planning and research methods, including needs assessment, program evaluation and the graduate level capstone, while serving as the assistant director of DePaul’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.

Dr. Simo’s research interests include the implementation and challenges of cross-sector collaboration, especially during times of extreme events, as well as needs assessment and evaluation studies in urban planning, housing and community development and the value of field work in graduate education. Her most recent publications are based on the multiple field study experiences she led in New Orleans and Southwest Louisiana following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike.

She has a special interest in the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and of the long-term impact his work has had on arts, architecture and community planning. She volunteers for a number of nonprofit and faith-based organizations, especially those focused on social justice and housing for the elderly and less fortunate, especially the homeless. She also enjoys swimming and boating, practices yoga and the feldenkrais methods, and is trying to learn golf.

David Towers is a visiting instructor in Psychology at the University of Illinois Springfield. He received his B.S., B.A., M.S. and Ph.D., all in Psychology, from the University of Arizona. His Ph.D. was awarded in 2007. He comes most recently from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has been a postdoctoral fellow.

His research interests include cognitive neuroscience, psycho-physiology of attention and executive function in psychopathology.

His personal interests include woodworking, home improvement and theatre.

Junfeng Wang joins the Department of Public Administration as an assistant professor. Dr. Wang received her B.S. in Geophysics from China University of Mining & Technology in 1991, an MPA from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Pembroke in 2002, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte in 2008. She taught courses including analytical methods, program evaluation, and introduction to public administration at UNC, Pembroke, for two years.

Dr. Wang’s research focuses on urban development policy, environmental policy, comparative studies, and GIS application. Her most recent research focuses on assessing the health impacts of brownfield redevelopment.

Her personal interests include cooking, working out, shopping, and gardening.

Yuanyuan Zhou is a visiting assistant professor of Management in the College of Business and Management at the University of Illinois Springfield. Dr. Zhou teaches international management and strategic management. He received his M.A. in Management from Ohio State University in 2003, and a Ph.D. in International Management from Ohio State University in 2008.

His research interests are in the areas of international management, innovations, and strategic management. Dr. Zhou’s research has been published in the Journal of World Business.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

U.S. News & World Report gives UIS top ranking for third consecutive year

U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 Edition of America’s Best Colleges ranks the University of Illinois Springfield as the top regional public university in the state of Illinois and the fourth best public university in that category in the entire Midwest. This is the third straight year that UIS has achieved those rankings.

The prestigious rankings placed UIS at 22 on a list of 142 top public and private colleges and universities in the 12-state Midwest region that includes, in addition to Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. The ranking puts UIS in the top 15 percent of universities in the Midwest.

“We are on the right path, in bold pursuit of our strategic vision to become one of the top five small public liberal arts universities in the nation,” said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen.

U.S. News also gave UIS a high ranking in its “Least Debt” category for being among only five universities in the Midwest with students who graduate with the lightest debt loads. UIS was the fourth best on the list with a total of 64 percent of its students graduating with an average debt of $14,717.

The rankings are based on several key measures of quality including peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

UIS is known around the world as the liberal arts campus of the University of Illinois. The campus offers 23 bachelor’s degree programs, 20 master’s programs and 1 doctoral program. Students thrive in small classes and engage the world through relevant courses and internships. UIS is recognized for preparing leaders for government and public service, and is nationally known for online learning. UIS has four colleges: business and management; education and human services; liberal arts and sciences; and public affairs and administration.

For more information contact Blake Wood, UIS Campus Relations at 217/206-6716 or email bwood8@uis.edu.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

UIS celebrates 40 years of achievement and service

The University of Illinois Springfield is celebrating 40 years of history, while looking forward to educating future generations of leaders in government, public service, business and the liberal arts and sciences.

The 40th anniversary celebration at UIS began this month and will run through January 2011 with a variety of special events to mark the occasion. As part of the celebration, look for special banners throughout downtown Springfield that have been placed on light poles.

Founded in 1969 as Sangamon State University the school has awarded more than 32,600 bachelors, masters and doctorial degrees over the last 40 years. UIS has alumni living in all 50 states and 44 foreign countries. In Sangamon County alone the university has 9,709 living alumni members. UIS had educated 28% of the college-educated workforce residing in the city of Springfield.

“This is a very exciting time for the community and our university as we celebrate the 40-year history of our university. Our students, our faculty, staff, our many friends in the community, and of course our families and even our pets have at one time or another been an integral part of our history. This celebration is for everyone, so I hope the entire community, on and off campus, will enjoy our celebratory events. We all feel excited about what this university has become and are equally excited about the road ahead,” said Richard D. Ringeisen, UIS chancellor.

In the beginning, the 746 acre campus was an upper-division university for undergraduate juniors and seniors and graduate students. On July 1, 1995, Gov. Jim Edgar signed legislation reorganizing higher education in Illinois. Sangamon State University became the third campus of the University of Illinois. UIS welcomed its first group of freshman students in August 2001, when the Capital Scholars Honors Program was launched. The Board of Trustees later approved a new general education curriculum in September 2005, which allowed UIS to welcome even more freshman to campus.

UIS has not only grown academically over the years, but physically. When the campus was founded it consisted of a handful of temporary buildings surrounded by open fields. Construction of Brookens Library, the first permanent building on campus, began in 1972 and later opened in 1976. The Public Affairs Center featuring Sangamon Auditorium would later open its doors in 1980. The campus would continue to grow with the addition Health & Sciences Building, Lincoln Residence Hall, the state-of-the art University Hall, The Recreation and Athletics Center (TRAC) and Founders Residence Hall.

Today, UIS is known around the world as the liberal arts campus of the University of Illinois. Students thrive in small classes and engage the world through relevant courses and internships. UIS is known for preparing leaders for government and public service, and is recognized nationally for online learning. UIS has four colleges: business and management; education and human services; liberal arts and sciences; and public affairs and administration. The campus offers more than 40 degree programs.

For more information on the anniversary contact Derek Schnapp, director of Public Relations at 217/206-6716. For a complete history of SSU-UIS, 40 years in photos and a complete list of all 40 year anniversary events visit www.uis.edu/40years

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