Monday, January 31, 2011

UIS students mentor children at Springfield school as part of the Black Male Initiative

A group of University of Illinois Springfield students, who are members of the Black Male Collegiate Society on campus, are spending one hour a week mentoring elementary students, as part of the UIS Black Male Initiative.

The mentoring program, which is organized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Illinois Capital Region, is an attempt to introduce positive male role models into the lives of the young students at Springfield’s Matheny-Withrow Elementary School.

“I think that having positive male role models in their lives will essentially put them a step ahead in life,” said Shomari Jackson, a sophomore accounting major and volunteer.

UIS Black Male Initiative coordinator and graduate student Anthony Thomas-Davis approached Big Brothers Big Sisters about the partnership. He says it benefits UIS students as much as the children, because they are gaining valuable experience.

“A lot of these guys don’t have opportunities to be involved in any type of developmental mentoring programs,” said Thomas-Davis.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Enrollment specialist Yvonne Wapniarski says, before the UIS group she had only interviewed four African American men who wanted to be mentors in the past seven years.

“Very few times is there a productive male role model in the children’s lives, especially African American men,” she said.

Wapniarski says 90% of the households Big Brothers Big Sisters work with are headed by a single female who is below the poverty level. That is why having these positive black male mentors is so important.

The UIS mentors plan to meet with the children every Friday during lunch for the rest of the school year. They often talk about school, homework and what is going on at home.

“Basically he uses me as someone to vent to, so if there’s an issue or a problem that’s happening or going on he can talk to me about anything,” said Jackson.

Jackson says he was fortunate to grow up with a positive male role model in his life. Now he is happy to give back to these students.

“It gives me the feeling of helping someone and being a positive role model. Whenever I feel like I can help somebody else it makes me feel good,” he said.

Friday, January 28, 2011

New official wordmark for the University of Illinois Springfield

After approval by the University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor's Cabinet, and notification to the Dean's Council, the university is proceeding with use of a new official wordmark in print and electronic publications.

A wordmark is a standardized graphic representation of the name of an institution and is is used for the purposes of branding and identification. A wordmark becomes a visual symbol of an organization.

UIS did not have an official wordmark until last year when we began using a temporary wordmark. We have now finalized the official wordmark and you will begin seeing it on both print and electronic promotional materials.

See the Creative Services website to download a copy of the wordmark and for more information:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

UIS founded New Century Learning Consortium adds 10th member

The New Century Learning Consortium (NCLC), founded at the University of Illinois Springfield has added University of Minnesota, Crookston as its 10th member. The Consortium is designed to assist universities in implementing high quality, large-scale online and blended learning programs.

“We welcome the University of Minnesota, Crookston to NCLC. As one of the fastest growing online programs in Minnesota and possessing a distinguished tradition of national awards and honors, the University of Minnesota, Crookston is a strong partner for the consortium,” said Shari McCurdy Smith, NCLC director and associate director of the Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service (COLRS) at UIS.

The U of M, Crookston conferred its first online degree in 2001 and now offers seven of its bachelor’s degree programs entirely online.

“The faculty and staff of the University of Minnesota, Crookston are honored to join the NCLC,” said Chancellor Charles Casey, “and we eagerly anticipate the exchange of ideas that will result from our interaction with the other members of the NCLC.”

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.

"We are especially gratified to have the University of Minnesota, Crookston join us in NCLC. The Crookston campus - the original ‘laptop U’ - has a long history of innovation in the application of technology to enhance teaching and learning. They are a leader in online learning in the University of Minnesota system," said Ray Schroeder, director of COLRS and founder of NCLC.

NCLC 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, Illinois; Oakland University, Rochester Hills, Michigan; University of Southern Maine, Portland; Louisiana Tech University, Ruston; SUNY Empire State College, Saratoga Springs; and Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia.

For more information about the Consortium, contact Shari McCurdy Smith at 217/206-7360 or email

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

UIS looks back at a "Year in Video 2010"

The University of Illinois Springfield is taking a look back at the Year in Video 2010.

DVD copies of this presentation are available free of charge, upon request by contacting Blake Wood, UIS Campus Relations Multimedia Writer & Producer at 217/206-8404 or

This video has been produced by the UIS Office of Campus Relations and Office of Web Services.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

UIS hosts 97th Illinois General Assembly House Inauguration

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium was the site for the inauguration of the Illinois House of Representatives on Wednesday, January 12, 2011.

A crowd of about 2,500 people packed the auditorium to watch lawmakers take the oath of office.

The house inauguration has taken place at UIS ever since 2007 when the house chambers were undergoing a major renovation. House leaders approached UIS about hosting the event and were so pleased they decided to keep the event at UIS.

“We’re particularly keen to have representatives from all over the state know that there is a wonderful campus of the University of Illinois right here in the state capital,” said UIS Chancellor Harry Berman.

One of the lawmakers sworn in on the stage of Sangamon Auditorium was Representative Wayne Rosenthal from Macoupin County, a graduate of Sangamon State University/UIS.

“I actually had classes downtown. I think in the Leland Building because they didn’t have all the classrooms built, so there’s a lot of changes that continue to go on,” said Rosenthal.

The freshman lawmaker is happy the inauguration was hosted at UIS because it allows more of his family to attend.

“If we would have done it down at the capitol then you’re limited on the number of people that can come. For me this is important to have this and it and it just helps for the whole community,” he said.

Chancellor Berman and Community Relations Director Joan Sestak wish to thank the dozens of UIS volunteers that helped make the event possible.

View photos from the 97th General Assembly House Inauguration