Monday, April 30, 2012

UIS to hold 41st commencement ceremony on May 12 in downtown Springfield

Commencement ceremonies for the University of Illinois Springfield will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, Ninth and Adams streets in downtown Springfield. Of the 1,316 students eligible to graduate, 770 will participate in the ceremony.

Tickets are not required for admission and seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no reserved seating except for special needs such as interpretive services and wheelchairs. The doors to the main floor of the center will open at 1 p.m.

Commencement Speaker: Wenguang Huang

The commencement speaker will be UIS Public Affairs Reporting alum Wenguang Huang, a Chicago-based journalist, writer and translator. He is the author of The Little Red Guard, a memoir that chronicles his growing up in central China during the 1970s. The book reveals his family striving to fulfill a grandmother’s last wish during a period of rapid societal change. The book, released by Riverhead, Penguin on April 26, 2012, has been mentioned by O Magazine and selected among the top 10 memoirs by Publishers Weekly for spring 2012.

A former staff member of the New York Times Beijing Bureau, Wen contributes regularly to Fortune, the New York Times, the Asian Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, the Paris Review, The South China Morning Post and Chicago Public Radio.

In 2003, Wen started introducing contemporary Chinese writers to the West and since then, he has translated Chinese writer Liao Yiwu’s The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China From the Bottom Up, God is Red, For a Song and One Hundred Songs and Yan Xianhui’s Women from Shanghai. Wen is the recipient of the 2007 PEN Translation Fund Award.

Wen grew up in northern China and obtained his bachelor’s degree in English Literature and master’s degree in journalism from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. In 1989, Wen participated in the student pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square. After the government’s brutal crackdown, he came to Springfield and gained his master’s degree from the UIS Public Affairs Reporting program in 1991. While earning his degree, he interned at Illinois Issues magazine, covering Illinois state government. Following his graduation, he interned with the Illinois Legislative Research Unit, where he gained additional first-hand knowledge of how democracy works at the state level.

Since 1994, Wen Huang has held numerous day jobs for non-profit organizations and corporations. At present, he pursues his journalistic and book writings in his spare time.

Faculty and student marshals 

Stephen Schwark, professor of Political Science at UIS, has been chosen to serve as grand marshal. The student speaker will be Jessica A. Odigie, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science & Legal Studies.

Faculty and students in each academic program select one graduating student who best exemplifies the goals and spirit of that program to serve as student marshal for the ceremony.

This year’s marshals are:

Accountancy: Megan M. Canny – B.A., Preston Todd Searl – B.A. (Peoria), Amanda J. Ball – M.A.  

Biology: Nathan T. Dennison – B.S., Benjamin Briddell – M.S.   

Business Administration: Lawrence Paul Crowley – B.B.A., Javan Daniel Hall – M.B.A. (Peoria), Amruta R. Prabhuwaingankar – M.B.A.   

Chemistry: Mark W. Frakes – B.S. Clinical Laboratory Science: Taylor Danielle Golden – B.S.   

Communication: Ryan B. Ivemeyer – B.A., Emily Jean Fox – M.A.   

Computer Science: Andrew W. Miller – B.S., Timothy W. Robert – M.S.  

Criminal Justice: Lindzee Edwards– B.A.   

Economics: Tyler Daniel McKay – B.A.   

Educational Leadership: Adam Bradley Dean – M.A.   

English: Hannah Rebekah Radford – B.A., Sarah Lauren Collins – M.A.  

Environmental Sciences: Gregory R. Fretueg – M.S. Environmental Studies: Araceli Eva Lopez Martinez – M.A.   

Global Studies: Johanette Druvinka Croos Moraes – B.A.   

History: Zachary James Clifton Watkins – B.A., Eleanor Claire Jerry – M.A.   

Human Development Counseling: Margaret Mary Wheelhouse – M.A.   

Human Services: Ruth Elaine Boardman – M.A.   

Legal Studies: Lisa M. Daykin – B.A., Joseph J. Walat – M.A.   

Liberal Studies: Valeri Jean Cooke – B.A.   

Management: Corey Matthew Curtis – B.A. (Peoria), Debra Sue Schmitz – B.A.   

Management Information Systems: Joshua Daniel Kilhoffer – B.S., Anusha Mathur Subramaniam – M.S.   

Mathematical Sciences: Carlin Thomas Venaglia – B.A.   

Philosophy: John Kevin Byers – B.A.   

Political Science: Caitlyn Elizabeth Barnes – B.A., Robert Joseph Skorczewski – M.A.   

Psychology: Rachel A. Tohme – B.A.   

Public Administration: Anupama Surendran – M.P.A., Nancy Leann Huyck - D.P.A.   

Public Affairs Reporting: David James Thomas – M.A.   

Public Health: Nelson Videnyi Agbodo – M.P.H.   

Social Work: Kendra V. Johnson – B.S.W. Sociology/Anthropology: Tiffany D. Gollahon – B.A.   

Teacher Leadership: Charity Lynn Workman – M.A.   

Visual Arts: Karen Elizabeth Boerema – B.A.
A number of events are planned for graduates, their families and guests, beginning with a reception for Peoria-area students on Friday, May 4. Separate brunches for CAP Honors graduates and online degree graduates are scheduled for Saturday morning, May 12.

Admission to some commencement events is by invitation only. Updated information, including a complete list of events, is available from the commencement website at

The ceremony will be webcast live at DVDs ($25) can also be ordered from the Office of Electronic Media, phone 217/206-6799. For more information, go to the UIS Commencement website at

Saturday, April 28, 2012

UIS students plant 3,500 trees as part of Springfest service project

Almost 200 University of Illinois Springfield students helped plant over 3,500 trees at Carpenter and Gurgens Park in Springfield on Arbor Day. It was all part of the Springfest service event.

“It’s a lot of fun being out here with my teammates,” said Rachel Boyd, a senior political science and psychology major. “A lot of us aren’t use to being out here and doing all kids of manual labor, so it’s kind of a culture shock for a lot of us.”

While it may have been hard work for some, junior Nathan Burkman said it is worth the time and effort. The tree planting was his first major volunteer event.

“You don’t realize how it is until you get out here and then do it,” said Burkman, a criminal justice major. “Once you’re out here doing it, you realize maybe you should get involved.”

The students spent the afternoon digging holes, placing protectors over the trees, and making sure the plants received enough water to grow successfully.

“We’re trying to instill a sense of environmental responsibility in our students and a sense of commitment to community in our students and this serves both purposes,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center.

A service event is a relatively new part of Springfest, a week-long event during which students compete in a variety of fun and educational events.

“It’s a great way to do something fun and good for our community as well. I’m glad they put together as our final Springfest event,” said Boyd.

Friday, April 20, 2012

UIS students approve referendum to build student union

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield overwhelmingly voted in favor of building a student union on campus on April 18. A total of 432 students voted to approve a fee increase, which will finance much of the construction, while 109 students voted no.

The project will now go through a planning process involving campus administration, university administration, and an outside design firm. This plan will then need to be approved by both the Board of Trustees and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

If the project gains final approval, the student union will be located on the South Quad, next to University Hall. Construction on the project should be complete by 2015.

“Our student union will be a destination for all members of our community - on–campus students, non-traditional students, graduate students, faculty members, staff, alums,” said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. “It will be our campus living room – a bright and bustling hot spot for student activities long into the future; a place to work on homework, hold meetings, enjoy some new food and beverage options, play video games, and just hang out after class.”

Starting in 2015, a full-time undergraduate student at UIS will pay $200 a semester to finance construction. Students enrolled in an online degree seeking program will not pay any student union fees. It is estimated the total cost of construction will range from $13 to $20 million, with part of the costs also covered through fundraising.

“The student union will become the heart of the UIS campus,” said Tim Barnett, UIS vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “The student union will help facilitate a variety of cultural, social, educational, and recreational programs.”

The new Student Union will likely include enhanced dining choices, a game room, lounge and study spaces, student organization space, large programming space, outdoor gathering areas, and various other amenities. The offices of the Student Government Association, Student Organizations and Office of Student Life would also be in the new facility. The new building will utilize the very latest in green technology to ensure an environmentally friendly and sustainable facility.

Auxiliary enterprises, such as student unions, bookstores, or dining facilities, which are not directly related to instruction, research or service organizational units, but do support the overall objectives of the university, cannot be paid for with state appropriations.

For more information, visit

Thursday, April 19, 2012

U of I students & alumni lobby lawmakers for funding

More than 200 University of Illinois alumni and students from its three campuses gathered at the state capitol on April 18, 2012 to meet with legislators as part of its fourth annual “University of Illinois Day at the Capitol” lobby effort.

“It really provides us an opportunity as alumni and friends of the university to put a face to the University of Illinois before the Illinois General Assembly,” said Tom Livington, chairman of the U of I Alumni Association board of directors.

Coordinated by Illinois Connection, the legislative advocacy network of the University of Illinois Alumni Association, concerned stakeholders canvased the statehouse and spoke one-on-one with their representatives to encourage funding support for the University of Illinois and higher education.

“Funding is the issue,” said John Tienken, a UIS student. “We’re trying to make sure higher education funding is steady next year and also we really want to remind legislators how vital MAP grants are to U of I students.”

U of I President-designate Robert Easter and chancellors, Susan Koch of UIS and Paula Allen-Meares of UIC, joined in the effort to reach out to lawmakers.

“We really want to convey to our legislators and our government leaders the importance of the University of Illinois, support for educating our students, so they can stay in Illinois, contribute to the Illinois economy, and be great citizens in our communities,” said Koch.

Students and alumni discussed with lawmakers the “human capital” that the University of Illinois generates, in terms of both innovation and growth, which creates a lasting economic footprint.

For many, like UIC student Joanne Skourletos, the fight for funding is personal. She has received MAP grant funding throughout her education.

“It’s really helped me to be able to focus on my studies, not having to worry about working extra hours to be able to fund my education, so it’s really been a helpful thing,” said Skourletos.

For more information about the U of I Alumni Association’s Illinois Connection advocacy program, visit

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pardie named UIS Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Lynn Pardie has been selected from among a pool of over 70 candidates from across the U.S. to become the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). The Provost is the university’s chief academic officer, the second highest administrative position in the university, and is responsible to the Chancellor for the implementation of the academic priorities of the university.

Pardie has been serving in that position on an interim basis since January of 2011. Pending approval of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees at its May meeting, she will assume the permanent position of vice chancellor and provost on July 1, 2012.

“I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity to appoint an outstanding academic leader to this important position at UIS,” said Chancellor Susan J. Koch. “As interim provost, Dr. Pardie has navigated a number of challenges with great professionalism and has proved to be a quick study on every issue. She has done a magnificent job as interim provost.”

A native of Muscatine, Iowa, Pardie is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Iowa where she was awarded a degree in Psychology with Highest Distinction and received the Ernest R. Johnson Memorial Prize for Academic Standing. She also holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and is a licensed clinical psychologist. Pardie joined the faculty of the University of Illinois Springfield in 1989 and is a tenured professor in the Psychology Department.

“I am absolutely delighted to have been selected to serve as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Provost. It’s an honor and a privilege to work on behalf of an institution like UIS,” said Pardie. “I have deep appreciation and respect for the faculty and staff here -- they’re truly committed to our students and to delivering the highest quality of education. It’s been my great pleasure to work with Chancellor Koch since she arrived, and I look forward to continuing to work with her and the faculty and staff to advance academic affairs at UIS.”

Pardie has received a number of academic awards, including the UIS Faculty Excellence Award, which is given to faculty members who best exemplify the ideal of the teacher-scholar model and who are recognized as role models by their peers.

Pardie's administrative career encompasses ten years of progressively responsible appointments, including Chair of the Psychology Department, Interim Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education & Research.

“I am deeply grateful to committee chair, Professor Mike Miller and to all twenty-one search committee members who fulfilled their charge to provide an outstanding pool of finalists,” said Chancellor Koch. “In their assessment of Dr. Pardie’s candidacy, the search committee noted among many positive attributes, her high level of respect in the campus community, her long record of integrity and fair-mindedness, her ability to get up ‘up to speed’ quickly on complicated issues and her ability to research problems and bring data to bear on difficult decisions. Having worked with Dr. Pardie as interim provost for the past several months, I certainly agree with the search committee’s assessment.”

The University of Illinois Springfield serves approximately 5,000 students in 44 undergraduate and graduate programs in four colleges, with 208 full-time faculty, 530 staff and an annual operating budget of $82.5 million.


The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 76,000 students, 2,400 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 19,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.

Monday, April 16, 2012

UIS survey finds Sangamon County employers have a positive economic outlook

Research released by the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield show Sangamon County employers have a positive outlook for the performance of the Sangamon County economy over the next 12 months. About four in ten (39%) expect an economic increase, nearly twice as many as those who expect a decline (21%).

Employers are even more positive about the prospects for their own firm or organization. Here, almost half (47%) expect an increase in the next year, about three times as many as those who expect a decline (16%). For both the economy as a whole and for their own firm, about four in ten expect stability (41% for county; 37% for their own firm). The survey also finds that nearly 40% of the employers expect to increase their employment in the next 12 months, compared to 14% who expect a decline.

These results are from the most recent Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey, conducted with a sample of 189 Sangamon County employers during March. It is a biannual survey that has been conducted since March 2008. The outlook, which is co-sponsored by UIS and The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, includes questions which are asked in every survey as well as those which focus on specific topics for that particular survey.

The current outlook for both the county economy as a whole and for their own firm are the most positive they have been in the four years of the Survey, according to Index scores which summarize the expectation responses. The Outlook Index score for the Sangamon County economy as a whole is now +9, up from +1 one year ago and -8 two years ago. Three years ago, in March 2009, the Index stood at -36, its low point. The Index score for their own firm is now +16, up from +10 one year ago and +1 two years ago. Again, three years ago this Index score was at its low point of -12.

Employers’ expectations for all but one of 12 economic sectors are now positive. The most positive Index score is found for the medical/health care sector (+48). Five other sectors have Index scores around +20: finance/insurance/real estate (+22); retail trade (+20); information and communications (+19); construction (+18); and hotels/food/entertainment (+18).

The only sector with a negative Index score is manufacturing (-3). Yet, this sector has the third largest increase in the Index score since a year ago (from -15 to -3). Larger Index score increases in the past year are found for construction (+1 to +18) and finance/insurance/real estate (+8 to +22).

The two biggest challenges seen by employers in the next 12 months are energy prices (48%) and government regulations/taxes (43%). Following are: employee compensation/benefits (37%); state government finances (34%); and consumer confidence/spending (33%). These are basically the same concerns as were identified one year ago.

For one of the topical questions, employers were asked to identify the most positive and negative development for the Sangamon County economy over the past 12 months. Half (51%) of the respondents identified a positive development, while two-thirds (68%) identified a negative impact.

The most frequent positive developments mentioned related to changes in the medical/health sector (13% of the sample) and the developments on MacArthur Boulevard, specifically the opening of Scheel’s and the MacArthur extension to I-72 (12%). About the same number (12%) identified developments relating to local economic/business/job growth or to an increase in consumer outlook or spending.

By far, the most frequent negative developments mentioned related to state government (27% of the sample). About half of these were about state government finances, including delay in payments (14%). Comments relating to the lack or loss of economic activity or jobs were next most frequent (11%). Following closely were comments relating to city government finances/jobs (10%), including references to CWLP/ electricity rates (6%) and more general references (4%).

Another topical question asked employers how much impact the State government’s delay in paying its bills has had on their firm/organization – and also on those firms who do business with them. Nearly half (48%) said the state’s delay has had at least some impact on their firm, with 27% saying it had either “a lot” or “quite a bit” of impact. About 60% said the state’s delay has had at least some impact on firms that do business with them. Over one-third (37%) said this has had either “a lot” or “quite a bit” of impact on these firms.

The Survey’s Outlook Index Scores: In the Survey, respondents are asked whether an economic aspect will increase quite a bit (+100), increase a little (+50), stay about the same (0), decline a little (-50), or decline quite a bit (-100) over the next 12 months. The Outlook Index Score is the average when the responses are coded on the +100 to -100 scale values next to these responses. The score can range from a low of -100, meaning every responding employer expects the topic to “decline quite a bit” – to a high of +100, meaning every responding employer expects the topic to “increase quite a bit.” A score of 0 either indicates that every respondent expects the topic to “stay about the same,” or that the increase and decline responses are evenly balanced.

For more information on the survey, contact Dick Schuldt, director of the UIS Survey Research Office at 217/206-6591 or email

(PDF) Download the report summary

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

UIS launches Transfer Express - one-stop enrollment for new transfers

The University of Illinois Springfield is making it easy for transfer students to enroll next fall. Transfer Express is a series of nine one-stop, one-day events, beginning on April 27 and running through August 20. Students from area community colleges, other universities, and those who never finished college, can get everything taken care of for fall 2012 classes – in a single day.

Transfer Express will be held on April 27 & 28, May 21, June 22 & 23, July 26 & 27, and August 18 & 20. Weekday sessions will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday sessions from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in University Hall, room 1031.

Prospective transfer students should bring their official sealed transcripts and application fee to the sessions. Students can talk to an advisor about transferring credits, fill out an application, be admitted, secure financial aid, and even register for classes before leaving. Veterans and other students seeking application fee waivers are encouraged to contact the Admissions office prior to arrival at 217/206-4847 or

No advance registration for Transfer Express is necessary. Students should have a 2.00 cumulative transfer GPA on a 4.0 scale, have 30 transfer hours by entry to UIS in the fall, and have filed the 2012-2013 FAFSA (UIS school code 009333). Students must be applying for an on-campus program. Online programs are not eligible.

For more information, visit Questions may be direction to the UIS Office of Admissions at 217/206-4847.