Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Greek Life now offered at the University of Illinois Springfield

By Paige Heiser (UIS Campus Relations)

After three years of hard work, petitions, and meetings, students at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) are finally welcoming in a group of Greek Life sororities and fraternities.

A true atonement of leadership lived, the effort to petition for Greek Life began three years ago, founded and led by three UIS students: Jessica Odigie, Robert Dixon, and Kyle Palmer.

“It’s more than just a ‘social option’ on campus,” explains Palmer. “The intent is to create students who will become contributing members of society through academic excellence, social justice, selfless service, high social standards, and a sense of brotherhood.”

One unique aspect of Greek Life at UIS is students have the opportunity to create the culture. Other universities are tied-in to tradition, but UIS students are governed by the rules and regulations of the UIS Greek Affairs Board.

There is a no-hazing policy in place, which is governed by the University of Illinois Springfield and the Illinois State Hazing law. No chapter, colony, student or alumnus shall conduct nor condone hazing activities.

Two fraternities are currently on campus: Chapter Upsilon Xi of Alpha Phi Alpha and Chapter Mu Eta of Phi Beta Sigma. The next step is to colonize the fraternity Phi Kappa Tau.

Two sororities will also be joining the ranks of Greek Life at UIS: Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta. These sororities will begin their membership intake process in the spring semester.

All Greek organizations exemplify scholarship, philanthropy, and service to the community.

Greek life has created a new, vibrant feel to the UIS community. More students stay on campus on the week-ends and the presence of alumni has increased through their support to the college chapters.

“These students never gave up. They stayed focused, and never grew weary,” Clarice Ford, Director of the Diversity Center at UIS, explains. “It’s an important lesson to realize dreams don’t happen overnight. You have to sacrifice, work hard and it can happen. This is a true example of ‘leadership lived’ by our students.”

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Monday, September 16, 2013

UIS and Chamber to survey businesses and non-profits about economic outlook

The University of Illinois Springfield and Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce are partnering for a fifth year to conduct the Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey.

Starting September 17, 2013, a mail survey will be sent to Sangamon County businesses and non-profit organizations in order to examine the local area economic perceptions, expectations, and evaluations.

“The survey results are used by local business leaders, government officials, and area residents in order to better understand the local Sangamon county economy and where it could be headed over the next 6 months,” said Ashley Kirzinger, director of the UIS Survey Research Office.

The Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey is a longitudinal project conducted biannually by the Survey Research Office in collaboration with the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor’s Office, and UIS’ Center for State Policy & Leadership.

The results from the survey will be announced on Nov. 12 at the Chamber’s Economic Outlook Breakfast at the University of Illinois Springfield from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. The event is sponsored by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

For more information on the survey, contact Ashley Kirzinger at 217/ 206-7956 or akirz2@uis.edu.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

UIS Computer Science partners with Global Velocity to enhance cyberwarfare training

The University of Illinois Springfield Computer Science Department is collaborating with next generation cyber-security firm Global Velocity (GV) to improve its cyber test range. UIS's cyber test range will be used for student training and faculty research.

Global Velocity, based in St. Louis, Mo., is a leader in data loss prevention (DLP) technologies. Global Velocity will be donating two of its "deep packet inspection" (DPI) platforms to UIS. These platforms are based on specially programmed hardware called FPGA's, and they have capabilities far beyond normal firewalls.

Ted Mims, chair of the UIS Computer Science Department, describes the donation in simple terms: "Imagine that we had an automotive engineering program and the students were working on old cars with old technology. Suddenly, someone loans us a new Corvette for investigation and training."

Ronald Loui, who teaches cyberwarfare at UIS, is more emphatic: "Imagine simulating a battle in cyberspace, where each side is working with muskets, and suddenly you can simulate the appearance of a machine gun in the battlefield. That's how disruptive GV's technology will be in our cyber test range."

When Loui called Greg Sullivan CEO at Global Velocity, and asked whether he could borrow one GV box, Sullivan listened to what it would mean for UIS students and for the future of national security, and promptly offered two.

UIS Computer Science Instructors Josh Smith and Lucinda Caughey, who lead one of the most active undergraduate computing clubs in the Midwest, will direct the activity. UIS has a new FPGA firewall expert on its faculty, Lucas Vespa who has recently designed a degree-granting computer security program.

UIS's cyber range can also be used for simulation of macroeconomic activity. University Professor Sviatoslav Braynov, and Loui, both study market reputation effects and transaction costs, especially models of trust and negotiation that are respectful of legal and political institutions.

For more information, contact Ronald Loui, UIS assistant professor of Computer Science at 217/206-7429 or rloui2@uis.edu.

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Global Velocity provides affordable and easy to use Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions that allow companies to protect their most valuable digital assets and brands from loss or misuse, while assisting them in maintaining their compliance, audit and security obligations. This proven next-generation cybersecurity software is virtualizable, scalable and extendable for deployment in both enterprise and cloud environments. Learn more at www.globalvelocity.com.

University of Illinois Springfield is one of three campuses of the world-class University of Illinois. About 5,000 students enroll each year seeking a U of I degree but also the intimate learning environment of a private college. Located in the state capital, UIS has a special mission in public affairs and offers 11 degree programs that prepare students for careers in the public sector. Since its founding, UIS has produced thousands of leaders in government and non-profit organizations in Illinois.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Katherine Boo book discussion at UIS cancelled

Due to the author’s ill health, Katherine Boo’s book discussion previously scheduled for October 7, 2013 in Sangamon Auditorium has been cancelled. The appearance was part of the “One Book, One UIS” reading initiative.

The previously scheduled “One Book, One UIS” panel discussion will take place as planned. A panel of UIS faculty members will look at the issues raised in Behind the Beautiful Forevers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including women’s studies, communication, politics, and the global economy. The panel discussion will take place on Tuesday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium at UIS.

UIS Brookens Library hopes to reschedule an appearance by Katherine Boo sometime during the 2013-2014 academic year.

For more information, contact Jane Treadwell, University Librarian & Dean, Library Instructional Services, at 217/206-6597 or jtrea1@uis.edu.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

UIS enrollment increases; topping 5,100 students

Matches second-highest enrollment in school history

Fall 2013 enrollment at the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois is up by nearly 100 students compared to the previous fall semester. According to the official fall census, the total number of students enrolled at UIS after the first 10 days of classes is 5,137. This marks the fourth year enrollment has topped 5,000 students. Last fall’s enrollment was 5,048.

“Growth is a high priority for the UIS campus and we are very encouraged that more and more students are choosing the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois because of the high quality educational experience they receive,” said Chancellor Susan J. Koch.

Overall, the number of freshmen students attending UIS jumped by 20% this semester. That makes it the largest freshman class in UIS history.

The number of graduate students enrolled at UIS is also growing. There are 2,098 graduate students enrolled at UIS this semester, compared to 1,994 in fall 2012.

There are also more students living on the UIS campus this semester. A total of 1,047 students live on campus, which means campus housing is 94.4% occupied.

“One of our goals is to continue to enhance student life on campus and this is great evidence that we are doing that,” said Koch.

Overall, the diversity of the student body is also growing. International student enrollment increased to 7.4% (382) of the population compared to 4.8% (242) last year. African American students increased to nearly 12% (612) of the population this year compared to 11.5% (578) last year and students who self-identify as Hispanic comprise 4.8% (247) of this year’s student body.

Growth in online learning continues, with a total of 1,610 students enrolled in online degree or certificate programs, a 5.4% increase over fall 2012. This semester, online students reside in 48 of the 50 states, 79 counties in Illinois, and 12 foreign countries.

UIS is a premier public university that provides students with a high-quality liberal arts education, exceptional public affairs opportunities, and outstanding professional preparation programs.

UIS has four core strengths: (1) a teaching-focused academic experience; (2) an abundance of opportunities to collaborate; (3) a right-sized supportive community; and (4) a tradition of educating public servants and leaders.

For more information, contact Derek Schnapp, director of public relations at 217/206-6716 or dschn3@uis.edu.

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Thursday, September 05, 2013

UIS scientists awarded grant to study the impact of record Illinois River flooding

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon has been awarded a $148,210 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study the impact of record Illinois River flooding on The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon and Merwin restoration project sites in Fulton and Brown counties.

Prior to the April 2013, neither of the Conservancy’s sites had been flooded by the river since restoration activities began. The grant funding will allow scientists to study seasonal and long term changes possibly caused by the introduction of river water into the floodplain-river ecosystem.

“At Emiquon, the levee held but river water flowed into the site inoculating the area with nutrients and organisms,” said Michael Lemke, UIS biology professor and director of the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon. “At the Merwin site, the levee breached resulting in a sudden and sustained influx of river water.”

Scientists will be measuring changes to sediment, algal biomass, bacterial communities and zooplankton production. Longer-term impacts on vegetation, fish, and water birds will be determined by comparing post flood 2013 data to existing long-term data sets.

“Knowing the effect of these types of floods is critical where river ecosystems have been developed and where floodplains are now being restored because there are likely trade-offs between using restored floodplains to maintain native species and natural functions and using them to reduce threats to lives and property,” said Lemke.

The overall research effort will be led by Lemke along with UIS Associate Professor of Chemistry Keenan Dungey, who will coordinate the water quality analysis. Research will be done in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, the Illinois River Biological Station and Forbes Biological Station; both stations are Illinois Natural History Survey facilities.

“This marks the first time the three field stations have collaborated on a joint effort to study the Illinois River floodplain,” said Lemke. “This is an especially exciting aspect of this work.”

Restoration of the Conservancy’s 1200-acre Merwin Preserve and their 6600-acre Emiquon Preserve began in 1999 and 2007 respectively. Both properties are immediately adjacent to the Illinois River and are undergoing a transformation from farmland to its natural state – a large river floodplain. The projects represent two of the largest floodplain restoration projects in the Midwest. The UIS Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon was founded in 2008 in order to study, research, and document these unique, immense projects.

The National Science Foundation grant will support a Ph.D. candidate, two UIS graduate students, and three UIS undergraduate students studying river ecology.

Lessons learned from the research will be shared with public, government and private organizations through publications and field-based lectures/workshops for students and groups visiting Emiquon.

For more information, contact Michael Lemke at 217/206-7339 or mlemk1@uis.edu.

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UIS Illinois Innocence Project joins hearing in controversial "Shaken Baby Syndrome" case

On Monday, September 16, 2013 attorneys and experts will gather for a week-long evidentiary hearing in DuPage County that seeks a new trial for Pamela Jacobazzi. She is a day-care provider, who was convicted of violently shaking to death an infant in her care in 1994.

In November 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court remanded Jacobazzi’s post-conviction petition for an evidentiary hearing regarding a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. She maintains that her trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present a defense based on information contained in the pediatrician’s records. The records indicated pre-existing medical conditions that may have caused or contributed to the infant’s injuries.

The Appellate Court held that the trial court must have a hearing to determine if evidence existed which might have proven that the infant suffered from medical conditions which caused his death rather than the Shaken Baby Syndrome “(SBS)” diagnosis that was used to convict Jacobazzi. It has also been recognized that there is significant debate within the medical community about the SBS diagnosis.

Nationally recognized medical experts will testify during the hearing about the significance of the infant’s pre-existing conditions in establishing that the cause of the event in August 1994 was not SBS; and that the very diagnosis of SBS has been declared as unreliable. It will be argued that the infant’s conditions leading to his death were not the result of violent shaking, but instead caused by the effects of an undiagnosed pre-existing condition as described in the pediatrician’s records. This defense was available at the time of trial based on the pediatrician records and would have changed the outcome of the trial.

The UIS Illinois Innocence Project is assisting Chicago area attorney, Anthony Sassan, who has been representing Jacobazzi pro bono for over 10 years. The Project is currently reviewing over 30 cases with assistance from students at University of Illinois Springfield, the University of Illinois College of Law, Southern Illinois University School of Law, and Northern Illinois University College of Law.

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