Wednesday, August 16, 2017

UIS Cox Children’s Center earns national NAEYC accreditation for high-quality

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Cox Children’s Center has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world's largest organization working on behalf of young children. NAEYC accreditation is the mark of high-quality for programs.

Less than 10 percent of all child care centers, preschools, and kindergartens nationally achieve this recognition. NAEYC accreditation is a rigorous and transformative quality-improvement system that uses a set of 10 standards that are based on the latest research on the education and development of young children.

The Cox Children’s Center was established in 1970 and has held NAEYC accreditation since 2002. The center is a resource for university students, faculty, staff, alumni and community clients. The programs are designed to provide early childhood care and education for children 6 weeks to 12 years of age. The center also serves as a site for practicum experiences for university students seeking hands-on learning in the field of early childhood education.

“Maintaining our NAEYC accreditation status is imperative in our goal of providing model early care and education to children and families,” said Stacey Gilmore, director of the UIS Cox Children’s Center. “NAEYC accreditation helps staff develop a shared understanding and commitment to quality. It helps families recognize quality and be assured that children are receiving a high-quality, research-based education that will prepare them for future success.”

To earn NAEYC Accreditation, the UIS Cox Children’s Center went through an extensive self-study and quality-improvement process, followed by an on-site visit by NAEYC Assessors to verify and ensure that the program met each of the ten program standards, and hundreds of corresponding individual criteria. NAEYC-accredited programs are always prepared for unannounced quality-assurance visits during their accreditation term, which lasts for five years.

“Pursuing NAEYC accreditation is a rigorous process that we voluntarily engage in to meet the highest program standards for quality early learning,” said Gilmore. “I’m very proud of my team and the hard work they’ve put into achieving this goal.”

In the 30 years since NAEYC accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high-quality early childhood education. More than 7,000 programs are currently accredited by NAEYC.

For more information, contact Stacey Gilmore, director of the UIS Cox Children’s Center, at 217/206-6610 or shemb1@uis.edu.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

UIS professor offers advice on how to safely view the August 21 solar eclipse


A partial solar eclipse will take place in central Illinois on August 21, 2017. On that day, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow on the Earth that will travel west to east across the United States.

According to University of Illinois Springfield Associate Professor of Astronomy-Physics John Martin, areas of southern Illinois will experience a total eclipse with 100 percent of the sun covered by the moon, while the Springfield-area will see 96 percent coverage around 1:18 p.m.

“Where the moon shadow hits the Earth is where you see the eclipse,” said Martin. “You might notice with the shadow you have a darker and a lighter part of the shadow. The lighter part of the shadow, on the edges, is where the moon has just partially blocked out the sun. We here in central Illinois are going to be in that partially blocked out shadow. That’s not as dark as all of the way blocked out.”

Martin warns anyone viewing the eclipse that they should not look directly at the sun with the naked eye or with a telescope. He suggests using protective glasses made out of sheets of Mylar or a #14 welder’s glass. You can also make a pin-hole camera out of a box or even a notepad.

“Even with the sun 96 percent covered, it’s still very bright,” said Martin. “It’s still like staring into a welder’s arc just a few feet away from your face, so don’t look at the sun during the partial eclipse.”

Martin also urges those hoping to view the eclipse to check the weather forecast, as clouds can block your view of the event.

“If it’s cloudy on the 21st, it’s cloudy for the solar eclipse, we have another one coming up in 2024, in about seven years,” he said.

Martin has created a website with more information about the solar eclipse, which includes a map showing the amount of coverage in central Illinois.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

UIS faculty and students partner with Brazilian researchers to study river floodplain conservation

The University of Illinois Springfield has partnered with the Universidade Estadual de Maringá (UEM) to research the aquatic ecology of the Paraná River in Brazil and the Illinois River in the United States in order to better understand the effectiveness of conservation and restoration efforts.

A group of five UIS students and one faculty member spent three weeks in Brazil in June as part of a study abroad trip where they conducted field water sampling, traveled to university field stations and took boat tours of the floodplain. In July, a group of four Brazilian students and one faculty member came to the United States for three weeks to study the Illinois River floodplain. A large amount of the Illinois research was conducted at the UIS Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon near Lewistown.

In particular, researchers compared the water chemistry and zooplankton composition of the last protected stretch of the Paraná floodplain (230 km) to those of the restored areas of the Illinois River floodplain.

“Overall, we found that the nutrient concentrations (total nitrogen, total phosphorus, etc.) were much lower in the surface waters of the Paraná floodplain than those of the Illinois River. These differences are due to many factors, including the influence of hydroelectric dams upstream from the sampling sites in Brazil and the widespread use of fertilizers in the Illinois watershed,” said Keenan Dungey, UIS associate professor of chemistry and associate vice chancellor for research and institutional effectiveness.

There were 184 total zooplankton species identified among all the sites, some of whom were similar on both continents. The zooplankton community compositions were different, with those of Paraná having a greater species richness and those of Illinois having a greater abundance. Biogeography, climate, and availability of nutrients were different factors the students considered when comparing the zooplankton communities.

Results from the collaboration will be presented on each campus and at an international science conference. The information gathered will also become part of a new course, “BIO 334 ECCE: Conservation and Restoration of Large River Systems in North and South America”. This online, international, bilingual course will be co-taught by UIS Biology Professor Michael Lemke and UEM Professor Felipe Velho, vice director of the Center for Limnology this coming spring semester.

During the course, students from both countries will learn the science behind restoration and conservation and the cultural differences and similarities between Brazil and the U.S. that result in different approaches to the environment. The Paraná River and Illinois River systems will serve as case studies and students from both countries will work together on group projects.

“My objective in designing this course was to explore the cultural interpretation of conservation and the same for restoration ecology in a world where the terms become harder to interpret and there is more on the line (not only loss of resources, but re-definition of what resource is, and the influx of huge business interests) both for the loss of and the conservation of natural resources,” said Lemke.

While in Brazil, UIS students also had the chance to view Iguassu Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and got a technical tour of the Itaipu Dam, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world (in terms of consistent power output).

“Besides the amazing sites, the great science, and meeting wonderful people, the most significant aspect of the trip for me was to be able to see students from two continents that spoke different languages develop friendships with one another,” said Dungey.

This summer’s project grew out of a ten year research collaboration between Professor Lemke and UEM scientists. The program was partially funded by a $25,000 Innovation Fund grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation-sponsored competition, “100,000 Strong in the Americas”, which was administered by Partners for the Americas. The goal of this fund is to increase college student exchange between North and South America, for the purpose of furthering international understanding and student career development. UIS was one of only eight United States institutions to receive the award.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

UIS Survey Research Office releases 2017 Sangamon County Citizen Survey

The University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office has released the results of its 2017 Sangamon County Citizen Survey. Results were previewed at the Citizens Club of Springfield meeting on Friday, July 28. The survey — the third in a planned series of five — aims to establish benchmarks and evaluate changes in residents’ assessments of quality of life in Sangamon County. In addition to responses to recurring questions, the current survey solicits public opinion on topical issues affecting the county.

The current survey finds that majorities rate the county highly on many measures: 69% say it is an “excellent” or “good” place to live; 66% say it is an “excellent” or “good” place to raise children; and 59% say it is an “excellent” or “good” place to work. However, younger respondents and nonwhite respondents are less likely to say the county is a good place to live, raise children, work, and retire. Additionally, those outside of Springfield are more likely to say Sangamon County is an “excellent” or “good” place to raise children (83%) than Springfield residents (62%). The survey also finds that men (47%) are more likely than women (36%) to say that everyone in their community is treated equally and that those with household incomes of $100,000 or more (53%) are more likely to say everyone is treated equally than those earning $30,000 or less (37%).

Respondents are nearly unanimous when it comes to how they feel the budget impasse has impacted the county; almost nine in ten (88%) say the state budget impasse had a negative effect on the Sangamon County economy. Furthermore, about half (44%) say they have personally been affected by the state budget impasse. Among those affected are state employees who have not been reimbursed for medical payments and small business owners who depend on business with the state to survive.

Regarding the local economy, just 20% say they are financially “worse off” now compared to a year ago today while 24% say they are “better off” today. However, respondents are less optimistic about local business conditions – 46% say these are “worse off” now than compared to a year ago while just 4% say they are “better off.” Thirty-six percent say they have considered moving out of or away from the county in the past year which is the same percentage as the last time the survey was administered in 2015.

The survey is sponsored by the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, the United Way of Central Illinois, and the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS. The full report contains responses to all questions including open-ended questions. The results are from 746 respondents from across Sangamon County. The data are weighted by gender, race, age, and education to match estimates provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. The survey was administered via mail using address-based sampling. The margin of sampling error is +3.8% at the 95% confidence level, but this margin will increase when examining subgroups.

The report is available on the UIS Survey Research Office website at www.uis.edu/surveyresearchoffice. Questions about the survey may be directed to Matt Case, interim director of the UIS Survey Research Office, at 217/206-6293 or mwcase2@uis.edu.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"Hired!" social media campaign highlights recent graduates with jobs

A University of Illinois Springfield social media campaign is highlighting students who graduated with a job. The "Hired!" campaign was featured on the UIS Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages in the Summer of 2017.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Public comment about UIS sought as part of evaluation process

Members of the public are invited to submit comments regarding the quality of the University of Illinois Springfield and its academic programs as part of a comprehensive evaluation that UIS will undergo by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

A team representing the commission will visit the Springfield campus February 19-20, 2018, as part of the evaluation process. The team will review the institution’s ongoing ability to meet HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation.

The Higher Learning Commission is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region, which includes 19 states. UIS has been accredited by HLC since 1975.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the university to the following address:

Public Comment on University of Illinois Springfield
Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604-1411

The public may also submit comments on HLC’s website at www.hlcommission.org/comment.

Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs. Comments must be in writing. All comments must be received by January 18, 2018.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

UIS announces Spring Semester 2017 Dean’s List

The University of Illinois Springfield has released the Dean’s List for Spring Semester 2017.

A total of 548 students were selected; 75 are students in the College of Business and Management, 51 are students in the College of Education and Human Services, 347 are enrolled in programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 58 are enrolled in programs in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, and 17 are non-degree seeking or undecided.

In order to qualify for the Dean’s List, a student must be an undergraduate who took at least eight graded semester hours and maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.75 for the semester.

Below you'll find a printable list of student's names listed by the city of residence on file with UIS Records and Registration.

Spring 17 Dean's List PDF | Spring 17 Dean's List Excel

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

UIS Society for Human Resource Management student chapter wins national Superior Merit Award

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has awarded a 2016-2017 Superior Merit Award designation to the University of Illinois Springfield SHRM student chapter for providing superior growth and development opportunities to its student chapter members.

Of the 327 student chapters from across the United States, UIS was one of 149 winners.

The SHRM student chapter merit award program, which began in 1972, was created to encourage student chapters to require ongoing excellence in the following areas: student chapter requirements, chapter operations, chapter programming and professional development of members, support of the human resource profession and SHRM engagement.

“These chapters truly represent the future of the HR profession,” said Susan Post, SHRM-SCP, East Divisional Director at SHRM and the lead for SHRM’s Student Programs. “Their achievements go above and beyond their everyday academic and work commitments and we applaud the positive impact their efforts have on their schools, their local communities and beyond.”

Recently, the UIS SHRM Chapter opened its speaker series events to the entire UIS community, including both UIS students and faculty, in order to learn, discuss, and network with professionals in Human Resources. The chapter also coordinated tours of businesses and organizations in Springfield to help students better understand the field.

“Students who are interested in finding and preparing for their future career had the opportunity to see in person how people really work in an organization in term of human resource management perspective,” said UIS student Chapter President Adella Nguyen.

The UIS SHRM chapter has also been working to improve its communication among chapter members and with other UIS students through social media, forums and cell phone applications.

For more information on the UIS SHRM chapter, visit their website, UIS Connection or follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Questions may be directed to advisers Donna Rogers at droge1@uis.edu or Ashley Miller at Ashley.Miller@hshs.org.

About the Society for Human Resource Management 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 285,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

UIS welcomes the Class of 2021 during KickStart Orientation



The University of Illinois Springfield is welcoming hundreds of new students to campus during its summer KickStart Orientation events in June, July and August. A total of six different orientation sessions are planned.

The two-day overnight events helps students understand UIS requirements, meet their fellow classmates and learn their way around campus.

“Today students will be meeting with advisers, learning some of the basics about what their requirements would be for academic majors and minors and doing some pre-advising where they start to think about what courses they will take in the fall semester,” said Lisa McGuire, UIS director of new student orientation and parent relations.


Incoming first-year student Brielle Marten chose UIS because of the nursing program. She’s from Litchfield and will be about 45 minutes away from home.

“I’m really excited to just be able to kind of move onto that next chapter and have a little bit of a new start somewhere different,” said Marten.

Diana Vazquez, a first-generation college student from Round Lake Beach, chose UIS because she wants to study politics and law. She knew that the Springfield would be the perfect place.

“I’m just really excited to make friends and register for classes and just kind of get more of a feel of the campus,” said Vazquez.

McGuire says she hopes students and parents leave orientation with all of their questions answered and feel ready for the first day of class.

“They’ll leave with their schedule, so they’ll know what classes they’re taking and what that schedule will look like,” said McGuire. “We’re hoping people will take the time to meet with our financial assistance office and meet with their financial assistance counselor.”

Vazquez says she can’t wait to start classes and begin a new chapter in her life.

“Becoming my own person and becoming independent is something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” she said. “I guess college is somewhere where you can start to become your own person and figure out who you are and where you fit in the world.”

For more information on orientation, visit www.uis.edu/orientation/.

Monday, June 05, 2017

UIS Illinois Innocence Project client walks free after 22 years of wrongful imprisonment

Last week, William (Bill) Amor, a client of the Illinois Innocence Project (IIP) at the University of Illinois Springfield, walked free from the DuPage County Jail after 22 years of incarceration. His release came two months after a DuPage County judge overturned Amor’s 1997 arson murder conviction, finding that new arson-related scientific evidence was new evidence of actual innocence.

“It is undisputed by the experts in this case that fire science has evolved, and it has changed to such an extent that the original findings in this case are unreliable,” said Lauren Kaeseberg, legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project Chicago office, who represents Bill Amor. “In fact, the evidence points to an accidental fire – which is what we believe occurred here. Bill Amor did not murder anyone and the science finally supports that which he has claimed for 22 years – he is innocent.

“We are so happy that Bill is free,” said Kaeseberg. “He’s ready to move on with his life and hopefully soon he can close this chapter of injustice.”

Amor’s case is particularly important because it is believed to be the first of its kind in the state of Illinois in which a court has found that advancements in fire science constitute newly discovered evidence of actual innocence. In Judge Liam Brennan’s ruling vacating Amor’s conviction in April, he concluded:

“…there can be no question that the lynchpin of the State’s case at trial was the defendant’s confession, which the State and Defense experts today agree is scientifically impossible. Whatever the reasons for the Defendant’s scientifically impossible confession, the new evidence places the evidence presented at trial in a different light and undercuts this Court’s confidence in the factual correctness of the guilty verdict.”

Prosecutors have indicated they plan to retry the case and a September trial date has been set.

“Bill has already served almost his entire sentence and we remain hopeful that prosecutors will decide that it is the legal, ethical and financial interests of the State not to retry this case,” said Kaeseberg.

Bill Amor is represented by four attorneys: Lauren Kaeseberg, Illinois Innocence Project legal director, Chicago office; Erica Nichols Cook, formerly of the Illinois Innocence Project, now pro bono counsel for Amor and currently Director of the Wrongful Conviction Division for the Iowa State Public Defender; Tara Thompson, staff attorney, the Exoneration Project; and Kevin Caraher, of the law firm Cozen O’Connor and pro bono attorney for Amor.

On the evening of September 10, 1995, Amor and his wife left their Naperville apartment (which they shared with Bill’s mother-in-law, Marianne Miceli) to go to a drive-in movie. They were gone for several hours and when they returned, they found that a fire had broken out at the apartment and Miceli had died from smoke inhalation.

Amor would be convicted two years later, on September 17, 1997, of murder and aggravated arson for setting the fire that caused Miceli’s death. Amor was convicted based upon a “confession” (which has been proven false) and arson findings that are no longer scientifically reliable. What stands out in this case is that Amor’s “confession” was the basis for the fire investigators in 1995 to change their initial finding of an “undetermined” cause of fire to an arson. With the exception of giving a false confession in this case, Amor has maintained his innocence from day one. He was ultimately sentenced to 45 years in prison.

The statement attributed to Amor was given to police after he had been in jail two weeks, after 15 hours of questioning and immediately following Amor being served divorce papers at the station. The “confession” included details as to how Amor purportedly started the fire with vodka and a lit cigarette – which, at a December 2016 hearing, all experts, including the State’s own witness, testified is not possible.

“False confessions and faulty forensic science are two of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in this country,” said Tara Thompson, one of Amor’s attorneys. “We hope that the Amor case can set a new standard in this state for how old, unreliable evidence is to be viewed in light of modern advancements. We know of too many other innocent people in this state and around the country who are suffering from wrongful arson convictions.”

At the December hearing on Amor’s case, attorneys presented evidence that showed the original arson findings are no longer reliable when analyzed under modern fire science techniques. Nationally recognized arson experts testified about the new science that undercuts the conviction in this case, including: Doug Carpenter of Combustion Science & Engineering, Inc. in Columbia, Maryland, and John DeHaan of Fire-Ex Forensics in Vallejo, California. Further, ATF Senior Special Agent John Golder, called by the State at the hearing, conceded that the manner in which Amor’s confession claims the fire started is impossible and that Amor was not in the apartment when the fire started.

IIP’s work on Amor’s case was made possible by a federal grant to the University of Illinois Springfield for use by the Illinois Innocence Project.

Friday, June 02, 2017

UIS Economic Outlook Survey finds Sangamon County organizations concerned about state finances, less optimistic on health care

The Spring 2017 Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey, conducted by the University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office and The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, finds that local organizations continue to worry about state government finances.

The study examined the economic perceptions, expectations and evaluations of Sangamon County businesses as well as public and non-profit organizations.

Sixty-one percent of respondents, the highest percentage ever, cite state government finances as one of the top three concerns facing their organizations over the next twelve months. This figure is higher than the 56 percent of fall 2016 survey respondents who listed state government finances as one of the three biggest challenges facing their organization.

The survey also finds that respondents are less optimistic about health care now than they have been in the past. While the fall 2016 survey found that more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) expected to see an increase in the healthcare sector, this figure has dropped to slightly over half of respondents (55%) in the spring 2017 survey. This decline coincides with uncertainty in Washington over the future of health care.

In terms of the Sangamon County economy overall, the survey finds respondents more optimistic in terms of capital investment now than the fall 2016 survey (34% compared to 25% expect to see an increase). The survey also finds that strong majorities expect to see increases in interest rates (83%) and inflation (76%) over the next twelve months.

While most organizations report that their organizations recruit from outside the local area (61%) than exclusively locally (34%), those who do recruit from outside of central Illinois report challenges in recruiting and retaining those candidates. Nearly nine in ten (89%) that recruit from outside the local area say that attracting candidates from outside of central Illinois is either somewhat or very difficult and nearly as many (84%) say that retaining the candidates they do hire from outside of central Illinois is either somewhat or very difficult.

The Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey has been conducted biannually (March/April and September) since 2008. The full report contains results for questions asked since 2008. In addition, the spring 2017 report contains a topical section with questions pertaining to work readiness and job training. The results for the spring 2017 survey are from 282 local organizations that were contacted in March via email invitations using Qualtrics Research Suite, a platform for online surveys. The margin of sampling error for the study is +/- 5.6 percent.

The survey is sponsored by the UIS Chancellor’s Office, the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. For more information on the methodology and to read the full report, visit the UIS Survey Research Office website.

Questions about the survey may be directed to Matt Case, interim director of the UIS Survey Research Office, at 217/206-6293 or mwcase2@uis.edu.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

UIS releases complete list of 2017 graduates

A total of 1,836 students earned degrees from the University of Illinois Springfield at the conclusion of the spring semester on May 13, 2017, pending completion of university requirements.

Below you'll find a printable list of graduates' names and degrees listed by the city of residence on file with UIS Records and Registration at the time of graduation.

May 2017 Graduates in Excel | May 2017 Graduates PDF 

For photos, video and more from the 46th UIS Commencement Ceremony, visit www.uis.edu/commencement.

UIS Illinois Innocence Project honored with the Joe Slaw Civil Rights Award from the NAACP Decatur Branch

Illinois Innocence Project (IIP) exoneree Charles Palmer and his wife Deborah stand as IIP Executive Director John Hanlon accepts the Joe Slaw Civil Rights Award from the NAACP Decatur Branch. Photo by Dennis Rumme.
The Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield has been honored by the NAACP Decatur Branch with its prestigious Joe Slaw Civil Rights Award. The award was presented during the 77th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet and 4th Annual Game Changers Awards Ceremony at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel on May 27, 2017.

In November 2016, the Project was instrumental in the exoneration of Charles Palmer, a Decatur resident, who was wrongly convicted of a 1998 murder and imprisoned for 18 years for a crime he did not commit.

The Illinois Innocence Project successfully litigated DNA testing of an unknown person’s tissue, which was found under the victim’s fingernails, and another person’s hair in his hand. Both samples went untested prior to trial. Upon testing by the Illinois Innocence Project, both DNA samples were found not to match Palmer.

“The award has existed for more than 30 years, yet this is the first time we are bestowing it upon a group based outside of the Decatur community,” said Jeanelle Norman, NAACP Decatur Branch president. “The NAACP believes the service of the Illinois Innocence Project was of such magnitude that the Decatur community moved one giant step forward in criminal justice.”

Since its founding in 2001, the Illinois Innocence Project has helped to free 10 wrongly convicted individuals.

“All of us at IIP and UIS are extremely grateful to receive this prestigious award from an organization as critically important to communities and our country as the NAACP in Decatur,” said John J. Hanlon, executive director of the Illinois Innocence Project. “We are proud of our work and of the result in Charles Palmer’s case, and equally proud to be the first recipient of this award from outside Decatur.”

“We find strength in organizations, such as the NAACP, whose work has a common purpose with ours – the fight for justice, often against difficult odds,” added Hanlon. “We thank the NAACP in Decatur for this award and pledge to continue that fight.”

The Illinois Innocence Project is dedicated to releasing innocent men and women imprisoned in Illinois for crimes they did not commit. They research and investigate claims of innocence and provide legal representation and other assistance to prove credible claims of actual innocence.  

The Project reviews more than 300 requests for help from Illinois inmates each year. Undergraduate students at the University of Illinois Springfield and law students from the state’s three public law schools work with IIP attorneys to review, evaluate and, where strong evidence of actual innocence exists, investigate and legally pursue claims of innocence.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

UIS graduates a record number of students during the 46th annual commencement

The University of Illinois Springfield held two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 13, 2017, at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in downtown Springfield. A record 1,270 students took part in the ceremonies, making it the largest commencement in the university’s history.

UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch presided over the ceremonies, welcoming thousands of guests. She reminded graduates about the importance of earning a college degree.

“Graduates, this is your day and you are participating in an important rite of passage that universities have honored for centuries,” said Koch. “All that you have strived for culminates today with this milestone.”

Koch also congratulated first generation college graduates and thanked family and friends for supporting their students and encouraging them to succeed.

“Whatever your path has been to this day, you should be very proud of your accomplishment. I am proud of you,” said Koch.


During the second ceremony, Koch was joined on stage by University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen who spoke to the students about being engaged citizens who stand up for inclusion, diversity and the first amendment.

“Think every issue through and search for the truth,” said Killeen. “Evaluate, analyze and then speak up, speak out and lead with the integrity that your time here has instilled.”

Also during the second ceremony, Edgar J. Curtis, president and chief executive officer of Memorial Health System, was honored with an honorary doctor of humane letters. Curtis was nominated by the UIS Department of Allied Health for his outstanding and innovative leadership in health care administration as well as his sustained and exceptional community service.

“As a lifelong citizen of the community of Springfield, I have seen firsthand the growth and development of this incredible academic institution, the University of Illinois Springfield, and the significant contributions that your graduates of the past have made to our community, our region and beyond,” Curtis told the audience.

He added that the University of Illinois “has been the training ground for thousands of capable, committed, and compassionate individuals, many of whom went on to pursue their careers with Memorial Health System.”

“As the President and Chief Executive Officer of Memorial, I can tell you that we are a stronger, more educated, and community focused organization because of the high caliber of graduates that matriculated from the University of Illinois System and became a part of the Memorial team,” he said.

Curtis has led Memorial Health System and its seven affiliates since January of 2008, providing senior-level administrative leadership for the overall strategic direction of the health system. He serves on numerous community and healthcare boards and is currently chair of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association Board.

The student commencement address was delivered by Alexander William Camp who graduated with a master’s degree in public affairs reporting. Camp told the audience about the wonderful faculty members he’s had at UIS, the friends he has made on campus and about the obstacles he has overcome to earn his degree.

“If anything this four-year (or longer) odyssey should teach us, we are battle tested not to survive, but to master the moments that lie ahead, for we are the living embodiment of what this school prides itself on, Leadership lived,” said Camp.

Camp congratulated his fellow graduates for earning their degrees, reflecting on all of the all-nighters before exam day and other hard work that went into earning a degree.

“It’s that kind of commitment that has not been in vain as it has led us to this moment in time, bringing us all together and for that, you will always have my undoubted admiration. We did it,” he said.

University of Illinois Board of Trustee member Edward McMillian, UIS Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost James Ermatinger and UIS Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Clarice Ford also spoke at the ceremony.

Photos and more video are available at the commencement website: www.uis.edu/commencement/.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

UIS to hold two commencement ceremonies in downtown Springfield on May 13

The University of Illinois Springfield will hold two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 13, 2017, at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, Ninth and Adams Streets in downtown Springfield. Of the 1,836 UIS students eligible to graduate, 1,270 will participate in the ceremony.

The first ceremony for students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will begin at 12:30 p.m. The second ceremony for students in the College of Business and Management, College of Education and Human Services and College of Public Affairs and Administration will start at 5:30 p.m.

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 will open an hour before each ceremony. Overflow seating will be provided in the lower level of The Center.

Memorial CEO Edgar J. Curtis to receive honorary degree 

During the second ceremony at 5:30 p.m., Edgar J. Curtis, president and chief executive officer of Memorial Health System, will be honored with an honorary doctor of humane letters. Curtis was nominated by the UIS Department of Allied Health for his outstanding and innovative leadership in health care administration as well as his sustained and exceptional community service.

“Mr. Curtis’ strategic direction has made the Memorial Health System of central Illinois a premium healthcare destination,” the award states. “Mr. Curtis’ outstanding and innovative leadership at both MHS and in the civic arena has raised the quality of life for the Springfield area and surrounding regions.”

Curtis has led Memorial Health System and its seven affiliates since January of 2008, providing senior-level administrative leadership for the overall strategic direction of the health system. Under his leadership, the health system’s annual revenue has grown from $500 million to $1 billion.

In 2014, Memorial contributed $2 million and entered into a partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield and the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing to bring UIC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to the UIS campus. In 2016, Memorial Medical Center was the only hospital in the nation, and the first in Illinois, to receive the American Hospital Association Quest for Quality award. Also in 2016, Memorial Medical Center received two of four Illinois Health and Hospital Association Quality Excellence Achievement Awards.

Curtis serves on numerous healthcare boards and is currently chair of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association Board. He has served Springfield in leadership roles with several community organizations, including the Springfield Urban League, United Way of Central Illinois and Central Illinois Foodbank.

Curtis received his masters of business administration degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his bachelors of science degree in nursing from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He began his career as a registered nurse.

Faculty & student marshals announced 

Kristi Barnwell, assistant professor of history, has been chosen to serve as grand marshal. The student speaker will be Alexander William Camp, who will graduate with a master’s degree in public affairs reporting.

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: Deborah A. Stratton – B.A. (Peoria), Diane Marie Boyle – B.A., Binqian Shi – M.A. 

Biology: Jack Henry Zinnen – B.S., Jessica Michelle Souther – M.S.  

Biochemistry: Jarrett Matthew Lindsay – B.S.  

Business Administration: Shane Michael Clarke – B.B.A. (Peoria), Wei Jin – B.B.A., Damon Eugene McFall – M.B.A., Emery P. Halverson – M.B.A. (Peoria)  

Chemistry: Carolyn D. Mazzuca – B.S.  

Clinical Laboratory Science: Lindsay Rajeanne Stevens – B.S.

Communication: Laura Elise Troxel – B.A., Allyssa J. Brown – M.A.

Computer Science: Alex C. Ginglen – B.S., Janasha Prabhu – M.S.

Criminology and Criminal Justice: Kinsey Storm Weikel – B.A.

Economics: Jocelyn A. Matsen – B.A.

Education: Kari Lynn Caldwell – M.A.

Educational Leadership: Christian Devon Mahone – M.A.

Elementary Education: Makinzie J. Yoho – B.A.

English: Alaina A. Beaird – B.A., Courtney E. Cox – M.A.

Environmental Sciences: Timothy John Mayer – M.S.

Environmental Studies: Lindsay Ann Frisk – B.A., Sydney Renee Rubenstein – M.A.

Global Studies: Alexandra Nicole Madden – B.A.

History: Kendra D. Baber – B.A., Kathryn M. Suits – M.A.

Human Development Counseling: Alexa B. Kaufmann – M.A.

Human Services: Kelly Ann Herd – M.A.

Information Systems Security: Romillo K. Holloway – B.S.

Legal Studies: Kaitlyn Aurora Murphy – B.A., Chevaughn Latoya Starling – M.A.

Liberal and Integrative Studies: Pamela Jean Reed – M.A.

Liberal Studies: Alisha Marie Funkhouser-Walker – B.A.

Management Information Systems: Dale Gene Daily – B.S., Tara Stacy Sadler – M.S.

Mathematical Sciences: Amanda Jean Gosbeth – B.A.

Political Science: John C. Coultas – B.A., Dustin Baragiola – M.A.

Psychology: Sara L. Stutzman – B.A.

Public Administration: Terri Renae Miller – M.P.A.

Public Affairs Reporting: Haley M. Bemiller – M.A.

Public Health: Veenu Khubnani – M.P.H.

Social Work: Sean N. Blackwell – B.S.W.

Sociology/Anthropology: Rona A. Taylor – B.A.

Visual Arts: Grace Katalinich – B.A.

A number of events are planned for graduates, their families and guests, including a reception for Peoria-area students on Friday, April 28. Separate brunches for CAP Honors graduates and online degree graduates are scheduled for the morning of Saturday, May 13.

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

The ceremonies will be webcast live at www.uis.edu/technology/uislive/. DVD copies of the ceremonies can be purchased from the Office of Electronic Media for $25. Orders can be placed by phone at 217/206-6799 or at http://go.uis.edu/CommencementDVD.

For more information, go to the UIS Commencement website at www.uis.edu/commencement/.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

UIS Child Advocacy Studies certificate program wins approval from national training center

The Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) certification program at the University of Illinois Springfield has been named one of only three Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center approved programs in the United States.

The UIS CAST certification program was started in the spring semester of 2015 and utilizes a Residential Simulation Lab and the mock courtroom on campus to teach students how to better protect at-risk children and families.

“Many of our graduates pursue careers in professions where they are statutorily required to report child maltreatment,” said Betsy Goulet, a UIS clinical assistant professor and CAST coordinator. “The Child Advocacy Studies curriculum was developed to insure that our students begin their careers prepared to identify, report and respond to allegations of child maltreatment.”

The Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, located at Winona State University in Minnesota, first developed the CAST curriculum in 2004 as a collaborative approach to training and educating the next generation child welfare practitioners.

“The University of Illinois Springfield has quickly established itself as a pioneer in educating future child protection professionals,” said Victor Vieth, founder and senior director of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center. “Equally impressive, the university is taking a leadership role in implementing similar reforms around the nation, even the world. It is increasingly clear that the future of child protection runs through the University of Illinois Springfield.”

In order to achieve Gundersen’s approval, the UIS CAST certification program had to complete a site visit, show that faculty had completed Gundersen’s training program and that course content closely models the original training program.

There are currently 92 students enrolled in the CAST program at UIS for the spring semester of 2017. The certification consists of three elective courses offered most semesters online and on ground. Students who complete the program are eligible for a certification from the National Child Protection Training Center.

“The demand for this training has been so high that we are working with the Psychology Department to develop a Child Advocacy Studies minor,” said Goulet.

The Residential Simulation Lab and the mock courtroom on campus are also utilized to train Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigators and other first responders. The Child Protection Training Academy has already trained nearly 200 DCFS investigators.

Founded in 2003, the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center has been recognized as a national leader in child abuse prevention education. Besides UIS, other Gunderson approved training facilities are located at the University of South Carolina Upstate and Pennsylvania State University.

For more information on the CAST certificate program, contact Betsy Goulet at 217/206-8523 or bgoul2@uis.edu.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

UIS Illinois Innocence Project client granted new trial in DuPage County arson murder case

Today a DuPage County judge vacated the 1997 conviction of William (Bill) Amor, a client of the Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield, and ordered a new trial in the arson murder case. The victory comes after a week-long post-conviction hearing was held the week of December 12, 2016, in DuPage County, where attorneys presented new arson-related scientific evidence in the 1995 Naperville arson case.

The Amor case is believed to be the first of its kind in the state of Illinois regarding changes in fire investigation.

Bill Amor was represented by four attorneys: Lauren Kaeseberg, Illinois Innocence Project legal director, Chicago office; Erica Nichols Cook, formerly of the Illinois Innocence Project, now pro bono counsel for Amor and currently Director of the Wrongful Conviction Division for the Iowa State Public Defender; Tara Thompson, staff attorney, the Exoneration Project; and Kevin Caraher, of the law firm Cozen O’Connor and pro bono attorney for Amor.

On the evening of September 10, 1995, Amor and his wife left their Naperville apartment (which they shared with Bill’s mother-in-law, Marianne Miceli) to go to a drive-in movie. They were gone for several hours and when they returned, they found that a fire had broken out at the apartment and Miceli had died from smoke inhalation.

Amor would be convicted two years later, on September 17, 1997, of murder and aggravated arson for setting the fire that caused Miceli’s death. Amor was convicted based upon a confession (which has been proven false) and arson findings that are no longer scientifically reliable. What stands out in this case is that Amor’s confession was the basis for the fire investigators in 1995 to change their initial finding of an “undetermined” cause of fire to an arson. With the exception of giving a false confession in this case, Amor has maintained his innocence from day one. He was ultimately sentenced to 45 years in prison.

The alleged false confession in this case was given to police after two weeks in jail after 15 hours of questioning and immediately following Amor being served divorce papers at the station. The confession included details as to how Amor purportedly started the fire with vodka and a lit cigarette – which, at the December hearing, all experts, including the State’s own witness, testified is not possible.  

“It is undisputed by the experts in this case that fire science has evolved, and it has changed to such an extent that the original findings in this case are unreliable,” said Lauren Kaeseberg, legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project Chicago office, who represents Bill Amor. “In fact, the evidence points to an accidental fire – which is what we believe occurred here. Bill Amor did not murder anyone and the science finally supports that which he has claimed for 22 years – he is innocent.”

At the December 2016 hearing, evidence was presented that showed the original arson findings are no longer reliable when analyzed under modern fire science techniques. Nationally recognized arson experts testified about the new science that undercuts the conviction in this case, including: Doug Carpenter, of Combustion Science & Engineering, Inc. in Columbia, Maryland, and John DeHaan of Fire-Ex Forensics in Vallejo, California. Further, ATF Senior Special Agent John Golder, called by the State at the hearing, conceded that the manner in which Amor’s confession claims the fire started is impossible and that Amor was not in the apartment when the fire started.

“Today this Court followed the law and finally gave Bill a chance at the justice he has been seeking for so long," said Erica Nichols Cook, who also represents Amor as pro bono “of counsel” for the Illinois Innocence Project, and is currently Director of the Wrongful Conviction Division for the Iowa State Public Defender. “We are confident that a jury hearing all of this new evidence would acquit Bill, and we look forward to the State’s Attorney’s Office considering today's ruling and allowing Bill to go home.”

“False confessions and faulty forensic science are two of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in this country,” said Tara Thompson, staff attorney at the Exoneration Project, who also represents Amor. “We hope that the Amor case can set a new standard in this state for how old, unreliable evidence is to be viewed in light of modern advancements. We know of too many other innocent people in this state and around the country who are suffering from wrongful arson convictions.”

The Illinois Innocence Project will honor Amor co-counsel Kevin Caraher of Cozen O’Connor for his and his firm’s exceptional pro bono representation of Amor at the Project’s annual Defenders of the Innocent award dinner in Springfield on April 29, 2017, at the Crowne Plaza Springfield.

A hearing to determine whether Amor will be released, retired or his case appealed by the prosecution will be held on April 13 in DuPage County court.

Clarice Ford selected as the vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Illinois Springfield

Clarice Ford has been named the vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Illinois Springfield, pending formal University of Illinois Board of Trustees approval. Ford has been serving as interim vice chancellor for student affairs since 2014.

Since joining UIS in 2008, she has served as executive director of the UIS Diversity Center, associate dean of students and associate vice chancellor of student services. Ford brings more than 20 years of professional experience in student affairs as well as notable record of public service to UIS.

The UIS Student Affairs Division is comprised of many units that are critical to student recruitment and success, including admissions, records & registration and financial assistance. Ford leads with a forward-thinking, student first philosophy to enhance the co-curricular experience and promote student success.

“Ford received strong support from the Vice Chancellor Student Affairs Search Committee whose members were appreciative of her considerable expertise working in student affairs and her sincere commitment to improving and enhancing student life and opportunities,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch.

Ford earned her doctorate in educational leadership and change from the Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, California. She holds a master’s degree in religious education and theology from Lincoln Christian Seminary and a master’s degree in adult education/multi-cultural education from Antioch University. She also received her bachelor’s degree in human services from Antioch University.

Ford’s broad experiences are complemented by leadership positions in various professional associations and community service.

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

Monday, April 03, 2017

Robert Smith named the new dean of the UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration

Robert Smith, professor of political science and public affairs at Savannah State University, has been named the new dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Illinois Springfield. He will start on July 16, 2017, pending formal University of Illinois Board of Trustees approval.

“I am thrilled to be joining the faculty, staff and students of the College of Public Affairs and Administration at UIS,” said Smith. “I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to provide leadership for one of the outstanding Colleges at UIS. I look forward to working with the UIS Administration to position the College for growth and excellence in the years ahead. Most important, I am enthusiastic about working closely with all of the faculty, staff and students to enhance and strengthen the profile and reputation and significance of the College beginning on day one.”

“Robert brings a wealth of administrative experience and a passion for helping faculty and students attain their educational goals,” said James Ermatinger, UIS interim vice chancellor for academic affairs & provost.

Smith has served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Savannah State University, chair of the Department of Political Science and International Affairs at Kennesaw State University and program director for the Masters of Public Administration (MPA) Program at Clemson University where he taught for 11 years.

Prior to his academic career, Smith served as a senior budget official in the Executive Department of the New York State Division of the Budget working under Governors Mario Cuomo and George Pataki. Before that, Smith served as regional director for Upstate and Central New York for United States Senator and former United Nations Ambassador Daniel Moynihan.

Smith holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in public administration (MPA) from the University at Albany, part of the State University of New York System (SUNY), and a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York.

Smith’s research interests and published academic works focus on public budgeting and financial management, government ethics, citizen participation and organization design and theory.

Smith will replace Hanfu Mi, who has been serving as interim dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dennis Papini named UIS provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs

Photo Courtesy: South Dakota State University.

Dennis Papini has been selected 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 institution.

Papini has served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at South Dakota State University (SDSU) since 2012 where he oversees 15 academic departments. In that role, he helped the university create a new strategic plan and added four new degree programs. He helped raise funds for four capital construction projects totaling $86 million and launched an Underrepresented Dissertation Fellows Program to bring minority faculty to teach at SDSU.

“Dr. Papini received strong support from the Provost search committee, whose members were appreciative of the depth and breadth of his experience as it relates to the Provost position as well as his strong listening skills, budgeting background, and results-oriented planning experience,” said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch.

A native of Orion, Illinois, Papini holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in life-span developmental psychology from West Virginia University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Illinois University in Macomb.

“I look forward to working with Chancellor Koch and faculty colleagues at UIS as we continue efforts to provide our students with rigorous and appropriately challenging academic experiences both in and out of the classroom,” said Papini. “Characterized by a commitment to Leadership Lived, UIS is uniquely located to couple classroom teaching and learning with opportunities to apply these knowledge, skills, and competencies within the broader community and region.”

Prior to his appointment at SDSU, Papini was a professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). While at MTSU, Papini directed 43 faculty and more than 1,000 undergraduate student majors and 200 graduate students pursuing degrees in six graduate programs.

Papini started his career teaching psychology at Southeast Missouri State University from 1983-1986, followed by the University of Arkansas from 1987-1990. He taught at Western Illinois University as a professor of psychology from 1990-2004.

“As an Illinois native and beneficiary of Illinois public higher education, I am delighted to return to my home state and to serve those who aspire to improve the quality of their lives through the many opportunities made possible by institutions that are based on both affordability, accessibility, and inclusion,” said Papini.

Papini is an accomplished scholar who specializes in adolescent development, research methodology and statistics and family relations. He has received more than 20 awards, multiple research grants, and has had his research published numerous times. He has presented his research at national and international conferences, served as a professional reviewer for journal articles and was on the editorial board of the Journal of Early Adolescence (1995-2016).

He has also been active on his campuses, advising student organizations and serving as a board member for community organizations.

“I’m grateful to all the members of the search committee for their dedicated service to bring this search to a successful conclusion,” said Chancellor Koch. “Special thanks to Dr. Jorge Villegas, associate professor and chair of business administration, and Dr. Jeff Lorber, vice chancellor for advancement, who co-chaired the search committee and to Pat Sanchez, executive assistant to the chancellor, who provided outstanding support and coordination throughout the search process.”

Papini replaces Lynn Pardie who retired as UIS provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs in May 2016 after four years on the job. He will start on July 1, 2017, pending formal University of Illinois Board of Trustees approval.

The University of Illinois Springfield serves approximately 5,500 students in 52 undergraduate and graduate programs in four colleges, with 220 full-time faculty, 514 full-time staff and an annual operating budget of $88.8 million.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch honored for her leadership during challenging budget times in Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan J. Koch was honored with the 11th Hour Award for Leadership by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) on March 23 for her efforts to support students, faculty and staff during challenging budget times in Illinois.

The award is given to an individual, team or unit in recognition of exemplary character, ethics, and decisive action in times of dire circumstances or emergencies.

“This award represents outstanding teamwork by our faculty and staff during challenging budget times,” said Chancellor Koch. “I am honored to accept the award on behalf of all of the people who are helping UIS to succeed.”

The award was presented during UPCEA’s annual conference in Chicago. Koch was nominated for the award by Vickie Cook, director of the UIS Center for Online Learning, Research and Service.

“Chancellor Koch has led efforts to grow enrollments, fight for budget dollars, and support students by providing MAP (Monetary Assistance Program) grant dollars promised to students by the state of Illinois,” said Cook.


In fiscal year 2016, UIS along with all of the other state universities in Illinois were dealt a nearly 70% cut in state funding; again this fiscal year, the university’s state appropriation has been cut by approximately 50%.

“Massive budget cuts have dealt near-death blows to many state sister institutions, yet UIS’s enrollments were only three short of the record for the university, and programs at UIS continue to thrive under Chancellor Koch’s exemplary leadership,” said Robert Hansen, Ph.D., chief executive officer of UPCEA.

In order to grow and maintain enrollment, Chancellor Koch has supported initiatives for a transfer and international student marketing campaign targeting online students. Online students make up about one third of the total UIS enrollment.

“Chancellor Koch is a tremendous student advocate and in the face of the unknown on the Illinois state budget talks, she continues to show perseverance and willingness to encourage innovation at the University of Illinois Springfield,” said Cook.

UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves more than 400 institutions, including most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. For 100 years, the association has served its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA also builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues.

For more information, contact Blake Wood, UIS assistant director of public relations, at 217/206-6716 or bwood8@uis.edu.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

UIS partners with local art community to offer summer residency and exhibition

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is partnering with the Springfield Art Association and Enos Park Residency for Visual Artists to offer a funded residency and art exhibition for the summer of 2017.

The four to eight week residency is open to new artists, those mid-career and established contemporary artists, who work in all types of media.

Allison Lacher, manager of the UIS Visual Arts Gallery, said the community partnership between the Springfield Art Association, Enos Park and UIS could have a rippling effect on the local community.

“The Springfield Art Association has a vision to grow a true artists community and hopefully in the process, contribute to the redevelopment of the Enos Park neighborhood. The idea is that the program will draw artists to Springfield, and ideally, over time, some of them will stay,” said Lacher.

The Enos Park Residency for Visual Artists will provide studio facilities as well as living quarters. There will be a $1,000 stipend for expenses. The residency will culminate with an exhibition at the UIS Visual Arts Gallery, opening June 30 and running through July 28.

Applications for the residency and art exhibition are due by April 7 and need to include a detailed proposal, dates, artist statement, work samples, image list, resume and references. Artists from across the country are encouraged to apply by emailing info@enosparkresidency.org.

For more information, contact Allison Lacher, UIS Visual Arts Gallery manager, at 217/206-6506 or alach3@uis.edu.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

UIS students spend Alternative Spring Break volunteering on the Florida Gulf Coast

A group of students from the University of Illinois Springfield are spending their spring break helping with outdoor eco-restoration projects along the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast.

A total of 25 students and 2 staff members left Springfield on Sunday, March 12, and will return to campus on Saturday, March 18, as part of the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip.

The group is partnering with Community Collaborations International (CCI). Some of the tasks they are doing include shoreline restoration, native plant propagation, sea grass restoration, wild-life habitat improvement, dune restoration, storm water treatment, public land restoration and invasive species removal. Students are also volunteering with children from the Boys and Girls Club. The group is staying at the CCI campgrounds near DuFuniak Springs.

"ASB decided to go to the Florida Gulf Coast this year because there was a large interest from students in doing eco-restoration projects and volunteering outdoors, making Florida a great choice,” said Hailey Hawkins, student president of UIS Alternative Spring Break. “We are excited to be working with CCI once again and be able to have a positive impact on the environment in a new community."

UIS Alternative Spring Break previously worked with CCI to help prevent coastal erosion in Mississippi in 2015.

“Having lived in the Gulf Coast region prior to returning to Illinois, I know about the need for this type of work and I know that our efforts will mean a lot to the people that live there” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center.

The UIS Alternative Spring Break student organization was formed in 2009 when students took their first trip to Louisiana to help build homes for Habitat for Humanity following Hurricane Katrina. In following years, students have helped clean up damage from Hurricane Ike in Texas, cleaned up portions of the Mississippi river in Tennessee, helped rebuild homes damaged by hurricanes in New Orleans, helped with revitalization efforts in the Florida Everglades and worked with the homeless at soup kitchens in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

For more information on Alternative Spring Break, contact Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center at mdoch2@uis.edu.

Monday, February 13, 2017

UIS researchers combine science and art to capture images of some of the world’s smallest organisms

Researchers at the University of Illinois Springfield are using a new method of digital photography to help us view microorganisms on a larger scale.

The technique, called focus stacking, uses computer software to combine multiple photographs taken at different focus distances. The result is a single picture with greater sharpness or depth of field throughout the image.

The microbial images were captured using high resolution Olympus microscope cameras and focus stacked with the Zerene Focus software program.

“The science-art aspect is simply excellent,” said UIS Biology Professor Michael Lemke. “We hoped to create an experience that would stimulate your imagination.”

Lemke joined forces with Mike Miller, UIS associate professor of art, and his brother Tom Lemke, a photographer, to help produce the images. A number of UIS undergraduate students including Jack Zinnen, Christina Hanula and Alex Cross also assisted with the project.

So far, the team has photographed a number of insects, flowers, algae and zooplankton. However, they hope to use the technique to capture images of even smaller objects in the future.

“The world of protozoa, which range in size from 10 to 500 micrometers, are my next challenge,” said Lemke. “It is a question of getting the light intensity, lighting angle, the absolute non-movement of the specimen all to come together.”

In December 2016, the team was asked to present their scientific artwork at the Saint Louis Science Center with the help of Keith Miller, a UIS emeritus professor and current professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

During the exhibition, they showed off high resolution “flat” printouts of the images they captured and 3D models of the focus stacked images. Visitors also got the chance to use a microscope to capture their own images, which they could print and take home.

“Seeing how the public responded at the Science Center helps me as a scientist to observe more closely and think more deeply about what is an image,” said Lemke.

Lemke also plans to use the images in the classroom to help his students better understand microorganisms. He believes the images will help enhance the student’s learning experience.

“It helps me as teacher to better communicate through image (i.e., effective nonverbal teaching),” he said. “I wish to combine the two aspects (showing the public and teaching through images) in a magazine article, which I hope to produce during my sabbatical.”

The focus stacking project was made possible by a 2001 National Science Foundation Grant, funds from the UIS Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon and a grant from the UIS College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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

UIS announces Fall Semester 2016 Dean's List

The University of Illinois Springfield has released the Dean’s List for Fall Semester 2016.

A total of 580 students were selected; 85 are students in the College of Business and Management, 39 are students in the College of Education and Human Services, 384 are enrolled in programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 54 are enrolled in programs in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, and 18 are non-degree seeking or undecided.

In order to qualify for the Dean’s List, a student must be an undergraduate who took at least eight graded semester hours and maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.75 for the semester.

Below you'll find a printable list of student's names listed by the city of residence on file with UIS Records and Registration.

Fall 2016 Dean's List PDF

Thursday, February 09, 2017

UIS College of Business and Management earns prestigious AACSB reaccreditation

The College of Business and Management at the University of Illinois Springfield has been reaccredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).

“We are honored to receive AACSB reaccreditation, considered the gold standard for colleges of business around the world,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. “This award reaffirms the high-quality and teaching-focused academic experience UIS students are receiving from exceptional College of Business and Management faculty.”

AACSB accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Less than 5 percent of the more than 16,000 schools worldwide granting business degrees have earned AACSB accreditation. AACSB-accredited schools produce graduates who are highly skilled and more desirable to employers than other non-accredited schools.

“Employers are increasingly seeking graduates from AACSB accredited business schools knowing that students’ education has developed competencies that will support a competitive edge in today’s complex global markets,” said Ron McNeil, dean of the UIS College of Business and Management.

The accreditation assures student and employers that the UIS College of Business and Management delivers relevant and high quality classes and programs; employs first rate teachers, and faculty who are engaged in their discipline and relevant research.

Reaffirmation of AACSB International accreditation occurs every five years. The UIS College of Business and Management was first accredited by AACSB International in 2007 and the last reaccreditation took place in 2012. AACSB is known for advancing quality management education worldwide.

The UIS College of Business and Management offers undergraduate programs in accountancy, business administration, economics and management information systems. Graduate degrees offered include accountancy, management information systems and the MBA. Fully online undergraduate degree completion programs are offered in business administration and management information systems.

For more on the AACSB International accreditation, visit the accreditation section of the AACSB International website at www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

UIS in-state freshmen tuition rate frozen for third straight year

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday approved tuition rates for next fall with no increase in base tuition for in-state freshmen, extending a tuition freeze at its three universities to a third straight year.

The freeze is the longest since tuition rates held steady for four years in the mid-1970s – from 1974-77 – and was approved despite a budget impasse that has significantly reduced state funding for the U of I System for the last two years.

President Tim Killeen said the extended tuition freeze reflects a commitment to access and affordability that has helped increase System-wide enrollment to record highs for the last two years, topping 81,000 students last fall.

“Our affordability efforts serve both students and the public good – providing the high-quality education that transforms students’ lives and collectively supplying the next-generation workforce that is essential to drive progress for our state and nation,” Killeen said.

Base tuition for in-state undergraduates next fall will match rates for the 2014-15 academic year at $9,405 in Springfield. Out-of-state and international tuition rates will stay at current levels in Springfield, with a $20 per credit hour increase in administration fees for online programs.

Tuition rates for incoming students will remain unchanged for four years under the state’s guaranteed tuition law, launched in 2004 to help students and families plan for the cost of a public university education by fixing tuition rates for the four years required to complete most undergraduate degree programs.

The U of I System also has proposed holding the line on future tuition rates through a groundbreaking bill introduced in the Illinois legislature last November. The proposed U of I Investment, Performance, and Accountability Commitment (IPAC) would provide predictable state funding for university operations over the next five years in exchange for tangible performance goals that support Illinois students and serve the needs of the state. If approved, the measure would hold tuition increases to the rate of inflation or less for the five years of the agreement, while also providing high levels of student financial aid.

Over the last decade, the University has ramped up internal efforts to protect the most financially vulnerable students, increasing institutional financial aid more than fourfold to $84 million annually. Through state, federal, University and donor-provided financial aid, half of undergraduates pay less than full sticker price across the System’s three universities.

Undergraduate fees/Housing 

The board also approved mandatory student fees and room-and-board rates for the 2017-18 academic year.

Student fees exclude optional student health insurance rates, which are typically established in March. Fees approved Thursday help fund costs such as operating campus recreational facilities, student unions, career services, athletics, counseling centers and libraries, and also help with facility maintenance, renovations and utilities.

Mandatory fees in Springfield will increase 10.4 percent, or $210, to $2,226 annually, through an increase that will take effect in the spring 2018 semester to support student-approved fees for a new student union and environmental sustainability projects.

In Springfield, a standard housing and gold meal plan will increase 0.6 percent, or $60, to $10,810 per year.