Thursday, August 31, 2017

New downtown Springfield business discount program announced for UIS students

University of Illinois Springfield students can now take advantage of a new downtown Springfield discount program at stores and eateries. Deals vary, but many include a 10 percent discount or buy-one-get-one-free offers. All students need to do to take advantage of the discount is show their i-card at businesses displaying the Downtown Discounts decal.

The discount program was created by State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez’s Higher Education Student Advisory Committee, made up of students from UIS and Lincoln Land Community College, in partnership with downtown businesses.

“I am so proud of these young men and women on my Higher Education Advisory Committee. They have taken their role beyond discussing legislation to actively working for the betterment of our community. The discount program they have spearheaded will help get young adults involved downtown, and hopefully, develop a relationship that will make them want to stay here,” said Rep. Jimenez.

The Downtown Discounts program launches with 10 participating businesses, including Springfield Vintage, Custom Cup Coffee, Daisy Jane’s, the Hoogland Center for the Arts, Jade’s Far East Emporium, The Roost, Wild Rose, Studio 6, Z Bistro and Udder Hut, Jojo’s Street Cuisine and Recycled Records.

“This discount program is an example of students and local leaders working together to improve the community for everyone,” said Kaelan Smith, a UIS student and co-chair of the Higher Education Advisory Committee. “I hope this program inspires more students to become active partners with community members to enhance the quality of life in Springfield.”

In addition to the new Downtown Discounts program, UIS has had a longtime i-card perks discount program with many Springfield businesses.

Here are the new downtown discounts announced today:
  • Custom Cup Coffee - Free coupons for a cup of coffee
  • Daisy Jane’s - 10 percent discount
  • Hoogland Center for the Arts - $2 off tickets
  • Jade’s Far East Emporium - 10% discount
  • Jojo’s Street Cuisine - 10 percent discount
  • Recycled Records - Buy one get one free
  • Springfield Vintage - 10 percent discount
  • Studio 6 - Buy one get one free
  • The Roost - 10 percent discount
  • Wild Rose - Enter into a drawing with a purchase and a free magnet
  • Z Bistro and Udder Hut - 10 percent discount 

Monday, August 28, 2017

UIS Student Union construction about 85 percent complete

Construction on the University of Illinois Springfield’s new student union building is about 85 percent complete, according to Chuck Coderko, UIS associate chancellor for administrative affairs, facilities, & services. The facility is scheduled to open in January 2018.

The two-story, 50,000-square-foot student union will anchor the campus’s south quad, providing campus dining services, a Starbucks coffee shop, a ballroom with seating for up to 450 people and a Student Leadership Center that will house student government, volunteer offices and workspaces for student organizations.

For more information on the UIS Student Union, visit

Thursday, August 24, 2017

UIS welcomes thirteen new faculty members

Thirteen new faculty members have joined the University of Illinois Springfield for fall semester 2017. Seven will teach in programs within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, four in the College of Business and Management, one in the College of Education and Human Services and one in the College of Public Affairs and Administration.

Michael Davis, visiting instructor of computer science in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Illinois Springfield. His research interests include computer architecture and organization. Outside of work, he enjoys time with family and craft beer.

Jordan Hyde, instructor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds a Ph.D. in applied social psychology from Brigham Young University. His research interests include cultural psychology, race and cultural diversity, intergroup relations, diversity and philosophy of science. He is married and has one child. He enjoys television/movies, piano and singing.

Ahmad Juma’h, associate professor of accountancy in the College of Business and Management, holds a Ph.D. in accounting and finance from Manchester University. His research interests include outsourcing, offshoring, earning management, bankruptcy, manipulations, financial decisions and stock market reaction, materiality, performance measurements behavioral accounting and finance. When he is not teaching at UIS, he enjoys writing and reading, learning different cultures and traveling.

Youngjin Kang, lecturer in human services in the College of Education & Human Services, earned her Ph.D. in family science from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Her research interests include family processes, parent-child relationships, parent-child communications and co-parenting relationships in post-divorce families. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano, watching documentaries, cooking, walking and hiking.

Hasan Kartal, lecturer in management information systems in the College of Business and Management, is expected to earn his Ph.D. in information systems from the University Massachusetts Lowell in 2017. His research interests include data analytics and data privacy, primarily in health care, and supply chain management. When not teaching at UIS, he enjoys weekly swims and occasional mountain cycling.

Yuan Li, assistant professor of management information systems in the College of Business and Management, obtained a Ph.D. in management information systems from the University of South Carolina. His research interests include online privacy and security, knowledge management, computer-aided decision-making and business analytics. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling and cooking.

Stephanie Martinez, instructor of English & modern languages (Spanish/TESOL) in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, earned a master’s degree in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests include the psychological processes of second language learning as well as the role of culture in learning a language. Outside of work, she enjoys yoga, travel, cooking, history, architecture and design.

Maria Panteva, visiting assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds a Ph.D. in chemistry & chemical biology from Rutgers University. She is interested in physical chemistry, computational biophysics and studying the structure and dynamics of biologically relevant systems. She enjoys reading, traveling and cooking.

Edrisa Sanyang, visiting assistant professor of public health in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, earned a Ph.D. in occupational & environmental health from the University of Iowa. His research includes injury epidemiology, workplace violence, water and sanitation. Outside of work he enjoys biking.

Andrea Scarpino, visiting assistant professor of English & modern languages in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, earned a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University. She is interested in poetry, creative writing, the body and disability studies. Her personal interests include cooking, traveling and yoga.

Yih Sung, assistant professor of mathematical sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University. His research interests include complex analysis, complex geometry, theoretical physics and artificial intelligence. Personally, he enjoys reading, baking, cooking and Chinese calligraphy.

Mohammed Uddin, assistant professor of accountancy in the College of Business and Management, holds a Ph.D. in accounting from Aston University. His research interests include accounting, accountability and performance management in nonprofit/non-governmental organizations (NGOs). He also enjoys networking with professionals and playing football.

Jennifer Whalen, instructor of English & modern languages in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Texas State University. She is interested in college composition and poetry. Outside of work, she enjoys reading novels and watching movies and television.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

UIS welcomes hundreds of new students on Freshman Move-In Day

The University of Illinois Springfield welcomed more than 200 new students during Freshman Move-In Day on August 23, 2017.

“This is a really important day, especially for those new freshman who are just pulling in with their families and bringing all manner of essential items,” said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch.

UIS freshman Aundrae Williams of Springfield admits he was so excited about move-in day that he didn’t sleep much the night before. He’s looking forward to meeting new friends.

“I’m really just excited to start everything,” said Williams. “I couldn’t wait to move in. I’m just ready for it all to begin.”

Fellow first-year student Kendra Peifer of McLean shares in William’s excitement. She says she’s grateful for all of the volunteers who helped her move into her room.

“It’s kind of overwhelming, but I’m super excited,” she said. “I’m ready to start the next chapter of my life.”

Students were assigned arrival times in an effort to avoid congestion. Volunteers help direct parents to parking spaces, unload and carry items and help students find their rooms.

UIS Director of Residence Life John Ringle says research shows students who live on campus their first few years of college have a better experience.

“Students who live on campus gain a sense of place, a sense of community and a sense of being grounded in the campus they’ve chosen,” said Ringle.

Chancellor Koch adds that this academic year will be extra special, as the new UIS Student Union building is scheduled to open in early 2018.

“I think the students who live on campus are probably the ones who are really going to enjoy that the most,” she said.

Fall Semester 2017 classes begin on Monday, August 28, 2017.

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

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