Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Expected Near Normal Growth for Springfield Area

Springfield Enterprise Index released for Quarter One, 2008

The University of Illinois at Springfield announces that the Greater Springfield Enterprise Index (SEI) for March 2008 was 94.4, indicating a slight slowing of the economy relative to a long-term trend. "The good news is that for the rest of the year, the forecast is for an up-turn in the level of economic activity. The one-month, three-month, and one-year forecast all suggest near normal growth," said Dr. Patty Byrnes, professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Download a pdf file of the news release by Sarah Wolin of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

Near Normal Growth Expected.pdf

UIS Clinical Lab Science team places second in state meeting

By Courtney Westlake

Woolly mammoths that existed hundreds of thousands of years ago were tough and tenacious, and the Woolly Mammoths at UIS are carrying on those characteristics.

The UIS Clinical Laboratory Science student team, named the Woolly Mammoths, took second place at the Illinois state meeting of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science held April 29 through May 1 in Lisle, Illinois. The team included students Gillian Grasher, Lindsey Rolando, Sarah McGee and Lauren Hefer.

“Congratulations to these students who studied hard for this competition,” said Linda McCown, chair and program director of clinical laboratory science at UIS and one of three advisers for the team, along with Dr. Jim Veselenak and Dr. Wayne Gade.

The competition is the annual state meeting of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science-Illinois and includes two days of continuing education sessions, exhibitors and business meetings. UIS’ team also had success last year at the meet, placing first in the state.

In the Student Bowl competition, teams must answer questions about medical laboratory topics such as immunohematology, clinical chemistry, medical microbiology and hematology.

The team from UIS practices once a week during the spring semester as preparation for the competition, McCown said.

“Preparation for the competition is not only fun - we use practice games - but it helps the students review material that they have learned during the past two years,” she said. “And the state meeting, the students get to meet and network with other students and professionals from around the state and see how important it is to be active in their professional organization.”

Receiving such top honors in this state meeting is a true testament to the success and dedication of the clinical laboratory science program at UIS and its students.

“The alternate, Nicole Schupp, is currently a senior in our program, and the other team members all have jobs as clinical laboratory scientists and passed their national certification examination. Two are working here in Springfield, and the other two are in Missouri and Michigan,” McCown said.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

UIS hosts New Century Learning Consortium July 21-23

Representatives from six universities from throughout the nation will attend the first meeting of the New Century Learning Consortium on July 21-23 at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The Consortium is designed to assist the universities in implementing high quality, large-scale online and blended learning programs.

Founded by Ray Schroeder, Director of UIS' Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning (OTEL), and Burks Oakley, Founding Director of the University of Illinois Online, the Consortium is being funded with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

"This is an exciting initiative that brings together state universities spread across the U.S.," said Schroeder. "Our organizational meeting will enable us to formalize our relationships and begin collaborations in the development of online and blended learning initiatives that will span the country."

Schroeder said the recent rise in gas prices has significantly increased student demand for the delivery of classes in online and blended learning formats. "The leaders of these institutions who will gather at UIS are committed to responding to student needs in reducing the commuting expenses required for degree and certificate programs," he said.

Consortium activities include developing a clearinghouse of online classes where there is excess capacity; shared IT expertise to support building infrastructure capacity; and peer support at the upper administration, dean, and faculty member levels.

The institutions taking part in the Consortium are dedicated to developing vigorous online and blended learning initiatives to expand and stabilize student enrollments. They are California State University Easy Bay, Hayward; Southern Oregon University, Ashland; Chicago State University; Oakland University, Rochester Hills, Michigan; University of Southern Maine, Portland; and Louisiana Tech University, Ruston.

UIS was recognized with the prestigious 2007 award for excellence in institution-wide online teaching and learning from the Sloan Consortium, the premiere national organization dedicated to advancing quality in online education.

For more information about the Consortium, contact Ray Schroeder at 206-7531.

UIS, Heartland Community College sign articulation agreement

An Articulation (2+2) Agreement between the College of Business and Management at the University of Illinois at Springfield and Heartland Community College was signed on July 15 by HCC Dean of Instruction Steve Herald (pictured on the left) and UIS CBM Dean Ron McNeil (pictured on the right) .

A 2+2 agreement is a partnership that facilitates the transfer of students from a community college to a senior university.

A four-year course plan has been mapped out for Heartland students that will ensure that they take the necessary foundation courses to prepare them for any of the four undergraduate degree programs -- Accountancy, Business Administration, Economics, and Management -- offered by the CBM.

"Heartland Community College is very excited about the opportunities these cooperative agreements will provide for our students," said Sarah Diel-Hunt, Associate Dean for Social and Business Sciences at Heartland. "The faculty, programs, and facilities in the College of Business and Management at UIS are top notch. In addition, the small class size and student-centered approach at UIS make it a very appealing transfer option for our students."

In addition to the 2+2 agreement, Heartland and UIS have also entered into an Online Partnership Agreement to facilitate the delivery of online baccalaureate completion programs in business and economics to students and alumni of HCC.

Dyanne Ferk, Associate Dean of the College of Business and Management at UIS, said that Heartland has expressed particular interest in UIS' online BBA and Economics programs as options for place-bound adult learners. UIS also offers courses leading to the bachelor's degree in accountancy and management at its Peoria Center.

A 2+2 agreement creates synergy between the faculty of both colleges because they have ongoing communications concerning transferring students and maintenance of the degree plans. Students also benefit from having academic advising from the senior university while still at the community college.

The College of Business and Management at UIS is accredited by AACSB International and offers programs that prepare students for challenging careers and positions in private and public sector organizations. Graduate degrees are also offered in Accountancy, Business Administration, and Management Information Systems.

Founded in 1991, Heartland Community College is a two-year, fully accredited institution of higher education with campuses located in Normal, Pontiac, and Lincoln. Heartland's main campus, in Normal, opened for classes in 2000.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Campus members attend NWSA conference

By Courtney Westlake

After attending the National Women's Studies Association conference last year in Chicago, Amanda Looney knew she couldn’t pass up the chance to go again, even though she had already graduated with her master’s from UIS and moved away from Springfield.

“I went last year, which is why I really wanted to go this year. It was a great experience, and I met a lot of people I really wanted to see again,” Looney said. “I'll definitely go next year.”

Six members of the campus community attended the 29th annual National Women's Studies Association conference from June 19 to 22 in Cincinnati. One of the highlights of the conference this year was its keynote speaker, sociologist Patricia Hill Collins, said Lynn Otterson, director of the Women's Center at UIS, who attends the conference almost every year.

"She talked in very creative ways using the Miss Universe Pageant, and its history over the years, and who wins, and what happens to who wins, to talk about race and gender in a neo-empire framework," Otterson said. "So it was important and interesting ideas she was talking about, and she was also a very good speaker."
In addition to the keynote speaker, the conference featured workshops, films, a book fair, and more. Otterson and Looney also both attended an extra day called "Women's Center Day" that took place before the actual conference began.

"My favorite part was the Women's Center Day; it was a separate day for women who work in women's centers," Looney said. "We break out in different sessions and network. I went to seminar entitled 'Building a Women's Center from the Ground Up.' It was really helpful for me because I'm starting out in my career, and I really like working in women's centers, so if I work in a new center somewhere, it would be beneficial to have that information."

Because the conference took place in the Midwest both last year and this year, UIS was able to take bigger groups than when the conference is held beyond a reasonable driving distance.

"When it’s nearby in the Midwest, we can take a university van and get lot more people there, so I really enjoyed this conference because we had six UIS people with us," Otterson said. "One of the most enjoyable parts was to travel in company and share experiences with people I already know well and to get to know a few others."
Renee Rathjen, a junior at UIS, said she was impressed with being able to see the various generations of women activists join together in one place.
"It was very neat to see the huge variety of generational experiences that led people into activism," she said. "You have the millennial generation, who has sense of entitlement, and then you have people who were there from the beginning, working on voting rights and those sort of things. We saw whole gamut of gender equity movement."
Participating in the conference is a great way to build relationships with other attendees in addition to your own group, Otterson said.
"I'm the only women's center director in town so this is my one chance a year to be in a room of up to 140 people who do my work," she said. "It's very useful, and I get a lot of great ideas. As you go over time, you make friends, so you can call or email these friends throughout the year to get advice or get best practices. It's so much easier to do if you have those relationships."

“It was so nice to get to know the women outside of school,” Looney agreed, “and really get a chance to talk to them on a personal level and talk to them about different women's issues. And one of my favorite feminist authors was there, Jessica Valenti, and I got to buy one of her books and we got it signed, which was cool.”

Rathjen, who is majoring in political science with a minor in economics, said she recently decided to add women and gender studies as another minor and enjoys tying all three fields together.

"I went to a lot of feminist economist workshops, which were really cool," she said. "I picked up a lot of books and journal articles that will assist me in analyzing some of the work and some of the information I brought back from Mexico, where I went with the 'Mexico and Globalization' class over spring break."

This conference, and many others in different fields, allows participants to learn about the latest research and new information, Otterson said. To have campus community members attend conferences and further their education is essential not only for networking purposes but because it offers an opportunity to learn a lot about the specific field and new topics within the field, Looney said.

“I went to a really heavy seminar about race and sex, and how those two things intersect and what that means to women's studies, and it was something I hadn't thought about before in-depth,” Looney said. “There were a lot of issues that I think about more or seek out more information on, and I want to read more books about certain topics now.”

“I think anyone that wants to should definitely go to conference because it's a really wonderful experience to have, not only with women on your campus but to learn more about other issues and yourself, and to meet new people,” she added.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

UIS Innocence Project cited in Appellate Court opinion ordering hearing in Slover Case

New evidence developed by the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois at Springfield was cited as the basis for the 4th District Appellate Court's recent reversal of a lower court ruling and subsequent order that an evidentiary hearing be held in the Karyn Slover murder case.

Slover disappeared on September 27, 1996, after leaving work. Two days later, sealed garbage bags containing her dismembered body washed ashore at Lake Shelbyville. Her former in-laws and ex-husband were convicted of the crime by a Macon County jury in 2002 and sentenced to 60 years in prison.

In its decision, the Appellate Court ruled that at the original trial prosecutors presented misleading evidence in an effort to discredit a key defense witness, who testified she had seen the vehicle Karyn Slover was driving the night she disappeared. According to the witness, the car had tinted windows. During the trial, prosecutors elicited testimony from the vehicle's owner, a man whom Karyn Slover was dating at the time of her murder, that the vehicle did not have tinted windows.

Innocence Project Director of Investigations Bill Clutter credited the work of Mark Camper, one of his students, for developing new evidence that proved that the vehicle in question did in fact have factory-tinted windows, which corroborated the witness' testimony.

Camper was a student in a Wrongful Convictions class at UIS in the 2006 spring semester. "If the jury had believed the witness I'm convinced they would have found the Slovers not guilty," he said.

John McCarthy of the Office of the State Appellate Defender's office in Springfield represented the Slovers in their appeal. The case will be remanded to Macon County for an evidentiary hearing.

The Downstate Illinois Innocence Project is affiliated with the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies at UIS and has been involved in the cases of several individuals, including Julie Rea Harper and Herb Whitlock, who have been wrongfully convicted. Students working with the project assist Clutter in the investigation of cases that may involve actual innocence.

For more information about the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project, contact Clutter at 899-4353.

Download a pdf file summarizing evidence about the tinted car windows


Illinois Issues magazine among Chicago Tribune's 50 favorites

The Chicago Tribune has selected Illinois Issues magazine as one of its 50 favorite magazines in its July 9 Tempo section.

The entry reads: "Illinois Issues: Not just a magazine for policy wonks, Illinois Issues deciphers Springfield legislation for all constituents in the Land of Lincoln. Education, immigration, conservation and, of course, corruption are analyzed regularly in lively, well-informed articles on the state of our state."

The magazine, published in the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is the state's leading publication on Illinois state government and politics. Published 11 times a year, it has developed a reputation for provocative, nonpartisan reporting and analysis of public affairs issues.

Illinois Issues Online provides readers with a news blog by the magazine's Statehouse bureau chief, links to daily newspapers, access to past issues of the magazine, and other public policy resources.

The magazine's executive editor, Dana Heupel can be reached at 217/206-6507.

Download a pdf file of the Tribune's 50 Favorite Magazines list


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

UIS announces spring semester deans' list

A total of 444 students were named to the University of Illinois at Springfield Deans' List for the 2008 spring semester. Of the students listed, 56 are majoring in programs within the College of Business and Management, 61 are in the College of Education and Human Services, 282 are in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 38 are in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, and 7 have not declared a major or are non-degree students.

To qualify for the designation, 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.

Download a pdf file of students' names, arranged alphabetically by hometown