Thursday, October 30, 2008

Luncheon recognizes achievements of UIS faculty

By Courtney Westlake

The outstanding accomplishments of faculty at UIS were acknowledged at the 16th annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon, which was held Thursday, October 30 in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby of the PAC. The event, started in 1985, recognizes the scholarly achievements of current and emeriti faculty for the previous calendar year and pays tribute to all of the faculty members for achievements in areas of research, published articles and other writing, creative works, grants, book reviews and professional presentations.

"When you say the word 'university,' what it means is a community of scholars, scholars who are eager to share their experiences and scholarship with students," said Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "What a diverse group of scholars we are. The thing that we all have in common, no matter what our scholarship area is, is this gleam in the eye, this 'want to know.' That spark we all have in common is the essence of scholarship."

Provost Harry Berman took the time to point out the various fields, interests or recent achievements of faculty members at UIS during the luncheon presentation.

"More than anything, a public, liberal arts university is a public university where there is an active commitment to the values associated with a liberal arts education," Berman said. "Being in a public, liberal arts university has much to do with the seriousness with which faculty approach the undergraduate general education experience and the faculty's commitment to what is often referred to as liberal learning."

Meena Rao, vice president of academic affairs at the University of Illinois, traveled to town for the occasion to congratulate the faculty on their recent achievements and thank them for their contribution to the mission of the university.

"The annual Faculty Scholarship Recognition events are a favorite of mine because they highlight the many achievements of faculty as scholars, as researchers and as teachers," she said. "We cannot forget that the university's principle resource is its faculty. The excellence of our academic programs is directly related to the quality of our faculty."

During the Recognition Luncheon, Dr. Rosina Neginsky, associate professor of Liberal Studies/Individual Option, Women’s Studies and English, was named University Scholar, an award honoring and rewarding outstanding teachers and scholars at the three U of I campuses. The prize comes with a grant of $10,000 each year for three years for research and scholarly activities.

Neginsky is a literary scholar, translator, author and poet. Her primary interests include European literature and cinema, women writers and the symbolist movement in Europe.

"Her enthusiasm for learning, culture and the arts is infectious," Rao said. "She actively encourages her students, her colleagues and the larger Springfield community to join her in learning about other cultures, which is so necessary in the world we live in today."

Dr. Barbara Burkhardt, last year's University Scholar, presented Neginsky with the University Scholar pen.

"Her zest for the life of the mind is really contagious, and certainly has enriched me and I'm sure many of you too," Burkhardt said.

Neginsky thanked many of her mentors and colleagues for their inspiration, and discussed her scholarship and upcoming projects.

"My teaching has always inspired my research, and my research always inspired my teaching," she said. "I’m grateful to be with you here today, and I’m honored."

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