Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kim Rutherford is winner of 6th annual CAPE Award

By Courtney Westlake

Kim Rutherford was named the recipient of the sixth annual Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence Award at UIS on Thursday afternoon, April 30, during a celebration in the Public Affairs Center Restaurant.

Rutherford is a disability services specialist in the Office of Disability Services at UIS.

The CAPE Award recognizes U of I academic professionals for their efforts in three general categories: work projects, professional development and affiliations, and contributions to their units. The winner receives $500 in cash for personal use, and another $500 is given to the winner’s department.

All APs are eligible to receive the CAPE Award; nominations are reviewed by campus committees and candidates' names are forwarded to the chancellor, who makes the final selections.

"This award recognizes all academic professionals by recognizing one outstanding AP," said Jerry Burkhart, chair of the Academic Professional Advisory Committee. "Academic professionals fill unique and vital roles on this campus. Each day, we work closely with students, faculty, civil service and administration, and as such, we help shape the fabric of UIS."

Chancellor Richard Ringeisen congratulated all the nominees and read an excerpt from Rutherford's nomination.

"This particular nominator is a student who wrote: 'Had it not been for Kim Rutherford, I would have been unable to achieve what I have achieved; I would have been unable to graduate. I never would have made it without this person.'"

Other UIS nominees for the 2008 CAPE Award were: Clay Bellot, academic technology service specialist in Information Technology Services; Munindra Khaund, multimedia education coordinator in Information Technology Services; Janette Kirkham, coordinator and placement developer in the Applied Study Office; Jim Korte, assistant dean of students; Tulio Llosa, director of educational technology in Information Technology Services; Mae Noll, undergraduate academic adviser; Candy Powers, assistant to the dean of the College of Education and Human Services; Shawn Craig Shures, assistant director/graduate intern recruiter for Graduate Intern Programs; and Bill Wheelhouse, general manager of WUIS.

When Rutherford's name was called as the 2009 recipient, she was presented with a personal plaque and another with her name that will hang in the Chancellor's office.

"I want say thank you to everyone on the list and all of you do so many good things for our students, and that's what we're all about," she said. "I want to say thank you to the CAPE committee. I just appreciate everything, so thank you."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Matthew Holden is first Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science at UIS

Dr. Matthew Holden, Jr., has been designated as the first Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is the Henry L. and Grace M. Doherty Professor Emeritus of Politics at the University of Virginia. He retired from that university in 2002 after a distinguished career spanning more than 40 years.

Holden will be the designee of the Wepner Distinguished Professorship pending U of I Board of Trustees approval of his selection at the board’s meeting in May. He is expected to formally join the UIS Department of Political Science in the College of Public Affairs and Administration this fall.

Holden has agreed to be the speaker at UIS’ 38th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in downtown Springfield.

His wide-ranging scholarly interests, many of which are directly related to the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, include public administration and policy, public law, urban politics, and race and politics. His 1974 book, The White Man’s Burden, was a classic in the early political scholarship on race and politics. His latest book, yet to be published, is titled The World and the Mind of Isaiah T. Montgomery: The Greatness of a Compromised Man, which examines the lone African American delegate in the Mississippi Constitutional Convention of 1890.

“I, along with the entire Political Science Department, are truly thrilled to be welcoming Matthew Holden as a colleague,” said Dr. Christopher Mooney, professor of Political Science and chair of the selection committee for the Wepner professorship. “Holden embodies many of the most important values of UIS as a public service-oriented university. He is an eminent scholar of race and politics, of the public bureaucracy, of regulatory policy, and of urban politics.” Mooney called Holden a magnanimous and engaging individual with wide-ranging interests who will be a wonderful addition to the department, the university, and the Springfield community.

Holden has also taught at Wayne State University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and books, and served as president of the American Political Science Association in 1998-99. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Senior Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. His current research is in the area of public administration, political theory, and political power.

His public service work includes service on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University.

The Wepner Distinguished Professorship was established at UIS as the result of a $1.2 million unrestricted estate gift from a Springfield couple, Wilbur and Margaret Wepner, longtime supporters of UIS. The funds are being used for scholarships and the Wepner position. As a member of the Committee for Higher Education in Central Illinois, Wilbur Wepner helped found this university (then called Sangamon State University) in 1969.

Women's Center hosts annual Spring Reception

By Courtney Westlake

The annual Women's Center Spring Reception was held on Wednesday afternoon, April 29, in the Public Afffairs Center Restaurant.

"Traditions like this are very meaningful to us," said Lynn Otterson, director of the Women's Center. "This has been a huge year of transition and transformation for the Women's Center. We moved to a wonderful, bigger space in the Student Life Building, and we are now part of the Diversity Center."

Announced during the reception were the recipients of two major Women's Center awards: the 12th Naomi B. Lynn Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Environment for Women at UIS and the 5th Women’s Issues Caucus Student Activism Award.

Nominees for the Naomi B. Lynn Award included Pat Langley, Hazel Rozema and Liz Murphy Thomas. The Women’s Issues Caucus Student Activism Award nominee was Renee Rathjen.

Langley was the winner of the Naomi B. Lynn Award. Several students stood up to recognize the impact Langley has had on their lives through her teaching and mentoring. Veronica Espina, a Spanish instructor at UIS, also spoke highly of Langley's impact, citing her work on important and meaningful issues on campus over the past few decades.

Langley expressed her gratitude for the honor.

"One of the things I love about this place and have always loved is working with my colleagues," she said. "There are people who aren't here anymore who helped me get where I am today, who helped me with all kinds of things. And I do that for people today because people did that for me."

Rathjen received the Student Activism Award. In her career at UIS, she has been involved in Queer-Straight Student Alliance, the LGTBQ Resource Center, a resident advisor, College Democrats and much more.

"Renee has advocated for the welfare of students and the right of everyone, regardless of gender, to be treated equally," said Candi Clouse, a UIS alum and the first Student Activism Award recipient who presented the award. "Because of her work, the future of UIS looks brighter every day. Her work has been described as powerful, breath-taking and selfless."

Rathjen acknowledged that UIS has been like a "testing ground" for her for social change.

"It is truly an honor to receive this award in front of all of you who have played a role in shaping me," she said. "The lessons, memories and relationships I will take with me have been invaluable."

Naomi B. Lynn, former UIS chancellor, was present during the event and commended the Women's Center for its work, as well as the efforts and dedication of the nominees.

In honor of the recipients of the Naomi B. Lynn Award, each year something is added to the Women's Center Peace and Friendship Garden, which was built in 1997. The garden, located by the UIS Pond, now contains features such as chimes, a bench, birdhouse and more. For the 2008 and 2009 recipients, a stone path has been started with the winners' names engraved on a new stone each year.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

UIS Teacher Education honor society inducts new members

The Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Teacher Education at the University of Illinois at Springfield, Alpha Alpha Gamma chapter, held initiation and induction ceremonies for new members on Saturday evening, April 25, on the UIS campus. Kappa Delta Pi recognizes scholarship and excellence in education.

Teacher candidates initiated in the honor society, which represents the top twenty percent of educators, were Amanda Flesch, Tina Freeman, Deana Hunter, Jack Hutchison, Danielle Kreier, Sara Legate, Lacy May, Sara Quigley, Hyun Ah Oh, Emily Orr, Kenneth Reid, Kayla Robinson, Danielle Simler, Lacey Slatton, Jason Winnett, Simon Wilson and Erica Weaver. The candidates were initiated by the chapter counselor, Jennifer Herring, assistant professor of Teacher Education at UIS.

Previous chapter counselor Allan Cook welcomed initiates and assisted with the induction of new Alpha Alpha Gamma chapter officers for the upcoming year: Deana Hunter, president; Tom Hutchison, vice president; Lacey Slatton, treasurer; Kayla Robinson, secretary; Danielle Kreier, historian; and Amanda Flesc, foundation representative.

Graduates and those who completed their Teacher Education certificates and received honor cords included Tina Freeman, Jack Hutchison, Sara Legate, Emily Orr, Kenneth Reid, Danielle Simler and Erica Weaver.

Tamara Douglass, District 186’s 2008 Teacher of the Year in attendance, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

Teacher Education is a department in the College of Education and Human Services at UIS. The program currently offers a teacher education minor and certification in elementary education and secondary education in the areas of English, math, biological science and social studies.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Clinical Lab Science program receives accreditation award

The Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) program at the University of Illinois at Springfield has received the official accreditation award from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

The program was awarded continuing accreditation for seven years, the maximum award. The program met standards in all areas, including faculty, curriculum, resources and outcomes. The National Accrediting Agency site visitors who came to UIS in November summarized their findings by saying, “This is an overall excellent program.”

According to CLS program director Linda McCown, clinical laboratory science, which is also called medical technology, is a career where nationally-certified professionals provide clues for determination of disease and health.

The curriculum at UIS includes four major areas: hematology, microbiology, clinical chemistry and immunohematology (blood banking and transfusion services). It includes rotations at two hospital laboratories in central Illinois. The program also boasts 100 percent placement for graduates seeking employment in the profession.

The CLS program at UIS has three full-time faculty, two adjunct instructors and five clinical faculty. Many of these faculty members have received honors, including Distinguished Author, awarded to Wayne Gade, and Member of the Year of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, awarded to Paula Garrott. CLS students have also placed first, second and third in the Illinois Student Bowl competition in the past three years.

For more information about the Clinical Laboratory Science program at UIS, contact Linda McCown at 206-7550 or go online to

Friday, April 24, 2009

Good as Gold Ceremony recognizes volunteer efforts in community

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 19-25), the University of Illinois at Springfield and the Junior League of Springfield hosted the Springfield Good as Gold Ceremony, a recognition event to acknowledge community members and organizations for their volunteer efforts.

The ceremony took place on Thursday evening, April 23, in the lobby of the Public Affairs Center on the UIS campus. More than 50 people were recognized during the event for their achievements and efforts.

UIS honored one staff member and one student who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to service and volunteerism with the UIS Star Staff and UIS Star Student awards. Craig Pelka, a senior at UIS, was the recipient of the UIS Star Student Award. Mary Caroline Mitchell, associate director of the UIS Alumni Office, received the UIS Star Staff Award.

UIS students were also recognized for their involvement in many volunteer projects over the past year, including involvement in the Americorps program and mentoring at Jefferson Middle School and Harvard Park Elementary School. The students were honored with Outstanding Community Service Awards.

The Junior League recognized Allie Beams, a local junior high school student, with their Outstanding Community Service Award.

Jack Flesner, a second-grader at Our Savior’s Lutheran, was the recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award.

The Graham Elementary School Lunch Bunch Mentoring Group was honored with the Organization Agent of Service Award. Members of the group include Daniel Cadigan, Darrell Clark, Andre Jordan, Leroy Jordan, Melvin Jordan, Jonathan Lackland and Edward Pinn.

Five nominees for the Distinguished Volunteer Award were acknowledged during the event with a short presentation. The nominees included Jennifer Allender, Richard Corkery, Kenneth Page, Shana Stine and John Woods.

The winner of the Distinguished Volunteer Award was John Woods, for his work with Camp Care-a-Lot, a summer camp for children ages six to 10.

Forty-four local volunteers were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. Recipients included:
Randi Alexander, Thomas Armstead, Eloise Baird, Elizabeth Bishop, Floyd and Bobbi Blackard, Mervin Brennan, Jodie Brubaker, Lisa Brunson, Daniel Cadigan, Latosha Caldwell, Dennis and Sharon Chrans, Laura Coffey, Karen Finney, Samuel Finney, Lynn Handy, Jeanne Harris, Jeanne Harvill, Helen Healy, Gloria Henkle, Michael and Barbara Hickey, Michelle Higginbotham, Linda Hinds, Alia Hollenbeck, Tricia Hopkins-Price, Jennifer Isringhausen, Howard Kang, Mary Lawrick, Dannyl Madura, Coleton Meseke, Jill Meseke, Sister Josine Mondloch, Bailie Parfitt, Helen Peters, Joseph Richiusa, Amanda Roberts, Therese Romanelli, Diamond Ross, Steve Roth, Donna Schechter, Noel Scott, Chad Underwood, Debbie Waters, Patricia Wilken and Patricia Wright.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Volunteers recognized at Good as Gold Ceremony

By Courtney Westlake

UIS and the Junior League of Springfield hosted the Springfield Good as Gold Ceremony on Thursday evening, April 23, to acknowledge community members and organizations for their volunteer efforts.

More than 50 people were recognized during the ceremony for their achievements and efforts, including those receiving the Heart of Gold awards, Youth Volunteer Award(Jack Flesner) and Organization Agent of Service Award (Graham Elementary School Lunch Bunch Mentoring Group). The Junior League also honored a local junior high school girl, Allie Beams, for her leadership and volunteerism with their Outstanding Graduate Award.

Dave Daniels, 103.7 WDBR radio host, and Jessica English, WICS News Channel 20 anchor, served as emcees for the event.

"Our volunteers gave more than 17,200 hours in 2008," English acknowledged during the ceremony.

Five nominees for the Distinguished Volunteer Award were also recognized during the event with a short presentation. The Distinguished Volunteer award winner, John Woods, received a donation stipend to give to the charity of his choice.

UIS student Shana Stine was one of the five nominees for the Distinguished Volunteer Award. Stine founded the organization Jump for Joel, which raises money and awareness for orphans at the Gathiga Children's Hope Home in Kenya.

UIS recognized members of the UIS community at the ceremony with Golden Star Awards for one staff or faculty member and one student who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to service and volunteerism.

Also honored were numerous UIS students with the UIS Outstanding Community Service awards for their volunteers roles in projects like Jefferson Middle School mentoring and Harvard Park mentoring, and organizations like Americorps and the Leadership for Life service wing in Lincoln Residence Hall. UIS students Howard Kang and Diamond Ross were among those recognized from the community with Heart of Gold Awards.

Mary Caroline Mitchell, associate director of UIS Alumni Office, was the recipient of the UIS Star Staff Award.

Mitchell works to connect alumni with UIS Community. She developed and implemented a group called SAGE, which stands for Service, Activity, Group and Enrichment and is an alumni group for those 50 and older who participate in continuing education programs. SAGE members actively volunteer on campus and in community.

Mitchell also volunteers for UIS Welcome Week, the UIS Holiday Stars Project, UIS Homecoming, Commencement and Project Success.

"In the community, Mary Caroline is known for her participation in the Sangamon County Community Foundation's Women for Women group, Pioneer Days for the Strawbridge-Shepherd House, Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach and Westminster Presbyterian Church," Daniels said.

Craig Pelka was the recipient of the UIS Star Student Award. He initiated and coordinated the part-time job fair and graduate school fair at UIS, served as liaison to the student newspaper and more.

His volunteer activities include the Mercy Communities Home Restoration Project, Animal Protective league, camp counselor for Muscular Dystrophy Association summer camp, conversation partner for the UIS RSL Conversation Partner Program and member of Illinois State Fair College Advisory Board.

"Craig Pelka is an excellent example of extraordinary dedication," English noted. "He has empowered students to succeed and provided the tools and resources to do so. For the community, he has not only provided his time but also his expertise to help organizations' message to be heard."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

UIS Emeritus Professor of Philosophy authors sixth book

Dr. Peter Wenz, University of Illinois at Springfield Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, is the author of a new book titled Beyond Red and Blue: How Twelve Political Philosophies Shape American Debates. The book is his sixth and has been published by MIT Press.

A book-signing will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23 at Barnes and Noble in Springfield.

Beyond Red and Blue examines the beliefs of many different groups including social conservatives, utilitarians, theocrats, feminists, and libertarians on issues such as physician-assisted suicide, abortion, torture, affirmative action, the war on drugs, eminent domain, and pornography.

Publishers Weekly said of the book: “The competing voices in the American political arena are given their due in this nuanced tour of some of the most chewed-over issues of the day. Wenz posits that there are 12 major political philosophies (e.g., libertarianism, contractarianism, feminism and multiculturalism) that, taken in part or in whole, encompass the opinions of most Americans.”

“Whether your political comfort zone is on the right, on the left, or somewhere in the middle, Beyond Red and Blue is going to make you squirm,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, whose comments appear on the book’s jacket. “Drawing from life experiences and familiar headlines, Peter Wenz finds twelve lines of political DNA in America. Don’t expect Wenz to button up every chapter with sound-bite certainty. His conclusions may make you cheer or curse, but they are sure to make you think,” Durbin said.

Wenz is also the author of Environmental Justice (SUNY Press 1988), Abortion Rights as Religious Freedom (Temple University Press 1992), Nature’s Keeper (Temple University Press 1996), Environmental Ethics Today (Oxford University Press 2001), and Political Philosophies in Moral Conflict (McGraw-Hill 2007).

Environmental Justice has been translated and published in both Chinese and Korean, and Environmental Ethics Today has been translated and published in Chinese. In addition, more than 40 articles and book chapters by Wenz have been published.

Wenz retired from UIS in December 2004 after spending 28 years as a member of the Philosophy Department. Before the department had a major or even a minor, Wenz worked with faculty in other disciplines to create courses that would be useful to their students. He also had a one-third joint appointment to do research and writing in what was originally called the Center for Legal Studies, now called the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies.

During his long career at SSU/UIS, Wenz took leaves to teach one year at Southbank University in London (1980-81) and at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland (1986-87). During a semester sabbatical in 2003, he taught a course at Oxford University in England. Since retiring from UIS, he has taught a semester in 2007 at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Wenz has a B.A. in Philosophy from the State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Cleaning America's rivers is focus of Earth Day speaker

By Courtney Westlake

UIS celebrated Earth Day on Tuesday evening, April 21, with a presentation by Chad Pregracke called "Making a Difference in the World: My Journey to Clean America’s Rivers."

Pregracke spoke to the UIS and Springfield community about his experiences growing up near the Mississippi River, which led him to the vision of cleaning the river a little at a time.

"I am going to talk about picking up the river one piece of garbage at a time, and I'm not just talking about picking up little pieces of garbage, but picking up thousands of 55 gallon barrels, appliances, sunken boats, you name it," he said.

In 1997, Pregracke founded a not-for-profit environmental organization called Living Lands & Waters, which has involved tens of thousands of volunteers with community-based river cleanups, Riverbottom Restoration Projects, Adopt-a-River Mile Programs and Big River Educational Workshops.

"I had one goal, and it was simple: to clean up the river," he said.

It took Pregracke years before he turned his vision into reality and slowly acquired a crew, barges and other equipment necessary for large-scale cleanups. He began organizing community cleanups, and now travels around the country with his crew of 11 fulltime staff.

"One of the most important things I have learned is how much people care about the environment in general, and I learned that right off the bat. Right after a story aired on CNN, I got baskets full of letters saying 'great job', 'way to go, the Mississippi River is a treasure' and all kinds of stuff," he said.

Some years Pregracke's crew is on the rivers cleaning for six months, and sometimes as many as nine months. To date, they have had more than 50,000 people volunteer and have cleaned more than five million pounds of garbage since the organization started. They work primarily on the Mississippi River but also on the Illinois River, Ohio River and as far east as the Washington D.C. area, Pregracke said.

Living Lands & Waters has also just started planting trees on islands to provide habitats and food for wildlife. They started a nursery in Beardstown to grow their own trees and have given out 100,000 trees in last three weeks.

During his presentation, Pregracke encouraged attendees, and especially students, to pursue any dream they have and not let anyone tell them they can't do it.

"Anything you want to do is totally feasible; if you set out to do something that's going to have a positive effect on yourself, the people around you, your community, know that you can do it," he said.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

UIS alumna's book is recently published

UIS alumna Joanna Beth Tweedy, host of Quiddity Public-Radio Program on WUIS, is receiving high praise from esteemed writers for her debut novel, The Yonder Side of Sass and Texas, released this spring from Southeast Missouri University Press.

Tweedy will be reading and signing copies of her book on campus this Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the Café Annex, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center.

The novel’s lyrical, poetic style is highly unusual, especially for a debut work of prose. It has been receiving praise from a variety of literati—novelists, poets, reviewers, and editors alike, including Robert Hellenga, Patrick Carrington, and Elaine Fowler Palencia. It’s been called “a simmering gumbo of linguistic delicacies,” “a dance that never missteps…absolute in originality and sophistication,” and “an inventive masterpiece.”

Hellenga, best-selling author of The Sixteen Pleasures, says of Yonder Side, “The prose crackles like a splash of water on a hot skillet and there’s a surprise on every page.” Palencia calls it “High Lyrical Down-home…a novel to read twice.” And Carrington, editor of the award-winning journal Mannequin Envy, calls the novel “a rollicking ride of unexpected turns.” Of the author he writes, “a new voice that is not to be missed, one you'll surely enjoy reading as much as it does speaking to you.”

With degrees in education and English from the Universities of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Springfield (UIS), Tweedy has taught creative writing, literature, composition and educational leadership, and has served as faculty-in-residence for the Capital Scholars Honors Program at UIS. Early versions of some of the novel’s chapters were included in her creative-writing thesis project, which was nominated for UIS’ Thesis of the Year Award by the English Department. In addition to hosting Quiddity on WUIS, Tweedy is also the founding editor of Quiddity’s companion international literary journal, housed at Benedictine University at Springfield, where she is an associate dean.

A book tour is planned this summer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Survey: Lower Taxes Needed to Attract More Businesses, Create Jobs in Illinois

Illinois’ commercial and industrial real estate professionals know exactly why Illinois is losing business to neighboring states and beyond – too many state and local taxes, a perception that Illinois is anti-business and the lack of available incentives.

These and other results come from a survey sponsored by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and conducted by the Survey Research Office at the University of Illinois-Springfield. Illinois commercial and industrial real estate professionals were asked about the state’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of keeping, growing and attracting new development.

The results in this report provide a good roadmap for Illinois’ new governor and legislators on ways to keep and attract more business, create more jobs and stimulate greater development.

“No one knows our state’s economic strengths and weaknesses better than commercial and industrial real estate developers,” said Tom Wolf, director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Council. “Whether it’s keeping companies here in our state, convincing them to grow here or attracting new ventures to move here, industrial and commercial real estate professionals are in the trenches every day and hear why companies choose Illinois – and why they go someplace else.”

Respondents assessed a range of criteria including infrastructure, workforce issues, location, site availability and supply factors, economic development opportunities, and costs of doing business, including state and local taxes and fees. They were ranked by survey participants in two ways -- based on how importance they were to client decision-making, and how Illinois is perceived by clients in providing these criteria. The gaps between the important criteria and Illinois’ ability to deliver serve as guide to where attention is needed.

According to the survey, the biggest areas where Illinois can improve are:

-state and local tax burdens
-state reputation/image regarding business
-availability and amount of incentives
-flexibility of incentives to meet needs
-ease of process to qualify/receive incentives
-ease/timeliness of permit/regulatory procedures.

Among those who indicated that clients had recently inquired about sites in Illinois and then chose another location, nearly two-thirds identified cost of doing business factors as reasons those clients chose to locate elsewhere. Forty percent mentioned clients received better incentives in other places – with most of those firms going to neighboring Midwestern states.

The good news is that Illinois does offer value in several categories that developers do care about, including skilled workers and transportation infrastructure.

“We knew going in that we’d find out where our state is strong and where we would have more work to do,” said Wolf. “Using these results, our Governor and legislative leaders can focus on efforts to shore up the perception and reality of our weaknesses in order to attract more private-sector growth and more jobs throughout the state. We hope they are listening.”

About the survey: The survey was conducted in the third and fourth quarters of 2008 with 160 commercial and industrial real estate professionals (agents and brokers) in Illinois from 88 different real estate firms across the state. Two-thirds of the respondents completed the survey through a telephone interview while the remaining one-third did so through a web-based survey. The response rate was 35%. There were some differences based on geography in responses to importance of various location factors as well as in identifying strengths and weaknesses of their area; however the greatest gaps and recommended changes had few geographic differences.

Co-sponsors of the survey were the Illinois Development Council; Metro Economic Growth Alliance of Chicago; Illinois Association of Realtors; and the Illinois Chamber’s Economic Development Council. To read the full survey, visit the Illinois Chamber’s web page:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Professor's book of poetry is published

A book of poetry called Juggler by Dr. Rosina Neginsky, associate professor of liberal studies, women’s studies and English at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has recently been published by the University Press of the South.

Juggler is a bilingual English-Russian edition of poems and is available at the UIS Bookstore or online at The book consists of seven “cycles” - Amore, Birth, Yearning, Juggler, Encounters, Mermaid and Ballads, Neginsky noted.

The front cover of the book is by Sergei Chepik, a Franco-Russian painter whose works Neginsky will be exhibiting at the UIS Visual Arts Gallery in October 2009.

Neginsky is a literary scholar, translator, author and poet. She was the 2008 University Scholar at UIS, and her primary scholarly interests include European literature and cinema, women writers and the symbolist movement in Europe.

Neginsky is also the author of the book Zinaida Vengerova: in Search of Beauty: A Literary Ambassador Between East And West.

Neginsky will be reciting from Juggler in celebration of Poetry Month on April 14 at the Illinois State Library from 12 to 1 p.m. The reading will take place in the Illinois Authors Room at the library, and it is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

UIS celebrates Health Awareness Day

The University of Illinois’ Masters in Public Health Student Association and Campus Health Services held the 11th annual Health Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 8, to educate the campus and Springfield community about positive health practices.

Representatives from area organizations like the local hospitals and the Sangamon County Department of Public Health were on hand to provide health screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, bone density and more, as well as staff from UIS' Recreation and Athletic

Keynote speaker Dr. John K. Lee, a first-year resident in Family Medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, kicked off the day with his program titled “The secret of supplements: do they really work?”

Lee touched on several popular supplements, including amino acids, anabolic steroids, caffeine and more, and discussed effects of the supplements on athletic performance and on the body itself.

"There are a large number of Americans using supplements, and it's a huge business," he said. "But you have to be careful when you're buying them about what they claim. There are no regulations with supplements like there are with medications, so you should take them with a grain of salt and take into consideration the benefits opposed to the adverse effects."

One example he gave was ephedrine, which is used commonly in products like Hydroxycut touted for muscle gain and fat loss, but also many other products.

"It's really important when looking at all of these supplements to read the labels," Lee said. "A lot of supplements are being sold over and over again under different product names."

UIS’ Health Awareness Day is held in coordination with National Public Health Week, which is organized by the American Public Health Association. The theme of this year’s National Public Health Week is “Building the Foundation for a Healthy America.”

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

High school students present winning work for contest at UIS

The University of Illinois at Springfield and the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission co-sponsored a state-wide Lincoln Forum Scholarship Contest for students in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of 16th President Abraham Lincoln. First, second and third place winners presented their winning work at UIS on the morning of Saturday, April 4, and were hosted by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in the afternoon, followed by tours of the Lincoln Home and New Salem on Sunday.

“The quality of the students’ work was truly exceptional,” said Dean Margot Duley of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIS. “Lincoln believed that education is ‘the most important subject that we as a people may be engaged in.’ The students, their parents, their sponsoring teachers and their schools can be justly proud of embracing and embodying that Lincoln legacy.”

This contest was open to Illinois high school students in grades 11 and 12 attending public, private, parochial or home schools, or Illinois students enrolled in high school correspondence/GED programs during the 2008-2009 academic year.

The contest was comprised of three categories, and prizes for each category included one year tuition waiver at UIS or $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place.
Category I was called “Historical Essay,” and entrants chose one of the following topics as the focus of their essay: Lincoln on race, Lincoln and wartime civil liberties or Lincoln’s religious or spiritual beliefs.

Mark Podeschi received first place for his Spiritual Views essay titled “Lincoln and his Lord.” Podeschi, of Taylorville, is a student at V.I.T. High School in Table Grove under the guidance of teacher Mary Dawson.

Amy Nosbisch, a Deitrich native, was the second place winner with her Lincoln on Race essay called “Lincoln: Friend or Foe to the African-American Race.” Nosbisch studies under teacher Rebekah Volk at Teutopolis High School.

Taylor Franzen Perkins, from Flanagan, received third place for her Spiritual Views essay, titled “Lincoln’s Binding Thread.” Perkins is a student at Flanagan-Cornell High School.

Category II focused on creative written works inspired by Abraham Lincoln and his legacy. Submissions were accepted in the genres of poetry, short story and dramatic script.

Shelby Adcock, of Table Grove, won first place for her short story submission titled “The Pride of New Salem.” Adcock studies with teacher Karen Lafary at V.I.T. High School.

Joseph Capps, a native of Mt. Vernon, received second place in the poetry category for his work called “Lincoln’s Greatness.” He studies with teacher Melanie Gulley at Mount Vernon Township High School.

Alyssa Huber, of Sugar Grove, won third place for her dramatic script submission titled “Young Lincoln’s Joke.” Huber is homeschooled by Linda Huber.

Category III was “Performance and Visual Arts.” Submissions were accepted in the visual arts fields of painting and drawing, graphic design, printmaking, digital imagery, sculpture, ceramics and glass, textiles, film and video, photography and mixed media, and in the performance arts fields of original music composition, solo performance based on student’s own writing and solo performance based on Lincoln’s own words or speeches.

John Tienken, a native of Clarendon Hills and student at Hinsdale Central High School, received first place for his video/film submission called “A Great American.” He studies with Christopher Freiler.

Jennifer Wilson, of Galesburg, was the second place winner with her work in the Ceramics category titled “A Nation Ripped at the Seams.” Wilson is a student at Galesburg High School under teacher Sheryl Lee Hinman.

Allison Abrahamian, of Burbank, won third place for her work of graphic design titled “Stand with Me.” Abrahamian studies under the guidance of teacher Katherine Kalus at Reavis High School.

Laura Powers, a Springfield native and homeschooled student under Carla Powers, received an honorable mention for her video/film submission called “The Legacy of Abraham Lincoln.”

Student selected as finalist in photography competition

Andy Mitkos, a student at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been selected as a finalist in the 29th Annual Student Photography Contest sponsored by Nikon and Photographer’s Forum Magazine. His photo, a scene of a plane underwater, is titled “Any Landing You Can Walk Away From...,” and will be published in the Best of College Photography Annual 2009.

This is the second consecutive year that the work of a UIS student has been selected for publication in the annual. More than 4,000 students entered this year’s contest, which was open to photography students worldwide.

At UIS, Mitkos is earning a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and has take two photography courses under Professor Michael Duvall.

Mitkos’ winning photograph was captured while he was scuba diving off the coast of Aruba. He used underwater housing equipment with his camera to photograph the underwater plane.

“I like to use photography in everything I do,” Mitkos noted. “Professor Duvall suggested entering the contest to me, and I entered it not expecting anything to happen. It’s really an honor when your work is recognized by others.”

Established in 1977, Photographer’s Forum Magazine is a quarterly, award-winning publication dedicated to high-quality reproduction of photography in the United States and Canada. It is designed to facilitate communication and experience among emerging professionals.

This year’s judges for the contest were Rob Winner, Brooks Institute of Photography; Peter Glendinning, Michigan State University; and Karen Sinsheimer, Curator of Photography at Santa Barbara Museum of Art.