Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuition increases at U of I campuses

Tuition at the University of Illinois at Springfield will be $3,701.25 per semester for full-time freshmen and transfer students enrolling for the first time this fall. The tuition for all three U of I campuses was approved today by the Board of Trustees at an Executive Committee meeting in Chicago.

The new rate is $93.75 more per semester than the rate paid by last fall’s new students and is the smallest increase in several years. The rate is guaranteed not to increase for four consecutive years after a student’s initial enrollment. Illinois’ public universities implemented a guaranteed tuition plan for all undergraduate students in 2004.

The increase amounts to 2.6 percent, which is equivalent over four years to a 1 percent annual increase.

In terms of per credit hour, the new rate is $246.75, only $6.25 more per credit hour compared to last year.

“The trustees felt a more modest tuition increase was appropriate at this time because of the troubled economy,” said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. “We want students and their parents to know that much consideration was given to the difficult circumstances the recession has created for so many people.”

The cost per credit hour for graduate students will increase to $266.25, a $10.25 per credit hour increase compared to last year.

Undergraduate students from Illinois living in a residence hall this fall at UIS will pay a total of $20,350.50 annually. That includes tuition of $7,402.50, fees of $2,288, room and board (Plan B), $9,400, and books/supplies/parking of $1,260.

Undergraduate students from Illinois living in an apartment will pay a total of $17,901.50 annually. That includes tuition of $7,402.50, fees of $2,288, room and board (Plan A) of $6,960, and books/supplies/parking of $1,260.

Ringeisen noted that UIS has a variety of needs on its campus, all centered on maintaining and enhancing academic quality. “Everything we do is designed to provide the best possible learning environment for our students. Strengthening academic quality is paramount followed by addressing facility operations needs and meeting inflationary and other essential cost increases,” he said.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

UIS approved for membership in COPLAC

University of Illinois at Springfield Provost Harry Berman has announced that UIS has been unanimously approved for membership in the distinguished Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). The vote places UIS among a select group of 25 public liberal arts institutions representing 23 states and one Canadian province.

“This is a milestone for UIS and yet another indication of our growing national stature,” said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. “We have now taken our place alongside institutions that are recognized for being leading small public liberal arts universities.” He noted that UIS is the only COPLAC representative in the state of Illinois.

According to Dr. Berman, the central COPLAC value is to champion the cause of liberal arts and sciences education of superior quality in the public sector. “Member institutions include small public colleges and universities with strong national reputations, such as the College of Charleston, Evergreen State University, and Truman State University,” Dr. Berman said. “COPLAC institutions share UIS’ commitments to the centrality of general education for the baccalaureate degree; to relatively small classes taught principally by full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty; and to an intimate learning environment, where students can say ‘My professors know me’.”

Dr. Berman said that membership will enable UIS to communicate its identity more effectively to a range of stakeholders – students and their families, trustees, and academic colleagues in Illinois and around the country. It will also open up faculty development opportunities through collaborations with faculty at institutions that share UIS’ values.

UIS began exploring the possibility of membership after the university’s Strategic Plan was completed in January 2006. The plan included a Statement of Strategic Intent to become a leading small public liberal arts university. The rigorous process that followed included attendance at COPLAC meetings, deliberations by Undergraduate and Graduate Councils, open forums, passage of a UIS Campus Senate resolution, COPLAC Membership Committee site visits, and submission and approval of an application.

“UIS now has national recognition for its 40-year commitment to the public sphere,” said Dr. Karen Moranski, associate vice chancellor for Undergraduate Education.

The 2006 Strategic Plan charts the following trajectories for UIS over the next ten years: 1) Development of new liberal arts-related minors and majors, such as Music, Theatre, and Modern Languages; 2) Larger cohorts of freshmen; 3) Increasing numbers of residential students; 4) Additional faculty to serve the new student population; and 5) Continued internal leadership in the application of technology to learning.

The other COPLAC institutions are: College of Charleston (South Carolina), Eastern Connecticut State University, The Evergreen State College (Washington), Fort Lewis College (Colorado), Georgia College & State University, Henderson State University (Arkansas), Keene State College (New Hampshire), Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Midwestern State University (Texas), New College of Florida, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Sonoma State University (California), Southern Oregon University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, SUNY College at Geneseo, Truman State University (Missouri), University of Alberta, Augustana Campus, University of Maine at Farmington, University of Mary Washington (Virginia), University of Minnesota, Morris, University of Montevallo (Alabama), University of North Carolina at Asheville, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, University of Virginia’s College of Wise, and University of Wisconsin – Superior.

UIS takes lead role in international symposium on online teaching and learning

Representatives from the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service from UIS attended an international symposium for the Sloan-Consortium on online teaching and learning in San Francisco in June, and UIS was the only university at the symposium that presented a pre-conference session, plenary session and multiple regular sessions.

More than 600 attended the conference.

"We renewed relationships with our colleagues from California State Eastbay and Southern Oregon, while making many new contacts among other universities," said Ray Schroeder, director of COLRS at UIS. "And, there were many viewing live media streams across the country of nearly all of our sessions."

Schroeder said there was a "tremendous response" to the UIS pre-conference session Social Networking: Twelve Top Tools You Can Use in Class Tomorrow, which attracted a full house of participants from around the U.S. and a couple of foreign countries. The session can be found at http://socialnetworkinginclass.ning.com/.

Schroeder said he had an overflow group for a session he co-presented with Maureen Yoder of Lesley University called Beyond Google: Easy-to-Use Innovative Resources and Alternative Search Engines You Can Use Today. UIS Professor Burks Oakley also held a well-received interactive session on The Impact of Integrating a Web-Based Document Management System into the Educational Process at UIS.

All of the UIS staff and faculty also actively participated in many other sessions, and UIS was mentioned multiple times during the conference as an example of excellence or leadership by symposium executive director John Bourne and president Bruce Chaloux, Schroeder said.

“I had a great time moderating the ‘expert plenary’ session on Higher Education Meets the S Curve (found at http://www.emergingonlinelearningtechnology.org/expertplenary),” Schroeder said. “The representatives from Microsoft and Google were great, and Stewart Mader (author of Wikipatterns and Using Wiki in Education) spent the following hour chatting with Shari McCurdy (associate director of COLRS) about potential wiki applications. I also had a great conversation with all of the panelists."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

UIS hosts Girl Tech technology camp for middle schoolers

By Courtney Westlake

UIS' Computer Science program is hosting Girl Tech 2009, a technology camp for middle-school girls entering 7th, 8th or 9th grade in the fall on Thursday, June 18 and Friday, June 19.

"We're hoping to get them excited about technology to the point that they want to know more, stay with it and develop a passion for what technology is all about and the many facets of it," said Mary Sheila Tracy, instructor in the computer science department.

Studies show that number of women in higher education in computer science is "falling drastically, and what we need to do is bring more women into field," Tracy said. Girl Tech is geared toward girls in middle school because interest seems to start decreasing around that age.

The camp offered sessions on programming, robotics, computer networking, iMovie, Photoshop and computer hardware. A partial list of sessions includes Cartoons Galore!, Persona Magazine, Wireless Treasure Hunt and Robotics at the Robot Zoo.

"There are six different workshops over the two days, and the girls visit each one," Tracy said. "We have a workshop on learning to program - the fundamentals of using a programming language in a way that is most fun. There is another session on programming using Legos Mindstorm robots to learn to program, as well as a workshop on what it is to use wireless technology on a treasure hunt throughout our building, finding access points."

"We have a session where we're giving the girls flip video cameras to shoot their own movies and then using iMovie to edit. And we're doing session called 'What's in the Box?' where the girls take a computer apart. What better way to find out what's actually in the box inside their computer than taking it apart and looking at each individual piece?," Tracy said.

Instructors of the sessions are female faculty members in the Computer Science Department and Visual Arts Department, as well as staff members in Information Technology Services.

About 36 girls participated in Girl Tech 2009, which is the first year the technology camp has been held.

"We've had just about everyone show up, so it's nice that the girls are that enthused," Tracy said. "We have an extraordinarily bright, enthusiastic group here, and it's just so much fun for all of the instructors and volunteers here today."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Faculty emeriti honored at College's annual luncheon

By Courtney Westlake

Dr. Jeffrey Chesky retired in 2004 but continued to advise master's degree projects at UIS up until last year, challenging students to reach their full potential.

Michael Townsend continuously told his students how fortunate they were to be pursuing a career field where they would make a difference in the lives of others and engaged them in service learning.

Townsend and Chesky were both honored as faculty emeriti in the College of Education and Human Services at a celebratory luncheon on Wednesday, June 17, in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby of the Public Affairs Center, and each took part in the unveiling of their painted portraits, which will be hung in Brookens Library.

After lunch, the two emeriti faculty participated in a question-and-answer session, during which they spoke about their experiences when first arriving at Sangamon State University and reminisced about their classes and memories of the early days of the university.

Dr. Bill Abler, professor in Human Development Counseling, also gave remarks called "Doing It by the Numbers: Painters, Portraits and Percipients," before the portraits of Townsend and Chesky were unveiled.

Townsend was a family counselor with the Child and Family Services of Sangamon County, where he specialized in doing work with kids who had been in trouble with the law, when he arrived at UIS - then Sangamon State - in 1975.

"He dedicated his life to teaching, public affairs and community service," said Larry Stonecipher, dean of the College of Education and Human Services. "His students were encouraged to engage in service learning even before we defined the phrase 'service learning'."

Throughout his career, Townsend wrote many grants requests totaling around $300,000, and founded and directed many other organizations and groups locally that encouraged change, Stonecipher said. He never pursued full professorship because he believed that only those with doctoral degrees should hold that title.

"Instead he dedicated his time and considerable talents to bridging any gaps that existed between his education in his application and benefit to the Springfield Community. As you can tell, Mike walks the walk every day," Stonecipher said.

Chesky came to UIS/SSU in 1977 with a Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics to become a professor of human services and biology. During his career, he received grants from such prestigious organizations as the American Heart Association, the American Federation for Aging Research, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health.

"The volumes of master's projects he chaired are a testament to his commitment to his students," Stonecipher said. "In the classroom, Dr. Chesky was revered as a stellar teacher/scholar who made the curriculum rigorous as well as interesting. His lectures were noted to be stimulating, captivating and laced with humor."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Four Management students receive awards

Four students majoring in Management at the University of Illinois at Springfield have received awards for excellence.

Shannon L. Burrell and Raymond A. Byrd, both of Peoria, Ill., have been awarded the 2009 James C. Worthy Award for their high-quality senior papers. This honor, which includes a monetary award, pays tribute to the late James C. Worthy, a charter member of the management faculty. Each year’s winners are selected by the faculty who teach the course “Strategic Management and Leadership.”

Valerie G. Huels, of Peoria, Ill., is the recipient of the department’s 2009 Highest Academic Achievement Award. This honor, which includes a monetary award, recognizes Huels for academic excellence.

Joshua A. Winkler, of Peoria, Ill., is the 2009 recipient of The Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award, presented annually to a student who best exemplifies managerial competence, both in the classroom and professionally. He received a one-year subscription to The Wall Street Journal.

Housed within UIS College of Business and Management, the baccalaureate Management program prepares students to become leaders in all types of organizations through a curriculum designed to develop critical conceptual and interpersonal skills.