Friday, October 30, 2009

UIS Peoria Center celebrates new location

The University of Illinois Springfield Peoria Center held an open house at its new downtown location in the Illinois Central College Perley Building, Room 120, 115 Southwest Adams Street on Thursday, October 29, 2009.

The UIS center has been a part of the Peoria community for 34 years and was previously located on the ICC campus in East Peoria.

“We were able in this location to bring our MBA courses together along with our undergraduate courses, so all programs are offered in this building now,” said Jana Wise, director of the UIS Peoria Center.

Most classes at the UIS Peoria Center are offered evenings and weekends, which accommodates working students and also the faculty.

“We needed a physical location with our name, our sign representing the University of Illinois Springfield. That was our goal we’re here now,” said Ronald D. McNeil, Dean of the UIS College of Business and Management.

The programs currently offered at the UIS Peoria Center are a bachelor of arts degree in Accountancy; a bachelor of arts degree in Management; a bachelor of arts in Criminal Justice; a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA), and a minor in Management Information Systems. In addition, three business degree completion programs are offered entirely online, a bachelor’s degree in Economics, bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA), and the Master of Science degree in Management Information Systems.

The same faculty who teach on the main campus in Springfield drive to Peoria to teach in the evenings.

“When people ask me about the UIS degree that I have I tell them it was one of the most wonderful things I was ever able to take part of. I really enjoyed it and still receive benefits from doing it today,” said Jim Mies, 2007 Peoria Center MBA graduate.

For more information on classes at the UIS Peoria Center call 309/999-4250.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

UIS Touch DNA seminar draws national attention

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Downstate Innocence Project held a forensic seminar on cutting edge methods of DNA testing on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 in the Brookens Auditorium.

Timothy Masters, a Colorado man who was wrongly convicted of murder and freed from prison by Touch DNA technology spoke at the event. Touch DNA allows investigators to find DNA on nearly anything a person touches by comparing skin epithelial cells. In Master’s case all three DNA profiles tested matched another suspect in the original investigation.

"The Touch DNA revolution in the United States has really been started by the case of Timothy Masters," said Larry Golden, Co-Director of the Downstate Innocence Project.

Touch DNA
was pioneered over a decade ago by forensic scientists Richard and Selma Eikelenboom. The pair both work for the Netherlands Forensic Institute Department of Biology and traveled to UIS to speak at the Innocence Project seminar.

A crew from the CBS crime show 48 Hours Mystery also came to campus to interview the international experts in DNA. Master’s case has been featured on the program and now investigators are interested in using Touch DNA in similar cases around the country.

The UIS Downstate Innocence Project is looking to use the Touch DNA technology on at least two cases here in Illinois. Golden believes the method could prove helpful in testing evidence from the 1989 Sangamon County murder of Melissa Koontz. The project is working to overturn the conviction of Thomas McMillen.

For more information on the Innocence Project visit:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Springfield family helps shine light on UIS flags

The three flags outside the Public Affairs Center at the University of Illinois Springfield are now visible at night thanks to the help of a Springfield family.

It’s been UIS Building Services Superintendent Tim Ritzo’s dream to find someone who would donate the spot lights for the American, Illinois and UIS flags. This year a daughter and son-in-law, Kathy and Randy Germeraad, called and asked for ideas regarding a gift they might do in honor of her parents, Bill and Mary Schnirring, longtime owners of Springfield Electric.

“I suggested lighting the flag pole, since it honored the family business and our state and national heritage. They loved the idea,” said UIS Associate Chancellor for Development Vicki Megginson.

The family saw the opportunity as a “perfect fit” since their more than 75-year-old locally owned business deals with both lighting and electricity.

On Monday, October 26, 2009 a ceremony was held near the flag poles where a U.S. flag that was flown over the United State’s capitol was raised. The flag was secured by Tim Ritzo, who is a veteran himself.

UIS Chancellor Richard D. Ringeisen spoke about the importance of the lighting and helped unveil a plaque honoring the Schnirring’s donation.

WUIS 2009 fall fund drive reaches record goal

Listeners helped set a record fundraising total for WUIS this fall as over $150,000 has been raised to support programming costs at the media outlet. The record goal was necessary to cover cuts in state arts grant funding. AFSCME Council 31 provided a challenge match to start the fund drive. Over 100 volunteers helped reach the goal.

The final total for listener support will be over $150,000 as pledges are still being made online at

WUIS’ two annual fund drives are the station’s largest source of revenue, covering 35 percent of the WUIS budget. This is the portion of the budget that pays for program fees and production.

WUIS listeners continue to support the unique news and entertainment programming the station provides to Central Illinois. Many listeners cite state and local government news coverage, along with NPR’s in-depth coverage of national and international news as critical to their support. The mix of classical and jazz music is also cited.

This fall’s drive also marked the debut of a second channel of programming at 91-9 HD2. WUIS Exponential features an eclectic blend of blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country which is also available through streaming at It is the first HD2 channel in Springfield.

WUIS is Central Illinois’ source for NPR (National Public Radio). WUIS content is available from Springfield at 91.9 FM, 91.9 HD1 and 91.9 HD2; in West-Central Illinois at 89.3 FM; and worldwide at The listener-supported media outlet’s mission is to enrich Central
Illinois through independent journalism, programming and community outreach.

For the program schedule, events, and other information, call the station at (217) 206-6516 or visit

UIS kicks off Holiday Stars Project with Trick-or-Eat for the Central Illinois Foodbank

The Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center at the University of Illinois Springfield will sponsor a Trick-or-Eat competition to collect the most canned goods on Halloween, Saturday, October 31. The Volunteer Center is collaborating with area hospitals and the SIU School of Medicine, who will also be participating in the Trick-or-Eat competition.

The event is part of the UIS Holiday Stars Project, a campus-wide service initiative giving focus to UIS’ efforts to make a difference in the local community during the upcoming holiday season. The overall goal is to collect 4,500 of pounds of food for the Central Illinois Foodbank by December 3, 2009.

“Our campus community has embraced our Holiday Stars Project and is excited about working together to make a difference in the local community during these times of economic difficulty,” said Kelly Thompson, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center.

Teams of UIS students who registered for the Trick-or-Eat drive have been assigned to neighborhoods where they will collect non-perishable food items. The teams have already canvassed the neighborhoods in advance, distributing collection bags, along with door hangers that explain the project.

On Halloween, the teams will revisit their neighborhoods between 4:30 and 8 p.m. to pick up donations. Collected items will be returned & weighed that evening at Central Illinois Foodbanks, and prizes will be awarded to teams that bring in the most pounds of food.

The Holiday Stars Project continues through November, when specially marked collection bins will be placed around the UIS campus. Everything collected during the project will be presented to the Foodbank on December 3, 2009.

The Central Illinois Foodbank serves 160 agencies throughout 21 central Illinois counties and also hosts the Kids CafĂ©, part of a nation-wide program through America’s Second Harvest that feeds children a hot, nutritious meal in a safe environment. More information is available at

For more information about the UIS Holiday Stars Project, contact Kelly Thompson, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, at 217/206-8448, or go to

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

UIS joins National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week effort

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield got a taste of what it’s like to drive drunk during National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week on Wednesday, October 21, 2009.

Students put “beer goggles” on and drove around the quad in a golf cart to simulate the effect of getting behind the wheel intoxicated. The UIS Counseling Center sponsored the event and set up an obstacle course for the students to navigate around.

"The goggles scare you. Once you put them on you don't realize how bad it is to drink and drive because the goggles are for real. You can't see nothing. You're like a zombie," said UIS Sophomore Jeanell Randolph.

"The students that are going to drink and drive are unfortunately still probably going to drink and drive, but I think the other students gain an awareness of what it's actually like to drive intoxicated," said UIS Alcohol & Drug Prevention Coordinator Valerie Scarbrough.

Students also took part in a red ribbon sign-up drive where they pledged not to drink and drive. UIS has celebrates National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week every year along with hundreds of other schools across the country.

Friday, October 16, 2009

UIS students attend AmeriCorps opening ceremony

Students from the University of Illinois Springfield participated in the AmeriCorps open day ceremony at the Prairie Capital Convention Center on October 15, 2009.

“I think it’s great for everyone to come together and see the number of people we have in AmeriCorps in the state, just to see the impact it can have,” said Jordan Jeffers, UIS AmeriCorps VISTA.

Volunteers participated in games that helped them learn about each other and listened to speakers talk about service.

UIS has 16 students that have pledged to volunteer 300 hours a year, which amounts to 5 hours a week.

“I wanted to be part of AmeriCorps because I felt in high school that I wasn’t really involved in community service at all and this was a great opportunity on campus to do a lot of hours,” said UIS freshman John Tienken.

Students later marched to the capitol where they took an oath to serve as part of AmeriCorps.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

UIS students rally at capitol to save MAP Funds

Hundreds of college students, including a group from the University of Illinois Springfield, rallied near the state capitol on Thursday, October 15, 2009 to urge lawmakers to fund the Monetary Award Program (MAP).

The students are asking lawmakers to restore $200-million dollars to make MAP grant funds available for the spring 2010 semester. If the funds aren’t restored it could make it hard for some students to pay for school and others fear they might have to drop out.

"The only way we can possibly get it reinstated in time for it to be effective for students to get it in the spring is right now," said UIS Student Government Senator Jaime Casinova.

The cuts to the MAP program would affect about 750 students at UIS who on average receive about $1,900 a semester from the program.

Governor Pat Quinn spoke at the rally telling students he’s working to restore the funds before lawmakers head home at the end of the week.

MAP grants are awarded to students based on financial need and more than 130,000 people across the state receive them every year.

After the rally UIS students met with lawmakers and delivered signed petitions from the campus community asking for the funds to be restored.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

UIS Faculty Scholarship Recognition Luncheon

The University of Illinois Springfield honored the outstanding achievements of faculty at the 17th annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon, which was held Monday, October 5, 2009 in the Sangamon Auditorium lobby.

The luncheon was started in 1985 as a way to pay tribute to faculty member’s achievements in the areas of research, published articles, creative works, grants, book reviews and professional presentations.

“We have our multiple responsibilities for teaching, advising, and service. But always, creating a space for intellectual work needs to be at the forefront,” said Provost Harry Berman.

Berman related the work that faculty members do to that of a quilt calling their research and other achievements “treasure to hand down to the next generation”.

Meena Rao, vice president of academic affairs at the University of Illinois, was present at the event to congratulate faculty on their achievements and announce the 2009 University Scholar.

Dr. Sviatoslav Braynov, assistant professor of Computer Science, received the award. The University Scholar Program honors and rewards outstanding teachers and scholars at the three U of I campuses. The award comes with a grant of $10,000 each year for three years for research and scholarly activities.

In a short period of time, Dr. Braynov created a large body of work in an important, demanding and fast changing field. He has received recognition nationally and internationally for his work in the area of computer security.

Dr. Rosina Neginksy, last year’s University Scholar spoke at the event and presented Braynov with the University Scholar pen.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Campus Senate passes MAP Grant resolution

The University of Illinois Springfield Campus Senate passed a resolution at its meeting on Friday, October 09, 2009 asking state lawmakers to restore Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding.

Nearly 20% of the UIS student body or about 750 students would be negatively impacted by the cuts to MAP funding for the Spring 2010 semester.

MAP grants are awarded to about 150,000 to 160,000 college students statewide every semester.

Download the resolution passed by the Campus Senate:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Board of Higher Education approves new UIS Bachelor's Degree

The Illinois Board of Higher Education approved a new Management Information Systems bachelor’s degree for the University of Illinois Springfield at its meeting in Chicago on Tuesday.

The undergraduate major is designed to provide students with a balance of technical skills and business knowledge. The program will prepare students for employment in private and public sectors in a changing global economy.

“College students today are interested in interactive learning. The blended delivery of this program facilitates and enhances interactivity,” said Rassule Hadidi, Ph.D., chair of the Management Information Systems Department.

Students will attend face-to-face classes every other week and instruction is done online during the weeks that classes do not meet in person.

“The blended nature of this program makes it suitable not only for local students, but also those in a reasonable driving distance, such as Bloomington, Danville, Edwardsville and Peoria,” said Hadidi.

UIS expects 25 students to major in MIS in the first year and up to 60 students to be enrolled over the next 5 years. UIS will start offering the degree in the fall of 2010, but students can start taking classes for the major now.

UIS has offered a successful Master of Science in Management Information Systems since 1985 with 42 degrees awarded in fiscal year 2008. The master’s program has a 100% in the field placement record for graduates.

“The prospect for graduates of this new BS in MIS program is very bright,” said Hadidi. “The 2009 federal stimulus includes about $20 billion for health care related information technology.”

According to government estimates about 200,000 new Healthcare Information Technology professionals are needed in areas such as design, development, implementation, and maintenance of electronic medical records.

The curriculum for the B.S. in MIS consists of at least 123 semester credit hours from six groups of courses: 37 hours of general education, 13 hours of Engaged Citizenship Common Experiences (required of all UIS undergraduates), 22 hours of foundation coursework, 21 hours of the College of Business and Management core course, 30 hours in Management Information Systems, and approved general electives.

The addition of the MIS degree means that UIS will offer a total of 23 undergraduate degrees effective the next academic year. The university offers 20 master’s programs and 1 doctoral program for a combined total of 44 available degrees.

Visit the MIS website:

For more information on the degree contact Rassule Hadidi, Ph.D. at 217/206-7294 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

UIS partners to teach fire safety

The University of Illinois Springfield Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center hosted a “Stop, Drop, and Roll” program for 55 children and their parents at Cox Children’s Center on the UIS campus.

UIS partnered with the Springfield Fire Department to teach kids not to fear firefighters during a rescue.

The State Farm Good “Neighbear” was also in attendance handing out fire helmets and coloring books to the children. The visit was part of a grant the volunteer center received from the State Farm Safe Neighbors – Fire and Auto Safety Fund to promote awareness during Fire Safety Week in October.

The center is also using the money to teach fire safety to RA’s in the dorm rooms. The on-campus and student population has grown considerably since UIS began accepting freshmen and sophomores in 2001. In addition, 60% of families living in family housing units have one or more family members living with them, including children.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Legislators support civic education by providing Illinois Issues to public libraries

Illinois Issues, the state’s leading public affairs magazine, has launched a new program in cooperation with state legislators to promote public policy information and education through the public library system. “Issues for Citizens” was launched in September with 31 legislators providing Illinois Issues to 59 libraries across the state. (Please check the list below for your local legislator and library.)

Illinois Issues, with its special focus on Illinois government and politics, and its close attention to current trends and legislative issues, definitely belongs in public libraries so that all citizens can be better informed about important issues that affect the lives of each and every one of us,” Dana Heupel, Illinois Issues executive editor, said. “Information from credible sources can lead to civic engagement and productive dialogue in the public arena about important issues.” Heupel cited wind power in Illinois, an overview of the collapse of the economy and profiles of new legislative leaders as examples of recent topics in the magazine.

Besides a 13-issue subscription to the award-winning magazine, participating legislators also provided libraries with The Illinois Governors: Mostly Good and Competent. This third edition (2007) of the book, originally titled Mostly Good and Competent Men by Robert Howard, is edited and updated by Taylor Pensoneau and Peggy Boyer Long. The book introduces readers to the state’s chief executives from Shadrach Bond to Rod Blagojevich and tells the stories of these powerful men’s lives in the context of the state’s rich and colorful political history.

As part of the legislators’ gifts, libraries also receive Illinois Issues’ annual Roster of State Government Officials, a comprehensive listing of contact information for statewide constitutional officers, major executive agencies and directors, state legislators’ listings for their Springfield and district offices, as well as listings of key staff members and much more.

Entering its 35th year, Illinois Issues is a not-for-profit magazine published at the University of Illinois Springfield. A part of the Center for State Policy and Leadership, the magazine is consistently praised for its reporting and news analysis, recently receiving two national awards from Capitolbeat, the association of Statehouse reporters and editors.

Illinois Issues is continuing to enroll legislators and their libraries in the program. More information is available by calling 217-206-6094 or through the web site at .

Issues for Citizens Program


Sen. Pamela Althoff
Crystal Lake Public Library

Rep. William B. Black
Danville Public Library
St. Joseph Township Swearingen Memorial Library

Sen. Bill Brady
Bloomington Public Library

Rep. William D. Burns
Bessie Coleman Library (Chicago)

House Rep. Leader Tom Cross
Plainfield Public Library
Naperville Public Library on Naper Blvd.

Senate President John Cullerton
John Merlo Library (Chicago)

Rep. Monique D. Davis
Carter G.Woodson Library (Chicago)

Sen. Deanna Demuzio
Carlinville Public Library

Sen. Kirk Dillard
Bloomingdale Public Library
Itasca Community Library

Rep. Ken Dunkin
Chicago Public Library – Hall Branch

Rep. Jack D. Franks
Harvard Diggins Library (Harvard)

Rep. Jehan Gordon
Peoria Public Library – McClure Branch

Sen. Bill Haine
Hayner Library District (Alton)
Six Mile Regional Library District (Granite City)

Sen. Don Harmon
Chicago Public Library – Austin Branch
Chicago Public Library – Galewood-Mont Clare Branch
Chicago Public Library – North Austin Branch
Melrose Park Public Library
River Forest Public Library

Rep. Kay Hatcher
Aurora Public Library - West Branch
Batavia Public Library
Charles B. Phillips Public Library (Newark)
Kaneville Public Library District
Maple Park Library District
Messenger Public Library (North Aurora)
Plano Public Library
Oswego Public Library
Sugar Grove Public Library District
Town & Country Library (Elburn)
Yorkville Public Library

Sen. Dan Kotowski
Norridge Public Library (Chicago)
Elk Grove Village Public Library

Rep. Lou Lang
Lincolnwood Public Library District
Morton Grove Public Library

Rep. David Leitch
Peoria Public Library – Lakeview Branch

Sen. Ed Maloney
St. John Fisher Library (Chicago)

Rep. Richard Myers
Carthage Public Library
Henderson County Public Library District (Biggsville)

Rep. Elaine Nekritz
Indian Trails Public Library (Wheeling)
Prospect Heights Public Library District

Rep. JoAnn Osmond
Lake Villa Library
Zion-Benton Library

Rep. Robert W. Pritchard
Flagg-Rochelle Public Library District
Sycamore Public Library

Senate Rep. Leader Christine Radogno
Lemont Public Library

Rep. Kathy Ryg
North Chicago Public Library
Warren-Newport Public Library

Rep. Darlene Senger
Naperville Public Library (The Nichols Library)
Aurora Public Library – Eola Road Branch

Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano
Elmwood Park Public Library
Franklin Park Public Library

Sen. John Sullivan
Warren County Public Library

Rep. Jil Tracy
Quincy Public Library

Rep. Dave Winters
North Suburban District Library (Loves Park)
South Beloit Public Library

Rep. Karen Yarbrough
Maywood Public Library

UIS Homecoming 2009

Students, faculty and community members came to the University of Illinois Springfield campus on Saturday, October 3, 2009 to celebrate Homecoming 2009.

The day started with the inaugural Yellow Brick Road 5K Run/Walk that took participants on a scenic trip around campus.

One of the highlights was the UIS Homecoming Parade featuring student organizations, political groups and others. It was followed by the Homecoming BBQ & Lawn Party where students enjoyed free food, drinks, and fun.

The night ended with the UIS Students vs. Alumni/Faculty/Staff Basketball game at the TRAC.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Students volunteer during Homecoming activities

Students from the University of Illinois Springfield are giving back to the community during Homecoming 2009.

The Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center organized a service event for M.E.R.C.Y. Communities on Friday, October 2, 2009. The organization provides a supportive housing and service organization for abused, homeless, and at-risk single mothers and their children.

Students spent the afternoon cleaning, painting, and moving air conditioning units to prepare a housing center for new families.

“I volunteered today just to help out because I figure if no one volunteers to do it they’re going to have to get people either way to do it,” said UIS Freshman volunteer Rachelle DeBerry.

“Having the UIS students come out here is really a big help to us every year,” said M.E.R.C.Y. Communities Director of Marketing Brian Ganz.

For more information on volunteer opportunities call The Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center at 217/206-7716 or e-mail