Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lincoln life mask donated to UIS by McGraw family

The Rick and Dona McGraw family of Springfield has donated one of only 15 bronze cast of an original Abraham Lincoln life mask to the University of Illinois Springfield.

The original plaster mold was taken of Lincoln’s face by sculptor Clark Mills on February 11, 1865, just two months before his assassination. The mask shows the great toll the Civil War had taken on Lincoln's health with his tired eyes and face full of wrinkles.

“It’s just an incredible piece of work. The first time I saw it I was really taken aback. It’s like seeing what Lincoln really looked like,” said UIS Chancellor Richard D. Ringeisen.

The McGraw family acquired the mask when they bought the McDonald’s restaurant in downtown Springfield. It was the only item the family saved from the restaurant when they decided to remodel the building.

“We kept him because my dad said he was the only thing worth keeping, so we kept him and he kind of moved around from one location to another,” said Dona McGraw.

The McGraw’s approached UIS Associate Chancellor for Development Vicki Megginson about donating the cast to the university. They saw UIS as a perfect fit, where the public could enjoy the mask.

“I think here, he will be special. We’re thrilled he now has a final home,” said McGraw.

McGraw jokes that the mask has been stored in the family’s home for years in locations such as the basement, a bedroom, and even looking out a window.

“He’s been around in our family for years,” said McGraw.

The family was encouraged that UIS was the right home for the Lincoln mask because of nationally recognized faculty experts, such as Dr. Michael Burlingame, Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies.

The university is making plans to display the mask at Brookens Library.

More information on the life mask can be found online at:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Professor Burks Oakley is named director of national learning consortium

Dr. Burks Oakley II, visiting research professor for the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been named director of the New Century Learning Consortium (NCLC).

The consortium, which was established in 2007 and is funded by grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, includes UIS, University of Southern Maine, Southern Oregon University, Cal State University at Eastbay, Oakland University, Louisiana Tech University and Chicago State University.

“I am looking forward to working with the outstanding and talented individuals at NCLC universities who are dedicated to improving the quality of online education throughout the United States,” Oakley noted.

The consortium is focused on promoting collaborations and synergies among member institutions. Among the key programs of the consortium is the faculty development inter-institutional Certificate in Emerging Technologies and Practices in Online Teaching.

In October 2009, the consortium received a grant from the Sloan Foundation to expand NCLC membership to a total of 14 universities. The grant also supports the delivery of regional workshops at member universities to promote best practices in online learning across the country.

“In these times of decreasing state support for higher education, those of us in public universities need to work together to develop cost-effective practices, such as the collaborations we envision for NCLC – including online course sharing and collaborative faculty and staff development,” Oakley said.

“The grant from the Sloan Foundation will enable us to advance online and blended learning throughout the NCLC using the ‘UIS model’ of integrating these programs into the mainstream of each institution’s course and program offerings,” he added.

Oakley is a professor emeritus in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was the founding director of the University of Illinois Online initiative, a program designed to facilitate the development and delivery of University of Illinois courses, degrees and public service resources over the Internet. From 1997 until 2007, he served as an associate vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois. His areas of interest include distance education and educational technologies, and he has earned a national reputation as a practitioner and promoter of Internet-based asynchronous learning environments.

Oakley received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.

For more information, contact Burks Oakley at or the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at 217/206-7317.

Year in Video 2009

The University of Illinois Springfield is taking a look back at the Year in Video 2009.

DVD copies of this presentation are available free of charge, upon request by contacting Derek Schnapp, Director of Public Relations at 217/206-6716 or

This video has been produced by the UIS Office of Campus Relations and Office of Web Services.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

UIS staff and faculty help to coordinate state-wide ILEAD U initiative

Staff and faculty members from the University of Illinois Springfield’s Brookens Library and the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) are teaming up with staff members from the Illinois State Library and other libraries throughout the state for a prestigious new institute that will be one of the most significant Illinois library initiatives of 2010. The institute, called ILEAD (Illinois Libraries Explore, Apply and Discover) U: the 21st Century Technology Tools Institute for Illinois Library Staff, will be comprised of three in-person sessions from February 23 to 25, June 15 to 17 and October 26 to 28 on the UIS campus. The sessions will be supplemented by online instruction between meeting dates.

ILEAD U, funded by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant awarded to the Illinois State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will encourage both the experimentation with and building of participatory Web services and programs. Library educator R. David Lankes of Syracuse University will lead the instructors for the project.

As part of the institute, the UIS participants and their colleagues from other Illinois libraries will implement web technologies that foster community participation and develop leadership, innovation and positive change.

The institute is the brainchild of Anne Craig, director of the Illinois State Library, who has “exceptional vision in seeing a need and conceiving of such an innovative way to meet it,” according to Dean Jane Treadwell, University Librarian at UIS. Treadwell is chairing the steering committee which selected the instructors, mentors and teams of participants and will guide the work of the project.

Other UIS participants include Natalie Tagge, visiting Instructional Services Librarian at Brookens Library, who will serve as a mentor in ILEAD U, and two other Brookens librarians, Pamela M. Salela and Amanda Binder, who will participate in cross-institutional teams that will learn to use participatory technology tools to understand and respond to patron needs.

“We hope to foster a philosophy that technology becomes powerful in libraries when people engage with it critically and thoughtfully,” said Tagge.

Additionally, Ray Schroeder and Shari Smith of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service are acting as consultants to the instructors for the project, and David Racine of the Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies will direct the evaluation of the ILEAD U grant.

“We in the Brookens Library and COLRS are very excited to collaborate with the Illinois State Library on this project that has the potential to transform the way that libraries interact with their patrons,” noted Treadwell.

Smith, associate director of COLRS, added, “The ILEAD U grant is an excellent example of why libraries and librarians are uniquely qualified to lead their communities forward to a new knowledge society. The grant has been carefully crafted to include cutting-edge technology, careful assessment and evaluation, location-specific consideration and stakeholders from around the state.”

Participatory technology tools will include:
Blogging tools
Digital audio/podcasting, photography and video
RSS feeds
Social networking and photo-sharing sites
Videoconferencing and web conferencing
Virtual reference and virtual worlds (ie. Second Life)
Instant messaging
And more

“The Illinois State Library is proud of its strong commitment to continuing education and providing librarians with the tools and resources necessary to address the ever-changing needs of their patrons,” said Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White. “Nowhere is the need for continuing education more important than in the area of technology. Librarians need to constantly enhance their skills to keep up to date with the latest technology, and ILEAD U represents an exciting, innovative new program to build technology and leadership skills among Illinois librarians.”

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Chancellor discusses budget issues

Today, Chancellor Richard Ringeisen sent the following information to all University of Illinois Springfield employees.

I want to follow up on President Stanley Ikenberry’s note to all university staff and faculty about the implementation of furloughs, a hiring freeze, and related issues at the University of Illinois.

Clearly, the university and UIS are facing our most serious budgetary times in recent history.

The president’s letter describes the initial steps we are taking in response to the budget problems. I expect there to be a lot of communication among us in the days and weeks to come as we implement these steps.

The simple hard fact is that the state of Illinois cannot pay and is not paying its bills. That includes money owed to the University of Illinois. So we must enact measures to assure that we will be able to meet our payroll obligations. If we are unable to do that, we would not be able to keep our focus on our essential mission: to provide an excellent education and college experience to our students. We must also remain in pursuit of our vision to become one of the top five small public liberal arts universities in the nation. We must see to it that we do not halt or reverse the progress we have made in recent years, and I am confident that, working together, we will not.

The UIS community has a remarkable way of rising to the occasion. Now we must continue to work together and stay in communication as we face new obstacles.

Provost Harry Berman and I will preside at two open forums for the UIS community. Both forums will be in Brookens Auditorium:

  • Tuesday, January 5: 3 to 4:30pm
  • Tuesday, January 12: 2 to 3:30pm

Dr. Berman and I want to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you have. We will have brief remarks. Then most of the forum will be a Question and Answer session.

For the latest information, please see the following web sites: