Saturday, December 28, 2013

UIS joins opposition to boycott of Israeli universities

The University of Illinois president, the chancellors of the U of I campuses, and the chair and vice chair of the executive committee of the University Senates Conferences have issued the statement below:

The University of Illinois leadership strongly endorses the Association of American Universities (AAU) statement opposing a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. TheAAU statement, issued on Dec. 20, 2013, and signed by the organization’s executive committee, says that:

“Any such boycott of academic institutions directly violates academic freedom, which is a fundamental principle of AAU universities and of American higher education in general. Academic freedom is the freedom of university faculty responsibly to produce and disseminate knowledge through research, teaching, and service, without undue constraint. It is a principle that should not be abridged by political considerations. American colleges and universities, as well as like institutions elsewhere, must stand as the first line of defense against attacks on academic freedom.”

We are in agreement with the AAU statement, which has been endorsed by numerous higher education leaders.

Robert A. Easter, President, University of Illinois
Phyllis M. Wise, Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Paula Allen-Meares, University of Illinois at Chicago
Susan J. Koch, University of Illinois at Springfield
Jorge Villegas, Chair, University Senates Conference
Don Chambers, Vice Chair, University Senates Conference

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New concealed-carry law won't allow you to carry a gun on campus

The new Illinois concealed-carry law that will go into effect on January 1, 2014 will not allow persons with concealed-carry permits to carry firearms on the University of Illinois Springfield or other college and university campuses.

“The rules remain largely unchanged,” said Don Mitchell, police chief at UIS. “The concealed-carry law will not allow someone with a permit to legally carry a gun outside of their vehicle on university property.”

While concealed carry will be allowed in Illinois, the major change to campus policy is that the law will allow those with concealed-carry permits to store firearms in vehicles on campus. But permit holders are not allowed to remove a firearm from their vehicle while on university property.

“We want to make sure those with concealed-carry permits are educated about the new law before they bring firearms on campus,” said Mitchell.

Statewide, those with a permit can carry a handgun as long as it is hidden. If a weapon is being stored in a vehicle, it must be concealed within a case in a locked vehicle or in a locked container that is not in plain view.

The law allows the university to designate specific parking lots for those with a concealed-carry permit, but UIS has decided not to implement such a policy.

There is a provision in the existing law that gives individuals the opportunity to request an exemption allowing them to store a weapon on campus; the police chief is the only one with the power to grant those exemptions.

“Such exemptions will be rarely granted,” said Mitchell.

One of the biggest impacts to campus will be adding the signs the law requires. The law calls for signs prohibiting firearms to be added at every building entrance.

UIS Facilities & Services will be responsible for posting all signs prohibiting firearms at all UIS buildings. Other university staff members are asked not to hang or remove these signs. Persons with questions about where signs will be posted on their buildings should contact Facilities & Services at 217/206-6530.

For more information on the concealed-carry law, visit the Illinois State Police website. To view the weapons policy for all University of Illinois campuses, please visit the UIS Police website.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

UIS explores possible nickname/mascot change

The Student Government Association (SGA) at the University of Illinois Springfield is seeking feedback from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members about possibly changing the Prairie Stars nickname and mascot.

For those unable to attend one of three public forums held on campus in mid-November we’ve recorded the presentation. Please email your feedback to

The six nickname options being considered include the Prairie Stars, Stars, Mammoths, Sabers, Stampede, and Springers (as in the dog).

Following the public forums, the SGA Nickname Task Force will prepare a report containing the feedback received from the UIS community. That report will be submitted to UIS Chancellor Susan Koch for consideration.

Monday, November 18, 2013

International Festival brings cultural exhibits and performances to UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield presented the 36th annual International Festival with the theme “Passport to the World” on November 15, 2013. The festival featured cultural exhibits, artistic performances, food tasting, and more.

“I think it’s great because here on campus we don’t get a lot of opportunities to showcase our culture and our food,” said Afua Amoabin, a junior biology major.

Amoabin was one of the many students who performed at the festival as part of 3 hours of live entertainment. She also took time to explore the festival and compare her culture to others.

“I think sometimes you can get stuck in our own comfort zone and what we’re used to and sometimes it’s just nice to see stuff through other people’s shoes or even through their plates,” she said.

Management Information Systems major Kartik Kaurav came to the United States from India. For him, it was nice to experience a taste of home, while learning about other cultures.

“Look at these paintings, the food, the spices,” said Kaurav in surveying the festival.

The International Festival is the longest running annual event on the UIS campus. As the international population has grown at UIS, the festival has followed.

“UIS is growing drastically diverse, so it’s important that we acknowledge that and we take advantage of events like this one,” said Jaime Cruz, a senior English major.

Countries and organizations represented this year included African countries, China, India, Ireland, Peru, Turkey, Scotland and more. Ethnic dishes were provided by The Holy Land Diner, Dynasty Asian Cuisine, Hunan Chinese Restaurant, Osaka, La Fiesta, Xochimilico, Olive Garden, and more.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Capital Scholars Honors Program spotlighted at Board of Trustees meeting

Chancellor Susan J. Koch welcomed members of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees to the Springfield campus on November 14, 2013.

Following her opening remarks, Koch introduced Marc Klingshirn, director of the Capital Scholars Honors Program and two students (Vivica Futrell & Matt Dobill) who discussed how the program has benefited them.

UIS students Shao (Christina) Yu and Ying Han also performed traditional Chinese music for the board.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

UIS survey finds Sangamon County employers not expecting large changes in employment

A survey conducted by the University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy and Leadership, in partnership with The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, shows Sangamon County employers are not expecting big changes in the employment rate in Sangamon County.

The Fall 2013 Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey studied local businesses, firms, and non-profits in order to gauge expectations across several economic indicators. The survey is based on the responses of 174 individuals representing various economic sectors including construction, manufacturing, retail, financial, and medical.

The survey found a majority of businesses are not expecting a decrease or increase for the next year. Forty-seven percent of respondents expect employment to “stay the same,” while 26.8 percent expect a “small increase” or “large increase.” Additionally, 25.7 percent of respondents report that there will either be a “small decline” or a “large decline” in the overall employment in Sangamon County over the next 12 months.

Results from the survey show Sangamon County employers believe that increasing the number of workforce training programs is a priority in Sangamon County with two-thirds of respondents reporting that it was either a medium or high priority in the region.

The Fall 2013 topical section asked employers what traits/characteristics they are most looking for in new employees. Respondents chose from a list of traits ranging from personal skills to business skills to technical skills.
  • Almost 90% (89.7 respondents) report that they are looking for employees with personal skills (work ethic, responsibility, integrity.)
  • 55.4% report that they are looking for individuals with communication skills (speaking, writing, and working in teams.) 
The overall Intensity Index Scores show that all indicators, except for employment and inflation, saw positive expectation increases since Spring 2013. Capital investment saw a significant positive boost, up four points from last spring.

When analyzing the expectations by industry sectors, the medical sector continues to produce strong numbers, up one point from this spring. Overall, eight out of 12 industry sectors had higher expectations than six months ago.

Next to healthcare, the information and communication sector posted the second highest positive expectations for industries in Sangamon County.

Businesses, firms and organizations had optimistic outlooks of themselves in the survey, posting very strong numbers. There were increases in all five indicators, including capital investment, total number of employees, gross revenue/sales, profitability and overall status. This is the most positive rating recorded in the economic outlook survey since Spring 2012.

The survey is sponsored by the University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor’s Office, the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS and The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on the survey, contact Ashley Kirzinger, director of the UIS Survey Research Office, at 217/206-7956 or

Read the full report online

Friday, November 08, 2013

International House teaches students about other cultures

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield are getting a chance to learn about other countries without leaving the comfort of their apartments.

The International House, located in Bluebell Court, gives students from the United States a chance to live with students from around the globe. In the past two years, students from Belgium, China, India, Jamaica, Japan, and Russia have called the house home.

“The purpose is to foster a living-learning community among American and international students. To create a cohesive environment among the two groups,” said Riley Quinlan, a junior global studies and political science major who serves as house coordinator.

Xu Gao, a Chinese native, came to UIS because he wanted to experience something different. He’s found the International House to be a perfect fit.

“I chose to move here because I think; it’s the International House, right? I’m a foreigner and that’s the reason just to experience the different (cultures),” said Gao.

Across from Gao’s apartment lives another Chinese student, Lulu Cheng. She decided to live in the International House because she knows the world is changing.

“I think now everywhere it’s becoming more international,” said Cheng. “It’s very good for you to realize the different countries culture’s when you are in college. It will be a good experience for you in the future.”

Before coming to UIS, Shijin Soloman hadn’t ventured outside his home country.

“It’s like good to learn the different cultures,” he said. “Since my childhood days I’ve been living with the people in India, so I never got exposure.”

Students living in the International House go on group trips together, fix meals in the same kitchen, and share their life experiences.

“There are gaps of information that can be shared across the cultures,” said Quinlan. “Everyone has different cooking and living expectations. It’s just a way to communicate effectively and enrich a global background living in Springfield.”

The International House started during the Fall 2012 Semester. There are 16 students who currently call the house home, but it’s growing.

“UIS is becoming more and more of a dominant global campus and this is one way it’s living up to that and continuing its international traditions,” said Quinlan.

For more information on the International House, visit the International Student Services website.

Friday, November 01, 2013

UIS students collect over 11,000 pounds of food

Over 200 University of Illinois Springfield students helped to collect 11,147 pounds of food for the Central Illinois Foodbank on Halloween night.

A total of 18 teams of students went door-to-door in several Springfield neighborhoods Trick or Treating for Canned Goods.

“Last year we collected 6,800 pounds of food. Despite rainy weather and thanks to the generosity of the Springfield community, this year our dedicated students were able to collect almost twice that amount,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center.

Earlier this month, the teams canvassed neighborhoods and distributed door hangers that explained the project. Collected items were returned and weighed at Quaker Steak and Lube Thursday night following the drive. Prizes were awarded to the teams that collect the most food.

The Leadership for Life Program won the overall prize by collecting 1,353 pounds of food. Lambda Pi Eta, the communication honor society on campus, won the most pounds per team member award by gathering 1,042 pounds of food with only four team members.

The Central Illinois Foodbank distributes over 9.5 million pounds of food annually to over 150 food pantries, soup kitchens, residential programs and after-school programs in a 21 county region.

For more information, or if you have food that was not collected please contact the UIS Volunteer Center at 217/206-7716 or

Monday, October 28, 2013

Associate Professor of Biology Hua Chen named the 2013 University Scholar at UIS

Hua Chen, associate professor of Biology at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been named University Scholar for 2013. He was the only UIS faculty member chosen for this award honoring and rewarding outstanding teachers and scholars at the three U of I campuses.

“Dr. Chen is a wonderful example of the teacher-scholar ideal,” said Lynn Pardie, UIS provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs. “His research focuses on ecosystem ecology, restoration ecology, and global change ecology, and he has published extensively in a number of highly regarded journals in his field.”

Chen’s scholarly agenda involves two lines of investigation, both of which have important implications for the dynamics of climate change -- assessing the impact of global changes in land-use and in climate on the carbon and nitrogen dynamics of restored wetlands and forest ecosystems, and exploring the relationships between native and invasive plant biodiversity within different spatial and temporal contexts.

He has received numerous competitive grants in support of his research from the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Energy’s National Institute for Climate Change Research, among others.

“Dr. Chen’s philosophy of scholarship emphasizes the importance of a reciprocal relationship between active research and teaching quality, and the value of research experience for students’ learning and pre-professional development,” said Pardie.

He teaches at all levels of the biology curriculum, both on campus and online, and he is an active mentor of student research at undergraduate and graduate levels. His skills in research pedagogy are very highly regarded by colleagues. Under his guidance, students have presented their work at academic conferences and/or co-authored articles published in peer-reviewed journals in their field.

In addition to meaningful service contributions at the department, college, and campus levels, Chen is actively engaged with his discipline. He serves as an editorial board member for several academic journals, and he is a proposal reviewer for the National Natural Science Foundation of China. He was a founding member of the Midwest-Great Lakes chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration and is a member of the UIS Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon Advisory Board.

Chen holds a B.A. in Forestry from Zhe Jiang A&F University in China, an M.A. in Forestry from the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Applied Ecology, and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from Oregon State University.

As University Scholar, he will receive $15,000 a year for three years to support research and other scholarly activities. Faculty do not apply for this award; they are nominated by their peers. A committee of senior faculty makes the final selection.

For more information on the award, contact Derek Schnapp, director of public relations at 217/206-6716 or email

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Greek Life now offered at the University of Illinois Springfield

By Paige Heiser (UIS Campus Relations)

After three years of hard work, petitions, and meetings, students at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) are finally welcoming in a group of Greek Life sororities and fraternities.

A true atonement of leadership lived, the effort to petition for Greek Life began three years ago, founded and led by three UIS students: Jessica Odigie, Robert Dixon, and Kyle Palmer.

“It’s more than just a ‘social option’ on campus,” explains Palmer. “The intent is to create students who will become contributing members of society through academic excellence, social justice, selfless service, high social standards, and a sense of brotherhood.”

One unique aspect of Greek Life at UIS is students have the opportunity to create the culture. Other universities are tied-in to tradition, but UIS students are governed by the rules and regulations of the UIS Greek Affairs Board.

There is a no-hazing policy in place, which is governed by the University of Illinois Springfield and the Illinois State Hazing law. No chapter, colony, student or alumnus shall conduct nor condone hazing activities.

Two fraternities are currently on campus: Chapter Upsilon Xi of Alpha Phi Alpha and Chapter Mu Eta of Phi Beta Sigma. The next step is to colonize the fraternity Phi Kappa Tau.

Two sororities will also be joining the ranks of Greek Life at UIS: Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta. These sororities will begin their membership intake process in the spring semester.

All Greek organizations exemplify scholarship, philanthropy, and service to the community.

Greek life has created a new, vibrant feel to the UIS community. More students stay on campus on the week-ends and the presence of alumni has increased through their support to the college chapters.

“These students never gave up. They stayed focused, and never grew weary,” Clarice Ford, Director of the Diversity Center at UIS, explains. “It’s an important lesson to realize dreams don’t happen overnight. You have to sacrifice, work hard and it can happen. This is a true example of ‘leadership lived’ by our students.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

UIS and Chamber to survey businesses and non-profits about economic outlook

The University of Illinois Springfield and Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce are partnering for a fifth year to conduct the Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey.

Starting September 17, 2013, a mail survey will be sent to Sangamon County businesses and non-profit organizations in order to examine the local area economic perceptions, expectations, and evaluations.

“The survey results are used by local business leaders, government officials, and area residents in order to better understand the local Sangamon county economy and where it could be headed over the next 6 months,” said Ashley Kirzinger, director of the UIS Survey Research Office.

The Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey is a longitudinal project conducted biannually by the Survey Research Office in collaboration with the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor’s Office, and UIS’ Center for State Policy & Leadership.

The results from the survey will be announced on Nov. 12 at the Chamber’s Economic Outlook Breakfast at the University of Illinois Springfield from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. The event is sponsored by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

For more information on the survey, contact Ashley Kirzinger at 217/ 206-7956 or

Friday, September 13, 2013

UIS Computer Science partners with Global Velocity to enhance cyberwarfare training

The University of Illinois Springfield Computer Science Department is collaborating with next generation cyber-security firm Global Velocity (GV) to improve its cyber test range. UIS's cyber test range will be used for student training and faculty research.

Global Velocity, based in St. Louis, Mo., is a leader in data loss prevention (DLP) technologies. Global Velocity will be donating two of its "deep packet inspection" (DPI) platforms to UIS. These platforms are based on specially programmed hardware called FPGA's, and they have capabilities far beyond normal firewalls.

Ted Mims, chair of the UIS Computer Science Department, describes the donation in simple terms: "Imagine that we had an automotive engineering program and the students were working on old cars with old technology. Suddenly, someone loans us a new Corvette for investigation and training."

Ronald Loui, who teaches cyberwarfare at UIS, is more emphatic: "Imagine simulating a battle in cyberspace, where each side is working with muskets, and suddenly you can simulate the appearance of a machine gun in the battlefield. That's how disruptive GV's technology will be in our cyber test range."

When Loui called Greg Sullivan CEO at Global Velocity, and asked whether he could borrow one GV box, Sullivan listened to what it would mean for UIS students and for the future of national security, and promptly offered two.

UIS Computer Science Instructors Josh Smith and Lucinda Caughey, who lead one of the most active undergraduate computing clubs in the Midwest, will direct the activity. UIS has a new FPGA firewall expert on its faculty, Lucas Vespa who has recently designed a degree-granting computer security program.

UIS's cyber range can also be used for simulation of macroeconomic activity. University Professor Sviatoslav Braynov, and Loui, both study market reputation effects and transaction costs, especially models of trust and negotiation that are respectful of legal and political institutions.

For more information, contact Ronald Loui, UIS assistant professor of Computer Science at 217/206-7429 or


Global Velocity provides affordable and easy to use Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions that allow companies to protect their most valuable digital assets and brands from loss or misuse, while assisting them in maintaining their compliance, audit and security obligations. This proven next-generation cybersecurity software is virtualizable, scalable and extendable for deployment in both enterprise and cloud environments. Learn more at

University of Illinois Springfield is one of three campuses of the world-class University of Illinois. About 5,000 students enroll each year seeking a U of I degree but also the intimate learning environment of a private college. Located in the state capital, UIS has a special mission in public affairs and offers 11 degree programs that prepare students for careers in the public sector. Since its founding, UIS has produced thousands of leaders in government and non-profit organizations in Illinois.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Katherine Boo book discussion at UIS cancelled

Due to the author’s ill health, Katherine Boo’s book discussion previously scheduled for October 7, 2013 in Sangamon Auditorium has been cancelled. The appearance was part of the “One Book, One UIS” reading initiative.

The previously scheduled “One Book, One UIS” panel discussion will take place as planned. A panel of UIS faculty members will look at the issues raised in Behind the Beautiful Forevers from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including women’s studies, communication, politics, and the global economy. The panel discussion will take place on Tuesday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium at UIS.

UIS Brookens Library hopes to reschedule an appearance by Katherine Boo sometime during the 2013-2014 academic year.

For more information, contact Jane Treadwell, University Librarian & Dean, Library Instructional Services, at 217/206-6597 or

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

UIS enrollment increases; topping 5,100 students

Matches second-highest enrollment in school history

Fall 2013 enrollment at the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois is up by nearly 100 students compared to the previous fall semester. According to the official fall census, the total number of students enrolled at UIS after the first 10 days of classes is 5,137. This marks the fourth year enrollment has topped 5,000 students. Last fall’s enrollment was 5,048.

“Growth is a high priority for the UIS campus and we are very encouraged that more and more students are choosing the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois because of the high quality educational experience they receive,” said Chancellor Susan J. Koch.

Overall, the number of freshmen students attending UIS jumped by 20% this semester. That makes it the largest freshman class in UIS history.

The number of graduate students enrolled at UIS is also growing. There are 2,098 graduate students enrolled at UIS this semester, compared to 1,994 in fall 2012.

There are also more students living on the UIS campus this semester. A total of 1,047 students live on campus, which means campus housing is 94.4% occupied.

“One of our goals is to continue to enhance student life on campus and this is great evidence that we are doing that,” said Koch.

Overall, the diversity of the student body is also growing. International student enrollment increased to 7.4% (382) of the population compared to 4.8% (242) last year. African American students increased to nearly 12% (612) of the population this year compared to 11.5% (578) last year and students who self-identify as Hispanic comprise 4.8% (247) of this year’s student body.

Growth in online learning continues, with a total of 1,610 students enrolled in online degree or certificate programs, a 5.4% increase over fall 2012. This semester, online students reside in 48 of the 50 states, 79 counties in Illinois, and 12 foreign countries.

UIS is a premier public university that provides students with a high-quality liberal arts education, exceptional public affairs opportunities, and outstanding professional preparation programs.

UIS has four core strengths: (1) a teaching-focused academic experience; (2) an abundance of opportunities to collaborate; (3) a right-sized supportive community; and (4) a tradition of educating public servants and leaders.

For more information, contact Derek Schnapp, director of public relations at 217/206-6716 or

Thursday, September 05, 2013

UIS scientists awarded grant to study the impact of record Illinois River flooding

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon has been awarded a $148,210 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study the impact of record Illinois River flooding on The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon and Merwin restoration project sites in Fulton and Brown counties.

Prior to the April 2013, neither of the Conservancy’s sites had been flooded by the river since restoration activities began. The grant funding will allow scientists to study seasonal and long term changes possibly caused by the introduction of river water into the floodplain-river ecosystem.

“At Emiquon, the levee held but river water flowed into the site inoculating the area with nutrients and organisms,” said Michael Lemke, UIS biology professor and director of the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon. “At the Merwin site, the levee breached resulting in a sudden and sustained influx of river water.”

Scientists will be measuring changes to sediment, algal biomass, bacterial communities and zooplankton production. Longer-term impacts on vegetation, fish, and water birds will be determined by comparing post flood 2013 data to existing long-term data sets.

“Knowing the effect of these types of floods is critical where river ecosystems have been developed and where floodplains are now being restored because there are likely trade-offs between using restored floodplains to maintain native species and natural functions and using them to reduce threats to lives and property,” said Lemke.

The overall research effort will be led by Lemke along with UIS Associate Professor of Chemistry Keenan Dungey, who will coordinate the water quality analysis. Research will be done in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, the Illinois River Biological Station and Forbes Biological Station; both stations are Illinois Natural History Survey facilities.

“This marks the first time the three field stations have collaborated on a joint effort to study the Illinois River floodplain,” said Lemke. “This is an especially exciting aspect of this work.”

Restoration of the Conservancy’s 1200-acre Merwin Preserve and their 6600-acre Emiquon Preserve began in 1999 and 2007 respectively. Both properties are immediately adjacent to the Illinois River and are undergoing a transformation from farmland to its natural state – a large river floodplain. The projects represent two of the largest floodplain restoration projects in the Midwest. The UIS Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon was founded in 2008 in order to study, research, and document these unique, immense projects.

The National Science Foundation grant will support a Ph.D. candidate, two UIS graduate students, and three UIS undergraduate students studying river ecology.

Lessons learned from the research will be shared with public, government and private organizations through publications and field-based lectures/workshops for students and groups visiting Emiquon.

For more information, contact Michael Lemke at 217/206-7339 or

UIS Illinois Innocence Project joins hearing in controversial "Shaken Baby Syndrome" case

On Monday, September 16, 2013 attorneys and experts will gather for a week-long evidentiary hearing in DuPage County that seeks a new trial for Pamela Jacobazzi. She is a day-care provider, who was convicted of violently shaking to death an infant in her care in 1994.

In November 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court remanded Jacobazzi’s post-conviction petition for an evidentiary hearing regarding a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. She maintains that her trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present a defense based on information contained in the pediatrician’s records. The records indicated pre-existing medical conditions that may have caused or contributed to the infant’s injuries.

The Appellate Court held that the trial court must have a hearing to determine if evidence existed which might have proven that the infant suffered from medical conditions which caused his death rather than the Shaken Baby Syndrome “(SBS)” diagnosis that was used to convict Jacobazzi. It has also been recognized that there is significant debate within the medical community about the SBS diagnosis.

Nationally recognized medical experts will testify during the hearing about the significance of the infant’s pre-existing conditions in establishing that the cause of the event in August 1994 was not SBS; and that the very diagnosis of SBS has been declared as unreliable. It will be argued that the infant’s conditions leading to his death were not the result of violent shaking, but instead caused by the effects of an undiagnosed pre-existing condition as described in the pediatrician’s records. This defense was available at the time of trial based on the pediatrician records and would have changed the outcome of the trial.

The UIS Illinois Innocence Project is assisting Chicago area attorney, Anthony Sassan, who has been representing Jacobazzi pro bono for over 10 years. The Project is currently reviewing over 30 cases with assistance from students at University of Illinois Springfield, the University of Illinois College of Law, Southern Illinois University School of Law, and Northern Illinois University College of Law.

Friday, August 30, 2013

UIS student begin school year with Service-A-Thon

University of Illinois Springfield students gave back to the Springfield community during the annual Welcome Week Service-A-Thon on August 30, 2013.

Students worked various shifts throughout the day helping the American Red Cross Illinois Capital Area Chapter, Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County, Hospital Sister’s Mission Outreach, and the St. John’s Breadline.

“We’re trying to give back to the community, we’re trying to connect students to the community on their first week of classes,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center.

UIS freshman Marissa Farris woke up early on a Friday morning to help fill American Red Cross comfort kits full of toothpaste, combs, and other items that are handed out following disasters.

“I enjoy volunteering because it just makes me feel good to know that I’m helping someone else, someone who’s in their time of need,” said Farris.

The Red Cross comfort kits will be distributed to 39 counties across central Illinois.

“Everybody needs to help their own community. If you’re part of the UIS community, you should help because it’s one thing to just stand back and look and it’s another thing to even put toothpaste in a Red Cross bag,” said Mihai Smarandescu, a UIS sophomore.

At the St. John’s Breadline, UIS volunteers helped prepare and serve food, carried trays, and helped distribute items to the homeless.

“These people are out here in need of food and I’m lucky enough to not have that problem, but when I can help like this it’s great,” said Alexa McClaughry, a UIS freshman.

Dochterman hopes the students also learn a few leadership lessons from the experience.

“These students have an opportunity to meet community members, to see the experiences of people other than college students, to be a part of Springfield,” said Dochterman.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

UIS establishes new transfer agreements with nine Illinois community colleges

The University of Illinois Springfield has established new transfer agreements with nine community colleges in Illinois. The 2+2 Advising Guide Agreements establish a seamless transfer for community college credit hours into UIS, thus making it easier for students to earn their bachelor’s degree.

“These agreements provide students with a course checklist that they can use to achieve their degree in the most expedient manner,” said Raymond Barnett, UIS Admissions Transfer Coordinator.

The 18 new agreements cover academic subjects, such as computer science, environmental studies, political science, and social work.

The community college partners in these new agreements include Black Hawk College (Moline, Ill.), Danville Area Community College, Illinois Central College (Peoria, Ill.), Lake Land College (Mattoon, Ill.), Lewis and Clark Community College (Godfrey, Ill.), McHenry County College (Crystal Lake, Ill.), Prairie State College (Chicago Heights, Ill.), Rock Valley College (Rockford, Ill.), and William Rainey Harper College (Palatine, Ill.).

In addition to these agreements, UIS currently has 50 separate transfer agreement degree plans under review by 20 community colleges.

“We want to keep establishing connections with every interested party and further secure UIS’ status as the most transfer-friendly university in Illinois,” said Barnett.

For more information and questions about 2+2 agreements, contact Raymond Barnett at 217/206-6628 or email

Involvement Expo connects students with on and off campus opportunities

The University of Illinois Springfield hosted its annual Welcome Week Involvement Expo in an effort to get students active on August 28, 2013. The expo featured over 140 student organizations, clubs, community groups, and businesses.

“We have over 70 students organizations regularly registered here at UIS, so it’s great to show them all that they can do and get involved with to enhance their classroom experience on campus,” said Beth Nahlik, UIS associate director of Student Life.

Freshman psychology major Cierra Hall didn’t know what she’d find at the Involvement Expo, but left with interest in several organizations.

“I came out here just to see what opportunities are available on campus and to see who I could meet and to just try and see what the campus offers,” said Hall.

Junior accountancy major Nicole Yoder is involved with the Christian Student Fellowship on campus and helped to recruit new members at the expo. She’s found campus involvement rewarding.

“I think that’s what makes your college experience good, is when you can get involved with different communities and organizations and then you meet a lot more people,” said Yoder.

For more information on student organizations on campus, visit the Student Life website.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Twenty three new faculty members join UIS for fall 2013

Twenty three new faculty members have joined the University of Illinois Springfield for Fall Semester 2013. Eleven will teach in programs within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; five in the College of Education and Human Services; five in the College of Business and Management; and two in the College of Public Affairs and Administration.

Deborah Baudler, assistant professor of clinical laboratory science in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds an M.S. in clinical laboratory science from the University of North Dakota – Grand Forks. She has been a medical technologist for 34 years, is a specialist in blood bank certification, and has a strong interest in teaching tomorrow’s laboratory professionals. She also enjoys traveling, gardening, and is “a huge Green Bay Packer’s fan.”

Brytton Bjorngaard, assistant professor of art in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds an M.F.A. in graphic design from Iowa State University. Her research and professional interests include wayfinding, healthcare design, educational design for disabilities, and typography. She also enjoys photography, traveling, sewing, baking, and hula hooping.

Ronda J. Brown, assistant professor of teacher education in the College of Education and Human Services, holds an Ed.D. in education (elementary and early childhood education) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research and professional interests include studying career switchers going into teaching and interviewing Illinois authors for the Illinois Reading Council Journal. Outside of teaching, she enjoys working out, travel, and spending time with family.

Mario Cardozo, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Texas at Austin. His personal and professional interests include human-environmental interactions, environmental remote sensing, conservation, and smallholder livelihoods. He enjoys swimming, films, music, and backgammon.

Kevin Currie-Knight, a post-doc in liberal and integrative studies/liberty studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, is expected to earn a Ph.D. in education (specialization of curriculum inquiry) from the University of Delaware in 2013. His research and professional interests include philosophy politics and the history of education. He enjoys exercise, jazz music, and non-academic reading.

Ed Etter, assistant professor of accountancy in the College of Business and Management, holds a Ph.D. in accounting from Ohio State University. Etter’s research and professional interests include: accounting education, international accounting, and fraud examination. He also enjoys travel, reading, camping, and spending time with family.

Frank Fuchs, visiting computer science instructor in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds a B.A. in business management from the University of Illinois Springfield. He is especially interested in encouraging students to pursue a successful career using digital forensics and cyber security techniques. His personal interest is helping his family and children develop their careers and life interests.

Fran├žois Giraud-Carrier, assistant professor of management in the College of Business and Management, is expected to obtain a Ph.D. in operations management from the University of Utah in 2013. Giraud-Carrier’s research and professional interests include sustainable operations, supply chain management, and management information systems. He also enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and spending time with the kids.

Shipra Gupta, assistant professor of business administration in the College of Business and Management, is expected to obtain a Ph.D. in marketing from the University Nebraska-Lincoln in 2013. Gupta’s research and professional interest include marketing consumer behavior, retailing, fashion marketing, sustainability, public policy issues, cross-cultural or international marketing. She also enjoys traveling, watching movies, cooking Indian specialties, painting, and spending time with my family.

Jill Horne, instructor of mathematical sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds an M.S. in mathematics from Illinois State University. She is passionate about providing meaningful mathematics lessons to students that spur their curiosity and build the classroom community. She enjoys cooking, playing board games with her family, exercising, and entertaining her dog, Newton.

Elham S. Khorsani, assistant professor of computer science in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His research interests include soft computing and computing with words. He also enjoys hiking, movies, and books.

Liang Kong, assistant professor of mathematical sciences in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds and Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Auburn University. His research and professional interests include differential equations, dynamical systems, and mathematical biology. He also enjoys swimming, tennis, and being an Auburn football fan.

Matthew McCaffrey, a post-doc in liberal and integrative studies/liberty studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, is expected to earn a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Angers in 2013. His research and professional interests include entrepreneurship, risk and uncertainty, moral hazard, and the history of economic thought. He enjoys military history and Chinese philosophy.

D’Lisa McKee, assistant professor of management in the College of Business and Management, is expected to obtain a Ph.D. in management (organizational behavior) from Mississippi State University in 2013. McKee’s research and professional interests include organizational behavior/human resource management with a focus on ethics, deviance, and normative behavior. She also enjoys photography, travel, and live music.

Elissa Thomann Mitchell, assistant professor of human services in the College of Education and Human Services, holds a Ph.D. in human development and family studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research and professional interests include the wellbeing of at-risk children, youth, and families; relationships and social support networks; programs or interventions for vulnerable populations. She also enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, cooking, traveling, and waterskiing.

Carolee Rigsbee, assistant professor of management in the College of Business and Management, is expected to obtain a Ph.D. in business administration in organization and management studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2013. Rigsbee’s research and professional interests include strategic management in a supply chain context. She also enjoys family time, gardening, and riding horses.

Tiffani Saunders, assistant professor of sociology/anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, is expected to earn a Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University in 2013. She has broad research and teaching interests in family, mental health, research methods, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She also enjoys playing violin, teaching Jazzercise, reading, arts and crafts, and spending time with her son.

Thomas Sidener, visiting computer science instructor in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, holds an M.S. in computer science (network programming) from the University of Illinois Springfield. His research and professional interests include mobile application development (Android and IOS), database development and optimization, and software engineering. He also enjoys playing board games, playing the guitar and drums, and writing poetry.

David Stoesz, professor of social work in the College of Education and Human Services, holds a Ph.D. in social work – public policy from the University of Maryland. His research and professional interests include social policy, innovations in social programs, and research on economic inequality. He also enjoys downhill skiing, whitewater kayaking, weaving, making furniture, and cooking.

Megan Styles, assistant professor of environmental studies in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Washington. Her research and professional interests include sustainable development, agriculture, environmental justice, and Africa. She enjoys running, traveling, backpacking, camping, and hiking.

J. Graham Thompson, visiting clinic instructor in human development counseling, holds a master’s degree and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. His research and professional interests include couple and family therapy and training younger therapists. Outside of work, he enjoys “wearing the Thompson blue kilt and playing the bagpipes, annoying the local cows.”

Traci Van Prooyen, assistant professor of teacher education in the College of Education and Human Services, holds an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Illinois State University. Her research and professional interests include teacher education and dispositions of teachers. She also enjoys spending time with her children and family, reading, calligraphy, singing, and quilting.

Citlalin Xochime, instructor of English in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, is expected to earn a Ph.D. in rhetoric and professional communication from New Mexico State University in 2013. Her research and professional interests include rhetorical/professional communication, English (with emphasis in technical communication), writing center scholarship, new media, multimedia/multimodal design and theory, and technical writing. She has presented papers on theorizing the writing center, genres in writing center consultation, and rhetorical strategies.

Chancellor’s Picnic helps kick off the 2013-14 academic year

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan J. Koch hosted her annual Welcome Week picnic on the quad on August 27, 2013.

The picnic gave the campus community a chance to celebrate the start of a new academic year, while enjoying free food, friendship, and great entertainment.

“What I like about it most is that it really gives me an opportunity to meet so many students,” said Koch. “They’re excited to be back, classes have met for a couple of days, everybody’s settling in and they’re all excited about the New Year.”

UIS student Natalie Noble came to the picnic hoping to meet new friends. She was excited when Chancellor Koch came and set down at her table.

“A lot of students don’t get this opportunity for the chancellor to come and sit and talk with you about any concerns you may have,” said Noble.

Anurag Reddy, an international student from India, left the picnic with a full stomach and new friends.

“It’s a wonderful chance to meet so many new people, make new friends, and there’s a lot of food too,” said Reddy.

Chancellor Koch points out this is an exciting time for UIS, as enrollment continues to increase and the number of students living on campus grows.

“There’s just a lot more student life on campus and as we continue to grow, I think it just raises the level of anticipation and excitement for everyone,” said Koch. Overall, nearly 900 people attended this year’s picnic.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

UIS invites the community to read "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" as featured “one book”

The University of Illinois Springfield is sponsoring its first “One Book, One UIS” initiative this fall with Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo as the book that the community is invited to read.

The initiative is being coordinated by UIS Brookens Library and is supported by funds from Friends of Brookens Library, the Chancellor’s Office, the Diversity Center, and the ECCE (Engaged Citizenship Common Experience) Speakers Series.

“One Book, One UIS” will culminate with a lecture by Katherine Boo on Monday, October 7 at 7:00 p.m. in Sangamon Auditorium. The program will be free and open to the public, although tickets will be required and can be obtained through the UIS Sangamon Auditorium ticket office by calling 217/206-6160. A book signing will immediately follow the lecture.

The kick-off event for “One Book, One UIS” will be the screening of the film Salaam Bombay by acclaimed Indian director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake). The film, which chronicles the day to day lives of children living on the streets of Bombay, will be shown on September 6 at 7:00 p.m. in UIS Brookens Auditorium as the first offering in the UIS Foreign & Independent Film Series.

In addition to Boo’s lecture, a panel of UIS faculty members will look at the issues raised by the book from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including women’s studies, communication, politics, and the global economy. The panel discussion will occur on two occasions: Wednesday, September 25 at 12:30 p.m. in the North Carnegie Room of the Lincoln Public Library (326 S 7th St., Springfield, Ill.) and Tuesday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium on the UIS campus.

Students, faculty, staff and Friends of Brookens Library are invited to participate in one of three book discussions leading up to Boo’s lecture. At least seven faculty members have adopted the book for their courses during fall semester. Details of all “One Book, One UIS” events may be found at

The Indian Student Association at UIS has been inspired by the “One Book, One UIS” initiative to raise money for a school in Mumbai. Details of that fundraising effort will be posted on the initiative’s website.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2012, was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, and appeared on a host of “best book” lists for 2012. The book is an account of the lives of the inhabitants of Annawadi, a Mumbai slum in the shadows of luxury hotels and the international airport. Katherine Boo followed the lives of several key residents of Annawadi as the global economic downturn in 2008 and 2009 added to the tensions that already existed over issues of religion, caste, and gender. Her portraits are compelling, sometimes heartbreaking, and offer insight into globalization at the personal level in one of the 21st century’s great, unequal cities.

Katherine Boo is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post. She learned to report at the alternative weekly, Washington City Paper, after which she worked as a writer and co-editor of The Washington Monthly magazine. Over the years, her reporting from disadvantaged communities has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur “Genius” grant, and a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing. Boo has said about her work: “Very little journalism is world changing. But if change is to happen, it will be because people with power have a better sense of what’s happening to people who have none.”

For more information, contact Jane Treadwell, University Librarian & Dean, Library Instructional Services, at 217/206-6597 or

Monday, July 22, 2013

UIS students, faculty assist with osprey chicks

The youngest of the five osprey chicks was the most vocal when Dr. Tih-Fen Ting and University of Illinois Springfield graduate student April Simnor approached their nesting structure to remove the ospreys' food pan. Being the youngest of five hasn't kept the bird from eating when it has the chance, unlike two of other birds that stood in the back of the structure, backs turned toward the visitors.

Dr. Ting and her students are feeding, observing, and tending to the five osprey chicks in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The groups are trying to re-establish ospreys, a fish eating bird of prey, in Illinois, where they are listed as endangered. As adults, ospreys usually return to nest in the area where they were raised. The hope is that these chicks will do just that. The birds are being kept at Anderson Lake, near Havana, Illinois.

Early each morning, the students remove any remaining fish from the birds' nesting area and weigh it to determine how much was eaten overnight. They provide more food to the chicks, then hunker down on an embankment a distance from the nesting box in order to observe the birds and to confirm each of them is eating. The students spend much of their day watching the chicks and writing notes. They will continue caring for the chicks until they are ready for release. Prior to release, the birds will be fitted with tracking devices.

Friday, July 19, 2013

UIS welcomes new students during Freshman Orientation

The University of Illinois Springfield welcomed hundreds of new students to campus during Freshman Orientation in July. A total of four different orientation sessions were held.

“It really about the transition from high school to college, understanding the transition into the University of Illinois Springfield,” said Yolanda Beamon, UIS director of new student orientation and parent relations.

Students say they choose to come to UIS for many reasons, such as affordability, closeness to home, and the availability of high quality internship programs.

“I chose UIS because it seemed the most comfortable when I went to go visit,” said Gabrielle Pawlowski, an incoming freshman. “I visited other colleges also, but this one just seemed to fit me the best.”

All new first-year students are required to participate in an orientation session. Students met with their advisers, took placement exams and made sure their immunization records were in order.

Students also participated in fun activities throughout the day, such as playing mini golf in Brookens Library, while learning more about the library’s resources.

“The best part is the information and also playing mini golf. That’s awesome,” said Alberto Nava, an incoming freshman.

The freshmen ended the day by spending a night in a UIS residence hall, which gave them a preview of college life and what to expect.

“I hope they leave here a little more comfortable about coming to UIS, a little more at ease,” said Beamon.

Monday, July 08, 2013

UIS announces Spring Semester 2013 Dean's List

A total of 506 students have been named to the University of Illinois Springfield Dean's List for Spring Semester 2013; 79 are students in the College of Business and Management, 51 are students in the College of Education and Human Services, 324 are enrolled in programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 50 are enrolled in programs in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, and 2 are non-degree or undecided.

To qualify for the designation, a student must be an undergraduate who took at least eight graded semester hours and maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.75 for the semester.

The list is organized alphabetically by hometown. 

PDF Download: Spring 2013 Dean's List

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sangamon County Citizen Survey measures local quality of life issues

Read the full survey

Results from the 2013 Sangamon County Citizen Survey, the first formal survey of its kind measuring local quality of life issues, have been released.

The survey was a joint project between the University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy & Leadership, the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, and the United Way of Central Illinois. It measured nine different indicators, including culture and recreation, health, economy, education, government and civic participation, environment, public safety, infrastructure, and social well-being.

In measuring social well-being, the survey found that 59.5% of Sangamon County residents reported that things are generally on the right track, compared to 30.6% who believe things are going in the wrong direction. A majority of residents also rated Sangamon County as a positive place to raise children, live, and work. However, they were less positive about Sangamon County as a place to retire.

A total of 618 Sangamon County residents were surveyed in a random telephone sample between March 7 and April 9, 2013.

“It’s our hope that this survey will be a useful resource for citizens and leaders across Sangamon County who want to better understand public perceptions on critical issues,” said John Stremsterfer, president and CEO of Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln.

Overall, respondents reported that the biggest change needed (if any) in order to improve K-12 education in their area was increased funding to schools. The vast majority of respondents also believe that pre-K educational programs as well as post-high school institutions are very important to the local community.

“The survey provides a mixed picture of how Sangamon County residents assess the local area. What is clear is that Sangamon County residents are committed to improving educational and economic opportunities for all members of the community,” said Ashley Kirzinger, director of the UIS Survey Research Office.

In addition, residents are also aware of how important the local agricultural industry as well as growing downtown Springfield are to the economy of the region.

While the majority of residents are positive about the general direction of the area, there are some troubling findings. According to the report, one-in-five Sangamon County residents report not being able to afford food or healthcare for themselves or their family members at least one time in the past year. In addition, 21.2% of employed respondents reported that they consider themselves to be currently underemployed. In fact, the majority of respondents believe that current financial conditions (both personal and local area businesses) have not improved or declined in the past year.

“The survey provides important data regarding the education, health and incomes of those living in Sangamon County,” said John Kelker, president of United Way of Central Illinois. “As the largest private funder of health & human service programs in the county, this data will allow our volunteers to better assess and address community needs.”

The Citizens Club of Springfield and the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission assisted in preparing the final report. For more information on the survey, contact the UIS Survey Research Office at 217/206-6591. The full report can be found online at

Monday, June 10, 2013

University of Illinois Springfield tops $1,000,000 in scholarship gifts

UIS first-year student Raygene Brice lived in a shelter when she was younger. Inspired by her excellent and involved high school teachers, Raygene developed a fierce desire to become a teacher so that she also could "change the world, one classroom at a time."

Raygene wanted a smaller college, where just like her high school teachers, professors would know her and care about her success. She found the right-sized school at UIS.

But how could she afford college, even at a public university, with costs rising and state funding declining? She had the academic qualifications. She had the drive to succeed. She just didn't have the money and neither did her mother.

The University of Illinois' three-year Access Illinois Scholarship Initiative was created for students like Raygene. The Initiative, which began on July 1, 2011, seeks to raise support for scholarships to help students and their families offset tuition costs that have risen sharply as state funding for the University has declined over the last decade.

To date, the Initiative at University of Illinois Springfield has topped $1,000,000 with more than 1,000 scholarship gifts. The Initiative will continue through June 30, 2014. For more information, including a 1:1 match for qualified gifts, please go to

"We are excited at UIS to have passed the million dollar mark," said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. “We are extremely appreciative of the community support that has made this possible. Clearly, Springfield is proud of its public university, and we are just as proud to be such a vital part of this community."

For Brice, her Access Illinois scholarship made all the difference. "If I had not gotten the scholarship," she said, "I would not be in college. UIS saw I needed this, and I feel like I can't fail now."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Graduate List: UIS celebrates graduation of 1,362 students

The University of Illinois Springfield celebrated the graduation of 1,362 bachelor's, master's and doctoral students on Saturday, May 11 during the 42nd annual Commencement Ceremony.

See a printable list of graduates' names and degrees listed by the city of residence on file with UIS Records and Registration at the time of graduation.

PDF: Download the full graduate list 

For photos, video and more from Commencement 2013 visit

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hundreds of UIS students celebrate during 42nd Commencement

The University of Illinois Springfield held its 42nd Commencement ceremony on May 11, 2013 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in downtown Springfield. For many students the day marked an important milestone, as years of hard work, culminated in a single event.

UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch presided over the ceremony, welcoming the crowd of nearly 6,800 people. A total of 777 students took part in the ceremony, walking across the stage and shaking Koch’s hand.

“The promise that we make to our students can be summed up in two words: Leadership lived. Leadership is lived on the UIS campus every day and I trust that each of you has your own Leadership lived story as a result of your UIS education. I am supremely confident that you will indeed make a difference in the world with your leadership,” said Koch.

Koch also congratulated first generation college graduates, thanked family members for supporting their students, and thanked members of the military.

Chancellor Koch was joined on the stage by campus leaders and University of Illinois President Robert A. Easter who reminded the students earning a degree is only the beginning.

“Today caps a critical chapter in your lives, achieved through your commitment, your scholarship, your passion and your hard work, but what you have learned here is just the foundation and today is just the start,” said Easter.

The 2013 Commencement address was delivered by UIS alumna and Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Kathy Best. A graduate of the UIS Public Affairs Reporting Program, Best first developed her journalistic skills in the Midwest: for the Quad-City Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and her career has taken her from coast to coast, from the Baltimore Sun to the Seattle Times. It was in Seattle where she won two Pulitzer Prizes, for breaking news in 2010 and investigative reporting in 2012. In 2006 she was in the first group of PAR alums to be inducted into the Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame.

Best spoke to the students about the changing world and the different career paths she has taken encouraged them to “find your passion and live it.”

“Remember this what you’re getting today is a college degree, not a life sentence to do only what that diploma says. This should be the beginning of your quest, not the end,” said Best.

Jinger Sanders, the student speaker who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, shared her story of coming to UIS as a 17-year-old freshman with the audience. She called UIS “a unique place, a place like no other”, telling the audience about the abundance of opportunities available.

“Attending UIS has been one of my greatest opportunities,” said Sanders. “UIS allowed me to enhance my confidence, leadership, and character. This institution has been more than a stepping stone into the next chapter of my life but a place for personal and academic growth.”

Sanders spoke about her experience as the student representative to the University of Illinois Alumni Association and encouraged graduates to give back to their university.

“I’m talking about something more precious than money and that’s time,” said Sanders. “Time is valuable because you cannot get it back. Invest time into our university just like this university invested in us.”

University of Illinois Trustee Karen Hasara, UIS Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lynne Pardie, UIS Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Tim Barnett, and UIS distinguished alumni member Donovan Pepper also took part in the ceremony.

Photos and more video are available at the commencement website:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

UIS online graduates meet face-to-face to celebrate achievements

Over 200 people attended the University of Illinois Springfield’s pre-graduation brunch and celebration for online students on May 11, 2013. The event brings online students from around the country to campus, often for the first time.

A total of 53 online students from 15 states attended the annual event in the Sangamon Auditorium lobby. Students traveled from Alabama, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The celebration recognized graduates and their families, online coordinators, and program faculty before Commencement at the Prairie Capital Convention Center.

UIS has been recognized as a national leader in online education, having received multiple awards for online excellence and achievement. In spring 2013, a total of 1,494 students were enrolled exclusively online at UIS from 47 states. About 60% of all UIS students take at least one class online.

A group photo of the online graduates was taken and each of them was presented with a gift from the University. For more information on online programs at UIS, visit