awards nearly $136,000 in technology-related grants to UIS
Tom Cronin- Public Affairs Reporter
SBC Foundation has awarded UIS almost $136,000 in grants to fund the university’s
online math teacher certification program and two technology-related GEAR
UP programs at Springfield’s Lanphier High School, university officials
announced last week.
a Feb. 1 press conference attended by UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen,
UI President Joseph White, Republican State Rep. Rich Brauer of Petersburg,
faculty and students from Lanphier High School, and members of the local
media, SBC Illinois President Carrie Hightman offered the grants to the
university in the form of a large check.
Republican State Rep. Rich Brauer, Chancellor Richard Ringeise and
UI President Joseph White accpet a check for $136,000 drom SBC Illinois
President Carrie Hightman. The grants will fund the university's online
math teacher certification program
“We view education as
critical to the well-being and prosperity of the communities in which
we serve,” Hightman said. “And so, this is a great program
to help move students forward, to increase success rates, to get more
students performing well and to give them a better chance for success
in the real world after they’re done with school.”
in the grant package are two GEAR UP grants totaling $100,000 and almost
$36,000 for the online program in secondary education toward a teaching
certification in mathematics.
established the online math teacher certification program in March 2004
when Republican U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois’ 19th District
provided the university with $250,000 in federal funds. The program was
first offered this fall to address a growing shortage of Illinois math
teachers. It was projected that the state would need more than 600 new
math teachers this year and more than 650 next year.
to a university press release dated Feb. 1, the first of the GEAR UP grants
is designed to help enhance teaching and learning through instructional
technologies at Lanphier High School. The second GEAR UP grant would be
used to help fund after-school and summer academic enrichment programs
in math, science, reading and technological literacy at the high school,
the press release said.
UP, or the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs
initiative, is a federal program that employs local partnerships to help
prepare an increased number of low-income high school students for college.
Involved in the Springfield GEAR UP partnership are UIS, Lincoln Land
Community College, Springfield School District 186 and the Springfield
partnership began in 1999 when GEAR UP programs were made available to
seventh graders at Washington Middle School because of the school’s
low attendance rates, high percentage of students from low-income families
and higher-than-average high school dropout rates among middle school
graduates, according to Larry Stonecipher, dean of the college of education
and human services. GEAR UP programs were later added at Lanphier High
School, which is where most Washington Middle School students advance
also an associate professor of mathematical sciences and teacher education,
said that mathematicians like Ringeisen and himself recognize that teaching
math to middle school and high school students is often an enormous challenge.
we also know that about seventh or eighth grade, it’s not just the
female students, but the male students start to lack interest, or lose
interest, or find new interests when their hormones start to fly there
about eighth grade, and they don’t stick with math,” Stonecipher
they enter high school, students spend a lot of time participating in
extracurricular activities and thinking about their academic and career
goals, which often leaves little time for homework, Stonecipher said.
Math homework cannot be put off until 10:30 or 11 p.m. because the completion
of a math problem involves understanding the problem, putting together
a plan to do the work, doing the work, checking the work and reflecting
on the problem, he said.
television and the society and culture that we live in, the students’
attention spans are 30 seconds or less … [and] reflection is not
part of their thinking,” Stonecipher said. “They don’t
stop and think about what they just did. They just want to get their name
on their paper, get their assignment done and get ready for the next day.”
administration reach agreement
Jason Satek - SGA/General Assignment Reporter
barely treading water,” stated Norma Jean Niebur, the president
of Local 4100, the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), in regards
to the third one-year contract agreed to with the university negotiators
and ratified by a majority of those in attendance on Jan. 12.
The employee union, whose purview
is the building services, clerical and pro-tech (media center, radio &
TV and similar technicians and coordinators) workers of the University,
has found itself in a difficult situation since the incorporation of Sangamon
State into the University of Illinois system.
They perform the same functions and
provide similar services to that of their counterparts in Champaign and
Chicago, but are compensated at a lower rate and do not receive the career
longevity bonuses found at the other schools.
The new contract was brought to completion
with the involvement of federal mediators, who were requested to assist,
as on occasion in the past when the two sides were not able to reach an
accord through their own efforts.
The 150 members of Local 4100 will
be under the current contract until August 29 of 2005, when the whole
process will begin again. “We focused on money for this contract,
figuring it would go faster but it still took time,” said Niebur.
“The percentage wage increases
that we’ve received in the past were swallowed up by the cost increase
in health benefits last July. Health benefits will go up again this July.
We are not getting cost-of-living. For people living in Section 8 housing,
working two and three jobs (the across-the-board percentage raise) is
a drop in the bucket.”
Joining the union is not mandatory,
but the positions are considered as union, so fees will be taken out of
nonunion members’ checks. Under the “fair share” arrangement,
nonunion members will be able to have the union represent them in a grievance,
but the nonunion member will not be allowed to vote on contract ratification
or other related business.
The Board of Trustees, who signs off
on the final deal, negotiates via representatives with the American Federation
of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for the contracts relating
to clerical, building service and the others at the other system schools.
However, AFSCME is a much larger union and has more clout, representing
a wide range of constituents like nurses, teachers, lawyers and law enforcement.
Niebur has been involved with unions
on and off for many years, beginning with a protest march at the age of
12, led by labor icon Cesar Chavez, who was seeking to organize California
grape pickers. She hopes for a return to longer than one-year contracts
at the next opportunity, as “it’s very stressful. We are not
really accomplishing much for the union members, as we are spending a
lot of time negotiating.”
The lead negotiator for the university
on the latest contract, Human Resources Specialist and Team Coordinator
Mark Owens was contacted in regards to this story, but due to a lack of
available time on his schedule, could not comment in depth.