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We are living through unusual times that can't but help concern us all. You should find some reassurance in knowing that the role you play at this university is an important one. Providing the best possible education to our students is a noble and ongoing process that anticipates a better future. We must keep that in mind as we confront and seek solutions to the present challenges.
A word on the budget...
It is impossible for the global financial crisis not to affect our university. We believe that there is a high probability for a significant reduction in our funding before this fiscal year is over. Consequently, we are preparing for such an event. Your dean or unit administrator will have details about the precautions we are taking to be ready. We remain confident that we can advance ourselves through this difficult time as we have all others in the past.
Newspapers, baseball and dollars...
Many folks on campus saw the recent article in The State Journal-Register about UIS adding baseball in the near future. While this was a good and accurate article that has generated much excitement in the area, there was room for some misinterpretation. I am talking especially about the assertion, "UIS needs 2 million dollars for baseball..." We do NOT need two million dollars for baseball. That number is largely made up by the cost of a baseball stadium, which we do not need as we begin to play, given the number of fields in this "baseball town." Furthermore, and this is most important, the plans for baseball were made with the expectation of private support for the program. That means that the majority of the operating expenses and especially any future stadium will be paid for from private funding support. Oh, and the mention of football — not in our plans at all, and there is no field on the new UIS Master Plan. Thanks for letting me clear those things up.
UIS makes forecast
The latest edition of The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce's magazine called The Chamber/Update includes the forecast by this university of increased economic activity for the Springfield area. The Greater Springfield Enterprise Index (SEI) for July 2008 indicates above normal economic activity and an increase over one year ago. The Index is interpreted by UIS Associate Professor of Economics Patty Byrnes. The magazine also features several articles about The Quantum Growth Partnership. As a member of the Leadership Council for the Quantum Five Economic Development initiative, I am involved with other city leaders in finding ways to deal with the current economic situation faced by the city and county. And Provost Berman is chair of the steering committee of The Continuum of Learning, a community partnership to ensure all in Sangamon County are Ready to Learn, Ready to Work and Ready to Succeed. The magazine reports that the Continuum has launched a new website at www.ContinuumofLearning.org.
UIS wins inaugural award
Online programming at UIS has won another national honor, this time the very first Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education. Given by the Sloan Consortium, the award recognizes the quality and leadership of our online programs among the Consortium's nearly 1,500 member institutions. The award is named after the recently-retired president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Ralph Gomory. Last year, UIS won the national award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching & Learning Programming from the Consortium. Congratulations to Ray Schroeder, Burks Oakley and the team in the Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning. I also want to thank all of our faculty members who teach online for the superb job they are doing both online and in the classroom.
Fulbright Scholar grant
Congratulations to Dr. Calvin Mouw, associate professor of Political Science, for receiving a Fulbright Scholar grant to study in Slovenia. Dr. Mouw will spend next semester at the University of Ljubljana conducting research on comparative political behavior and lecturing on electoral politics, political institutions, and public policy in the United States. The Fulbright Program, America's flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Dr. Mouw is also chair of the Political Science Department.
CARE Award winner
Pat Austin, this year's recipient of the Chancellor's Award to Recognize Excellence in Civil Service (CARE), is an example of the high caliber of employee who works here at UIS as a Civil Servant. Pat is an administrative aide in the Office of Academic Affairs. Our Civil Service employees, who work in every part of this university, keep it operating everyday. Thank you, Pat, for your exceptional service and commitment to your job and to this university.
Swiss ambassador in Springfield
The first Ambassador Series event featured an entertaining and informative speaker, His Excellency Urs Ziswiler from Switzerland. More than 100 people attended the October 8 luncheon at the Prairie Heart Dove Conference Center. The ambassador talked frankly about global warming and a minority political group in Switzerland that is pushing zenophobic policies. The next luncheon, the second in the series, will feature the ambassador from New Zealand. You may contact the UIS Office of Development for information about purchasing tickets to the luncheons sponsored by UIS, WSEC, and the support of a local donor.
A matter of seating
Since 1989, Edward and Helen Brooks have been among our dedicated volunteers at Sangamon Auditorium. They began as ushers, became floor managers, and Edward is also a house manager. During that time, when members of the usher corps wanted to sit down during a performance, they either found a vacant seat or stood. Now, thanks to a gift from the Brooks, there are designated usher chairs and stools strategically placed throughout the auditorium.
This addition not only provides seating for the volunteers but also makes the ushers more accessible to the patrons and better able to assist them. Edward and Helen have received many thanks from their fellow ushers.
A fitting memorial
Just outside the south entrance to the PAC, a distinctive stone bench invites passersby to sit for a moment or longer under what will someday be the shade of a Scholar Tree located just behind it. The tree is still young while the bench seems to embody the wisdom of the ages. Both are like the man they memorialize, Dr. William Lee Frost-Kumpf, who died five years ago. A professor of Political Studies and Public Affairs, Lee was an integral part of this university. The dedication plaque near the bench reads: "This Scholar Tree (Sophora Japonica) and bench are dedicated to the memory of William Lee Frost-Kumpf, faculty member 1996 to 2003. Lee was a tireless scholar, a beloved teacher, and a committed citizen of this campus. His leadership and service will be long remembered." This was a gift from Dr. Hilary Frost-Kumpf, who wanted this tribute to her late husband to inspire others to contribute to the world.
A reminder to sign up
Many of you have already signed up to receive text message "alerts" generated by our Emergency Notification System in case of a major emergency on campus. For those of you who have not done so, I encourage you to register at the website: https://emergency.uis.edu. We're planning to augment our security measures this year by installing a new Public Address System on campus. Also, our Police Department has special training in Active Shooter and other situations that could potentially threaten the safety of the campus. During this year, we are showing the video Shots Fired to faculty, staff and students. It deals with how best to react individually to such a situation. Many of you may have already seen that video. Each of us is responsible for staying alert and reporting any unusual activity to the police. Please remember that a safe campus is everybody's business.
It's that time of year when you are asked to pause from your daily responsibilities to take ethics training. You have until November 14 to complete the program that contains questions throughout and no final quiz. It's not a test but rather an effort to reinforce the concepts found within the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. As always, I found the content to be pertinent. The best way to handle your obligation to take the training is to do it as soon as possible and cross it off your list.
Until next time,
University of Illinois at Springfield