What’s New

Commencement – 2017

The ENS Program Marshals for 2017 were

  • Sydney Rubenstein – MA, Environmental Studies
  • Lindsay Frisk – BA, Environmental Studies
  • Timothy Mayer – MS, Environmental Sciences

Honors in Environmental Studies (MA)

  • Kimberly Mahoney
  • Russell Lambert

Honors in Environmental Sciences (MS)

  • Ryan Platte
  • Molly Levy

Commencement – 2016

Each academic program at UIS selects a single graduating student to be Program Marshal for the UIS commencement ceremonies.  This goes to students selected by the faculty as best exemplifying the goals and spirit of the program.  The ENS Program Marshals for 2016 were

  • Diana Fuller – MA, Environmental Studies
  • Preston Marucco – BA, Environmental Studies

Honors in Environmental Studies (MA)

  • Scott Stringer
  • Kristy Kambanis


ENS Program Marshals – 2015

The Program Marshals for 2015 were

  • Kelsey Townsend – MS, Environmental Sciences
  • Jackie DeBatista – MA, Environmental Studies
  • Alec Bergschneider – BA, Environmental Studies


ENS Program Marshals – 2014

The Program Marshals for 2014 were

  • Omonike Ayorinde – MS, Environmental Sciences
  • Emily Cross – MA, Environmental Studies
  • Makenzie Riedle – BA, Environmental Studies

Symphony of the Soil

ENS will host a screening of the documentary Symphony of the Soil. Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. The film also examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil’s key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time. Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet.

Join us Thursday 4 October 2012 at 6pm in Brookens Auditorium.

Online Growth

The Department has offered the Sustainable Development and Policy concentration within our MA degree (Environmental Studies) in a fully online format for several years. Beginning in Fall 2013 we will offer another of our MA concentrations, Environmental Planning and Management, online. Additionally, in Fall 2013 we will expand our MS in Environmental Science, and offer it entirely online. Requirements for our online degrees are identical to those for our on-campus programs. Email the department chair (Dennis Ruez: druez2@uis.edu) to find out how you to join us, regardless of where on the planet you live.

ENS Faculty and Student at Society for Ecological Restoration Conference

Tih-Fen Ting and Chris Young both gave oral presentations at the 2012 meeting of the Midwest-Great Lakes Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Ting’s talk, “Wood composition and structure of upland forest at Carpenter Park Nature Preserve: Implications for Management,” was based on work done at a site very familiar to on-campus ENS students. Chris’ talk, “Response of the Franklin’s ground squirrel to recreational trail development in Springfield, Illinois,” is part of his ongoing thesis research. A portion of the costs associated with this meeting were paid for by donations to the College of Public Affairs and Administration.

New Degree and Graduate Certificate

The Department of Environmental Studies has been approved to add a bachelor of arts in Environmental Studies (fall 2013), and a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (fall 2012). Although neither program will begin immediately, students can enroll in courses now.

The new undergraduate major in Environmental Studies will provide students with the necessary skills to engage in the many processes that are necessary to confront the challenges citizens, businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations, among others, face in light of rapidly changing modern global environmental issues. The BA will equip students with the analytical tools for understanding and engaging in concerns related to the natural and social world. The program will offer multi-disciplinary curriculum with interdisciplinary learning goals, incorporating the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities, to ensure that graduates will gain a holistic understanding of complex environmental concerns and their natural, social, and ethical implications.

The Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a 12-hour program administered by the Department of Environmental Studies. The purpose of the certificate is to give students the opportunity to gain valuable GIS knowledge and skills that can be applied to careers in both academia and practice. Upon completion of the certificate coursework, students will be able to

  • Describe, distinguish, and apply the fundamental concepts, principles, and tools of geographic information systems (GIS) to understand social, environmental, and economic issues;
  • Demonstrate a mastery of basic skills and techniques of using GIS software;
  • Identify, describe, diagnose, and offer possible solutions to social, environmental, or economic issues of interest using GIS technology;
  • Demonstrate skills to develop and present a concise but effective presentation with geospatial data;
  • Demonstrate abilities to work effectively with students from different backgrounds in accomplishing a team project.


Dr. Ruez Discusses Fossil Mammal Research

Dr. Dennis Ruez, assistant professor of Environmental Studies, researches how climate change has affected fossil mammals.  Dennis has had a chance to dig for fossils across the U.S. and around the world, and he has dozens of publications related to the topic. His most recently published works focus on mammals that lived more than 3 million years ago in North America.

Dr. Ting Speaks at Sustainability Conference in San Diego

TAIS Logohe 2010 Conference of the Association for Integrative Studies was held in San Diego with the title “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Integrating Ethics and Sustainability.” There, Dr. Ting gave a talk entitled “Fuzzy Buzzwords and Interdisciplinarity” that explored the terminological challenges within sustainability.

Dr. Ruez Attends the 2010 American Quaternary Association Meeting

Dennis attended the biennial conference of the American Quaternary Association that focused on the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary in the Americas.  This is the general time when many large mammals in North and South America became extinct, people migrated to the Americas, and large ice caps covered much of the Northern Hemisphere.  Dennis’ work used the diversity of fossil rodents, insectivorans, and rabbits to create estimates of the paleotemperatures across the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary.

Il. Temperature Gradient MapThis sample image shows a longitudinal temperature gradient in Illinois during the late Pleistocene due to the presence of a glacier in the northeastern portion of the state.  Today, there is a latitudinal gradient, with colder temperatures in the northern part of Illinois.



Abstract Lincoln StatueAlthough the conference was in Laramie, Wyoming, naturally Dennis found a giant head of Abe Lincoln on a 30-foot granite pedestal.  Once you move to Springfield, it’s hard to miss the random monuments to our past president.


Dr. Ruez Challenges U.S. Representative John Shimkus’ Comments on Climate Change.Thermometer

The past winter’s cold temperatures have heated the debate about climate change. Dr. Dennis Ruez responds to statement by U.S. Representative John Shimkus in a recent State Journal -Register article.

Dr. Ruez Discusses the Northern Illinois Earthquake

Intensity ImageFollowing the earthquake in the Chicago area, Dennis Ruez was interviewed by WAND regarding the potential for earthquake hazards. Watch the video of Dr. Ruez’s interview.

  • Read more about the earthquake here.