Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Good as Gold Ceremony honors student and community volunteers

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 18-24), the University of Illinois Springfield and the Junior League of Springfield hosted the Springfield Good as Gold Ceremony, a recognition event to acknowledge community members and organizations for their volunteer efforts.

The ceremony took place on Tuesday evening, April 20, in the lobby of the Sangamon Auditorium on the UIS campus. More than 40 people were recognized during the event for their achievements and efforts.

UIS honored one staff member and one student who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to service and volunteerism with the UIS Star Staff and UIS Star Student award. Alicia Wiley, a graduate student who helped organize a winter shoe/sock drive to benefit the children she met through Contact Ministries was the recipient of the UIS Star Student Award. Kara McElwrath, training specialist in Information Technology Services, received the UIS Star Staff Award for going “above and beyond” to help her students in her Technology for Teaching (TEP 305) course.

UIS students were also recognized for their involvement in many volunteer projects over the past year, including involvement in an Americorps program where students volunteered in the Springfield Public Schools AVID tutoring program and helped out at other agencies, such as the Animal Protective League. Students are also involved in mentoring programs at Jefferson Middle School and Harvard Park Elementary School. The students were honored with Outstanding Community Service Awards.

The Junior League recognized Linda Galecki with its new Golden Literacy Award, which is part of the group’s commitment to addressing literacy in the Springfield. Galecki worked to keep the library at Sandberg Elementary open when it lost its funding. For the past 8 years Galecki has organized and trained volunteers, re-shelved books, and made the library an inviting and educational place for the children at the school.

Jordan Bartolazzi, was awarded the Youth Volunteer Award for volunteering over 200 hours for such causes as the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery, mentoring and tutoring middle and high school students, collecting food for pantries, and collecting coats for the homeless. Bartolazzi also single-handedly organized a basketball tournament for Haiti aid relief which collected over $2,500.

Nancy Zimmers, Merle Shiffman
and Cheryl Meyer from the SIU School of Medicine Enos Steering Committee were presented with the Organization Agent of Service Award. It’s given to an organization for its overall commitment, service and dedication to improving the Springfield community.

Each year the Junior League awards one of its members the Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award (fondly known as the ABCD Award). Julie Waldrop, was honored with the ABCD Award for serving on 6 committees this year, impacting the community through each of her placements.

Five nominees for the Distinguished Volunteer Award were acknowledged during the event with a short presentation. The nominees included Daniel Cadigan, Helen Davsko, Les Eastep, Ann Pitsenberg and Rachael Thomson.

The winner of the Distinguished Volunteer Award was Les Eastep, for his work with SPARC. As a board member since 1991 he’s brought his experience and passion for others to the lives of thousands of people, creating events and serving on boards and committees where he is a problem solver and creative thinker. He held an annual chili supper fundraiser for SPARC, which resulted in a 52% increase in net income from the previous year.

Thirty-four local volunteers were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. Recipients included: Carolyn Bodewes, Paul Cary, Shi Lynn Coleman, Reba Crawford, Theresa Davis, Doris Decker, Patricia Fowler, Mark Frakes, Gene Gyure, Kathleen Handy, Anita Hayes, William Kempiners, Raegan Koebler, Jennifer Pinkerton-Krueger, Eric Mayland, Marcia Milliken, Sister Trudy O’Connor, Kudus Ogunseye, Hyun Ah Oh, Christine Phillips, Kelly Ramsey, Helen Renfrow, Diamond Ross, Barbara Rowe, Barbara Salim, Farah Salim, Linda Udey, Ralph Woehrmann. The committee members of Springfield Parents for Students with Disabilities: Lisa Brunson, Mike Nellessen, Dr. Holly Novak, Katie Pavelko, Margarite Simon, and Mary Wyman were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award.

The ceremony was co-sponsored by Illinois Campus Compact. For more information about the event, please visit, email or call (217) 206-7716.

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Friday, April 09, 2010

UIS students win award at National Model U.N. Conference in New York

Members of the University of Illinois Springfield Model United Nations Club were honored with one of the group’s highest global awards during a week-long conference in New York City.

Model United Nations is a conference that simulates an actual United Nations meeting. The UIS delegation consisted of 14 students and one faculty member. UIS was one of 17 institutions to win the Outstanding Delegation Award at this year's conference. Over 400 other international colleges and universities competed during the event, held March 29 through April 3.

“We’ve been participating for over 25 years in the National Model U.N. Conference and this is the top award we’ve got so far,” said Driss Elakrich, UIS head Model U.N. delegate and graduate student.

Students worked for close to two semesters learning about their assigned country, drafting resolutions, working on diplomacy and consensus building, and writing position papers on specific issues (climate change, arms control, poverty alleviation, global disease, the empowerment of women, etc.). This year UIS represented the country of Azerbaijan, which is situated south of Russia and north of Iran in the Caucasus.

“I learned that diplomacy is very, very hard. Building consensus with people, it can be impossible at times. It was also very interesting trying to work out differences with people where English was their second language,” said John Tienken, a freshman political science and global studies major.

Kelsey Quinn, a senior political science major and Priyanka Deo, a senior political science and sociology/anthropology major have both been to the conference before, but say they learn something new on every journey.

“It was amazing to get to see students I know from China, from Mexico coming together at these conferences,” said Quinn.

Deo plans to return to India to pursue her law degree after graduating from UIS in May, but hopes her experience with Model U.N. will help her in the future.

“I’d like to be a lawyer within the U.N., a tribunal lawyer, so I think this experience definitely makes me more comfortable about how the U.N. works and the politics behind it,” said Deo.

Deo has been invited to attend a Global Model U.N. Conference in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia later this year. Quinn attended a similar event in Switzerland this past summer based on her excellent performance.

Members of the UIS Model U.N. group include Caitlyn Barnes, Nicole Calcagno, Priyanka Deo, Justin Doup, Driss Elakrich, Alfred Komolafe, Margaret Martinotti, Gina Massie, Nana Mkheidze, James Schweke, Robyn Stolze, John Tienken, Kelsey Quinn, and Matthew K. Wright.

For more information contact Ali Nizamuddin, assistant professor of political science at 217/206-8424 or email

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

National dissertation award named after UIS political science professor Chris Mooney

The American Political Science Association (APSA) has just announced that it is honoring University of Illinois Springfield political science professor Christopher Z. Mooney by naming a national Ph.D. dissertation award after him. Doctoral candidates worldwide can be nominated for the prize in the category of Best Dissertation in State Politics and Policy.

Beginning in 2010, the award will be given annually for the best Ph.D. dissertation in the field that is written in the previous calendar year at any university. It is awarded by the State Politics and Policy organized section of the APSA. Winners of the award and their dissertation advisers each receive a plaque, and the winners receive a $1,000 honorarium. The first award, for dissertations filed in 2009, will be presented on June 4, 2010 in Springfield, at the 10th annual State Politics and Policy Conference, a national political science conference hosted this year by UIS.

This new award has been named in honor of Mooney in recognition of his founding of State Politics and Policy Quarterly (SPPQ), an academic journal that he edited from 2001 to 2007 and has served as business manager of since 2001. Mooney was also instrumental in founding the annual State Politics and Policy Conferences. SPPQ and these conferences have helped lead the recent renaissance in the study of comparative state politics in political science.

"Many, many people at UIS and all over the country gave me an enormous amount of help in establishing SPPQ and these conferences. It's very gratifying to be recognized by my peers in this way,” said Mooney.

Mooney is a professor of political science with a joint appointment in the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at UIS. He studies U.S. state politics and policy, with special focus on legislative decision making, morality policy, and legislative term limits. He has published dozens of articles and books, including the leading college textbook in the field, State and Local Politics: Institutions and Reform, and Lobbying Illinois - How You Can Make a Difference in Public Policy. Prior to arriving at UIS in 1999, he taught at West Virginia University and the University of Essex in the United Kingdom.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

UIS receives national recognition for community service, named to President's Honor Roll

The University of Illinois Springfield has been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice.

“We are so pleased to be named for the second year in a row to the Presidential Honor Roll. Two of our top strategic goals at UIS are making a difference in the world and enriching individual lives. Our students, staff and faculty are committed to these goals, and it’s wonderful to see UIS be recognized for its efforts,” said Chancellor Richard D. Ringeisen.

According to the UIS Volunteer Center director, Kelly Thompson, UIS was named to the honor roll for recognition of its various volunteer programs throughout the past year. Specifically mentioned in the honor roll recognition were its many mentoring activities within Springfield School District 186, including programs through Big Brothers Big Sisters, as well as UIS’ recent collaboration with the Central Illinois Foodbank to complete a hunger study. For example, through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program at Harvard Park Elementary School, approximately 15 UIS students completed over 400 hours of community service.

“Congratulations to UIS and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Our nation’s students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service.”

The Honor Roll includes six colleges and universities that are recognized as Presidential Awardees, with an additional 115 named to the Distinction List and 621 schools named as Honor Roll members. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service, according to the Volunteering in America study released by the Corporation. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and through support of training, research, recognition, and other initiatives to spur college service.

The Corporation oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.

For more information contact Kelly Thompson, UIS Volunteer Center director at 217/206-8448 or

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Burlingame's biography of Lincoln wins 2010 Lincoln Prize

A two-volume biography that was 30 years in the making, by one of the foremost living authorities on Abraham Lincoln, has won the 2010 Lincoln Prize.

Michael Burlingame will receive the $50,000 Lincoln Prize for his book, “Abraham Lincoln: A Life” (Johns Hopkins University Press), as well as a bronze replica of Augustus Saint-Gaudens life-size bust, “Lincoln the Man.” Burlingame is the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair of Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. The prize, sponsored by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, will be awarded April 27 at the Union League in New York.

The prize was co-founded in 1990 by businessmen and philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, co-chairmen of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York and co-creators of the Gilder Lehrman Collection - one of the largest private archives of documents and artifacts in the nation. The Institute is devoted to history education, supporting magnet schools, teacher training, digital archives, curriculum development, exhibitions and publications, as well as the national History Teacher of the Year program.

The book is a comprehensive look at Lincoln’s life - from growing up impoverished in rural Kentucky and Indiana, to building a career as an ambitious politician that led him to become the 16th president of the United States. Burlingame writes about the trials and tribulations Lincoln experienced as commander-in-chief and focuses on his leadership during the Civil War. From private sorrows to public disasters, Burlingame tells the whole story of one of America’s greatest presidents.

“Burlingame’s massive biography of Abraham Lincoln is a landmark of American historical scholarship. Nothing surpasses Burlingame’s comprehensive and detailed research into the entire life of Lincoln,” Lehrman said. “His prose and arguments are always clear and straightforward, even if some judgments will be vigorously debated. Because the author of this extraordinary biography has unearthed new evidence and reviewed all previous scholarship, these debates will have to contend with the vast document-based evidence, which this Lincoln Prize winner brings to bear on the life of Lincoln. Every member of the literate general public, interested in Abraham Lincoln, is surely indebted to Burlingame for his tireless research into archives and newspapers never before examined.”

“Michael Burlingame’s “Abraham Lincoln: A Life” is meticulously researched and provides a multi-faceted portrait of a man who grew into greatness,” said Janet Morgan Riggs, president of Gettysburg College. “Though its length may be intimidating to some, Burlingame’s narrative is accessible and engaging. No one who reads this powerful work will ever look at Lincoln quite the same way again.”

The three-member 2010 Lincoln Prize jury - Douglas Wilson, the George A. Lawrence Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus and co-director of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College; Joseph R. Fornieri, Associate Professor of Political Science at Rochester Institute of Technology; and James Oakes, Distinguished Professor and Graduate School Humanities Professor at CUNY Graduate Center - considered 118 titles for the award before recommending the finalists to the Lincoln Prize board which makes the final decision. In addition to Lehrman, Gilder and Riggs, the Board includes James G. Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute; Gabor Boritt, Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies emeritus at Gettysburg College; and Edwin T. Johnson, Gettysburg College Trustee emeritus.

Finalists for the prize included Robert McGlone’s “John Brown's War Against Slavery” (Cambridge University Press) and Mark Wahlgren Summers’ “A Dangerous Stir: Fear, Paranoia, and the Making of Reconstruction” (University of North Carolina Press).
Past Lincoln Prize winners include Ken Burns in 1991 for his documentary, “The Civil War,” Allen Guelzo for his books, “Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President” in 2000 and “Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America” in 2005 and Doris Kearns Goodwin in 2006 for her book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.” Last year's co-winners were James McPherson for his book, “Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief” and Craig Symonds for his book, “Lincoln and His Admirals: Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. Navy, and the Civil War.”

About Burlingame
Born in Washington, D.C., Burlingame attended Phillips Academy, Andover. As a freshman at Princeton University, he enrolled in the Civil War course taught by the eminent Lincolnian David Herbert Donald, who took him under his wing as a research assistant. When Donald moved to Johns Hopkins University, Burlingame followed him upon his graduation from Princeton. Burlingame received his Ph.D. in 1968 from Johns Hopkins University and joined the history department at Connecticut College in New London, where he taught until retiring in 2001 as the Sadowski Professor of History Emeritus. He joined the faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield in 2009.

Burlingame is the author of “The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln” (University of Illinois Press, 1994) and has edited volumes of Lincoln primary source materials. Burlingame has received the Abraham Lincoln Association Book Prize (1996), Lincoln Diploma of Honor from Lincoln Memorial University (1998) and an Honorable Mention for the Lincoln Prize (2001). He was inducted into the Lincoln Academy of Illinois in 2009.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, founded in 1994, is a not-for-profit organization that oversees the Gilder Lehrman Collection and conducts history education programs in all fifty states, serving more than 3,000 teachers, their students and their communities, across the country every year.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

UIS student receives award for leadership and academics

University of Illinois Springfield student Brett Walker has recently received the William N. Wasson Student Leadership & Academic Award, given by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA).

The award recognizes top undergraduate and graduate students who are participants of and/or employed by the Department of Recreational Sports at their university and honors outstanding student leaders who are active participants, employees or volunteers at their institution.

Walker, a senior legal studies major from Greenville, Ill., has been employed by the Department of Recreational Sports at UIS since the fall of 2007, first as a front desk attendant and currently as a facility supervisor. He was nominated for the award by JT Timmons, director of Recreational Sports.

“I’ve had thousands of students work for me over the years and have come to recognize the character and abilities that would exemplify the most worthy to receive this distinguished award,” Timmons noted. “Brett models these things while working for Recreational Sports, and it is also clear to me that he has become part of the fabric that is critical to influencing, and caring for, the learning environment here at UIS. His dedication to Recreational Sports and the university, as well as current and future students, is appreciated by many.”

Walker’s award is a plaque designed by NIRSA, and it will be presented at the Student Business Meeting of the annual NIRSA conference held in Anaheim, California on April 22.

“I was extremely excited and surprised to receive the award,” Walker said. “Just being nominated was really impressive and honorable.”

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Bob Lael is named 2009 Employee of the Year at UIS

Bob Lael, assistant manager of Human Resources at the University of Illinois Springfield, was named 2009 Employee of the Year at the 27th annual Employee of the Year Recognition Ceremony, held January 28 on the UIS campus.

Lael was selected from among 11 UIS staff members who had been employees of the month during the past year. He was employee of the month for May.

Materials nominating him at that time noted that “Bob always has time for everyone. No matter what time or how busy he is, he takes time to meet with current and prospective employees and students to answer questions regarding all of the various employee benefits and student insurance. He is an excellent example of what we should all strive to be here at UIS.”

Serving as master of ceremonies, Wesley Weisenburn, director of Human Resources, cited all 11 employees of the month for their “exemplary characteristics and attitudes. They serve as role models,” he said.

UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen made the official announcement and presentation. All 11 employees of the month also stood up to be recognized for their achievements.

As he accepted the award, Lael said, “I’m standing up here today not because of what I did, but because of what you all have helped me to do; each and every day, I rely on many others around me to give me the tools that I need to succeed in my job. I’m humbled, honored and very thankful for this award.”

Lael has been employed at UIS since 2005.

Other employees of the month for 2009 were Emily Welch Boles, computer assisted instructional specialist in the Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning; Tom Micklus, electrician foreman for Facilities & Services; Patricia Stoutamyer, office support specialist for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; Kimberly Craig, assistant to the associate vice chancellor of undergraduate education for Academic Affairs; Pam Rodgers, microcomputer coordinator for Information Technology Services; Michelle Green, director of marketing; Laurie Koehne, building service worker for Facilities & Services; Terry Minder, assistant grounds gardener; Bobbie Fults, office support specialist for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; and Patty Sullivan, graphic designer for Service Enterprises.

The UIS Employee of the Year receives gifts that include a check for $500.

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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.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

UIS Lincoln scholar's book named top 5 pick for 2009

Dr. Michael Burlingame’s book “Abraham Lincoln: A Life” has been picked by The Atlantic Monthly magazine as one of the top five books of 2009. Burlingame is a professor of history at the University of Illinois Springfield and holds the Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies. Burlingame is considered a preeminent national Lincoln Scholar and has now written three books on the history of the 16th president.

“Needless to say, I am delighted to be ranked with such distinguished authors as A.S. Byatt, Richard J. Evans, James Lasdun, and Alison Light,” said Burlingame. “I am also a bit surprised, for the literary editor of the Atlantic Monthly, Benjamin Schwarz, believes that most books are too long and therefore tends to prefer short story collections to novels. In dealing with non-fiction, however, he seems willing to acknowledge that biographers (like myself) sometimes need a big canvas (two volumes) to portray heroes like Abraham Lincoln and that historians (like Richard J. Evans) need an even bigger canvas (three volumes) to describe villains like the leaders and followers of the Third Reich."

Schwarz calls Burlingame’s book “Measured, psychologically astute, authoritative when it can be.” The reviewer says “Michael Burlingame’s exhaustive narrative (2,024 pages!) is unafraid of ambiguity and indeterminacy. This is the life of Lincoln for our times.”

In the Atlantic’s original review of the book in July/August 2009 contributing editor Christopher Hitchens praised the way Burlingame describes the Lincoln-Douglas debates saying “I would say that the account given here of the famous debates surpasses all its predecessors.”

Dr. Burlingame has taught numerous courses on Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War era, and 19th century American history. He’s currently involved in research projects at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield and other Lincoln research venues.

The Atlantic Monthly picked Burlingame’s book from a crowded field of 25 other top candidates for the year. You can find the Atlantic Monthly Top 5 List at:

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

UIS Faculty Scholarship Recognition Luncheon

The University of Illinois Springfield honored the outstanding achievements of faculty at the 17th annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon, which was held Monday, October 5, 2009 in the Sangamon Auditorium lobby.

The luncheon was started in 1985 as a way to pay tribute to faculty member’s achievements in the areas of research, published articles, creative works, grants, book reviews and professional presentations.

“We have our multiple responsibilities for teaching, advising, and service. But always, creating a space for intellectual work needs to be at the forefront,” said Provost Harry Berman.

Berman related the work that faculty members do to that of a quilt calling their research and other achievements “treasure to hand down to the next generation”.

Meena Rao, vice president of academic affairs at the University of Illinois, was present at the event to congratulate faculty on their achievements and announce the 2009 University Scholar.

Dr. Sviatoslav Braynov, assistant professor of Computer Science, received the award. The University Scholar Program honors and rewards outstanding teachers and scholars at the three U of I campuses. The award comes with a grant of $10,000 each year for three years for research and scholarly activities.

In a short period of time, Dr. Braynov created a large body of work in an important, demanding and fast changing field. He has received recognition nationally and internationally for his work in the area of computer security.

Dr. Rosina Neginksy, last year’s University Scholar spoke at the event and presented Braynov with the University Scholar pen.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Illinois Issues and WUIS take top awards

Journalists from Illinois Issues magazine and WUIS/Illinois Public Radio took home six combined “Best of Statehouse Reporting” honors in a national competition. The awards were sponsored by Capitolbeat, which is made up by reporters and editors.

Illinois Issues Columnist Charles N. Wheeler III won first place in the Columns/Commentary/News Analysis category for magazines for his columns that appeared throughout the year.

Dave McKinney won third place in the same category for his analysis, “The two faces of Illinois politics.” His article appeared in the January 2009 edition of Illinois Issues and compared the reputations of newly elected President Barack Obama and then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was impeached and removed from office later that month. McKinney is a reporter at the Illinois Capitol for the Chicago Sun-Times.

WUIS/Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Sean Crawford and reporter Amanda Vinicky won first place in In-Depth Reporting for their report, “The Fall of Governor Rod Blagojevich.” Vinicky also won second place in the Single Report category, and Crawford won third place awards in the Single Report and Beat Reporting categories.

The annual awards were announced August 22 at Capitolbeat’s conference in Indianapolis. The organization marked its 10th anniversary this year as the nation’s only professional association devoted to state government journalism.

For more information about the “Best of Statehouse Reporting” awards visit or

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Friday, August 21, 2009

UIS ranked 4th best in the Midwest for 2nd straight year

U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 Edition of America’s Best Colleges ranks the University of Illinois Springfield as the best public university - Master’s category - in the state of Illinois and the fourth best public university in that category in the entire Midwest. This is the second straight year that UIS has achieved those rankings. The Master’s category includes colleges and universities that provide a full range of undergraduate and master’s programs but only a few, if any, doctoral programs.

The prestigious rankings placed UIS at 27 on a list of 71 top public and private colleges and universities in the 12-state Midwest region that includes, in addition to Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. UIS was ranked fourth best among the 15 public universities on the list.

“With this being the second straight year we have received such high marks, it reflects how UIS is being established as one of the best public universities in the country. Once again, we are thrilled to be recognized in such elite company,” said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen.

U.S. News also gave UIS a high ranking in a category called “Great Schools, Great Prices” for being among only five universities in the Master’s category in the Midwest with students who graduate with the least debt. UIS was the fourth best on the list with a total of 76 percent of its students graduating with an average debt of $15,138.

UIS was not eligible to be ranked by U.S. News until two years after the university graduated their first class of freshmen. UIS enrolled its first class of freshmen to the Capital Scholars Honors Program in fall 2001.

The rankings are based on several key measures of quality including peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

Ringeisen credited Provost Harry Berman, the deans and faculty in UIS’ four colleges, and the enrollment management staff for their hard work and dedication towards building the quality and reputation of the university.

UIS offers 22 bachelor’s degrees, 20 master’s degrees and one doctoral degree in Public Administration.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

UIS faculty members receive MicrobeLibrary Editor's Choice Awards

Two University of Illinois Springfield professors are the recipients of a 2009 Editor’s Choice Award from MicrobeLibrary as announced by the American Society for Microbiology. The Editor’s Choice Awards were created to spotlight learning resources that demonstrate excellence in teaching and learning in microbiology and biology education.

Dr. Michael Lemke, associate professor of biology, and Dr. Keith Miller, professor of computer science, received the 2009 Visual Collection Award for Video for their work on a video called “Mud and Microbes: A Time-Lapse Photographic Exploration of a Sediment Bacterial Community,” created in collaboration with Roza George of the University of Georgia and former UIS undergraduate.

Lemke and George photographed a window pane of mud each day for one and a half months, and Miller condensed the shots into a 90-second video. Noticeable changes can be seen in the mud during that time due to the growth of microorganisms with a variety of different colors.

“Even though most people know that microorganisms are all around and in us, we often don’t have a good appreciation for them because they are so small,” noted Lemke. “Once students see the changes and start to understand how relatively quickly the microbes are changing their environment, you have a chance to teach the chemistry and biology behind the changing colors.”

The simple experiment shown in the video highlights the fact that tiny microbes are vital to earth even though they go unnoticed by most people, Miller added.

“The video is short, and we hope it is engaging and entertaining. But we also hope it gets people interested in what is going on inside the mud that makes all those strange colors appear,” Miller said.

MicrobeLibrary is a founding partner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s BiosciEdNet Collaborative, a portal sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s National Science Digital Library.

The American Society for Microbiology is the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world, composed of more than 43,000 scientists and health professionals.

For more information, contact Dr. Lemke at 217/206-7339 or Dr. Miller at 217/206-7327.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Seven students receive awards from EXS-L Programs at UIS

Seven students at the University of Illinois Springfield have received Outstanding Student Awards from Experiential and Service-Learning Programs at UIS. The awards were presented in May for placements and portfolios undertaken in 2008.

Katherine Shaffer and Stephanie Miller are recipients of the Craig Brown Outstanding Applied Study Term (AST) Student Award. The award honors Craig Brown, Political Studies professor emeritus who also served as a member of the AST faculty for more than 20 years.

Applied Study Terms are individualized field experiences, approved and supervised by UIS faculty, that give students an opportunity to apply theory, expand knowledge, determine additional learning needs, and explore careers while earning academic credit. To be nominated for an Outstanding AST Award, students must demonstrate excellence in several areas, including self-learning, personal growth, reflection, and the acquisition of new skills.

Shaffer served as a Marketing Intern at the Laketown Animal Hospital, helping to manage the hospital’s “Healthy People, Healthy Pets” event, writing press releases and a monthly newsletter, creating employee incentives and learning about the industry.

Miller created a portfolio titled “Forensic Scientist for a Semester” based on her experience in the Illinois State Police Research & Development Laboratory. Miller’s work helped to produce a report that recommended a change to the state police forensics manual.

Kemberly Martin is the recipient of the Walden-Irwin Credit for Prior Learning Program Outstanding Student Award. Credit for Prior Learning is a portfolio-based assessment for students who have acquired college-level, experiential learning outside the classroom. CPL evaluates experiences such as professional training, certification, volunteer work, independent research projects, military service, and more that may qualify as college credit.

Martin’s portfolio spans from her childhood years through her adult life including her time serving as a Medical Laboratory Technician in the U.S. Air Force and as a civilian employee working in the Pentagon during the attacks of September 11, 2001. Through her Narrative Essay, Martin incorporates learning theory from her AST class and also from her own independent learning to help her thoroughly identify, evaluate and describe her experiential learning.

The Barbara Jensen-Schweighauser Outstanding Public Service AST Award was given to Scott Allen and Shana Stine. The award is named for a UIS emeritus AST faculty member who worked in AST for 19 years and is given to students who demonstrate excellence in self-learning, personal growth, and the acquisition of new skills in their individualized field experiences and who intern in the public service sector.

Allen was placed in the Illinois Department of Corrections Jail/Detention Standards Section and assigned to review inmate grievances and determine if investigations were necessary. He conducted investigations and had to work with personnel issues that were beyond the scope of a normal internship.

Stine created a new non-profit organization named “Jump for Joel” after having served as a volunteer in the Gathiga Children’s Hope Home in Nairobi, Kenya. With her leadership, Jump for Joel has raised more than $17,500 to support the orphanage.

Lastly, the Dr. Elaine Rundle-Schwark Service-Learning Award was given to Rebecca Brown and Teela Whyte. The award was named for the Experiential and Service-Learning Programs director who wrote the first Service-Learning course offered at UIS and designed the minor in Social Responsibility and Leadership Development. The award recognizes students who go above and beyond what is required in their Service-Learning coursework.

Brown enrolled in two online service-learning courses in 2008. In the spring semester, Rebecca worked with the hospice in her local area, visiting a family regularly and also working to educate youth on what hospice does. In the fall, she worked with an organization that supported youth with cancer, serving as an activities director for the semester she served there.

Whyte enrolled in “AST 202- Learning and Serving with Homelessness in LA” during summer 2008. Even after the course was over, she continued to volunteer with one of the organizations in the L.A. area, and during the fall 2008 semester, Whyte volunteered to assist with recruitment of students for the course.

All UIS Experiential and Service-Learning Programs courses can be used to fulfill ECCE Engagement and Elective categories. For more information, contact the EXS-L office at 217/206-6640, e-mail or go online to

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

UIS announces Spring 2009 Deans' List

The students listed below have been named to the University of Illinois at Springfield Deans’ List for the 2009 spring semester. A total of 441 students were selected; 68 are students in the College of Business and Management, 67 are students in the College of Education and Human Services, 268 are enrolled in programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 30 are enrolled in programs in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, and 8 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.

Download a PDF of the list:

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

UIS approved for membership in COPLAC

University of Illinois at Springfield Provost Harry Berman has announced that UIS has been unanimously approved for membership in the distinguished Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). The vote places UIS among a select group of 25 public liberal arts institutions representing 23 states and one Canadian province.

“This is a milestone for UIS and yet another indication of our growing national stature,” said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. “We have now taken our place alongside institutions that are recognized for being leading small public liberal arts universities.” He noted that UIS is the only COPLAC representative in the state of Illinois.

According to Dr. Berman, the central COPLAC value is to champion the cause of liberal arts and sciences education of superior quality in the public sector. “Member institutions include small public colleges and universities with strong national reputations, such as the College of Charleston, Evergreen State University, and Truman State University,” Dr. Berman said. “COPLAC institutions share UIS’ commitments to the centrality of general education for the baccalaureate degree; to relatively small classes taught principally by full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty; and to an intimate learning environment, where students can say ‘My professors know me’.”

Dr. Berman said that membership will enable UIS to communicate its identity more effectively to a range of stakeholders – students and their families, trustees, and academic colleagues in Illinois and around the country. It will also open up faculty development opportunities through collaborations with faculty at institutions that share UIS’ values.

UIS began exploring the possibility of membership after the university’s Strategic Plan was completed in January 2006. The plan included a Statement of Strategic Intent to become a leading small public liberal arts university. The rigorous process that followed included attendance at COPLAC meetings, deliberations by Undergraduate and Graduate Councils, open forums, passage of a UIS Campus Senate resolution, COPLAC Membership Committee site visits, and submission and approval of an application.

“UIS now has national recognition for its 40-year commitment to the public sphere,” said Dr. Karen Moranski, associate vice chancellor for Undergraduate Education.

The 2006 Strategic Plan charts the following trajectories for UIS over the next ten years: 1) Development of new liberal arts-related minors and majors, such as Music, Theatre, and Modern Languages; 2) Larger cohorts of freshmen; 3) Increasing numbers of residential students; 4) Additional faculty to serve the new student population; and 5) Continued internal leadership in the application of technology to learning.

The other COPLAC institutions are: College of Charleston (South Carolina), Eastern Connecticut State University, The Evergreen State College (Washington), Fort Lewis College (Colorado), Georgia College & State University, Henderson State University (Arkansas), Keene State College (New Hampshire), Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Midwestern State University (Texas), New College of Florida, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Sonoma State University (California), Southern Oregon University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, SUNY College at Geneseo, Truman State University (Missouri), University of Alberta, Augustana Campus, University of Maine at Farmington, University of Mary Washington (Virginia), University of Minnesota, Morris, University of Montevallo (Alabama), University of North Carolina at Asheville, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, University of Virginia’s College of Wise, and University of Wisconsin – Superior.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Four Management students receive awards

Four students majoring in Management at the University of Illinois at Springfield have received awards for excellence.

Shannon L. Burrell and Raymond A. Byrd, both of Peoria, Ill., have been awarded the 2009 James C. Worthy Award for their high-quality senior papers. This honor, which includes a monetary award, pays tribute to the late James C. Worthy, a charter member of the management faculty. Each year’s winners are selected by the faculty who teach the course “Strategic Management and Leadership.”

Valerie G. Huels, of Peoria, Ill., is the recipient of the department’s 2009 Highest Academic Achievement Award. This honor, which includes a monetary award, recognizes Huels for academic excellence.

Joshua A. Winkler, of Peoria, Ill., is the 2009 recipient of The Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award, presented annually to a student who best exemplifies managerial competence, both in the classroom and professionally. He received a one-year subscription to The Wall Street Journal.

Housed within UIS College of Business and Management, the baccalaureate Management program prepares students to become leaders in all types of organizations through a curriculum designed to develop critical conceptual and interpersonal skills.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Four UIS students receive Avery Brundage Scholarships

Four students from the University of Illinois at Springfield have been awarded Avery Brundage Scholarships for excellence in academics and athletics. Each winner will receive a $2,400 award for the 2009-2010 academic year.

The recipients include: Kimberly Bartosiak of Bethalto, Ill., a student in College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who is on the volleyball team; Tiffany Blumhorst of Addieville, Ill., who is in the College of Business and Management and plays softball, basketball and golf; Kristan Delafeld of Des Plaines, Ill., a student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and plays on the softball and soccer teams; and Matthew Reynolds of Peoria, Ill., who is a student in the College of Business and Management and is on the basketball team.

The Avery Brundage Scholarship Fund Committee, composed of nine representatives from the faculties and student bodies of the Chicago, Springfield and Urbana-Champaign campuses, selects students from each U of I campus who engage in athletics for personal development, not as preparation for professional sports. In addition, the students must be working toward bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees at the University of Illinois and must be in the upper 25 percent of their undergraduate class or in good academic standing in their graduate program.

The scholarship program was established in 1974 by an endowment from Avery Brundage, University of Illinois alumnus and former president of the International and U.S. Olympic committees.

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Graduate student receives fellowship from FMC Technologies Inc.

Michael Dobbs, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has received a Graduate Fellowship from Chicago-based FMC Technologies, Inc. Dobbs, who is pursuing a master’s degree in Business Administration in the program offered by UIS in Peoria, will receive $9,000 for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Established in 1971, the fellowship program honors outstanding graduate students in business administration, economics, engineering, finance or related fields. Final selections are made by representatives from FMC Technologies, the University of Illinois, and the U of I Foundation.

Dobbs, who expects to graduate with his MBA in May 2010, completed an Associate Degree in Arts and Sciences at Illinois Central College in Peoria in 2006. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy at UIS in Peoria, graduating in May 2008. While studying Accountancy, his accomplishments earned him the Joy Kilmer CPA Scholarship, the Louise Hartman Schewe Scholarship, and the Vollentine-Stanhope Accounting Scholarship.

After graduating in 2008, Dobbs began working as an accountant at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria where he provides professional fund accounting support and related services for the Department of Cancer, Biology and Pharmacology.

Dobbs’ ultimate goal is to obtain a full-time position that enables him to use his experience and education with a quality business or organization in the accounting or financial services industry.

Dr. Paul McDevitt, Director of the MBA Program, nominated Dobbs for the fellowship on behalf of the MBA faculty. He said the faculty characterize Dobbs as a personable and extremely diligent student with a great work ethic and a strong entrepreneurial bent. “Aside from his academic excellence, he has earned the respect of his colleagues for his active leadership and contributions to peers in his cohort,” McDevitt said.

The UIS Peoria MBA format is designed to meet the needs of students who are employed fulltime but wish to complete degree requirements in a timely manner. Courses are offered so that it is possible for students to complete degree requirements in less than two years.

The FMC Educational Fund (formerly the Link-Belt Educational Fund) was established in 1963 by U of I alumnus Bert Gayman, who donated a large block of company stock to the U of I Foundation. Designed to provide education and research opportunities, the fund now gives more than $135,000 annually for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships at the University of Illinois.

See more information about the programs offered by UIS’ College of Business and Management.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Keith Miller named first Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Margot Duley, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Springfield, announced today the appointment of Keith W. Miller as the first Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“The Schewe Professorship is the first named Professorship in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and marks a significant milestone in its evolution,” Duley said.

Miller, a Professor of Computer Science, an associated faculty member of Philosophy, and Associate Director of the Emiquon Field Station, came to UIS in 1993. With research expertise in software engineering, Miller has also emerged as an internationally recognized authority in computer ethics and serves as editor-in-chief of Technology and Society, a journal of “IEEE,” the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology.

“Professor Miller is noted for his interdisciplinary collaborations, which include computer scientists, philosophers, biologists, physicists, lawyers, and historians,” said Duley. “These collaborations and his scholarly eminence make him the ideal first Schewe Liberal Arts and Sciences Professor.”

Miller played a major role in the development of an international code of ethics for software engineering. His work as the Schewe Professor will include research and collaboration on the ethical challenges facing computing professionals from a global perspective, according to Duley.

Karl Schewe was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and A.G. Edwards and Sons, Springfield. Louise was a teacher and active civic leader whose interests included the Springfield Art Association and the Illinois Symphony Guild. Upon her death in 2006, Louise Schewe left a generous bequest to the University of Illinois Foundation to support initially a professorship, and eventually a chair in the Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The field of computer ethics considers the ethical implications of computer and information technologies. All societies are being transformed by these technologies, and the positive and negative implications are enormous. Miller’s work bridges the gap between ethicists, academics, and computer science professionals.

Miller is a prolific and influential scholar. He is author or co-author of 60 articles in leading academic journals, a contributor to some 20 books and websites, and the author of 75 papers appearing in conference proceedings. He is in demand as a major conference speaker, appearing in venues as geographically diverse as the Association for Computer Machinery Symposium on Applied Computing in Dijon, France, to the Conference on Computer Ethics at Dartmouth College, from the Cyber Defense and Recovery Conference in Springfield, Illinois, to the EthiComp Conference in Sweden. He is also the recipient of many grants, including funding from the National Science Foundation.

A popular classroom teacher, Miller is also a major contributor to a leading undergraduate text, Computer Ethics: Analyzing Information Technology, authored by Dr. Deborah Johnson, who describes Miller as “a wonderful teacher, especially energetic and innovative.”

Miller’s previous honors include the Outstanding Service Award from the Association for Computer Machinery (2006), and he has been elected to the Board of The International Society for Ethics and Information Technology. He was also selected as a University of Illinois University Scholar in 2000.

Members of the Schewe panel who recommended Miller’s appointment were Dean Emeritus Bill Bloemer, Emeritus Professor Larry Shiner, Associate Professor Kamau Kemayo, Associate Professor Jonathan Perkins, Associate Professor Hei-chi Chan, Assistant Professor Sheryl Reminger, and Assistant Professor John Barker.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

UIS hosts Faculty Honors and Recognition Reception

By Courtney Westlake

UIS faculty gathered in the Public Affairs Restaurant on Monday evening, May 4, to celebrate achievements, sabbaticals, retirements and distinguished awards during the annual Faculty Honors and Recognition Reception.

"We are gathered to honor the academic achievements of our colleagues," said Provost Harry Berman. "It's good to have an occasion to reflect on ourselves as a community of teachers, community of scholars and community of campus citizens."

Emeritus faculty were honored at a separate evening event on Friday, April 24, but were acknowledged again during the reception. They include: Paul McDevitt, Pat Langley, Marcellus Leonard, Elaine Rundle-Schwark, Jim Veselenak and Dean Emerita Margot Duley.

Faculty awarded tenure included James Bonacum, Sviatoslav Braynov, Sara Cordell, Eric Hadley-Ives, Yuichi Iwashita, Ranjan Karri, Xiaoqing Li, Jason Pierceson, Tih-Fen Ting and Ryan Williams.

Anthony Sisneros was also promoted from associate professor to full professor, and 12 faculty members received sabbatical.

In addition to recognizing those faculty who are retiring or received sabbatical, several distinguished faculty awards were given during the ceremony.

Professor Don O’Neal of the Management Department was the recipient of the Pearson Award.

"Don exemplifies the UIS commitment to excellence in teaching," said Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "At the time of his 2006 promotion to full professor, the Campus Promotions Committee characterized Don as a 'stellar and effective teacher'."

The Spencer Award was created to honor President Robert Spencer, the founding President of Sangamon State University. This year's Spencer Award was given to Professor Beverly Rivera of the Criminal Justice Department, who has served as department chair, as well as chair of the Sabbatical and Awards Committee, the College of Public Affairs and Administration Personnel Committee, the Student Discipline Committee and secretary of the Campus Senate.

"In recent years, she has played a key role in implementation of the general education curriculum as chair of the General Education Council," Ringeisen said.

Rivera is also a volunteer with the Chicago-based John Howard Association and the Sangamon County Court Services and Probation Unit on the evidence-based practices project.

"She is recognized for applying her scholarly expertise to public policy concerns within the criminal justice system," Ringeisen noted.

The Burks Oakley Online Teaching Award was established by Burks Oakley II, who currently serves as a Research Professor in the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service after a distinguished career in the College of Engineering at Urbana-Champaign. As a faculty associate in the system’s Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Oakley played a key role launching UIS’ online programs.

"After careful deliberation, the Sabbatical and Awards committee selected Professor James Grubbs of the Communications Department as this year’s recipient of the Oakley Award," Ringeisen announced. "He puts a tremendous amount of work into developing highly engaging, extensively hyperlinked online materials. It’s hardly surprising that his online course evaluations are outstanding."

The last faculty award that was given was the Faculty Excellence Award, which is given to a senior faculty member honored not only for excellence in teaching, scholarship and service, but also for serving as a role model and mentor to other faculty. Past recipients of the award are Lynn Pardie, Chris Mooney and Ron Havens.

The recipient for this year's Faculty Excellence Award was Professor Deborah Kuhn McGregor, who is jointly appointed in the History Department and the Women and Gender Studies Department. Since her career began in 1987, McGregor has taught courses in history, women’s studies and African-American Studies.

"She is recognized as a creative, innovative and effective instructor, who engages students through a participatory style," Ringeisen said. "Her students note that her courses provide a strong foundation for further growth and development in their chosen fields. As a scholar, Professor McGregor has made significant contributions to the study of women’s history. Her 1998 book, From Midwives to Medicine: The Birth of American Gynecology is recognized as a major work in the field."

McGregor has also been recognized by colleagues for her contributions to personnel committee deliberations, most recently completing a term on the Tenure Review Committee.

"Beyond her high quality service on campus committees, we particularly want to recognize her contributions to the Expanding Horizons Program for young women and her long-time service on the Board of Directors of the Pearson Museum at the SIU School of Medicine," Ringeisen said.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kim Rutherford is winner of 6th annual CAPE Award

By Courtney Westlake

Kim Rutherford was named the recipient of the sixth annual Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence Award at UIS on Thursday afternoon, April 30, during a celebration in the Public Affairs Center Restaurant.

Rutherford is a disability services specialist in the Office of Disability Services at UIS.

The CAPE Award recognizes U of I academic professionals for their efforts in three general categories: work projects, professional development and affiliations, and contributions to their units. The winner receives $500 in cash for personal use, and another $500 is given to the winner’s department.

All APs are eligible to receive the CAPE Award; nominations are reviewed by campus committees and candidates' names are forwarded to the chancellor, who makes the final selections.

"This award recognizes all academic professionals by recognizing one outstanding AP," said Jerry Burkhart, chair of the Academic Professional Advisory Committee. "Academic professionals fill unique and vital roles on this campus. Each day, we work closely with students, faculty, civil service and administration, and as such, we help shape the fabric of UIS."

Chancellor Richard Ringeisen congratulated all the nominees and read an excerpt from Rutherford's nomination.

"This particular nominator is a student who wrote: 'Had it not been for Kim Rutherford, I would have been unable to achieve what I have achieved; I would have been unable to graduate. I never would have made it without this person.'"

Other UIS nominees for the 2008 CAPE Award were: Clay Bellot, academic technology service specialist in Information Technology Services; Munindra Khaund, multimedia education coordinator in Information Technology Services; Janette Kirkham, coordinator and placement developer in the Applied Study Office; Jim Korte, assistant dean of students; Tulio Llosa, director of educational technology in Information Technology Services; Mae Noll, undergraduate academic adviser; Candy Powers, assistant to the dean of the College of Education and Human Services; Shawn Craig Shures, assistant director/graduate intern recruiter for Graduate Intern Programs; and Bill Wheelhouse, general manager of WUIS.

When Rutherford's name was called as the 2009 recipient, she was presented with a personal plaque and another with her name that will hang in the Chancellor's office.

"I want say thank you to everyone on the list and all of you do so many good things for our students, and that's what we're all about," she said. "I want to say thank you to the CAPE committee. I just appreciate everything, so thank you."

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Matthew Holden is first Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science at UIS

Dr. Matthew Holden, Jr., has been designated as the first Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is the Henry L. and Grace M. Doherty Professor Emeritus of Politics at the University of Virginia. He retired from that university in 2002 after a distinguished career spanning more than 40 years.

Holden will be the designee of the Wepner Distinguished Professorship pending U of I Board of Trustees approval of his selection at the board’s meeting in May. He is expected to formally join the UIS Department of Political Science in the College of Public Affairs and Administration this fall.

Holden has agreed to be the speaker at UIS’ 38th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in downtown Springfield.

His wide-ranging scholarly interests, many of which are directly related to the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, include public administration and policy, public law, urban politics, and race and politics. His 1974 book, The White Man’s Burden, was a classic in the early political scholarship on race and politics. His latest book, yet to be published, is titled The World and the Mind of Isaiah T. Montgomery: The Greatness of a Compromised Man, which examines the lone African American delegate in the Mississippi Constitutional Convention of 1890.

“I, along with the entire Political Science Department, are truly thrilled to be welcoming Matthew Holden as a colleague,” said Dr. Christopher Mooney, professor of Political Science and chair of the selection committee for the Wepner professorship. “Holden embodies many of the most important values of UIS as a public service-oriented university. He is an eminent scholar of race and politics, of the public bureaucracy, of regulatory policy, and of urban politics.” Mooney called Holden a magnanimous and engaging individual with wide-ranging interests who will be a wonderful addition to the department, the university, and the Springfield community.

Holden has also taught at Wayne State University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and books, and served as president of the American Political Science Association in 1998-99. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Senior Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. His current research is in the area of public administration, political theory, and political power.

His public service work includes service on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University.

The Wepner Distinguished Professorship was established at UIS as the result of a $1.2 million unrestricted estate gift from a Springfield couple, Wilbur and Margaret Wepner, longtime supporters of UIS. The funds are being used for scholarships and the Wepner position. As a member of the Committee for Higher Education in Central Illinois, Wilbur Wepner helped found this university (then called Sangamon State University) in 1969.

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Women's Center hosts annual Spring Reception

By Courtney Westlake

The annual Women's Center Spring Reception was held on Wednesday afternoon, April 29, in the Public Afffairs Center Restaurant.

"Traditions like this are very meaningful to us," said Lynn Otterson, director of the Women's Center. "This has been a huge year of transition and transformation for the Women's Center. We moved to a wonderful, bigger space in the Student Life Building, and we are now part of the Diversity Center."

Announced during the reception were the recipients of two major Women's Center awards: the 12th Naomi B. Lynn Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Environment for Women at UIS and the 5th Women’s Issues Caucus Student Activism Award.

Nominees for the Naomi B. Lynn Award included Pat Langley, Hazel Rozema and Liz Murphy Thomas. The Women’s Issues Caucus Student Activism Award nominee was Renee Rathjen.

Langley was the winner of the Naomi B. Lynn Award. Several students stood up to recognize the impact Langley has had on their lives through her teaching and mentoring. Veronica Espina, a Spanish instructor at UIS, also spoke highly of Langley's impact, citing her work on important and meaningful issues on campus over the past few decades.

Langley expressed her gratitude for the honor.

"One of the things I love about this place and have always loved is working with my colleagues," she said. "There are people who aren't here anymore who helped me get where I am today, who helped me with all kinds of things. And I do that for people today because people did that for me."

Rathjen received the Student Activism Award. In her career at UIS, she has been involved in Queer-Straight Student Alliance, the LGTBQ Resource Center, a resident advisor, College Democrats and much more.

"Renee has advocated for the welfare of students and the right of everyone, regardless of gender, to be treated equally," said Candi Clouse, a UIS alum and the first Student Activism Award recipient who presented the award. "Because of her work, the future of UIS looks brighter every day. Her work has been described as powerful, breath-taking and selfless."

Rathjen acknowledged that UIS has been like a "testing ground" for her for social change.

"It is truly an honor to receive this award in front of all of you who have played a role in shaping me," she said. "The lessons, memories and relationships I will take with me have been invaluable."

Naomi B. Lynn, former UIS chancellor, was present during the event and commended the Women's Center for its work, as well as the efforts and dedication of the nominees.

In honor of the recipients of the Naomi B. Lynn Award, each year something is added to the Women's Center Peace and Friendship Garden, which was built in 1997. The garden, located by the UIS Pond, now contains features such as chimes, a bench, birdhouse and more. For the 2008 and 2009 recipients, a stone path has been started with the winners' names engraved on a new stone each year.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

UIS Teacher Education honor society inducts new members

The Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Teacher Education at the University of Illinois at Springfield, Alpha Alpha Gamma chapter, held initiation and induction ceremonies for new members on Saturday evening, April 25, on the UIS campus. Kappa Delta Pi recognizes scholarship and excellence in education.

Teacher candidates initiated in the honor society, which represents the top twenty percent of educators, were Amanda Flesch, Tina Freeman, Deana Hunter, Jack Hutchison, Danielle Kreier, Sara Legate, Lacy May, Sara Quigley, Hyun Ah Oh, Emily Orr, Kenneth Reid, Kayla Robinson, Danielle Simler, Lacey Slatton, Jason Winnett, Simon Wilson and Erica Weaver. The candidates were initiated by the chapter counselor, Jennifer Herring, assistant professor of Teacher Education at UIS.

Previous chapter counselor Allan Cook welcomed initiates and assisted with the induction of new Alpha Alpha Gamma chapter officers for the upcoming year: Deana Hunter, president; Tom Hutchison, vice president; Lacey Slatton, treasurer; Kayla Robinson, secretary; Danielle Kreier, historian; and Amanda Flesc, foundation representative.

Graduates and those who completed their Teacher Education certificates and received honor cords included Tina Freeman, Jack Hutchison, Sara Legate, Emily Orr, Kenneth Reid, Danielle Simler and Erica Weaver.

Tamara Douglass, District 186’s 2008 Teacher of the Year in attendance, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

Teacher Education is a department in the College of Education and Human Services at UIS. The program currently offers a teacher education minor and certification in elementary education and secondary education in the areas of English, math, biological science and social studies.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Clinical Lab Science program receives accreditation award

The Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) program at the University of Illinois at Springfield has received the official accreditation award from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

The program was awarded continuing accreditation for seven years, the maximum award. The program met standards in all areas, including faculty, curriculum, resources and outcomes. The National Accrediting Agency site visitors who came to UIS in November summarized their findings by saying, “This is an overall excellent program.”

According to CLS program director Linda McCown, clinical laboratory science, which is also called medical technology, is a career where nationally-certified professionals provide clues for determination of disease and health.

The curriculum at UIS includes four major areas: hematology, microbiology, clinical chemistry and immunohematology (blood banking and transfusion services). It includes rotations at two hospital laboratories in central Illinois. The program also boasts 100 percent placement for graduates seeking employment in the profession.

The CLS program at UIS has three full-time faculty, two adjunct instructors and five clinical faculty. Many of these faculty members have received honors, including Distinguished Author, awarded to Wayne Gade, and Member of the Year of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, awarded to Paula Garrott. CLS students have also placed first, second and third in the Illinois Student Bowl competition in the past three years.

For more information about the Clinical Laboratory Science program at UIS, contact Linda McCown at 206-7550 or go online to

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

High school students present winning work for contest at UIS

The University of Illinois at Springfield and the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission co-sponsored a state-wide Lincoln Forum Scholarship Contest for students in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of 16th President Abraham Lincoln. First, second and third place winners presented their winning work at UIS on the morning of Saturday, April 4, and were hosted by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in the afternoon, followed by tours of the Lincoln Home and New Salem on Sunday.

“The quality of the students’ work was truly exceptional,” said Dean Margot Duley of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIS. “Lincoln believed that education is ‘the most important subject that we as a people may be engaged in.’ The students, their parents, their sponsoring teachers and their schools can be justly proud of embracing and embodying that Lincoln legacy.”

This contest was open to Illinois high school students in grades 11 and 12 attending public, private, parochial or home schools, or Illinois students enrolled in high school correspondence/GED programs during the 2008-2009 academic year.

The contest was comprised of three categories, and prizes for each category included one year tuition waiver at UIS or $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place.
Category I was called “Historical Essay,” and entrants chose one of the following topics as the focus of their essay: Lincoln on race, Lincoln and wartime civil liberties or Lincoln’s religious or spiritual beliefs.

Mark Podeschi received first place for his Spiritual Views essay titled “Lincoln and his Lord.” Podeschi, of Taylorville, is a student at V.I.T. High School in Table Grove under the guidance of teacher Mary Dawson.

Amy Nosbisch, a Deitrich native, was the second place winner with her Lincoln on Race essay called “Lincoln: Friend or Foe to the African-American Race.” Nosbisch studies under teacher Rebekah Volk at Teutopolis High School.

Taylor Franzen Perkins, from Flanagan, received third place for her Spiritual Views essay, titled “Lincoln’s Binding Thread.” Perkins is a student at Flanagan-Cornell High School.

Category II focused on creative written works inspired by Abraham Lincoln and his legacy. Submissions were accepted in the genres of poetry, short story and dramatic script.

Shelby Adcock, of Table Grove, won first place for her short story submission titled “The Pride of New Salem.” Adcock studies with teacher Karen Lafary at V.I.T. High School.

Joseph Capps, a native of Mt. Vernon, received second place in the poetry category for his work called “Lincoln’s Greatness.” He studies with teacher Melanie Gulley at Mount Vernon Township High School.

Alyssa Huber, of Sugar Grove, won third place for her dramatic script submission titled “Young Lincoln’s Joke.” Huber is homeschooled by Linda Huber.

Category III was “Performance and Visual Arts.” Submissions were accepted in the visual arts fields of painting and drawing, graphic design, printmaking, digital imagery, sculpture, ceramics and glass, textiles, film and video, photography and mixed media, and in the performance arts fields of original music composition, solo performance based on student’s own writing and solo performance based on Lincoln’s own words or speeches.

John Tienken, a native of Clarendon Hills and student at Hinsdale Central High School, received first place for his video/film submission called “A Great American.” He studies with Christopher Freiler.

Jennifer Wilson, of Galesburg, was the second place winner with her work in the Ceramics category titled “A Nation Ripped at the Seams.” Wilson is a student at Galesburg High School under teacher Sheryl Lee Hinman.

Allison Abrahamian, of Burbank, won third place for her work of graphic design titled “Stand with Me.” Abrahamian studies under the guidance of teacher Katherine Kalus at Reavis High School.

Laura Powers, a Springfield native and homeschooled student under Carla Powers, received an honorable mention for her video/film submission called “The Legacy of Abraham Lincoln.”

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Student selected as finalist in photography competition

Andy Mitkos, a student at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been selected as a finalist in the 29th Annual Student Photography Contest sponsored by Nikon and Photographer’s Forum Magazine. His photo, a scene of a plane underwater, is titled “Any Landing You Can Walk Away From...,” and will be published in the Best of College Photography Annual 2009.

This is the second consecutive year that the work of a UIS student has been selected for publication in the annual. More than 4,000 students entered this year’s contest, which was open to photography students worldwide.

At UIS, Mitkos is earning a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and has take two photography courses under Professor Michael Duvall.

Mitkos’ winning photograph was captured while he was scuba diving off the coast of Aruba. He used underwater housing equipment with his camera to photograph the underwater plane.

“I like to use photography in everything I do,” Mitkos noted. “Professor Duvall suggested entering the contest to me, and I entered it not expecting anything to happen. It’s really an honor when your work is recognized by others.”

Established in 1977, Photographer’s Forum Magazine is a quarterly, award-winning publication dedicated to high-quality reproduction of photography in the United States and Canada. It is designed to facilitate communication and experience among emerging professionals.

This year’s judges for the contest were Rob Winner, Brooks Institute of Photography; Peter Glendinning, Michigan State University; and Karen Sinsheimer, Curator of Photography at Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

WUIS awarded two journalism honors in Illinois AP competition

WUIS 91.9, the public radio affiliate based at the University of Illinois at Springfield campus, received two journalism awards in the latest competition sponsored by the Illinois Associated Press. The news station was honored with second place awards in the categories of Best Investigative Report and Best Documentary.

State Capitol reporter Amanda Vinicky’s report called “The Representative Who Didn’t Show” about an Illinois lawmaker who wasn’t showing up for work was awarded second place in the Best Investigative Report Category.

Vinicky also collaborated with Illinois Issues Magazine State Capitol reporter Bethany Jaeger for a project that received second place for Best Documentary. That report, “Along the Autism Spectrum,” focused on three families affected by autism. The families discussed issues such as how they get schools to meet the children’s special needs, how they cope with awkward social situations, and how challenges change as the children grow.

“These awards demonstrate that WUIS listeners are getting quality journalism, not only at the national level from NPR (National Public Radio), but at the local and regional level from our own reporters,” said Bill Wheelhouse, WUIS General Manager.

Both WUIS and Illinois Issues are part of the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS.

WUIS can be heard at 91.9 FM in central Illinois, 89.3 FM in western Illinois and on the web at The mission of WUIS media is to cultivate curious, civically-engaged audiences and enrich the community through independent journalism, programming and outreach.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

UIS receives grant for Elluminate Vclass project

Ray Schroeder, director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Services at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is the recipient of a grant in the form of a 50-seat Elluminate VClass for 2009. The grant, in the amount of $6,740 for the year, was awarded by Elluminate and the Sloan-C Consortium, a national organization comprised of more than 1,200 institutions and organizations of higher education engaged in online learning.

Elluminate is popular software used in higher education for live web conferencing and to conduct online classes. Vclass is a product of Elluminate and is a virtual classroom for between 25 and 200 students. It is customizable for the instructor, and it offers full audio recording capability.

UIS has utilized Elluminate for five years. In Schroeder’s grant application, he proposed research on the use of synchronous and recorded online learning sessions to deliver inter-institutional workshops to academic librarians located at seven universities spanning the country. Through the awarded grant, a series of in-service workshops will be offered collaboratively through Elluminate by the academic libraries at the seven member institutions of the New Century Learning Consortium, which was created and is led by UIS through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Each institution will originate an ‘innovation’ or ‘best-practices’ session to be delivered through Elluminate interactively to librarians, faculty and students at the other six institutions. All sessions will be recorded and archived for further use and study, and topics will include areas such as library wikis and blogs, alternative search engines and more.

“By conducting this project across academic libraries at seven institutions, it is hoped that we will maximize the quality, breadth of topics, exposure, impact and future use of Elluminate at these universities located across the U.S.,” Schroeder said.

These sessions will be made available as Elluminate learning objects for classes in library and information science, information literacy, Internet in society and related topics. All content, outcomes and conclusions will then be documented and examined.

For more information, contact Ray Schroeder at 217/206-7531 or

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Journal staff takes home record number of awards at ICPA convention

Staff members of The Journal, the student newspaper at the University of Illinois at Springfield, received 12 awards at the 26th annual Illinois College Press Association convention, held February 20 and 21 at the Doubletree Hotel in Chicago.

Professional journalists and advertising professionals from throughout Illinois judged entries from more than 30 college newspapers across the state. Others schools that UIS competed against included Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, DePaul University, Loyola University, Columbia College, University of Chicago, Bradley University and Northeastern Illinois University.

Students from The Journal and Beyond, The Journal’s news and features magazine published once a semester, won awards in both the open division, which included daily and weekly student newspapers from Illinois, as well as the weekly division for student publications from universities and colleges with enrollments of 4,000 or more.

Three of The Journal’s awards came from the open division. Deborah Crandall took second place for an advertising design that included a graphic of a photo taken of the UIS Colonnade with well wishes for a good summer from Student Affairs. David Amerson’s review of a Springfield sports bar received third place, and Luke Runyon took an honorable mention for his review of a band.

In the weekly division, editor-in-chief Amanda Dahlquist and former Journal public affairs reporter Pete Nickeas won a first place award for their photo essay of pictures taken during Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s visit to Springfield during summer 2008. Luke Runyon also earned an honorable mention for his photo essay of the 2008 UIS Springfest.

Second place went to the Journal Editorial Board in the editorial competition for a piece in which they encouraged students to take seriously their right to vote for the UIS Student Government Association candidates and encouraged candidates to run for the SGA in order to make a difference at UIS.

David Clary also won a second place award for a sports photo he captured showing a UIS soccer player after a losing game.

Greta Myers took third place for a feature story about a couple dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, and Michael Omenazu received a third place award for a sports game story when he wrote about the first UIS women’s soccer team and its inaugural game.

Brittney Meyer received an honorable mention for a column on her first-person account of skydiving, and David Clary received an honorable mention for his column about UIS’ quest for NCAA status. An honorable mention also went to Robert Jackson for a sports feature story when he wrote about the impact of the fans on the game.

UIS student publications adviser Debra Chandler Landis noted, “I am very proud of the students and the honors they received. While Journal students typically win at least some awards each year in the ICPA contest, the 12 awards is a record number for us.”

For more information, contact Landis at 206-7717 or or contact The Journal at

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

UIS names first James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor

Dr. Karen Swan, professor in the College of Education and Human Services at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been named the first James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership. She assumed her duties on January 2.

The James J. Stukel Distinguished Professorship was created by the University of Illinois Foundation to honor James Stukel, the 15th president of the University of Illinois system (1995-2005). The professorship includes support for research and grant work and was created for a candidate who possesses expertise in and scholarly accomplishments relating to online teaching and learning issues.

Dr. Larry Stonecipher, dean of the UIS College of Education and Human Services, noted, “Karen Swan is recognized as the leading researcher in the nation with regard to effectiveness in online teaching and learning. Her work in communities of inquiry as well as a host of aspects of cultivating and assessing quality in the online teaching and learning process is leading the emerging best practices in the field. We are most fortunate to have Dr. Swan on our faculty.”

Swan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Connecticut, a Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction from Keene State College, and Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees in Instructional Technology from Columbia University.

She came to UIS from Kent State University, where she was Research Professor at the Research Center for Educational Technology in the College & Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services since 2003.

In 2006, Dr. Swan received the Sloan Consortium for Asynchronous Learning Networks Award for “Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual.” This award recognized her for national innovation, research and service in online learning.

During the spring 2009 semester, Dr. Swan will teach two online graduate courses and continue her research on a collaborative project called “Thinking with Data,” which is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The project involves the development of a middle school data literacy curriculum and its testing in two middle schools in Kent, Ohio.

The professorship will allow Swan to embrace her love of teaching within the Department of Educational Leadership, in addition to supporting ongoing and future research projects.

A formal investiture ceremony honoring Swan is being planned.

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