Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Faculty emeriti honored at College's annual luncheon

By Courtney Westlake

Dr. Jeffrey Chesky retired in 2004 but continued to advise master's degree projects at UIS up until last year, challenging students to reach their full potential.

Michael Townsend continuously told his students how fortunate they were to be pursuing a career field where they would make a difference in the lives of others and engaged them in service learning.

Townsend and Chesky were both honored as faculty emeriti in the College of Education and Human Services at a celebratory luncheon on Wednesday, June 17, in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby of the Public Affairs Center, and each took part in the unveiling of their painted portraits, which will be hung in Brookens Library.

After lunch, the two emeriti faculty participated in a question-and-answer session, during which they spoke about their experiences when first arriving at Sangamon State University and reminisced about their classes and memories of the early days of the university.

Dr. Bill Abler, professor in Human Development Counseling, also gave remarks called "Doing It by the Numbers: Painters, Portraits and Percipients," before the portraits of Townsend and Chesky were unveiled.

Townsend was a family counselor with the Child and Family Services of Sangamon County, where he specialized in doing work with kids who had been in trouble with the law, when he arrived at UIS - then Sangamon State - in 1975.

"He dedicated his life to teaching, public affairs and community service," said Larry Stonecipher, dean of the College of Education and Human Services. "His students were encouraged to engage in service learning even before we defined the phrase 'service learning'."

Throughout his career, Townsend wrote many grants requests totaling around $300,000, and founded and directed many other organizations and groups locally that encouraged change, Stonecipher said. He never pursued full professorship because he believed that only those with doctoral degrees should hold that title.

"Instead he dedicated his time and considerable talents to bridging any gaps that existed between his education in his application and benefit to the Springfield Community. As you can tell, Mike walks the walk every day," Stonecipher said.

Chesky came to UIS/SSU in 1977 with a Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics to become a professor of human services and biology. During his career, he received grants from such prestigious organizations as the American Heart Association, the American Federation for Aging Research, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health.

"The volumes of master's projects he chaired are a testament to his commitment to his students," Stonecipher said. "In the classroom, Dr. Chesky was revered as a stellar teacher/scholar who made the curriculum rigorous as well as interesting. His lectures were noted to be stimulating, captivating and laced with humor."

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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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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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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

EDL faculty conduct feasibility study for school districts

Faculty in UIS' Educational Leadership Department recently completed a study considering the feasibility of consolidating the Girard and Carlinville school districts.

Associate Professor and Department Chair Scott Day, Associate Professor William Phillips, and Assistant Professor Leonard Bogle were asked to conduct the study, which grew out of the districts' wish to explore new ways to offer high-quality educational programs in a fiscally responsible manner.

Complete results of the study are available at the Girard district website

Download a pdf file of an article that appeared in the August 16, 2008, State Journal-Register

Download a pdf file of a sidebar that accompanied the article

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Faculty Emeriti honored at luncheon

By Courtney Westlake

Four faculty emeriti in the College of Education and Human Services were honored at a celebratory luncheon on Thursday, June 19, in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby of the Public Affairs Center.

Each of those honored took part, with family members, in the unveiling of their personal, exquisitely-painted portraits, which will be hung in Brookens Library.

Done Yohe and Drs. Gary Storm, Barbara Hartman and Jack Genskow were recognized during the reception. Genskow, who has passed away since his retirement from the university, was represented by his wife and other family members.

All four honored faculty began at the university when it was Sangamon State University. Genskow came to SSU in 1978 and remained for 18 years while serving as professor and then chair of human development counseling.

"His prestigious presence was highly sought-after on numerous councils, committees and boards," said Larry Stonecipher, dean of the College of Education and Human Resources. "But it pales in comparison to the interpersonal contributions that he made to each and every person he knew. Those of us who knew Jack would find it difficult to adequately describe him. Apt descriptions include authentic, genteel, respectful, compassionate, hardworking. These virtues made him immensely effective as an adviser and teacher."

Dr. Barbara Hartman started at the university in 1973 and spent 20 years here as an associate professor of human development counseling and chair of the human development counseling department.

"As a teacher, Dr. Hartman had rigorous expectations of her students, yet even higher expectations of herself," Stonecipher said. "With passion, she devoted countless hours to the refinement of her courses and delivery of the content through teaching, always providing copious and truly meaningful feedback to her students. Dr. Hartman's striking contributions to the program, college and university created an enduring legacy for which we are all grateful."

Dr. Gary Storm came to SSU also in 1973 and served as a professor of both teacher education and social justice, chair of the teacher education program and associate dean of the human services and sciences during his 30 years here.

"His impact of service extended throughout the region by means of his extraordinary outreach of public service," Stonecipher said of Storm. "He is a model of service, scholarship and public engagement."

Don Yohe spent 27 years at SSU, starting in 1973 and retiring in 2000 after working as an associate professor and chair of Child, Family and Community Services.

"The expanse and fullness of his stellar contributions are still felt today," Stonecipher said. "He sought to ensure new faculty were practicing theorists and practicing clinicians. Students wholly appreciated the complete array of information he presented in classrooms, as well as his enthusiasm for his subjects."

After lunch, the three emeriti faculty participated in a question-and-answer session, during which they spoke about their experiences when first arriving at SSU and reminisced about their classes, relationships with other faculty and the legacies they all hoped to leave. Dr. Judy Everson, fellow faculty emeritus, served as moderator for the discussion.

Dr. Bill Abler, current chair of the Department of Human Development Counseling, also read a monologue entitled "Of Stasis and Movement: The Portrait as Still Life."

After the portrait unveiling, Genskow's wife spoke words of gratitude for her late husband.

"I'm so proud to stand here and see Jack so honored," she said. "I thank you all for being here and Larry for his comments. The one adjective that rang true to me was 'compassionate.' I just know how proud Jack would be to be presented as he is today. It's a beautiful portrait, and I thank you."

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