Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Supporters lobby for state funding during U of I Day at the Capitol

Hundreds of students, faculty and alumni members spent the day lobbying lawmakers for state funding during University of Illinois Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 21.

The annual event was organized by the U of I Alumni Association as a way for people to demonstrate their support for all three University of Illinois campuses.

“We are almost a half a billion dollars that the state is indebted to the university. Today is really about engaging the legislators and getting them to understand how bad the problems (are),” said Derek Felix, UIS student representative on the U of I Board of Trustees.

The day began with a lunch briefing and review of key messages. Throughout the afternoon, participants met with legislators and staff.

“What we’re trying to get them to understand is in dollars spent at the University of Illinois by the state returns back to the state usually 13 times every dollar that’s put in it,” said Edward McMillan, University of Illinois trustee.

The lobbying group from UIS was made up of both students and faculty. They met with local representatives like Senator Larry Bomke of Springfield to share their stories about how the financial problems are affecting them.

“We will get paid. It’s just a matter of when. I hope it’s a lot sooner than later,” said Felix.

McMillan says it’s important to have students meeting with their lawmakers directly. He’s especially glad to have a campus full of politically minded students right in the capital city.

“We’re very blessed to have this campus at Springfield to be part of the University of Illinois system,” said McMillan.

At the end of the day, alumni, students, legislators, UIAA leaders and University officials held a reception at the State Library.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Under the Dome" gives high school students and teachers a look inside state government

More than two dozen high school students and teachers from central Illinois spent a day as statehouse insiders at the capitol on Wednesday, March 24.

The University of Illinois Springfield’s “Under the Dome” is the state’s premier immersion event for high school juniors interested in government, politics, and public service.

“Most students when they come here to the capitol only get to see what the public gets to see, but because UIS has so many alumni engaged in government we’re able to take these high school students behind the scenes,” said Ed Wojcicki, UIS associate chancellor for constituent relations.

Wojcicki estimates UIS has hundreds, if not thousands of alumni working in state government in Springfield. UIS has been preparing leaders in government and public service since its founding 40 years ago.

Students and teachers spent the day behind the scenes at the statehouse on one of the busiest days of the legislative session. They talked with lawmakers and lobbyists, analysts and journalists, and got to see up close how policy is made in Illinois.

“I’ve never been to the capitol. This is actually my first day and… I never realized it was so busy and all these people were here, but it’s actually pretty cool,” said Ellisa Marsh a junior at Springfield’s Southeast High School.

The “Under the Dome” experience has inspired Marsh to take a closer look at a career in state government and she's already decided she wants to do an internship. She gives credit to “Under the Dome” for sparking her interest in politics.

“It opens a lot of doors and gives you opportunities. I never really had an interest in government until actually today,” said Marsh.

Allison Weidhuner, a junior at Greenview High School agrees it was worth spending a day at the capitol. She says she never realized how many people work at the capitol and the type of work they do.

“It helps you understand the whole process and get to know your government,” she said.

Wojcicki hopes the students take the knowledge they’ve learned back to their schools and that it inspires them in whatever career they choose.

“I hope they go home excited about state government. I hope they go home saying you know what I saw something in downtown Springfield I’ve never seen before. That was really interesting. I didn’t know that’s what happens in government,” he said.

The university is planning a similar “Under the Dome” event for Chicago area high school juniors on April 21. For more information visit

UIS government-related majors include Communication, Criminal Justice, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Global Studies, Legal Studies, Political Science, Public Administration, Public Affairs Reporting and Public Health.

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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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Thursday, October 15, 2009

UIS students rally at capitol to save MAP Funds

Hundreds of college students, including a group from the University of Illinois Springfield, rallied near the state capitol on Thursday, October 15, 2009 to urge lawmakers to fund the Monetary Award Program (MAP).

The students are asking lawmakers to restore $200-million dollars to make MAP grant funds available for the spring 2010 semester. If the funds aren’t restored it could make it hard for some students to pay for school and others fear they might have to drop out.

"The only way we can possibly get it reinstated in time for it to be effective for students to get it in the spring is right now," said UIS Student Government Senator Jaime Casinova.

The cuts to the MAP program would affect about 750 students at UIS who on average receive about $1,900 a semester from the program.

Governor Pat Quinn spoke at the rally telling students he’s working to restore the funds before lawmakers head home at the end of the week.

MAP grants are awarded to students based on financial need and more than 130,000 people across the state receive them every year.

After the rally UIS students met with lawmakers and delivered signed petitions from the campus community asking for the funds to be restored.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Campus Senate passes MAP Grant resolution

The University of Illinois Springfield Campus Senate passed a resolution at its meeting on Friday, October 09, 2009 asking state lawmakers to restore Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding.

Nearly 20% of the UIS student body or about 750 students would be negatively impacted by the cuts to MAP funding for the Spring 2010 semester.

MAP grants are awarded to about 150,000 to 160,000 college students statewide every semester.

Download the resolution passed by the Campus Senate:

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Legislators support civic education by providing Illinois Issues to public libraries

Illinois Issues, the state’s leading public affairs magazine, has launched a new program in cooperation with state legislators to promote public policy information and education through the public library system. “Issues for Citizens” was launched in September with 31 legislators providing Illinois Issues to 59 libraries across the state. (Please check the list below for your local legislator and library.)

Illinois Issues, with its special focus on Illinois government and politics, and its close attention to current trends and legislative issues, definitely belongs in public libraries so that all citizens can be better informed about important issues that affect the lives of each and every one of us,” Dana Heupel, Illinois Issues executive editor, said. “Information from credible sources can lead to civic engagement and productive dialogue in the public arena about important issues.” Heupel cited wind power in Illinois, an overview of the collapse of the economy and profiles of new legislative leaders as examples of recent topics in the magazine.

Besides a 13-issue subscription to the award-winning magazine, participating legislators also provided libraries with The Illinois Governors: Mostly Good and Competent. This third edition (2007) of the book, originally titled Mostly Good and Competent Men by Robert Howard, is edited and updated by Taylor Pensoneau and Peggy Boyer Long. The book introduces readers to the state’s chief executives from Shadrach Bond to Rod Blagojevich and tells the stories of these powerful men’s lives in the context of the state’s rich and colorful political history.

As part of the legislators’ gifts, libraries also receive Illinois Issues’ annual Roster of State Government Officials, a comprehensive listing of contact information for statewide constitutional officers, major executive agencies and directors, state legislators’ listings for their Springfield and district offices, as well as listings of key staff members and much more.

Entering its 35th year, Illinois Issues is a not-for-profit magazine published at the University of Illinois Springfield. A part of the Center for State Policy and Leadership, the magazine is consistently praised for its reporting and news analysis, recently receiving two national awards from Capitolbeat, the association of Statehouse reporters and editors.

Illinois Issues is continuing to enroll legislators and their libraries in the program. More information is available by calling 217-206-6094 or through the web site at .

Issues for Citizens Program


Sen. Pamela Althoff
Crystal Lake Public Library

Rep. William B. Black
Danville Public Library
St. Joseph Township Swearingen Memorial Library

Sen. Bill Brady
Bloomington Public Library

Rep. William D. Burns
Bessie Coleman Library (Chicago)

House Rep. Leader Tom Cross
Plainfield Public Library
Naperville Public Library on Naper Blvd.

Senate President John Cullerton
John Merlo Library (Chicago)

Rep. Monique D. Davis
Carter G.Woodson Library (Chicago)

Sen. Deanna Demuzio
Carlinville Public Library

Sen. Kirk Dillard
Bloomingdale Public Library
Itasca Community Library

Rep. Ken Dunkin
Chicago Public Library – Hall Branch

Rep. Jack D. Franks
Harvard Diggins Library (Harvard)

Rep. Jehan Gordon
Peoria Public Library – McClure Branch

Sen. Bill Haine
Hayner Library District (Alton)
Six Mile Regional Library District (Granite City)

Sen. Don Harmon
Chicago Public Library – Austin Branch
Chicago Public Library – Galewood-Mont Clare Branch
Chicago Public Library – North Austin Branch
Melrose Park Public Library
River Forest Public Library

Rep. Kay Hatcher
Aurora Public Library - West Branch
Batavia Public Library
Charles B. Phillips Public Library (Newark)
Kaneville Public Library District
Maple Park Library District
Messenger Public Library (North Aurora)
Plano Public Library
Oswego Public Library
Sugar Grove Public Library District
Town & Country Library (Elburn)
Yorkville Public Library

Sen. Dan Kotowski
Norridge Public Library (Chicago)
Elk Grove Village Public Library

Rep. Lou Lang
Lincolnwood Public Library District
Morton Grove Public Library

Rep. David Leitch
Peoria Public Library – Lakeview Branch

Sen. Ed Maloney
St. John Fisher Library (Chicago)

Rep. Richard Myers
Carthage Public Library
Henderson County Public Library District (Biggsville)

Rep. Elaine Nekritz
Indian Trails Public Library (Wheeling)
Prospect Heights Public Library District

Rep. JoAnn Osmond
Lake Villa Library
Zion-Benton Library

Rep. Robert W. Pritchard
Flagg-Rochelle Public Library District
Sycamore Public Library

Senate Rep. Leader Christine Radogno
Lemont Public Library

Rep. Kathy Ryg
North Chicago Public Library
Warren-Newport Public Library

Rep. Darlene Senger
Naperville Public Library (The Nichols Library)
Aurora Public Library – Eola Road Branch

Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano
Elmwood Park Public Library
Franklin Park Public Library

Sen. John Sullivan
Warren County Public Library

Rep. Jil Tracy
Quincy Public Library

Rep. Dave Winters
North Suburban District Library (Loves Park)
South Beloit Public Library

Rep. Karen Yarbrough
Maywood Public Library

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

MAP Grant Cuts Felt on UIS Campus

State budget problems could mean less financial aid for students at the University of Illinois Springfield. The Illinois General Assembly cut all funding for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) for the Spring 2010 semester. The Fall 2009 semester is still being fully funded by the state.

The cuts to the MAP program would affect about 750 students at UIS who on average receive about $1,900 a semester from the program. The UIS office of Financial Assistance has sent out an e-mail to students warning them about the cuts.

Many students have traditionally used the MAP grant program to help them fund their college education. UIS Director of Financial Assistance Dr. Gerard Joseph says the university is talking to lawmakers in an effort to get them to restore MAP funds.

“We are hoping that students will not panic and get anxious and just drop out of school and not wait until we figure out where we stand in this situation,” said Joseph.

MAP grants are awarded to about 150,000 college students statewide every semester.

For more information about MAP grants visit the Financial Assistance office website at or call 206-6724.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

UIS invites high school students to spend a Day at the Capitol

By Courtney Westlake

UIS alum Mike Ragen, who now works for the Illinois State Library, took time out from his day on Wednesday, May 13, to spend some time with four sophomores from Greenview High School as he showed them around the Illinois State Capitol Complex and explained the processes and issues within the state government.

The tour was part of the first-ever "Under the Dome - UIS Day at the Capitol" for select students from area high schools. The 30 students who participated were given a first-hand look at a day behind the scenes at the Illinois Statehouse on one of the busiest days of the legislative session.

The students learned about many career opportunities and the skills and education needed to pursue a career related to government or politics from the dozens of UIS alumni and students working in professional positions at the Statehouse.

"It was a great day, there was a lot of high energy, and it was good to see people come in support of us; UIS has some great friends who work in state government," said Ed Wojcicki, associate chancellor of constituent relations for UIS.

The morning of the event kicked off with a tour of the House gallery and a question-and-answer session with Sara Wojcicki, a UIS alum who works in media relations in the Office of Republican House Minority Leader Tom Cross, as well as Jim Fletcher, who is a lobbyist with Fletcher, O'Brien, Kasper & Nottage.

"One unexpected event is that we saw Representative Rich Brauer, and he invited us to come on the House floor," Wojcicki said. "It was very nice for these kids to go on the House floor because most of time, you have to go up in the gallery and look down."

After lunch, the high school students broke into small groups, where they met up with eight different UIS alumni serving in positions from legislative staffer to lobbyist to political reporter, who were able to show them around the Capitol. Students got the opportunity to sit in the press room where the governor holds press conference, stand in the room where the Illinois Senate gathers and more.

The students also attended a panel discussion that included Kent Redfield and Chris Mooney, UIS political science faculty members, Mary Bohlen, professor of communication at UIS, Chris Cray, director of Legislation with the Illinois State Board of Education and UIS adjunct faculty and Charles Wheeler, director of the public affairs reporting program at UIS. Additionally, they took part in a program with statehouse reporter Amanda Vinicky.

"One reason we wanted to do this is because literally no other university can do what we did today, and that is bring a group of kids to Springfield, to the state capitol, behind the scenes of state government, all with people who are friends of the university - and a lot of them who graduated from here - and show them exactly what to expect if they want to have a career in government," Wojcicki said. "And we're located here - a lot of other people could bring students to Springfield for tours or field trips, but we're here, so we do it every day with our students, our interns and our alumni."

"We think UIS is a great school for high school students to come to and experience things in state government if they want to have careers in politics and government," he added.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

UIS students honored at Model United Nations conference

A class of students from the University of Illinois at Springfield who attended the annual National Model United Nations conference was honored with the Distinguished Delegation Award for their efforts at the conference, which was held April 7 to 11 in New York City.

The conference is a simulation of a United Nations meeting. Groups of students from more than 300 schools internationally attended the conference, and each delegation, or group, represented a specific country. UIS was chosen to represent Croatia.

This was the first year that a semester course was created to learn about and attend Model United Nations; in previous years, the university has sent a group from a Model United Nations Club on campus.

Several UIS students also received individual awards at the conference. Priyanka Deo was honored with the Best Chair Award for her role in serving as chairman of the General Assembly. Kelsey Quinn received the Best Delegate Award from among more than 400 delegates. Both Deo and Quinn have been invited to attend a conference in Switzerland this summer based on their work at Model United Nations.

This semester, the class, called Model United Nations and comprised of 12 students, has been studying topics like how the United Nations is organized, foreign policy and diplomacy, and all aspects of Croatia.

“Having a course, we were able to discuss Croatia, its history, its culture and its relations with other neighboring countries,” noted Dr. Adriana Crocker, professor of political science who taught the class. “It was quite an accomplishment to receive several awards, especially because our group was much smaller than most others who attended. It was a great experience for our students.”

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cleaning America's rivers is focus of Earth Day speaker

By Courtney Westlake

UIS celebrated Earth Day on Tuesday evening, April 21, with a presentation by Chad Pregracke called "Making a Difference in the World: My Journey to Clean America’s Rivers."

Pregracke spoke to the UIS and Springfield community about his experiences growing up near the Mississippi River, which led him to the vision of cleaning the river a little at a time.

"I am going to talk about picking up the river one piece of garbage at a time, and I'm not just talking about picking up little pieces of garbage, but picking up thousands of 55 gallon barrels, appliances, sunken boats, you name it," he said.

In 1997, Pregracke founded a not-for-profit environmental organization called Living Lands & Waters, which has involved tens of thousands of volunteers with community-based river cleanups, Riverbottom Restoration Projects, Adopt-a-River Mile Programs and Big River Educational Workshops.

"I had one goal, and it was simple: to clean up the river," he said.

It took Pregracke years before he turned his vision into reality and slowly acquired a crew, barges and other equipment necessary for large-scale cleanups. He began organizing community cleanups, and now travels around the country with his crew of 11 fulltime staff.

"One of the most important things I have learned is how much people care about the environment in general, and I learned that right off the bat. Right after a story aired on CNN, I got baskets full of letters saying 'great job', 'way to go, the Mississippi River is a treasure' and all kinds of stuff," he said.

Some years Pregracke's crew is on the rivers cleaning for six months, and sometimes as many as nine months. To date, they have had more than 50,000 people volunteer and have cleaned more than five million pounds of garbage since the organization started. They work primarily on the Mississippi River but also on the Illinois River, Ohio River and as far east as the Washington D.C. area, Pregracke said.

Living Lands & Waters has also just started planting trees on islands to provide habitats and food for wildlife. They started a nursery in Beardstown to grow their own trees and have given out 100,000 trees in last three weeks.

During his presentation, Pregracke encouraged attendees, and especially students, to pursue any dream they have and not let anyone tell them they can't do it.

"Anything you want to do is totally feasible; if you set out to do something that's going to have a positive effect on yourself, the people around you, your community, know that you can do it," he said.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

UIS Trustee Craig McFarland designated official voting member for BOT

Governor Patrick Quinn has designated D. Craig McFarland, student trustee from the University of Illinois at Springfield, an official voting member of the U of I Board of Trustees. It is only the second time that a UIS student trustee has received that coveted designation.

The Governor gave McFarland voting rights for the remainder of his term on the board, which ends on June 30, after UIC Student Trustee James Winters resigned from his position on the board due to medical and personal reasons. Winters had been serving as the official voting student trustee.

McFarland, from Moline, Illinois, is a senior majoring in political science and communication. He served as the UIS Student Government Association’s Senator to Transfer Students in 2007-08. He is a member of the College Democrats, Students Allied for a Greener Earth, Model Illinois Government, and was active in Students for Barack Obama.

Each of the three U of I campuses elects one student trustee to serve on the board each year, and the governor designates one of the three as a voting member. The designation had always gone to either the Urbana or Chicago trustee until July 2006 when Sarah Doyle became the first student trustee from UIS ever to be given official voting rights. That designation was made by then Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The U of I Board of Trustees is comprised of 13 members appointed by the governor for terms of six years and three student trustees who serve one-year terms. The governor serves as an ex officio member.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

UIS reconfigures Doctor of Public Administration program

The University of Illinois at Springfield is currently accepting applications for its newly reconfigured Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) program. The application deadline to be considered for acceptance into the program this fall is April 15.

The new program is designed for the working professional and has evolved into a degree that incorporates a candidate’s skills and life experiences into a plan of study that uniquely anticipates a lifetime of learning and application, according to DPA Program Director William Miller. “While having a common core covering essential subjects in public affairs and administration, the program allows a student to choose the elective specializations that fit his or her individual career aspirations,” Dr. Miller said. “It is the perfect blend of scholarly standards and real-world innovation.”

The previous DPA program, with an emphasis on graduates going into or continuing in the academic arena, has graduated about 15 students during the past several years.

Located in UIS’ College of Public Affairs and Administration, the DPA program’s mission is to advance the education of experienced practitioners interested in improving their understanding of public management and public policy.

“These individuals can make a significant contribution to bridging the gap between practice and scholarship. This is done by developing a capacity to bring practitioner experience to the scholarly community and in turn translating the scholarly contributions back to the world of the practitioners,” said Patrick Mullen, a professor in the DPA program.

In the fall of every odd-numbered year, a cohort of 15 students is admitted to the program. They focus on a variety of policy and administrative issues while attending core classes in the evening.

After two years in core classes, students take electives and begin their dissertation work. Depending on how many classes they take per semester, students complete the degree in about four years. Many students hold full-time jobs while attending classes.

For information about applying to the program, please contact William Miller at (217) 206-6310 or For more information about the DPA, visit the UIS web site at Click on A to Z at the top of the page, then on D. You will find the DPA listed there.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

CNN interviews UIS students about Obama's visit to Springfield

By Courtney Westlake

Springfield was in the national spotlight on Thursday, February 12, as the city and the nation celebrated the 200th birthday of 16th President Abraham Lincoln, which also included a visit from current president, Barack Obama.

UIS students caught a bit of that spotlight on Thursday afternoon as five of them were interviewed by CNN in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library in downtown Springfield. The students spoke about what Obama's visit means to the city and about Obama's election in general.

The students who were interviewed included Guila Ahern, Yolanda Beaman, Charles Olivier, Mike Ziri and Renee Rathjen. One topic that was brought up during the interview was Barack's support for the U.S. troops. Ahern noted that her brother was introduced to Obama before he was sent to Iraq, and the two corresponded.

"I thought it was very impressionable to have senator contacting him overseas," she said. "I think Barack's support of the troops is to be commended."

Rathjen spoke about Obama's support for the homosexual community and gay rights.

"I think this is the first time a politician has really gone out there to include our community," she said. "He has always supported our community, and he even had a specific part of his campaign of "Obama Pride."

CNN's reporter discussed the phenomenon that occurred during Obama's election in which he inspired thousands of Americans to register to vote and become involved in politics.

"As an African-American male, I feel like Barack Obama is really (representative of) the American dream; that's what really mobilized me and inspired me to donate money to his campaign," Olivier said. "All of us contributed to phone banking and reaching out to donors in any way we could."

Ahern echoed his sentiments and commended Obama's campaign.

"The way that he mobilized donors that have never donated to a campaign before was just remarkable," she said. "Calling your college students and your other grassroots organizations - it was just astonishing at how he was able to make it work."

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Illinois House of Reps sworn in at UIS

By Courtney Westlake

The Illinois House of Representatives gathered at UIS on Friday as each of the new members of the 96th General Assembly was sworn into the House and by a vote of 70 to 48, Rep. Michael Madigan was re-elected as the House Speaker over Rep. Tom Cross.

The House made history during the meeting as a new vote was made for the impeachment of the Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich.

The House voted 114 to 1 on Friday, January 9, to impeach the governor, who will now be tried in the Senate. The second vote was taken with the newly-elected House officials.

Madigan thanked all of his fellow representatives for electing him as Speaker and explained why it is important that each branch of the Illinois government live up to its responsibilities and serve the people of the state.

"I simply ask that all of us become very strong advocates of the role that we play in Illinois government," he said. "We have a role to play that is set on the constitution."

Rep. Cross also spoke about the responsibilities of the House and the purpose of the impeachment process.

"In the last ten years, two of our governors have caused a great stain on this state. They have violated the law, abused their power and totally disregarded their office, and it has a very real effect on all of us," Cross said. "We've been tested in an exceptionally difficult way. When we put politics aside and we recognize there are some things we have to do, we can get them done. The impeachment last week was necessary; it was necessary as a state for us to go through that, no matter how difficult it was. We had no choice."

At the end of the session, for the second vote of the House of Representatives, the vote to impeach the governor was 117 to 1.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lincoln Legacy lecture discusses presidential elections

By Courtney Westlake

In the midst of one of the most important presidential elections in decades, the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series drew parallels between the presidential campaigns of 1860 and 1864 and the current campaign on Wednesday evening.

The topic of the 2008 Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series, which was held on Wednesday, October 15, in Brookens Auditorium, was "Lincoln and Presidential Campaign Politics." The Lincoln Legacy lectures bring Lincoln scholars and experts from around the country to Springfield to discuss issues and topics relevant to society today as well as in Lincoln's era.

Dr. Jennifer Weber, assistant professor of History at the University of Kansas, discussed "How Lincoln Handled the Anti-war Movement." Dr. Silvana Siddali, associate professor of History at St. Louis University, spoke about "Lincoln and the Constitution in Civil War Era Presidential Campaigns." Illinois State Historian Dr. Thomas Schwartz served as moderator for the event.

Lincoln faced harsh criticism from the outset of the Civil War. Weber discusssed some of Lincoln's qualities that Americans today believe made him a great leader.

"Those same qualities, had the North lost the war, would be the qualities I think that we would cite for Lincoln being a failed president," Weber said. "What it comes down to, a lot of Lincoln's reputation rests on the victories of the military armies."

Siddali examined the relationship between the Constitution and presidential campaigns. Presidential campaigns of the time caused American voters to consider a number of crucial issues, including the issue of slavery.

"The Civil War era elections changed the Constitution and were in many ways an important referendum on the U.S. Constitution," she said.

The biggest similarity between the current presidential election and the election of 1864 is the impact of the election on the future of the country, Weber said.

"The great comparison at this point with the election of 1864 is this: we are in a nation that is experiencing a profound economic crisis, and everyone in the country is aware of that. Likewise, everyone in the country is aware that however they cast their ballot in this election is going to decide the future of this country for at least the next generation," Weber said. "It's a transformative election."

Both speakers commended UIS for hosting the Lincoln Legacy series.

"I've been to Springfield many times, and I love it every time I'm here; it's a joy to be here," Weber said. "I think the Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series is a terrific idea, and there's no better place to have it."

The speakers agreed that the relevance of the topics were crucial at this point in time in the country's history.

"We're facing one of the most important presidential elections, certainly the most important of this century. It's going to be a crucial decision," Siddali said. Remembering Lincoln's ongoing legacy during this time is important, she said. "We have to remember that Lincoln was the president who made the United States what it is today because the Civil War endangered the union of the states, and what better place to honor his legacy than Springfield."

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Monday, September 29, 2008

UIS Certified Public Manager training program receives national accreditation

The Certified Public Manager Program of Illinois, a professional development program offered through the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has received accreditation from the National Certified Public Manager Consortium.

Since 1979 The National Certified Public Manager Consortium has established accreditation standards, and monitored and reviewed the 36 state member programs. The National Consortium allows only one CPM Program per state, making this program a unique training resource for managers in Illinois. Accredited programs are authorized to award the CPM designation to candidates who complete the program.

Lorena Johnson, CPMPI program director at UIS, noted, "This professional development certification program provides public managers with the knowledge and skills needed to adapt to an ever-changing public management environment. CPMPI offers trainings in variety of areas, such as effective supervision, strategic planning, and performance measurement and evaluation. Everyone benefits -- the managers, their agencies, and the people they serve."

She continued, "Receiving national accreditation reflects UIS' commitment to excellence in teaching and learning and continues its public affairs tradition and mission by being a resource for professional development training and technical assistance for the public sector in the State of Illinois."

CPMPI also offers customized training and technical assistance designed to meet the unique professional development needs of local, state, and non-profit organizations and agencies. CPMPI Customized Training and Technical Assistance specializes in working with organizations in such areas as financial management, board development, data resource management, communication and leadership skills, organizational and human resource management, effective supervision, and building partnerships.

The following events -- all to be held on the UIS campus -- are scheduled for fall 2008: Human Resource Management (October 18); Introduction to Effective Supervision (October 23-24); Building Effective Partnerships in the Public Sector (October 30); Managing a Union Environment (November 13); Policy Analysis for the Non-Analyst (November 14); Succession/Orientation Planning and Mentoring (November 20); and Building Effective and Productive Cross-Cultural Teams (December 4).

Get more information, including application, registration forms, and a brochure, or contact Lorena Johnson by e-mail at or by phone at 217/206-6079.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

UIS implements Global Studies major

By Courtney Westlake

When UIS made some changes to the general education curriculum several years ago, it opened the door for the addition of a new major focused on global awareness.

Since the early 1990s, UIS has offered a minor in international studies, and now, beginning in Fall 2009, UIS will offer a major degree in Global Studies within the College of Public Affairs and Administration.

“We decided to build into the new general education curriculum, a new goal that all students have to take course in global awareness, and students who came in at the lower division would have to take courses in comparative societies,” said Dr. Steve Schwark, who put together a proposal for the new major two years ago. “To do this meant adding new faculty who could teach those courses in a variety of topics. For the first time, we really had a faculty that could offer a full major in global studies.”

The implementation of a Global Studies major matches the direction that is occurring in global and international studies programs across the country, said Dr. Hilary Frost-Kumpf, who will teach courses in the major.

“These programs are very interdisciplinary and are pulling from topics like geography, political science, history, anthropology, women's studies and environmental studies because all of those disciplines are boundary-crossing,” she said. “So we're really tying into and looking at what's happening across the country in terms of these studies.”

The new program at UIS will consist of an introduction course called Introduction to Global Studies, taught by Frost-Kumpf, and six other core courses at the 200 level, Schwark said. The core courses will cover topics in political science, history, economics and a course that will require students to look at different cultures, such as world literature, cultural geography or world cultures.

At the next level, students will be able to choose a concentration in Globalization or Politics and Diplomacy.

“There is also a self-designed concentration that consists of four courses that might deal with a part of the world like Africa or Latin America, or students might choose to focus on a functional topic like human rights or women's issues,” Schwark said. “And then students come back together and take a capstone class in which they will put together a project or paper that will be a culmination over what they learned in previous semesters.”

Global Studies majors will be required to develop intermediacy competency in a foreign language and also encouraged to study abroad.

“The study abroad programs have expanded considerably on campus in the past 10 years. This is a way to build upon the direction and competencies that the university is already taking,” Frost-Kumpf said. “We’re very committed to the goals that the university has set to expand global awareness for UIS students and to be able to do that through an entire major is very exciting.”

Along with study abroad, another exciting aspect of the Global Studies program is the opportunity for students to obtain internships abroad, Schwark said.

“More and more students understand that we live in a global economy, that we live in a world in which it’s really important to have experience dealing with people who speak different languages and know about other cultures,” Schwark said. “If they can add to that and can say they had work experience, where they worked in London or Paris or East Asia, this adds an extraordinary amount to their resumé.”

While the focus right now is to establish the Global Studies program at the bachelor’s level, Schwark and Frost-Kumpf anticipate the degree possibly being offered online in the future. Both faculty members are excited about the possibilities to enrich the lives of students in the program and encourage global awareness.

“When prospective students see that we offer a Global Studies major, we think this will attract students to our honors program, as well as transfer students who will see for the first time that they can get degree in global studies,” Schwark said. “There are not that many of these in the state of Illinois, at least at state universities. Any student who understands that we’re becoming an increasingly close-knit, global community will be intrigued by this.”

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

UIS Office of Technology Enhanced Learning takes part in public health initiative

The Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning at the University of Illinois Springfield is collaborating with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Chicago State University in a project titled BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS), which takes place in the virtual world Second Life.

BASUAH is an initiative of the Governor Blagojevich's Office designed to address HIV/AIDS among members of the state's African-American communities. IDPH launched the project on August 1, 2007.

The IDPH Center for Minority Health Services created a space (an "island") for BASUAH in Second Life that acts as an e-learning and teaching tool. The Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning at UIS is responsible for delivering this training, which promotes open discussion on a variety of topics related to AIDS.

"We need to reach out to and educate people in a way that keeps up with the times," said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, IDPH director. "Our goal in creating BASUAH in Second Life is to provide innovative opportunities to keep the dialogue on HIV/AIDS education and prevention in the fore front of peoples' minds."

Students in a biology class taught at Chicago State University by Dr. Julian Scheinbuks this spring were the first participants, holding discussion forums and building presentations.

OTEL Director Ray Schroeder noted that, to date, more than 1,000 students from around the state have completed this training and been certified as BASUAH Ambassadors. "This is an important collaboration between UIS, CSU, and IDPH," said Schroeder.

Deborah Antoine, an instructional designer in OTEL, explained that the immersive
experience of Second Life fosters interactive role-play, which helps Ambassadors become comfortable in their role as peer educators.

Antoine said that UIS is "enthusiastic" about its collaboration with the Department of Public Health and Chicago State. "After certifying more than 1,000 Ambassadors through our online training program, we are excited about breaking ground in this new environment. We look forward to our continued collaboration and success in this very important initiative," she said.

In virtual worlds such as Second Life, users create representations of themselves, known as "avatars," with a wide range of physical characteristics from which to choose. As avatars interact with each other, "real" people have an opportunity to explore different personas and learn what it would be like to be in someone else's situation.

Certified BASUAH Ambassadors become peer educators – someone from within a group who can deliver information that is understood, accepted, and acted on by other members of the group. Sensitive to community norms, values, cultural beliefs, and traditions, peer educators are trusted by the group they serve and act as role models.

More information about BASUAH is available at, or contact Deborah Antoine at 217/206-8261.

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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, July 17, 2008

UIS hosts New Century Learning Consortium July 21-23

Representatives from six universities from throughout the nation will attend the first meeting of the New Century Learning Consortium on July 21-23 at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The Consortium is designed to assist the universities in implementing high quality, large-scale online and blended learning programs.

Founded by Ray Schroeder, Director of UIS' Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning (OTEL), and Burks Oakley, Founding Director of the University of Illinois Online, the Consortium is being funded with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

"This is an exciting initiative that brings together state universities spread across the U.S.," said Schroeder. "Our organizational meeting will enable us to formalize our relationships and begin collaborations in the development of online and blended learning initiatives that will span the country."

Schroeder said the recent rise in gas prices has significantly increased student demand for the delivery of classes in online and blended learning formats. "The leaders of these institutions who will gather at UIS are committed to responding to student needs in reducing the commuting expenses required for degree and certificate programs," he said.

Consortium activities include developing a clearinghouse of online classes where there is excess capacity; shared IT expertise to support building infrastructure capacity; and peer support at the upper administration, dean, and faculty member levels.

The institutions taking part in the Consortium are dedicated to developing vigorous online and blended learning initiatives to expand and stabilize student enrollments. They are California State University Easy Bay, Hayward; Southern Oregon University, Ashland; Chicago State University; Oakland University, Rochester Hills, Michigan; University of Southern Maine, Portland; and Louisiana Tech University, Ruston.

UIS was recognized with the prestigious 2007 award for excellence in institution-wide online teaching and learning from the Sloan Consortium, the premiere national organization dedicated to advancing quality in online education.

For more information about the Consortium, contact Ray Schroeder at 206-7531.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

UIS to host presentation on UN discussion of violence against women

Dr. Cindy Smith, chief of the International Center of the National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC, will speak on "The Ultimate Diversity: 191 Member Countries of the United Nations Try to Agree on Issues of Violence against Women" at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 26, in Brookens Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Brookens Auditorium is located on the lower level of Brookens Library on the UIS campus.

The program is free and open to the public.

At the 17th session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in April in Vienna, member states were unable to agree on issues surrounding violence against women around the world.

This presentation will examine the political and cultural context in which these debates took place, as well as the implications of UN resolutions for the United States.

From 1996 to 1998, Smith was a faculty member in the Criminal Justice program at UIS, where her teaching focused on research methods and statistics, policy, and the fundamentals of criminal justice. She is presently on leave from the University of Baltimore, where she was the director of the Criminal Justice Graduate Program for several years. A Senior Fulbright Research Scholar, she recently returned from Ankara, Turkey, where she spent nearly a year conducting research on human trafficking. Dr. Smith serves as chair of the Division of International Criminology of the American Society of Criminology and is a board member of the International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council to the United Nations. Over the past decade she has received state and federal grants for research in such areas as prison-based therapeutic communities, chronic juvenile offenders, and juvenile gender issues. She has also published widely on the topics of suicide terrorism, elderly victims of financial abuse, restorative justice in the United Nations, and transnational crime and technology methods.

Dr. Smith’s presentation is part of the ECCE (Engaged Citizenship Common Experience) Speakers Series at UIS, campus-sponsored lectures by speakers who exemplify engaged citizenship. The series is a one-hour course that is part of the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience, the distinctive set of courses taken by undergraduates at UIS to foster appreciation for and practice of diversity and the active effort to make a difference in the world. This summer’s series concludes with "The Power of Photography in Social Movements," a presentation by Dr. Larry Livingston, UIS assistant professor of Social Work, on July 16.

For more information about the ECCE speaker series, contact Kimberly Craig at 206-6425 or by e-mail at

See a webcast of the presentation

More about the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

More about the Commission's 17th session

More about the National Institute of Justice

The NIJ International Center

The NIJ Violence against Women and Family Violence Program

More about Dr. Cindy Smith

More about Criminal Justice at UIS

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Speaker focuses on globalization in the Midwest

By Courtney Westlake

Globalization is transforming the Midwest of the United States, and the region is struggling to meet the challenges.

This is the message that guest speaker Richard Longworth brought to the campus on Tuesday evening, May 20, during a presentation in Brookens Auditorium. Longworth is the author of "Caught in the Middle: America’s Heartland in the Age of Globalism," which describes this transformation and suggests ways in which the Midwest can fight back.

Longworth lives in Chicago, but grew up in Iowa. It was while he was traveling abroad as a foreign correspondent that he picked up an interest in globalization and spent a lot of time looking at the effects of globalization on the third world and the first world.

"I got curious recently about how the Midwest, my old home, was handling globalization, so I spent most of the year driving around the eight states of the Midwest, visiting as many places as I could and talking with as many people as I could," Longworth said. "And the short answer is that we've got problems."

Longworth said his personal definition of globalization is that the United States is in a global competition with the entire world, not only with other states or regions of the country.

New global challenges are coming about in the Midwest - challenges to the education system, innovation, a political system that is inadequate to the needs of the 21st century and more, Longworth said. And these challenges are turning both heavy industry and family farming upside down, undermining old factory towns and rural areas, destroying old jobs and putting new demands on education, government and Midwesterners themselves, he said.

"A lot of what is happening has been going on for years, but globalization is putting the final nail in lot of coffins, is making many of these trends irreversible," he said.

The Industrial Age was very good for the Midwest, Longworth said, and created thriving Midwestern towns and cities. But globalization is seemingly causing the death of many Midwest cities today, with less immigration, more unemployment and poverty-stricken inner-city areas with a dim future.

"What I really found is that the Midwest is, by and large, in denial," Longworth said. "This is a big deal; this vast inland nation that we call home may have been a winner in the industrial area but is losing in the era of globalization. Globalization is here and is not going to go away."

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