Friday, April 23, 2010

UIS Professor Karen Swan honored with Columbia University Distinguished Alumni Award

Karen Swan, Ph.D. a professor in the Teacher Leadership program at the University of Illinois Springfield and the James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership is being honored.

Swan has been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Teachers College at Columbia University. The Columbia Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology will be hosting a graduation luncheon on May 18, 2010, at the Teachers College where Dr. Swan will receive her award.

Swan is recognized as a leading researcher in the nation when it comes to the effectiveness of online teaching and learning. 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.

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.

Read our previous coverage on Swan’s distinguished professor award

Read a feature story on Swan’s work involving online learning

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

UIS "Education Technology" blog ranked in top 50 by Web site

The UIS Center for Online Learning, Research and Service’s blog “Education Technology” has been ranked #33 in a national list of similar blogs by the website The Learning Master.

This list of the top 50 education technology blogs includes writers, technicians and social media experts that are all teachers. The UIS blog is ranked in the “on the ground” category for offering news, tools and methods of using technology in the classroom.

Ray Schroeder, Director of COLRS has maintained the blog daily since he started it in 2002. Schroeder is a Professor Emeritus of Communication with three dozen years of teaching experience on the Urbana and Springfield campuses. He has taught more than 30 online class offerings.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Student named finalist in national college photography contest

Sue Huskins, a UIS Communication graduate student and photography teaching assistant to Mike Duvall, Professor of Communication, has recently been notified that she is a finalist in the 29th Annual College Student Photography contest co-sponsored by Photographer’s Forum Magazine and Nikon.

Out of almost 14,000 entries from the United States, Canada, and around the world, Sue’s submitted photograph, “Hidden from View”, has placed in the top 4% finalist selection group. “Hidden from View” was taken with a medium format camera and processed using traditional black and white darkroom developing techniques. Also exhibited in the case are other tradition chemical black and white medium format photographs from Huskins’ portfolio.

Judges for the contest include Nell Campbell, photo editor of Photographer’s Forum Magazine; Douglas Manchee, chair of the photography department at Rochester Institute of Technology; Mark Takeuchi, faculty, Art Center School of Design, Pasadena; and Barbara Vilander, faculty, University of California at Santa Barbara.

Finalists are published in the 2010 “Best of College Photography Annual”. This is the second time Huskins has been a finalist in this photo contest (2008) and marks the third year in a row a UIS student has been selected to receive this honor. Huskins’ has also been a finalist and published in both the 2008 and 2009 “Best of Photography” annuals, after entering the contest designed for non-professional photographers.

A series of Sue Huskins’ digital photographs can be seen in the Office of Communication located on the 3rd floor of the UHB.

View some of her photos from the 2008 contest

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Professor speaks on democratizing higher learning

Kenneth Oldfield, emeritus professor of public administration at UIS, recently spoke to students and administrators at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on the need to democratize higher learning by recruiting more students and faculty of working class origins to that campus.

The forum theme was “Class Matters: Understanding the Experiences of Low-Income and Working Class Students on Campus.”

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Burlingame invested as Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies

Professor Michael Burlingame lives downtown by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library, goes to a coffee shop near the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices and banks at Lincoln’s bank.

Residing in Springfield is the perfect setting for a Lincoln scholar.

On Thursday evening, February 11, Burlingame became the second Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies for UIS during an investiture ceremony in the Old State Capitol downtown.

“I am deeply honored to be invited to hold the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies and hope to live up to the high standards set by my predecessor in that position, my late friend Phillip Paludan,” Burlingame said.

The Lincoln Chair was established in 2000 when the Dr. Richard E. Vaden Family donated a gift for that purpose to honor their long-time friendship with then-UIS Chancellor Naomi Lynn.

During the ceremony, Burlingame was invested with a gold medallion, the symbol of the Lincoln Chair. The medallion was presented in part from Springfield attorney Richard Hart, who is the president of the Abraham Lincoln Association and a long-time friend of Burlingame. Val Vaden, managing partner of Outfitter Ventures and representative of the Vaden Family, also spoke at the investiture.

Burlingame was a professor at Connecticut College for 30 years and taught courses on Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War era, and 19th century American history. He recently released a two-volume biography of Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008). The biography was named one of the top five books published in 2009 by the Atlantic Monthly.

“I am delighted to be based in Springfield, not only because I can teach courses about Lincoln at sites where he spent time and can conduct research at the splendid Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, but also because I have so many good friends in town who have been exceptionally kind and hospitable to me over the many years I have been visiting the city as I worked on Abraham Lincoln: A Life," Burlingame said.

Burlingame is well-known as a psychohistorian. His view that history is “psychology teaching by examples” informs his writings and his teaching.

The distinguished Lincoln Chair was first occupied by Phillip Shaw Paludan, who served from August 2001 until his death in August 2007. Burlingame said he intends to continue UIS’ fall Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series, which was started by Paludan.

View video of the investiture.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

UIS library professor selected for leadership conference

Christine Ross, assistant professor of Library Instructional Services at the University of Illinois Springfield and director of Collections and Research Services at UIS’ Brookens Library, is one of 30 Illinois librarians who were selected to participate in Synergy: The Illinois Library Leadership Initiative, a year-long program designed to develop future leaders in the library professions in Illinois.

The group of librarians will attend three sessions and work in a unique environment with other developing leaders, experienced Illinois library leaders and nationally-recognized speakers. The goal of the program is for each individual to develop leadership skills that can be applied in local, state and global arenas.

“I am truly honored to have been nominated and chosen to participate in this year’s Synergy Initiative,” Ross said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues from across the state and bringing back to Brookens Library the experience and ideas I gain through my participation.”

The Synergy seminars will be held April 20 through 22 in Utica, August 3 through 5 in Grafton, and October 26 through 28 in Lisle. The seminars are sponsored by the Illinois State Library and the Illinois Library Association.

“Synergy participants will be exposed to new strategies and new ways of thinking about the future of the library profession,” said Illinois State Library Director Anne Craig. “We must be proactive and seek out new library leaders and keep our libraries growing and vibrant in the coming years. I am confident that our Synergy participants will help us chart a course for the future that encourages citizens to enter the library profession and become library leaders, while maintaining our libraries as cornerstones of our communities.”

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Monday, February 08, 2010

UIS Theatre faculty and student take part in play reading downtown

UIS Professors of Theatre Eric and Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, as well as UIS Theatre student Ben Beams, will be performing in a play reading of William Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night on Saturday, February 27 at 7 p.m. at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site in downtown Springfield.

Kevin Purcell is the director, and other cast members include Aasne Vigesaa, Larry Smith, Tom Lawton, Troy Thomas-Pfaffe, Cassie Poe, and Nicole Sylvester. Audience members will be invited to read a few of the play’s smaller roles.

Over the Moon Productions is presenting the reading, and the performance is free and open to the public. Over the Moon Productions is a local theater group that also raises awareness and funds for causes related to its productions.

The Renaissance music group FEALTY will play for the reading. They will play pre-show music starting at 6:30 p.m. at the top of the circular stairs inside the Old State Capitol and will also play during the actual reading.

Twelfth Night; or What You Will was written by William Shakespeare in about 1600 and has many of the elements common to Elizabethan romantic comedy, including mistaken identity, separated twins, and gender-crossing disguise.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Professor publishes article in periodical

Kenneth Oldfield published “Our Cutting Edge Isn’t Cutting It: Why Public Administration Should Be The First Discipline To Implement A Social Class-Based Affirmative Action Plan For Hiring Professors” in the latest issue of Administration and Society, a referred periodical.

Oldfield proposes that his field honor its commitment to diversity and being a “cutting edge” discipline by hiring more professors who were raised in working class families.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

UIS jumps on Google Wave for online learning tool

The University of Illinois Springfield is riding a new wave of online education.

UIS is one of the first universities in the nation to begin using Google Wave - an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration - for online learning and teaching, beginning in October 2009.

“We’re really excited to be working with Google Wave here at UIS,” said Ray Schroeder, director of the UIS Center for Online Learning, Research and Service. “One of the wonderful features of this new product is that it combines the Web 2.0 technologies that we have been accustomed to using on an individual basis. It molds all of these into a kind of an email or wiki format. And it enables students and others to use Web 2.0 technologies in a collaborative fashion.”

Wave was developed to answer the question: “what would email look like if we were to invent it today?”, Schroeder said. The product was released to developers in May and to the public as a beta in October.

“Email was invented nearly 40 years ago. As we developed technology over time, email was created to emulate snail mail and IM, or instant messaging, was more to emulate telephone conversations,” Schroeder said.

A wave, on the other hand, can be both a conversation and a document where people can discuss and work together using richly-formatted text, photos, videos, maps and more. In developing Wave, Google looked at “the way in which we can use technologies as they exist today rather than as analogs for technologies developed years ago,” Schroeder said.

And the new technology allows for many opportunities within the online classroom. Wave enables students to connect not only with each other in the classroom, but with people all around the world, Schroeder said.

“The technology allows for all kinds of collaborations,” he said. “You can drag and drop documents right into a wave rather than as attachments. You can come up with final product that can be saved and shared with a broader group.”

Other features of Google Wave include the ability to embed web pages, bring up live weather forecasts, look at maps and instantly change those maps to satellite views, Schroeder said. There is also a feature that will translate between different languages.

One of UIS’ efforts in testing the online teaching capabilities includes a collaboration outside of the classroom between students at UIS in the “Internet in American Life” course taught by Schroeder and Burks Oakley and students in energy studies at the Institute of Technology in Sligo, Ireland. The students are discussing the impact of the Internet on the perception of energy sustainability in Europe and the United States.

“Wave provides an opportunity to collaborate with people in other countries, and in our case, we collaborated with people in Ireland,” Schroeder said. “It’s phenomenal - our students meeting in a wave.”

COLRS also has several upcoming projects regarding Wave, including multiple national presentations, online workshops through the Sloan Consortium and training sessions for UIS faculty on using Wave. Two training sessions have already been conducted on campus.

“UIS is really out in the forefront of this,” Schroeder said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to use this technology to reach beyond our campus and our online program. It breaks down institutional and geographical boundaries.”

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Holden article published in Energy Law Journal

An article by University of Illinois Springfield Professor of Political Science Dr. Matthew Holden, Jr. was recently published in the international Energy Law Journal.

The article “Energy Policy and the Obama Administration: Some Choices and Challenges” talks about the struggles the new Administration is facing.

Dr. Holden is the first Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science at UIS and is a nationally recognized expert on public administration, politics and law, urban politics and racial and ethnic relations.

Energy Law Journal is published twice a year, it has over 2,900 subscribers in the United States and 22 foreign countries, including Canada, England, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Austria, France, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Scotland, Singapore, Nigeria, Mozambique, and Turkey.

You can read the article in the December 2, 2009, edition or online at:

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Martin's work featured at national astronomical meeting

The work of Dr. John Martin, professor of astronomy-physics at UIS, was the focus of a press event at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) winter meeting in Washington D.C. on January 4. Martin, along with an international team of researchers, obtained new data about the Eta Carinae star system using a Near-Infrared Coronagraphic Imager (NICI) at the Gemini Observatory's Gemini South telescope in Chile.

In April 1843, the Eta Carinae system underwent a huge 20-year outburst that, throughout some of that period, made it the sky’s second brightest stellar object. During the “Great Eruption,” astronomers estimate that about 20 times the mass of the Sun was ejected into interstellar space. Today, astronomers study this relatively nearby stellar oddity to help understand the late evolution of massive stars – a messy process involving outflows, eruptions, strong magnetic fields and powerful jets.

The result of this activity is reflected in a new image captured by Martin and his team of researchers. Gemini Observatory released the image showing previously hidden forensic secrets at the ballistic core of the Homunculus Nebula, part of the Eta Carinae system. Adaptive optics were used to remove atmospheric blurring in the image.

Martin’s team used NICI to study gas and dust features surrounding the central star where the complex structure includes an intricate network of wispy clouds, inspiring the “Butterfly Nebula” moniker. The data also uncover a feature never directly imaged before called the Little Homunculus Nebula.

"The Homunculus is an evolving corpse of a dying star, and most of what we see is the visible outer layer, like a skin, from the Great Eruption. The Little Homunuclus is under that skin," Martin said. "The Gemini images have allowed us to perform something akin to an autopsy by peeling away the obscuring, outer dusty skin and giving us a glimpse of what’s inside. In the process, we're finding things we have never imaged before and didn't expect."

Eta Carinae, located only about 7,500-8,000 light years away, consists of at least two stars at its core, the largest of which is among the most luminous and massive stars in our galaxy having a mass of at least 100 times that of the Sun. The system is visible to the naked eye from the southern hemisphere and very low northern latitudes.

Martin and his team hope that their new observations will soon trace the uncertain history of a minor eruption in the Eta Carinae system in the late 1890s.

The research team also includes Etienne Artigau (University of Montréal, Canada, lead author on subsequent paper and previously at Gemini South), Kris Davidson (University of Minnesota), Roberta Humphreys (University of Minnesota), Olivier Chesneau (FIZEAU, France), and Nathan Smith (University of California).

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Perkins reads poetry as co-Featured Poet in New Hampshire

Nancy Genevieve Perkins, associate professor of English, was the co-Featured Poet at the Poetry Corner in Nashua, New Hamshire, on December 11. The other co-Feature Poet for the evening was David “Doc” Cote, who has been hosting this poetry venue for over twenty years.

This reading was Perkins' fourth Featured Poetry Reading since completing her Spring 2009 Sabbatical to research, write and revise her poetry for her third NYX book, NYX: Sister of Erebus: A Memoir in Poetry.

“The public readings help the editing process by allowing me as the writer to actually hear how the work resonates with a real audience," Perkins said. "After four readings and because of the listeners’ facial and verbal feedback, I know that many of the poems are ready for publication, and I have begun to submit those poems. ”

Perkins publishes and reads her creative works under her first two names: nancy genevieve.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Karen Swan researches educational technology as Distinguished Professor

Dr. Karen Swan admits that she became an education teacher “by default.”

Swan was a single mother when she got a grant from the government to return to school.

“There were only certain things you could do, and one of them was education, so that’s what I did,” she said.

Swan, a professor in the Teacher Leadership program at UIS, now serves as the James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership. Her investiture ceremony took place in the fall. She has been at UIS for about a year, after coming from Kent State University in Ohio, where she was an endowed chair for research on educational technology.

Swan’s family moved to Chicago, but she was still commuting to Ohio when she heard about the opportunity to fill the professorship at UIS.

“It’s a perfect fit; I truly love it,” she said. “It’s specifically for online learning, which I couldn’t do very much of at Kent, and it’s kind of my hobby. I can teach again, which I love, and the people are fabulous. I just think it’s a wonderful opportunity.”

The Stukel Professorship was created by the University of Illinois Foundation to honor James Stukel, the 15th president of the University of Illinois system. 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.

Swan became interested in the field of technology within education while completing her graduate assistantship.

“I had a graduate assistantship teaching gifted kids. The only thing they insisted on was that we use computers, and that was the beginning of computers,” she said.

“I'm an old hippie, and at the time, I thought they were the devil,” she laughed, “but I did it anyway because it kept me going in school. I took a computer class, and it changed my life. I suddenly started understanding math, which I never understood before, and it turned out I was a good programmer. And the rest is history.”

At UIS, Swan teaches a course on educational research tools and a capstone course for the Master’s in Teacher Leadership program, as well as a technology course occasionally. Being a part of UIS’ online teaching and learning has been exciting, she said.

“UIS is known throughout the online learning community as being one of the best schools in country,” she said. “Little UIS in the cornfields is really far ahead of almost any other place I've known. It's amazing.”

Online learning has been shown to be just as engaging as face-to-face learning, Swan said, and new trends continue to emerge in online learning, including using social media in online courses.

“Online learning is growing still by leaps and bounds; we thought it would flatten out, but it hasn't yet,” she said. “Blended learning – the combination of face-to-face and online learning - is growing even faster.”

“Ray Schroeder (director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service) just gave me a Google Wave account, and we’re thinking Wave might replace the learning management platforms we have now,” she added. “There are all sorts of trends outside of educational computing involving social networking which I think are going to become part of mainstream educational technology. People are now trying to figure out how to use it.”

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Liz Murphy Thomas finds connection in digital media and photography

Liz Murphy Thomas realized that she had a knack for teaching while she was an undergraduate at the University of Florida and worked as a lab monitor for the photography dark room. She began noticing more and more students approaching her with questions instead of their instructor because they liked the way she explained concepts better.

“I always knew I wanted to teach, but that was probably my first cognizant moment that I should be a teacher,” she said.

Thomas began her career as a traditional photographer and has been “amazed” to discover she’s become a portrait photographer. She is most interested in trying to document the way we as people define ourselves in this world, she said.

“Most artists know from time they're little that they want to be in art, but I was never any good at drawing,” Thomas laughed. “But I was lucky that we had a photography assignment in middle school, and I was actually good at that.”

Thomas received her BFA in photography from the University of Florida and her MFA in photography and digital imaging from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She now teaches digital imaging and digital media classes at UIS and has been traveling the world for her art and her ideas. Most recently, she has been to England twice, Seattle, Alabama, Denmark, Prague and Milan, Italy.

“When I travel, I’m either going to present at conferences about my work and the ideas and concepts behind my work or in support of the exhibition of my work,” she said. “In Milan, I was featured in a gallery there, and the show was actually about Abraham Lincoln. It was funny to go all the way to Italy to talk about Abraham Lincoln.”

When not teaching or traveling, Thomas also serves as director of the Visual Arts Gallery at UIS, which entails developing a schedule of exhibitions for the academic year. This year, there are seven exhibitions as well as the annual benefit and auction for the gallery.

“We try to develop a really broad range of exhibitions and really bring into the Springfield area things people wouldn’t have a chance to otherwise see,” Thomas said. “We try to develop events that enhance the exhibitions or maybe add more information, like lectures or brownbags, to help explain the art. This is a university gallery, so we try to make the experience as educational as possible.”

This year, the gallery is also hosting the Juried Alumni Exhibition, which is held every two years, and spring senior exhibition for senior art majors, which is held annually.

“The whole thing is organized, arranged and hung by the students,” Thomas said. “The senior show is linked to a course called ‘Professional Skills,’ which is a capstone course that all art students take.”

Having the gallery at UIS benefits both students and community members, in addition to giving students experience with arranging a gallery exhibit, Thomas said.

“Part of being an artist is learning about the promotion of your work and display of artwork,” she said. “I think it's very important for the students to have professional gallery experience as part of their education because hopefully some of them go on into the fine arts field, and if nothing else, this is their first opportunity to have a real art display.”

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Monday, November 16, 2009

UIS shows off research and achievement using Pecha Kucha presentation style

UIS faculty and students used the groundbreaking presentation style known as Pecha Kucha to show members of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees their accomplishments during a reception on Wednesday, November 10, 2009.

Pecha Kucha, pronounced "pe-chak-cha" started in Japan in 2003 and when translated into English means “chit-chat”. During a Pecha Kucha event, speakers use images that match the topic they are discussing. The presenters are often limited to five minutes a piece or less to discuss their topic. The format allows for a “mixer” like style where people are often standing and moving around, but still listening to the message.

The Board of Trustees Pecha Kucha presentation featured a variety of topics with the goals of engagement, enlightenment, and energy in mind.

The following faculty and students spoke at the event:

“Building the Brainstem” – Rebecca Landsberg, Assistant Professor of Biology

“From UIS to the Real World” – Sarah M. Hartwick, UIS Graduate Student and Illinois Legislative Staff Intern through the Center for State Policy & Leadership

“Remembering Rickets” – Deborah Kuhn McGregor, Professor of History and Women & Gender Studies

“Re-Thinking Education” – Ray Schroeder, Professor Emeritus / Director of the Center for Online Learning, Research & Service and Shari McCurdy Smith, Associate Director of the Center for Online Learning, Research & Service

“Sustainability in Mind” – Tih-Fen Ting, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

“Global Scholarship and the UIS Music Classroom” – Sharon Graf, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology

“Ancient Peru Study Abroad” – Stanislaw Adam Lipski, UIS Capital Scholars Honors Undergraduate Student, double-majoring in sociology/anthropology and political science

“Civic Engagement at UIS” – Kelly Thompson, Director of the UIS Volunteer Center, Division of Student Affairs

“Nanotechnology in Central Illinois” – Keenan Dungey, Associate Professor of Chemistry

“UIS’ Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon” – Michael Lemke, Associate Professor of Biology and Director of the UIS Emiquon Field Station and Michael Purnell, Emiquon Advisory Board Member and UIS Alumnus

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

UIS Computer Science Professor speaks at International conference

Dr. Keith Miller, the Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois Springfield recently spoke at the Unmanned Systems Canada Conference in Victoria, British Columbia.

The annual conference was about “unmanned vehicle systems,” which include remote controlled tanks, the Mars rovers, and Predator missile launchers, and was attended by military, industry and academic experts.

“I was speaking on the ethics of UVS design, development, and deployment. The session was well attended, and the discussion was lively, spilling over after my time was up,” said Miller. “People at this meeting are making life and death decisions about robotics and munitions, and they seemed open, even eager, to explore the issues. I was told that ethics questions were raised in other sessions, but that my session was the one that tackled the issues most directly.”

The trip was made possible by funds from Schewe Professorship that Miller received in September, 2009.

“A year ago, I would have said ‘no’ to this invitation. They didn't offer to pay my way, and it wasn't a cheap trip. But with the Schewe money, and with my goal of involving different global voices in a book project, this was a natural,” said Miller.

Miller has been invited back to speak at next year’s meeting in 2010, possibly in an expanded format.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Third annual Dr. Matthew Holden, Jr. Symposium Lecture held at Jackson State University

University of Illinois Springfield Professor of Political Science Dr. Matthew Holden, Jr. was recently honored during the annual symposium and lecture that bears his name. The event was held on Thursday, November 5, 2009 at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

Dr. Holden is the first Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science at UIS and is a nationally recognized expert on public administration, politics and law, urban politics and racial and ethnic relations.

"I had never expected to have a lecture named for me, and at first would not agree. But it has happened and frankly is wonderful. It is greatly encouraging that others perceive one’s own work as an example to be cited. The lecture is an effort to disseminate knowledge on a broad basis, not merely inside the classroom but to a public and community outside," said Dr. Holden.

The Symposium Lecture was given by Dr. Glenn Loury, Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Economics at Brown University. The title of the lecture was “Barack Obama and the Future of the Black Prophetic Tradition”.

“The first three lecturers—Ira Katznelson, Theda Sokocpol, and now Glenn Loury ---are all persons of such caliber that they outrank oneself by a long mile,” said Dr. Holden. “Next year’s invited lecturer, Dianne Pinderhughes, will equally enrich the list. Her work on African American participation, and the Voting Rights Act, will also be relevant to the course I am going to offer on “The Changing Regime".

Dr. Holden was not able to attend this year’s lecture, due to teaching commitments at UIS, but his wife, Dorothy, was able to represent them both at the symposium.

In 2004, Dr. and Mrs. Holden donated their personal library of more than 4,000 volumes to the Jackson State University Center for University Scholars. The Center facilitates faculty research productivity and encourages academic discourse. It hosts an annual symposium for recipients of summer research grants. In recognition of Professor Holden’s accomplishments and his generous donation to JSU, the Center has named a reading room and this lecture in his honor.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Environmental Studies faculty member to speak at International Day of Climate Action event

Dr. Stefano Longo, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, will be speaking at an International Day of Climate Action event in Springfield. It will take place on October 24, 2009 at 11:30 a.m. on the Old State Capitol plaza.

Springfield, along with others cities in 111 countries, is trying to attract awareness to the severity of the issue of climate change. Dr. Longo will address this from the perspective of social change and environmental justice.

Dr. Longo has only been a member of the UIS faculty for a couple of months, but has taken an active role in the community. He recently provided the local PBS station with an introduction to the new Ken Burns documentary on U.S. National Parks.

For more information on International Day of Climate Action in Springfield visit:

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Friday, October 16, 2009

UIS continues Lincoln Legacy

The University of Illinois Springfield continues its dominance as a leading institution in the study of the life of President Abraham Lincoln. The 2009 Lincoln Legacy Lecture series was held on October 15, 2009 focusing on “Lincoln and the Environment”.

Dr. Mark Fiege, associate professor of History at Colorado State University, Ft. Collins talked about how Lincoln’s views on the environment were shaped by his time on the farm working outdoors in Illinois. Dr. Fiege is the author of a book on the environmental history of the United States that is forthcoming from the University of Washington Press in its Weyerhaeuser Environmental Series.
Fiege met with a group of UIS students before his lecture to answer their questions about Lincoln.

“We’ve had a long history of top notch Lincoln scholars here and this just continues that,” said UIS History Club President Matt Parbs.

The Legacy Lecture was moderated by Dr. Michael Burlingame, professor of History and Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at UIS. Burlingame taught History at Connecticut College for over 30 years before accepting the appointment at UIS this year. His recent two-volume biography, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008) has been described as the definitive study.

“I’m deeply honored to hold the Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies and I hope I can live up to the high standards set by my predecessor,” said Burlingame.

Burlingame travels all around the world speaking about the life of our 16th president, but plans to return to Springfield to study at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.

Watch the entire Legacy Lecture in the Video on Demand section

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Friday, October 09, 2009

UIS Adjunct Assistant Professor has work published in national journal

Dr. Boria Sax, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy at UIS, is having his article “The Magic of Animals: English Animal Familiars in the Perspective of Folklore” published in the next issue of The Journal Anthrozoos.

In the article he argues that witch trials profoundly changed human-animal relations in England and ultimately the world by demonizing the animal sages, guides, and protectors that fill traditional fairy tales, thus depriving animals of intrinsic worth so they could be either humanized as pets or brutalized as livestock. The article sheds new light on some of the most beloved fairy tales such as "The Frog Prince" and "Puss in Boots."

Sax teaches an online course at UIS entitled "Animals in Human Society", which won a national award from the Humane Society for the "best new course" of 2007.

The article will be published in both digital and print format with release expected in early to mid-November.

For more information visit Sax’s website at

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UIS Economics Associate Professor appears on international radio program

Dr. Baker Siddiquee, economics faculty at UIS, was one of the four panelists on the Voice of America (VOA-Bangla)’s hour-long international call in show on the “Prospects of Investment in Bangladesh,” transmitted world-wide on October 8, 2009 from Washington, D.C.

The program is recorded in Bengali and can be listened here:

The other three panelists were Ambassador Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh in the United Nations; Mr. Ahmedus Samad Chowdhury, JP, Founder Director, British-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industries in London and Chairman, 'S' TV Channel, London, UK; and Mr. Waliur Rahman Bhuiyan, President, Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce & Industries in Bangladesh & Managing Director, Bangladesh Oxygen Limited, Dhaka.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Assistant Professor of Biology receives national grant to study brain stem development

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development grant to the University of Illinois Springfield.

The $216,150 grant will help Assistant Professor of Biology Rebecca Landsberg, Ph.D. continue her research into the region of the brain known as the brain stem, which is involved in regulating sleep, breathing, and coordination of movement.

“While much is known about the function of the neurons in this region we are just beginning to get an appreciation for how these neurons arise during fetal development,” said Landsberg. “Furthermore, during gestation this region of the brain is susceptible to environmental influences such as retinoic acid (a common ingredient in facial cream) and alcohol.”

Landsberg will study the molecular events that occur during development that results in the production of different types of brain stem neurons and the effects environmental influences have upon this process.

The grant will be used to provide research opportunities in developmental biology to UIS undergraduates. Student who seek to begin a career in science greatly benefit from early exposure to the scientific research process.

“I greatly appreciate that the NIH recognizes the value undergraduates can bring to the research efforts at a school such as UIS,” said Landsberg.

The project described was supported by Award Number R15HD059922 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.

For more information on the research contact Assistant Professor of Biology Rebecca Landsberg, Ph.D. at 217/206-7338 or by e-mail at

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Associate Professor of English conducts poetry reading at Lindsay home

Nancy Genevieve Perkins, Associate Professor of English and Past Chair of the English Department, 2003-2005, who publishes and conducts creative readings under her first two names, Nancy Genevieve, gave a poetry reading at the Vachel Lindsay Home in Springfield on Saturday, August 22, 2009.

As Poet in the Parlor, she read from Vachel Lindsay's poems and then from her new work, NYX: Sister of Erebus: A Memoir in Poetry. Perkins’ new poetry is the culmination of her Spring 2009 Sabbatical. She concluded the reading with a selection of poems from the initial work of a fourth poetry book, Prairie Observations.

“I feel completely at home in the Vachel Lindsay home. There is a feeling of kinship there, just as I felt when I walked through the front door of my great grandfather's house in Paducah," said Perkins. "It is the place. And the people--Job and Jennie. And those who attend for the poetry or for the poet or just drop in that day. And perhaps a spirit of Springfield poetry, encouraging us because ‘we finally got it’-- that message he [Vachel] so wanted us to hear when he was alive.”

Approximately, fifty people were in attendance. The reading was followed by a reception in the garden of the Vachel Lindsay Home.

For more information and photos from the event visit:


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage arguments explored in book

Jason Pierceson, Associate Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies and at the University of Illinois Springfield, has published a book, Moral Argument, Religion, and Same-Sex Marriage: Advancing the Public Good, co-edited with Gordon A. Babst (Chapman University) and Emily R. Gill (Bradley University), with Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield.

The book presents arguments from scholars that demonstrate the moral basis for gay rights claims on a range of issues, from the rights of youth to same-sex marriage. The book challenges the notion that moral arguments can only be used to counter gay rights claims.

According to reviews, the book “contains timely and provocative essays on a subject rightly taking center stage in national debate” and “shows how and why the contemporary case for gay rights in the United States can and should be made in substantive moral terms, appealing to the values that unite us as a free people under the rule of law.”

Professor Pierceson has taught at UIS since 2005 and currently serves as chair of the department of political science. In addition to co-editing the book, Professor Pierceson authored a chapter, “Same-Sex Marriage and the American Political Tradition.”

More information on the book is available at

You may also contact Jason Pierceson at 217/206-7842 or e-mail

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CBM Associate Professor invited to Belarus

Nancy Scannell, Associate Professor in the College of Business and Management, was invited by the Belarus State University (BSU) to deliver a finance seminar. The US Embassy Minsk supported the associated Teaching Assistant Program intended to internationalize BSU's MBA program.

The photo to the above features (left to right) three teaching assistants assigned to Nancy's seminar: Vika, Rodion and Natalia. Each is sporting a CBM bag, compliments of Dean Ron McNeil's office.

The program was a first for BSU; they plan to continue such arrangements in the future based on the positive outcome of this Embassy/BSU initiative.

Nancy also conducted two student recruitment sessions organized and hosted by the Minsk Embassy, American Councils, the European Humanities University, and Streamline (an English-language training organization).

Nancy gives thanks to UIS offices of the Chancellor, Provost and CBM Dean for additional public relations gifts which Nancy shared with BSU administrators and students and to UIS associates Samba Dieng, Rick Lane, Lori Giordono, and Jonathan GoldbergBelle for related inputs and commitment to international academic outreach.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Professor to give presentation on Abraham Lincoln video from documentary series in Denmark

UIS Assistant Professor of Digital Media Liz Murphy Thomas will be presenting at a Visual Anthropology conference titled "Transcultural Montage" at the Moesgaard Museum at the University of Aarhus in Denmark from August 24 through August 26.

The presentation will be a discussion of the Abraham Lincoln video from her series titled "Let Us Praise Famous Men." "Let Us Praise Famous Men" is a series of videos that document the creation of historical icons through film and media. (The video and a more detailed description can be found here.)

Previously this piece had been exhibited in the “Dead Video / Live Video Festival” of the Boston Cyberarts Festival 2009 hosted by the Massachusetts College of Art and at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Harrogate, Tennessee where Murphy Thomas was the Lincoln Bicentennial keynote speaker.

In November, Murphy Thomas will also present on this work at a conference titled "Between History and Myth: Politics and Political Use of Abraham Lincoln" at the University of Milan in Italy.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Professor utilizes ecology background for History Channel

By Courtney Westlake

When the History Channel decided to produce a series called “Life After People,” Dr. Matt Evans, assistant professor of biology at UIS, was one of the international experts they contacted for the show.

“They were hypothetically examining what the world would look like tomorrow, a year from now, a hundred years from now, a thousand years from now, without humans – if humans were to disappear tomorrow,” Evans said. “It is an interesting hypothetical concept. I prefer to look at what the world was like before people - before dinosaurs, the Ice Age, and the evolution of humans, but the History Channel wanted to take this apocalyptic kind of twist to the idea of what the world would look like and how long it would take to recover. They wanted to ask me what the wildlife would do since I'm wildlife specialist.”

Evans is originally from Canada and earned his Ph.D. from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver in 2003. His doctoral thesis was on wildlife ecology and the effects of forestry on wetland ecosystems in British Columbia. His background fit quite nicely with the questions the crew from the History Channel had for their show.

Evans traveled up to Chicago to meet with the crew in December for a three-and-a-half hour interview to discuss things like how long it would take the wildlife to recover if humans were wiped out, what kinds of behavioral consequences might occur and what kind of competition between animals might arise that humans currently suppress.

“They also asked a number of questions about the spread of naturally-occurring diseases in the animal population, such as rabies, which humans are trying to quarantine,” Evans said. “So they asked a lot of questions about how these diseases, which humans are trying to eradicate or quarantine, how they would spread and affect the natural population of animals without humans to stop the diseases from spreading.”

Evans said he wasn’t nervous because the History Channel crew was small and relaxed.

“It was a very fun and enjoyable experience,” he said. “It was an enjoyable conversation to ask these questions and to imagine what the world might be like and what animal populations might do without humans.”

The segment aired at least three times in April – “students came up to me saying they had seen the episode on three different dates,” Evans said – and Evans was also part of a promotional commercial for the series, which reportedly even played in movie trailers. Evans was pleased with both the show and with the exposure of UIS name, which was used in a caption during his interview, both during the show and the commercial.

Evans has been teaching at UIS since August 2007. Before arriving at UIS, he spent four years teaching at Mount Allison University, one of the “top undergraduate universities in Canada,” he said. He was looking for a position in a city about the size of Springfield when the opportunity opened up to come to UIS.

“I’m happy to be here. I enjoy the city and the size of university,” Evans said. “I like that we can build a rapport with students. We know our students by their first names and a little bit about their background and why they are enrolled in a certain program.”

Evans teaches courses on ecology, conservation biology of birds and mammals, human physiology and more at UIS. He has also been conducting research in the Arctic – northern Alaska and northern Canada, by the North Pole – since 2003, and has made several trips to the Arctic for research this summer.

While there, he has been studying general wildlife ecology and Arctic animal ecology projects on a variety of species and mammals, including caribou and grizzly bears. He has also been studying several bird species in great detail including golden eagles, swans, and a number of species of ducks.

Next year, Evans is anticipating taking students up to the Arctic with him and expanding his research projects and assisting students on projects as well.

“My goal is to continue this research indefinitely,” he said. “I’d like to conduct this Arctic research annually and continue to write about it and publish papers about it and, of course, get students involved with it.”

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Professor teaches economics in South Korea

Nancy Scannell, Associate Professor in the College of Business and Management, was invited by the President of Chonnam National University (CNU) in South Korea to teach Financial Economics for the University's inaugural "International Summer Semester."

CNU's initiative is intended to expose Korean students to international faculty. The photo features the two teaching assistants, Chul-hi and Youri, who Nancy was asked to train in the course of her teaching. While in South Korea, Nancy also facilitated a discussion about business ethics at the Gwangju International Center, a local community group.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

English professor reads poetry at Walden Pond Poetry Series

Nancy Genevieve Perkins, Associate Professor of English, read at the Walden Pond Poetry Series on June 21 in celebration of the Summer Solstice. The poets read their works on this longest day of the year to honor and celebrate the beauty of our natural world.

This group meets in the tradition of poet Henry David Thoreau, whose work is always read at this venue.

The readings were followed by a meal at host Douglas Bishop’s home.

Perkins publishes and reads her creative works under her first two names: nancy genevieve.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

English professor presents papers at annual meeting on Midwestern Literature

Nancy Genevieve Perkins, Associate Professor of English and Past Chair of the English Department, presented two papers at the 39th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, which met in East Lansing, Michigan, from May 7 to May 9.

One of Perkins’ papers was selected to be presented in the MidAmerican Award winner’s panel. The topic of the panel was “More than Regional: Universal Writers from the Heart of the Country.”

Perkins selected the work of UIS’ English Emeritus Professor John Knoepfle. His poetry has received numerous awards throughout Springfield, Illinois, and the Midwest.

Perkins’ paper was entitled "John Knoepfle’s Early Poetry: Taking the ‘wide slow waters’ of the Sangamon to the Rest of the World." The phrase "wide slow waters" was used in Knoepfle’s poem, "confluence."

Perkins’ interview of Knoepfle for this paper was recorded and placed in UIS’ Archives for future researchers. A distillation of the paper presented at the conference noted that "John Knoepfle’s poetic voice transports the voice of MidAmerica beyond this time and this place to poetic readers of history, place, culture and to writers of poetry wherever and whenever such readers and writers begin their journeys. His voice is as timeless as the rivers’—whose rhythmic voices his poetry emulates."

Perkins’ second paper was entitled "Poems from NYX: Sister of Erebus: A Memoir in Poetry." Perkins quoted Robert Frost to contextualize her current body of work: "(A poem) ends in clarification of life—not necessarily a great clarification, . . . but in a momentary stay against confusion."

This "Memoir in Poetry" is, according to Perkins’ introduction to her reading of these new poems, "the final book in the NYX poetry trilogy; (it) focuses on my family’s journey of goodbyes, as my mother, as all of our family, struggled with her Alzheimer’s. It is a story of her journey through Erebus, a nether region in ancient mythologies between this life and the next, a ‘place of darkness through which the souls passed on their way’ to the ‘land of the dead’ [Bulfinch’s Mythology 902, 910]; (it is) a region we too will travel. This poetry is the distillation of that bleak darkness into the clarification of absolute essentials."

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Commencement Moments 2009

UIS' 38th Commencement Ceremony was filled with emotional and celebratory moments as hundreds of students received their diplomas on Saturday, May 16, 2009.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Professor appointed to additional term on Springfield International Visitors Commission

Nancy Scannell, Associate Professor in the College of Business and Management, was reappointed by Mayor Timothy Davlin to the Springfield International Visitors Commission for an additional three-year term (through 2012).

Commission visitors are sent to Springfield via the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, as well as by a variety of other private and public agencies charged with developing professional programming visits for guests to the U.S.

The U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Program brings visitors to the U.S. who are current or potential leaders in their respective countries. They include politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, educators, doctors, lawyers and social service providers and are selected by American Foreign Service Officers overseas. Currently 47 Heads of Government and Chiefs of State Worldwide are alumni of the International Visitors Program, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Professor brings utility regulation focus to UIS through Ameren Professorship

By Courtney Westlake

It was purely an accident that Dr. Karl McDermott wound up as a leading expert on public utility economics and utility regulation.

McDermott was studying for his master’s degree at the University of Wyoming, pursuing a focus in money and banking.

“When one professor retired and the other one got sick, there was no money and banking anymore,” he said with a laugh. “So I ended up taking public utility economics as a placeholder and wrote my master’s thesis on it. Sometimes, you just find something when you weren’t looking for it.”

In April 2008, McDermott arrived at UIS to become the new Ameren Endowed Professor in Business and Government, a professorship that is housed in the College of Business and Management. Through his Ameren professorship, McDermott’s duties include teaching, conducting research and facilitating lectures and seminars for corporate, political and civic leaders.

Prior to being at UIS, McDermott served in numerous roles within the field of public utility economics, including being a commissioner at the Illinois Commerce Commission under Governor Jim Edgar, founding the Center for Regulatory Studies at ISU and traveling the world as a regulation consultant.

“The Ameren professorship was exciting,” he said. “I had been a consultant working in court cases and being cross-examined, and while it was interesting, I missed teaching. With the opportunity to have this endowed chair and have a chance to create a regulatory institution that could do research and educational programs, that seemed like the right thing to do. So I was willing to give up life as a consultant and traveling around the world; now I can help students get into that world, and that’s exciting.”

Through funds provided by the Ameren professorship, McDermott is planning to hire a research assistant this summer, as well as travel around the region to promote the public utility economics focus at UIS.

“One of the things I’m trying to do is reach out to the public utility community, both companies and regulators, and let them know that we’re in the market and turning out students,” he said.

McDermott is currently in the process of creating the Center for Business and Regulation at UIS within the College, he said, which is a major step for UIS’ role in the field of utility economics.

“It’s a place where I hope we can get research money and help try to solve some of the public policy problems,” McDermott said. “It will also hopefully be part of the MBA program, so we’re hoping to have a sequence in regulation so students can get a concentration in regulation or even a certificate.”

One of the first items on the list for the Center for Business and Regulation will be to host the American Gas Association annual meeting in Chicago this summer.

“I’ll be teaching some of the classes, and I’m hoping that we can use this to bring some students up there and introduce them to different people and help them with job prospects, so it has a lot of different angles,” McDermott said.

“We need more students who are interested in regulation,” he added. “This is a potential field for advancing their careers. Regulation can involve all aspects of management, and not just management but also public affairs, public policy, history and other aspects. Hopefully we can get a program up and running and turn out some students. The more we do that, the more utilities and government agencies will come looking for us to supply them with people for jobs.”

McDermott is currently teaching an ECCE (Engaged Citizenship Common Experience) class – Accounting 454 - on American economy and regulation’s role in the American economy.

“Through this class, we’re trying to introduce our students to a wide range of ways in which regulations actually impact our lives,” he said. “I tell students ‘it's from the cradle to the grave - your pediatrician is regulated all the way to your undertaker, and almost everything in between.’ There are a lot of ideas that can pop out and a lot of job opportunities. In today’s economy, where what we’ve seen is the potential failure of a free market process that didn’t have enough regulations to kind of reign it in, this all of a sudden makes the idea of studying regulations that much more important for the students. So they may see this as way of having job opportunities, and I’d like to encourage that.”

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

UIS professor receives educational honor at annual conference

Dr. William Phillips, UIS associate professor of Educational Leadership, received the Van Miller Distinguished Scholar Practitioner Award recently at the 2009 Illinois Association of School Administrators Annual Conference.

The Van Miller award is given to recognize "outstanding contributions through their actions and leadership to the field of education in the state of Illinois."

Van Miller served as a Superintendent in Ridgefield, CT., earned a doctoral degree at Harvard and then came to the University of Illinois as a faculty member in 1947. He is considered one of the first scholars in the area of education administration.

The list of past recipients of this award includes Illinois superintendents, professors of education, Illinois state superintendents and others recognized for their special contributions from a variety of perspectives.

The criteria for the award include: Change Agent, Scholarly Practitioner, Professional Commitment and Mentor.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

English professor reads poems at Stone Soup Poetry

Nancy Perkins, associate professor of English and past chair of the English Department (2003-2005), read a selection of her poems at Stone Soup, Cambridge, MA, on March 9th. Perkins publishes and reads her creative works under her first two names: nancy genevieve.

Stone Soup Poetry is the longest running poetry venue in Massachusetts and will celebrate its 38th year in 2009. All Stone Soup poets are filmed for access public television in Cambridge and Lowell, MA.

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Undergraduate students presented research at AAAS meeting

UIS undergraduates presented their research at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago last month.

Kimberly Bartosiak and Adam Waters presented "Bacterial Diversity and Water Quality in Connected and Unconnected Lakes of the Illinois River Floodplain System," while Bronson McLeod and Lindsay Zscheck presented "Antimicrobial & Antioxidant Properties of Oak and Walnut Leaves."

The papers were co-authored by biology and chemistry faculty Keenan Dungey, Wayne Gade, Michael Lemke, Amy McEuen, Gary Trammell, Lucia Vazquez and Jim Veselenak. The research was part of UIS’ Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Professor pursues love of singing outside the classroom

By Courtney Westlake

Dr. Michael Lane
, Clinical Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at UIS, participated in school choirs when he was young, but then he found the trumpet in 6th grade and continued to play through junior high and high school. However, when he married his musically-inclined wife, Cathy, and moved to her hometown of Rushville, Illinois, he found a love for singing again.

“There is quite a fine arts orientation to that community,” he said. “They have a very active theater and put on many musicals both through the school and in the community.”

In around 1990, Lane and his wife had the opportunity to join the newly-formed Madrigal group in the area and became very involved with the group. The group performs two out of every three years, practicing every Sunday starting in September (and memorizing between 20 and 25 pieces) until they begin one week that includes three performances in December.

“It’s a full Madrigal performance, which means costumers, sometimes jugglers, dancers, strolling minstrels, and they serve a full Madrigal meal,” Lane said. “It’s been a wonderful experience and very well-received. It’s a bit grueling at times, but we get very good audiences; usually our shows are sold-out.”

Lane currently teaches in the College of Education and Human Services at UIS. He had stepped into just about every position possible in the public school system during his career - from coach and teacher all the way up to superintendent - but when he decided to retire, he couldn't step away from his life-long passion that easily.

So Lane finished up his doctoral degree and came to UIS to teach other teachers.

“I had taught as an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department for a few years, and then I had the opportunity to come here full-time,” he said. “I really enjoy the university; I like the size of the university and the caliber of the students that are here. I feel the university does a good job in supporting us in the opportunity to be creative in our courses.”

When he first began college, Lane was a marketing major, but he found he “just missed school,” he laughed.

“I always liked school; I always very much enjoyed education,” he said. “I thought that I’d really like to teach and coach. So for many years, I taught English and physical education, and I coached football for 11 years, track for 8 years, and 2 years of basketball.”

Both teaching and singing are family-wide interests in the Lane clan. His wife Cathy minored in music in college and taught music full-time when they were first married. In addition to the Madrigals, the couple has also sung with a group called the Schuyler Singers for many years. His grown children - a son, Daniel, and a daughter, Elizabeth (also called Libby) - have both sung and performed throughout their lives as well.

“My wife is very musical; she plays many folk instruments that she learned to play on her own,” Lane said. “My son didn’t pursue music in college, but my daughter got her bachelors degree in fine arts and musical theater from Millikin and got a masters degree from Western in theater performance. She still does regional theater on weekends and evenings.”

Though getting a doctorate was always a goal of Lane’s, he didn't find the time to actually pursue one until his kids were grown and away at college because of all of his musical and family commitments.

His responsibilities at UIS now, among others, include supervising clinical experiences for students in his program, who must complete 240 hours of clinical activity experiences in about two semesters. He also teaches a blended learning course called Supervision of Instruction, so the class meets both online and in the classroom.

Lane said he has found new approaches to technology, such as blended learning, very appealing at UIS and commends the university for its willingness to explore new technology.

“I find this campus to be very dynamic and on the cutting-edge of technology,” Lane said. “The Center for Online Learning, Research and Service and Tech Support are so supportive. It’s wonderful to have that technical support here, and the university is not afraid to explore whatever is most up-to-date in technology, and that’s rather impressive.”

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Published article focuses on professor's paper

The latest issue of Graduate Connections, a University of Nebraska publication, contains an article entitled “Advice for Completing a Thesis or Dissertation.”

The piece centers on a paper Kenneth Oldfield, emeritus professor of public administration, published earlier in College Student Journal.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Professor to give presentations in Michigan

Dr. Keith Miller, professor of Computer Science at UIS, is giving three invited talks at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan on Tuesday, February 17.

One talk is to the computer science faculty on the assessing students' progress in computer ethics. A second talk is to a student group on the ethical analysis of case studies.

The third and final talk is open to the public, and entitled "Kiss, kiss, kill, kill: the ethics of robots, sex and war."

For more information, go to the Grand Valley State University's events page here.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Professor delivers finance seminar in Mexico

Dr. Nancy Scannell, associate professor in the College of Business and Management at UIS, was invited to deliver a finance seminar in January 2009 to students at the Tecnológico de Monterrey Chihuahua campus in Mexico in collaboration with a designated co-professor as part of the campus' initiative to internationalize its curriculum.

While in Chihuahua, Nancy also met with students at nearby University Autonomy de Chihuahua to share information about UIS and to discuss the financing university studies in the U.S. Nancy´s presentation was organized by Mtra. Silvia Muñiz Baeza, head of the Office of Scholarships & Programs abroad for the Secretary of Education of Culture of Chihuahua Government. Nancy wishes to thank Rick Lane, director of the Office of International Student Services at UIS and Lori Giordano, UIS Admissions, for facilitating the international student recruitment endeavor.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Oldfield publishes new book

Kenneth Oldfield, emeritus professor of Public Administration, and Dr. Richard Greggory Johnson III, a colleague from the University of Vermont, are co-authors of Resilience: Queer Professors from the Working Class, recently published by State University of New York Press.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Scannell addresses Global Management Conference

Nancy Scannell, associate professor of Finance in the Department of Business Administration, was the invited keynote speaker at the International Association of the Scientific Knowledge's Global Management Conference, held in October in Portugal. Scannell spoke on "The Fate of Poison Pills for the Next Generation of Corporate Takeovers in a Poisoned Financial System."

Following the conference, she met with Lisbon Fulbright officers and a group of local students who were interested to hear about UIS and academic life in the U.S. This international student recruitment initiative was coordinated by Rick Lane, UIS director of International Student Services, and Lori Giordano, UIS associate director of Admissions.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Professor finds expression through poetry

By Courtney Westlake

While writing may not be the most lucrative of careers, Dr. Nancy Genevieve Perkins, associate professor of English, has found that writers, and especially poets, are constantly aware of what is going on around them, what is going on inside of them and are able to record it, which is a unique and interesting way of life.

“I don’t know how many of us will make a living at it, but it is a great life,” Perkins said. “Poetry I like because it distills and intensifies the emotions. One of the reasons we write is to explore both what we know and what others know and to try to come to the truth of the moment. I like exploring the terrains of the spirit and terrains of the outer world. I like the distillation and the intensity of poetry."

Perkins has written for as long as she can remember. In fact, she still has a copy of a book from her childhood that contains the scribbles of the words she used to “write” and then she would “read” her stories to her mother.

“There is not a time in my life when my family can remember me not writing,” she said. “As I grew up, I found genres - creative non-fiction, poetry and fiction. I choose a genre by what I have to say; I like to have a grab-bag of genres.”

Perkins began her undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky before moving to Illinois to finish her bachelor degree at Illinois State University. She also earned her master’s and doctorate degrees at ISU and earned a Specialist in College Teaching from Murray State University in western Kentucky. While teaching English and directing the Writing Center at Eureka College, Perkins heard about a “wonderful job that would just be in creative writing and children’s literature” at UIS, she said, and started here in 2000.

“There are a lot of things to like about UIS,” she mused. “In the English department, we’ve had the online degree program, the Capital Scholars program and now there is a shift to having freshmen, which I adore. I like the energy of all of that.”

Perkins is teaching a class this fall in fiction writing, a graduate seminar in fiction writing and an online course in children’s literature.

“In my online children's lit class, I have students in Tokyo, Sweden and an island off Galveston - I have students literally all over the country, so that class is a great deal of fun,” she said. “I’m also teaching fiction writing, which is splendid. It’s compiled of people who have never written fiction before and those who are graduate students who have written a lot.”

Perkins will be taking a sabbatical during the spring semester to complete the third book in her poetry trilogy about NYX, the primal Greek goddess Night. Each of the three books focuses on a specific aspect of the goddess’ being. The first book, called NYX: Mother of Light, is about the “joys of being alive and celebrating the fact that we’re human, and it’s full of resolution,” and the second book, NYX: Daughter of Chaos, is full of poems of “things not resolved,” Perkins said.

The third book of the trilogy is called NYX: Sister of Erebus and speaks about the journey that Perkins has gone through recently with her mother who had Alzheimer's disease. Erebus is the mythological region of darkness where souls must journey from this world on their way to the underworld.

“I’ve been working on this book since 2001, and my mother passed away a year ago in September,” Perkins said. “I want to take and shape the poems I have into the stages of Alzheimer’s so people can know they’re not alone if they must also make this journey.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Perkins is also continuing to work on a project she laughingly calls her “life project”: a book on the early settlers of Woodford County, Illinois, which is about 90 percent complete, she noted.

Though Perkins is so busy that she is barely finding enough time to submit her poetry for publication and readings, she is still doing her best to make time for what she loves. She has been invited to be the featured poet in three different states, and she feels honored at the opportunities.

“It feels really nice that people are inviting me to be a featured poet and that people are giving me feedback about my poetry, saying ‘I like that, I understand it, and it’s what I’m going through right now’,” she said. “I’m doing all the things I like to do; it’s great."

To listen to Perkins read two of her recent poems, watch the video below:

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kirkendall acknowledged for support of autism fundraiser

Karen Kirkendall, interim director of the Capital Scholars Honors Program and associate professor of Liberal & Integrative Studies, was among those acknowledged for their support of the second annual "Take a Step for Autism Walk" held in September in Washington Park. The winter edition of the Autism Society of America Central Illinois Chapter newsletter thanked Kirkendall for "announcing the walk and her devoted support to autism spectrum disorders. She is a treasure."

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Rosina Neginsky named UIS University Scholar for 2008

Rosina Neginsky (left), associate professor of Women's Studies, English and Liberal Studies/Individual Option at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been named University Scholar for 2008-2009. She is one of 15 faculty members, and the only one from UIS, chosen for this award honoring and rewarding outstanding teachers and scholars at the three U of I campuses.

University Scholars receive $10,000 a year for three years to support research and other scholarly activities.

Materials nominating Neginsky described her has an "outstanding example of someone whose scholarship and teaching are excellent and intertwined." She is an international scholar who brings to UIS a "perspective that includes multiple languages and a rich cultural mix."

Neginsky has published two collections of poetry: Under the Light of the Moon and Juggler, which were both released in Russian and English. Her book Zinaida Vengerova: In Search of Beauty, is in its second edition and another book, Salome: The Image of a Woman Who Never Was, has been accepted for publication.

Neginsky is also the founder of the UIS International Film Festival, has organized three European film festivals, and has given guest lectures in Paris. She was recently awarded a strategic academic initiatives grant to organize a 2009 symposium on the Symbolist movement.

Neginsky teaches courses on ancient Greek and biblical motifs in European literature, European cinema, international women writers and the Symbolist Movement in Europe. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The University Scholars program was inaugurated in 1985 when the U of I Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary. The program's purpose, then and now, is to strengthen the University in meeting today's challenges and tomorrow's promise. Faculty do not apply for this award; they are nominated by their peers. A committee of senior faculty makes the final selection.

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Schroeder addresses conference at UM

Ray Schroeder, director of the Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning, gave a plenary address at the annual Teaching and Technology Conference held recently at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

See a pdf copy of The Messenger, the UMSL newsletter, for additional information.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

UIS Prairie offers sustainability and opportunities to university

By Courtney Westlake

The state of Illinois had 22 million acres of prairie up until the 1820s, but since European settlers moved into area, there are now less than 2,500 acres. Caring for the prairie areas that remain is now extremely important, such as the beautiful prairie located on the south area of the UIS campus.

“We have such small remnants of prairie still left,” said Dr. Tih-Fen Ting, assistant professor of Environmental Studies. “By losing this part of the native ecosystem, we also put out a lot of other species that are associated with prairie, whether it be birds, mammals or insects. We hope that we can increase biodiversity locally and also help species that still depend on prairie for survival and reproductive needs.”

Prairie is a French word meaning ‘meadow,’ Ting said. A prairie system is made up of lot of grasses and flower species and is very productive. Prairie grasses and forbs have deep root systems, and once a plant dies, its roots decompose and become part of the soil.

The prairie at UIS was established in 1991 by the student organization Students Allied for a Greener Earth (SAGE). Bob Raebig, who was a SAGE member and later became the environmental health and safety officer at UIS, played a tremendous role for the prairie restoration, Ting said, and when he passed away in 2004, Ting took responsibility of maintaining the prairie, along with help from Joan Buckles, UIS superintendent of grounds.

“We can use this as a living laboratory to teach students about the prairie and its ecosystem,” Ting said. “Even though it’s only three acres right now, it’s still a nice opportunity to have that living laboratory on campus for students to be able to learn more about a prairie ecosystem.”

Having a restored prairie on campus is beneficial not only to the campus community but to the environment and to sustainability in general.

“Sustainability is a broad issue in the sense that it involves not only environmental stewardship but social responsibilities and economic wellbeing,” Ting said. “There are many ecological benefits the prairie can provide. It increases biodiversity in a human-dominant landscape. And it does not preclude the opportunity for other species to be able to co-exist with us, which is important for sustainability.”

The prairie is also appealing for its aesthetic value and provides a natural setting for people to come, Ting said.

“It's such a beautiful place, and I think people will get inspiration for all kinds of work,” she said.

In the early days, a prairie was maintained by fires from lightning or grazing done by bison, Ting said. Now, UIS uses the method of fire-prescribed burns to maintain the health of the prairie ecosystem. The Friends of Sangamon Valley assists UIS in conducting species inventory and prescribed burns.

“Those are the ways to prevent trees, brushes and shrubs from taking over the prairie ecosystem. We try to mimic the natural force with controlled fires,” Ting said. “The fire will help release nutrients from vegetation back to the soil so it will enhance soil productivity and help other plants to grow. It also helps to control a lot of invasive species as well.”

The UIS prairie gives the campus community the opportunity to be immersed in a different kind of natural setting, Ting said.

“I encourage everyone to come here. It’s right on campus, on west side of the Strawbridge-Shepherd House,” she said. “There are beautiful species and grasses. You can come, meditate, take a nice walk, and it will probably help with your day.”

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson receives ITA Award of Excellence

Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, associate professor and director of theatre, has received the Award of Excellence in the College/University Division from the Illinois Theatre Association. The award was presented during ITA's 2008 Convention, held at Illinois State University in September.

Each year, the ITA recognizes both individuals and organizations for significant contributions in promoting quality theatre throughout the state. Recipients are nominated by the Illinois theatre community.

Thibodeaux-Thompson has served as a board member and co-chair of the ITA College/University Division and was co-chair of the organization's 2007 convention.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meeks honored with alumni award

Loretta Meeks, professor of Teacher Education, is the recipient of the 2009 Alumni Achievers Award from the School of Education and Human Performance at Winston Salem State University, North Carolina. The award recognizes Meeks for professional achievements and contributions to the field of education and the community. It will be presented at the Winston Salem Founder's Day Convocation in late October.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Professor fosters education of Latino and immigrant issues

By Courtney Westlake

Before Dr. Hinda Seif returned to grad school, she spent a number of years doing social justice work, and much of this work involved working with immigrant families. She was so interested in their stories, she became motivated to record those stories and learn more about “the context for how immigrants ended up coming to the United States,” she said.

That experience led Seif to pursue a doctorate from the University of California-Davis in anthropology with a focus on immigration issues. After receiving her Ph.D., she spent a year at the U.S.-Mexico border thinking through international migration issues with scholars from many other countries as a fellow at the University of California San Diego’s Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, and she also worked on immigrant students and college access at University of California at Berkeley’s Center for Latino Policy Research.

Now going into her second year teaching at UIS, Seif believes the university is an ideal fit.

“When I interviewed here, I was so impressed by the camaraderie. I loved the fact that we are a public university with small classes where I really get to know students that I’m working with,” Seif said. “A big draw was the location in the state capital because I’m interested in learning about and researching Latino and immigrant politics. Illinois is a state where Latinos and immigrants are having more and more impact on state politics, so it seemed perfect for me to be at UIS.”

This fall semester, Seif will be teaching courses in the sociology and anthropology curriculum and also the women’s studies curriculum. She teaches courses on cultural diversity in the U.S. as well as Women, Gender and Society, which is a core course for the Women’s Studies minor.

And a new course, which she first developed during the spring semester, fulfills the Comparative Societies requirement and is called “Women and Gender in Mexico and the U.S.”

“I think it is a unique course because this comparative societies requirement challenges us as professors to think about some of our favorite topics in this comparative fashion,” Seif said. “Usually when people teach about gender and women in this country, we focus on the United States or an entirely different country. Actually comparing the lives of women and gender roles in the two countries is a really interesting challenge.”

“I think it helps students think through not only what their lives are like as gendered individuals, but how they might have been different if they grew up in another country like Mexico,” she added.

The Latino population, which is the largest minority group in the United States, makes up about 14 percent of the population in Illinois and about 25 percent of the population in Chicago, Seif said. She is excited about diversity issues and is looking forward to continuing to help students think about different communities across the state, the country, and the world and broaden their horizons.

Seif is also joining with other campus faculty to welcome Latino students to our campus. Starting fall 2008, she is the faculty adviser for the campus student organization OLAS, or the Organization of Latin American Students.

“In fields that range from business to education to social work, employers are looking for students who are sensitive to diversity and can operate in a global economy,” she said. “I'm looking forward to learning with my students about diverse Latino communities in Illinois, like the one in Beardstown.”

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