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Twenty-five new faculty join UIS

August 17, 2007

Contact: Donna McCracken, 217/206-6716, dmccr1@uis.edu

SPRINGFIELD – Twenty-five new faculty members have joined the University of Illinois at Springfield for the 2007 fall semester. Eight will teach in programs within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; six will teach in the College of Public Affairs and Administration; six in the College of Education and Human Services; two in the College of Business and Management; and three will teach in the library.

David Bertaina, assistant professor of History, joins UIS as the department's first specialist in comparative religion and previously taught courses on Islam at California State University, Chico.  Bertaina's areas of research and expertise include the history and literature of the medieval Middle East, with an emphasis on Christian-Muslim dialogs.  He has made a number of presentations on Christianity, Islam, and comparative religion for academic conferences, universities, and private organizations. He received his Ph.D. in Semitic Languages and Literatures from the Catholic University of America in 2007. 

Kathleen Burns, assistant professor of Teacher Education, served on the faculty at MacMurray College – where her positions included chair of the education department and director of secondary education – for three years before joining UIS.  She has also been the technology coordinator at St. Joseph's Academy in St. Louis and taught social studies at the high school level. Burns' research interests are centered on the effects of computer technology on teaching and learning in the K-12 classroom.  Her research has been published in the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education and she has made related presentations at several academic conferences. She received her Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning from the University of Missouri at St. Louis in 2003.

Thomas Clausen, assistant professor of Accountancy, previously taught at Wichita State, Mississippi State, the University of Kansas, Kansas State, and Bentley College and he has served as a project manager, controller, and internal auditor in the private sector. A certified public accountant, management accountant, and information systems auditor, his research interests are in implementation, use, and effectiveness of accounting information and control systems. Clausen earned his Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Connecticut in 2002. 

Vickie Cook, assistant professor of Educational Leadership, joined the UIS faculty in 2006 as a visiting assistant professor after 15 years in various administrative and teaching positions at Kaskaskia Community College in Centralia.  Cook's research interests include the effect of intergenerational learning in the classroom and workplace and the effects of literacy on lifelong education.  Her articles have appeared in a number of professional publications and she received the 2006 Research Scholarship grant from the Illinois Council on Continuing and Higher Education for research exploring Illinois Family Literacy projects.  In the EDL program at UIS, her teaching supports the areas of curriculum, assessment, and leadership. She earned the Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Capella University in 2004.

Gilbert Crain, associate professor of Accountancy, comes to UIS from Montana State University, Bozeman, where he had been on the faculty since 1974.  Crain's research interests focus on users' needs and usage of financial information for state and local government.  His research has been published in various professional journals, and he is an editor of the monthly newsletter Governmental Accounting and Auditing Update, for Thompson Publishing in New York City. He earned his Ph.D. in Accounting from the U of I at Urbana-Champaign in 1978.

Mark Edgar is visiting assistant professor of Public Health.  His past positions include director of assessment and planning at the Illinois Public Health Institute, senior research associate at St. Louis University School of Public Health, researcher at SIU School of Medicine, director of epidemiology at the Adams County Health Department, and adjunct faculty member at UIS and Quincy University.  His research has been published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice and Public Health Reports and he has made presentations at a number of professional meetings. Edgar received his Ph.D. in Public Health from St. Louis University.

Matthew Evans, assistant professor of Biology, spent the past four years as an assistant professor at Mount Allison University in Canada and is completing field research in the Arctic on the impact of a proposed iron ore mine on the bird populations of Baffin Island.  His research interests include wildlife ecology, conservation biology, and the population dynamics of various species of mammals and birds.  At UIS, Evans plans to conduct research at the Emiquon Field Station.  He is widely published in professional publications and his work has been featured in David Attenborough's "The Life of Birds" series on the BBC and in a 2006 issue of National Geographic. He received his Ph.D. from the Center of Wildlife Ecology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia in 2003. 

Kim Benita Furumoto, assistant professor of Legal Studies with an appointment in the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies, was a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in American Indian Studies for one year at the U of I in Urbana-Champaign. In that position she conducted research on federal Indian law. She most recently served as a research associate at the University of California Humanities Research Institute and she has taught in the School of Justice Studies at Arizona State University. She is currently editing a book on race theory and is working on another manuscript based on her dissertation, "Racial Juris-Fiction:  Federal Indian Law from the Discovery Doctrine to Allotment."  Her research interests include federal Indian law, civil rights law, environmental law, critical race theory, and postcolonial theory. She received her J.D. and Ph.D. degrees in the College of Law and the School of Justice Studies at Arizona State University in 2006. 

Jay Gilliam, assistant professor of Criminal Justice, joins UIS after three years on the faculty in the Department of Criminology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  Gilliam's research interests include the relationship among drugs, alcohol, and crime; ecological factors of crime; and issues of juvenile justice.  His work has been published in the journal Deviant Behavior and he has made numerous presentations at national academic conferences. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Oklahoma in 2006.

Amie Kincaid, lecturer in Communication, spent the past four years on the faculty at Eureka College as a communication instructor in the Humanities Division. She has also taught at Central New Mexico Community College, Albuquerque, at Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, and at Eastern Illinois University, Charleston.  Her research interests focus on how issues of race, class, culture, ethnicity, and gender contribute to interpersonal interactions. Her doctoral dissertation, titled "Communicating Identity: A Critical Ethnography of School Children in a Rural Community," is based on a field study of a small town near Springfield.  She is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Mexico.

James Klein, assistant professor of Human Development Counseling, was an assistant professor of Counselor Education at Georgia Southern University before coming to UIS. He has been published in a number of peer-reviewed professional journals and has made presentations at several national and regional conferences. Klein's research interests include school counseling, high school student-athletes, and spirituality and counseling.  He received his Ed.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Northern Illinois University in 2005. 

Rebecca Landsberg, assistant professor of Biology, comes to UIS from the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, where she has been a post-doctoral fellow since 2003. Her research interests include understanding how embryonic cells in the developing brain give rise to diverse neuronal populations. Her work has been published in academic journals including Neuron and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and has been a subject for review in Nature. At UIS, her teaching will focus on cellular and molecular biology. She earned her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003.

Michael Lane, clinical assistant professor of Educational Leadership, previously served as an adjunct lecturer at UIS. He briefly was transportation director of the Jacksonville school district and before that spent five and a half years as superintendent of the Virginia, Illinois, school district.  Lane's research interests include rural sociology, challenges of NCLB implementation for educational leaders, educational reform, and the nature of leadership.  He has made presentations at educational conferences on such topics as data-driven decision making, school district reorganization, and leadership challenges for rural public school district superintendents. He received his Ed.D. from Illinois State University in 2006.

William Miller, associate professor and chair of Public Administration, was the founding director of the doctoral program in public policy at the University of Arkansas. He has also worked as a policy analyst for St. Louis University and with numerous community-based advocacy and service groups.  His professional focus is on public policy in such areas as desegregation policy, church and state issues, citizen participation in economic development, financial ratios, equal employment, and the use of race in research.  His work has appeared in Public Administration Review, American Review of Public Administration, Women and Politics, State and Local Government Review, and The American Journal of Political Science. He holds an M. Div. from Eden Theological Seminary and earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from St. Louis University in 1991. 

Ali Nizamuddin, assistant professor of Political Studies, taught at Emory and Henry College in Virginia for five years and was a researcher at Brookings Institution before joining UIS.  His area of specialization is international relations with a focus in Asian studies. Nizamuddin's research interests include international trade, globalization, and the role of multinational corporations in the developing world.  His articles have been published in Encyclopedia of International Political Economy and the International Social Science Review. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University in 2001.

Burks Oakley, visiting research professor in the Office of Technology-Enhanced Learning, was founding director of the University of Illinois Online and served in that capacity from 1997 until 2007.  He was a key participant in obtaining both of the Sloan grants that funded the development of a number of UIS' online programs.  Oakley has earned a national reputation as a practitioner and promoter of Internet-based asynchronous learning environments and in the past four years has given more than 100 invited talks at national conferences and on university campuses.  He has received numerous awards for teaching and for the innovative use of technology in education. He earned the Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1975.

Karen Reinke, assistant professor of Psychology, was on the faculty at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale for three years before coming to UIS.  Her research interests include cognitive neuroscience, perceptual learning, and the interface between emotion and attention.  Her research has been published in various professional journals including Cognitive Brain Research, Brain and Language, and Neuroimage. She has made numerous presentations at conferences for such groups as the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the Human Brain Mapping Conference, and the Society for Neuroscience.  She earned the Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 1998 and held two postdoctoral fellowships: one at the University or Arizona and another at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto. 

James Reynolds, visiting assistant professor of Educational Leadership, has served as an adjunct professor at UIS since 2004 and was also superintendent of schools, in New Berlin and Cisne, Illinois, for 22 years until his retirement in 2005.  His research interests include sound field amplification for hearing-impaired children (the MARRS Project), and he is co-author of "What is Collective Bargaining," which appeared in the Illinois School Board Journal.  His professional memberships include the Illinois Association of School Administrators, American Association of School Administrators, and Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Higher Education at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1992. 

Elizabeth Ribarsky, lecturer in Communication, was selected as 2007 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. At UIS, her teaching will center on interpersonal communication. Ribarsky's research interests include dating communication and the intersection between mediated and interpersonal communication.  Her research has been published in various academic journals and books including the National Forensic Journal and Teaching Ideas for the Basic Communication Course.  She has also made numerous presentations at regional and national conferences. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska, where she focused her studies on interpersonal and family communication, rhetoric, and culture.

Hinda Seif, assistant professor, Sociology/Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies, served as a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley's Center for Latina Policy Research and was a visiting faculty member at Rutgers University.  She has also served as a research associate with the University of California, San Diego's Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and, prior to entering graduate school, directed women's centers and battered women's shelters. Seif's teaching and research interests include immigration; the interaction of race, gender, class, and sexuality; and sociolegal studies.  She has conducted field work on the efforts of Mexican immigrant families, organizers, and elected officials to incorporate immigrants into their communities in California, New Jersey, and Illinois.  Her publications have appeared in academic journals including Latino Studies and Race, Gender, and Class. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Davis, in 2004. 

Denise Sommers, lecturer in Human Services, was previously a clinical supervisor at the Gateway Foundation in Springfield and is a psychotherapist in private practice. Her research interests include multicultural training, GLBT issues, and human service employee development and training.  She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where her dissertation studies the use of service learning to develop multicultural counseling competencies. 

John Transue, assistant professor of Political Studies with an appointment in the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies, was an assistant professor of Political Science at Duke University before coming to UIS.  His research primarily involves social identity, public opinion, political participation, and the relationships between political events and financial markets.  His research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Political Psychology, Annual Review of Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and Public Opinion Quarterly. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science with an interdisciplinary minor in Political Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2001.

Nancy Weichert, assistant professor of Library Instructional Services, was a reference librarian at Northwestern University for two years and branch campus librarian at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Rice Campus, for one year before joining the faculty at UIS. Weichert's research interests include Web 2.0, distance education, and the inclusion of information literacy in the core curriculum of academic institutions.  She holds seats on several local and statewide library committees and has presented her research at statewide workshops. She received an M.S. degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University in 2006. 

Samuel Wood, assistant professor of Library Instructional Services, spent three years at the Indiana University Library, first at the Auxiliary Library Facility and then serving online students at Walden University.  His research interests include information as a commodity and the application of the corporate model to higher education.  He earned an M.S. degree in Library Science from Indiana University at Bloomington in 2003.

Julia Zhang, lecturer in Sociology/Anthropology, was a visiting professor in the Department of Sociology at Beijing University in spring 2006, and was a fellow in the Yale-China University Leadership Program in 2004. Her research interests include classical and contemporary cultural theory, cultural sociology, and sociology of the arts.  Her research has been published in several professional journals and anthologies and she has made numerous presentations at academic conferences in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. She has also worked as a facilitator for several major contemporary arts and architectural projects in Beijing. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Cultural Sociology at Yale University, where her dissertation is a cultural sociological study of how the market economy and globalization have transformed the production, circulation, and reception of Chinese avant-garde art in the past 25 years.



The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs: 21 bachelorís, 20 masterís, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.

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