FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     Date:  May 7, 2001

Contact:  Cheryl D. Peck

UIS announces appointment of new provost

          SPRINGFIELD - Richard D. Ringeisen, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Springfield, has announced the appointment of Michael R. Cheney as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.  Dr. Cheney's appointment is subject to approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees at its meeting on May 23.

        Dr. Cheney is currently associate provost and director of research at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.  He will succeed A. Wayne Penn, who is retiring on May 31 after serving 28 years at the university, the last six as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

        "Dr. Cheney's record of strategic and academic planning and budgetary and resource allocation decision-making is exemplary and fits well with UIS' vision of being a high quality public liberal arts university," said Dr. Ringeisen. "His ideas on the importance of scholarship are both innovative and insightful.  He will bring a wealth of experience, new ideas, and high energy to the position and play a crucial role in helping to move the university in a new direction."

        Dr. Cheney has been at Drake University since 1981, where he was a faculty member in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication before being named dean of that school in 1988.  He was named to his current position in 1993.  Before going to Drake, he was a faculty

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member at Rutgers College, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

        He holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Communication at The Ohio State University, and M.S. and B.S. degrees from the College of Communications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

        Dr. Cheney, who will begin at UIS on June 16, said UIS and Drake University have much in common, particularly strong programs in the liberal arts and professional areas.  He noted the importance of information technology to universities and his particular interest in it. "I helped Drake University develop and implement innovations in using technology for instruction and for professional practice, specifically in such now familiar areas as desktop publishing and video editing," he said.   He also has an ongoing interest in faculty development, which he said is a major key in meeting challenges facing institutions.  One of the first grants he received and managed as the associate provost at Drake supported teaching innovations in the areas of information technology and pedagogy.

        Dr. Cheney is also very interested in the subject of diversity.  "I believe very strongly that this community must be multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-national -- an ongoing challenge for institutions not in large, major metropolitan areas.  One of UIS' strengths is that it has been very successful in realizing such a community," he said.

        The provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs is the chief academic officer of the campus, with broad responsibilities for coordinating activities across divisions and for managing the campus' $45 million budget.