Friday, October 28, 2005

Lend a helping hand through the Volunteer Center

By Melanie Cain

If you’re interested in helping to make the world a better place, there is simply no better place on campus to give your time, efforts, and talents than the UIS Office of Student Volunteers, Service, and Civic Engagement. “The single most valuable thing this office provides is the opportunity for me and students to contribute in whatever small way we can to make a positive change,” says Patricia Robertson, director. “The students, community supporters, partners, and people with whom we share our service experiences bring a joy to my small world that I would not otherwise know and am continually grateful for.”

The goal of the office is to connect service and learning to social justice and civic engagement while also fostering responsive, reciprocal partnerships between students, faculty, staff, and community. “We seek to actively engage students in service and learning experiences that will contribute to their development and understanding of leadership and civic responsibility,” says Robertson. “We also seek to grow and expand campus and community partnerships and to broaden the campus/community connection.”

The office has been in existence for approximately four-and-a-half-years. It was started as a part-time initiative through a grant and has grown into an office with a full-time director, a 50% community liaison, and one GA position.

Robertson has been serving as director since February 2004. Previously, Associate Dean of Students Jeffrey Maras had assumed these responsibilities, and he still helps out on a regular basis. The office will also be getting a 50% AmeriCorps person in the near future. In addition to the other assistance she provides, Alisabeth Manzoeillo, the GA, lives in LRH with the Living Learning Community and is responsible for providing oversight and guidance, as well as community leadership, for this new group of students.

Current projects

The Living Learning Community is one of the office’s latest projects. It is a designated area of LRH where students who are committed to volunteer and service have applied to live in order to build a community dedicated to these core values. The students meet and plan service events and assist with activities that are planned through the office as campus wide initiatives. One event the group planned was the October 25 Blood Drive, which was extremely successful because of all the student support.

The office has also received an AmeriCorps/Campus Compact grant that has provided the opportunity for nine students to participate as STAR fellows. Each fellow performs 300 hours of service over the course of the year, earning work study wage, and receives a $1,000 education award upon successful completion of the program. The office also has an ongoing partnership and commitment to Washington Middle School in Springfield, providing volunteer assistance, parent involvement coaching, and programming for sustainable outcomes.

Robertson explains that most of the recent hurricane relief efforts that took place at UIS were student driven and organized. “Students went to Louisiana to help clean up after the hurricane, collected food and clothing to send to victims, and organized a carnival to raise funds for relief efforts,” she says. “There are also approximately 20 students planning an alternative spring break to go to a Habitat for Humanity site to help rebuild.”

National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week

The office is currently in the process of planning, coordinating, and sponsoring a full schedule of activities for National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week, November 14-19. There are many different opportunities for individuals to participate.

•Monday - There will be a panel presentation and open dialog lunch in PAC G from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. with representatives from Contact Ministries, St. John’s Breadline, and the state advocate for homeless children.
•Tuesday - The movie “Taylor’s Campaign,” a film about hunger and homelessness, will run continuously in the cafeteria. The students are also planning an Ox-Fam hunger banquet in the PAC restaurant at noon.
•Wednesday - The students will host a “Food for Thought” letter writing campaign to state legislators and members of Congress.
•Thursday - The “Who Cares?” t-shirt contest will take place. Students will be given t-shirts and fabric marking pens and will ask people to sign their shirts for $1 per signature. All proceeds will benefit local shelters and food pantries.

“There is never a shortage of need for volunteers, and the needs are constantly changing,” says Robertson. “I encourage anyone interested in volunteering to contact me and I will provide them with a list of current projects as well as ongoing opportunities.”

To contact Robertson, e-mail her at, call 206-7828, or stop by the office at SAB 60.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Jamison looks forward to the opportunities that await her at UIS

By Melanie Cain

In an effort to learn more about some of UIS’ newest faculty members, we will be interviewing some of them and asking them to share their stories.

Although Kathy Petitte Jamison was not really looking for a full-time teaching position, when the opportunity to join the UIS faculty as an associate professor of Communication came along, she simply couldn’t turn it down. “Being a doctoral student and teaching assistant is work enough, but I happened to come across a position at UIS, and it sounded perfect for me,” she says.

“Having earned my master’s at UIS and knowing what it’s like to be a single parent, work two jobs, and attend school full-time, I figured I could relate well to the many UIS students who still fit this description. Besides, I’ve always thought well of the Communication program here,” says Jamison.

Jamison received her bachelor’s degree, with a double major in English and Fine Art, from Illinois College in 1991. She then received her master of arts in mass media communication from UIS in 1998. Jamison is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Institution of Communications Research at UIUC.

Although the path to her current position has been long and certainly not easy, Jamison is proud of her accomplishment. “Among my achievements, my education is what I am most proud of. It’s been a long, hard road, and I’m not done yet,” she says.

What does Jamison enjoy most about being a professor? “I enjoy the on-going research and learning that goes into teaching a subject,” she explains. “Like most other teachers, I also enjoy it when students say they really got something useful out of a class.”

Overall, Jamison is excited about the opportunities that await her in the upcoming school year. “What I’m looking forward to the most during my time at UIS is getting settled, becoming part of the academic community, and making new friends,” says Jamison.

“It will also be very exciting as UIS moves from an upper-division school to a four-year school,” she says. “The expansion of the university, the professionalism and friendliness of everyone I’ve met to date – these are things I’m looking forward to being part of.”

Like many other professors, Jamison enjoys a wide variety of leisure activities, but has some difficulty finding the time to fit them all in. “Once a semester starts, I unfortunately have very little free time,” she says. “However, if I had free time, I would like to spend some of it with friends; gobble up every good independent and foreign film I could get my hands on; travel; dance - salsa, swing, and tango; and cook.”

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hadley-Ives enjoys many aspects of teaching at UIS

By Melanie Cain

In an effort to learn more about some of UIS’ newest faculty members, we will be interviewing some of them and asking them to share their stories.

Eric Hadley-Ives has an extensive list of reasons why he enjoys being a college professor. The flexible hours, comfortable environment, and weeks off in the summer are certainly a plus. Working with other intelligent, open-minded, and inquisitive people brings him a great deal of satisfaction. He also says that seeing work he has done get published is quite a thrill.

But one over-riding aspect of the job makes everything worthwhile: “Any time you see significant growth in skills, knowledge, or wisdom in a student, and you can be fairly sure this growth was brought about by what you have done as a teacher, that is truly the peak,” he says.

Hadley-Ives, a new assistant professor in the Liberal Studies/Individual Option program, received his B.A. in World Development from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands in California. This program was very similar to the LIS program at UIS. He then earned his M.S.W. and Ph. D. from Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work, where he focused on social and economic development and research.

After a stint at UIUC’s School of Social Work, Hadley-Ives was looking for a little change of pace. “I wanted an environment where teaching would be more significant, and the pressure to independently produce significant, original research for top-tier journals would be less emphasized in relation to teaching and service scholarship,” he explains. “UIS attracted me with the LIS/INO program, which was very much like the program I attended as an undergraduate. I remember my undergraduate learning experience as being more exciting and interesting than my graduate experiences, so I became more interested in teaching undergraduates, and teaching them outside my focus field of social work,” he says.

“UIS was close enough to my previous employer that I could easily maintain collaborative research projects with my colleagues there,” he adds. “The kindness and friendliness of the faculty I met during my campus visit and interview, combined with the smaller size, proximity to my family and friends in the Midwest, the lower cost of living, and the advantages of living in a small city not too far from large cities, all played a role.”

In his free time, Hadley-Ives enjoys a variety of activities. He likes any creative project related to travel or photography, reading (mainly non-fiction, but also some fiction and poetry), listening to many kinds of music, and spending time with family or friends. Achieving and maintaining a “reasonably happy” family is what Hadley-Ives considers his greatest accomplishment. He’s been married for 13 years and is the father of two sons, ages 6 and 10.

Hadley-Ives has set himself some ambitious goals at UIS. “I want to help students have a great time while learning about themselves and their world, develop good relations with colleagues, write and publish articles, and get some more research done,” he says. “I’ve been impressed by the staff and faculty here, and I’m feeling better and better about coming here every day.”