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."

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.

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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Treadwell among honorees at ESGR Bosslift

Jane Treadwell, UIS Library dean, was among employers honored at the 131st Fighter Wing/Bosslift/Employer Appreciation Day on November 19. The annual event is sponsored by the Missouri Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) as a way to thank those whose employees include National Guard and Reserve members.

Megan Hunter, multimedia communications specialist in the Library, is a member of the Air Force 131st Fighter Wing National Guard unit in Missouri, based at Lambert Field. Former library staff member Rich Barnes was a member of the Army National Guard and served a tour of duty in Iraq while employed at Brookens. (The photo at the left shows Treadwell, left, and Hunter during the event.)

Bosslift participants have a firsthand opportunity to observe a variety of training and leadership activities of the National Guard and Reserve, as well as a chance to share insights on the challenges and benefits of having employees who serve in Reserve components.

The day's activities also included a tour of an F-15 tactical fighter jet and a flight on a Missouri Air National Guard C-130 Hercules to Whiteman Air Force Base, near Sedalia, Missouri.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a Department of Defense agency that seeks to promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees. The agency seeks to recognize outstanding support, increase awareness of the law, and resolve conflicts through informal mediation.

Monday, November 03, 2008

English course inspires play-writing for Illinois Issues editor

By Courtney Westlake

It was at an alumni event several years ago when Beverley Scobell, projects editor for Illinois Issues magazine, first heard the story of New Philadelphia, a community that was established in Pike County by a free black man in 1836.

“I was captivated by the story; I couldn't believe I had lived this long in the state and not heard it,” Scobell said. “I pitched it as an idea for the magazine about the archaeology being done there.”

Then, after reading the book about the community, called “Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier” by Juliet E.K. Walker, and taking an English class at UIS, Scobell decided to turn out a new form of writing to express her thoughts about the subject: play-writing.

“I thought it was such a story of courage, that it was an incredible love story of a man who so wanted not only his own freedom but also the freedom of his entire family,” she said. “He came to an Illinois frontier not particularly welcoming to African-Americans and established this town. It became a multi-racial town. It apparently was a town where people of all different kinds of backgrounds got along.”

Scobell took a course taught by Dr. Marcellus Leonard, who is now the director of First-Year Programs at UIS. While in the class, she wrote her play about the Springfield Race Riots and New Philadelphia, a story which is not historical but is based on fact, she said. Scobell's play is from the point of view of the “spiritual descendants” of New Philadelphia, families of different races who are caught up in the violence of the Race Riots. A character, Aunt Lucy Ann, the family storyteller, tries to calm the children with the story of New Philadelphia, a place “where character was more important than skin color,” Scobell said.

“I thought the play might be a way to introduce schoolchildren to a part of Illinois history,” she said. “The story I was trying to tell was of New Philadelphia, but the technique I was using was the 1908 riots. Until recently, these two events in our past have not been well-known.”

Leonard recognized the timeliness of the play, Scobell said, and suggested that the UIS TV station produce it as readers’ theatre. Over the summer, volunteers dedicated their time to work on it, and it was filmed a couple of months ago. It will be aired in the near future.

“Characters kept talking to me, and I would go to work on it and find a new name,” Scobell said. “As everybody tells me, I have way too many characters, and it jumps around to different time periods, so it is a director's challenge, if not nightmare.”

Scobell said she is nervous about seeing her new story acted out but is looking forward to seeing the finished product.

“This is a totally new process for me. The kind of writing I do at Illinois Issues is reporting, putting facts together, but I hadn't really done anything creative,” she said. “It's one thing to write it on your computer at home, but another thing to have people read it and speak the lines. It’s exciting.”