Tuesday, February 22, 2011

UIS student journalists honored with Illinois College Press Association awards

Staff members from The Journal, the weekly student newspaper of the University of Illinois Springfield, were recently honored with seven awards during the annual Illinois College Press Association convention in Chicago. Judges for the annual competition were professional journalists from throughout Illinois.

Six of the awards were for work published in spring semester 2010 and fall semester 2010 editions of The Journal.
  • In-Depth Reporting, Honorable Mention, Kate Richardson, Luke Runyon and Marianne Payne
  • Editorial, Third Place, Luke Runyon, Kate Richardson, Valeree Dunn and Michael Omenazu
  • Sports Photo, Third Place, Colten Bradford
  • Sports Column, Third Place, Brian Seay
  • Headline Writing, First Place, Luke Runyon
  • Feature Story, Second Place, Luke Runyon
Photographer and assistant editor for news Colten Bradford also received an honorable mention award for a photo shoot contest held in Chicago.

Among the student newspapers The Journal competes against in the non-daily division (universities/colleges with enrollments of 4,000 and above) are the SIUI-E Alestle, The DePaulia, Columbia Chronicle, Chicago Maroon (University of Chicago), Loyola Phoenix, and the Chicago Flame (University of Illinois at Chicago).

Monday, February 21, 2011

UIS Teacher Education chair attempts to read over 500 books in preparation for conference

Cindy Wilson admits it might not have been a smart idea to attempt to read over 500 children’s books in the weeks leading up to the annual Illinois Reading Council Conference in Springfield, but she’s having a great time doing it.

Wilson is the chair of the Teacher Education Department at the University of Illinois Springfield and president-elect of the Illinois Reading Council. Her goal is to read almost every book by every author who is speaking at the March 17-19 conference.

“Nobody has said out load that they think I’m crazy for doing this. Many people have said I’m courageous for attempting to do this,” said Wilson.

Wilson was responsible for selecting all of the authors, who will appear at the conference. She was already familiar with many of the author’s work, but still felt she had more to learn.

“I decided to take it on because the authors that I chose, I chose because I really admired them for their work and so I wanted to read everything that they had written,” said Wilson.

The Lincoln Public Library in downtown Springfield is helping Wilson gather all the books she needs. The library always has a stack of books ready for her to read and they’ve helped her borrow books from other libraries.

Wilson hopes reading the books will not only help her understand them better, but help advertise the conference. She’s started a blog where people can track her progress in reading the books and learn more about the authors coming to the conference.

Wilson doesn’t expect to be able to actually read all 546 books, but she’s hoping to at least make it through the first 300. She started reading novels and has now moved onto books with a smaller amount of text.

“Fortunately they are children’s books primarily, so some of them go very quickly,” she said.

She jokes she could read 60 books an hour if they only had a few words per page, adding “I’m enjoying myself so much reading these books.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

UIS participates in national alcohol and drug prevention conference

Freshman Brittnee Wojciechowski of the University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team and junior third baseman Jessica Yocum, along with Assistant Athletic Director Jamie Krueger, head volleyball coach Angie Riggle and Valerie Gebhardt the UIS Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Coordinator attended the 20th annual APPLE Conference January 28–30 in Austin, Texas.

The APPLE (Athletic Prevention Programming and Leadership Education) model was developed in 1991 through a partnership between the University of Virginia's Center for Alcohol and Substance Education (CASE) and the Department of Athletics. Since 1992, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Virginia have partnered to disseminate the APPLE model at minimal cost to NCAA-member institutions.

“Attending the APPLE Conference allowed us to gain a better understanding of how critical student-athlete involvement will be in addressing issues of alcohol and drug use among the student-athlete population at UIS,” said Krueger. “Our APPLE team is looking forward to implementing educational and student-athlete mentoring programs to ensure that student-athlete well-being continues to be one of the top priorities of our department.”

This was the first year that UIS attended the APPLE Conference.

“I am excited about the opportunity for myself, as the AOD Prevention Coordinator to be able to work with the athletic department to address alcohol and drug usage in a non-threatening, supportive environment,” Gebhardt said. “It will be a great opportunity for the counseling center and the athletic department to work as a 'community' on the UIS campus.”

The featured speakers the UIS athletes and staff saw were Erica Upshaw, who aims to prevent senseless deaths by education on how to party smart and Doug Everhart, who created and advises a nationally acclaimed peer education program.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

UIS to take part in innovative library technology institute

University of Illinois Springfield visiting instructional librarian Sarah Sagmoen has been selected to serve as an instructor in an innovative institute for Illinois library staff. The program is promised to be one of the most exciting Illinois library initiatives of 2011.

Sagmoen, who works at the Brookens Library at UIS will participate in ILEAD U (Illinois Libraries Explore, Apply and Discover), the 21st century technology tools institute for Illinois library staff. Sangmoen and other participants will implement web technologies that foster community participation and develop leadership, innovation and positive change. ILEAD U will encourage both the experimentation with and building of participatory web services and programs.

“I’m honored to have been selected as a member of the instructor corps. Technology in libraries is a vital conversation and I’m excited to be a part of it by sharing my experiences and learning from others,” said Sagmoen.

Amanda Binder and Janelle Gurnsey of Brookens Library participated in an ILEAD U team during the first year of the project. They and their teammates produced an innovative online contest, “Under the Influence: Music that Inspires Expression,” to launch the Big Read in Central Illinois on February 15, 2011.

Jane Treadwell, dean of Brookens Library at UIS, says, “The Brookens Library has benefitted enormously from faculty and staff participation in ILEAD U --in addition to Binder and Gurnsey, two other faculty members, Pamela Salela and Natalie Tagge participated in ILEAD U in 2010. In addition to the skills that they gained, they have brought back enthusiasm for reaching out to our patrons in new ways.”

The Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at UIS will continue in its role as a consultant to the ILEAD U program, and staff from the Center for State Policy and Leadership will serve as evaluators for the institute. The institute will help library staff understand and respond to patron needs through the application of participatory technology tools. ILEAD U is made possible by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant awarded to the Illinois State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“The Illinois State Library is proud of its strong commitment to continuing education, and providing librarians with the tools and resources necessary to address the ever changing needs of their patrons,” said Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White. “Nowhere is the need for continuing education more important than in the area of technology. Librarians need to constantly enhance their skills to keep up to date with the latest technology, and ILEAD U represents an exciting, innovative new program to build technology and leadership skills among Illinois librarians.”

Examples of participatory technology tools will include: Blogging tools, digital audio/podcasting, digital photography, digital video, gaming, instant messaging, photo sharing site (e.g., Flikr), RSS, social networking (e.g., Facebook), tagging (folksonomies), videoconferencing, virtual reference, virtual worlds (e.g., Second Life), web conferencing, and wikis.

The ILEAD U schedule includes three in-person sessions to be held February 28-March 3, June 13-16 and October 24-27 at the University of Illinois Springfield. For more information contact Jane Treadwell at 217/206-6597 or email jtrea1@uis.edu.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Elizabeth Ribarsky studies dating and sexual communication

There is a lot to be learned from how a couple interacts at the beginning of a relationship, but it is often an understudied area of the communication process.

Dr. Elizabeth Ribarsky, assistant professor of Communication at the University of Illinois Springfield, says research has shown the way you communicate early on in a relationship could actually dictate how you communicate over the long run. Ribarsky studies dating and sexual communication.

“When most people hear that, they’re just a little bit shocked,” she said.

Ribarsky says, early on in a relationship, couples must learn how to negotiate their individual identity as well as that of being a couple.

“It’s hard not to become interested in this area of research because it’s something we all do at some time,” said Ribarsky.

She is also interested in how the media influence our dating expectations. In a recent study, she looked at the television show “The Bachelor” and actually watched the show with a group of women to see how they talked about the show.

“Although people kind of make fun of the show, 'The Bachelor', my research has shown that it actually has a dramatic impact on how women construct what it means to date in today’s society,” she said.

Ribarsky says although we think we are much more progressive today in our dating relationships, research shows we are actually still looking for the “fairy tale” romance. Our dating scripts today are still very similar to the 1950s, with the man expected to be dominant in the relationship. This friction between new and old expectations can lead to problems.

“It creates this unusual juxtaposition between what we think we should be doing and what we want. When there’s that violation there, it actually, in the long run, tends to decrease our satisfaction with our relationships themselves,” she said.

Ribarsky often incorporates her research into the classroom, saying students have "a lot of interest" in learning about their own relationships. She plans to continue her research and is currently working to get a number of articles published.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Graduate students honored during Outstanding Master's Thesis Awards

Vera Leopold has won the University of Illinois Springfield's Outstanding Master's Thesis award for the 2009-10 academic year. Her project – titled "Feasibility Study for a Small-Scale Wetland Restoration at Jubilee Farm in Central Illinois" – was chosen from among 8 theses and projects nominated by graduate departments at the university. She was honored during a ceremony on Monday, January 31, 2011.

Leopold's work involved an applied study compiling current and historical data on the Jubilee Farm site located near New Berlin, Ill. She also identified appropriate reference wetlands within the geographic area, and conducted a detailed, four-season-long, site assessment. Data collected and analyses for the assessment were focused on five components of the site, including soils, hydrology, water quality, vegetation, and wildlife. Each component required Leopold to develop and demonstrate adequate grounding in the subject area.

“If I failed to convey it to Vera before I would like to take this opportunity to tell her and share with you how fortunate I have felt to have such a sensible and capable student and friend like Vera,” said Dr. Tih-Fen Ting, professor of Environmental Studies who chaired Leopold’s thesis committee.

James Anderson, who earned a master of arts degree in Communication, received a Special Merit Award. Anderson's thesis was titled "Laughter is Critical: An Analysis of the Sociopolitical Satire on ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ and ‘The Colbert Report’ Using the Propaganda Model as a Guide. Dr. Amie Kincaid, assistant professor of Communication, served as his committee chair.

The UIS Research Board reviews nominated theses and projects and makes the final selection. Lynn Pardie, UIS interim vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said that the board was impressed by the high quality of each of the nominated reports.

Other students who were nominated, their theses or projects, and their programs, are: Neil Calderon, Educational Leadership; Sarah (Chism) Stover; Human Development Counseling; Michael Abraham Gammon; English; Heidi E. Nance, Accountancy; John Marcos Reynolds, History; Michael Snyder, Political Science; and Jill Sonke, Human Services.