Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tom Ambrose receives leadership award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Tom Ambrose, senior training coordinator for the University of Illinois Springfield Institute for Legal, Legislative, & Policy Studies, was recently honored with the 2012 Leadership in Professional DUI Education Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Ambrose received the statewide award in recognition of his efforts to deliver professional DUI training to the DUI system stakeholders in Illinois. Specifically he was recognized for his ability to bring sometimes competitive groups together for training and his work with the Hard Core Drunk Driver Project in Illinois.

“The award came as a surprise as I was not aware that I had been nominated and was especially nice to receive as I prepare to retire from the University on October 1,” said Ambrose.

All of the training and other activities are part of a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation/Division of Traffic Safety awarded to the Institute for Legal, Legislative, & Policy Studies in the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership.

Ambrose received the award on Sept. 22, 2012 during the MADD Heroes Banquet at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. During the ceremony, MADD honored police officers and individuals who have made safe roads a number one priority by supporting the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Leadership lived: Vicente Valtierra brings Hispanic Grassroots Leadership Development Program to UIS

University of Illinois Springfield graduate student Vicente Valtierra has a passion for helping other people. It’s that passion which led him to bring a national Hispanic Grassroots Leadership Development Program to UIS.

Valtierra attended the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) Conference in Chicago where he heard about the national program model, which is designed to bridge the widening gap between citizens and elected officials. He knew the program was something that was needed at UIS and was determined to make it happen.

“I got the students together, talked to both sides, the officials and students, got everything going and here we are,” said Valtierra.

His efforts have resulted in a series of meetings with Springfield city leaders, Sangamon County officials, and UIS campus leaders throughout the fall semester. During their first meeting, the group of Hispanic students met with Springfield Mayor Michael Houston and other leaders.

“They’ve been there and done that,” said Valtierra. “They were here before us, so they know the ropes. We can definitely learn from them.”

Valtierra grew up in Gary, Indiana and made a few stops at other colleges before transferring to UIS. For him, it was the Computer Science program and the right-sized, supportive community that UIS offered which brought him to Springfield. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UIS and is now working to finish his master’s in Computer Science.

“(At UIS) you get more personal attention versus an auditorium setting with 300 students where you’re just a number,” said Valtierra. “You actually feel more like a person at UIS and you get a lot more attention and help.”

He says that UIS is a great place to learn about leadership because of the abundance of opportunities available to motivated students.

“UIS is great training grounds, mostly with small groups,” he said. “You have to start small. It’s hard to be a leader and stand up in front of a crowd of 300, so you get to start here with 10-20. It’s a good training ground for leadership.”

Valtierra was also instrumental in planning a student leadership fair at UIS for nearly 300 high school students. The event featured nationally prominent motivational speakers, workshops on preparing for college, financial aid/literacy information, and leadership development.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sheryl Murray wins the 2012 CARE Award

Sheryl Murray, office manager for the College of Public Affairs and Administration, was honored with the 2012 Chancellor’s Award to Recognize Excellence in Civil Service during a September 12, 2012 luncheon.

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lynn Pardie presented Murray with the award. She thanked all civil service staff members for their dedication to UIS.

“There is no corner of the campus or aspect of the educational experience that doesn’t rely in some way on the skills of our very talented and dedicated civil service staff,” said Pardie. “I am so grateful for all that you do every day on behalf of UIS.”

Murray’s nomination form describes her as someone who “goes the extra mile, is pleasant and knowledgeable.” Her professionalism and diligence are always on display as she helps students, faculty, staff, and visitors who enter the dean’s office.

Murray has worked at UIS since 2005. In addition to her College of Public Affairs and Administration duties, she volunteers to serve on committees and shows her enthusiasm about the university whenever possible.

The award was handed out as part of the 6th annual Civil Service Appreciation Day, which honors the approximately 308 civil service employees at UIS for all of their hard work and dedication. This year’s celebration included a variety of door prize drawings.

Other Civil Service employees nominated for the award include: 
  • Amanda Baughman, Police Officer, Campus Police
  • Gwen Cribbett, Admissions and Records Officer, Admissions
  • Meghan Harmon, Office Administrator, Library Administration
  • Laurie Koehne, Building Service Sub Foreman, Building Services
  • Ron Peddicord, Senior Library Specialist, Library Administration
  • Kurt Piskin, Natural Sciences Tech Assistant, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Denise Rothenbach, Business Manager I, Information Technology Services
  • Lesly Schoo, Office Manager, Undergraduate Academic Advising Center
  • Pamela Schweikle, Admissions and Records Officer, Admissions
  • Ellen (Nell) Smock, Office Manager, Management Information Systems
  • Patty Stoutamyer, Office Support Specialist, Mathematical Sciences
  • Dawn Tompkins, Administrative Clerk, Office of Electronic Media
  • Randall Williams, Food Service Administrator IV, Food Services
The winner of the CARE award receives $500, plus a $500 donation made to the campus organization of his or her choice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Leadership lived: Graduate student helps Emiquon earn international distinction

Environmental Sciences graduate student Danny Rosenkranz uses the word “fantastic” to describe the collaborative education he’s received at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The Georgia-native was approached by UIS Biology Professor and Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon Director Michael Lemke with an opportunity to help the Emiquon Complex, a 14,000 acre wetlands preserve and wildlife refuge in Fulton County, Ill, gain international recognition.

Rosenkranz was determined to see Emiquon named a “Wetlands of International Importance” by the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty in which member countries commit to the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

“I thought it would be very important for Emiquon to get this designation,” said Rosenkranz. “I knew in the back of my mind that it would take a while, at least a year or two, for it to finally be designated.”

Rosenkranz helped to begin the Ramsar application process by contacting the 12 organizations that make up the Emiquon Complex. He gathered vital information, which would eventually lead to Emiquon being named one of only 34 Ramsar sites in the United States.

“Not just everybody could have walked in there and did it,” said Lemke. “You have to have a little bit of the right training to work with these professionals in a multi-interdisciplinary setting to make this very big application process work out.”

Rosenkranz says the passion his professors have for learning has inspired him, adding the application process has given him valuable skills that will benefit him for a lifetime.