Thursday, May 15, 2014

UIS faculty members honored during annual reception

The University of Illinois Springfield held its annual Faculty Honors Reception on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Chancellor Susan J. Koch and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Lynn Pardie presided over the ceremony honoring faculty members who have received tenure and/or promotion, been awarded sabbaticals, or granted emerita/emeritus status. Four major awards – the Faculty Excellence Award, the Pearson Faculty Award, the Spencer Faculty Service Award, and the Oakley Distinguished Online Teaching Award -- were also presented.

The Faculty Excellence Award was presented to Leonard Branson, professor of Accountancy. The award recognizes mid and late career colleagues who best exemplify the ideal of the teacher-scholar and whom the faculty recognizes as role models, based on sustained accomplishments in teaching and scholarship at the University of Illinois Springfield. The award is funded through the generosity of Wilbur and Margaret Wepner.

Professor Branson is recognized by his colleagues as one of the most effective and well-respected faculty in the College of Business & Management. His courses are known as being both challenging and engaging for students, and he has developed a number of innovative active learning exercises and team-based approaches to help students bridge the potential gap between classroom learning and real world applications.

“Branson is also an active scholar in his field,” said Chancellor Koch. “His research is interdisciplinary, and he has published 19 journal articles and presented 43 papers at refereed conferences over the last seven years.”

The Pearson Faculty Award for outstanding teaching was presented to Donna Bussell, associate professor of English. The award recognizes a faculty member whose performance exemplifies our commitment to excellence in teaching and who stands among the very best teachers at the University of Illinois Springfield. Such a teacher both informs and inspires students, giving them the knowledge and values with which they may become productive and enlightened citizens. The award was established by a gift from Dr. Emmet and Mary Pearson, longtime benefactors of the campus.

Bussell teaches at every level of the curriculum and also teaches in both on-ground and online modes of delivery. She actively engages in academic advising and in the mentoring of student scholarship outside the classroom. Her courses are writing-intensive and require students to engage in careful analysis of challenging works.

“It is clear that Dr. Bussell understands and honors the importance of student-centered teaching, and it is a testament to her interest and expertise in teaching that she manages so skillfully to challenge and support her students in good measures,” said Chancellor Koch.

The Spencer Faculty Service Award was given to Beverly Bunch, professor of public administration. Honoring Robert Spencer, founding president of Sangamon State University, this award recognizes faculty who best exemplify the ideal of the “professor-citizen” through public service and service to the academic community.

Bunch’s philosophy of service indicates that she values being able to use her professional strengths to benefit communities. Her contributions to university service have included valuable work at department, center, and campus levels, and she has also provided extensive service to her profession and to the external community.

She has delivered training on budgeting for governmental and nonprofit organizations for public managers, county, treasurers, and city clerks. She has also applied her professional expertise to assist a number of community agencies with annual reporting requirements, research projects, program evaluations, and strategic planning. Bunch also serves on a community fund allocation panel for the United Way of Central Illinois.

“As you can see, Professor Bunch truly exemplifies the ‘teacher-citizen’ envisioned by our founding president,” said Chancellor Koch.

Karen Swan, the James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, was honored with the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award. The award was established by Burks Oakley II, who helped launch UIS’ online programs. The Oakley Award recognizes UIS faculty members whose performance exemplifies the institution’s commitment to excellence in online teaching.

Professor Swan’s extensive record of scholarship represents well the teacher-scholar model that we value at UIS. Her research focuses directly on teaching and learning processes, and she is well-respected for the high quality of her work. She has received numerous awards and grants in support of her research agenda and serves as an expert consultant in online education.

“Dr. Swan’s philosophy of teaching is grounded in a social constructivist epistemology,” said Chancellor Koch. “She believes that learners construct meaning through experience and views her role as a teacher as one of bringing students together in social interactions that engage them with big ideas and help them assimilate and accommodate new learning.”

Recommended for tenure and promotion to associate professor were Layne Morsch, Chemistry; Frances Shen, Psychology; and Denise Sommers, Human Services. Scott Day, Educational Leadership, was recommended for promotion to full professor. Receiving the designation of emerita/emeritus faculty were Kathryn Eisenhart, Donald Morris, Stephen Schwark and William Siles.

Sabbatical leaves were granted to Peter Boltuc, Lynn Fisher, Eric Hadley-Ives, Kathy Jamison, Amy McEuen, Dennis Ruez, Frances Shen, and Milissa Thibodeaux-Thompson.

Patricia Byrnes, Economics, and Ann Strahle, Communication, were named China Faculty Exchange Fellows.

All promotion, tenure, sabbatical leave, and emerita/emeritus status recommendations are subject to approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

UIS founding faculty member Cullom Davis honored for Outstanding Advocate Leadership

The University of Illinois Foundation today announces Cullom Davis, professor emeritus of history at the University of Illinois Springfield, as the winner of the 2014 William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership.

The award will be presented at the UIS Celebration of Philanthropy on May 20, 2014. The U of I Foundation is the fundraising arm of the University of Illinois and its three campuses.

The William E. Winter Award, named for the CEO Emeritus of the 7-Up Company and a longtime member of the University of Illinois Foundation Board of Directors, celebrates individuals who play active roles in securing private support for the University of Illinois.

Davis is a founding faculty member of Sangamon State University (now UIS). A strong campus advocate and fundraiser, he brought significant gifts to UIS for Brookens Library, the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, WUIS, and other programs.

"It has been my privilege to serve and then support the University of Illinois Springfield," said Davis. "Present at its origins (as SSU) in 1970, I embraced the student-centered education, the public affairs mission, and its early determination to make Brookens Library the physical and intellectual center of our campus. Whatever I have accomplished pales in comparison with the rewards I have enjoyed."

While a professor, Davis created and directed the University's Oral History Office and helped design its M.A. program in public history. Following his retirement from teaching in 1995, he continued serving as director and senior editor of the Lincoln Legal Papers (which later became the Papers of Abraham Lincoln), a position he held from 1988 to 2000.

"Dr. Cullom Davis has our highest praise and thanks for his many years of service to UIS," said Jeff Lorber, vice chancellor for development at UIS. "He has been a great encouragement and a source of excellent advice.”

Past recipients of the William E. Winter Award include Bob Clary, Leonard Branson, Thom Serafin, Tom Marantz, Julie Kellner, Guerry L. Suggs and Michelle M. Suggs (deceased); Howard C. Humphrey (deceased), James Lundquist (deceased), and Clifford L. Greenwalt.

For more information, contact Jeff Lorber at 217/206-7822 or

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

UIS Teacher Education honor society inducts members

The Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education chapter at the University of Illinois Springfield inducted six new members during a ceremony on May 3, 2014. Kappa Delta Pi recognizes scholarship and excellence in education.

Teacher candidates initiated in the honor society, which represents the top twenty percent of educators, were Erin Clinch of Glasford, Kelly Fitch of Peoria, Davina Frazier of Dunlap, Amy Hemphill of Beardstown, Scott Summers of Waverly, and Laura Zulauf of Springfield. Dr. Traci Van Prooyen, assistant professor of Teacher Education at UIS, conducted the ceremony.

Kappa Delta Pi, established in 1911, fosters excellence in education and promotes fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. It is comprised of 600 chapters and more than 40,000 members.

Dr. Jennifer Gill, the new superintendent of Springfield Public School District 186 was the guest speaker for this year’s event.

Teacher Education is a department in the College of Education and Human Services at UIS. The Department currently offers licensure in teaching at the elementary level as well as teaching at the secondary level in the areas of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology, history, political science, and sociology/anthropology.

For more information about the honor society and recipients, contact Traci Van Prooyen at 217/206-8532 or