Friday, May 27, 2016

Leadership lived: Political Science major helps new students feel at home

Will Newton didn’t know what to expect when he left home to attend the University of Illinois Springfield. Now, the Chicago native and political science major is helping other students make the transition as a Student Ambassador for UIS Admissions.

Newton answers phone calls at the admissions front desk and gives campus tours to prospective students and their parents.

“It gives me a chance to brag about my school a little bit. I always think what I would have wanted to know before I came to UIS,” said Newton.

He’s also a member of the Resident Housing Association, the Catholic Student Organization and the College Republicans. During his first year at UIS, Newton led an effort to organize a group of students to travel to New Jersey to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

“Every college tells you that you can get involved, you can have leadership roles right at the beginning, but I can honestly say that each of my years I was able to make an impact,” he said.

Following graduation, Newton plans to return to UIS to earn a master’s degree in political science or public administration.

“Then I want to find a job with a state legislator and eventually end up in Washington and maybe run for office,” he said.

Newton knows he made the right decision in choosing UIS and he encourages other students to do the same.

“I would tell them it’s a close-knit community where everybody tries to make sure you succeed at your highest level,” he said.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pattie Piotrowski named the new university librarian and dean at UIS Brookens Library

Pattie Piotrowski has been named the new University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Brookens Library, pending University of Illinois Board of Trustees approval.

She comes to UIS from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where she has served as Assistant Dean for Public Services at the Paul V. Galvin Library since 2006. She is currently President-Elect of the Illinois Library Association.

“In assessing Ms. Piotrowski’s strengths, the search committee noted her experience, strong understanding of contemporary trends in library services, appreciation for the value of assessment, and commitment to diversity as well as to public service,” said Lynn Pardie, UIS vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost.

Piotrowski has a strong background in user-centered services and a collaborative orientation to her leadership responsibilities. She has also been successful in grant-seeking efforts, garnering support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from the American Library Association for educational programming.

“I am excited to be joining UIS with its rich history and student diversity,” said Piotrowski. “I look forward to building on the success of the Brookens Library, and contributing to the achievements of the university system, its faculty, students and staff.”

Piotrowski is a member of the American Library Association and Illinois Library Association, and has held a number of associated leadership positions. She holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University and a master’s in Business Administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Piotrowski’s appointment is scheduled to begin on August 1, 2016. She replaces former University Librarian and Dean of Library Instructional Services Jane Treadwell who retired in April.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Leadership lived: Brother and sister showcase talents at UIS

Alex and Brooke Ginglen have a lot in common. The brother and sister duo both love to sing and perform. At the University of Illinois Springfield, they’re getting an opportunity to showcase their talents as Camerata music scholars.

The pair regularly performs at UIS Music concerts and were recently asked to sing the state song, “Illinois, Illinois”, at the beginning of a University of Illinois Board of Trustees meeting on campus. They’ve been singing together since high school.

“It was a great opportunity because I got to interact with university leaders,” said Alex, a senior computer science major. “My sister and I got to showcase our musical skills that we’ve been working on all semester.”

Alex also plays the trombone in the UIS Concert Band and drums in the UIS Pep Band. He’s a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, president of the Computer Science Club and runs on the UIS Prairie Stars men’s cross country team.

Brooke is just beginning her sophomore year as a pre-nursing major at UIS. She hopes to become a nurse practitioner. She chose UIS because of the new nursing program.

“I really love UIS because of the well-rounded opportunities that I have with small class sizes. I have a lot of learning opportunities and the music program,” she said.

The two didn’t plan on going to college together, however they admit it’s nice to be living on the same campus.

“My sister and I went to elementary, middle and high school together,” said Alex. “It just seems somewhat fitting that we go to the same college together.”

Following graduation, Alex wants to become a software engineer. He’s interning at State Farm Insurance this summer and hopes that will lead to a full-time job.

“All my leadership opportunities at UIS have taught me that leadership is like anything else in life. It takes practice and it takes work and dedication to be a good leader,” he said.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Leadership lived: Future doctor discovers her love of science at UIS

As an undergraduate student, Chemistry major and Capital Scholars Honors Program member Ashley Hollinshead is getting to do hands-on research at the University of Illinois Springfield.

She was recently chosen, along with ten other UIS students, to present her research at the University of Illinois Undergraduate Research Day at the Illinois State Capitol.

“I got to meet my representative,” said Hollinshead. “She came and listened to me speak about my project, as well as some of the professors from UIS. They came out and supported the students and listened to us brag about all of our research.”

Hollinshead and three other students are working with Associate Professor of Chemistry Keenan Dungey to find ways of reducing harmful nitrates found in freshwater. In central Illinois, these higher levels of nitrates are often caused by farming.

Before beginning the research, Hollinshead had never conducted water quality testing or learned in depth about water quality issues in Illinois. She’s been guided throughout the process by wonderful faculty members, such as Dungey.

“I love being able to interact one-on-one with your professors and really having that expertise from day one available to you,” said Hollinshead.

Her love of science has recently led her to apply for medical school. She’s not sure what type of doctor she wants to be yet, but she knows she’ll be working in a field she loves.

“Science is amazing,” she said. “It looks at the world around us and it tries to explain why the things happen the way that they happen and how we can use those things to benefit us, our communities and our world.”

Hollinshead fell in love with UIS during a campus visit in high school. The school had always been at the top of her list.

“I would choose UIS again in a heartbeat. I love it here,” she said.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

UIS online education leader named to national distance learning hall of fame

Ray Schroeder, associate vice chancellor for online learning at the University of Illinois Springfield, was honored by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) with their Hall of Fame Award during the association’s conference in St. Louis on May 10, 2016.

The award is presented to an individual who has contributed significantly to the field of distance learning through leadership, technology, research and teaching.

In a letter announcing the award, USDLA Chief Executive Officer John Flores praised Schroeder for his commitment to the field of distance learning adding he has “contributed immeasurably in laying the successful foundation for distance learning and its application within the educational community.”

Schroeder is a nationally recognized leader in the field of online learning and is the current director of the Center for Online Leadership and Strategy at the University Continuing and Professional Education Association (UPCEA). He regularly presents his research at national conferences and has written numerous publications about online and technology-enhanced learning. He is also the author of the popular blogs Online Learning Update and Educational Technology.

He was a Sloan Consortium Distinguished Scholar in Online Learning 2002-2003, recipient of the 2002 Sloan-C award for the “Most Outstanding Achievement in ALN by an Individual,” University of Southern Maine “Visiting Scholar in Online Learning” 2006-2009, and co-founder of the New Century Learning Consortium.

Schroeder was named the inaugural 2010 recipient of the Sloan Consortium's highest Individual award - the A. Frank Mayadas Leadership Award. He received the 2011 University of Illinois Distinguished Service Award. Schroeder was an inaugural Sloan Consortium Fellow and was named the 2012 Innovation Fellow for Digital Learning by the UPCEA.

Friday, May 06, 2016

UIS faculty members receive awards for excellence; promotions and sabbaticals announced

The University of Illinois Springfield held its annual Faculty Honors Reception on Thursday, May 5, 2016. 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. Three major awards – the Pearson Faculty Award, the Spencer Faculty Service Award, and the Faculty Excellence Award -- were also presented.

The Pearson Faculty Award for outstanding teaching was presented to Adriana Crocker, associate professor of Political Science. The award recognizes a faculty member whose performance exemplifies UIS’ commitment to excellence in teaching and who stands among the very best teachers on campus. 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.

“Crocker’s cumulative record of teaching excellence is evidenced by student perceptions of her teaching, extent of student engagement, demonstration of pedagogical innovations, as well as academic rigor and standards,” said Jim Ermatinger, interim dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration.

Crocker’s teaching focuses on Latin American studies, international law, and women’s studies. She teaches a wide range of courses, from the 100 to 500 level, in support of the political science curriculum as well as general education and CAP Honors curriculum. She has been a leader in in the Political Science Department’s expansion into online education.

Student perceptions of Crocker’s teaching exceed the numbers of the department, college, and university levels. Hallmarks of her courses include active/participatory learning assignments, such as class debates and simulations, using PEW and Harvard School of Government case studies as sources.

“Students have described Crocker as an outstanding advocate with the ability to enhance learning outcomes, and as a challenging instructor who gets the best from her students,” said Ermatinger.

Crocker’s leadership as advisor to the UIS Model Nations Program is an example of her teaching and mentoring students outside the classroom setting. In 2009, the UIS delegation was the recipient of the Distinguished Delegation Award.

The Spencer Faculty Service Award was given to Harshavardhan Bapat, associate professor of Chemistry. 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.

Bapat’s record of service exhibits a clear dedication to his students and his colleagues. Bapat came to UIS in 2002 and has been a faculty member in the Chemistry Department for 14 years. “He has documented significant contributions in service to his department, the university, the community, and his profession. Bapat is a servant leader who is clearly dedicated to the ideals of servant leadership,” said Jim Ermatinger, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Bapat is the longest serving member of the UIS Undergraduate Council and has served as its chair since August of 2009. He has served as director of the Natural Science Division; chair of the Chemistry Department; department supervisor for AST placements; faculty representative at preview days his entire career; author of the Chemistry Student Handbook; Chemistry Department webmaster; and Chemistry Club faculty advisor.

Bapat has served on over 18 university search and hiring committees, chairing nine of them. In addition to his service to the department, college, and university, Professor Bapat has an extensive record of service to the community. Throughout his career, he has worked to encourage K-12 student to consider careers as chemists, and most recently, he initiated a new community service effort by hosting Camp Invention on the UIS campus – a non-profit elementary summer enrichment program that seeks to engage and encourage children to consider careers in science and engineering.

The Faculty Excellence Award was given to Rassule Hadidi, professor of Management Information Systems (MIS). 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 UIS. The award is funded through the generosity of Wilbur and Margaret Wepner.

Hadidi came to Sangamon State University/UIS in 1981. He has had a productive career and was instrumental in the establishment of the MIS program, the building of the MIS curriculum at the M.S. and B.S. levels, the creation of three graduate certificate programs, and the development of the first online degree program at UIS – the MIS online master’s degree program.

“Hadidi’s students perceive him as an excellent teacher, and he has supported those students by supervising numerous theses and projects,” said Ron McNeil, dean of the College of Business and Management.

Hadidi exemplifies the teacher-scholar model with an impressive record of scholarly publications with 19 articles, 7 book reviews, and 27 refereed presentations.

He was the first Hanson Professional Services Faculty Scholar, demonstrating his ties with and recognition by the local business community. In addition, Hadidi founded and is managing editor of the Journal of the Midwest Association for Information Systems, and serves on the editorial board of four other journals.

Recommended for tenure and promotion to associate professor were Kristi Barnwell, History; Robert Blankenberger, Public Administration; and Junfeng Wang, Public Administration. Recommended for promotion to full professor were Feng-Shun (Leo) Bin, Business Administration and Jason Pierceson, Political Science. Howard Stephen McMinn, Library Instructional Services, was promoted to clinical associate professor.

Receiving the designation of emerita/emeritus faculty were Karen Kirkendall, Liberal & Integrative Studies and Daniel Matthews, Educational Leadership.

Sabbatical leaves were granted to Beverly Bunch, Public Administration; Keenan Dungey, Chemistry; Gwen Jordan, Legal Studies; Michael Lemke, Biology; John Martin, Chemistry; Calvin Mouw, Political Science; Hinda Seif, Sociology/Anthropology; Karen Swan, Educational Leadership; John Transue, Political Science; and Cynthia Wilson, Teacher Education Preparation.

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

Thursday, May 05, 2016

UIS names new director of Survey Research Office

The University of Illinois Springfield has named Juan Carlos Donoso the new director of the Survey Research Office in the Center for State Policy and Leadership. He comes to UIS from the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C.

As director of the office, Donoso will lead many important community surveys, such as the Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey, in partnership with The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and the biennial Sangamon County Citizen Survey, which gauges resident’s opinions on a variety of topics.

At the Pew Research Center, he worked as a research associate in the Religion and Public Life Project. Prior to that appointment, he was a professor of political science and international relations at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador. He is considered an expert in comparative politics in Latin America, with an emphasis on public opinion research, democracy and judicial politics.

While in Ecuador, he co-founded PRIME Consulting, a social science and survey research firm, and worked as National Research Director for the National Electoral Council of Ecuador.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and a master’s and doctorate degree in political science from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Donoso takes over for Ashley Kirzinger, former director of the UIS Survey Research Office, who left the university in 2015.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Chancellor Koch to deliver commencement address at alma mater; receive honorary degree

Susan Koch, chancellor of the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois, has been selected to deliver the commencement address at her alma mater, Dakota State University (DSU) in Madison, SD, on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Koch will also be presented an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree during the ceremony.

Koch was born and raised in Madison. She earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from DSU in 1971 where her father, William Bulfer, was a faculty member, coach and administrator for more than 30 years. She earned graduate degrees in Community Health and Education from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). Koch and her husband, Dennis, also a DSU alumnus, raise and show purebred Angus cattle.

Appointed UIS chancellor in 2011, Koch has overseen significant enrollment increases, growth in NCAA Division II Athletics, and development of several new academic programs including Information Systems Security, Athletic Training, Exercise Science and Biochemistry. Koch led the successful completion of the Brilliant Futures Campaign, surpassing its $28 million fund-raising goal for scholarships and university initiatives. She and her advancement team have raised more than $5 million for a new student union currently under construction.

Koch is an active member of the Springfield community, serving on the Memorial Health Systems and United Way of Central Illinois boards of directors. She writes a popular monthly column for The State Journal Register. Last fall, Koch received the newspaper's inaugural Educator Legacy Award, a recognition to honor extraordinary leadership in education in Sangamon County.

In addition to leading UIS as chancellor, Koch also serves as a vice president of the University of Illinois, assisting the president and Board of Trustees in guiding operations of the University of Illinois system that serves more than 80,000 students and includes 25,000 employees. Before her appointment at the University of Illinois, Koch was provost at Northern Michigan University, associate provost and graduate dean at the University of Northern Iowa, and a professor at UNI. Her scholarship and teaching focuses on health education, conflict resolution, and health and human rights.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

UIS College of Business and Management honor society inducts 48 new members

The University of Illinois Springfield Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society chapter inducted 48 College of Business and Management students during a ceremony on April 23, 2016 in Brookens Auditorium.

Lynn Pardie, UIS vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, was inducted as an honorary member.

Beta Gamma Sigma is the international honor society serving business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in a business program accredited by AACSB International. The society grants admission to the top 10 percent of the baccalaureate class and the top 20 percent of the graduate students.

Students inducted at this year’s ceremony include:

Bloomington: Tarun Aditya Anisingaraju
Buffalo: Peter Jan Steenhuis
Chatham: Jenessa Conner
Chicago: Alberto Camarena
Effingham: Erica Feldhake
Germantown Hills: Scott Shoff
Glenview: Sasikanth Thota
Jacksonville: Sean Middleton
Naperville: Wesley Koral
Peoria: Brittney Heid
Prairie View: Brian Craft
Quincy: Sarah Rowlands
Sherman: Kevin Rademacher
Silvis: Grant Weber
Smithton: Elizabeth Thomas
Spring Grove: Samantha Boettjer
Springfield: Venkata Vaidehi Addanki, Arun Deep Reddy Annu, Rebecca Britton, Xiaobing Chu, Krupa Ajaykumar Desai, Eric Guidish, Praneet Reddy Guntaka, Rahul Milind Jadhav, Prabhu Kishore Kottapu, Vinay Kanth Manegalla, Michael Mikulski, Zhu Ming, Siddharth Venkata Sai Modali, Rishika Nemuri, Sadanand Arvind Patil, Anusha Rajasekar, Amrutha Ramanathan, Aravind Kumar Ravi, Donna Schroeder, Vaibhav Sharma, Miranda Stromquist, Vignan Yarlagadda
Waterman: Shayne Phillips

Georgia: Aishwarya Thulasi Srinivasa (Atlanta)
Hawaii: Michael Marcum (Kapolei)
North Carolina: Hardik Chandulal Patel (Raleigh)
Pennsylvania: Robert Handshue (Jefferson Hills)
Texas: Nikhilreddy Gudur (Irving), Sai Srinivas Thota (Irving)

India: Vivek Jakkapu (Visakhapatnam)

Ghadeer Rashed A Alsaeed, Nireesha Pentakota

The mission of the society is to encourage and honor academic achievement in the study of business, to foster personal and professional excellence, to advance the values of the society, and to serve its lifelong members.

For more information about the honor society and recipients, contact Jorge Villegas at 217/206-7972 or

Leadership lived: Students help build a community garden at UIS

When Erica Peak-Nordstrom and Rachel Wilham were assigned a group project in their Introduction to Sustainability class they came up with the idea of building a community garden on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

“We just thought it would be great to have a garden and we actually made it a reality this semester,” said Wilham, a junior environmental studies major.

The pair started fundraising and with the help of Megan Styles, UIS assistant professor of environmental studies, they secured campus funding and support.

“We got donations from the Chancellor. She gave us the deer fence,” said Wilham. “We’ve had a lot of help from the grounds crew, especially Brian and Terry.”

Liz Rupel, a senior environmental studies major, heard about the project and got involved as part of the leadership team.

“It’s important for me to teach people that full circle effect, that you can start something from a seed and watch it grow into a plant and later eat it,” said Rupel. “You don’t need to just be a grocery store shopper and rely on others to do the work for you.”

The 20-foot by 20-foot community garden, located just north of the historic Strawbridge-Shepherd House at UIS, will provide locally grown food to the campus community. Students are welcome to take produce home and some food may be provided to campus dining centers.

“Obviously volunteers and people who have worked on the garden will have first dibs, but there’s no such thing as stealing from this garden. This is truly for the community,” said Peak-Nordstrom, a senior English major.

The students hope to expand the community garden in the future by adding a greenhouse and a brick pizza oven to cook produce.

“We have a lot of dream projects that we hope we’ll eventually be able to get started,” said Peak-Nordstrom.

The three say they are thankful for the opportunity they’ve been given to make their idea a reality.

“It’s just wonderful that we’ve been able to have this project and it’s just gone so much smoother than we ever could have hoped,” said Peak-Nordstrom.

If you would like to make a donation in support the community garden, volunteers have set up a Go Fund Me page.