Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mark Dochterman wins the 2016 CAPE Award

Mark Dochterman, director of the University of Illinois Springfield Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center, is the winner of the 13th annual Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award. The award was presented by Chancellor Susan J. Koch during a ceremony on April 28, 2016.

Dochterman joined UIS in 2011 and has also taught as an adjunct instructor in Experiential and Service-learning. He recently led the launch of the new Collegiate Link software program, known on campus as UIS Connection, in fall 2015.

“Recognizing a need for students, faculty and staff to be able to effectively plan, market and access campus activities, Mark brought together a team of staff from numerous campus offices/departments to study, select and implement the program,” said his nominator.

Since the launch of Collegiate Link, the program is already seeing success with over 85 student organizations actively posting over 1,000 campus events. Students also now have a record of their involvement, as the program automatically logs attendance at events.

“The implementation of this program only scratches the surface of Mark’s contribution to UIS in that he serves on a number of committees, advises numerous student organizations including Alternative Spring Break, Dance Marathon and Leadership for Life and continues professional development by attending conferences and workshops such as the American Democracy Project nation conference. Mark is truly deserving of this honor for his efforts,” said his nominator.

Dochterman has also led the Springfest Service Project, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and weekly service projects for students through the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center. He also chairs the Springfield Good as Gold volunteer awards ceremony and is the arrangements chair for the Central Illinois Volunteer Conference, which is held annually at UIS.

The CAPE Award recognizes U of I academic professionals for their efforts in three general categories: work projects, professional development and affiliations, and contributions to their units. The winner receives $500 in cash for personal use, and another $500 is given to the winner’s department.

All academic professionals are eligible to receive the CAPE Award; nominations are reviewed by campus committees and candidates' names are forwarded to the chancellor, who makes the final selections.

Others nominated for the 2016 CAPE Award include Lori Benedict, Tammy Craig, Brian Hodges, Kathryn Kleeman Lesniak, Heather Nielsen, Mae Noll, Lynn Otterson, David Racine, Donna Schaub, and Teresa Szabo.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Leadership lived: International student finds passion for volunteering at UIS

Chetan Naik traveled more than 8,000 miles to attend the University of Illinois Springfield. However, it wasn’t until he arrived that he found a passion for volunteer work.

Naik is a graduate student majoring in Management Information Systems (MIS). He’s involved in the Rotary Club and plans to start a Martial Arts Club on campus.

He and other UIS students recently volunteered to build wheelchair ramps at three Springfield homes as part of a Springfest Service Project, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County.

“I just wanted to gain experience involving service, so I came here,” he said. “It was a totally new experience for me. I never did this stuff back in India.”

After helping with the building project on his own, he decided to bring a group of friends back to work a second shift. He says service is important because it teaches you teamwork and other important skills.

“I thought of brining my friends to do this volunteer stuff because it’s new to them,” he said. “Introducing new things to my friends is leadership according to me and UIS taught me this.”

Naik says he’s enjoyed his classes and recommends the Management Information Systems and Computer Science programs to other international students.

“You have an opportunity to interact with other people, people from other countries, and the course work is really good for Computer Science and MIS. The course work is designed in such a way to help your career.”

Overall, he’s glad he chose UIS.

“The University of Illinois, back in India it’s a very famous university.”

UIS alum Robert Felker honored for Outstanding Advocate Leadership

The University of Illinois Foundation today announces W. Robert Felker, graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield and partner at Gator Trading in Chicago, as the 2016 William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership. The award will be presented at the UIS Celebration of Philanthropy on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at UIS. The U of I Foundation is the fundraising arm of the University of Illinois and its three campuses.

W. Robert Felker BA ’74 is one of the most accomplished alumni of the University of Illinois Springfield, and in 1997, he received the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award.

He currently serves as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's financial markets and payment system working group. Formerly, he was chairman of J.P. Morgan Futures Inc., and chairman of the board of directors of National Futures Association. In 2006, he was inducted into the Futures Industry Association's Futures Hall of Fame on the FIA's 50th anniversary.

Felker has also been an active and vocal advocate for UIS, especially as a member of the University of Illinois Foundation Board of Directors. As a Board member, he has served on the Budget and Finance Committee, the Investment Policy Committee, the Membership and Governance Committee, and the Audit and Investment Committee.

“Bob's impact on the life of the UIS campus is immeasurable," said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. "He has been a valued member of some of the most important committees at the University of Illinois Foundation, and he cares deeply about the future of our University. As others in leadership have before me, I have met frequently with Bob to discuss UIS successes and challenges, and I always appreciate his wise counsel. It's a genuine privilege to see him receive the 2016 William E. Winter Award."

In addition to his service at the Foundation, Felker has also been a proactive and energetic advocate for fundraising at UIS. He has frequently hosted UIS events in the Chicago area, served as co-chair of the successful Brilliant Futures Campaign and promoted corporate grants for UIS. Bob and his wife, Patty, have also funded the W. Robert and Patricia W. Felker Scholarship given each year to a student with high academic merit.

“In a quiet and often behind-the-scenes manner, Bob Felker has exemplified the ideals of philanthropy," said Jeff Lorber, UIS vice chancellor for advancement. "He is generous with his time, talent and resources, working to make his alma mater a great environment for learning. He truly cares about student success in the classroom and beyond."

The William E. Winter Award, named for the late 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.

Past recipients of the William E. Winter Award include Pamela McClelland, Cullom Davis, 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, UIS vice chancellor for advancement at 217/206-6058 or email

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

NPR Illinois/WUIS reporter Brian Mackey wins regional Murrow Award

NPR Illinois/WUIS radio reporter Brian Mackey has been honored by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTNDA) with a regional Edward R. Murrow Award in the hard news category.

The fourteen regional winners in each category are now in competition for a national Murrow Award, to be decided later this year. WUIS is the public radio station of the University of Illinois Springfield.

Mackey’s winning story, part of his State of the State podcast series on Illinois Edition, explores why young people are more likely to make false confessions to law enforcement. The story focuses on the case of Trevon Yates, who confessed to St. Clair County sheriff’s investigators that he took part in a violent armed robbery in Belleville, Ill. After spending nine months in jail, charges were dropped and the county eventually paid him a settlement of $900,000.

In the story, Mackey reports on why the most effective interrogation techniques, when used on juveniles, often lead to false confessions.

Mackey covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois/WUIS and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Leadership lived: Student takes advantage of diverse opportunities at UIS

If Ivette Ortiz isn’t busy making music, you’ll probably find her mentoring fellow students or helping the wrongfully convicted as an intern at the Illinois Innocence Project.

The University of Illinois Springfield criminal justice major plays in the orchestra, is a Necessary Steps mentor, a member of the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) and is a Noble Founder of the UIS Colony of Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority Inc.

She also mentors younger students as part of a new Latino/Hispanic discussion group on campus.

“I wanted to be a part of this because I knew having a mentor is very important for someone,” she said. “I think it definitely helps the students knowing that there’s people here that can help them and relate to their problems.”

Ortiz got involved at the Illinois Innocence Project because she wanted to help with a backlog of cases involving Latino inmates who are possibly facing a wrongful conviction.

“I think what I find rewarding is knowing that these people are getting help when no one else was able to help them,” she said.

At the Project, she reviews cases and presents information to staff members. It is experience she’ll use in her future career in the criminal justice field.

Ortiz, a Carpentersville, Ill. native, says she chose UIS because it was “not too far from home, but it is close enough to go home.” She feels she made the right decision.

“I don’t think I would have gotten the same opportunities at another school. I think that UIS really let me become a leader,” she said.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Leadership lived: Cross Country runner finds home at UIS


Eli Cook has always wanted to attend the University of Illinois Springfield. However, it wasn’t until the school added a cross country program that he decided to transfer.

“I’ve always thought UIS would be my dream school, if I could only run there,” he said. “Once they announced the program I was elated.”

The sophomore accountancy major from Rochester laced up his shoes for the Prairie Stars for the first time during a home meet on September 11, 2015.

As the only runner on the team with previous college experience, he’s found himself stepping up to help lead the team.

“A lot of people don’t think a sophomore could have a leadership role, but especially on a new team, I was able to kind of assume a leadership position and be able to help steer the team in the right direction,” he said.

Cook has been running since he was in junior high and recently won the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon in Springfield. It was the first half marathon he’s ever run.

“It was actually supposed to be kind of a training run. Coach said we had to run 14 miles that day anyway, so Ethan Bluhm and I kind of hopped in the half marathon,” he said.

“I knew I’d place well, but half way through I realized I could win it if I really applied myself, so I had to focus, dig deep a little bit.”

The win helped to shine a spotlight on the UIS Cross Country program, which Cook says has a bright future.

“We’ve got some growing pains, but we’ve got a lot of improvement coming,” he said. “Look out in the next 5 years, we’ll be a really competitive program in our conference.”

Cook is also active in groups, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and represents the men’s cross country team on the UIS Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

He’s currently interning at Northwestern Mutual in Springfield and hopes to become a financial representative following graduate school.