Thursday, April 30, 2020

Strength in numbers

It would be nearly impossible to have a health class without acknowledging the elephant in the room, COVID-19.

Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Angela Doehring said one of her first assignments for students in her EXR352 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention class this semester was to research a hot health topic in the news. Nearly every student chose to write about Coronavirus.

“The very first week of class we discussed a novel virus originating in China,” Doehring said. “Even though this was January and there were no confirmed cases in the United States yet, it was just this strange, unknown virus in China.”

Doehring said tracking the spread of the virus in real time is helping teach students that exercise science and health and wellness are integrally linked to disease prevention, infections and epidemiology.

The virus is providing extra opportunities for learning. Doehring’s students can receive extra credit for participating in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webinars. Many have logged in to learn about social distancing and the spread of the disease.

But while extra opportunities for learning is positive, the loss of the annual UIS Health and Wellness Fair on campus was a blow for her classes.

Each year, students in EXR233 Personal Health and Wellness class create poster presentations and health assessments they deliver during the fair. “We had to figure out how to do a virtual health fair,” Doehring said. Students had to create their posters and make a video of themselves sharing it. Everyone has had different approaches. It’s been interesting how you envision it and then how someone interprets it.”

Another important part of the Health and Wellness Fair presentation was the physical assessments that accompanied it for the other EXR classes like EXR 412 Exercise Management for Special Populations.

“Originally the whole class would work together to plan out one or two assessments to deliver at the health fair. Instead, I let students take the lead at home, choose one assessment they’ve done and perform it on someone in their home and take a video of it,” Doehring said. “Students had to assess the individual, just like they would have at the Health Fair, and explain how they could do better or how it applied to their overall health.”

Doehring said with remote learning, she let her students help direct how the classes would work best for them.

“I put a survey out to my students to see if they wanted the class to be synchronous with zoom meetings at the same time, or asynchronous with a video or Powerpoint each week so they could work at their own pace,” she said. Doehring said her students chose asynchronous learning to work at their own pace. They can log in anytime, and most students are working ahead.

“It seems to be working well,” she said. “But I miss the face-to-face comradery and students interacting with each other. That’s what I miss, classroom discussion, that is the part of teaching that I enjoy most, the student interaction.”

Doehring said despite the initial challenge, both she and students in the class are feeling accomplished and she has tapped into COVID-19 as a teaching tool.

“From a health promotion standpoint, what they’ve learned is playing out in real life, and they are learning the importance of disease and early detection,” Doehring said. “It’s a real-life invaluable lesson.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Molly Lamb named the new executive director of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership

Molly Lamb of Chatham has been named the new executive director of the University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy and Leadership (CSPL). She will start in the role on Monday, June 1, pending formal approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Lamb comes to UIS from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) where she has worked for 11 years. She most recently served as the deputy director of IDPH’s Office of Health Protection. She began her public sector career as an emergency response coordinator for the Logan County Health Department and has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Lincoln Land Community College.

“Molly brings unparalleled enthusiasm and a wealth of ideas to this position,” said Dennis Papini, UIS provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “She advanced a variety of initiatives that are centered squarely on advancing the visibility and impact of the Center for State Policy and Leadership, and her knowledge of how state agencies work will offer her insight into collaborations with UIS.”

At IDPH, she crafted and led the successful adoption of raw milk sales regulation rulemaking in Illinois, championed the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) Vaccines For Children (VFC) immunization re-join project, managed significant organizational structural changes at IDPH and designed centralized grant system to ensure standardization, consistency and improved decision-making.

“CSPL has a rich capacity and demonstrated success in promoting evidence-based policy and practice,” said Lamb. “Evaluating and understanding governmental infrastructure, workforce needs and policy and engaging partnerships are key to advance change and build a strategic roadmap. I look forward to continuing to strengthen the visibility and capability of the CSPL to best serve UIS and Illinois, grow leadership and workforce development opportunities and promote applied research and innovation to address publicly-identified and emerging issues.”

Lamb is currently completing a doctorate in public health leadership at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is expected to graduate this year. She holds two master’s degrees from UIS in public administration and public health and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Lamb replaces David Racine who is retiring after 10 years serving as executive director of the Center for State Policy and Leadership.

The UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership promotes evidence-based policy and practice in the public sector. The center’s mission is carried out through research that informs public decisions and understanding; internships, training programs and applied problem solving that strengthens public leadership; and journalism that educates and engages citizens in public affairs.

The center is comprised of the Child Protection Training Academy; Graduate Public Service Internship Programs; Illinois Innocence Project; Illinois Institute for Public Finance; Innovate Springfield; Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies; NPR Illinois; Office of Electronic Media and Survey Research Office.

Friday, April 24, 2020

UIS faculty members receive awards for teaching and service; tenure, promotions and sabbaticals announced

The University of Illinois Springfield held a virtual Faculty Honors Reception on Thursday, April 23, 2020. Chancellor Susan Koch and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Dennis Papini presided over the Zoom ceremony honoring faculty members who have been recommended for tenure and/or promotion, been awarded sabbaticals or granted emerita/emeritus status. Four major awards – the Pearson Faculty Award, the Spencer Faculty Service Award, the Faculty Excellence Award and the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award - were also presented.

The Pearson Faculty Award for outstanding teaching was presented to Atul Agarwal, professor of management information systems. 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 Emmet and Mary Pearson, longtime benefactors of the campus.

Agarwal joined UIS in 2009. Since then, he has taught many undergraduate and graduate courses in the operations management and management information systems areas. He has excellent teaching evaluation ratings that are above department, college and university percentages. Students describe Agarwal as being “very responsive” and “one of the best professors I’ve had…at UIS.” His teaching philosophy is well articulated and rests on five pillars of educational excellence to: create a learner-centered environment, encourage active learning, create “learned” vs. “high grade” individuals, encourage learning with fun and integrate new knowledge from scholarly work into student learning. He also applies great teaching innovation in his classes through his creation of class simulations that encourage experiential learning.

The Spencer Faculty Service Award was given to Tena Helton, associate professor of English and modern languages. 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.

Helton joined UIS in 2005, and over the subsequent 15 years she has completed a record of exceptional service at all levels of the university. She has held numerous leadership roles in the Department of English & Modern Languages that include chairing the department for seven years, chairing eight search committees, being the director of first-year writing for seven years and director of graduate studies for four years. She has served the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences on the executive committee, academic advising council and as dean’s fellow. At the university level, Helton has chaired the general education council and general education review committee. She has also served two terms on the campus senate and been a member of the graduate council and tenure review committee. At the University of Illinois System level, Helton has represented UIS on the arts & humanities steering committee. The review committee noted the numerous committees that Helton has chaired and the important, time-consuming committees of which she has been a member.

Helton is also an active participant in her professional discipline. She was a member of the MLA committee for the status of graduate students in the profession for three years and since 2006, she has been a moderator or presider at four conferences. Helton has provided service to the community as a discussion leader or panelist at the Vachel Lindsay Association, Decatur Public Library, Chatham Public Library and the Sangamo Club. In addition, she has been a moderator and scorer at several of the Rochester High/Junior High Scholastic Bowls and been a coach for the first Lego League numerous times.

The Faculty Excellence Award was presented to Heather Bailey, associate professor of history. The award recognizes mid- and late-career colleagues who best exemplify the ideal of the teacher-scholar and whom faculty recognize 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.

Bailey came to UIS in 2002, and since that time has taught 21 different lower division, upper division and graduate classes for the Department of History and Capital Scholars Honors Program. Associate Professor Elizabeth Kosmetatou, a colleague who has observed her teaching, describes Bailey as an enthusiastic teacher with the highest standards who incorporates her scholarship into her courses. Bailey is further described as having vast knowledge that enables her to move seamlessly between disciplines. In addition, she sometimes translates primary source material into English so that students with be able to access this valuable information. A graduate student, Sabrina Miller, describes Bailey as having a passion for history that helped to foster “the intellectual phoenix” in her.

Bailey also has an active research program that has produced two books of which she is the sole author: “The Public Image of Eastern Orthodoxy: France and Russia, 1848-1870” (2020) and “Orthodoxy, Modernity, and Authenticity: The Reception of Ernest Renan’s ‘Life of Jesus’ in Russia” (2008). Since 2017, she has completed five sole authored, peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Since 2002, she has given 14 sole authored, peer-reviewed presentations at national conferences and an international presentation in France. In addition, Bailey has reviewed numerous books and manuscripts. She is currently providing service to her profession as an executive board member for the Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture, and she has engaged the Springfield community through presentations at the Springfield Art Association and German-American Club.

Donna Bussell, associate professor of English and modern languages, 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 and was also in attendance at the event. The Oakley Award recognizes UIS faculty members whose performance exemplifies the institution’s commitment to excellence in online teaching.

Bussell came to UIS in 2005, and she has taught many online courses in the Department of English & Modern Languages. She places high emphases on organization, communication, creating a welcoming atmosphere for students, and engagement through discussion forums in her online courses. In addition, she exemplifies qualities of an instructor who is student-centered. The use of course components that engage students to content, students to students and students to faculty are a hallmark of her pedagogy. Her communication and personal engagement in the courses are reflected in the student evaluations and comments from students.

Faculty members Tyrone Dooley, public administration; Jae Ha, communication; Anne-Marie Hanson, environmental studies; Sibel Oktay Karagul, political science; Megan Styles, environmental studies; and Adam Williams, public administration were recommended for tenure and promotion to associate professor. Ahmad Juma’h, associate professor of accountancy, was also recommended for tenure.

Recommended for promotion to full professor were Deborah Anthony, legal studies; David Bertaina, history; Donna Bussell, English & modern languages; Sharon Graf, sociology/anthropology; Layne Morsch, chemistry; Kathy Petitte Novak, communication; Sheryl Reminger, psychology; Dennis Ruez, environmental studies; Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, art, music, & theatre; and Lucia Vazquez, biology.

Faculty members nominated for emeritus status were Rassule Hadidi, management information systems; Carol Jessup, accountancy; Laurel Newman; business administration; Hazel Rozema, communication; and Robert Wright, business administration.

Sabbatical leaves have been recommended for David Bertaina, history; Brytton Bjorngaard, art, music, & theatre; Donna Bussell, English & modern languages; Hua Chen, biology; Richard Gilman-Opalsky, political science; Stephen R. Johnson, chemistry; Michele Miller, psychology; Peter Shapinsky, history; Ann Strahle, communication; and Te-Wei Wang, management information systems.

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

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Associate Professor Holly Thompson, finding a rhythm

Every morning Associate Professor of Human Development Counseling Holly Thompson goes to work upstairs in her guest bedroom with one of her favorite co-workers, three-year old Xaria. After a brief consultation and a quick hello on Zoom, Xaria heads back downstairs to consult with dad about more pressing issues like toys.

Thompson has found that separation of home and work life has been one of the most difficult challenges of remote learning.

“I’ve not really had to be a mom and a professor at the same time, all day long,” she said. “But now that we are several weeks into it, we are figuring it out. I have a supportive partner, and we have found a rhythm that works for us.

Thompson says her Human Development Counseling faculty and students are also finding their rhythms.

“We were moving into this world as quickly as we could with skill and competence,” she said. “There are a lot of things to factor in when you can’t meet face to face.”

Thompson was referring to clinical counseling skills.

“There was a halt to all of our clinical activities and that was challenging because our students weren’t able to meet with clients,” she said. “It created some interesting challenges. They had to learn telehealth, but we are moving forward.”

The department received HIPAA-approval for their Zoom telehealth portal and students were able to take advantage of free online training curriculum offered by the Professional Education Systems Institute (PESI) to all helping professions such as professional counseling, social work and psychology.

“Technology has improved vastly, but it’s not the same as sitting in the same room. I can’t imagine a way that technology could account for being in the same time and space,” Thompson said. “Zoom isn’t so bad, but there is energy in a room that technology can’t account for, but it will work in this situation.”

Zoom has also been instrumental in keeping things like Campus Senate and job searches moving forward.

“Last week we had a teaching demo and there were 40 to 50 people who logged in. In person, we probably wouldn’t have had that many attendees. It was wonderful to have that level of participation and support. We really didn’t expect that.”

Her advice is to breathe.

“I say it 25 times a day,” Thompson said. “The most important thing to do is just breathe deeply. It’s something we don’t do well. It is something we don't do well normally. In this unique time, we also must have flexibility and allow some space for the unknown and imperfection. We’re moving through this journey, this process where the destination is unknown, but we’ll be tougher in the long run, wherever it is.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

UIS Associate Professor of English Meagan Cass awarded a one-month creative writing fellowship

University of Illinois Springfield Associate Professor of English Meagan Cass was recently awarded a fellowship from the Jentel Foundation to do a one-month creative writing residency at its facility in Wyoming during the summer of 2021. Cass was selected from a group of 275 applicants.

Jentel is located in a rural setting on a working cattle ranch in the Lower Piney Creek Valley approximately 20 miles southeast of Sheridan, Wyoming. Cass will be among the award recipients focusing on their own creative projects at this working retreat for artists and writers. A panel of arts and literary professionals review samples of art work and manuscripts before making final recommendations for residency awards.

“I plan to deeply revise two new stories for the collection I'm currently working on,” Cass said. “One story centers on a group of four women who played soccer together growing up. In the world of the story, their recently deceased mothers send them gifts from the afterlife, which they must help each other decipher. In the second, a woman who has lost her partner finds that her grief takes the form of pink gum and accumulates all over her house. I hope to rework the structure and characterization of both pieces and further locate the stories in terms of place.”

During the four week long residency, Jentel provides communal spaces designated for research, recreation, food preparation and dining. Each artist and writer is offered a private comfortably furnished accommodation and a light airy workspace. Each resident receives a stipend to help defray living expenses during the program. Artists and writers experience unfettered time to allow for thoughtful reflection and meditation on the creative process in a setting that preserves the agricultural and historical integrity of the land.

For more information on the Jentel Artist Residency Program, visit

Sunday, April 19, 2020

UIS announces the death of Dr. Clarice Ford, vice chancellor for student affairs

The following message was sent to UIS students, faculty and staff on April 19, 2020 from UIS Chancellor Susan Koch.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

It is with deep sadness I write to inform you that Dr. Clarice Ford, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, passed away Sunday, April 19, 2020, at Memorial Medical Center following a brief illness. Dr. Ford has been a profoundly important voice for students and an essential member of the UIS leadership team since 2008 – first serving as Executive Director of the Diversity Center and Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services and, starting in 2014, as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Dr. Ford has been a leader who was dedicated to cultivating inclusive communities and ensuring that every student, regardless of background, has an opportunity to succeed. She has been the embodiment of "Leadership lived.” Her impact on the University of Illinois Springfield will live on in the many students, faculty and staff she has guided and influenced.

Funeral arrangements are pending and we will have an appropriate celebration to honor Dr. Ford’s many contributions to the University at a later time. In the meantime, I hope you will keep Dr. Ford’s family, colleagues and students in your thoughts.

Sincerely, Chancellor Susan Koch

- Students, I want to remind you the Counseling Center is available for anyone who needs assistance. You can contact the Center at: 217-206-7122.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Jumping through hoops

Despite being one thousand miles apart, UIS Women’s Basketball Coach Casey Thousand is running drills with her team and having weekly meetings.

“Our biggest challenge is not having a post season,” she said. "We are still a new staff needing to tweak what we’re doing and how. Normally we would be in the gym doing workouts and could demonstrate in-person what we wanted them to work on to prepare for next year. Not being on the court with our team is hard.”

Spring is also when basketball recruits, who are current high school juniors, are invited to campus.

“It’s really weird right now, figuring out how we can get our offers to these kids without showing them campus. We don’t like to offer scholarships until they come to campus. We like to get to know the whole family and this time is very different because it’s all over the phone,” she said.

Thousand jokes that her phone is usually dead by noon because of so many calls she is on with recruits, coaches and her own players.

Thousand, her coaching staff and team connect on Zoom at least once a week and she monitors their workouts on a new app that all UIS athletes are using to track their progress.

“They are bored. They miss campus. They miss being around each other. We do a lot of texting and calling. When we Zoom, they are usually pretty talkative and happy to see one another,” she said.

Thousand considers herself lucky that they were able to finish their season. But she is disappointed her seniors won’t get a proper send-off.

“It’s hard, I talk to them a lot about resumes and being alumni and make sure they know we want to stay in contact with them,” she said.

Thousand feels for the spring sport athletes, who are missing their entire season.

She says one positive thing that has come out of the extreme circumstances is a connectedness between basketball coaches around the country. During the NCAA Final Four, college coaches typically connect in conferences and learn from speakers, but this year, with the cancellation of the NCAA tournament, those conferences didn’t happen.

“They didn’t happen in person, but they did happen online,” said Thousand. The NCAA moved the conference virtual. We connected on Zoom. People are just figuring out how to do it differently and stay connected. We are able to learn as a staff to make our team better.” Thousand considers the virtual platform better, as D1, D2 and D3 coaches are in regular contact with one another, instead of just for one weekend.

As for the summer, it’s still to be determined. Thousand and her staff would normally spend the summer visiting potential recruits playing AAU ball. “AAU tournaments typically happen April, May, June and July,” she said. “The April tournaments have been cancelled, but players are getting creative, they’re utilizing their home courts.
We’re all learning from this.”

“We cannot wait to get everyone back together," she said.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Governor appoints UIS professor to Illinois State Museum Board

University of Illinois Springfield Wepner Distinguished Professor of Lincoln Studies Graham Peck, Ph.D. has been appointed to the Illinois State Museum Board by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Peck was one of ten people appointed in the Governor’s administration. Pritzker called the group a strong team of diverse experts in their fields.

Peck was the author of the book “Making an Antislavery Nation: Lincoln, Douglas and the Battle Over Freedom,” which received the 2018 Book of the Year Award from the Illinois State Historical Society. He also wrote, directed and produced a feature-length documentary on Stephan A. Douglas, which is on permanent exhibit at the Douglas Tomb State Historic Site and has numerous scholarly publications.

Peck received his master’s and doctorate in American History from Northwestern University and, before joining the UIS faculty in 2019, taught for 17 years at Saint Xavier University in Chicago.

UIS Master's Thesis awards presented to two recent graduates

The University of Illinois Springfield Research Board has honored two former graduate students with awards for their master’s thesis projects for the 2018-2019 academic year. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on campus in the fall.

Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award

Rashaun DeBord of Saint Louis was selected for the UIS Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award. He graduated from UIS in May 2019 with a master’s degree in history. His thesis study investigated long-term impact from the 1908 Springfield Race Riots. His thesis was chaired by Devin Hunter, assistant professor of history.

DeBord studied newspapers, archives and oral histories to obtain a broad view on the history of the riots, its spatial history and its lasting legacy on the black community. He states, “While the race riot is a tragic event, we must preserve its memory, understand the spaces with which it operates, commemorate its past, and reconcile for the betterment of the future.” The digital portion of this project ( analyses the landscape of the race riot through photography.

He grew up in Kewanee, a small town in northwestern Illinois. He chose UIS because of their great public history program, and knew it would provide the challenge he needed to grow professionally and personally. During his graduate studies, he also helped initiate a health and safety program at the Illinois Department of Revenue, through the Graduate Public Service Internship Program (GPSI). He now works as a research education and information specialist in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at Washington University in St. Louis.

Honorable Mention

Joshua Rai of Bethel, Ohio was selected as the UIS Honorable Mention for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis. His research study was on the environmental and sociological impacts of yarsagumba harvesting in Nepal.

Rai graduated from UIS in May 2019 with a master’s degree in environmental studies. His thesis chair was Megan Style, UIS assistant professor of environmental studies. For his research, Rai traveled to Nepal and observed the harvesters and took environmental measurements.

The Outstanding Master’s Thesis/Project Award is funded primarily through an endowment established by Nancy and Charles Chapin, along with gifts from other donors. In addition to providing funding for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis/Project Award, Charles and Nancy Chapin have provided support for Brookens Library, the Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence and scholarships.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

A different kind of theatrical transition

Professionally, the COVID-19 closures and cancellations dealt a double blow to Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, UIS associate professor of theatre; she lost face-to-face contact with her students, and was forced to cancel the university’s spring production, "Twelfth Night," which was set to open in mid-April.

“It was just heartbreaking, there was so much time and energy that had been put into it already,” she said. "We were really in the home stretch. And, we didn’t get closure, which is important in theatre productions.”

Before she could even think about how to convert her classes to remote learning, Thibodeaux-Thompson had to drive across the country to bring her own daughter home from college.

She credits several colleagues and Kara McElwrath from ITS for helping her get ready to teach remotely. “Kara is my hero, she needs to be the employee of the millennium,” Thibodeaux-Thompson joked.

“I learned that you don’t have to replicate everything that you would in an on-ground class,” she said.

Thibodeaux-Thompson’s students will use Zoom’s Kaltura feature to act and record monologues for class feedback. And she’s found workarounds. Instead of students writing a paper on a live production they’ve gone to see, they are watching a production online from provided links.

One of the best remote-learning experiences she has had so far is her students showing up for her first Zoom class. “They’re dealing with crazy things like being at home,” she said. “On that first day, they just showed up and waved from their bedrooms, just to say hi. Their heads were in the game and that speaks volumes of our students, that they would rather be in the classroom.”

Thibodeaux-Thompson is also applying her newfound technology skills to other parts of her career, participating in Zoom meetings with UIS Campus Senate, other directors in Art, Music and Theatre as well as the regional leadership team from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

And she says "Twelfth Night" will debut on stage in spring 2021. “The design and conceptual work were already done,” Thibodeaux-Thompson said. “We understand some people will have graduated and may have other plans or commitments but they are welcome to come back. We’ll take as many people who can come back.”

Monday, April 06, 2020

Anne Moseley to lead UIS’ Sangamon Experience historic exhibition and Center for Lincoln Studies

Anne Moseley has been selected to lead the University of Illinois Springfield’s new Sangamon Experience historic exhibition and Center for Lincoln Studies. Moseley started working today as director of engagement and curator for Sangamon Experience and acting director for the Center for Lincoln Studies.

A UIS alumna, Moseley previously worked as director and curator of the Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois. In that role, she was responsible for maintaining the museum's budget, applying for grants to further the museum's educational programs and locating and speaking with potential donors.

Sangamon Experience, a new on-campus exhibition space telling the history of the Sangamon Region of central Illinois, opened on Jan. 30, 2020 in the lower level of the Public Affairs Center at UIS. The Center for Lincoln Studies is scheduled to open later this year and will provide new opportunities for learning about Lincoln and the impact of his contributions.

“I am excited for this opportunity to help create a new way of experiencing the local history that surrounds us here in the Sangamon Valley area,” said Moseley. “In addition, I am looking forward to engaging a new wave of historians studying here at UIS to carry on the rich legacy this campus has in studying local history and welcoming historians near and far to study the legacy of Abraham Lincoln here at the Lincoln Studies Center.”

Before serving as director and curator of the Lincoln Heritage Museum, she was the assistant director and curator for seven years and taught as an adjunct history professor at Lincoln College. She has also worked as a project administrator at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and as an intern with the Illinois Regional Archives Depository.

Moseley earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 2009 and a master’s degree in public history from the University of Illinois Springfield in 2011.

Her appointment will be presented to the Board of Trustees for formal approval at the May 2020 meeting.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

UIS Ceramics, kneading to find a new way

Until the COVID-19 pandemic shut the doors to on-campus learning, Associate Professor of Ceramics Shane Harris had never taught an online class.

His ceramics and 3D art classes are hands-on and require studio space and materials.

“It was a challenge just thinking about it, how was I going to adapt,” Harris said. “I had to think on my feet. I didn’t just want to assign them a paper on the history of pottery based on the pottery wheel.”

Harris had to get creative, and fast. He and a few of his student workers  met to box up tools and pug the clay. Pugging is the process of removing the air from clay to make it usable.

Harris then contacted each one of his ceramics students to find out where they would be living during the shelter-in-place. He hand delivered or shipped 25 pounds of clay, tools and instruction cards to each ceramics student in his class, including one living in Florida, so that they were prepared for online learning.

“The pottery wheel is just a tool,” said Harris. “Their hands are their most important tool.”

Those students will be creating a set of six cups and bowls for their grade.

Then, Harris had to equip his home studio for remote learning. I had to get an extender to reach my home studio, then get an extender for that extender, in order to have Wifi for the Zoom conferences,” Harris said.

Harris is meeting with his classes through Zoom and has found online videos and even pottery wheel apps for students to throw clay. For his 3D art students, Harris found the online design tool Tinkercad.

The highlight of the 3D art class is creating multi-dimensional cardboard art and then using those pieces in a live-action performance. Students will still work to create their pieces,  which will be 3D printed at the end of the semester, and Harris has promised to glaze and fire all of the ceramics projects brought back to campus this fall.

“We are adapting to not being in classroom, but I think the biggest challenge I face, is not being able to teach them the hand-on tricks that will make them better as an artist,” said Harris. “I also miss seeing their confidence grow. That is one thing I love about teaching that you can’t see online.”

Harris also had his own art show cut short by the shelter-in-place. Information on Harris' show Convergence, can be found on the UIS Visual Arts Gallery website.