Thursday, April 08, 2021

Tondalaya Reece wins the 2021 UIS CARE Award

Tondalaya Reece, program coordinator for the Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies, was chosen as the winner of the 14th annual Chancellor’s Award for Recognizing Excellence in Civil Service (CARE). The award is the highest honor annually awarded to a Civil Service staff member at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney announced the winner of the award during an online ceremony on April 8, 2021. She also thanked all civil service staff members for their dedication to UIS.

Reece has worked at UIS for six years. One nominator says, “Tonda’s work contributes positively to our unit and the university in numerous ways. Most importantly, she is incredibly dedicated to doing the very best at her job, frequently going above and beyond to ensure projects she works on are completed and completed to a high standard, frequently troubleshooting issues and coming up with clever solutions.”

Her co-workers credit her with a successful transition to remote work. “When the virus began looking even more serious in late February/early March of 2020 Tonda began exploring how our calling lab could be converted for remote calling, successfully transitioning the majority of our calling staff to remote calling before the stay-at-home order went into effect,” said a nominator. “It was an amazing accomplishment. Her actions kept our callers, the overwhelming majority of who are students, and lab safe.”

“Tonda’s efforts kept students safe, kept students employed, kept data collection, a
project vital to public health, going during a public health crisis and kept funding coming to the university that may have been lost or decreased if we could not keep the project going," added her co-worker.

Tonda is also known for developing and promoting student workers within ILLPS and helping them secure opportunities beyond UIS when they are ready. “If she can help a student get something that may be more useful to their development or career trajectory, she will,” said a nominator.

Her nominator added, “The reflection of UIS that Tonda projects is one of service, selflessness, hard work, dedication, thoughtfulness, constant improvement, and a strong sense of responsibility to our community here.”

Other Civil Service employees nominated for the award include: Sarah Beth Ayers, program coordinator for Innovate Springfield; Jennifer Berry, program/student advisor in the Department of Computer Science; Jillian Briggs, program/student advisor in the College of Public Affairs and Administration; Bethany Burbridge, administrative aide in the Office of Access and Equal Opportunity; Officer Amanda Baughman, crime prevention officer with Campus Police; Ann Gemberling, business/administrative associate in the Department of Business & Management Administration; Erin Hartnett, program/student advisor in the College of Business and Management; Carol Marshall, admissions and records officer in the Office of Records and Registration; Jason Noyes, IT manager in the Office of Technology Services; Michelle Sapp, business manager for the Institute of Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies; Linda Schneider, office administrator for the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs; Anna Schoenherr, office support specialist for Campus Recreation; Mary Umbarger, program assistant in Student Services; Charles Wells, culinary worker in Food Service and Patricia Young, business/administrative associate for the Capital Scholars Honors Program.


Stacey Gilmore receives 18th annual CAPE Award at UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield 18th annual Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) award was presented to Stacey Gilmore, director of the Cox Children’s Center during an April 8 online ceremony. 

The CAPE Award recognizes U of I academic professionals for their efforts in three categories: work projects, professional development and affiliations and contributions to their units.

Gilmore has worked at UIS for 21 years, serving as director for 18 years. One nominator calls her a “positive, solution-focused person with an incredible caring attitude and huge heart.”

During her time at Cox Children’s Center, Gilmore oversaw the design and building of the Cox Children’s Center garden and development of the annual on campus Trick-or-Treat for Canned Goods, which helps stock the UIS Cares Food Pantry.

The pandemic put her exceptional experience to the test. “Stacey worked tirelessly to help support students, staff, children and families,” said a nominator, who called her a pioneer in her field. “Stacey worked with DCFS and applied for an emergency license to be able to provide care for families who are essential workers. That was no small feat as the guidance and rules were constantly changing.”

Stacey and her staff developed and implemented at-home curriculum options for enrolled families, redesigned their school-age space to adapt for year-round learners and worked with local school districts to adapt programming to assist virtual and hybrid learners.

“In my 21 years at UIS, this past year has been the most challenging by far,” said Gilmore. “That that being said, it has also been the most rewarding. I have watched families struggle, yet survive and prosper. I have watched children remain resilient and remind us all that they are capable and strong. I have watched my staff thrive, mentoring and supporting each other along the way. I feel very blessed to be here with so many brilliant colleagues.”

Under Stacey’s leadership the Cox Children’s Center has received and maintains the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation as well as the Gold Circle of Quality designation, the highest rating possible from ExceleRate Illinois, the state’s quality rating and improvement system for early learning and development providers.

The following Academic Professional employees were also nominated for the CAPE award: Gael Carnes, assistant to the chair and online coordinator for the Department of Public Administration; Renee Clausner, assistant to the dean, College of Business and Management; Sarah Collins, writing coordinator at The Learning Hub; Sean Crawford, broadcast reporter and editorial director at NPR Illinois; Myra Kaufman, assistant director of recruitment for GPSI; Craig McFarland, undergraduate academic advisor for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Erin Sotelo, undergraduate academic advisor in the College of Business and Management and Allison Thornley, assistant athletic director for strategic planning and finance in UIS Athletics.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

UIS Associate Professor Lynn Fisher receives fellowship to conduct archaeological research in Germany this fall

University of Illinois Springfield Associate Professor of Anthropology Lynn Fisher has been awarded a Mercator Fellowship for archaeological research at the University of Kiel in Germany this fall.

The fellowship is part of a grant-funded project on Social Dimensions of Technological Change, a collaboration between the University of Kiel, the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology and the Archaeological State Museum Schloss Gottorf (Schleswig). The project is funded by the German Science Foundation.

The fellowship supports two months in residence in Kiel during Fisher’s sabbatical in fall 2021, plus a return trip the following year to participate in an international workshop the collaborators will plan together. The workshop’s findings will be published as a book.   

“I will work with Berit Eriksen, scientific director of the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, to organize an international workshop on regional and chronological variation in flint mining practices during the Neolithic and Bronze Age in Europe,” Fisher said. “Eriksen and I both specialize in the study of ancient technologies and what they tell us about past social dynamics and social change.”

Flint mines are an important, but often ignored aspect of prehistoric life during these time periods. The stone dug out of mines and quarries was used to make tools used in everyday life, and also connects to social identities, gender, transmission of knowledge and socioeconomic changes such as craft specialization. 

Eriksen and her colleagues, who direct the Social Dimensions of Technological Change project, invited Fisher to work with them when they heard she was planning to compare and contrast flint mines and quarries to put her own excavations of a quarry in southern Germany in context. 

“My hope is to learn a lot more about how quarries and mines vary, including some where skilled toolmakers made highly standardized products and others that were much less standardized, and to understand what those differences are telling us about ancient societies and social change,” Fisher said.