Thursday, December 13, 2012

Emeritus Psychology professor publishes book on Psychotherapy

Dr. John G. Miller, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois Springfield, has published a new book, Changing Roles for a New Psychotherapy, which aims to demystify the practice.

The book draws on his previous careers as an Air Force mapmaker, management consultant, state hospital psychologist, and even the summers he spent in college cutting brush -- as well as his years as a professor of psychology and as a private practitioner. Through the experiences Miller shares in his book, the reader will learn that psychotherapy does not have to follow a one size fits all approach, and that it can be conducted in some interesting and unorthodox ways.

The book examines 11 different occupations that readers can relate to and compares them to psychotherapy approaches that he has used throughout his career. How does cooking relate to psychotherapy? Can accounting principles change the way psychotherapy is conducted? What is the conservation approach to psychotherapy? In this collection of anecdotes, case histories, and reflections, Miller answers those questions, and many more.

Highly useful to the professional psychologist, counselor, or psychotherapist, the book is also a delightful read for anyone interested in human behavior.

The book is available through Routledge Mental Health, Taylor and Francis Group, and can be accessed online at Miller is also available for lectures, presentations, and book signings. He can be reached directly via email at

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Leadership lived: Student founds one organization, heads another


Ashley Scott is leading by example at the University of Illinois Springfield. The senior criminal justice major founded the Legacy Dance Team and now serves as president of the Black Student Union (BSU).

“I feel like UIS has taught me so much that I can give (back) to other students,” said Scott. “I’m planning on going into higher education because there was a point in time where I wish I would have had someone to help me out. It’s just being that voice for them.”

In her BSU leadership role, Scott mentors African American students of all ages and helps to resolve any issues they may face on campus.

“We just try and help our African American students, whether they’re freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, fifth year, graduates, basically getting them educated, uplifted, and empowered to make sure they get across the stage,” said Scott.

As a freshman, Scott founded the Legacy Dance Team, a hip hop culture dance team, which now performs at campus events ranging from homecoming to basketball games.

“I’m pretty proud of it. That’s an organization that’s guaranteed to be around for a long time,” said Scott.

Scott says her criminal justice classes have made her realize “you can’t be afraid to take a chance”, which has influenced her philosophy as a leader.

“You have to think before you act,” said Scott.

She also recognizes the role of mentors she’s had on campus, such as Dr. Clarice Ford, director of the UIS Diversity Center and BSU adviser.

“She’s taught me that we have a voice and you have to talk,” said Scott. “You can’t always sit in the background because sitting in the background will get nothing accomplished.”

In addition to her roles with the Legacy Dance team and BSU, Scott serves as the performance coordinator for the Student Activities Committee (SAC).

Following graduation, Scott plans to continue her education and eventually pursue a career in Student Affairs at a university, such as UIS.

Friday, December 07, 2012

UIS announces the winner of 2011-12 academic year Outstanding Master's Thesis Award

The University of Illinois Springfield Research Board has awarded English master’s student Sarah Collins with the UIS Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award for the 2011-2012 academic year. Collins’s thesis is entitled “The Face of Disability: Humanizing Effects of Autographics on the Physically and Mentally Impaired”.

Five graduate programs nominated finalists for the award. Each of the submitted thesis/projects have, thus, already received departmental recognition for excellence and will be publicly honored at a reception on January 28, 2013.

“The Research Board was impressed by the interesting range of topics and methodologies among this year’s nominees. Members found it challenging to select a single recipient of the award,” said Cecilia Stiles Cornell, faculty associate in the Provost’s Office.

UIS Outstanding Master’s Theses/Projects: Academic Year 2011-2012 

The following students received their departments’ Outstanding Thesis or Project Award for 2011-12 and were nominated for the UIS Outstanding Master’s Thesis/Project competition:

Educational Leadership 
Jeremy Larson
“Teacher Collaboration in Rural School Districts through Online Social Networking” 
Committee Chair: Dr. Daniel Matthews

English (Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award) 
Sarah Collins
“The Face of Disability: Humanizing Effects of Autographics on the Physically and Mentally Impaired” 
Committee Chair: Dr. Lan Dong

Environmental Studies 
Gregory R. Fretueg
“Latrine Site Selection and Diet Composition of River Otters (Lontra canadensis) in a Restored Illinois Floodplain” 
Committee Chair: Dr. Dennis Ruez

E. Claire Jerry
“Tracing the Trumans: An American Story’: An Exhibit at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum” 
Committee Chair: Dr. William Siles

Human Services 
Mary K. McGuire
“Identifying Needs and Barriers for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Older Adults”
Committee Chair: Dr. Donna Weinstein

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Elizabeth Kelly honored with Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield senior Elizabeth Kelly was honored with the Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois during a ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

Kelly, a Carlinville, Ill. native, is majoring in Political Science and Legal Studies at UIS. She holds a 4.0 GPA at UIS and plans to attend law school following graduation in May.

“As a student, I have always been motivated to be the very best I could be, competing with my fellow classmates to achieve the best grades; however, I understand that education and school is all about learning and becoming a more well-rounded individual,” said Kelly.

At UIS, Kelly is a member of the women’s basketball team, the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, and the Pre-Law Society. Basketball has served as a gateway for Kelly to volunteer and work with groups throughout the Springfield community.

“My volunteer experiences have reassured me that a field in public service is right for me,” said Kelly. “There are so many unique and wonderful people in every community, and through my volunteer services I have been fortunate enough to run into great individuals who have helped me grow as a person.”

Kelly was honored by the Division 2 Athletics Directors Association (D2ADA) with an Academic Achievement Award during the 2011-12 basketball season. She was also selected to the academic All-Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) team, made the UIS Chancellor’s Academic Honor Roll and Dean’s List. On the court, Kelly started 20 games last season and saw action in 26 contests. She was fourth in the GLVC in rebounding in 2011-12.

“As a member of the team, I have expanded my work ethic and dedication to the game, and my leadership skills grow every day. The life-experiences and opportunities that I get from playing basketball are unattainable in many other college life organizations,” said Kelly.

Each year an outstanding senior from each of the four-year degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois is awarded the Student Lincoln Academy Medallion and thereby becomes a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Leadership lived: UIS student finds niche volunteering

Senior Business Administration major Ashley McClelland was looking to get involved when she transferred to the University of Illinois Springfield. It didn’t take long for a friend to introduce her to the Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a national coed service fraternity that promotes leadership, fellowship, and service.

McClelland now serves as the Fellowship Vice President for the UIS APO chapter and spends a considerable amount of time volunteering in the Springfield community.

“(We) have a set rule of 20 (volunteer) hours each semester,” said McClelland. “I know that I personally have done well over 20 hours. I think by the end of last year I had done 100, so that’s about 50 hours a semester.”

McClelland has cooked for family members with children in the hospital at Springfield’s Ronald McDonald House, helped pick up trash through the Adopt-A-Street program on a road near campus, and has volunteered with the Girl Scouts.

She enjoys volunteering because it not only helps her meet new people, but also gives her an opportunity to make a difference.

“It has given me a chance to grow as a human being, to look beyond just myself at what people need. It gives me something to do with my free time. It gives me a chance to be a leader,” said McClelland.

The leadership skills that she has learned in management courses at UIS have already benefited her as an APO leader. She’s taken many of the organizational skills she’s learned in class and applied them to real problems facing the fraternity.

“(When) I was learning we were having (similar) issues (in APO),” she said. “I was able to reinforce that learning (using real-world examples).”

McClelland believes there are an abundance of leadership opportunities for students who choose to get involved at UIS.

“UIS is whatever anybody wants it to be,” she said. “If you come to this school and you don’t become part of the community, if you don’t reach out, you’re not going to get anywhere.”

Friday, November 16, 2012

Two UIS staff members honored with Department of Defense Patriotic Employer Awards

University of Illinois Springfield employees Keith McMath and Scott Fay were honored with the Department of Defense Patriotic Employer Award from the Illinois Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) committee during a ceremony on Nov. 16, 2012.

McMath, assistant director of residential facilities and operations, and Fay, building service foreman, were honored for going the extra mile to help accommodate Spc. Corey Cooperider, a UIS student-employee, who is currently serving in Afghanistan.

“Before my deployment, my supervisors never questioned my needing time off to prepare, or to spend time with my loved ones, even making sure I took the time I needed to do so. They allowed me to work flex hours if needed,” said Cooperider, who nominated McMath and Fay for the award.

The Patriot Award honors individual supervisors for their superior support to Guard and Reserve employees. Award nominations must be made by a National Guard and Reserve member or their spouse. Nominated employers receive the Patriot Award and accompanying “Patriot” lapel pin.

The intent of the ESGR Awards Program is to recognize employers for their vital support to the members of the Guard and Reserve and to ESGR's mission.

During the ceremony, UIS Associate Chancellor for Constituent Relations Ed Wojcicki also signed a Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve on behalf of the university. The statement pledges UIS’ continued support of military members on campus.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Leadership lived: Internship experiences leads to full-time job at ADM

The University of Illinois Springfield feels like home to senior accountancy major Caitlyn Clausen. After four years at UIS, she doesn’t want to leave. However, thanks to her UIS education and leadership opportunities, she has a full-time job waiting for her after graduation.

“When I came to UIS, I really was able to get involved because of the right-sized community we have,” said Clausen. “I was able to get involved and get to know different very connected members of the UIS community quickly.”

Clausen volunteers as a tutor and mentor for freshmen enrolled in the UIS Capital Scholars Honors program. She sits down with them every week answering questions about math, accountancy, business courses, and often life.

“I really enjoy doing it,” said Clausen. “I didn’t realize I wanted to tutor people until my sophomore year.”

She also volunteers as treasurer of the Alternative Spring Break group, which recently traveled to New Orleans over spring break to help repair hurricane damaged homes. Clausen is also active in the Springfield community helping with UIS’ Trick or Treat for Canned Goods campaign. The effort collected over 6,500 pounds of food for the Central Illinois Foodbank.

“The way that UIS’ staff, administration, and faculty encourages students to get involved and become leaders really influenced my drive towards taking on bigger roles in different organizations, clubs, and representing the university as a whole,” said Clausen.

Clausen also works as a Student Ambassador in the UIS Admissions Office giving prospective students tours of campus and representing UIS at college fairs.

This past summer, Caitlyn landed an internship at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in Decatur. The company liked her work so much, that they’ve offered her a full-time staff account job upon graduation in May.

“I am just so lucky and thankful that that internship experience not only afforded me experience (that) looks good on a resume, but also resulted in a full-time job offer,” she said.

Looking back at all of the opportunity-rich experiences she’s had at UIS over the past four years, she’s thankful that she made the right college choice.

“I knew I made the right decision coming in here my freshman year. This is where I wanted to be,” said Clausen.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

UIS honors donors and alumni during annual Celebration of Giving

The University of Illinois Springfield honored donors and alumni for their contributions during the annual Celebration of Giving on Friday, Nov. 8, 2012.

The evening began with a reception, followed by a program and dinner in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby where donor’s contributions were recognized. Additionally, several awards were presented to both donors and alumni.

Award Recipients

As part of the evening gala, four awards were presented, one by the University of Illinois Foundation (UIF) and three by the University of Illinois Alumni Association (UIAA). Additionally, two other alumni loyalty awards were presented, one before and one after the event.

The UIF honored Bob Clary, who graduated from UIS in 1985 with a master’s degree in Business Administration, with the William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership. Clary has enjoyed a successful career as manager of State Farm Insurance’s Systems Department. Clary has been a true champion and advocate for UIS, particularly through his professional role at State Farm. In 2005, Bob began reconnecting with the UIS Department of Computer Science in his capacity within the systems division. This partnership has led to State Farm inviting UIS to become only the 18th university nationwide to be one of the corporation’s targeted recruiting schools, a position UIS students benefit from each and every year. Additionally, Bob has guided UIS in the grant application process at State Farm resulting in more than $100,000 in support to the Department of Computer Science, making it one of this campus’ most generous and active corporate partners. Clary has also spent many hours volunteering his own time and energy, from mentoring current students to offering advice and insight to UIS faculty and staff.

Fred L. Parsons, who earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Business & Management in 1981, received the Alumni Achievement Award from UIAA. The award is the highest honor bestowed upon graduates of the University. It is given to those who have attained distinction and success in one’s profession or life work. A business entrepreneur, Parsons was inspired to start Southern Illinois Railcar Company (SIRC) in the 1980’s, which grew to a network of over 8,000 railcars - after starting with just three. As President and CEO, Parsons later sold the company to Japanese business giant Sumitomo. Mr. Parsons’ most recent ventures include several commercial developments and the founding of Metro East Recycling, where he currently serves as Owner and Chairman of the Board. Parsons is a member of the UI Alumni Association, President’s Council member of the UI Foundation and member of the College of Business and Management Dean’s Advisory Board.

The Alumni Distinguished Service Award was presented to Randall F. Witter, who earned his master’s in Public Administration in 1982. The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and service to the University. As President of Cook-Witter, Inc. a governmental consulting firm, Witter has carried on the hands-on experiential learning he received as a graduate student. The Cook-Witter firm has a long standing tradition of selecting one to three interns to work legislative sessions and fully immerse them in the lobbying process. Witter is a lifetime member of the UI Alumni Association, an avid supporter and “on-air” pitchman of WUIS and member of the WUIS/WIPA Community Council, a volunteer leader of the Illinois Connection advocacy network, former Campus Alumni Advisory Board member and volunteer with the Under the Dome student enrichment program.

Evelyn (Ahbee) Staab Robinson, who graduated in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences and 1976 with a master’s in Education & Human Services, was posthumously honored with the Alumni Humanitarian Award from UIAA. The award recognizes alumni who have made great contributions of leadership and service to improve the lives of others. Ahbee Robinson was among the founding classes of students of Sangamon State University, who made specific, intentional efforts to enrich the lives of others and the welfare of humanity. As President of the Land of Lincoln Girl Scouts Council, she engaged the African American community and for several years, served as a joint leader of an integrated troop. As a Junior League board member, Robinson advocated to bring the Lincoln Home neighborhood under the auspices of the Department of the Interior, helping ensure the best possible perpetual care of this historic place. She was a leader in the hospice care movement for nearly 25 years, and helped establish the Hospice Program at St. John’s Hospital. Robinson was also engaged in several other organizations including Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, the Springfield Art Association and the King’s Daughter’s Organization.

An Alumni Loyalty Award will be present to Barbara Stuemke Burkhart who holds degrees from both UIS and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently an associate professor of English at UIS. She is an active alumna, even though she lives in Washington, D.C. and teaches online. She is a member of the UIS development team and was instrumental in established UIS’ first two endowed professorships. She played an important role in developing the UIS Campus Alumni Advisory Board, serving as president and then continuing on the board for 10 years. Since arriving in D.C., the Burkhardts have opened their doors to UI alumni in the area, hosting events and dinners.

William Furry
, who earned a both bachelor’s degree (1985) and master’s degree (1987) in Liberal Arts and Sciences, was also presented with an Alumni Loyalty Award. He currently serves as the executive editor of the Illinois State Historical Society and moderator for many Alumni SAGE Society Lunch and Learn Series events. Through Furry, the historical society helps publicize Lunch & Learn events and attract new attendees, both alumni and community members. Furry says he has an unspoken agreement with members of the UIS community; he is always ready to assist them. In addition to his efforts at UIS, Furry has served as president of the Vachel Lindsay Association.

For more information on the UIFF awards, contact Jeff Lorber, vice chancellor for development, UIS, and senior vice president, University of Illinois Foundation at 217/206-6058 or email For information on the alumni awards, contact Chuck Schrage, UIS Office of Alumni Relations at 217/206-7395 or email

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Former UIS leader named Interim Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education

Former University of Illinois Springfield Provost and Interim Chancellor Dr. Harry Berman has been named the Interim Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE).

Berman succeeds Executive Director George W. Reid, who announced his decision to step down. Governor Pat Quinn noted the action taken by the Board and praised the selection of Dr. Berman as Interim Executive Director, “Dr. Berman is an excellent choice to serve as the Interim Executive Director of IBHE while the Board searches for a new Director. He has a strong commitment to the Illinois Public Agenda and many years of experience in higher education in our State.”

A nationwide search will be launched to find a permanent replacement who will ensure that the State remains committed to the goals of the Public Agenda and that the State continues to fulfill Governor Quinn’s goal of making higher education more accessible, more affordable, and more effective for every Illinois student.

Carrie Hightman, IBHE Chairwoman, said, “The Board is looking forward to working with a seasoned higher education professional like Dr. Berman, pending completion of a nationwide search for a permanent Executive Director. Dr. Berman will ensure that our work moves forward to achieve the goals of the Public Agenda for College and Career Success.”

Berman most recently served as Interim Chancellor of UIS, where he oversaw all campus operations. He previously served the school as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs where he led development of the UIS Strategic Plan and as Associate Chancellor, when he chaired the development planning committee following Sangamon State University’s merger with the University of Illinois.

Dr. Berman is a widely-published scholar in the field of gerontology and human development and holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Washington University. He remains active in numerous community organizations in central Illinois.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Leadership lived: Opportunities at UIS inspire student’s career choice

When senior political science major Dan Garcia came to the University of Illinois Springfield he knew he wanted to get involved. Four years later, he’s learned a few things about leadership.

“Leadership opportunities don’t fall into your lap. You have to go out there and fight for it, you have to get it. In that process, you find you develop even more as a leader,” said Garcia.

Garcia’s passion has helped him land jobs on campus as a Student Ambassador in the Admissions Office and as a Summer Orientation Leader for the Office of New Student Orientation and Parent Relations.

“I love it so much; this is actually what I want to do when I graduate,” said Garcia. “I want to continue on into higher education, particularly admissions.”

As a Student Ambassador, Garcia is often the first face that future UIS students meet. He takes applicants and their parents on tours of campus and shares his personal experiences.

“I like connecting with students and their parents on a personal level. One of my ways to break some of the awkward ice in the beginning is to make some jokes, make them smile, and make them laugh. I like to make them feel comfortable here,” said Garcia.

Garcia says UIS is special because students can tailor leadership opportunities to fit their own interests. For example, his interest in higher education led to an internship with the UIS Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

“I think there’s an overabundance of leadership opportunities at UIS. I find that there are so many opportunities that a lot of students might not even know,” said Garcia.

In addition to his work in admissions, Garcia volunteers as a senior peer mentor in the UIS Capital Scholars Honors Program where he’s developed, organized, and implemented programming designed to help first-year students.

He also volunteers with the Necessary Steps program, mentoring first-year, first-generation students as they face the challenging transition to college. Garcia is the treasurer for the Greek Life Advisory Board and Senior Treasurer for Habitat for Humanity at UIS among other volunteer activities.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Leadership lived: UIS history major lands job with the Papers of Abraham Lincoln


Jay Vlahon is fascinated by the life of Abraham Lincoln and believes a lot can be learned by studying the 16th president’s correspondence with others.

After graduating from Springfield’s Southeast High School, Vlahon decided to pursue his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Illinois Springfield. The abundance of opportunities he was offered as an undergraduate left him wanting more, so he stayed at UIS for his master’s degree.

During his graduate studies, Vlahon was given the opportunity to work as a graduate assistant for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, located as the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield. Vlahon gained valuable experience handling and transcribing documents and processing images.

“To be able to work in this environment, I think you have to have certain skills and knowledge and that takes a good education. Without UIS, I would not be able to work here for sure,” said Vlahon.

After he graduated from UIS in 2012, Vlahon was hired by the Papers of Abraham Lincoln to continue processing images from the national archive’s Robert Todd Lincoln Collection. Vlahon is currently working to publish the documents online.

“It will broaden accessibility to documents and also understanding of Abraham Lincoln just by being able to go online and view transcriptions and images of documents,” said Vlahon.

Vlahon credits his success to the real-work preparation he received from teaching-focused faculty members at UIS.

“Just the wealth of knowledge I gained in UIS’s history department was really great,” he said.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Six new members inducted into national criminal justice honor society chapter at UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield recently inducted six new members into the Epsilon Chi Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society, marking the start of the Fall 2012 Semester.

Alpha Phi Sigma, the only national honor society for criminal justice majors, recognizes the academic excellence of undergraduate and graduate students. To be eligible, students must have completed at least one-third of the total hours required for graduation and must maintain specified grade-point averages cumulatively and in the major.

New inductees include: Kimberly Chaney of Decatur, Cole Hedrick of Rochelle, John Jones of Petersburg, Ashley King of New Berlin, Ryan McKanna of Rock Falls, and Marcus McNeal of Cahokia.

The new members join the following continuing members: Tyler Johnson of Mansfield, Larry Perse of Chicago, James Sheehan of Springfield, Amanda Walenga of Springfield, and Julie Yoder of Taylorville.

Tyler Johnson is serving as president of the chapter, with Larry Perse serving as vice-president. James Sheehan is serving as secretary of the chapter, and Julie Yoder is serving as treasurer.

For more information, contact Juanita Ortiz, assistant professor of Criminal Justice at 217/206-8481 or

Monday, October 01, 2012

Leadership lived: Chemistry major engages in collaborative undergraduate research

Junior chemistry major Dyllan Tiburzi has benefited from the personal attention he’s received from dedicated professors at the University of Illinois Springfield.

As an undergraduate, he is working side-by-side with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Layne Morsch to design new methods for making chemistry environmentally friendly. He likes the idea of utilizing cutting edge methods of technology that promote sustainability.

“I believe that it’s very important to do the research that I’m doing here,” said Tiburzi. “I would like to pursue a career in the medical field, so obviously I’ll be spending a lot time in the lab running a lot of tests. This is kind of a hands-on approach.”

Morsch helps the students choose their projects, provides training, and is always available to answers questions. However, he likes to turns the projects over to the students.

“We really focus on our undergraduates and so we’re excited to work with them and train them to be better chemists and scientists,” said Morsch.

Morsch is dedicated to providing his students with real-world preparation that will help them achieve success in meaningful professional careers.

“I actually see my job as two fold,” said Morsch. “One (part) is to advance science, but probably even more important than that is to generate a new generation of scientists. To train people who are going to go out there and be excited about doing science.”

During his time at UIS, Tiburzi has been given the opportunity to share his research with a national audience. He recently attended the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at Pennsylvania State University with Professor Morsch.

“It was a fantastic experience,” said Tiburzi. “I met a lot of great people and found out there’s a lot out there and we are actually doing the right thing.”

Tiburzi grew up in the small town of Benld, Illinois. He chose UIS because of its right-sized and supportive environment.

“The personal factor makes it all the more enjoyable for me,” said Tiburzi.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tom Ambrose receives leadership award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Tom Ambrose, senior training coordinator for the University of Illinois Springfield Institute for Legal, Legislative, & Policy Studies, was recently honored with the 2012 Leadership in Professional DUI Education Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Ambrose received the statewide award in recognition of his efforts to deliver professional DUI training to the DUI system stakeholders in Illinois. Specifically he was recognized for his ability to bring sometimes competitive groups together for training and his work with the Hard Core Drunk Driver Project in Illinois.

“The award came as a surprise as I was not aware that I had been nominated and was especially nice to receive as I prepare to retire from the University on October 1,” said Ambrose.

All of the training and other activities are part of a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation/Division of Traffic Safety awarded to the Institute for Legal, Legislative, & Policy Studies in the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership.

Ambrose received the award on Sept. 22, 2012 during the MADD Heroes Banquet at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. During the ceremony, MADD honored police officers and individuals who have made safe roads a number one priority by supporting the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Leadership lived: Vicente Valtierra brings Hispanic Grassroots Leadership Development Program to UIS

University of Illinois Springfield graduate student Vicente Valtierra has a passion for helping other people. It’s that passion which led him to bring a national Hispanic Grassroots Leadership Development Program to UIS.

Valtierra attended the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) Conference in Chicago where he heard about the national program model, which is designed to bridge the widening gap between citizens and elected officials. He knew the program was something that was needed at UIS and was determined to make it happen.

“I got the students together, talked to both sides, the officials and students, got everything going and here we are,” said Valtierra.

His efforts have resulted in a series of meetings with Springfield city leaders, Sangamon County officials, and UIS campus leaders throughout the fall semester. During their first meeting, the group of Hispanic students met with Springfield Mayor Michael Houston and other leaders.

“They’ve been there and done that,” said Valtierra. “They were here before us, so they know the ropes. We can definitely learn from them.”

Valtierra grew up in Gary, Indiana and made a few stops at other colleges before transferring to UIS. For him, it was the Computer Science program and the right-sized, supportive community that UIS offered which brought him to Springfield. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UIS and is now working to finish his master’s in Computer Science.

“(At UIS) you get more personal attention versus an auditorium setting with 300 students where you’re just a number,” said Valtierra. “You actually feel more like a person at UIS and you get a lot more attention and help.”

He says that UIS is a great place to learn about leadership because of the abundance of opportunities available to motivated students.

“UIS is great training grounds, mostly with small groups,” he said. “You have to start small. It’s hard to be a leader and stand up in front of a crowd of 300, so you get to start here with 10-20. It’s a good training ground for leadership.”

Valtierra was also instrumental in planning a student leadership fair at UIS for nearly 300 high school students. The event featured nationally prominent motivational speakers, workshops on preparing for college, financial aid/literacy information, and leadership development.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sheryl Murray wins the 2012 CARE Award

Sheryl Murray, office manager for the College of Public Affairs and Administration, was honored with the 2012 Chancellor’s Award to Recognize Excellence in Civil Service during a September 12, 2012 luncheon.

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lynn Pardie presented Murray with the award. She thanked all civil service staff members for their dedication to UIS.

“There is no corner of the campus or aspect of the educational experience that doesn’t rely in some way on the skills of our very talented and dedicated civil service staff,” said Pardie. “I am so grateful for all that you do every day on behalf of UIS.”

Murray’s nomination form describes her as someone who “goes the extra mile, is pleasant and knowledgeable.” Her professionalism and diligence are always on display as she helps students, faculty, staff, and visitors who enter the dean’s office.

Murray has worked at UIS since 2005. In addition to her College of Public Affairs and Administration duties, she volunteers to serve on committees and shows her enthusiasm about the university whenever possible.

The award was handed out as part of the 6th annual Civil Service Appreciation Day, which honors the approximately 308 civil service employees at UIS for all of their hard work and dedication. This year’s celebration included a variety of door prize drawings.

Other Civil Service employees nominated for the award include: 
  • Amanda Baughman, Police Officer, Campus Police
  • Gwen Cribbett, Admissions and Records Officer, Admissions
  • Meghan Harmon, Office Administrator, Library Administration
  • Laurie Koehne, Building Service Sub Foreman, Building Services
  • Ron Peddicord, Senior Library Specialist, Library Administration
  • Kurt Piskin, Natural Sciences Tech Assistant, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Denise Rothenbach, Business Manager I, Information Technology Services
  • Lesly Schoo, Office Manager, Undergraduate Academic Advising Center
  • Pamela Schweikle, Admissions and Records Officer, Admissions
  • Ellen (Nell) Smock, Office Manager, Management Information Systems
  • Patty Stoutamyer, Office Support Specialist, Mathematical Sciences
  • Dawn Tompkins, Administrative Clerk, Office of Electronic Media
  • Randall Williams, Food Service Administrator IV, Food Services
The winner of the CARE award receives $500, plus a $500 donation made to the campus organization of his or her choice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Leadership lived: Graduate student helps Emiquon earn international distinction

Environmental Sciences graduate student Danny Rosenkranz uses the word “fantastic” to describe the collaborative education he’s received at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The Georgia-native was approached by UIS Biology Professor and Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon Director Michael Lemke with an opportunity to help the Emiquon Complex, a 14,000 acre wetlands preserve and wildlife refuge in Fulton County, Ill, gain international recognition.

Rosenkranz was determined to see Emiquon named a “Wetlands of International Importance” by the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty in which member countries commit to the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

“I thought it would be very important for Emiquon to get this designation,” said Rosenkranz. “I knew in the back of my mind that it would take a while, at least a year or two, for it to finally be designated.”

Rosenkranz helped to begin the Ramsar application process by contacting the 12 organizations that make up the Emiquon Complex. He gathered vital information, which would eventually lead to Emiquon being named one of only 34 Ramsar sites in the United States.

“Not just everybody could have walked in there and did it,” said Lemke. “You have to have a little bit of the right training to work with these professionals in a multi-interdisciplinary setting to make this very big application process work out.”

Rosenkranz says the passion his professors have for learning has inspired him, adding the application process has given him valuable skills that will benefit him for a lifetime.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

MIS chair Rassule Hadidi elected to leadership post in regional association

Rassule Hadidi, professor and chair of the Management Information Systems Department at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been elected to a two-year term as At-Large Director of the Midwest United States Association for Information Systems (MWAIS). Hadidi was named the Hanson Professional Services Faculty Scholar in 2007.

As a chapter of the Association for Information Systems, MWAIS serves AIS members across the twelve Midwestern states. The organization’s goal is “to promote the exchange of ideas, experiences, and knowledge among scholars and professionals engaged in the development, management, and use of information and communications systems and technology.”

Association for Information Systems currently has about 4000 members worldwide; MWAIS has about 110 members.

The MIS Department, housed within UIS’ College of Business and Management, offers the master of science degree online and on-campus, graduate Certificates in Business Process Management, and Information Technology Project Management; on-campus and online, a bachelor of science degree in online and blended formats; an undergraduate minor in Management Information Systems online and on-campus. The College of Business and Management at UIS is accredited by AACSB International.

The MIS online graduate degree program at UIS has received several recognitions since its inception in 1999. It received high marks in the areas of “Teaching Practices & Student Engagement” and “Student Services and Technology” in the first-ever survey of national online programs by U.S. News & World Report published in January 2012.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Professor working to improve health resources for underserved populations

Dorine Brand, assistant professor of Public Health at the University of Illinois Springfield, is working to develop community outreach strategies to bring community health resources to underserved populations in the Springfield area.

As part of her effort, she has been invited to attend the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN) meeting Aug. 16-17 in Philadelphia. The invite-only event will explore strategies for achieving healthy weight loss among African Americans.

“The goal of the meeting is to provide a selective update and assessment of the last decade of progress in addressing obesity in African American communities,” said Brand. “The focus will be on obesity prevention and treatment interventions with children and adults in individual and family settings and in communities through environmental and policy change.”

Brand, who started teaching at UIS in the spring of 2012, has already begun her local outreach effort by contacting community leaders in the Springfield African American community.

“I believe that attending the AACORN meeting will be a great opportunity and very instrumental in my community outreach design,” said Brand. “I look forward to gleaning strategies, learning about best practices and developing new ideas to benefit the design.”

Brand completed her education at the University of Illinois earning a Ph.D. in Community Health (Urbana-Champaign) in 2011, a master’s degree in Public Health (Chicago) in 2001, and a bachelor’s in Community Health (Urbana-Champaign) in 1998.

Established in 2002, AACORN brings together a diverse group of senior and emerging academic scholars as well as community-based research partners to develop innovative, solution-oriented research to address obesity and weight-related health issues in African American communities. The network is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with continued support from others, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

UIS professor Matthew Holden, Jr. recognized by the United States Congress

Matthew Holden, Jr., the Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science at the University of Illinois Springfield, was recently honored by Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who entered Holden’s extensive biography into the Congressional Record.

“I am gratified,” said Holden. “It will serve, one fervently hopes, to disseminate understanding of, and encourage interest in, the Abraham Lincoln Association and the Wepner Symposium on the Lincoln Legacy and Contemporary Scholarship.”

Thompson became aware of Holden’s accomplishments from “For the People”, the Abraham Lincoln Association newsletter, which featured Holden’s biography. Holden serves on the board of directors for the Springfield-based association, which aims to educate the public about the 16th president and encourage public study of Lincoln-related history.

Holden, who joined UIS in 2009, is also the organizer of the Wepner Symposium at UIS, which brings together political scientists, historians, sociologists and scholars in other disciplines around the world to examine the Lincoln legacy. The Wepner Symposium is also designed to include K-12 teachers and is open to the general public without cost.

The third Wepner Symposium is scheduled for October 19-20, 2012. This year’s symposium will examine what happened to make the emancipation of enslaved persons into a serious issue, Lincoln’s leadership and decision-making as president in the emancipation process, and emancipation issues regarding race and gender in the United States and internationally since the Civil War.

Holden is a Professor Emeritus of Politics at the University of Virginia, from which he retired in 2002. He has also taught at Wayne State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison after a distinguished career spanning more than 40 years. He was also the Newman Visiting Professor of American Civilization at Cornell University from 1995-96.

He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and books, and served as president of the American Political Science Association in 1998-99. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Senior Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He is nationally and internationally recognized for work on public policy, public administration, politics and law, urban politics and racial and ethnic relations.

Holden’s public service has included Presidential appointments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the President’s Air Quality Advisory Board, two Department level advisory committees on energy, and a gubernatorial appointment to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University.

To view Holden’s full biography, as read into the Congressional Record, visit

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sherry Hutson co-edits new book chronicling the 2008 presidential election

Sherry Hutson, former Web Services director at the University of Illinois Springfield, has co-edited a new book with her sister, Lynn Lyons, on the 2008 presidential election.

The election year news diary, King's Dream: Barack Obama Becomes President of the United States of America, uses hundreds of quotes from journalists and writers to tell the story of the Obama/Clinton primary race and the Obama/McCain presidential race in chronological order.

“It's really a fascinating story, no matter your political views,” said Hutson. “It includes brief quotes from hard news, speeches, punditry, and more. Sometimes it's serious and sometimes it's hilarious.”

You can read more about the book and find extras at The book can also be purchased on the site from LULU Press.

“We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. It's a great piece of history for your bookshelf,” said Hutson.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

UIS graduate student honored by the Illinois Broadcasters Association

Lytle & Bishop
Greg Bishop, a University of Illinois Springfield graduate Communication major, was recently honored by the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) with a Silver Dome Award for the "Council Roundup" show he helped produce at Mid-West Family Broadcasting.

“This is a great testament of how the University has provided me with broad and well-rounded skills in getting out the stories effectively and engaging audiences with fresh an innovative content,” said Bishop.

The “Council Roundup”, which airs during the Ray Lytle Show on 970 WMAY, received the "Best Feature Program" Silver Dome Award in Medium Market Radio. The program was born out of Bishop’s extensive coverage of the Springfield City Council. The program engages listeners with the inner workings of city government.

“The Aldermen, Mayor and other Springfield officials' own words are mixed with commentary from Ray and myself, which is not only informative, it's also a lot of fun,” said Bishop. “It's a public affairs program like none other in the county--reality radio at its best!”

In addition to his city council coverage, Bishop anchors morning-drive news and reports on other stories around central Illinois. He also hosts “Saturday Session” on 970 WMAY and has weekend on-air shifts on 92.7 WQLZ and Alice @ 97.7. Bishop also serves as Director of New Media at Mid-West Family Broadcasting.

Bishop graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication from UIS in 2009 and is currently working to defend his master’s thesis on the mainstream and alternative media's coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

He has previously been honored twice by the IBA with first place Silver Dome Awards for "Best Use of New Media" and was a finalist in the category this year.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Peoria MBA student awarded FMC Technologies Inc. Fellowship

Lisa Adams, a graduate student in the MBA program at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been awarded a $12,000 fellowship from FMC Technologies Inc. for the 2012-13 academic year.

“I feel privileged and honored to have been nominated for this prestigious award, and grateful to be one of the limited number of recipients chosen,” said Adams.

Adams, a Peoria resident, takes classes at the UIS Peoria Center and online. The UIS Peoria MBA format is designed to meet the needs of students who are employed fulltime but wish to complete degree requirements in a timely manner. Courses are offered so that it is possible for students to complete degree requirements in less than two years.

In addition to the financial benefit, receiving the fellowship has further confirmed Adam’s commitment to the UIS MBA program.

“I feel honored to be a member of the UIS community which implements and dedicates so much effort to enhancing our education and giving back to the students,” said Adams.

Established in 1971, the fellowship program honors outstanding graduate students in business administration, economics, engineering, finance or related fields. Final selections are made by representatives from FMC Technologies, the University of Illinois, and the U of I Foundation.

“I wish to provide my sincere appreciation to FMC Technologies for funding this fellowship,” said Adams. “Their dedication to the University of Illinois is greatly admired, and directly impacts the future of education.”

Applicants are required to submit a background essay describing their achievements as a graduate student, as well as three letters of reference, and official transcripts. Faculty members nominate students for consideration.

The FMC Educational Fund (formerly the Link-Belt Educational Fund) was established in 1963 by U of I alumnus Bert A. Gayman, who generously donated 10,000 shares of stock to the University of Illinois Foundation.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two UIS student-athletes receive Avery Brundage Scholarships

Mallory Beck & Tina Buck
Two students from the University of Illinois Springfield have been awarded Avery Brundage Scholarships for excellence in academics and athletics. Each winner will receive a $2,500 award for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The recipients are Mallory Beck of Springfield, Illinois, a junior biology major on the Prairie Stars basketball and softball teams and Tina Buck of Imperial, Missouri, a senior communication major that plays softball.

The Avery Brundage Scholarship Fund Committee, composed of nine representatives from the faculties and student bodies of the Chicago, Springfield and Urbana-Champaign campuses, selects students from each U of I campus who engage in athletics for personal development, not as preparation for professional sports. In addition, the students must be working toward bachelors, masters or doctoral degrees at the University of Illinois and must be in the upper 25 percent of their undergraduate class or in good academic standing in their graduate program.

The scholarship program was established in 1974 by an endowment from Avery Brundage, University of Illinois alumnus and former president of the International and U.S. Olympic committees.

For more information, contact Tim Gilles, scholarship coordinator for University-wide Student Programs at 217/333-1171.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

UIS student designs African art video exhibit for masters thesis

University of Illinois Springfield graduate student Stephanie Birch started interning at the Illinois State Museum (ISM) last August with a goal in mind. She wanted to study the extensive African ethnographic collection. With the support of the museum and her master’s history thesis committee, she started to review the inventory of the collection, the goal being to improve the quality of information in the museum's database.

“I knew right away that the collection needed to be shared with the public,” said Birch. “Few people know of its existence, and even fewer know how vast and remarkable it is.” The collection has been featured in seven museum exhibitions, but is not currently on public display.

The Illinois State Museum has the largest collection of African objects of any state museum in the country. With approximately 2,500 pieces, the ISM African ethnographic collection is comparable to those at world-renowned institutions, such as the Field Museum and the National Museum of African Art of the Smithsonian Institution.

“I was able to learn about the collection on an intimate level. I really got to know the pieces individually and hear the story they have to tell,” said Birch.

As her study progressed, Birch worked with museum staff to develop a video exhibit highlighting several incredible pieces of the collection. The idea was to complete a master's thesis, as well as to promote awareness of the collection, educate the public about African history, and demonstrate the importance of preservation.

“The experience was wonderful,” said Birch. “Everyone was helpful and excited about the work I was doing. While I did most of the work independently, I gained a better understanding of how to collaborate with other professionals within a museum, as well as with volunteers contributing to the project.”

The video exhibit, “FolkFusion: Functional African Art at the Illinois State Museum,” developed for her masters thesis will be reviewed for potential inclusion on the museum's website. The project gave Birch invaluable experience.

"For a public historian, it is important to find the balance between scholarship and public interest; developing this video exhibition gave me first-hand experience in harmonizing the two elements,” said Birch.

A native of Mason City, Ill., Birch graduated from Springfield High School in 2006. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned a BFA in Art History in 2010. During her undergraduate career, she studied art of Africa and the global Black Diaspora, with a particular emphasis on religious art. It was at UIUC where she first discovered the existence of the state museum’s African ethnographic collection.

In addition to her work at the Illinois State Museum, Birch is currently working for the Illinois Supreme Court Historical Preservation Commission. Following her graduation from UIS, in May, Birch plans to pursue a history related career and possibly earn a doctorate in Anthropology.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Hanson gift supports new Faculty Scholar at UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield is proud to announce the addition of the Hanson Professional Services Faculty Scholar in the College of Business and Management. The position is made possible by a generous gift from Hanson Professional Services Inc., headquartered in Springfield.

“We believe that our work with UIS’ College of Business and Management is an investment in our future capability in Geographic Information Systems, providing a continuum between academia and private practice,” said Sergio Pecori, President & CEO of Hanson.

Dr. James Hall, associate professor in the Department of Management Information Systems, has been selected as the new Hanson Faculty Scholar. Hall earned his MBA from UIS in 1983 and his doctoral degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the MIS department at UIS in 2000.

Hall has extensive experience in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a focus for the new Hanson Professional Services. GIS makes information visual by organizing data, usually in a map or chart.

Approximately 80 percent of all databases can be displayed visually. Using GIS, practitioners can access, acquire, analyze, and display information in the forms of Maps, 3 Dimension Simulation, Tables, and Figures.

Dr. Rassule Hadidi, the first Hanson Faculty Scholar, was a pioneer in management information systems who helped take UIS’ MIS program online. With support now for a faculty scholar who teaches GIS, Hanson Professional Services Inc. is providing a valuable service to the many businesses, government and relief agencies, and other organizations that rely on this versatile and increasingly useful technique.

Specializing in engineering, architecture, planning, and range of allied services, Hanson has been a trusted partner to clients since 1954, with completed projects in more than 40 foreign countries, serving North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Antarctica. The company has provided numerous internships for UIS business students over the years, with many UIS graduates working at Hanson.

For more information, contact Sarah Jennings, UIS Director of Development for Corporations and Foundations at 217/206-6058 or email

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

College of Business and Management honor society inducts 30 new members; honors mayor

The University of Illinois Springfield Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society chapter inducted 30 College of Business and Management students and three faculty members during a ceremony on Saturday, May 5, 2012 in Brookens Auditorium.

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 graduate students.

Students inducted at this year’s ceremony include Brian Adams, Stephanie Arndt, Melinda Ballard, David Blankenship, Jane Brown, James Burgdorf, Megan Canny, Dustin Dennison, Peter Drake, Diane Dunn, Tracey Genovese, Christina Geyer, Jennifer Heinemann, Andrea Hill, Cullen Hoos, Gary Huwe, Devon Martin, Tyler McKay, Brock Menold, Jason Nieman, Keri Odle, Wendy Petruzzello, William Piper, Timothy Shoemaker, Erin Stewart, Abby Vorreyer, Elizabeth Voss, Jagannadha Vuppalapati, Evan Westlake, and Heather Young.

Faculty members inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma were Karl McDermott, Ph.D.; Nathan Steele, Ph.D.; and Jorge Villegas, Ph.D.

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston was also recognized as Chapter Honoree in acknowledgment of his support for UIS and the College of Business and Management. The mayor has served on the Dean’s Advisory Board since its inception in 2009.

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.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Faculty honored for dedication and commitment to achievement at reception

The University of Illinois Springfield held its annual Faculty Honors and Recognition Reception on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. 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 emeritus status. Three major awards -- the Pearson Faculty Award, the Spencer Faculty Service Award, and Oakley Distinguished Online Teaching Award -- were also presented.

The Pearson Award for outstanding teaching was presented to Lan Dong, assistant professor of English. The award recognizes a faculty member who has established a record of teaching excellence and supports his or her continuing development as a teacher and a scholar. The award was established by a gift from Dr. Emmet and Mary Pearson, longtime benefactors of the campus.

“Professor Dong’s philosophy of teaching is grounded in student-centered approaches and active learning strategies,” said Chancellor Koch in presenting the award. “She gives careful consideration to the construction of her courses, her goals for student learning and skill development, and the developmental strategies that can be used to support and shape the learning process. She is known for establishing a warm and welcoming learning environment and for helping her students to appreciate the value of ethnically diverse literatures.”

Course evaluations show students find her courses motivationally as well as intellectually challenging and interesting. Not surprisingly, her file is filled with letters from students who praise her and express deep appreciation for her many strengths as a teacher.

Dong’s area of scholarly focus is in world literature and Asian/Asian American literature. She has taught a wide array of courses in her areas of specialization, at every level of the undergraduate curriculum, and in both on-ground and online modes of delivery.

The Spencer Award was given to Michael Lemke, professor of Biology. 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.

Lemke is founder and director of the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon, the second largest restoration project in the United States. Since 2001, Dr. Lemke has been a central figure in the creation and operation of the field station. It took years of effort to make the Field Station a reality and Professor Lemke devoted countless hours to planning, developing, and fundraising on behalf of the project.

“Through Professor Lemke’s leadership and sustained efforts, UIS has been able to play an important role in the education and research that occurs at Emiquon and that will continue into the future,” said Chancellor Koch. “His efforts have been instrumental in helping UIS to partner with The Nature Conservancy and Dickson Mounds Museum in this endeavor.”

Lemke has also contributed significantly to his profession, serving as an editorial board member and as a reviewer for several journals in his field, as a grant reviewer on several National Science Foundation review panels, and as an expert reviewer of textbook and test bank content on biology and ecology for major publishers.

Elizabeth Kosmetatou, assistant professor of History was honored with the Oakley 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.

Kosmetatou believes that her greatest strength as a teacher is her “…deep love, passion, understanding, and enthusiasm for History…” and she works very hard to infuse her courses with those qualities, no matter the mode of course delivery. She has been willing to take risks in her online courses, experimenting with new approaches and embracing student feedback to help ensure the quality of her teaching.

Her philosophy of teaching emphasizes the interactive nature of the learning process and the need for ongoing professional development to maintain excellence in teaching. She writes that “in my experience student’s value being appreciated as highly intelligent human beings when their teachers share their pedagogical strategies, show that they have developed these after reflection and constant self-evaluation, and seek to engage in dialogue and exchange.”

“By all accounts, Dr. Kosmetatou has indeed been successful in engaging students in some of the most challenging aspects of the learning process by making the material personally relevant to them, by encouraging their self-expression, and by increasing their capacities for disciplined dialogue within the safe spaces of the courses that she teaches,” said Chancellor Koch.

Recommended for tenure and promotion to associate professor were Deborah Anthony, Donna Bussell, Hua Chen, Lan Dong, Richard Gilman-Opalsky, William Kline, Marc Klingshirn, Elizabeth Kosmetatou, Chung-wei Lee, John Martin, Tung Nguyen, Karen Pressley, Dennis Ruez, Stephen Schnebly, Nathan Steele, and Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson. Peter Boltuc, Beverly Bunch, and Donald Morris were promoted to the rank of full professor.

Receiving the designation of emeritus faculty were Allan Cook, Wayne Gade, Robert McGregor, Mark Puclik, and Larry Stonecipher.

Sabbatical leaves were granted to Adriana Crocker, Lan Dong, Tena Helton, Ranjan Karri, Kemau Kemayo, Jennifer Manthei, Martin Martsch, Jonathan Perkins, Nancy Scannell, and Yifeng Zhang.

All promotions, tenure, sabbatical leaves, and emeritus status are subject to approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

View photos from the event on the UIS Flickr page

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Wojcicki's book honored by the Illinois State Historical Society

Ed Wojcicki, associate chancellor for constituent relations at the University of Illinois Springfield, was recently honored by the Illinois State Historical Society (ISHS). On April 27, Wojcicki was presented with a 2011 "Superior Achievement Award" for the political memoirs he co-authored with former Illinois senate president Philip J. Rock.

The biography, Nobody Calls Just to Say Hello: Reflections on Twenty-Two Years in the Illinois Senate, was released in November and published by Southern Illinois University Press. It draws on dozens of interviews conducted by Wojcicki to present Rock’s story in his own words. It takes readers through his legislative successes, bipartisan efforts, and political defeats, giving a rare insider's perspective on Illinois politics over the last three decades of the twentieth century.

“These awards acknowledge the highest individual and institutional achievement in historic preservation, history publications, and public education through exhibitions and programming,” said ISHS Executive Director William Furry. “We extend a hearty ‘congratulations’ to all our award recipients.”

The ISHS presented more than 30 awards in several categories during the 2012 Annual Awards program held at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in East Peoria.

Read more about Wojcicki’s book

Friday, April 20, 2012

UIS library dean elected to leadership post in global cooperative

Jane Treadwell, university librarian and dean at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Brookens Library, has been elected vice-chair/chair-elect of the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) Americas Regional Council of the OCLC Global Council.

OCLC is the 72,000 library member cooperative behind WorldCat, the world’s largest database of library resources. The system is used at Brookens Library to allow users to search other locally held databases and display results along with WorldCat results.

“I’m honored that my peers in libraries throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America have elected me to this post,” said Treadwell.

The OCLC Global Council and its regional councils provide an important avenue for member libraries of the cooperative in 170 countries to offer feedback to OCLC management and its Board of Trustees on significant issues and strategic direction.

“I will help to facilitate this process in the Americas and, as a member of Global Council Executive Committee, help to set the agenda for the work of that group,” said Treadwell. “Brookens Library should benefit from my involvement because I will be bringing back new ideas not only from OCLC, but from other libraries all over the world.”

Founded in 1967, OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing library costs. The service allows libraries to locate, acquire, catalog, lend, preserve and manage library materials.

Evan Stanley wins the 2012 CAPE Award

Evan Stanley, student enrollment coordinator in the Office of Records and Registration, was honored with the ninth annual Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence Award (CAPE) on April 19, 2011.

Stanley has worked at UIS in the Office of Records and Registration since 2005. He began as a student worker and later became the student enrollment coordinator.

“He has done some very innovative work in the Registrar’s office, said Chancellor Susan Koch. “He has dug into our records and had many conversations to compile a report summarizing why students withdraw from UIS prior to degree completion. This is invaluable data when we’re focusing on retention.”

It was also added that Stanley is assisting in a thorough assessment of the Records and Registration website so that better service is provided.

“I think I need to call my high school guidance counselor and say ‘see..see this.’ It says ‘excellence’ right there,” Stanley said to a chuckling crowd in the PAC Restaurant. “I really enjoy working with everyone in enrollment management and the whole office and UIS family.”

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 2012 CAPE Award include Dana Atwell, Clarice Ford, Beth Hoag, Jim Korte, Tulio Lloso, Chrisa Potthast-Leezer, Donna Schaub, Richard Schuldt, Barbara Selvaggio, Evan Stanley, and Thomas Wood.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Computer Science Instructor honored by the FBI

Janis Rose, a Computer Science instructor at the University of Illinois Springfield, was recently honored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with an “Award for Exceptional Service in the Public Interest”.

The award was presented by Special Agent in Charge David Ford on behalf of FBI Director Robert Mueller during the annual Cyber Defense Disaster Recovery Conference at UIS on March 9, 2012. The award recognizes Rose’s 10 years of service to InfraGard and the FBI. InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort between the FBI, academic institutions, businesses, and other partners.

Rose is one of, or perhaps, the longest serving InfraGard presidents in the history of the program. The award stated “The Federal Bureau of Investigation expresses its appreciation to Janis Rose for exceptional service in the public interest,” signed by FBI Director Robert Mueller, February 2012.

Rose serves as the program chair for the Cyber Defense Disaster Recovery Conference at UIS. The conference is sponsored by InfraGard, the UIS Computer Science Department and the National Science Foundation (NSF) National Resource Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA).

Friday, March 02, 2012

UIS graduate student to guest curate major exhibit at Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

Claire Jerry, a graduate history major at the University of Illinois Springfield will be the guest curator for a major exhibit opening March 9, 2012 at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Mo. The exhibit is part of her graduate closure project.

“I am extremely excited to have had this experience,” said Jerry. “I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from nationally recognized conservators, curators, mount makers, exhibit specialists, and archivists.”

The exhibit, “Tracing the Trumans: An American Story” focuses on two famous families--The Trumans and the Wallaces. Drawing upon the Library's rich collection of correspondence and memorabilia from the two families and displaying, for the first time, newly released materials from Bess Truman and Margaret Truman Daniel, the exhibition traces the families over their more than 150 years in the Independence area.

“Claire has managed a major professional exhibition that probably will be reviewed in national publications,” said William Siles, her project adviser and UIS associate professor of History. “This project reflects the talent of our students and the strength of preparation students receive from our history faculty at UIS.”

Jerry has always wanted to work for a presidential museum and got that chance in the summer of 2010 when she landed an internship at the Truman Library and Museum. She returned this past summer as a volunteer and given the opportunity to help plan the temporary exhibit.

“I was here full time in June and July, part time September through December, and have been here full time since early January,” said Jerry. “I will have worked somewhere between 800 and 1000 hours on the exhibit by the time my work is completed.”

As a guest curator, she was responsible for selecting objects and documents for the exhibit. She researched the family and objects histories using documents in the library archives, developed the narrative themes of the exhibit, and wrote the initial drafts for text panels and labels.

“I have participated in the decisions regarding graphic identity, gallery layout, case design, video supplements, and educational interactives,” said Jerry. “I have been instrumental in developing a touchscreen interactive program featuring Truman family photographs.”

Jerry worked under the supervision of Truman staff and was guided by their professional standards. The Jacksonville, Ill. resident will use the exhibit as her final project, allowing her to soon graduate from UIS with a master’s degree in history.

“The Truman staff knew that Claire had the knowledge, preparation and judgment to put this exhibition together, and she did,” said Siles.

As part of the museum's regular monthly feature "Talkin' Truman," Jerry will be presenting a talk on Saturday, March 10, called "Tracing the Trumans: The Making of an Exhibit.”

The temporary exhibition, “Tracing the Trumans: An American Story” will be on display at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum from March 9 through December 31, 2012. Several objects from the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, including a double barreled shotgun which belonged to President Truman's mother will be on display. Learn more about the exhibition online, at