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