Monday, February 25, 2013

UIS student newspaper wins six awards at annual Illinois College Press Association conference

The University of Illinois Springfield student newspaper, The Journal, took home six awards for excellence, two of those first place honors, at the annual Illinois College Press Association (ICPA) conference this past weekend.

This year, 34 colleges and universities competed in the ICPA contest. Student journalists submitted content, such as articles, photographs, illustrations and advertisements, in 70 categories. The Journal staff competes in the “open” division with all participating Illinois colleges, and the “non-dailies with school enrollment over 4,000” division. The Journal staff submitted content from regular news editions and from its magazine, Beyond.

Former Journal Editor-in-Chief Kati Dyer (Maseman) of Auburn won two awards for her photography of the 2011 commencement ceremony. Dyer won first place for her photo essay featured on the front page of the graduation issue and third place for her feature photo of family members waving to each other.

Illustrator and Photographer, Alex Johnson of Crystal Lake, also took home a first place award in the sports photo category for a photo taken of the UIS softball team competing against William Jewell University. This was Johnson’s first year competing in the ICPA.

Journal Business Manager Kate Richardson of Taylorville won three awards in the open category for advertisement designs. She won second and third place for advertising campaigns designed for the UIS Bookstore and the Foreign and Independent Film Series. She also won honorable mention in the advertisement less than full page category for her work with Consign and Design.

For more information, contact Kate Richardson, Journal Business Manager, at 217/206-7061 or

UIS professor publishes timely book on same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court

University of Illinois Springfield Associate Professor of Political Science Jason Pierceson has published a new book, Same-Sex Marriage in the United States: The Road to the Supreme Court, with Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

The e-book is now available and the print version will be available in a few weeks. The publication of the book coincides with the Supreme Court oral arguments on two same-sex marriage cases in late-March 2013 and the decisions that are expected to be announced in June.

This book explores the legal, political, and cultural setting of the movement for same-sex marriage and its opposition in the United States, setting the stage for the first genuine engagement of the issue by the Supreme Court. In particular, the book examines the history of the movement, the philosophical and religious debates surrounding the movement and the opposition, developments around the world to put the U.S. movement in the proper context, state-by-state analysis of legal and political developments, and recent federal litigation paving the way to action by the Supreme Court. In doing so, the book highlights the role played by religion, political parties, and federalism, while arguing that litigation for same-sex marriage has achieved significant results, as well as creating a powerful backlash that will limit the national recognition of same-sex marriage in the short-term.

Reviewers have called the book a “superb account of how the question of same-sex marriage has become one of the preeminent civil rights issues of our time” and “an engaging and richly informative history of the struggle for marriage equality in the United States,” noting that it “has something for everybody.”

“The general public will appreciate Pierceson’s accessible prose and penchant for story-telling. Sociolegal scholars and scholars of LGBT rights will prize both the way Pierceson revisits and re-envisions key historical moments in the battle for marriage equality and his exploration of marriage equality politics in states and localities across the nation,” said Ellen Andersen of the University of Vermont.

For more on the book, visit Pierceson is also available for media inquiries and interviews, public lectures, and book signings. Pierceson can be contacted at 217/206-7842 or

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Randy Eccles named WUIS general manager, Bill Wheelhouse to become Food Desk executive editor

University of Illinois Springfield public radio station WUIS has entered the next phase of its commitment to inform the community with the creation of the WUIS Food Desk and the assignment of a dedicated journalist to the beat. Bill Wheelhouse initiated the move from his current position as general manager to become an executive editor assigned to the WUIS Food Desk. Randy Eccles will serve as general manager.

The WUIS Food Desk is the result of a “Desk Initiative” to increase local/regional reporting capacity. This expansion is being funded through a mix of grants, business support, and major gifts. GROWMARK is one of the first business supporters to sign on as WUIS seeks additional funding to sustain the Food Desk initiative. WUIS is also seeking funding to hire a reporter for an education desk.

In addition, WUIS had become a partner and sub-grantee in the Harvest Public Media network ( Harvest is a Local Journalism Center (LJC) funded by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s (CPB). This collaboration will extend the reach of stories throughout the Midwest and, on occasion, nationally.

With Wheelhouse’s shift back to reporting, current development director Randy Eccles will serve as WUIS’ general manager. Eccles noted, “The addition of the Food Desk to our Statehouse Bureau and local news coverage will provide listeners with more information to make choices about what we eat and to better understand one of the biggest businesses in central Illinois.”

WUIS is central Illinois’ source for NPR. WUIS content is available from Springfield at 91.9 FM, 91.9-1 HD, in west-central Illinois at 89.3 FM; and streamed worldwide at and on the NPR mobile app. WUIS broadcasts two additional HD Radio channels, the all-classical WUIS Classic at 91.9-2 HD and the adult alternative WUIS Xponential at 91.9-3 HD. These are also streamed at The listener-supported media outlet’s mission is to enrich central Illinois through independent journalism, arts programming and community outreach. For the program schedule, events, and other information, call the station at (217) 206-WUIS (9847) or visit WUIS is a community service of the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest. The other Harvest Public Media partners include Iowa Public Radio; NET, which operates public TV and radio networks statewide in Nebraska; KBIA in Columbia, Missouri; WUIS in Springfield, Illinois; and KUNC in Greeley, Colorado.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Leadership lived: Student's passion for politics inspired by opportunities at UIS

Andrea Carlson lives and breathes politics. For the sophomore political science and legal studies major it’s not only a future career, but a passion.

Carlson is a member of the College Republicans, Pre-Law Society, and Model Illinois Government at the University of Illinois Springfield. She serves as the Secretary of State for the UIS Model Illinois Government chapter.

Model Illinois Government members debate actual Illinois General Assembly bills, arguing for or against legislation as Democrats or Republicans. At the end of the debate, students cast their vote and decide whether the bill passes or fails.

“I love the chance to learn about how state government works and also get to practice my public speaking skills, my debating skills, and research skills,” said Carlson. “It’s a really interdisciplinary process and it’s just a lot of fun to get up there and speak.”

Each March, Carlson and other students travel to the Illinois State Capitol to compete against students from other Illinois colleges and universities. The students run bills, debate, and vote on the actual Illinois house and senate floors.

Carlson’s love of politics recently led her to enter the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute Conservative Activism Essay Contest. She was awarded 2nd place nationwide and awarded a $500 scholarship towards bringing a speaker to UIS.

The institute loved her essay so much that they invited her to attend the Western Women’s Summit at the Reagan Ranch Center in California. During the all-expense paid trip, she met Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Fox News national security expert KT McFarland and other conservative leaders.

“I got to attend a great conference because some of some of the connections I had here at UIS,” said Carlson.

At the summit, Carlson learned about the challenges that face women in politics, business, and law. She also learned about foreign policy and state and federal issues.

College Republicans staff adviser Raymond Barnett encouraged Carlson to write the essay. He’s part of the supportive campus community that has helped Carlson succeed at UIS.

“I think UIS definitely has many opportunities to get involved in the community and work with your fellow students. There are plenty of opportunities at UIS. You just have to join,” said Carlson.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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

The University of Illinois Springfield recently inducted four new members into the Epsilon Chi Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society, marking the start of the Spring 2013 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 high grade-point averages cumulatively and in the major. Students in this organization also complete annual service projects to benefit local criminal justice agencies.

New inductees include: Chris Baer of Beardstown; Rob Brouse of Springfield; Marissa Orr of Auburn; and Jason Pignon of Thayer.

These new members join the following continuing members: Kimberly Chaney of Decatur; Cole Hedrick of Rochelle; Tyler Johnson of Mansfield; John Jones of Petersburg; Ashley King of New Berlin; Ryan McKanna of Rock Falls; Marcus McNeal of Cahokia; Larry Perse of Chicago; James Sheehan of Springfield; Julie Yoder of Taylorville; and Amanda Walenga of Springfield.

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. Ryan McKanna is serving as public relations coordinator.

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

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Leadership lived: UIS student helps international students feel at home

Zehra Özkan Shahidi, a senior communication major, is working to bring an international perspective to the University of Illinois Springfield. The Turkish native hopes by educating the UIS community about other parts of the world she can make a difference.

“If they can understand our culture it will be more helpful to everyone,” said Shahidi.

Shahidi is the president of the International Student Association at UIS. The association is made up of students from India, Russia, Turkey, China, Japan, and other parts of the world.

She regularly organizes social events for international students, often hosting them at her home. Shahidi also volunteers at events, such as the International Student Festival, which brings members of Springfield community to UIS to learn about other cultures each year.

“We have really good opportunities at UIS and I’m so proud to say that I’m one of the students at UIS, that I’m one of those leaders,” said Shahidi.

Shahidi is also organizing a conversational language program, which will be offered free of charge to all members of the UIS community. The program will give students, faculty, and staff a chance to learn other languages from native speakers.

Following graduation from UIS, she plans to remain on campus and pursue her master’s degree in Liberal and Integrative Studies. She is grateful for the abundance of opportunities that UIS has offered her as an international student in a supportive community.

“Leadership is really important for us. You can get good experience for your future. You can use all of those experiences and good relationships,” said Shahidi.

Shahidi values the time she spends helping other international students.

“Our relationship is kind of more family based,” she said.