Monday, September 30, 2013

Leadership lived: Graduate student's career enhanced by UIS classroom experience


Bill Lear has many titles. During the week he’s the curator of the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield, at night he’s a graduate student studying public history at UIS, and one weekend a month he’s a citizen soldier in the Illinois National Guard.

The military museum tells the story of the Illinois Militia, National Guard, and Air Guard from 1723 to present day. Lear is responsible for registering and cataloging artifacts, loaning objects to other museums, creating displays, and writing grants.

“Going through the public history program (at UIS) has validated a lot of the things that I’m doing here,” said Lear. “They very much follow the museum standards and practices of today. Graduating from class I should be ready to go anywhere in the country.”

Lear chose UIS because of the history program’s reputation and the availability of online and on-campus classes, which make it easier for his schedule.

“The master’s program is tough, but it’s rewarding,” he said. “The instructors that I’ve had are very knowledgeable about what they’re teaching.”

He’s always had a love of history, which he’s been able to develop through the program and UIS and his job at the museum.

“For this job, I love to actually be able to handle the objects,” said Lear. “What I’m doing in my job as a curator is preserving this for not just my grandkids, but their grandkids.”

As a member of the Illinois National Guard who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009, he knows how important it is to preserve the history of those who have served our country.

“I want to make sure we get it right because we’re telling the story of really anyone who’s served and that’s a really important story to tell,” said Lear.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

UIS Professor Karl McDermott to keynote Public Utility Research Center Conference

Karl McDermott, the Ameren Distinguished Professor of Government and Business at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been invited to deliver the keynote address at the 41st Annual Public Utility Research Center (PURC) Conference at the University of Florida on February 19, 2014.

This year’s conference theme is “Politics & Policy: What is Next for Utilities?” McDermott will be speaking about the role of utilities in the country’s energy future along with Professor Emeritus Roger Noll of Stanford University.

McDermott will also be honored with PURC’s Distinguished Service Award. Each year PURC recognize an individual who has contributed to the understanding of regulatory economics and finance, recognizing the cumulative impact of the individual’s work on both the academic community and regulatory policymakers.

Since 1974, the PURC Conference has served as a neutral forum for dialogue about issues facing utility service providers, policymakers and regulatory agencies. Nearly 150 key leaders are expected to attend.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Leadership lived: Police officer connects with students

Ross Owens enjoys making a difference. As a police officer on the University of Illinois Springfield campus, he knows connecting with students is a big part of his job.

“We’re not just cops,” said Owens. “I was a student before I was a cop and it’s one of those things where if you can relate to them on some level… it really brings you down on a more normal level than when someone sees you as a position of authority.”

Owens earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from UIS and often talks to students about their classes and experiences on campus.

“Whenever we do foot patrols it’s very common for us to stop and talk to people,” said Owens. “We interact regularly with residence assistants out here, other students just in passing making small talk. We’re always happy to answer any questions they may have.”

It’s that personal engagement that makes students feel more comfortable when it comes to reporting a crime or suspicious activity on campus.

“It’s just part of who I am and this job kind of encompasses all of that,” said Owens. “We’re out here with a family atmosphere where everyone knows each other.”

Owens typically works a 12-hour overnight shift, but that doesn’t stop him from volunteering on campus. He’s joined student teams during Springfest, helping them compete in events, such as a campus-wide scavenger hunt.

For Owen’s being a police officer at UIS is more than just a job.

“It really supports my inner motive to help people, especially when you know people you’re working around,” he said.

UIS Computer Science instructor Janis Rose honored with national award for efforts

Janis Rose, a Computer Science instructor at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been selected by the InfraGard National Members Alliance (INMA) as this year’s recipient of The Ties that Bind Award.

The award was presented by FBI Supervisory Special Agent Larry Karl and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie during a nationwide video teleconference on September 4, 2013. It is one of only three major awards presented annually by the INMA and recognizes those that have spearheaded or substantially contributed to ongoing sharing and collaboration among InfraGard members and partners.

InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort between the FBI, academic institutions, businesses, and other partners. Rose founded the Springfield InfraGard Members Alliance (IMA) over ten years ago and is one of the longest serving presidents in the history of the program.

“Janis’ efforts have been integral to the success of the Springfield IMA. She is responsible for personally recruiting a large portion of our members, creating the excellent communication network we have in place today,” said her nominator.

Rose has played a major role in organizing the annual Cyber Defense and Disaster Recovery Conference on the UIS campus. The one-day conference teaches those in the public and private sectors about growing cyber threats facing critical infrastructure sectors.

“Janis takes great care to hand-select our speakers each year, so that each key critical infrastructure sector can expect to walk away at the end of the day having learned vital information specifically pertaining to their sector,” said the nominator.

In 2012, Rose was honored by FBI Director Robert Mueller with an “Award for Exceptional Service in the Public Interest”. The award recognized her 10 years of service to InfraGard and the FBI.

For more information, contact Ted Mims, chair of the UIS Computer Science Department at 217/206-7326 or

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Janice Marvel wins the 2013 CARE Award

Janice Marvel, facilities manager and director of classroom scheduling in Facilities Scheduling & Services, was honored with the 2013 Chancellor’s Award to Recognize Excellence in Civil Service during a September 18, 2013 luncheon.

Chancellor Susan J. Koch announced the winner of the award and thanked all civil service staff members for their dedication to UIS.

“I hope I inspire others at UIS by my belief that we should all become involved with the University through service, and feedback, to help make it a better place for us to work and ultimately for the students to develop,” said Marvel.

Marvel has worked tirelessly for the betterment of the campus and her fellow employees. She was one of the founding employees for the UIS Staff Scholarship and has continued to fundraise for it every year since its development. She has severed on the Civil Service Advisory Council for over 10 years and has held many important and time consuming positions.

“Janice is known for her positive helpful attitude on campus. She is in a position that deals with so many departments and individuals on campus and even during the busiest of times strive to assist anyone with their requests,” said the selection committee.

Marvel has worked at UIS for almost 24 years. She is currently vice president of the Civil Service Advisory Council, secretary of the University of Illinois Employee Advisory Council, and the UIS representative on the SURS Members Advisory Committee.

The award was handed out as part of the 7th annual Civil Service Appreciation Day, which honors the approximately 320 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: 
  • Chad Athey, Stationary Engineer, Building Maintenance
  • Alice Bettis, Administrative Aide, Sangamon Auditorium
  • Rhonda Bussell, Admissions and Records Officer, UIS Peoria Center
  • Gwen Cribbett, Admissions and Records Officer, Admissions
  • Talonna Elam, Human Resources Representative, Human Resources
  • Jerrad Frank, Electrician, Facilities and Services
  • Debra Hartz, Staff Clerk, Cox Children’s Center
  • Laurie Koehne, Building Service Sub Foreman, Building Services
  • Toni Langdon, Business Manager, Illinois Issues
  • Pam McGowan, Staff Clerk, Graduate Public Service Internship Program
  • Lesly Schoo, Office Manager, Undergraduate Academic Advising
  • Beverly Weddle, Office Administrator, College of Liberal Arts and Science
The winner of the CARE award receives $500, plus a $500 donation made to the campus organization of his or her choice.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fernando Planas named UIS Admissions Director

Fernando Planas has been named the new director of admissions at the University of Illinois Springfield. He began on September 2, 2013.

Planas comes to UIS from the City Colleges of Chicago, where he served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management. Before working with City Colleges of Chicago, Fernando served in several positions within enrollment management at the University of Illinois at Chicago, beginning in 1993 as an Admissions Counselor.

“Fernando’s extensive experience in recruitment, particularly with diverse populations, is a tremendous asset, as UIS moves forward in increasing our student enrollments,” said Tim Barnett, UIS vice chancellor for Student Affairs.

For more information, contact Derek Schnapp, director of public relations at 217/206-6716 or

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Leadership lived: Clinical Laboratory Science major takes on national leadership role

After attending the University of Illinois Springfield for only a year, senior Clinical Laboratory Science major Courtney Lower has already gained three leadership positions.

During a July 2013 trip to the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) conference, Lower successfully ran for the position of Student Forum Secretary against other students from around the country.

“From the people I’ve talked to, there haven’t been many people from Illinois who have been this involved, so I feel honored,” said Lower.

The Terre Haute, Indiana native already holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, but decided to return to school in order to take on a greater career challenge.

“I like to be given a problem and try to figure it out,” said Lower.

For Lower, clinical laboratory science is more than just looking under a microscope and examining specimens. She knows she’s helping real people by helping doctor’s diagnose illnesses.

“It makes me feel good because, I know that I might not be the doctor, but I’m behind the scenes and I do play an important role in people’s lives,” said Lower.

Lower chose UIS because of the personal attention from faculty and the UIS Clinical Laboratory Science program’s 100 percent job placement rate.

“The faculty and staff here at UIS, they allow a lot of one-on-one attention,” said Lower. “Right now we only have 10 people in our class, so the one-on-one attention is very helpful, especially when you have questions and basically it’s just like they’re talking to you.”

In addition to her national leadership role, Lower is also chair of the ASCLS-Illinois Student Forum and student representative for ASCLS Region VI.