Friday, October 31, 2014

Leadership lived: Volleyball player learns lessons on the court

As a volleyball player at the University of Illinois Springfield, Carly Wesolowski has learned a lot about leadership on and off the court. The communication major chose UIS because of the personalized academic programs and the chance to play volleyball at an NCAA Division II school.

“I am so blessed to be able to be a student-athlete,” she said. “Not a lot of people get the opportunity and it’s really nice that I’m able to come to a great school that will give me a great degree, let me play my sport, and have those volunteering and leadership opportunities.”

At UIS, Wesolowski is also a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program and often gives back to the Springfield community by volunteering.

On the court, she has learned many lessons about leadership from her coaches and team captains.

“We’re all kind of leaders,” she said. “We all have our spark of leadership either in practice or in games. We all have good feedback to each other.”

Wesolowski has a close relationship with her teammates, jokingly comparing them to a sorority, who is always supportive of their members.

Being a part of a team has taught her how to work as a group and how to work with people.

“We get along great, but there are definitely problems that arise and it’s taught me you have to talk to people, you have to get their side of the story, and work your problems out.”

Following graduation from UIS, Wesolowski plans to work in public relations for a university or athletic program.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

UIS professor publishes new book on "pirates" in Medieval Japan

University of Illinois Springfield Associate Professor of History Peter Shapinsky has published a new book titled Lords of the Sea: Pirates, Violence and Commerce in Late Medieval Japan. 

At UIS, Shapinsky teaches a popular history course titled, From Vikings to Hackers: A Pirate’s World History.

The book focuses on the perspectives of seafarers during Japan’s late medieval period, from 1300 – 1600. Though usually dismissed as “pirates,” these seafarers thought of themselves as sea lords.

Over the course of several centuries these sea lords became maritime magnates playing key roles in the operation of networks linking Japan to the rest of the world. Their sea tenure practices spread influence across the waves and continent shaping commercial and diplomatic relations with Korea and China.

During this time, Japan’s land-based authorities came to accept the “pirates” and even competed to sponsor sea-lord bands. Sea lords were then able to translate their medieval autonomy into positions of early influence in early modern Japan.

Shapinsky's other work includes "Polyvocal Portolans: Nautical Charts and Hybrid Maritime Cultures in Early Modern East Asia" published in Early Modern Japan (2006) and “With the Sea as their Domain: Pirates and Maritime Lordship in Medieval Japan” published in Seascapes, Littoral Cultures and Trans-Oceanic Exchanges (2007).

The book was published by the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan and is available for purchase online.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Leadership lived: Dream comes true for new Student Government Association president

As a freshman, Joseph McGee set a goal of becoming president of the Student Government Association (SGA) at the University of Illinois Springfield by his senior year. Thanks to his hard work and the opportunities available to him at UIS he’s achieved his goal.

“I’ve always been an advocate for the students and trying to get things fixed and better for the student’s lives at the school, so when I found out they had SGA, I automatically wanted to be president before I graduated,” he said.

McGee was selected by his fellow students to become SGA president following a campus-wide election. He’s also involved in Model Illinois Government, College Democrats, and the Black Male Collegiate Society.

His involvement on campus has taught him many leadership lessons that will continue to benefit him in the future.

“It’s teaching me a lot about life,” said McGee. “It’s teaching me a lot about myself and a lot about others also because where I came from for school; it wasn’t really diverse at all, so coming here, interacting with different people, it’s really good.”

McGee is a political science and legal studies major who is considering attending law school or becoming a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger following graduation.

“This is something that I’m going to be going into, so it all prepares me,” he said.

Friday, October 17, 2014

UIS professor learns by teaching in India, creating photo essays in Missouri

University of Illinois Springfield Associate Communication Professor Kathy Petitte Jamison has spent the past few months teaching and learning from Illinois to Missouri and across the Atlantic Ocean.

Jamison served as a guest lecturer at Vellore Institute of Technology in Vellore, India this past summer. She taught professional and research writing to doctoral students and faculty, at times speaking to lecture halls holding 600 participants, all eager for insight into good writing skills in English.

“The students were very kind and eager to learn American English and American culture,” said Jamison. “The food was also wonderful, as were the people. It was an amazing place.”

“As a professor teaching a few of the writing courses in Communication, it’s always good to work with English as a Second Language (ESL) students to understand our language from different angles and perspectives. I’ve taught many ESL courses and workshops over the years and I find it always teaches me something new about my own language and how to teach it to others.”

Jamison was also chosen to participate, along with 43 professional photographers from the U.S. and 13 other countries, in a workshop offered by the University of Missouri-Columbia photojournalism school.

The Missouri Photo Workshop has documented small town and rural life in Missouri towns for 66 years. The group was sent to Platte City, Missouri to find a photo story to follow for a week. Jamison chose to highlight the town’s social gathering place called The Pool Hall. 

See her photo documentary here.

Jamison’s experience abroad and in the photography workshop are part of her UIS sabbatical.

Sabbaticals have been documented as important in higher education because they serve to promote professional development by providing opportunities for reflection, artistic creation, research, innovation in teaching and professional exploration. Harvard University was the first to develop a sabbatical program in 1880.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Kent Redfield named Illinoisan of the Year by the Illinois News Broadcasters Association

Kent Redfield, emeritus professor of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield, was awarded the Illinoisan of the Year award at the Illinois News Broadcasters Association (INBA) fall conference on Oct. 4 in Marion.

Redfield was voted by past presidents of the INBA as Illinoisan of the Year in honor of his contributions as a political scientist at UIS and his work with the Sunshine Project, a political campaign finance research project. Redfield is a frequent contributor to news stories on Illinois politics, and a well-known presence in Springfield. He delivered a keynote address at the award ceremony.

Redfield has been engaged in research on the financing of political campaigns in Illinois and political ethics since 1991. The results of that research have been presented in numerous research reports, a series of articles in Illinois Issues, a 1994 book on financing legislative elections in Illinois, which is entitled Cash Clout and a 2001 book on the role of money in Illinois politics entitled Money Counts. Redfield has been director of the Sunshine Project since 1997. The project focuses on the role of money in politics, particularly in Illinois. The extensive databases and analysis of campaign finance in Illinois produced by the project can be accessed on the website of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform at

Past recipients of the Illinoisans of the Year award include Attorney General Lisa Madigan (2011), Governor Jim Edgar (2009) and former press secretary and director of the Paul Simon Institute, Mike Lawrence (2008). Other winners include U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2006), State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (2001), Senator Paul Simon (1995), and economists Saul Bellow and Milton Friedman (1977).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Leadership lived: UIS student pays it forward in The Gambia

Growing up in Chicago, Dominique Wilson never expected to travel half way around the world, let alone leave a lasting impact on a school in West Africa.

This past summer, the junior communication major traveled to The Gambia, Africa with a group of students from the University of Illinois Springfield. They collected shoes, toothpaste, supplies, and financial donations to help children in the region.

“So many people supported me,” said Wilson. “I received a surplus in finances and because of that I was able to contribute $1,000 to the school I was working with.”

Wilson made it his mission to “pay it forward” with additional funds he had left paying for two children to attend school for the next 5 years.

The school was so touched by his donations that they built a pavilion and named it in honor of him.

“I am blessed to have such an honor, to have a building named after me,” said Wilson.

The trip has inspired Wilson to become an educator and hopefully one day change education policy around the world. For now, he has some simple advice.

“What I suggest for each and every one of you is do something, at least one thing in a focused effort, to make a difference,” he said.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

History Professor David Bertaina named the 2014 University Scholar at UIS

David Bertaina, associate professor of History at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been named University Scholar for 2014. The award, considered the university’s highest faculty honor, recognizes outstanding teaching and scholarship. Only one faculty member receives the annual award at UIS.

“Bertaina is an exceptional teacher and an outstanding emerging scholar in the field of comparative religion,” said Lynn Pardie, UIS Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost. “He is also known as a passionate, reflective, and engaging teacher who values active learning strategies and skillfully links learning to the demands and dilemmas of contemporary life in a global context.”

Bertaina has been recognized for his expertise in Middle Eastern religious literature and in Muslim-Christian interactions during the Late Antique and Medieval periods. He is currently conducting research on the Arabic writings of a medieval Muslim convert to Coptic Christianity, in preparation for a new book, titled Apostasy and Conversion in Medieval Egypt: Bulus ibn Raja on Islam.

“Colleagues in the field have praised him for the very high quality of his research and the groundbreaking nature of his contributions to Islamic Studies,” said Pardie.

He has published a monograph and an extensive array of book chapters, peer-reviewed articles in leading journals, book reviews, encyclopedia entries, and translations. He has also presented numerous papers at international and national academic conferences in his field.

At UIS, Bertaina teaches courses at all levels of the curriculum, including core methods and capstone courses, as well as electives within the History major and general education curriculum.

“It is also noteworthy that Professor Bertaina teaches very successfully in online as well as on-campus modes of course delivery, enlivening the learning process by incorporating multifaceted experiential learning activities, the creative use of multimedia, and course-relevant travel abroad into his courses. He is an outstanding example of the teacher-scholar ideal,” said Pardie.

Bertaina is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Oriental Society, the North American Society for Christian Arabic Studies, and the Society of Biblical Literature.

He obtained his doctorate in Semitic Languages and Literatures from The Catholic University of America. He taught at California State University at Chico before coming to UIS in 2007.

As University Scholar, he will receive $15,000 a year for three years to support research and other scholarly activities. Faculty do not apply for this award; they are nominated by their peers. A committee of senior faculty makes the final selection.

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