Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Leadership lived: Student gives back through volunteer work

When Marissa Farris was a junior in high school an admissions counselor from the University of Illinois Springfield paid her a visit. She loved what she heard and soon planned a trip to campus. Before long she was in love.

“From the start and I knew UIS was going to be the place for me for the next four years and that’s exactly what’s happening,” she said.

Three years later, Farris is now a business administration major at UIS. She’s president of the Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service fraternity, vice chair for finance and co-sponsorship for the Student Activities Committee, co-president of the Young Professional Marketers Association and mentors students in the Capital Scholars Honors Program.

On campus, she regularly volunteers with Alpha Phi Omega to clean up trash along 11th Street. She also gives back with the Leadership for Life Service Organization, helping to create fire prevention kits for the Red Cross and building a Habitat for Humanity home.

“It just makes me feel good,” she said. “It makes me feel like I’m making a difference, being a better person because I’m fortunate enough to never really have to worry about a lot of stuff in my life.”

Farris credits UIS for helping her prepare for her future.

“UIS has just given me the opportunity to get involved with a lot of student organizations,” she said. “I’ve been able to take on leadership roles and executive board roles at an early time in my college career, even as a sophomore.”

Following graduation, she plans move back to her hometown of Roxana, Illinois and open her own small retail business.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Hannah Cave honored with Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield senior Hannah Cave has been honored with the Student Laureate Award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

Cave, a Rochelle, Ill. native, is majoring in Global Studies at UIS with a teaching certification. She holds a 3.85 GPA while balancing a number of campus responsibilities, including being a resident assistant and serving as the student representative to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees during the 2014-15 academic year.

Her future plans include seeking a position as a high school social studies teacher, while pursuing a master’s degree, and eventually become a student affairs professional.

“I have always loved learning and want to continue doing so,” said Cave, who has made the Dean’s List for the past three and a half years.

Despite having “scarce” financial resources growing up, Cave said “The thought of not attending college never crossed my mind.” She lives by the motto, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Because of her love of learning, Cave said she choosing a major was a difficult process.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher, but my aspiration for traveling has kept me looking for more, hence my Global Studies major.” While attending UIS, Cave got the chance to study abroad in Finland last summer.

“With this plan, I will be able to continue to be a lifelong learner, while helping hundreds of others along the way,” she said.

Cave is involved on campus with the Capital Scholars Honors Program and intramural sports and has previously held positions on the Student Government Association.

In the community she is a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Red Cross, the American Lung Association and Making the Grade, where she serves as a role model to high school students.

“I have had an amazing time at UIS developing my leadership skills and growing as a person and a scholar,” said Cave. “My commitment to UIS is something that will never end as this is where I found my home, honed my skills, met lifelong friends and found myself,” she said.

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.

Friday, November 06, 2015

UIS honors three alumni for achievement, service and humanitarian work

The University of Illinois Springfield honored the significant contributions of Wenguang Huang, Tim Randolph and Delinda Chapman during the university’s annual Alumni Gala on Friday, November 6, 2015 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

The Alumni Achievement Award was given to Wenguang Huang, who earned a master’s degree in Political Affairs Reporting in 1991. Huang is considered the first international student to have enrolled in the program. Today, Huang is a writer, journalist and translator whose articles and translations have appeared in publications, such as The Wall Street Journal Asia, Chicago Tribune and The Christian Science Monitor.

Through his writing and personal experience, Huang is helping the West understand China’s complex society and the strict traditions embedded in it, which often lead to conflict, misunderstanding or even persecution.

Huang currently resides in the Chicago area and works for the University of Chicago. He has served as staff writer for the New York Times Beijing bureau, manager of media relations for Rotary International and speechwriter for the CEO of AON Corporation. He is best known for translating into English the books of noted Chinese dissident Liou Yiwu.

Huang’s own memoir, The Little Red Guard, was released in 2012. He also co-authored the book A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel: Murder, Money, and an Epic Power Struggle in China.

Tim Randolph was honored with the Alumni Humanitarian Award for significant contributions of leadership or service to improve the lives of others and the welfare of humanity.

Randolph received a bachelor’s degree in medical technology 1983. He is a tenured associate professor and chairman of the department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, Doisy College of Health Sciences, at Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center. He is also founder and President of Randolph World Ministries, Inc., a medical mission ministry that establishes and develops medical services in existing clinics in Haiti.

Randolph World Ministries provides a full range of medical services to over 20 Haitian clinics by offering training, materials, consultation, and personal visits to each facility; conducting mobile clinics in remote areas of Haiti where healthcare is unavailable; developing and implementing small business start-up companies to elevate individual families and grow a local economy; providing emergency relief following natural disasters and other types of urgent needs.

Prior to his work with Randolph World Ministries, Randolph was employed as a medical technologist at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield. While earning his doctorate degree from Warnborough University, he developed a new diagnostic test for sickle cell anemia to be used in developing countries – a test which earned a U.S. patent.

The Distinguished Service Award for extraordinary commitment, dedication and service to the advancement of the University of Illinois was awarded to Delinda Chapman. She earned a master’s degree in educational administration in 1974 and went on to earn a Doctorate of Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Chapman, retired in 2003 as Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services after serving more than 20 years in state government and agencies which provide services to women and children. Prior to that, she spent much of her professional career in education, successively serving as a teacher, principal and superintendent.

Chapman has also served as a volunteer leader at UIS, having served six years on the UIS Campus Alumni Advisory Board, and was a member of the National Commission on the Future of UIS. She is also a former member of the UIS Education Advisory Board and has frequently donated her time, talent and expertise to many efforts at the University, such as being a guest speaker for the annual scholarship luncheon.

She has also volunteered as on air alumni talent for WUIS fundraisers. Her leadership throughout the community has raised the visibility and profile of the University and of higher education.

For more information on the awards, contact Chuck Schrage, association chancellor for alumni relations at 217/206-7395 or

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

UIS professors help contribute to new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History

Michael Lemke, professor of biology at the University of Illinois Springfield, has helped to construct a new exhibit that will soon go on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. He was assisted by Keenan Dungey, UIS associate professor of Chemistry, who helped build prototypes on the Springfield campus.

The exhibit, “The Secret World Inside You”, explores the rapidly evolving science that is revolutionizing how we view human health. It will open to the public on November 7, 2015 and end on August 14, 2016.

According to the museum, the exhibit will explore the human microbiome. Our bodies are home to many trillions of microbes, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms. In any human, microbial genes outnumber the genes in human DNA by more than 100 to one. This new perspective leads us to look at our bodies not just as individuals but as entire ecosystems.

“Our work for the exhibit draws a comparison between the human microbiome of the digestive tract and microbial ecosystems in soil” said Lemke. “This can be demonstrated in a column of soil and microbes called a Winogradsky column.”

Lemke’s work with the New York scientists on the Winogradsky columns started as a teaching activity in 1999, led to a publication in a teaching journal, then to a time lapse video (published online) and finally to an invite in May to help with the exhibit.

“The challenge for us was to scale up these microbial columns to the size wanted by the museum,” said Dungey. “Few people have tried to make Winogradsky columns that were 6 feet tall, so we had to figure out how the chemical gradients would affect the microbial growth.”

Investigating the human microbiome is a very young science, and researchers are just beginning to understand what constitutes a “normal” microbiome, how it changes over time, and how it affects health and disease. But what is clear is that the effects of the microbiome on its human host are profound and multifaceted—and could play an important role in common health problems like allergies, asthma, obesity, and even anxiety and depression.

“The Secret World Inside You” will take visitors on a tour of the human body, making stops at places where microbes thrive: your skin—which, covering about 20 square feet, is your largest organ—and your mouth and your gastrointestinal tract, which is home to your body’s densest and most diverse microbial community, among others.

How do your interactions with microbes—from the type of environment where you grew up to the number of times you have taken an antibiotic, which destroys both bad and good bacteria—influence your health? In what ways can your microbiome be said to be its own organ? And is it possible that the state of the bacteria in your gut plays a role in your mental health?

“The Secret World Inside You” will explore these intriguing questions and more with interactive activities, videos, and a live theater where a presenter will show visitors how scientists are navigating this exciting new field of research.

This project is supported by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Patty Sullivan wins the 2015 CARE Award

Patty Sullivan, a graphic design manager in Campus Services, has been awarded the 2015 Chancellor’s Award to Recognize Excellence in Civil Service (CARE). The award is the highest honor annually awarded to a Civil Service staff member at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Chancellor Susan J. Koch announced the winner of the award during a breakfast on October 29, 2015. She also thanked all civil service staff members for their dedication to UIS.

Sullivan has worked at UIS for 25 years, starting as a typesetter in Printing and Duplicating in 1990. She later took a position as a graphic artist and now manages graphic design for Campus Services, in addition to her design work.

Her co-workers praise her for an outstanding work ethic, high quality standards and dedication to meeting customers' needs.

“Patty is truly Leadership lived in every sense of the meaning, always going the extra mile to please our clients,” said one of her nominators. “She comes in early and stays late, often not even taking a lunch and always chasing a deadline.”

Sullivan has helped to design some of the university’s most important recruitment tools, such as the Viewbook, a print publication that is distributed to high school students. She’s also designed the print edition of Illinois Issues magazine for the past 7 years.

Asked what she believes are the most important qualities for an employee to have, Sullivan responded “courtesy, commitment, and dedication.”

“Being responsive to the needs of others and committed to supporting everyone in performing their tasks to the highest standards makes work enjoyable and helps the institution function at the highest level we can achieve,” said Sullivan.

The CARE award was handed out as part of the 9th annual Civil Service Appreciation Day, which honors the over 300 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:
Gwen Cribbett, Admissions and Records Officer, Admissions
Melissa Funston, Administrative Clerk, Facilities and Services
Freida Kieffer, Child Development Associate, Cox Children’s Center
Eric Needham, Mailing Equipment Operator, Service Enterprises
Denise Rothenbach, Business Administrative Associate, Residence Life
Ceitha Steele, Human Resource Officer, Human Resources
Eric Woods, Office Manager, Capital Scholars Honors Program

The winner of the CARE award receives $500, plus a $500 donation made to the campus organization of his or her choice.

Leadership lived: International student takes on leadership roles at UIS

Nikhil Reddy Gudur chose UIS because he wanted to earn a University of Illinois degree. Now, the graduate Management Information Systems major is a leader on campus.

He is president of the Indian Student Organization and was elected internal vice president of the Student Government Association during a campus-wide vote.

“I got elected to be on the board to solve the issues of the students and be their voice,” said Gudur.

As an elected leader, he’s learned valuable lessons about leadership. He’s improved his ability to manage multiple tasks and to communicate. He’s also helped to plan large campus events, such as the Durga Dance night on campus.

As a native of Hyderabad, India, he has found UIS to be a welcoming place for international students.

“I’d recommend international students apply to UIS. You’ll have fun here,” he said.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

UIS Pulitzer Prize-winning alum honored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Kathy Best, a graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield Public Affairs Reporting Program and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, will be honored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) as the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient.

Best was nominated for the award by UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. The Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented to an individual who is an alumnus of a college or university that is a member of AASCU, who has achieved acclaim in his or her field, and who has made significant contribution to the public, intellectual or cultural life of the nation.

Best is currently editor of The Seattle Times. She joined the paper in 2007 and has held a number of leadership positions. It was under Best’s leadership that The Seattle Times staff earned the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism. A pioneer in digital media, Best led the paper as it followed the killing of four police officers and invited Seattle citizens to contribute tips, photos and videos, using Google Wave and other online sources, to inform the community—one of the earliest examples of use of social media during a community crisis.

Best continued to lead her team to success, receiving the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting and the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news, the industry’s highest honor, following their coverage of the fatal landslide in Oso, Wash., in March 2014.

Prior to The Seattle Times, Best held positions as assistant managing editor for Sunday and national news at The Baltimore Sun and as assistant managing editor/metro at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award has been presented for over 40 years. Best will join a long list of past honorees, including President Lyndon Johnson, who was the first to receive the award in 1972.

The award will be presented during the association’s Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, October 27, 2015.

Friday, October 16, 2015

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch receives SJ-R Legacy Award in Education

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch received the State Journal-Register Educator Legacy Award. This was the first year for the Legacy Awards. Winners were announced during the SJ-R First Citizen Gala and dinner.

The awards recognize noteworthy and extraordinary leadership in Sangamon County. The awards honor businesses, young entrepreneurs, health care professionals, educators and service leaders dedicated to selfless service.

Julie Cellini, a founding member of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, won the First Citizen award. That annual award dates back to 1963.

The Legacy winners besides Koch were: Emily Becker, young entrepreneur; St. Martin de Porres Center, nonprofit; Levi, Ray, & Shoup, business; and Dr. Edem and June Agamah, health care. There were six finalists for each category.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

History Professor Elizabeth Kosmetatou named 2015 University Scholar at UIS

Elizabeth Kosmetatou, associate professor of History at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been named University Scholar for 2015.

The award, considered the university’s highest faculty honor, recognizes outstanding teaching and scholarship. Only one faculty member receives the annual award at UIS.

“Elizabeth has garnered praise from students as well as colleagues for her enthusiasm, energy, and creativity as a teacher, and for the encouragement she provides to her students,” said Lynn Pardie, UIS Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost.

Kosmetatou is regarded as an expert on the period in Hellenistic history between the deaths of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE and of Cleopatra VII in 30 BCE. Her scholarship involves the interdisciplinary study of the story of the Attalids of ancient Pergamon, the votives of the temple of Artemis, and the epigrams of the poet Poseidippus of Pella.

“The depth and range of Professor Kosmetatou’s scholarship is a testament to her many academic skills and strengths,” said Pardie. Some of those skills include expertise in several areas of specialization, such as the analysis of ancient coins, inscriptions, literary and historiographical texts, and ancient politics. She is also fluent in English, Modern Greek, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Turkish languages, and she has a reading knowledge of classical Greek, Latin, Biblical Hebrew, Coptic, and Pharaonic Egyptian.

Kosmetatou has published multiple peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has additional work in progress, including projects titled The Votives in the Delian Artemision and History and Society in the Classical Period. She has also delivered numerous scholarly presentations at national and international conferences, organized international conferences in her field, and given invited guest lectures at universities in the U.S. as well as abroad.

At UIS, Professor Kosmetatou teaches courses online and on campus, and she received the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award in 2012.

She obtained her doctorate in Classics from The University of Cincinnati. Previously, she served as a lecturer of Ancient History in the Department of History at Ohio State University. She has participated in numerous archaeological digs in Greece.

As University Scholar, Kosmetatou 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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Leadership lived: Student-athlete winning in the classroom and on the course

Rebbecca Ramirez of Springfield has been playing golf ever since her father bought her a pair of clubs at a garage sale. Now, as a member of the Prairie Stars golf team, she’s played in 11 tournaments and has a stroke average of 82.91.

“I started playing golf when I was 12 years old,” she said. “We were just testing it out to see what I could do.”

At the University of Illinois Springfield, Ramirez is majoring in psychology and using what she learns in the classroom to help her on the course. She likes golf because the sport has helped her grow as a person and a leader.

“I just like the pressure that golf puts upon me because it makes me a better individual,” she said. “It’s just kind of like a life lesson it has taught me.”

Ramirez admits balancing her time on the course and in the classroom can sometimes be a challenge, but she’s found ways to manage her time and succeed. She was recently named to the Great Lakes Valley Conference’s Academic All-GLVC list for 2014-15.

“School does come first, even though golf is always on my mind,” she said.

After she graduates from UIS, she plans on earning her Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) certification and start coaching others in the sport she loves.

She’ll look back at her time spent at UIS and the lessons she learned fondly.

“In one word, I would say that UIS it’s been awesome,” she said.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Leadership lived: Student balances her love of music and the law

Breanna Hunt has always loved music. She started singing when she was 2 years old and now leads the A Capella Choir at the University of Illinois Springfield.

As the choir leader, she picks musical selections and helps mentor fellow students. She says signing A Capella can be challenging.

“It’s a lot more difficult than signing with an accompaniment because usually the accompaniment gives you your notes, but with the A Capella you have to find the notes on your own when you first begin or you get the starting pitches,” she said.

The English and Legal Studies major also sings with the UIS Ensemble Choir and is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society.

As a member of the UIS Mock Trial team she’s won several awards for her performance. Her experience on the team is helping to prepare her for her future career as a lawyer.

“I’m applying to law schools right now,” said Hunt. She feels UIS does a great job preparing students to become lawyers. “I know a lot of law schools, they teach you things that I have already learned, so I’m already going to be ahead of those students who haven’t learned it, which is a huge thing.”

As a commuter student from Chatham, Hunt says she’s made many friends on campus and credits her professors for helping her succeed.

“The teachers are great and I love them,” she said. “They’ve always been there and been understanding and I think that’s something you won’t get at another university.”

Friday, September 04, 2015

Leadership lived: Student gets a taste of political life as SGA President

Josh Lawson wants to be a lawyer and possibly run for political office one day. At the University of Illinois Springfield, the Legal Studies major is getting a taste of political life as the President of the Student Government Association (SGA).

“I decided to run for Student Government President because I really wanted to help out the students. I’ve found this is the best way to do that,” he said.

As SGA President, he runs regularly scheduled meetings and organizes town hall forums where students can express their concerns about campus issues.

“It’s important to have these sorts of meetings because it develops a relationship between the Student Government Association and the students,” he said. “It makes the students aware of who their student government leaders are, so if they have an issue they know what to do.”

Lawson is also president of the Mock Trial team, a member of the Model Illinois Government Moot Court, the Tau Sigma Honor Society and the Pre-Law Society. He also serves his country as a Sergeant in the Illinois Army National Guard.

“UIS has really taught me a lot about leadership,” he said. “The SGA as a whole goes to a leadership conference every year in St. Louis and they really develop and hone in on your leadership skills.”

Lawson says he’s found it easier to get involved at UIS because of the size of the campus.

“I feel that getting involved in Student Government has been a lot easier here at UIS than it would be at other universities, given the small size of the campus,” he said.

Following graduation, he plans to apply to law school. He knows the opportunities he’s received at UIS will benefit him in his future career.

“At the very least, it will definitely help with the leadership skills,” he said.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Leadership lived: Student helps incoming freshmen make the transition to college

The University of Illinois Springfield has always felt like home to Duane Willingham II. Now, he’s helping new students make the transition from high school to college.

This summer, the Sociology/Anthropology major worked as a Student Orientation Coordinator, helping incoming freshmen learn about UIS and get ready for the school year.

“I love working for orientation because we’re the first people who get to meet our incoming first-year students,” he said. “We’re a nice friendly face and get them to be calm and comfortable with the university.”

UIS was Willingham’s first choice for where he wanted to attend college. He fell in love with the campus after his first visit and has since recruited a few other students.

“I actually got my sister to come here and I’m working on my brother now,” he said. “UIS is definitely a school I recommend, especially if they want to come to a smaller college.”

Willingham is very involved on campus. He is the president of the Voices in Praise Gospel Choir and a member of the Christian Student Fellowship and the Black Male Collegiate Society.

Following graduation, he’d like to work for a non-profit organization where he can continue to make a difference.

“That’s what all my career goals are around, helping people,” he said.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Karen Swan to be inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame

Karen Swan, the University of Illinois Springfield James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, has been selected for the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame at the University of Oklahoma.

Swan is recognized as a leading researcher in the nation when it comes to the effectiveness of online teaching and learning.

She has received numerous awards, including the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award from UIS in 2014 and the Columbia University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010.

Swan was in inducted into the inaugural class of Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Fellows and in 2006 received the OLC Award for “Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual.” The award recognized her for national innovation, research and service in online learning.

Swan’s research is in the area of media, technology and learning on which she has authored over 150 publications, several hypermedia programs and two books and given over 300 presentations. Her current research interests center on online learning; in particular, the development of social presence and learning community in online and blended courses, online course design/redesign; MOOCs, and how taking online courses affects students’ retention and progression.

Swan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Connecticut, a Master’s of Education in Curriculum & Instruction from Keene State College, and a Master’s of Education and Doctorate of Education in Instructional Technology from Columbia University.

She will be inducted during a special ceremony held in conjunction with the American Association for Adult Continuing Education’s 64th Annual Conference in Oklahoma City, November 18th.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

UIS student Lauren Hollinshead receives inaugural Undergraduate Research Scholar Award

The Undergraduate Research Support Program at the University of Illinois Springfield has awarded its first Undergraduate Summer Scholar Award to Lauren Hollinshead, a senior biology major from Sherman, Ill. The award was made possible by gifts from the Alfred O. and Barbara Cordwell Therkildsen family.

Hollinshead used the award to conduct research at the Nature Conservancy's Emiquon Preserve near Havana, Ill., location of the UIS Therkildsen Field Station. Her work contributed to the research of her mentor, UIS Assistant Professor of Chemistry Stephen Johnson, a neuropharmacologist who studies venom for its potential as a therapeutic drug.

Through their research this summer, Hollinshead and Johnson investigated the structure and properties of sPLA2, an enzyme in bees and wasps. Johnson hopes the research will lead to a better understanding of the enzyme's role in pain and inflammation.

Hollinshead and Johnson began by collecting bees and wasps at the Emiquon Preserve and then painstakingly extracted the tiny, fragile venom sacs from each insect.

"That was the hardest part of my research," said Hollinshead, who admits to being frequently frustrated before she finished the task.

With venom samples in hand, Hollinshead began the analysis that would eventually isolate a group of proteins with the right characteristics for producing sPLA2 activity. She used advanced techniques and instrumentation, such as the ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer and SDS-PAGE, all of which she had learned to do during her undergraduate degree.

At that point, Hollinshead had to stop because the next step, identifying the exact protein that gives rise to sPLA2 activity, would require the use of advanced techniques, including tandem mass spectrometry.

"Dr. Johnson said it would take me a good ten years to learn how to use the mass spec properly," Hollinshead said, laughing a little.

Undergraduate projects like Hollinshead's allow students to do real-life research, build a collegial relationship with a professor and begin to perceive of themselves as professionals. All this strengthens their commitment to their college education and gives them incredible confidence. UIS hopes to offer many more experiences like this in all fields to students.

The work certainly inspired Hollinshead. She intends to eventually earn either a Ph.D. or go to medical school. For now, she's looking forward to more work with Johnson as she begins a master's degree in biology at UIS.

"Dr. Johnson is amazing," Hollinshead said. "He really motivated me to pursue research even more."

For more information on the Undergraduate Research Program, contact Keenan Dungey, director of the undergraduate research support program at 217/206-7345 or For more information on the venom research, contact Stephen Johnson at 217/206-7336 or

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

UIS Police Chief Don Mitchell honored with the Patriot Award for supporting military employees

University of Illinois Springfield Police Chief Don Mitchell was presented with the Patriot Award from the U.S. Department of Defense and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for his efforts to support military employees on August 12, 2015.

Mitchell was nominated by UIS Police Officer Martin Lyke, who is also a Staff Sergeant in the Army Reserve.

"Chief Don Mitchell is more than just a great employer, he is a great American. He understands the importance of our military and openly welcomes current military members to be a part of his department,” said Lyke.

Upon applying to become a police officer, Lyke was warned not to disclose his military status in initial interviews by officers from other departments. His military service was never an issue with Chief Mitchell.

“He was excited that I was still serving my country and guaranteed his support while I work at UIS. He provides me compensation and time off for military training and regularly checks on my family,” he added.

Mitchell served in the Army himself and also has a son that served. He has supported multiple UIS Police officers in fulfilling their military obligations.

“His efforts go above and beyond what is expected for an employer; and for that, he deserves the Department of Defense Patriot Award,” said Lyke.

The ESGR Patriot Award recognizes a supervisor for supporting National Guard and Reserve members. Any member of the National Guard and Reserve is eligible to nominate a supervisor for the award.

Three other UIS employees have received the Patriot Award in the last three years, including Kevin Beeson, Scott Fay, and former employee Keith McMath.

Monday, July 06, 2015

UIS Professor Michael Lemke’s research paper honored for excellence

Emerald Group Publishing named a paper co-authored by University of Illinois Springfield Biology Professor Michael Lemke as the Outstanding Paper of 2014 in the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society.

“On robots as genetically modified invasive species” was co-authored by Keith Miller, a professor at the University of Missouri – St. Louis and UIS emeritus professor of Computer Science. The paper explores similarities and differences between robots, invasive biological species, and genetically modified organisms. These comparisons are designed to better understand the potential effects of robots on human society.

The researchers found that robots entering human society in large numbers share many of the characteristics of an invasive species entering a new ecosystem. The authors also find that robots have several characteristics that are similar to a genetically modified organism. Taken together, these similarities suggest that society should be cautious about the introduction of large numbers of robots in a short period of time.

The paper is available for free download on the publisher’s website.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Reese named director of the Springfield campus nursing program

Cynthia Reese began this week as the new director of the Springfield regional campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, located on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

An accomplished educator and administrator, Reese was previously an assistant professor at Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing. She received her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Cincinnati, a master’s degree in medical surgical nursing from UIC and earned a Ph.D. in nursing science from Indiana University.

“I am very fortunate to have a role bringing UIC’s highly ranked undergraduate and graduate level nursing programs to the Springfield area,” Reese said. “The innovative partnership between the University of Illinois Springfield, Memorial Health System and UIC offers an exciting and unique opportunity to make a significant impact on healthcare for the citizens of central and southern Illinois.”

The UIC College of Nursing partnered with UIS and Memorial Health Systems last fall to make Springfield the college's fifth regional campus, joining Peoria, Quad Cities, Rockford and Urbana. Classes begin this fall for students seeking to earn a UIC Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Springfield.

The Springfield program can be completed in two phases. Freshmen and sophomores can take pre-nursing and general education courses at UIS. The second phase allows juniors and seniors to complete professional nursing courses taught by UIC nursing faculty on the UIS campus.

Reese is well known in Springfield. She was associate dean of nursing at Lincoln Land Community College from 2009 to 2014, serving as nurse administrator for the associate degree and practical nursing programs. At Lincoln Land she led major curriculum revisions and implemented a rigorous standardized testing program throughout the associate degree curriculum, which was followed by a jump in students passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) from 80 percent to 93 percent in one year.

In addition to her 15 years of experience teaching pre-licensure nursing students, Reese conducts research in clinical simulations, inter-professional education and instrument development. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and books, and she has been a presenter at national nursing meetings.

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

Ryan Croke selected as new associate chancellor for public affairs at UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield has selected Ryan Croke as the new associate chancellor for public affairs. He will also serve as chief of staff for UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch.

Croke, who was chief of staff to former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn from 2013 to 2015, succeeds Ed Wojcicki, who served UIS for more than 20 years.

His responsibilities include leading governmental relations efforts on behalf of UIS, managing UIS’ communications strategy and supervising the UIS Police Department.

“Ryan will be a great asset for our campus,” said Chancellor Koch. “He will also strengthen our ties in the community and bring a fresh perspective to our local, state and federal government relations efforts.”

“I believe in the mission of our public universities and am especially proud to call UIS home,” said Croke. “I’m eager to support the institution’s many students, staff and faculty as we continue to grow.”

Croke’s career in public service began in 2006 in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office. He later served as a policy advisor and deputy chief of staff to Gov. Quinn before becoming his chief of staff in October 2013.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005 and a master’s degree in communication in 2007.

Monday, June 01, 2015

UIS professor Rosina Neginsky organizes an international conference

Rosina Neginsky, associate professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Illinois Springfield, is organizing an international conference called “Angst in Symbolist Movement: Its Origins and Its Consequences". The conference is June 4-6, 2015 at the University of Paris IV in Sorbonne, France.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Symbolism, Art, Literature and Music in Symbolism and Decadence Research Center, founded by Neginsky. Other co-sponsors include the University of Illinois, The University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, the National Minister of Education in France and Research Council of the University of Paris-Sorbonne.

For more information, visit the conference website.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

UIS Alum Pamela McClelland honored for Outstanding Advocate Leadership by the U of I Foundation

The University of Illinois Foundation today announces Pamela McClelland, partner (retired) at Kerber, Eck and Braeckel and graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield, as the winner of the 2015 William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership.

The award will be presented at the UIS Celebration of Philanthropy on Thursday, May 21, 2015, at UIS. The U of I Foundation is the fundraising arm of the University of Illinois and its three campuses.

McClelland, who earned her bachelor’s degree in 1990 and master’s degree in 1995, came to UIS as a single mother in her forties. At the time, not intending to earn a degree, she enrolled at the university merely to refresh her bookkeeping skills. With encouragement from accountancy professors, like Don Stanhope, Pam soared and before long, graduated with highest honors.

She not only passed the certified public accountant exam, but won the Elijah Watts Sells Award, bestowed on students who score in the top five percent nationally on the CPA exam. The year she received the award 70,000 individuals took the exam.

“It’s one of the highest award the CPA exam taker can achieve,” said Leonard Branson, chair of the Accountancy Department at UIS. “This was a working mother who had a full-time job and a part-time job, a teenaged daughter and was going to school, so the Sells Award was a significant achievement.”

Pam joined Kerber, Eck & Braekel (KEB), one of Springfield’s top accounting firms, where her work with not-for-profits organizations was highly valued. On the way to becoming a partner, she added a master’s degree from UIS.

Since her graduation, she has had a role in bringing the following scholarships to UIS: the Donald F. Stanhope Alumni Scholarship, the Leona Vollintine Accounting Scholarship in Honor of Donald Stanhope, the Leona Stanford Vollintine Scholarship, the KEB Accountancy Scholarship, and her own scholarship, the Pam McClelland Accountancy Scholarship.

In addition to her advocacy for scholarships, Pam has been an active volunteer on campus, especially through the UIS Accountancy Alumni Advisory Committee and the College of Business and Management Advisory Committee. In 1999, she received the University of Illinois Alumni Association (UIAA) Loyalty Award, and in 2004, she became the first to receive the UIAA Distinguished Service Award. She is currently vice-chairman of the UIS Campus Alumni Advisory Board.

The William E. Winter Award, named for the CEO Emeritus of the 7-Up Company and a longtime member of the University of Illinois Foundation Board of Directors, celebrates individuals who play active roles in securing private support for the University of Illinois.

“Pamela McClelland is a champion of fundraising,” said Jeff Lorber, Vice Chancellor for Development at UIS. "She has tirelessly raised money for scholarships and has been a strong and effective leader of others on behalf of UIS.”

Past recipients of the William E. Winter Award include Cullom Davis, Bob Clary, Leonard Branson, Thom Serafin, Tom Marantz, Julie Kellner, Guerry L. Suggs and Michelle M. Suggs (deceased); Howard C. Humphrey (deceased), James Lundquist (deceased), and Clifford L. Greenwalt.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

UIS Public Health Professor Sharron LaFollette appointed to CDC Board

Sharron LaFollette, professor of public health at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been appointed to a 3-year term on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) board tasked with protecting America’s health.

The Board of Scientific Counselors for National Center of Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry provides advice and guidance regarding program goals, objectives, strategies, and priorities in fulfillment of the agencies’ mission to protect and promote people’s health.

“I am honored to be appointed to the BSC and appreciate the confidence placed in me to provide unbiased review of scientific information and public policy important to protecting public and environmental health,” said LaFollette.

LaFollette earned her Ph.D. in toxicology from Oregon State University 1989 and a master’s degree in biology from Sangamon State University (now UIS) in 1980.

Prior to joining academia, she spent eight years in Illinois government conducting multi-media risk assessments and providing risk communication and educational programs for physicians, public health professionals, and the general public.

She taught and was director of the Environmental Health Program at Illinois State University for eight years before coming to UIS where she is in her fourteen year.

During her time at UIS, she has served as Chair the Department of Environmental Studies and most recently as Chair of the Public Health Department. In addition, she served for a number of years as chair of Graduate Council.

She is currently the Graduate Chair of the National Environmental Health Science & Protection Accreditation Council where she also served for a six years as General Chair. LaFollette is past-president of the Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs, and past-president of the Illinois Environmental Health Association.

Her research and consulting are in risk evaluation, risk communication, workforce development, indoor air quality impact on health, and radon levels related to building dynamics.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

UIS alumnus Jeff Lightfoot named Horace Mann’s Educator of the Year

University of Illinois Springfield alumnus Jeff Lightfoot has been named the Springfield School District 186 Horace Mann 2015 Educator of the Year.

Lightfoot is currently a history teacher at Springfield High School and chair of the social studies department.

He’s been teaching at Springfield High since 1999.

Lightfoot also serves in an after-school program designed to put students back on track toward credit recovery and graduation, as well as being a student council chaperone and an organizer for the 100th anniversary of the current building.

He earned a master’s degree in political studies from UIS in 2005.

UIS Chemistry Professor Layne Morsch selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator

Layne Morsch, associate professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADEs) for 2015.

Morsch joins an elite group of more than 2,000 ADEs worldwide recognized for doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom.

Morsch teaches Organic Chemistry to second and fourth year college students at UIS. He began using an iPad in 2012 to more effectively engage students during lectures. He also encouraged iPads to become required course material for all students in his courses, which has given him the chance to write new laboratory experiments using the iSpartan app.

More recently Morsch was one of two pilot testers for ChemDraw for iPad, the next step forward to an active classroom. His “flipped” classroom also utilizes technology, by posting lectures on iTunesU, and using classroom time for individual and group problem solving.

“This freed up class time for 100% active learning,” said Morsch. “Students are given problems to work on individually or in small groups and are asked to explain their answers to each other within small groups.”

Morsch worked with another Apple Distinguished Educator to author a multi-touch iBook on organic chemistry, complete with quizzes, video, text and images.

As an Apple Distinguished Educator, Morsch will advise Apple on integrating technology into learning environments and share his expertise with other educators and policy makers. He will author original content about his work and advocate the use of Apple products that help engage students in new ways.

“My students are becoming more comfortable with using technology in their solutions to common problems,” said Morsch. “I believe this to be a vital 21st century skill for professional careers.”

Each year, Apple Distinguished Educators gather at ADE Institutes and education events around the world as well as online in the ADE community to collaborate on solutions to the global education challenges of today and tomorrow.

The Apple Distinguished Educator program began in 1994, when Apple recognized K-12 and higher education pioneers using Apple products to transform teaching and learning.

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

UIS Director of Athletics Kim Pate named a Woman of Influence

University of Illinois Springfield Director of Athletics Kim Pate has been named one of the five Security Bank and Springfield Business Journal Women of Influence as announced by the SBJ. She will be honored during a reception on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

The 12th annual program honors local women for their contributions to the Springfield area community. Winners are selected by their peers through submitted nominations.

“These women are significant for their valuable contributions in making Springfield an outstanding community,” said the Springfield Business Journal. “All have made important contributions to the community at large.”

Pate became Director of Athletics at UIS in 2011. Now in her fourth year, she oversees eleven varsity sports at UIS, a member of NCAA Division II and the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Prior to her current position, she served three and a half years as Director of Athletics overseeing eighteen varsity sports at Brevard College, a member of NCAA Division II and the South Atlantic Conference.

Under her leadership, UIS athletics and has seen the program grow both athletically and academically. She helped boost the STARS Club to record numbers in the second and third year of its existence. UIS student-athletes have posted their highest grade-point average under her watch and recorded the most community service hours since joining the Stars.

Pate began her life in intercollegiate athletics at Brevard as a four-year starter on the softball team. She was a two-time NAIA Academic All-American. Pate graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brevard, earning a bachelor’s degree in Business & Organizational Leadership. She earned her master’s Degree in Business Administration from Western Carolina University.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Star of TV commercial reflects on four years at UIS

Four years ago, Taylor Moore of Springfield was featured in a television commercial for the University of Illinois Springfield. In the final scene, she was shown in a cap and gown. Now, in May, she’ll be graduating for real with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

“When I first came here I was unsure about where I wanted to go for school,” said Moore. “I started here because I had no idea what I wanted to do next, but after my freshmen year I really liked the teachers.”

As a UIS Chemistry major, Moore has been able to work one-on-one with faculty members and participate in their research efforts.

In October 2015, Moore plans to move to California and start Chiropractic School.

Reflecting on her four years at UIS, she says “It went by really fast.”

Monday, May 04, 2015

UIS College of Business and Management honor society inducts 53 new members

The University of Illinois Springfield Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society chapter inducted 53 College of Business and Management students during a ceremony on May 2, 2015 in Brookens Auditorium.

Tom Gihl, vice president and COO of Illinois National Bank, was inducted as an honorary member. Faculty members David Larson, associate professor of Management Information Systems, and Shipra Gupta, assistant professor of Business Administration were also inducted.

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 the graduate students.

Students inducted at this year’s ceremony include:


Armington: Jena Marlatt

Bloomington: Eric Petersen

Champaign: Jeremy Scharlow

Countryside: Elma Dzaferbegovic

Crystal Lake: Shannon Manfre

Decatur: Michael Lipowsky

Fox Lake: Rebecca Nimsgern

Hillsboro: Michael Fuller

Jacksonville: Ross Barker

Mansfield: Vittorio Cascio

Peoria: Eric Seling

Petersburg: Robert Spath

Rockford: Ma Celeste Mores

Roseville: Richard Handzo

Saint Charles: Elizabeth Janeteas

Schaumburg: Hristina Minchev

Springfield: Monica Ala, Abdulmohsen Mohammad Albarqi, Zachary Berillo, Pratyusha Borancha, Aditya Chavan, Danielle Cherry, Preetham Kumar Dammalapati, Erin Egolf, Kasey Fernandez, Priyal Gandhi, Satvir Kaur Gill, Sathishkumar Gopu, Praneetha Harindranath, Aaron Holmes, Matthew Hull, Alyson Knapik, Mounika Lakkadi, Meenal Lanke, Sangeeta Mathi, Mukta Misal, Kalyana Srujana Mulpuri, Maureen Musuku, Nhung Nguyen, Ahsan Owais, Miranda Scott, Shaista Shaikh, Jun Sun, Siwen Tang, Amena Tayyab, Zhijin Wang

Taylorville: Greg Kilduff

Quincy: Joan Mast

Washington: Michael Stephens

Williamsville: Kristen Shaffer


Minnesota: Jacob Wherley (Richville)

Texas: Natalie Nowak (Montgomery)


Jamaica: Althea Webster (Westmoreland)

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.

For more information about the honor society and recipients, contact Jorge Villegas at 217/206-7972 or

Leadership lived: International student becomes leader on campus

When Lakshmi Prathusha Puppala traveled from India to the University of Illinois Springfield she didn’t know much about the campus. However, in her first two semesters on campus, she’s become heavily involved.

The graduate Computer Science major is president of the Indian Student Organization – Cultural, vice president of Global Sisterhood and Casera, an arts and crafts organization.

Puppala also works as a student worker at the UIS Women’s Center and recently took part in the Take Back the Night march and rally to end violence against women.

“Working in the Women’s Center really has been a great experience for me,” she said. “There are many events, every Friday we have TGIF, and now we are having Take Back the Night.”

She says UIS has taught her many leadership skills, such as how to plan a successful event.

“After coming to UIS, I really feel like UIS has given me a great platform to show who I am and show leadership skills,” said Puppala.

She’s also made many friends on campus both from the United States and elsewhere. “I have many international friends here,” she said. “It helps me to know more about different cultures and things that are happening in different countries.”

Overall, she would recommend UIS to fellow international students.

“I love UIS. It’s given me many memories and experiences,” she said.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

UIS Alumnus Mitch Pugh leads The Post and Courier to a Pulitzer Prize

Photo courtesy of
  The Post & Courier
The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, led by UIS Alumni Mitch Pugh, was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, for its in-depth series on the alarmingly high rate of domestic violence in South Carolina.

The five-part series “Till Death Do Us Part” was praised by the Pulitzer judges as “a riveting series that probed why South Carolina is among the deadliest states in the union for women and put the issue of what to do about it on the state’s agenda.”

Pugh, who is regarded as one of the journalism industry’s young innovators, was named editor of the paper in 2013.

Pugh is a graduate of Riverton High School and has an English degree from the University of Illinois Springfield.

After serving as a part-time sports reporter for The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Pugh went on to work for newspapers in Crystal Lake, Illinois, Colorado, St. Louis, Missouri and Sioux City, Iowa.

His work as an editor in Sioux City is credited with helping that paper win top industry recognition for both its print and digital products.

Pugh is married to Peri Gonulsen, daughter of legendary Sangamon State University soccer coach Aydin Gonulsen.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

UIS faculty members receive awards for excellence; promotions and sabbaticals announced

The University of Illinois Springfield held its annual Faculty Honors Reception on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. 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 emerita/emeritus status. Three major awards – the Pearson Faculty Award, the Spencer Faculty Service Award, and the Oakley Distinguished Online Teaching Award -- were also presented.

The Pearson Faculty Award for outstanding teaching was presented to Nathan Steele, associate professor of Management. The award recognizes a faculty member whose performance exemplifies our commitment to excellence in teaching and who stands among the very best teachers at the University of Illinois Springfield. Such a teacher both informs and inspires students, giving them the knowledge and values with which they may become productive and enlightened citizens. The award was established by a gift from Dr. Emmet and Mary Pearson, longtime benefactors of the campus.

Steele’s colleagues and students consider his courses rigorous and demanding, and yet student perceptions of his teaching place him among the most highly-ranked faculty in his college. He teaches a significant number of students each semester and, by all accounts, he does so beautifully – a testament to his passion for teaching as well as his expertise.

Steele is dedicated and diligent in keeping his courses current with the evolving literature as well as with best practices in his field. Colleagues who have observed Steele in the classroom describe him as gifted in oratory skills, as well as focused and intentional in course design. He uses multiple strategies to engage students of differing learning styles and preferences, and he incorporates experiential exercises to help students grasp complex topics and apply theoretical concepts to situations from their own professional experience.

“Nathan is also known as someone who genuinely cares about his students and who takes time to encourage and build confidence in those who find the material challenging,” said Provost Lynn Pardie. “Not surprisingly, many students regard him as inspirational.”

The Spencer Faculty Service Award was given to Dennis Ruez, associate professor of Environmental Studies. 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.

Professor Ruez has made extensive and meaningful contributions at the department, college, campus, and university levels, as well as to his profession and the community. He has served as chair of the Department of Environmental Studies since 2009. At the campus level, Ruez has served on more than 10 different committees, including the Research Board, the Biosafety Committee, the Instructional Resource Management Task Force, the Campus Senate, and the Undergraduate Research Steering Team.

At the University level, Ruez made significant contributions to the University of Illinois Open Source Textbook initiative, and he currently represents the UIS campus as a member of Vice President Schook’s Faculty Advisory Committee for Research.

With regard to service to his discipline, Ruez is a subject matter expert and reviewer for multiple journals in his field, including the Journal of Paleontology, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and Paludicola, and he is a member of the editorial board for the academic journal Geosciences.

“Dennis is also engaged in professional service and educational outreach to the broader community, delivering presentations on climate change and guest lectures on science education in the central Illinois region and serving as a subject matter expert as needed for media information requests relevant to his field,” said Provost Lynn Pardie. “He has worked with numerous organizations on environmental issues and special events for the general public.”

Roxanne Kurtz Smith, associate professor of Philosophy, was honored with the Burks Oakley II 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.

Kurtz Smith strives to be present with her online students and to connect with them as individuals. She works to make her course structures intuitively user-friendly and to help students new to the online environment acclimate quickly and smoothly. She routinely includes an “Ask the Prof” discussion thread, with an automatic alert system so that she knows whenever a student posts to it. She uses interactive writing assignments and forums, as well as online study and review sessions – often with a conference call component -- so that her students sense her availability and responsiveness.

She also utilizes informal and formal approaches to provide effective feedback and monitor student performance. She seeks student feedback regarding various components of her courses and makes a point to integrate suggestions.

“It is important to her to inspire students to find ways to embrace philosophy, to apply it so that they experience its value in their own lives. Based on student comments, she is successful in these endeavors,” said Provost Lynn Pardie.

Recommended for tenure and promotion to associate professor were Josiah Alamu, Public Health; Gwen Jordan, Legal Studies; and Michael Murphy, Women & Gender Studies. Atul Agarwal, Management Information Systems, was recommended for promotion to full professor.

Receiving the designation of emerita/emeritus faculty were Barbara Burkhardt, Dyanne Ferk, Shahram Heshmat, Sharron LaFollette, William Miller, Anthony Sisneros, Chung-Hsien Sung, and Pinky Wassenberg.

Sabbatical leaves were granted to Atul Agarwal, Svet Braynov, James Grubbs, William Kline, Elizabeth Kosmetatou, Michael Murphy, Rosina Neginsky, Elizabeth Ribarsky, Dennis Ruez, and Pamela Salela.

All promotion, tenure, sabbatical leave, and emerita/emeritus status recommendations are subject to approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Leadership lived: Transfer student chooses UIS to learn about state government


Nathan Piper transferred to the University of Illinois Springfield his junior year to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science. Now, as a graduate political science major, he’s serving in several leadership roles on campus.

Piper is the traditions co-coordinator for the Student Activities Committee. In that role, he helps to plan Springfest and Homecoming. During Springfest, students face off in a variety of fun competitions, such as a scavenger hunt and tug-of-war.

“We put in a lot of work,” said Piper. “We’re in the office two or three days a week for two or three hours a day. We’re planning constantly.”

He was also recently re-elected to his second term as Senate President of the state-wide Model Illinois Government student organization and elected secretary of the UIS College Democrats.

“I’ve loved the experience with Model Illinois Government. It’s taught me how politics works in the State of Illinois,” said Piper.

“My first year I was a state senator from the North end of Chicago and I simulated and role played for that position.”

Piper says he choose UIS because of the many opportunities to get involved in politics.

“I would love to work in state government,” he said. “I came here because I’m in the state capitol. State government is my passion.”

Whether it’s planning a Springfest activity or helping run Model Illinois Government, Piper says he’s learned many lessons thanks to his involvement.

“Leadership is about getting involved,” he said. “It’s about doing what you love. That’s what leadership is about. Finding your passion and jumping in.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jim Korte wins the 2015 CAPE Award

Jim Korte, dean of students at the University of Illinois Springfield, is the winner of the 12th annual Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award. The award was presented by Chancellor Susan J. Koch during a ceremony on April 23, 2015.

Korte has worked at UIS for 34 years, starting as director of housing and residential life in 1981, where he helped develop the campus first housing policies and procedures.

In 2002, he moved to Student Affairs, and currently serves as dean of students. In that role, he’s responsible for student advocacy and discipline. He also plays an integral role in recruiting, hiring, and training new students affairs staff members.

“Korte brings to all of his efforts at UIS warm collegiality, historical knowledge, reasonableness, caring, and a balanced perspective between the needs of students and the needs of the University,” said his nominator. “Jim Korte is an effective problem solver and works well with students, because he listens actively and finds solutions.”

Korte serves on a wide range of campus committees, search committees, and student life committees and serves as a mentor to student leaders. As the dean of students, he often helps students facing difficult situations.

“My greatest accomplishments are when I’ve assisted a student in resolving a problem, getting an answer to a difficult question and occasionally knowing that we’ve truly aided them in completing their degree or making a difficult decision,” said Korte.

Korte is a member of the Association of Student Judicial Affairs, a Boy Scout leader, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Educators Credit Union. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola University Chicago in 1975 and his master’s degree in education in guidance and counseling from Loyola in 1978.

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 2015 CAPE Award include Lori Benedict, James Burgdorf, Kimberly Craig, Clarice Ford, Kimberly Gonzalez-Beeson, Janelle Gurnsey, Brian Hodges, Matthew Panich, Kerry Poynter, Matthew Roberts, Donna Schaub, Carly Shank, Van Vieregge and Lisa Whelpley.

UIS Alumna Kathy Best helps lead The Seattle Times to another Pulitzer Prize

The Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best has worked for some of the best newspapers in the country.

On Monday, she delivered the news to her team that The Seattle Times had been awarded the industry’s highest honor - the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for its coverage of the fatal landslide in Oso, Washington, which took the lives of 43 people in March 2014.

Best is quoted in the Times as saying, “This is bittersweet because 43 people lost their lives. However, I’m incredibly proud of the way The Seattle Times staff covered the tragedy. We asked hard questions and we provided information to a community that needed it.”

This is the third time Best has helped the paper earn a Pulitzer Prize- also for breaking news in 2010 and investigative reporting in 2012.

Best graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield in 1990 with a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting. She has been an editor at The Seattle Times since 2007 and previously was an assistant managing editor at The Baltimore Sun, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 

Best’s 35-year journalism career began in 1980 with the Quad City Times, on the Mississippi River, along the Illinois-Iowa border. Best did two stints at the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the first as a Washington, D.C. reporter, later returning to be assistant managing editor.

She was the 2013 UIS Commencement Speaker.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Leadership lived: UIS tennis player stays busy on and off the court

Faith Hook has been playing tennis since she was 13-years-old. Her love of the game brought her to the University of Illinois Springfield to play for the Prairie Stars.

“Being a part of the tennis team, it’s a lot of time management, but it’s so much fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she said.

Hook is also busy off the court as a member of the Mock Trial team and Model United Nations. She volunteers with the Illinois Innocence Project and hopes to attend law school after she graduates from UIS.

“At the Innocence Project, we get cases from inmates and we’ll evaluate them, ask them for transcripts and associate back and forth,” said Hook. “I’ll come up with a case evaluation and present it during our meetings.”

Working with the Innocence Project and recently attending the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City have given her valuable hands on experience. During the conference, UIS students represented Bosnia and Herzegovina in mock debates on the United Nations floor.

“It’s just been an experience and something that will definitely help me in the long run and I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life,” she said.

The sociology and anthropology major credits UIS with helping her succeed and giving her the opportunity to be involved in so many activities.

“UIS is really good with not scheduling things over other things, so you can become involved in more than one group,” she said.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Retired UIS professor writes book on the history of racial integration in baseball's American League

Robert McGregor, emeritus professor of history at the University of Illinois Springfield, has written a new book on the integration of baseball entitled A Calculus of Color: The Integration of Baseball's American League.

“The book endeavors to address a familiar history in a new fashion. There are plenty of books on Major League baseball's integration (Jackie Robinson especially) and several good books on the Negro Leagues, but no book that really tries to combine the parallel stories of the two institutions,” said McGregor.

The book begins with a discussion of race in American history and next examines the experience of the Negro Leagues and why they were created. The book includes a chapter on the American League as it functioned in the late 1940s, followed by several chapters on the painfully slow process of integration.

“The American League was far more reluctant than the National League, opening opportunities to address the underlying issues,” said McGregor.

The Library Journal says McGregor “slams a home run in dealing with racism in baseball and the larger picture of American life. McGregor's book makes for a compelling read. A best sports book of 2015, and one that will stand the test of time.”

A Calculus of Color was released on March 31, 2015 and was published by McFarland, a leading independent publisher of academic and nonfiction books based in North Carolina. The book, available in soft cover, is available for purchase on the publisher’s website at

McGregor taught environmental history, early American history, and the history of popular culture, including a course on baseball before he retired after 26 years of teaching at UIS in 2012. He now lives in Corning, New York.

For more information about the book, contact McGregor at

Leadership lived: Student leads Alternative Spring Break trip

Before attending the University of Illinois Springfield, Brittani Provost says she didn’t know what being a leader meant. The Sociology and Anthropology major volunteered in high school, but didn’t fully realize the impact of her work.

“I’d been involved in different organizations, had done volunteer work and stuff, but I never really took on the idea of being a leader and what that meant,” said Provost.

At UIS, Provost is president of the Alternative Spring Break student organization. She recently led a group of 20 students on a week-long trip to Biloxi, Mississippi where they volunteered with Head Start preschoolers and students at the Boys and Girls Club. The group also participated in a coastal erosion prevention project.

“I was primarily looking for a Youth in Education trip,” said Provost. “It was something that Alternative Spring Break really hadn’t got involved in before and we kind of saw Mississippi as an area that needed help.”

At Head Start, UIS students spent time working alongside teachers in the classroom and helping with projects.

“I had the opportunity to help them learn how to read a little bit and write their names and they were on a nutrition unit, so we were working with kind of explaining things about nutrition,” she said.

On campus, Provost also oversees volunteer projects as co-director of the Leadership for Life and is a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program.

Following graduation, she wants to work for a non-profit agency and eventually earn her master’s degree.

“Obviously, my volunteer work and all the different leadership experiences that I’ve done have definitely contributed to that kind of work,” she said.

Provost encourages other people to get involved and volunteer.

“It might not be for everyone, but it definitely has something to offer you as far as growing as a person and being able to help the community,” said Provost.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

UIS Forensics Team wins big at national tournament

The UIS Forensics Team finished the 2014-2015 season strong, bringing home many awards and recognitions from the PCSDL National Tournament in Indianapolis on March 28-29.

Freshman Simon Andrews was awarded National Champion in Editorial Impromptu, 2nd place in Current Events Speaking and 5th place speaker in Student-Congress.

Team captain and senior Bob Gibbons was awarded 3rd place speaker in Student-Congress, 3rd place in Stand-Up Comedy and 5th place in PowerPoint Sales.

Junior Jerica Griffin won 6th place in PowerPoint Sales and 6th place in Stand-Up Comedy.

Junior Tabbitha Medina won 6th place in Audition Monologue.

The team took 6th place overall in the competition.

The team has had an outstanding season winning a total of 41 awards, the largest number earned since the team was re-established in 2011.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Leadership lived: UIS student lands job with Illinois House of Representatives

Senior political science major Garrie Allen credits the opportunities he’s been given at the University of Illinois Springfield for helping him land a full-time job with the Illinois House of Representatives before graduation.

Allen began his career in state government working on the House floor as a page and was recently promoted to a Committee Clerk.

“Right now, I’m a transcription editor, so we transcribe what happens on the floor and we write it down for people to be able to read,” said Allen. “I work on that, as well as taking the records for committee action.”

At UIS, he’s president of the College Democrats, Student Government Association External Vice President, a Resident Housing Association Senator and a member of Model United Nations and Model Illinois Government (MIG).

He was recently elected Speaker of the House during the Model Illinois Government simulation at the Illinois State Capitol in March 2015. MIG served as a gateway for helping him land his first job with the Illinois House of Representatives.

“After spending a year in Model Illinois Government, the (House) Sergeant at Arms actually asked UIS for help because he was so impressed by how we conducted ourselves. So, he asked us for help with paging and other things and we responded,” said Allen.

After he earns his bachelor’s degree in May 2015, Allen plans to earn his master’s degree in political science at UIS. One day he may consider a run for political office.

“I really want to serve my community and help in any way I can,” he said. “If that means running for political office, then I’ll do that; if that means standing behind the scenes and whispering to the guy who ran for political office that’s what I’ll do.”

Allen knows he wouldn’t be working at the capitol without the education he’s received at UIS and says it has completely changed his world view.

“Education opens your eyes to all types of different opportunities and ways of looking at the world, so I highly recommend UIS to anyone who’s considering coming here,” he said.