Wednesday, September 27, 2017

UIS faculty chosen to participate in inaugural Teaching Fellows Program

Ten faculty members at the University of Illinois Springfield have been chosen as the inaugural class of Excellence in Teaching and Learning Fellows.

The program, which began this year, is an effort to encourage faculty to engage with high impact teaching practices that can transform their teaching.

The group will meet monthly to discuss educational psychology and research-based practices.

Participating faculty will read and discuss literature that has been shown to improve student learning, as well as engagement practices from fellow UIS professors.

Fellows that participate in seven or more of the ten sessions will be eligible to apply for competitive implementation grants and travel grants to a conference targeted at improving teaching practices.

Faculty chosen to participate include: Angela Doehring, Carlee Beth Hawkins, Elizabeth Kosmetatou, Andrea Scarpino and Richard Stokes from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Carol Jessup and Sudeep Sharma from the College of Business and Management; Tiffany Nielson, Denise Bockmier-Sommers and Cynthia Wilson from the College of Education and Human Services.

The fellows were chosen by a committee made up of faculty and administrators representing each college.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Leadership lived: UIS student helps start Downtown Discounts program

University of Illinois Springfield political science and economics major Kaelan Smith is passionate about helping people in his community. He recently helped to start the Downtown Discounts program, which saves UIS students money at downtown businesses.

On campus, Smith is the vice president of the UIS College Republicans and is a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program, where he volunteers as a peer mentor. He is also currently interning at U.S. Congressman Darin LaHood’s Springfield District Office.

“The internship has taught me the professional organizational skills to make a government office work for the people and the kind of leadership skills it takes to be a successful public servant,” he said.

Smith helped start the Downtown Discounts program in his role as co-chair of State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez’s Higher Education Student Advisory Committee. Deals for UIS students vary, but often include a 10 percent discount at stores and eateries when students show their i-card.

“I had a lot of communication with business owners trying to get an idea of what kind of offers were best for their business strategy, but also I also talked to students to see what kind of program would really attract them to the downtown area,” he said.

Smith, who is from Clinton, Illinois, says he chose UIS because of its location in the state capital. Being in the seat of state government has given him many advantages when it comes to making connections and obtaining internships.

“UIS is just great for proximity. It’s right here in the heart of the state capital,” he said. “You meet so many professionals in state government and state politics and it’s an easy way to meet these people, get mentors and get opportunities.”

Thanks to his opportunities both on and off campus and the knowledgeable professors in the classroom, Smith says he’s learned many lessons about leadership.

“UIS has taught me that leadership requires a lot of thought, a lot of work and also thinking about the values you really want to impact in your community. The work and the measurement of what kind of leader you are is about the kind of values you leave in your community and whether or not you’ve made it a better place for everybody.”

Following graduation from UIS, Smith plans to work in state government before pursuing either a master's degree in public policy or attending law school. Afterwards, he hopes to work in a state’s attorney's office or in the public sector working on public policy or legislation.

Smith encourages other students who are interested in government and politics to attend the University of Illinois Springfield.

“If I could rethink it all over again, I would come back to UIS. UIS is a great place if you want to learn how to be a public servant, but also learn how to make your community a better place,” he said.

Lan Dong named the Schewe Endowed Professor at UIS

University of Illinois Springfield faculty member Lan Dong has been named the Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences. The endowed professorship will give Dong additional support to conduct research and other scholarly activities.

“Lan Dong has established a reputation as a ground breaking and prolific researcher in Asian American literature,” said James Ermatinger, dean of the UIS College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “She has emerged as an expert in comparative literature and has become a recognized scholar in studies of comics and graphic narratives.”

As part of the professorship, Dong looks forward to completing several projects, enhancing the reputation of Department of English and Modern Languages and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and further integrating research into teaching and mentoring students at UIS.

“It is a great honor,” Dong said, “and brings added responsibilities as well.”

Dong came to UIS in 2006 as an assistant professor of English. In 2012, she was named a University Scholar by the University of Illinois for her excellence in teaching and scholarship. She also received the Faculty Excellence Award for Scholarship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2011 and the Pearson Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence at UIS in 2012.

In her teaching, Dong specializes in world literature and graphic narratives, which use sequential art to tell stories. “The juxtaposition of textual and visual elements provides a sense of immediacy and helps shorten the difference between the characters and readers,” Dong said. “The reader’s experience of being a ‘witness’ makes the books and topics particularly relevant.”

As a result, students develop more interests in world culture, tradition and events and what they can do personally to help others, thus becoming engaged citizens.

Dong also teaches Asian American literature and children’s and young adult literature at UIS.

Dong’s research focuses on Asian American literature and more specifically on women. She has published a book on Mulan entitled “Mulan’s Legend and Legacy in China and the United States.” She has also written “Reading Amy Tan,” part of the Pop Lit Book Club series published by Libraries Unlimited, and edited the multi-contributor books “Transnationalism and the Asian American Heroine: Essays on Literature, Film, Myth and Media” and “Teaching Comics and Graphic Narratives: Essays on Theory, Strategy and Practice.” Most recently, she edited “Asian American Culture: From Anime to Tiger Moms,” a two-volume comprehensive study of Asian American cultural forms.

Dong came from China to the United States in 2000 for graduate school. After earning a master’s degree in comparative literature from Dartmouth College, she earned her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, also in comparative literature.

A bequest from Louise Hartman Schewe created the Louis Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Louise was a teacher and active civic leader in Springfield and Karl was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and A.G. Edwards and Sons, Springfield.

Endowed professorships at UIS create a lasting tribute to the donors who create them and are crucial for recruiting and retaining the high quality of faculty who are a hallmark of the University of Illinois Springfield.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Leadership lived: UIS student trustee plans future career in public service

Edwin Robles has always been interested in politics and hopes to one day run for office. At the University of Illinois Springfield, he was elected by the student body to serve as their voice on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

As the student trustee, Robles has a seat at the table at all of the board of trustees meetings. He regularly travels to the other U of I System campuses for meetings and helps cast the student vote on important issues.

“On the board, I represent UIS students at the university-level,” he said. “I try to make sure the university is making wise decisions, not only on the university-level, but for UIS students as well.”

At UIS, Robles is a political science and public policy major. He founded the UIS Football Club, a club soccer team which travels to play other colleges and universities. He is also a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and previously served as vice president for alumni relations. He has traveled with Model United Nations to New York City twice to participate in the annual simulation and will participate for a third time this spring.

“UIS has taught me a lot about leadership,” he said. “It has given me the insight on what it means to be a leader and a good leader. Often you have to put in a lot of work, sometimes a lot more than others, but it’s alright because at the end of the day the outcomes are worth it.”

As an elected student leader, Robles wants UIS students to know he’s here to listen to issues that students might be facing. He has an office on campus where students can come by and speak to him about issues that are important to them.

“The reason I decided to run for office was because I really cared about the university, I really cared about UIS students,” he said. “I wanted to make sure the community was growing and that students had leadership that cared about them.”

Following graduation from UIS, Robles wants to join the United States Navy as an officer. He plans to earn his master’s degree in political science and eventually a Ph.D.

“I do want to run for office,” he said. “That’s one of the things that I do want to do in the future and making sure I can be a public servant for the people.”

Robles encourages prospective students to consider UIS because of the right-sized supportive community and the abundance of opportunities for students.

“The community here is amazing,” he said. “Everyone kind of knows each other and at the end of the day, I’m really glad to call myself a Prairie Star.”

Friday, September 08, 2017

UIS and SIU researchers to collaborate on mapping asthma and COPD healthcare in Springfield

Five faculty and staff from the University of Illinois Springfield, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville have been awarded grants from the Caryl Towsley Moy, Ph.D., Endowed Fund for Collaborative Research to study asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Sangamon County has among the highest number of emergency department visits related to asthma and COPD in the state. Wiley Jenkins, Ph.D., associate professor in the Office of Population Science and Policy at the SIU School of Medicine and Egbe Egiebor, Ph.D., UIS assistant professor of public health, are employing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to discover patterns and correlations that might aid in the treatment of adults with asthma and/or COPD.

By mapping these incidents and correlating with environmental factors, geographically targeted interventions will be developed to increase health and decrease costs. Maithili Deshpande, Ph.D., SIU Edwardsville assistant professor of pharmacy, Kristin Osiecki, Ph.D., UIS assistant professor of public health, and Amanda Fogelman, SIU School of Medicine Population Science and Policy senior research development coordinator, will also will join the team.

Richard Moy, M.D. (1931-2013), founding dean of the SIU School of Medicine, and his sons Philip and Eric Moy created the $250,000 endowed fund at UIS in honor of their wife and mother, former professor Caryl Moy (1932-2010). The fund supports faculty from UIS and the SIU School of Medicine who do team-based research. Caryl Moy taught for 21 years at UIS (then Sangamon State University) beginning in 1970. She also served as a clinical professor at the SIU School of Medicine.

For more information, contact Keenan Dungey, UIS associate vice chancellor for research and institutional effectiveness, at 217/206-8112 or

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Leadership lived: Transfer student takes full advantage of all UIS has to offer

Garrad Straube transferred to the University of Illinois Springfield to be part of the men’s cross country and track and field teams. The criminology and criminal justice major has taken full advantage of all that UIS has to offer and is currently completing an internship at the Illinois State Police Academy.

On campus, Straube works as a student ambassador for UIS Admissions where he gives prospective students and parents campus tours. He is also the treasurer for the Tau Sigma National Honor Society chapter at UIS, a member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Straube started his career as a runner while attending Quincy High School. He ran at a junior college before transferring to UIS where he is now a leader on the team. He enjoys mentoring younger students on the team and helping them grow.

“Being a team captain for the cross country team has just been phenomenal,” he said. “It’s hard to say you’re a team captain when you’re with a bunch of guys who invest as much as you are, but being a team captain, being a leader, on the cross country team, being able to bring them along has been just awesome.”

As an intern at the Illinois State Police Academy, Straube completes administrative tasks and has also been able to ride along with troopers on the ground and in the air. He’s also interned with the SWAT team and other departments within the state police.

Following graduation from UIS, Straube would like to become a police officer and hopes to work for the Illinois State Police.

“I think in law enforcement you can’t be afraid to do the right thing,” he said. “That’s kind of my emphasis that I want to do the right thing. I want to be a pillar in the community and I want to be a person that people can say ‘yeah, he’s a good cop or a good person’. That’s my goal.”

As a UIS student ambassador, Straube says it’s often his job to “sell” UIS to prospective students and parents. He says that’s an easy job.

“I came here my junior year and I’ve been able to find my own home within UIS. I love it here,” he said. “It’s so easy to sell a school where they invest in you as much as you invest in them.”