Monday, August 3, 2020

GLVC postpones soccer, volleyball seasons

The University of Illinois Springfield’s soccer and volleyball seasons have been postponed until the second semester due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Great Lakes Valley Conference’s Council of Presidents voted to postpone the majority of its fall sports “based on guidance from the league’s athletics directors and an extensive review of the recommended testing and safety measures developed by the NCAA Sports Science Institute,” according to the GLVC’s announcement on Monday.

Football was also postponed in the GLVC. Each of the fall sports affected — football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball — were determined high risk by the NCAA Sport Science Institute, based on a consensus by the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine COVID-19 Working Group.

Student-athletes may still train outside of the playing season beginning Sept. 7 or on the fourth day of classes for the fall term under the NCAA’s countable athletic related activities (CARA) rules.

UIS athletic director Peyton Deterding, who started his first day on Dec. 9, said student-athletes are expected to arrive on campus with the rest of the student body on Aug. 24.

“We are looking at ways to still provide meaningful opportunities for student-athletes and one of those is they come back to campus,” Deterding said. “Obviously some have been away from their sport for a little bit of time, so we’re looking for ways to continue with practices and strength and conditioning in a safe environment. If we can do it in a safe environment, it allows us to build some team camaraderie and team unity and get them back to playing sports.”

UIS’ opening soccer games were scheduled Sept. 6, after their schedules — featuring only conference games — were released in June. The UIS volleyball team was also set to open the year Sept. 3.

Cross country, however, was determined medium risk and will still be permitted to compete this fall with the GLVC meet scheduled for Oct. 24. The UIS cross country teams are slated to begin with a home meet Sept. 4 but that may change, according to Deterding.

Golf and tennis, each judged low risk, will also be allowed to compete in their non-championship segments in the fall and continue their season into the spring when their respective championship seasons begin.

Baseball and softball — considered medium risk — will be permitted to have only intrasquad competition on campus in the fall.

The GLVC said in its press release that it has established Oct. 1 as the deadline to determine the competition start date for men’s and women’s basketball, each considered high risk.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on July 27, 2020.

Helping teachers adjust to eLearning

While 2020 can present a learning curve for parents and students taking on remote learning , teachers want them to know they aren’t alone in making the adjustment.

The Illinois Online Network (ION) started about 20 years ago and has been at the University of Illinois Springfield for about three years. This year, the programs have seen a record number teachers signing up to take their courses. Executive director Vickie Cook said more than 2,000 teachers have learned from the programs since March. 

“Now everyone has been forced to into online, remote, blended types of education. So faculty who didn’t necessarily have the need to learn this type of skill now find themselves in a situation where it’s pretty crucial that they get up to speed pretty quickly,” Cook said.

Teachers who want to learn more about how teach remotely can sign up for the program’s fall term which starts August 24th. ION has also hosted free webinars to help teachers adjust to conditions presented by the pandemic. They are hosting two free webinars on August 6th and 13th for K-12 educators. 

This story appeared on WCIA on July 20, 2020.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

UIS Perspectives: Working together for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

The following is an excerpt from a column by Justin Rose, University of Illinois Springfield director of diversity and inclusion. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on July 20, 2020.

When it was written in 1776 ”... that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” it was surely the most amazingly written expression in the Declaration of Independence. Sadly, our country’s practice of that document, the Constitution, and the Amendments to follow did not necessarily reflect that message.

Over the past 244 years, we have witnessed these words being selectively applied to uniquely advantage one group over another, as much of our history has its connection to the creation and implementation of slavery. In short, slavery in America has been a system in which property law principles are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy, and sell other individuals as a form of property. Over the lifespan of America’s development, we have seen this system morph due to many brave, courageous, and servant leaders who fought against the intense overt oppression and subversive suppression. Decade after decade, these Davids of our time took on the Goliath of our nation — racism.

America’s issues are vast and people want to see change, particularly our traditionally marginalized and underrepresented communities. I, myself, subscribe to that notion. As a Black male working at an institution of higher education, I have witnessed my students expressively say they feel they live in an America that does not love them.

Those words scream out to me a much louder message. To me, they place attention on what our America’s history has been and why we all need to stand up for the rights of those who are continuously scraped, cut, and gashed — left to bleed. I firmly believe, in order to begin healing, we have to stop the bleeding. With that as the chorus in mind, we need to seek to apply the doctrine the way it was so eloquently written so that we can see reflected an America that pulls people from the margins into the larger picture — thus allowing for real opportunity at Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

At UIS, we have decided to not turn a blind eye and to recommit ourselves to the alignment of the doctrine. The recent national events of racial injustice have reawakened the world and have been front and center for us. We are ensuring our students, staff, faculty, and administrators (myself included) are not ignoring the long history, practice, and ideology of systemic racism. Standing firm with the Black community and other marginalized groups who are deeply entrenched in the fight towards justice is our fight.

Listening to our campus community’s experiences has prompted the launch of our comprehensive “How Do We Heal Pathway Forward” resource guide, which can be found at uis.edu/diversitycenter/. The guide is designed to be interactive/clickable/digestible for people to learn. It has video features, web links to learn how to be anti-racist, and web links to enhance civic involvement. But equally as important, it has the framework for our “Where We Can Go” Diversity Mini-Series. The July Diversity Mini-Series is now entering its third week with programs addressing the current civil unrest on issues of Race, Police Brutality, and Allyship.

We believe that exploring these topics and helping our students, staff, faculty, and administrators through our weekly discussion opportunities is helping us move forward together. We believe it is a part of the formula to help shape a community rooted in equity, justice, and inclusion — you know, like the declaration that was so eloquently indoctrinated for our nation to follow.