Thursday, September 30, 2010

Big '08 win boomerangs on Democrats

In Washington, where short-term political gain often morphs into long-term political pain, the breakthrough victories of President Obama and the Democrats in 2008 are coming back to haunt them in 2010.

In Mr. Obama's home state of Illinois, where Republican Rep. Mark Steven Kirk is in a dead heat with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois state treasurer.

The Illinois race seemed unlikely two years ago after Mr. Obama resigned his seat to move to the White House. Filling it in such a heavily Democrats state with a Democratic governor seemed to be a mere formality.

Kent Redfield, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield, said that if Mr. Obama still held the Senate seat, "he would essentially just be cruising toward re-election" and that Mr. Kirk likely would not have run.

"The Senate seat would not be in play," Mr. Redfield said.

Redfield's comments were featured in a September 30, 2010, article in the Washington Times.

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Celebrating excellence in online education

In November the Sloan Consortium will present its 2010 awards, which recognize 'excellence in online teaching and learning.'

Earlier this year, the Sloan Consortium released its annual report on the state of online education in the U.S. The report showed that in fall 2008, over 25% of students were enrolled in at least one online course. That's an increase of more than 100% since fall 2002, when only 9.6% of college students took any courses online.

These growth patterns have continued through the recession at many institutions. For example, the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) set new records for online and 'blended' student enrollment for the past 36 terms. (Blended students take a mix of online and on-campus courses. Blended courses are those that have both online and on-campus components.) Currently over half of the students at UIS take at least one course online, and more than 5,000 students are enrolled in online degree programs offered by the school.

Raymond Schroeder, director of the UIS Center for Online Learning and winner of the 2010 Sloan-C award for leadership, notes that the economic downturn has led many students to try finishing degree programs as quickly as possible. Online learning is popular among these students because it offers them the scheduling flexibility they need for accelerated learning.

UIS was featured in a September 27, 2010, report by Education-Portal.com.

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College drinking a tough battle to fight

Officials and staff from college towns, the colleges, and state government are getting together to try to figure out the next ways to combat underage drinking. The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is hosting the second annual College Town Summit at the governor's mansion in Springfield.

Judy Shipp, executive director of the counseling center and student support services at the University of Illinois at Springfield, says too many college students believe they're just drinking the same amount of alcohol and as often as other college students, when the reports indicate that the averages are less and less often.

Shipp's comments were featured in a September 28, 2010, report by the Illinois Radio Network.

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UIS volleyball team wins home debut over Benedictine

Playing at home usually brings added pressure, but for the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars volleyball team, taking the court at The Recreation and Athletic Center was a relief Tuesday.

After a month-long road trip that included 13 away matches, UIS finally played at home. The Stars beat the Benedictine University at Springfield Bulldogs 25-15, 25-13, 25-22 in front of 210 spectators.

“The returning players said this is the most fans they’ve ever seen in the stands,” UIS junior outside hitter Sam Krilich said. “We asked them, ‘Is this the most fans you’ve ever seen?’ and they said, ‘Definitely.’’’

An 11-kill effort from Krilich lifted the Stars. It wasn’t pretty at times, but UIS (4-10) managed to hold off the Bulldogs’ rally in the final game and beat Benedictine (3-13) comfortably.

UIS coach Angie Riggle would like to see her squad play a lot cleaner.

“We did a good job of moving the ball around, but mentally we were out of it,” she said. “A lot of our errors were mental mistakes that were unforced errors.

The volleyball win was featured in a September 29, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sloan awards honor nation's top online programs

The University of Illinois—Springfield is among the winners of the 2010 Sloan Consortium Awards for Excellence in Online Teaching and Learning.

Sloan is an online education association with more than 200 institutional and 700 individual members. Awards were given to schools nominated from Sloan’s pool of member institutions.

The University of Illinois—Springfield’s Masters of Teacher Leadership Program was dubbed the most outstanding online program. During their two to three years in the program, students, most of whom are already employed as K-12 teachers or school administrators, receive financial aid tips from advisers and work with tenure-track professors—not adjuncts—who are eager to apply their teaching skills to the online realm according to the program’s director, Scott Day.

Michael Chitty, middle school principal at Mansfield Christian School in Ohio and a Teacher Leadership Program student, says the course has taught him techniques that have enhanced his abilities as a school administrator. He says that he has been able to balance his life as a principal, father of five, and graduate student because the program accommodates his schedule. “It’s an extremely efficient program—very user friendly,” Chitty says. “The communication with the professors is outstanding.”

The Sloan awards were featured in a September 28, 2010, article by U.S. News & World Report.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

UIS wins outstanding online award

Ten years ago the University of Illinois Springfield created an online master's program called Teacher Leadership.

Now the MTL program is being nationally recognized with the 2010 Outstanding Online Program Award. The honor comes from the Sloan Consortium, which is comprised of 1,200 institutions of online higher eduction.

The group praises UIS saying it "provides a high quality program to teachers in rural sections of Illinois who would not otherwise have the opportunity to complete a graduate degree."

But online programs at UIS go far beyond Illinois' borders.

"Here at UIS more than one quarter of our students are online majors, who reside in 47 states and a dozen foreign countries," said Ray Schroeder, director of the Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service (COLRS) at UIS.

The story was featured by WICS-TV 20 in a September 26, 2010, report.

Watch the story on News Channel 20's website

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Cyber Attack Exercise held at UIS

College students from all around the state are at UIS in Springfield hacking into computer networks. The university is hosting a Cyber Attack Exercise that allows these students to learn different ways hackers might exploit a machine.

It's a big city's idea of a really bad day. A power plant is compromised. Someone has attacked a power grid and wiped out the control systems. This attack sends the city into a black-out. This is just one incident confronting students in a mock cyber attack.

The Cyber Attack Exercise was featured by WICS-TV 20 in a September 24, 2010 report.

Watch the story on News Channel 20's website

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UIS Men's and Women's soccer teams earn first win of the season

Women's Soccer:

Chatham Glenwood High School graduate Erin Egolf scored three goals and the University of Illinois Springfield posted its first-ever Great Lakes Valley Conference victory, beating Kentucky Wesleyan 4-1 Friday at Kiwanis Stadium.

The victory was also the Prairie Stars’ first of the season and moved their record to 1-6-0 overall and 1-5-0 in the GLVC. Kentucky Wesleyan dropped to 2-5-0 and 1-5-0.

UIS struck early as Egolf, a sophomore, tallied her first goal of the night at the 5:40 mark after she took a feed from Katlin Petersen. The Panthers tied it at 18:41, and the half ended 1-1.

The second half was all UIS. Ashley Stariha gave the Prairie Stars the lead for good at the 58:25 mark with assists coming from Casey Thorpe and Kaitlyn Ebarb.

Men's Soccer:

The University of Illinois Springfield posted its first-ever Great Lakes Valley Conference victory and new Prairie Stars coach Chad Jones recorded his first win as UIS beat Kentucky Wesleyan 2-1 at Kiwanis Stadium.

UIS improved to 1-5-1 overall and 1-4-1 in the GLVC while the Panthers fell to 2-6-0 and 0-6-0.

The Prairie Stars got on the board first when Ahmedtayib Haji scored unassisted at the 20:43 mark.

Early in the second half UIS got what would be the game-winner from Brandon Belcon who tallied off an assist from Frank Rodriguez at 49:53.

The wins were featured in a September 25, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Thorpe helps 0-6 UIS make painful progress

Patience is a virtue, and University of Illinois Springfield women’s soccer player Casey Thorpe has learned it is worth it in the end.

Although at times it has been a bumpy ride, she has been with the program since Day 1 three years ago when UIS played its first match. Had the center midfielder/forward from Collinsville not redshirted that first season, she wouldn’t be on hand right now to witness the gradual improvements the Stars are currently making.

“It was kind of a waiting game,” Thorpe said. “It just takes time for things to fall into place. It takes patience. It has been well worth the wait.”

UIS is showing signs of improvement after a 2-14 season in 2009 that included a stretch of 14 straight games without a goal.

The Stars are 0-6 overall but have avoided being blown out in their first six games. Their last four matches have been decided by a single goal.

Thorpe was featured in a September 24, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Interview: Berman's goals for UIS

University of Illinois Trustees have approved the appointment of Harry Berman as University of Illinois-Springfield Interim Chancellor. Chancellor Richard Ringeisen is retiring at the end of October.

Berman has been on campus for more than 30 years. He has served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UIS since 2005. Berman says he has several goals for the University and expects a working relationship with the U of I's larger campuses in Chicago and Urbana-Champaign.

Berman does not plan to apply for the permanent position.

He spoke with WUIS Public Radio's Jenna Dooley in a September 24, 2010, report.

Listen to Berman's Interview

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UI trustees approve new budget

Following a report that said the state budget is doomed without pension reform, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees adopted a 3.9 percent increase in its operating budget.

The UI's total budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which began July 1, is almost $4.8 billion for the three campuses.

Comptroller Walter Knorr told the board, which met Thursday at the Illini Union, that the state was behind $245 million, despite a recent $78 million payment.

The board also approved an interim chancellor for the Springfield campus, Harry Berman, and conferred emeritus status on retiring UI Springfield Chancellor Richard Ringeisen.

The board news was featured in a September 24, 2010, article in the Champaign News-Gazette.

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United Way grants to help Sangamon County's needy

Two grants announced Sept. 14 will help supply computers and medical care for Springfield citizens in need.

The United Way of Central Illinois gave the two grants totaling $46,000 to Springfield-based charities Computer Banc and the Sangamon County Medical Society to support new programs at both organizations as part of the United Way’s “Venture Funds” program.

Tosha Cantrell-Bruce, a professor with the University of Illinois Springfield’s Department of Public Administration Nonprofit Project, will collect data from the Computer Banc program to evaluate its effectiveness.

“We want to see how the presence of computers in low-income homes influences performance indicators,” she says. “We’ve found some similar studies, but nothing quite like this, so we’re excited to see how it turns out.”

Cantrell-Bruce's comments were featured in a September 23, 2010, article in the Illinois Times.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Preventing online dropouts: Does anything work?

You can improve retention, and the University of Illinois at Springfield has done so by assigning staff members to serve as informal advisers and advocates for online students, says Ray Schroeder, director of the Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service.

Called program coordinators—different colleges have varying names for the position—these advisers basically become the on-campus "best friend" of online students. They help them navigate the university bureaucracy and facilitate communication with professors. They might work with the financial aid office to find a program that can help, for example, or negotiate an "incomplete," an extension to finish the class.

"In many cases, just having a sympathetic 'sounding board' for a student who feels isolated at a distance can help the student to know that they are not alone," Mr. Schroeder says in an e-mail to Wired Campus. "Without that connection, an isolated, distant student may simply drop out."

Online student peer mentors are effective, too, Mr. Schroeder says.

UIS online learning was featured in a September 22, 2010, article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Candidates use others to boost or deflate image

Rod Blagojevich, Karl Rove, Barack Obama and former U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller have something in common this election season.

Each of them is being cast as a bogeyman in a number of races throughout Illinois and the nation.

Chris Mooney, a political scientist at the University of Illinois-Springfield, said using bogeymen is a way for candidates to simplify the selection process for voters who aren't paying a lot of attention to the candidates' positions on issues.

"They want to make is easy for the voters," Mooney said.

Mooney's comments were featured in a September 23, 2010, article in the Bloomington Pantagraph.

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Prairie Stars to have new look on basketball court

It’s only been two weeks since University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars men’s basketball coach Ben Wierzba was hired, and he’s still in the getting-to-know-you phase with his team.

“They see me every day,” Wierzba said. “We’re getting familiar and getting used to each other.

“I was always excited to be a head coach. After working with these guys the first day or two, I was even more excited. Their ability, effort and skill level have been very encouraging.”

Wierzba isn’t the only person new to the program. Newcomers — nine in total — outnumber returning players.

Five players return from the 2009-10 squad that compiled records of 11-13 overall and 7-11 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

The basketball team was featured in a September 23, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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UIS notes: Women's soccer squad hopes to turn close calls into victories

The University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars women’s soccer team is hoping to turn a string of close losses into victories.

The Stars have lost four straight matches by a single goal, which includes a 4-3 defeat last Friday to Missouri-St. Louis and 2-1 overtime loss to Maryville on Sunday.

“After the game Friday, I hadn’t seen a team that excited,” UIS women’s soccer coach Pete Kowall said. “They certainly worked hard and good enough to score some goals.

“We have gotten better. In both games, we had chances to score. We haven’t quite gotten over the hump.”

The team was featured along with information on the men's soccer team, volleyball team, and the new UIS athletics website in a September 23, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

UIS takes top honors in online learning

The University of Illinois-Springfield has been honored with two awards for its online learning opportunities. The awards come from the Sloan Consortium, a national group of online educators.

The online Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership program at UIS is this year's recipient of the 2010 Outstanding Online Program Award. The program, in its 10th year, is designed specifically for educators in a classroom situation who want to take on leadership roles. Since 2001, nearly 600 teachers have obtained their masters degrees in the Teaching Leadership program.

Ray Schroeder, director of the Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service at UIS is the recipient of the inaugural Frank Mayadas Leadership Award. The award is the highest individual recognition offered by the Sloan Consortium and was voted on by a committee of leaders in higher education. Schroeder says Mayadas is known as the father of online learning.

The awards were featured in a September 21, 2010, report by WUIS Public Radio.

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A growing number of grads can't afford to pay back loans

The number of borrowers defaulting on their student loans is at a ten year high.

According to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education. Seven percent of students who took out loans to pay for college defaulted between October 2008 and September 2009. The jump in student loan defaults comes at the same time unemployment amongst degree holders skyrockets from 1.8 percent in 2006 4.7 percent in 2009. A scary reality for those who will soon be heading out into the real world.

UIS Financial Assistance Director Gerard Joseph and graduate student Anthony Thomas-Davis are interviewed in this September 20, 2010, report by WICS-TV 20.

Watch the story on News Channel 20's website

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Gov's job message quiet

On the same day Illinois got some better job news, Gov. Pat Quinn got another chance to talk about the state’s improving economy. But it remains to be seen if voters will ever hear the good news.

Many of Quinn’s commercials and campaign ads have focused on the negatives about GOP challenger Bill Brady.

University of Illinois at Springfield Professor Chris Mooney said Quinn should be bragging about the improving economy and not taking shots at Brady over taxes and missed votes in Springfield.

“It’s real low-level sort of shooting, and it’s the kind of stuff you’d expect [Quinn] to say if he didn’t have anything else to say, or if the negatives were so high on him.”

Mooney said voters, especially this year are going to cast a vote based on the economy, so Quinn should cash-in on good news. But the professor adds that Pat Quinn can’t change who Pat Quinn is.

Mooney's comments were featured in a September 16, 2010, article in Illinois Statehouse News.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Editorial: Enrollment milestone at UIS

The following is a portion of an editorial published in a September 14, 2010, edition of The State Journal-Register.

When Richard Ringeisen took the reins as chancellor of the University of Illinois Springfield in early 2001, he spoke of big plans.

"We plan to create a new kind of public university, one which numbers among the best liberal arts universities in the country, while retaining and, in fact, enhancing its ties to state government," Ringeisen said.

That fall, the university welcomed the first freshman class in its history. As the decade progressed, the campus grew both physically — it now truly has the look and feel of a college campus — and in enrollment. Perhaps it’s fitting that UIS’s latest milestone comes as Ringeisen prepares to retire at the end of next month.

UIS announced last week that its enrollment for the current academic year topped 5,000 for the first time in the school’s history. The 5,174 students enrolled this year is a 4.3 percent increase over last year.

“To say we are excited would be an understatement. For our enrollment to surpass 5,000 marks a milestone for us,” Ringeisen said.

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Looking ahead to college

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, administered by the College Board, allow students to gain college credit by taking the equivalent of placement tests in certain subjects.

Kristen Chenoweth is the communication program coordinator for the Career Development Center at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Her office administers the CLEP tests, and she said CLEP takers should be careful about which tests they take.

For example, UIS accepts one CLEP composition exam, but does not accept a different version of the CLEP composition exam. So a student should check to see whether his or her desired college accepts a particular version.

“They can be two different tests, taken two different ways,” Chenoweth said. “But in this case they actually differ in who grades them.” One test is graded by the school in which it was taken, and the other is graded by a board of CLEP members.

Chenoweth's comments were featured in a September 14, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Jim Ruppert: Roster of grievances about UIS athletics is long

The following sports editorial was published in a September 14, 2010, edition of The State Journal-Register.

"The University of Illinois Springfield made a really nice hire last week when it tabbed Ben Wierzba to be its new men’s basketball coach.

We wish Wierzba luck and success. But we hope he has an easier time getting a copy of exactly who plays on the UIS men’s basketball team than we at The State Journal-Register have had getting our hands on the roster.

Marcia Martinez from the SJ-R staff, whose beat it is to cover UIS athletics, was at the get-together last Thursday when Wierzba was introduced as the head coach.

After interviewing the new coach and athletic director Rodger Jehlicka, Martinez asked Jehlicka if he had a copy of the Prairie Stars’ men’s basketball roster. Jehlicka referred Martinez to Scott Reed, assistant athletic director in charge of sports information.

When Martinez asked Reed for the information, he said he didn’t have a copy of the roster and referred Martinez to an assistant coach. The assistant promised he’d e-mail that information later in the day. Martinez made follow-up calls. We still don’t have that list.

How can the top officials in an athletic department not know where to go to find out who plays for their men’s basketball team?"

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Friday, September 10, 2010

UIS enrollment tops 5,000

Now that it has crossed the 5,000 threshold in enrollment that includes students taking classes via the Internet, the University of Illinois Springfield would like to see that many attending classes on campus.

“We need to decide how big we want to be,” said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. “Our next goal will probably be to have 5,000 students taking classes on campus and 2,000 living on campus.”

UIS enrollment topped 5,000 for the first time this fall with a 4.3 percent increase over last fall’s total.

The number of enrolled students this year is 5,174, up 213 students over the 2009 total of 4,961 students. The fall 2010 number includes 1,626 exclusively online students.

“Those are targets that my successor will have to deal with,” said Ringeisen, who is retiring Oct. 31. He added that UIS currently doesn’t have enough on-campus housing to accommodate 2,000 students.

“When we first added freshmen (in 2001), we geared up for having more students,” he said. “We thought we’d make it to 5,000 last year, but this year we blew by it.

The record enrollment was featured in a September 10, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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University of Illinois Springfield reaches milestone

The University of Illinois Springfield marks not one, but two major milestones. For the first time in the university's history, more than 5,000 students are earning a degree at UIS. The record high enrollment comes as the school celebrates its 40th birthday.

UIS has come a long way since 1970. The first class to attend, what was then Sangamon State University, had just over 800 students. They've now grown to over 5,000.

"Its kind of a special number we've been shooting at for awhile. We thought we were going to make it last year, but we came up 30 something students short. This time we blew past it," said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen.

Record enrollment was featured in a September 9, 2010, report by WICS-TV 20.

Watch the story on News Channel 20's website

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UIS hires Evansville assistant as men's hoops coach

The start of college basketball practice is a little more than a month away, and the University of Illinois Springfield finally has a coach for its men’s team.

Ben Wierzba was introduced as coach Thursday. The 33-year-old first-time head coach comes to UIS from the University of Evansville, where he was an NCAA Division I assistant.

Wierzba is UIS’ second coach in program history. He replaces Kevin Gamble, who resigned to become director of player development at Division I Providence College.

The transition should be made easier since he has strong ties to the Great Lakes Valley Conference and central Illinois.

“I’ve been in their shoes,” Wierzba said. “When I was at South Alabama, coach (Bill) Musselman left 10 days before practice started. Now, they’re going through it three weeks into school.

“I know what they’re going through. The biggest thing is building a relationship with these players. We’ll gradually build toward Oct. 15, that first day of practice.”

Wierzba was featured in a September 10, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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UE assistant named Illinois-Springfield basketball coach

Ben Wierzba, who spent the past three seasons on Marty Simmons' staff at the University of Evansville, was named the head basketball coach at Illinois-Springfield on Thursday.

The opening came about after Kevin Gamble resigned at the end of June to take an assistant job at Providence College. Gamble, a former NBA player, started the Springfield program and compiled a 130-79 record in nine seasons. The Prairie Stars were 11-13 and 7-11 last season in their first season in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

"Growing up in a coaching household, it's been a dream of mine to be a head coach for a long time," said Wierzba. "Illinois-Springfield has helped me get to that goal and I'm just very thankful to these people.

Wierzba was featured in a September 10, 2010, article in the Evansville Courier & Press.

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UIS adds Nevins, McConnell to women's hoops roster

University of Illinois Springfield coach Marne Fauser has added Sacred Heart-Griffin High School graduate Cristina Nevins and Stephens College transfer Jessica McConnell to the Prairie Stars’ roster.

McConnell, an Edwardsville native, averaged 10 points, three assists and two rebounds for Stephens last season. The sophomore guard was voted to the NAIA American Midwest Conference honorable mention team.

Nevins, a junior guard, started for Parkland College at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Tournament in March.

The students were featured in a September 10, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

UIS provost Berman suggested for interim chancellor

The University of Illinois’ president wants Harry Berman, No. 2 administrator at the university’s Springfield campus since 2005, to become interim chancellor of UIS after Chancellor Richard Ringeisen retires in October.

“Harry has the respect of the entire campus and is the logical choice to head the Springfield campus while the search for a permanent chancellor proceeds,” university President Michael Hogan said in a news release Tuesday announcing his recommendation.

Berman, 63, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Illinois Springfield, said he doesn’t plan to apply for the permanent position.

“My commitment is to stay until a new person is in place,” said Berman, a Springfield resident and native of Philadelphia.

The university’s board of trustees is expected to approve Hogan’s recommendation at its Sept. 23 meeting in Urbana. Berman’s appointment then would take effect Nov. 1 and last during the six- to nine-month search for Ringeisen’s permanent replacement.

The appointment was featured in a September 8, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Provost appointed interim chancellor at UIS

University of Illinois at Springfield has hired a veteran, its Provost Harry J. Berman, to serve as interim chancellor.

The Board of Trustees must vote on the appointment at its scheduled Sept. 23 meeting in Urbana.

Berman has three decades of experience in Springfield, going back to when it was Sangamon State University.

He has served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs since 2005 and is the chief budgetary and academic officer of the campus. He has been on the campus for three decades as a member of the faculty and senior administration.

Berman was recommended by UI President Michael J. Hogan.

Berman, 63, told The News-Gazette "I hope to make the transition as smooth as possible."

A UIS chancellor search committee has been formed, and expects to find a new permanent chancellor in 2011.

The appointment was featured in a September 8, 2010, article by the Champaign News-Gazette.

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Chicago's 'mayor for life' decides not to run

Mayor Richard M. Daley dropped the bomb at a routine news conference at City Hall on Tuesday. With no prelude or fanfare, Mr. Daley announced that he would not seek re-election when his term expires next year.

“The Daley legacy is political continuity, economic development and revitalization,” said Kent Redfield, a political scientist from the University of Illinois, Springfield. “Having stability and continuity in local government has been a big plus in terms of developments, and there’s been a strong relationship with big business and big labor. It was certainly also a hallmark of the first Daley administration, being able to bring economic interests together.”

Here in Chicago, the news of Mr. Daley’s imminent departure was greeted with near universal shock. “Oh, my God! We know we knew it would happen someday, but I certainly didn’t wake up thinking it would be today,” Ms. Canary said. “It’s very exciting and a little scary.”

Professor Redfield added, “It is remarkable when you see people walk away from power.”

Redfield's comments were featured in a September 8, 2010, article in the New York Times.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Durbin touts bill to help students save money

A new federal law that went into effect in July requires more disclosure when it comes to college and university textbooks. It was sponsored by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, who touted the law at a visit to the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Erin Wilson, a junior from Rushville, says she and other college students have saved a lot of money because of the new law, which requires colleges and universities to disclose the retail price of textbooks, disclose the book number so that students can try to buy books other places, including the Internet, and let instructors know the price of the books they require for class.

Durbin says it took two years to get the law passed, because the publishing companies "hated it like the Devil hates holy water." He says he wants more changes, and has introduced another bill that would offer incentives to instructors who use online textbooks, in the hopes that will save students save more money.

The story was featured in a September 5, 2010, report by the Illinois Radio Network.

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UIS takes strides in men's soccer loss to Rockhurst

Forgive University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars men’s soccer coach Chad Jones for sounding like a broken record.

Throughout the preseason and now that the season has started, he continues to stress the importance of his squad “getting better each game and training session.”

After losing its season opener to William Jewell 3-0 last Friday, it didn’t take UIS long to put forth a better effort. The Stars led 1-0 against the Rockhurst University Hawks on Sunday in a Great Lakes Valley Conference match before Rockhurst pulled out a 2-1 win in a short-handed match at Kiwanis Field.

“We played with a lot of heart,” Jones said. “We did very well. We just came out in the second half a little flat and they got one early, then we decided to play again.”

Junior Brandon Belcon scored the Stars’ first goal of the season on a scramble in the box after receiving the ball from UIS junior defender Peter Ottolini. With two players marking him, Ottolini was able to get a head on junior teammate Brett Schubert’s long throw in and flick the ball to the far post. The Stars were ahead 16 minutes into the contest.

The soccer team was featured in a September 6, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Online vs. on campus education

At the University of Illinois Springfield about 25 percent of students take the majority of classes online. That number doesn't even include students like Sarah Quigley who take some courses on campus and some on the computer.

"Last year was the first year that I really took classes online at the university and I took 3 out of my 4 classes online," said Quigley.

While Sarah says you can't substitute the type of discussion you get in the classroom, online classes offered the flexibility she needed.

The story was featured by WICS-TV 20 in a September 2, 2010, report.

Watch the story on News Channel 20's website

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Season's Star Parties start Sept. 10 at UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Friday night Star Parties will resume on Friday, Sept. 10 and continue each Friday though Oct. 22. They are held from 8 to 10 p.m. in the UIS observatory.

Conducted by John Martin, assistant professor of astronomy and physics, Star Parties are free. The observatory entrance is at the southeast corner of Brookens Library. To learn whether the weather is suitable for viewing, call 206-8342 after 7 p.m. the day of the party.

The event was featured in a September 3, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Former UIS players get tuition help

Kelly Thompson, Jeanell Randolph and Natalie Bertucci, who were among six players who lost their athletic scholarships and were cut by coach Marne Fauser from the University of Illinois Springfield women's basketball team after last season, are receiving tuition assistance from the university this semester.

Randolph said she is receiving $500 per semester from UIS. The junior expected to receive more than what she was awarded.

Randolph and Thompson said they were offered tuition money for each semester until they reach 120 credit hours.

The story was featured in a September 3, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

UIS looks to offer in-state tuition to out of state students

As the growth spurt continues at the University of Illinois at Springfield they're now looking to recruit more out-of-state students.

The university is looking at offering in-state tuition to students who live in counties along the Missouri and Iowa boarder, a savings of over $200 per credit hour.

The Student Government Association voted unanimously in favor of the plan. The resolution now goes before the U of I Board of Trustees. They are expected to vote on it at their September 23 meeting in Urbana.

The story was featured by WICS-TV 20 in a September 1, 2010, report.

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Exhibit highlights artwork’s form and content

The sketch of a two-headed figure that sprouts wings over which a disembodied head hovers represents artist CRAIG NEWSOM’s exploration of a personal mythology.

The drawing “TWO HEADED BLACK ANGEL WITH SPIRIT HEAD” (ink on paper) is among several of Newsom’s sketches that he’ll have the opportunity to comment on during a reception of the exhibition “CHIMERAS, IDEALS AND ERRORS” on display through Sept. 22 in the Visual Arts Gallery at the University of Illinois Springfield, in room 201 of the Health and Sciences Building.

The reception will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. today. Regular gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

“Chimeras, Ideals and Errors” features the artwork of Newsom, CARL ANDERSEN of Minneapolis and BRYAN VAN DONSLEAR, who teaches at the University of Northern Iowa. Newsom is assistant professor in the art department at Blackburn College.

The gallery display was featured in a September 2, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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UIS notes: Prairie Stars soccer team to have new look

With the season-opening match just one day away, University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars men’s soccer coach Chad Jones has a clearer vision of the near future.

That’s because UIS scrimmaged Lincoln College last Thursday and played an exhibition match Saturday against Millikin. Millikin beat UIS 3-0 in the exhibition match. The women’s soccer team fell 1-0 to Millikin in an exhibition.

The NCAA also cleared several players Wednesday to play for the Stars, who host William Jewell in a non-conference match at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Kiwanis Stadium. UIS faces Rockhurst in a Great Lakes Valley Conference match at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The women’s team plays at 5 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday.

“This weekend we’ll have a completely different lineup,” Jones said.

Lincoln Land Community College transfers Brandon Belcon, a junior midfielder/forward, and Brett Schubert, a junior forward, are new additions to the men’s soccer roster.

The team was featured along with the UIS women's golf and volleyball teams in a September 2, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Nice guys finish last

Patrick J. Quinn, 61, first ambled onto Illinois’ political scene in 1973 as a staffer for then-governor Dan Walker. After Walker lost the 1976 Democratic primary for governor, Quinn began a series of petition drives, collecting signatures to increase the power of public referendums, give citizens the power to recall elected officials, stop legislators from taking their full salaries on their first day, and reduce the size of the state House of Representatives from 177 to 118. The latter two measures passed, giving Quinn an image as a populist reformer to some and a troublemaker to others. The causes to which he clung decades ago still seem relevant, however, and a new constitutional amendment to allow citizens to recall the governor will appear on the same ballot that asks voters whether Quinn deserves a full term.

Charlie Wheeler, a former journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times and current professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, says Quinn was seen as sort of a “gadfly” during his early days in Illinois politics because he often championed populist causes.

“When he won the 1990 Democratic primary for state treasurer, there was a lot of apprehension among politicians and curiosity among reporters as to whether Pat Quinn would behave himself on a statewide ticket,” Wheeler says. “To his credit, he did behave himself, and I think he did a good job as treasurer.”

Wheeler's comments were featured in a September 2, 2010, edition of the Illinois Times.

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Why Illinois lost the race

After waiting to sign on to Illinois’ application for federal Race to the Top funding until after the state lost out in round one, in part due to inadequate local district and teacher union support, the Springfield Education Association says it’s disappointed the state once again didn’t make the grade.

William Phillips, a school finance consultant and an educational leadership professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, says that wariness of too much federal control echoed across the state. “The reason most districts weren’t on board … number one, there are so many strings attached to federal money and no promise to actually get the money,” Phillips says.

Phillips' comments were featured in a September 2, 2010, article in the Illinois Times.

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