Monday, June 27, 2011

UIS online course draws big response

There are no grades to be earned in a new online course offered by the University of Illinois Springfield. No credit is given. And participants can begin in the middle of the course or wherever they please.

But after four days of registration, more than 2,000 people from more than 50 countries had signed up for the “MOOC”Massive Open Online Course — that will focus on the topic “Online Learning Today … and Tomorrow.”

So — other than the fact the course is free — what’s the attraction?

“It allows people to dig deeply into one part or learn broadly across a topic,” said Ray Schroeder, director of the UIS Center for Online Learning, Research and Service, or COLRS. “It will build a network of people interested in this topic, or part of it.”

The MOOC was featured in an June 25, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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City officials have land appraised for completion of 11th St. extension

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston said Friday the city has an appraisal of land it wishes to purchase from a local company to allow completion of 11th Street south of Stevenson Drive.

“That is something that has needed to be done for some years,” Houston said of the potential extension of the road to the area of the University of Illinois Springfield.

The mayor said negotiations continue with the property owner, Contech Construction Products. And while he could not say how long talks might take for purchase of the land, which is to be done with federal money, he did say eventual completion of the 11th Street project is needed.

The project was featured in an June 25, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Historians won't convict Lincoln for suspension of habeas corpus

The difference between George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln, of course, is that while Bush suspended habeas corpus for "aliens detained by the United States," Lincoln did so for American citizens. Habeas corpus is a person's right to challenge in court the legality of his imprisonment.

Perhaps it is too soon for history to judge Bush's action, but historians have reached a verdict on Lincoln's, says Michael Burlingame, the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, and the author of "Abraham Lincoln: A Life," which is considered the definitive work on the 16th president.

Burlingame was featured in an June 26, 2011 article by The Day in Connecticut.

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Organizations here focus on computer security

Different targets. Different agendas. Whatever the method employed or the goal sought, reports of computer hacking attacks seem to be increasing in recent weeks.

Citigroup. The CIA. On a much smaller scale, the telephone system in the Macoupin County Courthouse.

“We’re hearing about it more because it’s moved from ‘hacking,’ which was usually done by an individual, to what they’re calling ‘hacktivism,’” said Lucinda Caughey, instructor in the computer science department at the University of Illinois Springfield. “They’re using social network sites to create a community and accomplish an agenda.”

Caughey was featured in an June 26, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

At the dawn of the 20th Century, art meets science

Shawnee’s Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson also has a string of qualifications: She’s an actor, teacher, university faculty member, and director.

During the regular school year, Thibodeaux-Thompson and her husband Eric are on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Springfield. During the summers they frequently head off in different directions, following opportunities to act and direct. “This year we’re not only lucky enough to be at the same place, we’re even here at the same time,” Thibodeaux-Thompson says.

The couple was featured in an June 19, 2011, report by Indiana Public Media.

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Shawnee Theatre steps into the 'Ring Of Fire'

Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson has a long list of stage, film and television credits. During the fall and winter he and his wife Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson are at the center of the University of Illinois Springfield’s theatre and drama program. In the summer, the Thibodeaux-Thompsons look for other opportunities. The last two summer seasons have found them at Shawnee.

The couple were featured in an June 7, 2011, article by Indiana Public Media.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Return to Emiquon

Many of us shuttle to other places of interest surrounding the Emiquon Preserve, such as UIS’ Therkildsen Station. The station, funded in part through an endowment by Alfred O. Therkildsen, is located on the other side Illinois 78/97 across from the preserve. The faculty at the station provides training for students while conducting research in the field of floodplain ecology and restoration and management strategies.

“Some of us started collecting even when there were little ditches out there,” states Dr. Michael Lemke, the station’s director. “I have been tracking the microbes, and in the last four years we have seen dramatic changes in the communities.”

The station’s research is combined with that of other researchers in an effort to build a comprehensive study of the Emiquon restoration and to assist in its management.

The field station was featured in an June 23, 2011, article in The Illinois Times.

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Sangamon Auditorium announces new season

Sangamon Auditorium is expanding its 2011-12 season on both ends of the scale, with a bigger lineup of Broadway shows and a new series of smaller concerts.

The Kitchen Sink series will bring a parade of musicians to the Studio Theatre on the University of Illinois Springfield campus. On tap are singer-songwriters, a blues guitarist and a ukulele virtuoso.

At the larger end of the spectrum, there will be six Broadway shows, up from four last year.

“We underbooked a little bit last year,” said Bob Vaughn, executive director of Sangamon Auditorium at UIS.

The story was featured in an June 23, 2011, edition of The State Journal-Register.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

UIS offers new 'Massive Open Online Course'

What happens when you invite the whole world to join an online class?

As The Chronicle reported last year, a growing number of educators are giving that idea a try by offering free “massive open online courses,” or MOOC’s, to anyone who wants to learn. Today, that experimental idea gained some more traction in mainstream higher education. The University of Illinois at Springfield announced a new not-for-credit MOOC devoted to examining the state of online education and where e-learning is heading. Nearly 500 people from two dozen countries have registered so far, with 1,000 expected to sign up by the time the course begins next Monday.

The idea for the Springfield course grew out of a presentation called “The Open Future of Higher Education” delivered at a conference this spring by Ray Schroeder, director of Springfield’s Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service.

The MOOC was featured in an June 21, 2011, blog post by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Women's basketball: UIS announces schedule

The University of Illinois Springfield begins the regular season Nov. 11 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference/Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Challenge at Northwood as the Prairie Stars embark on a 26-game schedule that includes 14 home contests.

Northwood finished last season 15-12 and advanced to the conference championship semifinals. The Prairie Stars also will play Lake Superior State, which was 16-10 a season ago.

UIS opens up its home schedule Nov. 18 against Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association foe Lincoln. The Prairie Stars beat Lincoln 62-44 last year in Jefferson City, Mo.

The schedule was featured in an June 22, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Girl Tech camp brings middle schoolers to UIS

The University of Illinois Springfield is looking to change the future of technology, one girl at a time. Girl Tech 2011 is two days of exploring technology. It’s exclusively for middle school girls. Activities include classes on robotics and graphic design.

Girl Tech was featured by WICS-TV in a June 16, 2011, report.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Susan Koch approved to be next UIS Chancellor

It’s official. Susan Koch will take over as University of Illinois Springfield’s new chancellor at the start of next month. The U of I board of Trustees approved Koch’s appointment Thursday at its meeting in Chicago.

The appointment had been announced previously, but it still needed formal board action. Koch will also hold the title of university vice president. She had been Northern Michigan University’s provost. She replaces interim chancellor Harry Berman.

Koch was featured in an June 9, 2011, report by WUIS Public Radio.

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UI board OKs hiring of 2 top administrators

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved hiring two top administrators and authorized paying bills in the upcoming fiscal year.

Susan J. Koch will take office July 1 as vice president and chancellor of the Springfield campus.

Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia will become the UI's new vice president for health affairs.

Koch, formerly provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northern Michigan University, was appointed in April by President Michael J. Hogan. She replaces interim Vice President and Chancellor Harry Berman.

She was associate provost and dean of the graduate college at the University of Northern Iowa before taking her current position at Northern Michigan University in 2007.

Koch's appointment was featured in an June 10, 2011 article in the Champaign News-Gazette.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

UIS professor receives Fulbright grant

A University of Illinois Springfield professor has been awarded a Fulbright grant to study the legal and political system in Canada during the fall semester.

Jason Pierceson, associate professor of political science and legal studies and chairman of the Political Science Department at UIS, will spend September through December as the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in United States Policy Studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

He will research the role of courts as policymakers in Canada, comparing their role to courts in the United States.

“It is difficult to fully understand a country’s political system without spending time in that country, and this affords me that opportunity,” Pierceson said.

The award was featured in an June 9, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

UIS student to seek seat in new 102nd Illinois House District

Holland Township Supervisor Matt Forcum announced he will run in the proposed 102nd Illinois House District as a Republican in the 2012 election.

The district is part of a map that passed the Illinois Senate on Tuesday and was signed into law Friday by Gov. Pat Quinn.

Forcum, 25, was elected to his local school board at the age of 19 at the same time he became a township trustee. He was elected township supervisor in the recent consolidated election.

Forcum, who is single, is a graduate of Lakeland Community College and is currently working on a business degree at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Forcum was featured in an June 5, 2011, article in the Decatur Herald-Review.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

College Basketball: Stars sign Lynx's Dawson

West Dawson, who started for NJCAA Division II national champion Lincoln College last season, has signed with the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team.

The 6-foot-4 junior-to-be scored a game-high 20 points in the national championship contest. He was also named to the all-tournament team. The Decatur Eisenhower product averaged 12.3 points, 2.6 assists and 2.5 steals per game as a sophomore guard.

“West is a high-energy guy who plays with a lot of passion,” UIS coach Ben Wierzba said. “He is a winner. He won in high school and he won in junior college.”

Dawson was featured in an June 1, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

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