Thursday, December 20, 2012

The arts scene in Springfield finds vitality in niche markets

With the addition of new assistant professor Dathan Powell, the Theatre Department at University of Illinois Springfield is prepared to tackle new challenges in the coming year, starting with a production of Clifford Odets’s 1935 play Awake and Sing, dealing with timely issues of economic hardship.

For UIS Theatre Director Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, it’s all about education and community.

“Our students learn from the faculty, and the people from the community who work with us learn from the students, and I think we learn a lot from the community folks as well. So it’s a win-win,” he beams.

Auditions for Awake and Sing will be held Jan. 22 and 23. For details visit

UIS Theatre was featured by the Illinois Times on December 20, 2012.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Traditional holiday-time employee bonuses fading away

Donna Rogers, an instructor at the University of Illinois Springfield’s College of Business and Management, said there has been a marked shift in the business world from benevolent gifts to merit-based bonuses.

For starters, she said it protects companies from discrimination allegations for celebrating a religious-based holiday. But it also reinforces good work habits.

“Corporations and larger 
organizations are getting rid of (holiday bonuses) and making it more business oriented, whether related to the profit of the company where everyone shares or strictly performance based,” Rogers said. “It focuses more on identifying those high-performers working hard.

“It hurts morale when those individuals get the same benefit as the people sitting on their butts not doing anything.”

Rogers was featured by the State Journal-Register on December 16, 2012.

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The healing power of real Christmas trees?

There is one good aspect a real tree has, that an artificial tree doesn't have. It deals with smell. Pine trees have compounds that can have positive effects on the human body.

"Particularly, the leaves," Lucia Vazquez, a biology professor at UIS, said. "They produce a variety of compounds, that when mixed together, emit a scent that we like."

So how can those compounds found in pine trees, like your real Christmas tree, impact you?

"The way scent is processed in our brains, it overlaps the area in the brain with emotions," Vazquez said. "That is why smelling something makes us feel good. You will also have associations with smells and memories."

It's a sign of the season. It's a sign of cheer. The choice of real versus artificial, we'll leave up to you. But if you have real, enjoy the scent, and take in the good vibes.

"It can make you feel good," Vazquez said. "Absolutely. It can have a positive effect on your emotions."

Vazquez was featured by WICS-TV on December 14, 2012.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Campus safety over winter break

The University of Illinois Springfield says while about 85 percent of students leave campus for winter break, they keep the same amount of officers on patrol.

Director of Residential Life John Ringle said there is also a safety checklist for students that includes the importance of locking doors, taking valuables with you, and preventing fire hazards.

“[University staff members] double check to make sure all the lights are unplugged," Ringle said. "Appliances are [off]. Like some people leave their refrigerators on."

People also leave valuables like laptops out in the open. UIS police say that's not a good idea.

“Before you leave, you pack your electronics with you," Sgt. Brad Strickler, who has patrolled the campus for 18 years, said. "Take your laptops and anything of any value, jewelry, whatever it may be."

Strickler has seen theft firsthand and said usually it is a crime of opportunity.

"Where somebody will find an open door or open window," Strickler said.

Cameras monitor the dormitory entrances, and only a key card can get you in. But just in case a thief is slippery, UIS police are on patrol all the time.

The story was featured by WICS-TV on December 13, 2012.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stress reduction crucial during exams

Some stress may be inevitable during finals week, but you don’t have to let it get the best of you.

Dr. Judy Shipp is executive director of the Counseling Center and Student Support Services at the University of Illinois Springfield. To stay levelheaded while studying, she suggests getting enough sleep, making sure to exercise, taking breaks during your studying, planning a study schedule and starting preparation early.

“A lot of times students tend to save things to the last minute, and then there’s never enough time,” Shipp said.

She also encouraged stressed-out students to talk with a family member, friend or counseling professional.

Shipp was featured by the State Journal-Register on December 11, 2012.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Susan Koch: International students bring new perspectives to UIS

The following is a portion of a guest column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published in a December 9, 2012 edition of the State Journal-Register.

"Many members of the Springfield community came to the University of Illinois Springfield campus recently to enjoy the annual International Festival, an evening of performances, exhibits and cuisine that celebrates the cultural diversity of our campus.

International students, who this year come to UIS from 38 different countries, are the heart of this celebration.They reflect a strong increase in international student enrollment across the United States, a trend that signals the continued conviction on the part of international students and their parents that a U.S. degree is an important investment in their future. But what do international enrollments actually contribute to our campus?

I spent some time with three exceptional international students this past week, and their stories provide part of the multi-dimensional answer to that question. Archana, Yiman and Zehra are among 242 international students at UIS and among the approximately 36,000 students who made Illinois their destination for college this year, ranking Illinois fifth in the country for hosting international students (according to the Institute for International Education’s just released annual Open Doors Report)."

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UIS group provides role models for elementary school students

Three weeks ago, Jeff Cosby was too ill to make his weekly visit to Matheny-Withrow Elementary School.

Jeremiah Fields noticed. “He wrote me a note,” Cosby, 25, said. “It said, ‘You’re the best big brother ever.’”

Cosby has since carried the note with him — a reminder that his weekly visits to see Jeremiah don’t go unnoticed.

Cosby is Jeremiah’s mentor. And Candy Land opponent. And wide receiver. And confidant. Cosby and 10 other members of the Black Male Collegiate Society at the University of Illinois Springfield visit Matheny-Withrow each Friday as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region program.

“They don’t have too many positive male role models,” said Cosby about the students he and his fraternity brothers mentor each week. “We want to show them that it doesn’t take any special ability to get to college — just work hard. And we try to show them that education is more than what they think it is.”

The Black Male Collegiate Society group was featured by the State Journal-Register on December 8, 2012.

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UIS softball players earn academic honors

University of Illinois Springfield softball players Angie Augspols, Tina Buck, Brooke Carroll, Lauren Hollinshead and Shannon Mitchell have been named National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athletes.

Sixty-seven Great Lakes Valley Conference softball players made the list. Student-athletes achieved a 3.5 grade point average or higher during the 2011-12 academic year.

UIS also received team academic honors from the NFCA.

The Stars earned 55th place on the organization’s all-academic team with a 3.15 grade point average. UIS was among eight Great Lakes Valley Conference programs who received the honor.

The awards were featured by the State Journal-Register on December 10, 2012.

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UIS women put together first winning streak

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team made it two wins in a week with a 70-59 victory Saturday against Lindenwood-Belleville at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS won 74-50 on the road against Oakland City on Wednesday.

“We’re going to try to get a win streak going,” UIS junior guard Megan Bergerud said.

The Prairie Stars (3-4) took control in the second half to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. Bergerud’s layup with eight minutes remaining started a 13-0 run that put the Stars ahead 70-55. Lindenwood-Belleville (7-8) went nearly seven minutes without scoring and only had one field goal in the final 8:15.

The win was featured by the State Journal-Register on December 9, 2012.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

NCAA berth pays recruiting dividends for UIS softball

Coach Mat Mundell used the University of Illinois Springfield softball team’s appearance in the championship round of the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional, runner-up at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament and its school-record 36 wins last spring to help his chances on the recruiting trail.

The result is his largest class of recruits during the early signing period. He has received letter of intents from seven high school players for the 2013-14 academic year.

“I thought we’d really see the fruits of our labor in this recruiting class,” Mundell said. “With the seven we were able to get, a lot of it came from our success.”

The softball team was featured by the State Journal-Register on December 7, 2012.

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UIS men's golf newcomers bring state experience

Marc Cox, Talon Supak and Trevor Flota are names that have appeared among the leaders at state high school golf tournaments.

Starting with the 2013-14 academic year, those three will play for the University of Illinois Springfield men’s team along with Indiana native Cameron Scheller. They’re UIS coach Frank Marsaglia’s latest recruits.

“All four are solid players,” Marsaglia said. “This is definitely one of the better recruiting classes that I’ve had coming in.”

The recruits were featured by the State Journal-Register on December 7, 2012.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Area Colleges: UIS women win at Oakland City

Junior Megan Bergerud’s 21 points led the University of Illinois Springfield to a 74-50 non-conference win against Oakland City Wednesday.

Junior Elizabeth Kelly finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for UIS (2-4). The Prairie Stars grabbed 14 steals with junior Alyssa Palmer getting four.

The win was featured by the State Journal-Register on December 6, 2012.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

UIS hosts Make-a-Wish fundraiser

Dozens of kids are breaking a sweat to raise money to help other kids who may not be able to be as active.

Friday night, about 75 kids played tennis, basketball, soccer, and volleyball, among other activities. It was "Kids Night Out" at UIS.

Children aged 5-13 spent $20 to hang out with UIS student athletes, and all proceeds from the event benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Last year, Kids Night Out raised $1,800 for the foundation, and organizers are counting on another successful year.

"We get to see the kids we're impacting and knowing we're so lucky to be able to do these things and other kids sometimes aren't as fortunate," Tina Buck of the UIS Student Athlete Advisory Committee said. "So it really makes us feel good that we're giving other kids an opportunity."

UIS student athletes plan several fundraisers throughout the year, with a goal of sending $3,000 to the Make-A-Wish foundation at the end of the school year.

The story was featured by WICS-TV 20 on December 3, 2012.

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Chick-fil-A unlikely to come to UIS campus

If Chick-fil-A makes a return to Springfield, it probably won’t be on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

A task force composed of student and faculty members submitted a report Sunday to the Student Government Association opposing any franchise restaurant.

Last year, the possibility of the fast-food chicken restaurant locating at UIS drew sharp opposition from people who said the company supports anti-gay organizations.

In response to the controversy, the SGA created a task force to study whether or not bringing Chick-fil-A or any other franchise restaurant would be a good idea.

It’s not, the report found.

Instead, the group suggested having a restaurant operated by UIS food services that would carry brand-name foods, such as Papa Murphy’s pizza, TGI Fridays chicken or White Castle hamburgers, for example.

The story was featured by the State Journal-Register on December 3, 2012.

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Women's soccer: UIS garners academic award

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s soccer team is among 717 college teams that have earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Team Academic Award.

The honor is bestowed on teams that post a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Under coach Pete Kowall, the Prairie Stats attained a 3.30 GPA.

The team was featured by the State Journal-Register on December 3, 2012.

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