Tuesday, October 30, 2012

UIS partners with California college to expand online reach

California’s Coastline Community College is set to create low-cost, online bachelor’s degree pathways where students can enroll simultaneously at one of three public universities, none of which are in California.

The new partnership between Coastline and the University of Massachusetts Online, Penn State University’s World Campus and the University of Illinois-Springfield should go live next spring. The project’s leaders hope it will serve as a model for expanding capacity at California’s community colleges, which have been forced to turn away hundreds of thousands of students because of budget cuts.

Under the project, students would attend Coastline full-time for their first year of course offerings, with a targeted haul of 30 credits. They would then be concurrently enrolled at the college and one of its three university partners for the next two years. The curriculum of that segment would be 60 credits. Then, the final year would be 30 credits of “capstone” courses at the online university. Students could complete their associate degree on their way to a bachelor’s.

The partnership was featured by Inside Higher Education on October 30, 2012.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Women's basketball: UIS seventh in West poll

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team was voted to finish seventh in the West Division of Great Lakes Valley Conference in a preseason coaches poll.

UIS finished seventh in the conference last season with a 4-14 record and was 9-17 overall.

Drury received 10 first-place votes and 115 points for first place. Maryville was second and had five first-place votes. Quincy was third with one first-place point. Missouri S&T, William Jewell, Missouri-St. Louis, UIS and Rockhurst round out the eight-team list.

The rankings were featured by the State Journal-Register on October 26, 2012.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

'Tartuffe' opens UIS theatre season

A comedy by “France’s Shakespeare” this weekend kicks off the 2012-13 season of plays presented by the University of Illinois Springfield theatre program.

“Tartuffe,” a 17th-century farce by Moliere about the machinations of a religious fraud, will be presented in a contemporary setting in an English translation that preserves the poetic nature of the 350-year-old French script, said director Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson.

“The text is translated from French into English rhyming couplets,” said Thibodeaux-Thompson, associate professor of theatre at UIS. “It’s a blend of modern colloquial language with poetry.”

“Tartuffe” (comedy)
  • When: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Nov. 1-3; 2 p.m. Sunday. Preview/dress rehearsal 7:30 p.m. today. 
  • Where: UIS Studio Theatre, lower level, Public Affairs Center, University of Illinois Springfield 
  •  Tickets: $6 (age 17 and under), $8 (college/university students with ID), $10 (UIS faculty/staff), $12 (age 65 and older), and $14 (adults), available 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Sangamon Auditorium box office or by calling 206-6160.
The play was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 25, 2012.

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UIS men's basketball No. 4 in preseason poll

The University of Illinois Springfield was voted by league coaches to finish fourth in the West Division of the Great Lakes Valley Conference preseason men’s basketball poll with 69 points.

The Prairie Stars finished second in the division last year with a 12-6 conference record. They were 15-13 overall.

Missouri-St. Louis was picked to win the West with eight first-place votes and 113 points. Drury was second with seven first-place votes. Quincy received one first-place vote and was voted third. UIS, Maryville, William Jewell, Missouri S&T and Rockhurst rounded out the eight-team list.

The ranking was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 25, 2012.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lt. Governor calls for college affordability

University of Illinois Springfield sophomore Nekira Cooper is putting herself through school by piecing together grants, loans, a scholarship, a part-time job off campus and a federal work study.

She’s not alone. Statistics show the cost of higher education increases every year. That is not true of people's incomes.

“It did have to come out of pocket a little because financial aid did not cover all of it,” UIS senior Kyle Palmer said.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is on a mission to keep Illinois' colleges affordable so students who are educated at places like UIS can go on to compete with the rest of the world.

“When I was a kid we talked about competing against Indiana," Simon said. "Now we need to be able to compete against India."

The Monetary Award Program is one option for students in need, but with budgets being squeezed every which way, those are not as readily available.

Simon's appearance at UIS was featured by WICS-TV 20 on October 23, 2012.

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Simon advocates lowering college costs

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is advocating ways to keep college affordable as new research shows average student loan debt has topped $26,000.

Simon presented ideas during a Tuesday visit to the University of Illinois Springfield. She supports legislation to require all colleges in the state to publish so-called College Choice Reports disclosing net costs, average debt and completion rates. That would allow prospective students to comparison shop.

Simon wants the Monetary Award Program to provide more targeted assistance and reduce the achievement gap between low-income and higher-income students.

Simon's appearance at UIS was featured by the Associated Press on October 24, 2012.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

UIS hosts talk on peace-keeping

The World Affairs Council will present a lecture at Brookens Auditorium at UIS on United Nations peace-keeping efforts in Syria by Kristina Koch-Avan at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 25.

Koch-Avan is employed by the United Nations and was involved in the peace-keeping efforts in former Yugoslavia.

The appearance was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 22, 2012.

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Debate watch party to bring Democrats, Republicans together at UIS

Those watching the final presidential debate of 2012 Monday will include a bipartisan group at the University of Illinois Springfield campus, with college Democrats and Republicans each hoping for a good showing from their respective favorite candidate.

And those who attend will also get to talk about what they saw once the debate ends, with political science professors overseeing a post-debate discussion.

The free and public debate event at the Homer L. Butler Housing Commons at UIS is sponsored by the college party organizations as well as the UIS Global Issues Club. The gathering will begin about 7:30, and there will be refreshments. The debate is at 8 p.m.

The watch party was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 22, 2012.

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Men's soccer: UIS grabs first road win

Mark Williams scored the lone goal of the match early in the second half and goalkeeper Cole Wardlow and the UIS defense made it stand up as the Prairie Stars defeated Maryville 1-0 in a Great Lakes Valley Conference match Sunday at Maryville Field.

After a scoreless opening half, Williams put the Prairie Stars on the board with a header at the 53:20 mark as he took a cross from Mark Czarny.

Making his first start of the season, Wardlow had eight saves in net to record his first win of 2012.

The Prairie Stars, 3-14 overall and 2-12 in the GLVC.

The team was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 22, 2012.

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UIS volleyball wins 5th in row

The University of Illinois Springfield won its fifth straight match by sweeping Illinois Tech 25-17, 25-17, 25-19 Thursday at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

The Prairie Stars improved to 9-12 on the season and the winning streak is their longest since 2007.

The Stars went on a 10-0 run in the first set to lead 12-2. UIS scored the first nine points of the third set and led 12-1 before closing out the match. Kellee Mahaffay led UIS with 14 kills, and Rebeka Pruemer had 20 assists.

The win was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 19, 2012.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

UIS presence could expand in Peoria

Though enrollment at University of Illinois Springfield programs in Peoria has generally decreased over the past five years, UIS Chancellor Susan Koch is "cautiously optimistic" about expanding the college's programs locally.

Koch met with Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and Illinois Central College President John Erwin separately Wednesday during a visit with the U of I's new president, Robert Easter.

The mayor and Erwin have been pushing to establish a four-year public university in Peoria. Developing a strategy to get one here is one of the City Council's top priorities.

Creating a four-year state school would require state approval from the General Assembly and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. But expanding UIS' offerings in Peoria is conceivable.

Koch's comments were featured by the Peoria Journal-Star on October 18, 2012.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

UIS hosts Wepner Symposium on Lincoln

The University of Illinois Springfield Political Science Department presents the third annual Wepner Symposium on the Lincoln Legacy and Contemporary Scholarship, to be held Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20. Portions of the symposium will take place on the UIS campus and the Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield.

The symposium brings together scholars with diverse intellectual backgrounds, from political science to history and economics, and also seeks to bridge the gap between K-12 and university education. This year's theme is "Emancipation: What Came Before, How It Worked, and What Followed". All events are free and open to the general public.

The symposium was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 17, 2012.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

First-time dad Wierzba ready for start of UIS men's hoops practice

The convergence of two events had University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Ben Wierzba buzzing with excitement Monday.

He brought his newborn daughter home from the hospital over the weekend with wife, Liz. And Monday was the first official day of basketball practice.

Wierzba was on Cloud Nine on his first day back at work since last Wednesday. One minute, he was talking about first-time fatherhood. The next, he was chatting about the upcoming season and returning and new players.

“One through 13, we’ve got a lot of depth,” Wierzba said. “To watch this team grow is going to be fun.”

The team was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 16, 2012.

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UIS women's basketball team ready to get to work

It’s hard to tell who was more amped up on the first day of practice Monday, University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball coach Chad Oletzke or the players.

“I was hanging up practice gear in the locker room,” Oletzke said. “It said, ‘The first day of practice get all jacked up’ on the dry erase board. It’s nice that players are writing notes to each other. You really sense there’s some excitement going into the first day.”

While it’s a new venture for the first-year coach and assistant Andrea Riebock at UIS, the Prairie Stars retained the bulk of last season’s roster. Freshmen Meredith Marti and Nicole Collins are the only new players.

Collins is a graduate of Barrington High School. The 5-foot-9 guard was voted to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class 3A/4A all-state fourth team and averaged 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals as a senior.

“She can play the point,” Oletzke said. “That’s probably her more natural position. She can also shoot it pretty well.”

The team was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 16, 2012.

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UIS' Vorreyer ties 
for 10th at golf invitational

University of Illinois Springfield senior Abby Vorreyer finished in a tie for 10th place Monday at the Western Illinois Autumn Invitational at the Harry Mussatto Golf Club.

Vorreyer, a Chatham Glenwood High School graduate, fired a final-round 82 to finish at 169 (87-82). 

Liz Kesinger was the No. 2 finisher for UIS and tied for 20th overall at 94-89—183. Becca Ramirez finished 22nd overall at 99-86—185. Brittany Stout was 25th at 106-101—207, and Gabby Zeigler rounded out the Prairie Stars’ lineup in 26th place with a 107-104—211.

The Prairie Stars finished fifth 744.

The team was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 16, 2012.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Chancellor Koch reflects on her first year at UIS

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan J. Koch was interviewed by WTAX radio's Bob Murrary about her first year in Springfield, the future of UIS, and higher education in general.

The interviewed aired on October 14, 2012, during the station's "Focus" program.

Listen to the interview

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Savion Glover gives tap dancers lesson before UIS show

Tony Award-winning tap dancer, Savion Glover, says his mother preached the importance of giving back to the community when he was growing up.

He did not hesitate, as a result, when University of Illinois Springfield officials asked him to teach tap dancing to young dancers before his performance Sunday night at Sangamon Auditorium.

“That’s how I was raised,” he said. “Be ready to give back at all times.”

The one-hour, tap-dancing workshop was held in Southeast High School’s auditorium. About 25 dancers signed up for the class to get tips from the award-winning hoofer.

Glover was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 15, 2012.

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Volleyball: UIS goes 3-0 in tourney

The University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team beat Michigan Tech 28-26, 25-18, 25-18 and Lake Superior State 18-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-20 to finish 3-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Crossover Tournament.

UIS’ Ann Nottingham tallied 29 kills over the two matches. Teammates Kellee Mahaffay had 26 digs and Rebeka Pruemer dished out 70 assists.

The Prairie Stars (7-12) beat Saginaw State Friday.

The wins were featured by the State Journal-Register on October 14, 2012.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Students learn about managing debt

The combination of rising college costs, a shrinking job market and difficult-to-resist credit card pitches can lead to crushing debt for many young adults.

The America Saves Competition is an example of the effort to prepare students for financial realities beyond the classroom. Last year, the University of Illinois Springfield beat out the other two U of I campuses to see whose students could save the most money.

Before this school year began, representatives of the U of I’s Student Money Management Center came to talk to incoming students about how best to manage their finances.

“These programs are valuable because they’re something students especially need to learn,” said Mary Elizabeth Umbarger, the student organization and leadership coordinator at UIS.

The program was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 9, 2012.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Susan Koch: College education worth the investment

The following is part of an op-ed written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published in a October 7, 2012 edition of the State Journal-Register.

"As I walked through Chicago’s Union Station several days ago, this Newsweek headline caught my eye: 'Is college a lousy investment?'

The article, by a Washington, D.C.-based journalist and blogger, cites familiar data. 'The price of a college education has doubled since 1995.' 'The amount of student loan debt has more than quintupled since 1999.' The author concludes that investing in a college education may not be worth it for an increasing number of young people today.

As a university chancellor, I share the author’s concern about increasing college costs, and we’re providing more financial aid and scholarships at the University of Illinois Springfield to make college more affordable; but despite our shared concerns I am moved to a conclusion that differs from the Newsweek writer."

Read the full editorial online

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Public colleges pledge to graduate 3.8 million by 2025

The United States has dropped from first to 14th in the developed world in the number of people with a college education. That's based on population statistics.

Now, nearly 500 public colleges across the country, including many in Illinois, are pledging to have an additional 3.8 million graduates by 2025. It's called Project Degree Completion. The mission is to help reach a national goal of having 60 percent of adults hold a college degree.

The University of Illinois and the University of Illinois Springfield are both on board.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said, "It is necessary that the U.S. have a very well educated and skillful workforce in order for us to be globally competitive."

Right now, the public colleges joining the effort hand out just over 1 million degrees every year. At current rates, that means about 14.6 million degrees by 2025. The new target is 18.4 million.

"We've been working hard to provide the financial aid students need to help them start college and stay in college to get their degree," Koch said.

Koch was interviewed by WICS-TV 20 on October 3, 2012.

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Volleyball: Stars snap five-game skid

The University of Illinois Springfield broke a five-match losing streak by sweeping Eureka College 25-9, 25-11, 25-12 in a non-conference match at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

Freshman outside hitter Connor Borgmeier tallied 10 kills and had eight digs to lead the Prairie Stars (4-10). Senior Ann Nottingham and junior Kellee Mahaffay each added nine kills for UIS.

Senior Rebeka Pruemer topped the Stars with 27 assists, and defensive specialist Bianca Sanchez had eight digs.

The win was featured by the State Journal-Register on October 4, 2012.

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Internationally renowned artist Roger Shimomura coming to UIS

Roger Shimomura, an internationally renowned artist known for his prints, paintings and performance works, talks at the University of Illinois Springfield Oct. 11 at 5:30 p.m. Following the lecture, there will be an exhibit reception from 6:30-8 p.m. in the UIS Visual Arts Gallery.

Shimomura’s collection of prints, America Behind Barbed Wire, colors a Pop Art-flavored yet serious commentary on American and Asian-American cultures and stereotypes imbued with his own experience as a child during WWII when his family was displaced from their home in Seattle to a Japanese-American internment camp in Idaho. Shimomura’s work is in more than 85 permanent museum collections nationwide including New York City and The Smithsonian Institution.

The exhibit runs through Dec. 1. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit www.uis.edu/visualarts/gallery for more information.

The exhibition was featured by the Illinois Times on October 4, 2012.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

UIS goes blue for Homecoming

The University of Illinois Springfield is celebrating its 16th annual Homecoming Weekend beginning Friday with the theme “Bright Lights, Blue City.”

Among highlights of the weekend are the homecoming parade and barbecue and men’s and women’s soccer games on Friday.

A variety of family activities are planned for Saturday, as is the 4th annual Homecoming 5K Run/Walk. A basketball game pitting students against UIS alumni, faculty and staff also is scheduled for Saturday.

Cynthia Thompson, director of the UIS Student Life office, said students nominate several themes for homecoming, a committee narrows them down and then students vote for the winner.

“The Blue City references the kind of spirit-building that we’re seeing around here,” Thompson said. “We’ve added a lot of spirit-building type things to the schedule this year.” The UIS colors are blue and white.

Homecoming was featured by the State Journal-Register on Oct. 1, 2012.

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