Thursday, December 7, 2017

People in the News: Regina Bolin

University of Illinois Springfield student Regina Bolin, of Kansas City, was recognized as a Student Laureate by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois during the annual Student Laureate Convocation November 11 in Springfield.

The ceremony honors excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities by seniors from each of the state’s universities.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 4, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Basketball: UIS women ranked in regional poll

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team is ranked in the Division II Sports Information Directors of America Midwest regional poll for the first time in program history.

The Prairie Stars share the No. 9 ranking with Wayne State (Michigan).

UIS is 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. It is 3-0 against Midwest Region competition. Of the 10 regionally ranked teams, UIS is the only teams that was not ranked last week. 

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 5, 2017.

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UIS Basketball: Despite UIS’ hot start, Walker seeks fast start

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Bill Walker shook things up last Saturday after seven straight games with the same starting lineup.

It didn’t matter that the Prairie Stars had posted five consecutive victories and nearly upset Southern Illinois University.

Bill Walker brought junior guard Vince Walker and junior center Zach Steinberg off the bench in an 82-78 win over Missouri S&T in its opening Great Lakes Valley Conference game.

Steinberg had made seven starts, while Vince Walker had started in eight games. Sophomore guard Lijah Donnelly and sophomore Brandon Van Sant started in their places.

Bill Walker was concerned about slow starts so he switched up the lineup.

“We were winning games, but we just weren’t getting off to the starts we want,” he said.

Both UIS basketball programs are off to solid starts.

The women’s team is 6-1, ranked first in the NCAA Division II with 8.3 blocked shots per game and this week it earned its first regional ranking in program history. It is tied for ninth in the Midwest Region poll.

“We’ve talked to the team about we’re winning games, but we can still improve and there are things we can get better at throughout the season,” UIS women’s coach Mark Kost said.

UIS is accepting donations during December home basketball games for the St. John’s Children’s Hospital Toy/Gift Drive. Players will deliver the items and visit with the kids on Dec. 19.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 6, 2017.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Men's Basketball: UIS player Vince Walker comes up big at dad’s alma mater

University of Illinois Springfield junior guard Vince Walker had a big game Saturday on the court where his father, UIS men’s coach Bill Walker, played college basketball and where people still call his dad “Billy”.

Vince hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 38 seconds left, then sank two key free throws in the Prairie Stars’ 82-78 victory over Missouri S&T in Rolla, Missouri.

He finished with six 3s and a season-high 20 points in the Great Lakes Valley Conference opener.

It was the sixth straight win for the 6-2 Stars.

“We got a little tentative late and we were in desperate need for someone to step up, and Vince certainly did,” Bill Walker said.

When they’re in Rolla, Vince gets to hear all about his dad’s playing days.

“Once in a while, he’ll say ’They’re way more talented than when you played,” Bill Walker said. “He’ll also give me a hard time about how short our shorts were back then.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 3, 2017.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

UIS men, women both hot entering GLVC play

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team leads NCAA Division II in blocked shots per game.

That’s a sign the players are giving effort. It is also something for UIS to hang its hat on heading into today’s Great Lakes Valley Conference opener against Missouri S&T at 1 p.m. in Rolla, Missouri.

UIS is averaging 8.3 blocks per game, one block more than second-place Southwest Minnesota State.

Senior forward Destiny Ramsey is the GLVC’s top shot blocker with 2.67 per game.

The league’s No. 2 blocker is UIS sophomore center Katelyn Rosner. She’s averaging 2.33 blocks per game.

On the flip side, UIS leads the GLVC in scoring offense at 84 points per game.

Senior guard Shelbi Patterson is averaging a team-high 15.1 points and ranks second in the conference with a .584 field goal percentage.

“I’d like to have a rotation of 9 or 10 players. I don’t know if we’ve found that yet," said UIS coach Mark Kost. "We’ve been able to play in games where we’ve had foul trouble with our starters and win, so that gives me encouragement. That shows we have depth.”

When it comes to the UIS men’s basketball team, coach Bill Walker says he’s getting closer to having a clear rotation.

“Competition in practice is healthy,” he said.

UIS is riding a five-game win streak. The last time they won five straight games was the 2008-09 season when UIS still competed at the NAIA level.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 1, 2017.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Women's Basketball: UIS women roll to victory

The University of Illinois Springfield put 15 players into the scoring column and routed Robert Morris 106-27 Wednesday in a non-conference women’s basketball game at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS improved to 5-1 and will start the Great Lakes Valley Conference season with a road game at Missouri S&T at 1 p.m. Saturday.

UIS then widened its lead and capped an 11-0 run when Jasmine Sangster made a 3-pointer to increase the advantage to 23-9 with 3 minutes 49 seconds left in the quarter.

The Prairie Stars closed the period on a 10-1 spurt and led 36-15 after one.

Tehya Fortune nailed four 3s and added 16 points, while Destiny Ramsey chipped in 13 for UIS.

The Prairie Stars finished 14-for-35 from 3-point range and outrebounded the Eagles 62-34.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 29, 2017.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Springfield's Sydney Huffman to run at UIS

Sydney Huffman was still in junior high when she started talking to her mother about the possibility of attending the University of Illinois Springfield.

UIS didn’t have a women’s cross country or track team, but that didn’t matter to Huffman.

“I wanted to go to UIS,” she said. “I remember talking to my mom about it when I was in eighth grade.”

The Southeast High School senior is getting her wish and then some.

Huffman has signed a NCAA Division II letter of intent to run for UIS. So she’s getting her original wish of attending the university and she will become a member of the Prairie Stars’ cross country and track teams.

Both programs are new. They’ve only existed since 2015.

UIS coach Mike De Witt is getting a four-year varsity runner who enjoyed a breakout cross country season this year.

Since the Stars’ running programs are new, she’s looking forward to helping them grow. “I want to try to help with the program,” she said. “When I visited, I saw a couple of familiar faces from competitions.”

She plans to major in psychology. “I’ve been looking at UIS for a while,” Huffman said. “I like how close to home it is. I know one of the professors there. I know a lot of people who graduated from there. They all said good things about UIS.”

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 27, 2017.

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Men's Basketball: Van Sant leads UIS basketball past Lindenwood-Belleville

Sophomore forward Brandon Van Sant scored a career-high 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the field to lead the University of Illinois Springfield to a 90-71 non-conference win over Lindenwood-Belleville Monday night at TRAC.

It was the fifth straight win for the Prairie Stars, who improved to 5-2.

UIS matched its longest winning streak since the 2008-09 season.

Van Sant led a hot-shooting performance for UIS, which finished 32-for-59 from the field for 54 percent.

The Stars also hit 22 of 30 free throws.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 27, 2017.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

UIS to broadcast all GLVC games

All 36 University of Illinois Springfield men’s and women’s basketball games will be broadcast on the radio for the first time ever.

The home and away league contests will air live on 101.1 FM and on the HD-2 Channel of 103.7 FM for those who have a HD radio receiver.

The broadcasts will begin with the women’s game.

The men’s contest will air 30 minutes after the women finish playing.

 Only a handful of UIS games were broadcast on the radio in the past.

UIS kicks off the GLVC season Saturday on the road against Missouri S&T.

The women’s game begins at 1 p.m. The men play at 3.

This story appeared in The State Journal Register on November 25, 2017.

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Men's Basketball: UIS men’s basketball rallies to fourth straight win

Senior Eddie Longmeyer scored a career-high 27 points and posted a double-double with 12 rebounds to lead the University of Illinois Springfield to a 76-62 victory over MacMurray Saturday.

It is the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Prairie Stars have won four straight games. 

MacMurray opened with a 15-5 lead and knocked down their first five 3-point attempts at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

Longmeyer gave its first lead at the 16:41 mark of the second half. His 3-pointer made it 44-41. In five regular-season games, Longmeyer has had three 20-plus point outings.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 25, 2017.

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‘Motown’ brings pop culture memories to Sangamon Auditorium

Berry Gordy is known as the father of Motown, so it only makes sense that a musical called “Motown” would center around his memories.

“Motown: The Musical” is coming to Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield on Nov. 29 and 30 to tell Gordy’s story and to get people dancing and humming along to some of the greatest Motown hits of all time.

The story of the musical follows Gordy on his journey from a featherweight boxer to the music producer who launched the careers of such legends as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson.

As the story travels through the years and touches on the artists with whom Gordy has had lifelong friendships, each of them sing the songs that made them famous; the musical includes such hits as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Dancing in the Street” and “My Girl.”

Matt Manuel plays Marvin Gaye in the touring production.

Manuel’s mother used to sing Motown songs to him when he was a child, but he didn’t realize what they were until he got the role in this show.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 22, 2017.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Men's Tennis: UIS duo earn regional ranking

The University of Illinois Springfield doubles team of Tommy Martinez and Sam Clarke is ranked No. 3 in the Midwest Region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Martinez and Clarke posted a 8-3 doubles record in the fall season.

They were 4-1 in dual matches and 4-2 in tournament play.

At the ITA Regional Tournament, they made it to the semifinals.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 21, 2017.

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Men's Basketball: UIS’ Williams grabs five steals in men’s basketball win

Junior Gilwan Nelson and senior Eddie Longmeyer rang up 18 points each in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 104-47 non-conference win against Robert Morris University at The Recreation and Athletic Center Tuesday.

Freshman Aundrae Williams collected five steals, nine points, three assists and one block in a team-high 23 minutes for UIS.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 21, 2017.

Read the entire article online.



Monday, November 20, 2017

Illinois Innocence Project Wins Grant For DNA Testing

The Illinois Innocence Project, based at the University of Illinois Springfield, has won a $641,000 grant for DNA testing intended to help exonerate wrongfully convicted inmates.

The grant will be used over the course of two years.

$200,000 of the funds must be used in DNA testing for two types of cases: potential eye witness misidentifications and false confessions.

John Hanlon, Executive Director of the Illinois Innocence Project, says DNA testing is often necessary for the cases he takes on, but also very costly. The most basic test is roughly $1,000.

“The problem is, many of these cases involve evidence that’s degraded," says Hanlon. "It’s very old so it’s degraded. When you’re dealing with degraded evidence you often have to start with the basic kind of procedures to get a DNA profile, but then they often have to go to second and third levels and every level costs more.”

The grant will also be used to pay attorney fees and fund student employment, which is vital for the project.

This story aired on NPR Illinois on November 17, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

New UIS Student Union to host the 2018 Economic Outlook Breakfast

The University of Illinois Springfield Student Union should be ready in 2018 for the annual Economic Outlook Breakfast of The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Chancellor Susan Koch told the fall breakfast on Tuesday.

The breakfast traditionally has been held at the campus’ Public Affairs Center.

“That new building down the way is 99 percent complete,” Koch said, referring to the Student Union.

A grand opening for the $21.7 million project is scheduled for Jan. 14.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 18, 2017.

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Helicopter parents on their child's job hunt

Helicopter parents can be over-protective of their adult children, even as they try to join the workforce.

Some employers say the millennial generation can be hurt by the people who care about them most.

"I have a very active family," says Malcolm Bennett, a senior at the University of Illinois Springfield. "I'm looking for pretty much anything to get started in the workforce," says Malcolm.

With the tight job market since the great recession, young job seekers often have partners: helicopter parents.

"My mom has literally picked out career paths," says Malcolm. "That doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to listen to her."

The Career Development Center at UIS helps students prepare for the job hunt.

"It's great to have the parents help," says Katherine Battee-Freeman, the director of the Center. "But we don't want the students to use the parents as a crutch and not understand how to do it themselves."

Counselors say parents play important roles in helping with documents, building their child's confidence and coaching for interviews but helicopter parents hover too close.

"I've heard horror stories," said Battee-Freeman, "Of parents being the one calling the employer and saying, are you going to hire my student or when are we going to hear back from you."

"Parents can, with the best interests of their child at heart, impact them negatively," said Josh Britton, a staffing expert with Express Employment Professionals in Springfield. He said some parents have done all the phone calling, interview scheduling, even filled out the job application.

"The message that sends to employers is that the parent's going to be involved anytime something of significance happens on the job," said Britton. "Whether it's positive or negative."

Back at UIS, Malcolm Bennett appreciates all the effort and money his family put into his education and job search and says it has added some stress. But he's most thankful for the way they let go. "My family's kind of hands-off," said Malcolm. "After we get you through the door, it's your chance to shine."

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 17, 2017.

Watch the entire story online.

Men's Basketball: Longmeyer, Williams lead UIS

Senior Eddie Longmeyer posted a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 100-80 win against Robert Morris University-Peoria Friday at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

Longmeyer shot 10-for-13 from the field and was 5-for-6 at the free throw line. He also had three assists, two blocks and two steals.

Freshman Aundrae Williams scored in double digits for the second straight game. He rang up 16 points. He snagged a team-high four steals and led UIS with six assists.

Junior Zach Steinberg contributed 19 points and nine rebounds.

UIS owned a 46-34 lead at halftime.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 17, 2017.

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Women's Volleyball: UIS advances in GLVC volleyball tourney

Fifth-seeded University of Illinois Springfield won its first Great Lakes Valley Conference Volleyball Championship Tournament match ever with five-set victory against No. 4 seed Bellarmine Friday. 

UIS and Bellarmine played four close sets before the Prairie Stars dominated the fifth game.

In the final set, the Stars scored the last seven points.

Taylor Bauer closed the match with back-to-back kills. She tallied 18 kills and served three aces.

Teammate Jailyn Borum hit 17 kills. Alyssa Hasler added 5 kills and had 10 blocks. Tiffany Wentworth led UIS with 56 assists. Courtney Schutt notched 26 digs.

UIS improved to 22-10 and is one win from tying the program’s all-time record.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 17, 2017.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Women's Volleyball: asler, Bauer earn all-GLVC honors

Juniors Alyssa Hasler and Taylor Bauer have become the first University of Illinois Springfield volleyball players to receive all-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors.

Hasler has been named to the first team.

Her .347 attacking percentage is the second best in the conference and second best in UIS NCAA Division II history.

Bauer earned second-team honors. She has a team-leading 305 kills, which ranks fourth in UIS’ Division II history.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 16, 2017.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

UIS volleyball sets high goals for GLVC tourney

University of Illinois Springfield coach Trey Salinas and his players started the season with a goal: qualify for the Great Lakes Valley Conference Volleyball Championship Tournament for the first time in program history.

Then the season got rolling and their goals morphed into something bigger. “As we got into the back stretch of our conference play, we realized we were talking about things that were past the conference tournament,” Salinas said. Earning the program’s first NCAA Division II regional ranking ever at the beginning of this month changed how the Prairie Stars were seeing the season.

After receiving the No. 10 ranking in the Midwest Region, things kept getting better. UIS went on a 10-match win streak and surpassed the 20-win mark for the first time in a decade.

“We kind of realized that we were better than what we thought we could be,” UIS junior middle blocker Alyssa Hasler said. “Our goal at the beginning of the season was just to make the GLVC tournament. Now the fact that we could make the NCAA tournament is kind of adding fuel to our fire.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 15, 2017.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Local business mood improved in fall economic survey

Sangamon County employers are more optimistic on sales and job growth in the first survey taken since the state budget deadlock ended, though expectations for the overall economy have changed little since the fall of 2016.

State government finances remained a top concern among nearly 60 percent of 233 employers who responded to the fall 2017 Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey.

The survey was released Tuesday during the annual economic outlook breakfast of The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, held at the University of Illinois Springfield.

One-third of respondents said they expect the local economy to improve in the next year, about the same percentage as a year ago.

More than half, 55 percent, said they expect improved sales and revenue in the coming year compared to 46 percent in the fall of 2016.

Job growth was expected by 32 percent, compared with 27 percent last year.

“There’s a gradual improvement in overall expectations for the economy. It’s still not robust, but it’s an improvement over what we had been seeing,” said executive director David Racine at the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership.

The UIS office conducts the spring and fall survey for the Springfield chamber.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 14, 2017.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Women's Basketball: UIS routs MacMurray

Destiny Ramsey and Shelbi Patterson scored 14 points each and the University of Illinois Springfield won its home opener against MacMurray 117-40.

The Prairie Stars improved to 3-0.

Patterson also snagged four steals. Ramsey blocked four shots. Teammate Jasmine Sangster scored 13 points and Gabby Sanders collected nine rebounds.

UIS was ahead 58-23 at halftime.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 13, 2017.

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Men's Basketball: Lanphier grad Aundrae Williams leads UIS basketball win

University of Illinois Springfield freshman Aundrae Williams scored 20 points in his home debut and the Prairie Stars pulled out a 92-85 non-conference win against Harris-Stowe State University on Monday.

Williams, who graduated from Lanphier, sealed the win with four free throws in the final 18 seconds at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

It is the first victory of the season for the Stars.

Vince Walker hit two 3s, including the one that put UIS ahead 37-33 with 17 minutes 19 seconds left. Gilwan Nelson and Lijah Donnelly also drained 3-pointers during the run.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 13, 2017.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Susan Koch: ‘Reaching Stellar’ with positive momentum

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 11, 2017.

Thanks to the talent and dedication of faculty and staff and the generosity of our many supporters, the University of Illinois Springfield has created positive momentum that is evident today everywhere you look — the largest graduating class in history last spring, new and expanded majors whose graduates are contributing to the regional economy, exceptional performing arts programs that enhance the cultural life of the community, and a beautiful campus on the south side of Springfield where a new Student Union will open in January. 

The contributions of members of our academic community will undoubtedly continue to add value to the campus; but just a few weeks ago, we also launched an exciting new initiative that will take UIS toward even greater excellence and greater impact for our community, our state and beyond. 

It’s “Reaching Stellar,” a $40 million campaign that is part of the most ambitious fundraising effort in University of Illinois history. Dr. Jeff Lorber, Vice Chancellor for Advancement, is leading the campaign which has already raised more than $18 million. 

“A comprehensive campaign like ‘Reaching Stellar’,” says Lorber, “enables the campus to develop strategic priorities that, with donor support, will help ensure the future success and expanded impact of the university. At the same time, when donors contribute to specific projects that interest them, the vitality and quality of life of the entire community is enhanced.” 

And speaking of leadership, the “Reaching Stellar” campaign committee is co-chaired by two exceptional community leaders — Arthur “Hy” Bunn, President and CEO of Bunn-O-Matic Corporation, one of Springfield’s most important corporate citizens, and Saul Morse, of counsel at Brown, Hay and Stephens, the oldest and one of the most highly respected law firms in Illinois. 

“UIS is providing the educated citizens and skilled leaders for the future of our community at the same time it improves the culture of our area,” says Morse. “I’m proud to know that, through my involvement with the campaign, I’m assisting in building one of the true gems in the area and the state.” “I was honored to be asked to co-chair the ‘Reaching Stellar’ campaign,” adds Bunn. “I believe strongly in the leadership and mission of UIS. The campaign is critical to the long-term success of the university and the quality of its value proposition.” 

A planning process involving faculty and staff as well as alumni and members of the Springfield community has identified key priorities for the campaign. Increasing scholarships and enhancing academic excellence are two of those priorities. 

 Building and renovating needed facilities for our growing campus is another important priority. 

One of the most exciting priorities for the campaign is the new Center for Lincoln Studies. 

In a recent editorial in this newspaper, the SJ-R noted UIS is “the perfect place” for the national base for scholarship, teaching and public history about Lincoln’s life, leadership and legacy. We’re excited to see the many ways the Center for Lincoln Studies will enhance understanding of the life and times of the 16th president and we look forward to the significant contributions it will make to the overall excellence and impact of the university. 

With the support and loyalty of both old and new friends and with contributions large and small, I’m confident the “Reaching Stellar” campaign will accelerate the positive momentum of UIS and enable the university to expand its impact on the community as well as on generations of students to come. 

Read the entire column online.


UIS students learn about death and grief in course

It’s one of the few experiences all human beings have in common, yet it’s one of the least understood.

A class at the University of Illinois Springfield aims to change that, and a recent visit to an area funeral home opened students’ eyes about death, dying and grief.

Seven students in UIS’ death and dying class and their instructor were given a tour of the funeral home last week, and the room displaying caskets and containers for crematory remains, or cremains, elicited the most interest.

Students learned how buried cremains could be used to grow a tree in a person’s memory.

They examined a biodegradable lamb’s wool casket for “green” burials and noted how its white surface felt like a heavy flannel coat.

Paula Staab Polk, the memorial home owner has hosted the death and dying class for 10 years.

The death and dying class participants were no strangers to the subject before they visited the funeral home.

Memorial Hospice clinical supervisor Deb Whitson had been a guest speaker. And Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards spoke to the students several weeks earlier, something she has done for the past four years.

Edwards said she took the opportunity to talk to the class about the deadly opioid crisis and infant deaths that occur when they are co-sleeping with adults. “Child deaths are one of the hardest things, and you wouldn’t be human if it didn’t affect you somewhat,” Edwards said.

Carolyn Peck is an associate professor and human services department chair at UIS, and she has been teaching the death and dying class since shortly after she arrived at the school in 2002. “One of the benefits of offering a class like this, particularly in a gerontology concentration, is that students who are going to be working with older adults are going to encounter the death of clients,” Peck said.

“This class helps place the emphasis not only on the person who is dying but also their family members and what type of support they might need.”

“With significant loss, closure is a myth. The processing of that loss can be lifelong, so how could we possibly have closure on the death of a loved one who meant the world to us?” Peck said. “We need to acknowledge that it’s an ongoing process and that we’re probably not going to get over it, although over time we might be able to re-invest in other relationships and activities.” 

Staab Polk agreed. “Grief can be absolute, physical pain, but sometimes it’s better to turn and embrace the grief rather than run away from it,” she said.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 11, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Basketball: UIS women win on last-minute 3-pointer

Senior Shelbi Patterson hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 17 seconds left in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 67-66 victory against LeMoyne-Owen Saturday.

Sophomore Tehya Fortune’s made the second of two free throws to get UIS within 66-64 with 46 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. She also grabbed a key rebound on the next possession when LeMoyne-Owen’s Shaynn Nance missed a 3-pointer.

UIS junior Destiny Ramsey followed with a missed jumper, then grabbed her own rebound and passed the ball to Patterson for the winning shot.

Sophomore Katelyn Rosner added 12 points and eight rebounds. Fortune and sophomore Jasmine Sangster scored 11 points each.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 11, 2017.

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UIS holds special flag raising ceremony

In observance of Veterans Day, the University of Illinois Springfield held a special flag raising ceremony on campus.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch and other leaders were honored with the ESQR Seven Seals Award for their work in supporting military veterans.

Over the past year, the university has reduced fees for students who participate in military benefits.

They've also created a Student Veterans Advisory Committee. Leaders of the Illinois National Guard and employees at Camp Lincoln spoke about the importance of supporting our military men and women.

"We take the weekend, not just the day, the weekend and beyond to continue to recognize and support our veterans and service members," said Major Loren Easter with the Illinois ESQR Committee.

Right now there are more than 300 students attending UIS that are in the military or have veterans' status.

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 10, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Researchers talk hepatitis study results

Researchers at the University of Illinois Springfield are sharing the results of a two-year study of hepatitis among homeless people.

Associate Professor Josiah Alamu decided to study the matter after reading federal data that pointed to increasing rates of Hepatitis C, particularly among homeless people and people in prison.

“As a public health officer, my concern would be ‘How much would the government save if we do the screening and prevention?'" Alamu said. “I did the math. It takes about $90,000 to treat one Hepatitis C patient.”

Alamu and a group of students conducted screenings of about 100 homeless people at shelters in Springfield, Decatur, Champaign, Bloomington and Peoria, he said.

Of those screened with rapid testing, 13 percent tested positive for Hepatitis C and were referred to hospitals for further services, Alamu said. That compares to federal projections that between 10 and 30 percent of homeless people have Hepatitis C.

Alamu said the research could help develop tailored treatments and prevent the spread of Hepatitis C.

Alamu said his students are now partnering with the Illinois Department of Public Health, Walgreens and others to conduct a mobile clinic in Springfield, providing screenings for homeless people and offering flu shots.

This article appeared on WAND 17 on November 8, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

UIS volleyball wins 10th straight match

The University of Illinois Springfield stretched its win streak to 10 matches and beat Maryville at The Recreation and Athletic Center Tuesday.

UIS runs its record to 21-8 overall and 12-4 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

The Prairie Stars are two victories shy of tying the program’s single-season win record.

They won 23 matches at the NAIA level in 2007.

Brianna Bush and Taylor Bauer hit eight kills each against Maryville. Tiffany Wentworth tallied 26 assists.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 7, 2017.

Read the entire story online.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

More Veterans Day events

The University of Illinois Springfield will hold a Veterans Day flag raising ceremony at 9 a.m. Friday in front of the Public Affairs Center.

Major Loren Easter, Illinois Army National Guard, Camp Lincoln will provide an address in the Sangamon Auditorium lobby directly following the raising of the flag.

The U.S. Dept. of Defense and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) will have a Patriot Award presentation.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 6, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Women's Cross Country: UIS places 24th at regional

University of Illinois Springfield senior Krissy Finley placed 104th at the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional.

She led UIS by finishing the 6K in 24 minutes 8.2 seconds.

Teammate Olivia Rohr was 155th.

The Prairie Stars placed 24th as a team.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 4, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

UIS opening new student union

The University of Illinois Springfield is opening a new student union in January.

It's a $21.7 million project.

The 50,000 sq. ft. facility still needs landscaping, decor, and furnishings.

The grand opening is set for January 14th 2018.

Officials are calling it a "Community Hub" for campus where students can eat and attend events and will have two dozen student workers.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on November 5, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Men's Cross Country: Stars finish 13th in regional

University of Illinois Springfield senior Eli Cook was 55th and the Prairie Stars placed 13th at the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional.

Cook completed the 10K in 33 minutes 9.8 seconds.

The Prairie Stars’ next placer was Tyler Pasley. He was 81st.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 4, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Volleyball: Stars get 20th win

The University of Illinois Springfield posted its ninth consecutive victory and clinched its first ever Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament berth with a win against Indianapolis.

The Prairie Stars are closing in on the program record for wins in a single season.

It has already set the record for NCAA Division II victories in a season.

Alyssa Hasler and Taylor Bauer had 10 kills each against Indianapolis. Tiffany Wentworth added 30 assists and nine digs.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 4, 2017.

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Jerry Seinfeld adds second Springfield show

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld will perform a second show when he returns to Sangamon Auditorium in January.

In addition to the previously announced 7 p.m. performance on Jan. 18, Seinfeld will go on again for a 9:30 p.m. show.

Seinfeld previously sold out performances at Sangamon Auditorium in 2003, 2005 and 2009. 

Seinfeld is best known for his comedy sitcom on NBC in the 1990s. In recent years, he has starred in the web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” where Seinfeld picks up a fellow comedian in a classic car and they have a conversation over coffee.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 3, 2017.

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

UIS students collect nearly 29,000 pounds of food

While children throughout Springfield were collecting Halloween candy on Tuesday night, the University of Illinois Springfield continued a tradition of collecting food for the Central Illinois Foodbank.

A total of 284 UIS students went door to door Tuesday night to collect a record 28,946 pounds of food from several Springfield and Chatham neighborhoods.

The students visited home over the past week to distribute door hangers that explained the project. 

Tuesday night’s total breaks last year’s record of 14,085 pounds.

If residents have food items that weren’t picked up Tuesday night, please contact the UIS Volunteer Center at 206-7716 or volunteer@uis.edu.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 1, 2017.

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UIS Student Union to open mid-January

The Student Union at University of Illinois Springfield has a mid-January opening date after more than a year-and-a-half of construction for the $21.7 million project. 

Remaining work on the 50,000-square-foot facility at the center of campus includes furnishings, landscaping, d├ęcor and finishing touches on exterior walls toward a Jan. 14 grand opening, Student Union Executive Director Ann Comerford said Wednesday.

“Everything is moving along really well,” said Comerford. “We plan to begin moving in late November or early December.”

The Student Union was among projects highlighted at the Springfield campus with the official launch Wednesday of a five-year, $3.1 billion fundraising campaign for the University of Illinois System, including Champaign-Urbana, Chicago and Springfield campuses.

Approximately $1.8 billion already has been committed toward scholarships and academic programs, facilities, technology and community projects, according to Wednesday’s announcement.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch last month announced a $40 million goal for the Springfield campaign, including creation of the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies.

A weeklong series of events are planned leading up to Jan. 14.

“It’ll truly be a community hub for the campus. Students will study here, they’ll eat here, and there will also be a lot of programs and events,” said Comerford. ”“It’s also our hope this is a place where people get to know the campus community. I think it’s great not only for UIS but for Springfield.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 1, 2017.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Report: Sangamon Auditorium made ‘significant safety corrections’ after accident

Sangamon Auditorium, where a March 26 accident led to $300,000 in personal injury settlements, has made “very significant safety corrections” after one concert patron was hurt and another died in a fall, according to a safety report commissioned by the University of Illinois Springfield.

Unspecified steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence of the incident, the recently completed $5,000 analysis by Champaign-based consultant Grey & Associates says.

Provided by UIS at the request of The State Journal-Register, the report also said the 2,000-seat performance venue needs to improve both its hazard-reporting process and training of employees on safety policies to better protect workers and the public.

UIS Spokesman Derek Schnapp said some of the safety report’s recommendations have been implemented already. He didn’t elaborate. He had no cost estimate for carrying out the suggestions but said cost wouldn’t be a barrier.

“We are pleased to have received the Sangamon Auditorium Safety Audit, and we are carefully reviewing the report to assess any needed improvements,” Schnapp said. “As we have noted before, the safety of our guests is a top priority, and the report confirms the auditorium is a safe facility. We’re looking forward to another great season of outstanding performances.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 1, 2017.

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Women's Soccer: lllinois-Springfield’s Courtney Johnson receives GLVC honor

University of Illinois Springfield sophomore goalkeeper Courtney Johnson has been named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

She made nine saves in a win against Rockhurst. It was her fourth shutout.

She is the second UIS women’s soccer player who has earned Player of the Week honors.

Junior goalie Paloma Guijarro received the award in September.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 31, 2017.

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Trick or treating for cans instead of candy

Trick or treating for a good cause, that's what nearly 300 University of Springfield students did Tuesday.

Trick or Treat for Canned Goods is an effort to address food insecurity in central Illinois.

Students went out to 17 different neighborhoods to collect food instead of candy.

One of the event organizers said Halloween is a great time to give back.

“A lot of people are thinking about it at Thanksgiving but that might be just a touch too late,” said director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center Mark Dochterman. “The food that we get now will go into the foodbank and out to the soup kitchens before Thanksgiving.”

All the food will go to the Central Illinois Foodbank.

Last year the students raised 14,000 pounds of food, they're shooting for 15,000 pounds this year.

This story aired on FOX Illinois on October 31, 2017.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Local recruits bring new energy to UIS men’s basketball

2016-17 RECORDS: 9-18 overall; 4-14 in Great Lakes Valley Conference

A LOOK BACK AT LAST SEASON: Injuries plagued UIS throughout the season. The biggest injury was to redshirt sophomore forward Bahari Amaya. He tore an anterior cruciate ligament in a knee two games in, but is cleared to play this season after rehabbing from surgery. The Prairie Stars’ playing rotation last year included one senior (Paxton Harmon) and one junior (Eddie Longmeyer). The other players were freshmen and sophomores. Longmeyer scored a team-high 14.3 points per game and 4 assists per game. The Stars’ other returning double-digit scorers are junior guard Vince Walker (11.6 ppg) and junior center Zach Steinberg (11.1 ppg). Steinberg averaged a team-leading 8 rebounds per game and collected eight double-doubles. Walker hit a team-high 66 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Lijah Donnelly averaged 8.9 ppg and 2.8 apg and started 15 games last season. Sophomore forward Kaj Days made 13 starts.

STANDING OUT: Look at a UIS roster and the names of two local players jump out. Freshman guard Andrae Williams and freshman forward Collin Stallworth are the first UIS players from the area since the 2010-11 season. Williams scored 12.4 ppg for Lanphier High School, which placed fourth at the Class 3A state tournament. Stallworth was a star two-sport athlete at Rochester High. He ranked second in the Central State Eight Conference with 8.4 rpg and averaged 12 points. They could join the list of current players who saw considerable playing time as freshmen. Junior guard Logan Gonce, sophomore forward Brandon Van Sant, Amaya, Walker, Steinberg, Days and Donnelly played regularly in as freshmen.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 31, 2017.

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UIS women’s basketball looking to finish games off

2016-17 RECORDS: 9-17 overall; 3-15 in Great Lakes Valley Conference

A LOOK BACK AT LAST SEASON: The Prairie Stars lost nine contests by nine points or less. UIS avoided not ending the season on a sour note. It snapped a 10-game losing streak with a win over McKendree in the season finale. A bright spot for the Stars was forward Destiny Ramsey. She was named to the GLVC third team along with UIS senior center and all-time leading rebounder Syerra Cunningham.

STANDING OUT: Cunningham is gone, but Ramsey is back. She was UIS’ top scorer last year with 12.1 points per game. She was also first in steals (44) and blocks (32). Senior guard Shelbi Patterson is also a big-time player. She started her first three seasons and averaged 10.3 ppg. She averaged a team-high 2.3 assists. Guard Tehya Fortune started all 26 games last season as a freshman and averaged 8.5 points. She also poured in a team-high 49 3-pointers. New to the fold is junior guard Valerie Meissner who was a starter for Lake Superior State last season. She averaged 8 points and a team-high 4.5 assists per game for the Lakers.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 31, 2017.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Jerry Seinfeld to perform at UIS in January

Jerry Seinfeld will return to Sangamon Auditorium this winter for what will be the comedian’s fourth visit to the venue over the past 15 years.

The stand-up comedy show is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 18th.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Nov. 3. and will be available at the Sangamon Auditorium ticket office, on the campus of the University of Illinois Springfield, by calling 206-6160 or visiting www.sangamonauditorium.org.

An online presale begins Wednesday. Ticket prices are $150, $80 or $65. Seinfeld previously sold out performances at Sangamon Auditorium in 2003, 2005 and 2009.

Seinfeld is best known for his comedy sitcom on NBC in the 1990s.

In recent years, he has starred in the web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” where Seinfeld picks up a fellow comedian in a classic car and they have a conversation over coffee.

Seinfeld is currently one of the top-grossing touring acts in entertainment.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 26, 2017.

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UIS men and women’s soccer ready for postseason

Sunday’s first-round Great Lakes Valley Conference Women’s Soccer Championship Tournament game between Quincy and University of Illinois Springfield isn’t your typical No. 1 seed vs. No. 8 seed matchup.

The Prairie Stars are seeded eighth, but they had nationally ranked Quincy on the ropes last weekend.

UIS took a 2-0 lead until Quincy cut the deficit in half less than a minute later.

Quincy, No. 12 in the NCAA Division II rankings, avoided the upset by scoring two goals on handball penalties in the final four minutes and won 3-2.

“We take away a lot of confidence from that game,” UIS women’s soccer coach Erin Egolf said. “We competed really well. Our girls challenged for every 50-50 ball. More importantly, when we had the ball we kept possession. We had a consistent effort that first 86 minutes. We just had some unlucky calls."

The UIS women’s and men’s soccer teams are both making history.

Each has qualified for the GLVC tournament for the very first time.

UIS joined the conference in 2009.

The Stars will play Lewis on Sunday in the first round of the GLVC Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament. The game starts at 2:30 p.m. in Romeoville.

"We’re confident,” UIS men’s soccer coach Adam Hall said. “We’ve beat Lewis already, so we know what we can do. We just need to get the job done when we get the chance on Sunday.”

The Stars have a chance to make more history. If they can get a ninth victory, they’ll break the program record for wins in the single season in the NCAA Division II era.

Both teams are eager to show what they can do in tournament play. “We know going in we should be able to compete,” Egolf said. “Now we’ve got to just show up and do it. Our team is finally seeing that we can be good and we can be a top team.”

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 27, 2017.

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Subdued hues and strange shadows at University of Illinois at Springfield

Newspaper is often the first ephemera we come to understand.

It’s an impermanent medium that we try to make permanent over and over again, whether it’s a yellowing comic strip on someone’s fridge or a historical front page tucked away in the closet.

In that sense, newspaper is also typically our first lesson in the power of print and how our stories become tangled up and tactile through ink and paper.

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery digs into this dynamic with “of strange shadows,” its current show from Texas-based collaborators Leslie Mutchler and Jason Urban.

Pulling at the threads among color, print and collective memory, Mutchler and Urban pair hues of low saturation with images of protest and violence that examine the 1960s and ’70s — moments of political unrest “too familiar and yet distant” to our own time.

This story appeared in The Chicago Tribune on October 30, 2017.

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Dual credit: UIS offers biochemistry course to SHG students

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School senior Cole Taylor has found out quickly that high school and college-level courses aren’t the same.

Taylor is one of 18 SHG seniors enrolled in a new dual-credit biochemistry course at University of Illinois Springfield.

The class is the first time UIS has offered high school students college credit for a course taught by a university faculty member — associate professor of biochemistry Stephen Johnson.

The high school seniors meet three times a week for two-hour 15-minute sessions, with an extra three-hour lab on Fridays.

Johnson, a parent of seven children, said he came up with the idea after speaking with fellow parents at SHG and teachers at the school about ways to enhance the science program.

The course gives students a jump-start on college because they have an opportunity to earn credit, but, perhaps more important, exposes them to college, he said.

“It gives students who want to be a doctor a chance to see biochemistry before they go into premed. Maybe they decide they’re not interested or, more importantly, decide maybe they want to do more,” Johnson said.

The biochemistry class starts with a review of general chemistry and then goes beyond what is taught at the high school level, Johnson said. The lab work also is more in-depth than what high school students are typically exposed to. For example, students learn how to separate DNA, Johnson added. 

Johnson said he hopes the pilot program will expand for more dual-credit classes across UIS.

In addition, he also hopes to expand it to other high schools.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said the dual-credit program has great potential in attracting students to UIS.

“These are really talented kids and students that we would love to have at UIS after they graduate,” she said. “We look forward to talking to Dr. Johnson about how it went and seeing how we can expand it into other areas.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 29, 2017.

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Women's Volleyball: UIS volleyball improves to 17-8

Taylor Bauer hit a match-high 14 kills and the University of Illinois Springfield posted its sixth straight victory with a 25-22, 25-14, 25-16 win against Maryville Saturday.

It is the longest win streak in the program’s NCAA Division II era.

Other notable performers in the Great Lakes Valley Conference match were Tiffany Wentworth with 37 assists and Jailyn Borum with 17 digs. Alyssa Hasler added five blocks.

UIS is 17-8 overall and has an 8-4 GLVC record.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 28, 2017.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Women's Soccer: Stars earn first GLVC tourney berth

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s soccer team won 1-0 against Rockhurst Wednesday to qualify for the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship for the first time in program history. 

Sophomore Erin Bolskar’s game-winning goal earned the Prairie Stars the eighth and final spot.

Bolskar scored her first goal of the season off freshman Kayla Meyer’s throw in with 30 minutes left in the second half at Kiwanis Stadium.

It was a do-or-die game for UIS. Rockhurst would have advanced to the GLVC tourney instead of UIS if the Hawks had won.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 25, 2017.

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"of strange shadows" Opening Reception

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is pleased to present "of strange shadows" from Texas-based collaborators Leslie Mutchler and Jason Urban.

The exhibit will open on Thursday, October 26, and run through Thursday, November 16. An artist reception will take place on Thursday, October 26, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

The exhibit, "of strange shadows," is an investigation of color, print and collective memory. Contrasting a subdued primary palette with gray images of residual protest and violence, artist-collaborators Mutchler and Urban look back to the 1960's and 1970's as captured in printed matter from the same era.

Both teach in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin where Mutchler is associate chair and director of the AAH Core Program and Urban is head of the studio division's print area.

This article appeared in the Illinois Times on October 26, 2017.

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UIS Theatre Department launches degree program with production of ‘Machinal’

When she chose the 1920s drama “Machinal” as the University of Illinois Springfield’s fall theater production, director Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson felt a certain sense of deja vu.

The play, opening Friday for six performances at the UIS Studio Theatre, depicts a young woman “struggling to find her place in what (the playwright) perceived as an overly mechanized, automated, unfeeling society and culture,” said Thibodeaux-Thompson, associate professor of theater at UIS.

Its main character also experiences sexual discrimination and harassment, pressure to conform to society’s expectations of women, and a growing sense of alienation, with tragic results.

“It can be difficult to distinguish whether Treadwell was writing about the 1920s or the 2010s,” Thibodeaux-Thompson said, especially since adverse treatment of women in entertainment, politics and other fields continues to make news on a daily basis.

“Certainly times have changed, but how much, and how far?”

“Machinal,” written by Sophie Treadwell, depicts a young stenographer who marries her boss but finds him repulsive and controlling. Desperate to escape her loveless marriage, she has an affair with a younger man, kills her husband and is tried for his murder.

“She is a victim of her time,” said Sherri Mitchell, a newly enrolled theater major who plays the young woman’s mother.

Mitchell said her own character “represents the ugly side of what it meant to be a woman” with no financial security apart from a breadwinning man. “She represents the life most women had been living then,” focused only on the drudgery of daily survival, she said.

The show also marks another milestone for the UIS Theatre Department: the official launch of its bachelor’s degree program in theater, approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education last year.

“Having a BA in theatre is a great asset for the campus and makes it a robust liberal arts university,” added Thibodeaux-Thompson, whose husband Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, associate professor and director of theater, and assistant professor Dathan Powell round out the theater department faculty.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 25, 2017.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

UIS launches chemistry course for high schoolers

A group of high school seniors are studying chemistry at the University of Illinois Springfield this semester, as part of the university’s first dual credit course.

The course, which includes 19 seniors from Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, earns students college credit and is taught at the UIS campus by Associate Professor of Chemistry Stephen Johnson.

Johnson said organizers hope the class will help students consider important health careers.

“We thought this would be the perfect chance for them to see the health field industry, all the way in through advanced biochemistry, but at a survey level,” Johnson said.

Some students are considering those careers. “I’d like to major in biochemistry in college,” said student Taylor Rahn. “Chemistry and science are my favorite things to do in school, so when I found out I could take this class, I knew that I really wanted to.”

Students in the class attend two lectures each week and one weekly lab.

Johnson said students in the class pay a discounted fee.

This story aired on WAND News  on October 24, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Men's Soccer: UIS Men's Soccer earns 1st GLVC Tournament berth

The University of Illinois Springfield took home a 3-0 victory on Quincy on Sunday and that win punched the Prairie Stars' ticket to its first Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament.

The win over the Hawks also moved UIS to 8-6-1 on the season, the most conference wins since moving to a division two program.

This article appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on October 23, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Donation to upgrade virtual servers at UIS

A college computer science program has claimed a new donation.

The University of Illinois Springfield plans to use a gift of over $26,000 from State Farm Insurance to upgrade its virtual server farm.

The Department of Computer Science took in a check on Monday. One educator said the money provides a boost the university needs.

“We offer 80 percent of our classes using (the) virtual service,” said Svet Braynov, computer science associate professor at UIS. “This fall we’re experiencing deadlocks and problems with the virtual server. That’s because they are running out of capacity.”

The UIS virtual server farm helps about 1,200 students throughout the academic year and involves more than 2,200 machines.

“Without this help, we would not be able to offer what we offer today to our students,” Braynov said.

This story appeared on WAND TV on October 23, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Men's Soccer: UIS men’s soccer pounces on Quincy

A trio of goals in the first 24 minutes carried the University of Illinois Springfield men’s soccer team to a 3-0 win against Quincy at Kiwanis Stadium Sunday.

Senior Naba Alzhyri scored 23 seconds into the Great Lakes Valley Conference game. Junior Alex Zarco scored a few minutes later for the Prairie Stars. Zarco added a second goal at the 24-minute mark.

UIS closes out the regular season at home against No. 2 Rockhurst Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 22, 2017.

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Friday, October 20, 2017

UIS students could study at newly proposed Chicago research center

University of Illinois Springfield students would have a chance to study at a proposed new public-private research center near downtown Chicago, UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said Thursday.

The University of Illinois announced plans for the Discovery Partners Institute on Thursday. 

According to the university, the new research institute would be developed on a site along the Chicago River in the city’s south loop neighborhood, where researchers will work with students and businesses to support “next-generation innovation and workforce development.”

The development company Related Midwest donated the land.

The U of I hopes to complete a plan for the research center next year. The plan will include a timetable for opening and other details of the $1.2 billion institute, which will be operated principally through private donations and partnerships with business and industry.

Koch said Thursday she was excited about what the prospects of the facility could mean in attracting students to UIS and preparing them for the workforce.

The institute, she said, would work similarly to a study-abroad program, where UIS students would spend a semester or more in Chicago. Students in numerous majors could potentially utilize the facility, including computer science, management information services, data analytics and information security, she said. “The sky is the limit on what the possibilities will be,” Koch said. 

Northwestern University and the University of Chicago are partnering with the U of I on the institute. U of I president Timothy Killeen said in a statement the center is intended to bring together faculty, students and companies to collaborate on research and turn it into new products and companies.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 19, 2017.

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Downtown, UIS campus to find corridor connection

It will soon become easier for people to visit a college campus in the Springfield area.

Final approval has passed for the 11th Street Extension Corridor, which will connect downtown and the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

The city has worked on the project for several decades.

An influx of U.S. government money will pay for 80 percent of a $7 million cost.

People in the Springfield area should expect bike routes and walkable areas along the corridor, which is scheduled to be done by summer of 2018.

This article appeared on WAND on October 19, 2017.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

17 business, education leaders named to EDC board

The heads of University of Illinois Springfield and Lincoln Land Community College, as well as top executives from some of the city’s largest companies, have joined the board of directors for a proposed Sangamon County economic development corporation.

Each of the 17 is expected to commit $25,000 to $50,000 annually toward operation costs estimated at $1.5 million to $2 million a year, according to an announcement from the county on Wednesday. 

“This is a fantastic start to our new effort. Frankly, even better than I anticipated,” county board Chairman Andy Van Meter said in the announcement.“Coupled with this kind of private-sector leadership, we are building great momentum toward a new and improved way of doing economic development in Sangamon County.”

In addition to UIS Chancellor Susan Koch and LLCC President Charlotte Warren, members named Wednesday head some of Springfield oldest and largest employers, including Bunn Co., Horace Mann Educators Corp., Springfield Electric Co., O’Shea Builders, local banks and insurance companies, engineering firms and health-care employers.

 A study released by the county last week recommended creation of a private-public EDC to better coordinate local job retention and creation initiatives in the face of slow-growing population, income, property values and employment.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 18, 2017.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Area colleges: Illinois-Springfield announces plans for fieldhouse

Athletic director Jim Sarra announced Tuesday that the University of Illinois Springfield plans to build a 92,000 square foot indoor fieldhouse that will impact all 17 sports at UIS.

It is expected to have a six-lane rubber track and areas for pole vault, long jump, triple jump and throws. It will also have turf infield, baseball and softball hitting tunnels, a golf hitting and training area and multi-purpose flooring to accommodate tennis, volleyball and basketball.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 18, 2017.

Read the story online. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

UIS men, women set records for soccer wins

In men's soccer, Rhys Wallace scored on a penalty kick and the University of Illinois Springfield’s 1-0 victory over Lewis Sunday tied the school record for Great Lakes Valley Conference wins.

UIS won its seventh conference match, tying the previous record set in 2013.

The Prairie Stars are 7-6-1 overall and 7-4-1 in the GLVC.

In women's soccer, Meghan Delaney’s scored the game-winning goal in the first half and the University of Illinois Springfield won 1-0 against Lewis at Kiwanis Stadium.

The Prairie Stars broke two records for the women’s program.

They set the single-season record for wins with an 8-4-4 record, topping the seven matches won in 2016.

UIS also set the record for Great Lakes Valley Conference wins in a season with five. It bettered the old mark of four set in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

The Stars are 5-4-3 in the GLVC.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 15, 2017.

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UIS starts basketball practice on Sunday

Sunday marks the first day NCAA Division II basketball teams can officially practice and the University of Illinois Springfield women’s squad is kicking off the day by manning the start and finish lines of the Springfield Marathon.

After the coaching staff and players wrap up their volunteer work, they’ll hit the hardwood. “I like the enthusiasm of our team,” UIS women’s basketball coach Mark Kost said. “I like the competition that we are going to have within the team for playing time.

 UIS men’s basketball coach Bill Walker will have almost a month to prepare the first game on Nov. 10 against Malone University in Canton, Ohio.

“On paper it’s my deepest team,” Walker said. “We still only have one senior (Eddie Longmeyer) on scholarship, but we have a fairly veteran team without having a lot of seniors. Zach (Steinberg)Vince (Walker)Logan (Gonce) and Bahari (Amaya) are in their third year and the three freshmen last year all played a lot.”

Walker has a new member of his coaching staff. Assistant Vincent Grier was an All-Big Ten first team selection at Minnesota in 2005.

Walker was an assistant at Minnesota recruited Grier, who signed with the Miami Heat after college and played overseas.

For the first time since the 2010-11 season, UIS has area players on the roster with the addition of Rochester High School product Collin Stallworth and Lanphier graduate Aundrae Williams.

UIS struggled through injuries to a 9-18 overall record and 4-14 Great Lakes Valley Conference record last season.

Under Kost, UIS women’s team finished 9-17 overall and 3-15 in the GLVC. “I’m looking forward to that finally over the two-year period we have full roster and we have our classes evened out,” Kost said.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 13, 2017.

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Springfield Marathon helps boost Springfield's economy

Runners from all over laced up their sneakers Sunday morning for the 5th annual Springfield Marathon, which started and ended on the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

Organizers said there was even one runner from India.

"About 30 percent of our runners came in from out of town," said Bill Stokes, the race director for the Springfield Marathon.

Those out of towners are boosting Springfield's economy, according to race organizers.

"I stayed at a hotel here in town and I ate out and I think it does good for the economy and brings visitors into the place," said Christy Patterson, a runner from Decatur.

More than 600 people came out for the race.

People said, not only do they spend money in Springfield, but the race gave them a chance to see what a new city has to offer.

"I'm not from here so just seeing Springfield's campus, you know if I ever decide to go back to school it's a nice place," said Angela McFadden, a runner from Carbondale.

Race participation was up 20 percent from just last year. Many racers said it was a trip well worth it.

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on October 15, 2017.

Watch the story online.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Marketing Justice: ‘Law-Mart’ Examines For-Profit Law Schools

First established in the early 2000s, a handful of for-profit law schools say they’re on a mission to diversify the legal profession.

Before becoming an assistant professor of legal studies at the University of Illinois Springfield, Riaz Tejani spent three years teaching at a such a school.

Tejani incorporates that experience into his new book, “Law Mart: Justice, Access, and For-Profit Law Schools.”

“At first I thought this would be an opportunity to teach an underserved population that historically had been kept out of the legal profession. The percentage of minorities at these for-profit law schools is 35 percent, much higher than not-for-profit law schools,” says Tejani.

“Law Mart” identifies the financial incentives that separate the country’s five for-profit law schools from their non-profit peers.

“The main difference is that their surplus income is given to investors, instead of being reinvested in the school,” says Tejani. With less than half of students passing their state bar exams and some of the highest rates of student loan default, Tejani questions whether these for-profit law schools actually profit students.

Tejani's interview appeared on WTTW Chicago Tonight on October 11, 2017.

Watch the interview online.

State Journal-Register - Our View: Fundraising initiative points to even stronger future for UIS

The following is an editorial from The State Journal-Register that appeared on October 11, 2017.

The University of Illinois Springfield is arguably already stellar. 

It boasts excellent public affairs programs, offering students unmatched hands-on experience through internships at the Statehouse. The Computer Science Department has been designated a national Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, which aims to reduce vulnerability in the nation’s information infrastructure. The Illinois Innocence Project has been involved in freeing 10 people who were wrongly imprisoned. 

Past studies have shown UIS and its alumni provide $176.8 million in income to the local economy. 

Dig into just about any program at the university and you’re likely to find something outstanding. 

And yet, the title of the school’s new fundraising campaign — Reaching Stellar: The Campaign for the University of Illinois Springfield — is fitting, too. It indicates that no matter how good, UIS will continue to strive toward even greater excellence. 

The new $40 million fundraising campaign — of which $18.5 million has already been raised through gifts, grants and pledges — is an ambitious goal that if achieved, can help accomplish that vision. 

The largest fundraising campaign in UIS’s history was announced Tuesday and will go through 2022.  
It’s appropriate that a priority goal of the campaign would be the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies, which will examine the legacy and lessons of the nation’s 16th president. 

With his museum and library, home and tomb already here, UIS is the perfect place to establish the national base for scholarship, teaching and public history about Abraham Lincoln’s life, leadership and legacy.

A successful program would involve research, course work and policy development, according to UIS officials, and connect UIS students with local opportunities to delve into Lincoln’s life and find ways to connect Lincoln to a national and international context. 

Other areas to benefit from the effort include scholarships, academic excellence, facilities, technology and programs that contribute to the public good, such as National Public Radio Illinois, the Illinois Innocence Project, Sangamon Auditorium and others. 

Read the entire editorial online.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

UIS announces $40 million fundraising campaign

A center that will study the legacy and lessons of Abraham Lincoln is just one of the goals of a new $40 million fundraising campaign announced at University of Illinois Springfield Tuesday evening. 

The campaign, which will continue through 2022, is the largest in the university’s history.

In addition to the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies, other areas to benefit from the fundraising include scholarships, academic excellence, facilities, technology and programs that contribute to the public good.

Programs that contribute to the public good include National Public Radio Illinois, the Illinois Innocence Project, Sangamon Auditorium and others.

“At the University of Illinois, we have one goal at the core of our mission: to transform lives and serve society,” said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch in a press release. “This fundraising campaign is a strategy for taking UIS – with donors’ help – toward greater excellence and greater impact for our community, our state and beyond.

The fundraising campaign is called “Reaching Stellar: The Campaign for the University of Illinois Springfield.” During Tuesday’s event at the school, alumni, staff and students were on hand to talk to guests about the importance of the fundraising priorities.

UIS has already secured about $18.5 million toward its $40 million fundraising goal. University of Illinois campuses in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago are conducting their own fundraising efforts.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 10, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Women's Cross Country: Litchfield cross country runners do well for UIS

Lexi Throne, of Litchfield, finished 37th in the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships.

The outing was hosted by Olivet Nazarene University and held at the Aspen Ridge Golf Course in Bourbonnais.

The University of Illinois Springfield freshman finished the 5,000-meter race in 20 minutes, 17.1 seconds.

Alexandria Quarton, of Litchfield, also an Illinois-Springfield runner, also competed in the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships. Quarton took 64th in 21:10.7.

UIS took seventh with 154 points.

This article appeared in The Journal-News College Report on October 10, 2017.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Centennial Park signs warn bicyclists of Franklin’s ground squirrels

The term “share the trail” is taking on new meaning at Centennial Park with the addition of new signs to warn bicyclists to be on the lookout for Franklin’s ground squirrels.

The species is threatened in Illinois, and a colony of the reclusive rodents live in the tall grass along the south end of the Sangamon Valley Trail in and near Centennial Park.

The squirrels cross the trail to get to different areas of grassland, which is why researchers at the University of Illinois Springfield have teamed up with the Springfield Park District to put up the warning signs along the trail.

Already this year, the UIS researchers have discovered the carcasses of two Franklin’s ground squirrels that were apparently hit by bicyclists. One of the dead squirrels was pregnant. “Their average litter size is up to seven pups,” said Tih-Fen Ting, an environmental scientist at UIS.

“If you take out one reproducing female, you are seeing potentially seven fewer squirrels. We just want people to slow down and pay attention. Also, we are seeing increased usage and traffic on the bike trail. That’s another reason we want people to be careful.”

Juvenile male Franklin’s ground squirrels leave the colony when they get older and head out to find females in another colony. Due to habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, they don’t always find a new home.

Ting’s current study started in 2013, and during that time, she hasn’t recorded a single new male originating from a different colony and finding the colony near Centennial Park, or any of the Centennial Park juvenile males finding another colony.

There is another colony south of Chatham, but so far, there is no evidence that the two groups intermingle. That means some of the males are staying where they’re born and there’s a danger of inbreeding at both sites. Inbreeding isn’t good for the overall health of the colonies.

As far as Ting can tell, the males that leave the Centennial Park colony either fall victim to predation or are they hit by a car as they look for another colony. “Last year, we had three males dispersing beyond Curran. We tracked them all the way toward New Berlin down Old Route 54,” Ting said. 

Unfortunately, the squirrels met the same fate as the other male juveniles that left the Centennial Park area in search of a mate. “They died. They died as bachelors,” Ting said.

So far this year, Ting and the other researchers have trapped 53 individuals at the Centennial Park site, including the bike trail. That’s down from 68 last year and 84 the year before. Ting is trying to find out why the numbers are falling. “I suspect the local population has become isolated,” Ting said. 

As far as researchers know, the colony of Franklin’s ground squirrels along the Sangamon Valley Trail is densest colony in the state. There also are documented Franklin’s ground squirrel colonies at the Barnhart Prairie Nature Preserve near Urbana and an abandoned railroad bed in Vermilion County.

Previous attempts to release Franklin’s ground squirrels into reconstructed Illinois prairies were not successful. That’s one of the reasons it’s important for bicyclists to keep an eye out for the squirrels when they are riding near the park.

Dog owners also are being asked to take extra care. Ting said she’s grateful for the park district’s help in putting out the signs and also for limiting mowing to preserve the tall grass. “They are very responsive,” Ting said of the park district.

Leslie Sgro, president of the Springfield Park District, said the district has a role to play in both recreation and conservation. “We have 75 acres of wild prairie in part to help the ground squirrels thrive. That was intentional,” Sgro said.

“We love beautiful open spaces and we love all of the critters that thrive in those spaces. In any urban or suburban environment, it’s really important that as we grow as a community, we make sure that there are beautiful spaces not only for the people, but also for the animals that live there.”

The warning signs near Centennial went up about a month ago. There also are dispensers on the signs that hold information brochures on the Franklin’s ground squirrel. Ting has already gone through about 300 brochures, which she sees as a good sign.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 8, 2017.

Read the entire story online.

Video from The State Journal-Register.

UIS golf teams changing plans after Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico is a long way from Springfield, but the destruction on the island caused by Hurricane Maria is impacting the University of Illinois Springfield men’s and women’s golf teams.

The Prairie Stars were scheduled to host the UIS Island Getaway Oct. 30-31 on the River and Ocean courses at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa in northeastern Puerto Rico.

Due to the conditions in Puerto Rico, UIS men’s and women’s golf coach Frank Marsaglia said the tourney will not be held there.

According the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar website, the resort is hosting government agencies and other relief teams staying in Puerto Rico to assist recovery efforts following the hurricane.

UIS has wrapped up its fall schedule in Puerto Rico every season since 2013.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 8, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Susan Koch: International Festival a 40-year tradition of diversity and education

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 8, 2017.

The Fall 2017 calendar at UIS is, more than ever, brimming with inviting events for students, faculty, staff and campus visitors. Myriad entertainment options at Sangamon Auditorium, guest speakers examining a wide variety of timely issues, and a full slate of Division II athletic contests provide almost daily opportunities for engagement, learning and enjoyment. 

In addition to all of the above, a very special event will occur on Nov. 3 when TRAC (The Recreation and Athletic Center) will be transformed into a global festival grounds. It’s the 40th anniversary of the UIS International Festival — the longest running student-led event in the history of the campus. 

The story of the festival starts with Gerlinde Coates, who served as the University’s first Director of the Office of International Student Services. 

In 1977, Coates was employed in the campus Learning Center helping international students improve their English. She proposed an international potluck as a way to acquaint the campus and the Springfield community with the “beautiful cultural assets” that international students represent ... and the rest, as they say, is history! 

That potluck in 1977, attended by a small number of enthusiastic guests, has grown to become a major campus/community celebration — much loved by hundreds of participants who come to enjoy international food tasting, cultural exhibits, demonstrations and artistic performances from around the world. 

At the same time, the number of international students attending UIS has increased — with more than 600 students from 42 countries enrolled this fall. 

Erika Suzuki, program coordinator in International Student Services at UIS, is leading the Festival Planning Committee. “With our increasingly interconnected world, developing a better understanding of different cultures has never been more important than it is today,” says Suzuki. “We’re especially excited about this year’s festival theme — ‘Anniversaries’ — and we’re looking forward to what our community partners, exhibitors and performers will do to feature the theme.” 

Suzuki also reports that international alumni have received special invitations for this year’s celebration and she is hopeful some will return to campus to enjoy the celebration and see how the campus has grown since they graduated. 

Hilary Frost, UIS faculty member and chair of the Global Studies Program, is also a member of the Festival Planning Committee. “It’s important that we create opportunities to recognize and celebrate diversity,” says Dr. Frost. “The International Festival is a terrific opportunity to see worlds and cultures come together and share through languages, foods, arts, performances and personal stories. The Festival is a signature event that amplifies the many international studies courses across the entire curriculum at UIS.” 

The International Festival is free and welcomes guests of all ages. Festival activities begin at 5 p.m. and conclude at 8 p.m. Friday, November 3, in TRAC. Please consider this your personal invitation!

Read the entire column online.

New UIS-UIC nursing program difficult but high-quality, students say

Expecting to graduate in the spring from one of Springfield’s newest training programs for future registered nurses, Thomas McClure of Chicago interviewed last week at Memorial Medical Center for jobs in three different intensive-care units.

“I would definitely love to work at Memorial, for sure,” said McClure, a senior nursing student at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing’s RN program at the University of Illinois Springfield. The 30-year-old former Chicago resident hasn’t received an offer from Memorial yet, but he said he is hopeful about the future and grateful to be part of UIC’s challenging nursing program. 

“I’ve learned a lot,” said McClure, a former U.S. Army medic. “I’ve been very lucky to be here when it’s so highly rated.”

With its first class scheduled to graduate in 2018, the Springfield regional program director said the start-up has been successful, and interest by potential future nursing students is growing.

“We’re on the cutting edge of what’s going on in nursing and in health care,” said Cynthia Reese, director of the Springfield regional campus of the UIC College of Nursing. There’s an almost constant need for registered nurses at Springfield-area hospitals and other health-care facilities, she said.

The UIC program awards graduates a bachelor’s degree in nursing, making them eligible to take a national exam to become a registered nurse. Students also can become registered nurses after obtaining associate’s degrees in nursing at programs, such as the one operated by Lincoln Land Community College. But hospitals and other institutions are encouraging students to earn bachelor’s degrees in nursing, or go through “bridge” programs to a bachelor’s if they have an associate’s in nursing, Reese said.

Research indicates patients do better, and become victims of medical errors less frequently, when their care is provided by a registered nurse with a bachelor’s, or BSN, apparently because of students’ more in-depth studies on nursing- and science-related topics, Reese said.

Nurses with BSNs “just have a broader education,” she said. A BSN degree can offer more opportunities for advancement than an associate’s in nursing. And Reese said a bachelor’s is required before a nurse can pursue a master’s or doctorate in the female-dominated field if she or he wants to teach nursing students or become a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist or nurse midwife.

The program at UIS was launched as a partnership between UIC, UIS and Memorial Health System.

Memorial is providing $1.25 million over a multi-year period for students in the freshman and sophomore “pre-nursing” years at UIS and in the junior and senior years, when students go through actual nursing classes and work in clinical settings at Memorial Medical Center, HSHS St. John’s Hospital and other locations. Memorial also chipped in $750,000 over a three-year period to help support the program and cover costs that include salaries for instructors, Reese said.

Twelve nursing students are expected to graduate in the spring. There are 32 junior nursing students currently, and officials hope to admit 48 junior-level students in fall 2018.

If enough nursing instructors can be hired, as many as 64 junior-level nursing students will be admitted by fall 2019, and that number will remain consistent for the future, Reese said.

Nursing students recently got to start using a new nursing laboratory on the UIS campus that was created with about $300,000 from UIC.

Some of the UIC money came from Memorial’s start-up contributions, with the rest coming from non-state funds through the College of Nursing funds, Reese said.

The UIC program, which also offers regional nurse training sites in Urbana, Rockford, Moline and Peoria, prides itself on teaching “evidence-based” nursing practice, Reese said.

Students in Springfield get to take part in lectures and presentations with students at other UIC campuses through high-end video conferencing technology. Their instructors are on par with teachers at the main campus in Chicago, Reese said.

Feedback from students at the Springfield campus has been positive, she said. “They like the faculty, they like the program. They say it’s hard,” she said. McClure and two other senior nursing students seconded that.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 8, 2017.

Read the entire article online and watch a video clip.

Women's Golf: UIS women’s golf places third at Findlay Fall Classic

University of Illinois Springfield junior Maria Espinosa tied for seventh and the Prairie Stars finished third out of 14 teams at the Findlay-Beall Fall Classic Monday.

Espinosa shot rounds of 75 and 74 for a 149. She carded four birdies in the final round.

UIS shot 619 for third place.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 9, 2017.

Read the entire article online.