Thursday, February 28, 2013

UIS men assured of conference tournament berth

The University of Illinois Springfield has clinched a berth in the 12-team Great Lakes Valley Conference men's basketball tournament for the second straight season.

The first round is Sunday on the campus of the higher seed. The Prairie Stars will most likely receive the No. 12 seed, which will travel to face the fifth seed. UIS (7-18 overall, 5-12 in the GLVC) hosts Quincy in its final regular-season game Thursday.

The news was featured by The State Journal-Register on February 27, 2013.

Read the article online

UIS student newspaper wins awards

The University of Illinois Springfield student newspaper, "The Journal," took home six awards for excellence, two of those first place honors, at the annual Illinois College Press Association conference Feb. 22 and 23.

Former "Journal" Editor-in-Chief Kati Dyer, of Auburn, won two awards for her photography of the 2011 commencement ceremony. Dyer won first place for her photo essay featured on the front page of the graduation issue and third place for her feature photo of family members waving to each other.

Illustrator and Photographer, Alex Johnson, of Crystal Lake, also took home a first place award in the sports photo category for a photo taken of the UIS softball team competing against William Jewell University. This was Johnson’s first year competing in the ICPA.

"Journal" Business Manager Kate Richardson, of Taylorville, won three awards in the open category for advertisement designs. She won second and third place for advertising campaigns designed for the UIS Bookstore and the Foreign and Independent Film Series. She also won honorable mention in the advertisement less than full page category for her work with Consign and Design.

The awards were featured by The State Journal-Register on February 27, 2013.

Read the article online

Monday, February 25, 2013

5 years after NIU shooting, colleges have boosted security

In 2011, a possibly armed-and-dangerous escaped prisoner was reported to be near the University of Illinois at Springfield campus.

Within minutes, the campus was placed on lockdown. The university sent out text messages, emails and social media alerts to students, faculty and staff, ordering everyone to stay away from the east side of the school grounds, said UIS Police Chief Don Mitchell.

“The response was unbelievable (on) social media more than anything else,” said Derek Schnapp, university spokesman. “We found out people mostly saw it on Facebook. They saw it on Twitter. That’s the world we live in.”

The university wouldn’t have had some of those methods of communication if the incident had happened just a few years earlier — before the mass shootings at Northern Illinois University in 2008.

Soon after, UIS, and many other schools, created a text message alert system, RaveAlert, by which messages can be sent out quickly through multiple formats such as social media sites and cell phones, Schnapp said.

“The point is to notify as many as possible and reaching the broadest net possible on campus,” he said. “We all know most students are connected (through their phones).”

Communication was also important in getting additional law enforcement to the scene, Mitchell said.

The escapee eventually was captured without incident in the woods near the east side of campus.

Campus security was featured by The State Journal-Register on February 24, 2013.

Read the article online

UIS women's basketball team picks up road win

Megan Bergerud scored 16 points in the second half as UIS shot nearly 70 percent from the field after halftime to rally past the University of Missouri-St. Louis in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game.

Bergerud, a Virginia High School graduate, connected on six of six field goal attempts — including all three 3-point field goal tries — as the Prairie Stars hit 16 of 23 field goals in the second half (69.6 percent). She led all scorers with 21 points as UIS (6-19, 3-14) snapped a seven-game losing streak.

The Prairie Stars trailed 32-29 at halftime as they shot 12 of 29 from the field, 41.4 percent. Ashley Coffey notched seven of her 10 points in the first half. UIS was 28 of 52 from the field, 53.8 percent, while the Tritons were 23 of 59, 39 percent. Alyssa Palmer complemented Bergerud with 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.

The win was featured on February 24, 2013 by The State Journal-Register.

Read the article online

Friday, February 22, 2013

WUIS shuffles administrators, adds 'Food Desk'

A new local-programming initiative, WUIS Food Desk, will begin airing March 1 on WUIS-FM, the public radio station based at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Executive editor of WUIS Food Desk will be Bill Wheelhouse, who had been WUIS general manager.

Randy Eccles, who has been the station’s development director since 2008, will replace Wheelhouse as general manager. Eccles formerly was with radio stations WGN-AM in Chicago and KTAR-AM/FM in Phoenix.

Food Desk will cover “everything from the seed to the plate,” Eccles said.

Food Desk will be featured throughout the day on a variety of programs, including “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.” he said.

WUIS was featured by The State Journal-Register on February 22, 2013.

Read the article online

Thursday, February 21, 2013

UIS men's basketball plays key game for playoff hopes

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team has a lot at stake Thursday night when it plays host to Marvyille in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game at The Recreation and Athletic Center. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

The Prairie Stars, 7-16 overall and 5-10 in the GLVC, have a one-game lead over Saint Joseph’s for the 12th and final berth to the GLVC Tournament with one week left in the regular season. Saint Joseph’s (6-15, 4-11) plays Thursday against 13th-ranked Wisconsin-Parkside.

UIS is sixth out of eight teams in the GLVC West Division standings. The top four teams from both divisions and four wild cards qualify for the league tourney. The Stars most likely are depending on a wild-card bid.

“We can only worry about playing Maryville and our being prepared to take away Maryville’s offense and being able to execute ourselves on the offensive end,” UIS coach Ben Wierzba said.

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on February 21, 2013.

Read the article online

Give me liberty, whatever it is

In what might be a first in the nation, the University of Illinois Springfield has established an academic program called Liberty Studies.

Students won’t be able to major in the subject, but the decision by the campus senate last Friday to establish Liberty Studies as a minor was not without controversy. Critics questioned whether the program will be more an attempt at indoctrination than education, with writings from conservative icons such as Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman eclipsing other points of view.

Not to worry, supporters say. Liberty means lots of different things to lots of different people. Gandhi, for example, had plenty to say about liberty, says Eric Hadley-Ives, chairman of the university’s liberal and integrated studies department that created the course of study. There is also room for Marxists and anti-imperialism, he said.

Hadley-Ives said that he knows of no other U.S. university that has developed Liberty Studies as a course of academic inquiry. Most, if not all, of the courses needed to complete the program are already in place. The creation of Liberty Studies is part of an effort in his department to develop “interesting” minors, Hadley-Ives said, and programs on film or sports could be coming next.

Liberty Studies was featured by the Illinois Times on February 21, 2013.

Read the article online

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Essay program allows teens to express their views

WUIS’ This I Believe essay program is designed to capture the viewpoints of area high school seniors and give those students an opportunity to share their thoughts with the community.

Ten authors’ essays are being broadcast on WUIS 91.9 FM (89.3 FM in areas west of Jacksonville) over the next two weeks. The essays are scheduled to air Monday-Friday at 7:50 a.m., in the noon hour and at 4:45 p.m.

This is the seventh year WUIS has produced the program with support from the Rotary Springfield-Sunrise. This year’s essays, and past years’ essays, may be streamed at

The contest was featured by The State Journal-Register on February 19, 2013.

Read the essays online

Monday, February 18, 2013

UIS alums asked whether sports teams need new nickname

The Student Government Association at the University of Illinois Springfield is asking alumni to chime in on whether the school should change its sports teams’ nickname from the Prairie Stars.

An email went out last week asking alumni to share their opinions via Facebook or email.

“The task force that’s considering this wanted to reach out to all members of the UIS community,” said Ryan Bouray, SGA president. “We don’t want any hasty decisions.”

The SGA last fall began asking students how they felt about the Prairie Stars nickname for the school’s athletic teams. The name dates to 1977 and came at the suggestion of John Watts, godfather of soccer in Springfield. Soccer was the first sport offered at UIS, which was then Sangamon State University.

It refers to either a flower or simply stars of the prairie, depending on who you talk to.

The student newspaper ran a poll in October, and The State Journal-Register ran an online poll the same month.

In the SJ-R online poll, 53 percent said to keep Prairie Stars, 11 percent said drop the “Prairie” and call the teams just “Stars,” and 35 percent said change the nickname completely. There were 468 responses.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on February 17, 2013.

Read the story online

Juice drinks, ethnic foods popular at UIS convenience store

When University of Illinois Springfield students get cravings for a fresh-squeezed lemon shake-up, shrimp crackers or even a wheatgrass shot, they know where to go.

Since September, a former snack bar in Lincoln Residence Hall has been open as Grab-n-Go, a combination juice bar and basic/ethnic convenience-food store.

Randy Williams, food service administrator, said the store came about from student suggestions.

“We do a lot of surveying around here, and it started out the students just wanted a convenience store,” he said. “They kept wanting things that are healthy.”

Because the number of international students enrolled at UIS has increased by 25 percent in just a couple of years — to 248 this academic year — there also was a call to have somewhere for those students to get familiar foods.

“They can get their comfort foods,” Williams said. “They can get rice, spices and the pastes they cook with. Right now, we’re stocking more Asian items because of the Chinese New Year.”

The Grab-n-Go was featured by the State Journal-Register on February 16, 2013.

Read the article online

UIS golfers tend to bloom in spring

For reasons unknown, University of Illinois Springfield men’s golf coach Frank Marsaglia has noticed a pattern when it comes to the split season. He believes the Prairie Stars tend to play better during the spring than the fall.

He’s looking forward to seeing what they can do with the spring campaign kicking off Sunday at the two-day Frito Lay/Taco Bell Intercollegiate tournament in Philadephia, Miss.

An integral part of the team’s core is sophomore Jacob Wherley, who finished second at the Maryville Fall Invitational after losing a playoff for medalist. He placed in the top 20 at two other tourneys.

“Jake has really come along,” Marsaglia said. “As a freshman, he had one of the better seasons and was one of our better players, and that really helped."

The team was featured by the State Journal-Register on February 16, 2013.

Read the article online

Friday, February 15, 2013

One Billion Rising: Campaign against violence

You see the smiles on their faces and the rhythm in their feet, but their campaign is against a dark epidemic they say impacts “One Billion Rising”.

More than a hundred students at the University of Illinois Springfield are so concerned with sexual assault and abuse they spent hours working on a dance just to get their cause noticed. And while it is an issue most people think impacts women, it is the men who can also make a difference.

“It is a women's issue, but it is a world issue," One Billion Rising activist Zach Berillo said. "It's a men's issue just as much."

He is one of more than a hundred students, faculty and other activists who are trying to fight a startling statistic.

“With the planet's population over 7 billion, we know that at least one billion women and girls now walking the Earth have been or will be raped, beaten or killed," UIS Women’s Center Director Lynn Otterson said. "This is happening in 200 countries today.”

The WICS-TV 20 story aired on February 14, 2013.

Watch the story online

UIS men keep hopes alive for tourney

The University of Illinois Springfield and Missouri S&T men’s basketball teams went into Thursday’s game at the bottom of the Great Lakes Valley Conference West Division standings.

Trying to accumulate enough wins to put them in the top four of the division and qualify for the conference tournament in March is the Prairie Stars’ No. 1 objective with four league games remaining in the regular season.

UIS is one win closer behind a 77-64 victory over Missouri S&T at The Recreation and Athletic Center on Thursday.

“We’re getting closer to where we need to be,” UIS coach Ben Wierzba said.

UIS (7-15, 5-9) was sixth out of eight teams in the GLVC West Division standings heading into Thursday, while Missouri S&T was tied with Rockhurst for last place in the division.

The Stars’ win moved them into a tie with Quincy for fifth in the standings. Quincy lost 64-44 to Drury on Thursday.

The team was featured by the State Journal-Register on February 15, 2013.

Read the article online

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

UIS hosts career fair at TRAC

Vicente Valtierra was just one of the students who flocked to the University of Illinois Springfield Tuesday, looking for an opportunity to start a career.

"As long as I'm working with people, helping someone out, I'd be happy," Valtierra said.

He graduates in May with a master's degree in computer science. He's not worried about the state of the economy. Instead, he keeps an open mind about finding work in his chosen field.

"It's more about how you apply yourself, who you get to know, putting yourself out there," Valtierra said. "That makes a difference. People hear that it's a tough market, the economy is rough, but you take it upon yourself to make a difference."

One way to show that difference is to have something in your background that makes you stand out from everyone else. UIS Career Development Center director Tammy Craig thinks getting valuable experience is critical.

"The key is for them to actually participate in those experiential opportunities through internships, volunteer work, leadership opportunities," Tammy Craig said.

The career fair was featured by WICS-TV 20 on February 12, 2013.

Watch the story online

Monday, February 11, 2013

Susan Koch: Black History Month at UIS brimming with opportunities

The following is a portion of a guest column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published in a February 10, 2013 edition of the State Journal-Register.

"Gumbo, grits, collard greens, banana pudding, fried chicken, okra — these and many other foods that reflect the culinary foodways of traditional Arican-American culture are the subject of the documentary film, “Soul Food Junkies,” by award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt. The film (and the food) was also the subject of a rich intercultural dialogue held just a few days ago on the University of Illinois Springfield campus as we kicked off our annual celebration of Black History Month.

Since its beginnings in 1926, Black History Month, celebrated in February because the month marks the birthdays of both abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln, has evolved to become an annual observance in the United States. It provides an important opportunity to raise awareness and honor the contributions of African-Americans among people of all backgrounds, and it provides a platform for educational opportunities on university campuses across the country."

Read the full column online

One Billion Rising encourages an end to violence against women globally

Women, men, children, families, organizations and nations will rise Feb. 14 with the hope of ending violence against women.

The organizers of V-Day, the international campaign that raises awareness each Feb. 14 about violence against girls and women, have created a new campaign called One Billion Rising in honor of the group's 15th anniversary.

The Women's Center at the University of Illinois Springfield plans to commemorate this year's V-day with an estimated 50 dancers performing "Break the Chain" twice Feb. 14.

Lynn Otterson, the center's director, called the movement empowering and said she hopes word will spread throughout the university's community. She said men at the school have taken the initiative to get involved in the events, even signing a pledge of solidarity with women.

The center also began a Facebook campaign that brings together photos of women and men holding white boards in support of the movement. The women's white boards say "I am rising," and the men's boards say "I support rising women." Otterson said these images stand in solidarity with the global One Billion Rising movement.

The campaign was featured by the National Catholic Reporter on February 9, 2013.

Read the article online

Thursday, February 7, 2013

West Dawson is Prairie Stars' defensive leader

West Dawson makes it fun to watch him play defense.

The lean University of Illinois Springfield basketball player wows crowds by flying around on defense, diving on the floor for loose balls and leaping over scorer’s table or team benches trying to save balls.

“West is the energy leader of the team,” UIS coach Ben Wierzba said. “When they see him playing that hard, they know they’ve got to try to match his energy because West brings it every game and practice.”

Dawson’s “Energizer-Bunny” mentality on defense and on the glass has enriched the Prairie Stars for two seasons.

The 6-foot-5 senior forward is UIS’ top rebounder. He averages 7.4 rebounds per game, No. 7 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. He most likely leads the Stars in hustle plays.

“I don’t hold back,” said the Decatur Eisenhower High School graduate. “I’m super aggressive.”

Dawson was featured by the State Journal-Register on February 7, 2013.

Read the article online

A beloved teacher, counselor and activist commemorated

Richard Moy, founding dean of the SIU medical school, and his sons, Philip and Eric Moy, have given a $250,000 endowed fund to the University of Illinois Springfield in honor of their wife and mother, former UIS professor Dr. Caryl T. Moy. The Caryl Towsley Moy, Ph.D., Fund for Collaborative Research will support faculty from UIS and the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine who do team-based research.

Dr. Caryl Moy taught in the Child, Family and Community Services Program at UIS (then known as Sangamon State University) for 21 years. She also taught family practice and psychiatry as an adjunct professor at the SIU School of Medicine.

“Caryl would be delighted with the collaborative nature of this research,” said Dr. Richard Moy. “She was very comfortable at both institutions, and she would be happy to create opportunities for faculty.”

“We are deeply grateful to Dr. Moy and his sons, Phillip and Eric, for this wonderful gift,” said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. “I am particularly pleased that this fund will make possible team-based collaborative faculty research at UIS and the SIU School of Medicine. With support provided by the Caryl Towsley Moy, Ph.D., Endowed Fund for Collaborative Research, the research will benefit both institutions and will foster new knowledge in many important fields of inquiry.”

Moy was featured by the Illinois Times on February 7, 2013.

Read the article online