Monday, September 30, 2013

Record number of employers participate at UIS job fair

Central Illinois employers are ready to hire if they can find candidates with the right technical skills and whose social skills extend beyond social media.

“They’re here. They’re ready to go if they find the right person,” said Tammy Craig, director of UIS Career Development Center. “The economy is slowly growing. Employers are still being conservative, but they are hiring.”

A record number of 107 employers set up booths at the “Foot in the Door” job fair Thursday on the UIS campus. Of those, 79 indicated they had full-time positions ready to fill and several asked for special accommodations to conduct on-the-spot job interviews for promising candidates that stopped at their booths.

The story was reported in The State Journal-Register on September 29, 2013.

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UIS volleyball wins at Quincy

Sara Baker had 12 kills and Kellee Mahaffay added 10 on Sunday to help lead the University of Illinois Springfield to a 25-23, 25-21, 25-19 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over Quincy University.

The Prairie Stars improved to 4-7 overall and 2-2 in the GLVC, while the Hawks slipped to 5-7 and 1-3.

Baker, a senior from Galesburg, had seven kills in the second set. UIS freshman Ashley Beaton had five of her seven total kills in the second set. UIS junior setter JoAnna Hoffman had 33 assists along with seven digs.

The win was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 30, 2013.

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Czarny's goal lifts UIS men's soccer team

Senior Mark Czarny scored for the third time this season, netted the winning goal 20 minutes before halftime in the University of Illinois Springfield’s 1-0 victory over William Jewell College in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Stars (4-4 overall, 3-2 in the GLVC). UIS outshot the Cardinals 11-6.

UIS freshman EJ Kirn made two saves to earn the shutout. William Jewell fell to 3-5, 1-4.

The win was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 28, 2013.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

UIS students get "Foot in the Door" at Career Fair

UIS held its Foot in the Door Career Fair on Thursday, Sept. 26. The event was geared toward connecting students, alumni, and community members with employers to discuss career opportunities.

UIS Career Development Center representatives said the fair was a great opportunity for students and employers to meet, especially given the current economy.

"It's a really good way for recruiters to come out and meet students all at once, and vice versa," director Tammy Craig said. "Students can really make the most effective use of their time when they come, because we have over 107 employers here now."

Some of those employers included ADM, County Market, Hope Institute, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on Sept. 26, 2013.

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Willie Nelson concert at Sangamon Auditorium postponed

Country music legend Willie Nelson’s concert Friday at Sangamon Auditorium has been postponed.

A news release from the auditorium cites "extreme fatigue/illness" Nelson felt after participating in the 2013 Farm Aid concert that raises money for America's farmers. Nelson canceled concerts this week in Indiana and Michigan, according to the Indianapolis Star and Lansing State Journal.

The Associated Press reported that Nelson is under a doctor's order to rest one of his shoulders for a week.

A statement from Sangamon Auditorium says the Springfield concert will be rescheduled, even though Nelson's website says it has been canceled. However, a date was not announced.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on Sept. 25, 2013.

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1988 SSU soccer team to hold reunion

A reunion of the 1988 Sangamon State University national championship team will take place over homecoming weekend next month at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The team will be recognized Oct. 6 during halftime of a 2:30 p.m. game against Indianapolis at Kiwanis Stadium. The 1988 Prairie Stars defeated Alderson-Broaddus of West Virginia for the second of three NAIA national titles for the program.

The UIS Homecoming BBQ is Oct. 4 at the South Quad near the University Hall building from 4:45 to 7:15 p.m. The cost for non-students is $10 and includes admission to the women’s and men’s soccer games against Saint Joseph’s. The women’s match starts at 5 p.m. The men’s contest begins at 7:30 p.m.

The reunion was featured by The State Journal-Register on Sept. 26, 2013.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

David Stoesz: Illinois should prepare to reinvest in human services

University of Illinois Springfield Social Work Professor David Stoesz's guest column was published in The State Journal-Register on September 23, 2013.

The following is a portion of the column:

"Once the legislative smoke clears from the state pension conflagration, Illinois lawmakers could begin to negotiate the transition from indiscriminate funding of social programs to investments in human services.

Economic austerity, imposed by a lingering recession and global competition, dictates that states opt for savvy investments in public services. Several alternatives show how human services can be transformed to meet requirements of the 21st century."

Read the full column online

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Iwe helps spur strong start for UIS soccer

Chukwuka Iwe has stayed true to the sport he loves.

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s soccer player was born in the soccer-loving country of Nigeria and didn’t abandon the game when he moved to the United States as a teenager.

“Chuks” as his friends call him was convinced by a coach to give track a try in high school, but it was only an experiment.

The junior midfielder wasn’t swayed by coaches or peers. His devotion to soccer has worked to his favor and that of the UIS men’s soccer team.

Iwe scored game-winning goals for the 3-1 Prairie Stars in back-to-back Great Lakes Valley Conference matches against Southern Indiana and Bellarmine last weekend.

The Stars were voted in the preseason coaches poll to finish last in the GLVC. They are currently in a three-way tie for first in the conference with a 2-0 league record.

Iwe was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 19, 2013.

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UIS holding soccer clinics, fundraiser

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s soccer program is hosting former player and Belize national soccer coach Ian Mork, who will participate in free youth clinics and a coaching symposium, and holding a Balls 4 Belize fundraiser over homecoming weekend.

The Prairie Stars are accepting donations of soccer balls, cleats, jerseys, shorts and socks. Mork will distribute the items to youth in the Central American country of Belize in December.

Donations are being accepted at two locations, including the entrance gate of Kiwanis Stadium Oct. 4 at the UIS men’s and women’s soccer games against Saint Joseph’s. The other drop-off location is the Springfield Area Soccer Association clubhouse, 4600 11th St., any time soccer training is in session or weekdays from 6 to 8 p.m.

UIS is also accepting monetary donations to pay for shipping all donated gear and equipment to Belize. Information is available at

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 19, 2013.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

UIS kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month

UIS is kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month. The university will have numerous events to celebrate throughout the month. A mariachi band from Peoria played on the campus grounds Monday.

The Organization of Latin-American Students and the UIS Diversity Center worked together to plan the celebration.

While it is a month of fun, the ongoing immigration reform debate remains a hot issue for the organization.

"We do a lot of things around campus to educate the community, and by signing pledges and getting people aware that we want immigration reform now," English major Jaime Cruz said.

The story was featured by WICS-TV 20 on September 16, 2013.

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Full list of UIS Hispanic Heritage Month events

Friday, September 13, 2013

Freshman numbers up at many Illinois universities

Many of Illinois' public universities are bucking a national trend of generally declining enrollment, welcoming larger freshmen classes to their campuses this fall.

Other universities with increases included the University of Illinois' flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois Springfield, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

The University of Illinois-Springfield's 19.8 percent increase in freshman enrollment — to 339 students — is probably a direct result of the school's Chicago-area marketing push and increases in scholarship money, according to Tim Barnett, the school's vice chancellor of student affairs.

Direct mail, email, billboards and radio spots are all being used to persuade students who might otherwise look outside of Illinois to come to the state capital, he said.

The Associated Press story was published on September 12, 2013.

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Study says homework is a waste of time

Can homework be a waste of time? A recent study published by the Economics of Education Review says yes.

Surveys show the amount of time children spend on homework has risen over the past 30 years however when it comes down to after -school assignments a new study suggests less is more.

"When I hear things about homework that are negative, it always has to do with the number of hours of homework that is given per night but the thing is that it takes kids different amounts of time to do different kinds of homework," said UIS Professor Cindy Wilson.

Wilson, who has been teaching for more than three decades and says homework should be purposeful.

"When you think about the homework that kids get, you have to think about the purpose of homework our classrooms are full of students who have different learning styles, different strengths, different interests, different motivations, and if you can use a variety of homework you're going to get more students you are going to impact more students," said Wilson.

Wilson was featured by WICS-TV 20 on September 13, 2013.

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State's supreme court gets second woman chief justice

With more than 30 years of experience in the judicial system, Justice Rita B. Garman will accept a new role as chief justice for the Illinois Supreme Court.

She's broken down barriers that no man or woman has ever been able to in Illinois. She is the first person to serve on all levels in the state's court system.

"This really opens up the legal profession. I would hope in the eyes of these young students and allows them to dream big," Gwen Jordan said.

Attorney Gwen Jordan teaches at the University of Illinois Springfield. She says she can relate to Justice Garman. She dealt with similar struggles while climbing her ladder to success.

"Unfortunately it still exists for women of color it's worse. So this does matter to have women in the top level positions, to change those maybe more settle biases," Jordan said.

Jordan was featured by WICS-TV 20 on September 12, 2013.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

UIS enrollment tops 5,000 for fourth year in row

Fall enrollment at the University of Illinois Springfield matched its second-highest total and topped 5,000 students for a fourth consecutive year.

The increase from 5,048 students in fall 2012 to 5,137 students this year — a 1.8 percent increase — comes as many other state universities see declining enrollment.

The University of Illinois will release enrollment figures for its Urbana-Champaign campus today.

“Growth is a high priority for the UIS campus, and we are very encouraged that more and more students are choosing the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois because of the high-quality educational experience they receive,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch.

The story was published in The State Journal-Register on Sept. 11, 2013.

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All-stater Weems is UIS' prized men's basketball recruit

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Ben Wierzba had the chance last week to begin working on campus with his team, including prized freshman Mark Weems Jr.

Weems, a 6-foot-2 guard, was an Associated Press and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association first-team all-state choice for Class 2A state runner-up South Holland Seton Academy.

“He’s a winner and comes from a successful program,” Wierzba said. “His junior year, they got fourth in state. Last season, they got second in state.”

Weems averaged 17.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals last season. He was ejected from the Class 2A state title game against Harrisburg in the first half after touching an official while disputing a technical foul called on him.

“He can score,” Wierzba said. “He has played with good players around him. A kid he played with last year (Alex Foster) is at Texas Tech. He’s a winner and has been a leader for his teams.”

Weems was featured by The State Journal-Register on Sept. 11, 2013.

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UIS Athletics hosting social event

The University of Illinois Springfield athletic department will host its first STARS Club “SPI” Tour event from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 at Brickhouse Grill and Pub, 3136 W. Iles Ave.

UIS coaches and staff will meet with attendees. The event will feature free appetizers and a cash bar. There will also be an opportunity to join the STARS Club, UIS’ booster club.

Other tour stops include Oct. 3 at Quaker Steak and Lube, Nov. 14 at Floyd’s Thirst Parlor, Jan. 30, 2014, at Brickhouse Grill and Pub downtown, and March 13 at Cousin Eddie’s Sports Bar. The final event will take place in May or June on the UIS campus.

The story was featured in The State Journal-Register on Sept. 11, 2013.

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Koch: Community involvement encouraged in One Book, One UIS

The following is part of a guest editorial written by UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. It was published in the September 8, 2013 edition of The State Journal-Register.

"I’m especially pleased this year that our early fall schedule on the Springfield campus includes something new — a community reading project. Since the late 1990s, the concept of a community read, originated by the Washington Center for the Book, has proliferated across the country and around the world — bringing people together from a wide spectrum of backgrounds through the reading and discussion of a common book.

The One Book, One UIS initiative is the brainchild of Jane Treadwell, UIS librarian and dean of Library Instructional Services. When Jane and I first discussed the idea a year ago, she reminded me of the promise in our vision statement—to enrich individual lives and to make a difference in the world.

“Books have been banned and burned,” she said, “because they have power; the power of ideas.”

The chancellor was an easy sell, and Jane immediately launched the project, forming a planning group and soliciting suggestions from members of Friends of the Brookens Library and others on campus and in the community of Springfield and beyond."

Read the full column online

Friday, September 6, 2013

UIS women's soccer heads in new direction

Just hours after the first practice of the season, the University of Illinois Springfield women’s soccer players got down to business in a manner that is surprising.

The team’s first community service project of the year coincided with the very first day of practice. After a morning session, the Prairie Stars sorted medical supplies destined for developing countries at a local mission less than three weeks ago.

“A lot of teams on Day One are all about soccer,” UIS coach Molly Grisham said. “This adds to our soccer. It was two hours of team bonding and helping our community. My feeling was either we can sit around the dorms complaining that our legs are sore or we can be together, complain together and help people who have a far greater need than our sore legs.”

Spending time getting to know each other has been imperative for the Stars.

They have a new coach in Grisham, a 1992 Chatham Glenwood High School graduate who oversaw the program at NCAA Division II Wayne State College in Nebraska the past four years. Grisham, who went 20-45-9 at Wayne State, replaces Pete Kowall, who left the Prairie Stars to become an assistant coach for Indiana State.

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 6, 2013.

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UIS Speaker Series kicks off next week

The first of 13 speakers scheduled this fall in the University of Illinois Springfield’s Speaker Series will look at immigration from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

The series, officially the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series, will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Brookens Auditorium with “Immigration and Illegality in the American Imagination” featuring Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, associate professor of history and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at The Ohio State University.

Kimberly Craig, assistant to the associate vice chancellor of undergraduate education at UIS, said the ECCE is a set of courses tied to the university’s heritage, mission, vision and values. All undergraduates are required to take at least 13 hours in ECCE, and one hour of that requirement can be fulfilled through the Speaker Series.

For a list of other upcoming ECCE Speakers Series events and more information, visit All events are free and open to the public.

The story was published in The State Journal-Register on September 6, 2013.

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Blues legend B.B. King performing in November

The thrill returns to Springfield on Nov. 17 when blues music legend B.B. King performs.

King, whose long list of hits going back to the 1950s includes “Paying the Cost to Be the Boss,” “I Like to Live the Love” and “The Thrill is Gone,” performs at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at Sangamon Auditorium, on the University of Illinois Springfield campus. Backpack Jones opens for King.

The concert is just two days after classic rock band Foreigner performs at the auditorium. Nearly 60 years ago, King had his first hit singles on the Billboard R&B chart with “Ten Long Years” and “Every Day I Have the Blues.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on September 6, 2013.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

UIS partners with Family Service Center to offer counseling

After a hiatus of nearly a decade, Family Service Center is again offering community counseling services with a boost from the University of Illinois Springfield.

“By leveraging the resources we have here and in the community, we hope to respond to the unmet mental health needs,” said Erin Predmore, executive director of Family Service Center.

The program will use master’s degree-level interns from the UIS Department of Human Development Counseling working under the supervision of a licensed counselor with more than 15 years’ experience.

“They said, ‘Let’s just find the resources to do it ourselves,’ and contacted our program,” said Ann McCaughan, associate professor of human development counseling and clinical experience coordinator for the UIS program. “It sounded like an awesome opportunity for our students, working with real-world situations and people who need our services.”

“It’s neat when students can provide services to people who otherwise wouldn’t get mental health care,” McCaughan said.

The story was published in The State Journal-Register on September 5, 2013.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

UIS hopes newcomers can help spark turnaround

Noelle Rooke has settled in as coach of the University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team, yet “new” has become a repeating theme. As well as a point of pride.

“This is a whole new team,” said Rooke, in her second season. “We have a whole new face about us, literally. It’s so exciting.”

With six returning players and nine newcomers, including seven freshmen, the Prairie Stars have a different look.

Although new to each other, it didn’t stop the players from conquering a victory on the opening day of practice by figuring out one particular drill quicker than expected.

“It’s a mental drill that’s very controlled and there has to be a lot of communication,” Rooke said. “Obviously a new team that doesn’t know each other, you’d think it would be hard for them to get it. Last year’s team didn’t get it. This year’s team got it right away.”

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 3, 2013.

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UIS 'community read' hopes to inspire

The University of Illinois Springfield is trying to get everybody on the same page — at least for its first community reading project this fall.

“We’ve been involved with community reads with Lincoln Library and other public libraries but have never organized one ourselves,” said Jane Treadwell, UIS librarian and dean of library instructional services.

The university’s One Book, One UIS initiative will use “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo, an account of the lives of the residents of a slum in Mumbai, India, as its centerpiece.

The campus community is being encouraged to read the book and participate in the initiative, which kicks off Friday with the screening of a film and concludes Oct. 8 with the second of two panel discussions.

Boo will speak Oct. 7 at Brookens Auditorium.

“Behind the Beautiful Forevers” won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2012, was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize and appeared on several best book lists.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 1, 2013.

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Schoenburg: Mooney's winding road to academic stardom

During his 14 years in Springfield, I have come to know University of Illinois Springfield political scientist Chris Mooney as a smart guy who can give strong, plainspoken and sometimes funny comments on happenings in politics in government.

But he’s got quite a background I didn’t know about.

I knew he was founding editor of a national journal called State Politics and Policy Quarterly. He’s past director of the Institute for Legislative Studies at UIS, and in 2010 became the first person to become The Honorable W. Russell Arrington Professor of State Politics at UIS and the U of I’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

I had a hint that his high school days weren’t idyllic, and I asked him about that after his recent appointment, which took effect in mid-August, to head the institute — IGPA — that he’s been with since 2004 and has most of its 18 faculty members at Champaign and Chicago.

“We lived in a lot of places when I was a kid,” said Mooney, 55.

Read Bernard Schoenburg's full SJ-R column online

The story was published on September 1, 2013 by The State Journal-Register.

UIS students volunteer during Welcome Week

UIS students are learning the importance of service and giving back. Today several students volunteered at St. John's Breadline for UIS Welcome Week.

University officials said it's important for students to get experience outside the classroom, to build character and leadership skills.

School leaders said typically, students feel like they get more out of it than they give.

"Doing something for someone else makes them feel good," UIS Volunteer Center Director Mark Docheterman said. "But they also, through their education, are realizing that that's a sense of responsibility or duty that they have as somebody who is going to be a college graduate."

UIS students also volunteered at Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach and Habitat for Humanity, and made first aid kits for the American Red Cross.

The story was featured by WICS-TV 20 on August 30, 2013.

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