Wednesday, December 24, 2014

WUIS, Illinois Issues join together in new media age

The transition in how people get their news in the age of the Internet is playing out in Springfield, as two longtime institutions — Illinois Issues magazine and radio station WUIS — have merged operations.

RANDY ECCLES, who came to WUIS as its development director in 2008 and became general manager in 2013, is overseeing the operation as interim general manager and publisher. He said the station and magazine actually merged as of July 1, and cross-training continues.

Staff of the magazine have now moved into the same building at the University of Illinois campus that houses the radio station, which is part of NPR. Reporters who have been heard on the radio are becoming regular writers for the magazine, and traditionally print reporters have been learning digital editing and are doing radio stories as well.

Strategic planning for the future began under now-retired Illinois Issues editor DANA HEUPEL, who left the job in early 2014, and Eccles said that process led to the merger.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on December 24, 2014.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

UIS Intensive English Program Graduation

In September WICS brought you the story of the Intensive English Program at the University of Illinois Springfield that's attracting students from all over the world.

The program's goal is to teach foreign students English, and then have them get degrees at UIS. 

Thursday, the students featured in our story graduated from the program and are ready to take classes at UIS.

The celebration afterwards was a mix of culture and honors.

"I will go to try some traditional classes and make some new friends and of course go back and see my old friends," Yawen Li, graduate, UIS Intensive English Program.

UIS administrators say the number of students attending the program has doubled over the years and they hope, it continues to grow.

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on Thursday, December 18, 2014.

Read the story online.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UIS web team help students with finals stress

It's finals week at UIS and students have a new way to hit a winner.

The school's web team created an interactive Pong game for its homepage. It's the old-fashioned video game. It's a stress buster for students and they say it's definitely doing the trick.

"It's definitely a welcomed break from finals and the stress," said Brittany Carls, UIS senior. "It's good to pull up the picture and see 'Oh there's a game' instead of a picture, so just take a little break and play some Pong."

The game is currently on the website, but not for long. It is scheduled to be taken down on Wednesday, but school officials say they may keep the pong up until finals end on Friday because of its popularity.

The game had more than 9,000 hits in less than 24 hours.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on December 16, 2014.

Watch the story online

Monday, December 15, 2014

Susan Koch: Important factors for enrolling in college

The following is a portion of a guest column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published in The State Journal-Register on December 14, 2014.

"One of the most enjoyable aspects of serving as the leader of a university is spending time with talented young people.

I’m always interested to learn from University of Illinois Springfield students how they successfully navigated the college decision process and ultimately chose the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois for their college experience.

For first-year students from Illinois, there are well over 100 possibilities in-state alone, and the type of school, distance from home, academic majors offered, cost, selectivity, size, location, housing, student life and even food are all important factors that help students match their personal profile to the right institution. Navigating through the possibilities and making the right match, however, can be both challenging and complicated.

For students (and parents) considering UIS, one of the best resources for navigating the college decision process is our talented Director of Admissions Fernando Planas."

Read the full column online

Local colleges have protocols on sexual assaults

“We go over sexual assaults, sex offenses, date rape drugs and other things at orientation,” UIS Police Chief Don Mitchell said. “If one is reported, we do the same as if it was the city, county or state police investigating.”

The protocol, published on the UIS Police Department website, tells victims of sexual assault not to shower but to go immediately to a hospital and report the incident to campus police, the UIS Women’s Center or the UIS Counseling Center.

“We do a follow-up investigation and work with city, county and state police, state particularly if the offense is committed off campus by UIS students,” Mitchell said. “We handle the investigation here.”

UIS offers counseling services as well as a rape aggression defense course that’s offered to students, faculty and staff and is taught every semester. The class is sponsored by the UIS Women’s Center and the campus police department.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on December 15, 2014.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

UIS offers free online course on wrongful convictions

The University of Illinois Springfield plans to offer a free online class examining the issues surrounding wrongful convictions.

The university said Wednesday that online registration is underway for the six-week course, which begins in February and is open to the public. Participants need not be enrolled at the university.

It will examine the scope and causes of wrongful convictions and the difficulties in trying to free innocent people after they have been convicted. It also will consider strategies to prevent future wrongful convictions.

The course will be taught by assistant professor Gwen Jordan, who also is a staff attorney for the Illinois Innocence Project.

The class was highlighted by the Associated Press on Dec. 11, 2014.

Read the article online

UIS' Meredith Marti scores 36 in 87-point rout

Junior guard Meredith Marti poured in 36 points and a school-record 3-pointers in the University of Illinois Springfield's 104-17 win against Robert Morris University-Peoria at The Recreation and Athletic Center Wednesday.

Marti was 12-for-20 from the field and made 12 of 19 shots from 3-point range. She added six assists, six rebounds and three steals.

Senior guard Courtney Knuckles scored 24 on 10-for-14 shooting from the field in the third consecutive win for the Prairie Stars (4-3).

UIS held a 47-5 halftime lead. The Stars set a single-game scoring record with 104 points bettering the previous high of 89. The Stars also set records for most points by an individual player (36), most 3-point attempts and made 3-pointers by a single player (12-for-19), most 3-pointers by a team (17) and most assists in game (31).

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on Dec. 11, 2014.

Read the article online

Monday, December 8, 2014

UIS men's basketball team blows out Millikin

Mark Weems and Jamall Millison each scored 17 points Saturday to lead the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team past Millikin 89-49 at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

Weems went 6-for-9 from the field and made five of eight free throws. Millison hit seven of 13 shots, including two 3-pointers, and JJ Cravatta added 15 points for the Prairie Stars (5-1).

UIS’ Dylan Sparkman also hit double figures with 13 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

UIS shot 56.3 percent from the field, making 36 of 64. The NCAA Division II Prairie Star held Division III Millikin to 23.8 percent shooting (15 of 63).

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on December 7, 2014.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Bids go out for UIS public safety building

Bids are expected to be awarded in early March for a new Public Safety Building at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The building, which has been in the works for several years, will be the first new building on campus since Founders Residence Hall opened in August 2008.

“It went out for bids Nov. 19, and there was a roomful of contractors at our pre-bid meeting,” said Chuck Coderko, director of construction for UIS.

The state has appropriated $5.3 million through the Illinois Capital Development Board for the entire project. Construction costs are estimated to be less than $4.35 million.

UIS and Capital Development Board officials had hoped to begin the project more than a year ago, but delays in designing the building pushed the start date back. The building has been in the design phase for the past year and a half, Coderko said.

“Even though it has been a slow process, we’re really pleased with the design,” UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said. “This is a long-awaited project for us, and we’re really happy it is moving forward.”

Coderko said the one-story, 9,000-square-foot building will house 22 people — 13 UIS public safety officers, a chief and sergeant, dispatchers, and other staff — who are currently located in a house on the north side of campus.

The house “doesn’t meet the state requirements for a police department,” Coderko said. 
Koch said the new building “is professional and appropriate for a growing campus.”

“Campus safety is a very high priority for us,” she said.

This story appeared online at The State Journal-Register on December 4, 2014.  

Read the entire story online. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Women's Basketball: Balanced Stars rally past Oakland City

The University of Illinois Springfield went on a 20-2 run in the second half to convert an 8-point deficit into a 10-point lead en route to a 61-55 win over Oakland City in a non-conference game at TRAC.

The Mighty Oaks ran off eight unanswered points to cut the deficit to 57-55 with 1 minute 36 seconds left, but the Prairie Stars held on for their third win in six games.

Briana Stars hit six of nine field goals and scored 15 points – including eight in the run – to lead a balanced UIS. The Prairie Stars rallied from a 34-31 halftime deficit as Oakland City connected on only eight of 27 second-half field goals, .296.

Syerra Cunningham scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, and Shelby Patterson and Courtney Knuckles added 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The win was featured by The State Journal-Register on December 4, 2014.

Read the article online

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

UIS adding cross country, track and field teams next year

The number of University of Illinois Springfield-sponsored athletic programs has grown to 15 with Tuesday’s announcement that the Prairie Stars will add men’s and women’s cross country and track for the 2015-16 school year.

“After much discussion, research and considerable dialogue, it was obvious that a cross country and distance-focused track and field program would be a great fit for our campus and the Springfield community,” UIS athletic director Kim Pate said at a press conference at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

“We have a talented pool of prospective student-athletes throughout central Illinois and across the region as well as ample space on campus to support program growth and a strong running community to back the program.”

UIS currently offers 11 sports, five for men and six for women. Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will take part in NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference competition in the fall.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on December 3, 2014.

Read the article online

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

UIS men's basketball team rolls past Blue Tigers

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team spotted Lincoln University the first two points and then didn't trail again in an 81-55 victory Monday night at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

It was the second time this season that UIS defeated Lincoln. The Prairie Stars beat the Blue Tigers 72-67 at Jefferson City, Mo., on Nov. 24.

After the 2-0 deficit, UIS went on a 16-1 run and led 16-3 midway through the first half.

The Prairie Stars eventually doubled-up Lincoln in the half, taking a 38-19 lead into intermission. UIS, which improved to 4-1, was able to go deep into its bench in the second half as 11 players got into the scoring column.

Junior guard Jamall Millison netted a team-high 17 points on five of eight shooting from the floor for the Prairie Stars. He nailed three of five attempts from 3-point range.

UIS center Dylan Sparkman also made five of eight shots and finished with 13 points and six rebounds.

Junior forward Sammie Elem chipped in 13 points and had a team-high 10 boards, and junior guard Davi Austin made two 3s and added eight points and five assists for the Prairie Stars.

The article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on December 1, 2014.

Read the full article here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

International Thanksgiving

You may not remember your first Thanksgiving, but a group of international students at UIS will certainly remember theirs.

Nearly 20 graduate students were invited over Friday for a late Thanksgiving dinner. It was hosted by Jeannie Capranica, who works in international services at UIS.

Thursday the students tried traditional American Thanksgiving meals.

Friday they made recipes familiar to their homes.

"Learning something new is very fascinating. If we are doing something new- I'm just knowing the cultures over here. In India we know that how the culture is over there, but we are sharing our cultures with the Americans over here so we are also a part of it," graduate student Vishal Patel said.

Patel says most of the students are getting Masters Degrees in management information systems and computer science--all computer studies.

The article appeared online at on Sunday, November 30, 2014.

Read the article here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UIS men's basketball team holds off Lincoln University

Junior Jamall Millison and sophomore Mark Weems Jr. combined to hit seven of eight free throws in the final 36 seconds as the University of Illinois Springfield held on for a 72-67 win over Lincoln University in a non-conference men’s basketball game Monday.

Weems put the unbeaten Prairie Stars up 63-48 with 4½ minutes left in the second half. Lincoln answered with a 9-0 scoring run, including three steals.

Joshua Buie’s steal and layup pulled the Blue Tigers within six points with 2:18 remaining.

Blake Ralling’s steal set up teammate Mike Smith’s layup and Lincoln got within four points at the 1:07 mark.

The Blue Tigers cut it 65-62 when Smith converted one of two foul shots with 47 seconds to go. Millison’s four straight free throws widened the lead to seven points with 25 seconds left.

Millison finished with a team-high 18 points and two steals. Weems added 15 points and six rebounds. Freshman Vince Walker scored 11 points for the 3-0 Stars.

Victor Scott had 21 points for Lincoln (1-5). Buie scored 20 and grabbed five steals.

In women's basketball, Freshman Shelbi Patterson collected a team-high 20 points, seven assists, five steals and two 3-pointers for University of Illinois Springfield in an 81-40 non-conference victory over Robert Morris University at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS led 40-21 at halftime. RMU went 6½ minutes without scoring during a 15-0 run late in the second half that put UIS ahead 78-35. Senior Courtney Knuckles poured in 17 points for the Prairie Stars (2-3). Junior teammate Briana Starks added a team-leading nine rebounds, 12 points and four steals.

The Eagles (0-6) used just six players. Senior Brandi Bradley led RMU with 16 points. Juniors Jessica Taylor and Laci Porter scored 10 points apiece.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on Monday, November 24, 2014.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, November 24, 2014

UIS men's basketball team earns second straight win

Mark Weems scored a career-best 25 points on 8-for-14 floor shooting Saturday night to lead the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team to a 78-71 non-conference victory over Trevecca Nazerene.

Weems also grabbed eight rebounds and handed out three assists. Sammie Elem added 15 points and 11 rebounds — seven at the offensive end that helped UIS to 19 second-chance points — and Dylan Sparkman had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Prairie Stars, 2-0.

UIS was 26-for-57 from the floor (45 percent) and the the Trojans shot 34 percent, 25-for-73. The Prairie Stars owned a 47-44 rebound edge.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 23, 2014.

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UIS softball team adds three players

University of Illinois Springfield first-year softball coach Shannon Nicholson announced the signing of three players to letters of intent during the early signing period.

Alexa Brown (Chatham Glenwood High School), Haley Inman (Anna-Jonesboro) and Hannah Kain (Geneseo) will join the Prairie Stars in the 2015-16 school year.

“With this being our first recruiting class, we are excited to add speed, power, and left-handed bats that make up our three new Prairie Stars,” Nicholson said. “These players all are great student-athletes who have successfully raised the bar in their current programs. Each player is looking to step right in to help replace the gaps left by this year’s graduating class of seniors.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 22, 2014.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Academic Movers 2014: In Depth with Sarah Sagmoen

In the latest of our In-Depth Interviews with Library Journal Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, sponsored by SAGE, we spoke with Sarah Sagmoen, learning commons and user services librarian at the University of Illinois Springfield’s Brookens Library.

Hired as a visiting instructional librarian in 2009, Sagmoen was managing the reference desk and public computers by the end of her first year.

In her third year at Brookens, her work inspired the library to create the position she now occupies.

Between her academic duties and a lively student outreach program, she is busy building a strong community both inside the library and out.

This article appeared online in the Library Journal's Academic Newswire enewsletter on November 20, 2014.

Sagmoen answers many questions about her passion and creativity as a library leader.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Next UI president: Timothy Killeen

A leading Welsh researcher in geophysics and space science has been named the 20th president of the University of Illinois.

Timothy Killeen, vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, will replace longtime UI administrator Bob Easter.

A start date has not been determined.

Killeen will receive a base salary of $600,000 a year and up to $100,000 annually in performance incentives, UI spokesman Tom Hardy said today. He will also be eligible for retention payments that he will receive at the end of five years, starting at $30,000 annually and increasing by $7,500 a year, Hardy said.

Killeen, 62, joined UI officials today for the official announcement at the three campuses and to meet with future colleagues, faculty, students and constituents. The kickoff was at 8:30 a.m. in Chicago, followed by noon on the Springfield campus and 3 p.m. in the South Lounge of the Illini Union in Urbana.

The story was reported by the Champaign News-Gazette on November 19, 2014.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

UIS volleyball coach Rooke resigns

Noelle Rooke has resigned as the University of Illinois Springfield volleyball coach to return to her native California.

She grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura and her husband, Max Rooke, is in his first season as a NCAA Division I women’s soccer assistant at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Max Rooke was a UIS men’s soccer assistant and director of coaching for the Springfield Area Soccer Association.

“I’ve coached for 18 years at four institutions,” Noelle Rooke said. “It’s time to put my husband’s career first.”

Rooke coached the Prairie Stars for three years. UIS wrapped up the 2014 season last weekend. It finished with a 10-18 overall record and a 2-16 Great Lakes Valley Conference mark.

Rooke came to UIS from NCAA Division I Mercer. Her coaching record at UIS was 28-59 overall and 8-46 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

“I strongly feel I’m leaving it better than I got it,” Rooke said. “We’ve changed the culture. I hope it’s been a positive experience for these kids on and off the court, and I think that it is all about changing the culture.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 15, 2014.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Lincoln Land's Muench says he'll fit in with UIS baseball team

Lincoln Land Community College sophomore outfielder Austin Muench got his first look at his future team when the Loggers faced the University of Illinois Springfield in a fall game.

“Their program is going up and they’re starting to win a lot more,” Muench said. “We played them in the fall and they were good. I liked the way they played.”

Muench signed a letter of intent to play for the Prairie Stars in 2016.

UIS has unveiled a nine-player recruiting class that includes Muench. He had a .295 batting average with 29 RBIs, 11 steals and four triples for LLCC last season. “He throws really well from the outfield. He has baseball speed,” UIS coach Chris Ramirez said.

“You can see that with his triples and stolen bases. He is also a strong hitter. He’s going to provide good versatility from the offensive side.”

Another local signee is Chatham Glenwood High School pitcher Matt Sekardi. In 28 1/3 innings, he had a 1.73 earned run average, striking out 19 batters. He posted a 3-4 record. He is one of four pitching recruits and seven incoming freshmen.

Wilmot (Wisconsin) High School pitcher Austin Brewer recorded a 1.90 ERA and 9-1 last season. The Stars nabbed a pair of left-handed pitchers in Palos Heights Shepard High School’s Adam Gregory and Plainfield North High School’s Kyle Strepek. Strepek went 9-1 with a 1.64 ERA, 85 strikeouts and 15 walks last spring. He was also named to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 4A all-state first team. Gregory had a 0.47 ERA and 10-1 record.

UIS has added a power hitter in Jason Galeano, a sophomore first baseman at Iowa Central Community College from Brooklyn, New York. He drove in 38 runs, hit 13 doubles and seven home runs en route to a .362 batting average. “He is a true hitter,” Ramirez said. “He hits for good average. I always like to have some guys like him that can have a physical presence in the middle of our lineup.”

UIS has added two catchers. Ashland (Wisconsin) High School’s John Sechen is the top-ranked catching prospect by Wisconsin Prep Baseball Report. He hit .462 last season.

First baseman/catcher Ryan Deering hit .259 and had 15 RBIs for Christian Brothers College High School in suburban St. Louis. Second baseman McCauley Cox plays for Janesville (Wisconsin) Craig High School and is ranked 34th by the Wisconsin Prep Baseball Report.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on November 13, 2014.

Read the entire story here.

Adoption Month: UIS Student Shares His Success Story

According to the Department of Children and Family Services, 17,000 foster children were adopted in Illinois over the last decade.

Dominique Wilson, 22, was one of those children.

The Chicago native, now a Junior at the University of Illinois Springfield was separated from his biological parents when he was three-years-old. Though, with help from DCFS, he was not only placed into a loving home, but received funding for a college education.

"There's a support system that is there within DCFS to help you," Wilson said. "So allow them to help you, because I feel like there are so many youth that become very defensive because there have been so many people that have come into their lives and left."

Jennifer Florent, of DCFS says it's important for people in the community to know there is always in need for foster and adoptive homes throughout the state.

If you're interested in more information on adoption, visit, The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

This story was featured on on Thursday, November 13, 2014.

Watch the story here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

UIS women's basketball team shoots for a winning season

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team gave fans a sneak peak at the Blue Madness fan event Tuesday.

When UIS plays its first game Nov. 22 in front of the hometown crowd, the Prairie Stars will have three games under their belt and an idea of how they play together. Those are necessary assets for a squad with 11 new players, including nine transfers.

The Stars will have a totally different look from the one that was 7-19 overall and 3-15 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

“We’re more athletic,” UIS coach Chad Oletzke said. “We’re more versatile. We’re bigger. We’re more skilled. We’re deeper. We want to go at least 10, but I think we can go a little deeper ... 10 to 12. We just have to find a way to come together as a team. We’re going to need time to gel.”

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on November 13, 2014.

Read the article online

UIS men's hoops team gets Harrisburg's Amaya

Harrisburg High School 6-foot-5 senior wing Bahari Amaya signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play for the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team next year.

He was a key reserve on Harrisburg’s Class 2A state championship team in 2013. He averaged 15 points and nine rebounds as a junior and received Illinois Basketball Coaches Association all-state special mention honors.

Amaya is the nephew of Ashraf Amaya, a three-time Missouri Valley Conference first-team pick at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in the 1990s, who later played in the NBA and Europe.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on November 13, 2014.

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Susan Koch: UIS' Computer Science program providing opportunities

The following is a portion of a guest column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published in the November 9, 2014 edition of The State Journal-Register.

"Those ever-increasing opportunities in STEM fields are certainly evident on the University of Illinois Springfield campus, where our Computer Science program has grown from just over 100 students in 1990 to well over 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students today.

The program has earned the prestigious Center for Academic Excellence designation from the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security and its online Computer Science degree has been cited as one of the four leading online Computer Science programs in the country (along with MIT, Oregon State and Udacity).

UIS Computer Science professor Svet Braynov was attracted to UIS a decade ago from the University of Buffalo because of the department’s reputation for high-quality teaching.

'On many campuses, a student can get lost,' he says, 'but not here. Our students feel a great atmosphere in the department and both students and faculty grow together.'

'We don’t really recruit students,' adds longtime department head Ted Mims. 'Our recruiting is done by our own graduates, who tell others about their great experience in the program.'

A constantly innovating curriculum is another reason that students are attracted to the UIS Computer Science program."

Read the full column online

Monday, November 10, 2014

Four honored at UIS alumni event

The University of Illinois Springfield has honored graduates with alumni awards in three categories.

The annual awards were presented Friday evening at the UIS Alumni Gala at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

Recipients were Ralph Blackman, president and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (formerly The Century Council); William and Julie Kellner, co-owners of M.J. Kellner Co.; and June Agamah, a public health worker with the International Health and Development Network.

The story was published by The State Journal-Register on November 8, 2014.

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UIS students honor Veterans with yellow ribbons on campus

The tradition is 3 years old, and Samia Ahmad says she gets emotional every time.

"Thinking about everyone who's deployed," said Ahmad. "Their family and friends who are also probably going through the same thing i had gone through a couple years back."

She spent the afternoon coloring her college campus yellow. In the U.S., a yellow ribbon is a symbol of support for military forces. Samia's boyfriend is in the army, and was deployed three years ago. That same year, this tradition was born.

"My classmate and I had the idea of why not tie ribbons on trees on campus just for more of an awareness that UIS is a friendly military campus and that we're here to support anyone," Ahmad.

Dozens of students from the University of Illinois at Springfield volunteered their time lining the main roads of campus with the ribbons.

"The veterans give us so much on a daily basis," said senior, Shelby Bedford. "Whether they're deployed or home, running back and forth to drill. And it's really nice to just be able to get out and bring a large amount of people with me and see them all supporting them."

And even though Samia has graduated, she says she'll always come back for this.

The story was reported by WAND-TV on November 9, 2014.

Watch the story online

Thursday, November 6, 2014

'Copy Shop' at UIS gives artistic visitors chance to create

Visitors to the reception for the University of Illinois Springfield’s Visual Arts Gallery’s installation “Copy Shop” can interact with the exhibition on more than one level.

Chicago-based artists Tom Burtonwood and Holly Holmes have created 3D-printed and digitally fabricated objects for the exhibit. But visitors also can bring their own objects to be 3D scanned and 3D printed during the reception to be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the gallery located in Room 201 of the Health and Sciences Building on campus.

The exhibition runs through Nov. 27.

Visitors are welcome to bring objects the size of a softball to be 3D scanned and 3D printed. Original and printed objects will become part of the exhibition. “The plan is to display their originals on the left-side shelves (of the exhibit) and the copies on the right.

Visitors can collect their creations on or after the 27th,” Burtonwood said in an email. “The printing process is fairly slow; it would take much longer than the time of the reception to print a single object. Average time is probably 5-6 hours.”

What’s called 3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file, according to The creation of a 3D-printed object is achieved using additive processes in which an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created.

Giving visitors the opportunity to have their objects 3D scanned, 3D printed and added to the exhibition at UIS is a reprise of what Burtonwood and Holmes did in January at Firecat Projects gallery in Chicago. People had objects such as stuffed toys, cameras, flowers and keepsakes 3D scanned, 3D printed and added to that exhibition.

“Participants in ‘Copy Shop’ received a limited-edition, 3D-printed sculpture in recognition of their help in this project,” Burtonwood said on his website

Working from a variety of sources, Burtonwood and Holmes create 3D-printed, modular works that borrow from natural systems of organization.

Among creations in “Copy Shop” are “AIC Candy Dispensers, 2014.” There’s also the “Dana Thomas House Frieze Interactive Project.” “These molds, depicting the frieze design created by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Dana Thomas House in Springfield, have been created through the process of scanning and 3D printing,” said an accompanying statement.

“You are welcome to use the available air-drying clay to press into the molds to create your own frieze design. Take the product with you; the clay will harden and serve as a permanent artifact from ‘Copy Shop.’”

Burtonwood said the 3D printer/scanner is to sculpture what the sampler was to music.

“The world is open. It can be copied and pasted at the touch of a button. This is a paradigm shift in terms of how we make objects, and the economies that support their production,” Burtonwood said.

“Artists have always tinkered with the newest technology and have taken the tech places its creators never intended. With 3D printing, I imagine you’ll see the same.”

The article appeared in The State Journal-Register online, November 5, 2014.

Read the article online.

UIS students performing Neil Simon's 'Brighton Beach Memoirs'

The first of Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical plays, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” opens the University of Illinois Springfield theater season Friday.

While Simon is best known for comedies such as “The Odd Couple,” director Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson noted that “Brighton Beach,” which debuted on Broadway in 1983, marked one of the first times that critics recognized Simon’s ability to blend comedy and drama in a single work.

“This play has been on my list (of plays to direct) for years,” said Thibodeaux-Thompson, an associate professor of theater at UIS. “Simon’s work can be deceptive — it’s not simple but very, very challenging.”

“Brighton Beach Memoirs” takes place in 1937, with 15-year-old Eugene Jerome (Liam Schaver) — a shy Jewish youth preoccupied with baseball, writing and girls — living with his extended family in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The play depicts the antagonism and affection between Eugene, his parents Jack and Kate (Wesley Skym and Liza Torrence), his brother Stanley (Christopher Romero), his aunt Blanche (Diamond Dixon), and his cousins Laurie and Nora (Emily Hartney and Courtney Kincaid), who all live under the same roof.

It is the first in Simon’s “Eugene trilogy” of plays loosely depicting his teenage years, his experiences as an Army recruit in World War II (“Biloxi Blues”) and his early career as a television comedy writer (“Broadway Bound”).

“He’s intelligent, but sort of naive at the same time,” Schaver said of Eugene. “His ambitions are to be either a sportswriter or a pitcher for the New York Yankees. He’s good hearted, but a little self-centered.”

Eugene’s mother, Kate, “is a busybody who worries about everything, takes on everyone else’s problems as her own, and needs to be in control,” Torrence said. In contrast, Blanche is quiet and reserved, and “has a hard time finding her voice,” said Dixon, because she is ashamed to be dependent upon her sister and her brother-in-law.

The play requires 1930s-era costumes and props and must be staged in a manner that allows the audience to see simultaneous actions in more than one room in the Jerome household. “All of these moving parts have been part of the challenge,” Thibodeaux-Thompson said. She and set designer Dathan Powell, UIS assistant professor of theater, began planning the set design over the summer, eventually creating a multi-level set combined with a non-standard seating arrangement for the audience.

“I’ve always loved this play,” which portrays the struggles of a working-class family in the years between the Depression and World War II, Thibodeaux-Thompson said. “I love the relationships it depicts, and that the characters are not one-dimensional. We see these people as flawed human beings, not caricatures.”

The article appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 5, 2014.

Read the article online.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

UIS testing private market for expanded student housing

University of Illinois Springfield is turning to the private sector to expand student housing already at 97 percent of capacity.

Plans include a 100-bed mixed-use residential and retail facility on 14 acres at the west edge of campus, Chancellor Susan Koch said. No tax dollars would be used, said Koch, who added that she would like to see groundbreaking as early as next spring.

The University of Illinois Foundation, which owns the land, is accepting developer proposals through Nov. 20.

“This is really driven by the need for more student housing,” Koch said.

Fall enrollment at UIS is just over 5,400. A little more than 1,000 students live on campus, putting residential occupancy at 97 percent, according to the university. There’s the added possibility now of Benedictine University at Springfield students transferring to UIS after Benedictine announced it would end its undergraduate program at the end of the current school year.

The developer would be granted a 50-year lease with a 25-year renewal option at a cost to the developer yet to be determined, according to a request for proposals. The mix of single- and multiple-bedroom apartments would have to meet UIS standards for student housing. Up to 15,000 square feet of retail space would be allowed.

“It could be gift shops, pharmacies, specialty stores, apparel stores, restaurants, casual food or coffee shops,” Koch said. “There’s just a variety of things we could do there.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 29, 2014.

Read the article online

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Red Ribbon campaign promotes drug-free living to Chatham schools

Raising awareness of the dangers of alcohol and drugs. That's the goal of the Red Ribbon campaign

This week, Ball-Chatham students will engage in activities to promote a drug-free and healthy lifestyle.

Monday morning, University of Illinois Springfield student athletes visited each elementary school for assemblies on what it means to have academic and personal goals.

Ball-Chatham officials say the students get excited to see these student athletes. "They're like royalty to these kids. These kids really look up to them and hang on to every word they say so it's been such a blessing to have them come out and talk to us about the same type of things we're already talking about this week, making those safe and healthy choices and staying drug free and resisting peer pressure," said Kristin Ribley, Glenwood Elementary counselor.

UIS has invited the students to attend the UIS vs. McKendree soccer games on Wednesday at Kiwanis Stadium. Students can attend free of charge if they wear Titan gear.

The story was featured on WICS Newschannel 20 on Monday, October 27, 2014.

Watch the story online.

Monday, October 27, 2014

International student enrollment rises at UIS

Efforts to increase the number of international students at the University of Illinois Springfield paid off in a big way this fall, with their numbers increasing to 827.

That’s more than 15 percent of the student body, and it is by design.

“We’ve been working very, very hard for the past three years to open our doors more effectively to international students,” UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said.

Many of the students came to UIS from India and China, with computer science and management information systems the most common majors chosen by international students.

The number of UIS international students increased 115 percent this fall over fall 2013.

“We’ve developed partnerships with higher education institutions in China, and our India connection is related to computer science,” she said. “Several years ago, students came over from India and did very well here. Through word of mouth, that connection has really spread.”

The increase was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 25, 2014.

Read the article online

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UIS arts building to get upgrades

The University of Illinois Springfield expects to start work next month on a project that will significantly upgrade its Visual and Performing Arts Building.

The improvements include life-safety upgrades, including the heating and ventilation systems, dust removal, and upgrades to the outdoor kiln area. “The building will look the same when it is finished, but the enhancements will be tremendous,” said Chuck Coderko, director of construction at UIS.

The Visual and Performing Arts Building, erected in 1970, is one of the original east campus buildings at UIS. Coderko said the total $855,700 project will include a new ventilation system that will help in ceramics and painting areas where solvents are used. “It also will really help keep the dust out,” he said.

On the south side of building, an open-air kiln for ceramics will get new gas piping and burners that Coderko said will be “a huge improvement.”

The sculpture shop employs many power tools to work with wood and plastics, and a new compressed-air system, as well as a central vacuum system to handle dust, will be installed. Coderko said the old compressed-air system wasn’t as strong.

There also will be electrical upgrades and new stainless-steel sinks. “This will help to make it a better work environment for students and faculty,” he said.

The state of Illinois last week released about $334,000 from the Illinois Jobs Now! construction program for the project, with UIS allocating about $510,000 generated by student fees. The project construction cost is about $598,000.

Coderko said it took two years to get the project designed and bid. Work was supposed to begin last summer, but the project had to be rebid twice, which slowed the process. Although work will begin in about a month, it won’t be in earnest until school is out in May. The project should be completed about this time next year, he said.

The story was reported in The State Journal-Register on October 22, 2014.

Read the entire story online.

Monday, October 20, 2014

UIS volleyball sweeps Kentucky Wesleyan

Shelby Geers spiked home 10 kills Sunday afternoon at TRAC to key the Prairie Stars to a three-set sweep (25-18, 25-20, 25-22) over Kentucky Wesleyan.

Sunday’s victory finished off a weekend sweep by UIS (8-11) as the program set a record for wins since moving up to Division II.

Geer, who now has double-figure kills in seven straight matches, also had three digs and three block assists in the win over the Panthers (9-10). UIS sophomore Ashley Beaton had nine kills and six digs while junior teammate Nikki Madoch had two solo blocks to go with seven kills.

Lexi Hall, a freshman setter from Champaign, led the Stars with 17 assists. Rachelle Wiegand added 12 assists to go with seven digs and sophomore Kayla Katarzynski pitched in with 12 digs.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 20, 2014.

Read the article online

UIS gets $600K for building upgrades

The University of Illinois Springfield is receiving nearly $600,000 from the state for improvements to its Visual and Performing Arts Building.

The governor’s office this week announced the investment of more than $598,000 from the $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! construction program.

The improvements include life safety upgrades to the Visual and Performing Arts Building, including the heating and ventilation systems, dust removal and upgrades to the outdoor kiln area.

The Visual and Performing Arts Building, erected in 1970, is one of the original east campus buildings at UIS.

UIS spokesman Derek Schnapp said the work isn’t expected to begin for another month.

The Illinois Capital Development Board will manage the construction project.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on October 17, 2014.

Read the article online

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lincoln’s funeral subject of UIS lectures

With the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death and funeral approaching next year, the 12th annual Lincoln Legacy lectures at the University of Illinois Springfield will focus on Lincoln’s funeral.

This year’s speakers are James L. Swanson, senior legal scholar at The Heritage Foundation, and Richard Wightman Fox, professor of history at the University of Southern California.

Swanson, author of “Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer” and its sequel, “Bloody Crimes: The Funeral for Abraham Lincoln and the Chase for Jefferson Davis,” will present a lecture titled “I give you my sprig of lilac: The Death and Funeral of Abraham Lincoln.” Swanson also wrote “End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.”

In his lecture, “What We’ve Forgotten about Lincoln’s Funeral and What We’ve Never Known,” Fox will examine what the loss of Lincoln meant to citizens of his time. Fox is the author of the forthcoming “Lincoln’s Body: A Cultural History.”

The lectures are from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in Brookens Auditorium on the lower level of Brookens Library at UIS. The lectures and a reception and book-signing that immediately will follow are free and open to the public.

The lectures were featured by The State Journal-Register on October 15, 2014.

Read the article online

Cyber Security Awareness Month

Cyber Security Awareness Month is a time all of us who rely on electronics, who also need to keep them safe from hackers, leaks, and malware.

The IT department at the University of Illinois Springfield is educating students on how to keep cell phones and computers safe. This month on campus, they're checking out student's devices from computers to phones to make sure they're virus free.

The devices can also receive a special piece of software to protect them.

"It's everybody's job to make sure their systems are as secure as can be, because what you don't know can hurt you in this sort of environment. Anywhere from malware being propagated to from not only the internet but now from your machine, so making sure that your systems are as clean as can be," said Clayton Bellot, Security Analyst at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Analysts suggest checking the security settings on your computer, and regularly updating for virus software you might have because new threats are always coming out.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on October 14, 2014.

Watch the story online

Friday, October 10, 2014

Saul Morse: UIS a true asset for the capital city

A recent State Journal-Register article about enrollment in area colleges and universities stated that the University of Illinois at Springfield has more students than at any other point in its 45-year history.

The fact that more than 5,400 students are enrolled — locally and online — got me thinking about the effect the campus has on Springfield and Sangamon County.

Many remember the transition from Sangamon State University to UIS in 1995. It is hard to imagine 20 years have passed. The year 2015 also will mark the groundbreaking for a new student union, adding a needed social element to the campus and serving as a welcoming gathering place for the wider community.

There are other aspects of UIS that we perhaps take for granted. More than 10,000 alumni live and work in Sangamon County alone. The experiences and education they received permitted them to advance in their chosen careers or to move into a new career.

We take for granted that regardless of the environment in which they work, the overwhelming majority of these individuals purchase housing, food and automobiles, visit restaurants, utilize services and generally keep our economy prospering.

More than 1,000 students reside on campus and utilize local services, stores and other facilities. And the university has more than 1,000 employees, most of whom are local, living in Sangamon and Menard counties in particular.

University faculty and students participate in community organizations and schools. Faculty, staff and students contribute thousands of volunteer hours to make the capital city a better place for all.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 10, 2014.

Read the entire article online.

Aydin Gonulsen to enter two halls of fame

This is a big weekend on the University of Illinois Springfield campus, and it’s a big weekend for the original face of Prairie Stars athletics.

UIS will induct its first Hall of Fame class as part of the homecoming festivities on campus.

The first induction class — which will be honored Saturday night beginning at 6:30 in the Public Affairs Center — is made up of Aydin Gonulsen (coach and administrator), Elias Shehadi (men’s soccer, 1976-79), Carla Jiminez Mills (women’s tennis, 1998-2000), Harold Christofilakos (friend of the Prairie Stars) and the 1986 NAIA championship soccer team.

Gonulsen, the Prairie Stars’ first soccer coach and athletic director and easily the university’s most recognizable athletic figure, actually has a double-induction weekend.

On Friday the 71-year-old Gonulsen will become a member of the Hall of Fame at Warren Wilson College, his alma mater (Class of 1965). He will be in Asheville, North Carolina, for the Friday ceremony, hop on a plane Saturday morning and plans to be in Springfield for the evening festivities.

That would mean membership in at least four halls of fame for Gonulsen. He’s also a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame and the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame.

The story was reported in The State Journal-Register on Friday, October 10, 2014.

Read the article online.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

UIS Faculty Tackles Resolution on Academic Freedom

On Friday, the Campus Senate of the University of Illinois at Springfield will take up a strongly-worded resolution written in the aftermath of the Board of Trustees' controversial dismissal of Steven Salaita. 

He's the professor whose job offer at the university's main campus was rescinded after his critical and sometimes profane tweets about the Israeli conflict with Gaza. UIS Senate chair Jorge Villegas said the resolution is in response to the Board's position that tenure comes with a requirement of civility. 

“That is probably one of the most important elements of our academic enterprise, the freedom to do our academic research that we want to do and we should be free to say it the way that we want to say it,” Villegas said.

The story was reported by WUIS on Thursday, October 9, 2014.

Read the story online.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Managing The Rising Cost of College

Of the many reasons you'll want to watch your money closely, there's this; the cost of a college education.

Some students at the University of Illinois Springfield say they're racking up tens of thousands of dollars in debt each year.

According to the average cost to attend a private college is more than $30,094. For in-state residents at public universities, it is $8,893. And the price tag for out-of-state residents attending public universities is $22,203.

Students struggling to manage their money and get an education are well aware of the financial strains it puts on them, and their families.

"Scared! I need to get a job, because I'm still applying for jobs right now." Said Infiniti Starks, a freshmen at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Another freshmen at the University of Illinois Springfield, Marvell Anderson also shares this cause for concern. "That's a lot of money. So I'm kind of scared, but at the same time I can't really focus on that," he said.

Those two students say they're focused on getting an education first, and then getting a job after graduation to pay off their student loans.

Here are three things, you can do, to keep your debt under control: First, don't borrow more money than you must. Remember, you have to pay it all back, at some point. Second, keep track of how much you owe. Knowing this will keep you focused. Third, when the time comes to pay it back try to pay more than just, the minimum amount due.

The class of 2013, according to a survey, faces an average of more than $35,000 in debt.

This story was featured on WICS on Monday, October 6, 2014.

Watch the video online.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Paint The Cornfield Blue: UIS Homecoming

Amanda Murphy, University of Illinois Springfield Assistant Athletics Director, joined Sunrise This Morning to talk about the UIS Homecoming Celebration that kicked off on Monday.

The theme this year is Paint the Cornfield Blue. The Homecoming will feature a parade, athletics matches from several sports and lots of events from students all to generate school spirit.

The interview was featured on WICS Sunrise This Morning on Monday, October 6, 2014.

Watch the interview online.

Monday, September 29, 2014

UIS Student Union fundraising set to kick off

The University of Illinois Springfield is kicking off its Student Union fundraising campaign Tuesday with a free carnival-themed event on campus.

The event, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. by the Colonnade, features T-shirt giveaways, games with prizes, and carnival treats such as funnel cakes, kettle corn, corn dogs and lemon shake-ups.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch and Student Government Association president Joe McGee will speak, and attendees will be able to “tour” the planned building through large posters of floor plans.

Early donors to the campaign, which hopes to raise $8 million, also will be announced.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on September 29, 2014.

Read the article online

Harrisburg's Amaya commits to UIS men's basketball team

Bahari Amaya, a key reserve on the Harrisburg High School Class 2A state championship team in 2013, has committed to play basketball at the University of Illinois Springfield starting in the 2015-16 season.

Amaya, a 6-foot-5 senior wing, took his only official visit to UIS. The early signing period for basketball begins Nov. 12.

“When I went on the official visit I felt at home,” he said. “It seems like a really cool place. It seemed like a good fit.”

As a sophomore, Amaya was the leading scorer and rebounder in Harrisburg’s 53-43 win over St. Joseph-Ogden in the state semifinals with 13 points and six rebounds. He had four points, two assists and a rebound in the fourth quarter of a 50-44 victory over South Holland Seton Academy in the title game. He averaged 5.8 points and 2.5 rebounds that year.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on September 26, 2014.

Read the article online

Thursday, September 25, 2014

UIC College of Nursing to offer bachelor's degree program at UIS

Nursing students will be able to earn a University of Illinois at Chicago bachelor’s degree on the Springfield campus of the U of I beginning next August.

The University of Illinois Springfield is joining with UIC and Memorial Health System to offer the degree that they say will meet a growing demand for highly trained nurses. 

“As Springfield’s medical district grows, there is a demand for highly qualified nurses in the area,” UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said. “This partnership will bring one of the top-ranked schools for nursing in the country to Springfield while helping to further boost undergraduate enrollment at UIS.” 

The program can be completed in four years of full-time study and is in two phases. Two years of pre-nursing and general education courses at UIS would be followed by two years of professional nursing courses taught by UIC College of Nursing faculty at UIS. 

Admission to the professional phase is highly competitive and requires recommendation by the UIC College of Nursing’s admissions committee after the first two years of coursework. 

The bachelor’s degree program will be supported by $1.25 million in scholarships made available to UIS students by Memorial Health System. Memorial also will contribute $750,000 over three years to help support the program and get it up and running, said Ed Curtis, president and CEO of Memorial Health System.

The story was reported in The State Journal Register on September 24, 2014.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prairie Stars open with challenge

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team kicks off the season Nov. 14 against Hillsdale at the Great Lakes Valley Conference/Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Challenge in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

The Prairie Stars will have three road games under their belt before the home opener Nov. 22 against Southwest Baptist at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

UIS plays exhibition games at NCAA Division I University of Illinois-Chicago Nov. 30 and Southeast Missouri State on Dec. 21.

The GLVC schedule begins for the Stars on Jan. 2 at home against Missouri-St. Louis.

The final conference game is Feb. 26 against McKendree in Lebanon.

The article appeared in The State Journal Register on September 23, 2014.

Read the article online.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Learning English to get degrees

International student enrollment is up 115 percent over last year at the University Illinois Springfield. 

One of the main attractions to students from other countries is that UIS offers an intensive English as a second language program over eight weeks, that if passed, allows international students the chance to earn a degree from an American university.

Because of the program more international students are calling UIS home. 

"It's also helped create more exchange as the level of the culture, because of the level of traditions You can also be walking on campus and hear people speaking different languages, like you are in Times Square which is really an interesting thing on campus," said Driss El-Akrich, Interim Director, UIS Intensive English Program.

Yawen Li could have studied anywhere in the world, but she chose the United States. "Young people like America because they think this country is so amazing. People in China now really want to go to America," said Li, student from China. 

Students spend 22 hours a week in class studying the language and using it. "Actually we learn a lot, a lot of things, vocabulary, grammar and writing too," said Yionis Al-Ghandi, student from Saudi Arabia. 

There are 52 students in the program.  Next term, even more students are expected to come to the U.S. to take part in the program.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on September 22, 2014.

Watch the full story online.

UIS' Walker fulfills lifelong ambition by becoming head basketball coach

Bill Walker can celebrate his 50th birthday knowing he achieved a lifelong goal earlier in 2014. 

After being an assistant coach for half his life, the Missouri native was hired to lead the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball program six months ago. “I felt like as a guy who had some really good and high-profile assistant jobs — and if I really wanted to dig into coaching — I needed to be a head coach while I still have the intersection of experience and energy, which to me is right now,” 

Walker said. “It’s been fun. It’s been different since assistant coaches make suggestions and head coaches make decisions. I’m making decisions now instead of suggestions.” 

Walker, 49, became a first-time head coach in late April when UIS hired him as a replacement for the fired Ben Wierzba. Walker had long prepared for the opportunity to be a head coach. He was a college assistant for 25 years, including 11 in NCAA Division I, and an NBA scout with New Orleans. He was an assistant at Drake last season. Previously he had been at Texas A&M and Minnesota. 

This story was reported by The State Journal Register on September 22, 2014. 

Read the article online.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Illinois Innocence Project receives quarter-million dollar grant

The University of Illinois in Springfield gets a quarter of a million dollars for a special project.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Justice in the form of a grant, and will help fund the Illinois Innocence Project based at UIS. The group investigates credible claims of innocence and works to remedy wrongful convictions.

They receive over 300 requests a year for assistance. The grant will allow legal and student staff to continue working on potential cases.

"We are dependent upon grants and private contributions and whatever to help the university can provide for us in order to fund the project. So this is going to help in terms of funding legal staff to take the cases," said Larry Golden, founding director of Illinois Innocence Project.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on September 17, 2014.

Watch the story online

UIS Athletics to hold first Hall of Fame induction on Oct. 11

The University of Illinois Springfield Department of Athletics will induct its inaugural hall of fame class of four individuals and one team Oct. 11 on the UIS campus.

The class includes former men’s soccer coach and athletic director Aydin Gonulsen (1976-2002), UIS supporter Harold Christofilakos, former tennis player Carla Jimenez Mills (1998-2000), former men’s soccer player Elias Shehadi (1976-1979) and 1986 NAIA national champion men’s soccer team.

The induction ceremony will take place in the Studio Theater at the Public Affairs Center at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

A pre-ceremony reception will be held 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Food Emporium of the PAC and costs $25 for hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine as well as light refreshments during intermission of the ceremony. Children 15 and under are free. Reception tickets will not be sold at the door.

A banner honoring the Hall of Fame inductees will hang in The Recreation and Athletic Center.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on September 18, 2014.

Read the article online

More transfers boost UIS men's basketball roster

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball roster has grown in size with the additions of Davi Austin, Colin Blaydes, Xavier Todd and Vince Walker.

Austin transferred from Lewis and Clark Community College. The 6-foot-1 junior guard was the Trailblazers’ leading scorer last season. He averaged 15.4 points per game. He also averaged a team-high 2.9 steals per game and 2.6 assists per game.

Another transfer is 6-4 junior forward Colin Blaydes. He averaged 4 points and 3.8 rebounds for Kishwaukee College last season.

Guard Vince Walker, Bill Walker’s son, is the squad’s sole freshman. Vince averaged a team-leading 12.5 points per game for Ankeny (Iowa) High School before he slipped on ice and broke his left ankle in February. It was repaired surgically and he is currently taking part in pre-season workouts.

The roster also includes 5-10 sophomore guard and Chicago native Xavier Todd.

UIS will have six new players, including junior guard JJ Cravatta and junior forward Sammie Elem, when practice begins Oct. 15.

“I wanted to upgrade the talent, which I think these recruits have helped try to start that process,” Walker said.

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 18, 2014.

Read the article online 

Prairie Stars men’s basketball will debut at Vanderbilt

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team opens the 2014-15 season with an exhibition Nov. 6 against NCAA Division I Vanderbilt University at its historic Memorial Gymnasium where the benches are situated on the baseline and the elevated court sits above the scorer’s table, press row and many of the fans.

UIS also plays a road exhibition against Division I Green Bay Nov. 15 at 3 p.m.

A game time has yet to be announced for the Prairie Stars’ game against Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee.

UIS returns eight players from last season’s 10-18 team that placed sixth out of eight teams in the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division with a 5-13 record. First-year coach Bill Walker has added six new players to the roster.

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 18, 2014.

Read the article online

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

UIS grows in student diversity

Students from across the world are coming to the University of Illinois Springfield in record numbers.

The number of international students increased 115 percent over last fall, to 827, making it one of the university's fastest growing populations.

The majority of international students come from either India or China.

Rishika Naha is the vice president of the Indian Student Association on campus.  She says new students need help transitioning.

"We have to adapt to new things, from the food to dressing to behavior, body language, etiquette and everything," Naha said.

Naha said American schools have become a magnet because her country places a high value on an American degree.

This story was featured on WCIA on Monday, September 15th.

Watch the story online.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Susan Koch: Examples of excellence showcased in honors program

The following is a portion of a guest column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published on September 15, 2014 in The State Journal-Register.

"A front-page headline a few days ago in Springfield’s The State Journal-Register announced a record enrollment at the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois.

That’s great news for both the campus and for the larger Springfield community —where UIS students live, work, volunteer and contribute to the local economy.

I’m pleased, most assuredly, with our continued growth, but it is equally gratifying to know that the reputation of UIS across the region continues to advance. Achieving excellence has been a consistent strategic goal for the faculty and staff at UIS and one of the best examples of that excellence is the Capital Scholars Honors Program.

Established in 2001 when the UIS campus first admitted freshmen, the Cap Scholars program welcomes about 120 highly qualified and motivated students each year who have been selected to participate in a unique and challenging residential college experience.

At the heart of the Cap Scholars program is an understanding that the problems facing today’s world are complex and solutions often require the application of knowledge from many different areas of study. For that reason, the program is centered on an engaging interdisciplinary curriculum where exceptional UIS faculty challenge students to investigate, debate and think critically about the complexities of today’s society.

The development of leadership skills—what Honors Program Director Mark Klingshirn calls 'finding their inner leader' —is also a major emphasis of the honors experience. An Honors Global Awareness requirement encourages participants to gain an appreciation of cultures other than their own and enables students to study abroad and learn other languages."

Read the full article online

UIS hosts "War on Poverty" forum

It’s been 50 years since the “War on Poverty” was launched. Around 15% of Illinois residents currently live in poverty, the same percentage of a half century ago. Universities, non-profits, and other organizations are teaming up to draw attention to the unrelenting problem. The University of Illinois Springfield is hosting a series of poverty-related events in the coming year. The first was a “poverty simulation.”

The poverty simulation allows participants to maneuver their way through a world that nearly 2 million Illinois residents face 24/7. A family of four earning less than $24,000 a year is considered to be in poverty. And it's more of a problem among minorities and women. A half century after the national “War on Poverty” was declared, Christine Westerlund says there's still a long way to go.

“The war has not yet been won, but you know - the thing is what we need to do is bring awareness to the next generation that there (are) still issues that needs to be addressed - inequality that needs to be in conversation ... This is really what this is, is heightening awareness about poverty,” said Westerlund.

This event is the first part of a 'War on Poverty' forum being held at UIS - a film and panel discussion will follow in October and November.

The series was spotlighted by WUIS Public Radio on September 15, 2014.

Listen to the story online

Thursday, September 11, 2014

UIS women's soccer team moves to 2-0

The UIS women's soccer team moves to 2-0 after their home opener on Tuesday at Kiwanis Stadium. 

Kim Tokarski scored off a corner kick one minute into the second half to give the University of Illinois Springfield women’s soccer team a 1-0 victory over Judson.

Tokarski and Nikki Auble combined for the winning score in the home opener. Auble’s corner kick set up a scramble in front of the net. Paige Polonus made nine saves for the Prairie Stars.

The win was featured in The State Journal Register.

Read the article online

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Record enrollment at UIS again tops 5,000 students

Enrollment at the University of Illinois Springfield is at a record high this fall after topping 5,000 students for the fifth consecutive year.

The official fall census taken on the 10th day of classes shows 5,431 students enrolled at UIS compared to 5,137 last year. The previous highest enrollment was 5,174 students in 2010.

“One of our highest priorities has been growing our enrollment, and we are pleased with this fall’s census,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. She said growth is one of the university’s three strategic priorities.

“We’ve been very deliberate about pushing our reputation out there, both locally and throughout Illinois,” she said. “I think word of mouth has a lot to do with it. We have more alumni out there who have good things to say about the university and their experience.”

The story was featured in The State Journal-Register on September 9, 2014.

Read the article online

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

U of I Board expected to OK more need based financial aid

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees is expected to approve more need-based financial aid than it does now by adopting a more flexible funding formula.

The university’s institutional aid is the money it gets mostly from student tuition that flows into need-based financial aid for students who cannot afford to pay full tuition.

The institutional aid has exceeded the amount that the university gets in either state or federal financial aid since the 2013 academic year. The most recent data available show that, in 2015, the university’s institutional-based financial aid is budgeted at $83.9 million, while state Monetary Award Program funding is estimated at $61.3 million and federal Pell Grant funding at $72.7 million.

That would mean a total of $217.9 million in fiscal year 2014 would be awarded to 26,000 undergraduate students on the university’s three campuses.

The amount of institutional need-based financial aid for fiscal year 2015 is estimated at $45 million at UI-UC, $38.5 million at UIC and $250,000 at UIS.

The article was featured in the Chicago Sun-Times on September 9.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Coombes' goal gives UIS men's soccer win

Freshman defender Jack Coombes scored his second goal in as many games on Sunday to give the University of Illinois Springfield men's soccer team a 2-1 overtime victory over Montana State-Billings.

The score was tied 1-1 at halftime, and neither team scored in the second half .

Given a corner kick in the 102nd minute of play, the Prairie Stars took advantage as Ismael Serratos found Coombes for the game winner.

The Prairie Stars (2-0) took and early lead with Chukwuka Iwe converted a penalty kick at 20:32 into the first half. But the Yellow Jackets responded with a penalty kick of their own, with Thorge Jess scoring to tie it at the 31:48 mark.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on September 7, 2014.

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Women's soccer: Prairie Stars take opener

Kim Tokarski scored the tying goal and Nikka Auble posted what proved to be the game winner on Sunday as the University of Illinois Springfield women's soccer team took a 2-1 victory over St. Francis on Sunday at Joliet Memorial Stadium.

Auble scored on a free kick from the left side at the 55th minute to make it 2-1 UIS. Tokarski had tied it with an unassisted goal from 15 yards out 22:15 into the first half.

The Prairie Stars outshot St. Francis 18-7, including 10-2 in the second half. UIS also had seven corner kicks while the Fighting Saints had none.

Paige Polonus was in goal for UIS.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on September 7, 2014.

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UIS volleyball team starts season with pair of wins

The University of Illinois Springfield opened the volleyball season with a bang, defeating Ohio Valley 26-19, 25-20, 26-24 in a Friday afternoon match in the UIS Invite at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

The Prairie Stars won their evening match against Urbana 25-23, 31-29, 25-21.

Ashley Beaton and senior Shelby Geers led the Stars with nine kills apiece against Ohio Valley. Geers contributed four blocks. Sophomore Nora Palermo added eight kills. JoAnna Hoffman had 18 assists, six kills and three blocks. Freshman Lexi Hall collected 14 assists. Sophomore Kayla Katarzynski recorded 22 digs.

Against Urbana, UIS junior Nikki Madoch collected 13 kills and six blocks. Beaton added 10 kills and three blocks. Hall led with 18 assists, while Hoffman had 17. Katarzynski had 16 digs for the 2-0 Stars.

The win was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 5, 2014.

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Established players, top recruits points UIS women's soccer toward improvement

College students don’t get summer reading lists, but members of the University of Illinois Springfield women’s soccer team did this summer.

Each player on the roster took time over the summer and read “The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon. The book suggests how to approach life and work with positive and forward thinking.

“It taught us a lot about how positive energy will drive your bus, and you want to have people who are also positive on your bus,” UIS sophomore Sam Boettjer said. “We use that to keep us on track and keep us positive on and off the field so we can be successful.”

Talk to any of the UIS women’s soccer players and they’re bound to tell you the author’s advice is working. So is the effort they put in last semester when the team met once a week for a growth and development series where they aired grievances and discussed topics such as accountability and how to communicate better with each other.

“The attitude of the team as a whole is a lot different,” UIS sophomore Nikki Auble said. “It’s a lot better. Everyone is super positive at practice. We all are willing to support each other. You didn’t see that as much last year, so we’re excited about that.”

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 5, 2014.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Unlikely friends part of UIS foreign/indie film series

The unofficial theme of the 2014 Fall Foreign and Independent Film Series could be “unlikely friends.”

The four-film series – which was released Wednesday with apologies for not being made available sooner – kicks off Friday at Brookens Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield.

All films begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free except where noted.

Sept. 5: Headlined by Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club” is set in the mid-1980s when AIDS was still a death sentence.

Oct. 3: Ralph Fiennes stars in Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” about the unlikely friendship between a hotel concierge and a lobby boy who must deal with the theft of a priceless painting.

Nov. 7: The 2011 French film “The Intouchables” is based on the true story of a disabled millionaire and the ex-con from a poor side of town who becomes his caretaker. Subtitled in English.

Dec. 5: “Born in Chicago” is a documentary about white teenagers from the Chicago area who frequented blues clubs on the city’s south side in the early 1960s to learn how to play blues music from the best. Tickets are required for this film because of the large anticipated audience. Call 206-6160 to reserve tickets.

The series was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 3, 2014.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

UIS volleyball team hopes to start, finish strong this season

There’s lots of enthusiasm and confidence as far as the University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team is concerned.

With seven freshmen on last year’s roster, the Prairie Stars experienced growing pains. They believe that’s behind them.

“They’ve just grown exponentially,” UIS coach Noelle Rooke said. “As I say, they’ve blossomed. It’s night and day, they’ve improved so much.”

A year older and more experienced, Rooke and her players expect more this season. UIS produced an 8-21 overall record and 4-14 Great Lakes Valley Conference mark in 2013.

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on September 2, 2014.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

UIS students volunteer during Service-A-Thon

More than 70 students participated in University of Illinois Springfield's annual Service-A-Thon.

The event always happens after the first week of classes. It brings together students for service projects around the capital city.

One of those projects, helping Habitat for Humanity with its latest project.

"It was a good chance to help out the community, meet new people, and have a good time," said Kelsie Roberts, a freshman at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Other students worked at Saint John's Bread Line cooking and serving meals. In total, students helped with four projects.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on August 29, 2014.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

UIS men’s soccer team hopes to build on productive 2013

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s soccer team scored nearly twice as many goals last season as it did in 2012 and produced more wins than the previous four seasons combined.

UIS coach Jesse Miech then stocked the cupboard in the offseason with quality talent. All of this should point to a bright future and present for the Prairie Stars.

“We have a 25-man roster, which is more than we had last year,” UIS sophomore defender Addison Ferry said. “The competitiveness of the practice is way higher, which will ultimately help us. There are a lot of freshmen, and they’re all pretty talented.”

The team was featured by The State Journal-Register on August 28, 2014.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

UIS picked seventh in East in preseason volleyball poll

The University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team was voted by league coaches to finish seventh in the East Division in the Great Lakes Valley Conference preseason poll.

Indianapolis was picked to win the division. The Greyhounds received nine first-place votes and 112 points. Lewis was second with 110 points and earned seven first-place votes. Southern Indiana (95), Bellarmine (68), McKendree (62), Wisconsin-Parkside (58), UIS (35) and Saint Joseph’s (27) round out the list.

The story was published by The State Journal-Register on August 26, 2014.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Bridge gives head start to UIS freshmen

Successful college learning sometimes requires a jump-start unencumbered by the distractions of making new friends, learning the campus and adjusting to life away from home.

The Summer Bridge program at the University of Illinois Springfield is designed just for that — to help students prepare academically and socially for the transition into college.

The program, now in its third year, doubled in size to include 53 incoming freshmen from two separate “living-learning communities” that include a large number of students who are the first generation of their families to attend college.

“We want to make sure they know the demands of college-level courses and can meet those demands when school starts,” said Tarah Sweeting-Trotter, a UIS academic adviser and coordinator of the two-week Summer Bridge program.

The program was featured by The State Journal-Register on August 20, 2014.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer program bridges the gap at UIS

It's almost that time, college freshman will be arriving on college campuses across the state and starting a new chapter of their lives.

The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) is already working to make sure students adjust to all of the challenges freshman year brings.

"It was important for me to go to college because I would be the first one in my family to go," said Rebecca Garcia, incoming freshman at UIS.

"I want to be better than my parents. I want to take care of my future family, and my current family, and I want to be a successful person," said Anthony Boyd, incoming freshman at UIS.

The UIS class of 2018 is made up of students from diverse backgrounds, but they all have a common goal, graduation.

"A lot of these students are first generation college students, a lot of them might feel like they're academically under prepared, so they're very interested in resources that exist to help them be successful here," said Dr. Tarah Sweeting-Trotter, Coordinator, Summer Bridge Program at UIS.

The Summer Bridge Program at UIS helps ease the transition from high school to college life.

"The past two weeks we've been doing math courses and English courses. We've also been talking about financial stuff and housing, so we're getting ahead of the other freshman that will just be starting the first day," said Boyd.

UIS started the Summer Bridge Program three years ago. Students spend two weeks before school starts in classes sharpening up basic skills and learning new lessons.

The program was featured by WICS-TV 20 on August 14, 2014.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Susan Koch: Great examples on campus for new faculty

The following is a portion of a guest column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published on August 10, 2014 in The State Journal-Register.

"My calendar signals that students will soon be arriving for the start of the Fall 2014 semester at the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

At the same time we’re greeting students, we’ll also be welcoming 24 new faculty; newcomers from across the country and around the world who will join a community of creative and dedicated professors at UIS and who will also become residents of the Springfield area. These new arrivals are part of what author Thomas Friedman calls the “human intellectual capital” that is such an essential element of a thriving 21st century community … and that is the bedrock of a high-quality university."

Read the full column online

'The Price is Right' coming to Springfield

A touring show of “The Price is Right Live” will be coming to Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The show will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17.

Tickets at a price that has not yet been specified go on sale Thursday.

However, to line up beforehand for a chance to be in the show does not require a ticket, and buying a ticket to see the show itself will not increase your chances of being selected to be a contestant.

Registration to be a contestant will begin three hours before show time.

For more information, call 217-206-6106.

The story was published by the Peoria Journal Star on August 8, 2014.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

UIS names new tennis coach

The University of Illinois Springfield men’s and women’s tennis programs have a new face and it is 24-year-old Tom Rees.

He replaces Manny Velasco as head coach. Velasco retired in June after 33 years of coaching.

Rees is a first time head coach. He was an assistant at NCAA Division II University of North Georgia the past two seasons. He was chosen as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southeast Region Men’s Tennis Assistant Coach of the Year in May. North Georgia held a No. 23 ranking and qualified for the NCAA Tournament during his stint. The women’s team set program-best records in 2013 and 2014.

“(UIS athletic director Kim Pate) and the whole athletic department is pointing UIS athletics in the right direction,” Rees said. “I’m excited.”

Rees was featured by The State Journal-Register on August 8, 2014.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Local expert explains Ebola virus

There has been a lot of talk about the Ebola virus lately, especially with Americans who have contracted the disease coming back to the states. Many people are not quite sure how it spreads. We got the chance to talk to an expert on the topic.

Josiah Alamu, a University of Illinois Springfield professor from West Africa, explained to us how the disease spreads, and how the cultural aspect contributes to the rapid spreading of the disease as well.

"Ebola is extremely infectious when somebody shows signs and symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea during the later stage before death," Alamu said. "So people who are caring for these people have already had contact with the fluid, the secretion, the urine, the vomiting, you know all those things, and they also have been exposed."

Alamu says caretakers share the news of the patients with families of friends and spread the disease to even more people during this time. He also says it was difficult to get a handle on Ebola sooner because they don't trust other countries, so it was hard for them to get the assistance.

Alamu was featured by WICS-TV 20 on August 6, 2014.

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