Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SMTD board eyes two new south-side routes

The Springfield Mass Transit District board of trustees voted to move forward with plans to add two new bus routes on the city’s south side with unanimous approval during its regular meeting Monday.

Frank Squires, SMTD’s managing director, said the district this week will apply for an Illinois Department of Transportation grant that would fund the expansion. If the district is awarded the grant, it’ll run the proposed routes.

SMTD grants and procurement manager Shoun Reese said during the meeting that both routes would connect the University of Illinois Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College, the South Sixth Street Walmart and White Oaks Mall. She said UIS would serve as the transfer point for the routes, one of which would run every 30 minutes and the other every hour.

Squires said the proposed routes have been on the district’s wish list for “quite a few years.” He said a more detailed route plan and schedule will be made if the district is awarded the grant.

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

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Monday, July 28, 2014

UIS enforcing campus housing requirement

About two years ago, the University of Illinois Springfield decided on a new mandate for student housing. The rule entailed that students must live on campus for their 1st and 2nd years of schooling. Even though the rule was made two years ago, the regulation was not implemented on campus, until now.

With the cost of housing along with more incoming students and their parents wanting to save money, could this requirement really be worth it in the long run?

“Parents also have to think of this as an investment in their child. Because there's a lot of research out there that shows that students who do live on campus basically have a better academic experience overall, they tend to persist to graduation, they have higher GPA's, there more connected to their campus, and they have a greater overall college experience for having lived on campus,” UIS Housing Director John Ringle said.

UIS has also reached near capacity at 94% of students in housing. Ringle says he looks forward to buildings that are completely full.

The story was reported by WUIS radio on July 28, 2014.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Colleges take steps to keep student information safe

"People are more knowledgeable about tools and tricks," said Clayton Bellot, a Security Analyst at University of Illinois - Springfield.

Like at Lincoln Land, student's financial information at UIS is held at an off-site location. With more than 1,200 staff members using computers everyday, hackers are still out there trying to get in.

"Multiple times in different vectors. Whether it's email or people downloading malicious software," said Bellot.

Both UIS and Lincoln Land Community College say hackers have never been able to get information from their servers.

The story was reported by Fox Illinois on July 23, 2014.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

UIS men’s basketball team adds transfer Elem

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Bill Walker announced the signing of junior college transfer Sammie Elem on Monday.

Elem is transferring from Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo., and will have two years of eligibility. In one season with the Rattlers, the 6-foot-7 forward averaged 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor. Prior to his stint at Otero, Elem played at Wilbur Wright Community College in Chicago.

Elem graduated from Normal University High School, where he averaged 12.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

Elem was featured by The State Journal-Register on July 22, 2014.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Amid smaller enrollments, Illinois universities, colleges forced to adjust to changing landscape

Online growth has also been a key reason why the University of Illinois Springfield has bucked the downward trend of enrollment at state schools, said Ray Schroeder, the school’s associate vice chancellor for online learning.

“Over the years, the online programs have grown to serve more than one-third of our students,” he said, indicating the school’s 1,650 online “majors” from 48 states and a dozen foreign countries helped swell the UIS enrollment to more than 5,000.

“As a result of the growth of the online student population, enrollments at UIS have continued to grow when enrollments at other universities have stagnated or dropped,” said Schroeder.

“Generally, those universities that have embraced 21st century approaches such as online learning continue to thrive despite the challenges of higher costs and lower governmental subsidies,” he said.

Schroeder was featured by the Peoria Journal Star on July 20, 2014.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Glenwood grad Nicholson named UIS softball coach

New University of Illinois Springfield softball coach Shannon Nicholson is leaving one familiar place for another.

The 2003 Chatham Glenwood High School graduate returns to the area for her first head-coaching stint. Nicholson was pitching coach the past six seasons at her alma mater, Illinois State University.

“It is definitely going to be a different role, one I feel totally prepared for,” Nicholson said. “Working around Melinda Fischer, who is going into her 30th season at ISU, I've been able to learn so much from her. I feel she prepared me.”

Nicholson is the third softball coach in UIS history. She replaces Mat Mundell, who took over the same position at the University of Evansville.

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

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Monday, July 14, 2014

UIS needs more student housing, chancellor says

The University of Illinois Springfield needs more student housing as soon as possible, Chancellor Susan Koch says.

Private development, she said, appears to be the fastest route.

In an interview with The State Journal-Register, Koch said campus housing was at 93 percent capacity with a little more than 1,100 students last fall, and space is expected to be at least as tight this fall. Total fall 2013 enrollment of 5,137 was up nearly 17 percent in a decade.

Koch said public universities have turned to private developers as an alternative to traditional construction, especially at a time of uncertain state funding.

UIS has a concept — a multiple-story building with commercial development on the ground floor — and a site on university land near the 11th Street entrance to campus.

“We got by this year. We may squeak by next year (2014-15),” Koch said, “but we're pushing capacity pretty hard.”

Specifics of number of apartments needed — the word “dorm” is avoided on college campuses nowadays — and cost have yet to be decided. But Koch said added student housing is vital to the long-term strategy of extending the university's presence on and off campus.

“We are engaged with several developers who are interested in the project,” she said. “This is really driven by growth. We're going to outgrow our student housing.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on July 14, 2014.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

UIS names Kabbes associate A.D.

The University of Illinois Springfield has hired Paul Kabbes as its associate athletic director for external operations.

Kabbes, a native of Normal, played baseball at Illinois Wesleyan University. He formerly was the associate director of development at NCAA Division I University of Alabama Birmingham.

He worked for two years as development graduate assistant in the Illinois State University athletic department.

The story was featured by The State Journal-Register on July 11, 2014.

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Science program brings Japanese high school students to UIS

A national science program on the other side of the world brings Japanese high school students to the University of Illinois Springfield.

The kids, from Springfield's sister city, Ashikaga, are a part of Japan's grant-funded Super Science Program.

The study abroad portion of the program balances lab work at the university, and field work up in Havana.

UIS credits the chance to act as hosts to Ashikaga's sister-city relationship with Springfield.

"The sister city relationship that Springfield and Ashikaga have, we've been working together for close to 25 years. As a university, we've been working with our counterpart in Ashikaga, the Institute of Technology, for almost 15 years. So, this program came out of those two connections," said Jonathan GoldbergBelle, UIS director of international programs.

International sister city programs became popular after World War II. They aim to foster mutual understanding, commerce, and tourism.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on July 9, 2014.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

UIS flags replaced by donor

This Fourth of July holiday, a new flag proudly waves high in the sky above the campus of the University of Illinois Springfield.

The stars and stripes, in it's bright bold colors, were provided by a staff member.

For her, that flag holds special meaning.

Janine Toman replaced the U.S. flag, Illinois state flag, and the UIS flag to honor her father who died a year ago.

Janine first noticed the flag was tattered when she brought some English as a Second Language students to the flag pole to teach them about American culture.

"Freedom and bloodshed, and the bandages, and the colonies, and the states, I just thought it was a nice little tie in to wrap up for our international students. It's always a pleasure to learn about other cultures, but to share ours is just so neat," Toman said.

Toman was featured by WICS-TV 20 on July 4, 2014.

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