Thursday, January 29, 2015

2015 UIS film series features mythology, love and Snowden

Since 2003, the University of Illinois at Springfield has been playing host to its Foreign and Independent Film Series.

This spring’s event kicks off Friday with “Black Orpheus”, an Academy Award-winning 20th century portrayal of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, set during Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Cynthia Thompson, director of Student Life at UIS expects a high turnout for this spring’s four films, all of which are critically acclaimed. “We’ve been putting it on since 2003,” says Thompson, who adds that the festival has “always been very popular – especially in the wider community” and is currently hosted by the Office of Student Life.

The festival was started, she says, to help create more cultural programs at UIS – which has proven a fruitful strategy since the series has drawn a full house (192 seats) more than once.

Besides being culturally significant and entertaining, it’s also free of charge.

This story was published online in The State Journal-Register on January 28, 2015.

Read the entire article online.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

UIS Spreads Social Media Safety To Local Students

Cyber-bulling and social media awareness. That's what professors from the University of Illinois Springfield were teaching those at a school in the capital city on Monday.

Kids at the Little Flower School on Stevenson learned tips on how to be smart and safe when using social media.

A new study shows teenagers spend up to 30 hours a week on the web. A U of I professor says that's why the university felt it should talk to kids about problems they could face.

"So many of the youngsters thing that they can say anything on the network and it really doesn't hurt. It's really not true, but it does and we've seen with the incidents of suicide as a result of cyber-bullying, that it has a tremendous impact on these youngsters," said Mary Sheila Tracy, UIS computer science instructor.

UIS says it plans on talking to students at other local schools about cyber-bullying.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20, January 26, 2015.

Watch the story online.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Studying abroad increasingly popular with college students

This past fall, Kaitie Devlin learned what it was like to live and study in a foreign country.

Devlin spent the semester in Brussels, Belgium, as part of the Global Experience Program offered at the University of Illinois Springfield, where Devlin is a junior communications major.

The university allows students to select where they would like to go.

"I chose Belgium because I am focused on being a journalist, and the International Programs at UIS recommended Belgium," Devlin said. "Belgium, especially Brussels, is really a gold mine for anyone trying to become a journalist because the city is filled with them."

It's interesting politically and it's worldly, she said, and as a reporter, there are "colorful pieces to cover all the time."

In recent years and with a more global society, studying abroad has become increasingly popular with college students across the United States. In the first issue of its White Paper series, which examined trends in American study abroad programs, the Institute of International Education found that in the 2004-05 academic year, 205,983 students took classes in another country.

That trend is evident at local colleges as well.

UIS began offering study abroad opportunities to its students 15 years ago. At the time, few students were interested. Now, the university is at "a plateau of about 50 to 60 students," said Jonathan GoldbergBelle, director of international programs.

Study abroad was spotlighted by The State Journal-Register on January 26, 2015.

Read the article online

'Resumania' at UIS helps students get noticed in competitive job market

The low-tech paper resume survives.

But in a fast-moving, highly competitive job market, the traditional one- to two-page summary is just a basic start toward getting noticed by employers, say career counseling experts. Social media, of course, is a must-use part of the mix. But just as with ink on paper, the wrong word or emphasis can doom an applicant's prospects at the start.

And in the world of Facebook, blogs and Twitter, the "delete" key doesn't.

"There's no such thing as erasing information once it's out there," said Tammy Craig, director of the Career Development Center at the University of Illinois Springfield. "I always tell students I work with, 'Ask yourself this question: I'm going to post this. Twenty years down the road, do I want the whole world to know this?' "

Social media is crucial in job marketing, Craig said. LinkedIn is considered a basic requirement, she said, but personal websites, online portfolios, Twitter and blogs are increasingly used by employers to data mine for talent. The key is to make sure information is professionally presented and up-to-date.

Resume writing should begin well before students go out into the world, Craig said, and it's an ongoing process of updating and reorganizing. Separate one-on-one counseling sessions for graduate and undergraduate students at UIS — dubbed "Resumania" — go through the basics.

The article was published by The State Journal-Register on January 25, 2015.

Read the article online

U of I president concerned about future of higher ed

While University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch is convinced the school is in very good shape, U of I President Robert Easter said he is worried about the future of higher education in the state.

Speaking to a group of about 40 at the Citizens Club of Springfield's policy breakfast Friday at Hoogland Center for the Arts, Easter said he was legitimately concerned about the economic future of Illinois.

Despite the somewhat gloomy view of the economy and dealing with lesser resources from the state, Easter said overall he is optimistic about the future. The school is one of largest recipients of federal research grants, and the research park at the Urbana-Champaign campus holds 75 companies that employ about 1,500 people.

That optimism carried over to Koch, who also spoke at the breakfast.

Koch said following UIS' largest-ever enrollment during the fall semester, the preliminary enrollment for spring 2015 is the highest it's ever been. UIS has also expanded programs in recent years and recently renewed its nursing program through a partnership with the Chicago campus.

The article was published on January 24, 2015 in The State Journal-Register.

Read the article online

Friday, January 23, 2015

UIS men win second straight game

Senior forward Dylan Sparkman collected 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in University of Illinois-Springfield’s 55-36 victory against Saint Joseph’s in a Great Lakes Valley Conference men's basketball game Thursday.

It was the second straight win for the Prairie Stars (8-8 overall, 2-6 in the GLVC). UIS hasn’t posted back-to-back victories since early December.

Saint Joseph’s led 32-30 at halftime. The Pumas were up 50-45 with nine minutes 43 seconds left. UIS took the lead on junior guard JJ Cravatta’s 3-pointer at the 6:10 mark. Jordan Seele’s dunk got Saint Joseph’s within 60-58 with 1:15 remaining. UIS was 6-for-9 from the free throw line in the final 1:05.

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on January 23, 2015.

Read the article online

Thursday, January 22, 2015

UIS names Salinas new volleyball coach

Trey Salinas is the new head volleyball coach at the University of Illinois Springfield.

He has been an assistant men’s and women’s volleyball coach at NCAA Division II Belmont Abbey in North Carolina for three years, and this is his the first head coaching job for the 27-year-old Salinas. He starts Feb. 2.

“I will meet the team and start the recruiting process,” Salinas said Wednesday. “I will go through a needs assessment on what we’re going to need for future recruiting classes and what we need for the 2015 class.”

Salinas replaces Noelle Rooke, who resigned after three years to return to her native California and join her husband, Max Rooke, a Pepperdine women’s soccer assistant coach.

Salinas inherits a team that had a 10-18 overall record and 2-16 Great Lakes Valley Conference mark last fall and is expected to return 13 players.

“I’m excited to change the culture of the volleyball program and hopefully start a tradition of having a successful program,” Salinas said.

Salinas will earn $42,000. He was one of 62 applicants.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on January 21, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Study: UIS economic impact measures in the millions Businesses, community benefit

A study by a national research firm that measures universities’ economic impact says the University of Illinois Springfield added $176.8 million to the local economy in fiscal 2013-14.

And the benefit-to-cost ratio derived from the study puts UIS in the upper range compared to most public universities, according to one of the study’s authors.

Most of the added income — $95.5 million — came from increased productivity by UIS alumni in the region, according to the study by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., which has conducted more than 1,200 economic impact studies for colleges and universities across the country.

The figure represents the higher wages that alumni earned during the year, the increased output of the businesses that employed them, and the multiplier effect of money spent at other businesses.

University operations added another $75.3 million to the Sangamon County economy, the study said.

Of the 1,129 faculty and staff the university employed in fiscal 2013-14, 76 percent lived in Sangamon County, and much of the $67.1 million total payroll was spent in the county. The university itself spent $31.1 million to cover its expenses for facilities, professional services and supplies.

Spending from UIS students who relocated to attend school here — 20 percent of enrollment — accounted for another $5.9 million. The $176.8 million in added income was equal to about 1.3 percent of Sangamon County’s gross regional product, the study said.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on January 21, 2015.

Read the full article online

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

UIS students provide day of service in honor of King

It wasn’t an easy day off for more than 90 University of Illinois Springfield students who pitched in Monday at seven nonprofit agencies. The students volunteered at the different agencies in Sangamon County as part of a national day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

For some students, it meant painting walls, hanging ceiling tiles, moving furniture, fanning neighborhoods to share information about preventing home fires or sorting supplies.

The American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach, Midwest Mission Distribution Center, Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery, M.E.R.C.Y. Communities and Ronald McDonald House all received volunteer help Monday.

Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center, said this was the third year the university has organized a day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “We feel as a state institution, and with our Land of Lincoln heritage, it’s our responsibility to teach students that being part of the community you belong to is a lifelong commitment you should make,” Dochterman said.

The story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on Monday, January 19, 2015.

Read the entire article here

Monday, January 19, 2015

UIS men break through with first conference win

Competing in the Great Lakes Valley Conference has been tough for the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team.

Monday was no different as the Prairie Stars got off to a slow start against McKendree at The Recreation and Athletic Center. But unlike past league contests, UIS pulled off a much-needed 67-63 win.

The Stars outlasted the Bearcats for their first GLVC victory. It snapped a seven-game losing streak and gave the Stars their first win since Dec. 9 when they defeated St. Catherine. UIS is 7-8 overall and 1-6 in the GLVC.

The Stars had to earn it. “We were focused defensively,” UIS junior guard Jamall Millison said. “Everybody was locked in defensively. Everybody played together. We were just here as a team. There was no individual.”

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on January 19, 2015.

Read the article here

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Leadership of local colleges trends towards women

According to multiple sources, including the American Council on Education, 26 percent of U.S. colleges and universities are led by women, a number that has risen within the last decade, while 57 percent of the students in colleges and universities are women. Some believe women could reach parity with men within the next 15 years or so, particularly with a large number of college presidency openings on the horizon.

Susan Koch said that she, for the most part, “checked off all (academic career) boxes” on the way to becoming UIS chancellor in 2011, one of two women chancellors, along with Phyllis Wise at the Urbana-Champaign campus, at the University of Illinois’ three campuses.

“It’s a classical story,” said Koch, 65, in an interview in her campus office. It also took hard work, so when she was eventually offered the role as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northern Michigan University, Koch said, “I had positioned myself well.”

There Koch was mentored by then-President Leslie Wong, now the president at San Francisco State University. “He was very generous with his time and allowed me to be a full partner at running (Northern Michigan University),” said Koch, who also cites former Northern Iowa University President Mary Sue Coleman, recently retired as president of the University of Michigan, as a guiding hand when both were at Northern Iowa. “There has to be more than one someone,” Koch said, “to give you an opportunity.”

Koch said networking, particularly among other vice presidents who were angling for presidencies, helped, as did making known her intentions for moving up. “If you’re not in the pool, you have no chance of moving up,” says Koch.

What’s important for the higher education landscape, she added, “is to be open as much as possible to talent, no matter what the talent looks like. “I’ve been in many, many conference rooms where I was the only female,” Koch said. “But the discussions are always better when the voices are diverse.”

Koch is less optimistic that as many women as men will become college presidents even in the next half-century, despite rising numbers and the fact that the majority of students in U.S. colleges and universities are women. “It will take many changes in higher education — socially and culturally — for that to happen,” she said.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on Saturday, January 17, 2015.

Read the entire article online

Thursday, January 15, 2015

U of I trustees approve tuition freeze

University of Illinois trustees have voted to freeze in-state tuition rates at the school's three campuses.

The plan announced last week and unanimously approved by trustees Thursday in Chicago will freeze tuition at $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 at the Chicago campus and $9,405 in Springfield. State law guarantees first-year students at public universities their tuition won't increase for four years.

Tuition will increase by 2 percent for non-Illinois residents.

Housing costs at the three campuses, though, will increase. At the Urbana-Champaign campus the increase will be 1.5 percent to $10,332 a year. Chicago campus housing will increase 2 percent to $10,728. And in Springfield the cost will be $7,350, up .7 percent.

The freeze was reported by The State Journal-Register on January 15, 2015.

Read the article online

Monday, January 12, 2015

Susan Koch: Study demonstrates university's economic value

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 January 11, 2015.

"Is it possible to calculate the actual economic impact, the financial value creation, of a university on its community?

The answer is “yes” and the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois has recently done just that with the help of Economic Modeling Specialists International, a nationally known research firm whose economists have conducted more than 1,200 economic impact studies for colleges and universities across the country.

A central element of the recent study, which uses fiscal year 2013-14 student and financial data, is a regional economic impact analysis that estimates three effects: University operations, student spending and the increased productivity of college-educated alumni who were employed in the regional workforce during the analysis year.

The numbers are impressive. In terms of university operations, UIS is an important employer in Sangamon County.

In 2013-14, the campus employed 1,129 faculty and staff with a total payroll of $67.1 million, much of which was spent by UIS employees in the county on food, housing, clothing and other living expenses. UIS is also a large-scale buyer of goods and services — spending $31.1 million in the analysis year for supplies, professional services and facilities. The total income that UIS created in 2013-14 as a result of its day-to-day operations was $75.3 million."

Read the full column online

UIS grad says satire has place in French society

A recent graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield who grew up 20 minutes from the Paris neighborhood where Friday’s shoot-out claimed the life of an extremist gunman and four hostages at a kosher supermarket says that the satire that precipitated the violence still has a place in French society.

Fanny Lomingo’s parents and a younger brother still live in the neighborhood south east of Paris. The area was popular, Lomingo said, because a Paris Metro stop, Porte de Vincennes, was situated near the market.

Lomingo, who graduated in December with a degree in public administration and has a noprofit management certificate, said she’s familiar with the publication Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine that two gunmen attacked on Wednesday, leaving 12 people dead.

She said Friday that she hadn’t seen the cartoons — caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad — that stoked the most recent violence. Lomingo said she was aware of past threats against Charlie Hebdo, whose cartoonists also skewered politicians as well as a number of other religions.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on January 11, 2015.

Read the article online

UIS women earn first conference victory

Jameeshia Armstrong had the hot hand and refused to let a missing shoe stop her.

The University of Illinois Springfield junior guard’s shoe came off in the second half of Saturday’s Great Lakes Valley Conference game against Truman State, but she kept playing. Neither Armstrong nor her teammates let off the gas pedal after halftime and the result was a 72-57 victory at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

It was the first conference win for UIS (5-7 overall, 1-3 in the GLVC) and ended a five-game losing streak.

“Once we picked it up on defense, offense just fell into place,” Armstrong said.

Down 31-29 at halftime, the Prairie Stars came out of halftime on a 17-8 run. Armstrong scored nine points during the stretch and UIS led 46-39 with 13 minutes 9 seconds remaining. She finished with a team-high 16 points.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on January 11, 2015.

Read the article online

Friday, January 9, 2015

These Illinois Schools Offer 6 of the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in the U.S.

According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, about 1 in 4 students - or 4.5 million - took at least one online course towards a Bachelor's or Master's degree.

To help students research and compare offerings in this trending marketplace, U.S. News released its highly anticipated 2015 Best Online Programs rankings, a comprehensive assessment of the best online Bachelor's degrees in the country, as well as the top Master's e-programs in business, engineering, computer information technology, education and nursing.

For Online Bachelor's Degrees, the largest list of the collection, the University of Chicago tied for second with a Student Engagement score of 100. This particular category is measured by weighing a variety of factors, including graduation rates, best practices, class size, retention rate, and time to degree deadline. UChicago also received a 70 for Faculty and a 74 for Student Services, earning an overall score of 97.

Penn State University ranked #1 with an overall score of 100 and UChicago tied Dayton State College and Western Kentucky University.

Several other Illinois schools cracked the top 100 online Bachelor's programs, with University of Illinois—Springfield (#20), Loyola University Chicago (#47), Western Illinois University (#63), University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign (#82), and McKendree University (#98).

You can view all of U.S. News' online program rankings here.

This story appeared online on ChicagoInno on January 8, 2015.

Read the entire story online.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

U of I Considers Sexual Assault Policies

University of Illinois officials say they will continue to convene meetings on the prevention of sexual assault on all three campuses.

The group comprises about 20 people - including legal counsel, police, and women's rights advocates.
Dedra Williams is the Assistant VP for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois, she says the goal is to ultimately shape effective policies: "If we need to make improvements, we want to be a leader and work with the legislators, with our campuses, and make a safe place for our students."

The task force first met in December. It will continue to meet, and Williams says students are being asked for their feedback when it comes to campus culture and policies. She hopes data gathered will help inform legislators.

This story aired on WUIS on January 7, 2015.

Read and listen to the story here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

UIS Financial Aid Director: Apply for FAFSA Immediately

The start of the year means a new year to apply for federal financial aid, better known as FAFSA.

If you need financial aid, you should look into applying as soon as possible.

It became available January 1 for the 2015-2016 school year.

It's the largest student financial aid provider in the country.

You should apply for the aid because it gives you more opportunities to get help, and you don't need your 2014 taxes, said Carolyn Schloemann, the acting financial aid director at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“Go ahead and fill out the 2015-2016 application using their 2013 taxes that were already completed,” Schloemann said. “Go ahead and submit the application and then once their taxes are done for 2014, they can go in and make a correction to the 2015-2016 application and still have the application on file and still be considered for all the grant programs that might be available.”

Schloemann said more students are sending their FAFSA applications early in January, but there are some students who learn too late about the advantages.

This story appeared online at WICS Newschannel 20 on January 5, 2015.

Watch the story online.

UI proposes no tuition hike for freshmen

Faced with more Illinois students turning them down, the University of Illinois has proposed keeping tuition rates flat for in-state freshmen who enroll for this fall.

The move was prompted in part by an increasing number of Illinois students who have declined offers of admission to the state's flagship university in recent years and an attempt by the UI to lessen the burden on middle-class students who find themselves not poor enough to qualify for financial aid but not wealthy enough to pay full sticker price for a college education.

UI trustees, President Bob Easter and President-elect Tim Killeen praised the plan, which was detailed Monday at a trustee committee meeting. The proposal will likely be approved next week when the board meets as a whole in Chicago.

Killeen, sitting alongside Easter in Washington, D.C., listened in on the meeting via videoconference. "I'm supportive of the tuition freeze. I think that will play very well," he said. "I think we're heading in the right direction," added trustee James Montgomery.

Freshmen from Illinois would pay no increase in the general tuition rate on the university's three campuses.

For non-Illinois residents, base tuition rates would increase by 2 percent, according to the proposal.

Base tuition for in-state students currently is $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago and $9,405 in Springfield.

This story appeared online in The News-Gazette on Monday, January 5, 2015.

Read the entire story here.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Three developers submit proposals for UIS housing

A University of Illinois Foundation committee is awaiting responses from three developers who submitted proposals for a mixed-use residential development on the west edge of the University of Illinois Springfield campus.

The Urbana-based foundation, which owns about 75 tillable acres of farmland at UIS, including the 14-acre development site along the west edge of 11th Street, asked developers to submit proposals by Nov. 20, and three responded, said Kevin Noland, assistant vice president for real property and finance for the foundation.

“We did get some interesting proposals,” Noland said. “The committee (made up of foundation and UIS officials) decided to go back with question-and-answer sessions with the three developers to get more details of what they are proposing and to further clarify what we are looking for.”

He said the developers were asked to respond by Jan. 6.

Van Vieregge, assistant vice chancellor for student services at UIS, said one of the submitted designs resembled a downtown apartment building while the other two featured garden apartments with a central courtyard.

“We wanted to see what amenities they were offering,” he said. “We’re just waiting to hear, and we’ll go from there.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on January 1, 2015.

Read the article online