Monday, August 31, 2015

Civil rights icon John Lewis' to appear at UIS as part of campuswide reading program

An appearance by civil rights icon John Lewis, now a U.S. congressman, will highlight events related to the University of Illinois Springfield's "One Book, One UIS" community read for 2015-16.

The graphic memoir "March," written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, tells Lewis' life story as a civil rights activist and leader. The book is a trilogy, with the third part yet to be published.

Jane Treadwell, UIS librarian and dean of library instructional services, said the book selection committee considered whether a graphic novel would have as much appeal as a traditional book to the campus community.

"Undergraduates already have been exposed, and they like that format," Treadwell said. "We decided that because of the subject matter, it would work."

The highlight of the "March" initiative is an Oct. 19 appearance by Lewis, Aydin and Powell at UIS. Tickets for the 7 p.m. event, which are free, are available Monday through the Sangamon Auditorium ticket office. The event is supported in part by Illinois Humanities and the Field Foundation of Illinois.

More information on the community read and the Oct. 19 event is available at

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on August 31, 2015.

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As school starts, some UIS students start giving back

With the school year underway, some UIS students spent no time getting back out into the community. It's part of the Welcome Week Service-A-Thon, organized by the university's volunteer and civic engagement center.

Students spent the day giving back to seven local organizations. Organizers say volunteers get as much out of the event as the recipients.

"Just knowing that you're giving back. that you're helping the company, and knowing that you're doing something for somebody else. "You might say 'oh the foodbank' and really don't know the qualifications of the foodbank, so they get to learn a lot about the foodbank, the factory of the foodbank, and what they're doing for the people that they're helping," project coordinator Jasmine Herbert said.

UIS students can continue to volunteer their time to these organizations throughout the school year.

The story was reported by WICS-TV 20 on August 28, 2015.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

UIS women's soccer team believes it's on verge of turnaround

The University of Illinois Springfield is marking its eighth year of women’s soccer.

In their previous years, the Prairie Stars have never won more than four games in a single season.

UIS coach Molly Grisham saw a different level of competitiveness from the Stars last week as they kicked off practice. “I felt like this was the most competitive we’ve been,” she said. “I think they realize we’re just bringing in better and better players and everybody has to give their best in every training session.”

”UIS opens the season Sept. 4 in Chicago against St. Francis.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on August 26, 2015.

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People in the News

Lauren Hollinshead, a senior biology major from Sherman, recently was awarded the first undergraduate summer scholar award from the Undergraduate Research Support Program at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Hollinshead used the award to conduct research at the Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve near Havana, location of the UIS Therkildsen Field Station.

The award was made possible by donations from the Alfred O. and Barbara Cordwell Therkildsen family.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on August 26, 2015.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

UIS Cross Country Kickoff Dinner set for Sept. 10

The University of Illinois Springfield Cross Country Kickoff Dinner is Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

Admission is $20 and will support the new men’s and women’s cross country teams at UIS. The Prairie Stars host their inaugural meet Sept. 11 on the UIS campus.

The dinner will serve as a meet and greet with coach Mike De Witt and the runners. A meal will be provided Noodles & Company. Debbi Sullivan, a three-time USA Track and Field Olympian in race walking, is the guest speaker.

To register, contact Paul Kabbes at 206-8547 or by Sept. 8.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on August 25, 2015.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UIS volleyball players put in long hours in preseason

The University of Illinois Springfield volleyball team went all in last week, training for six hours daily.

The Prairie Stars’ players were busy in their first week of practice. New coach Trey Salinas held three practice sessions each day.

The first focused on strength and conditioning, while the second practice was reserved for skill work by position. The final session was for 6-on-6 games.

“It has been very, very hectic,” Salinas said. “They’ve worked extremely hard and have really managed to embrace the atmosphere in the gym. We’re making some good progressions. They are buying into our system.”

Salinas is pushing the Stars to the limit.

There are no cakewalks here. I think it’s going to be a really fun year and usher in a new era of volleyball here in the program.

This story appeared online in The State Journal-Register on August 24, 2015.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

UIS students help beautify District 186

Freshmen at the University of Illinois Springfield are getting their hands dirty to help spruce up District 186 schools.

This is the first major volunteer event of the school year. Nearly 100 students pitched in Saturday afternoon to help beautify the landscaping and entryways of eight schools before classes begin.

We are doing what we cant to help out and pitch in and make that good for the first day," said Mark Dochterman, director of UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center.

The next volunteer project for UIS students will be this week's "Service-A-Thon" on August 28th.

This article appeared online on WICS Newschannel 20 on August 24, 2015.

Watch the story here.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

UIS edges Loggers in preseason soccer match

Sophomore Jack Coombes scored late in regulation to force overtime and junior teammate Zachary Allevi later scored the winning goal as the University of Illinois Springfield edged Lincoln Land Community College 2-1 in a preseason men’s soccer match on Sunday at Kiwanis Stadium.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on August 23, 2015.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Koch: Focus on core principles is key to UIS' success

Citing positive results in 2014-15 at the University of Illinois Springfield, Chancellor Susan Koch pledged Thursday to remain focused on areas to ensure continued success for the university.

"We are doing well when many other campuses are not because we have remained collectively and intently focused on our three strategic priorities," she told an audience of mostly faculty and administrators at the school's annual fall convocation. "This approach is paying off for our students."

Koch said growth in both reputation and enrollment, acquisition and retention of talented faculty and staff, and providing the facilities needed to support a comprehensive student learning and living experience are key to UIS' future.

Lynn Pardie, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, reminded the audience that "each student's degree matters" and praised the faculty and staff for leading by example.

Twenty-seven new full-time faculty members were introduced at the convocation as UIS prepares to observe its 20th year as a University of Illinois campus. There are 225 faculty members at the school.

Fall enrollment of 5,431 in 2014 was the largest in school history, as was the spring graduating class. The school also set a new cash giving record of more than $3.7 million, she said.

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

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

'Earnest' and 'Distracted' headline new season at UIS Theatre

University of Illinois Springfield Theatre has announced its 2015-16 theater lineup.

This fall will see a production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”; for the spring, “Distracted” by Lisa Loomer.

“Earnest” will be Oct. 30-Nov. 1 and Nov. 5-7 in the Studio Theatre, lower level of the Public Affairs Center on the UIS campus. Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, associate professor and director of theater, will direct with scenic design by Dathan Powell, assistant professor of theater.

“Distracted” will be performed April 22-24 and 28-30, also in the Studio Theatre. Directing will be Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, associate professor of theatre, with scenic design by Powell.

Both shows will hold open auditions and crew interviews, open to students, faculty, staff, and community members.

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

Read the entire article here.

More than 200 freshmen move in at UIS

More than 200 freshman moved into their dorms at UIS Wednesday.

Students, assigned arrival times to space out their arrivals, and keep too many from moving in at once.

Dozens of volunteers from UIS student organizations and campus departments helped the freshmen move in.

All other UIS students are set to start returning on Friday. Classes are set to begin on Monday.

This story appeared on WICS Newschannel 20 on August 19, 2015.

Watch the story here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pennington added to UIS staff

Eddie Pennington has joined the University of Illinois Springfield women’s volleyball staff as an assistant coach.

He was a two-year captain of the men’s volleyball program at Belmont Abbey College. He was a student assistant for the women’s team. He graduated in May.

UIS hosts an alumni match Saturday at 3 p.m. at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on August 18, 2015.

Read the entire article here.

Kost unveils UIS women's basketball coaching staff

University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball coach Mark Kost has announced the hiring of Katelyn Connor and Catrina Green as his assistants.

Connor was the video coordinator and director of basketball operations at her alma mater, Coastal Carolina, last year.

Green played professional basketball in Portugal last season. Prior to that, she was a four-year starter at Gardner-Webb University.

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on August 18, 2015.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

UIS now offering elementary education major

Prospective teachers will be able to major in elementary education starting this fall at the University of Illinois Springfield after the Illinois Board of Higher Education approved the option last week.

Students previously have been able to pursue an elementary school teaching career at UIS, but having a major has advantages — for both the students and the school, said Cindy Wilson, who chairs the UIS Department of Teacher Education.

She said elementary education and secondary education have been available as minors at UIS since 2001. But elementary education programs statewide had to be revised after the Illinois State Board of Education revised its standards for teachers.

"We thought it would be a good time to turn elementary education into a major," Wilson said. Secondary education will remain a minor option.

"We've had anecdotal research and market research that the people who are going to be elementary teachers want a major," she said. "Their parents want that, too."

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said the university made the decision about three years ago to identify new academic areas that would add value and increase enrollment, and elementary education was one of those.

"It's really part of our growth priorities we've had for several years," she said. "There's a lot of demand for it."

Wilson said beginning to offer the major has "been a long, complicated and detailed process," noting that plenty of UIS graduates have become successful elementary school teachers, but they want that major.

"We know there are students who might have come here who went elsewhere because we didn't have a major in elementary education," Wilson said.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on August 17, 2015.

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Local colleges crediting students for MAP grants held up by state budget impasse

Students who depend on Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants to help with college tuition and fees are in limbo because of the state budget impasse, but most apparently will be able to attend classes this fall.

Without a final budget, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which administers the state-funded MAP grants, doesn’t know what will be appropriated for the program for the 2015-16 school year and can’t pay schools on behalf of students.

However, many schools, including the University of Illinois Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College and others, are crediting student accounts for MAP on the assumption there eventually will be a budget and they will be paid.

“We’re going to go ahead and apply the money to student accounts just like they had a budget,” said Carolyn Schloemann, acting director of financial assistance at UIS. “Our students won’t be penalized because there’s not a state budget.”

At UIS, 815 students received MAP grant funding totaling just more than $2.6 million last year, an average grant of $3,232 per student.

Jamie Anderson, 21, is a senior majoring in social work at UIS. She holds down two jobs — one at the campus records and registration office and another at Meijer — and counts on a MAP grant to fill the gap in her tuition and fees.

“It’s a huge worry of mine,” that the money won’t be there, she said. “I really depend on that grant as an independent student. Loans are hard to get because there’s no one to co-sign for me.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on August 14, 2015.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

UIS students have new travel options this fall

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield will have a couple of added options for getting around the city this fall.

The university has agreements with Gracious Cab and Harmony Limousine, both based in Springfield, for off-campus trips. The cab company will provide service to and from the Amtrak station in downtown Springfield and Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, said Van Lee Vieregge, assistant vice chancellor for student services. The limo company will provide hourly runs on Wednesdays and Sundays to west-side shopping destinations, including White Oaks Mall.

Vieregge said the university will pay a $50 flat rate for a 15-passenger van to Amtrak and the airport, and $239 per day for the Wednesday and Sunday shopping runs. There is no charge to the students.

"We had students who had requested we provide a pickup service to locations where most of them go," said Vieregge. The Springfield Mass Trans District also serves the UIS campus.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on August 9, 2015.

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UIS women's basketball coach gives up CPA career to realize coaching dream

By day, Mark Kost was a certified public accountant for a global professional services giant. Away from work, he was a coaching wannabe.

The two worlds collided in November of 2000.

Kost walked away from a lucrative career crunching numbers to try to satisfy a longtime yearning: to coach basketball. Fifteen years later, he achieved the ultimate goal and became a head coach. Kost, 42, was hired in May as the University of Illinois Springfield women’s coach.

“He was very brave,” said Sam Kost, Mark’s wife. “You’re talking about a guy who was very successful in accounting that didn’t play college sports and thought he might never have the opportunity.

"He worked very, very hard and came up through the ranks with very little pay. Money wasn’t important to him. Only his passion and his goal to be a head coach. That’s inspiring.”

Mark Kost is living a dream – for real.

“A couple of partners that I worked with at the firm still use me as a recruiting tool,” Kost said. “Whenever they go out to recruit universities they say, 'If you’re a CPA, you can do anything. We have an alumnus who is a college basketball coach.'”

Kost was featured by The State Journal-Register on August 9, 2015.

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