Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Men's Basketball: Longmeyer, UIS roll past Lincoln Christian

Eddie Longmeyer scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the University of Illinois Springfield to an 87-51 non-conference victory over Lincoln Christian Monday night at TRAC.

The Prairie Stars led the Red Lions 49-20 at halftime as LCU slipped to 4-11.

Brandon Van Sant added 11 points and eight rebounds for UIS, while Gilwan Nelson chipped in 10 points.

UIS was 10-for-24 from 3-point range for 42 percent, with Vince Walker 3-for-5 from beyond the arc.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 18, 2017.

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Computers, TVs damaged by vandals at UIS

Computers, television monitors and other electrical equipment at University of Illinois Springfield were either damaged or stolen overnight Sunday, officials say.

Derek Schnapp, UIS spokesman, said police have identified 10 to 12 areas in the university’s Public Affairs Center and Brookens Library that were targeted.

Schnapp said Monday afternoon police and staff were still assessing the damage and he could not provide a breakdown or dollar figure of how much was missing or damaged.

Police are also still trying to determine if more than one person was involved and how the thief or thieves got into the buildings, which are locked at night.

“We’re not seeing any broken glass windows or doors damaged,” Schnapp said. “We’re looking at everything right now.”

UIS is encouraging anyone with information to call campus police at 206-6690 or Crime Stoppers of Sangamon and Menard Counties at 788-8427.

Schnapp said police are also reviewing surveillance footage to help identify a suspect or suspects.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 18, 2017.

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Susan Koch: Educating leaders in education

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 16, 2017.

What makes successful K-12 schools tick? 

A recent study cited by Education Pioneers, a nationwide school improvement project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, concluded school leadership is a critical factor. Along with excellent teachers, outstanding principals and superintendents have significant impact on how well students learn in school. 

That impact is the reason that, in addition to preparing highly-qualified K-12 teachers, UIS offers graduate programs in Educational Leadership that prepare principals, superintendents and other school personnel for leadership roles in schools throughout central Illinois and beyond. 

Scott Day, a faculty member at UIS for 20 years (and winner of the 2017 Faculty Excellence Award), leads the Educational Leadership program. “What attracts students to our program,” says Day, “is top-notch faculty with extensive experience working as principals and superintendents.” 

“Our graduates always say how well prepared they feel for the job based on the program’s course projects and the extensive internship requirement,” he continues. “The professional preparation is about as realistic as you can get — and that is the key to our (and our graduates’) success.” 

Hanfu Mi, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services, agrees: “Faculty who teach in the Educational Leadership program have not only had careers as successful principals and superintendents, they also remain connected to people and issues of importance in K-12 in Illinois — engaging in research, service and other professional activities that keep them informed of exactly what is going on in the schools across the state.” 

“Dr. Day is a good example of that connectivity,” Dean Mi continues. “He currently serves on the Executive Board of the Illinois Principals Association and spends significant time each semester in the schools, mentoring current graduate students (most of whom are also full-time teachers) and advising alums who continue to stay connected to the faculty long after they complete the program.” 

Jennifer Gill, Superintendent of Springfield Public School District 186, is one of those alums. Gill was born and raised in Springfield, where she graduated from Springfield High School and later taught at Wanless Elementary School, one of 23 elementary schools in the district. 

“I chose the University of Illinois at Springfield for my Masters Degree in Educational Administration due to strong recommendations from educators in my community,” says Gill. “I quickly realized the opportunity to learn from professors who were practitioners as well as those who were grounded in educational research was the blend of support for which I was looking.” 

Dr. Gill later returned to UIS for her Superintendent’s licensure and the Chief School Business Endorsement, working with a cohort of fellow educators with whom she maintains valuable professional relationships today. 

Superintendent Gill is not the only UIS Educational Leadership alum in District 186. 

In fact, more than 60% of the principals employed in the Springfield Public Schools today are proud graduates of the program. 

 K-12 schools in Illinois today face a variety of challenges including uncertain funding, poverty and other student risk factors, teacher training and retention, changing student attitudes and behaviors, state and federal mandates, school safety and security, and other issues that affect student success. 

Now more than ever, schools need skilled leaders who can create the conditions that enable teachers to help their students learn and achieve and that prepare them for success in college and in the workforce. 

Schools also need leaders who understand their school is embedded in the community and who can successfully engage families and communities to work together to meet the needs of all students. 

Developing and supporting those educational leaders for the benefit of current and future generations is what the UIS Educational Leadership program is all about.

Read the entire column online.

Men's Basketball: UIS off to record start after 93-69 win over Glenville State

The University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars are off to one of their best starts in program history.

UIS took down Glenville State 93-69 at the TRAC Saturday afternoon.

Gilwan Nelson led the way with 24 points for the Stars.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on December 18, 2017.

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Women's Basketball: UIS women ready for Florida trip; men home Saturday

Finals week wraps up today at the University of Illinois Springfield and the women’s basketball team has the perfect way to decompress.

The Prairie Stars play two games in Daytona Beach, Florida on Monday and Tuesday. They face Embry-Riddle University Monday at 10 a.m. They take on Angelo State University Tuesday at 12:15 p.m.

UIS is in for a tough task. Embry-Riddle received votes in the NCAA Division II national poll this week. Angelo State was ranked No. 20 in the final Division II poll last season and reached the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

“It’s a reward for our players to be able to go on trip like that,” UIS women’s basketball coach Mark Kost said. “We’ve worked for a couple of years now to raise the money to do it. This is the team that deserves it because of the way they’ve played. We’re going to play high level competition. One is right on the edge of the top 25 nationally and one of them was in the NCAA tournament last year, so it will be a challenge. But it’s a challenge I think our group is ready for.”

The Stars take a four-game win streak into Monday’s contest.

They also go into it as the Division II leader in blocked shots per game. UIS is averaging 7.8 blocks in a game.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 15, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Net neutrality: What is it?

On Friday, the Federal Communication Commission is set to vote on a plan to repeal 2015 regulations on internet service providers. Included in those regulations is a theory called “net neutrality.”

We asked University of Illinois Springfield Communications Associate Professor Ann Strahle to explain what that is.

“Net neutrality is the idea, the theory, that all internet service providers, ISPs, should treat all internet traffic equally,” Strahle said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of content it is, that it is all distributed equally.”

In a statement calling for the repeal, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argued that, for twenty years, the internet “thrived under a light-touch regulatory approach.”

“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet,” Pai wrote. “Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that customers can buy the service plan that’s best for them.”

Critics of the change argue that removing net neutrality means internet companies could cut deals with some customers to give them an unfair advantage over others.

Several commentators have suggested, for example, that an internet provider could cut a deal with one video streaming service like Hulu to give them faster speeds than competitors like Netflix.

Other critics worry removing the requirement could put free speech at risk.

“If access to certain information is only available to those people who can pay more, then that can be seen as a limit to the freedom of speech or the freedom of the press and how people get their information,” Strahle said.

This story appeared on WAND TV on December 12, 2017.

Watch the entire story online.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Save the date for governor’s race primary debates

There are many ways to convey information and news to readers — the printed page, audio and online, for starters.

Sometimes, though, a newspaper also can inform by hosting community events, such as candidate debates and forums.

With the election filing period having just concluded, we’re turning our attention to ways to help readers learn as much as possible about candidates’ positions.

I’m pleased to announce that the SJ-R will partner with News/Talk 94.7 and 970 WMAY and the University of Illinois Springfield to host debates in the 2018 governor’s primary elections.

The Democratic primary debate will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at UIS. All six candidates who have filed petitions to run in the Democratic primary — state Sen. Daniel Biss, Bob Daiber, Tio Hardiman, Chris Kennedy, Dr. Robert Marshall and J.B. Pritzker — have agreed to participate in the event.

Our three organizations also have invited the two Republican candidates — incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner and state Rep. Jeanne Ives — to debate the night before, on Feb. 20, also at UIS.

Ives has accepted our invitation, and we certainly hope that the governor will do the same. For those who can’t attend in person, the debates will be broadcast live.

“We are honored to once again host such an important event,” said Joan Sestak, director of UIS community relations. “This is a great example of what it means to be public affairs university that is committed to developing students who will be engaged citizens.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 9, 2017.

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Men's Basketball: Stallworth, Williams spark UIS men’s basketball to win

Freshmen Collin Stallworth and Aundrae Williams contributed to a run that allowed the University of Illinois Springfield to pull away from Kentucky State University midway through the second half and win 81-69 Saturday.

With UIS nursing a one-point lead with 13 minutes remaining, Williams sank a free throw and jumpstarted a 16-7 run that ended with the Prairie Stars ahead 68-58.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 9, 2017.

Read the entire article online.

Women's Basketball: UIS women’s basketball on a roll

Finals week begins today at the University of Illinois Springfield so student-athletes are prepping for and taking exams instead of playing games.

When the week is complete, the women’s basketball team will face another huge test.

The 7-1 Prairie Stars are traveling to the Daytona Beach Shootout in Florida for a pair of games.

They’ll face stiff competition there.

UIS is on a roll. The Stars are the Division II leader in blocked shots per game and have four consecutive wins.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 10, 2017.

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IDOT asks Illinois residents to give it feedback on state's travel conditions

Illinois residents who have traveled this year have a chance to give their feedback to the state.

IDOT released their annual traveler opinion survey on Thursday. It's asking residents to rate the state's transportation system.

The annual survey is conducted through the University of Illinois Springfield's survey research office.

It seeks input like road conditions, ice and snow removal, and commuting habits.

This story aired on WREX.com on December 7, 2017.

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Registration open for UIS Career Connections

Registrations are open for the 20th annual Career Connections Expo, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at University of Illinois Springfield.

The expo will be at The Recreation and Athletic Center. Attendance has averaged more than 400 at previous expos.

The event highlights employment and internship opportunities for students, UIS graduates and the public.

Additional information is available from UIS Career Development Center, 206-6508 or employerrelations@uis.edu.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 7, 2017.

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Women's Basketball: UIS women hold off Rockhurst

Closing out games became a nemesis of the University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team last season.

The Prairie Stars have turned things around this season. Thursday night was a case in point.

UIS pulled off a 68-63 win over Rockhurst in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

The victory gives the Stars a 7-1 overall record and a 2-0 conference record.

“They blew us out by 20 last year,” Ramsey said. “So for us in matter of year to be able to beat them that says a lot about the team that we’ve become. I think we’re better than we played (Thursday) so there’s a lot more to come.”

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 7, 2017.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

People in the News: Regina Bolin

University of Illinois Springfield student Regina Bolin, of Kansas City, was recognized as a Student Laureate by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois during the annual Student Laureate Convocation November 11 in Springfield.

The ceremony honors excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities by seniors from each of the state’s universities.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 4, 2017.

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Women's Basketball: UIS women ranked in regional poll

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team is ranked in the Division II Sports Information Directors of America Midwest regional poll for the first time in program history.

The Prairie Stars share the No. 9 ranking with Wayne State (Michigan).

UIS is 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. It is 3-0 against Midwest Region competition. Of the 10 regionally ranked teams, UIS is the only teams that was not ranked last week. 

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 5, 2017.

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UIS Basketball: Despite UIS’ hot start, Walker seeks fast start

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Bill Walker shook things up last Saturday after seven straight games with the same starting lineup.

It didn’t matter that the Prairie Stars had posted five consecutive victories and nearly upset Southern Illinois University.

Bill Walker brought junior guard Vince Walker and junior center Zach Steinberg off the bench in an 82-78 win over Missouri S&T in its opening Great Lakes Valley Conference game.

Steinberg had made seven starts, while Vince Walker had started in eight games. Sophomore guard Lijah Donnelly and sophomore Brandon Van Sant started in their places.

Bill Walker was concerned about slow starts so he switched up the lineup.

“We were winning games, but we just weren’t getting off to the starts we want,” he said.

Both UIS basketball programs are off to solid starts.

The women’s team is 6-1, ranked first in the NCAA Division II with 8.3 blocked shots per game and this week it earned its first regional ranking in program history. It is tied for ninth in the Midwest Region poll.

“We’ve talked to the team about we’re winning games, but we can still improve and there are things we can get better at throughout the season,” UIS women’s coach Mark Kost said.

UIS is accepting donations during December home basketball games for the St. John’s Children’s Hospital Toy/Gift Drive. Players will deliver the items and visit with the kids on Dec. 19.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 6, 2017.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Men's Basketball: UIS player Vince Walker comes up big at dad’s alma mater

University of Illinois Springfield junior guard Vince Walker had a big game Saturday on the court where his father, UIS men’s coach Bill Walker, played college basketball and where people still call his dad “Billy”.

Vince hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 38 seconds left, then sank two key free throws in the Prairie Stars’ 82-78 victory over Missouri S&T in Rolla, Missouri.

He finished with six 3s and a season-high 20 points in the Great Lakes Valley Conference opener.

It was the sixth straight win for the 6-2 Stars.

“We got a little tentative late and we were in desperate need for someone to step up, and Vince certainly did,” Bill Walker said.

When they’re in Rolla, Vince gets to hear all about his dad’s playing days.

“Once in a while, he’ll say ’They’re way more talented than when you played,” Bill Walker said. “He’ll also give me a hard time about how short our shorts were back then.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 3, 2017.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

UIS men, women both hot entering GLVC play

The University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball team leads NCAA Division II in blocked shots per game.

That’s a sign the players are giving effort. It is also something for UIS to hang its hat on heading into today’s Great Lakes Valley Conference opener against Missouri S&T at 1 p.m. in Rolla, Missouri.

UIS is averaging 8.3 blocks per game, one block more than second-place Southwest Minnesota State.

Senior forward Destiny Ramsey is the GLVC’s top shot blocker with 2.67 per game.

The league’s No. 2 blocker is UIS sophomore center Katelyn Rosner. She’s averaging 2.33 blocks per game.

On the flip side, UIS leads the GLVC in scoring offense at 84 points per game.

Senior guard Shelbi Patterson is averaging a team-high 15.1 points and ranks second in the conference with a .584 field goal percentage.

“I’d like to have a rotation of 9 or 10 players. I don’t know if we’ve found that yet," said UIS coach Mark Kost. "We’ve been able to play in games where we’ve had foul trouble with our starters and win, so that gives me encouragement. That shows we have depth.”

When it comes to the UIS men’s basketball team, coach Bill Walker says he’s getting closer to having a clear rotation.

“Competition in practice is healthy,” he said.

UIS is riding a five-game win streak. The last time they won five straight games was the 2008-09 season when UIS still competed at the NAIA level.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 1, 2017.

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