The UIS Community

A new kind of conversation addressing issues that UIS students and staff care about.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Keith Miller and The Black Swan

I really enjoyed Professor Keith Miller's sabbatical presentation last week. He's an expert on computer ethics and a professor in our Computer Science department. What I especially appreciated was his commentary about problems with perceiving "the bell curve" as an explanation of what really matters. He said language is important and so is "presentation" -- because words and the presentation of ideas strongly affect how we perceive and make judgments about things. And he recommended a best-selling book -- The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. A "black swan" has become a metaphor for all things that don't happen often, yet have a high impact. These events and ideas are at the extreme ends of the bell curve and yet are highly important. I have ordered The Black Swan and look forward to having my own thought processes stretched by Keith's sabbatical and the black swan concept. Isn't that what a university should be doing?

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Bus service

Every once in awhile I hear that students would benefit from more bus service. I'd like to know what destinations residential students are most interested in, and what times of day they would be most likely to use the bus service, whether it's a UIS shuttle or a city bus. What can we do to improve this?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Chancellor's chat

I see where the UIS Journal has a rather negative slant on the "Chancellor's Chat," a new videotaped program that we show on the internal campus TV channel. It's also available on the UIS web site. Oh well. Think of it this way: the TV chat is a way for our top admininistrator to reach out, just as this blog is. Criticism is to be expected. But if you haven't seen one of these shows, you might want to check out an interview with Police Chief Don Mitchell about safety on campus. See

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Safety at UIS and other universities

I am still hearing lots of discussion about what happened February 14 at Northern Illinois University. It has led to some good discussions here at UIS about safety issues and dealing with emergencies. I’m wondering how safe our staff and students here feel. Comments?


What's on your mind?

I don’t mind a little controversy. I keep in touch with leading campus groups such as the Academic Professional Advisory Committee (APAC) and the Civil Service Advisory Committee (CSAC) to find out what concerns them. Last Sunday at the Student Government Association meeting, student leaders were talking about issues with parking. Police Chief Mitchell was there to answer some of their questions, and that’s good. I created this blog to provide another way for administrators to communicate with students, staff, and people in the community. I hope it will help build community here at UIS. So what’s on your mind?