The UIS Community

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

Friday, April 25, 2008

A great opening at Emiquon

I hope to savor for a long time the upbeat spirit at the grand Grand Opening ceremony at the Emiquon Field Station north of Havana. It was a celebration of a remarkable partnership that includes UIS, The Nature Conservancy and the adjacent Dickson Mounds Museum. All were well represented today. I had a chance to chat with Dr. Mike Wiant of Dickson Mounds, with TNC state director Leslee Spraggins, and of course, our own Professor Mike Lemke. What they have in common is passion. Passion for one of the most remarkable floodplain restoration projects in the world. I always love hearing Mike talk about Emiquon and how he wants to bring students literally into natural settings to teach them. Courtney Westlake gave us a look at the Emiquon research last fall, and she was there again today to cover the event. [ADDED SATURDAY MORNING]: Chris Young of Springfield's State Journal-Register had a really good article about the event in today's paper.

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Tired

I heard someone say this week that at every meeting she attends now, it seems that somebody is tired or angry (and expresses it) or both. Indeed, it is a time of year when so many people are running on fumes or low energy. Every year at this time I remind myself of that. It's partially the result of so much hard work for so long. So many things just have to be finished before the end of the semester and commencement. So I also try to create a blame-free zone wherever I go -- to give people a little more understanding, to give them a safe place to vent if necessary, and then to do what I can to help. Nothing wrong with admitting we're a bit tired. So let's name it and do our best.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jobs and careers

I was at an alumni meeting a few days ago. A dean asked what we remember wanting when we were in college -- something that alumni might have been able to help us with. I answered in one word. Jobs! I was graduating and I wanted a job. That makes me wonder what our current students are thinking, and how the job search might be going for our soon-to-be graduates. ANd what advice our faculty might have for students wanting a job. UIS has a Career Center to provide assistance for students AND employers. I wonder if that's enough.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

International "Block Party" a huge success

I'm hearing rave reviews about the "block party" on campus Friday night. Food and dancing lessons, sharing cultures! Lots of energy in the room, to be sure. I'd love to hear from people who were there to describe their experience of it.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Earthquake

Yeah, I felt it this morning. I was in bed and must have been awakened by it about 4:36 a.m., the reports are saying. What a strange feeling to feel this monumental shaking. Another reminder that nature always has its way, that the natural order just overpowers us sometimes, and we're not as in control as we might imagine or pretend to be. Nobody hurt, no damage, as far as I know, and that's the good news. They're saying it was 5.2 on the Richter scale. And now, life goes on.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Campus security report released

Yesterday, the three committees of the Campus Security Task Force recommended a number of actions by colleges and universities. The committees dealt with (1) responses to emergencies, (2) prevention and mental health, and (2) legal and privacy issues. The 260-page report has a nice Executive Summary on pages 9-17. I've only had time to skim the Executive Summary, and my first reaction is that the report addresses many of the issues that we're talking about at UIS. I invite your comments about the report and about what we're doing at UIS.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Proud of our SGA president

Bob Skorczewski, the Student Government Association president, did a great job this morning at the Lobby Day for higher education in downtown Springfield. His theme was "Right Here, Right Now!" His message was that higher education students and staff should be able to look back a decade from now remember how hard they fought for higher education funding in Illinois, so that a college education remains as affordable as possible. His message and his delivery were so moving that at the end, the crowd briefly chanted, "Right here, right now!"

Friday, April 4, 2008

Not always the publicity we seek

A couple of recent articles in the Springfield State Journal-Register generated quite a few comments, some favorable and some not so favorable about UIS. One was about enrollment, the other about tuition for new students next year. You might want to see what others are saying, and add to the discussion here. I'll add some comments of my own soon.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Retention

Retention seems to be on everybody's mind at UIS. I've heard the Student Government Association, Campus Senate, Chancellor's Cabinet and quite a few individuals talking about doing more than ever to support our students so they can succeed. I suspect we'll all be hearing a lot more about this, and action taken on it, in the months AND YEARS to come.