The UIS Community

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

Friday, September 26, 2008

A sign of where we're going

Something great happened at UIS late yesterday afternoon. The only trouble is, it takes some academic jargon to explain it, and so I'll hold that to a minimum. What happened was a brief and elegant ceremony honoring Karl McDermott, the Ameren Endowed Professor in Business and Government. It was an investiture ceremony -- with Chancellor Richard Ringeisen giving McDermott the medallion that goes with the position. For UIS to have endowed professorships and chairs is prestigious; they attract great faculty, who attract great students, and the "cycle of excellence" continues, as the chancellor explained yesterday. UIS now has five such positions:

The Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair of Lincoln Studies, last held by Dr. Phil Paludan.

The Wepner Distinguished Professorship in Political Science, for which a search is under way.

The Ameren Distinguished Professor of Business and Government, Dr. Karl McDermott.

The National City Distinguished Professor of Banking and Finance, Dr. Richard Judd.

The James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, which will be filled in January 2009 by Karen Swan.

And two more professorships on the way. It's part of our visionto be one of the top five small public liberal arts universities in the United States.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Student's death

I was awakened before 4:30 a.m. Sunday with news of the death of Linda Caldwell, 46, one of our students. She was shot and killed off campus early Sunday morning, and the prime suspect, a young man from Chicago, was arrested yesterday and charged with the murder. Our condolences go out to her classmates, friends and family. Linda lived on campus, in Clover Court. We did our best to keep the campus community informed about the incident, available counseling services, and the brief search for the suspect before he was arrested. I know there was some angst Sunday because the victim's name had not been released. We notified the campus about Linda on Sunday evening just as soon the Sangamon County coroner indicated she had notified next of kin. I'm wondering if there's anything else we should have done.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

4th best in the Midwest

Fourth best in the Midwest! That's how UIS was ranked for 2009 in the category of "master's institutions" by U.S. News and World Report. It was the first time UIS was eligible for these rankings after we first admitted freshmen in 2001. We were hoping to be ranked somewhere, but to achieve such a high level on our first try was incredibly gratifying. It ratifies what we've been pursuing relentlessly since implementing our new strategic plan in 2006 -- to be one of the top five small public liberal arts universities in the nation. We're on our way.