The UIS Community

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Why Congressman Davis came to UIS today

U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) chose UIS as the host site for his first meeting with an advisory board of elementary and high school superintendents, principals, board members and teachers in his 13th District. About thirty of them were here for a candid conversation about issues of importance to them, and Davis emphasized a need for the federal government to be flexible so that decisions can be made at the local level.

Then he conducted his second meeting with leaders of higher education institutions in his district, including public and private universities and community colleges. These leaders asked Davis to push for summer Pell grants, for relief on the rising costs of student insurance, and for procedures that would make it easier for students and their families to file annual FAFSA forms. Davis and the educational leaders are concerned about increasing challenges to make college more affordable.

Congressman Davis with his Elementary and Secondary Education Advisory Board in University Hall at UIS 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The real story, not the cliche

You hear a lot of cliches at this time of year -- appropriate, OK, but they're cliches. Great students, great leaders, achievements of the year, and so on.

I was especially impressed at yesterday's Student Affairs Leadership Reception that the Black Male Collegiate Society and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, whose memberships overlap considerably, filled their nets with well-deserved awards. But the awards are not as important as the story behind them.

A few years ago, a few polite African American freshmen, under the direction of Dr. Clarice Ford, talked to a few administrators about what black fraternities and sororities could do for them on campus. I learned then how much support they would receive from their Greek brothers and sisters in the community. They were persistent but not successful in bringing Greek life to campus. It took later classes and more leadership and some strategic persuasion to make it happen, and it finally did

Now UIS and these Greek leaders and the Springfield area are much better off because of the work of these student leaders and their mentors. The really good news is that this is just the beginning and I predict that it will be a part of the transformation of Springfield in the 21st century.