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Reception to Showcase Work of High School Students at EIU English Studies Summer Camp 07/24/16

A public reception will showcase the work of 55 high school students who are participating in Eastern Illinois University’s inaugural English Studies Summer Camp from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 30, in the Tarble Arts Center Atrium.

Educators, students, and community members are welcome to attend.

The Showcase Reception will feature live performances, creative readings, poster presentations and digital work displays as the campers show off the work they have completed during their week at EIU.  Course sessions the campers are attending include Frankenstein 2.0, Shakespeare: Then and Now, The Walking Dead and Literary History, Book Publishing, Reading Images, Science Fiction, Spoken Word,  Reel Images, The Lyric Essay, and Writing About Media and Popular Culture.

The campers represent 34 high schools across the state. Local campers hail from Charleston High School, Mattoon High School, Neoga High School, Paris Cooperative High School, Taylorville Community High School and Teutopolis High School.  They are each enrolled in a morning and afternoon session where they are being mentored by expert faculty from EIU and guest instructors.

For Information concerning the Showcase Reception or the English Studies Summer Camp, contact camp director Melissa Ames at mames@eiu.edu, visit the camp website, or call the Department of English at 217-581-2428.

EIU Budget Update -- A Letter from EIU President David M. Glassman 07/01/16
EIU President David M. Glassman

Dear Campus Community,

I am very pleased to share the news that an appropriation bill was approved by both chambers of the General Assembly and signed by Governor Rauner. The bill includes bridge funding for public universities to assist in operational expenses through December 31, 2016. This is positive news for Eastern and we thank the Governor and General Assembly for their support of this bipartisan bridge bill.

The approved appropriation for Eastern is $26.2 million. We will also receive the remaining amount of MAP funding ($3.5 million) that Eastern advanced to our students in Spring 2016. It is our understanding that the funds allocated to higher education are tied to available sources and that Eastern should receive the funds in the near future.

We realize that this is only the first step toward a complete and full state budget for Fiscal Year 2017. As such, we must continue to be extremely prudent and cautious in our expenditures to ensure they are equal to, or less than, our revenues in the upcoming academic year. We no longer have reserves to protect us against shortfalls.

I continue to admire the strength and perseverance demonstrated by the campus community during this very anomalous past year. As always, I ask that you keep your optimism and positivism at the highest levels as we continue to recruit our incoming Fall 2016 freshman and transfer students.

I wish you a wonderful Independence Day holiday sharing good times with family and friends.

Sincerely,

David Glassman
President

Corpse Flower Readies for Fifth Blooming at EIU 06/13/16
EIU's Corpse Flower at full bloom in 2014

Eastern Illinois University’s Titan Arum (aka Corpse Flower) appears to be honoring its tradition of a biennial flowering.

Steven Malehorn, manager of Eastern Illinois University’s H.F. Thut Greenhouse, is eagerly waiting the plant’s fifth blooming.  Earlier bloomings took place in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

The developing flower (technically an inflorescence) could grow to be seven feet tall and three feet wide, and will definitely smell “nasty,” Malehorn said.  He “guesstimates,” based on the plant’s past four blooms, is that the plant will bloom “at 2:30 p.m. Monday, June 27, plus or minus two days.

"However, it will do what it will do, what it wants to do, when it wants to do it,” he added.  “The exact date can't be known until about a day or so before it actually blooms.  But when it does bloom, it will happen fast -- within hours -- and the bloom will only last one night."

Based on past experience, Malehorn says the spathe will gradually open and become fully open, followed by an intense “roadkill” aroma that can be smelled, literally, a mile away.  The odor is at its strongest for just a few hours before gradually diminishing.  The powerful scent is used to attract flies which pollinate the flowers.

The bloom should remain at its peak for roughly 12 hours – to the point when the spathe starts to gradually close.  Then, over the next few days, the giant flower will slowly collapse.

The developing flower can be viewed anytime through the south window of the Thut Greenhouse, located near the Life Sciences Building and just west of Buzzard Hall on EIU’s campus. Beginning today (Monday, June 13), the greenhouse will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. daily for the duration of the event.   On the day of the bloom, the greenhouse will be open until midnight, and again from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the day following the bloom.

Visitors will enter the greenhouse through the east door.  Wheelchair access into the building will be through the south courtyard gate and greenhouse west door.

Live streaming video of the event will be available here.  Follow the greenhouse here for up-to-the-minute bloom information.  For other information, including a daily blog, photos and parking information, go here.

About 800 individuals visited the greenhouse in 2014 to smell and see the plant in person.  Another 6,000 or so “safely” viewed the plant via the Internet through the live feed.

Questions?  Contact Steven Malehorn at shmalehorn@eiu.edu, 217-581-3126 (Department of Biological Sciences’ main office) Monday through Friday.

Martin Named Interim Police Chief at EIU 06/10/16
Kent Martin

A 19-year veteran of Eastern Illinois University’s Police Department has been appointed interim chief of police.

Lt. Kent Martin will serve as head of the department until the position is permanently filled.  He replaces John Hatfill, who retired on May 31, 2016.  Hatfill replaced Adam Due, who retired on Dec. 31, 2015, after 12-plus years in the position.

“Lt. Martin has wonderful plans for the University Police Department and is excited to have the opportunity to lead this department and additionally work with other areas on campus,” said Lynette Drake, interim associate vice president for student affairs.  “He is a talented and skilled professional who will continue the great work of Eastern’s police force.

“I’m pleased with his interest and grateful for his service to the university,” she added.   “I’m pleased that he accepted this appointment.” 

“I embrace the opportunity to lead the police department, and I am looking forward to building and strengthening relationships across campus and in the city of Charleston,” said Martin, who joined UPD in 1997.

Since his arrival on campus, he has served as a patrol officer, detective, field training officer, evidence custodian, SWAT team member and juvenile police officer.  He was promoted to lieutenant in February 2016.

Prior to coming to work for EIU, Martin was a member of the Kansas, Ill., police department, first as a patrol officer (1993), then as chief of police.  He is a 1992 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.  In 2013, he earned his master’s degree in technology from EIU.

He is an avid Chicago Cubs fan and enjoys reading, fishing, and traveling.  He lives in rural Charleston, along with his wife, Nancy, and two stepsons, Trenton and Chase.   He is the son of Bob and Anita Martin of Paris, Ill., where he was born.

U.S. Army Cadet Command Inducts First Group of Former Cadets into Hall of Fame 06/10/16
Colonel (Retired) Robert Sinkler at Fort Knox on June 10

Eastern Illinois University received word that two EIU ROTC alumni were selected for induction into the U.S. Army Cadet Hall of Fame in Fort Knox, Ky.   Those inductees are Colonel (Retired) Robert Sinkler, Class of ’83, and Colonel Scott Kimmell, Class of ’86.

Col. Sinkler, who attended the Fort Knox ceremony, retired from the U.S. Army in 2013 after a distinguished 30-year career.  He became The Nature Conservancy’s water infrastructure director for its North America freshwater program and a senior adviser at Dawson & Associates. In the Army, he served as the chief of Army environmental programs in the Pentagon where he managed a $1.5 billion annual worldwide environmental program encompassing 15.6 million acres on more than 150 military installations. He also commanded the Hurricane Protection Office in New Orleans where he led the task force which was responsible for designing and constructing the $14.4 billion hurricane storm surge system in the areas most severely impacted in 2005 by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This initiative, operational prior to the 2011 hurricane season, was the largest civil works construction project in American history. From 2006 to 2009, he commanded the Rock Island district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and, in 2003, he commanded the 5th Combat Engineer Battalion (The Fightin’ Fifth) supporting the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. The first U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer commissioned from the EIU ROTC program, he resides in the Quad Cities with his wife, Brandie.  He is formerly of Windsor, Ill.

 

Press Release Courtesy of Fort Knox:

FORT KNOX, Ky. -- Some of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps' most impressive alumni were in attendance today as U.S. Army Cadet Command inducted its first group of former ROTC cadets into its Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Brooks Field.

Of the 326 former cadets inducted into the Hall of Fame, more than 100 were in attendance for the ceremony to be recognized for their service to the country.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes, commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, opened the ceremony by sharing his pride in the role each of the ROTC alumni played in developing leaders for 100 years.

"General George Washington once said, 'There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet an enemy,' and that is what ROTC is all about -- developing leaders who are prepared, who are ready to meet any enemy, on any battlefield, at any time, and win," he said. "Army ROTC has had, and continues to have, an exceptionally positive impact on our nation, not just in our defense, but in the development of our citizenry, and much of that credit belongs to the men and women who stand before us today on this field."

He went on to say it was humbling to learn about the history of each inductee and what they had done with the training they had received at their respective ROTC programs -- starting with one of its most well-known alumni.

"When I opened the first folder, I was awestruck.  It was then that it dawned on me the significance of today -- I was about to sign the certificate to induct General George C. Marshall into the ROTC National Hall of Fame. I didn't feel qualified," he said. "The more I read, the more I signed, I realized each of you and your families are doing everything that I would ever dare ask you to do -- that is exactly why you are our founding class of the ROTC National Hall of Fame."

Gen. (retired) Carter Ham, former commander of the U.S. Africa Command, was the keynote speaker for the event. He shared his story on becoming an officer through ROTC with the crowd.

"I came to ROTC by happenstance. I had enlisted and was serving in the 82nd Airborne Division and had risen to the exalted position of being the battalion command sergeant major's driver," he said. "One day I saw a note in Soldiers magazine announcing a new program that would allow enlisted soldiers who had some college to go back to school and gain a commission through ROTC (Green to Gold). Without a whole lot of thought frankly, I filled out the form and sent it in, and promptly forgot about it."

Ham said later when he was contacted as a result of that note, he almost passed up the opportunity that would change his life forever. But thanks to some encouraging advice from his sergeant major, he took up the challenge to become an Army officer.

"I was not going to do it. I had just become eligible to appear before the promotion board for sergeant and that's what I wanted to do," said Ham. "It (ROTC) turned out to be exactly the right choice for me. I found my calling to serve as an Army officer."

Ham said it was an honor to serve his country, and to be a part of the first group inducted into the ROTC National Hall of Fame.

"We are simply 326 representatives of 650,000 Army ROTC graduates -- examples of what ROTC has done for our Army and for our nation for 100 years," he said. "Officers commissioned through ROTC bring a depth and breadth of experiences to the ranks which make the Army stronger."

"Whether they serve for a few years or for many, ROTC graduates make a difference across our Army and across our nation. They have done so for 100 years and will continue to do so for another 100."

He also recognized the value of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

"The immense benefit to the nation from Junior ROTC is that those students and cadets not only become better leaders, they become better citizens. In my view, that's a highly worthy investment," he said.

He finished his comments by reminding the inductees of their place in history.

"Each of us has our own story, but for me and for all so honored today, we can say with honesty, with sincerity and great pride, our stories, our legends started with ROTC," he said.

The U.S. Army Cadet Command is the largest single source of new officers for the Army, commissioning the majority of the Army's new officers each year through the senior ROTC program.

Additional information from Lt. Col. Patricia McPhillips, Chair, EIU Dept. of Military Science:

The Hall of Fame is intended to honor graduates of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps who have distinguished themselves in military or civilian pursuits. It provides a prestigious and tangible means of recognizing and honoring Army ROTC alumni who have made lasting, significant contributions to the nation, the Army and the history and traditions of the Army ROTC program.  

A voting board was used to select nominees to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The board consists of the Commanding General, U.S. Army Cadet Command (Chair), Deputy Commander; Chief of Staff, and select staff directors and/or brigade commanders. A majority vote is required for selection. The Commanding General has the final vote for any split decisions.  Hall of Fame induction will be awarded to alumni whose character, distinguished service, and stature draws wholesome comparison to the qualities for which ROTC strives, in keeping with the spirit of “Duty, Honor, Country.”   

The 2016 induction ceremony took place June 10, 2016, in connection with U.S. Army Cadet Command’s (USACC) 100th Anniversary Cake Cutting event.

EIU Budget Update -- A Letter from EIU President David M. Glassman 06/06/16

Dear Campus Community,

As I am sure you are aware, our state leaders failed to resolve the budgetary impasse in Springfield by their scheduled adjournment date of May 31.  Although there was much work done in the capital to move toward a full compromise budget or an additional bridging bill that would include partial-year funds for public universities, neither was enacted.  We are now counting on our leaders to develop and enact budgets for both FY16 and FY17 prior to July 1, the date that begins the new fiscal year.  

Since the beginning of FY16, EIU has managed its finances prudently and effectively to meet the unprecedented challenges imposed by the state’s budgetary gridlock.  It has not been easy.  In fact, it has been incredibly disheartening to have had to negatively impact so many of EIU’s outstanding employees through layoffs, furloughing, deferred salaries, and by asking all employees to work harder and cover more responsibilities to make up for the decreased employee base.

I thank each of you for your collective cooperation and dedication to EIU and our educational mission as we await a state appropriation.  Our students have continued to receive an outstanding Eastern education and we are excited to welcome back our returning students as well as our new freshman and transfer students to campus in August.  

The following information serves to keep you updated on our current situation and to reduce the number of false rumors that have been circulated lately.
 

  1. EIU is positioned to continue operations without interruption. We will not close, although additional cost-cutting measures may be needed to bridge us through the summer and next year depending upon the disposition and timing of our state funding.  
     
  2. There are no plans for an additional round of large-scale layoffs. Our level of layoffs have already gone beyond efficiency to a level of inefficiency in several areas.
     
  3. Without additional funding from the state, the most difficult upcoming financial challenge for the university will be in July and August prior to the time we begin to receive tuition revenue in late August. Officials in Springfield were warned of this cash flow concern clearly and on numerous occasions during the spring legislative session. In light of this concern, it is imperative that we refrain from any end-of-year spending of division and department operation and gift accounts.
     
  4. If any additional layoffs in civil service employees were to become necessary to bridge the summer months, they would be in the form of two-week, three-week, or 29-day emergency temporary layoffs. Those laid off would return immediately to their current positions and no bumping activity would occur.  Any such action would be in accordance with EIU’s contractual agreements with our civil service unions.   
     
  5. I do not plan to continue furloughs for any EIU employee in FY17.
     
  6. For EIU employees who remain waiting on decisions for reappointment in FY17 (i.e., Unit B faculty, assistant coaches, student affairs, and others), individual notifications will begin now and continue throughout the summer as further assessments occur. I apologize for not being able to let you all know immediately and realize the importance to you and your families of a timely decision.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication while we wait for our elected officials to enact a full budget solution for Illinois.  You may be assured that I will remain vigilant in my advocacy for EIU in Springfield and will not stop until state funding for EIU resumes.  

Sincerely,

David Glassman
President, Eastern Illinois University

EIU Hosts Annual Maurice Shepherd High School Chemistry Contest 05/24/16

More than 70 students from 11 area high schools participated in Eastern Illinois University’s 41st annual Maurice Shepherd High School Chemistry Contest.

Students participated in a 60-minute written examination (50 questions), followed by a dinner break and talk on "Organic Materials for Solar Energy Conversion,” presented by Hongshan He of Eastern’s chemistry department.  The top four teams and the top individuals were then recognized and awards presented.  A traveling trophy was presented to the first-place team, and plaques were awarded to the top students.

The four schools having the highest team averages were:

  • First Place:  Mahomet-Seymour – Jessica Berkman, Trevor Burgess, Joe Churm, Antonio Cosimini, Ben Dahl, Gabriel Fulk, Nicholas Morrow, Sanket Patel, Nathan Smith, Michal Strzebonski, Holt Campion (alternate), William Clodfelder (alternate) and Conrad Ebbecke (alternate); Jeremy Davis and Terry Koker (teachers).
  • Second Place:  Neoga – Kierstyn Albin, Lindsey Alumbaugh, Chloe Padgett, Emily Wasmuth, Victoria Alumbaugh (alternate), Jared Ballinger (alternate), Megan  Drummond (alternate), Ashley Dryden (alternate), Rachel Ewing (alternate), Makenzie Hill (alternate), Nikki Miah (alternate), Tristan Stumph (alternate) and Ellie Walk (alternate); Leanne Craig (teacher).
  • Third Place:  Sullivan – Luke DeLong, Spencer Johnson, Max Todd, Anne Hogan (alternate) and Grace Mauck (alternate); Nathan Becker (teacher).
  • Fourth Place:  Effingham – Reilley Durham, Francesca Galeotti, Terrence Hill, Lauren Jakubowski, Will O’Bryan, Jacob Sigg and Rachel Teeter; Norene Ault (teacher).

The highest-ranking individual students, in order, were Ben Dahl, Mahomet-Seymour (M/S), and Connor Dickey, MacArthur (tied for first); Joe Churm (second) and Antonio Cosimini (third), both from M/S; Conrad Ebbecke, M/S, and Drew Warner, Cumberland (tied for fourth); Michal Strzebonski (fifth), Sankat Patel (sixth) and Jessica Berkman (seventh), all from M/S; Nicholas Morrow, M/S, and Will O’Bryan, Effingham (tied for eighth); Luke Delong, Sullivan (ninth); Emily Wasmuth, Neoga (10th); Jacob Sigg, Effingham (11th); Kierstyn Albin, Neoga (12th); Ethan Macklin, Okaw Valley (13th); Jacob Holden, Lawrenceville, and Spencer Johnson, Sullivan (tied for 14th); William Clodfelder, M/S (15th); and Remington Neal, Charleston (16th).

The contest's official website, which includes photos, a copy of the 2016 test and additional information, can be found here

EIU Honors 2015-2016 Retirees 05/23/16

More than 100 Eastern Illinois University employees were recently recognized as faculty/staff members who have retired or plan to retire during the 2015-2016 school year.

They include, from left to right, first row:  President David Glassman (in attendance to greet and honor the retirees) and Robert Wiseman; second row:  Mary Hennig, Melinda Meehling, Duangrudi Suksang, Joni Lutz, Patti Bailey, Vicki Irby, Teresa Sims and Lisa Standerfer; third row:  James Conwell, Gary Fritz, Kevin Larkin, Reggie Galey, Deb Black, Debbie Fay, Linda Moore, Lori Creek, Deborah Barker, Marty Hackler, Margaret Weaver and Pamela Newby; and fourth row:  John McInerney, Keith Wilson, Belayet Khan, Robert Bates, William Higelmire, Glenn Hild, Rich Cavanaugh, Marilyn Coles, John Looby, Adam Due and William Slough.

Other retirees include John Allison, Andy Anderson, Cathy Ashmore, Brett Bensley, Tina Best, Henry Brown, Kathryn Bulver, Steven Calhoun, Lynn Calvert, Stephen Canfield, T. Christine Chambers, Lisa Childress, Allen Clayton, Mai Dao, Linda Daugherty, William Davis, Donna Dawson, Sonna Dust, Tami Duzan, Ruth Flaherty, Linda Foster, Shelley French, Gary Fulk, Cheryl Gilbert, Jeanne Goble, Frank Goldacker, Rick Haney, Kim Harris, Ted Hart, Thomas Hawkins, Mary Herrington-Perry, Jerri Hinton, Peggy Holmes-Layman, Zoraida Irizarry, Dennis Jackson, Sandra Johnson, Diana Kennedy, Phil Lang, Pamela Levine, Damita Lewis, Alex Martino, Ron Mason, Shelia Maulding, Randy McCammon, Jeanna McFarland, Tena McNamara, Andrew McNitt, John David Moore, Yevgenya Movshovich, Sarah Newby, W. Harold Ornes, Patricia Orr, Dannie Otto, Kathy Reed, Sandra Reeds, Linda Reven, Beth Ridgeway, Brenda Roberts, Philip Rogers, Mary Russell, James Schmitz, Tamara Sharp, Timothy Shonk, Patricia Sparks, Janie Steber, Charles Welch, Brenda Wilson, Danny Wilson, Charles Woodfall and Tim Zgonina.

Lane Named 2015 Annuitant Ambassador of the Year 05/20/16

Steve Lane (right) with Foundation Executive Officer Jonathan McKenzie

Steve Lane of Charleston has been recognized as the Eastern Illinois University Foundation’s 2015 Annuitant Ambassador of the Year.

Many EIU annuitants (retirees) serve as volunteer ambassadors at the Neal Welcome Center, assisting visitors, guests and students who come in to complete scholarship paperwork. In recognition and appreciation of those who have shown exemplary service and dedication to the effort, the EIU Foundation Board recognizes one annuitant ambassador annually.

Lane, who retired in 2014 after 28 years as Eastern’s compensation manager in Human Resources, was overwhelmingly recommended by Neal Welcome Center staff members as the year’s recipient.

“Steve represents the ideal volunteer.  He has provided an outstanding level of service and logs hours on a weekly basis,” staff members commented.  “He has been great at helping greet students and visitors, and has volunteered to help with issues that sometimes arise in the day-to-day operations of the Neal Welcome Center.  He is dependable and is always agreeable to fill in as a last-minute substitute. Steve is an enthusiastic volunteer!”

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Lane graduated from EIU with his bachelor’s degree in 1978. He and his wife, Raelyne, have lived in Charleston for the past 29 years. Since his retirement, Lane has maintained his EIU connections through his volunteer work as an ambassador.  He also volunteers with the American Red Cross at EIU (including serving on the RSO-EIUARC committee), works extra help at the Textbook Rental Service and regularly frequents the EIU racquetball courts.

Further, he volunteers at the Mattoon Food Center, Mattoon P.A.D.S., Douglas-Hart Nature Center and as an Embarrass Volunteer Steward.  When he is not volunteering, he enjoys sports, music, fishing, reading and travel.

“In Human Resources, I worked exclusively with employees and administrators. It’s fun to now do something with students, both at the Neal Welcome Center and Textbook Rental Service. Best of all, it has been a real pleasure getting to know the (Neal Welcome Center) staff, particularly my ‘bosses’ -- Nancy Zytka and April Marchuk.  They make my time there not work at all. Instead, I look forward to every week!”

Past recipients of the Annuitant Ambassador of the Year Award are Dave Maurer, Eulalee Anderson, Shirley Moore, Carol Helwig, Mary Coutant, Dale Wolf, Barbara Funk, Dick Barta, Edward “Mac” Corley and Cheryl Hawker.

EIU Reduces Summer Hours; Booth Library, Admissions Among Exceptions 05/10/16

In a continuing effort to conserve resource dollars, Eastern Illinois University is once again closing selected buildings and offices from noon on Fridays until Monday mornings during the summer months.

The affected time period began Monday, May 9, and will end Friday, Aug. 12.

Building/office exceptions include, but may not be limited to, the President’s Office, Booth Library, University Police, the Renewable Energy Center and the Office of Admissions, which plan to keep normal working hours.

All university offices must be open to the public between 8 a.m. and noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 8 a.m. and noon on Friday. 

By ending the work week at noon on Fridays, the university can increase temperatures in all vacant offices and other work environments to allow energy savings for two and one-half days per week.

Employees will be required to work their regularly scheduled number of full-time hours during the four-and-a-half-day work week.  Classes scheduled to meet on Friday afternoons and/or weekends will be relocated to buildings where the air conditioning will remain on.

During weeks in which a holiday is observed (Monday, May 30, for Memorial Day and Monday, July 4, for Independence Day), offices will return to regular business hours (7.5 hours per day).

Regular hours will resume on Monday, Aug. 15, for the 2016-2017 school year.  Classes will resume on Monday, Aug. 22.

President David Glassman's Spring 2016 Testimony: House Higher Education Committee 05/04/16

Madam Chair and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today to testify on behalf of the students, staff, and faculty of Eastern Illinois University.

My name is David Glassman and I have been proudly serving as EIU’s 11th president for the past 11 months. Eastern takes great pride in being the Illinois public university with the lowest administrative costs per student and the second lowest in tuition and fees.  And we were nationally recognized by U.S. News and World Report as Illinois' top regional public university for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Shortly after taking the helm last summer, I initiated several significant cost-cutting measures in order to balance the university’s spending with its revenues. I eliminated 198 positions and issued graduated level furlough days to all administrative and professional employees making more than $50,000 annually. Those efforts, coupled with some operational efficiencies, achieved a savings of approximately $10-12 million.  These painful but necessary cuts positioned EIU for a fiscally and academically strong year assuming the state would come through with our appropriation, as it has done each of the last 118 years.

As the budget impasse continued into the fall, we assured our MAP students we would hold them harmless with regard to their unfunded MAP awards -- to the tune of nearly $8 million. Our faculty voted to forgo a raise they had already negotiated in order to keep 29 faculty in the classroom whose positions were not going to be renewed. We stopped all hiring, postponed construction projects, and restricted travel and purchasing. We pulled together for our students, confident that the state would not abandon its top-ranked regional public university or the students and communities who depend upon EIU’s continued success.

But as the months went on, we depleted nearly all cash flow reserves. Belt tightening can only take you so far, however, and robbing your own dedicated accounts in order to continue operations is not sustainable. So, in March, I mandated an additional 18 unpaid furlough days for all professional staff and administrators -- effectively withholding an entire month’s pay. Our faculty voted to approve a deferred salary model to save the university $2 million until an appropriation is enacted.  And I sadly was given no choice but to lay off an additional 177 employees who were and are necessary to our operations.  In total, I have had to reduce EIU by a total of 363 positions or 22.6 percent in one year.

Beyond these very real and fairly easily identified impacts, there are others that are not so easily identified or measured but still have potentially dire consequences for the state of Illinois.

We are very concerned about the impact of this impasse and its uncertainty on our new student enrollment.  We are certainly aware that students make their final college selections for myriad reasons -- location, finances, prestige, fit...  However, we expect the uncertainty and lack of confidence caused by this budgetary impasse will have direct and significant impacts on regional public university enrollments. We believe this because we are hearing it from potential students and their families on an almost daily basis.  Deposits at this date are significantly below expected levels based on past trends, as families wait to see what happens in Springfield before committing to an Illinois public university.

Similarly, we are concerned that we may experience an increase in current students transferring out of our public regional universities.  These students have already started here and they want to finish, but many are nervous about when or whether the state budgetary impasse will be completely resolved and how it will affect their ongoing education.   These students do not need the added stress of wondering whether their program will still be operating by their senior year.

To make matters worse, we are losing our best and brightest faculty at an increasingly alarming rate.  And we aren’t left to wonder what their reason for leaving is. They tell us up front: too much uncertainty, not enough trust.

Our best non-academic staff are being picked off one by one as well. And then, to add insult to injury, professional staff who remain are being asked to cover the duties of what previously would have been two to three positions and are expected to accomplish all that in four days a week rather than five due to mandatory furloughs.

Our local and regional economies rely heavily upon the success of EIU.  Apartment buildings, restaurants, bars, car dealerships, supermarkets, gas stations, dollar stores and hardware stores… all these businesses depend upon the students and employees of EIU as a significant portion of their customer base. And these businesses employ local residents who otherwise might be unrelated to the university.

Eastern Illinois University thanks you for coming together during the week of April 18th to provide stopgap funds. I can only imagine the behind-the-scenes efforts this feat required, and your efforts are appreciated by EIU’s employees, our students, our community, our alumni and by me.

I would be remiss however, if I did not clearly explain where this leaves EIU. Our gap has not been filled.

I am assured that the stopgap measure was truly just that and that there will be more funding to come for FY16. That absolutely must prove true for EIU. I am concerned by comments in the media indicating this stopgap measure has provided a reprieve for higher education into the fall, implying that these funds will get the institutions by until they start receiving fall tuition revenues without further cuts.  That is simply not true for EIU.  If we continue at current operational levels, which already has EIU down nearly 400 employees, EIU’s stopgap funding does not allow for any recall of essential employees to get us ready for the fall.  I desperately need many of these employees back working hard for our students.  In fact, the stopgap funding in real dollars is so low for EIU that it will likely necessitate additional layoffs in late summer.  This is the only way we can achieve the cost reductions necessary to make up for the absent appropriations. Insufficient funds = more layoffs.

Over the course of the budgetary impasse, I have written myriad letters to our prospective and current students along with their parents and our faculty and staff.  In these messages I have attempted to convey the assurance of faith in our state and the excellence of Illinois public universities and colleges.  I am sitting on another letter I drafted that is waiting to be sent out the moment a state FY16 Budget is enacted.  An excerpt reads:

“I am most pleased to inform you that the budgetary impasse in Springfield has been resolved and you may trust that Illinois public colleges and universities (including Eastern Illinois) will continue providing a world class education to their students without interruption for decades to come.   The state of Illinois believes in its people and its higher education institutions and recognizes that Illinois students are the future of this great state.  If you had been worried and contemplated leaving the state to begin or continue your higher education, there is no need for this consideration.  The public colleges and universities of Illinois are renowned for their academic excellence, affordability and accessibility.  Illinois needs you and welcomes you to an outstanding public university and college experience.” 

At this time, I will wrap up my prepared testimony as I am told the Committee would prefer to spend the bulk of its time on questions and I will provide answers to the best of my ability.  Thank you.

EIU Signs Agreements with DACC, IECC to Assist RNs in Earning Bachelor Degrees 04/08/16

EIU President David Glassman and Olney Central College President Rodney Ranes (seated) formally signed the agreement this week allowing associate degree-seeking nursing students at IECC to simultaneously begin work on their baccalaureate degree through EIU. Standing, from left to right, are Doug Klarup, interim dean, EIU College of Sciences; Renee Kidd-Marshall, director, EIU RN to BS in Nursing Program; Blair Lord, EIU provost and vice president for academic affairs; and Terry Bruce, CEO, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges.

Representatives of Eastern Illinois University and two regional community college districts formally signed agreements this week that will allow associate degree-seeking nursing students to simultaneously begin their baccalaureate education.

An innovative dual-track transfer program will allow ADN students from Danville Area Community College and Illinois Eastern Community Colleges to be admitted to Eastern’s RN to B.S. in Nursing Program after completing their first year at their respective community college.  (Illinois Eastern Community Colleges is a multi-college district headquartered in Olney, and includes Frontier Community College, Fairfield; Olney Central College, Olney; Lincoln Trail College, Robinson; and Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel.)

Once these students successfully complete their ADN program, have their RN license and proof of liability insurance, they are granted full admission to EIU.

EIU President David Glassman expressed his pleasure with the signed agreements, saying they provide for a “seamless transition to BSN education.”

In October 2010, the National Institute of Medicine released the report, “The Future of Nursing,” which called for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80 percent by 2020.  The committee charged with preparing the recommendations stated that to respond “to the demands of an evolving health care system and meet the changing needs of patients, nurses must achieve higher levels of education.”

In time, Glassman said, the EIU RN to BSN Program will simplify this process for hundreds of nursing students by allowing them to earn their baccalaureate degree at an accelerated rate.  In addition, since the EIU coursework is offered completely online, participating students can study from their community of residence and/or employment as their schedules allow.

In fact, students need not ever take a step on the EIU campus until it comes time to walk through commencement, he added. 

Glassman w/ DACC President Alice Marie Jacobs

“OCC and IECC are excited to enter into this dual-track agreement with EIU and the Bachelor’s in Nursing Program,” said Rodney Ranes, president of Olney Central College.  “It will provide an opportunity for nursing students in our program to further their education and better serve the residents of our community college district.

“Additionally, online options provide students with the chance to work in the field and further their education while cutting down on the time to complete the degree,” he added.

DACC President Alice Marie Jacobs concurred.  "We are pleased to partner with Eastern Illinois University in offering this innovative dual track nursing degree as it may accelerate the time required for our students to earn their bachelor's degree in nursing.  This unique opportunity is the latest in our long-standing partnership with Eastern."

Chinese Supreme Court Justice to Visit, Speak at EIU 04/01/16

Justice Jingmin Zhai, vice president of the Beijing Supreme Court, will speak through an interpreter on the rule of law in China when he visits Eastern Illinois University.

The forum will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, April 11, in EIU’s Lumpkin Hall Auditorium.  Members of the university community, as well as the general public, are invited to attend this free event and ask questions about China’s judicial establishment. 

A reception will follow at 8:30 p.m., allowing audience members to personally greet the speaker and other guests, including Vikram Amar, dean of the University of Illinois’ College of Law.  Amar, who will be chairing the EIU event, is also hosting Zhai during his Illinois visit.

Zhai has served nearly 30 years on the Beijing Supreme Court, the highest of three levels of courts in a city of 20 million people.  He has considered both criminal and civil cases in all fields with an emphasis on intellectual property rights, anti-corruption and appellate jurisdiction.  In addition to trying cases, Zhai is also involved in court administration and in command of the Judicial Police of Beijing (1,000 officers with duties similar to that of federal marshals or local sheriffs).  He was a visiting scholar to the University of Illinois’ School of Law in 2004.

The April 11 program is being sponsored jointly by EIU’s Asian Heritage Month Committee, Pre-Law Society and the Public Policy Institute.

EIU to Showcase Students' Faculty-Mentored Research; Public Invited 03/30/16

More than 120 presentations involving the faculty-mentored work of 150 students will be shared during Eastern Illinois University’s Student Research and Creative Discovery Conference, scheduled to take place Friday, April 1.

The event is open to all interested members of the community, as well as to fellow students, faculty and staff.  There is no admission fee.

Bringing together undergraduate and graduate students from across campus, this celebration of student achievement will feature poster and oral presentations, as well as performances of public speaking and musical recitals. Research projects include student work in business, education, philosophy, biology, sociology, theatre and many other fields.

President David Glassman will welcome participants at noon in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. Union.  Following the welcome, Provost Blair Lord will present the Faculty Mentor Awards, recognizing the excellence of EIU’s faculty mentors who work one-on-one with students to ensure that they develop skills that enable them to do independent research and creative work.

The first poster session will begin at 12:35 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom, while concurrent oral presentations will begin in the meeting rooms on the Union’s third floor.  Musical recitals will take place at 1 and 6:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

A complete schedule of events, including titles of presentations and names of participants, is available online here.

The Student Research and Creative Discovery Conference builds on Eastern’s long tradition of supporting student research, and replaces the annual Showcase EIU event.  The conference is organized by the university’s Undergraduate Research Task Force and funded by the Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College.

All interested members of the community are welcome to attend.

EIU Dancers Present "Timeless" 03/22/16

The EIU Dancers will showcase and revive dance and music through the decades during "EIU Dancers:  Timeless."  The performance will highlight student and guest choreographers under the direction of Amanda Baima and assistant director Samantha Saunders.  General admission tickets are $10 and student tickets are $5, with performances at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, March 24 and 25, in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Theatre.

"EIU Dancers: Timeless" will include various genres of dance from the 1920s to the present that have been choreographed and rehearsed throughout the season. Audiences can expect to be transported to the era of the performance. “We expect our audience to feel like they are truly experiencing the time period that dancers are modeled after,” Baima said.

The EIU Dancers have been working since August to prepare for the show. “With the help of the Doudna Fine Arts Center, we are able to put on a great show with amazing lighting and special effects,” Baima added.

Tickets can be purchased at the Doudna Box office or online. The Box Office accepts cash, checks, credit cards and Panther cards. For more information on the event, visit the Doudna Fine Arts Center's website http://www.eiu.edu/doudna/events.

The Doudna Fine Arts Center is located at 1860 South Seventh St. in Charleston on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. Convenient free parking is located near the building. To arrange accommodations for those needing special assistance, contact Doudna Fine Arts Patron Services at 217-581-3110 or doudnatix@eiu.edu.

Legislative Testimony (Spring 2016)
Presented by EIU President David Glassman
03/10/16
President David Glassman

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:  Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today to testify on behalf of the students, staff, and faculty of Eastern Illinois University.

We are proud to be the Illinois public university with the lowest administrative costs per student and the second lowest tuition and fees.  And we are situated in a community that was recently ranked the second safest and second most affordable college town in the nation. Our students exceed state and national benchmarks for nearly all academic indicators.

I was honored to become EIU’s 11th president on June 1, 2015. It is a privilege to lead a university with such an outstanding record of academic excellence and passion for student success. Underlying EIU’s tremendous success, I was faced with two significant challenges as soon as I took the helm: state appropriations and enrollment management.

State appropriations fund approximately 23 percent of Eastern’s operations annually, roughly $42 million of a $183 million budget. With those funds not yet having been approved, and in light of a multi-year enrollment decline, I found myself in the difficult position of making significant spending reductions almost immediately upon taking office. I also supported new enrollment management strategies as quickly as possible in an effort to reverse the enrollment trend.

As the academic year began, I eliminated 198 positions and issued graduated-level furlough days to all administrative and professional employees making over $50,000 annually. Those efforts, coupled with some operational efficiencies and cuts, achieved a savings of approximately $10 to $12 million.  The reduction in expenses in conjunction with a modest increase in freshman, graduate and international enrollments effectively “right-sized” the university’s expenditures.

We assured our MAP eligible students that we would credit their accounts for their fall MAP awards while we awaited reimbursement from the state. This was at a cost of $4 million. Our faculty forwent a raise they had already negotiated, freeing up $500 thousand, to keep the adjunct faculty in the classrooms rather than being laid off.

It was tough, but we pulled together for our students and our institution. And amidst all this, we were proud to be ranked Illinois' top regional public university by U.S. News & World Report for the 2015-2016 academic year.

As the winter break approached and there were still no state funds forthcoming, we again assured our MAP eligible students that we would credit their accounts for their anticipated spring awards while we awaited reimbursement from the state at an additional cost of $3.6 million.  

To ensure our continued operations through the end of FY16 without disrupting instruction, EIU has had to expend all emergency cash reserves, stop all hiring, postpone all construction projects unrelated to safety and security, and severely restrict travel and purchasing. 

Unfortunately, as we find ourselves now well into the spring semester, all these efforts still have not been enough to compensate for the complete lack of a state appropriation. Starting this month we have mandated 18 unpaid furlough days (in addition to those previously issued) for all professional staff and administrators -- effectively withholding an entire month’s pay. And as of tomorrow, March 11, 177 civil service employees will be laid off. Of those 177 employees, some are single parents, some are dealing with health issues, and in some cases, the layoffs will affect both husband and wife in the same household.  I wish to be clear that these positions are being eliminated not because they are unessential -- we need them -- nor because we are right-sizing the university -- that has already been accomplished.  It is solely because we have not received a FY2016 state appropriation.  The effects of the budgetary impasse are real for EIU and they are devastatingly real to these 177 Illinois taxpayers and voters who have in many cases dedicated their entire careers to the students of Eastern.  

I could never have imagined when I came to EIU last June, that nine months into the fiscal year we would still have no state appropriation. We now stand at a critically threatening precipice having been forced to operate without state funding for almost an entire year. We are not a university with large reserve funds nor are we a university that has more than about $1 million out of our entire endowment that is unrestricted and can be used at our discretion.

This state is starving its universities to death. Potential campus closures and layoffs appear to be considered as wins or losses in a political chess game. We are encouraged to be vocal with our distress and at the same time warned to be quietly patient. Proposal after proposal is filed and lobbed across the aisle only to meet either quick defeat or eventual demise. Parents are literally driving Illinois students across the borders to pursue higher education in neighboring states. By the time Illinois public universities finally get the funds we need to support our students, we are not sure how many students we will have left. I respectively ask our lawmakers, what exactly is the end-game here?

I submit that EIU’s interests, the General Assembly’s interests, and interests of the Governor have significant overlap with respect to higher education and its benefit to the citizenry of Illinois. EIU is supportive of efforts to reduce administrative costs. We are supportive of increasing the state’s investment in performance funding and we are supportive of improving efficiencies through reducing red tape as it relates to procurement and other regulatory issues.

I implore our decision-makers to come together and immediately enact a comprehensive and reasonable higher education appropriation for FY2016. This will provide for financial stability in our operations, allowing us to focus our complete attention on educating our students and reassuring Illinois high school seniors that Illinois public universities are strong and, in fact, remain an excellent choice as they will for generations to come. 

I thank you for your time and look forward to your questions.

EIU Offers Free Summer Journalism Workshop for High School Students 03/08/16

High school students can learn journalism hands-on from award-winning reporters, editors and photographers at the Illinois Press Foundation workshop taking place at Eastern Illinois University June 22 through July 1.

Applications for the 10-day workshop, which is funded by the Illinois Press Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation and EIU, will be accepted through May 18, 2016.  Eighteen students will be selected to participate in this free journalism experience.

Graduating seniors are eligible for this workshop as are those currently in their sophomore or junior years.

Held on the EIU campus in Charleston, this residential program provides students an intimate look at journalism as a career by immersing students into approaches used by modern, digital newsrooms. The workshop introduces students to the complete process of publishing news: gathering and validating information, substantiating and using multiple sources, writing news, editing, designing and production. In addition, students are exposed to the concepts of news literacy and how to differentiate and establish fact from fiction in today's sometimes frenetic, rush-to-report news environment.

Students do not need journalism experience to apply.

The first week is devoted to instruction and related exercises, including news-gathering field trips. Professional journalists provide most of the instruction. Dozens of reporters, editors, publishers, photographers and other journalists have taught in the program since 1991, representing more than 50 newspapers and news organizations throughout Illinois and across the country.

Students then practice what they have learned. For two days, students are driven to newspapers, where they work with reporters and other journalists on assignments. The remainder of the second week is devoted to producing a news website.

Students will also travel to Springfield where they will interview newsmakers and news journalists at the state capitol.

The Illinois Press Foundation has sponsored this event at Eastern Illinois University since its inception more than 20 years ago. The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is also a significant contributor to the program. All expenses, including housing, meals and tuition, are paid from these funds.

To be considered, students must complete an application form, which is available online at EIU’s department of journalism website. For further information, contact director Joe Gisondi.

2015-16 Cultivating Creativity Children's Art Exhibition: Opening at Arcola First National Bank 03/08/16

Eastern Illinois University's Tarble Arts Center is pleased to announce that "Cultivating Creativity 2015-2016: Consolidated Communications Children’s Art Exhibition" is coming to the Arcola First National Bank, 127 South Oak St.  The exhibit will be on view March 12 through April 17 during normal business hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

The Cultivating Creativity Children’s Art Exhibition displays the most outstanding art produced by school art programs throughout East-Central Illinois during the 2014-2015 school year. Underwritten by Consolidated Communications, the exhibition is presented annually each spring at the Tarble Arts Center. Each year, one student from every contributing school is selected to participate in the exhibition that circulates throughout the region during the next academic year. This year, the exhibit will travel to 14 area communities, from Assumption to Paris and from Tuscola to Effingham.

There are 48 student works on display, ranging in media from glazed clay to watercolor to metal relief to mixed media that represent the following schools:  Altamont Grade School, Altamont Jr. High School, Arcola Elementary School, Arcola High School, Arthur Grade School, Arthur Jr. High School, Ashmore Elementary School, Bond Elementary School, Carl Sandburg Elementary School, Carolyn Wenz Elementary School, Casey-Westfield High School, Casey-Westfield Jr. High School, Central A&M High School, Central A&M Middle School, Central Grade School, Charleston High School, Charleston Middle School, Chrisman Elementary School, Chrisman High School, Chrisman-Scottland Jr. High School, Gregory Intermediate School, Jefferson Elementary School, Kansas School, Lake Crest Elementary School, Lovington Grade School, Mark Twain Elementary School, Mattoon High School, Mattoon Middle School, Memorial Elementary School, Moulton Middle School, Neoga Elementary School, Neoga High School, Neoga Middle School, Oakland High School, Okaw Valley High School, Okaw Valley Middle School, Riddle Elementary School, Shelbyville High School, South Side Elementary School, St. Anthony Grade School, St. Mary’s School, Williams Elementary School, Windsor Elementary School and Windsor Jr.-Sr. High School.

Students from Arcola area schools represented in the exhibition are Kolten Petrie of Arcola Elementary School and Ixcell Vega of Arcola High School.  Under the instruction of Alex Lugo, Petrie created "Scary Crow" using watercolor and oil pastel as a kindergartener at Arcola Elementary School.  Also under the direction of Alex Lugo, Vega, as a sophomore at Arcola High School, created "Selfie #2" with tempera. 

Cultivating Creativity is a community engagement program created by the Tarble Arts Center to help raise awareness of the importance of including the arts as part of the regular school curriculum.  For more information about the Cultivating Creativity exhibit or other exhibitions and educational programming, please contact the Tarble Arts Center at 217-581-ARTS (-2787) or tarble@eiu.edu.

Sponsorship for exhibitions and programming at the Tarble Arts Center is generously provided by The Tarble Family Foundation, Consolidated Communications, First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust, EIU Art Department, the EIU Center for the Humanities and the Academy of Lifelong Learning.

The Tarble Arts  Center is a major arts resource for the people of Central Illinois and Eastern Illinois University that focuses primarily on the visual arts. Its mission is “taking the arts to the people.” The Tarble Arts Center is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. The Tarble is closed on Mondays and holidays. For more information, please visit us at www.eiu.edu/tarble  or www.facebook.com/TarbleArts.

Edible Book Festival Planned at Booth Library 03/01/16

Booth Library at Eastern Illinois University will sponsor its sixth annual Edible Book Festival on April 11 as part of National Library Week.

Anyone in the community may enter a work made out of edible materials that has something to do with books in either its shape or content. The artwork will not be eaten. To view entries from last year’s competition, go here.

Entries may be installed at the library after 3 p.m. April 11. Public voting will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m., with the winners announced shortly after. The event is free and open to the public.

Awards will be presented in the following categories: Dean’s Choice, People’s Choice, Children’s Book Theme, Student Entry, Family Entry and Funniest Pun.

There is no fee to participate in or view this show; however, those planning to enter the contest must pre-register. The entry form is available on the library website.  Or, participants should send the following information: name; library/school/department (if applicable); phone number and email address; title of entry; and estimated size of the final piece (display materials will be provided based on this information).

All entries will automatically be entered into the Dean’s Choice and People’s Choice award categories. Please state if the entry also qualifies for the Children’s Book Theme, Student Entry, Family Entry or Funniest Pun categories.

Entry forms for the Edible Book Festival are due by April 6 and can be submitted online here.  Entries also may be brought to Booth Library; emailed to library@eiu.edu; or mailed to the library at 600 Lincoln Ave., Charleston, IL 61920, Attn: Edible Books. For more information on the contest, call 581-8381.

During the spring semester, Booth Library’s regular hours are 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 1 a.m. Sunday. For more information on the library, visit the website; call 581-6072; or find the library on Facebook or Twitter.

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MEDIA CONTACT:  Beth Heldebrandt, Booth Library; emheldebrandt@eiu.edu; 217-581-6064

EIU Budget Update -- A Letter from EIU President David M. Glassman to Students 02/22/16

Dear Students,

First, let me thank you for all the love and support you have shown EIU through your participation in the various advocacy efforts over the last few weeks. You make me proud to be the president of this beloved university!

Several of you are wondering about the budgetary impasse in Springfield and how it is affecting EIU.   There have also been a number of rumors going around that have caused some students to become anxious about their education.  I hope this email provides you with information to understand the happenings in Springfield and also addresses the various rumors that have been circulating.  I realize this message is a bit lengthy, but I thought the information might be helpful to you and your parents.

What is “The Budget Impasse”?

EIU operates on an annual budget funded primarily by student tuition and fee revenues and a state appropriation. The funds that are appropriated by the state to EIU and the other Illinois public universities offset the cost of operating each university so that tuition and fees can be kept low and affordable.  Without its state appropriations, EIU would be a private, rather than public, university and its tuition and fees would need to be much higher to cover total costs of attendance.  Thus, public universities rely on the state’s support to provide a world class education at an affordable cost to students. The amount that each university receives annually from the state is determined when lawmakers approve the state budget, an action that usually occurs by May 31 for the fiscal year that will begin July 1.  Appropriated funds are then transferred to each university over several payments throughout the year.

For this year (Fiscal Year 2016), Illinois lawmakers have been unable to agree on a state budget (which should have been done by May 31, 2015).  This standstill and thus complete lack of a budget is what is being referenced when you hear the term “budget impasse.”  No state budget = no appropriations for public universities.  That means that none of the public university campuses have received any funds at all from the state for this year.  This has become a challenge for every one of us as we all rely on our state appropriation to fund our operations.  EIU was expecting to receive about $40 million for our operations and between $7 and $9 million for MAP award reimbursements.

Without an appropriation, EIU and the other Illinois public universities have had to use their emergency and cash-flow reserve funds to cover what we have not received from the state.  This challenge is not just being seen on EIU’s campus, but on all the public university campuses in Illinois.  Each university is being managed as best it can to maintain the highest academic standards and cause the least disruption to student education.

As you may have heard, EIU will need to lay off 177 civil service employees and have administrative and professional employees take a specified number of unpaid days off in March, April, May and June if the state does not enact an appropriation for EIU before March 10.  Once our appropriation is enacted and we begin to receive funds from the state, we will start to bring back employees who had been laid off to the extent the appropriation provides.

We have every expectation that EIU will receive its Fiscal Year 2016 appropriation by the end of the semester and that our Fiscal Year 2017 appropriation will be enacted in a timely manner.

Rumors:

I have heard several rumors being circulated across campus.  Let me try to put some of those to rest:

Is EIU closing?  No, EIU is not closing.  The university is financially secure with an appropriation from the state.   We fully expect our appropriation to be enacted soon.

Will EIU be open in the summer and fall?  Yes, we anticipate that there will not be any interruption in the education of our students.  We are looking forward to wonderful new classes of freshman and transfer students entering EIU in the fall.

Are some academic programs going to be cut next year?  No.  In fact, we are developing and adding some exciting new undergraduate and graduate programs that will debut next year.

Will EIU and the other public universities ever get an appropriation?  Yes, and we hope it will be soon.  The state understands the importance of higher education to the success of Illinois’ economy and its intellectual and workforce development.  Without the state supporting public universities, the cost in tuition would become unaffordable for most Illinois citizens who would then leave Illinois to seek their higher education.

Is EIU in jeopardy of losing its accreditation?  No, even with the cutback on expenses and the possible layoff of civil service employees, EIU continues to meet or exceed the criteria for accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.

Is EIU going to become a satellite campus for a larger university?  No, there is no truth to this rumor.

Is EIU going to be sold?  No, the university belongs to the state of Illinois.

Most likely, you will continue to hear additional rumors being circulated.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at president@eiu.edu with questions.

Sincerely,

David M. Glassman
President, Eastern Illinois University

EIU Budget Update -- A Letter from EIU President David M. Glassman 02/08/16

Dear Campus Community,

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the cost reductions made necessary by the budgetary impasse in Springfield.  I greatly appreciate the input and support I have received in this process from both within our campus community and beyond.

There is very little additional news from Springfield.  A smattering of bills were filed last month providing various levels and scopes of funding for public higher education, including one that would provide funding but only for community colleges and MAP grants and another that would provide both full MAP funding as well as an appropriation for the universities but at a rate of only 80 percent of last year's level. The recent flurry of bills being filed to support higher education appropriations is a positive sign that our lawmakers are realizing the urgency and critical nature of what we are facing.

There was an immense showing of support by our campus and regional community at the Fund EIU rally last Friday.  We all love this institution first and foremost for the excellence it provides in educating our students.  However, it is also an economic, intellectual and cultural engine for our entire region of Illinois.  I remain steadfastly confident that our General Assembly and Governor realize the great importance of EIU and all public universities to the future of our great state.

I would like to re-emphasize that the entirety of our cost reduction activities that are being implemented this month and continuing in March (with layoffs and furloughs) is the direct result of not having an appropriation for EIU enacted by the state and not receiving funds for MAP grants that were committed to our students by the state (which we honored).

Owing to the budgetary situation and in respect to our many colleagues facing layoffs, I am postponing our annual Years of Service luncheon scheduled for this week until later in the year or, perhaps, not until next fall.  We will look forward to celebrating when our appropriation is enacted and the recall of those laid off begins to take place.  Employees may contact the Vice President for Business Affairs to receive their service pins.

I am disappointed that we will need to lay off 198 civil service employees.  Layoff notices will be delivered on Wednesday and Thursday (Feb. 10 and 11).  Our Human Resources Office will provide as much assistance as possible to those who will be laid off.  We are saddened to be put in this position, and realize it will affect either directly or indirectly our entire campus community.  

If an appropriation is enacted and funds begin to be received at the university by the layoff date of Saturday, March 12, many or all of the layoff notices could be rescinded.

In addition to layoffs, all A&P employees (beginning on March 1) will be required to take the equivalent of one day of furlough per week, each month, until further notification or up until June 30, 2016.  For those employees who were already required to take a specific number of furlough days, these days will be added until an employee has reached a total of 24 furlough days at which time they have met the maximum furlough limit (EIU IGP #189). The specific days chosen to furlough for any month will be determined by the supervisor in consultation with the employee according to university operational needs and the interests of the employee.  

There will be the following number of furlough days:

  • March: 5 days
  • April: 4 days
  • May: 4 days
  • June: 5 days

Days in the month chosen for furlough need not be structured as one per week.  For example, it would be possible, pending supervisor approval, to use the five days of Spring Break to satisfy furlough for the month of March.  

The administration continues to work on alternative strategies that may allow for reducing the number of layoffs.  As these discussions continue, I will communicate with the campus.  A reduction in A&P required furlough days is possible upon the enactment of an appropriation and timely receipt of funds from the state.

Let us stand together in optimism that an appropriation for EIU will be enacted quickly with funds distributed to our university in order that these difficult measures affecting our campus family can be avoided.  I am thankful and proud to serve as your president and we will continue together in action for our students and our beloved university. 

Sincerely,

David M. Glassman
President, Eastern Illinois University

EIU to Sponsor 2016 Darwin Days Events 02/04/16

Charles Darwin, a man often referred to as the “Father of Evolution,” would have celebrated his 207th birthday on Feb. 12.

He sparked controversy among religious circles when he introduced the idea of evolution through natural selection with his international book, “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.”

Eastern Illinois University will commemorate Darwin’s birthday again this year by hosting three events during the week of his birthday aimed at educating others about Darwin and his contributions to modern society, humanities and the sciences. All events, which are free and open to the public, will take place in the Lecture Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center on EIU‘s campus.

Activities will kick off at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, when Andrew Moeller of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California Berkeley, lectures on “The Evolution of the Human Microbiome.”

The week’s events will continue with a showing of the video, “Judgement Day:  Intelligent Design on Trial,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9.

The third and final event of the week – a lecture titled “What Did Humans Evolve to Eat?  Human Nutritional Health in Comparative Perspective” – will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10.  The presenter will be William Leonard, chair of the Anthropology Department and director of Global Health Studies, Northwestern University.

These events are made possible via funding from Jane and Herbert Lasky, the EIU Department of Biological Sciences, the EIU College of Sciences, the EIU Chapter of Sigma Xi, the EIU Department of Sociology/Anthropology, the Phi Beta Kappa Association, Phi Sigma and the Biological Sciences Graduate Student Association.

Organizers of the events are Gary Fritz, Ann Fritz, Zhiwei Liu, Steve Brantley, Yordan Yordanov and Mike Kory.

EIU Professor Places Spotlight on Bigfoot Believers, Writes Book 02/03/16

Like the men and women on a hunt for the legendary Bigfoot, Joe Gisondi was on the hunt for what drives these believers.

As he traveled to eight locations across the country, Gisondi “trekked” in remote woods, swamps, harsh terrain and national parks with these men and women. After his travels, the Eastern Illinois University journalism professor released a book this month documenting his adventures. The book is titled “Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot.”

A lecture about his book will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4 at Buzzard Auditorium in Buzzard Hall on EIU’s campus. Bigfoot researcher Harold Benny will share his experiences searching for Bigfoot with Gisondi.

In his book, Gisondi brings to life the men and women like Benny as he tries to uncover what motivates them in their obsessive searches. Reports of man-like, hairy creature or “Bigfoot” are embedded within American folklore and have fascinated American culture for 400 years.

After starting his project in 2009, Gisondi traveled to Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia and Ohio to form relationships with these believers. He quickly realized that most of the searchers are not crazy loons, but instead normal citizens, he said.

To start his project, he reached out to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, and then started building relationships from there.  His initial interest for the project started for his love for camping, but then expanded from there.

“If you want to find a good story, find people who are passionate about something,” said Gisondi, referring why he started focusing on the Bigfoot believers. While his project doesn’t confirm or deny the existence of Bigfoot, Gisondi can’t help but lend toward the side of belief.

“There are too many people who say that something exists out there to discount it out of hand,” he said. “So I am interested, and I want to believe, but like any journalist I need the evidence.”

Gisondi worked as a journalist for more than 20 years before coming to EIU in 2002.  For more information about Gisondi’s book, click here. For more information about his lecture, contact EIU’s journalism department at (217) 581-6003 or journal@eiu.edu.  

EIU Budget Update -- A Letter to Students from EIU President David M. Glassman 02/03/16

Dear Students,

It has come to my attention that some EIU students are worried about Eastern offering summer and/or fall classes. I would like to take this opportunity to assure students and their families that there is every expectation that an appropriation from the state of Illinois will eventually come, and your outstanding EIU education will continue uninterrupted.

You may have heard some of the rumors circulating this year regarding funding of public universities in Illinois. All public universities receive funding from the state every year; this funding offsets a significant portion of the university’s operational costs so that tuition can be kept as affordable as possible for our students. This year, due to the state budget impasse in Springfield, no Illinois public universities have received any state funding as of yet.

Across the state, universities have had to cut back in areas of non-instructional activity, and in some cases a number of employees have been laid off. Once the state passes a budget, which I believe will happen soon, public universities will begin to receive their funding and institutions of higher education will once again be able to provide the full breadth of services expected, and EIU will be able to move forward on our pathway to success.

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions and thank you for being EIU.

Sincerely,

David M. Glassman
President, Eastern Illinois University

Eastern Illinois University Releases Spring Enrollment Numbers 01/28/16

Officials at Eastern Illinois University are encouraged by a healthy increase in both the number of international students and graduate students in attendance during the Spring 2016 semester.

“We are very pleased that our international student population has increased by nearly 100 students this semester,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “Their presence brings our overall international student enrollment to 382, which surpasses the former record set in 2015.”

“Our total international student population has now reached an all-time high representing 40 countries,” said Kevin Vicker, director, International Students and Scholars.  “And most of these students study subjects related to technology, business, sustainable energy, economics, biological sciences, and kinesiology and sports studies.  We have strategically increased our ability to admit more qualified students into our technology graduate program which accounted for 133 new students.

“International students continue to see Eastern Illinois University as an excellent destination that allows them to advance their career and life aspirations through the development of practical knowledge and skills,” he continued.  “Our success is a testament to our highly engaged faculty and welcoming community.”

Overall enrollment at Eastern dropped from 8,520 to 7,876 – a loss of 644 students.  But given that 643 degrees were awarded to graduating students in December, the decrease was not unexpected.

“Fall-to-spring enrollment numbers are traditionally down -- in large part, a result of the number of students who graduate at the end of the fall semester,” Lord continued.  “There were no surprises there.”

A breakdown of Eastern’s total Spring 2016 student enrollment stands as follows (with Fall 2015 figures in parentheses):  freshmen, 1,084 (1,673); sophomores, 1,143 (1,295); juniors, 1,655 (1,791); seniors, 2,562 (2,385); post baccalaureate undergraduates, 49 (58); and graduate students, 1,383 (1,318).  The graduate enrollment represents an increase of nearly 5 percent.

“We are extremely pleased with graduate student enrollment this spring,” said Ryan Hendrickson, interim dean of the Graduate School.  “Our graduate programs continue to attract new students, with an increasing number of international students as well as online graduate students who recognize the high quality graduate education one can receive at EIU."

EIU also continues to attract a more diverse student population, with minorities representing nearly 25 percent of Eastern’s enrollment.  The numbers broken down by category are as follows:  American Indian/Alaskan Native, 18 (20); Asian, 86 (92); Black, 1,244 (1,441); Hispanic, 444 (471); Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 3 (4); and two or more races, 151 (181).

University officials also remain encouraged by the number of out-of-state residents choosing to attend EIU.  In Fall 2011, the university established a program in which individuals from states bordering Illinois pay the same tuition rate as someone from Illinois.

The number of participants (both on and off campus) taking advantage of the program is as follows:   Indiana, 104; Iowa, 18; Kentucky, 10; Missouri, 54; and Wisconsin, 35.

EIU Observatory Open House to Feature Binocular Tour of Winter Constellation, Stars 01/28/16

Eastern Illinois University’s physics observatory will hold its monthly open house beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29.

Participants will take a binocular tour of the winter constellation and stars while looking at “one of the best objects to see from a small telescope or binoculars” -- the great nebula in Orion.

Those who have their own pair of binoculars should bring them.  Spares will be available for those without their own.

The observatory is located in the southwestern corner of campus between O'Brien Stadium and the intramural softball fields.  Those who attend may park their vehicles in the lot north of Wesley United Methodist Church and then walk to the observatory site.

For information, please call the physics department at 581-3220.

EIU Diversity Conference to Focus on “The Power of One” 01/27/16

The eighth annual diversity conference at Eastern Illinois University will focus on the “power of one” to unite the campus and community.

The conference, titled “The Power of One…One Campus, One Community, One Commitment,” is designed to raise diversity awareness and advocacy across EIU's campus and community. It will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union on campus.

Some of the topics of the conference include “Recognizing Microaggression and the Impacts on Understanding Race, Gender, and Class,” “Talkin Trans: Transgender 101,” “First Generation College Students: Where Do You Stand,” and “Coloring the Path: Pathways to Graduate Education for Students of Color.” Safe Zone trainings will also be offered at the conference. These trainings help educate individuals about the concerns within the LGBTQA community and give participants a general overview of what it means to be an ally.

The keynote speech, scheduled for noon to 1:30 p.m. that day, is titled “Y’all Gon’ Make Me Lose My Mind Up In Here! Understanding Racial Microaggressions and Racial Battle Fatigue in Communities of Color.” The speaker, William Smith, is an associate professor in the Department of Education, Culture & Society and the Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Utah, where he also serves as the Associate Dean for Diversity, Access, & Equity in the College of Education as well as the Special Assistant to the President & NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from EIU. He also has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Interested individuals need to register for the conference here. Deadline for the registration is Tuesday, February 2 at 4:30 p.m. Those interested can register for any session for free, but lunch with the keynote speech will cost $10. For a list of events, go here.

Hatfill Named Interim Police Chief at EIU 01/26/16
John Hatfill

A 27-year veteran of Eastern Illinois University’s Police Department has been appointed interim chief of police.

Lt. John Hatfill of Lerna will serve as head of the department until June 30, 2016, or until the position is permanently filled.  He replaces Adam Due, who retired on Dec. 31, 2015, after 12-plus years in the position.

“Lt. Hatfill brings a depth of knowledge and experience to the interim chief position that will benefit EIU and our community partners,” said Lynette Drake, interim associate vice president for student affairs.  “I’m pleased that he accepted this appointment.” 

Hatfill noted there will be challenges, especially given the budgetary issues facing the university as a whole.  “I realize there will be difficulties, but I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to moving the department forward,” he said.    

Hatfill joined the UPD in January 1989 as a patrol officer, rapidly advancing to patrol sergeant, field training supervisor, patrol lieutenant/operations officer and, most recently, patrol lieutenant/director of parking operations.  He concurrently served 10 years (2000-2010) as a deputy sheriff for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in administration of justice from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, in addition to an associate’s degree in law enforcement from Lake Land College, Mattoon.  Hatfill has also engaged in other training opportunities, including a two-month School of Police Staff and Command, offered through Northwestern University in Nashville, Tenn.

EIU Budget Update -- A Letter from EIU President David M. Glassman 01/25/16

Dear Campus Community,

As we begin our spring semester, it is important that I update you on the financial position of the university.  Incredibly, the state’s legislature and governor have yet to approve a state budget for FY16.  This unprecedented action means that EIU has not received any of our annual appropriation (typically around $40 million), nor MAP reimbursement for EIU students (approximately $9 million).  Our state government is literally starving its public universities.

The difficult budget adjustments that were made this past fall equating to reductions of roughly $10 million accomplished our goal of moving us toward a balanced budget for FY16.  However, our budget was predicated (as are all state universities’ budgets) on receiving our state appropriation and MAP reimbursements, and that has unfortunately not happened.

As I have told our lawmakers, in higher education we operate in semesters, rather than weeks or months.  Our budgets are formulated on an annual basis and in accordance with the academic calendar.

We will continue to provide our students excellent learning, service and research opportunities without diminishing academic excellence during the current semester and for many years to come.  EIU is ranked the top regional public university in Illinois by U.S. News and World Report and we are committed to maintaining the focus on student success that earned us that spot. 

I am hopeful that a state budget or higher education appropriation soon will be finally enacted. However, we cannot rely on optimism alone and must begin unfailingly to preserve our funds for instruction and employee payroll in the case our appropriation is further delayed or not received at all.

During the first half of FY16, we carefully managed our operating expenses using tuition revenue and cash flow reserves to move us well into the spring semester.  Now, we have identified specific measures that will need to be executed to allow us to operate through to the completion of the semester while ensuring our educational mission and preserving funds to meet payroll.

Beginning immediately, we will implement the actions of halting all non-instructional capital equipment purchases; delaying all deferred maintenance and repairs that are either unrelated to safety and security or already paid for; delaying all non-instructional capital projects; halting all non-instructional supply purchases without vice presidential approval; freezing employee-reimbursed travel with minimal exception such as for required federal or governmental purposes; and freezing all hiring that involves FY16 funding.  Any exception will need presidential approval.

If an appropriation continues to be delayed further into the semester, we will need to temporarily and/or permanently lay off hundreds of non-instructional employees and mandate unpaid furlough days to others beginning in March.  Call backs will occur immediately after an appropriation is enacted and funds have begun to be received by the university. 

The actions of the budgetary impasse in Springfield are testing our resolve and fortitude to meet the needs of our students.  I call upon everyone’s cooperation to remain strong and positive in attitude for our students and our beloved university as we await our lawmakers and governor to authorize state support for public higher education.  Together, we will get through this challenging time and after which, return to our pathway to success.

Sincerely,

David M. Glassman
President, Eastern Illinois University

Grant Allows EIU Snake Research to Continue at Fox Ridge State Park 01/19/16

The plight of the Midland Brownsnake population at Fox Ridge State Park continues to be a topic of interest at Eastern Illinois University.

While usually keeping a low profile, the small and harmless brownsnakes begin preparing for the winter by migrating across a park road in search of suitable overwintering habitat. Sites in the park’s forested upland areas are much more suitable for hibernation than those where the snakes are active in the warmer months.

Unfortunately, because of their small size and coloring, these particular snakes often go unnoticed by motorists. Thus, a number of them never successfully complete their trip.  Estimates of the average mortality rate during the peak of the migratory pulse approach 75 percent.

Instead of requiring below-grade modifications to the road or disrupting traffic flow patterns, a project by EIU student researchers has tested a novel use for a hose bridge system that provides the means by which small snakes can move across the road with minimized risk of being killed by passing traffic.  The actual testing was done in the fall; data is currently being analyzed.

The project has been made possible through a grant of nearly $2,000 from the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund Grant Program, offered through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  This program is designed to preserve, protect, perpetuate and enhance non-game wildlife and native plant resources of Illinois through preservation of a satisfactory and ecologically balanced environment. Funds for this grant program are from the tax check-off offered on Illinois income tax returns.

Annual MLK Jr. Candlelight Vigil March, Tribute Planned at EIU 01/15/16

The Zeta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. will host its 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil March and Tribute Monday, Jan. 18, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

The event begins at 5 p.m. with the march -- punctuated with the singing of inspirational hymns -- beginning from the Thomas Hall lobby (2120 Seventh St.).  Before leaving Thomas Hall, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a prayer and write down their dreams to be placed on a message board. 

The march will end at the Grand Ballroom, located in Eastern’s MLK Jr. University Union. The program there will begin between 5:45 and 6 p.m.

Traditionally, between 100 and 200 students, faculty, family and friends support the vigil and program annually. Many join in the march; however, those who wish may participate in the Grand Ballroom activities only.

The program will include keynote address by Perry Benson of Champaign. A balloon release will occur after the program including a cake decorated with King’s image will be served.

Admission is free and open to the public.

The Meaning Behind a ‘Thank You’
EIU Employee Shares Experiences as a Motivational Interviewer, Writes Book
01/14/16

Dave Closson grew accustom to hearing the words “thank you.”

These words didn’t come from Closson doing someone a favor. No, these words came from students he was issuing citations to. Serving as an Eastern Illinois University police officer, Closson used “motivational interviewing” to not only deescalate situations, but motivate students to change. Motivational interviewing is a conversation style used to strength a person’s own motivation to change his/her actions.

From his experiences as an officer, Closson released a book on how to incorporate motivational interviewing in campus police departments. The book is called “Motivational Interviewing for Campus Police.” Closson plans to give a presentation about his book on Friday, Jan. 22, at the 2016 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Strategies Conference: Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Prevention” in Orlando.

Closson was introduced to this style of interviewing after co-teaching a class focused on alcohol prevention. Heather Webb, director of EIU’s Office of Student Standards, originally encouraged Closson to co-teach the class because she felt he would be a natural at the interviewing style, which is common in alcohol prevention trainings.

“The student will voice his/her own reasons of why they should make a change, and then you help strengthen his/her own internal motivation,” Closson said, describing how the process works.  After motivating the students in the class, Closson decided to implement the tactics on the streets as an officer too.

“College police officers are also educators who are teaching responsibility, accountability, campus safety and alcohol safety,” Closson said, who believes that campus officers' jobs are more than simply keeping the peace. Motivational interviewing has the potential to influence a student’s behavior right at the incident instead of waiting for change later on, he said.

“Why not start the change process closer to the incident and ideally learn from it?” Closson said.

In each conversation as an officer, Closson chatted with students and showed them he genuinely cared for their success and well being. “Motivational interviewing is about the interaction with the student,” he said.

Closson believes this style of interviewing has the potential to apply to law enforcement agencies across the country especially for crime prevention officers. Police officers use the book “Verbal Judo Tactics & Techniques of Police Communication,” which teaches officers how to deescalate situations and gather cooperation.

 “I like to say that Verbal Judo gets at the de-escalation and cooperation, while motivational interviewing sits right on top of it,” Closson said. For him, motivational interviewing takes police communication to the next level by fostering the long-term change in the individual.

While Closson is no longer an EIU police officer, he still uses motivational interviewing as the assistant director of Illinois Higher Education Center at EIU.  In the position, he gives trainings and consultations to reduce student health concerns related to alcohol, drugs and violence.

Starting as an EIU police officer in 2010, Closson was a crime prevention officer, field training officer and patrol officer. He also served as a sergeant in the Illinois Army National Guard, where he experienced community policing firsthand as he collaborated with civilians in Iraqi.

For his time with the Illinois Army National Guard, he was rewarded two Army Commendation Medals, one for meritorious service and one for valor. He was also rewarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Air Assault Badge, National Defense Service Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Closson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in technology with concentration in a training and development at EIU.

For more information about Closson and his book, go to www.miforcampuspolice.com.

Public Forum Scheduled To Discuss Possibility of WEIU FCC Spectrum Auction 01/05/16

The following message was sent by President David Glassman and Jack Neal, the general manager on WEIU TV to all EIU  faculty and staff on Tuesday, Jan. 5:

Dear University Community,

Below is a message from Jack Neal, General Manager of our WEIU TV station and network.  Although the message is quite long, I ask that you read it.  It contains important information about an opportunity  that I am considering relative to our WEIU spectrum and the digital environment we exist in today. We will be holding a public forum on Thursday, January 7 from 4–6 pm in the Tarble Arts Center Atrium for anyone interested in learning more about the FCC Spectrum auction. Jack Neal will be available to offer his insights and to answer any questions.

Thank you,

David Glassman
President

 

I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone in the University community that we live in a highly connected digital world.  Nearly everything we do connects us online in one way or the other.  In fact, I’m confident that most of you reading this email right now are doing so thanks to a wi-fi connection.  The need to increase our digital connectivity in America increases at an amazing rate - nearly doubling each year.  And no one sees that need decreasing in the future.

The United States Congress voted to increase our country’s digital connectivity and charged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with finding ways to free up bandwidth in specialized frequency bands.  Frequencies that are advantageous to cell signals and wi-fi.  The FCC will then sell that bandwidth to companies requiring it.  Most recently the bidders in other auctions of spectrum have included AT&T, Verizon, Dish, Sprint, etc.  And those auctions of various parts of the frequency spectrum have raised many billions of dollars.

About two years ago, the FCC began planning to shrink the size of America’s television band and make a  part of that spectrum available for auction.  The methodology to do so is far more involved than you’d like to read in this email.  However the bottom line is the FCC has asked for TV stations to volunteer to auction their frequencies.  When that process is over, much of the upper UHF band will be clear of broadcasters.  Some will have gone off the air and the others will have had their assigned channels changed (repacked) into lower frequencies deemed less desirable by digital cell providers.

Eastern Illinois University holds the license for WEIU-TV.  WEIU operates on channel 50, the highest channel in the current allotment of television frequencies. We sit very much in the middle of what might be referred to as “digital beachfront property”.  The translation is that one way or the other, WEIU-TV will need to leave channel 50 when this process concludes.

The auction of television spectrum being undertaken nationally is set to begin later this year.  The current start date is March 29.  However there have been numerous dates that have “slipped” and there’s always the possibility this one will as well.

Nearly all TV broadcasters in the U.S. have received an opening bid by the FCC for what is a “reverse auction”.  Basically that’s just terminology that means you start with the highest possible bid and the bids will decrease from there.  The bids will be made by the FCC to attempt to free up an undisclosed amount of digital spectrum in undisclosed parts of the country.  Holders of that spectrum (TV stations) will either stay in the bidding process as the bids for their channels drop, or at some point, they will determine the FCC’s bids are too low to justify selling.  At that time, they will pull out of the active bidding.

When enough stations have left the bidding process that the FCC has the spectrum it needs in the areas it requires at the lowest possible price, it will close the auction and then purchase the channels of those TV stations that have remained in the auction.  Then the FCC will package the frequencies in geographic areas and resell the spectrum in a forward auction.

The stations that sell their spectrum will go off the air within 60 days.  The stations that are not sold will be moved to other channel assignments and have 39 months to rebuild their transmission facilities on those new channels.  That timeline is open to MUCH discussion but it’s the current plan.

As with almost all full-power stations, WEIU has received our “opening bid.”  That bid is approximately $105,400,000.  That would mean that if the FCC were to include WEIU in the auction, the bidding would start there.

OK, now that you’ve screamed, “SELL!”, a note of reality.  There is NO guarantee WEIU would even get a bid.  And it’s definite that the bids will drop from the opening bid…A HUGE AMOUNT!  How far we have no way of knowing.  It could be anything between $105 million and zero.  The opening bids were set to create station interest, and I believe they worked.

There are many questions for EIU to consider but there is one very definite point, and that is, if EIU wants to even consider being involved in the auction, the University is required to file by the FCC deadline of January 12th at 5PM.  There are no extensions, no delays and no arguments that “The dog ate the application.”  If we want to see how this would play out, we need to formally file by that date.

If at any point between now and the actual beginning of the active bidding process currently scheduled for late March, 2016, we want to opt out, we can.  The question of our potential involvement is currently being considered by Dr. Glassman.

What would happen if WEIU-TV sold its spectrum?

We would go off the air within sixty days.  The transmitter would be turned off and WEIU would no longer be available as an on-air, cable or satellite broadcast channel.  The traditional transmission vehicle for getting that TV programming out to our viewers would no longer exist.

However, it’s important that we realize that media has changed greatly over the years since WEIU signed on the air.  We are now (and always have been) content providers.  We acquire, process and disseminate information.  There was a time that a content provider needed a printing press to get their story told.  Later content providers worked through broadcast transmitters…first radio and then TV.  And though all those forms of transmission of content still exist, they are less important than the days when there were relatively few options.

Now, we have online, streaming, social media, YouTube and a wealth of platforms with which to tell our story.

And that is likely how the content we create at WEIU-TV would be disseminated in a post-spectrum auction environment.  Our productions such as NewsWatch, This Is Our Story, Being Well, City Spotlight, and in fact, all of our local productions would be available to audiences online.  We would seek cooperative agreements to have other Illinois public broadcasters air those stories on their facilities.  We would seek similar arrangements with MediaCom and Consolidated Communications.  And the programs would continue to be aired on Consolidated Cable through our Your 13 channel.

Essentially, the overwhelming majority of local stakeholders would continue to have access to those programs as would our international web audience.

What about WEIU’s PBS programming?

WEIU would no longer have the vehicle to air PBS or any other national programming.  However, WEIU is part of a multi-station PBS market.  That means that even without WEIU’s signal, PBS programs would continue to be seen in our market on our neighboring PBS stations.  And much as WEIU is considering its online possibilities, nearly all PBS programs are currently available online directly from PBS.org. 

There’s much more involved in the auction, and I’ve already put well more into this email than most would want to read, I’m sure.  I just believe it’s important that, as EIU takes a look at the options, all our community and University stakeholders are aware of the many considerations. Complicating the issue is the fact that the FCC will enforce a “Quiet Period” beginning January 12th and not ending until the conclusion of both the reverse and forward auctions (likely third quarter of 2016).  During the Quiet Period no licensee can discuss the process nor their potential involvement in it due to anti-collusion laws. 

In order to consider the process, Dr. Glassman has scheduled a public forum on Thursday, January 7 from 4-6 pm in the Tarble Arts Center Atrium where anyone interested in learning more about it can do so as well as offer their own thoughts and opinions.  I’ll be there to offer my insight and to answer any questions.

I encourage you to attend.

Jack Neal
General Manager, WEIU TV

Investigation Planned into Cause of Fire at EIU's Renewable Energy Center 12/16/15

An investigation is continuing into the cause of a fire that occurred Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, at the Renewable Energy Center on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

Charleston firefighters were called to the site at 5:25 p.m. when a problem was reported inside a heat recovery unit, affecting one of the building’s four boilers.

Over the next few hours, the fire spread inside the three-story heat recovery unit, necessitating a call for additional Charleston Fire personnel, along with those from the Lincoln Fire Protection District, who remained on site until 1 a.m. Wednesday.

One city firefighter sustained steam burns through his protective gear, with the injury not being severe.  No other injuries were reported.  Four EIU employees were on site when the fire began.

University officials report that the Renewable Energy Center continues to produce steam for normal university operations.  University activities, including Saturday’s Fall 2015 Commencement ceremonies, will continue as scheduled.

EIU personnel will begin a comprehensive investigation into the cause of the fire on Monday, Dec. 21, allowing ample time for the 18-inch-thick fire brick to completely cool.  A damage estimate is pending.

A Little Compassion Goes a Long Way
EIU Professor and Local Business Provide Holiday Meal to International Students
12/11/15

Wafeek Wahby experienced an eye-opening moment when he realized some of his international students had never imbibed in a true American Thanksgiving dinner.

Having once been an international student himself, the Eastern Illinois University technology professor has always reserved a special place in his heart for those students who come to the U.S. from various other parts of the world.  Five years ago, after discovering many of “his” students stayed on campus instead of experiencing the traditional turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie meal of the season, he became determined.

“I always tell my students it is not the equations or formulas they will remember,” he said, “It is the people and outside experiences that you will remember 60 years from now as you tell your grandchildren about your years in America.”

It was in that moment Wahby made a promise. He promised to offer all EIU international students a holiday dinner, even though he did not have the logistics nailed down. Luckily, local business owner Frank Zendeli and his son, Gici, offered their help.

While searching for discounts on food or donations, Wahby approached the Lincoln Garden restaurant. By then, he had become slightly discouraged.

Sitting down with the owner and his son, Wahby shared his story. Without hesitation, the father and son agreed not to provide a discount, but, rather, host the entire dinner at their restaurant — for free.  “He (Frank Zendeli) looked at me, and said they are on me,” Wahby remembered. Although filled with relief, he couldn’t help but ask again with disbelief.

“They are on me Dr. Wahby,” he stressed to Wahby, “Any number (of students), if you get them here, we will give them a real dinner like Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

And five years later, the Zendeli family are still true to their word, now planning to offer the annual Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner on Monday, Dec. 14.

“Since we are open on Thanksgiving Day, we see a lot of individuals without family or whose family is too far away,” Gici Zendeli said. “It is important to sit down and share the holidays with someone.”

The dinner is typically offered during finals week. Wahby even includes the dinner as part of a final for his Global Technology class, stressing it is important to teach students in the classroom, but also give them experiences outside the classroom, as well.

For Wahby, the dinner represents a sense of unification among different nations, with more than seven nationalities attending the dinner. “We are eating here from the same bread, the same loaf and the same turkey,” he said.

Wahby’s compassion for international students comes from a certain understanding that both he and Frank Zendeli share. Both men immigrated to the United States, Wahby from Egypt and Frank Zendeli from Albania.

They understand the difficulties of transitioning into the American culture.  For Wahby, it is common for his students to visit his office to discuss the hardships of transitioning into American life. “My students can feel my open heart, open mind and open door policy,” he said. “My door is always open.”

Wahby’s compassion for his students has been recognized nationally. He is the recipient of the ATMAE Faculty Excellence Award, a national reward that recognizes superior performance in teaching, research and service. He is also the recipient of the 2015 Ellis Island Medal of Honor and Eulalee L. Anderson International Friendship Award from EIU’s Office of International Students and Scholars and the Office of Study Abroad.

But, for both the Zendeli family and Wahby, the reward for the dinner isn’t in the recognition. It is providing a sense of family for those students thousands of miles away from the warmth of home.

EIU Plans Annual Holiday Gatherings at Old Main; Public Invited 12/07/15

Community residents are once again invited to join Eastern Illinois University's students, faculty and staff for two traditional holiday gatherings -- this year titled “A Magical Holiday at Old Main.”

Guests are welcome to attend either of the two events, the first of which is scheduled to take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 11, and the second from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. Both will take place in Old Main’s (the “Castle”) Cougill Foyer.

Parking is available in most university lots after 5 p.m. Guests attending the Dec. 11 event may park in the "X" lot, located east of Old Main.

Following an annual tradition, this year’s gatherings will showcase six holiday trees, five of which feature decorations made by students of Ashmore, Carl Sandburg, Jefferson, Lake Crest (Oakland) and Mark Twain elementary schools.

Refreshments and holiday music will be available at both gatherings.

Family members and others unable to attend either of the two events but who still wish to see their child’s ornament on display are welcome to view the decorated trees between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 14.


EIU Plans Annual Holiday Gatherings at Old Main; Public Invited 12/07/15

 

Community residents are once again invited to join Eastern Illinois University's students, faculty and staff for two traditional holiday gatherings -- this year titled “A Magical Holiday at Old Main.”

Guests are welcome to attend either of the two events, the first of which is scheduled to take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 11, and the second from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14.  Both will take place in Old Main’s (the “Castle”) Cougill Foyer.

Parking is available in most university lots after 5 p.m. Guests attending the Dec. 11 event may park in the "X" lot, located east of Old Main.

Following an annual tradition, this year’s gatherings will showcase six holiday trees, five of which feature decorations made by students of Ashmore, Carl Sandburg, Jefferson, Lake Crest (Oakland) and Mark Twain elementary schools.

Refreshments and holiday music will be available at both gatherings.

Family members and others unable to attend either of the two events but who still wish to see their child’s ornament on display are welcome to view the decorated trees between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 14.

Richard Pryor is Theme of 2015 Embarras Valley Film Festival 11/06/15

The Embarras Valley Film Festival (EVFF) celebrates its 11th year with the films of Richard Pryor.  Held annually since 2004, this year’s festival will be held Nov. 13 and 14 at the Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, 2010 Ninth St., Charleston, and at AMC Showplace Cinemas, 2509 Hurst Dr., Mattoon.

Born Dec. 1, 1940, in Peoria, Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III became one of the most influential comedians in the history of comedy. Few comics today will talk about their own careers without mentioning the inspiration they received from Pryor. Three of his films will be shown during the two-day festival that includes afternoon and evening film screenings, including a family-friendly Saturday matinee.

The festival kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, in the Tarble Arts Center Atrium with the screening of “Car Wash” and an introduction by film critic Chuck Koplinski.  “Car Wash” is about a close-knit group of employees who one day have all manner of strange visitors coming onto their forecourt, including Richard Pryor as the money-hungry preacher "Daddy Rich."

Koplinski has been participating in the EVFF since it inception in 2004. Having studied cinema at Columbia College in Chicago, he has been reviewing films for more than 20 years for Central Illinois publications including the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and Springfield’s Illinois Times. A member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Chicago Film Critic's Association, he has a weekly film segment on WCIA-TV and Mix 94.5.

Saturday’s family matinee movie will have audiences singing along to the musical “The Wiz” beginning at 2 p.m. in the Tarble Arts Center Atrium. In this version of the classic story, Dorothy is a shy 24-year-old Harlem kindergarten teacher who is brought by a snowstorm to the mysterious Land of Oz.

The festival will conclude Saturday evening with the screening of “Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip” at 7 p.m. at AMC Showplace Cinemas in Mattoon. Recorded in 1982, the film was the most financially lucrative of the comedian's concert films. The material includes Pryor's frank discussion of his drug addiction. The album won a Grammy for Best Comedy Recording in 1982.

The Embarras Valley Film Festival’s mission is to encourage broader appreciation for and study of film as a potent vehicle for human expression and communication through the exploration of cinematic arts involving people from Illinois and alumni of EIU.

This year’s festival is sponsored by the Coles County Arts Council, City of Charleston Tourism funds, and EIU’s Film Studies Minor, Tarble Arts Center and Booth Library. Admission to all festival events is free and open to the public.

 For more information, visit here or contact Kit Morice at kmorice@eiu.edu or 217-581-2787.

EIU to Commemorate Veterans Day with Series of Events 11/03/15

Eastern Illinois University will commemorate Veterans Day with a series of events, including its annual ceremony.

Community residents are invited to join students, faculty and staff for the annual Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, in Old Main’s Cougill Foyer.

The annual ceremony will include remarks by T.J. Prater, an EIU student and veteran, and EIU President David Glassman, as well as the laying of a wreath. The ROTC Panther Battalion will render a three-volley salute, while members of the EIU Department of Music will perform the National Anthem and the playing of taps.    

The public is also invited to attend other events throughout the week:

  • EIU Wind Symphony and Concert Band will salute past and present members of the U.S. armed forces with "A Call to Duty: A Veterans Day Tribute" at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5. For information about tickets, click here
  • The POW/MIA Remembrance Table honors those, be they prisoners of war or those missing in action, who cannot join their families and friends. This activity will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, Nov. 9-13 in the Bridge Lounge of the Martin Luther King University Jr. Union.
  • A Veterans Appreciation Fair will held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the LifeSpan Center, 11021 E. County Road, (Sponsored by LifeSpan).
  • A Veterans Day Blood Drive will take place from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11 at the Student Recreation Center in Lantz Arena.  
  • A Military Resource Fair will take place from 11-2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 in Bridge Lounge in the Martin Luther King University Union Jr.
  • Members of the community are also invited to attend a wheelchair activity game to bring awareness to the hardships veterans with disabilities must go through. The event takes place from 1-4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13 at the Student Recreation Center in Lantz Arena. 

For more information about the Military Assistance Center at EIU, click here.

Risk Assessment, for the Birds:
Complex Factors Determine When Migrating Songbirds Make Their Journeys
11/02/15

Submitted by the National Science Foundation:

The red-eyed vireo, shown with a radio transmitter fitted to its back.

Every year, backyard songbirds across the United States make an arduous journey to warmer winter climes. They migrate hundreds of miles, occasionally braving tough terrain and nasty weather. Sometimes, they have no place to stop and refuel along the way.

Birds actually weigh these risks using a combination of factors -- fat, weather and date -- to make a migration risk assessment, according to new research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The findings can serve as the basis for building better conservation strategies, researchers say.

The work focused on three species of songbirds, red-eyed vireos, Swainson's thrushes and wood thrushes, as they crossed the Gulf of Mexico, from coastal Alabama to the Yucatan Peninsula. The researchers published their findings today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"There are a lot of studies looking at birds' departure behavior or arrival behavior," said Jill Deppe, a biologist at Eastern Illinois University and principal investigator on the NSF award. "This is the first time we've been able to take a subset of birds and gather data on both."

The team used radio telemetry to track the birds as they migrated from one side of the gulf to the other, a distance of some 600 miles. Radio telemetry relies on miniature transmitters, smaller than the average watch battery, to record birds' locations. The researchers attached transmitters to birds' backs without harming them or interfering with their ability to fly. Each transmitter emits a radio signal at a specific frequency, picked up by antennas on the team's radio towers, which line part of the coast in Alabama and Mexico.

The researchers found birds generally used two cues--weather and their body fat levels--to make migration risk assessments. If humidity was too high, birds wouldn't depart. Birds that didn't carry large amounts of fat changed their routes, going farther inland and sometimes entirely around the gulf to avoid an open-water crossing. Researchers measured the fat content by looking at the birds' subcutaneous fat deposits, visible just underneath the skin.

Departure time also influenced the birds' success. Those that left at the end of September through mid-October, when gulf weather is more favorable, were more successful.

Surprisingly, however, age didn't seem to matter; young birds were just as successful in migration as older birds, an "interesting and unexpected" outcome that merits further study, Deppe said.

There are still many unanswered questions about bird migration, especially for small birds. "It's not that they're unanswerable," Deppe said. "They've simply been challenging to study given current technological limitations. But that's changing."

Her team for this research involved not only biologists, but also engineers and atmospheric scientists. One of the co-authors on the PNAS paper, Gil Bohrer of Ohio State University, received funding from NASA to develop new tools for understanding relationships between climate and animal migration. His work helped the team's biologists understand how weather played into the songbird's migration decisions.

Research Can Help Protect Migrating Birds

Migration carries costs--among them, the tribulations of navigating unfamiliar territory and crossing ecological features like the Gulf of Mexico. But for birds, the benefits outweigh those costs.

"These birds have evolved to make this flight," Deppe said. "It probably gives them some time and energy savings on a direct route. They're not exposed to predators as much over the open water, they're less exposed to parasites, too."

Songbirds spend a significant chunk of their lives--about 30 percent--migrating. Red-eyed Vireos, for example, can spend the spring and summer breeding season in deciduous forests of the eastern United States, and winter in the South American tropics. The five-inch songbird can travel upwards of 3,000 miles, twice a year.

"They are quite successful at negotiating the barriers, at assessing the risk that's involved," said Frank Moore, another author on the PNAS paper and a biologist at the University of Southern Mississippi. "And if you think about it, some of the factors that are important in this risk, they can control. Other factors are outside their control."

Now that we know what criteria birds use to migrate, that information can be used to build more effective conservation strategies, Deppe said. Those include protecting high-quality habitats along the birds' migration routes. In those areas, the birds can eat and gain the fat necessary for them to survive migration.

Songbirds play an important role in the ecosystem, both as food for larger predators and as consumers of fruits and seeds that shape plant distributions.

"Survival of migrating songbirds, like migrating butterflies, has been declining for some time," said Michelle Elekonich, a program director in NSF's Directorate for Biological Sciences, which funded the research. "This work will help us understand migration better and may allow us to better protect migrants."

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Media Contacts:  Jessica Arriens, NSF, 703-292-2243, jarriens@nsf.gov

Program Contacts:  Michelle Elekonich, NSF, 703-292-7202, melekoni@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, its budget is $7.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 48,000 competitive proposals for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Halloween 2015 at EIU 10/29/15
 Photo courtesy of Mark Johnson


Check out these Halloween-themed events open to the public!

Block Party ‘15

4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29; EIU South Quad

This event will include carnival-style games hosted by different registered student organizations throughout campus, live entertainment from the community, Bingo with prizes from local businesses, and carnival-type foods.  Students and children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes.

Open to EIU students, as well as local community children and their families.

COST:  $5 wristband (allows for one meal); $10 wristband (access to entire menu and games)

(Note: Menu items may also be purchased individually without wristband.)

Game tickets -- 25 cents each

Parents are asked to escort their children at all times, wait for escorts to assist them while at the event, and provide a separate bag for candy collected on campus.

Sponsors:  Panhellenic Council and Black Student Union

 

EIU Blue Madness

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29; Lantz Arena.  Free admission.

Meet Billy Panther, as well as the members of Eastern's men's and women's basketball teams.

Kid's costume parade; EIU student costume contest; trick-or-treat for kids; kids' games, prizes and bounce house.

 

Haunted Observatory Open House

Eastern’s physics observatory will hold a special Halloween haunted open house, beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30. “While the gremlins got to our big telescope, there will be a smaller telescope out for viewing – weather permitting,” said James Conwell, physics faculty member.

“There will be Jack-o’-lanterns and candy, and the minions in costumes will have full run of the place,” Conwell added. “Visitors may even meet some genuine mad scientists!” As always, admission is free and open to the public.

The observatory is located in the southwestern corner of campus between O'Brien Stadium and the intramural softball fields. Those who attend may park their vehicles in the lot north of Wesley United Methodist Church and then walk to the observatory site.


Special Halloween Story Time Planned at Booth Library

A special musical story time is planned at Booth Library at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. The free program will include spooktacular live music by members of the EIU music department and readings for all ages by the Ballenger Teachers Center staff.  Participants will then be allowed to experiment with musical instruments as part of an “instrument petting zoo,” presented by the Eastern Crossbones and Professor Erin Wehr from the University of Iowa.

Visitors are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and join in the fun. Activities will take place in the reference room in the northwest corner of the library.


Chemistry Colors Halloween:  Potions, Magic and More:  For Fifth through Seventh Grade Girls

The EIU Women Chemists Committee will host "Chemistry Colors Halloween: Potions, Magic and More" for fifth through seventh grade girls from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Charleston Public Library (Rotary Room B). The free event will feature hands-on chemistry activities relating to Halloween, including a "pumpkin clock" and "make your own glow stick." The afternoon will conclude with liquid nitrogen ice cream. Please contact Rebecca Peebles (rpeebles@eiu.edu, 581-5906) for more information or to register.

Shake Your Bones Halloween Zumbathon

The counseling academic and professional honor society Chi Sigma Iota will host a fundraising event to benefit the Children's Advocacy Center of East Central Illinois, located in Charleston. The Shake Your Bones Halloween Zumbathon is scheduled to take place from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, in the EIU Rec Center. Tickets are $15, which includes an event T-shirt. The Zumbathon is open to the public and to individuals who are 15 years of age and older.

To register for the Zumbathon or to learn more information about the event, please click here.


Pemberton Hall’s Haunted Hospital

9 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31.  Open to the general public; admission is $2.  (Not recommended for children 10 and under.)  Proceeds go to HOPE Domestic Violence Shelter of Charleston.

EIU Entrepreneurship Week Kicks off Next Week 10/29/15

Eastern Illinois University’s Entrepreneurship Week kicks off next week with a lecture and panel discussion to highlight the spirit of entrepreneurship.

The lecture kicks off the week at 5 p.m. Monday, with Bob Kehoe, the CEO of Leverage Marketing, an online marketing service company. The lecture, titled “Flyer in a Hot Dog Stand: How a Little Detour Led to Big Success,” takes place in Room 2030 in Lumpkin Hall.

The panel discussion will focus on “The In’s and Out’s of Franchising: What you Need to Know.” Panelists will include representatives from companies such as Midas, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Dairy Queen, as well as the Franchise Bureau Chief in the Office of the Attorney General. It will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday in Room 2030 in Lumpkin Hall.

All events are open to the public. For more information about the week, click here

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EIU, Local Students Take Part in Admissions Efforts 10/28/15

Derek Pierce decided to take matters in his own hands, again, this year.

The Mattoon native is tired of local students saying “It’s Just Eastern.” That’s why the sophomore finance and accounting major at Eastern Illinois University organized another informational session to set the record straight. The session included an informal chat about common misconceptions and myths about EIU and the collegiate experience.

“I know local students feel like they know everything about EIU,” Pierce said. “Yet, once you are on (EIU’s) campus, it’s a completely different world behind the castle.”

Pierce wasn’t alone leading the session.  Other EIU and Mattoon natives, including his friend, Luke Young, a sophomore finance major, joined him.     

The session, which took place earlier this month, was the second session organized by Pierce and Young since 2014.

Both envision the chats materializing into a formal program as they train a new group of MHS graduates and EIU students to organize the sessions.

Like the MHS students, Pierce said he understands the tough decision ahead of each student as they make their college decision. That’s why he brought along the EIU students from Mattoon.

“It is always nice to see the admissions representative come and talk, but it is different when you see someone you actually know come and talk,” Pierce said.

Some of the EIU students who attended included students of different majors and interests.

For Pierce, the decision to choose EIU was based on great faculty and professors who care about their students, the opportunities to earn leadership roles and the affordable price.

In the sessions, he reassures students that they will find their place on campus. For Pierce, his place on campus is with his fraternity, Sigma Chi, and as a tour guide in the Admissions Office.

As a tour guide, Pierce said he has the easiest job on campus because he gets to share why he loves “his” university. Pierce started his job in the office after organizing the informal chats. For more information about attending EIU and campus tours, click here.

 

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EIU ‘Gives Back’ During Homecoming Parade 10/21/15

Every year during Eastern Illinois University’s Homecoming Parade, student groups and community members throw candy to onlookers. This year, EIU is asking for something in return — socks.

As part of the national Socktober campaign, EIU is teaming up with SoulPancake and Kid President to prove that even the smallest acts of love, like donating a pair of new socks, can make a difference for those in need.

EIU’s student-cheering group, Blue Crew will collect socks as they walk and hand out candy in the parade. All donated socks will go to local community agencies in need. The campaign will continue throughout the month of October with donation boxes in the residence halls’ front desks as well at the Student Activities Center and the Student Community Service Office, located in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

EIU’s 100th Homecoming parade kicks off at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue. The route is as follows: north on Seventh Street, west on Monroe Avenue, south on Sixth Street, west on Polk Avenue, south on Division Street, and east on Grant Avenue (aka Panther Way), ending at the tailgate area at O'Brien Stadium. The parade is titled “100 Years of Coming Home.”  

For more information, about the campaign, click here. For more information about 100th year of Homecoming events, click here.

Other Homecoming events on Saturday include:

  • Rotary Pancake Breakfast: (6 a.m.-noon at Dirty’s Bar and Grill parking lot) The Pancake Breakfast consists of an all-you-can-eat sunrise breakfast for the EIU and Charleston communities prior to the start of the EIU Homecoming 2.5 Race and parade events. The event is sponsored by the Charleston Rotary Club with proceeds benefiting local charities. The breakfast is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 10.
  • 16th Annual Homecoming 2.5 K Race: The EIU 2.5K Homecoming Race is for runners and walkers of all ages and begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. Participants begin at the corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, making their way north on Seventh Street to the Charleston Square, then returning to Old Main via Sixth Street. An entry fee of $10 will be collected from each participant, while awards will be presented for the top male and female finisher in each of three categories: run, walk and wheelchair. Registration is available here.
  • Billy’s Backyard Tailgate: The Billy's Backyard Tailgate consists of pregame festivities for friends and alumni from the EIU and Charleston communities. Activities include: EIU alumni receptions, the Alumni Tent City, Kid's Corner, free food, inflatable games, live entertainment, giveaways and more. The tailgate kicks off from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the O’Brien Stadium parking lot.
  • 2015 Homecoming Football Game: The EIU Panthers will play the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech at 1 p.m. in O’Brien Stadium. 
Habitat Loss a Possible Threat
EIU Bat Research Provides Data as IDNR Establishes Management Plans
10/20/15

Those who enjoy an occasional shot of tequila may have a bat to thank.

“Many bat species are pollinators, mostly in tropical areas and a few in our southwestern states,” said Jill Deppe, associate professor of biological sciences at Eastern Illinois University.  “They’re essential to fruit production and a couple are known to pollinate the tequila (or blue agave) plant.”

But bats have other important roles to fill right here in Illinois.  There are about a dozen bat species that call the state home.

“All bats in Illinois are important insect eaters,” Deppe continued.  “Some of their tastes lean toward beetles, others to moths.  Some are more generalists.

“There are reports that bats save billions of dollars annually in the United States by eating insects, including crop pests.  If bats go away or disappear, food costs will increase.”

Unfortunately, habitat loss, wind energy development and disease over the past few decades have already caused declines in the numbers of many North American bat species.  Fortunately for Illinois, bats here, including the more common little brown bat, appear to be holding on -- at least for now, Deppe said.

Wildlife conservationists believe that by providing high quality habitat in protected areas throughout the state, they will contribute to the conservation of these populations.  However, inventories of bats, including baseline data necessary for documenting population trends, as well as information on bat habitat requirements, are scarce for state parks and nature preserves.  Thus, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has made acquisition of basic data on bats in these protected areas a priority.

That’s where Deppe and her students come in.

Thanks in part to IDNR monetary support in the amount of nearly $2,000, EIU teams are able to inventory and research three state parks and nature preserves in Coles and Clark counties to collect baseline data on bat species composition and diversity, as well as quantify bat habitat associations.  Inventory data is then shared with the IDNR to assist with management priorities.

“We’ve been able to get some really good information for them,” said Deppe, whose other research focuses on the study of bird migration.

“While I have focused on migratory songbirds for most of my career, I recently expanded the scope of my research to include mammals, particularly bats and small rodents,” she continued.  “My research is motivated by an interest in understanding wildlife/habitat associations so that we can better conserve and manage wildlife in ecosystems that are increasingly modified by humans.”

Students studying biological sciences at Eastern show a lot of interest in wildlife, and many of them are specifically interested in participating in Deppe’s bat research. Doing so requires some late night treks into the wild.

“We usually arrive at a site around 6:30 in the evening, which gives us time to set up,” Deppe said.  That process typically includes the installation of two nets running parallel to each other, with acoustic recorders placed nearby to record echolocation calls.  The nets are stretched across streams or creeks for maximum effectiveness.

“Once we’re set up, we move away from the nets (at least 50 meters) and then we sit and wait,” Deppe continued.  “We’ll plan on being at the site for four hours, minimum.”

The researchers, who work in teams of at least two for safety reasons, return to the nets every 10 minutes or so.  If they find a bat tangled in one of the nets, they’ll carefully remove and examine it to determine species, age and sex.  If it’s a female, they’ll record if it is pregnant and/or lactating.  Documenting reproduction in an area is a good sign.

All bats are released once they’ve been examined and the data recorded.

Safety precautions are followed at all times.  For the protection of both the researchers and the bats, two sets of gloves are worn while the bats are being handled.  Outer latex gloves, which are discarded after each bat encounter, help prevent the transmission of any possible disease among the bats.  Leather gloves worn underneath the latex gloves provide the researchers protection from possible bites.

"The male bats get rather frisky in the fall, which is when they mate with the females,” Deppe said, explaining that fertilization is delayed until after winter hibernation.  Babies are born late May to early June.

“And then our pregnant females are big and feisty,” she added.

If researchers net 10 to 11 bats, it’s considered a good night.  One to two captures is a typical night, and “no bat nights” are not rare, Deppe continued.

Careful net location maximizes the researchers’ success.  The nets, each approximately six yards high and nine yards wide, are stretched over waterways, blocking the bats’ flyway.  Even so, their highly developed sense of hearing, more often than not, warns the bats of the nets’ presence.

Bats emit sounds that, by bouncing off of objects in the bats’ path, send echoes back.  These echoes help bats determine the size of an object and its location all in a split second, allowing the mammals ample opportunity to avoid any obstruction.

Distracted bats are the most likely to be caught in researchers’ nets.  “Maybe they just ate an insect,” Deppe said.  “Or they have mouths full of water.  Or, maybe, they’re just caught off guard by something else as they get close to the nets.”

As they study the bats themselves, Deppe and her undergraduate and graduate researchers also take note of the environment in which they catch the bats.  For example, careful note is made of the type, size and condition of the trees that are growing in the bat-friendly territory.

According to Deppe, researchers compile a complete report of their findings each January and present it to the IDNR.

Research in Deppe’s lab aims to understand the factors explaining why species occur where and when they do, the patterns of animal movement in search of suitable conditions, and the consequences of movement and habitat selection on wildlife fitness and species distributions.

“Our bat inventory data will help establish management priorities and provide benchmark conditions for estimating population trends,” she said.  “Knowledge of bat species’ habitat requirements will provide guidance in developing habitat management plans for bats in the DNR protected areas.”

IDNR support is made possible through a grant from the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund Grant Program, designed to preserve, protect, perpetuate and enhance non-game wildlife and native plant resources of Illinois through preservation of a satisfactory and ecologically balanced environment. Funds for this grant program are from the tax check-off offered on Illinois income tax returns.

Undergraduate Research Grants through the Department of Biological Sciences and other internal grants from Eastern Illinois University’s College of Sciences and the Council on Faculty Research, also helped supplement funding for the project.

A related video highlighting Deppe’s bat research can be found here.

Still photos by Jay Grabiec, EIU

Fall Edgar Lecture to Focus on 2016 Presidential Race 10/16/15
David Yepsen

“Campaign 2016:  A Look at the Race for President” will be the topic of David A. Yepsen’s Oct. 22 lecture on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

Yepsen, who enjoyed a 34-year career with the Des Moines Register, serving as the paper’s chief political writer, political editor and political columnist before becoming director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in 2009, will be the next presenter in EIU’s Edgar Lecture Series.  Admission to his presentation, set to begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, in the Buzzard Hall Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

The Edgar Lecture Series, established in 2007 by former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar and his wife, Brenda, demonstrates a continuing support by the Edgars of their alma mater. The series allows the university to host two speakers a year -- one in the fall and one in the spring.  The lectures frequently focus on state government and address current issues and their historical implications.

The Edgars personally launched the series, with the former governor speaking in Fall 2007 and Mrs. Edgar taking her turn behind the lectern in Spring 2008.

Yepsen, a native of Jefferson, Iowa, and a 1972 graduate of the University of Iowa, did graduate work in journalism and mass communication at Iowa State University and, in 1985, earned a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University.

In 1989, he was a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.  In 2008, he was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard where he led a study group on the nation’s presidential selection processes.

Prior to joining The Register and Tribune in 1974, Yepsen worked for two years as a reporter for the Quad City Times in Davenport, Iowa.  During his newspaper career, he covered a variety of beats including police, city hall, courthouse and the Iowa Statehouse.  In 1977, he became a statehouse reporter for the Register and chief political reporter in 1983.  In 1994, he was named political editor and, in 2000, became the Register’s full-time political columnist.

He was a regular panelist on Iowa Public Television’s weekly “Iowa Press” news interview program for more than 30 years.  Yepsen has also appeared on a variety of national radio and television programs commenting on Iowa politics and the presidential caucus campaigns in the state.

While at the Des Moines Register, he covered nine presidential caucus campaigns for the paper.

In November 1994, the American Political Hotline named Yepsen one of “America’s best political reporters outside the Beltway.”  In 1997, the Washingtonian Magazine named him one of the “best Washington reporters who doesn’t live in Washington” and, in 2000, Brill’s Content magazine named him to their list of “all-star” political writers.

In 1999, veteran political reporter Jack Germond wrote Yepsen “is one of the premier political writers in the country.”  Yepsen served on the national advisory board for the start of “stateline.org,” an Internet publication started by the Pew Foundation to improve coverage of state governments.

In his book about his 1988 presidential race, the late Illinois Sen. Paul Simon praised Yepsen’s objectivity. 

“Every four years the chief political reporter for the Des Moines Register becomes the most important reporter in the nation,” he said. “It is a position that could cause vanity and abuse. To his credit, David Yepsen handled this position with sensitivity and balance.  And he worked hard.”

Tickets on Sale for 2015 EIU Alumni Awards Dinner 10/13/15

Those interested in attending the 2015 Alumni Awards Dinner, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24, on the Eastern Illinois University campus, can purchase tickets to do so.

Tickets, priced at $30 per person, are available by contacting the EIU Alumni Association at 217-581-6616 or online at eiu.edu/alumni by Thursday, Oct. 22.  The event is set to begin with a 6 p.m. social hour, followed by the dinner at 7, in the Grand Ballroom of the MLK Jr. Union.

Honorees include Larry Ankenbrand of Charleston; Robert Collier of Tucson, Ariz.; Aaron Grobengieser of Hendersonville, Tenn.; Habeeb Habeeb of Champaign; Kent Johnson of Chicago; Alvin Maurice of Lansdale, Pa.; Ross McCullough of Alpharetta, Ga.; Judge Robert Schatz of San Antonio, Texas; and Kenneth Spells of Godfrey.

The dinner, sponsored by the EIU Alumni Association, is held annually in conjunction with Eastern’s Homecoming celebration.

EIU President David Glassman: Spring Semester Classes to be Offered as Planned 10/12/15

The following message was sent by President David Glassman to all EIU students, faculty and staff on Monday, Oct. 12:

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Spring registration begins today and all should know that the spring semester will begin as scheduled.  There is no doubt we will be able to complete the entire semester as usual.  

As you are aware, we are awaiting the completion of a state budget in order to receive our state appropriations for the current academic year. The state and the university have been through this type of crisis in years past and the legislature has always come through with appropriations for the university.  We fully expect that our funding will come through this year and we are making contingency arrangements to operate the university until those funds are received.

Sincerely,
David Glassman
President, Eastern Illinois University

 


Small Business Workshop To Focus on Value 10/08/15

Eastern Illinois University is sponsoring a workshop for small business owners next week that will focus on the “value” of their businesses.

The workshop, titled “What is the Value of My Small Business,” will teach business owners to think long term.

David McGrady, professor in EIU’s School of Business, will teach owners business strategies that look to the long term instead of only day-to-day operations.

The workshop is part of the “Time for a Tune-Up” series organized by the Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education and Development (SEED) Center to provide local business owners with the necessary skills to succeed in their entrepreneurship ventures. 

The workshop, which costs $39, will start at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14 in Room 2020 in Lumpkin Hall at EIU.

Another workshop is also scheduled for 7 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11 in Room 1040 in Lumpkin Hall at EIU. It is called “Chaos or Consistency: The Importance of Policy Documentation for Employees.”

To register for the October workshop, go here. Register by 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12

The SEED Center at EIU is the interdisciplinary home for entrepreneurial education, research and community partnerships. The SEED Center’s primary focus is to foster collaboration among students, researchers, educators and practicing entrepreneurs to promote entrepreneurship through integrative learning. For more information about the SEED Center, click here.

 

EIU Ranked One of the Best Online Colleges in State 10/06/15

Eastern Illinois University has been ranked on two different lists as one of the best online colleges in Illinois for 2015.

On the lists, EIU outranks all of its state competitors including Illinois State University, Western Illinois University and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and Edwardsville.

The listings are called the “Most Affordable Online College in Illinois” and “Best Online Colleges in Illinois for 2015-2016.”

Regis Gilman, EIU’s dean of the School of Continuing Education, said online learning provides time and place bound students with a convenient and flexible way to access higher education.

“Online learning provides our students with a rigorous and challenging academic experience with enriched discussions and lectures using discussion boards, Skype sessions and video lectures,” Gilman said. “Like the general trend across higher education, online learning is becoming a growing part of instruction at Eastern Illinois University.”

The rankings compared all schools in Illinois that offer online post-secondary education programs based on value and affordability. To view the rankings, go to http://www.onlinecolleges.net/illinois/ and http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/online-colleges/illinois/.

EIU currently offers three online college bachelor’s degree programs and five hybrid master’s degree programs. Hybrid programs require online coursework, but they also require a brief time on campus.

The bachelor degree programs include a bachelor of arts in general studies with an option in child care education, bachelor of science in organizational and professional development, and RN to bachelor of science in nursing.

Hybrid programs include master of arts in art with an option in art education and community arts, master of arts in music with a concentration in music education, a master of science in communication disorders and sciences with speech-language pathology, and a master in science in family and consumer sciences, and a master of arts in aging studies.  All of EIU’s online programs can be found here

EIU’s Suicide Prevention Conference Set for October 10/05/15

Eastern Illinois University is hosting a free conference on suicide prevention this month focused on breaking the silence and learning how to help students struggling with depression.

The Thomas A. Bonine Suicide Prevention Conference is scheduled for 8:30-4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 in Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. The keynote speaker is Josh Rivedal, a one-man show from New York, whose primary focus is on suicide prevention as well as encouraging fellow students who are struggling with depression. He is an author of several books and writes for The Huffington Post.

The conference will also include break-out sessions titled “How to Talk to People in a Mental Health Crisis” or “Breaking the Silence: Strategies for Talking Openly and Candidly about Suicide.”

To check out more about Rivedal, click here

The conference is funded by the Thomas A. Bonine Rainbow of Hope Fund. Individuals interested in the program should be registered by Monday, Oct. 12. To register, click here. For additional questions, call EIU's Health Education Resource Center at (217) 581-7786.

Higher Education Hearing on Higher Education Budget
Statement Presented by EIU President David Glassman
10/05/15

Good morning and welcome to Eastern Illinois University! My name is David Glassman and I have been serving as Eastern’s 11th sitting president since June 1. I am pleased to have you on our campus on this beautiful fall day. I have come into this position at a crucial time, both for EIU and for the state, and despite the current challenges I am excited for the future of both.

Upon my hiring, the Board of Trustees made it clear the university’s greatest concern and challenge was to reverse its declining enrollment and the subsequent financial challenges that were the result of this decline.  Subsequently, I had anticipated focusing my attention during the summer on an integrated enrollment plan and generally getting to know the campus prior to the return of the students in the fall.  However, my prioritization shifted dramatically and urgently during only my second week in office after I thoroughly reviewed our 2016 fiscal budget.  The budget showed a deficit of around $13 million dollars based on the most optimistic estimate for this year’s state appropriation of a reduction of 6.5 percent on top of the end-of-year additional reduction of 2.25 percent from the FY15 budget.  The deficit resulted from the university not matching its expenditures with its annually generated revenue over the past few years.  In order to balance the budget, funds were annually drawn down from university reserves.  This is not a sustainable business model.  There was no alternative but to immediately develop a plan that would move the university toward a balanced budget.

The plan called for right-sizing our university (a term not popular with all, but remains most applicable) by decreasing expenses in all divisions and concurrently developing strategies to increase revenues through advocacy on behalf of our appropriation and from generating higher student enrollments.  Although a plan for decreasing expenses can be accomplished more quickly than one for increasing revenues, ultimately our future success will be predicated on being able to stabilize and grow our enrollments while maintaining an appropriately sized employee base necessary to attract, manage and support students and provide our educational mission with excellence.

An extremely difficult piece of this puzzle has been the realization that state appropriations is yet unknown for this year and could be that way well into the year. We were asked to plan, and since then have had to implement, budgets based on appropriation reductions of anywhere from 6.5 percent to 31.5 percent over last year. We have no idea when we may finally receive an appropriation, and we have no guarantee even once an appropriation is approved when we might actually receive the funds.

Not knowing our appropriation severely handicaps our ability to strategically plan for the year and allow us to know the bottom line of our budget.  Reductions we have instituted thus far through our expense-reduction plan of layoffs, furloughs, decreasing operating budgets and other measures, have lowered our expenses for FY16 by approximately $10 million.  Additional retirements and other employees choosing to depart the university throughout the year will likely save another $1 million.  The improved size of our freshman and graduate enrollments this year has increased our revenue estimates by approximately $500 thousand and other revenue–generating strategies will yield another $400 thousand, reducing our budget correction by $12 million.  We will continue to seek and implement cost efficiencies throughout the year, but without knowing our state appropriation for this year and other factors, it cannot be competently predicted whether additional employee layoffs will be necessary for us to balance our FY16 budget. 

Although we have made some measurable progress, student recruitment will remain a top priority as we move forward.  Our Fall 2015 new freshman class grew 2 percent over last year’s and our graduate student enrollment grew by 3.5 percent.  Our university continues to receive accolades and validations of our success from outside sources.  U.S. News and World Report has again listed EIU highest in ranking of all public, regional comprehensive universities in the state of Illinois and No. 5 among the 12-state Midwest regional public master’s universities. The quality of our students remains strong; we just need more of them.  This will call for strategically allocating additional resources to university marketing, branding and recruitment efforts.

The environment of higher education has never been more different, complex and challenging than it is today.  And we have already witnessed across the country that maintaining a status quo position is not a viable option for universities.  For the sustainability of our university, we must begin today to place our energies and our focus into a revisioned future, with positive attitude and excitement for the opportunities that present themselves. 

We must also be amenable to making significant changes in our operations and procedures toward greater levels of efficiency, becoming more flexible and adaptable to respond to a fast-changing external environment, increasing our ability to reallocate resources in a timely manner, and becoming increasingly more innovative in our program development, curriculum scheduling and educational delivery formats.  All of these factors are inter-connected and dependent upon one another. 

I am extremely confident that a bright future lies ahead of us, filled with opportunity and success.  Eastern Illinois University has a great tradition of excellence and meeting its educational mission for the past 120 years.  It has always taken pride in its most important resource -- its people -- and has not waned from its focus on student success. EIU has been an excellent partner with the state of Illinois in educating generations of leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, scientists and myriad other professionals, as well as ethical citizens and servant leaders.  The students at EIU performed 159,000 hours of community service for our region just last year.  And to assist our state, we have made EIU consistently affordable; our current tuition is the second-lowest among Illinois public universities. We have remained administratively lean; EIU was stated to have, by the state auditor general, the lowest administrative cost per student of all 12 Illinois public universities.  And we have been cost effective; EIU has been the lowest, or next to the lowest, of the public universities in terms of per capita funding from the state. 

We are doing our part and making the tough decisions here on campus to move EIU forward.   However, as a state university, we cannot do this alone. We call upon our partner in public education, the state of Illinois, to commit and deliver the resources necessary for us to continue to provide high quality and affordable public higher education. Our students and their families are working to move themselves and their state forward. The state needs to honor its commitment to those students.

Three Dog Night Concert Canceled 10/02/15

The Three Dog Night performance for Eastern Illinois University’s Family Weekend has been canceled because of health issues of one of its band members.

The performance was scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10 at Lantz Arena. The band canceled several upcoming tour dates in the South and Midwest because of health issues of the band’s co-founder and lead singer, Cory Wells.  

According to the band’s press release, “the iconic classic hits band Three Dog Night is postponing several upcoming tour dates to allow co-founder and lead singer Cory Wells to receive continued treatment of a nerve problem affecting his back.”    

Ticket refunds are available at point-of-purchase locations. Ticketholders who made their purchase at the box office will need to return their tickets to the box office to receive a full refund. For all tickets purchased online or by phone, the refund will be refunded automatically to the credit card used in purchasing the tickets. Ticket refunds will be for face value, but not handling fees. Please allow up to 10 days to receive a refund.

Please click here or call Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Ticket Office at (217) 581-5122 for additional information regarding ticket refunds.

State of the University Address -- Presented by EIU President David M. Glassman 09/28/15

Good Afternoon,

Before beginning my formal remarks, I would like to say how much of a great honor and privilege it is to be named the 12th president and 11th sitting president of Eastern Illinois University.  I take the trust that has been given to me by the Board of Trustees and the EIU community most seriously, and I pledge heartfelt dedication to lead our great university to unsurpassed success.  I would like to thank the Presidential Search Committee for their professionalism throughout the search.  They made an anxious and multi-step ordeal for candidates easier by their welcoming and friendly attitude, timely communications and vast array of information about their beloved institution.  I remember right before my off-campus interview began, Search Chair and Board of Trustee member Joe Dively gave me this advice:  There’s a great group of people inside the room who love Eastern and the city of Charleston.  Just relax and be yourself.”  Although I can’t say I’m always relaxed, I have never attempted to be anything but myself and his words were much appreciated.  My thanks also go out to the entire Board of Trustees for their vote of confidence and unwavering support since I began my tenure at EIU on June 1st.

When I sat down to write my remarks for this State of the University address, I remembered that it took President Abraham Lincoln only 272 words on November 19, 1863, to deliver one of the most eloquent and powerful State of the Nation addresses.  His remarks, which took a little more than two minutes to deliver, served to change and motivate the hearts and minds of an entire country.  Well, then I woke up from my procrastination and remembered I’m not President Lincoln -- so I hope you’ll indulge me for the next 45 minutes or so.

Conveyed to me during the presidential search process, the university’s greatest concern and challenge was to reverse its declining enrollment and the subsequent financial challenges that were the result of this decline.  Subsequently, I had anticipated focusing my attention during the summer months on discussing an integrated enrollment plan with the admissions office and learning more about the university while waiting for most students and faculty to return to campus.  My prioritization shifted dramatically and urgently during my second week after I thoroughly reviewed our 2016 fiscal budget.  As you are all now aware, the budget showed a deficit of around $13 million dollars based on the most optimistic estimate for this year’s state appropriation of a reduction of 6.5 percent.  This, in turn, was being added to an end-of-year additional reduction of 2.25 percent from the FY15 budget.  The source and history of the growing deficit result from the university not matching its expenditures with its annually generated revenue over the past few years.  In order to balance the budget, funds were annually supplemented from university reserves.  This is not a sustainable business model unless major positive changes in revenue can be predicted, and all evidence with declining enrollments and declining appropriations does not support that conclusion.  Additionally, the significant reduction in university reserves left the university in a more precarious state.

There was no alternative but to immediately develop a plan that would move the university toward a balanced budget.  As plan development took place, it was shared with different constituency groups on campus and campus-wide communications were sent out.  During times of stressful and quick response actions such as occurred, I realize that some will suggest that not enough information was shared or what was shared was not done so in a timely manner and that perhaps a larger number of faculty and staff leaders should have been more directly involved in the planning process.  I do not disagree with these contentions, but to delay action would have had significant negative impact on our ability to stabilize the university’s expenses with expected incoming revenue.

The plan called for right-sizing our university (a term not popular with all, but remains most applicable) by decreasing expenses supported by appropriated and tuition funding and concurrently developing strategies to increase revenues through aggressive and meaningful advocacy on behalf of our appropriation and from generating higher student enrollments.  Although a plan for decreasing expenses can be accomplished more quickly than implementing and receiving the positive financial outcomes of a plan for increasing revenues, ultimately our future success will be predicated on being able to stabilize and grow our enrollments while maintaining an appropriately sized employee base necessary to attract, manage and support students and provide our educational mission with excellence.  No organization has cut its way to excellence and we will not do so at Eastern.  In turn, we will need to become more adaptable to change, entrepreneurial in spirit, and aggressive in seeking and creating opportunities that will attract the students of the 21st century to our campus or through technology-based learning.  

I do not intend today to go over the details of every cost reduction activity that has been implemented, many of which were informed by the CUPB’s Program Review.  Instead, I will provide updated information relevant to some of the most pertinent questions being asked on campus relative to our budgetary position. 

First, why did the previous plan to rectify our budget challenges through the natural attrition and re-hiring freeze of employees fail?  Unfortunately, attrition savings and previous operating budget cuts over the past several years have not been enough to right-size the university in balancing its budget.  They have, however, limited the level of what the deficit would have been had they not been implemented.  In each of the past few years, our deficit in expenses relative to revenues continued to expand significantly as lower enrollments and decreased appropriations were occurring at a faster rate.  These deficits were supplemented at the end of the year by using university cash reserves, which have now decreased to a critical level for our cash flow needs.

It is still too early and difficult to estimate whether our budget will be balanced this year.  As yet, we have not received the level of our state appropriation, which is still being estimated somewhere between a reduction of 6.5 percent and 31.5 percent over last year. 

Not knowing our appropriation severely handicaps our ability to strategically plan for the year and allow us to know the bottom line of our budget.  The reductions we have instituted thus far through our expense-reduction plan of layoffs; furloughs; decreasing operating budgets; moving salaries from appropriated to non-appropriated funding, when justifiable; and other measures, have lowered our expenses for FY16 by approximately $10 million.  Additional retirements and other employees choosing to depart the university throughout the year who we are not yet aware of will likely save another $1 million.  The improved size of our freshman and graduate enrollments this year have increased our estimate of revenue by approximately $500 thousand, and another approximate $400 thousand is being realized by joining virtually all other universities in charging the credit card company fees for tuition payment to the card holder.  All totaled, we believe we have reduced the expected $13 million deficit gap down to about $1 million.  And that is a huge drop.  Throughout the remainder of the year, we will continue working to reduce our expenses to achieve a balanced budget.

Many on campus are concerned with knowing when the budget adjustments will end and whether there will be more layoffs.  In today’s higher education environment, it is more important than ever for universities to practice program review and budget adjustment strategies on an ongoing basis, not just in time of financial challenges.  In fact, the ability to react quickly and be fluid in financial decision making, including decisions for reallocating resources between and among campus divisions, provides opportunity in leveraging current program strengths, resourcing strategic initiatives informed by our strategic plan and exploiting opportunities to enhance the university’s prestige or financial position. 

Without knowing our state appropriation for this year and other factors, it cannot be competently predicted whether additional employee layoffs will be necessary for us to balance our FY16 budget.  I do sincerely believe, however, that the magnitude of any additional layoffs, if they were to be necessary, will be relatively small to what we have already experienced. I will continue to provide honest and timely updates related to our budget and subsequent actions.

There is one final area of EIU’s budget that I wish to provide some clarity.  The intercollegiate athletic budget is funded through numerous individual sources, including tuition waivers, donations, sponsorships, revenue generated from ticket and other sales, NCAA funding, paid-for games, student fees and appropriated funds.  Of these sources, the last two – student fees and appropriated funding -- have been most scrutinized and occasionally criticized by various members of the campus community. 

From the university’s appropriated and tuition revenue (of about $90 million), intercollegiate athletics received $1.6 million or 1.8 percent of dollars generated from these sources this past year.  This is down from $1.9 million a few years ago.  In response to budget adjustments and the sharing of the financial burden across all divisions, I further cut the athletic appropriated and tuition funding an additional 20 percent or $320 thousand (down to a total of $1.28 million).

Last year, the student athletic fee was increased by $4.36 per credit hour.  The increase was to assist intercollegiate athletics in meeting its expenses – an action that has become ever challenging with the steady decline in student enrollments resulting in significantly less fee revenue generation.  The fee had not been adjusted in seven years. It reached a point for the last three years that without an increase in athletic fees or appropriated funding, intercollegiate athletics ran annual deficits varying between about $300,000 to slightly less than $1 million.  These deficits were covered, as were other deficit spending by the university, by university reserves.  With the new student fee rate in place, and although having to deal with a reduction in their appropriated funding, intercollegiate athletics has been charged with maintaining a balanced budget.

I have had many thoughtful discussions with Tom Michael, our athletic director, and we are in agreement of the importance of intercollegiate athletics as part of Eastern’s student university experience.  We also agree there is the need for strict fiscal responsibility and accountability by his division, which includes assessing the array and number of sports teams supported by the university and taking appropriate actions as deemed warranted.  Today, I will be transitioning the reporting line of intercollegiate athletics from the Office of Student Affairs to the Office of the President for my direct supervision. 

With our budget adjustments now being put in place, it will provide a chance for us to take a long-needed breath, an opportunity to recognize the good in what we do and what we accomplish, and rededicate ourselves to our strategic plan focused on enrollment growth, academic excellence and a positive work environment. 

Today’s message is one of optimism and a call for positive thinking.  Eastern has a great educational tradition, truly wonderful faculty and staff, a beautiful campus, and students and alum who love their EIU experience.  We have so much to be proud of and thankful for.  I call for joining together as a campus community in shared optimism for that which we have and can achieve. 

The state of the university is strong and improving.  Our strategies and leadership in student recruitment have successfully resulted in reversing a multi-year trend of smaller first-time freshman classes with an increase of 2 percent for this year over last.  This is the first sign that we are moving toward a stabilized enrollment.  Increased enrollments over last year were also seen in graduate students by 3.5 percent; international students, 6.6 percent; and honors students by 5 percent.  In addition, we made significant progress in recruiting Latino and Latina students with a 6.1 percent increase over last year. 

These successes are positive indicators and they are not coincidental, especially during the most competitive student recruitment environment in the history of higher education in America.  They are the result of hard work, strategic planning and the execution of those plans; innovative program development such as the fast-growing hybrid MA in Art -- Art Education; and the contributions of the entire campus -- from those who keep the campus beautiful to those faculty, staff and students who engage directly with our prospective students and their parents.  And, let’s also not forget the power of the friendly gestures or hello that all of us provide to our campus visitors. 

Although we have made some measurable progress, student recruitment will remain a priority focus of our attention as we move forward.  Changing student demographics, career-based interests and increased expectations for technology-based learning will challenge us to continue our path of becoming more adaptable and flexible to the education marketplace. Already I have heard from multiple EIU departments who are exploring three-year degree programs, increasing online course availability at the undergraduate and graduate levels, considering new 3+2 undergraduate/master’s programs, rebranding their current program, or developing new market-driven undergraduate and graduate programs.  This innovative and entrepreneurial spirit is essential for our future success and, in turn, we must invest resources to those initiatives that strengthen our university’s prestige, recognition and financial position.  The quality of our students remains strong; we just need more of them.  This will call for strategically allocating additional resources to university marketing, branding and recruitment efforts.

Our university continues to receive accolades and validations of our success from outside sources.  U.S. News and World Report has again listed EIU highest in ranking of all public, regional comprehensive universities in the state of Illinois and No. 5 among the 12-state Midwest regional public master’s universities.

We have been cited among the Best Online Colleges in Illinois for 2015-16 by online colleges.net and recognized for the third consecutive year in Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges.  Our city of Charleston has been named the second safest college town in America and the second most affordable college town in America by The SafeWise Report and Business Insider, respectively.

Our University Advancement Office had an excellent FY15 with gifts received and pledged of $11.1 million, exceeding the year’s goal of $10 million.  This is the fifth straight year of exceeding the $10 million goal.  The office also exceeded its mini campaign to achieve 100 new student scholarships, and they did it faster than anyone expected -- by more than two years.  So we’ve now upped our goal to 150 new scholarships by the original deadline of June 20, 2017. 

This past year, our Student Affair’s division was recognized for the fourth consecutive year by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators as a recipient of the NASPA Lead Initiative on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement.  This year, NASPA elevated EIU to the status of an Advisory Institution based on the excellence of our programming provided to our students. 

And, I absolutely must recognize the level of EIU student community service.  During the past year, 7,400 EIU students participated in community service events totaling 159,000 hours of service to Charleston and other communities. There is no question:  EIU IS developing servant leaders and ethical citizens for the future of Illinois -- a fact we will continue to share with our government officials. 

I have already mentioned intercollegiate athletics today, but I would like to recognize their accomplishments for last year on and off the field.  Team championships in the Ohio Valley Conference were achieved by women’s indoor track and men’s outdoor track.  Off the field, our student-athletes amassed several academic honors and accomplishments and one national best.  In Fall 2014, the overall GPA for all sports was a 3.13, with 16 of our sports teams achieving an average GPA above 3.0.  Similar success was achieved during the spring semester where the overall GPA of our student-athletes was a 3.15.  And finally, Eastern’s women’s swimming team was recognized by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America as having the highest GPA for NCAA Division 1 teams in the nation.

Our Office of Research and Sponsored Programs reported a strong year for the university in securing external funding for research, educational and social outreach, student support services, and creative performance.  This, despite heavy competition across the country for a diminishing pool of governmental and private funds.  Fifty-two new external grants were funded with awards totaling more than $4 million.  Successful proposals were submitted from across our university divisions and among all four colleges.  Last year’s two largest service and outreach awards were received by Jack Neal of WEIU and co-PIs Ms. Misty Baker and Dr. Karla Kennedy-Hagan of our Family and Consumer Sciences Department.  Our three largest faculty research awards were all secured by faculty members in the Department of Biological Sciences.  Congratulations to Drs. Eric Bollinger, Robert Colombo, Jeffrey Laursen, Scott Meiners, Michael Menze and Charles Pederson on their outstanding efforts.  To be clear, all externally funded grants and contracts, regardless the size of award, are positive indicators of significant accomplishment and worthy of recognition.  Each award benefits the proposed projects of our faculty and staff, and greatly adds to the prestige and reputation of our university. 

The heart and soul of our university lies in its educational mission and those responsible for its delivery and standards of excellence.  I have purposely placed academics at the crescendo of my remarks on the strength of the state of our university.  Eastern’s academic colleges, departments and award-winning and nationally recognized faculty continue with great dedication and commitment. 

Of course, there is not enough time in this State of the University address to provide but a very short set of examples reflecting the excellence taking place in our four colleges, the Graduate School, the Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College, the School of Continuing Education and Booth Library -- an exceedingly difficult task as there is not one academic department or unit that doesn’t deserve mention.  I fear by leaving so many deserving and impressive accolades out, I risk the value of recognizing those mentioned.  But here are a few:

A preeminent quality assessment of a university or academic program is accomplished by securing the national validation of accrediting bodies.  Accreditors assure that the institution or program meets the myriad requirements demonstrating its excellence, accountability, professionalism of its instructional faculty, and adequate resources to maintain a high level of performance.  Eastern has an outstanding historical record of securing and maintaining program accreditation.

Last year, the university was awarded its reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, receiving a perfect 10-year re-accreditation.  Preparation for an HLC accreditation review is an arduous activity calling upon dozens of faculty and staff to devote tremendous numbers of hours in multiple subcommittees developing the data and self-study report.  Congratulations to all those who participated in this momentous task, especially Dr. Jeff Stowell and former Dean Bob Augustine for leading the University HLC reaccreditation Steering Committee.

Congratulations, also, to the several academic schools and departments who received their reaccreditations last year for the excellence of their programs:  Business (from AACSB), Health Studies (from SABPAC), Nursing (from CCNE), Recreation Administration (from NRP/AALR) and the Tarble Arts Center (from the AAM).  

New academic programs that were added last year or will be introduced this year include the BA in Health Promotion and Leadership, MS in Biochemistry and Biotechnology and an MA in Aging Studies.  Other programs that were modified for online cohorts or for hybrid delivery include the BS in Family and Consumer Science, BS in Organizational and Professional Development, BS in Recreational Administration, MA in Art – Art Education, MA in Music – Music Education, MS in Family and Consumer Sciences, and an MBA offered by the School of Business.  Hopefully, I haven’t missed any.

The productivity of Eastern’s faculty in research and creative activity production as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications, performances and exhibitions is exceptionally impressive.  Last year, the faculty were responsible for furthering the knowledge of their academic disciplines through publishing no less than seven scholarly books, 187 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and presenting their research at 266 national and international academic conferences.  Our faculty in art, theatre, dance and music presented myriad performances and exhibitions in venues across the country.  I strongly applaud the high level of research and scholarship production occurring among our faculty.  And, make no mistake, I value this contribution in the best sense of the teacher-scholar model and know just how an active research and creative agenda can inform classroom instruction, motivate students in learning, keep faculty current in their discipline, and add prestige to our university.

I’m also pleased to note the strong focus and success that Eastern continues to place on faculty student research collaborations. Last year, Eastern was one of just 29 public universities recognized by the Council on Undergraduate Research for exceptionally high participation in its annual national conference.  Our honors college sponsored 32 student presenters to travel to the national conference in Washington State, the largest number of any public university in Illinois, Missouri or Indiana.  

Among the many other accomplishments of our academic division, I note the success of our new STEP program developed by Eastern’s Autism Center for students diagnosed on the spectrum of autism. Under the leadership of Dr. Gail Richard and her student staff, the program has become both a unique living laboratory for student learning about autism and its related communication disorders, but also an excellent program to assist in providing EIU students with autism various skills and support for a successful university experience.

The historical administration graduate students of our History Department, in collaboration with the College of Education and Professional Studies, received a 2015 Award of Distinction from the Illinois Association of Museums in recognition of their exhibit, “Mission, Method, Memory: The Lab School at Eastern Illinois University.”

Eastern’s new Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education and Development Center (or simply, SEED Center) which is now the interdisciplinary home for entrepreneurial education, research and community outreach, is proving to be a success.  Under the directorship of Dr. Marco Grunhagen, the center served 30 new business clients, assisted businesses in generating two loans totaling $325,000 dollars, and helped five businesses be created during the past year.

The School of Continuing Education’s Academy of Lifelong Learning continued to provide its educational outreach through non-credit bearing courses in culture, health, science and the arts.  Last year, the academy engaged more than 1,100 participants for its 65 courses and events.

And finally, Booth Library was awarded the 2014 Illinois Library Association Demco Library Innovative Award in recognition of its exceptional programming success. It has become the place for collaborative learning and a hub for academic interaction among students.  And it is certainly far from idle.  Last year alone, Eastern faculty and students completed more than three million searches in the electronic databases and resources held at Booth Library, and book and chapter downloads numbered 421,000. 

I believe you can see that the list of academic accomplishments could easily and justifiably go on all evening.  We are proud to have a world class faculty that are committed and dedicated to their craft and share core values in excellence and student success.   

Yes, the state of the university is strong.  But we are at a crossroads in defining our future Pathway to Success, which is the phrase I have been using to frame my vision for EIU.  It is a crucial time for our campus in moving forward.  The environment of higher education has never been more different, complex and challenging than it is today.  And we have already witnessed across the country that maintaining a status quo position will be a downward spiraling strategy for most universities.  For the sustainability of our university, we must begin today to place our energies and our focus into a revisioned future, with positive attitude and excitement for the opportunities that present themselves. 

The vision itself, simplistic and non-controversial, resides with continuing and enhancing the long tradition of Eastern’s public educational mission through academic excellence while retaining our core values and as a financially stable mid-sized regional comprehensive university for our next 120 years.  It is not the vision that provides extraordinary thought or difficult solicitation for buy-in; rather, the process or Pathway to achieve this vision provides all the challenges, excitement and difficult decisions that will be called for. 

Today, I will outline a framework for a Pathway envisioned to achieve our desired outcome, but no realization can be made without campus support, collaborative action in refining the Pathway, and belief in it.  Our future lies in our own hands and our courage to action, and sharing in the sacrifices and work required toward its success.  

The Pathway continues to leverage our strengths in undergraduate and graduate academic excellence and institutional brand as a university that engages students and provides a high-impact and academically rich education for an attractively affordable cost.  The Pathway maintains our strength and commitment to an undergraduate education that has its foundational base in the liberal arts and humanities for every EIU student.  The Pathway continues to maintain the strength and commitment to our professional and pre-professional programs.  And the Pathway maintains our commitment to shared governance in its process and the development of interdisciplinary and interdivisional taskforces and committees, as needed. 

Yet, to achieve our Pathway to Success, we must also be amenable to making significant changes in our operations and procedures toward greater levels of efficiency, becoming more flexible and adaptable to respond to a fast-changing external environment, increasing our ability to reallocate resources in a timely manner, and becoming increasingly more innovative in our program development, curriculum scheduling and educational delivery formats.  All of these factors are inter-connected and dependent upon one another. 

We must urgently explore altering our existing programs when appropriate, as well as developing new programs, both undergraduate and graduate, that will appeal to students and grow our enrollments.  At times, a simple name change of a major or department can greatly attract the attention and enhance student recruitment.  Names do matter in this competitive environment.  Several departments I have spoken with have already begun modifying programs and conceiving new programs that will meet the interests and career paths sought by students today in various fields of business, technology, and health care.  And I am sure other departments are having similar conversations of programmatic changes and student recruitment strategies.

In revisioning our future, the faculty, in collaboration with academic administrators, must begin to identify, or reaffirm, a limited number of programs and disciplines that will define EIU as our premiere programs noted for their excellence in quality, national recognition and strong student recruitment potential.  In today’s higher education environment, an array of such programs is necessary for continued enrollment growth, brand recognition and prestige of the university.  They should be found in each of our four colleges and the Graduate School, and we must be willing as a university to support these premiere programs with appropriate resources to help maximize their outreach of excellence.  

Exploring new innovative partnerships for program delivery will be an essential component to EIU’s Pathway to Success.  Partnership programs between public institutions have become a key sustainability strategy in several state systems.

We have already begun exploring a partnership between EIU’s nursing program and Lake Land College for developing a dual-enrolled, joint degree four-year program leading to the BSN in nursing.  The partnership is positioned to create a very unique, high demand and competitively affordable program benefitting both institutions.  I believe this model has great potential and, if successful, it will likely be replicated by other EIU departments that see similar opportunity. 

The Pathway calls for continued faculty and staff development and enhanced technology support needed for EIU to provide quality educational programing to multiple types of learners.  Whether students are traditional or non-traditional, able to come to campus or are place-bound, Eastern must consider pathways though innovative strategies to accommodate these learners. 

In order for us to plan our university’s future, we must realistically define our optimal enrollment size given current demographics, market-place competition, and our own interests in financial sustainability.  This past year we graduated a large, excellent class of students into the workforce or on to graduate and professional programs.  Our Fall 2015 enrollment stands at approximately 8,500 students and our senior class is the largest of our four.  As our new freshman classes meet or exceed the previous year’s freshman class, we should be able to stabilize our total enrollments and begin to grow them by 2017.  To do so, it will be essential that we deploy adequate resources to our marketing and admissions efforts. 

EIU has crafted the brand of an academically high quality and friendly university with small classes; high faculty/student engagement inside and outside the classroom, having the majority of courses taught by full-time faculty; superior student services and support; competitive intercollegiate athletics; and strengths in all areas of teacher education and several other academic disciplines, as well.  We are also known for strong retention, graduation and placement rates relative to our peers.

In part, we have been successful in creating our brand through maintaining very low student-to-faculty ratios (currently for Fall 2015 at 14:1) and very low student-to-non-instructional employees ratios (currently for Fall 2015 at 8:1).  Comparing ourselves to 2013 data of 32 Midwestern public comprehensive universities, our student/faculty ratio would rank us tied for the lowest and our student/non-instructional employees ratio would rank us third lowest.  The average student/faculty ratio of the 32 universities was 19:1 (compared to our 14:1), and for the student/non-instructional employee ratio, it averaged 12.5:1 (compared to our 8:1).  It is important to note that EIU’s current student/faculty and student/non-instructional employees ratios are both lower than what they had been when we had enrollments of 10,000 students.

There is an extremely high financial expense to the university in maintaining very low ratios in both of these categories at the same time, but it does attest to the success of being able to support our brand of providing a private-like university experience at a very affordable public regional institution.  The result, however, has become an immense financial challenge for Eastern to maintain these very low ratios while student enrollment revenue continues to go down, exacerbated by a steady annual decrease in state appropriations.  It is simply not sustainable.

It is also reasonable to suggest that another complicating factor is the higher and steeper rate of administrative costs to the university relative to increases for instructional costs over the last several years.  And although this is a national trend, and that the May 2013 Auditor General Report of the State of Illinois stated that Eastern has the lowest administrative costs per student of all 12 Illinois public universities, there is no doubt that this is a factor, and one that needs to be carefully reviewed.  We must keep any rise in administrative costs in check and seek solutions to reduce their costs through efficiency of operations.

During this academic year, I plan to meet with our academic and staff leadership, including the vice presidents, deans, department chairs, Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and others, to hear their thoughts on what they believe are appropriate ratios for student/faculty and student/non-instructional employees given the university’s financial position and other factors.  It is my intention to set ratio goals that will guide the university’s planning by the end of this academic year.

Our Pathway to Success must also include the efforts of our neighbors in Charleston, Mattoon and all of Coles and nearby counties to become close partners in the support of Eastern Illinois University and our students.  We look to them for creating an ongoing positive and friendly community environment, assisting our efforts in recruiting students, showing their pride for EIU to prospective student families as they visit our campus, and sharing the optimism and positivism we have for our university. 

In turn, EIU must support our neighbor cities through community service, economic enrichment, respect and gratitude, as well as serving as the intellectual, cultural and entertainment center of East-Central Illinois.  For the future good of our region and the prosperity of its citizens, EIU, Charleston and Mattoon must be joined in spirit and purpose.  I want to thank Mayor Brandon Combs of Charleston, Mayor Tim Gover of Mattoon and Charleston City Manager Scott Smith – all three alums of Eastern – for reaching out and expressing their individual and collective desire to enhance the relationship that exists between EIU and their cities.

Lastly, and that which has been mentioned throughout today’s remarks, is the importance of executing a strategic, comprehensive, integrated and effective marketing and enrollment plan for the university in our Pathway to Success.  We must continue the strategies that are working, abandon those that are not, perfect our messaging to students and parents, and insure flawless visit day experiences for our prospective students and their families. 

It is typical for universities to budget approximately 1 percent or more of their total budget toward marketing and advertising purposes.  If we used Eastern’s total funds budget, that would equate to more than $2 million.  If we used only appropriated and tuition-driven funds that we have flexibility in use, it would equate to a lower limit of marketing and advertising funds of about $900,000.  Our current marketing and advertising budget for last year was approximately $700,000, which also included the salaries of our university communications and marketing staff.  Our amount is substantially lower than what is spent on marketing by SIU-C, SIU-E, Western Illinois, NIU, Illinois State and Indiana State. In some cases, the difference is more than a million dollars.  For us to compete successfully and become the “un-hidden university gem” of the state, we will need to more strategically and efficiently use our marketing dollars and also consider increasing the budget dedicated to marketing our institution.

Our recruitment efforts also need to be intensified in our local and regional communities, as well as the large markets of Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis.  We must begin to create affinity with students no later than their junior year and recapture our market lost to in-state and out-of-state competitors.   Our admission activities must be carefully structured to reach the enrollment targets set for each year and achieve our defined optimal enrollment position with students who meet our standards and whom we believe can be successful at Eastern. 

Recruitment of students is the responsibility of all of us – the admissions office, faculty, administrators and staff.  EIU students themselves are excellent recruiters for our university.  And I hope our alums and friends of the university feel the same way.  Please do all you can to promote our university with optimism on and off campus.    

The remarks I expressed today were honest and sincere.  I am extremely confident that a bright future lies ahead of us, filled with opportunity and success.  Eastern Illinois University has a great tradition of excellence and meeting its educational mission for the past 120 years.  It has always taken pride in its most important resource -- its people -- and has not waned from its focus on student success.  It has survived two world wars, multiple geopolitical conflicts, a great depression, and is emerging from the recent great recession.  It has found a way to re-envision itself through four name changes and the broadening of its mission as a normal school to a highly ranked, public, regional comprehensive university.  It has taught students the knowledge and skills to be successful members of society during the industrial revolution, the transistor age, the computer age and now the information age.

The university has seen growth in student enrollments to a level that cried for “no mas” to the most recent nine-year declining trend in enrollments which echoed “mas, mas, por favor.”  In the ebb and flow of the great tradition of EIU, it has always persevered through the good decisions and intentions of its campus community.  It is our turn now to come together – faculty, staff, administration, trustees, and the city of Charleston -- to use our collective and collaborative intellect and energies to set the successful and financially sustainable path for EIU. 

Once again, it is truly my honor and privilege to lead Eastern to its vision.  Thank you all for your support. 

Thank you.

Public Invited to EIU Observatory Open Houses, Special Eclipse Talk 09/23/15

Eastern Illinois University’s physics observatory will hold a special open house to view the total lunar eclipse this Sunday, Sept. 27.  The event begins at 7 p.m., with totality at around 9 p.m.

The special open house is in addition to the observatory’s regular monthly open house, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Friday.

Also, Dave Linton, a faculty member in EIU’s Physics Department, will discuss Sunday’s lunar eclipse and two future solar eclipses.  His talk will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, in Phipps Lecture Hall, located in the Physical Science Building on EIU’s campus.  Admission is free and open to the public.

The observatory is located in the southwestern corner of campus between O'Brien Stadium and the intramural softball fields.  Those who attend may park their vehicles in the lot north of Wesley United Methodist Church and then walk to the observatory site.

For information, please call the physics department at 581-3220.

EIU Conference to Address Strategies for Eliminating Bullying 09/22/15

Eastern Illinois University is continuing to take a lead in the fight against bullying.

“With bullying, suicide, depression and many other behavioral challenges that cause anxiety, our focus is on prevention and intervention,” said Mildred Pearson, founder and director of the “A Time for Prevention:  A Bridge to Intervention” conference, set to take place on the Charleston campus on Friday, Oct. 2.  Hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We believe that equipping students, teachers, faculty, staff and other professionals is essential; therefore, (we) offer an annual conference for professional development on evidenced-based Social and Emotional Learning and extensive conversations around strategies to enhance teaching and learning.”

The conference, now in its fifth year, is a product of EIU’s Bridging Voices in Our Community project, which serves as a catalyst to help educate and equip learning communities in the area of bullying prevention.  The cost is $50, which includes all presentations, handouts, a continental breakfast, luncheon and six CPDH credits.  Admission for student attendees is free.

Last year’s conference hosted 300 teachers, community members and interested students.  The conference integrates various disciplines and departments across the EIU campus while forming partnerships with other universities to provide high impact practices and great programing.

The event has nationally recognized experts, along with several local speakers, scheduled to talk as part of the program.  Melissa Schligner, vice president of practice for Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), will present the keynote address, “Promoting Positive Students:  Social and Emotional Learning and Bullying Prevention.”

Other presenters from throughout Illinois and the EIU campus will discuss topics (concurrently) such as “Unleashing Student Strengths:  Focusing on What Makes Students Great,” “Building Social Resilience and Responsibility in Children,” “Teacher Victimization:  What You Need to Know and What to Do About It,” “It’s Bad for Business:  Bullying in the Workplace,” “Anti-bullying Laws in Illinois,” “Racial Bullying:  Can Minority Students Survive and Thrive in the Academy,” “Bullying and Suicide” and “Building Relationships with At-risk Students.”

Additionally, Pearson said "there are new components to the conference, which includes undergraduate and graduate poster sessions and round-table discussions.  The focus of the roundtable informal dialogue is to highlight the five competencies of Social and Emotional Learning and discuss ways to integrate each of them in every facet of our lives."

The conference will also include a theatrical production of “Gidion’s Knot” by Johanna Adams and directed by J. Kevin Doolen. (Extra charge required.)

A complete list of speakers, short bios and subject topics, as well as online registration can be found at the conference’s website.  The registration deadline is noon Thursday, Oct. 1.  You may also call 217-512-9421 or email bvcpreventbullying@eiu.edu for information.

“This conference will serve as a time for learning communities to unite and promote bullying intervention,” Pearson said.  “We are asking administrators, professors,  teachers, coaches and other school personnel to join us from around the four corners of the state in becoming a ‘human bridge’ as we come together and serve as voices against bullying."

Booth Library Offers New Music Rehearsal and Recording Resources 09/21/15

Guitar and keyboard players have new software and equipment options at Booth Library.

The library offers two Yamaha digital pianos and two electric guitars for use inside the library’s music rehearsal rooms. The keyboards and guitars are connected to a computer, allowing users to record a rehearsal session for review or make a multi-track recording.

In addition to the instruments, advanced amplifier emulator software is available for guitars. Players can choose from 64 amplifiers, 77 cabinets and 113 effects.

“It’s not terribly practical to carry a guitar all over campus, especially in the rain,” said Stacey Knight-Davis, head of the Library Technology Services department. “Having guitars available in the library lets students squeeze in some extra practice time between classes without risking damage to their instrument or back.”

However, patrons are welcome to bring their own. Any guitar equipped with a standard quarter-inch input jack can be connected to the computer, which is equipped with software that allows patrons to slow the tempo of recorded music while preserving the pitch.

The library’s sheet music and CD collection is located on the fourth floor. Sheet music, instructional music books and CDs can be checked out, or patrons can try them out in a rehearsal room before they check them out for home use.

Those interested in starting to play guitar or piano are welcome to come in to the library to try either instrument. Several books on learning to play are available. Please see here for a list of instructional books. An electric guitar, headphone amplifier and tuner may be checked out for four weeks.

Funding for the guitars and software was provided by a Redden grant from the EIU Foundation.

MEDIA CONTACT: Beth Heldebrandt, Booth Library; emheldebrandt@eiu.edu   

Three Dog Night Set to Bring “Joy” to EIU Family Weekend 09/18/15

The general public is invited to enjoy a night of joy with rock music icons, Three Dog Night as part of EIU Family Weekend festivities. The concert will start at 8 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 10 in Lantz Arena on EIU’s campus with doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets for the general public are on sale for the general public.

Some of the legendary rock band’s hits include “Joy to The World,” “Mama Told Me (Not To Come),” “Black and White,” “Shambala,” “One,” “Liar” and “Celebrate.”

After 40 years of making music to sold-out crowds, the band’s career includes 21 consecutive Top 40 hits, including three #1 singes, 11 Top 10’s and 12 straight RIAA Certified Gold LPS.  The rock band, known for its eclectic taste, formed in 1968, still consists of the founding members including Cory Wells and Danny Hutton on lead vocals, original band mate Michael Allsup (guitar) and Paul Kingery (bass and vocals) and Pat Bautz (drums).

The founding members recorded music with the best new songwriters of their time including Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Elton John, Laura Nyro, Paul Williams and Hoyt Axton, among many others.

The name of their band comes from the Australian hunters who, on cold nights in the outback sleep with their dogs for warmth. The coldest evenings are known as “three dog night.”

Recently, the band added new songs with the release of a double A-sided single in 25 years. The songs are “Heart of Blues” and “Prayer of the Children.”

Tickets for the general public are $25, and they can be purchased from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Business Office in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. Tickets are available at www.universityuniontickets.com or by calling (217)581- 5122.

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Expert to Address Behavioral Challenges at Fall Autism Conference 09/15/15

Eastern Illinois University’s Fall Autism Conference will focus on behavioral challenges faced by students with autism spectrum disorders later this month.

Autism expert, Susan Stokes will present at the conference with a lecture titled “The Challenge of Challenging Behaviors! Understanding and Effectively Addressing Behavioral Challenges of Students with ASD.”

The conference will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 in the University Ballroom in the Martin Luther King Jr. Union. The registration deadline for the conference is Monday, Sept. 21.

Stokes, a speech-language pathologist and autism consultant with more than 25 years of expertise, has presented at many state and national workshops and conferences. She frequently provides trainings on visual supports, assistive technology and all related aspects of autism spectrum disorders to various groups across the country.  Some of her work is published in “Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Step-by-Step Guide for Educators.”

The cost of attendance is $50 for professionals and $10 for students. The conference is approved for five hours of continuing education credit for American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and Early Intervention.

To register, for the conference, click here. The event is part of an EIU’s capital campaign to raise funds for EIU’s Autism Center. The center serves families with autism spectrum disorders under the direction and guidance from distinguished faculty members and students in the Department of Communication Disorders & Sciences.  For more information, please, contact Sandi Thiele at (217) 581-2712 in the department or click here for EIU’s Autism Center website. 

 

EIU Continues Local Admissions Strategies 09/14/15

As a continued part of local admissions efforts, Eastern Illinois University welcomes area senior high school students to a free Panther football tailgate and game this month.

The #FuturePanther tailgate event is for prospective local students to experience EIU’s student life with a cookout, a free Panther T-shirt, a tour of campus and free admission to the home-opener football game against EIU’s state rival Illinois State University. The tailgate and game is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19.

Admissions Counselor Brittany Trimble said the third annual #FuturePanther tailgate offers prospective students a sneak peek into student life.

“A tailgate event showcases our student and community pride,” Trimble said. “It gives students an opportunity to see EIU’s vibrant student life.”

Prospective students will also get to meet and connect with other students from local schools, she said.

Trimble, the admissions counselor who works directly with local schools, said all area junior and senior students from Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie, Clark, Shelby, Cumberland, Effingham and Clay counties are invited.

The tailgate is only part of the continued efforts and strategies to reach out to local high school students. Every fall and spring, admissions counselors will visit every local school to speak with students and provide information about EIU. In each session, Trimble said she stresses EIU’s affordability, quality academics and location.

“The beauty of being only 15, 30 or 45 minutes from campus is that local students have a choice to live at home or experience the rich university culture behind the gates of Old Main,” she said. “The choice is up to the student.”

Check-in for the #FuturePanther tailgate is from 4:15-4:45 p.m. at Lantz Arena with the football game starting at 7 p.m.

Each student receives a free ticket and a ticket for a guest. Additional guests will receive a ticket at a discounted rate of $18.

The first home football game is the Mid-America Classic, which will be televised in prime time on WCIA CBS affiliate in Champaign, WMBD CBS affiliate in Peoria and WTWO NBC affiliate in Terre Haute. 

To register, contact Trimble directly at bmtrimble2@eiu.eduFor more information about applying to EIU, go here. To schedule a tour of campus, contact EIU’s Admission Office at (877) 581-2348 or admissions@eiu.edu

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EIU Mumps Advisory 09/14/15

Eastern Illinois University Health Service diagnosed a small number of students with mumps during the week of Sept. 8-11, 2015. Evaluation and management of these cases has been coordinated with local and state health departments.

Mumps is a self-limited viral illness, which is spread through respiratory droplets, direct contact with infected fluids, such as saliva, and through contaminated objects such as eating utensils and drink ware. The illness generally lasts for 10 days.

A person infected with mumps will initially experience non-specific symptoms such as low-grade fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite. Approximately 48 hours after the onset of these symptoms, pain and swelling of the parotid glands (salivary glands in front of the ears) will develop. The swelling, called parotitis, can involve one or both sides of the jaw. Activities such as chewing can increase the pain.

The incubation period for mumps is typically 16-18 days but can range from 12-25 days. Persons infected with mumps are contagious from three days before through five days after their symptoms begin.

Mumps is highly contagious in susceptible individuals. Vaccination with the MMR vaccine, a two-shot series, is the most effective way to prevent mumps. Ninety percent of people who have been vaccinated against mumps are immune to the virus.

Other measures to prevent the spread of this infection include frequent hand washing, avoiding unnecessary physical contact, shared eating utensils and other personal items and enhanced social distancing.

Individuals diagnosed with mumps will be asked to self-isolate during the contagious period, meaning they will not be allowed to attend class and will most likely be asked to return home to recuperate.

Students with signs or symptoms consistent with mumps should call Health Service at 581-3013 or 581-2727 before presenting to the clinic.  Students will be examined and evaluated, but it is very important that they call in advance. Likewise, persons needing to receive care in an urgent care clinic or emergency room with mumps symptoms should call in advance to allow healthcare personnel to prepare for their arrival.

Eastern Illinois University Health Service will continue to work with local and state health officials and provide additional information as it becomes available.

If you have questions, please contact the EIU Health Service at 581-3013 or 581-2727.

Sheila D. Baker, MD
Medical Director
Eastern Illinois University Health Service

Fall Enrollment Numbers Show EIU Admissions Efforts are Working 09/09/15

Fall 2015 new first-time freshman enrollment numbers at Eastern Illinois University have increased by 2 percent from a year ago, suggesting that the institution’s aggressive admissions efforts are working.

Since taking office in June of this year, EIU President David Glassman has repeatedly said that the university’s first goal is to reach a point of enrollment stability, thus putting an end to a multi-year trend of decreasing enrollment. 

“By closing that gap, I believe Eastern is clearly positioning itself for a promising future,” he said.  “We plan to continue those recruitment efforts that have brought us success, intensify recruitment efforts in our nearby southern and eastern regions of the state, and enhance our marketability with new initiatives, as well.”

Other positive news revealed by this year’s official 10th day fall enrollment count was an increase in the number of graduate students attending EIU.  The number rose by 45 -- from 1,273 in 2014 to 1,318 this year.

"The Graduate School is very pleased with our enrollment increase this fall,” said Ryan Hendrickson, interim dean of Eastern’s Graduate School.  “We continue to have attractive and distinguished graduate programs and faculty, which helps explain our enrollment growth. In addition, we have added online graduate programs that have helped increase our accessibility, while at the same time maintaining program excellence."

Both Asian and Hispanic student populations saw increases, as well, and the number of international students continued to climb.  There are now a record-breaking 291 students from 40 countries attending the university. 

“We are thrilled to welcome the largest international student enrollment in EIU history,” said Kevin Vicker, director, International Students and Scholars.  “This total number is up nearly 7 percent from Fall 2014 and up 39 percent from Fall 2013.”

According to Vicker, the most popular areas of study are technology, business and economics with sustainable energy, kinesiology and sports studies, and biological sciences.

“Eastern’s new out-of-state undergraduate tuition rate approved over the summer and new language center also helped fuel a strong incoming class of 47 new undergraduate international students, up 32 percent from Fall 2014,” he added.

“EIU is a wonderful choice for students looking for an outstanding, affordable education with personalized faculty attention within a beautiful, safe and friendly campus,” Glassman said.

Recent college rankings support these claims.  U.S. News and World Report released its 2016 annual college rankings today, with EIU again listed as the highest ranking regional public university in Illinois and No. 5 among the Midwest’s top public regional master’s universities.

The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.  Rankings are based on schools’ academic reputations, student selectivity, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and alumni giving.

In addition, the city of Charleston was recently ranked No. 2 for the safest college town in America and No. 2 for the most affordable college town in America by The SafeWise Report and Business Insider, respectively.

Fall 2015 Enrollment Numbers

Current enrollment numbers reflect a Fall 2015 total enrollment of 8,520 with an on-campus enrollment of 7,616 and an off-campus count of 904.  A year ago, the number of students taking on- and off-campus classes was 8,045 and 868, respectively, for a total enrollment of 8,913.

Eastern’s undergraduate students number 7,202, down from 7,640 last year.  This includes a drop in transfer students from 888 in Fall 2014 to 798.

Graduate student enrollments increased to 1,318 from last year’s 1,273.

EIU female students again outnumber male students – 5,113 to 3,407.

Minority student enrollment grew by 1 percent to 25.92 percent with increases over last year for Asian and Hispanic students and those listing two or more races.

In addition, the new first-time freshman class is of strong academic quality with average ACT scores (21.41) and high school GPAs (3.08) virtually identical to last year's class. 

 

EIU Moves Up in U.S. News & World Report's Annual Rankings 09/09/15

Eastern Illinois University continues to be recognized in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings, most recently being named No. 5 among the Midwest’s top public regional universities.

It is the top ranking Illinois school on the list.

Eastern also was ranked 30 -- up from 31 in the 2015 rankings – among all Midwestern regional universities offering a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.  EIU is the highest ranking public university in Illinois on that list, released today as part of the magazine’s 2016 edition of “Best Colleges.”

The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.  Rankings are based on schools’ academic reputations, student selectivity, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and alumni giving.

"We are always pleased to see Eastern recognized favorably in college rankings; although, they are by their nature subjective,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “Nevertheless, this and other rankings are indicative of the high quality of the educational experience we offer our students.  Our moderate size and committed faculty foster a highly individualized experience for our students and promote a superior learning environment." 

The U.S. News rankings rely heavily on EIU's focus on personal attention. For example, the student-faculty ratio stands at 14:1, and only 3 percent of all classes have 50 or more students.

In addition, EIU continues to tout the highest freshman retention rate (78 percent) and the highest graduation rate (59 percent) among all Illinois public universities in its class.

EIU Starts First Autism Transitional Program in State 08/31/15

To kick off the new school year, Eastern Illinois University’s Autism Center started a transitional program for incoming college students with autism spectrum disorders to help students navigate the college environment. The program, called Students with Autism Transitional Education Program, STEP, is the only one of its kind offered in the state.

Gail Richard, the director of EIU’s Autism Center, said the program enhances the collegiate experience for students with autism spectrum disorders by providing assistance to students with the social, daily and academic skills they need to transition into college. Students with autism spectrum disorders have difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

The STEP program is designed to minimize the challenges faced by these students once they leave home for the first time. “These are usually very bright individuals, yet they need structure and social skills,” said Richard, who has worked with children with autism spectrum disorders for more than three decades.

The program breaks down social barriers and gives students an opportunity to succeed, she said. Each student is assigned a mentor, who is a senior or graduate student in EIU’s communication disorders and sciences program. The mentors will personally help students navigate the university by taking them on tours of campus and to monthly social events such as theater productions or athletic events.

Students enrolled in the program had an early move-in date before the hustle and bustle of the school year started up, which helped with a calmer transition, Richard said. Students are also required to attend academic study tables and regular support groups throughout the school year. Study tables are located in the same residence hall that students live in. Richard describes the program as intensive and extensive with services and personal mentorship well beyond what is required of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The program is offered through EIU’s Autism Center, which is an expansion of the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic that serves families with children with autism spectrum disorders. The program will cost $1,000 per semester.

For information about the program, go here. For more information about how EIU’s program compares nationally, click here. To register for the program, contact step@eiu.edu or (217) 581-6583.

New Small Business Workshop Series Offered at EIU 08/26/15

A new business workshop series will kick off this fall designed to give local businesses a little “tune up” with their management skills.

The series, “Time for a Tune-Up,” is organized by the Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education and Development (SEED) Center to provide local business owners with the necessary skills to succeed in their entrepreneurship ventures. 

The workshops start at 7 a.m. before many business owners open their stores for the day, allowing them time to include the workshops in their hectic schedules, said Marko Grünhagen, director of the SEED Center.

Every workshop will be taught by experienced faculty members with content that can easily be applied to their business, he said.

“The new series is a continuing part of the SEED Center’s initiative to grow and develop our local small businesses,” Grünhagen said. “The center understands that 50 percent of small businesses fail within the first five years and we want to combat that percentage.”

The workshops cost $39 per session or $99 for the entire fall series.

The first session is called “Discipline and Termination: Knowing how and when to end the employment relationship” taught by Melody L. Wollan. The workshop will take place from 7-8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9 at Carle Physician’s Building in Mattoon (in front of Showplace Movie Theater).

The second workshop is called “What is the Value of My Small Business” taught by David McGrady, which will take place from 7-8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14 in Room 2020 Lumpkin Hall at EIU.

The third workshop is called “Chaos or Consistency: The importance of policy documentation for employees” taught by Scott Stevens, which will take place from 7-8 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11 in Room 1040 in Lumpkin Hall at EIU.

To register for the workshop, go here

The SEED Center at EIU is the interdisciplinary home for entrepreneurial education, research and community partnerships. The SEED Center’s primary focus is to foster collaboration among students, researchers, educators and practicing entrepreneurs to promote entrepreneurship through integrative learning. For more information about the SEED Center, click here

 

EIU Brings Chinese Consul General to Campus 08/26/15

The highest representative of China in the Midwest will speak next week on U.S. and China relations to the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

Consul General Zhao Weiping will lead a delegation of four consuls to meet with and speak to students and faculty members on a lecture titled, “What has happened to the US. and China Relations?” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2 in the Buzzard Auditorium in Buzzard Hall.

As the consul general to Chicago since 2013, Weiping serves more than 300,000 Chinese nationals and about 50,000 Chinese students in nine states in the Midwest including Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

EIU’s College of Sciences and the College of Arts and Humanities will host a reception from 6-7:15 p.m. in 7th Street Underground in the MLK Jr. University Union to meet the consul general.

The lecture is free and open to the public, and it is sponsored by EIU’s Public Policy Institute. 

'Claim Your EIU' -- 2015 Convocation Speech by Faculty Laureate Jeannie Ludlow 08/21/15

“You cannot afford to think of being here to receive an education; you will do much better to think of being here to claim one.”

With these words, poet and scholar Adrienne Rich addressed new university students in 1977.  “‘To receive,” Rich explained, “is to come into possession of; to act as receptacle or container for; to accept as authoritative or true” while “‘to claim’ is: to take as the rightful owner.” The difference, she said, is between being acted upon and being active.

Claim your education. You’ll notice that she didn’t say “claim your degree.” Where I grew up, not many people got to go to college. In my rural Indiana graduating class, fewer than 10 percent of us went to college; most of us were the first ones in our families.

The folks back home were very proud of us and sent us off to learn skills, get a degree, get a job, and take care of ourselves and our families, all of which are important. I know this sounds familiar to some of you. At EIU, we are proud to serve so many students for whom this is familiar. Your degree is important. But there’s something else you can get at EIU that is even more important: claim your education.

Education gives knowledge and knowledge, they say, is power. I mean social power—the ability to move through a variety of places and populations with ease and dignity; the ability to access goods and services that are available in our society, without fear or abuse. That’s power. When we hear “knowledge is power,” we often think that gaining more knowledge gets us more power. We often forget to think that the inverse is true. A quick story to demonstrate:

Several years ago, I was honored to sit on the Board of Directors of a national organization. I was invited because of my scholarly work—my knowledge. The Board meets in the Washington, D.C., region twice a year at a very nice hotel. People on the Board included doctors, lawyers, film producers, and this farm girl from Indiana. The first night of my first meeting, there was a dinner in the fancy hotel—with a full, formal place setting. The kind that lets you know that someone else gets paid to do these dishes. Now, in my home, if there were five forks on the table, there were five people eating, but I’m OK. I know what to do—I just watch someone else and do what they do. I was seated next to Nancy, the executive director of this organization—someone who regularly met with several presidents—and she had questions for me about my work, my knowledge. We talked and talked, and I was getting really thirsty. Two water glasses the same distance from my plate. To my left is Nancy and to my right is a lawyer who is talking about the time she argued before the Supreme Court. And I’m waiting for one of them to take a drink of water, so I can tell which glass is mine. They’re both drinking wine.

When I can’t stand it anymore, when it feels like I’m about to cough sawdust on the table, I interrupt Nancy. “Nancy,” I whisper, “is this your water or mine?” She throws up her hands and says, “hell, I don’t know, Jeannie. I’ve been waiting for you to take a drink.” It turns out Nancy is a miner’s daughter from Montana. Her upbringing and mine were very similar.

Knowledge is power. The knowledge that Nancy and I were able to get through our university educations gave us access to more power than our parents and grandparents had, not because we were better or smarter than they were, but because we had access to knowledge. Knowledge is power and power, in turn, is knowledge. Think about that glass of water; it represents the ways knowledge has traditionally and historically been controlled by those in power.

Consider this: Historically, the wealthy, the landowners, the most powerful studied philosophy and ethics while those who worked for them learned the rules. Historically, the most powerful studied politics while those who worked for them thought about who to vote for (if they were allowed to vote). Historically, the most powerful studied economics while those who worked for them learned  to keep a budget and ring up a sale. More social power, more privilege meant more access to knowledge. Historically.

Today, public universities like EIU exist, in part, to promote democracy, equity through those classes we call “general education”—you know, those classes you are required to take that aren’t part of your major. These courses make the knowledge of the powerful available to those who have always worked for the powerful, they make the knowledge of the powerful available to people like me and Nancy and some of you.

That’s why it’s not enough for you to be here to receive, to learn skills, get a degree, get a job, and take care of yourselves and your families, all of which are important. “You will do much better,” Adrienne Rich said—and I say we all will do much better—if you “think of being here to claim [your education],” to claim knowledge as your right, your access to power.

Claim knowledge. It’s not easy. It’s not meant to be. Rich told students in 1977 that claiming your education means “respect[ing] and us[ing] your own brains and instincts” and “grappling with hard work.” It means re-reading that assignment, even if you aren’t interested in it, until you understand it; revising that essay until it’s clear; refiguring that equation until the mathematical formula makes sense to you. It’s kind of like, at the very end of your workout, doing five extra pushups. Sometimes it feels like you just can’t, but you try, and when you do, you make yourself stronger.

Claim power. I’d like to tell you that everyone will be supportive and helpful as you claim your education. I can’t. Power, you see, resists change. Fear works to keep us all in our place. Those with the most power often don’t like it when those who’ve always worked for them start gaining knowledge. We can see this right here, where the budget decisions of those in power make it harder for us to help as you claim your education and make it harder for many of you to be here at all. And I just heard our governor on Wednesday talking about cutting higher education budgets by 30 percent. Power resists change.

 Many people, some on our campus, are going to try to sell you that degree instead of an education. They are going to tell you that your time here will be easier, your life better if you focus on learning skills, getting a degree, getting a job, and taking care of yourselves and your families, all of which are important. But we know, don’t we, that life is not easier for those with less power.

What these folks won’t tell you, what they may even be too afraid to admit, is that education is not an either/or proposition—not either practical or empowering, not either a degree or knowledge. It’s both. If we have any hope of changing the power structure, it must be both. You must claim both. And you must be able to count on your best educators to support you every step of the way, to help you push toward practicality and empowerment, degree and knowledge.

Do it. We’re right here with you. Claim your education. Claim knowledge as your right. Claim power for your future. Claim your EIU.

Related Story:  EIU Faculty Laureate Advocates Laying Claim to Education

Community Invited to Share in EIU’s First Night Activities 08/19/15

The EIU and surrounding community members are invited to attend the 2015 EIU First Night to officially kick off the school year.

EIU First Night is the annual opening-night spirit rally designed to promote university pride while welcoming EIU students back to campus.

The spirit rally will occur from 8 to 9 p.m. Sunday, August 23, on the South Quad.            

The featured speaker of the rally is EIU’s President David Glassman, who will welcome students home to their Panther community. The spirit rally will feature appearances by the EIU Pep Band and Drumline, EIU Blue Crew, Billy the Panther, EIU Cheer Team and Pink Panthers.

Highlights of the opening night also include a T-shirt giveaway, new cheers/chants, singing of EIU’s Fight Song, contests and music by disc jockey Glenn Patterson.

All Panther fans are encouraged to attend and showcase their Panther Pride by wearing EIU colors.

A limited number of First Night spirit T-shirts will also be available for free on a first-come, first-served basis.

The 2015 EIU First Night is sponsored by EIU Student Government, the EIU’s Parent’s Club, EIU’s University Board, the MLK Jr. Union, the EIU Office of Student Community Service, and the Athletics Department.  

Classes at EIU begin Monday, Aug. 24.

 

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EIU Faculty Laureate Advocates Laying Claim to Education 08/18/15
 
 Jeannie Ludlow

Jeannie Ludlow’s self-described “colorful education history” suggests that she could be called the ultimate poster child for claiming an education.

She’s certainly the right person to serve as Eastern Illinois University’s 2015-16 Faculty Laureate, an honor presented to her by the institution's Council on Academic Affairs.  In addition to her duties as a full-time faculty member in the Department of English and as coordinator of the Women’s Studies program, Ludlow will spend the coming year as the university's official spokesperson on the importance of a general/liberal education.

Her first opportunity will take place at 9:15 a.m. Friday, Aug. 21, when she delivers the keynote address at this year's convocation, a welcoming ceremony for incoming students.

“I wish I could tell (students) that, for an entire year, they should just take classes that appeal to their interests,” she said.  “To take a class just so they can claim the knowledge.”

For Ludlow, it doesn’t seem that long ago that she, too, was a recent high school graduate -- a small-town farm kid from Veedersburg, Ind., with a long future ahead of her. 

“I had a lot of (high school) teachers tell me to go to college,” she said.

Her parents were supportive, but not well versed in the area of higher education.  “My parents were both smart people, but neither of them went to college,” Ludlow said. 

Additionally, Ludlow didn’t have a lot of friends to lean on for support.  “I was a smart, mouthy girl and, as a result, I wasn’t very popular,” she said.  Plus, higher education wasn’t a big priority for her peers; only six out of her class of 114 planned to attend college after high school. 

“I decided my life’s goal was to be a high school band director,” Ludlow continued.  “Music was something I really, really loved, and I was a musician.  I could play pretty much all of the woodwinds (clarinet, oboe, flute, saxophone, etc.), as well as some other instruments.”

To reach her goal, she enrolled at nearby Indiana State University, located about one hour south in Terre Haute.  That experience lasted about six weeks.

“I hated it,” she said.  “I was immature, lonely and scared.  I was not ready and did not have strong support.”

Instead, Ludlow found a full-time job and set about putting some money aside.  Within a year, she found herself attending Danville (Ill.) Area Community College, another institution fairly close to home.  This time, she took classes in computer science/computer programming.  And again, she dropped out.     

There must be something to the adage, “third time’s a charm,” for when Ludlow then decided to attend Indiana Central University (now known as the University of Indianapolis), she felt she had found her niche.  “And I’m not even a Methodist,” she said, fondly recalling her years at the United Methodist Church-affiliated institution.

“It was a great school,” she continued.  “The school itself was small and, strangely enough, I felt comfortable in Indy.”

At first, Ludlow declared herself a music education major at UIndy, but she altered her thinking when, during her sophomore year, she was told by a professor that she could not teach high school. 

“He told me I would never command enough respect from my students,” she said.  “And, believe it or not, I listened to him.”

She decided on a more general music degree before switching yet one more time as a senior.  “I fell in love with my literature classes, and I ended up graduating with an English major and a music minor.”

Per the strong suggestion of one of her professors, Ludlow advanced on to Graduate School.  At Bowling Green State University, located in northwest Ohio, she earned both her master’s (English literature) and doctoral (American culture studies) degrees.

“By then I had discovered and was taking classes in cultural studies,” which appealed to her because of their interdisciplinary content, she said.

“I found that, through cultural studies, I wasn’t looking at the world through one lens but, rather, I was looking through a prism.”

Her plan, by then, was to become a professor.  She began focusing on women’s studies, spending time working at domestic violence shelters and crisis hot lines, as well.  She did her dissertation on Native American women’s cultures.  She got her degree.  And then, she taught.at Bowling Green for 17 years.

“I liked my job at Bowling Green.  I liked it a whole lot,” Ludlow said, noting she wasn’t actively looking to move on.  But an ad featuring a position at EIU caught her attention.

“Eastern wanted a coordinator for its Women’s Studies program, and Charleston was closer to home,” she said.  “My folks are not getting any younger and I felt more comfortable being a two-hour drive from them, rather than the seven-hour drive it took from Bowling Green.”

Ludlow currently teaches courses in both women’s studies and in English.  “I love teaching at EIU.  I identify with so many of my students and I learn something new from every single student I meet.”

Some of her courses fall among the university’s General Education program offerings.

“I love teaching general education classes,” she said.  “If I hadn’t had gen ed classes, I wouldn’t have found out who I am.

“Yes, degrees are important,” she continued.  “But I think individuals should take classes just to claim the knowledge they provide.  I know I still enjoy learning, and I may be paying student loans until the day that I die.  But no one can ever take knowledge away from me; they can’t repossess my brain.”

Related Story:  'Claim Your EIU' -- 2015 Convocation Speech by Faculty Laureate Jeannie Ludlow

Position Eliminations Result in Layoffs at EIU 08/18/15

In an effort to bring the size of Eastern Illinois University’s workforce more in line with current enrollment and appropriated funding, officials have identified 118 civil service and A&P (administrative and professional) positions for elimination.  While more than 50 of those positions are already vacated, the decision will result in the layoff of 67 employees.

“These are excellent, high performing employees who are working in positions we felt we could no longer support financially,” said EIU President David Glassman.

Efforts to personally notify employees being affected began on Monday and will continue through Wednesday.

Human Resources personnel, along with job supervisors, are meeting with employees individually to relay the news of each job elimination and to provide those employees with packets of information regarding the various resources available to them as they move forward. 

In accordance with civil service guidelines, those eligible are also being notified of their option to “bump,” or replace another university employee with less seniority in the same job classification.  “Until that process is completed, we won’t actually know which employees will be leaving the university,” Glassman said.

The 51 vacated positions being eliminated were once held by employees who earlier retired or resigned from the university and who were not replaced.

An additional number of individuals (not included in the 118) holding A&P or academic support positions will be notified of position elimination or reduction of their annual 12-month employment to 10 or 11 months “very shortly,” Glassman added.

For several weeks, Eastern’s four vice presidents have collaborated with their respective unit leaders to review budgets and develop strategies that will help manage the university’s FY16 budget.  At Glassman’s request, they each developed a division-wide recommendation plan for expense cutting and related layoffs for the president’s personal review.

Unfortunately, Eastern still has not learned what its budget will be for FY16 from the state of Illinois.  It cannot be assumed that additional cuts won’t take place this year.

“We will, however, continue to be ever mindful of our core educational mission and shared values of academic excellence, student success and a positive student experience,” Glassman said.

The president intends to discuss the cost-cutting measures as a whole and to share his vision for re-energizing the Eastern brand during his first State of the University address in September.

WEIU Continues Kids Day at the Castle 08/17/15

WEIU’s Kids Day at the Castle event will offer a bounce house, fun games and prizes for families on the front lawn of Eastern Illinois University’s Old Main on Saturday. The event will include a meet & greet with the PBS characters, Peg + Cat.

Several local organizations will  offer free activities for children and families. The first 300 children will receive free activity bags, and a bike and helmet will be given to one boy and girl during the event.

The free event will run from 10 a.m. till noon. 

Funding for this event has been underwritten in part by First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Central Illinois, City of Charleston Tourism, EIU's Office of Student Community Service, Effingham Performance Center, Wood Rentals, Jim Wood Realtor, Carle, Immanuel Lutheran Early Child Care, Myerscough Automotive, What’s Cookin’, Coles County Sanitation and Recycling, Family Video, Pilson Auto Center of Charleston, First Neighbor Bank, Edward Jones Investments – Rob Fears and Charleston Service Center.

Peg + Cat airs at 8:30 a.m. on weekdays and 9:30 a.m. on Sundays on WEIU-TV.

For more information about WEIU Kids Day at the Castle, contact Ke’an Armstrong at (217) 581-7193 or ksartmstrong@eiu.edu.  

EIU’s Featured Twirler to Compete at National Championship 07/21/15

Eastern Illinois University’s featured baton twirler will compete at a national baton twirling competition this week.

Nicola Colucy, a Bolingbrook native and a junior kinesiology and sports studies student, will compete during the America’s Youth on Parade national baton twirling competition at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

In the competition, Colucy will represent EIU’s Panther Marching Band as the featured twirler for the part of the competition called the National Collegiate Championship.

Colucy is recognized as the 2015 Miss College Majorette of Illinois Runner Up and Miss Collegiate Midwest Region Royalty. She also earned the title of Two Baton Champion at the Illinois State Championships in Zion, Ill., this month.

For more information about Colucy, click here

For downloadable photos of Colucy, click here

EIU Budget Update -- A Letter from EIU President David M. Glassman 07/15/15

Dear Campus Community,

There has been much discussion and planning since my last communication (June 30, 2015) with the campus concerning Eastern’s financial position and the very difficult and highly emotional decisions that are needed to balance our FY16 budget and create a sustainable and successful future for our university.

We have already notified 26 annually contracted faculty that they will not be reappointed for the 2015-2016 academic year.  It was essential that we notify those affected as soon as the decisions were made to allow the greatest amount of time for seeking alternative employment opportunities.  In addition, approximately 10 other annually contracted faculty positions will not be filled. 

I have asked the vice presidents to provide their division-wide recommendation plans for expense cutting and related layoffs by the end of the month.  The plans are to be strategic and supportive of our academic mission and positive student experience.  The non-academic divisions have been given responsibility for a larger percent reduction of their appropriated and tuition funding than the academic affairs division.  However, because the majority of appropriated and tuition dollars are assigned to academic affairs, the dollar amount to be cut from this division will be larger.  Once received, I will personally review each plan for approval.  Please know that the university will honor all notification agreement policies for layoffs.

In accordance with the procedures allowable in Eastern’s policy for university furloughs, I am implementing a graduated furlough requirement for Administrative and Professional (A&P) employees for FY16 based upon salary levels.  A&P employees with salaries over $150,000 will take 14 unpaid furlough days; A&P employees with salaries between $100,000 and $150,000 will take 11 unpaid furlough days; A&P employees with salaries between $75,000 and $99,999 will take nine unpaid furlough days; and A&P employees with salaries between $50,000 and $74,999 will take seven unpaid furlough days.  A&P employees with salaries less than $50,000 will not be required to take furlough days. Guidelines for selecting furlough days by employees will be provided by their supervisors.  More information and answers to common questions about EIU furloughs can be found here.

In the case of the president, my salary will be cut (rather than furlough) at the equivalent amount of 16 unpaid days.  This will allow me to continue to conduct university business without interruption or absence from campus.  In addition to reducing my salary, I will give back an equal percentage of the housing allowance I was provided to support a scholarship for EIU students.  Others who wish to have their salaries reduced at the comparable amount rather than taking furlough will have that option.

Although critically necessary, the actions the university is undertaking to adjust our budget are immensely difficult and emotional and will impact us all in the Eastern community.  No one wishes to be laid off, nor see a colleague laid off.  During this time, it is more important than ever that we remember to treat each other with respect and compassion.  The university will do all that we can to assist affected individuals with support services and job search assistance.

I will continue to update the campus community on developing decisions involving our budget adjustment.   

Sincerely,

David M. Glassman

President

Eastern Illinois University       

EIU Budget Update -- A Letter from EIU President David M. Glassman 06/30/15

Dear University Community,

The content of this message is not what I had hoped nor expected to be among my first communications with the EIU community.  It has personally been difficult to write.  However, the severity of the financial situation and its effect on our institution’s well-being requires urgent attention.

Just one month ago, I began serving our university as its 12th president. It has been a whirlwind month of greeting and meeting with university staff, faculty and administrators; state legislators and city government officials; alums, donors and friends of the university; and our Board of Trustees.  In every case I have been immensely gratified by the friendly welcome I have received.  The passion for Eastern that I witnessed during the presidential search, and which was instrumental in my decision to join the Eastern community, is evident in every conversation I’ve had.

Eastern has an enviable history.  Since 1895, the university has worked diligently to achieve its mission of providing an academically excellent learning environment in which students succeed.  We are a catalyst for economic and workforce development, a major contributing agent in developing ethical citizenry for the state, and we serve as a magnet for intellectual, cultural and athletic events for the region.  I will aggressively promote that message at every opportunity.

Over the past several years, EIU has experienced increasing budgetary challenges.  These challenges are primarily the result of a substantial decline in revenue due to decreasing enrollments.  Unfortunately, this has been exacerbated by concurrent and significant declines in appropriated funding for higher education from the state.  Total enrollments at EIU have declined 27.8 percent from 12,349 in FY2007 to 8,913 in FY2015.  Declines in state appropriated funding over the same period have been reduced by 11 percent or $5.3 million.

The university has worked diligently and collaboratively to deal with the loss in annual revenue by working to reverse the declining enrollments of our freshman class, transfer student population and graduate programs.  Additional initiatives have been implemented to reduce personnel costs through attrition.  Operating budgets have been tightened across the university to reduce expenses.  Although all of these efforts have helped the university’s financial position, they have not been nearly sufficient for us to match annual expenses with our revenues, leaving a deficit at the end of the fiscal year for the past several years.  To balance these deficit budgets, the university used supplemental funding from reserve accounts.  This is a financial strategy that is not sustainable.  In fact, we have now expended virtually all remaining reserve funds to balance the fiscal year that just ended (FY15).  This means there are minimal supplemental funds to draw upon to be used for FY16.

Preparing the FY16 budget and subsequent planning has been further complicated as we have yet to be informed as to our state appropriation.  The governor’s budget plan calls for a 31.5 percent decrease in funding, whereas the legislature has recommended a decrease of 6.5 percent.  This provides an appropriation decrease for EIU of between $12.9 million and $2.7 million.  Conversely, we have made progress with our recruitment efforts for our Fall 2016 freshman class and it appears that it will be similar in size to our class last fall.  This is a promising indicator that we may have begun to stabilize our freshman enrollment.  Nevertheless, our total enrollment will continue to see an overall decline as our larger junior and senior classes graduate.

It has become critically important that EIU right-size itself to the level of its lower student enrollment.  This will allow for both holding tuition at an affordable rate necessary for student recruitment and having resources available to focus on building EIU's academic strength and fiscal sustainability.  If no changes in university expenses are made this year over last year’s expenditures, we estimate the difference between our revenue projections and our expenses for FY16 would be a deficit of between $12 and $14 million (based on a 6.5 percent appropriation decrease).  The deficit could become substantially higher depending upon the final appropriation level.  With virtually no reserve funds to call upon as we balance this year’s budget, we have no alternative but to identify actions to enhance revenues and implement expense-cutting initiatives, including layoffs.  Although the number of layoffs has not been identified nor a list of names developed at this time, notification to individuals by their supervisors will begin in July.

I have been meeting with leaders of our shared governance groups and other constituents describing the university’s financial position.  I have also expressed my confidence that we can use this challenge to right the course of EIU’s business plan and create a pathway of success and sustainability that will ensure that our future is as enviable as our past.

I have begun working with the vice presidents and they, in turn, with their unit leaders, to begin reviewing budgets and developing immediate strategies to collaboratively manage our FY16 budget through expense cuts and entrepreneurial revenue-producing plans.  Decisions will also be informed by the CUPB-prepared Program Analysis submitted to the President’s Office in April 2014.  The university will be unified in meeting the financial challenge and all divisions will be responsible for its solution.  I will continue to meet and collaborate with EIU’s shared governance leadership and keep the university community updated through timely campus-wide messages.

EIU is a community that extols great passion, intellect and creativity.  I am certain that together we will meet our financial challenge with the university emerging much stronger and more adaptable to new opportunities.   During this period of financial adjustment, we will continue to be ever cognizant of our core educational mission and shared values of academic excellence, student success and a positive student experience.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve as Eastern’s 12th president and you can trust that I will work tirelessly to ensure that our university moves proudly and successfully forward.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

David M. Glassman
President, Eastern Illinois University

Cavaliers Host 2015 Season Kickoff, Fan Appreciation Night at EIU 06/09/15

The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps will host its 2015 Season Kickoff and Fan Appreciation Night at Eastern Illinois University on Saturday, June 13.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., friends, fans, family, and the local community are invited to O'Brien Field for a showcase of The Cavaliers' 2015 production, GAME ON, in full uniform and costumes.  (Doors open at 7 p.m.)

This free event will showcase what The Cavaliers' performing members, design team and instructional staff have accomplished since the beginning of Pre-Tour (a.k.a., spring training) on May 15 at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.

Attendees of the 2015 Season Kickoff and Fan Appreciation Night will also have access to the latest Cavalier merchandise, including the official GAME ON shirt.

Since Monday, June 1, The Cavaliers have called Charleston and Eastern Illinois University home, an annual early season stay that traces back to 2005.

(Two members feel more at home than the rest.  Matt Parker, a third-year member of the horn line, and Alex Hoese, first-year conductor, are current EIU students studying music education.  Both are also members of EIU’s Panther Marching Band.)

While on the EIU campus, the corps utilizes O'Brien Field, the surround auxiliary fields, the field house, and many of the adjacent outdoor areas for rehearsal.  Days typically begin at 8 a.m. and last through 10 p.m.

Corps members also reside and dine in Stevenson and Douglas residence halls during their stay on campus. 

The June 13 event marks the final stretch of Pre-Tour before The Cavaliers take GAME ON around the country for its 2015 Drum Corps International Summer Tour.   

The Cavaliers officially start their 67th season in Indianapolis next week at Lucas Oil Stadium with the DCI2015 Tour Premiere, an event that will be broadcast live in theaters across the country.

EIU Offers ‘How to Start a Business’ Workshop in Mattoon, Pana 05/21/15

Two professional workshops focused on starting or expanding a business in Illinois will be offered in the summer.

The Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education & Development (SEED) Center of Eastern Illinois University will offer another round of business workshops to help combat the 80 percent of small businesses that fail within the first five years.

The “How to Start a Business” workshops will cover topics such as an individual’s personal financial situation, evaluating a business concept, finding a market, establishing operational strategies, creating financial statements and obtaining funding for a business venture.

The next two “How to Start a Business” workshops will be offered at:

  • Mattoon - 6 – 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at the Coles County Emergency Communications building - 10500 State Hwy 16, Mattoon, Ill. (the brick building next to the airport fire station, across the highway from Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center).
  • Pana – 6 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23, 2015, at the Peoples Bank & Trust - 200 S. Locust St., Pana, Ill. (Peoples Bank & Trust is also granting four $25 fee scholarships available to Pana residents. The scholarships for the class are first come, first served.)

The workshops will cost $25 per person and $35 per couple. Registration is required by noon on the day of the class. Registration is available online here

For more information please call 217-581-2913, email here or visit the website here

Heartland Community College and Eastern Have Reverse Transfer Agreement 05/21/15

NORMAL -- Heartland Community College and Eastern Illinois University now have a reverse transfer agreement. President Rob Widmer of Heartland and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Blair Lord of Eastern signed the agreement Tuesday, May 19.

Reverse transfer is for students who elect to transfer from a community college to a baccalaureate degree-granting institution prior to completing their associate degree. Most likely, these students will complete the course work needed for their associate degree after transferring to the four-year institution. Reverse transfer agreements allow those transfer students to receive the degree they have earned.

Under Heartland and EIU’s agreement, EIU’s registrar will contact university students who have earned 30 or more hours from Heartland but who have not been awarded a degree. EIU will offer to transmit each student’s transcripts to Heartland at the end of each semester, at no cost to the student. Heartland will then conduct a degree audit. If the student has met the requirements for the associate degree, HCC’s staff will award the degree, also at no cost to the student.

Rick Pearce, Heartland’s vice president of learning and student success, said the agreement is a huge benefit to students.

“The associate degree is often viewed as the first two years of earning a bachelor’s degree,” Pearce said. “But life happens and sometimes (students) may not complete their bachelor’s degree when they planned. This gives them the security in knowing they have something to show when they go out into the workforce.”

Pearce also noted that once a student completes one degree, they are more than likely to complete the second.

This is Heartland’s first reverse transfer agreement. Eastern has an additional agreement with Lake Land Community College in Mattoon. Once a “track record” is established, Heartland will seek agreements with other universities.

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Submitted by: Becky Gropp, becky.gropp@heartland.edu; 309-268-8186

Hendrickson Named Interim Dean of EIU Graduate School 05/20/15

Ryan C. Hendrickson, a professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University, has been chosen to serve as interim dean of the institution’s Graduate School, Research and International Programs.      

The appointment goes into effect July 1, 2015.  He will replace Robert Augustine, who has been appointed to a two-year term as the Council of Graduate Schools’ senior vice president.

“While Dean Augustine leaves an accomplished legacy of leadership of our graduate programs, I look forward to working with Dr. Hendrickson to continue to enhance our excellence in graduate education,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “He has extensive experience as a graduate coordinator, and has worked with all of the units that report to the graduate dean.  I know Eastern's excellence in all these areas will continue under Dr. Hendrickson's leadership.”

During his 14 years as coordinator of graduate studies for Eastern’s Department of Political Science, Hendrickson has helped the department receive designation as one of EIU's "First Choice" graduate programs twice -- in both 2008 and 2015.

Since coming to Eastern in 1999, he has published three books, along with more than 70 journal articles, book chapters and essays. In addition, he has received a number of university-wide awards for teaching excellence and mentoring in graduate and undergraduate education.

"I am honored to be selected as Eastern Illinois University's interim graduate dean,” Hendrickson said.  “Eastern has outstanding graduate programs and offerings. I look forward to serving as an advocate for graduate education at EIU, as well as for our outstanding international programs, and our research and grants endeavors."

EIU to Reduce Summer Hours; Booth Library, Admissions Among Exceptions 05/08/15

In a continuing effort to conserve resource dollars, Eastern Illinois University will once again close selected buildings and offices from noon on Fridays until Monday mornings during the summer months.

The affected time period begins Monday, May 11, and ends Friday, Aug. 14.

Building/office exceptions include, but may not be limited to, the President’s Office, the Bursar’s/Cashier’s Office, Booth Library, Financial Aid, University Police, the Renewable Energy Center and the Office of Admissions, which plan to keep normal working hours.

All university offices must be open to the public between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 8 a.m. and noon on Friday.  Administrative offices (and others where possible) will remain open during the lunch hour (Monday through Thursday).

By ending the work week at noon on Fridays, the university can increase temperatures in all vacant offices and other work environments to allow energy savings for two and one-half days per week.

Employees will be required to work their regularly scheduled number of full-time hours during the four-and-a-half-day work week.  Classes scheduled to meet on Friday afternoons and/or weekends will be relocated to buildings where the air conditioning will remain on.

During weeks in which a holiday is observed (Monday, May 25, for Memorial Day and Friday, July 3, for Independence Day), offices will return to regular business hours (7.5 hours per day).

Regular hours will resume on Monday, Aug. 17, for the 2015-2016 school year.  Classes will resume on Monday, Aug. 24.

More Than 1,400 Students to March in EIU Commencement Ceremonies on May 9 05/05/15

More than 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students plan to participate in commencement ceremonies at Eastern Illinois University on Saturday, May 9.

Ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m., noon, 3 and 6 p.m. in Lantz Arena.  Guest tickets are required for admission.

Students from the College of Sciences will march in the morning ceremony, the College of Arts and Humanities and the School of Continuing Education at noon, the College of Education and Professional Studies at 3 p.m., and the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences at 6.      

Students from the Graduate School will walk with their respective colleges during each ceremony.

EIU President William Perry will preside over the ceremonies. 

Representing Eastern’s Board of Trustees will be Roger L. Kratochvil (9 a.m.), Jan Spivey Gilchrist (noon), Robert D. Webb (3 p.m.) and Joseph R. Dively (6 p.m.).

Each ceremony will feature a special guest speaker who will present the official “Charge to the Class.”  Kenneth J. Baker, retired director of campus recreation and NFL referee, will speak at 9 a.m.  Mike Shanahan, retired NFL coach, plans to speak at both the noon and 3 p.m. ceremonies.  Barbara Baurer, retired chief operating officer for County Financial and honorary degree recipient, will speak during the 6 p.m. ceremony.  All three speakers are alumni of Eastern.

At the 9 a.m. ceremony, special recognition will be given to William E. Addison, professor of psychology, who was named the 2015 recipient of Eastern's Distinguished Faculty Award.  This award is presented annually by the Faculty Senate to a full-time faculty member who has excelled in teaching, professional research/creative activity and service.

Additionally, Rebecca M. Throneburg, who was selected as EIU’s 2014 Luis Clay Mendez Distinguished Service Award recipient for her contributions to the university, the field of communication disorders and sciences, and the community, will be formally recognized.  The award honors the memory of Mendez, an EIU professor of Spanish who died in 2003.

Two honorary degrees will be awarded during Saturday’s ceremonies.  Nationally recognized cartoonist/illustrator V. Gene Myers will be presented for the Doctor of Humane Letters degree at noon, while businesswoman Barbara Baurer will receive her Doctor of Public Service degree at 6.  Both individuals are EIU graduates.

Commencement marshals lead the procession while carrying the university mace inscribed with past marshals' names.  This spring's commencement marshals are as follows:

  • Linda Ghent, professor of economics, representing the College of Sciences during the morning ceremony.  Ghent has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 2000. 
  • John M. Ryan, professor of journalism, representing the College of Arts and Humanities during the noon ceremony.  Ryan has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1985.
  • Robert P. Bates, chair of health studies, representing the College of Education and Professional Studies during the 3 p.m. ceremony.  Bates has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1988. 
  • Thomas G. Costello, professor, School of Business, representing the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences during the 6 p.m. ceremony.  Costello has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 2003.

Faculty marshals are given the honor of carrying the college banner for their respective colleges.  This spring's faculty marshals are as follows:  Christopher R. Laingen, Graduate School and College of Sciences, and Britto P. Nathan, College of Sciences, 9 a.m.; Randall L. Beebe, Graduate School and College of Arts and Humanities, Timothy A. Shonk, College of Arts and Humanities, and Luke Steinke, School of Continuing Education, noon; Melissa L. Jones-Bromenshenkel, Graduate School and College of Education and Professional Studies, and Christy M. Hooser, College of Education and Professional Studies, 3 p.m.; and Ingyu Chiou, Graduate School and Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, and William C. Minnis, Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, 6 p.m.

Smoking/Tobacco Use Prohibited on EIU Campus, Effective July 1, 2015 05/01/15

Beginning July 1, 2015, all smoking and tobacco use will be prohibited on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

In accordance with the Illinois Smoke Free Campus Act and university policy, the use of all tobacco products will be prohibited on all campus property, both indoors and outdoors, including buildings, grounds, parking lots and vehicles that are owned, leased, occupied, operated or otherwise controlled by EIU.  The ban includes e-cigarettes and vaporizers, as well.

Use of tobacco products will be permitted only in private vehicles traveling through or parked on campus provided that second-hand smoke is contained within the vehicle. 

The policy applies to any individual on campus property, including students, employees and visitors, and is applicable at all times.

It is anticipated that the policy will have minimal effect on the majority of Eastern’s constituencies, said Eric Davidson, associate director of EIU’s Health Service.  Polls of students indicate that most fall in two of three groups -- those who are excited about the prospect of becoming a totally smoke-free campus and those who believe they won’t be affected at all by the change.

He acknowledged that the third group represents a “fair number” of individuals who will likely disapprove of the ban.

According to Davidson, individuals caught smoking will likely receive a verbal reminder for the first offense, while habitual offenders will be dealt with on an individual basis, depending on their classification (student, employee, etc.).

Davidson described the ban as an extension of EIU’s Internal Governing Policy No. 171 – Smoke-free Campus, which was approved in January 2008.

See here for more on EIU’s Tobacco-free Campus.  

Community Invited to Lawn of Old Main for Live Music, BBQ 04/24/15

The community is invited to the lawn of Old Main at Eastern Illinois University to celebrate the end of the school year with live music, barbecue and family-fun activities.

The Old Main Lawn Party will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30, on the lawn in front of Old Main, with community members throughout Coles County encouraged to attend the free, family-fun celebration.

“Eastern Illinois University appreciates our community’s efforts to make our students feel at home in Charleston,” said Robert Martin, vice president for university advancement. “Our second annual lawn party continues to celebrate the collaboration between EIU and the community.

“It is also an opportunity for community members to say their goodbyes to Bill Perry before he ends his tenure as president in the summer,” Martin continued.

The evening will include music by the Freezelands, a local husband-wife duo from the band Jac Freeze. Their acoustic arrangement will include music from old country favorites to rock. EIU’s Office of Student Community Service will provide games for adults and children.

Parking for the lawn party is available in the X lot to the east of Old Main. The University Police Department will not ticket after 4:30 p.m. on April 30 in the X lot. In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved into Old Main.

“By hosting a celebration on the grounds of Old Main, the iconic symbol of EIU, we are physically opening our doors to the community,” Martin said. “The lawn party is EIU’s way of saying thank you.”

The lawn party is co-hosted by EIU and the Charleston Chamber of Commerce. To learn more about the event, click here.

EIU Board of Trustees Approves 2015-2016 Tuition and Fees Rates 04/24/15

Eastern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees approved a 2.1 percent increase in the cost of tuition and fees for the 2015-2016 academic year.

This comes following a one-year rate freeze.

The resident tuition rate will increase from $283 to $285 per semester credit hour for entering students.  This means that those with an average 15-course academic load will pay $4,275 per semester – an increase of $30.

Additionally, incoming resident undergraduates will be able to lock in the new tuition rate for four continuous academic years as provided by the state’s “Truth in Tuition” Law.

Students from any of the states that border Illinois – Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin – pay resident tuition rates and benefit from the same four-year guarantee, as well.  The same applies for undergraduates who live beyond the seven-state area but who can demonstrate exemplary academic records.

All remaining out-of-state undergraduate students will pay $356 per semester hour as determined by a multiplier of 1.25 against the in-state cost.  This is a decrease from $849 per credit hour, which represented a multiplier of 3.

“This will give us some extra leverage in terms of recruiting out-of-state students, especially international students,” said EIU President Bill Perry.

Non-resident graduate students will pay $684 per semester hour.

Fees will increase a total of $6.30 per credit hour for all students.

University officials consider a number of factors, such as the potential level of state funding, estimated increases in financial obligations, projected enrollment, Consumer Price Index data, and the impact of previously implemented cost containment measures, before determining a tuition recommendation to the board.

“We proposed to our Board of Trustees a tuition rate that enables continued investment in the quality of our programs, while maintaining our commitment to affordability and access to a university education,” Perry said.

EIU Honors 2014-2015 Retirees 04/21/15

 
 

More than 50 Eastern Illinois University employees were recently recognized as faculty/staff members who have retired or plan to retire during the 2014-2015 school year.*

They include, from left to right, first row:  Cynthia Voudrie, Eneatha Secrest, Cynthia Nichols, Marjorie Hanft, Mary Dwiggins and Adrienne Paladino; second row:  Ira Rosenholtz, Carla Honselman, Michael Watts, Joy Russell, Tamera Zuber, Lora Green and Michael Elam; and third row:  Robert Hillman, John Bailey, David Stimac, William Perry, John Ryan and Jose Deustua-Carvallo.

Other retirees include Kevin Angell, Robert Augustine, Vickie Austin, Audrey Bachelder, Mark Borzi, Danny Cross, Marcy Cunningham, John Dively, Karala Eastin, Kathryn Edwards, Alan Haga, Patrick Hall, Karen Hammer, David Hardwick, Michael Herman, Ruth Hoberman, Glenn Hoffman, Deanna Kelly, Nancy Kingery, John Krajefska, Michael Leddy, Rebecca Litton, Glenn Logan, Suzanne Mathews, Nina Milliner, James Morecraft, Pamela Muchmore, James Painter, David Raybin, Rebecca Schuette, Carl Vaught, William Wentz, David White and Ira Yarbrough.

*These are employees who filed the required paperwork and had their intent to retire transmitted to the President’s Office by April 10.

EIU Plans Opportunity Fair in Effingham 04/08/15

Eastern Illinois University President Bill Perry, along with the university’s Department of Procurement, Disbursements and Contract Services, invites business owners and citizens from Effingham and surrounding counties to the EIU Opportunity Fair.

The event will take place between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 22, at the Thelma Keller Convention Center, located at 1202 N. Keller Dr. in Effingham.

The fair is designed to raise awareness of university procurement procedures and business development, as well as existing services and valuable outreach programs that Eastern offers to nurture student excellence and enrich personnel growth.  In other words, “What can EIU do for you and what can you do for EIU?”

Key personnel from business areas of interest may include, but not be limited to, catering, facilities maintenance and operations, office and janitorial supplies, construction services, information technology, printing, landscaping, medical equipment and supplies, and professional services.  Personnel from educational areas of interest may include, but not be limited to, WEIU TV/FM, Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education & Development (SEED), and Continuing Education’s Academy of Lifelong Learning.

In addition to the president, the fair will include Paul McCann, Eastern’s interim vice president for business affairs; Kay McElwee, director of procurement, disbursements and contract services; and local government officials.

For information and/or to register as a guest, please contact Penny Walk at 217-581-7749, pswalk@eiu.edu, or Deb Smith at 217-581-7745, djsmith@eiu.edu  Registration is preferred, but not required. Admission is free and ample parking is available.

Public Invited to Opening of EIU’s Laboratory School Exhibit 04/06/15

The public is invited to attend the opening reception of a permanent exhibit Thursday honoring Eastern Illinois University’s Laboratory School.  

The reception will be the inaugural display of the new Lab School Museum located on the first floor of EIU’s Buzzard Hall, which was the home of the Lab School from 1958-1974.

EIU’s Lab School provided students in the community from grades kindergarten through 12th grade interdisciplinary education and cutting edge methods in teaching. It also provided a place for student teachers to learn through observation and teaching.

The lab school opened its doors in 1899 as the Model School, and then later was renamed as the Training School and then finally the Buzzard Laboratory School, before closing its doors in 1974.   

EIU’s historical administration graduate students produced the exhibit for the College of Education and Professional Studies. The exhibit is titled “Mission, Method, Memory: The Lab School at EIU.”

The opening reception will take place from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in the atrium of Buzzard Hall.  

Check out the exhibit website to learn more about the history of the Lab School, view portions of the collection and check in on the progress as the historical administration students create the exhibit here.

For more information about the exhibit or the opening reception, contact Brian Failing at (630)-390-6735 or email here.

The exhibit would not have been possible without the support of Lab School alumni and former teachers, who have donated materials they saved from their time at the Lab School as well as provided memories that have helped to shape the exhibit.

For more information about the master of arts in historical administration program, click here.

Looking to Provide Others with the Opportunity He Never Had
Oncologist Gordon Grado Shares Knowledge, Expertise and Clinic with EIU Students
04/03/15
Mary and Gordon Grado during EIU Homecoming 2014 parade

As Charleston native Gordon Grado was beginning his studies to become a doctor, he was also hoping to get some practical experience in the field.

“I wanted to know what to do to improve my chances of getting into med school,” he recalled.

His pre-med advisers told him what classes to take, but “there were no suggestions regarding volunteer work,” he said.  “I made inquiries on my own at the old Charleston hospital with hopes to volunteer there as a student.”

The answer was a disappointing one.  “Nope, they didn’t want me at all,” he said. 

Eventually, local physicians – L.R. Montemayor of Charleston and David Wilbur of Mattoon – “let me follow around with them.”

Grado went on to earn his bachelor’s degree (with high honors) in zoology, with a chemistry minor, from Eastern Illinois University in 1974.  He attended the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, where he received his medical degree and became interested in brachytherapy for the treatment of cancer.  He completed his internship at the University of Chicago followed by a residency to specialize in the treatment of cancer with radiation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Now the world-renowned oncologist and founder/medical director of the Southwest Oncology Centers and the Grado Radiation Center of Excellence, Grado hopes to give pre-med students at EIU the opportunity he, himself, had yearned for but never received.  “With my experience, I thought I could be helpful,” he said.

Nearly four years ago, Grado began offering EIU pre-med students the chance to spend two weeks between semesters at his Scottsdale, Ariz., clinic.

“I wanted to offer opportunities for undergraduate students to start learning how to ‘talk doctor,’ how to interact with people,” Grado said.  “That doesn’t usually seem to happen until late in the first or second year of med school.”

While at the clinic, students learn “in a situation where they can’t really do anything wrong,” Grado said.  “No classes, no grades.  Just participation – meet doctors, meet patients.  Get to know the ballet (procedure) and smells of the hospital.” 

In addition to meeting one-on-one with Grado and his wife, Mary, who serves as the clinic administrator, visiting students also get to “hang out” in the doctors’ lounges and go on daily rotations with other medical personnel (e.g., doctors, nurses, radiologists, anesthesiologists, etc.).

“The most recent (students) here at the clinic were with me in the operating room, observing -- twice,” Grado said.  “One patient was receiving treatment for breast cancer; the other, prostate cancer.

“Even that experience gives (students) a leg up,” Grado continued.  “They get to wear the surgical scrub suits.  Some of them are seeing blood for the first time in a surgical setting.

“So far, I’ve not had any students faint.”

He understands that there needs to be an adjustment period for young medical professionals-in-training.  “While growing up, I personally couldn’t stand the smell of antiseptics,” a condition he obviously had to amend before becoming a doctor, he said.

He also acknowledged that the earlier a problem can be addressed – ideally before a student enters med school – the better.  “Instructors there get irritable if they have to spend extra time with students who have issues or trouble handling the environment,” Grado said.

Visiting students also learn how to respond to negative feedback.  “Half of our students are kind of shy.  We don’t bully them; we’re not trying to be mean to them.  We do challenge them, though.

“They also get pushed around.  Again, we’re not trying to be mean but we are telling them at the time to ‘get out of the way!’  Time can be of essence when in a health-related setting.”

Grado said he personally spends as much time as possible with the visiting students and, in order to do so, he sometimes needs to “get up a little earlier in the morning and stay a little later at night” so that he can accomplish as his regular work.  He strives, however, to give his visitors a complete picture of a real oncology practice.

“I find it a real pleasure as the experience allows me to return some of the favors Eastern provided to me,” he said.

The lucky few who get invited to Scottsdale aren’t the only EIU students to benefit from Grado’s knowledge and experience.

“I fell in love with Skype a long time ago,” Grado said.  “A patient was here (at the Scottsdale clinic), but his wife couldn’t come.  We were able, however, to discuss his case via Skype, making it possible for her to make sure her husband asked the right questions.”

Skype allows Grado to chat with pre-med students, both individually and as a group, on the EIU campus.  It allows them the opportunity to openly discuss issues associated with the field of medicine, including training, med schools, specialties, salaries and even medical malpractice.

“Students are often afraid of asking questions,” Grado said.  “I think it helps for them to be able to both hear me and see me, to get to know me as someone they can approach for information and advice.”

He’s advocating for other EIU alumni to join him in his endeavors.

“I’m hoping to start a program involving other Eastern alum in the medical profession,” he said.  “EIU grads from all over who have become doctors and nurses… I think a national program to support our students is just what we need.”

*****

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Through ‘Life-changing’ Experience, EIU Alumnus Gives EIU Students a Leg Up

Cancer Treatment Brings Allies Together...  Alumnus Advances Russell Means' Work through Art Exhibit on EIU Campus

Through ‘Life-changing’ Experience, EIU Alumnus Gives EIU Students a Leg Up 04/03/15
Dr. Gordon Grado, David Constantinescu and Robert Skolik

David Constantinescu and Robert Skolik share a lot in common.

Both are honors students at Eastern Illinois University.  Both have perfect 4.0 GPAs.  They are roommates.  They are co-captains of EIU’s men’s tennis team.  And, they both spent two weeks in Scottsdale, Ariz., during July 2014 as the guests and mentees of Gordon Grado, founder/medical director of the Southwest Oncology Centers and the Grado Radiation Center of Excellence.

“It really was a life-changing experience,” Skolik, a junior pre-engineering student from Huntington, West Virginia, said.  “I am so honored to have been chosen to be a part of it.”

Constantinescu, a senior pre-med student, concurred.  “The opportunity was amazing,” he said.

Romanian-born Constantinescu, who now lives in Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada, became curious about the program as a freshman.

“Here was Dr. Grado, listed by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 1 percent of radiation oncologists, ‘skyping’ with students in Eastern’s pre-health program,” he said.  “I was definitely interested.”

By Spring 2014, Constantinescu and Skolik were among the EIU hopefuls writing essays of applications.  Resumes and grades were also a part of the competitive process.  They learned they had been accepted while coming back from a tennis match.

Constantinescu looked at the opportunity as a way of strengthening his application for med school.  Skolik, still wavering between a career in medicine or engineering, looked at the summer experience as the important, determining factor in deciding his future.

“When we arrived in Arizona, the Grados were extremely welcoming,” Skolik said.  Mary Grado met the two students at the airport and accompanied them to the condo they would be occupying for the next two weeks.  In addition to living quarters, the Grados also “gave us keys to a car we could use while we were there,” Constantinescu added.

The next day – the students’ first day at the clinic – the Grados “set us down to talk for an hour or two, explaining that while we were there, we couldn’t ask a stupid question,” Skolik recalled.  “They let us know they were there to help us.”

In the days that followed, the two undergrads followed Dr. Grado and other medical professionals around the clinic as each explained his or her specific role.

“On the first day, we got to observe (Dr. Grado’s) signature surgery in the operating room,” Skolik said.  “David and I, dressed in full scrubs and lead protection, got to stand right over (Dr. Grado’s) shoulder as he was offering narration of the surgery.

“We saw that same patient walking around a couple of days later,” Skolik continued.  “It was one of several very fulfilling moments.”

Other moments of note included encounters with Grado’s patients who came to the clinics for more routine visits.  The students were instructed to stand absolutely still so as not to distract the patients from the business at hand.

“And at 12 patients a day, that meant standing still for four to five hours a day,” Skolik recalled.

However, the time also allowed them ample time to observe the less clinical characteristics of a good doctor.

“Maintaining eye contact with the patient, the distance you keep between yourself and the patient…  I had never given much thought to those kind of things before,” Skolik said.

“How you present yourself – your demeanor, your personality – are all important,” Constantinescu added.  “Patients are scared, and you want to lessen that fear if you can.  Confident, but welcoming.”

Although much of Grado’s work take place at his offices in Scottsdale and nearby Glendale, he operates a third, more rural, clinic in Yuma.  Constantinescu and Skolik accompanied the doctor on one of his day trips to Yuma, taking advantage of opportunities a six-hour ride offers.

“We were on the road at 4 a.m. and got back at 10 p.m.,” Constantinescu said.  “We drove three hours to get to the Yuma clinic and three hours back.  And all the time we were shooting him questions.”

Constantinescu found in Grado a certain kindred spirit.  “We discussed the problems he had, coming from a small community, too.  And he helped confirm that that was not a disadvantage but, rather, that I would need to continue to look for opportunities I made for myself.”

Constantinescu understood.  His aptitude at tennis had already earned him a full ride scholarship at Eastern.

“The opportunities are there,” he said.  “I just need to open up the doors that will allow me to better myself.”

As Constantinescu and Skolik continue their education back on Eastern’s campus, they’re still contemplating their futures.  Constantinescu definitely sees a career in medicine.  But as for a specialty…

“I expect I’ll change my mind many, many times as I go through med school,” he said.

(Note: Since the internship, Constantinescu has worked with Dr. Grado on a medical manuscript on prostate cancer radiotherapy, expected to be presented for publication and presentation in peer reviewed literature and at a national conference later this year.)

*****

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Looking to Provide Others with the Opportunity He Never Had:
Oncologist Gordon Grado Shares Knowledge, Expertise and Clinic with EIU Students 

Cancer Treatment Brings Allies Together...
Alumnus Advances Russell Means' Work through Art Exhibit on EIU Campus

Cancer Treatment Brings Allies Together…
Alumnus Advances Russell Means’ Work through Art Exhibit on EIU Campus
04/03/15

Opening Reception:
"The Artwork of Russell Means"
6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 13
Booth Library, Marvin Foyer
Exhibit runs through May 15

Special Guests:  Pearl Means
Gordon and Mary Grado

Speaker: Don Holly, EIU anthropology professor,
to discuss Russell Means, his work and legacy
_________________________________________

Russell Means and Gordon Grado met under challenging circumstances.

Means, perhaps best known as a political activist and early leader of the American Indian Movement, could barely talk because of a cancerous tumor pressing against his throat.  He and his wife, Pearl, met Grado, a world renowned oncologist based in Scottsdale, Ariz., during Means’ initial consultation.

“When we walked in, Gordon sat on the edge of his chair, looked straight into Russell’s eyes and told him what an honor it was to meet him,” Pearl Means recalled.

Grado went on to tell the couple about his father, Louis, a retired Eastern Illinois University professor of education, who would come home each evening and ask his children, “What did you do for humanity today?”  The elder Grado would also talk about notable individuals who worked and sacrificed for the good of the people.

Russell Means, Grado said, was one of those notables by whom he became so inspired.

“He and my father were alike in their struggle to identify whatever wasn't right and to try and find a solution without compromising one's beliefs or principles,” Grado said. 

“As (Russell’s) wife, I often heard others speak highly of my husband,” Pearl Means said.  “But Gordon’s words were especially powerful.  My husband told me later that he knew he had an ally in Dr. Grado.”

Several months following that meeting, in October 2012, 72-year-old Russell Means succumbed to throat cancer.

“But we were very grateful for Dr. Grado’s help,” Pearl Means said.  Through a treatment known as TomoTherapy, her husband’s tumor had been “successfully eliminated,” allowing him to spend his finals days on earth with his voice intact.

Grado and his wife, Mary, continue to keep in contact with Pearl Means.  They also collect artwork created by her husband, who began painting in the ‘90s.

Pieces of their collection, titled “The Artwork of Russell Means,” will appear on display between April 13 and May 15 in the Marvin Foyer of Booth Library, located on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.  Admission is free and open to the public.  

“Mr. Means was not only an activist, but a musician, artist, philosopher, mentor, historian, sociologist and history maker,” Grado, an EIU alumnus, said.  “Touching on all of these areas truly makes him unique and someone that would touch the university, students and faculty in many ways.

“The forte of Mr. Means' work is not only in his activism and support of the indigenous nations, but his constant commitment to identify and attempt to correct any injustice that he saw,” Grado continued.  “He also didn't mind discussing either his weaknesses or his strengths and was uniquely able to provide not only a magnifying glass to see life but a corrective lens to see it clearly.” 

Russell Means appeared in the 1992 film, “The Last of the Mohicans,” as Chingachgook.  “That role opened up the artistic side of this man,” Pearl Means said.  He viewed “artists as the true revolutionaries, for they see the need for change first.”

Her husband created dozens of paintings over the year, including five series.  One of those series, titled Indian Killer, features 12 “alleged American heroes.”  Each piece measures 34 inches by 27 inches and includes a framed narrative, written by Russell Means to explain “who (those individuals) really were.”

Additional exhibit pieces include the following:  “Buffalo on Plains,” “Ancestors Leaving,” “Tatanka,” “Valentine,” “The Dance” and “Crazy Horse.”  The exhibit also features a portrait of Russell and Pearl Means that was painted by Pearl’s sister.

*****

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Looking to Provide Others with the Opportunity He Never Had:
Oncologist Gordon Grado Shares Knowledge, Expertise and Clinic with EIU Students

Through 'Life-changing' Experience, EIU Alumnus Gives EIU Students a Leg Up

Community Invited to Hunger Symposium, Collaborative Effort 04/03/15

The public is invited to a hunger symposium focused on bringing awareness to poverty and hunger in the Coles County area.

The symposium will be from 1-4 p.m. Friday, April 10, at the Lumpkin Family Center for Health Education at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center.

Coles County Time Out is sponsoring the event, which is a collaborative effort between Eastern Illinois University, the Lumpkin Family Foundation and various businesses, churches and non-profit organizations in the Coles County area.

The event will include a keynote by Jim Hires, the executive director of Eastern Illinois Foodbank, who will discuss the state of hunger in the Coles County area. Numerous workshops will be available including a presentation by Michael Gillespie, an EIU sociology professor who will present census data to show the ‘true face’ of hunger within the community.

Other workshops will include a panel discussion with local food pantry directors, local community garden leaders and school food pantry directors.

To register for the event, call Marcia Shambaugh in EIU’s Office of Student Community Service at 581-3967. To register for the event online, click here.

For more information about the Office of Student Community Service and EIU’s continued endeavors, click here.

For more information about Gillespie’s research of poverty within Coles County, click here.

Community Invited to EIU’s Autism Awareness Day 04/02/15

The public is invited to Eastern Illinois University’s Autism Awareness Day to bring awareness to autism spectrum disorders that effect 1 in every 68 children.

Families are invited to attend EIU’s softball team’s doubleheader and children activities from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 at Williams Field on EIU’s campus. Activities include a bouncy house, face-painting, arts and crafts and relay races.  

The games will start at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. that day. In case of inclement weather, the activities will be relocated to McAfee Gymnasium.

April is National Autism Awareness Month, which brings awareness to autism spectrum disorders, a group of complex disorders of brain development characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

These developmental disorders have major impacts on families throughout the world. EIU’s Autism Center seeks to alleviate the impact by offering resources and services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families within east central Illinois.

EIU’s Autism Center and Women’s Softball Team co-sponsored the awareness day.

For further information about the day, contact Monique Bronowicki or Gail Richard. For more information about EIU's Autism Center, click here.

EIU Employee Invited as National Expert on Behavioral Health 04/02/15

An Eastern Illinois University employee was invited as the only Illinois representative at a national summit focused on behavioral health issues among college students in March.

Eric Davidson, an associate director of EIU’s Health Service, spoke on the nonmedicinal use of prescription drugs to a room full of experts from substance abuse to suicide prevention.   

The summit was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), which is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The purpose of the two-day summit was to bring in experts on health issues to review the strategic plan and provide input on how to improve services directed at college-age populations.

Davidson said one of the reasons for his selection is his involvement with the Illinois Higher Education Center (IHEC) and his work within the Health Education Resource Center (HERC). 

The IHEC provides training material for health center promotion professionals throughout the state from an Illinois Department of Human Services grant.

“We help others from community colleges to universities who want to develop or enhance their substance abuse prevention programs,” he said.

The center is the only state-funded agency focused completely on providing substance abuse prevention training, consultations, and development to higher education institutions in the state of Illinois. In the country, there are only about 10 to 15 centers similar to IHEC.

 “IHEC is giving Eastern a national reach,” he said. “Others are asking us advice throughout the country on how to run substance abuse programs and centers similar to IHEC.”

The connection with state-wide and national professionals also gives EIU’s health professionals access to experts throughout the field, he said.

Davidson is considered to be a national expert in the drug free schools and campuses regulations.

During his time at EIU, he has overseen the expansion of the Health Service's health promotion efforts and advised several student groups including Health Fair Planning Committee, Colleges Against Cancer and Alpha Phi Omega. Davidson has been employed within EIU since 1996.

For more information about the HERC, click here.

For more information about the IHEC, click here.

Book Sale Among Activities to Celebrate National Library Week 03/23/15

Eastern Illinois University’s Booth Library will celebrate National Library Week April 12-18 by sponsoring several activities.

The annual book sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 15 outside the south entrance of Booth Library in the Alumni Quad (weather permitting). The library requests no sales in advance. A large selection of books in all subject areas and hundreds of paperback fiction titles will be available for sale. All items have been donated by the campus and local communities. The proceeds from the sale are used to enhance library programs and services.

At 4:30 p.m. April 15, the winners of the 2015 Awards for Excellence in Student Research and Creativity will be announced during a reception hosted by the Library Advisory Board. Everyone is welcome to attend. The awards program promotes and recognizes excellence in student research and encourages students to utilize the wealth of information available at Booth Library to enhance their studies.

On April 16, the library will host the fifth annual Edible Book Festival. Items will be on display for public viewing from 4 to 6 p.m. Public voting will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m., with the winners announced shortly after. An “edible book” is something that looks like a book or is book-themed and is made out of food. The edible artwork will not be eaten; however, refreshments will be served. Prizes will be awarded. Entries will be accepted through April 13. More information and an application form are available on the library website.

More information about National Library Week can be found on the Booth Library Facebook page or on the library website.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Beth Heldebrandt, Booth Library; emheldebrandt@eiu.edu; 217-581-6064

High School Juniors Encouraged to ‘Road Trip’ to EIU 03/18/15

All high school juniors are invited to road trip to Eastern Illinois University during their spring breaks for extended visit days.

The “Preview EIU” days encourage juniors to experience a college campus before they start considering where to apply in the fall. The extended visit days include Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the weeks of March 23, March 30, April 6 and April 13.

Chris Dearth, EIU’s admissions director, said tours are offered to prospective students throughout the year, yet the purpose of “Preview EIU” days is to reach out to juniors sooner.

“The days encourage juniors to start visiting colleges before they sit down with an application,” Dearth said. “Before making any college decision, students need to visit campuses to see if universities, like EIU, are the right fit for them.”

The visit includes a continental breakfast, admissions presentation, visits with faculty and current students, a panel of EIU experts and a campus tour.

The panel of experts includes representatives from housing, financial aid, the Pine Honors College, student life and much more. Students can also attend an optional discounted lunch in one of EIU’s dining centers. 

To learn more and to schedule a “Preview EIU” visit day, go here. To learn more about EIU, go here

Rapper Mac Miller to Perform at EIU 03/17/15
Mac Miller 

The Pittsburgh-based rapper, Mac Miller, known for his throwback style, will perform at Eastern Illinois University next month.

Ticket sales ($24) will be open to the general public on Wednesday, March 18. EIU students with a Panther Card ID may purchase tickets for $21. The 2015 Spring Concert is set to begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 25 in Lantz Arena with the doors opening at 7 p.m.

Tickets may be purchased at the Martin Luther King University Jr. Union Ticket Office (581-5122) between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. They also may be purchased here

Miller released his debut album, “Blue Side Park,” in 2011, which landed number one on the Billboard 200.

More recently, Miller released an experimental album, “Watching Movies with the Sound Off,” in 2013, with hip-hop names such as Action Bronson, Earl Sweatshirt and Flying Lotus.

Born Malcolm McCormick, Miller first used the alias "Easy Mac," a name referenced on his debut mixtape, 2007's “But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy.”

Miller’s breakthrough came with his release of the K.I.D.S. mixtape in August 2010; earning plenty of attention from hip-hop blogs and landing Miller a recording contract with Rostrum Records.

The concert is sponsored by EIU’s University Board. 

Eastern Illinois University Names Glassman as New President 03/02/15
David M. Glassman

David M. Glassman has been named the 12th president of Eastern Illinois University.

Glassman, 61, was introduced to the EIU community Monday following an official vote by the university’s Board of Trustees.  He currently serves as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bradley University, a private university located in Peoria, Ill.

Board Chairman Kristopher Goetz credited Glassman’s energy and enthusiasm, in part, for the board’s decision.  “They were certainly important factors,” he said.  “But we also believe that Dr. Glassman has a clear vision for the future of Eastern, as well as a strong understanding and appreciation of our strategic plan.

“And, being from Illinois, he certainly understands the challenges higher education faces in the state.  We view his experience at a private institution as a positive thing.  The funding model has been changing; Eastern can no longer rely on state appropriations as its major funding source.  As a private institution, Bradley already relies on funding based on tuition.  We believe Dr. Glassman will be able to help us in that transition.”

“I’m thrilled to have been chosen and am honored and thankful for the confidence shown in me by Eastern’s Board of Trustees,” Glassman said.  “I look forward to beginning my work on campus.”

That beginning will take place on June 1.  Glassman intends to remain in his current role through May 31.

“There won’t be much down time,” he admits, but that fact doesn’t seem to bother him, as he’s hugely excited to begin the next chapter in his academic career.

Glassman has experience with both private and public institutions of higher education, having spent 19 years (1985-2004) as a faculty member, associate dean and chair of the Anthropology Department at Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas), in San Marcos.  His tenure as a professor of anthropology and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, followed (2004-2010), and he arrived at Bradley University as provost and vice president for academic affairs later in 2010.

He earned both a master’s degree and doctorate in anthropology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, after completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota.

Glassman said one of the deciding factors in his decision to accept the position at Eastern was the emotion he witnessed during his on-site interviews in January.  “I was impressed by the passion for the university as expressed by its faculty, staff, administrators and students,” he said.  “Plus, it’s a beautiful campus.  I look forward to making my place there.”

He plans to make periodic visits to the area between now and June 1 in order to “establish” himself, to focus on the impending presidential transition and find a home.  He will spend the first few months of his presidency “absorbing the culture of the area and identifying the areas that will need my immediate and full attention. 

“Enrollment management, of course, will be of the highest importance,” he said.

Glassman will immediately begin fostering and strengthening existing partnerships with the university’s various constituencies, including legislators, alumni and the community.  Furthermore, he plans to enhance Eastern’s resources by developing new partnerships and may, in time, even return to the classroom. 

“If my schedule allows time to do so, I would like to teach – maybe one course every other year or so,” he said.  “In addition to helping me keep in touch with our students, teaching allows me to make better decisions relative to the faculty.”

Eastern’s search for a new president began when William L. Perry announced in March 2014 that he would complete his service as president in 2015.  Perry began serving as EIU president in 2007.

In acknowledging the successful end to the nearly year-long search, Joe Dively, chair of the presidential search advisory committee and a member of Eastern’s BOT, thanked the committee, the university community, and the Charleston community at-large for their participation and feedback.

“With the assistance of the search committee, we were able to bring four exceptional higher education professionals to campus for on-site interviews, and we had great participation in the candidate forums,” Dively said.  “And I’m convinced Dr. Glassman is the right leader for Eastern.”

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 EIU History

David M. Glassman will be Eastern’s 12th president, but the 11th “sitting president.”

Samuel M. Inglis was appointed as the institution’s first president in 1898, but died before officially assuming the full duties of the office.

 Subsequent presidents of Eastern Illinois University have been:

Livingston C. Lord (1899 to 1933)

Robert G. Buzzard (1933 to 1956)

Quincy V. Doudna (1956 to 1971)

Gilbert C. Fite (1971 to 1976)

Daniel E. Marvin (1977 to 1983)

Stanley G. Rives (1983 to 1992)

David L. Jorns (1992 to 1999)

Carol D. Surles (1999 to 2001)

Louis V. Hencken (2001 to 2007)

William L. Perry (2007 to 2015)

Public Invited to Women’s History Awareness Month Events 02/27/15

The public is invited to celebrate women’s contributions to history and culture during March, Women’s History and Awareness Month.

The month, sponsored by Eastern Illinois University’s Women’s Studies Program and Women’s Resource Center, will offer a film festival, musical performances and lectures to highlight women’s accomplishments.

For this year’s month, some of the events and lectures will be focused on the theme of “Gender & Sexuality.”

Ruben Quesada, assistant professor of English, said the theme draws on history, literature, cultural studies, social science and science to offer EIU and the Charleston community perspectives from which to study the diversity of the human experience.

“Gender is the distinction between the sexes—and sexuality—is the distinction of sexual identities,” Quesada said. “This year's theme uses the two categories of Gender & Sexuality, which are universal categories that intersect with class, race, ethnicity and nationality, to create a conversation about the people in our growing community.”

“In many ways the world is getting smaller and in order to live in a smaller world we need to understand how we fit into its diverse and often undiscovered landscape of experiences,” Quesada continued.  

All events are free and open to the public. For a full calendar of events, click here.

Calendar of Events:

  • Elaine Fine & John David Moore: Concert of Violin and Piano Music Written by Women

          7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28, in the Recital Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center

  • WHAM Keynote Event Featuring Dr. Elaine Richardson: Ph.D to Ph.D: How Education Saved My Life-The One Woman Show:

          5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3 at 7th Street Underground of Martin Luther King Jr. University Union 

  • Lecture on Latina Representations Presented by Angharad N. Valdivia: Brain, Brow, Or Bootie? Contemporary Latinidad in Popular Culture

          5 p.m. on Thursday, March 5 in the Lecture Hall in the Doudna Fine Arts Center 

  • Faculty Panel Presentation: Sex in the City…in the Country…in the Mind

          6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10 in Room 4440 in Booth Library 

  • Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival

          March 23-25 in Coleman Hall Auditorium

  • Barbara King Humanities Lecture: “How Animals Grieve

          5 p.m. Thursday March 26 in the Lecture Hall in Doudna Fine Arts Center

  • Women’s Studies Annual Awards Ceremony

          5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 31 in the 7th Street Underground in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The month is co-sponsored by EIU’s African American Heritage Month Committee, Latin American Studies Program, Division of Student Affairs, University Board and the Coles County Arts Council.

Safe Zone Trainings Create a Culture of Inclusiveness 02/25/15

Eastern Illinois University continues to offer Safe Zone trainings to create a culture of inclusiveness and address concerns of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

The public, EIU students and staff are invited to attend the Safe Zone trainings offered every semester.

Cameron Carrara, graduate assistant of the LGBTQA Resource Center, said the Safe Zone trainings educate individuals to understand the concerns within the LGBTQA community and gives participants a general overview of terminology and what it means to be an ally. 

“These trainings help create a culture of inclusiveness,” Carrara said. “They create a comfortable environment or ‘safe’ zones for the LGBTQA community to turn to if every they should need them. These safe zones allow individuals to express any issue or concern in an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance.”

Participants in the two-phase training will earn a 'safe zone' sticker, which they can place outside their campus office, residence hall or home. The sticker signifies to members of the LGBTQA community that the place is a ‘safe zone.’

Members of the LGBTQA Advisory Committee facilitate the Safe Zone program. The committee consists of EIU students, staff, faculty and community members committed to serving the LGBTQA population on campus. The committee also works closely with the LGBTQA Resource Center, which is located in Room 203 in Cultural Center across from Old Main. 

The first phase of the training focuses on general terminology, the coming out process and myths and misconceptions about the community. It explores the definition of homophobia and the Riddle Scale, which measures levels of homophobia in individuals, Carrara said.

“The first part of training also explores heterosexual privileges, which is when individuals do not realize the privileges they have as a heterosexual person,” Carrara said.

The second phase of the training focuses on how to become a better ally, an advocate of the LGBTQA community. This phase is an application-focused session, where participants gain the tools they need to provide resources to members of the community. 

The upcoming trainings are scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, for phase one, then phase two is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 12. Phase one and two are also scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday, April 16.

To register for the trainings, click here

For more online resources, go to the LGBTQA web center here

“When it comes down to it, the Safe Zone program allows for an opportunity to educate participants, and to create safe spaces for the LGBTQA community on and off campus.” Carrara said. “This promotes a sense of acceptance and tolerance, which are values the LGBTQA community would like to see more of.”

The Safe Zone trainings have been taking place at EIU since 2009. 

EIU Employees Honored for Continuous Years of Service 02/20/15
Shown, from left to right, first row, are Sheila Poffinbarger (25 years), Mary Sanders (25), Virginia Trigg (25), Pamela Newby (25), Donna Nichols (25) and Lora Green (25); second row, Peggy Manley (25), Susan Kile (25), Timothy Mason (25), Janel Moore (25), Lisa Standerfer (25), Karla Watson (25) and Lori Creek (30);  and third row: John Hatfill (25), Phil Lang (25), John Looby (30), Philip Blair (35), Betsy Miller (25), Newton Key (25), Gary Aylesworth (25), Bruce Duzan (25), Ruth Flaherty (25), Dan Crews (25) and Mahyar Izadi (30), with EIU President William Perry.       

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Eastern Illinois University recently recognized more than 260 of its employees for continuous years of service.

A luncheon was held in recognition of university employees with continuous years of service in five-year increments. Those employed at EIU for five years were eligible for a certificate; those with 10 or more years of service were honored with both a certificate and a pin.

The following were honored for their years of service:

35 Years – Philip Blair, Jeanne Goble and Ron Mathenia.

30 Years – Lori Creek, Mahyar Izadi and John Looby.

25 Years – Olga Abella, Gary Aylesworth, Craig Chesner, Margaret Clapp, Dan Crews, Adam Due, Bruce Duzan, Ruth Flaherty, Shelley French, Frank Goldacker, Lora Green, John Hatfill, Christy Hooser, Zoraida Irizarry, Newton Key, Susan Kile, Phil Lang, Peggy Manley, Timothy Mason, Betsy Miller, Janel Moore, Pamela Newby, Donna Nichols, Charles Pederson, Sheila Poffinbarger, Mary Sanders, Joyce Schumacher, Lisa Standerfer, Duangrudi Suksang, Virginia Trigg, Karla Watson and Carl Weaver.

20 Years – Patti Bailey, Deborah Barker, Terry Barnhart, Cynthia Bayes, Janice Beals, Randall Beebe, William Reed Benedict, Ronan Bernas, Jonathan Blitz, Sally Bock, James Bruehler, Greg Buell, Melanie Burns, T. Christine Chambers, Beverly Cruse, Lynne Curry, Charles Delman, Karen Eisenhour, Cynthia Fearday, Gary Fritz, Gregory Galperin, Julia Gladu, Rose Gong, Bradley Green, David Hilligoss, Les Hyder, Joy Kammerling, Renee Kerz, Jeffrey Laursen, Young Lee, Gloria Leitschuh, Tina Leonard, Kevin Linker, Susan Liu, Melinda Meehling, Kathryn Morice, Carla Nelson, Steve Rich, James Schmitz, Cindy Starwalt, Kimberly Sweeney, James Williams and Bailey Young.

15 Years – Sheila Baker, David Barker, David Bell, Matthew Boyer, Cathy Brachear, Angela Campbell, Betty Carr, Marla Cooper, Kent Cummings, Julie Davis, Connie Downey, Chad Elliott, Marie Finney, Chad Franks, James Gilbert, Brenda Good, Randall Good, Cathryn Gordon, Frank Graziano, Assegedetch HaileMariam, Heidi Hawkins, Ryan Hendrickson, Michael Hutchinson, Brian Hyder, Christina Jenkins, Christopher Kahler, Denise Lee, Travis Magee, Douglas Messmore, Stephen Mullin, Sarah Newby, Nanci Newstrom, Adrienne Paladino, Debra Reid, Marty Robinson, James Rose, Lionel Sanders, Michelle Sherwood, Carl Starwalt Jr., John Stimac, Debora Timmons, Bradley Tolppanen, Mukti Upadhyay, Nancy Van Cleave, Mark Voss-Hubbard and Kathryn Waggoner.

10 Years – Kevin Anderson, Bennett Andres, Jana Aydt, Kim Bagwell, Shannon Bell, Stephen Benner, Colleen Bright, Robert Cataneo, Rigoberto Chinchilla, Ann Coddington, Gary Cohoon, Jackelyn Collins, Michael Coventry, Timothy Darling, Mona Davenport, Kelli Davis, Janice Derr, Steven Di Naso, Ronald Durbin, Jill Fahy, Dwayne Helander, Linda Holloway, Jason Jacobs, Lowell Jenkins, Paul Johnston, Susan Kling, Josh Koontz, Damita Lewis, Yan Lin, David Linton, Zhiwei Liu, Chad Mattingly, Jonathan McKenzie, James McKirahan, Gilbert McMichaels, Deborah Meadows, Andrew Mertz, Yevgenya Movshovich, Kathleen Nichols, Rhonda Nichols, Donald Pepperdine, Alan Pike, Michael Ray, Sally Renaud, Roberta Rennels, Douglas Repp, William Roberts, Anita Sego, Ronald Shook, Jennifer Smith, Tony Spivey, Janie Steber, David Stimac, James Stone, Todd Thomason, Michel Tozer, Elizabeth Viall, Michael Wayne, Mac White, Charles Woodfall and Cecilia Yoakum.

Five Years -- John Adams, Cheryl Barker, Lynnette Barringer, John Bickford, Kristin Brown, Daniel Brummer, Melissa Caldwell, Robert Colombo, Jack Cordes, Jodi Craig, Anna Cromwell, LeAnn Daubs, Michael Dobbs, Jennifer Dodson, Mary Eberspacher, Jennifer Edwards, Deborah Fennema, Jacquelyn Frank, Gary Fuller, Sarah Gossett, James Guymon, Angela Hallowell, Dustin Henderson, Jan Hickox, Aaron Hite, John Holliday, Robert Holmes, Daniel Icenogle, Teresa Jones, Michael Keller, Renee Kidd-Marshall, Chris Laingen, Katherine Lewandowski, Damian Light, Sandy Litton, Marschelle McCoy, Robert McKinney, Tena McNamara, Rosemary Onyango, Brenda Page, Sherri Parison, Lee Patterson, Jennifer Peterson, Kathryn Price, Brian Reid, David Richardson, Benjamen Rienbolt, Jemmie Robertson, Scott Ronspies, Jamie Ryan, Heather Santos, Malinda Sawyer, Teresa Maria Scholz, M.K. Scott, Jaysinha Shinde, Kelly Simmonds, Laurie Smith, Robert Stevens, Dana Stodden, Jennifer Stringfellow, Sally van der Graaff, Dwight Vaught, Mackenzie Walker, Steven Walker, Jason Waller, Libby Warner, Teri Waterman, Lee Whitacre, Anthony Willenborg, Ernest  Williams, Kristin Yager, Ka-Wai Yu, Robert Zschau and Amanda Zucco.

Financial Classes Offered to Public 02/17/15

The public is invited to register for financial classes at Eastern Illinois University focused on spending and managing money wisely.

The Financial Peace University course is not the typical “money class” instead the nine-week course incorporates video teaching, class discussion and interactive small group activities. 

The classes will meet from 7-8:30 p.m. each Wednesday starting Feb. 25 in Room 1120 in Lumpkin Hall. The Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education and Development (SEED) Center and Literacy in Financial Education (LIFE) Center at EIU are sponsoring the classes.

The cost for the classes is $100, which includes shipping and handling of materials. To register, click here.  

EIU Student Groups Competing in Polar Plunge 02/17/15

Eastern Illinois University teams will be competing against each other in the 2015 Polar Plunge, with proceeds going toward Special Olympics in Illinois.

The competition, called EIU College Cup, encourages university groups, student organizations and athletic teams to develop a Polar Plunge team, and raise funds to win the first place prize of $500 and a trophy.

EIU teams can still register for the Polar Plunge, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 28 at Lake Sara in Effingham by clicking here. In the plunge, competitors will take a leap into the waters of Lake Sara.

One of EIU’s teams has already raised $2,000 in support of Special Olympics. All plunger teams must raise a minimum of $75.  Check-in for the event is at 10:30 a.m. and the plunge will start at noon.

EIU To Host #FUTUREPANTHER Admitted Student Day 02/12/15

Eastern Illinois University’s Office of Admissions will host a #FuturePanther Admitted Student Day to give students a final look of campus.

The Feb. 16 Admitted Student Day is part of a campus-wide effort to showcase EIU through tours of campus and opportunities to speak with representatives across campus from faculty to current students.

“The days are a celebration of students’ accomplishments and what lies ahead of them,” said, Chris Dearth, director of the Office of Admissions “The students have already been admitted to a selective academic university. Now, it’s their decision to see if EIU is the right fit.”

Admitted students are encouraged to make their $150 enrollment deposit, with cashiers and technicians available on site during the event. The enrollment deposit for first-time freshmen admits should be submitted by May 1.

Dearth said EIU’s student deposits for first-time freshmen are up compared to last year, and his office continues to work hard to keep the deposits coming in.   

“An increase in freshmen deposits increases the likelihood of students attending the university,” Dearth said. “It’s a much better indicator then student applications alone.”

Visitors from throughout Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin will attend the day with informational sessions from Housing and Dining, financial aid, academic highlights, Honors, student panels and more.

Students will also get chances to win tickets for the Homecoming or Family Weekend football games, the Family Weekend concert, EIU gear and EIU Bookstore discounts. 

“Our #FuturePanther Admitted Student Days are for our admitted students to take another look at campus with their families,” he said.

The day is scheduled to coincide with President’s Day, an official federal holiday commemorated by most high schools.  (Eastern will commemorate President’s Day on Friday, Feb. 13, so classes will be in session on Monday).

Current students, faculty members and staff are encouraged to wear blue to show their support for the day, Dearth said.

The next #FuturePanther Admitted Student Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 7.

For more information about the Office of Admissions, click here.  

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Student Operates Her Own Hair Salon 02/10/15

It’s only natural for Alante Johnson to spend her days in a hair salon.  As she trims and primps, each of her clients — giving them that extra boost of confidence — Johnson dreams of owning her own hair salon.

Yet, at Eastern Illinois University that dream is more than a mere aspiration; for Johnson, it’s a reality.

Since Fall 2013, Johnson operates a hair salon, called A-List, in Room 1705 in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. 

Johnson isn’t alone in her endeavor with accomplished business faculty from EIU’s entrepreneurship program guiding her through a business plan and marketing strategies.

Her salon is prime example of EIU’s commitment to student businesses as directed by the Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education & Development (SEED) Center.

Yet, to Johnson, the guidance and mentoring means living her dream every day.

It’s in the genes 

The senior communication studies major and entrepreneurship minor has spent her life in a hair salon — even before leaving the womb.

“My mother is a licensed cosmetologist, and she almost went into labor in her salon,” Johnson said, laughing.  

Ever since then, Johnson spent her days in her mother’s salon, and by age 13 she had her own shampooing business. And, by age 17, she was a licensed cosmetologist after attending Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, a high school that helped her earn her cosmetology license.

So naturally, when Johnson arrived on campus she wasn’t going to stop ‘doing hair’ just because she didn’t have a physical space.

Armed with her mother’s beauty chair, Johnson spent the year building a relationship with her clients and continuing to do hair on the side.

Yet, it wasn’t till she made a connection with her mentor, Mona Davenport, director of minority affairs, that her salon transformed into a physical reality.

Normally, Davenport reaches out to professional licensed cosmetologists outside campus to operate the salon in the MLK Jr. University Union, which is geared toward African-American students.

Yet, Davenport didn’t have to go off campus to find what she was looking for with Johnson.

“Unlike other hair stylists we brought in, since Johnson lives on campus, she is able to have a more frequent schedule,” Davenport said.

Right now, Johnson operates the salon on a contract with the MLK Jr. University Union.

An Entrepreneurship Culture

Through the entrepreneurship program, Johnson was guided through a business plan and encouraged to put her ideas into practice for her salon. 

She works on promoting marketing strategies and giving discounts. “I have learned to speak up more about my business,” she said. “I am not afraid to get the word out there, and to network.”

A graduate assistant in the program also helped Johnson create a financial plan with all the needed calculations.  

“He saved my life when it came down to the financials,” she said. “I was scared I was going to be a failure because I couldn’t understand the calculations. He created something so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed.”

The business plan and financial worksheet will be used for Johnson’s salon that she plans to open after graduation.

The entrepreneurship program is paired with the SEED Center to foster a culture of business ventures and practices.

The director of the SEED Center and program coordinator, Marko Grünhagen, refers clients to Johnson all the time, and he was very enthusiastic about Johnson’s business.

She is still in the process of researching the name for her salon after graduation, but she wants to base the new name off what her clients say about her service now.

“My clients say that I am fast, consistent, funny and very well knowledge and I always have an answer for them,” she said.

The A-List  

To Johnson, it’s all about building a woman’s confidence with each appointment. “I believe my clients appreciate my realness,” Johnson said. Her clients are students, faculty members and staff members.

“I feel like I give a genuine connection to people,” she said.

Right now, Johnson’s salon is fully stocked with her mother’s beauty chair, hair products and new Ebony and Essence magazines. 

“The end of the service when they look in the mirror, they say ‘Oh my god’ like they never been pretty before,” Johnson said. “I finally gave them what they are looking for when they leave the hair salon.”

In her salon, Johnson serves about 10 clients per week. She is available per appointment, but she typically works Tuesday through Saturday after her classes.

Johnson starts between 3:30 p.m. till 5 p.m., during the week, but on Saturday she works from about 10 a.m. till about 9 p.m.

Johnson will graduate in December 2015. For more information about her the A-List, click here

For more information about the SEED Center, click here

For more information about the entrepreneurship program, click here

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EIU Receives Official Notice of Reaccreditation Through 2024-25 02/09/15

Citing quality in personnel, instruction and support services, the Higher Learning Commission formally notified Eastern Illinois University of its reaccreditation for another 10-year period.

The good news was revealed last week in a 60-plus-page report submitted by an external seven-member Peer Review Team.  (Full report can be found here.)

“The accreditation review and evaluation could not have concluded with a more favorable outcome for us,” said President Bill Perry and Provost Blair Lord in a joint statement to the EIU campus.  “We offer our deepest thanks to all, faculty and staff, for their commitment to the educational quality Eastern provides to our students.”

The report was the culmination of nearly two years of preparatory work, followed by a three-day campus visit in October by the Peer Review Team.  Nearly 70 individuals were directly involved in conducting and preparing a self-study.  The process further engaged other members of the campus community, either directly or indirectly.

“We cannot express adequately our enormous appreciation for the fine work and commitment of all participants in this process, with special thanks to Dean Bob Augustine and Dr. Jeff Stowell, who co-chaired the self-study preparation,” Perry and Lord wrote.  “This successful outcome could not have been achieved without everyone’s assistance.”

The Peer Review Team evaluated the university on five criteria: EIU’s mission; integrity (ethical and responsible conduct); teaching and learning (quality, resources and support); teaching and learning (evaluation and improvement); and resources, planning and institutional effectiveness.

“In the review of each of the five criteria, many positive items were mentioned as evidence of our satisfying them," Perry said.  "We are, of course, delighted with this assessment.”

The findings revealed a “student-centered campus culture” reflected in support for activities that “build student mindedness, integrative learning experiences and student support services (e.g., department-based academic tutoring).   EIU also “demonstrates strong residence life programming, student-faculty ratios averaging 15:1 over the last nine years, bridge programs to support academic success, and early alert activities, to name a few.

“Strong evidence that student success is valued at EIU is provided by the institution’s high retention and graduation rates, as well as through verbal confirmation by faculty, staff and students in on-site interviews,” the report continued.

Eastern’s strong commitment to student learning and engagement through its programs was also cited.  “Faculty, staff and students were able to identify a number of high impact practices (e.g., undergraduate research and education abroad) that are funded by the university, celebrated by various offices of the university, and facilitated by academic, academic support, and student support/development offices.”

Volunteerism stood out.  “The university is justifiably proud of its program and its presence on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll,” the report read.

Other notable points included the following:

  • EIU places great importance on the research activity of its faculty.
  • EIU promotes academic integrity and professional ethics among all members of its community.
  • EIU demonstrates a firm commitment to integrity and ethics in policies and actions.
  • Faculty members indicated that EIU provides greater support and engagement opportunities with students than other institutions in Illinois.
  • EIU demonstrates a commitment to the academic success of its student-athletes.
  • EIU offers a rich range of co-curricular offerings through a variety of academic-related, intellectual programs, as well as recreational and student organizational activities.
  • EIU has an aggressive process in place to ensure high retention, persistence and completion rates in its degrees and certificate programs.
  • EIU has carefully guarded and guided its resources to ensure that it has the necessary resources to fulfill its mission and systematically improve the quality of its educational offerings and its operational performance.

Perry and Lord also noted that the visiting team’s report “offers a number of helpful observations for our consideration in the years ahead, and we will certainly take them seriously.  We shall remain vigilant in our attention to educational quality.”

Primary Center Named in Honor of EIU Professor 02/04/15

An Eastern Illinois University professor has been honored for his years of dedication and commitment to a school district.

The Primary Center has been named in honor of Nick Osborne, an EIU professor of educational leadership, for his years of service to District 80, Mount Vernon City Schools.  

Mike Green, current superintendent of District 80, said Osborne was instrumental in bringing students from neighborhood schools to attendance centers. Osborne oversaw the construction of the Primary Center, a school for grades kindergarten through third grade, during his tenure as superintendent from 1994 to 2001.

“Dr. Osborne is an outstanding educational leader and visionary, who has been a true asset to District 80,” Green said. “Not only has he served the district as a teacher, assistant principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent, but his dedication to District 80 can be seen today through the Primary Center.”

Osborne received the honor during a district board retreat in January. Green coordinated with Osborne’s wife, Cindy, to surprise him with the nomination.  

The primary center is now formally called the “Dr. Nick Osborne Primary Center.” 

Public Invited to SEED Center Grand Opening 02/03/15

The public is invited to the Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education & Development (SEED) Center’s grand opening on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at Eastern Illinois University.

The SEED Center is the established home of entrepreneurial education, research and community partnerships. The facility provides students, faculty, staff and community members with resources to grow as entrepreneurs and develop comprehensive business plans.  

To further show EIU’s commitment to entrepreneurs and celebration of the center, two business owners will share their own ventures in the publishing world during the grand opening. The lecture is titled “Niche Entrepreneurs: The Publishing Business.”

Steve Raymond, publisher of The Effingham & Teutopolis News Report, will speak with Anne Hartnett, EIU alumnus and managing partner/publisher of Agent Publishing from Chicago, on developing a business in the publishing industry.

Raymond is the owner/publisher of The Effingham & Teutopolis News Report. Before owning his own newspaper, Raymond worked as sports editor, city editor, advertising sales representative, ad manager, general manager and publisher in the newspaper industry.

Hartnett is the co-founder and current managing partner of Agent Publishing, a B2B digital media company that supports real estate professionals with information, news and education.

Hartnett was recently named as one of Techweek Chicago’s 2014 Women’s Leadership fellows, a program to showcase and enable emerging female leaders in business and technology, and 2014 Folio’s Top Women in Media.

The lecture is only one example of the resources available at the center.

“From one-on-one entrepreneurial coaching to training workshops throughout the community, Eastern Illinois University is committed to providing a home for students and community members to grow their own entrepreneurial ventures,” said Marko Grünhagen, director of the SEED Center.

“The center also supports our entrepreneurship minor, which is focused on providing students with hands-on experience under the direction of experienced faculty,” Grünhagen continued.

The SEED Center will continue to offer the outreach efforts of the Business Solutions Center, which provided community development with entrepreneurial coaching and local, state and national resources since 2008.

“The Business Solutions Center is now integrated into the SEED center,” Grünhagen said. “The integration and name change emphasize that EIU’s primary focus is promoting entrepreneurship through integrative learning.

“Our primary education goal is to create an understanding of starting and managing a profitable business throughout EIU and the community,” Grünhagen continued. “We want to create a lasting culture of entrepreneurship.”

The open house of the center will be from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Room 3011 of EIU’s Lumpkin Hall. The lecture will be from 5-6:30 p.m. in Roberson Auditorium, Room 2030, in Lumpkin Hall.

For more information about the SEED Center, click here. To learn more about entrepreneur coaching for students and community members, click here.

Room And Board Rates Set For 2015-2016 School Year At EIU 02/03/15

Eastern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved room and board rates for students living in EIU housing during the 2015-2016 school year.

Students living in EIU’s residence halls and Greek Court will see increases of $83 to $94 per fall/spring semester (a 2 percent increase), depending on the chosen meal plan.  Room and board rates will range from $4,233 per semester for the 7 Meal Plan Option to $4,773 for the 15 Meal Plan Option.

Four meal plan options each permit students a specified number of dining center meals per week; a specified number of “Dining Dollars” that can be used to buy additional meals in any dining center; to make purchases at Eastern’s Food Court, Java B&B and Panther Pantry in the MLK Jr. Union and at the university’s residence hall convenience center.

Students living in one of the 148 units at University Apartments (designed primarily to meet the needs of student families and single graduate students) will see increases of between $9 and $10 per month, with rent costs, ranging from $488 to $513, depending on the type of apartment being rented (1 and 1/2 room, 2 room, or efficiency).  All utilities are included in the rent price.

Residents of University Court, a 146-unit apartment complex for sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students, will see increases in rent costs, ranging from $48 to $65 per semester, depending on the type of apartment being rented.

Mark Hudson, Eastern’s director of Housing and Dining Services, said the university looks at several factors when deciding on housing costs each year.

“We take a careful look at our needs, including fixed costs such as utilities, employee wages and food costs,” he said.  “We also consider the best ways with which to maximize our resources.  We try everything we can to economize while continuing to provide the best service possible to our students.”

According to Hudson, university housing is home to approximately 35 percent of the student body.  Surveys among those residents indicate that “students really feel like they get a good return on their investment.”

In addition to routine maintenance performed annually in all residence halls, Eastern concentrates on on-going multi-year projects, as well.  For example, the university finished its Ford Hall bathroom renovations this past August, allowing residents a private bathroom in a community area.

Also, Eastern will have completed by August 2015, an additional four floors of room renovations, which brings the university’s total residence hall rooms renovated to 97 percent.

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Eastern Illinois University Releases Spring Enrollment Numbers 01/29/15

Traditionally, fall-to-spring enrollment numbers at Eastern Illinois University decrease -- in large part, a result of the number of students who graduate at the end of the fall semester.

Spring 2015 is consistent with years past.  Numbers are comparable to figures reported in the fall, with overall enrollment dropping from 8,913 to 8,214 – a loss of 699 students.  Given that 728 degrees were awarded to graduating students in December, the decrease was not unexpected.

"Our fall-to-spring enrollment changes are based on the number of students who graduate in the fall, enter in the spring, and who are retained across the semesters,” noted Mary Herrington-Perry, assistant vice president for academic affairs.

“Our freshman retention rate was exceptional once again (89 percent), and we also enrolled more ‘readmitted’ undergraduate and graduate students than we did last spring, which is a good sign:  Student who have not been at EIU for a while are now returning to complete their degrees.  That shows confidence in EIU and underscores the importance of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees which, as studies continue to show, lead graduates to higher lifetime earnings,” she added.

The number of international students attending EIU also showed an increase – 281, up from 273 in the fall.

“International enrollment has grown, making it the largest international student enrollment in EIU history,” said Kevin Vicker, director, International Students and Scholars.  This includes 79 new international students for the spring semester – 27 undergraduates and 52 graduates.

“Key partnerships have contributed to this growth, including our partnership with Chungnam National University in South Korea who send 10 undergraduate students for this semester, and our partnership with a couple of education consultants in Nepal who sent nine undergraduate students for this semester.

“At the graduate level, our largest overall major (among international students) continues to be computer technology, followed by MBA, sustainable energy and kinesiology and sports studies,” Vicker continued.  “At the undergraduate level, business-related majors are the most popular, followed by communication and kinesiology and sports studies.”

Majors with the largest number of bachelor's degree recipients among all EIU students in FY 2014 were kinesiology and sports studies, communication studies, general studies, family and consumer sciences, and psychology.

A breakdown of Eastern’s total Spring 2015 student enrollment stands as follows (with Fall 2014 figures in parentheses):  freshmen, 1,137 (1,693); sophomores, 1,273 (1,454); juniors, 1,818 (1,923); seniors, 2,668 (2,522); post baccalaureate undergraduates, 47 (48); and graduate students, 1,271 (1,273).

Minorities represent nearly 25 percent of Eastern’s enrollment.  The numbers broken down by category are as follows:  American Indian/Alaskan Native, 24 (21); Asian, 88 (80); Black, 1,360 (1,500); Hispanic, 409 (444); Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 5 (6); and two or more races 153 (169).

University officials continue to be encouraged by the number of out-of-state residents choosing to attend EIU.  In Fall 2011, the university established a program in which individuals from states bordering Illinois – Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin – would pay the same tuition rate as someone from Illinois.

The number of participants taking advantage of the program is as follows:  Indiana, 90; Iowa, 6; Kentucky, 7; Missouri, 41; and Wisconsin, 38.

Tarble Foundation Donates Additional $3 Million for Arts Center Expansion, Support 01/28/15
Jan Tarble and EIU President Bill Perry

The Tarble Foundation, a longtime supporter of the arts at Eastern Illinois University, has given another $3 million that will, in part, help in the further expansion/renovation of the institution’s Tarble Arts Center.

More than a third of the gift -- $1.2 million – will be used in support of the proposed Tarble Arts Education and Outreach Expansion/Enhancement project, which will nearly double the amount of classroom space available in the arts center.  The classroom plays an integral role in hands-on fifth grade and junior/senior high school art enrichment programs available to schools throughout the Tarble’s seven-county service area (Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Clark, Cumberland, Shelby and Moultrie counties, plus the city of Effingham in Effingham County).

The enrichment programs also serve as the initial teaching experience for Eastern’s art education students, an important learning situation before they do their student teaching in the schools.

By moving the classroom elsewhere in the building, the Tarble will be able to transform the existing classroom space into an Open Collections Learning Laboratory where EIU students, local high school students and faculty can use the center’s art collections for study and discussion.

An additional $800,000 of the Tarble Foundation’s gift establishes an endowed fund that will provide salary and support resources to help administer the new classroom and collections laboratory.

The remaining $1 million was given to insure sustained leadership for the Tarble Arts Center by establishing an endowed directorship.

“We are very thankful for the generosity of the Tarble Foundation, which continues to support Newton Tarble’s vision of taking the arts to the people,” said EIU President Bill Perry.  “We’ve enjoyed a wonderful, warm relationship with the late Newton and Pat Tarble, and now with their daughter, Jan, who continues to manage the Foundation.”

Michael Watts, who has served as director of the Tarble Arts Center since 1986, also expressed his appreciation for the Tarbles’ support.

“Eastern Illinois University’s many constituents are incredibly fortunate for the sustained and most generous support that has been bestowed by the Newton E. Tarble family,” he said.  “Our charge is to continue to provide and expand upon the many programs and services that this support makes possible in our ongoing mission ‘to take the arts to the people,” established with Newton Tarble nearly 40 years ago.”

The recent gift brings the total of gifts given by the Newton Tarble family in support of the arts at Eastern to approximately $18 million. 

The family’s benevolence began with Newton E. Tarble, an Eastern alumnus and co-founder of Snap-On Tools, and his wife, Louise (“Pat”).  The couple initially gave $1 million toward the construction of the $1.4 million center that opened in 1982.

Newton Tarble's mission for the arts center was three-fold: to showcase arts created within the university by students and faculty; to bring arts in from outside the university; and to take the arts out to the greater community to be exhibited and performed in schools, libraries and other spaces open to the public through east central Illinois. Having grown up in rural Clark County, he was aware of this geographical area being underserved by the arts and artists readily accessible to residents of more urban areas, such as Chicago, Detroit and the Los Angeles areas where he spent his adult life.

Following her husband’s death, Mrs. Tarble continued to support the arts center, including another $2 million in 2000 to assist with the building’s expansion project.  The couple’s daughter, Jan Tarble, established the Excellence in Fine Arts fund in 1986.  That fund, since its inception, has provided full scholarships for dozens of students majoring in art, music and theatre arts at EIU.

The Tarble Arts Center, a division of Eastern's College of Arts and Humanities, is a major cultural arts resource for east central Illinois and EIU. It remains the only facility on the university campus built entirely through donated funds, and is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

LLC, EIU Agree to More Student-Friendly Reverse Transfer Process 01/23/15

EIU President Bill Perry, left, and LLC President Josh Bullock sign a new reverse transfer articulation agreement that eases the reverse credit transfer process for EIU students who began and wish to complete an associate degree at Lake Land College.  Officials from both institutions met recently at the Coles Together Office to celebrate the collaboration.

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Students who complete coursework at both Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University now have a simpler way in which to combine their credits to earn an associate degree at Lake Land College.

According to the Memorandum of Agreement between the institutions, a process known as reverse transfer will assist eligible students in transferring coursework from EIU to LLC to complete requirements for their associate degree.  Eligible students are EIU students who previously attended (or who are currently also attending) Lake Land and who have earned 32 credit hours or more through the college but have not yet earned their associate degree.  

Amy Lynch, EIU registrar, said the university will first identify eligible students, then send them letters offering the opportunity to opt in to the reverse transfer process.  Those interested need only give their written authorization and the two institutions will do the rest.

Once authorization is received, Eastern will automatically send copies of the students’ transcripts to Lake Land at the completion of each semester; Lake Land, in turn, will review those transcripts and determine which newly earned credits, if any, can be applied toward an associate degree at that institution.  There is no additional fee charged to the students for the process.

“The overall goal is to help students who complete courses at both Lake Land and Eastern to combine their courses and have them recognized through an associate degree at Lake Land College,” said LLC President Josh Bullock. “We want to award students credentials where credentials are due by making sure that they know they can transfer courses from Eastern to Lake Land for degree completion.”

According to EIU President Bill Perry, the collaborations that LLC and EIU have only contribute to the strength of the east central Illinois area.

“We’re in a partnership that is great for Coles County and the area in general,” explained Perry. “Arrangements like these are what keep graduates in our area, which in turn, contributes to the vibrant communities and economy in our region and throughout the state. This is an agreement that will benefit everybody involved.”

Jordan Boerngen a former LLC student and current EIU student from Mason, completed her associate degree at Lake Land and transferred to EIU for her bachelor’s degree.  She said that collaboration like this between the institutions is very important from the student perspective.  Boerngen said that she transferred seamlessly from LLC to EIU, and by attending these institutions, she was able to afford school and stay close to home, two priorities for her.

“Both Lake Land and EIU made it so I could begin my degree at LLC and walk right into my junior year at Eastern,” said Boerngen. “Looking back, if I hadn’t completed by associate degree and simply transferred first, I would have liked the option for my EIU courses to count for my associate degree. This is a very student-focused initiative.”

Bullock said that associate degree completion is valuable for students who are also actively pursuing a bachelor’s degree because it gives them a credential that can open employment opportunities for them, which further gives them real-world experience and can help them financially afford to complete their last two years of a bachelor’s degree.

Perry agreed that overall, this is just one more initiative the college and university are working on together to push for student completion and success.

To learn more about reverse transfer, contact Counseling Services at Lake Land College at 217-234-5232 or the Office of Transfer Relations at EIU at 217-581-2120 or transfer@eiu.edu.

EIU Professor Invited to Speak at National Energy Education Summit 01/23/15
 

An Eastern Illinois University professor will speak at the National Energy Education Summit in Washington, D.C. this month about EIU’s clean energy research facility and sustainable energy program.

Peter Ping Liu, a professor of technology and director of the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education, will elaborate on the development and delivery of the master’s program in sustainable energy and the creation of EIU’s research facility, CENCERE.

The program, officially started in the spring of 2013, focused on creating leaders and managers in the clean energy industry with the collaboration of 10 academic units throughout campus.

Liu helped organize a core group of staff and faculty members dedicated to the success of clean energy research and education, which led to the creation of a research facility in the spring of 2014.

The 5,000-square-ft. state-of-the-art research facility supports collaborative efforts of students, faculty and staff on clean energy research.  The building sits next to EIU’s Renewable Energy Center and creates a space for students to engage in learning focused on environmental protection, natural resource preservation and social responsibilities, Liu said.

“The facility enables us to develop better collaboration between the Renewable Energy Center and academic units, among various departments across campus, with our community and local schools as well as with entrepreneurs in the region with clean energy on the forefront,” Liu said.

Liu will speak at the summit, organized by the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL), on Monday, Jan. 26. The purpose of the summit is to improve and expand energy education by sharing best practices within the field.

Featured speakers will include Dan Arvizu, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Dan Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at University of California, Berkeley; and Michael Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute at University of Texas at Austin.

Liu received his doctorate from Iowa State University in 1991. His teaching and research focuses on renewable energy, advanced database technology (Oracle), system administration, biomedical devices, quality assurance, quality management systems, failure analysis and system reliability.  

For more information about the CENCERE, click here. For more information about EIU’s sustainable energy program, click here.  For more information about the summit, click here.

Annual MLK Jr. Candlelight Vigil March, Tribute Planned at EIU 01/15/15

The Zeta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. will host its 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil March and Tribute Monday, Jan. 19, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with the march -- punctuated with the singing of inspirational hymns -- beginning from the Thomas Hall lobby (2120 Seventh St.).  Before leaving Thomas Hall, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a prayer and write down their dreams to be placed on a message board.  The march will end at the Grand Ballroom, located in Eastern’s MLK Jr. Union. The program there will begin between 6:45 and 7 p.m.

Traditionally, between 100 and 200 students, faculty, family and friends support the vigil and program annually. Many join in the march; however, those who wish may participate in the Grand Ballroom activities only.

In addition to selections by Eastern’s Unity Gospel Choir, the program will include a video and a keynote address by EIU alumnus Ron Zimmerman.  Cake decorated with King’s image will be served.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Registration Open for Tarble Spring Classes 01/15/15

The spring session of art classes and workshops for ages 4 through adult is being offered through the Tarble Arts Center, beginning Feb. 24.  All courses are open to both Tarble Arts Center members and non-members, with workshop fees including both instruction and supplies.  Tarble members receive a 20 percent discount on course fees. Registration deadlines begin Feb. 19; registration may be taken online here, in the Tarble Arts Center Office, or via mail using the registration from in the brochure.  To receive a brochure, interested persons may contact the Tarble Arts Center at (217)-581-ARTS (2787) or tarble@eiu.edu.  A PDF of the brochure is also available on the Tarble Arts Center website listed above.

Offered for children are “Adventures in Art” (ages 4-6), “Exploring Art” (ages 7-9), and “Exploring 3-D Media” (ages 10-14), all taught by Josh Doniek, and Friday classes for home-schooled youths ages 4-14, taught by Kelsey Thrush.  For teens and adults (ages 15 and over), course offerings include “Exploring Watercolor,” led by Jamie Willis; “Figure Drawing and Portraiture II,” taught by Reagan Carey; “Creative Drawing Essentials,” Natalie Boyer, instructor; and “Glass Bead Making,” led by Dave Hunter. Contact the Tarble Arts Center at tarble@eiu.edu or 217-581-2787, or go here and click on “Classes and Workshops.”

The Tarble Arts Center offers year-round community art instruction for both children and adults.  Through its collection, changing exhibitions, highly qualified instructors and other resources, Tarble courses offer a unique opportunity to study art. 

The Tarble Arts Center, a division of the College of Arts and Humanities, is partially supported by the Tarble Arts Center Endowment/EIU Foundation and membership contributions.  The Tarble is located at 2010 Ninth St. on Eastern’s campus in Charleston.

'Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend' Exhibit and Program Series to be Presented at Booth Library 01/14/15
Quanah Parker

Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker will be the topic of an exhibit and program series at Booth Library on the Eastern Illinois University campus.

The exhibit “Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend” will be on display from Feb. 7 to April 9. In addition, a series of related programs and film screenings are planned Feb. 20-23.

The saga of Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker is well-known in Texas history, but the story really began in East Central Illinois. Cynthia Ann’s grandfather, Elder John Parker, her uncles, Benjamin and Daniel Parker, and other members of the family were among the first white settlers of Crawford and Coles counties.

In about 1833, several members of the Parker clan moved to Texas and created Fort Parker there. A few years later, a band of Indians attacked the fort, killing many and kidnapping a few of the children, including Cynthia Ann, age 9.

Cynthia Ann grew up as a member of the Comanche tribe, married one of the chiefs and bore three children; the oldest was Quanah. Cynthia Ann was kidnapped again and returned to her Parker relatives in Texas in 1860, but she never forgot her Comanche family and wished to return to them, rejecting her family’s efforts to “civilize” her.

Quanah Parker grew up as a fierce Comanche warrior and became a leader of his tribe. Like his mother, he initially refused attempts by the U.S. government to civilize his people. But later, fearing for their survival, he led his tribe peacefully onto an Oklahoma reservation, where he became influential in fighting for their rights.

He was well-known in Washington, D.C., and became friends with political leaders, including President Teddy Roosevelt. U.S. officials later bestowed on him the title of the “last Comanche chief” in America.

“There are still many descendants of the Parker family living in the area,” said Allen Lanham, dean of library services. “We hope they and other community members interested in local history will enjoy the library’s program, and perhaps find a way to participate.”

The complete schedule of events is as follows:

Feb. 20

  • 1-5 p.m., Tours of Booth Library exhibit, “Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend”; Guided tours of Tarble Arts Center exhibit, “Early Folk Art in East- Central Illinois.”
  • 2 p.m., “Preserving Parker Cemetery,” West Reading Room, Booth Library, presented by David Parker and James David Parker.
  • 3 p.m., “Parker Pioneer Burial Ground Historic Preservation and Mapping Initiative,” West Reading Room, Booth Library, presented by Steven Di Naso, geospatial scientist, EIU Department of Geology and Geography.
  • 7 p.m., Opening reception, Buzzard Auditorium, Room 1501.  Light refreshments served.
  • 7:30 p.m., Keynote address: “On the Trail with the Parkers” and screening of documentary “Following the Parker Trail,” presented by Audrey Kalivoda, researcher and documentary filmmaker from Nashville, Tenn., Buzzard Auditorium, Room 1501.

Feb. 21

  • 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Tours of Booth Library exhibit, “Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend.”
  • 9 a.m.-noon, Guided tours of Tarble Arts Center exhibit, “Early Folk Art in East Central Illinois” (exhibit open until 4 p.m.).
  • 10 a.m., “Quanah Parker and the Battle of Adobe Walls,” presented by Richard Hummel, professor emeritus of sociology, West Reading Room, Booth Library.
  • 11 a.m., “Turning Hell into a Home: Depictions of Native Americans on Film,” presented by Robin Murray, EIU professor of English, West Reading Room, Booth Library.
  • 1 p.m., Film screening and discussion: “Daughter of Dawn,” presented by Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska, assistant professor of history, Buzzard Auditorium, Room 1501. “Daughter of Dawn” is a recently discovered silent film starring two of Quanah Parker’s children.
  • 3:30 p.m., Film screening and discussion: “The Searchers,” presented by Joe Heumann, professor emeritus of communication studies, Buzzard Auditorium, Room 1501. “The Searchers” stars Natalie Wood and John Wayne portraying characters inspired by Cynthia Ann Parker and her uncle, James Parker, who spent many years trying to find her after she was kidnapped by the Comanches.

Feb. 23

  • 4:30 p.m., Panel discussion: “American Captivity Narratives: A Literary Genre of Enduring Interest,” Terry Barnhart, moderator, professor of history; panelists: Janice Derr, assistant professor of library services; Laura Russman, graduate student in historical administration; Angela Vietto, professor of English; Witters Conference Room 4440, Booth Library.

For more information about the “Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker: The History and the Legend,” including complete program and exhibit descriptions, visit the program Web page.

More information also may be obtained by contacting Beth Heldebrandt, project director, at emheldebrandt@eiu.edu or 581-6064.

This program was made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Illinois General Assembly.

Tarble Arts Center Presents Sculptor Michael Aurbach’s Exhibition Titled 'Three Decades After Eastern' 01/12/15

Sculptor Michael Aurbach served on the art faculty of Eastern Illinois University from 1984 to 1986.  A new exhibition at the Tarble Arts Center presents work created by the artist since he left Eastern.

The exhibition opens at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, with a lecture by Aurbach.  Admission is free and the public is invited.  An informal reception follows the lecture.

States Aurbach:  “The sculpture in this exhibition comes from the 'Secrecy Series' and the 'Critical Theory Series.'  Both groups of work were produced since leaving Eastern Illinois University in 1986.”  He left Eastern to teach at Vanderbuilt University where he has remained ever since.

The artist’s work addresses issues related to death, identity and the plight of socially disenfranchised groups.  His most recent work is about secrecy, institutional behavior, and various forms of scholarship.

About the Tarble exhibition, Aurbach said:  “One might say that the entire show is about protest.  It bothers me that institutions often use secrecy as a means of maintaining power and that the form of scholarship known as Critical Theory has gained such a strong foothold on the humanities.”

Aurbach is a professor of art at Vanderbilt University where he has taught sculpture since 1986. Over this time, Aurbach has had a distinguished career as an artist and educator.  

His sculpture has been presented in more than 80 solo exhibitions, and at venues that include the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art (Wilmington, Delaware), Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (Atlanta, Georgia), Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville, Tennessee), the University of Notre Dame (Indiana), and many other universities throughout the United States.   

Articles on and images of Aurbach’s art have appeared in Sculpture magazine, Art Papers, Art in America and many other publications.  In 2012 Aurbach’s sculpture was the featured article and cover image for an issue of World Sculpture News magazine.

Aurbach has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards from, most notably, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Southern Arts Federation, the Tennessee Arts Commission, Art Matters Inc., the Puffin Foundation Ltd., and Vanderbilt University.  The artist is a past president of the College Art Association and a former board member of the Southeastern College Art Conference.  He was honored with the Southeastern College Art Conference Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in 1995.  

The artist has presented and published numerous papers related to the visual arts and higher education, including more than 250 guest lectures, presentations and critiques of art. 

Aurbach had a varied academic path.  From the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, he holds bachelor's degrees in biology, journalism and studio art, and a master's degree in the history of art.  He received a a second master's degree in sculpture from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. 

The exhibition at the Tarble Arts Center continues through Feb. 18 in the main galleries.

The Tarble Arts Center is located at 2010 Ninth St. on the EIU campus in Charleston.  Open hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays and Feb. 13 (Lincoln’s Birthday observance).  For more information, contact the Tarble at 217-581-ARTS (-2787) or tarble@eiu.edu, or see online here and on Facebook.  Free parking is available for campus visitors.

Fulbright Scholar Picks EIU’s Sustainable Energy Program 01/12/15
Hector Daniel Flores earned the recognition as a Fulbright Scholar and chose EIU's sustainable energy program.

 

Hector Daniel Flores cares about keeping Earth sustainable.

So, it’s only fitting that Flores picked Eastern Illinois University’s sustainable energy program to pursue his interests.

Yet, unlike other students, Flores had the power to pick from any master’s program in the United States. And he chose EIU.

Flores, an international student from Honduras, earned the recognition as a Fulbright Scholar. The highly competitive scholar program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department, for the purpose of attracting others from different countries to study in the United States. The program pays for their schooling, and the scholars work with an adviser to pick a program that matches their academic interests.

To Flores, it was only natural to pick EIU’s sustainable energy program focused on creating leaders and managers in the growing field.

Peter Ping Liu, professor of technology and director of Clean Energy Research & Education, said Flores is the first Fulbright Scholar to pick their program.

“It is a prestigious honor for the young program,” he said. 

The program started in Spring 2013 as a collaborative effort by 10 departments across campus. The one-of-a-kind program allows students to receive a mixture of hands-on learning and theory inside the classroom, internships and research practicums.

Before arriving in the United States, Flores earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management at the National University of Agricultural in Honduras.

Unlike traditional universities, the school believed in a “learning by doing style,” which only has three universities like that in his country, Flores said. For example, Flores said if they were learning about organic fertilizer, they would create the material themselves.

That’s why Flores wanted a program in the United States focused on practical application and personal attention.

“You learn from books and everything, but you also learn from experiences,” Flores said. “It’s not the same if you talk about a place and you’ve never been there.  That’s the best knowledge you can get.”

Flores has already experienced the interdisciplinary program at EIU in action. For his first semester, Flores is even taking a communication class teaching him public relations skills in sustainable energy and creating a public relations campaign.

Originally, Flores sat down with an adviser from the Fulbright program, and he narrowed down the list of possible universities from Ohio to Washington.

“I chose EIU because I liked the practical experience I can get here,” Flores said.

Flores is already enjoying his smaller classes unlike bigger classes he has experienced at other universities. “It’s not like a big class of 50 people,” he said.  “The environment to learn is better.”

This isn’t Flores’ first time studying in the United States. He studied at Oregon State University, Humboldt State University and North Carolina State University.

At Oregon State University, Flores studied watershed management and worked on his English for eight weeks. In North Carolina State University, he researched and interned for the United States Department of Agriculture. Then, he spent a year at Humboldt State University to further improve his English and pursue bachelor’s degree classes.

After a while abroad, Flores came back to Honduras where he took a job in the exchange program at his university while he also assisted in classes in the natural resources department for about two and half years.

A mentor encouraged Flores to apply for the program, which was an intense process. After taking an exam, writing a personal statement and an interview, Flores was selected with only three other students from Honduras.

Flores is more than happy to receive this national recognition.

“It is a great opportunity to study, to develop as a professional and to learn more,” Flores said.

He has already met some amazing, intelligent fellow scholars throughout the world.   At the University of Arizona, Flores met 30 fellow scholars with many different specialties at an orientation program.  

He plans to go back to his university and teach sustainable energy for now, but he doesn’t know what the future will hold.

“Honduras is very rich in natural resources, and people are not using the recourses correctly,” he said. “I want to apply my knowledge and experience in a practical way in Honduras.” 

EIU Presidential Search Advances; Names of Finalists Released 01/05/15

Four individuals have been invited to participate in on-campus interviews as Eastern Illinois University moves forward in its search for the institution’s next president.

The EIU Presidential Search Advisory Committee has invited Margaret E. Madden, David M. Glassman, Sam Minner and Guiyou Huang to participate in on-campus interviews between Jan. 20 and 28.  All currently serve as senior academic administrators at universities from across the country.

The search committee was very pleased with the pool of applicants and we believe the finalists have the experience and leadership qualities we desire in our next president,” said Joe Dively, chair of the search advisory committee.  “Our committee is looking forward to hosting the candidates on campus to continue the rich dialogue and two-way evaluation that is vital to a successful search outcome.”

Eastern began its search for a new president when, in March 2014, President Bill Perry announced he will complete his service as president on June 30, 2015, consistent with the ending date of his contract.  Perry began serving as EIU president in 2007. 

It is anticipated that a new president will be named before or during the March 13 meeting of the EIU Board of Trustees.

Resumes and interview schedules for each of the four finalists, as well as up-to-date information about the search, will be posted on Eastern’s Presidential Search website as it becomes available.

Margaret E. Madden, provost and vice president for academic affairs at State University of New York at Potsdam since 2002, holds a doctorate and master’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a baccalaureate degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Madden’s on-campus interview schedule (Wednesday, Jan. 21) includes open sessions for faculty, 9:30 a.m.; staff, 10:30 a.m.; students, 1:30 p.m.; and faculty and staff, 3 p.m.  An open forum for the campus and community begins at 4 p.m.  All open sessions will take place in the Arcola-Tuscola Room of the MLK Jr. Union.

David M. Glassman, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., since 2010, holds both his doctorate and master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and his baccalaureate degree in anthropology from the University of Minnesota.

Glassman’s on-campus interview schedule (Thursday, Jan. 22) includes open sessions for faculty, 9:30 a.m.; staff, 10:30 a.m.; students, 1:30 p.m.; and faculty and staff, 3 p.m.  An open forum for the campus and community begins at 4 p.m.  All open sessions will take place in the Arcola-Tuscola Room of the MLK Jr. Union.

Sam Minner, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Virginia’s Radford  University since 2011, earned his doctorate in cognitive and behavioral disabilities from the University of Arizona, Tucson, and his master’s degree in learning and behavior disorders and a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education, both from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

Minner’s on-campus interview schedule (Friday, Jan. 23) includes open sessions for faculty, 9:30 a.m.; staff, 10:30 a.m.; students, 1:30 p.m.; and faculty and staff, 3 p.m.  An open forum for the campus and community begins at 4 p.m.  All open sessions will take place in the Arcola-Tuscola Room of the MLK Jr. Union.

Guiyou Huang, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont, received his doctorate in English from Texas A&M University-College Station after earning his bachelor’s degree and graduate studies completion diploma in English from China’s Qufu Normal University and Beijing University, respectively.

Huang’s on-campus interview schedule (Wednesday, Jan. 28) includes open sessions for faculty, 9:30 a.m.; staff, 10:30 a.m.; students, 1:30 p.m.; and faculty and staff, 3 p.m.  An open forum for the campus and community begins at 4 p.m.  All open sessions will take place in the Arcola-Tuscola Room of the MLK Jr. Union.

Higher Ed Group Recognizes Welch with Award Named in His Honor 12/23/14

Leo Welch has been honored by the Illinois Community College Faculty Association by having one of the organization’s awards named after the O’Fallon resident.

“As president of the ICCFA, I have been pushing the idea of naming our awards as a way to honor our leaders and distinguish each of the awards,” said David J. Seiler, a history instructor at Lake Land College in Mattoon.  “I proposed the idea of naming our Faculty of the Year Award after Leo earlier this fall.”

The measure passed the executive board with a unanimous vote and, later, was passed by a voice vote by the Delegate Assembly of the ICCFA.

The Leo Welch Faculty of the Year Award will be presented to faculty members who best represent the values and attributes displayed by Welch throughout his long and distinguished career in higher education.

“I feel very honored,” Welch said.

Welch, who began his teaching career in ROVA High School in Oneida in 1962, served as a professor of biology at Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, from 1970 to 2002.  He has filled the role of adjunct professor of biology at McKendree University since 2003.

Additionally, he has been a leader in higher education governance by serving on the Eastern Illinois University Board of Trustees, as a co-founder of the Illinois Higher Education Legislative Coalition, and as president of the State University Annuitants Association.

Welch has also committed his efforts to serving his academic discipline as a member of the External Advisory Committee to the Museum of Paleontology for Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Berkeley, as well as the Advisory Committee to the Hofstra University Marine Laboratory in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica.

Further, he has been a “model of curiosity and inquiry to his colleagues as evidenced by his travel to many different countries,” the ICCFA proclamation read.

Welch has been an active member of the ICCFA, having served as president, legislative officer and liaison to both the Illinois Community College Board and the State University Retirement System.

"Leo has been an active member of the ICCFA for decades, and is an integral part of our group,” Seiler said.  “He serves as a sort of liaison to the SURS advisory board and he is key in keeping us up to date with his knowledge and understanding of pending/potential legislation.”

The ICCFA is a statewide organization that represents the common interests of all faculty in Illinois’ public community colleges, promotes teaching and learning excellence and professional development, provides a faculty presence on the Illinois Community College Board, and informs faculty of issues which affect the 48 public community colleges in Illinois.

All faculty members at Illinois community colleges are members of the ICCFA.

EIU Fall Commencement Ceremonies Set for Saturday, Dec. 20 12/17/14

More than 500 graduates plan to participate in Eastern Illinois University's Fall 2014 commencement ceremonies, scheduled to take place Saturday, Dec. 20, in Lantz Arena.

Ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Guest tickets are required for admission.

Students from the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences and the College of Arts and Humanities will march in the morning ceremony, while students from the College of Education and Professional Studies, the College of Sciences and the School of Continuing Education (Bachelor of Arts in General Studies Degree) will march in the afternoon.  Students enrolled in the Graduate School will march with their respective colleges.

President William L. Perry will both preside and present the “Charge to the Class” during both ceremonies.  Music will be provided by the EIU Wind Symphony.

Representing Eastern's Board of Trustees will be Rene Hutchinson of Chicago at 10 a.m. and Kristopher M. Goetz of Lombard at 1 p.m.

Traditionally, a commencement marshal leads the commencement procession while carrying the university mace, a symbol of honor accorded a faculty member.  The commencement marshal for the 10 a.m. ceremony will be Robert E. Colombo, who, as an associate professor of biological sciences, will represent the Graduate School.  Representing the School of Continuing Education at 1 p.m. will be Linda D. Simpson, chair of Eastern’s School of Family and Consumer Sciences.

An EIU tradition also allows faculty members the honor of carrying the college banner for his/her college during the procession.

This semester’s faculty marshals for the morning ceremony are Luke Steinke, associate professor, School of Technology, representing the Graduate School and the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences; Kathleen O’Rourke, professor, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, representing the LCBAS; Andrew Cheetham, assistant professor, music, representing the Graduate School and the College of Arts and Humanities; and Terry Barnhart, professor, history, representing the CAH.

This year's faculty marshals for the afternoon ceremony are Nick Osborne, professor, educational leadership, representing the Graduate School and the College of Education and Professional Studies; Kiranmayi Padmaraju, associate professor, early childhood, elementary and middle level education, representing the CEPS; Peter Wiles, associate professor, mathematics and computer science, representing the Graduate School and the College of Sciences; William Addison, professor, psychology, representing the COS; and Anita Sego, instructor, health studies, representing the School of Continuing Education.

Shirmeen Ahmad, a journalism major from Romeoville, will serve as the Pine Honors College banner marshal during both ceremonies.

Additionally, Rebecca Throneburg, who was selected as EIU’s 2014 Luis Clay Mendez Distinguished Service Award recipient for her contributions to the university, the field of communication disorders and sciences, and the community, will be formally recognized.  The award honors the memory of Mendez, an EIU professor of Spanish who died in 2003.

Charleston Family Creates Old Main Gingerbread House 12/16/14
The Old Main gingerbread house was created by Brian Sanders and his family for the Christmas in the Heart of Charleston event. 

 

Brian Sanders and his children wanted to create something that embodied the “heart” of Charleston.

That’s why the family created a replica of Eastern Illinois University’s Old Main completely out of — yes — gingerbread.

His son, Zach, a freshman chemistry major at EIU, and his 14-year old daughter, Haley, worked together to design, bake and create a mini replica of Old Main, the iconic building on EIU’s campus. All university presidents from Livingston C. Lord to Bill Perry have worked within the building.

The replica was completed earlier this month for a gingerbread competition for the Christmas in the Heart of Charleston event.

“Old Main is the heart of Charleston,” said Sanders, commenting on why his family chose to create the replica for the competition.

His son designed the original sketch for the replica, and the family started working on construction after Halloween. They tried to make the building last year, but ran into some issues with the gingerbread recipe.

After fixing the recipe this year, the family logged more than 150 hours to create the 30-by 15-inch structure. It includes spaghetti, gingerbread men, sticks of gum and lots of icing to hold it together.

Sanders emphasized that the replica isn’t to scale with EIU’s icon. The hard cookie walls are not the exact dimensions of the castle building and the sidewalk doesn’t curve correctly, he said.

The gingerbread house has quickly gained fame across the EIU community with about 2,265 likes and almost 600 shares on EIU’s Facebook page.

A friend of the family, Marshall Lassak, an EIU math professor, saw the structure, and brought it into his office in Old Main for the end-of-year Christmas party last week, which gave campus an opportunity to see the mini-version of the iconic building.

Sanders said he is genuinely surprised by all the attention the structure has received. To Sanders, the project was only about creating something with his family.

This isn’t the first year his family took a stab at making gingerbread houses. In previous years, the family created a gingerbread replica of the Coles County Courthouse.

Sanders isn’t sure of the fate of the Old Main gingerbread house, but the structure currently resides in his office at Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital. 

Office of Student Community Service Asking for Blanket Donations 12/08/14

The Office of Student Community Service at Eastern Illinois University is asking for blanket donations for needy families as part of the One Stop Community Christmas program.

Individuals can donate blankets for children of all ages and adults until Saturday, December 13. The blankets will serve families in a seven county region including Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie and Shelby counties.

The program serves needy families around Christmas time in a collaborative effort with different area organizations. For more information, about the One Stop Community Christmas Program, click here

Interested individuals can drop blankets off at their office on the third floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union or call 581-3967 by Saturday, December 13. 

EIU Students Lead Sessions at Mattoon High School 11/21/14

Derek Pierce decided to take matters in his own hands.

The freshman finance major at Eastern Illinois University was tired of hearing of his friends overlooking his college. That’s why the Mattoon native decided to organize sessions at Mattoon High School to clear the air.

“Being from Mattoon, I know there are some misconceptions about EIU that I wanted to clear,” Pierce said. “Once you are on (EIU’s) campus, it’s a completely different world.”

This Monday, Pierce will lead another round of sessions to MHS juniors and seniors, where he will chat about his collegiate experience. He will also emphasize that students should consider several factors before making any decision.

The session will also include Luke Young, a freshman finance major and MHS graduate, and EIU Admissions Counselor Brittany Trimble.

Pierce and Young organized a session earlier this fall at Mattoon High School. In the session, Pierce and Young addressed the need for students to decide on a college after considering many factors.

“I think a lot of students in my graduating class made their decision based on the reason they wanted to get away.” Pierce said. “They didn’t even give EIU a chance.”

Instead, Pierce made his decision off the quality of his program and price after researching and comparing schools throughout the state. He also visited the campus and chatted with faculty from the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences. “Students need do their research before they make any decision,” Pierce said.

Young agreed. After researching and visiting campus, he made his decision after a realizing that EIU was the perfect size and a reasonable price for him.

“I think a lot of students think Eastern is just a school you go to because it’s really close to home,” Young said. “It’s a great school for a reasonable price.”

EIU Foundation Names 2014 Outstanding Members 11/21/14

The Eastern Illinois University Foundation has recognized three individuals as outstanding members for 2014.  This award -- established in 2009 -- is presented to individuals who provide exemplary service to the Foundation.  The EIU Foundation provides support to EIU’s academic and athletic programs.

It is through the direct efforts of our members that the Foundation is able to fulfill its mission of support to the university.  Outstanding Foundation Member certificates are presented to individuals who demonstrate the ideals of membership in the Foundation through their volunteer service to the Foundation and to the university’s academic and athletic programs, providing the leadership, expertise and knowledge essential for the work of its advisory and governing boards, administrative councils and committees, and its executives-in-residence programs.

Recipients of this award have an established record of leadership and expertise, and provide knowledge essential for the work of the EIU Foundation.  This year’s honorees are Lillian R. Greathouse and Ronald M. Leathers, both of Charleston, and Ross A. McCullough Jr. of Alpharetta, Ga.

 

Lillian R. Greathouse

Lillian R. Greathouse, who has been a Foundation member since 2005, retired from Eastern in 2002 after serving 17 years in the School of Technology.  During her tenure, she served as a professor and department chair (nine years) in the former Business Education Department. She received the School of Technology Service Award in 2002 and the University Award of Excellence for Service in 2000.

Greathouse has served on numerous advisory boards at EIU, including the School of Continuing Education Development Advisory Board, and has provided extensive leadership.  She continues to serve on the Academy of Lifelong Learning Advisory Council.

She established the Lillian R. Greathouse Scholarship, which is awarded to students in career and technical education. In 2003, she won the Women of Achievement award from the Charleston Business and Professional Women. Her accomplishments include the Teacher of the Year Award from the North Central Business Education (2003) and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to EIBEA and Business Education (2002).

 

 

 

Ron M. Leathers

Ronald M. Leathers began his career as an English teacher at Robinson High School following his graduation from EIU with a bachelor’s degree in 1960 and from Indiana State University with his master’s degree in 1965.  He joined Eastern’s English Department as a faculty member in 1965.  From there, he moved up to director of EIU's pre-student teaching clinical experiences and, in 1980, took on the role of assistant dean for the College of Education and Professional Studies and, in 1984, as acting dean.

Leathers is an integral member of the College of Education and Professional Studies Philanthropy Board. He also is a member of the EIU Alumni Association Board of Directors, a member of the Lord Society, a former Sigma Pi and a member of the EIU Annuitants Association. He goes above and beyond to encourage others to participate in giving back to EIU. Whatever needs done, Leathers is the first to volunteer. He actively attends many events on campus and in the community, and thus has become known as the “ultimate PR man!”






Ross A. McCullough Jr.

Ross A. McCullough Jr. and his wife, Cindy, are generous supporters of Eastern Illinois University.  Their dedication and support for the School of Technology Future Fund has resulted in the naming of two spaces in Klehm Hall -- a classroom and a faculty office. The faculty office was named in honor of one of the McCulloughs’ favorite former instructors and his wife, the late Tom and Lou Ann Waskom.

A native of Windsor, Ill., McCullough earned his undergraduate degree in industrial technology from Eastern.  He is currently the vice president of marketing for UPS. In recognition of his work in the field of industrial technology, the National Association of Industrial Technology awarded him with the Outstanding Industrial Technologist Award in 2004.

He is a current member of the EIU Foundation and has maintained his membership in the EIU Alumni Association since 1998.  McCullough continues to support his alma mater with his time, having served for the past seven years as a member and former vice chairman of the School of Technology Advisory Board.  He has offered to provide the School of Technology strategic advice, and was awarded the School of Technology Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2014.

‘How to Start a Business’ Workshop Offered in Toledo 11/10/14

A professional workshop focused on starting or expanding a business in Illinois will be offered next week in Toledo.

The Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education & Development (SEED) center of Eastern Illinois University will offer another workshop to help combat the 80 percent of small businesses that fail within the first five years. The top reasons indicated for small business failure are inexperienced management of day-to-day operations, insufficient capital for startup and backup costs and inadequate business planning.

Topics covered in the workshop will include analyzing participants’ financial situation, evaluating their business concept, finding their market, establishing operational strategies, creating financial statements and obtaining the funding necessary to make their business idea a reality.

The “How to Start a Business” workshop will be from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, November 19 in the Health Department Offices at 132 NE Courthouse Square in Toledo. 

Cost for the event is $25 per person and $35 per couple and registration is required by noon on the date of the class. Registration is available online here

The center was established as the new interdisciplinary home for entrepreneurial education, research and community partnerships at EIU. The primary focus is to foster collaboration among students, researchers, educators and practicing entrepreneurs to promote entrepreneurship through integrative learning. For more information about the workshops, please call 217-581-2913, email here or visit the website here

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EIU to Commemorate Veterans Day with Series of Events 11/06/14

Eastern Illinois University will commemorate Veterans Day with a series of events focused on military education including its annual ceremony.

Community residents are invited to join students, faculty and staff for the annual Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, in Old Main’s Cougill Foyer. The annual ceremony will include remarks by Derrick Jackson, an EIU student veteran, and EIU President Bill Perry, as well as the laying of a wreath.  The ROTC Panther Battalion will render a three-volley salute, while members of the EIU Department of Music will perform the National Anthem and the playing of taps.

Scott Shaffer, coordinator of EIU’ s military student assistance center, said the ceremony is only a part of EIU’s commitment to military veterans. This year, EIU was recognized by U.S. News & World Report for its commitment to military veterans. The magazine’s “2015 Best Colleges” rankings, published annually, list Eastern as the No. 13 “Best College for Veterans” among Midwestern regional universities (public and private).  EIU was the second highest ranked public university on the list.

The public is also invited to other events throughout the week:

  • A Veterans Appreciation Fair will be from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10, at the LifeSpan Center (11021 E. County Road) (Sponsored by LifeSpan).
  • Carl Sandburg Elementary School students will begin Tuesday’s activities with a presentation of the POW/MIA Remembrance Table. The table honors those, be they prisoners of war or those missing in action, who cannot join their families and friends. This activity will begin at 9 a.m. in Booth Library’s north foyer.
  • The Mattoon Junior ROTC Drill Team will conduct a “Drill and Ceremony” at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, in the University Ballroom in the Martin Luther King Jr. Union.

For more information about the Military Assistance Center at EIU, click here.

Alumnus Jim Edgar to Discuss 'From EIU to the Governor's Mansion' on Nov. 11 11/05/14
Jim and Brenda Edgar

Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar will once again return to his alma mater as the next speaker in his own lecture series.

His presentation -- “From EIU to the Governor’s Mansion” -- will address how his education and experiences at Eastern Illinois University helped him achieve the success he has had in life.

The talk, set to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, in the Buzzard Building Auditorium, will be followed by a reception.  Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Edgar and his wife, Brenda, demonstrated their continuing support for their alma mater by establishing the Edgar Speaker Series in 2007.  Working in conjunction with the EIU Foundation, the couple finalized details for a gift that allows speakers to come to campus on an annual basis.  The series focuses primarily on state government, and addresses current issues in state government and historical implications.

"I always thought that a person learns both in and outside the classroom," Gov. Edgar said at the time the lecture series began. "I know I particularly enjoyed the lectures I heard as a student here at Eastern. They certainly enhance learning opportunities for students, as well as for the entire community.

"Charleston's a great place, but it's not a large city," he continued, recalling that as a high school student and city resident, he took advantage of learning opportunities -- such as lectures -- that were open to the public. "This series will benefit the community, as well as the students of the university."

The Edgars personally launched the speaker series during the 2007-2008 school year, with the governor speaking in the fall and Brenda Edgar taking her turn behind the lectern in the spring.

Subsequent speakers have included Mike Lawrence, Edgar’s former press secretary and senior policy adviser; historian and biographer Richard Norton Smith; author/reporter James L. Merriner; Washington Post columnist Dan Balz; and David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Prior to being inaugurated as Illinois' 38th governor in January 1991, Edgar spent more than 30 years in state government, including terms as both a state representative and as secretary of state. Previously, however, he was enrolled at Eastern where he majored in history and minored in political science. He was extremely active in the university's student government, serving as student body president his senior year (1967-1968).

He was named an Eastern Illinois University Distinguished Alumnus, the highest honor the Alumni Association can bestow upon a former student, in 1982.

It was also at Eastern that he met fellow student Brenda Smith of Anna, Ill. The two married while still students at the university, and Mrs. Edgar put her own education on hold while supporting her husband's political career and raising the couple's two children.

In the 1990s, while serving as Illinois' First Lady, Brenda Edgar contacted Eastern to see what would be needed to complete her degree. Working with the School of Continuing Education, she finished her coursework and received what is now known as the bachelor of arts degree in general studies during commencement ceremonies in May 1998.

Within months, Mrs. Edgar, in conjunction with Ronald McDonald Charities, had established the Brenda Edgar Scholarship for Women, to be awarded to returning adult female parents over the age of 25.

In addition, the Edgars have donated a number of papers and artifacts from Gov. Edgar's years in state government to the university.

St. Anne native uses talent, dedication to create mural for university community 11/03/14

It began in the pages of Katie Lowery’s sketchbook.  Each page contained a piece of a larger image she envisioned—an image of Ashmore, Ill., past and present.

Through her talent and dedication paired with Eastern Illinois University students’ and Ashmore community members’ hard work, her image is displayed in the center of the community.

The two-piece mural lies in Ashmore Village Park. It depicts the past and present of the village with farmland weaved together with current buildings of the village. It also depicts the changes in the farming industry throughout the years.   

Lowery, a St. Anne native and graduate of EIU’s art department with a graphic design concentration, wanted a chance to give back to her university community when Rachel Fisher, director of the Office of Community Service, reached out to her. “She asked if I wanted to paint a mural again,” Lowery said.
This isn’t Lowery’s first experience with mural painting. Back in her hometown of St. Anne, Lowery painted a Coca-Cola mural on the side of a grocery store after her high school teacher asked for her assistance. That mural is modeled after the 5 cent vintage bottles.

For the Ashmore project, Lowery began crafting her vision of by meeting with the mayor and getting a feel of the community. “He gave the initial layout of what he wanted,” she said. “Then I took it from there.” Throughout the project, Lowery used the skills she developed and groomed within EIU’s Art Department.

She started by drawing the ideas on individual 8 by 11 inch sheets of paper. After the sketchbook was finished, Lowery started drawing on the actual buildings using a large projector screen to trace her image.

Yet, the project wasn’t just about Lowery’s design work. According to Mayor Kurt Crail, community members took an active role too, spending many hot, summer days painting the mural under Lowery’s direction of where to paint.

With the community’s help, the project was completed in about two weeks.

According to Crail, the mural project was an on-going initiative to spruce up the community. In the past, EIU students helped paint murals on old buildings right off Route 16 and he decided to reach out to Fisher and her group. The plan was to transform the plain buildings within the park into a display of Ashmore’s history, Crail said.  The mural was officially revealed during a ceremony at the Annual Ashmore Ag Day Festival in the summer.

“It’s all about the community and working with other communities,” Crail said. “EIU has been fantastic to work with on projects in our community.”

Although Lowery currently works as an intern designing catalogues for Modern Plum, a linen company, she hopes one day to move to California and continue her passion for art by painting billboards.  

Lake Zurich native uses passion, energy to revitalize spirit squad 10/29/14
Amie Hansen (in the middle) cheers on the Panther football team with fellow students during the EIU’s Homecoming Game.

 

It’s more than her blue bandana and Panther attire that sets Amie Hansen apart.

She’s not only revived the Blue Crew, the student-cheering group, but she’s steadfast in her Panther spirit.

The junior special education major and Lake Zurich native recreated the crew last year at Eastern Illinois University after a previous spirit group disbanded two years ago. Hansen’s group has more than 200 members, and now is a registered student organization. 

At home games, these students cheer on football players in the stands of O’Brien Stadium, with only one rule — they have to stand, Hansen said. They chant, yell and stir on the team, but the group doesn’t only focus on football.

This year, the group cheered on the women’s rugby team, women’s and men’s soccer teams and the water polo club. “We support all athletes,” Hansen said. To Hansen, it’s important to support EIU athletes who get up early to work out, practice and still get good grades.

Hansen’s not afraid to spread her Blue Crew energy to prospective students as she works as an EIU admissions tour guide. And, her energy gets results.

Trevor Bradley, a junior sociology major and Charleston native, remembered Hansen’s energy and zest when she was his tour guide before he transferred to EIU. “She’s got energy alright,” said Bradley, reminiscing.

Because of Hansen’s encouragement, Bradley, said she helped make his decision to come to EIU and now cheers in the O’Brien Stadium with the rest of the crew.

In her tour guide sessions, she always emphasizes Blue Crew. “Blue Crew’s not a huge time commitment,” Hansen said. “The crew is a perfect opportunity to meet fellow students.” 

Bradley is not alone with other students who were persuaded to attend EIU because of Hansen’s energy. Some football players and parents of athletes also make a point to thank Blue Crew members and Hansen for cheering on their teams.

Hansen got the idea to form the crew, after watching football games as a member of EIU’s Color Guard. She realized that O’Brien Stadium needed a student section to support the team, and began to create the registered student organization, modeled after cheering sections in the past.

In her spare time, Hansen serves as the president elect for the Student Council for Exceptional Children, a member of two honor fraternities and a peer mentor in the EIU’s University Foundation class.   In the foundation class, Hansen drums up school spirit and encourages freshmen to get involved in Blue Crew. 

To Hansen, a ‘real’ Panther is someone who is dedicated to their studies, but they are true to themselves, their community and values.

After earning her degree, Hansen plans to work as a high school teacher where she would love to advise a color guard or spirit group.

“When you are part of a school you should be engulfed in the culture,” Hansen said. “You should be passionate about the school you go to. And, I definitely am.”

The Blue Crew starts every home game day out by chanting with the Panther Marching Band in the Library Quad before the home games. 

EIU Spirit Cheerleader Spreads Blue Throughout Community 10/22/14
Tonya Green on an outing with Billy the Panther.

The moment she wakes up, Tonya Green is thinking blue.

The Greenup native may work at Eastern Illinois University, but to her the color means so much more.  It represents the opportunity to unite the community in one cause — a love and passion for being a “real” Panther.

Every Friday, Green ventures out to Charleston businesses igniting community support. Through her passion and determination, she rallies those both on and off campus to become ‘true’ Panthers. She’s not alone in her quest, grabbing fellow co-worker Cara Pschirrer, students and Billy the Panther to ensure that blue’s the focus.

“It’s my personal challenge to spread the blue epidemic,” said Green, laughing.

During the visits, they take photos of business employees wearing blue, let community members meet Billy, and drum up morale with the EIU fight song and spirit chants.

“It’s all about fun,” said Green, commenting on her mission to make blue contagious.  She’s even donned the Billy suit herself. “People respond to the positive.”

And, Green’s type of fun gets results. On Fridays, owners of businesses throughout the community have allowed their employees to wear blue, even buying Homecoming shirts for them. Some businesses are going against corporate dress code policy in order to show their support.

Additionally, 50 local businesses painted their windows blue in support of EIU – just in time for Homecoming Weekend, which is October 24-26.

“I love all the positive responses from the community,” Green said.  Reactions from the community don’t just excite her; they give her “goose bumps,” she said. 

Known throughout the community as EIU’s spirit cheerleader, Green is more than ready for the Homecoming game on Saturday.  But she isn’t too concerned about the outcome of the game.

“It doesn’t matter if we win or not,” Green said. “It’s about showing love for the school.”

It’s no surprise that Green loves EIU and the community. She spent her life in the area, earning her education at EIU.  Her husband, Joe, and son, Brad, are currently employed by the university, too.

As the Homecoming game approaches, Green is preparing the last moment touch-ups as she organizes Homecoming reunions and spirit events, encourages even more businesses to paint their windows, cheers on students at the Homecoming coronation and, of course, and ensures her own office area is gleaming with blue.

She’s even helped organize a “Panther Cab” event where Billy the Panther and EIU celebrities, such as administrators, coaches and faculty members driving golf carts, will pick up students wearing blue throughout campus on Friday and drive them to their destinations.

For Green, a real Panther is someone who shows their love for their school, but school spirit is more powerful than that.  “The spirit brings the whole community together,” she said.

Green wouldn’t miss the Homecoming game or parade on Saturday, but she’s already thinking about next year. “It’s about keeping blue contagious,” Green said, as she brainstorms ideas for next year.

Green grew up in Greenup and currently lives in Charleston. She earned a board of governor’s degree from EIU in 2007, and works in the office of University Advancement as the assistant director of donor relations.

The Friday visits are part of the Real Panthers Wear Blue initiative, where students, staff, faculty and community members are encouraged to wear blue or Panther attire.

A list of Homecoming events is available here. The EIU Panthers will take on their OVC rival Tennessee State in the 98th Homecoming football game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in O’Brien Stadium.

Panther Pride Turning Campus, City Blue in Time for EIU Homecoming Weekend 10/22/14
Billy Panther visits with campus employees.

Panther Pride is on the rise in Charleston as the community prepares itself for Eastern Illinois University’s Homecoming 2014 activities.

“Bright Lights, Blue City:  Homecoming 2014” events are taking place this week, culminating with the traditional parade, football game and other popular events on Saturday, Oct. 25.

This year’s Homecoming committee planned numerous thematic events and activities designed to showcase EIU Panther Pride throughout campus and the city of Charleston.  Several Charleston-area businesses plan to feature window displays, lawn signs and marquees displaying their EIU pride and spirit.

Community residents are welcome to attend many Homecoming events, both on and off campus.  The most popular of those will occur on Saturday.

Early risers can prepare for a full day of activity with a warm meal, courtesy of the Charleston Rotary Club.  Serving for the 15th annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast will take place from 6:30 to 10 a.m. in the parking lot of Dirty’s Bar & Grill, located at the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue.  The price is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 10, with all proceeds from the event going to various local charities.

With their appetites taken care of, diners can either burn off those calories or simply support those who are by attending the 15th annual EIU/Charleston Homecoming 2.5k (1.5-mile) Race/Walk at 9 a.m.  Participants will begin at the corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, make their way north on Seventh Street to the Charleston Square, then return to EIU’s Old Main via Sixth Street.

An entry fee of $10 will be collected from each participant, while awards are designated for the top male and female finisher in each of three categories: run, walk and wheelchair.  (See here for registration information.)

The EIU Homecoming Parade is an annual tradition consisting of campus/community entries – floats, bands and decorated cars, to name just a few.  Participants will line up near on the east side of Old Main and, beginning at 9:30 a.m., march northward up Seventh Street to Monroe Avenue, west on Monroe to Sixth Street, then head south to Polk Avenue where they will again turn west.  Upon reaching Division Street, they will turn south, cross Lincoln Avenue and head for Grant Avenue (a.k.a. Panther Way), winding up at the tailgate area at O’Brien Stadium.

The annual Homecoming football game, in which the EIU Panthers will host Tennessee State, begins at 1:30 p.m.  Tickets may be purchased the day of the game at O’Brien Stadium, or in advance online, in person at the EIU Ticket Office (Lantz 2530; open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday), or by calling 217-581-2106.

Football fans are invited to arrive early to show their Panther Pride at this year’s Billy’s Backyard Tailgate event, featuring food, inflatable games and live entertainment.

The public is also invited to attend other Homecoming activities, including the "Light It Up Blue" Pep Rally, with Yell Like Hell/Who Wants to Be a Mascot contests and a Torch March, from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in McAfee Gym – South.  A wide range of student cheers/chants, dance routines, and contests will highlights this year's pep rally event.

EIU Alumni Awards to be Presented During Homecoming 10/21/14

Recipients of the Eastern Illinois University Alumni Association’s 2014 alumni awards will be honored Saturday, Oct. 25, in conjunction with Homecoming activities.

Distinguished Alumni Awards will go to Suzanne Barchers (’67) of Stanford, California; Chuck Bell (’67, ’69) of Scottsdale, Arizona; Nancy Elwess (’76) of North Hero, Vermont; Michelle Hanlon (’93) of Acton, Massachusetts; and Mary Anne Hanner ('72, '74) of Oakland.

The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award recipient is Kristofer Howard (’00) of Libertyville.  The Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award honoree is Jerry Zachary (’61, ’88) of Champaign.  The Distinguished Educator Award will be presented to Eric Bright (’12) of Charleston.

“We are honored to be able to recognize such an extraordinary group of alumni for their accomplishments and the varied ways in which they represent their alma mater,” said Bob Martin, vice president for university advancement.  “Their successes reflect well on Eastern Illinois University and motivate current and future students to follow their own dreams.”

For biographies of current and past award winners, please see here.

Established in 1973, the Distinguished Alumni Award is the most prestigious award bestowed by the Alumni Association. It is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves in either academic or literary fields, business, public service and/or service to the university, and who, through their accomplishments and service, have brought prestige to their alma mater. Past recipients have included an Illinois governor, Oscar-nominated actors, an NFL head coach, a nuclear physicist, CEOs, educators at all levels and many others.

First presented in 1988, the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award is presented to alumni who are 35 or younger and have excelled in new careers and/or public service.

The Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award, established in 1988, is presented to alumni who have repeatedly displayed outstanding voluntary service to the university. In 2007, the name was changed to the Louis V. Hencken Alumni Service Award in honor of Eastern's retiring president, who held a variety of administrative positions at EIU for more than 40 years.

Established in 2004, the Distinguished Educator Award is presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves in the field of K-12 education.

 

Astronomy 'Hobbyist' Designs, Owns World's Largest Privately Owned Telescope 10/17/14
Robert E. Holmes Jr. (left) with EIU President Bill Perry

WESTFIELD, Ill. -- The Earth may someday thank its lucky stars for a 25-cent purchase hastily made nearly a half century ago.

It was then that a young Robert E. Holmes Jr. who, while shopping with his mother at a local dime store, was given a quarter with instructions to buy himself something.  At a loss for what to buy, he waited until his mother who, when done with her own shopping, told him she was ready to go and that he needed to hurry up and choose something.

Holmes picked up a book on astronomy.

“And that was the start of it,” said Steve Daniels, professor and chair of the physics department at Eastern Illinois University.  “A few years later, when he was in high school, Bob was the guy on the roof, looking through telescopes all the time.

“And now, if anybody is protecting us from the sky, it’s Bob,” Daniels said.

On a nightly basis, Holmes quietly monitors the universe.  He does so from his rural Westfield home, located about 10 miles east of Charleston, and he stills uses telescopes – although they’ve graduated greatly in size.

In fact, Holmes recently completed the construction and installation of a 50-inch (size of the mirror) telescope, making him the proud owner of the largest privately owned telescope in the world.  It is the fourth in a collection that also includes a 24-inch, a 30-inch and a 32-inch telescope – each of which has its own outbuilding to keep it safe from the elements.

“The buildings are about 10-feet wide, with roofs that slide straight back,” Daniels said. “Bob did his own design.”

With the exception of the 30-inch scope, which was a collaborative acquisition with EIU, Holmes designed, built and funded each of the scopes much on his own.  He cut steel plates into parts that he then welded together.  He used an engine hoist to move the heavy steel assemblies, including large fork mounts.

“The support systems are amazing,” Daniels said.  “They each are the weight of a Volkswagen; yet, they’re so well balanced, you can move them with one finger.”

Holmes even designed the primary mirror for his recently completed 50-inch scope.  Bob had a close friend, Mike Lockwood of Lockwood Optics in Champaign, Ill., shape the curvature of the glass.  He hired a company, though, to apply the final aluminum coating.

“Bob’s passion for building telescopes and coming up with clever and interesting designs for those telescopes are what helped draw him back to astronomy,” Daniels said.

Holmes had left his hobby for a successful career in commercial magazine photography.  But, in 1999, after attending a meeting of the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society and then a talk by Robert Kirshner, a Harvard College professor of astronomy, Holmes sensed a resurgence of interest in amateur astronomical research.

Beginning with a commercial 16-inch telescope equipped with a CCD camera mounted at the focus, he began acquiring images and data.  In 2002, he founded the not-for-profit Astronomical Research Institute (ARI), allowing him to facilitate outreach to schools, colleges and students.

“From the very beginning, education and public outreach has been an important element in our research,” Holmes told a reporter for Sky & Telescope magazine (December 2011).

Holmes also began refocusing his efforts more on imaging and reporting the positions of asteroids and the occasional comet, including near-Earth objects (NEOs).  He joined hundreds of other observatories – both amateur and professional – that report positions to determine the precise orbits of these objects to the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

According to Daniels, some scientists believe that a mass extinction of dinosaurs occurred thousands upon thousands of years ago due to an asteroid striking the Earth.  Holmes’ work, and that of others like him, is designed to search for and track other objects that could possibly collide with the Earth.

And the stronger the telescope, Daniels added, the better chance one has of detecting such an object early.

“The earlier we know about it, the better chance we have to do something about it,” he added.  “Would you rather learn about something like that 20 years in advance or one day early?”

It was for that very reason that Holmes began researching and building newer and stronger telescopes.  “Making discoveries using the 16-inch reflector became increasingly difficult,” Holmes said, “especially as undiscovered objects became fewer and fainter.”

After completing his 32-inch telescope in the summer of 2006, Holmes spent another year of working days as a photographer and watching the skies at night.  Fortunately, thanks to network cables linking his telescope to his home office, he was able to keep up this vigil from the comfort of his own home.

Images of moving objects conveyed valuable data, including position and size, and were analyzed via special software.  Resulting information was emailed on to the Minor Planet Center.

A year later, NASA – impressed with the quality and quantity of Holmes’ data – awarded him a grant that allowed him to quit his day job and take up his “hobby” full time.

While continuing to watch the skies by night, Holmes devoted his daytime hours to adding a second observatory and building a 24-inch telescope to add to his collection.  In 2008, he produced 11,593 observations of asteroids and NEOs accepted by the MPC --- more than any other individual OR professional observatory in the world.

Holmes thought he could do even better.  With the blessing of his wife Jackie, the couple moved from their home near Charleston to a 40-acre tract of land near nearby Westfield.  The property had more room for observatories; even then, in 2009, Holmes was beginning work on his 50-inch scope.

More importantly, however, was the distance Holmes gained from the distracting, artificial evening light of 24-hour shopping centers, parking lots and apartment complexes.

Working in conjunction with Eastern Illinois University’s Physics Department, Holmes also began work on an observatory for a 30-inch refurbished scope that is primarily run by EIU students via the internet.  That telescope came online in 2010, Daniels said.

“There’s a microwave link between the observatory on Bob’s property and EIU,” he continued.  “It’s Web-based, made possible as a result of a very strong collaborative effort.”

Holmes’ connection with Eastern goes even deeper.

“As an adjunct professor, he hosts our astronomy classes; they go out to his property a couple of times a year, at least,” Daniels said.  “And he works closely with Jim Conwell, the physics professor who built Eastern’s own observatory.

“Students are an integral part of Bob’s work,” he added.  “And not just with students at EIU.  Through his work, Bob reaches about 300 schools in 40 countries, working with students to analyze the multitude of data that he collects.  He helps researchers – both young and old – by making his equipment available to Skynet, an internet-based telescope-sharing network.

“He generates an enormous database of photographs that he collects almost every night, and then uploads it to the Web for others to use.  He holds workshops to train teachers to analyze astronomical data, including how to identify asteroids in a series of photographs, and encourages them to pass this knowledge along to their own students,” Daniels said.

Of course, Holmes does continue to spend many of his nights in solitude, gazing up into the skies.  And he continues to break records for discovering and tracking Near Earth Objects.  In fact, despite the many major observatories, Holmes is responsible for nearly half of all NEO measurements made in 2011.

“In other words, his observatory is responsible for more NEO data that anyplace else in the world,” Daniels said.  “From his observatory in Westfield, Bob Holmes stands guard over our world.”

Santana Named Alumnus of the Year by EIU Journalism Department 10/17/14

Marco Santana, technology/startup reporter at the Des Moines Register, has been named Alumnus of the Year by the Eastern Illinois University Journalism Department.

Santana, a 2008 graduate, is being awarded for his many contributions to the department.

“Marco has been a very loyal alum since he graduated from our program,” said John Ryan, chair of the Journalism Department’s Outreach & Service Committee, which voted to honor Santana.  “He has volunteered numerous times to assist the department in various activities, including speaking annually at the department’s summer workshop, talking to classes, and speaking at college and high school press events the department sponsors.”

To be eligible for the award, a recipient must be a graduate of the journalism program with significant college media experience, have attained a positive reputation as a journalist and continued to support the Journalism Department after graduation.

Santana, a past editor of The Daily Eastern News, has worked at the Des Moines Register for the past three years. He will soon join the Orlando Sentinel as a technology reporter.

Before joining the Register, Santana covered suburban schools and local government for the Daily Herald at Arlington Heights. He also covered education for the Galesburg Register-Mail.

Santana will be given the award at a luncheon Friday, Oct. 24, before faculty, students and guests at the MLK Jr. Union.

Past winners of the Alumnus of the Year Award include:  2001, Jim Hanks; 2001, Jim Roberts; 2002, Carl Green; 2002, Chris Soprych; 2003, Patrick Coburn; 2004, Mike Cowling; 2004, Lori Miller; 2005, Lisa Green; 2006, Jeff Britt; 2007, Ted Gregory; 2008, Richard Fox; 2010, Amy Carr-Burke; 2010, Jean Wright Medina; 2011, Dann Gire; and 2013, Nora Maberry Daniels.

‘How to Start a Business’ Workshop Offered in Greenup 10/16/14

A professional workshop focused on starting or expanding a business in Illinois will be offered next week in Greenup.

The Sustainable Entrepreneurship through Education & Development (SEED) center of Eastern Illinois University will offer a workshop to help combat the 80 percent of small businesses that fail within the first five years. The top reasons indicated for small business failure are inexperienced management of day-to-day operations, insufficient capital for startup and backup costs and inadequate business planning.

Topics covered in the workshop will include analyzing participants’ financial situation, evaluating their business concept, finding their market, establishing operational strategies, creating financial statements and obtaining the funding necessary to make their business idea a reality.

The “How to Start a Business” workshop will be from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21 in the Municipal Building in Greenup. The address is 115 E. Cumberland St.

Cost for the event is $25 per person and $35 per couple and registration is required by noon on the date of the class. Registration is available online here.  

The center was established as the new interdisciplinary home for entrepreneurial education, research and community partnerships at EIU. The primary focus is to foster collaboration among students, researchers, educators and practicing entrepreneurs to promote entrepreneurship through integrative learning. The next workshop will be at 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, November, 19  in the Health Department Offices in Toledo. The address is 132 NE Courthouse Square.  For more information about the workshops, please call 217-581-2913, email jegarren@eiu.edu or visit the website here.  

Appearance of Nev Schulman Canceled; Rescheduled Date Pending 10/13/14

The appearance of Nev Schulman, the host of MTV’s Catfish, at Eastern Illinois University has been “canceled” and will be re-scheduled at a later date.

The cancellation is because of scheduling conflicts with the taping of Nev Schulman’s “Catfish” MTV Reality TV Show scheduled to air this fall. The appearance was scheduled for Thursday, October 16. 

Ticket sales have been suspended at this time and individuals who have purchased tickets in advance should contact the Ticket Office at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. For more information about tickets, call (217) 581-5122.

 

 

Former Students Give the Gift of Music for Retired Professor’s 90th Birthday 10/10/14

It all started with a handwritten note.

The note, which contained a wish for a happy new year, wasn’t why it meant so much to Glenna Murphy.

It represented her memories from 1975 to 1979 in Eastern Illinois University’s Music Department, and especially her memories of the author, Catherine Smith.

Smith, a music professor emeritus, dedicated her career to musical education and taught for almost 40 years at EIU in piano performance.   Murphy, a Tuscola resident, was one of Smith’s many students throughout the years.

“I knew I needed to do something for her,” said Murphy, an EIU alumnus, after she read Smith’s note earlier in the year.

With Smith’s approval, Murphy decided to organize a celebration for Smith’s 90th birthday. The celebration wasn’t going to be about cake and streamers, but about music and Smith’s former students.

The piano recital, with more than 20 students and colleagues of Smith’s scheduled to perform, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 in the Dvorak Concert Hall in Doudna Fine Arts Center. The performance is open and free to the public.

To Murphy, the recital is a chance to show Smith what she spent days in her office teaching each one of her students – her passion and dedication to music.

It’s no surprise that Smith can’t wait to hear her students perform again, but Murphy said the alumni are anxious and excited to perform in front of a mentor, who always challenged them to succeed.

“She always pushed me to excel on the piano, wanting me to practice four hours a day, six days a week,” said Murphy, reminiscing fondly. “She always knew when I didn’t practice.”

Back in the late 70’s, Murphy remembered the first time she met Smith. In a scholarship audition, Murphy played the piano in front of Smith and another professor.

After the audition, they ate lunch in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union together. “She was so kind and interested in me,” Murphy remembered.

Even years later, Smith recalls Murphy as a talented young pianist with “good hands.” Her recollection of Murphy is only one example of the plethora of knowledge the retired music professor still keeps of her students.

“Dr. Smith does not forget a student,” Murphy said.  “She took to heart each and every one of us.”

Even after her retirement, Smith kept in touch with her students. Her students have worked as instructors and performers in music, and they have kept music a central part of their lives. Right now, Murphy serves as a liturgist and pianist at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Charleston, and she is eager to play on Saturday.

Smith was a member of the piano faculty from 1949-1986 and served as a chairwoman for the keyboard area for many years. She’s considered to be one of the first women in the United States to receive a doctoral degree in piano performance from Florida State University.

Smith traveled throughout the world and performed with many European pianists and musicians. In her later years of tenure, Smith traveled to Asian countries to lecture and present recitals.

Smith was involved in the Charleston community and served on the committee that planned and built the Newman Catholic Center. Since her retirement, Smith lives in her hometown of Bloomington, Indiana.

The recital will feature solo performances, duets, two piano works and eight-hand pieces. EIU alumnus Ron Roberts from Huntsville, Alabama, will serve as master of ceremonies for the event. 

Host of MTV’s ‘Catfish’ to Speak on Safety in the Digital World 10/06/14

The host of MTV’s hit television series “Catfish: The TV Show” will tackle some of the complexities of dating in the digital world and online safety during a lecture at Eastern Illinois University.

Nev Schulman will share specific tips and lessons from his own experiences as host of the documentary series that exposes the truth about online relationships and catfishes. A catfish is a person who pretends to be someone they are not on the Internet. In the series, Schulman tells the stories of young people as their online-only romantic relationships collide with reality after they meet their romantic partners for the first time in person.

With an average of 2.5 million viewers, who are mainly high school- and college-aged students, the series has made Schulman a household name and icon for young people throughout the nation. He also recently wrote a book titled “In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age,” which focuses on how to connect with individuals in the digital world. 

The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, in EIU’s McAfee Gym.  Tickets for EIU students are $5 and tickets for the general public are $8. Special front seat tickets and meet-and-greet passes are available for $10. Tickets can be purchased in the Ticket Office at the Martin Luther King Jr. Union (second floor, west side), via phone at 217- 581-5122 or online here

This University Board-sponsored lecture is taking place in October, which is national Cyberbullying Awareness Month, to help students learn the proper use of the Internet and become aware of suspicious activity. 

Investigative Journalist/Author/Alumnus to Discuss 'Bloody Lies' on EIU Campus 10/03/14
John Ferak

John Ferak, award-winning investigative team editor for Gannett Wisconsin Media and an Eastern Illinois University alumnus, will return to his alma mater to talk about investigative journalism and the story behind his book “Bloody Lies:  A CSI Scandal in the Heartland.”

An open presentation is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, in Room 2120 of the Physical Science Building on EIU’s campus. His talk will be followed by a book-signing event, and copies of the book will be available for purchase. 

On the night of Easter 2006, Wayne and Sharmon Stock were murdered in their home in the remote farming community of Murdock, Neb. – population 269.  The murders garnered sensational front page headlines and drew immediate statewide attention.

Barely a week into the investigation, two arrests brought a sense of relief to the victims’ family and to local residents. The case appeared to fall neatly into place when a tiny speck of murder victim Wayne Stock’s blood appeared in the alleged getaway car.

Then, an obscure clue left at the crime scene took the investigation down a totally different path, stretching into Iowa, Louisiana, New York, Texas and Wisconsin. By the time this investigation was over, the charges against the original suspects were dismissed and two new individuals emerged from the shadows.

Ferak covered the Stock murders from the very beginning, including all of the trial proceedings. When the criminal prosecution finally ended in 2007, he remained puzzled by one nagging question: Why was the blood of victim Wayne Stock in a car that was ultimately proven to have no connection to the murders?  Over the next few years, the astonishing “bloody lies” were revealed, culminating in a law enforcement scandal that turned the case on its head and destroyed the career of Nebraska’s celebrated CSI director, David Kofoed.  (See here for more on the book.)

A native of Joliet, Ill., Ferak served as an investigative journalist from 2003-2012 for the Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska's largest news organization.  He appeared on Investigation Discovery's "Cold Blood" and also on HLN News.

In addition to his current work for Gannett Wisconsin Media, based at The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wis., he has also worked as a reporter or editor at the South Bend Tribune in Indiana, The Daily Herald based in Arlington Heights, Ill., and the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Ferak will spend three days on the EIU campus as he presents lectures and talks with students in a variety of disciplines, including journalism, English and criminology.

U.S. News & World Report Recognizes EIU's Commitment to Veterans 10/01/14

Eastern Illinois University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for its commitment to military veterans.

The magazine’s “2015 Best Colleges” rankings, published annually, list Eastern as the No.  13 “Best College for Veterans” among Midwestern regional universities (public and private).  EIU was the second highest ranked public university on the list.

The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

“Our veterans have nobly served our nation, and we are proud to support them by providing excellent programs and services at EIU to begin or continue their university studies,” said EIU President Bill Perry.  “I’m pleased that U.S. News has chosen to recognize those efforts.”

Schools listed in the U.S. News & World Report rankings were described as institutions that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members apply for, pay for and complete their degree.

To be eligible for the list, Eastern needed to be certified for the GI Bill, be a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium and, as a public institute, charge in-state tuition, which can be fully covered by the GI Bill, to all veterans applying from out of state.

Eastern offers nearly 50 majors from which its students can choose from.  Eastern’s School of Continuing Education also allows veterans, active-duty military and other non-traditional students the option of receiving academic credit for life work and experiences.  The school’s General Studies Program was specifically designed to meet varying educational goals.

“This can be advantageous for some of our military students who can ask for credit based on what they did professionally before and during their service to our country,” said Kimberlie Moock, director of New Student Programs (which includes the university’s Military Student Assistance Center).

Eastern’s practice of charging in-state tuition to student veterans from outside of Illinois began in August 2013 after Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law House Bill 2353, “Higher Ed-Military-Tuition.”  Under that legislation, any person utilizing benefits under the federal Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 20008 or any subsequent variation of that Act, can be considered an Illinois resident for tuition purposes.

The U.S. News & World Report recognition follows Eastern’s receipt of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, presented two years ago by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  That award recognized the professional and constructive efforts of EIU to support its student veterans, according to then-IDVA Director Erica Borggren.

In addition to being named a “Best College for Veterans,” U.S. News & World Report also ranked No. 4 among the Midwest’s top public regional universities (up from No. 7 a year ago), and No. 31 -- up from 36 in 2013 -- among all Midwestern regional universities offering a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.

International Alumnus Establishes Link Between EIU, Chinese University 09/30/14
Zhibo Wang, left, and Kevin Vicker

While Eastern Illinois University has long appreciated the impact that dedicated alumni can have on potential students, few of those alumni actually operate their own EIU office.

Zhibo Wang is the exception.

Wang, who once came from China to study at EIU, now teaches in the Foreign Language Department at Linyi University, an institution that, like Eastern, began as a small teachers’ college.  Currently, the university, located in the Shandong Province, offers 62 different undergraduate degrees to more than 30,000 students.

Actually, “the idea of an EIU office in Linyi University was the idea of our dean, Professor Xie Nan,” Wang said.  “I am the person who spends a lot of time in the EIU office.  I translate the transcripts, teach (students) how to write personal statements and explain the differences in our two systems, as well as the costs of attending and the procedures for applying.

 “The job market here does not seem very hopeful overall, and the graduate schools in China are so hard to get in,” he said. “It is a good idea to have an (EIU) office here in Linyi University because, right now, our university is very keen on sending students to foreign countries and we have to find places for them to go.”

Wang recalled his own experience of leaving China to study in the United States.  “I applied to about five American universities and EIU was the first to admit me,” Wang said.  Eastern also offered him an assistantship, as well as a lot of faculty mentoring.

When he arrived on Eastern’s campus in August 1996, “Dr. Linda Callendrillo was the director of the English Department’s Writing Center where I worked as a graduate assistant,” he recalled.  “She gave me very useful instructions.  I also often met with Dr. Mark Christhilf when I studied late in the night; he gave me advice on study and work.”

And, “Dr. Susan Bazargan was my thesis adviser who was so patient in helping me with my writing skills,” he added.

Now Wang’s role is reversed; he is the instructor.  At Linyi University, where he has been employed for the past 13 years, he teaches English writing, English literature, intensive and extensive reading, listening and linguistics.

As head of the EIU office at Linyi, Wang said the biggest problem he faces is “extending (his department’s) influence to other schools” within the university.  With more interdisciplinary interest, given the size of the institution as a whole, he feels it shouldn’t be too difficult to get 10 students or so to attend Eastern annually.

To help with this goal, Wang has enlisted the help of his American alma mater.

Earlier this year, he requested that Eastern send a representative – preferably the president or one of the vice presidents – to Linyi to present a couple of lectures.  William Weber, vice president of business affairs at the time of the request, volunteered, offering to make the trip on Eastern’s behalf. 

“Knowing that I was planning to retire at the end of May, I suspected I’d have some extra time that the others wouldn’t,” Weber said.  In July, he presented two lectures – one on the structure and operation of U.S. universities and a second titled “Leadership, Negotiation and Talent Development.”

Weber said the audiences included 60 to 75 middle administrators – primarily department chairs -- from Linyi University.  “I’m glad I did it,” he added, although the presentations were not as interactive as he would have liked, given the language differences. 

“Dr. Weber’s visit to Linyi University was a great success,” Wang said.  “He gave lectures to management staff and his concepts of management were absolutely new us.  Everybody listened carefully to him.  I attended one of his lectures and I think it was insightful.”

Kevin Vicker, director of International Students and Scholars at Eastern, also visited Linyi earlier this year, and was able to speak with students – both one-on-one and in lecture-type settings.

“I talked about Eastern; Mr. Wang talked about Eastern,” Vicker said.  “Several students filled out applications.”

According to Wang, he received more than a dozen applications from individuals interested in attending Eastern.  “But then, after they went home, many of them changed their mind,” he said.  “I feel bad about that.

“But a lot of them found good jobs and decided not to study in the U.S.  They changed their mind not because they did not like Eastern or because we did anything wrong.  It’s just that good jobs are so rare nowadays,” he said.

One person who did make it to Eastern this fall was Derek Pang Shousheng, a Linyi University faculty member who arrived in Charleston as a visiting scholar.  Much of his time on EIU’s campus is being spent observing classes and learning teaching techniques that he can use when he returns to teaching English at Linyi University in the spring. 

“We are very thankful for that,” Wang said.  “Many of our teachers have not been to an English-speaking country and the opportunity to do so greatly enhances their ability in teaching.

“Our university, especially the Foreign Language School, needs a lot of American teachers with doctoral or master’s degrees in various fields.  Our dean, Xie Nan, expressed such a hope when she met with Dr. Weber months ago.  He, for example, is very good at economics and management, and would meet the needs of our English for economics and trade majors.

“The dean would like to see many more such teachers come to Linyi University.”         

Sen. Durbin, EIU Discuss College Affordability in Student Panel 09/25/14

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin led a discussion with students and alumni during a panel today about their student loan debt and Eastern Illinois University’s continued efforts to alleviate the financial pressure.

The panel consisted of EIU students and alumni, President Bill Perry and Carol Waldmann, EIU’s interim director of the Office of Financial Aid.

“Eastern Illinois University has made many strides to lessen student loan debt by not increasing tuition, offering scholarships and grants, and providing students with a dedicated financial aid staff focused on and guiding them through the process,” Perry said.  For the 2014-15 academic year, EIU’s Board of Trustees chose not to increase tuition; the previous year’s tuition was only increased by 1.43 percent, he added.

The university also offers grants, work studies and scholarships such as the Panther Promise Scholarship. This award provides up to $2,500 toward tuition per year for eligible students and is renewable for up to four years for freshmen and two years for transfer students, he said.

Throughout the panel, students shared their own personal stories about how scholarships and graduate assistantships at EIU helped lessen their financial burden. Waldmann said the percentage of EIU students defaulting on their student loans is 6.7 percent compared to the national average of 14.7 percent.

Currently, the Office of Financial Aid has 17 dedicated staff members to walk students through the student loan process and provide in-person guidance to students every step of the way.

Shelaina Reid, a family and consumer sciences major and student member of the panel, said she has a great relationship with the Office of Financial Aid, and has sat down with staff there many times to discuss financial aid options.

One of those staff members, Mandi Starwalt, a financial aid adviser manager, spends her days guiding students like Reid through the financial aid process and helping them create a budget and plan for the future.

“Many times students do not need to take the whole amount of their federal loans. I will sit down with them and chat about creating a budget and see if they really need the full amount. We will also investigate other options such as scholarships, grants and work studies.

“I also always direct our students to the federal website to check their repayment options before they graduate or leave school. I want them to think about their loans before they walk across the graduation stage,” she continued.

As a previous student with loan debt, Starwalt understands what students are going through and how loans are sometimes intimidating. “I’m there to keep the issue at the forefront of their minds and guide them through the process.”

Overall, Starwalt said, students typically borrow $20,108 in federal loans for EIU’s undergraduate study. The federal loan payment over 10 years for this amount is approximately $231.40 per month.

During the panel, Durbin discussed a bill he is sponsoring, called the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, which would reduce the interest rates that students must pay. 

38th Annual Panther Marching Band Festival Set for Oct. 4 09/24/14

The public is invited to the 38th annual Panther Marching Band Festival, set to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium.

This annual all-day event is a field competition allowing high school bands a great way in which to close their performance season.  Awards in each class in the areas of music, visual, general effect, percussion, guard and drum major will be awarded.  Grand Champion and Spirit trophies will be awarded for Small Class and Large Class divisions.

Nearly 40 bands are scheduled to compete, with EIU’s Panther Marching Band performing in exhibition at 4:15 and 9 p.m.

Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students/seniors, while children 5 and under will be admitted free.  (Cash or check accepted.)

Participating schools are scheduled to perform as follows:  Robinson, 9:45 a.m.; Arthur/Lovington/Atwood/Hammond, 10; Carterville, 10:15; Johnson City, 10:30; Blue Ridge, 10:45; Oblong, 11; Arcola, 11:15; Heritage, 11:30; Charleston, 11:45;

LeRoy, 12:30 p.m.; Watseka, 12:45; Ridgeview, 1; Pleasant Plains, 1:15; Mater Dei, 1:30; Paris, 1:45; Casey-Westfield, 2; Mt. Carmel, 2:15; Freeburg, 2:45; Newton, 3; Unity, 3:15; University, 3:30;  Paxton-Buckley-Loda, 3:45; Monticello, 4;

Triad, 5:15; East Richland, 5:30; Mt. Zion, 5:45; Danville, 6; Rantoul, 6:15; Mattoon, 6:30; Centralia, 6:45; Belleville West, 7:15; Highland, 7:30; Marion, 7:45; Champaign Centennial, 8; Granite City, 8:15; Limestone, 8:30; and Mahomet-Seymour, 8:45 p.m.

Awards for Small Division schools will be presented at approximately 4:30 p.m.  Large Division honors will be awarded at 9:15 p.m.

More information on the 38th annual Panther Marching Band Festival can be found here.

Expert Brings ‘Human Approach’ to Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders 09/23/14

From his own experiences as a parent with a child with an autism spectrum disorder, Dr. Luke Tsai takes a “human approach” of studying medicine and autism spectrum disorders.

An accomplished researcher and scientist for more than 30 years, Tsai will speak during Eastern Illinois University’s annual Fall Autism Conference about the current assessment and medication treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

The conference, open to the public, will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. Union on the EIU campus.  

“In previous years at our annual autism conference, we focused on younger populations with ASD and the social challenges of living with ASD, but this year we wanted to bring in an expert on medical treatment,” said Gail Richard, director of the new Autism Center at EIU. “Tsai’s expertise is unique to downstate Illinois and he will appeal to many individuals across disciplines from educators to counselors to scientists.”  

The yearly conference helps raise money for EIU’s Autism Center, which is an expansion of the existing Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. The center serves individuals with ASD who are diagnosed and treated by undergraduate and graduate students under the supervision of distinguished faculty members.

“Eastern Illinois University wants to continue to be a center of professional expertise on autism spectrum disorders,” Richard said. “We want to be a place where families can come to receive treatment through our autism center, but we also want to bring in outside experts like Tsai.”

The conference will include two sessions and a final discussion. The focus of the presentation from 9-11 a.m. will be the targets and assessment of need for medication by school teams. The session from 1-3:15 p.m. will be the review of the current practice of medication treatments and evidence-based medication treatments. Kathleen Hecksel, a child psychiatrist from Sarah Bush Lincoln Memorial Health Center in Mattoon, will also take part in the discussion.

Throughout his career, Tsai has published more than 60 articles and 20 books.  He is a professor emeritus of psychiatry and pediatrics and research scientist emeritus from the University of Michigan Medical School and Rackham Graduate School. He has published a book titled “Taking the Mystery out of Medication in Autism/Asperger Syndromes.”

To register for the conference, go here or call Sandi Thiele at 217-581-2712.   The workshop is approved for five hours of continuing education credit from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Registration is $40 for professionals and $10 for students. The event is co-sponsored by the College of Sciences and Graduate School at EIU and the East Central Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association. For more information about the center, go here.  

New Name of Movement Studio Represents “World Stage” 09/17/14

The movement studio in Eastern Illinois University’s Doudna Fine Arts Center was renamed in honor of alumni, Christopher and Nancy Desmond, for their love of Shakespeare and continued financial support.

The studio, now called “The Globe,” is the primary rehearsal space for all theatre students and those in theatre productions.

“Our students use the space to direct, act and rehearse for their student productions,” said J. Kevin Doolen, chairman of EIU’s theatre arts department, “The Globe Studio is the theatre lab where students learn, experiment and create. It is the heart of what we do in training and preparing our students for careers in theatre and so many related fields.”

The Desmond family supports EIU via an “All The World’s A Stage Fund” scholarship, which covers participation costs in activities such as conferences, workshops and seminars that enhance education in areas of theatre arts and business.   Eligible recipients of the award include full-time students, who major or minor in theatre arts, business or English and who are involved in theatre productions or similar activities. 

“It seemed only fitting with the Desmond family’s love for Shakespeare and theatre that the studio would be named as the Desmond’s choice not for self-recognition but in honor of all those who aspire to take the lead in the theatre, business or whatever discipline they choose,” said Bob Martin, vice president for university advancement. “The studio plays such an important role in developing and cultivating our theatre students into talented actors, directors and dancers, which goes hand-in-hand with the Desmond’s passion for theatre and EIU.”

Christopher Desmond graduated from EIU with a bachelor’s degree in finance and a minor in theatre arts in 1994 and a master of business administration in 1996. Nancy Desmond graduated from with an English degree in 1992. She also established the Lori James Memorial Scholarship at Eastern for students from single-parent households in memory of her mother.

Christopher Desmond is the chief sales officer for the private transfer pricing company, CETERIS, the largest independent provider of transfer pricing services in North America.

The dedication ceremony occurred during EIU theatre department’s 50th  anniversary celebration on Friday, Sept. 12. The Globe Studio is located in Room 1080 in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

The theatre arts program at EIU offers students a broad-based curriculum with a wide range of courses from theatre history, dramatic literature, basic action, stage movement, scene study, costuming and scenic lighting.  For more information about EIU’s theatre arts department, click here

Eastern Illinois University Named a Lead Institution in Civic Engagement by National Association 09/16/14

Eastern Illinois University has been selected to participate in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement. Eastern Illinois University has been named one of nearly 100 colleges and universities in the nation as a Lead Institution by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the leading voice for the student affairs profession.

As a participating institution in NASPA’s initiative, Eastern Illinois University will continue to encourage students’ civic development through thoughtful community partnerships, engaging leadership opportunities and democratic participation. 

“Eastern Illinois University is pleased to have been selected for a second consecutive year to participate in NASPA’s network of institutions dedicated to developing students’ sense of civic identity as civic engagement is a core value of higher education,” said Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs.  “Being recognized as a national leader in this field is a reflection of the quality of our current efforts and also our ongoing commitment to inspiring students to challenge themselves through leadership and service roles moving forward.”

“Eastern Illinois University is continuing to build upon our strong tradition of student volunteerism and civic engagement,” said Rachel Fisher, director of student community service. “During the past five years, our students have contributed more than 500,000 hours of service, addressing such critical issues as hunger, poverty and homelessness, animal protection, conservation, veterans appreciation and assistance initiatives, and helping our elderly and local youth through various ongoing results-driven service programs.”

“We have been recognized for our national leadership in service by being selected for the President’s National Honor Roll for Community Service. This year alone, EIU students are projecting to complete 140,000 hours of service taking our total hours of service to more than 600,000 over the past five years,” Fisher continued.  

To learn more about NASPA’s Lead Initiative and view a complete listing of participating institutions, please visit the NASPA website here.

EIU Moves Up in U.S. News & World Report's Annual Rankings 09/12/14

Eastern Illinois University advanced in its placement in the annual U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings to No. 4 among the Midwest’s top public regional universities.

Eastern also was ranked 31 -- up from 36 in 2013 – among all Midwestern regional universities offering a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.  EIU is the highest ranking public university in Illinois on the list, released this week as part of the magazine’s 2014 edition of “Best Colleges.”

The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.  Rankings are based on schools’ academic reputations, student selectivity, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and alumni giving.

“While we’re pleased to see that we have advanced in the rankings, we won’t become overly focused on them,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “Eastern continually strives to improve its programs and provide its students with the best education possible.”

The U.S. News rankings rely heavily on EIU's focus on personal attention. For example, the student-faculty ratio stands at 14:1, and only 3 percent of all classes have 50 or more students.

In addition, EIU continues to tout the highest freshman retention rate (79 percent) and the highest graduation rate (60 percent) among all Illinois public universities in its class.

“We pride ourselves in our capacity for providing individual attention to our students, and believe those relationships are critical to the success of those students,” Lord continued.  “Our faculty members know our students and work closely with them to create a great learning atmosphere.  In the end, those efforts are more important to us than any ranking.”

Tickets Still Available for Sinbad Comedy Show 09/11/14

Ranked by Comedy Central as one of the top 100 standup comedians of all time, the comedian and actor, Sinbad, will perform as part of Family Weekend entertainment at Eastern Illinois University.

The performance will kick off at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, in Lantz Arena.  Tickets, priced at $21, can be purchased at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Ticket Office (second floor, west side), via phone at 217-581-5122, or online here.

Known for his “hit’ em in the face” style of comedy, Sinbad has been making his audiences laugh for the past two decades. He is known for taking his audiences’ trials and tribulations and throwing them back in their faces.

The comedian is also internationally known for his appearances in movies and television. Some of his movie appearances include “Jingle All the Way,” playing opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger; “Houseguest,” co-staring the late Phil Hartman; and “Necessary Roughness.” In television, Sinbad starred in the television sitcom “A Different World,” and his own series, “The Sinbad Show.”  He also recently appeared as a recurring guest star on the Showtime Original Series “Resurrection Blvd” and appeared on the FX television series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

Sinbad has also performed in  HBO comedy specials including “Brain Damaged” (1991), “Afros & Bellbottoms” (1993), “Son of a Preacher Man” (1996) and “Nuthin But the Funk” (1998).

Sinbad has even written a self-help book titled “Sinbad’s Guide to Life: (Because I Know Everything).”  Most recently, he was seen in the third season of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” 

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Admission Standards Retained; Enrollment Strategies Advance 09/10/14

Eastern Illinois University vowed to retain its admission standards while focusing on enrollment, and it was learned this week that those efforts were successful.

In fact, the average ACT score of new freshmen increased slightly (from 21.52 to 21.55).

Growing competition has led to aggressive efforts among the state’s higher education providers to influence students in their choice of colleges.  These efforts include increased tuition discounting, increased investments in facilities/amenities and reduced admission standards, the latter of which is not an acceptable alternative for Eastern, said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“We’ve been working hard on an overall enrollment management strategy,” Lord said, “but a reduction in admission standards is not part of our plan.”

Other positive news revealed by the official fall enrollment count was a 29 percent increase in Eastern’s international student enrollment – from 211 to 273.

“We are very pleased to welcome the most international students in EIU history currently representing 46 countries,” said Kevin Vicker, director, International Students and Scholars.  “This growth is a testament to EIU’s emphasis on personal relationships with distinguished faculty, reasonable prices and several degree programs that international students find very attractive.

“The largest areas in terms of international student enrollment are currently technology, business, economics and sustainable energy,” he added.

Coincidently, U.S. News and World Report also released its annual college rankings, advancing Eastern to the No. 4 spot among the Midwest’s top public regional master’s universities.  Eastern also was ranked 31 -- up from 36 in 2013 – among all Midwestern regional universities offering a full range of undergraduate degrees.  EIU is the highest ranking regional public university in Illinois on the list.

The region encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.  Rankings are based on schools’ academic reputations, student selectivity, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources and alumni giving.

“Eastern continually strives to improve its programs and provide its students with the best education possible,” Lord said.  “Additionally, the university has actively committed to keeping costs low and offering special features like its textbook rental program.  It prides itself in its capacity for providing individual attention to EIU students.”

Unfortunately, the university has little to no control over certain outside influences that might affect enrollment -- a decreasing supply of students, for example.

The number of Illinois high school graduates was projected to decrease by 6 percent this year, with a smaller decrease expected through 2025.  Enrollment at the state’s community colleges has decreased 9 percent overall since the height of the recession, with more significant decreases being reported at community colleges from which Eastern historically enrolls a majority of its transfer students.

Furthermore, Illinois is the fourth largest exporter of students to out-of-state colleges and universities, behind New Jersey, New York and California.

Surprisingly, while this pool of students continues to get smaller, the number of higher education providers is increasing.  More than 300 colleges and universities, including 12 public four-year institutions, 48 community colleges, 98 independent not-for-profit institutions and 36 independent for-profit institutions, serve the state of Illinois.

More than 200 accredited online institutions in the U.S. aggravate the situation.  A very large growth in online courses and programs nationwide as compared to the much smaller growth in higher education enrollments suggests that they are replacing face-to-face classes and programs.

What Eastern does plan to do is to rely on Chris Dearth, the university’s new director of admissions, to implement new initiatives and revise existing practices that will improve undergraduate enrollment.  More specifically:

  • Continue to highlight the great things happening at Eastern as evidenced by our outstanding student and faculty contributions;
  • Work diligently on getting more and more families to visit campus and experience all EIU has to offer;
  • Offer more outreach in the surrounding areas to explain all that EIU can offer to local students; and
  • Work hard to become a “school of choice” for a greater number of students.

“We’ve been focusing our energies on recruitment, retention and financial aid, work that will continue,” said Mary Herrington-Perry, EIU’s assistant vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management.  “But our primary market -- 18-year-old high school graduates -- is shrinking.  As a result, we’re turning our attention to identifying new markets and developing new programs/repackaging existing programs for those markets.

“We have a great deal of work to do. But we also have many strengths to build on -- excellent quality and service, strong student outcomes, affordability,” she added.

Fall 2014 Enrollment Numbers

Current enrollment numbers reflect a Fall 2014 on-campus enrollment of 8,045 and an off-campus count of 868 for a total of 8,913.  A year ago, the number of students taking on- and off-campus classes was 8,726 and 1,049, respectively, for a total enrollment of 9,775.

A breakdown of Eastern’s undergraduate students (down from 8,347 last year) is as follows (with Fall 2013 figures in parentheses):  freshmen, 1,693 (1,941); sophomores, 1,454 (1,520); juniors, 1,923 (2,072); and seniors, 2,522 (2,758).  (An additional 48 students are enrolled as post baccalaureate undergraduate students.)   The number of new transfer students dropped from 938 in Fall 2013 to 888.

Graduate students number 1,273, a decrease from last year’s 1,428.  Female students again outnumber male students – 5,379 to 3,534.

EIU officials report that minority student enrollment continues to climb, with minority students now making up 24.91 percent of total enrollment, up from 23.57 percent in 2013.  In addition to international students, numbers reflect the following:  black, 1,500; Hispanic, 444; Asian, 80; American Indian/Alaskan Native, 21; Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 6; and those listing two or more races, 169.

EIU Student Recognized as 13th in Nation for Baton Twirling 09/09/14

An Eastern Illinois University student earned the distinction as the 13th top baton twirler throughout the nation this summer.

Nicola Colucy, a sophomore kinesiology and sports studies major and Bolingbrook native, competed at the 45thannual America’s Youth on Parade national baton twirling competition at University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

The competition required Colucy to compete in different categories of baton twirling, which is an activity that requires the use of a metal rod or rods in organized dance routines. Representatives from almost every state — 1,500 competitors in all — were present at the competition.

Colucy competed in the X-strut category, which focused on her flexibility and dancing ability; the solo category, which focused on difficulty and tricks with the baton; and the modeling category, which focused on her overall presentation and interviewing skills.

While Colucy placed as the top 13th in the nation overall, she placed in the top 10 in the X-strut and solo categories of the competition, which is an achievement among other national competitors. 

Colucy serves as the EIU Panther Marching Band’s baton twirler during the school year, the first baton twirler at EIU in more than 20 years. She has also been recognized as the 2014 Intermediate Miss Majorette of Illinois, the Illinois State Champion and the Midwest Regional Champion in the National Baton Twirling Championships.

“The competition gives me more confidence to go back to O’Brien Stadium (EIU’s football stadium), but I still need to work harder to keep up my skills,” Colucy said.

She represented EIU Panther Marching Band in the national competition, by competing with more than 70 college feature twirlers in the “down the field” competition. “They got a taste of what I do on the field,” Colucy said.

Her passion for twirling, an obscure yet challenging sport, began back in preschool. She remembers a friend’s mom commenting on her natural talent at twirling.

Since discovering her talent, Colucy has twirled ever since, taking lessons and performing with marching bands. She continues to perform with the Panther Marching Band, and one day plans to teach baton twirling to further the growth of the sport. For more information about the Panther Marching Band, click here.

EIU Professor Named President on International Franchising Board 09/08/14

An Eastern Illinois University marketing professor and franchising expert has been named the president of an international franchising board.

The International Society of Franchising named Marko Grünhagen as president after more than 10 years of continuous membership in the organization, which focuses on the promotion of franchising through research.

Since the formation of the organization in 1986, members have written more than 600 research papers focused on franchising. “The members in the organization are the global scholars and experts on franchising,” he said.  “We are the oldest academic group globally focused on franchising.”

The group is an international organization with members from more than 25 countries represented including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In the past, the organization focused on its yearly international conference, but Grünhagen envisions the organization as a hub of academic information for franchising globally. “We are trying to put pieces of the puzzle together that are more than just than a conference,” he said.

Franchising is the fastest growing business model in the world, he said. The business model focuses on giving individuals an ‘ownership stake’ in a corporation. “Today franchising — whether we like it or not — is very vital,” he said.

Instead of hired managers, who are paid on a salary, individual owners are attracted to the model because they are invested in the business.  In comparison, companies are attracted to the model, because they do not have to invest their own money in each unit.

“Franchising is not just a business model,” he continued. “The underlying concept finds parallels in many other areas of life.”

For example, Grünhagen said President Barack Obama ran his first presidential campaign like a franchise. “His campaign was grassroots; it was persuading individuals to buy into his concept and stay on message,” he said.

If anyone has further questions about franchising, Grünhagen said the International Society of Franchising has experts on every aspect of franchising research and study.

Grünhagen earned his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, MBA from Eastern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in Germany. For more information about the organization, click here. For more information about Grünhagen, click here.

Freshmen received training before first night at EIU 08/26/14

Before Eastern Illinois University freshmen arrived on campus, students were trained on alcohol safety and sexual assault prevention. But the resources and education don’t stop there.

The Sexual Assault Taskforce, composed of EIU faculty, staff and community advocates, invites the campus and the community to attend a keynote presentation titled “Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence” by Angela Rose. The presentations are sponsored by President Bill Perry and the Division of Student Affairs.

Angela Rose, a national expert in sexual assault prevention and advocate for survivor empowerment, is the founder of PAVE (Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment), Men Opposing Sexual Assault and creator of “Transition to Survivor,” a documentary about survivors of sexual assault.

 The keynote presentation will be from 3-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. The event is open to the public.

Jackie Hines, associate director at the EIU Counseling Center and chair of the taskforce, said President Perry wanted to bring an expert on sexual assault prevention at the beginning of the school year to provide students with additional resources early on.

Angela Rose will also speak to specific groups on EIU’s campus in one-on-one sessions, but those sessions are not open to the public.

Hines said the keynote presentation and one-on-one sessions are only two examples of the efforts that Sexual Assault Taskforce has planned this school year.

Freshmen completed an online training program focused on safe drinking and sexual assault prevention before arriving on campus, and students were reintroduced to the material at an opening night program, she said.

The one-hour presentation provided students with strategies to increase safety, on-and off-campus resources and bystander intervention strategies, Hines said.

“We want to provide knowledge and resources to our students before they walk on campus and experience opening weekend,” Hines said.  “We are not trying to scare our students. EIU is a safe campus and Charleston is a safe community, but we want to provide them with the necessary knowledge and resources they can use throughout their time at EIU and beyond.”

 The Student Affairs staff, community advocates and others facilitated the program throughout campus to freshmen in small groups divided by gender. In our experience, students seem to feel more comfortable with sexual assault training when it is divided by gender, Hines said.

The on-campus training builds upon the online program Alcohol EDU and the module Haven: Understanding Sexual Assault, offered over the summer to students. Students were introduced to key definitions and statistics, bystander strategies and the specific reporting policies of EIU.

On-campus training efforts and outreach throughout the year are sponsored by the Sexual Assault Taskforce. The taskforce seeks to provide campus with a proactive approach on sexual assault prevention and to ensure the safety of all students on campus.

The training and the taskforce are not new to EIU’s campus. They are, rather, continuing efforts to ensure the safety of students, said Daniel Nadler, vice president for student affairs.

“EIU is committed to providing the safest campus possible for our students, faculty and staff,” Nadler said. “The Sexual Assault Taskforce takes a proactive role in providing education and resources through the seamless collaboration of on-campus staff and community agencies.”

“We are ensuring a culture of openness that will not tolerate sexual assault, abuse or other sexual misconduct including domestic violence, dating violence and stalking,” he continued. 

For more information about Angela Rose, click here.

EIU to Reap Research Opportunities Through Land Use Partnership 08/22/14
Bioenergy professor Thomas Canam and Ryan Kalinoski, a sustainable energy graduate student, walk through a field near Charleston where switchgrass and big bluestem has been planted in conjunction with research efforts through the Eastern Illinois University Center for Clean Energy Research and Education. (Jay Grabiec)

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For some students at Eastern Illinois University, the traditional, enclosed classroom will soon be replaced with acres of wind-blown native grasses.

Via an arrangement that Thomas Canam, assistant professor of biological sciences, terms a “win-win-win situation for everyone,” some local landowners have agreed to allow Eastern to use nearly 120 acres of their Coles County property for research.  Students and faculty of the university, as well as others, eagerly anticipate those enhanced research opportunities.  And, in turn, area farmers will gain additional insight into potential alternative crops.

“This project is going to be helpful to us in so many ways,” Canam said.

While never slated to become a school for agricultural research, Eastern began exploring its expanded options even while the university’s now three-year-old Renewable Energy Center was in its planning stages.  The REC, built to replace a decades-old, deteriorating coal-burning facility, was designed as a biomass-burning facility; two of its four boilers burn biomass, or biological material, while the other two boilers burn natural gas with a fuel oil backup.

When the opportunity arose for Eastern to partner with the Lumpkin family of Mattoon and their farm services manager, First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust, the university was faced with the specific decision as to what it would do with access to the roughly 120-acre plot of land located northwest of Charleston.

“The Lumpkin family has been involved with sustainability for some time, and has been growing organic crops on the land,” Canam said.  “We talked with them about the Renewable Energy Center and its needs for the future – that we wanted to grow an alternative fuel for the Renewable Energy Center and that we wanted to grow biomass in a sustainable way.”

Working in partnership with FDC Enterprises Inc., a nationally recognized provider of conservation services and green biofuels/bioproducts, Eastern authorized the planting of 100 acres of a “seed-pooled mixture of two warm season grasses.”  The planting occurred in July.

“It was a mixture of switchgrass and big bluestem, both of which are known to be high yielding, robust and fast-growing,” Canam said.

In addition, FDC Enterprises planted “pollinator buffers” – wildflowers and other grasses, mostly – along the perimeter of the land and beside the portion of Riley Creek that runs through the land.  While it does little to enhance the growth of the primary grass crop, the buffer does give the property a more striking appearance, attracting bees, butterflies and other species of wildlife.

Canam further explained that the attraction of wildlife will provide added research opportunities for EIU students and faculty.

“In addition to our primary research goal, we’re interested in how wildlife will respond to the changes,” Canam continued.  “Nesting practices, shelter… It’s really a wonderful opportunity to also study wildlife dynamics with my colleagues Drs. Karen Gaines and Jill Deppe.”

While student and faculty researchers wait for the first switchgrass/big bluestem mixture harvest, likely to take place in 2015, they’ll carefully observe the grasses’ growth patterns:  Do they do better on slopes than near the creek?  Do they invite or discourage specific pest (bugs, molds, etc.) problems?  And, do they react favorably with the soil and climate in which they are growing?

“We’ll be performing basic growth research,” Canam said.

Studies following the harvest will expand to include yield measurements (tons per acre, for example) and answers to questions that a biochemist, like Canam, is interested in.

“We’ll want to determine what, chemically, we can do with these grasses,” he said.  “How much carbon is produced, and how much ash?

“And we’ll do density studies to help us determine how much money and resources will be needed to turn the grasses into pellet material that can be used to fuel facilities like our Renewable Energy Center,” he added.  “Obviously, what we’re looking for is a resource that will require as little input as possible, thereby keeping growers’ costs down.”

Canam and Kalinoski examine a test field of switchgrass.

And cost conservation, Canam said, is something that’s just as important to EIU as it is for a traditional farmer.

In addition to a contribution from the university’s College of Sciences to get the project started, another $20,000 ($5,000 annually for four years) was awarded to Canam, Gaines and Deppe via EIU’s President’s Fund for Research and Creative Activity.

That fund exists to “foster, stimulate and strengthen research and creative activity conducted by faculty members, with a primary goal of enhancing the likelihood that their work will be competitive for external funding from federal agencies, state agencies, corporations, or private foundations.”  Canam hopes that is, indeed, the case with the Lumpkin land research.

“We’ve been looking for external grants for research, but it’s a very competitive process,” he said.  “Sources like the Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency…  In general, they’re looking for more large-scale projects than what we’ve been able to offer thus far.”

To date, he added, Eastern’s alternative crop research has been limited to four acres of small plots located near the university’s Renewable Energy Center.  Two acres have been planted with hybrid poplars, a specifically bred, fast-growing tree; two additional acres have been planted with grasses.

“Now that we’re dealing with a fairly significant amount of land and we have something actually in progress, these larger funding agencies might take a better look at us,” Canam said.  “It really helps for them to see you actually have the capabilities.”

Area High School Students Welcomed at O’Brien Stadium for Home-opener Tailgate 08/22/14

Eastern Illinois University welcomes area junior and senior high school students to a Panther tailgate to cheer on the back-to-back OVC conference football champions.

The #FuturePanther tailgate, on Saturday, Sept. 6, includes a cookout, a free Panther T-shirt, an insider’s tour of campus and free admission to EIU’s football home opener against in-state rival Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

“We want to show prospective students what it’s like to be an EIU Panther outside a tour,” said Brittany Trimble, an EIU admissions counselor. “A tour only shows a glimpse of the multitude of life-changing opportunities becoming a Real Panther means.”

“Yes, EIU offers a quality education with personal attention from dedicated faculty and staff every step of the way, but EIU also offers students a chance to make new friends, get involved in many organizations on campus and be part of a vibrant community filled with Panther pride,” Trimble continued. “The #FuturePanther tailgate gives prospective students a sneak peek into Panther student life.”

All area junior and senior students from Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie, Clark, Shelby, Cumberland, Effingham and Clay counties are invited, said Trimble, who focuses on recruiting prospective students from East Central Illinois.

“EIU cares about our area high students, and we want them to become EIU Panthers,” Trimble said. “They don’t have to leave East Central Illinois to receive a life-changing, collegiate experience.”

Check-in for the tailgate will be from 2:45-3:30 p.m. at Lantz Arena. After the check-in, students will receive a tour of campus, and then participate in a cookout from 4-5:30 p.m. with hot dogs and hamburgers. The game check-in is at 5:30 p.m. and the game kicks off at 6 p.m.

Free admission will be available for the first 250 students by registering here, but students can email Trimble with questions at bmtrimble2@eiu.edu, call her at (877) 581-2348 or follow her on Twitter at @Brittany_EIU.

“I’m always here for our #FuturePanthers,” Trimble said. “Please call, tweet, and email me if you have any questions about the tailgate or anything about life as an EIU Panther.”

For more information about applying to EIU, click here. To schedule a tour of campus contact Trimble or EIU’s Admission Office at (877) 581-2348 or admissions@eiu.edu.

Community Invited to Share in EIU First Night Activities 08/20/14

The EIU Student Government Association extends an invitation to the EIU and surrounding communities to attend the 2014 EIU First Night -- “Blue Rising” -- from 8 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, in the South Quad.

EIU First Night is the annual kick-off spirit rally designed to promote university pride and spirit while welcoming EIU students back to campus.  First Night kicks off the official start of a new EIU academic year.

The spirit rally will feature appearances by the EIU Pep Band and Drumline, Billy the Panther, the EIU Blue Crew, and live performances by the EIU Cheer Team, Pink Panthers and dance teams.  Featured speakers for the spirit rally will include EIU President Bill Perry and Student Body President Reginald Thedford, as well as Kim Dameron, EIU’s new head football coach, and the EIU Football Panthers who will lead fans in the countdown to the start of a new football season.

Other highlights include a March of Champions, “Who Wants to be a Mascot?” spirit competitions, the singing of the EIU Fight Song, new cheers/chants, T-shirt giveaways and more.

All Panther fans are encouraged to attend and  showcase their Panther Pride by wearing EIU colors; they, too, will become eligible to win a First Night T-shirt.

A limited number of First Night Spirit T-shirts will also be available for FREE on a first-come, first-served basis.

The 2014 EIU First Night event is sponsored by EIU Student Government, the EIU Parent’s Club, EIU Alumni Services, the MLK Jr. Union and the EIU Office of Student Community Services.

EIU Faculty Laureate Seeks to Eliminate “Cow Talk” 08/15/14

Grant Sterling isn’t a fan of a cow talk. No, the Eastern Illinois University philosophy professor expects more from his students then the mediocre or the blasé.

Like the famous philosopher Socrates, Sterling wants EIU students to examine their lives and think critically in everything they believe and do — especially in general education classes. He doesn’t want them to become entrapped by living what Socrates famously called the “unexamined life.”

“Socrates thought human beings were lucky because they have the capabilities and abilities you wouldn’t have if you were a cow or any type of animal,” he said. “We have a mind. We can think, learn and understand the world, but many don’t bother to do it.”

His solution to stop the “cow talk” is simple — general education classes. He challenges his colleagues and students to put an emphasis back on taking and providing rigorous classwork.

It’s no surprise that Sterling was named by his colleagues as Eastern’s 2014-2015 Faculty Laureate, an award that recognizes a faculty member for his/her excellence in teaching general education classes. As part of this year’s Convocation, a welcoming ceremony for incoming students, Sterling will present a keynote address focused on eliminating “cow talk.”  The ceremony will begin at 9:15 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22, in Lantz Arena.

For the past 25 years of teaching, Sterling has lived by Socrates’s quote that “the unexamined life is not worth living for a human being” by pushing his students to think.

“If I could pick one thing for my students to come out of my classes with, it’s the idea that they ought to have reasons for the things they believe,” he said.  “It’s not my goal in my classes to convince my students that Socrates or Plato have the right answers.” Instead, Sterling demands his students know why they see the world a certain way and articulate their reasons.

EIU History Professor Bailey Young knows Sterling’s demand for critical thought first-hand by sharing an office and teaching in classrooms next to Sterling throughout the years. 

“I have seen not only how well he knows his stuff, but how committed he is to conveying to students the value of intellectual achievement and critical thought,” Young said.

Throughout the upcoming year, Sterling would like to see more students enrolled in general education classes. “It really disappoints me when students look at their general education classes as obstacles,” he said. Instead, Sterling envisions the classes as an opportunity for students to learn something about the world in many different fields.

“I think it would be better to stop pressuring students to think they need to know what they are going to do right from the beginning and give them an opportunity to experience classes in five, 10 or 15 different subjects,” Sterling said.

Sterling, an EIU alumnus and Charleston native, remembers his beginning appreciation for general education classes when he was an undergraduate in philosophy at EIU.

“When I was an undergrad, one of the reasons I became a philosophy major is because philosophy at the time was the smallest major in terms of the number of credit hours,” he said.  “That gave me the opportunity to take a lot of electives in other disciplines that I was interested in.”

Sterling eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a minor in both history and political science. He’s no stranger to campus; his father taught in the history department, his mother worked as the head of food services, and his stepmother served as an academic adviser as he grew up in Charleston. 

Aside from the five years spent seeking his doctorate at the University of Iowa, Sterling has lived in Charleston.  His entire teaching career has centered around the classrooms of EIU.

He has volunteered outside the classroom as a vice chair of the Council on Academic Affairs, chair of the College of Arts and Humanities Curriculum Committee and chair of the ad hoc committee for Integrative Learning. He currently serves as chairman of the Faculty Senate.

Jonelle DePetro, chairwomen of EIU’s Philosophy Department, shared Sterling’s commitment to EIU the best in a nomination letter:  “Teaching matters to Grant; quality education matters. His passion begins in the classroom, but it doesn’t end there."

Videos, Website Bring Honors to EIU Web Team 08/13/14

The University & College Designers Association (UCDA) has presented Eastern Illinois University with an Award of Excellence for each of three separate projects created by the university’s Web team.

Two of 11 recognized videos and one of eight websites receiving honors were produced by EIU’s Center for Academic Technology Support (CATS), according to Ryan Gibson, director of Web services.  He was especially proud of the recognition when taking into consideration the size of Eastern compared to other schools receiving awards (Harvard, Northwestern, Auburn, University of Illinois, etc.).

One of EIU’s two award-winning videos featured the university’s Autism Center; it was produced in support of the center’s crowdfunding campaign.  The second video – a general recruitment-type production -- was created for use during Eastern’s Admitted Student Day activities in February.

The award-winning website highlights the university’s 2013 Annual Report.

“A cool thing about these projects is that each had undergraduate students on the production teams,” Ryan continued.  “At EIU, we talk a lot about hands-on experience.  (Our students) now have award-winning videos/websites to include in their portfolio.  In our industry, having these types of items in a portfolio gives our students a huge step up against other applicants.”

Although several individuals worked to bring each project to fruition, Gibson expressed his special thanks to Jamie Kemp, graphic designer, and Michael Babcock, videographer, for their contributions.

Babcock’s previously mentioned recruitment piece also recently brought home Award of Distinction honors at the 18th annual Videographer Awards Video Competition.  Entered into the Educational Institution category, the EIU entry went up against work from all over the country and was one of eight videos in its classification to garner distinction status.

According to the awards website, this is “one of the oldest and most respected awards programs in the industry” with an aim at “honoring talented individuals and companies in the video production field.”

Fallen Branches Mean the End for EIU's Iconic Old Oak Tree 08/08/14
The tree as it appeared in the summer of 2012

Weather is not believed to be a contributing factor. Perhaps, just as a member of Eastern Illinois University’s grounds crew said, “It’s tired.”

For whatever the reason, sometime around 5 a.m. Friday (Aug. 8), a large portion of the decades-old bur oak standing east of the university’s administrative building (“Old Main”) broke away and fell to the ground. The order soon came from President Bill Perry to remove the tree entirely.

“During the spring walk-around on campus, Dr. Perry told us to take it down when it became unsafe,” said Tim Zimmer, director of Facilities Planning and Management. “As a result of these downed limbs, we’ll be taking (the tree) down to the stump today.”

Zimmer went on to say that the removal crew will salvage whatever wood they can, with some cross sections preserved for historical purposes. Additional sections have already been given to Eastern’s Department of Biological Sciences for research.

“We’ll just have to see what condition the rest of the wood is in before we make further decisions,” he added.

For decades, the tree -- estimated to be between 250 and 300 years old as evidenced by its 61-inch trunk -- has provided shade and shelter to students at work and at play. Hundreds of homecoming courts, floats and bands have gathered near it, readying themselves for participation in the annual fall parades. Romances have blossomed; friendships have flourished. The tree is as much a fixture on campus as its nearest building – the “castle.”

Some take solace in the fact that the tree will live on via its offspring. Approximately 50 acorns were collected directly from branches of the old oak in the fall of 2011. They were planted in pots with nutrient-enriched compost and the pots, in turn, were stored in a protected campus area where deer and rabbits couldn’t get to them.

A year later, the university had about 30 seedlings. The university considered that a “good return” on what had been planted.

“And the saplings are still doing well,” Zimmer said. “They’ve done especially fine during this nice, mild summer.”

For more on Eastern’s favored tree, see here.

EIU Credits Loyal Alumni, Friends for Continuing Fundraising Success 08/07/14 Loyal alumni and friends of Eastern Illinois University demonstrated their continuing Panther Pride by contributing to the more than $16.7 million raised in gifts, pledges and planned gifts in Fiscal Year 2014.

This is the institution’s fourth consecutive record-setting year in fundraising, said Bob Martin, vice president for institutional advancement.

“I continue to be amazed at the generosity of Eastern Illinois University alumni,” he added. “Their support is most appreciated, and is a strong indication of how much they care about their alma mater.”

According to Martin, $6.8 million of the total raised between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, was in cash gifts – a 79 percent increase over last year’s cash gifts.

The total also reflects the university’s largest one-time contribution of $3.68 million. A $5 million pledge, made five weeks later, set a new record.

Furthermore, the number of President’s Society Gifts ($1,000-plus) increased by 8 percent to 681.

Scholarships continue to be a top area for support as donors recognize their need as a top university priority. More than 200 new scholarships were created during the “EI&U: Expect Greatness” campaign that concluded in October 2012, and an additional 73 have been established in the last year and a half.

That means the goal of the university’s ongoing scholarship drive – 100 new scholarships by June 30, 2017 – is “significantly ahead of schedule.”

“Record giving continues following the completion of the highly successful campaign in 2012,” Martin said. “Our supporters know a gift to support an EIU student is a positive investment.”

Martin expressed his appreciation to the university’s fundraising team, which includes the Office of University Development and the Annual Fund Team. Development directors made 1,345 donor visits during FY ’14; 767 of those were first-time donor/prospect visits, a 14 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.

In addition, the university started its first-ever crowdfunding campaign, which works by creating a network of individuals to send out information (in this case, about EIU’s proposed Autism Center) to a handful of individuals through email or social media outlets. That group, in turn, forwards the information on to others, and so on. (See here for details.)

Several “naming” gifts were received, as well. The university’s internal governing policies states that university buildings, structures, facilities, streets, grounds and other real property may be named for “donors of substantial funds.”

According to Martin, EIU’s Board of Trustees approved the following name alterations in the past year: the Idea Incubator (Center for Clean Energy and Research – CENCERE), in recognition of the Charleston Area Charitable Foundation; the Globe Studio (movement studio, Doudna Fine Arts Center), in recognition of Christopher and Nancy Desmond; the Raymond and Carolyn (Miller) Fischer Atrium (reception atrium, Neal Welcome Center, approved by the EIU Foundation); the Dr. Jerry Heath Athletic Training Room (Lantz Arena); the Ike Kennard Club Room (Lantz Arena); and the Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College.

“We’re thrilled that our alumni continue to care about Eastern and its students, and that they show their devotion to the university in so many ways,” Martin continued. “We want them to know that we are thankful for their contributions, no matter the size.”
EIU Student Describes Experience as Miss United States Competitor 07/21/14

As an Eastern Illinois University student competed on a national stage at the Miss United States pageant, she advocated for healthy lifestyles along the way.

Sylvia Crowder, a dietetics master’s student, spent her first week of July as Miss Indiana competing for the Miss United States crown. The competition is a beauty pageant similar to Miss USA and Miss America, where women are selected to represent the 50 states and territories. Throughout the week, Crowder competed in interview, evening gown and swimsuit categories while promoting her passion for nutrition, which goes hand-in-hand with her degree.

While Crowder did not place in the final 15, she described the experience as life-changing. “I competed on a national stage and that is something very few people can say,” Crowder said. “Pageantry has built my confidence and interpersonal communication skills, and it has allowed me a great opportunity to network.”

Earning a Crown

The Cayuga, Ind. native was never interested in pageants until her senior year of high school when she realized a local pageant supported the American Cancer Society. “Right around the same time, my grandmother was diagnosed with lymphoma. As I was growing up, she was my primary caretaker, so it was very difficult for me,” she said. “I wanted to win to honor her.”

And, she did exactly that— earning her crown and introducing herself to the world of pageantry.

After winning, Crowder was asked by the director of the pageant to compete in more pageants, but it wasn’t till the Miss Indiana Unites States competition four years later that she decided to give it another try. “At the spur of the moment, I got a call from the Indiana state director telling me they were accepting applications and that I should apply,” Crowder said.

Crowder decided to enter, but two weeks before the competition she fractured her left foot working out to the Insanity workout program. Her doctor advised Crowder to wear a cast, but she decided to continue anyway, wearing six-inch heels without a cast. Her decision paid off.

Crowder was named Miss Indiana United States 2014, eligible to compete in the Miss United States competition in July in Washington D.C.

It wasn’t the national competition itself that was the hardest for her, but the lack of sleep. Each morning the contestants woke up between 4:30 and 5 a.m., and arrived back at the hotel at 1:30 a.m. after a full day of events. “You go game face on all the time,” said Crowder, laughing and referring to her makeup and hair preparation every morning.

Her favorite part of the national competition was her interview, where Crowder talked about her passion for nutrition and emphasized why they should pick her. To prepare for the pageant, Crowder hired an interview coach and a walking coach, but didn’t hire a stylist or a personal trainer. “I don’t have a stylist because I would rather pick out what I want to wear and feel confident versus someone telling me what I am going to wear,” Crowder said.

She did not have a personal trainer because Crowder said she practices what she preaches. “I know the benefits of eating healthy and what certain food can do to someone’s performance,” she said. “It’s similar to what a body builder would do if they are getting ready for a show.”

Watermelons and Nutrition

Crowder will continue her reign as Miss Indiana till April 2015, and is expected to attend events for the American Cancer Society and create her own events based on her personal platform. The theme for Relay for Life is focused on better nutrition, which goes hand-in-hand with Crowder’s interests.

“I think Americans are becoming more conscious of the relationship between diet and disease,” she said.

Her passion for nutrition started from watching a family member’s struggle with anorexia, but it wasn’t till her freshman year of college that she considered nutrition as a career path.

Crowder represented the National Watermelon Association as a public relations ambassador for a year, flying all over the country to promote the benefits of consuming watermelon. After speaking in front of groups and communities, Crowder quickly realized nutrition was her calling. She switched her major from biology to dietetics, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Indiana.

Crowder decided to come to EIU because her undergraduate university did not have the necessary clinical experience she wanted. “I heard EIU had a really great program,” she said. “I could not only get my master’s in dietetics, but my internship, too, in an accelerated 19-month program.”

Crowder works as a nutrition coordinator at EIU’s Health Education Resource Center where she plans to teach healthy cooking classes and offer nutrition and MyPlate presentations for the EIU community.

While Crowder doesn’t see herself continuing with pageantry, she said advocating a holistic lifestyle is her life’s work. She already writes a blog focused on nutrition, but she would like to pair her master’s degree from EIU and her blog to open her own nutrition consultation business one day.

So far, Crowder has followers from more than 30 countries. Check out her blog here.

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Dearth Selected as New Director of Admissions at EIU 07/01/14 Eastern Illinois University’s search for a new director of admissions has come to an end, with the chosen candidate scheduled to begin the job on Aug. 1.

Chris Dearth, director of admissions at State University of New York at Fredonia, was chosen from among dozens of applicants during a national search.

“Chris understands the enrollment-related challenges all universities are facing. He has a reputation for making sound decisions based on the data, as well as for cultivating positive relationships with members of the university community,” said Mary Herrington-Perry, assistant vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management.

And as Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs, added, “We know the competition is going to continue to get tougher, and we needed a proven manager to help lead our admissions team.”

Dearth, who has 13 years of experience in admissions and who has been in his current position since 2007, is responsible for leading admissions efforts that saw a 12 percent increase in freshman applications from outside SUNY Fredonia’s primary market (2007-2013). He also enrolled the five largest classes in the 186-year history of the university. Concurrently, selectivity improved each year under his leadership, Dearth said.

Previously, Dearth served as assistant director of admissions at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Pomona (2001-2007). Prior to that, he worked as a marketing consultant and as an account manager at an advertising firm.

His education includes a master’s degree in leadership and liberal studies from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, in 2004, and a bachelor’s in business studies from Richard Stockton College in 1997.

He looks forward to beginning work on the EIU campus.

"Eastern Illinois University appealed to me because it is truly a 'student-centered' institution,” Dearth said. “Many universities claim this, but EIU backs it up. Furthermore, EIU has been well positioned to be a top-choice institution for many highly qualified students.

“Spending time on the EIU campus and speaking with faculty, staff, administrators, and past and current students, made me realize that Eastern Illinois University is a special place. My family and I look forward to joining the campus and community of Charleston."

As director of admissions at EIU, Dearth will be responsible for administering all programs and activities associated with the university’s undergraduate admissions program, and for executing and achieving undergraduate admissions goals and objectives.
EIU’s Oldest Graduate Passes Away at 106 06/30/14

As Daisy Rittgers walked across the commencement stage in Lantz Arena at Eastern Illinois University, she was greeted with a standing ovation from her fellow classmates. The audience wasn’t amazed by Mrs. Rittgers’ strut across the stage, but her nearly seven-decade journey to get there.

Considered to be one of EIU’s oldest alumni and the oldest graduate, Mrs. Rittgers passed away this month at age 106 in Shelby Memorial Hospital. A Shelbyville native, she began her career at EIU in 1927, but didn’t walk across the stage till she was 88. “I am a slow learner,” said Mrs. Rittgers, laughing.

Before her passing, Mrs. Rittgers reminisced about her 69-year journey to earn her bachelor’s degree, her years as an Illinois educator and her constant thirst for knowledge.

The Early Days

Daisy Sands was born on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1907, in Westervelt, a small town in Shelby County; she graduated from Westervelt High School in 1927. After high school, she borrowed $175 and began her education at Eastern Illinois State Teachers College, determined to become a teacher and make a life for herself. “I lived off campus, and I worked a little to get by,” Mrs. Rittgers said.

She recalled the small, three-room apartment she lived in and vividly remembered her walk throughout the castle building, called the Normal School Building (known today as Old Main).

During her first year, Mrs. Rittgers met and chatted with some of the now iconic figures of campus including Burl Ives, who went on to achieve recognition as a folk singer/actor; Livingston Chester Lord, Eastern’s first president; and Florence McAfee, the Eastern’s first administrator for women’s physical education.

McAfee taught Mrs. Rittgers archery, while Ives became her laboratory partner – and often asked to copy her work. “Burl Ives was in my laboratory classes and he was too busy writing music and practicing football to worry too much about his studies,” she laughed, speaking of Ives affectionately.

Mrs. Rittgers remembered walking past Livingston C. Lord in the halls of Old Main but it wasn’t until the end of her first year that the two actually conversed. Mrs. Rittgers said she only needed to attend school for a year to qualify to take the teacher’s certification test, but she had to ask the president’s permission first.

“I had never been so scared,” she said, remembering her dread as she walked into Lord’s office. To her relief, Lord smiled and gave her the go-ahead, which gave Mrs. Rittgers the liberty to pursue her passion for teaching for the next four decades.

A Life Calling

After leaving Eastern, Mrs. Rittgers took over a one-room schoolhouse in Shelby County. Her classroom contained 45 students, ranging from first- to eighth-graders. The oldest students were only six years younger than herself. She was expected to teach all ages everything from math to English, and even served as the building’s janitor.

To get the job, the superintendent of schools asked Mrs. Rittgers to walk down the road, to see if she was “strong” enough for the job. “I stood up tall and strutted down that lane,” she recalled.

For the next 43 years, Mrs. Rittgers taught throughout Shelby County. She eventually retired in 1972. Although Mrs. Rittgers married her husband, Carl, when she was 25, the couple was unable to conceive.

“I could not have any children, so I believe God nudged me into teaching,” she said, referring to her passion for education.

As Mrs. Rittgers taught her students every year, she never stopped learning and continued her own education by taking classes through EIU and other colleges. Even when she retired in 1972, she satisfied her thirst for knowledge by reading vigorously every day. She also painted oil paintings and wrote poetry.

It was a family member who suggested Mrs. Rittgers might have enough credits to earn her Board of Governors Bachelor of Arts degree. The program is designed for non-traditional adult students with extensive work experience that is applied toward their degree completion.

So, after more than four decades of teaching, Mrs. Rittgers walked across the stage at Lantz, finishing a nearly seven-decade journey. Even then, though, her thirst for knowledge didn’t stop.

After graduation, Mrs. Rittgers continued her favorite pastimes of reading books, painting oil paintings and writing poetry. She continued to live in her own home in Shelbyville until just weeks before her death on June 18, 2014.

Mrs. Rittgers said she had been blessed with the opportunity to spend her life teaching and learning. When asked in February of this year what Mrs. Rittgers would do differently in her life, she responded with a resounding “nothing.”

Corpse Flower to Bloom at EIU 06/25/14 It appears to be happening again!

Steven Malehorn, manager of Eastern Illinois University’s H.F. Thut Greenhouse, is eagerly awaiting the fourth blooming of EIU’s Corpse Flower. The plant previously bloomed in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

The developing flower (technically an inflorescence) could grow to be seven feet tall and three feet wide, and will definitely smell “nasty,” Malehorn said. It is growing from a 62-pound tuber, which is 20 pounds heavier than the one that bloomed in 2010.

He “guesstimates” the plant will bloom sometime between July 7 and 10. "However, the exact date can't be known until about a day or so before it actually blooms," he said. "But when it does bloom, it will happen fast -- within hours -- and the bloom will only last one night."

Based on past experience, Malehorn believes the bloom likely will begin some early afternoon. The spathe will gradually open and be fully open by about 6 p.m., followed by an intense “roadkill” aroma that can be smelled, literally, a mile away. The odor is strongest from about 8 p.m. until midnight and gradually diminishes through the night. The powerful odor is used to attract flies that pollinate the flowers.

The bloom should be at its peak from about 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following day when the spathe starts to gradually close. Over the next few days, the giant flower will slowly collapse.

"However," Malehorn added, "it could surprise us and start blooming late in the evening and we wouldn’t know until the following morning that it had bloomed. Therefore, no promises on the blooming schedule."

The developing flower can be viewed anytime through the south window of the Thut Greenhouse on EIU’s campus. The greenhouse will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. daily for the duration of the event, beginning June 30. On the day of the bloom, the greenhouse will be open until midnight. The greenhouse will then be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the day following the bloom.

Go here for live streaming video of the event. Follow the greenhouse here for up-to-the-minute bloom information. For other information, including a daily blog, photos and parking information, go here.

Questions? Contact Steven Malehorn at shmalehorn@eiu.edu or phone 217-581-3126 (Department of Biological Sciences’ main office) Monday through Friday.
More Than 250 East Central Illinois Teachers to Attend Professional Workshop at EIU 06/20/14

More than 250 local teachers plan to attend an Eastern Illinois University-sponsored professional workshop, which will focus on incorporating Common Core State Standards in a teacher’s classroom.

The workshop, called “Dive into Common Core,” will take place from 1-4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Buzzard Hall.

Common Core State Standards set clear guidelines for students and metrics for teachers in the subjects of mathematics and English language arts. The state of Illinois adopted the standards in 2010.

Kristen Holly, principal at Carl Sandburg Elementary School in Charleston, will give a special keynote focused on creating a curriculum in the Common Core Era. Her presentation kicks off the workshop at 1 p.m. in Buzzard Auditorium. After the keynote, teachers will break out in sessions with EIU faculty facilitating discussion about the standards.

The workshop is being sponsored by the College of Education and Professional Studies, along with the Charleston, Mattoon and Effingham school districts. The event is funded by a grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois State Board of Education.

EIU Volunteers Help Staff Free Summer Meals Program for Children in Charleston, Ashmore 06/19/14 School lunches are an important part of the nutrition for many school-age children -- especially for low- to moderate-income families. But, when summer comes, school lunches stop -- a challenge for many families, according to Rachel Fisher, director of Student Community Services at Eastern Illinois University.

“Summer can be a crucial time for hunger in our community,” Fisher said. “While proper nutrition is important throughout the entire year, it may be even more important in the summer as children increase their activity levels.

“And that comes just at the time when they no longer have access to school lunch programs and resources,” she said.

That’s why EIU decided to join with the Salvation Army from Mattoon to provide free lunches for children in Coles County. Funding for the program -- The Summer Meals Program -- is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education.

“The Salvation Army is doing a great job covering Mattoon,” Fisher said, “but we all agreed that there was a need in Charleston, as well.”

EIU joined the program last year with an initial site at Kiwanis Park, but Fisher said they were concerned that they weren’t reaching the heart of the community.

“It was a great facility,” she said, “but we wanted to be right in a neighborhood where parents and kids could walk to the site.”

So, this year, EIU is staffing two sites -- one at North Park in Charleston and a second at Ashmore Village Park in Ashmore. Two student volunteers -- Olivia Diggs and Kendra Moultrie -- staff the Charleston site from 11:45 a.m. until 12:15 p.m., and then are available in Ashmore from 1 until 1:30 p.m.

“We serve any child 18 and under,” Fisher said, “and there is no requirement to show proof of age or residency. We just want to make sure that no child goes hungry.”

In addition to the USDA funding for the lunches, the Salvation Army obtained a grant from Walmart to provide a take-home breakfast for the next morning, as well.

“Providing that second meal is a real benefit to families,” Fisher said, “and helps make sure that children in this area get the food they need.”

One additional feature of this year’s Summer Meals Program is the availability of adult meals.

“This year, if an adult wants to come along and eat with their children, they are welcome to do so,” Fisher said. “They just need to pay a modest fee of $2 to cover the cost of their meal.”

Fisher said that she hopes the community takes full advantage of the opportunity because she’s already planning to expand the number of volunteers for next year.

“EIU students are dedicated year-round to our community,” she said, “and many students are eager to work directly with helping and interacting with local youth. There is a great passion and desire to make a true impact and difference.”

Fisher also noted that community members are welcome to join with the EIU students and help out one or more days a week.

For information about the Summer Meals Program or any of EIU’s volunteer efforts, call the Office of Student Community Service at 581-3967.
Professional Development Program Helps Martinsville Teachers Navigate Common Core 06/19/14

Local teachers and teacher leaders with the Eastern Illinois Writing Project recently completed a Professional Development Program that was conducted in the Martinsville school district throughout the 2013-2014 school year.

The program, titled "Professional Development in the Martinsville Schools: Language Arts Common Core,” was designed to build on the district’s assets: a strong commitment to authentic literacy instruction and new technology resources.

“Because Illinois has adopted the Common Core Standards, which promote more writing in every discipline, helping teachers of all subject areas teach writing and reading across the curriculum and across grade levels has become more important than ever before,” said Robin Murray, director of the Eastern Illinois Writing Project.

“The emphasis on literacy instruction in social studies, the sciences, technology and, of course, K-12 English language arts presents a particular need and opportunity for EIWP and the Martinsville Schools. With help from our teacher leaders, the Martinsville teachers are better able to navigate changes from the Illinois State Standards to the new Common Core,” she continued.

The program included six in-service half day writing to learn and writing and reading across the curriculum workshops; a full-day Institute Day on the campus of EIU; professional development reading groups focused on "Content Area Writing: Every Teachers' Guide, Digital Writing Matters," and works focused on the writing and reading workshop from Nancie Atwell and Ralph Fletcher.

Teachers were provided the opportunity to read professionally, participate in small and whole group discussions and learn and practice new teaching strategies that will ultimately improve student writing and learning. The teachers also wrote and shared their writing through journaling and group action projects, Murray said.

Martinsville Elementary School teachers that took part in the program were: Jill Terrell, preschool; Margo Riker, kindergarten; Sheri Cooper and Emily Ellington, first grade; Lynn Davidson and Kim Skidmore, second grade; Sheila Shotts and Nici Evers; third grade; Scott Price and Carrie Maxwell, fourth grade; Bethani Conzen, fifth grade; Bev Goekler and Kalee Dahnke, sixth grade; Deb Tracy, K-12 student resource specialist; Jessica Cannady, speech; Rachel Thurn, Title I instructor; Patty Hacker, special education instructor; and Cody Gray, physical education.

The teachers from Martinsville High School were: Stefanie Mack and Beth Baird, English; Bill Wofford and Michael Stephen, history; Paul Penrod and Julie Higginbotham, math; Ron Lee and Debra Welch, science; Michelle Cribelar and Craig Utterback, physical education; Katie Small, Spanish; Mark Kannamacher, industrial arts; Justin Parcel, ag department; Lora Parcel, family and consumer science; Lindsey Kinkelaar, business; and Sara Gray, special education instructor. District music teacher Laura Smeltzer also participated in the program.

Sessions were conducted by practicing teachers who have taken part in EIWP Summer Institutes. Each session included demonstrations of strategies, participant writing and time to brainstorm applications to various grade levels, content areas and topics. Sessions also included discussion of a professional book about the teaching of writing.

Participants received one Continuing Professional Development Unit per contact hour.

Area teachers serving as teacher leaders and presenters included Keri Buscher, Brownstown Elementary School; Kristin Runyon, Charleston High School; Mary St. Clair, Crestwood School; Jay Bickford, Dawn Paulson, Linda Raven, Denise Reid, Dana Stodden, EIU; Audrey Edwards, retired from EIU; Al Church and Misty Mapes, Teutopolis High School; Duane Huffman, Tuscola East Prairie Middle School; and Rebecca Lawson, Sullivan High School.

The Eastern Illinois Writing Project is a National Writing Project site housed in Coleman Hall at EIU. It seeks to provide K-16 teachers across the curriculum with opportunities to improve student writing in all disciplines; provide schools with an effective in-service model; identify, celebrate and enhance the professional role of successful classroom teachers; and apply a teacher-centered model to implement these goals.

For more information about the Eastern Illinois Writing Project, click here or email Murray at rlmurray@eiu.edu.

EIU History Professor to Journey on America’s Oldest Commercial Whaling Ship 06/16/14

For years, Charles Foy spent hours huddled in a library researching and writing about black mariners in the Atlantic World — even creating a database to document the thousands and thousands of mariners he discovered.

His research only allowed the associate professor of history at Eastern Illinois University to imagine the smell of the ocean or the hardships of sailing on the rough waters of the Atlantic.

But this summer, Foy will experience exactly what he has spent years researching. He will set sail on the oldest commercial whaling ship still afloat, the Charles W. Morgan, built in 1841, as part of Mystic Seaport’s “38th voyage” project sponsored by the National Endowment for Humanities.

The voyage is a public history project with 80 voyagers, from artists to scholars, bringing their expertise on board to raise awareness about the importance of America’s maritime history.

The Charles W. Morgan originally set sail in May from Mystic Seaport in Connecticut with plans for several scholars to spend a day or two on the ship throughout the journey till its return in August. The voyage will be the 38th trip the ship has sailed in open waters after five years of restorations and more than 80 years on land.

After a night sleeping in the whaling ship’s tight forecastle, Foy will set sail on Tuesday, July 15, from Provincetown to Boston, Mass. Throughout the voyage and after, he plans to blog about his experiences and his research interest of black mariners.

After spending years reading about men on whaling ships, Foy said the voyage will give him more perspective for his writing.

“I will live the experiences of the men who I write about,” Foy said. “I get to physically feel what they felt, which will energize my scholarship.”

Like the other voyagers, Foy wants to eliminate the “social amnesia,” which most Americans experience in regards to the role the sea played in American history. But, more specifically, Foy wants to emphasize the role black mariners played in the country. The “social amnesia” that occurs with remembering American’s connection with the sea also occurs with African Americans’ connection to the sea, Foy said.

After a decade of research, Foy created a Black Mariner Database, which contains records of more than 25,000 black mariners and black maritime fugitives. Foy will use the database and his whaling voyage to illustrate in his blog, as well as his scholarly publications, how the maritime sector offered opportunities for black seamen, free and enslaved, not possible on land.

“Many times African-Americans would have more freedom and rights on ships then on land during the Atlantic World,” Foy said.

In the maritime economy, slave seamen were valued and they could find permanent freedom at the sea often not possible on land. For example, ship captains needing to fill out their crews often hired fugitive slaves. Once at sea such maritime fugitives found their maritime skills mattered more than their skin color.

After his journey, Foy also plans to write a high school course plan that will use the lives of Rhode Island black whalers to emphasize the nature of African-Americans’ freedom in the 18th century.

Foy is an accomplished scholar who has written several articles on black seamen that have appeared in Early American Studies; Common-place; Slavery and Abolition; Journal for Maritime Research; the Proceedings of the 2007 Naval History Symposium, Seaport; and Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Power in Maritime America.

After the voyage, the ship will go back to the Mystic Museum Seaport as an exhibit. The seaport is planning an exhibit for the summer of 2016, which will highlight the experiences and research of the 38th voyagers.

For more information about the voyage and ship, go here.

With Committee in Place, EIU Presidential Search Ready to Begin 06/11/14 The search for Eastern Illinois University’s next president officially got under way this week as the institution’s Board of Trustees approved the composition of a search advisory committee and the hiring of an outside firm to help with the search process.

Formally known as the EIU Presidential Search Advisory Committee, the 18-member team will be responsible for conducting a national search, identifying finalists and bringing those individuals to the university for on-campus interviews. Open forums will be scheduled so that the broad EIU and Charleston communities can provide input.

Trustees will have the ultimate responsibility of naming a new president once interviews are completed and committee recommendations are reviewed.

Members of the EIU Presidential Search Advisory Committee are: Joseph Dively (committee chair), representing the BOT; Robert Webb, BOT; Rene Hutchinson, BOT; Lauren Price, BOT (student trustee); Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs; Diane Jackman, dean, College of Education and Professional Studies; Zach Samples, student representative; Reginald Thedford Jr., student body president; Bill Robinson, EIU Foundation; Melissa Gordon, Staff Senate; Christine Edwards, Staff Senate; Steve Daniels, faculty; Ruben Quesada, faculty; Linda Simpson, faculty; Jill Nilsen, annuitant; Timothy McCollum, Alumni Association; Ann Fritz, UPI; Charleston Mayor Larry Rennels, community representative; and Rob Miller, general counsel (non-voting ex officio member).

Assisting the committee in its work will be Korn Ferry, an internationally recognized executive search firm.

“Korn Ferry has built a strong reputation in the area of higher education,” Dively said, noting that EIU would be working with David Mead-Cox, a senior client partner who specializes in higher education.

BOT Chair Kristopher Goetz said that the board “really related” to Korn Ferry during the interview process.

“They detailed the process in a very straightforward way,” he said. “I believe the coupling between the advisory committee, with its knowledge of the university, and the expertise Korn Ferry brings, is a winning combination.”

Dively concurred. “I am delighted to be working with this committee and am confident that with the guidance of Korn Ferry, we will find the right person for the job.”

According to Goetz, the board plans to finalize the “usual paperwork” necessary in contracting with Korn Ferry and to start organizing a timeline that would allow the search committee to begin its work at the start of the Fall 2014 semester.

The need for a search became public when, in March, EIU President Bill Perry announced he will complete his service as president on June 30, 2015, consistent with the ending date of his contract. Perry began serving as EIU president in 2007, moving to Eastern from Texas A&M University where he had served since 1971 in professorial and administrative roles.
Cavaliers to Host 2014 Season Kickoff, Fan Appreciation Night at EIU 06/11/14 The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps will host a special 2014 Season Kickoff and Fan Appreciation Night for the community Saturday on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

The public is invited to O'Brien Field, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., for an exclusive look at The Cavaliers' 2014 production, IMMORTAL, in full uniforms and costumes. The evening marks the end of the group’s pre-tour and completes the first third of the season before entering the 2014 Drum Corps International Summer Tour.

This free showcase will highlight what the performing members, design team and instructional staff have accomplished after nearly 250 rehearsal hours logged since the beginning of the pre-tour on May 16.

After 16 days at Benedictine University, the corps has been housed at EIU. Since June 1, the members have been utilizing O’Brien Field and the many auxiliary fields around campus for rehearsals, Thomas Hall for dining, and Douglas and Stevenson residence halls for sleeping accommodations.

Those attending the 2014 Kickoff and Fan Appreciation Night will also have access to the latest Cavaliers merchandise.

Founded in 1948, The Cavaliers are one of the most successful drum and bugle corps in history, winning 20 national championships, including seven Drum Corps International world championships since 1992. Each summer, 150 male brass, percussion and color guard performers, ages 16-22, present a marching music show considered among the most challenging and original in the world.

The group performs at more than 30 competitions across the U.S. and for more than 100,000 fans. Along the way, the young men not only learn about music and performing, but have a life-changing experience based on excellence, teamwork and camaraderie.

The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization sponsored by the village of Rosemont, Ill.
Firefighter Training To Continue On EIU Campus 06/06/14

The Charleston Fire Department will continue to use a small section of Eastern Illinois University campus for firefighter training next week.

No fire or smoke will be used in the training, but fire trucks will be in the vicinity, according to Charleston Fire Chief Pat Goodwin. Firefighters will participate in roof and hose exercises from 7 a.m.-noon Sunday and 1-4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday (June 8, 9 and 10).

The building used for the exercises is located about one block south of Lincoln Avenue on Ninth Street. The training sessions are another in a series of collaborative exercises over the years between the university and community emergency responders.

New EIU Grant Helps Some Middle Class Families Afford College 06/05/14 Eastern Illinois University is offering a new grant to help make college affordable for middle class families, according to Carol Waldmann, interim financial aid director. The new grant -- known as the EIU Opportunity Fund -- will provide $1,000 per student for up to four years.

“This grant -- which does not have to be repaid -- will be offered to students who have already qualified for one of the Commitment to Excellence merit scholarships or a Transfer Excellence Award but whose family income puts them just over the limit to qualify for a federal Pell Grant,” she said.

Those students with an expected family contribution of between $5,158 and $12,000 are being offered the additional grant.

“In some cases, the additional grant will reduce the expected family contribution,” Waldmann said. “In others, the grant will reduce the amount of student loans needed to meet the financial aid requirements.

“We saw that some of our middle income families were struggling to afford coming to EIU and we decided this was one way we could help,” she continued. “The grants are another illustration of EIU’s commitment to help families afford college in the tradition of the highly successful Panther Promise.”

Waldmann said that every student in this category has been offered the additional grant, even if they already accepted their financial aid package. But, she also noted that there were about 200 students who have been accepted but who haven’t registered yet.

“In almost every case, the hesitation is related to cost,” she said, “and we hope this will help tip the scale and allow the student to come to EIU.”
Community Members Invited to Lawn of Old Main for Live Music, Food 05/29/14

Eastern Illinois University welcomes the community to the lawn of Old Main to celebrate the summer season with live music, food, drinks and door prizes during the Old Main Lawn Party.

The evening will begin at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 5 on the lawn in front of the Old Main with community members throughout Coles County encouraged to attend the free event.

“Eastern Illinois University appreciates all that our community members do every day to make our students feel at home in Charleston,” said Robert Martin, vice president for university advancement. “The party celebrates our continued collaboration between EIU and the community, but also provides an opportunity for everyone to sit back and relax with some good live music, food and drinks.”

“The Freezelands, a local husband-wife duo from the band Jac Freeze, will sing acoustically from a wide range of music from country to rock,” Martin said. The arraignment will include music from old country favorites to new such as Patsy Cline and Adele and some rock favorites too.

Throughout the evening, EIU head football coach, Kim Dameron and his staff will there for the community to meet.

“We thought the lawn party would be a perfect time for our new head football coach to update us on the exciting, upcoming season,” Martin said. “We know our community bleeds blue, and we wanted to provide them the opportunity to visit with all our football coaches up close.”

The lawn party is co-hosted by Eastern Illinois University and the Charleston Chamber of Commerce.

“Old Main is the symbol of our university, and by hosting a celebration on the grounds of this historic building, we are physically opening our doors to Charleston,” Martin said. “The live music, the natural beauty of the grounds and the opportunity to mix and mingle with the coaches, faculty, staff and friends is EIU’s way of saying thank you Charleston for being real Panther fans.”

Parking for the lawn party is available at the X lot to the west of Old Main. The EIU University Police Department will not ticket after 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 5 in the X lot.

An Eagerness to Teach: First-year Teacher Wins Statewide Award 05/23/14

Every day Kaj Holm walks into the doors of Jefferson Elementary School armed with a smile and an eagerness to teach.

“My first year of teaching has been absolutely amazing,” said Holm, a Charleston teacher and Eastern Illinois University alumnus. “I never woke up and felt like I had to get up and go to a job. I always wake up with a smile on my face, and I am happy to be able to do what I love, and actually get paid for it.”

While Holm would be perfectly content with the everyday reward of seeing his students learn, the first-year teacher was recognized statewide for his dedication and commitment to his students. In May, Holm received the Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award, rewarded by the Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

It was no surprise to Holm’s students, fellow teachers, parents and educators that he received the award — even though it was to him. “I do not know why I deserve the award,” Holm said. “Someone clearly saw something in me to nominate me, but I am not in the profession for awards and recognition.”

After observing him as a student and as a professional, Diane Jackman, dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at EIU, knows exactly why Holm deserved the award.

“Kaj Holm’s energy and enthusiasm for helping his students is contagious,” she said. “He creates an exciting atmosphere in his classroom that makes his students truly want to learn.”

In his classroom, Holm’s spends his time teaching ‘outside the book’ by spending money out of his own pocket to buy supplies for projects. His teaching philosophy is exactly what he learned at EIU—hands on. Some of his projects include leading a CSI investigation, building bridges out of toothpicks, creating an American Revolutionary War museum and constructing kites and boomerangs. Throughout the year, the projects help his students fine tune their motor and thinking skills.

While Holm admits that he is focused on learning, he also wants his students to have fun too, and he is not afraid to go the extra mile and even dress the part. For example, Holm dressed as an elf for the holiday season and wore a dress for a performance of “Twelfth Night.”

Not only does Holm teach his classes with his ‘contagious energy,’ but he is also involved with many organizations for his students and for the general support of public education. He helps guide the fifth grade student council and the district’s Lego Robotic League. In the league, Holm teaches his students science and technology skills. In his spare time, he also tutors math to other students throughout the district.

Right now, Holm also serves as the union representative for the Charleston Education Association. He traveled to Chicago to represent the chapter, and in the summer, Holm will also travel to Colorado to represent the chapter nationally.

“A lot of what comes with teaching I had expected,” he said. “Being a first-year teacher, there is a lot of hard work and a lot of extra hours you put in, but as long as you use your time wisely there is no reason to stress out. I just take things one day at a time, and I try to stay organized and prepared.”

Before teaching, Holm endured some failed attempts at other professions before he discovered his true calling.

“I dibbled and dabbled in a lot of different things, and I changed various professions, and finally decided to give teaching a try because I enjoy sharing information and I enjoy interacting with children,” he said. “And being a child at heart, I thought maybe this could be for me.”

Holm graduated with an elementary education degree at EIU in Spring 2013, and he is currently working on a master’s degree at EIU in mathematics focused on elementary education.

Throughout his time at EIU, Holm said he experienced many hands-on experiences, and even went on a study aboard trip to Andros Island in the Bahamas where he taught underprivileged students.

Holm was one of nine award winners from throughout the state of Illinois. During the award banquet, he was able to meet with different legislators and chat about current legislation affecting education.

Holm teaches math, science and social studies at Jefferson. “I am teaching because it is something I love,” Holm said. “I was just doing what I want to do on a regular basis.”

Camps are an Important Summer Business at EIU 05/22/14 More than 11,000 high school students will participate in 56 camps and programs over the summer at Eastern Illinois University, according to Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs.

“The minute students move out of the residence halls in the spring, we begin work to get ready for the influx of our special guests,” he said. “The camps and conference opportunities include a wide variety of programs and interests from band and drama camps to Boys and Girls State and even the state track championships.”

Eastern Illinois University has a long history of hosting special summer programs, he said, and this year is no exception.

“This is a great way for the university to get additional use out of buildings that wouldn’t be heavily used in the summer,” Nadler said, “and it’s a wonderful way to introduce a new generation of students to EIU.”

Many of the camp/conference attendees spend a week or more in the residence halls and have the chance to explore the campus and its surroundings at their leisure.

“A number of our incoming freshmen note that they first experienced EIU when they came to Charleston to participate in a summer camp,” said Matt Boyer, assistant director of housing and dining for conference services. “Both the students and their parents are impressed with the university and love the friendly atmosphere of the city.”

This year, the university plans to extend the hours in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union to better accommodate the visitors and also make students aware of the surrounding businesses, Boyer said. The student union serves as a gathering place on campus with its food court, the university bookstore and entertainment facilities.

“While we’re delighted to have them here for the summer camps,” Dan Nadler said, “we would really love to have them back as EIU students in the future, so we want them to have a great experience with the campus and with Charleston as a whole.”
EIU Launches Master of Arts in Art Hybrid Degree 05/22/14

Eastern Illinois University’s Department of Art and the School of Continuing Education have launched a Master of Arts in Art hybrid degree program.

This new degree program allows students to take courses online during the fall and spring semesters. A one-week on-campus studio session will be required during the summer.

The program is designed for working professionals who want to continue to work while earning their advanced degree.

The program features two different options -- art education and community arts. The art education option provides certified art teachers with the opportunity to further their knowledge about contemporary art and art education practices. The community art option provides those who work as museum educators, art center educators, artists, community workers and other art-based careers the opportunity to gain professional development to teach art in multiple settings.

There are no out-of-state tuition costs for the program and those interested are not limited by geographic proximity to EIU. The art department faculty are full-time teaching artists and scholars. They have extensive teaching experience and will provide personal attention to students to ensure a successful academic experience.

For information, or to apply to the program, contact Patricia Belleville at pkbelleville@eiu.edu or 217-581-7009, or visit here.

New Online Options Add Flexibility to EIU Hybrid Transfer Programs 05/19/14 Three Eastern Illinois University transfer programs are adding more online classes to their programs to make them more attractive to transfer students – particularly from community colleges.

“We’re already very transfer-friendly,” said Rita Pearson, the director of transfer relations at EIU. “But these new hybrid programs replace some of the face-to-face classes with online options to reduce the amount of time transfer students need to spend on the EIU campus.

“Our transfer students – who make up nearly 40 percent of our student body – often have families and very busy lives,” Pearson said, “so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to complete their bachelor degree at Eastern.”

Each of the three programs – in Psychology, Recreation Administration and Family and Consumer Sciences -- have already worked with their community college partners to align their courses so that students don’t have to re-take classes once they transfer to Eastern.

“Our faculty members have worked with their community college counterparts to match learning requirements and courses so that the credits transfer smoothly into our programs and our transfer students can jump right into the upper division courses,” she said.

While each program is different, all have added the option to replace a portion of their regular classes with an option to take the class online.

“An overwhelming majority of students would prefer to take classes in a traditional classroom,” Pearson said, “but that just won’t work for some students – and particularly for our transfer students.

“These new options will open our programs to many more students who might otherwise find it difficult to complete their degree,” she said.

She also noted that the three transfer programs are just the first of many hybrid programs to be offered by Eastern with other programs and additional online options are already in development.
EIU's Old Main to Celebrate Coles County High School Students' Graduations 05/15/14 Eastern Illinois University will share in the celebrations as Charleston, Mattoon and Oakland high school seniors graduate in the coming days.

On Friday (May 16) evening, the institution’s administration building (Old Main, a.k.a., the “Castle”) will be illuminated in red and gold in commemoration of Charleston High School’s graduation activities. The actual ceremony is set to begin at 8 p.m. in EIU’s Lantz Arena.

On the evening of Friday, May 30, the building will be decorated in green and gold in commemoration of Mattoon High School’s commencement, scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. at the high school.

Oakland High School’s graduation ceremonies are also scheduled to take place on Friday, May 30, with activities beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium. EIU will honor those students with purple and orange lighting on Old Main on the evening of May 31.

The programmable lighting system allows Eastern to celebrate university and community events. The system was installed in response to Eastern’s efforts, in working with the city of Charleston, to create a “collaborative landscape/streetscape plan” from the Neal Welcome Center, located at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Douglas Street, eastward to 18th Street (Route 130).

In addition to helping provide a welcoming corridor along Lincoln Avenue, the new lighting is expected to strengthen the connection between campus and the community, and showcase the building’s outstanding architectural features.
EIU to Reduce Summer Hours; Booth Library, Admissions Among Exceptions 05/12/14 In a continuing effort to conserve resource dollars, Eastern Illinois University will once again close selected buildings and offices from noon on Fridays until Monday mornings during the summer months.

The affected time period begins today (Monday, May 12), and ends Friday, Aug. 15.

Building/office exceptions include, but may not be limited to, the President’s Office, the Bursar’s/Cashier’s Office, Booth Library, Financial Aid, University Police, the Renewable Energy Center and the Office of Admissions, which plan to keep normal working hours.

When summer hours are in effect, all university offices must be open to the public between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 8 a.m. and noon on Friday. Administrative offices (and others where possible) will remain open during the lunch hour (Monday through Thursday).

By ending the work week at noon on Fridays, the university can increase temperatures in all vacant offices and other work environments to allow energy savings for two and one-half days per week.

Employees will be required to work their regularly scheduled number of full-time hours during the four-and-a-half-day work week. Classes scheduled to meet on Friday afternoons and/or weekends will be relocated to buildings where the air conditioning will remain on.

During weeks in which a holiday is observed (Monday, May 26, for Memorial Day and Friday, July 4, for Independence Day), offices will return to regular business hours (8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.)

Regular hours will resume on Monday, Aug. 18, for the 2014-2015 school year. Classes will resume on Monday, Aug. 25.
Nearly 1,500 Students to March in EIU Commencement Ceremonies 05/07/14 Nearly 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students plan to participate in commencement ceremonies at Eastern Illinois University on Saturday, May 10.

Ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m., noon, 3 and 6 p.m. in Lantz Arena. Guest tickets are required for admission.

Students from the College of Sciences will march in the morning ceremony, the College of Arts and Humanities and the School of Continuing Education at noon, the College of Education and Professional Studies at 3 p.m., and the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences at 6.

Students from the Graduate School will walk with their respective colleges during each ceremony.

EIU President William Perry will preside over the ceremonies.

Representing Eastern’s Board of Trustees will be Roger L. Kratochvil (9 a.m.), Robert Webb (noon), Mitch Gurick (3 p.m.) and Joseph R. Dively (6 p.m.).

Each ceremony will feature a special guest speaker who will present the official “Charge to the Class.” Al Bowman, former president of Illinois State University, will speak at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. EIU alumnus Habeeb Habeeb, president and CEO for Benefit Planning Consultants, plans to speak at both the noon and 6 p.m. ceremonies.

At the 9 a.m. ceremony, special recognition will be given to Andrew Methven, professor of biological sciences, who was named the 2014 recipient of Eastern's Distinguished Faculty Award. This award is presented annually by the Faculty Senate to a full-time faculty member who has excelled in teaching, professional research/creative activity and service.

Commencement marshals lead the procession while carrying the university mace inscribed with past marshals' names. This spring's commencement marshals are as follows:
• Gail Richard, department chair and professor of communication disorders and sciences, representing the College of Sciences during the morning ceremony. Richard has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1981.
• Jeffrey Boshart, professor of art, representing the College of Arts and Humanities during the noon ceremony. Boshart has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1988.
• Richard Cavanaugh, professor of health studies, representing the College of Education and Professional Studies during the 3 p.m. ceremony. Cavanaugh has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 1992.
• Lisa Brooks, assistant professor, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, representing the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences during the 6 p.m. ceremony. Brooks has been a member of Eastern’s faculty since 2000.

Faculty marshals are given the honor of carrying the college banner for their respective colleges. This spring's faculty marshals are as follows: Gopal Periyannan, Graduate School and College of Sciences, and Robert Colombo, College of Sciences, 9 a.m.; David Smith, Graduate School and College of Arts and Humanities, Melanie Mills, College of Arts and Humanities, and Rebecca Throneburg, School of Continuing Education, noon; John Bickford, Graduate School and College of Education and Professional Studies, and Linda Reven, College of Education and Professional Studies, 3 p.m.; and R. Lance Hogan, Graduate School and Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, and Mori Toosi, Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, 6 p.m.
Student Commencement Speakers Named at EIU 05/07/14 Students representing each of the four academic colleges at Eastern Illinois University have been chosen to speak at Commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 10.

In order to promote EIU's commitment to strengthening the academic and personal experience of EIU’s students and to showcase examples of exemplary writing and speaking, the university introduced the Student Commencement Speaker Series in Fall 2013. This program replaces the former student and faculty speaker traditions at Eastern.

Speakers are chosen based on self-written essays; this year’s theme was “My Academic Turning Point at EIU.” Additionally, selected students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 in all courses taken at EIU.

Faculty mentors introduce the students prior to their speeches at each respective ceremony.

Spring 2014 Student Commencement Speakers include the following:

Brittany R. Hart, candidate for a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and sciences, will speak at 9 a.m., representing the College of Sciences. A Sullivan, Ill., native, Hart plans to attend EIU’s Graduate School to receive her master’s degree in communication disorders and sciences. Angela B. Anthony, assistant professor in communication disorders and sciences, serves as Hart’s essay mentor. The title of her commencement essay is “Experiencing EIU.”

Anna Laureen Percival, candidate for a bachelor’s degree in communication studies, will speak at noon, representing the College of Arts and Humanities. A native of Watson, Ill., Percival is a graduate of Effingham High School. Carrie A. Wilson-Brown, instructor from the Department of Communication Studies, serves as Percival's essay mentor. The title of her commencement essay is “Passionate Purpose.”

Katherine E. Ozark, candidate for a bachelor’s degree in education, with dual certification in special education and elementary education (with a concentration in music), will speak at 3 p.m., representing the College of Education and Professional Studies. A native of Orland Park, Ill., and graduate of Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Ozark has been very active in numerous professional organizations where she has been recognized for her outstanding academic abilities and service. Melissa L. Jones-Bromenshenkel, associate professor and graduate faculty member from the Department of Special Education, serves as Ozark’s essay mentor. The title of her commencement essay is “If You Were Not Supposed to Be Here, You Wouldn’t Be.”

Erika L. Butler, a management major in the School of Business, will represent the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences during the 6 p.m. ceremony. She is a native of Streamwood, Ill. Bill C. Minnis, associate professor of management in the School of Business, serves as Butler’s essay mentor. The title of her commencement essay is “My Turning Point at Eastern.”
Workshops Create Community of Active Bystanders at EIU 05/05/14

Through lectures and workshops, Eastern Illinois University faculty, staff and students are determined to create a culture of active bystanders — those who react.

This April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, EIU community members did exactly that by engaging in two workshops focused on specific scenarios and activities of active bystanders.

Alan Berkowitz, an expert on bystander behavior, led the workshops and enlightened EIU professionals about the importance of continuing to create a culture focused on action.

“We brought in Berkowitz for a second time to EIU to continue to lead the bystander intervention training that we started in the fall,” said Jackie Hines, associate director of sexual assault prevention. “But, this time Berkowitz walked us through real-life scenarios too.”

“The main purpose of workshops was to continue to provide our community with necessary training and resources to know how to act in times of distress from violent acts to inappropriate remarks,” Hines continued. “The real-life scenarios allowed our staff members and students to exchange ideas and chat about how they would act in situations from a racist remark or homophobic statement.”

Throughout the workshops, Berkowitz provided specific strategies for intervention such as confronting the person, shifting the focus of the situation, changing the person’s attitudes or talking to a third party.

In a confrontation, Berkowitz said the bystander must make it clear that certain behaviors and remarks are not appropriate. In other situations, Berkowitz said bystanders may use the ‘shift focus’ strategy where an individual changes the subject, and does not address the issue head on. Berkowitz said sometimes bystanders can even change the person’s attitudes by opening up conversations, and helping the person understand why their behavior is problematic.

“Unwanted behaviors and social injustice can be reduced or prevented by active bystanders no matter what strategy they take,” Berkowitz said. “Bystander intervention is really about being a human being.”

The two workshop training sessions were only part of the sponsored events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Earlier in the month, The Counseling Center sponsored the Red Flag Campaign aimed at raising awareness about the warning signs of interpersonal violence. Red flags were placed around campus to represent the warning signs of interpersonal violence. Examples of interpersonal violence include sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and cyberstalking.

“We will continue to provide awareness and training about the warning signs of interpersonal violence and bystander intervention all year long, not just for one month,” Hines said.

Berkowitz is an internationally recognized expert on bystander behavior, drug prevention, violence prevention and social justice issues who works within colleges and universities, military organizations and public health agencies. He gives workshops throughout the country. For more information about Alan Berkowitz, click here.

School of Continuing Education’s Mobile App Recognized 05/02/14

The School of Continuing Education at Eastern Illinois University was recently recognized for its mobile application named as one of the 101 favorite apps by Best Online Universities.

The application identifies EIU resources for adult students such as off-campus and online courses and degree completion programs. A mobile application (app) is a software application created for smartphones and other devices. The Center for Academic Technology Support designed the app.

Danny Harvey, one of the designers of the app, said the app provides a means for communicating with prospective and current students in the School of Continuing Education using mobile technology, which has become more prevalent in higher education.

The application allows for easy access to all the resources that current or prospective students are looking for such as degree programs, course schedules and a staff directory with pictures.

“I think the ability to search in the course schedule for continuing education courses by semester and location is a nice feature,” Harvey said. “Students can use this as a tool for planning their coursework.”

Regis Gilman, dean of the School of Continuing Education, said the application is a valuable resource because of its utility and ease of use. The goal of application was to make the content and layout as friendly as possible for current and future students, Gilman said.

The application can be accessed by any smartphone. Anyone can install the app by going here.

All 101 favorite apps can be seen in the article “Mobile Learning In Action: Our 101 Favorite Apps”. The list highlights some of the most feature-packed and useful mobile learning apps for both iOS and Android devices. Best Online Universities is a corporation focused on creating higher education websites.

High School Seniors Awarded EIU Honors College Scholarships 04/30/14 Twenty-one high school seniors have been offered scholarships via Eastern Illinois University’s Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College.

The Pemberton Presidential Scholarship covers on-campus room and board (approximately $8,900 per year) and tuition and fees (up to $11,000 per year) for four years. High school students with an ACT score of 31 or higher and a grade point average of 3.75 or higher are eligible for the scholarship.

The Presidential Scholars Award allows $11,000 per year for four years, which is approximately the amount for tuition and fees for a full-time student enrolled in 15 semester hours of study. High school students with an ACT score of 28 or higher and a grade point average of 3.5 or higher are eligible for this scholarship.

Both scholarships are awarded to exceptionally strong incoming freshmen who are chosen based on high school transcripts, extracurricular and volunteer activities, personal essays and a recommendation from a high school teacher or administrator. Applicants’ leadership potential, ambition to make the most of college, and intellectual maturity are also considered.

Recipients of the Pemberton Presidential Scholarship are Erin Bozek of Bridgeview, Jeff Cherry of Lindenhurst, Joseph Goldstein of Neoga, Brock Kukman of Morris, Valerie Rosen of Mahomet and Allison Vogt of Teutopolis.

Recipients of the Presidential Scholars Award are Nicole Beringer of Frankfort; Tonia Bishop of Marshall; Brittany Borowski of Chicago; Elizabeth Bridges of Wapella; Caroline Collet of Verona; Rebecca Duke of Geneva; Andrew Fisher of Bowling Green, Ohio; Aaron Garver of Paris; Chloe Gottschalk of Eldridge, Iowa; Mikayla Grant of Mattoon; Mary Gray of Ashkum; Whitney Maninfior of Mattoon; Darin McBride of Litchfield; Amy Smith of Wheaton; and Arielle Starkey of Charleston.

For information about these scholarship, contact the EIU Honors College at 217-581-2017, or email honors@eiu.edu. Additional scholarship opportunities can be found by visiting eiu.edu/honors.
EIU to Offer ‘Money Smart’ Program for Older Adults 04/29/14

Eastern Illinois University students will be offering an educational program Wednesday, April 30 focused on preventing common frauds, scams and other types of elder financial exploitation.

Students from the School of Business and the gerontology program will lead the discussion focused on information and activities identifying elder financial abuse. The one-hour program, titled “Money Smart for Older Adults: Protecting your Money from Fraudulent Activities,” will start at 6:30 p.m. in Room 2041 in Lumpkin Hall.

Free parking is available in the Booth Library parking lot, which is right off Fourth Street. The educational program is sponsored by the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences and First-Mid Illinois Bank and Trust, and it is free and open to the public.

EIU Names Honors College for Alumni Couple 04/25/14 Eastern Illinois University announced today that it is naming its Honors College for Sandra and Jack Pine in recognition of their generosity and service to the university.

The couple – both graduates of the university – made a donation to support students within the Honors College majoring in physics, chemistry or mathematics.

Originally from Paris, Ill., Jack Pine is a 1964 graduate of the university where he earned a degree in physics. After graduation, he moved to the Chicago area where he was employed by Liquid Carbonic Corporation for approximately five years in various technical positions. He left Liquid to pursue a juris doctorate from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Kent College of Law. After law school, Mr. Pine spent nearly 30 years in private practice and as a corporate attorney with CBI Industries and Statia Terminals.

Sandra Pine graduated from EIU in 1965 as valedictorian with a degree in business education. She subsequently earned a master’s degree in education from Northern Illinois University and spent her 34-year career as a teacher and chair of the business department at Hinsdale South High School, District 86.

The couple met at EIU and were married after both graduated from the university.

“We’re very proud of our Honors College, and it is fitting to name it after Sandra and Jack Pine,” said Robert Martin, vice president of university advancement. “This is also a recognition of the key role that the sciences play at Eastern and the strong influence of the students from our Honors College.

“Their donation will fund a series of scholarships which will encourage students not only to major in science but to challenge themselves with honors-level courses,” Martin said.

“Students in our Honors College have additional opportunities to excel and are actively encouraged to participate in individual research while they are still undergraduates,” he added. “We believe these new scholarships will attract more high-achieving students to the university and encourage students who are already enrolled to consider the Honors College.”

The Eastern Illinois University Honors College was founded as the Honors Programs in 1982 to meet the needs of academically talented students and to encourage intellectual and social growth.
EIU Continues Dedication to Emerging Field of Clean Energy 04/25/14

Eastern Illinois University continued its dedication to clean energy today by opening its new research facility, Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE), dedicated to alternative fuel exploration.

“Our students and professors at Eastern Illinois University will now be able to house their research projects focused on clean energy within a brand new 5,000-square-ft. state-of-the-art facility,” said Peter Liu, director of CENCERE.

“The research is designed to determine additional biomass fuels which could be used in EIU’s Renewable Energy Center (REC) which sits north of the research facility,” he said. “The Renewable Energy Center is helping to move biomass fuels from the research phase to commercial use so it’s great to have everything all at one site.”

The CENCERE facility contains a processing area, room for the gasifier and an analytical lab. The gasifier converts biomass into combustible gas with the resulting product being used for fuel, just like the one found at the Renewable Energy Center.

“The opening of CENCERE building will enable us to develop better collaboration between the Renewable Energy Center and academic units, among various departments across the campus, with our community and local schools as well as with entrepreneurs in the region,” Liu said. “Through our partnership, we are creating a better future for our students, for Eastern Illinois University and for our community.”

The new building also houses an “idea incubator” where students and faculty can connect with local businesses and community members to secure ideas for future projects.

“The idea incubator will create an exchange of ideas and knowledge for our community; starting with the youth to professionals and business owners with clean energy always at the forefront,” Liu said.

Members of the community, such as Charleston High School students, already are guided by EIU professors and undergraduate and graduate students as part of CHS’s renewable energy class started in Fall 2013. Now, CHS students will be able to use the new facility to interact with EIU professionals.

“The Charleston High School class is only the start of the collaboration between EIU and the community in regards to clean energy,” Liu said.

The facility will also give additional support to the master’s in sustainable energy program, started at EIU in Spring 2013 as a collaborative effort by 10 departments across campus. The one-of-a-kind program allows students to receive a mixture of hands-on learning and theory inside the classroom, internships and research practicums.

The project for the facility was funded by the Charleston Area Charitable Foundation. EIU’s Board of Trustees formally approved the creation of the research facility on Jan. 14, 2011.

Ten are Winners of National Medal for Museum and Library Services 04/24/14 The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced the names of 10 museums and libraries in the United States that will be awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Booth Library on the campus of Eastern Illinois University was named a finalist for this honor; however, it was not chosen as one of the five libraries to receive the medal.

Dean of Library Services Allen Lanham said that while it was disheartening to learn the library was not chosen for the medal, he is extremely proud that Booth Library was named a finalist for this honor. Finalists were selected from nominations of libraries and museums that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. Booth Library was one of only 15 libraries, and the only academic library, honored from across the nation.

“In addition to our core mission of providing information services to our students and faculty, we consistently try to present exhibits and public programs to the campus and Charleston-area community,” Lanham said. “To be recognized for these efforts was truly special, and we will wear our status as a national finalist as a badge of honor.”

Lanham thanked the many members of the campus and community for their kind remarks and support since the library was named a finalist. “Dozens of patrons shared their positive stories about Booth Library on Facebook, and many others contacted me privately,” he said. “It was very humbling to read and hear all of these comments.”

The 2014 winners of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:
• Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Chicago Public Library, Chicago, Ill.
• The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Ind.
• Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Las Vegas, Nev.
• Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, Mo.
• Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Conn.
• North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, N.C.
• Octavia Fellin Public Library, Gallup, N.M.
• Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman, Okla.
• Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, Mass.

To learn more about the 2014 National Medal finalists, visit here. To learn more about Booth Library, visit here or find the library on Facebook or Twitter.
EIU Named a Tree Campus for Fourth Consecutive Year 04/23/14 Just in time for Arbor Day this Friday (April 25), Eastern Illinois University has been named one of the nation’s “Tree Campuses” for the fourth year in a row.

The designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation recognizes the importance EIU places on its campus tree program and effective campus forest management. In addition, the university had to meet other requirements including having a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program and a student service-learning project promoting healthy trees.

“We recognize the importance of trees on our campus,” said Andy Methven, a biological sciences professor who encouraged EIU to submit its application. “They are essential to creating a beautiful and welcoming campus, and they also help keep our air and water clean.”

Methven noted that a number of trees on Eastern’s campus have been recognized locally as “trees of distinction” and that some are several hundred years old.

“This simply wouldn’t be the same campus without our trees and it is wonderful to be recognized for our work in maintaining the trees we have and for the university’s work in constantly working to plant additional specimens,” he said.

The Tree Campus USA program was launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and is sponsored by Toyota. The program honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

The Arbor Day Foundation is headquartered in Lincoln, Neb.
Learning the Ins and Outs of an Emerging Field: CHS Students Learn, Grow from Guidance at EIU 04/22/14

Three Charleston High School students travel to Eastern Illinois University every week where they are learning much more than just the ins and outs of sustainable energy.

“Our students are being challenged and inspired to grow as researchers and scientists,” said Jan Easter, a science teacher at Charleston High School. “But, they are also learning that sometimes they will fail, but they have to keep going.”

Every Wednesday morning CHS students drive to EIU to chat with fellow undergraduate and graduate students about sustainable energy and receive input about their individual projects as part of the CHS’s new Renewable Energy class.

CHS administrators and Peter Liu, a graduate coordinator of the master’s in sustainable energy program at EIU, collaborated to create the class, which started in the fall of 2013.

The class offers CHS students the chance to receive input and guidance from EIU professors and students. It also provides the high school students a sneak peek into college life.

“EIU professors and students are wonderful,” Easter said. “They are supportive, they provide suggestions, and they are very patient.”

Right now, the class meets in Klehm Hall, where EIU’ s gasifier is housed along with other research projects regarding sustainable energy. Next year, the class will use the new Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) building next to the Renewable Energy Center.

The CENCERE building is designed to provide research and teaching for biomass storage with a processing area, room for the laboratory-scale gasifier and an analytical lab. Community members and local businesses will even get the opportunity to connect with students and faculty through an ‘idea incubator’ for future projects focused on sustainable energy.

“The Charleston High School class is only the start of the collaboration between EIU and the community in regards to sustainable energy,” Liu said. “The idea incubator will allow the community to come in and use our facility and professional knowledge to help foster their own projects and businesses.”

“The idea incubator will create an exchange of ideas and knowledge for our community starting with the youth, like the CHS students, to professional and business owners with sustainable energy always on the forefront,” he continued.

CHS students are already starting to exchange ideas with EIU professionals by researching and creating their own sustainable energy projects such as creating their own gasifier or researching biomass sources. A gasifier takes organic biomass material and transforms the material into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The power from the process is a source of renewable energy.

“It’s really nice to work with EIU because I get so many new thoughts and ideas,” said Emily Bumpus, a junior CHS student. “It’s my favorite part about this class. They gave me ideas for my gasifier and now I want to go back alter mine more.”

Bumpus spent her first semester in the class researching how to make a gasifier similar to the one found at EIU’s Renewable Energy Center. Then she created her own mini version.

Now, Bumpus is even looking into biomass energy sources like Indian grass, but she has to wait to look into the source until it can be harvested in late summer or fall. Throughout the class, Bumpus said she can always rely on the students and professors of EIU to help give her input and guide her through the ups and downs of scientific discovery.

“Even if your project does not work out at first, it is trial and error, and you have to keep going,” she said.

Sam Stowell, a senior at CHS, said he experienced a couple of his own obstacles and downfalls with his project on quadcopters, but he knows he has the guidance of EIU professionals to fall back on.

“The biggest thing I have taken from this class is you are going to fail,” Stowell said. “But if you keep working at something, you will find a way around it.”

His project on quadcopters, helicopters with a central unit and four arms, explores how quadcopters can be used to transport items using renewable energy. From Stowell’s idea, EIU students have even decided to conduct their own research on quadcopters. “It’s really cool how EIU is researching quadcopters now, because of my project,” Stowell said.

All three students said the class has helped them grow as researchers and scientists, but Katie Jo Pierson, a senior CHS student, said the class has been especially important for her.

“I learned a lot about myself and that I can do this stuff,” Pierson said. “At first, I didn’t think I would be smart enough for this class, but I definitely have put my full potential forward and it has helped me better myself.”

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus Tours EIU's Renewable Energy Complex 04/17/14 U.S. Rep. John Shimkus got a sneak peak at the new Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) during his visit to Eastern Illinois University this week. Shimkus also joined EIU President William Perry on a tour of EIU's Renewable Energy Center, which is pioneering the use of biomass fuels on the campus.

"I'm very pleased to see the flexibility of this facility, with the option to use both fossil fuels like natural gas and oil along with plant-based fuels,” Shimkus said. “It's exactly the kind of flexibility we need because it just doesn't make sense to put all your eggs in one basket."

Shimkus also applauded the collaboration between the university's physical plant and the academic side -- a collaboration that allows the university to use the center as a working lab while also providing heat for the entire campus.

That collaboration also allowed the university to add new master’s and bachelor’s degrees in renewable energy, according to Perry.

"We made a commitment to move to more sustainable energy sources when we decided to close our old coal-fired steam plant," he said. "That plant was at the end of its useful life and had serious emissions issues."

The Renewable Energy Center, on the other hand, has earned a Platinum Rating from the U.S. Green Building Council -- the only power plant in the nation to earn that distinction.

Perry said that the academic role of the complex will expand shortly when the new CENCERE center opens next to the Renewable Energy Center. The CENCERE building will house laboratories where EIU researchers and their students will test a variety of locally grown crops to evaluate their usefulness a biomass fuels.

"CENCERE will also welcome entrepreneurs who can tap into the university in developing their own green energy products and services," Perry said. "We are confident that EIU can help lead the way to a more secure energy future while we also protect the environment.

"Best of all," he added, "renewable energy can help produce great new jobs for central Illinois."
More Than 40 Students Presented Research Projects at National Conference 04/07/14

More than 40 Eastern Illinois University students presented their undergraduate research projects at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research Thursday through Saturday in Lexington, Ky.

Throughout the conference, EIU students gave oral or poster presentations on a range of topics from mental illness to bioenergetics.

Richard England, dean of the honors college, said EIU has become a state leader in undergraduate research, and the university continues to make research a fundamental part of its mission.

“We are way ahead of the curve on undergraduate research compared to other state universities, particularly in our participation in NCUR,” he said. “Our students participate in a variety of enriching and challenging research projects and they a have a large presence at the NCUR conference.”

“I am very proud to be part of the EIU’s continuing dedication to undergraduate research,” he continued. “Our mentors are dedicated to empowering our students to complete research projects in their interests, and to grow as scholars.”

England said undergraduate research gives students the opportunity to show future employers they have the skills and the drive to take what they learned in the classroom, and to make their own discoveries in arts, humanities, sciences and applied disciplines.

“Research is not just sitting in the classroom,” England said. “Our students are using their skills to showcase their own ideas and thoughts.”

The conference also provided an opportunity for students to submit their research topics for publication, and they received input from professors across the country. Representatives from Eastern Illinois University have been attending the conference for the last seven years.

EIU Admissions Counselor to Recruit Families, Not Just Students 04/01/14 As Eastern Illinois University’s newest admissions counselor, Aseret Gonzalez plans to go out and recruit families – not just students.

“The Hispanic population is very family-oriented,” Gonzalez said. “For them, it is not common practice to head off to college after graduating from high school. Rather, it is the Hispanic tradition to stay closer to home and help out the family.”

Although she will be interacting with students of all races, Gonzalez will share a certain bond with those of Hispanic heritage.

“I’m 100 percent Mexican. Both of my parents were born in Mexico,” she said. And, like those students she’s now recruiting, she faced some of the same family issues when it came to pursuing a career.

Gonzalez credits her mother – “an incredibly strong, loving and giving individual” – for providing the needed support that allowed Gonzalez to pursue her own higher education opportunities.

“Some young people don’t get that support. Their families still hold on to the old traditions, although some,” she added, “are starting to shift.”

A first-generation college student from Spring Valley, Ill., Gonzalez began attending Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Ill., before transferring to Eastern and earning her bachelor’s degree in sociology. She will graduate in May 2014 with her master’s degree in college student affairs.

“As I work with transfer students, I want to help them with that same transition,” she said. “And that means meeting and working with their families, as well.”

It will mean more than just being bilingual, too.

As she meets with prospective students and their fathers, mothers and siblings -- and sometimes even grandparents -- Gonzalez hopes to stress the importance for opportunities of higher education. She also hopes to demonstrate how a college education can expand on the Hispanic tradition of “helping the family.”

“By emphasizing the outcomes – the opportunities for their families – they will get a better feel for how this decision will impact the family as a whole,” Gonzalez said. “And I can help them understand college culture.

"I can also try and answer their questions and concerns,” she continued. “For example, they’ll want to know if their student is going to be safe, and for that, I can stress the emphasis Eastern’s places on campus safety.”

Gonzalez said that she plans to encourage families to visit Eastern’s campus to see for themselves the type of accommodations that are available for their student and to meet other Latino families. They can also share specific concerns with university administrators, letting them know ways in which the university can further enhance their experience on the Charleston campus.

“What else do you want from us?” Gonzalez said. “That’s what we’ll ask them. We need for these Hispanic families to help us learn what it takes to gain their confidence and willingness to send their students to Eastern Illinois University.”
Annual English Studies Conference Expanded 04/01/14

The Department of English at Eastern Illinois University will host the annual English Studies Student Conference from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 5 on campus.

“This year we made an effort to increase the size and professionalization of the conference,” said Melissa Ames, professor of English and director of English Education. “We have more panels derived from various English courses, graduate students acting as panel moderators, two different alumni lunch sessions and the newly added keynote address.”

The student and alumni panels will take place in the third floor classrooms from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Coleman Hall, and the keynote address will be held at 2 p.m. in the Roberson Auditorium in Lumpkin Hall.

The nine panels, each comprised of three to six students, will be presented by undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of English. The topics include Shakespeare; Literature, Fashion, and Metanarratives; Creative Teaching in the High School Classroom; Time and Genre; Teacher Research; and Intersectional Forces and Resistance in Early 20th Century African American Life.

Several alumni from the Department of English will return to campus to talk with attendees during two lunch panels. One group of alumni panelists will share their post-graduation success stories in graduate programs, internships and new professional careers made possible from the skills gained in English studies at EIU. The second group will discuss their experiences as student teachers, substitute teachers, first-year teachers and seasoned veterans.

Q & A sessions will follow both alumni panels providing attendees the opportunity to ask questions concerning marketing oneself as an English major, navigating the job hunt, deciding on specialization, classroom experiences and more.

“Attending the English Studies Conference is an opportunity to engage with the exciting creative and scholarly work that undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent alumni are doing in the various fields of English studies,” Ames said. “Attendees will learn about the impact that professionals in the discipline are having in the local community.”

For the keynote address, Audrey Petty will read from her most recent work, “High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing,” a creative ethnographic work that provides first-person accounts from former residents of the now-demolished, iconic high-rise housing projects of Chicago.

Petty is an associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She writes fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction.

Her stories have been published in such journals as African American Review, StoryQuarterly, Callaloo, and The Massachusetts Review. Her poetry has been featured in Crab Orchard Review and Cimarron Review, and her essays have appeared in Saveur, ColorLines, The Southern Review, Oxford American, Cornbread Nation 4, Gravy, and the Best Food Writing anthology.

The event is free to attend and open to the public. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Advance registration is not required.

‘Red Flag Campaign’ to Focus on Bystander Intervention 03/31/14

“Looking back, many survivors of violence can pinpoint the ‘red flags’ or signs that they were in an abusive relationship,” said Jackie Hines, a counselor at Eastern Illinois University. “But many of the people around them can see the problem when it’s happening,” she said. “They just don’t know how to help.”

That’s why this year – as EIU participates in the national Red Flag Campaign against interpersonal violence, the emphasis will be on teaching bystanders how to help when they suspect abusive behavior.

As part of the national campaign, red flags will be displayed April 1-4 on campus to symbolize the warning signs of interpersonal violence. Examples of interpersonal violence include sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and cyberstalking.

“The purpose of the Red Flag Campaign at EIU is to continue conversations about the warning signs of violence, to identify them in personal relationships and take action as a bystander,” said Hines, who also serves as the associate director for sexual assault prevention at EIU.

Hand bills and posters will also be handed out throughout campus providing students information about the campaign and resources to learn about the warnings signs.

“The red flags kick off our Sexual Assault Awareness Month because it stirs conversation on campus with a visual, but throughout the month, we will be providing bystander intervention training to help our students, faculty and staff identify and act against violence throughout their lives,” Hines said.

Bystanders need to educate themselves on what the warning signs of abusive behavior are before they can be taught to take action, she said.

EIU counselor Angi Parker said a major warning sign is isolation from friends and family. “If someone truly loves you, they will encourage you to see your friends and family,” Parker said.

Other signs include ‘emotional put-downs,’ needing to know the whereabouts of someone constantly and controlling how someone acts. Abusers will purposely frame these conversations to make it appear they care for the victim, Parker said.

If someone recognizes these behaviors, Hines said, EIU’s Counseling Center is here to teach bystanders how to intervene, and provide counseling for those experiencing the warning signs, and abuse.

“We will continue to provide awareness and training about bystander intervention all year long, not just for one month,” Hines said.

The campaign is being sponsored by EIU’s Counseling Center and Health Education Resource Center. For more information or additional resources click here.

Fires, Floods and Trebuchets: EIU A Safer Place, Thanks to Gary Hanebrink 03/28/14 On the day Gary and Karen Hanebrink dropped off their daughter at summer camp, she called home at 10 p.m.

"She told us that the fire extinguisher near her room had been ripped from the wall and that the fire alarm didn't work," Gary Hanebrink recalled. "Then she asked, 'What do I do?'

"I knew then that I had created a monster," he said, grinning.

For the past 20 years, Hanebrink has been the face of safety at Eastern Illinois University. Whether it be preparing the campus for a large event (e.g., a concert, Homecoming activities or Commencement) or making sure passageways have the proper clearance space, the Charleston resident has done his utmost to keep students, faculty/staff and visitors protected.

That hasn't always been an easy task.

"I've dealt with a lot of safety issues over the years," he said, noting that his is not always a welcomed presence, especially when he feels it necessary to nix or alter a planned activity because of potential safety issues.

"I think people sometime wonder if it's better to tell me about a problem or ask for forgiveness later, after the fact," Hanebrink said. "Which is worse?

"I've discovered that you can make most things safe with cooperation," he added.

As he prepares for retirement -- his final day on the job will be Monday, March 31 -- Hanebrink can't help but recall some of the more unique challenges of his job as EIU's safety officer. Specifically, he remembers the trebuchets, fashioned after a medieval catapult-like weapon, built by the School of Technology. Hanebrink admits his heart pounded a little faster than usual as he waited, then watched, as classes launched 10-pound bowling balls 300 feet through the air.

Hanebrink came to EIU in January 1990 as superintendent of maintenance in Facilities Planning and Maintenance. Previously, he worked for Ameren CIPS and other industries in Danville, Peoria and Meredosia/Jacksonville.

During his first year on campus, he introduced a recycling program that involved the collection of recyclable office paper at 11 campus sites. Within months, the pilot program had expanded to include cardboard collection. The program continues to grow, more than two decades later.

For the past 20 of his 24 years of service, Hanebrink has devoted the vast majority of his attention to campus safety issues, including occupational health and safety concerns, injuries and emergency planning. He's noticed trends as the years have gone by.

"In the mid-'90s, the focus was on protection of life and property in the classroom and throughout campus," he said. "This included managing and collecting any hazardous materials one might find. Worker safety was a prime concern, and we worried about AIDS and bloodborne diseases."

However, after New York's Twin Tower attack on Sept. 11, 2001, the focus seemed to shift.

"Our attention turned toward the formation of a Haz-Mat (hazardous material) Response Team after Sept. 11," Hanebrink said.

"Eastern, the city and the Charleston Fire Department were charter members of our local team. I feel pretty good about that."

So does Pat Goodwin, chief of the Charleston Fire Department.

"I have spent a lot of time with Gary Hanebrink over the years," Goodwin said. "Deployments with the Incident Management Team, fires, Haz-Mat incidents, to other special call-outs.

"We spent a year together planning a state exercise at EIU back in 2011. I look back at incidents and pre-plannings over the years, and Gary and I were always side by side. It was a team approach and we worked well together.

“Gary worked to manage an incident, but worked harder to pre-plan and prevent an incident," Goodwin continued. "This attitude always had the best outcome, and Gary had a keen eye for the planning and prevention aspect. He has been a leader, mentor, friend and best buddy to me, and I will always cherish the time we had together."

While looking out for the welfare of the EIU community, Hanebrink applied for, and was accepted into, membership on both the Illinois Incident Management and National Incident Management teams. (Incident Management Team is a term used to refer to an emergency response group. Team members -- whether they're a local, statewide or national group -- respond to a wide range of emergencies, including fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, riots, the spilling of hazardous materials, and other natural or human-caused incidents.)

"After the tornadoes in November (2013), I spent 24 hours in Gifford and five days in Washington," Hanebrink recalled. "I spent two weeks in Louisiana after Hurricane Gustav (2008) and spent some time in both Texas during the Fort Davis wildfires (2011) and in Grant Pass, Oregon, during the wildfires there (2013)."

"The duration of each call varies, depending on the complexity of the incident," he added.

It should be noted that, unless Hanebrink is representing the university, he uses vacation time when he leaves to work an emergency. And, of course, due to the nature of the work, he doesn't have the luxury of advanced notice.

"The university has been fantastic, very supportive of my efforts," he said. "And I'd like to think that those efforts have benefited Eastern in turn, as I can come back and share with the knowledge I've gained with my fellow employees and other emergency responders within the community."
EIU President Bill Perry to Complete Presidential Service in 2015 03/27/14 Eastern Illinois University President Bill Perry announced today that he will complete his service as president in 2015, consistent with the ending date of his contract. Perry said that he made his decision at this time in order for the university to have ample time to search for the next president of EIU.

Perry noted in his email to the campus that in his remaining tenure he will continue to work with the campus to “forge opportunities and meet our challenges, always with an eye to providing the very best higher education experience for our students.”

Perry began serving as EIU president in 2007, moving to Eastern from Texas A&M University where he had served since 1971 in professorial and administrative roles.

EIU Board Chairman Joe Dively said that the board will reluctantly accept Perry’s decision.

“We do appreciate the notice Dr. Perry has given,” he said, “so that we have the time to find the right individual as EIU’s eleventh president.”

Dively also noted that Perry has put a comprehensive enrollment management plan into place which has reversed enrollment declines and started a slow but steady growth in the number of new students at EIU.

“And his leadership was critical in helping us meet and exceed our goal in our recent capital fundraising campaign,” he said. “What’s more, under his administration, we’ve had four straight years of record-setting giving to the university.”

Dively noted that the timing of Perry’s retirement will allow the university to complete a comprehensive program review begun earlier this year. The review is designed to examine every aspect and program of the university and adjust the budget and programs to ensure a sustainable future for Eastern Illinois University.

"Dr. Perry has created an atmosphere of excellence and helped lead the university to become more student-focused than ever,” Dively said. “He has been a hard-working leader and his shoes will be hard to fill.”

The next step for the board of trustees will be the appointment of a search committee and the start of a national search for Perry’s successor. That committee will be discussed at the next board meeting in April and the search will likely start over the summer.
Jonathan McKenzie Named New Executive Officer of EIU Foundation 03/21/14 Jonathan McKenzie has been named the new executive officer of the Eastern Illinois University Foundation.

“We welcome Jonathan to his new leadership role,” said Christine Robertson, president of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “In addition to his prior experience working with various boards, Jonathan brings 10 continuous years of professional experience at EIU, serving in the offices of Alumni Services, the Alumni Fund, University Advancement and Academic Affairs.

“Through these experiences, he has developed an appreciation and understanding of the unique history, cultural traditions, and donor, alumni and community relationships that are the building blocks of the strong partnership between the university and the Foundation.”

McKenzie currently serves as assistant to the dean of Eastern’s Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences. Previously, as an assistant director with Alumni Services, he coordinated the Annual Fund (from 2004-2010) while holding a part-time position as a philanthropy officer during two of those years for the School of Continuing Education.

Prior to beginning his career at EIU, he was responsible for developing cultural and artistic programming for the Lake Land College Foundation as a special events coordinator. He has a history of working with community development agencies and non-profit organizations such as the Cumberland County Development Corp., where he was director in 2004.

McKenzie, who lives in Mattoon, said he was pleased to join and be a part of “such an exceptional organization” as the EIU Foundation.

“The EIU Foundation has been actively supporting the mission of Eastern Illinois University for more than 60 years. Our donors, members, directors, volunteers and staff are to be commended for their dedication.”

Robert Martin, EIU’s vice president for university advancement, said he was happy to see McKenzie re-join the university advancement team.

“I am pleased that Jonathan chose to accept the position of executive officer for the EIU Foundation,” he added. “I’m sure his experience and enthusiasm will serve him well.”

Although McKenzie will not officially begin his job as executive officer until April 1, he’s already thinking the part.

“Eastern Illinois University has played an important role in my life,” McKenzie said. “And I am not alone. There are many others whose lives have been enriched by their association with EIU.

“I encourage all of them to be a part of Eastern’s future,” he said. “Their support will make a significant difference.”

McKenzie also issued an open invitation. “I welcome anyone to stop by the EIU Foundation for a visit at any time.” The Foundation’s offices are located in the Neal Welcome Center, 860 West Lincoln Ave., Charleston.
Thompson Square to Perform at EIU 03/18/14 Thompson Square, the reigning Academy of Country Music Vocal Duo of the Year, will perform at Eastern Illinois University's Lantz Arena next month.

The 2014 Spring Concert is set to begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 24. Ticket sales ($23) will be open to the general public on Monday, March 31. EIU students with Panther Card ID may begin purchasing their tickets ($20) on Monday, March 18.

Tickets may be purchased at the MLK Jr. Union Ticket Office (581-5122) between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. They also may be purchased at universityuniontickets.com.

Thompson Square, a husband-wife duo, has earned more than 25 award nominations, including two Grammys, an American Music Award and Teen Choice Award. They made music history when they received the Country Music Award (CMA) for Vocal Duo of the Year in 2012 and the ACM Vocal Duo of the Year award in both 2012 and 2013.

In the world of entertainment, music arguably demands the most personal investment from its artists, and it doesn't get any more intimate than with Keifer and Shawna Thompson. Their sophomore album “Just Feels Good” is a compelling view of a relationship that offers no distinction between the personal and the professional.

"Much more than the first record, ‘Just Feels Good’ explains exactly who we are," Shawna said. "This is a very personal record."

Adds her husband, "It’s a stronger, more accurate representation of who we are and where we’re at right now in our life and our music career ... " and, Shawna finishes, "who we are as artists, who we are as individuals and who we are as a married couple, as well."

Thompson Square’s breakthrough hit “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” has surpassed two million in sales, was the #1 Digital Soundscan Single for five weeks straight, the #1 Country Ringtone for 12 consecutive weeks, and the Most Played Song at Country Radio in 2011 (Mediabase).

Thompson Square followed that success with the award-winning hit, “I Got You,” and critically acclaimed “Glass.” Thompson Square’s star continued to rise in 2013 with the #1 gold selling heart-tugger, “If I Didn’t Have You,” and its current Top 25 hit, “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About,” both from the duo’s current album, “Just Feels Good.”

The concert is sponsored by EIU's University Board.
News of EIU Research Project Hits International Radio Airwaves 03/13/14 The plight of the Midland Brownsnake population at Fox Ridge State Park has gone international.

While usually keeping a low profile, the small and harmless brownsnakes begin preparing for the winter by migrating across a park road in search of suitable overwintering habitat. Sites in the park’s forested upland areas are much more suitable for hibernation than those where the snakes are active in the warmer months.

Unfortunately, because of their small size and coloring, these particular snakes often go unnoticed by motorists. Thus, a number of them never successfully complete their trip.

This week, the BBC radio program “Nature” (not to be confused with PBS’ televised “Nature” shows) featured a 28-minute episode focused on this phenomenon and the research being conducted on it through Eastern Illinois University.

EIU biology professor Stephen Mullin said he received “an email out of the blue” last year from the BBC, asking if he would be interested in having the research featured. Program host Howard Stableford visited Charleston and Fox Ridge State Park in October 2013, just in time to view some of the snakes on their perilous journey.

Mullin acknowledged that his research, which includes help from students in his lab group, “is not all that ground-breaking.” Actually, it is a rather common situation involving different animals throughout the world, he said.

That’s not to say Mullin doesn’t appreciate the coverage. “I’m flattered, of course,” he said, noting that he was especially pleased to see that the subject material captured the attention of the show’s audience.

“In fact, I’ve already received a request from a volunteer conservation group in Belgium for some advice on a similar situation involving toads crossing one of their roads near Brussels,” he said.

Interested listeners can catch the “Nature” episode here. Read more about the research project here.
Wall Street Journal Reporter and EIU Alumnus to Speak on Campus 03/04/14

Wall Street Journal reporter and EIU alumnus, Tim Martin, will speak Wednesday about what’s it like to work at the journal and his time spent covering everything from the Affordable Care Act to the supermarket industry.

Martin, who graduated EIU in 2006 with a journalism major and a minor in business administration and political science, started working for the journal back in 2008.

The lecture titled “Inside the Wall Street Journal” will start at 4 p.m. in Lumpkin Auditorium in Lumpkin Hall at EIU. This week, Martin is serving as the spring 2014 Fox-Thornburgh Visiting Professional, and he will continue visiting classes and students through Thursday.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Booth Library Named Finalist for National Medal for Museum and Library Service 03/03/14 The Institute of Museum and Library Services has announced that Booth Library on the campus of Eastern Illinois University is a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community.

Medal finalists are selected from nationwide nominations of libraries and museums that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. Booth Library is one of 30 national finalists for the award, and one of only 15 libraries chosen from throughout the United States.

Booth Library was nominated based on its extensive program series and other events for the community. Series have included exhibits and programs based on different topics each semester, including “America’s Music,” “Farm Life,” “Elizabeth I,” “Frankenstein,” “Benjamin Franklin,” “Teachers Tame the Prairie,” “Harry Potter’s World,” “Building Memories: Creating a Campus Community” and the current program series, “Muslim Journeys.” These series have offered a variety of films, discussions, lectures, musical and theater performances, lectures, exhibits and other activities for free to the community.

In addition, Booth Library sponsors many other programs for the campus and community at large. For example, through the Booth After Hours program, specific campus groups are invited to the library after hours for programs designed specifically for them. Area high school classes regularly visit Booth Library for free instruction and research help from Booth reference librarians. For several years, the library has welcomed librarians from around the world as part of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs. In addition, the library recently hosted a reception for area librarians to network and reconnect.

“Our library is dedicated to quality public service,” said Allen Lanham, dean of library services. “We excel at providing materials and information to Eastern’s students and faculty. However, a major goal is to create an environment in which citizens in our region can explore topics of interest and take time to discuss issues with others as they remain active learners.”

Finalists for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.

“Museums and libraries serve as civic gathering places, bringing together individuals in pursuit of educational resources, community connections, skills development, and multifaceted lifelong learning,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We are very proud to announce Booth Library as a finalist for the 2014 National Medal. This year’s National Medal finalists illustrate the many ways museums and libraries can excite lifelong learning and civic engagement.”

IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited Booth Library to “share their story” on the IMLS Facebook page. Each of the 30 finalists will be highlighted on a specific date on the IMLS Facebook page, and Booth Library will be honored on March 18. Beginning that day, community members are encouraged to visit the site to post comments, photos or videos demonstrating how Booth Library has made an impact on them.

“We hear a lot of positive comments from our patrons about ways they’ve been enriched by Booth Library,” Lanham said. “We hope many of them will ‘share their story’ on March 18.”

The National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners will be announced in April, and the medals will be awarded during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the 2014 National Medal finalists, visit here. To learn more about Booth Library, visit here or find the library on Facebook or Twitter.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS’ grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit here or follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

This year, IMLS celebrates the 20th anniversary of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. For the past two decades, the National Medal has honored outstanding institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Including 2013 winners, 132 institutions have received this honor, and 10 additional institutions will be awarded in 2014.
EIU Student Graces Cover of National Magazine 02/28/14 It was a happy coincidence.

The American College of Sports Medicine wanted a cover photo for its January/February 2014 issue of Health & Fitness Journal. A Lincolnshire, Ill.-based photo studio had a young model they had worked with before; he was young, attractive and, perhaps most importantly, physically fit.

The fact that he’s preparing for a career involving health and fitness was just icing on the cake.

“This is definitely an unexpected, but exciting, opportunity,” said Tarrence Williams, a senior exercise science major at Eastern Illinois University. “I now have the perfect piece of artwork to hang on my office wall – once I graduate and get an office to hang it in, that is.”

Williams, of Villa Park, Ill., believes there will be an office in his future. Most likely, it will be attached to a gym.

He and fellow EIU students Evan Williams (no family relation) and Katherine German have already planted the seed by working with other students and faculty in Eastern’s Student Recreation Center to “better their lifestyles.”

“Rather than a 9-to-5 job, we plan to start our own fitness consulting business,” Williams said. “We already have a nice amount of clients with whom we’re working to develop effective physical fitness programs.”

Those programs, he added, are developed by “putting into practice the principles we’ve learned in the classroom.”

Williams, who says he has been an athlete “basically all (his) life,” chose Eastern after visiting the campus as a high school student and observing, then competing in, the Illinois High School Association’s annual state track meets.

“(The campus) was easy to navigate, easy to find things… it was just a nice size,” he recalled.

More critical to his decision, however, were the educational opportunities Eastern offered in furthering his personal goals.

“I jumped around a bit, looking at other directions I could take, but in the end, I knew this was where my heart is at. It’s a career I have a passion for,” Williams said.

“I have a purpose, and that purpose is the pursuit of health and fitness.”

His passion still leaves time for fun, however. Like most students, William was looking for a way in which to earn some extra cash. Three or four years ago, he began modeling.

“It was an extra activity just for fun,” he said.

So far, his image has graced the pages of catalogues by Eastbay, Foot Locker and Nike. The cover photo for Health & Fitness Journal was quite an opportunity, he said.

Jeff Willardson, associate professor in Eastern’s Kinesiology and Sports Studies Department, called the magazine cover “a huge honor – for both Williams and Eastern – in that “every university exercise program nationally (and probably internationally, as well), teaches curriculum based on American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for health and physical fitness.

“This opportunity gives credibility to the exercise science program at EIU and the quality of students we are recruiting,” he said.
EIU History Professors Reflect on African-American History Month 02/26/14

“Recognizing African-American history as an awareness month is important, but it is not enough,” said Debra Reid, EIU history professor. “Our society needs to continue to discuss African-American history all year long.”

As the end of African-American History Month approaches, EIU history professors like Reid reflect on why studying African-American history is simply not just a monthly endeavor. Throughout the year, these professors spend hours researching and teaching Africana and African history in their classrooms.

“African-American history affects all the courses I teach from my history of Illinois course to my graduate class in the Historical Administration program,” she said.

In her research, Reid focuses on rural and ethnic minorities after the Civil War where she specializes in documenting black land owning farmers. While History Professor Charles Foy incorporates his research of black mariners in the Atlantic World in his own class called “The Black Atlantic.”

“I focus on how Africans attained freedom and if their freedom changed,” he said. Both Foy and Reid understand the fragility of freedom, and how changes in movement would change the status of an African’s freedom during that time.

“There was a long battle for African-Americans, and there has to be current awareness because history shows rights are fragile,” she said.

While African-American history should be studied all year long, Foy said the month does provide our society an opportunity to pause and reflect. “It gives us a mental pause allowing society to see how far we have come and what else needs to be done,” he said.

The month also gives individuals an opportunity to get out there and interact with people of all races, Reid said “Our students have the responsibility to take what they learned in class, and face life,” she said.

History Professor Roger Beck’s agrees, but also wants the community to study and focus on African history not just African-American history.

“It’s our roots,” Beck said. “We are all African-American one way or another because human beings began living in Africa.”

In his research, he focuses on South African history, and teaches two African history courses called "African History to 1400" and "African History from 1400."

“I emphasize in my classes the misinformation and distortion of African history, and African life today,” Beck said. “A lot of people have no idea what Africa is about, and so I spend a lot time in my class trying to break down stereotypes about Africa.”

The colonial world created a mythological Africa in order to justify ‘civilizing’ and Christianizing, but colonists really were occupying and exploiting the continent, Beck said.

Our society needs to know the long battle African-Americans endured to receive freedom, Beck said but they also need to study the rich history of Africans.

All three professors encourage the community to educate themselves about Africana and African history through lectures, performances and discussions, but also to read to help provide context for everything they learn.

“Hopefully, one day our society will not need history awareness months because all histories will be inclusive in our culture, and no longer be compartmentalized and exclusive,” Reid said.

Other professors who teach Africana and African history are Martin Hardeman and David Smith.

EIU’s History Department provides students with both varieties in curriculum and individualized attention with 25 dedicated professors. For more information about the program, click here.

EIU Employees Honored for Continuous Years of Service 02/24/14 Eastern Illinois University recently recognized nearly 250 of its employees for continuous years of service.

A luncheon was held in recognition of university employees with continuous years of service in five-year increments. Those employed at EIU for five years were eligible for a certificate; those with 10 or more years of service were honored with both a certificate and a pin.

The following were honored for theirs years of service:

55 Years -- Robert Wiseman.

35 Years -- Robert Augustine, David Bartz and Kathleen Phillips.

30 Years -- Richard Cavanaugh, Patrick Coulton, Glenn Hild, Denise Preston, Patricia Shonk and Michael Wilson.

25 Years -- John Allison, Tami Babbs, Robert Bates, Tina Best, Deborah Black, Jeffrey Boshart, Douglas Bower, Noel Brodsky, Marilyn Coles, Lisa Dallas, Minh Dao, Karala Eastin, Kathryn Edwards, Laura Gesell, James Glazebrook, Harold Harris, Kimberly Harris, Vicki Irby, Joan McCausland, Marsha McLain, Kathleen McSherry, Brian Murphy, Kathryn Olsen, Jill Owen, Sandra Reeds, Carlene Richardson, Anita Shelton, Teresa Sims, Cynthia Sowers, Tammy Veach, William Weber, Keith Wolcott, Charles Wootton and Beverly Wright.

20 Years -- Jeffery Ashmore, Mary Bower, Bobette Brooks, Rebecca Cook, Donna Dawson, Deborah Endsley, Randy Ethridge, Muriel Everton, Ricky Haney, Leslie Ingle, Cathy Kimball, Nancy Kingery, Shelia Maulding, Mathew Pederson, Diana Pepperdine, Nida Sehweil-Elmuti, Marlene Slough, Renee Stroud, Jean Toothman, Andrew White, John Willems, Joseph William, Brenda Wilson, Jean Wolski, Richard Wyninger and Janet Yocum.

15 Years -- Teshome Abebe, Teresa Britton, Ann Brownson, James Bush, Julie Campbell, Kathy Childress, Cheryl Clapp, Donna Coonce, Ellen Coultas, Jeffrey Cross, Kari Dailey, Eric Davidson, Christine Derrickson, Eden Effert, Jeffrey Endsley, Cynthia Foster, Travis Gresens, Gary Grissom, Fredalee Hall, Deborah Hershberger-Kidwell, Cheryl Hochstetler, Cheryl Jackson, Jacqueline Joines, Edward Kistner, Steven Malehorn, Alex Martino, Robin Murray, Pamela Naragon, Donna Noffke, Pamela Ortega, Robert Petersen, Jennifer Porter, Kathy Reed, Richard Roberts, Wanda Kay Robinson, Kathreen Ryan, Sonya Schuette, Michael Shirley, Deborah Smith, Jennifer Stout, Merry Toberman, Steven Vickroy, Donna Wagoner, Wafeek Wahby, Wanda Wallace, Joseph Walsh, Susan Woodyard and Timothy Zgonina.

10 Years -- Leslie Ashley, Andrea Beals, Donna Binns, Rhonda Brotherton, Chris Carter, Julie Chadd, Jonathan Coit, James Coleman, Ayse Costello, Thomas Costello, Mona Davenport, James Davis, Paula Davis, Jeffrey Downey, Sace Elder, William Elliott, Stanley Evermon, Rebecca Fogarty, Brian Fritts, Pete Grant, Thomas Hawkins, Shelley James, Sandra Johnson, Kristina Keck, Karla Kennedy-Hagan, Vanesa Landrus, Florentina Laribee, Mei-Ling Li, April Marchuk, Michael Moncel, David Murphy, Gregory Oles, Jeffrey Owens, Kiranmayi Padmaraju, James Painter, Mildred Pearson, Clayton Roan, Philip Rogers, Paul Rogowski, Cheryl Siddens, James Smith, Charles Welch, Richard Wilkinson, Keith Willison and Jie Zou.

5 Years -- Ahmed Abou-Zaid, Assande Adom, Wesley Allan, Melissa Ames, Amy Annis, Rendong Bai, Janet Baker, Misty Baker, Kevin Banning, Katherine Bass, Terry Bayes, Clinton Bays, Juliana Bishop, Deborah Black, Ryan Boske-Cox, Jacquelynne Brosam, Nathan Brown, Gregory Brummer, Barbara Burke, Christopher Coffey, Ellen Corrigan, Anthony Craig, Kristen Difilippo, Holly Dust, Christina Edmonds-Behrend, Diane Ettelbrick, Angela Fisher, Rachel Fisher, Charles Foy, Jennifer Garren, Marita Gronnvoll, Sara Gronstal, Mini Gupta, Tracy Hall-Ingram, Aaron Haselhorst, Carla Higginbotham, Jerri Hinton, Milton Hite, Glenn Hoffman, Kai Hung, Clare Hutchinson, Cindy Hutchison, Heather Jia, Daniel Johnson, Julia Kemper, Kenneth Keyser, Raymond La Porte, Patrick Lach, Thornton Lane, Simon Lee, Cordy Love, Jeannie Ludlow, Amy Lynch, John Mace, Shilpa Maheshwari, Amy Malmen, Hasan Mavi, Diane Miller, Michael Murray, Howard Neese, Terry Newell, Joshua Norman, James Ochwa-Echel, John Osborne, Anna Peterson, Catherine Polydore, Dawn Porter, Roger Reardon, Dennis Riley, Georgia Ryan, Marcia Shambaugh, Nicholas Shaw, Jennifer Sipes, Peggy Snyder, Jessica Sommerfeld, Zakry Standerfer, Matthew Stark, Emily Stuby, Robin Terwilliger, Jay Thompson, Michael Wagoner, Jessica Ward, Patty Watson, Vance Woods and Nancy Zytka.
Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ to be Performed this Month 02/21/14

Eastern Illinois University student actors will perform five performances of William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” this month after mastering Scottish dialect and sword fighting techniques for the debut.

Shakespeare’s classical tragedy, filled with lords, warriors and witches, centers on Macbeth’s thirst for power and his willingness to go to any means, even murder, to obtain it.

Jean Wolski, professor of theatre at EIU, said they focused on a Scottish theme — requiring students to learn Scottish dialect by listening to recording tapes and native speakers — because of Scottish influences found throughout the play.

“The play, set in Scotland, was the first piece that Shakespeare wrote for the new King James, who was of Scottish descent,” she said. “Macbeth is even nicknamed by theatre aficionados as the “Scottish play” because of a legendary cursed placed on the text by the witches in the play. Supposedly those who say the title will be cursed with bad luck.”

The Scottish theme allowed students to explore the history of the play, but also helped them master other dialects, which is essential to acting and performing, she said.

Other performances of Macbeth do not always focus on the Scottish setting of the play, and instead actors will speak in their normal voices, Wolski said.

“Anytime you see Macbeth, there is a different take on the story, which is the great part of working with Shakespeare,” Wolski said.

Last summer, Wolski even traveled to Scotland to help research more about the setting of the play for her students. Other than mastering dialects, students also worked diligently to create props and costumes modeled after the time period with EIU’s Art Department contributing props, as well.

Showings for the play at The Theatre in the Doudna Fine Arts Center include:7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 through Saturday, March 1 and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 2.

Tickets for the performance will be $12, $10 for EIU employees and seniors (62+), and $5 for students. For ticket information call, (217) 581-3110 or email doudnatix@eiu.edu.

Scholar to Give Two Lectures on Teaching and Learning in Diverse Classrooms 02/20/14

An accomplished scholar, Franklin Tuitt, will examine and explore how educators can teach and promote learning in diverse classrooms during two lectures Monday in the Lecture Hall at the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Lectures include:

1-2:30 p.m. (Doudna Lecture Hall) -- "Promoting Inclusive Excellence in the Classroom: Implications for Teaching and Learning in Diverse Classrooms." (Attendees may come and go as their schedules dictate).

4-5:30 p.m. (Doudna Lecture Hall) -- "Race and Higher Education: Rethinking Pedagogy in Diverse College Classrooms." (Attendees may come and go as their schedules dictate).

"Eastern continuously works to create an inclusive environment for all students and we're pleased to host Dr. Tuitt on campus," said Cynthia Nichols, director of civil rights and diversity. Tuitt’s holistic approach to teaching emphasizes higher education, but is applicable to all educators at any level and others who provide services, she said. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Tuitt is associate provost for inclusive excellence and associate professor of higher education at the Morgridge College at the University of Denver. He devotes his time to researching topics such as access and equity in higher education, teaching and learning in racially diverse college classrooms and diversity and organizational transformation.

He is a co-editor and contributing author of the books “Race and Higher Education: Rethinking Pedagogy in Diverse College Classrooms” and “Contesting the Myth of a Post-Racial Era: The Continued Significance of Race in U.S. Education.” Some recent publications include: “Black like me: Graduate Students’ Perceptions of their Pedagogical Experiences in Classes Taught by Black Faculty in a Predominantly White Institution” (Journal of Black Studies) and “Enacting Inclusivity through Engaged Pedagogy: A Higher Education Perspective” (Equity and Excellence in Education). He earned his doctorate degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The event is sponsored by Eastern’s Office of Civil Rights and Diversity and the Office of the President.

School Districts to Seek Employees at Educators' Job Fair 02/19/14 Representatives from school districts from across Illinois, as well as other states and countries, will be seeking new employees at the upcoming Spring Educators’ Job Fair at Eastern Illinois University.

In addition to EIU students, faculty and alumni, the general public is invited to the free event, which is set to run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, in the MLK Jr. Union's Grand Ballroom. The job fair is being sponsored by EIU Career Services.

A list of the nearly 50 participating schools and available jobs in teaching, school administration and special services is available online.

Professional dress is required. Those attending should bring several copies of their resumes.

For more information, please contact coordinator Diane Smith at dksmith2@eiu.edu or 217-581-8423.
43th Annual Miss Black EIU Scholarship Pageant Open to the Public 02/17/14

Community members are welcome to attend the 43th annual Miss Black EIU Scholarship Pageant on Saturday.

Ten contestants will compete in four categories during the pageant including creative expression, African garment, talent and impromptu question with an evening gown. Before the pageant, the contestants participated in an interview panel with judges.

Leah Reynolds, adviser for the pageant, said the pageant is a great opportunity to highlight the leadership abilities of African-American women on campus.

The Black Student Union sponsored the pageant in conjunction with African-American Heritage Month. The theme of this year’s pageant is “A Women’s Worth,” which focuses on inner beauty instead of physical beauty.

Doors open for the pageant at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 6 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Advanced tickets are $8 and tickets at the door are $10. Tickets can be purchased 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. Tickets at the door will go on sale at 5 p.m.

EIU Open House to Bring 1,000-Plus to Charleston, Campus 02/12/14 More than 1,000 high school seniors and their families will be in Charleston Monday in an effort to decide whether Eastern Illinois University is the school for them.

The Feb. 17 Open House/Admitted Student Day will allow prospective students and their families, along with students who have already been admitted for Fall 2014, to tour the EIU campus, including residence halls, and speak with representatives from a variety of student services, as well as admissions counselors.

Visitors from throughout Illinois, as well as Indiana and Missouri, will attend a number of sessions, including those with focuses on Housing and Dining, financial aid, academic highlights, Honors, student panels and more. Various academic departments will participate in departmental showcase presentations. And parents will have the opportunity to hear from other parents of currently enrolled students during a special panel discussion.

Lou Hencken, Eastern’s interim admissions director, said he was pleased by the interest in this Open House, scheduled to coincide with Presidents’ Day, an official federal holiday commemorated by most high schools. This allows college-bound students a free day in which they can travel to Charleston to observe the university and its community at work.

(Eastern will commemorate Presidents’ Day on Friday, Feb. 14, so classes will be in session on Monday.)

Currently, there are 610 students registered to attend Monday’s event. And most of those, Hencken added, will bring at least one family member along with them.

Hencken acknowledged that inclement weather often prevents some registrants from attending the Open House. Those students, along with others who aren’t able to attend this event, are invited to campus on subsequent days. On Saturday, March 29, for example, Eastern will host a second Admitted Student Day.

In addition, prospective students often spend a day on Eastern’s campus during their high schools’ respective week-long spring breaks. Although the university plans to maintain this tradition, it is likely some districts’ spring breaks will be cancelled in order to make up for those “snow/cold weather” class days lost due to the inclement weather.

"We’ll accommodate those students any way we can,” Hencken said. “We will continue to offer events throughout the spring.”
EIU Students Operate Coffee Shop; Learn Ins and Outs of Restaurant Business 02/07/14

The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans, warm cherry scones and the tunes of relaxing music fill the air each morning in Klehm Hall at Eastern Illinois University.

The appealing smells and sounds are not coming from a break room, but from the dedication and determination of EIU students learning the ins and outs of operating their own coffee shop as part of the hospitality management program.

Student manager Tara Page said she wants the coffee shop, called The Café, to be a place where professors and staff escape to grab a cup of coffee and chat with fellow colleagues.

“We want the coffee shop to be a getaway for them,” she said. “We want them to unwind from their hectic, busy schedules.”

On any given day, Page teaches fellow students how to use the espresso maker, cook pastries and clean the café area. She organizes student’s work schedules, keeps ingredients on hand and ensures the shop is open for business Monday through Thursday. Sometimes her job includes explaining to students the difference between a cappuccino, latte, mocha and an Americano; she will even leave a cheat sheet in front of the machine for their guidance.

Page, a senior family and consumer sciences major with a hospitality management option, is working at the café as part of her internship requirement, and dreams of one day working in the restaurant business.

Jim Painter, a professor of family and consumer sciences, said the café gives students an opportunity for hands-on learning they would not experience in a classroom.

“In some industries, students obtain the knowledge from the classroom and are successful in the real world. But in other disciplines, like the restaurant business, students need hands-on experience like the café,” Painter said. “Now our students can tell an employer they ran their own café.”

Painter designed a class, called “Cafeteria and Catering,” to go along with the coffee shop. Students there run the café and prepare a lunch for faculty and staff who make reservations. The class will be an additional hands-on learning experience for students interested in food service management.

Since 2007, the family and consumer sciences department has offered another hands-on class called “Commercial Quantity Food Production,” where students operate a full-service restaurant called Pantera. In that class, students learn how to run and manage a restaurant where they prepare a menu and serve food to actual patrons with guidance from professional chefs.

All food prepared in The Café and Pantera is served inside a commercial kitchen that meets health code regulations, Painter said. Students and the general public are also welcome to stop by for a cup of coffee at The Café, but they want the seating lounge area reserved for the faculty and staff.

The Café opened last semester under the direction of Painter and another student manager, Chris Starbird, who still plays an active role in the coffee shop.

Starbird, a junior family and consumer sciences major, said he loves the culture of coffee shops, and one day would love to own his own shop and café.

He envisions The Café becoming a ‘third place’ for professors and staff at EIU. Professors can meet at the shop, and casually chat over a cup of coffee.

The concept of the third place was once described by Howard Schultz, chief executive officer of Starbucks in his book “Pour Your Heart Into It,” Starbird said.

The Café is open 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday in Room 1414 in Klehm Hall during the spring semester. Patrons of The Café can pay with cash, check or debit cards.

Some of the items on the menu include made-to order coffees, tea, hot chocolate and homemade pastries with gluten-free options. Check out the menu and prices here.

Eastern Gives Darwin More Than One Day 02/03/14 Eastern Illinois University is saying “Happy Birthday” to Charles Darwin with a series of events to honor his work in the field of science.

According to Stephen Mullin, professor of biological sciences, evolution is a key element of science and every year on Feb. 12, people around the world celebrate the life and work of Darwin, an evolutionary biologist. This year marks the 205th anniversary of his birth.

There are currently more than 100 events scheduled in more than 20 different countries for Darwin Day 2014.

For more than a decade, Eastern has planned a variety of programs, to take place locally over several days, to explore evolution and science as it relates to Darwin’s theories.

“We have one of the largest programs, as far as the number of events organized for each year, in the country,” Mullin said.

When Eastern’s Department of Biological Sciences first decided to organize events in recognition of Darwin’s birthday, those in charge agreed that many events covering the topic would be more helpful in differentiating faith from science.

“Professors encounter less resistance to the teaching of evolution now,” Mullin said.

Although the more recent cohorts of students are more accepting of Darwin’s theory, having a number of events for people to attend and learn from is always helpful, he added.

This year’s events will revisit the fundamentals of science and distinguish science from pseudoscience. This is comparable to the difference in astronomy, the study of celestial objects, from astrology, the study of star signs.

“There is a lack of understanding of what science really is,” Mullin said.

This year’s events in commemoration of Darwin’s birthday will be more interactive and exciting than ones in the past, with audience members encouraged at ask questions.

Admission to all events is free and open to the public.

The four-day program includes:
• “What is God?” -- a NOVA film; 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, Life Sciences Building, Room 2080
• “Pseudoscience: What is it and why should we care?” -- a lecture by Brian Montgomery, EIU; 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, Buzzard Auditorium (Room 1501)
• “What is Science?” -- a lecture by Lewis Branscomb, University of California at San Diego; 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, Coleman Hall Auditorium (Room 1255)
• “Acceptance of Evolutionary Science Within Religion” -- interactive round-table discussion with religious leaders of various faiths; 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, Coleman Hall Auditorium (Room 1255)

For more information, check out Eastern’s biological sciences website. For more about Darwin Days, check out darwinday.org.
EIU Spring Enrollment Confirms Recruitment Efforts Are On Course 01/30/14 Spring enrollment numbers at Eastern Illinois University confirm that the institution remains on course in its effort to stabilize and increase the number of students who attend there.

A modest increase in the number of freshmen, coupled with significant increases in the number of international and Hispanic students in attendance at Eastern, reflect evidence that recruitment efforts are working.

The number of international students attending EIU increased to 223, up from 137 a year ago.

Kevin Vicker, director of Eastern’s Office of International Students and Scholars, explained: “Our computer technology graduate degree, as well as other notable growing degree programs such as sustainable energy, economics, business administration, geographic information systems and kinesiology and sports studies, continues to attract international students.

“Our reputation in India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Nepal has grown quickly as many more students from these countries and others are choosing EIU due to our personal approach, scholarship options or attractive programs,” he added. “We regularly receive students from our partner universities in South Korea -- partnerships we established in the past few years.”

Minorities represent nearly 24 percent of Eastern’s enrollment. The numbers, broken down by category (with Spring 2013 figures in parentheses), are as follows: American Indian/Alaskan Native, 18 (26); Asian, 85 (83); Black, 1,413 (1,424); Hispanic, 402 (364); and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 4 (8).

Overall, spring numbers at Eastern are comparable to figures reported in the fall, with overall enrollment dropping from 9,775 to 8,833 -- a loss of 942. As usual, school officials anticipated a spring decrease due to the number of seniors and graduate students graduating in December.

A breakdown of Eastern’s total Spring 2014 student enrollment is as follows: freshmen, 1,308 (1,287); sophomores, 1,351 (1,488); juniors, 1,949 (2,083); seniors, 2,858 (3,203); and graduate students 1,318 (1,361.)

The numbers reflect a healthy and consistent 90 percent fall-to-spring retention rate for freshmen who enrolled for the first time in Fall 2013 -- 1,254, enrolled in Fall 2013; 1,127, still enrolled in the spring.

University officials are also encouraged by the number of out-of-state residents choosing to attend EIU. In Fall 2011, the university established a program in which individuals from states bordering Illinois -- Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin -- would pay the same tuition rate as someone from Illinois.

The number of participants taking advantage of the program seems to be growing overall: Indiana, 78 (49); Iowa, 10 (12); Kentucky, 2 (6); Missouri, 36 (26); and Wisconsin, 38 (23).
Public Invited to January Open House at EIU Observatory 01/30/14 Eastern Illinois University’s physics observatory will hold its monthly open house at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31.

The event will take place “snow or shine.” Visitors should dress warmly. If the weather is clear, visitors can observe the Orion Nebula through the facility’s main 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

The observatory is located in the southwestern corner of campus between O'Brien Stadium and the intramural softball fields. Those who attend may park their vehicles in the lot north of Wesley United Methodist Church and then walk to the observatory site.

For information, please call the physics department at 581-3220.
EIU Receives Single Largest Gift in University History 01/28/14 Eastern Illinois University has received the largest single gift in university history, according to Robert Martin, vice president for university advancement.

“We have received a $3.68 million gift from the estate of Paul L. Ward, former professor of educational psychology at EIU to provide scholarships for students majoring in counseling and student development,” Martin said.

The bequest -- given through the EIU Foundation -- creates an endowment that will fund scholarships for graduate students as endowment earnings accumulate.

“The dedication of our faculty at EIU runs deep,” said EIU President William L. Perry. “Professor Ward worked tirelessly in the classroom and gave his students individualized attention, but the creation of this legacy gift shows a commitment and generosity of spirit of the highest order.”

Perry’s predecessor -- retired president Lou Hencken -- said that he wasn’t surprised to learn that Ward had taken extra steps to benefit students into the future.

“I’m particularly pleased to learn of this gift from Paul and this is just like him to make this donation,” said Hencken. “Paul was a dedicated faculty member and this gift shows just how much he loved teaching and this university.”

Paul Ward taught at EIU from 1967 until his retirement in 1992.

“We are very appreciative and honored that Paul believed so much in the quality educational experience provided at EIU that he chose to leave his legacy to benefit our students,” Martin said.

“This is a great contribution to our program from an outstanding EIU professor and we’re proud to help continue his legacy.”
Award-winning Playwright to Speak about her Inspirations as a Writer 01/27/14

An award-winning playwright will share her inspirations as a writer and advice on how others can make a career out of the arts during a lecture Thursday at Eastern Illinois University.

Elizabeth Wong writes plays filled with comedy and social satire. The Tanne Foundation recently awarded Wong with the Tanne Foundation Award for artistic achievement, and the City of Los Angeles commended her themes on human rights. Some of her plays include “Letters to a Student Revolutionary,” “China Doll” and “Kimchee & Chitlins.”

Wong said she plans to share what inspires her to sit alone in a room on a sunny day starting at a blank screen — and write.

“It’s crazy to be all day in a dark theatre wrestling with make-believe problems as if they mattered,” Wong said. “I will talk about whom and what inspires me to this lunacy, how this energy gets harnessed to write a play and maybe how to make a life in the arts.”

J. Kevin Doolen, chair of the theatre department said Wong is a fantastic artist that represents the best of the theater industry. “I am amazed by her sense of modesty, despite her accomplishments, her generosity and her incredible range of professional experiences in theater, television and film,” he said.

Doolen asked Wong to lecture at EIU because she can engage students as a working professional. “I want to encourage our students to explore the possibilities for writing and numerous avenues for a professional creative life,” Doolen said. “I’ve seen her effectively do this with her students and I want that for our students here.”

Wong completed her master in fine arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, and she currently lives in Los Angeles, Calif.

Wong’s lecture starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Lecture Hall of Doudna Fine Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public. For more information about Wong, click here.

Looking to the Future: EIU Works to Realign Resources 01/24/14 Eastern Illinois University is working through a process of program analysis to deal with current fiscal realities while preparing for future growth, according to President William Perry.

“It’s not a secret to anyone that costs in higher education have been rising for a number of years,” Perry said. “And, at the same time, we’ve faced declining high school graduating classes, a highly competitive environment and a changing economy.”

As a result, he said, the university has undertaken a comprehensive program analysis -- reviewing every university program to assure even stronger alignment with the university’s mission and to produce sustainable enrollment growth. The university is working to become even more efficient and make targeted investments to fulfill its mission and prepare its students for new and expanding fields.

“It also means that, in the present environment, we need to eliminate about $7 million in base-budget expenses over the next two years,” he said. “That’s about 6.7 percent of the appropriated budget.

“And, we will also reallocate an additional $1 million to fund programs and opportunities which grow our enrollments,” Perry said.

“Healthy universities are constantly evolving and EIU is no different,” he said. “Since our founding in 1895, we have evolved into a top-tier, comprehensive master’s university. We will continue to make strategic choices to uphold academic excellence and prepare our students for the jobs of the future.”

The current process is the next logical step in that evolution, he said, and is guided by the university strategic plan completed in 2012.

“We have already made strides to improve our competitiveness and I am confident that those changes will increase new student enrollment,” he said. “For the continued affordability of an EIU education, we will use our resources as efficiently as possible.”

The process includes input from across the university through the Council on University Planning and Budget. The council includes representatives from throughout the university and the group is reviewing information provided by all departments. Later this spring, the council will make recommendations to the president for action.
EIU Runners to Shed Clothing for Local Charity Organizations 01/21/14

Imagine runners shedding their winter clothes from scarves to coats in the frigid, cold January temperatures. On Saturday at Eastern Illinois University, runners will take off their clothing in support of local charities during the “Nearly Naked Mile” event.

Students, staff and community members will gradually take off their new or gently-used winter clothing from hats, gloves, scarves, coats/jackets, shirts, pants and gently-used running shoes during the race while leaving their bathing suit areas covered. Organizers will donate all clothing items to Standing Stone Community Center in Charleston.

“By running in the mile, participants are helping people in our community, who cannot afford warm winter clothing,” said Erin Clemons, organizer of the event. “Now, they will be able to keep warm for the rest of the winter.”

Even shoes will go at the end of the race and will be donated to Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program, which takes worn shoes and recycles them to make composite surfaces for tracks or playgrounds, Clemons said.

Check-in for the race will be at 9 a.m., and the race will start at 10 a.m. at the North Entrance of the Carman Hall parking lot. The entry fee is $10 per person, including a long-sleeve race shirt, and $15 the day of the race for late participants. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the Charleston Food Pantry, Clemons said.

The sign-up deadline to be guaranteed a T-shirt is 4 p.m. Thursday. The mile was organized by the Students Today Alumni Tomorrow group and Student Community Service.

Annual MLK Jr. Candlelight Vigil Planned At EIU 01/17/14 The Zeta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. will host its 27th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil March and Tribute Monday, Jan. 20, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with the march -- punctuated with the singing of inspirational hymns -- from the Thomas Hall lobby (2120 Seventh St.) to the Grand Ballroom, located in Eastern’s MLK Jr. Union. The program there will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Traditionally, between 100 and 200 students, faculty, family and friends support the vigil and program annually. Many join in the march; however, those who wish may participate in the Grand Ballroom activities only.

In addition to selections by Eastern’s Unity Gospel Choir, the program will include comments by local Alpha Phi Alpha members and others. Portions of some of King’s speeches will be featured, and awards will be presented.

Admission is free and open to the public.
Booth Library to Host 'Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journeys' 01/17/14 Booth Library on the campus of Eastern Illinois University encourages area residents to learn more about the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the U.S. and around the world through its program series, “Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys.”

The series will kick off with an opening at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 in the library’s West Reading Room and will continue through April 15.

Leading the program series at EIU will be project scholar Brian Mann, assistant professor of history, along with Jaysinha Shinde, assistant professor of business; Ahmed Abou-Zaid, professor of economics; Michael Loudon, professor of English; Janet Marquardt, professor of art; and Bonnie Irwin, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. Other EIU faculty members and students, as well as area community members, also will participate.

Through the “Let’s Talk About It” grant, the library will host a five-part book discussion moderated by project scholars. A limited number of free books will be available for participants. Those interested in participating in any or all of the book discussions are asked to register online by visiting the Web page.

In addition to the book discussions, programs will include two film screenings, a student research panel, an interfaith panel and a panel discussion titled “Women in Veil.” “Muslim Journeys” exhibits will be on display in the library throughout the program series, and the Tarble Arts Center will present a related exhibit, “In the Light of Darkness: A Photographer’s Journey after 9/11,” from Jan. 11 through Feb. 23.

“These presentations and book talks give us the opportunity to learn about Islamic culture and religion from well-informed scholars who make the materials very approachable to the layperson,” said Kirstin Duffin, reference librarian at Booth Library. “Whether you have read the books or not, you are welcome and encouraged to attend our thought-provoking and amicable discussions.”

All events are free and open to the public, and will be held in Witters Conference Room 4440 at Booth Library, unless otherwise noted.

-- Opening program/reception, Jan. 29, 7 p.m., Booth Library West Reading Room, keynote speaker, Brian Mann: “Islam and the Monotheistic Tradition.”

-- Book discussion, “The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,” Feb. 5, 6 p.m., led by Brian Mann.

-- Film screening, “Prince Among Slaves,” Feb. 12, 7 p.m., led by Michael Loudon.

-- Book discussion, “Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction,” Feb. 19, 6 p.m., led by Brian Mann.

-- Film screening, “Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World,” Feb. 26, 7 p.m., led by Janet Marquardt.

-- Book discussion, “The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life,” March 5, 6 p.m., led by Brian Mann and Ahmed Abou-Zaid.

-- Student research presentations, March 19, 6 p.m., moderated by Brian Mann.

-- Book discussion, “The Art of Hajj,” March 26, 6 p.m., led by Brian Mann.

-- Interfaith panel, April 1, 7 p.m., Newman Center, moderated by Daniel Otto, instructor of philosophy. Panelists will be Carly Froomkin Burak, Cohen Center for Jewish Life, Champaign (Judaism); Roy Lanham, director of campus ministry, Newman Catholic Center at EIU (Christianity); Jyoti Panjwani, professor of English (Hinduism); Jaysinha Shinde, assistant professor of business (Islam); and Duangrudi Suksang, professor of English (Buddhism).

-- Book discussion, “A Rumi Anthology,” April 9, 5:30 p.m., led by Jaysinha Shinde.

-- Panel discussion, “Women in Veil,” April 15, 7 p.m., moderated by Bonnie Irwin. Panelists: Reham Hamdy Abou-Zaid, Huma Malik, Shannon Mavi.

More information on these events is available here or by calling Kirstin Duffin, reference librarian, at 581-7550. Updates also will be posted on the library’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

“Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys,” a reading and discussion series, has been made possible through a $4,500 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in cooperation with the American Library Association. Booth Library is one of 125 libraries and state humanities councils across the country selected to participate in the project. Local support is provided by EIU’s Academy of Lifelong Learning and the Interdisciplinary Center for Global Diversity.
EIU Consolidates Off-site Locations in Greater Chicago 01/16/14 Eastern Illinois University announced today that it is consolidating some of its off-campus locations in the greater Chicago area to better serve students.

“In the past, we’ve held classes in multiple locations, and found that Triton Community College and the University Center of Lake County are most effective, allowing to provide more undergraduate classes and more personalized service,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“We have full-time staff members serving the University Center and Triton locations and both facilities are very good about providing classrooms and other support as needed,” Lord said. "While most of our students attend classes at the university’s main campus in Charleston, we do have a number of students in Chicago working to complete degrees through our school of continuing education.”

“Those students have generally taken a few courses at a time -- often from a variety of colleges,” Lord said. The EIU program allows them to consolidate those credits and use them toward a bachelor of arts in general studies.

“We also work with students to earn college credit for work experience and training they have received outside of the classroom,” he said. “When you put those programs together, many of our BGS students find they are far closer to a bachelor’s degree than they thought.”

One of the programs being consolidated into the Triton location is the arrangement with the American Indian Association of Illinois. That program started more than seven years ago with a modest cohort of students. However, that cohort never grew to a sustainable size and Lord said the university just can’t afford to maintain it separately.

“We will continue to provide the necessary classes for the remaining students in that program,” he said, “and anyone from that community is more than welcome to join our larger program at Triton -- approximately 14 miles away from the current location.”

Lord said that the program with AIAI will not close immediately, but that the organization is being given the one year notice required under the guidelines of the university’s accrediting body -- the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. In addition, he emphasized that current students, and any other students who might come out of the AIAI relationship, will be given the university’s support.

“We are committed to these students as we are committed to all EIU students and we will provide them with every possible opportunity to complete their education with us,” Lord said.

The students in the AIAI program -- like all students in the BGS program throughout the greater Chicago area -- have access to face-to-face classes and online classes in completing their bachelor’s degree.

“We work with every BGS student to help them mold a program that helps them complete their degree in the shortest possible time and also gives them the greatest benefit in their work life,” Lord said. “We’re confident that our centers in the area -- including our center at Triton Community College -- are well suited to help everyone in the greater Chicago area who wants to pursue the completion of a bachelor’s degree.”
Every Reason to Hope: EIU Autism Center to open to serve individuals with Autism 01/13/14

Jennifer Smith remembers the fear and frustration as her family struggled to figure out why her two-year old son, Brandon, was not like other children. After taking him to appointment after appointment, Smith listened as doctors and therapists called her son “quirky,” or “strong-willed,” but she knew something else was going on.

“I kept on telling the doctors that he knows all the complicated stuff, but I can’t get him to do the easy stuff, like answer a question,” Smith said.

After enduring a year of uncertainty, Smith’s family finally received an answer to their questions at the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at Eastern Illinois University, where Brandon was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder or autism, which is a group of complex disorders of brain development characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

Brandon’s story is only one example of the many lives changed forever at the clinic, but now EIU is continuing their support and dedication to children with autism by opening its own Autism Center.

The Need for Answers

Smith, who does not know where her family would be without the expertise and dedication of the clinic staff, said the Autism Center would attract more families to EIU’s wealth of services, and help give these families the answers they are desperately searching for.

She remembers the day perfectly when EIU Professor Gail Richard diagnosed her son with an autism spectrum disorder.

“It was great to have someone understand him better than me, and I am his mother,” Smith said. “After the diagnosis I did not feel like my son was an anomaly. It turned out my son is just like a lot of other kids.”

With more and more children like Brandon being diagnosed with autism every day, Richard said it is fitting for EIU to continue their dedication to individuals with autism.

Richard, who has been diagnosing children with autism for more than 30 years, said the Autism Center will be an expansion of the existing Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic.

Right now, the clinic serves individuals with all communication handicaps who are diagnosed and treated by undergraduate and graduate students under the supervision of distinguished faculty members.

Since services for the clinic function also as a learning environment for students, Richard said they can’t strictly take clients with autism since students need to experience a wide variety of clients with different disorders.

An autism center will give these families more of priority since sometimes they have to wait a whole semester for an appointment at the clinic, she said.

“We have people coming all over the country because they heard about the faculty expertise here,” Richard said.

Not only will the center give priority to individuals with autism, but give extra time for faculty members and students to focus on these disorders, she said.

Graduate Students like Mallory Dunn and Clare Kilbride are passionate about working with children with autism, and currently serve patients who have autism at the clinic, but both students are eager to help lend their services to the center.

“We already serve a fairly large basis of clients with autism, but now we will have more resources to provide better therapy,” Dunn said.

Killbride agrees, and also said it is important for students to serve many different clients with autism because not one person with autism acts the same.

Plans for the future

Richard envisions more families being able to receive evaluations and more students serving clients with autism through therapy sessions. She also wants the center to offer night or weekend classes to parents and teachers, and she also envisions staff members conducting consultations for local school districts.

In the future, Richard said she would like the center to collaborate with the Office of Student Disability Services at EIU to help students with autism assimilate better into the college environment. With about 1 in 88 children being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, Richard said there will be more students coming to universities with autism.

Like the speech-language-hearing clinic, Richard said the autism center will be self-sustaining facility since families will pay for their therapy sessions, but they need money to get the center started and pay for a staff. To raise money for the center, Eastern Illinois University is starting their first-ever crowdfunding campaign, she said.

Mike Murray, director of development at EIU, said the purpose of the crowdfunding campaign is to reach individuals that have no connection with Eastern, but recognize the importance of supporting a center focused solely on autism spectrum disorders.

Crowdfunding works by creating a network of individuals to send out information about the center to a handful of individuals through email or social media outlets, then the group will forward the information to others, and so on, he said.

Right now, Murray said they want to create an endowment that would fund the center’s operations on an annual basis. The center would cost about $125,000 a year to support a director, administrative assistant and graduate assistant.

Every reason to hope

Now, 15, Brandon has been attending therapy sessions at the clinic since he was three. Throughout the years of Brandon’s therapy, Smith said she knows that the faculty members and students will always be there for her family, and will be there for future families.

“I always know they have the best intentions toward my son,” she said. “And they truly care about him.”

Families like the Smith’s understand that opening up a center will not be easy, but they know what it will mean for families searching for help.

“Regardless of the answer, an answer is still good,” she said. “Going forward, we knew it wasn’t always going to be easy or fun, but we knew we had every reason to hope.”

If anyone would like to donate to EIU’s Autism Center, click here.

New scholarship at EIU Offers Honors Students Fully-Paid Room/board and Tuition 01/06/14

Eastern Illinois University is offering up to five honors students scholarships that covers room and board as well as tuition and fees.

The Pemberton Presidential Scholarship will be awarded for the first time this year, and is renewable for a total of four years. Students will have the choice of any of Eastern’s residence halls, but will be given priority in Eastern’s newly established Honors housing floor in Thomas Hall. Recipients of the scholarship will also be guaranteed support in presenting original research in the National Conference on Undergraduate Research or the National Collegiate Honors Council.

The Pemberton scholars will receive an array of additional benefits such as taking part in a small introductory seminar, and they will receive additional faculty mentorship throughout their years at Eastern.

“Our scholars will be guided through the process of creating a unique honors engagement experience which will help them grow as researchers, scholars and citizens,” said Richard England, dean of the Honors College.

For the last 10 years, Eastern has also been awarding the Presidential Scholarship, an $11,000 per year award that also includes a small introductory seminar and additional faculty mentorship for students.

Past winners of the Presidential Scholarship include:

Alex Cler (class of 2012) is an auditor for the Bank of America after interning for a non-profit national business consultancy.

Jennifer Prillaman (class of 2012) spent the year after graduation teaching and volunteering in Haiti and is now pursuing graduate study in international affairs at George Washington University.

Madeleine Trimble (class of 2011) spent two undergraduate summers learning about international business abroad, and is a graduate student at the University of Mannheim in Germany.

Bill Wolf (class of 2010) is completing his Ph. D in theoretical astrophysics at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

David Cesar (class of 2008) started a business for his Honors engagement experience, which has grown into Blue Peak Tents, a very successful company. He was also 2013’s young alumnus of the year.

Eligible applicants for the Pemberton Scholarship must demonstrate academic excellence by achieving an ACT score of 31 and a cumulative high school GPA of 3.75 (unweighted on a 4-point scale) or better, exemplify leadership and service, as well as intellectual maturity noted within high school activities and achievements.

While eligible applicants for the Presidential Scholarship must have a composite ACT score of 30 (or SAT equivalent score of 1980) and either an unweighted high school GPA of 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) or ranking in the top 90th percentile of the graduating class. Applicants could also have a composite ACT score of 28 (or SAT equivalent score of 1860) and either an unweighted high school GPA of 3.75 (on a 4- point scale) or a ranking in the top 95th percentile of the graduating class.

For more information about the scholarships, contact the Honors College at (217) 581-2017 or honors@eiu.edu or view the scholarship requirements here. Deadline for the scholarships are Friday, January 10.

Connection Runs Deep Between Dively Family and EIU 12/27/13 Some could argue that were it not for Eastern Illinois University, Joe Dively might not, well… be here.

And, of course, the same could be said for his brother, John, and sisters, Laura and Amy.

But as the fates would have it, John Dively Sr., a young U.S. Army veteran from Paris, Ill., enrolled at what was then known as Eastern Illinois State College, met Joyce Reynolds, a young woman from Charleston, fell in love and married. That union produced four children.

As those children approached adulthood, they, too, chose to attend EIU. And like their parents, some met the loves of their lives there.

Between spouses and those two generations alone, the Dively family accounts for 15 degrees -- nine bachelor’s, five master’s and one specialist’s -- awarded by Eastern Illinois University.

“I’m very proud of my family’s long-time association with the university,” said Joe Dively. “There’s a deep connection there.”

John Dively Sr. passed away in December 2011 at the age of 83. Two months prior to the family patriarch’s death, his youngest son, Joe, was named by Gov. Patrick Quinn to Eastern’s Board of Trustees. Joe currently serves as chair of that board -- a one-year appointment effective through April 2014.

“I’m excited about this opportunity. I’m impressed with my colleagues and their commitment to EIU,” he said. “We care about serving the mission of the university.”

A Charleston native, Dively also serves as the president of First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust, with a business career that includes working as a senior vice president for Consolidated Communications and in sales and management roles with IBM and Caterpillar.

He has served his alma mater as president of the Alumni Association, chair of the Business School Advisory Board, and as a member of both the EIU Foundation Board and the Panther Club. He has also been an active member of the business community, serving as chair of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, president of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System, and on the board of the U.S. Telecom Association.

In 2003, Eastern presented him with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. His father, who was himself named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1989, was quite proud of his son’s accomplishments.

“That was a significant moment for both of us,” Joe said.

John Dively Sr. was well-known in the Charleston, Ill., community, having served as principal of what was then-known as Charleston Junior High School. Upon Dively’s death, Dave Fopay of the Journal Gazette/Times-Courier wrote: “John Dively had a gravelly voice that could bring junior high students to a quick halt but was also loved by his students and recognized as a quality school administrator.”

He retired as principal at CJHS, now Charleston Middle School, in 1990. (The school’s gym has since been named for him.)

But John Dively also took time to be involved in his community. Organizations that benefitted from his contributions included the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center and the Coles County Fair. He was also an organizer of an effort to clean up the Old City Cemetery in Charleston, where some of the city's founding residents are buried, and later in the effort to restore the Five Mile House south of Charleston.

Joe Dively shares his father’s sense of community. Although, he says, there was a time -- as a recent university graduate -- that he “wanted to see the world.” His began that journey working for Caterpillar at its Peoria headquarters.

“I remember interviewing for the position and feeling intimidated,” Dively said. “There were others -- some coming from Big Ten and Ivy League schools -- vying for the same position. But I discovered that with my education from Eastern, I was well prepared. I was able to hold my own.”

After three years with Caterpillar, Dively took a position with IBM, focusing on sales in the Chicago/Bloomington areas. Five years later, he and his own growing family moved to Boston where he became involved in real estate development.

He was contemplating yet another move when he was offered a position at Consolidated Communications, based in Mattoon. After much consideration, he accepted the offer.

“As a young man, it was almost like I didn’t want to throw in the towel,” Dively said. “I felt like it limited my career aspirations by living in a small town. In actuality, though, the move back home exceeded my expectations.”

Dively says that since his 1991 return to the Charleston/Mattoon area, he has been associated with both Consolidated Communications and First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust -- “two of the most significant companies in the county.”

“And while professionally, it’s been great, I’m also grateful for the opportunities that those companies have provided to give back to the community,” he added.

"Dick Lumpkin (Consolidated Communications chairman) has done great things for the community, and he’s always encouraged employee community service,” Dively continued. “The same is true at First-Mid.”

During his service on Eastern’s Board of Trustees, Dively will draw from his own experiences as an undergraduate student. Aside from his studies, he needed a part-time job. “I worked at Eisner’s (a now-defunct grocery store in Charleston) for six years,” he said.

He changed his mind about a major mid-stream. “I was a political science major until my first test,” he added, grinning sheepishly.

He was a member of Sigma Pi, a social fraternity, and he admits to attending a party or two.

“I did enjoy a full-college experience,” Dively said.

But, he adds, “There was always a focus on my studies, which was both self-motivated and equally ‘encouraged’ by my parents. And that’s what I want to see in any student who attends or plans to attend Eastern. That’s a critical quality we want to see in our students.

“And it’s our job, as a board, to maintain an institution conducive to attracting and developing quality students, as well as faculty and staff.”
First Class of EIU Students Graduate from One-of-a-Kind Sustainable Energy Program 12/16/13

Fall 2013 commencement at Eastern Illinois University will mark the first graduating class earning a master’s degree in sustainable energy.

The program, a collaborative effort of 10 departments throughout the university, prepares students to become leaders and managers in the energy industry. Students receive a mixture of hands-on learning and theory inside the classroom paired with internships and research practicums outside the classroom within EIU’s Renewable Energy Center.

Rob Raschke and David Stack are the first two graduates from this new multidisciplinary effort at EIU, said Peter Liu, graduate coordinator of the program. Raschke will also be the first student at EIU to receive a dual-degree with a master’s in sustainable energy and technology.

“We are very proud of the high quality and confident graduates from the new program,” Liu said.

For more information about the program click here.

His Voice Opens Doors of Opportunity for Matt Piescinski 12/13/13

They may not recognize him by sight, but anyone who has attended Eastern Illinois University in the past 35 years has probably heard Matt Piescinski’s voice.

He serves as the public address announcer at the spring state track meets and the badminton state finals, as well as at some of the university’s football and basketball games.  Acting as master of ceremonies, he presided over Eastern’s centennial celebration as they opened the cornerstone at Old Main, and participated in the inaugurations of two university presidents – Carol D. Surles and William Perry.

Perhaps, however, his voice is most recognized for its role in Eastern’s annual commencement ceremonies.  For two decades, Piescinski has announced the names of every EIU graduate who participated in the fall and spring events.  Names of those graduating with distinction are followed by the carefully pronounced, highly coveted terms “cum laude,” “magna cum laude” or “summa cum laude.”

“Those are exhausting days,” Piescinski said, noting that he might call out between 1,500 and 1,700 names in a  four-ceremony, 12-hour period (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.).  And that doesn’t include the quick chats he has prior to each individual ceremony with students who have unusual or hard-to-pronounce names.

Piescinski wants to get it right.

“(Former EIU President) Lou Hencken once told me that the university used to get calls from upset parents because their child’s name was pronounced incorrectly,” Piescinski said.  “They’d say something like, ‘We’ve paid you four years’ tuition and you can’t even get our kid’s name right.’

“We don’t get those calls anymore, Matt,” he added, quoting Hencken.

A Dolton, Ill., native, Piescinski began voice work even before graduating from Thornridge High School.  His district has a strong, comprehensive speech program, he recalled.

“The speech coach went to the athletic director and asked him to let me call the football and basketball games,” Piescinski said.  “Then there was radio speaking.  The work became self-motivating.  I found out that ‘I like this.  This is fun.’”

In the mid ‘70s, he enrolled as an environmental biology student at Eastern, but refused to give up his passion.  In addition to handling a demanding course load, Piescinski joined the staff of WELH, the university’s carrier current radio station and the precursor to WEIU-FM.  He became acquainted with Dave Kidwell, EIU’s sports information director, who invited him to announce during super sectionals.

There was no looking back.

Today, reflecting on the past four decades, Piescinski says, “I feel like I’m serving my alma mater on a number of levels.  And I’m having a lot of fun doing it.”

He recalls announcing during all of Sean Payton’s footballs games, as well as those of Tony Romo.  “And I knew Kevin Duckworth,” he added.

He acknowledges that other opportunities have opened up to him as a result of his EIU connections.  In addition to the state track meets in May, for example, Piescinski serves as the public address announcer for other track and cross country meets across Illinois – from Chicago to Belleville.

“I do get calls from across the state,” he said, noting that some find it unique to have “the voice of the state track meet” at their local event.

Piescinski personally finds those experiences invaluable, since he’s able to pick up useful information about the athletes that he can later use when he announces at state-wide meets.  In addition, the more interaction he has with the athletes, the better he gets to know them on an individual basis.

“I enjoy seeing kids come through Eastern, knowing that I saw them on a track somewhere along the line and now I’m announcing their names during commencement,” he added.

Piescinski admitted that his passion takes up a lot of time and that it’s a good thing he’s built up a healthy vacation package at his “day job” – using his chemistry background in the food safety division at Mars Petcare U.S. in Mattoon.  “Having six weeks’ vacation doesn’t hurt,” he said.  “I use up nearly a half of that every year doing this sort of stuff.”

That’s not to say, however, that his voice work can’t be a welcome respite.  In November 2012, for example, he spent Thanksgiving in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, serving as a PA announcer at the men’s and women’s Division I Hoops for Hope basketball tournament.  He returned this year, taking along daughters Maggie, a sports enthusiast, and Leah, who appears to be following in her father’s announcing footsteps.

Aside from expenses, Piescinski receives no compensation for his work with Hoops for Hope.  He considers it a privilege just to be a part of the project.

The tournament was created by the Strohm family, originally from Marshall, Ill., and supports the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation.  This foundation is important to the Strohm family in that two of Jeff Strohm’s three daughters suffer from Argininosuccinic Aciduria (ASA).

Strohm was an NCAA assistant coach at Western Kentucky when his daughters were diagnosed with ASA, and the family connected with the NUCDF for information and support.  Strohm, who now serves as an assistant basketball coach at Tulane University in New Orleans, approached foundation officials with the idea of raising UCD awareness and support for NUCDF.

Those efforts ultimately led to Strohm’s brothers and sisters-in-law (most of whom, like Jeff Strohm and other members of the family, are EIU alumni) forming Plan BC3 to organize NCAA college basketball tournaments, including the NUCDF Hoops for Hope Classic (men) and the NUCDF Hardwood Tournament of Hope (women).  The final games of both tournaments were played in Puerto Vallarta.

Piescinski was contacted by Strohm and asked to be an announcer.

“I’ve known Matt for years,” Strohm said.  “As we started putting the pieces together for the tournament – who would do this, who would do that -- we got to discussing who would be a really good public announcer.  A friend mentioned Matt’s name and we agreed he would be perfect.

“I contacted Matt and told him, ‘I want you to become the voice of basketball in Puerto Vallarta.’  He agreed, and since the tournaments, I’ve heard nothing but compliments.”

“Veteran game announcer Matt Piescinski provided public service announcements about urea cycle disorders and NUCDF’s fight to conquer UCD,” Cindy Le Mons, NUCDF executive director, wrote on the foundation’s website.  “It was a surreal experience seeing our CureUCD logo on the marquee at the stadium and emblazoned on the basketball court, and hearing Matt talking about our fight to save lives. Matt gave us a voice -- and became a wonderful champion of our cause.”

In the past year or so, Piescinski has received the Distinguished Service Award from the IHSA (July 2012) and Honorary Referee recognition at the Illinois Girls State Track Meet (May 2013).  He was honored, but says the big pay-off of his announcing career is 40 years of opportunities he would never otherwise have imagined.

Still, he can’t help but wonder… What lies ahead?

“It would be nice to do a state championship football or basketball game,” he said, “and maybe a White Sox game.  You never know.  Maybe one of these days, the little pieces will fall together.”

EIU Fall Commencement Ceremonies Set for Saturday, Dec. 14 12/11/13

More than 600 graduates plan to participate in Eastern Illinois University's Fall 2013 commencement ceremonies, scheduled to take place Saturday, Dec. 14, in Lantz Arena.

Ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Guest tickets are required for admission.

Students from the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences and the College of Arts and Humanities will march in the morning ceremony, while students from the College of Education and Professional Studies, the College of Sciences and the School of Continuing Education (Bachelor of Arts in General Studies Degree) will march in the afternoon.  Graduate students will march with their respective colleges.

President William L. Perry will preside over the ceremonies.  Music will be provided by the EIU Wind Symphony.

Timothy L. Burke will present the “Charge to the Class” during the morning ceremony, while his wife, Vickie Krupp Burke, will speak in the afternoon.  The couple met while students at EIU, and have continued their relationship with their alma mater through the years.  The Burkes established the Louis V. Hencken Housing Services Scholarship, are past recipients of the Louis V. Hencken Alumni Services Award, are members of the EIU Foundation, and served on the steering committee for the university’s recently complete capital campaign.

Representing Eastern's Board of Trustees will be Jan Spivey Gilchrist of Olympia Fields at 10 a.m. and Mitchell Gurick of Hinsdale at 1 p.m.

Traditionally, a commencement marshal leads the commencement procession while carrying the university mace, a symbol of honor accorded a faculty member.  The commencement marshal for the 10 a.m. ceremony will be Peter P. Liu, who, as a professor of technology, will represent the Graduate School.  Representing the School of Continuing Education at 1 p.m. will be W. Andrew Robinson, instructor of communication studies.

An EIU tradition also allows faculty members the honor of carrying the college banner for his/her college during the procession.

This semester’s faculty marshals for the morning ceremony are Marko Grunhagen, professor of marketing and the Lumpkin Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, representing the Graduate School and the Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences; Charles W. Wootton, professor, School of Business, representing the LCBAS; Tim N. Taylor, associate professor of English, representing the Graduate School and the College of Arts and Humanities; and Jerry L. Daniels, professor and chair, Department of Music, representing the CAH.

This year's faculty marshals for the afternoon ceremony are Catherine L. Polydore, assistant professor, Counseling and Student Development, representing the Graduate School and the College of Education and Professional Studies; Janet L. Carpenter, instructor, early childhood, elementary and middle level education, representing the CEPS; Michael Menze, assistant professor, biological sciences, representing the Graduate School and the College of Sciences; Lynn Calvert, associate professor, communication disorders and sciences, representing the COS; and Donna Coonce, instructor, family and consumer sciences, representing the School of Continuing Education.

Jade N. Owen, a psychology major from Mattoon, will serve as Honors College banner marshal during both ceremonies.

Additionally, Andrew Methven, who was selected as EIU’s 2013 Luis Clay Mendez Distinguished Service Award recipient for his contributions to the university, the field of biological sciences and the community, will be formally recognized.  The award honors the memory of Mendez, an EIU professor of Spanish who died in 2003.

Panther Spirit Flags Are Now Flying in Charleston in Celebration of Upcoming Football Game 12/06/13

More than 40 Panther spirit flags are now flying along Lincoln Ave in Charleston to stir on the Panthers to victory for their upcoming playoff game.

Flags, which are displayed from Morton Park to Ninth Street along Lincoln Ave, create a new entryway for Panther Nation and display Eastern Illinois’s dedication for school spirit.

The second-round football game against Tennessee State University will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available at EIU ticket office at (217) 581-2106 or online here.

'Just Moving Along, Following the Catfish...' 12/03/13

Somewhere in the Wabash River there swims a fish named after Robert Colombo, an associate biological sciences professor at Eastern Illinois University.

“Little Rob” is one of 44 flathead catfish who have been stunned with electricity, collected and surgically tagged before being released back into the 500-mile-long river that flows from northwest Ohio, across northern Indiana and along the southern Illinois border.

Anyone searching for these particular fish, however, would be advised to stay focused near the Illinois waters where EIU graduate student Sarah Huck concentrates her research.  “It’s been our experience that the fish usually continue to navigate in the same area where we found them,” she said.  “Three miles has been about the furthest we’ve tracked one of my fish.”

While it’s unlikely that the underwater creatures enjoy the treatment of being captured and tagged, Huck finds it necessary for her research.  And her studies are critical for determining the sustainability of the flathead catfish – one of the most sought-after fish in the Wabash.

“It’s a good-tasting fish, popular with both sport and commercial fishermen,” she said.  “And it’s a real aggressive fish.  It’ll give you a good fight.”

In addition to researching the large- and small-scale movements of the fish, she also studies their general behavior, along with their environment.  The proper habitat is critical for the fishes’ success.

“Our job is to determine their critical habitats, which means, in part, studying them for 24-hour periods throughout the year,” Colombo said.

And to do this, the fish must be traceable. That’s where Huck’s job began.

In order to collect her fish, Huck visited several sites along the Wabash, south of Terre Haute, Ind.  Using an electric current, she stunned the fish – “it doesn’t kill them,” she quickly adds – and collected them, placing them in aerated, water-filled tanks.  The “chosen ones” must fit certain size and weight requirements (at least 24 inches and four pounds) to properly withstand the tagging process.

(Her largest tagged fish, Huck said, weighed in excess of 50 pounds and was more than three feet long.)

Within a couple of minutes, each fish is weighed and measured, then has a small “coded ultrasonic transmitter,” similar in appearance to a battery, surgically implanted into its body cavity (near the fish’s shoulder) via a one-and-a-half-inch incision.  In addition, a separate identification tag is attached to the dorsal fin. 

The fish is then put back in the holding tank and given time – five to 10 minutes – for “post-op” recovery before being placed back in the river.

“That transmitter puts out ultrasonic signals in the water that we can hear through what we call a hydrophone,” Huck said.  “The tracking equipment we use is transported via boat to various spots on the river.”

For thorough research, tracking sessions must take place at varying times during the day and night and through all four of the seasons.

Huck and a research partner – “One never goes out alone,” she said – might spend a complete night out on the Wabash.  They could be dressed in shorts and tank tops or, instead, bundled up in winter gear.

Huck can tell the story about building a snowman as they floated along the river one cold, winter day.  She’s less inclined to reveal the details leading to her rescue by the Posey County River Rescue Team after running aground during the drought of 2012.

“That one’s embarrassing,” she admits, grinning. 

Les Frankland ’75, ‘77, fisheries biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, admires both Huck’s dedication and her spunk.  “She goes places where I wouldn’t even think about going,” he said.  “Just moving along, following the catfish.”

He also appreciates the professionalism with which the research is done, and is appreciative of the data that Huck shares with the IDNR.  “The flathead catfish is one of the most sought-after species in the river,” he said, “and it’s important that it not be over-harvested.

“We want to protect the species, but we also want to be able to utilize it,” Frankland continued.  “I’m pleased to say that Sarah’s research indicates that the flathead catfish population in the Wabash River is a quite healthy one.” 

Huck – a self-proclaimed tom boy and “river rat,” having grown up along the Fox River near Barrington in Lake County -- never really gave much thought to fish.  Her plan upon coming to Eastern was to become a veterinarian.

That all changed with one class.

“I had to take a regular ecology class that Dr. Colombo taught,” she said.  “One day we took a trip to Polecat Creek east of Charleston), and something in me snapped.

“I kept thinking about how beautiful the fish are, and it amazed me to think about that entirely different world beneath the water.”

Still an undergraduate at the time, she immediately began helping graduate students with their research projects.  She reciprocates now by enlisting current undergraduates to help her with her own research as she strives to finish her master’s thesis.  She expects to graduate in May 2014.


Have you caught one of Sarah's tagged fish?  Please let her know...

When someone catches one of her fish, Sarah Huck wants to know about it.  Please.

It’s not hard -- contact information for the university is listed on the identification tag adhered to the fish’s dorsal fin.  Folks can call EIU’s Biological Sciences Department and let them know a tagged fish has been caught.  In return, EIU will send the caller a self-addressed envelope with which to return the tag and, if at all possible, the transmitter inside the fish.

Returning the transmitter helps in two ways:  First, each fish’s capture is carefully logged, becoming yet another piece of information to be used in Huck’s research.

“I basically write a story about each of the fish – its health, where it has been, etc.,” Huck said.

Secondly, many of the transmitters can be reused.  Since each one costs about $300, that can means a huge savings for the department – and for the taxpayer.

Much of the money spent to support fisheries research at Eastern Illinois University comes from funding made possible through the federal Sport Fish Restoration Act.  This act, originally passed in 1950, places a 10 percent excise tax on fishing rods, reels, lures, fishing line and related fishing equipment.  EIU receives roughly $60,000 annually; its use, however, is controlled by the IDNR. 

To date, transmitters from six of Huck’s 44 tagged fish have been returned by anglers. 

Medicare Advantage Informational Meetings Set for Nov. 27 on EIU Campus 11/25/13 Meetings designed to help state of Illinois retirees understand the new Medicare Advantage insurance program are scheduled to take place Wednesday, Nov. 27, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

Janice Bonneville, deputy director of Central Management Services, will be on hand to explain the program that is being offered to eligible retirees, survivors and dependents. Vendors representing the available insurance plans will be in attendance, as well.

Admission to either of two meetings -- one at 9:30 a.m. and the second at 1:30 p.m. -- is free. Both are scheduled to take place in the Grand Ballroom of the MLK Jr. Union. Parking is free for the event and available throughout campus.

Any state of Illinois retiree is encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the Medicare Advantage program, although it is designed specifically for those who are 65 and over; who are on Medicare, Parts A and B; and whose dependent(s), where applicable, are also on Medicare, Parts A and B.

Family members -- especially those with or representing loved ones who meet the above-mentioned requirements but who are no longer able or may need assistance to make decisions regarding insurance needs -- are also encouraged to attend.

Those meeting the requirements MUST choose a new Medicare Advantage plan by Dec. 13. Those who do not choose a new plan will see their medical and prescription drug coverage end on Jan. 31, 2014, and they will not be eligible to re-enroll until the next enrollment period in the fall.

Eligible participants should have recently received an enrollment kit titled "Total Retiree Advantage Illinois - Your Trail to Better Health" in the mail. Anyone who did not receive this information, or who might have questions regarding this matter, should call CMS at 1-800-442-1300 or SURS at 1-800-275-7877.

Retirees are encouraged to bring their packets to the Nov. 27 meetings, where individuals will be available to help fill out enrollment forms.

The meetings are being co-sponsored by the EIU Benefits Office, the EIU Annuitants Association and State Rep. Brad Halbrook's office.
Director of Eastern Illinois Foodbank to speak about food insecurity at EIU 11/18/13

After serving eight years as executive director of the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Jim Hires knows that food insecurity is an issue in the Coles County area.

During a lecture titled “Mission to End Hunger” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Eastern Illinois University, Hires plans to enlighten students and community members on ways they can help put an end to food insecurity in their community.

Hires’s lecture, at 7 p.m. in the Charleston/Mattoon room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union, marks the end of EIU’s Hunger Challenge, a month-long awareness event, where student volunteers sponsored many events from food drives, advocacy opportunities and documentary screenings to help bring awareness about hunger and poverty in the region.

Hires is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University where he received bachelor’s degree in history education and a master’s degree in counseling. Before working at the foodbank, Hires worked in the private sector.

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank provides food to more than 200 food agencies and provides local food pantries in Charleston and Mattoon with about 60 to 70 percent of their food.

Jeffrey Boshart Named 2013 Illinois Professor of the Year 11/15/13
Jeff and Karen Boshart

Eastern Illinois University’s Jeffrey Boshart has been named the 2013 Illinois Professor of the Year by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country – those who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives and careers of students.  It is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

Boshart, who was selected from more than 350 top professors in the United States, was honored at an awards luncheon Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.  The announcement was made public on Eastern’s campus today during a meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees.

“I am pleased and honored to represent Illinois and, specifically, Eastern Illinois University as the CASE Illinois Professor of the Year,” Boshart said.  “I have spent my career striving to become a better teacher, mentor and student-centered activist, asking myself, ‘How can I help my students engage their profession, achieve better results and find success in their chosen field sooner?’

"It has been a challenging goal but one that has never left me without options, and the exploration of those possibilities has made the struggle worth every dime I’ve spent and every hour I’ve devoted to the quest.”

He added that his efforts in teaching, creative activity, research and service have been consistently supported by his family, colleagues and administration.

“I am humbled to have received this recognition but gleefully share it with my family, peers and students, both past and present,” he said.

Boshart joined the EIU Department of Art in 1988.  He routinely teaches classes from the introductory level all the way through graduate level.  He works with independent study students, is a departmental academic adviser and, on the high school level, has been both an instructor and the director for the EIU Summer High School Art Camp.

As an outreach educator, Boshart conducts workshops and symposia, ranging from kindergartner classes through professional art associations.  He is an ongoing visual arts guest curator and, most recently, developed several exhibitions, lectures and workshops in cooperation with Eastern’s Tarble Arts Center.

While Boshart is primarily a sculptor, he also engages in drawing, watercolor, photography and various other art forms as situations dictate.  He has installed large-scale and/or site-specific sculptures and has been featured in solo exhibitions, group shows, competitions and traveling exhibitions.

Boshart received the inaugural Master Educator Award from the international professional association, Foundations in Art:  Theory and Education, in 2007.  While at Eastern, he has received multiple achievement and contribution awards for his service commitment to students, his department, the university, community, state and nation.  Since 1980, he has received more than 35 grants in support of the classroom/studio activities, outreach programs and directed research assistantships.

Annie Cunningham, a 2011 EIU graduate and former student of Boshart’s, referred to her mentor as an outstanding instructor and an involved part of the community.  In addition to giving elementary students the “gift of expression,” she said, he provides “adolescents with ways to have healthy outlets for the pressures of life.”

Additionally, he helps young adults explore what they are capable of and introduces “the older generation” to new techniques, as well as the “classic ways” of doing things, Cunningham added.

“Jeff Boshart is many things to many people, but for me, he will always be a symbol as to what a true artist ought to be:  supportive, versatile, knowledgeable, creative and forever curious.”

EIU Commits to College Affordability with 'Zero Percent' Rate Increases 11/15/13

Citing continued commitment to college affordability and accessibility to higher education, Eastern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees on Friday voted not to raise room and board rates -- or tuition rates -- for the 2014-2015 school year.

Noting that Eastern has consistently been the best value among Illinois public universities, Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, said he was “very pleased and very proud” that the university was able to offer a "0 percent" increase in rates.

According to Nadler, this will be the first time since the 1992-93 school year that tuition rates have remained constant.  And it’s the first time on record (nearly 40 years) that  a year has gone by without increases in room and board rates, he said.

Voicing his pleasure over the Board’s decision, EIU President William Perry added that the university “was still mindful of providing a quality education.”

Students living in EIU’s residence halls and Greek Court will continue to range from $4,150 per semester for the 7 Meal Plan Option to $4,679 for the 15 Meal Plan Option.

Students living in one of the 148 units at University Apartments (designed primarily to meet the needs of student families and single graduate students) will see monthly rents ranging from $448 to $503, depending on the type of apartment being rented (one-bedroom, efficiency or super efficiency).  All utilities are included in the rent price.

Residents of University Court, a 146-unit university-owned apartment complex for sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students, will continue to see rates ranging from $2,412 to $3,225 per semester, depending on the type of apartment being rented.

EIU’s resident tuition rate will remain at $283 per semester credit hour for students entering the university during the 2014-2015 school year.  This means that those with an average 15-course academic load will pay $4,245 per semester.

Additionally, incoming resident students will be able to lock in the new tuition rate for four continuous academic years, as provided by the state’s “Truth in Tuition” Law.

EIU Students will “Stuff the Bus” for Local Food Pantries at Last Home Football Game 11/15/13

Before the Eastern Illinois University Panther football team plays its last home game of the regular season, students will “stuff the bus” with canned goods during a tailgate celebration Saturday morning.

The “Stuff the Bus” event is part of EIU Hunger Challenge Month designed to bring awareness to the community about hunger and poverty in the Coles County area and help provide support to local pantries.

“If you have food in the fridge and your parents are helping you out, hunger is not something on your mind,” said Samantha Sarich, student organizer. “At the end of the month, I hope to make more students and community members aware of the issue of hunger and poverty.”

The canned-good collection will occur on the east side of O’Brien Stadium in the tailgating section right behind the stadium, and participants are asked to bring non-perishable goods and monetary gifts. All donations will be given to local food pantries in Charleston. The event will also include a bounce house and laser tag.

“We want to help our community, and have a little fun too,” Sarich said.

Throughout the month of November, Sarich and other student volunteers sponsored many events from food drives, advocacy opportunities and documentary screenings to help bring awareness about hunger and poverty.

The “Stuff the Bus” event is sponsored by the Office of Student Community Service and EIU Athletics Department. After the event, participants are encouraged to watch the Eastern vs. Jacksonville State football game at noon in Lantz Arena.

Charleston Ties Help Attract New Facilities Director to EIU 11/13/13

As a boy on a bicycle, Tim Zimmer raced over the sidewalks at Eastern Illinois University, not realizing at the time that he would, one day, ultimately be responsible for the upkeep of those same walkways.

Earlier this year, the Mahomet resident was serving as associate director for construction services at the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign.  Upon discovering that Eastern was seeking a director for its Facilities Planning and Management division, Zimmer submitted his application.

“The position appealed to me on many levels,” he said.

There were, of course, the memories of the town and the university when, as a youth, he visited his grandparents – long-time Charleston residents Lloyd and Katherine Thudium.  Even though he is a native of Neoga, Zimmer talks knowledgeably about former city landmarks, including, as an example, the former community pool, once located at the southwest corner of Lincoln Avenue and Division Street.

But he also longed for the opportunity to work at a university where academics and interpersonal relationships reign.

“I brought my wife down for Homecoming and every few steps, I’d find myself introducing her to yet someone else new and from all facets of university life – not just facilities,” Zimmer said.  “In fact, at one point, this tall fellow standing about 15 feet away turned around and, with a wave, yelled out, ‘Hi, Tim.’  And it was President Perry.

“You just don’t experience those types of relationships at bigger institutions,” he added.  “We’ve got some very friendly folks here.”

As director of Facilities Planning and Management, Zimmer is responsible for the overall operations, maintenance, construction, renewal and continuous stewardship of the campus’ physical facilities.  Specific areas of responsibility include management, oversight, fiscal authority and direction of maintenance functions in all buildings; grounds care; utilities and their infrastructure; engineering and architectural service delivery; campus design and construction activities; project management and coordination; renovations and alterations to campus assets; and janitorial services in administrative, classroom and athletics buildings.

“President (Bill) Perry and I have high expectations for the facilities team,” said William Weber, vice president for business affairs.  “Mr. Zimmer has a proven record of accomplishments, and I believe he will be an outstanding director of Facilities Planning and Management at Eastern."

Zimmer comes prepared for his new role, having served nearly 14 years at the U of I and seven years in the U.S. Air Force working in related positions.  He received his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., and completed graduate work toward a master’s degree at the University of Tennessee-Tullahoma and the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Zimmer assumed his post at Eastern on Aug. 1.  Since then, he said, he’s spent a good deal of his time as director “observing and absorbing.”  Meetings, of course, have been plentiful and he’s looking forward to visiting the various individuals he’s met through those meetings on their own turf – in the classroom, the laboratory or the office.

He and his wife, Peg, also plan to begin building a home in Charleston – on land once owned by his grandparents.

There are no regrets about taking the position at EIU.

“My daughter recently told me, ‘you seem happier now.’  And I am,” he said.  ‘It’s really been great."

EIU Groundskeepers Settle Into New Headquarters 11/12/13
President Bill Perry tries on a pair of work gloves before using a pair of pruning shears to cut the ceremonial blue ribbon.

The grand opening was a simple one – cake, punch, a pair of pruning shears…

A small but appreciative audience gathered recently as Eastern Illinois University President Bill Perry donned a pair of workman’s gloves and, using the pruning shears, cut a ceremonial blue ribbon signifying the completion of the institution’s newest building.

Located west of O’Brien Stadium in the university’s Facilities Planning & Management complex, the facility is the new center of operations for Eastern’s groundskeepers and all the equipment they need to care for the 320-acre campus year round.

As a traditionally built pole building with a large, attached lean-to for additional storage, it’s not an architectural wonder.  It is, however, a significant improvement for the department and its employees who previously worked and congregated in a confined space.

“The new building allowed us to make some safety improvements,” said David Crockett, associate director for maintenance and operations.  “In addition to separate storage areas for chemicals and cleaning supplies, our employees now have a larger inside area in which to store and maintain the various machines they use in their work.”

Also in attendance at the grand opening, William Weber, vice president for business affairs, noted his appreciation for the new building and thanked the Council on University Planning and Budget for its support for the project.

"The council identified the new grounds facility as a campus priority that was worthy of funding," he said.

According to Scott Hall, superintendent of grounds, Eastern currently employs 18 individuals (13 during the winter months), hired to keep the campus safe for student, faculty and staff use, and attractive for Eastern constituencies and visitors – including future Panthers.

“The president has placed significant focus on the campus grounds, which, of course, is what all prospective students and their families see when they come to visit,” said Steve Shrake, associate director for design and construction.  “The overall appearance of a campus can certainly affect admissions.”

In addition to mowing, seeding, fertilizing, watering and maintaining the university's trees, shrubbery and flowers, the department removes trash from across campus.  Employees set up barricades and banners for special events.

And they’re the ones, Hall added, who are responsible for removing the snow and ice from sidewalks and parking lots to ensure the safety of students and other university employees – even if it means getting to work in the middle of the night.

In addition to mowing the sports and band fields, grounds crews also do additional tasks to help maintain some of Eastern’s athletic venues – the replacement of nets on the tennis courts, for example.

And then, there’s always the unexpected. 

“We retrieved a golf cart that someone had turned upside down in the center of the soccer field during spring commencement,” Hall recalled. 

Crockett said the area formerly occupied by the Grounds Shop is being renovated, and will allow for the expansion of Eastern’s Paint Shop and a new headquarters for Facilities Planning & Management’s building service workers.

EIU Campus at a Glance

 

320 total acres

42 acres of parking lots

230 acres of turf and landscapes

10-plus miles of sidewalks

4,100-plus trees

7,500 square feet of annual
     flower beds

330,028 square feet of perennial
     landscape beds

Sports Fields

Five intercollegiate game fields

Six intercollegiate tennis courts

Five intercollegiate practice fields

Four to six intramural game fields

Two club sports fields

General Campus Sports

Seven tennis courts

Seven basketball courts

One softball field

Five sand volleyball courts

Two band fields

 

Shown, from left to right (front row), are William Weber, vice president for business affairs; Larry Shobe; Greg Lee; Reggie Galey (kneeling); Robert Sedlmayr;  Brent Brown; Kayla Sondgeroth; Scott Hall, superintendent of grounds; Tim Zimmer, director of Facilities Planning and Management; and Steve Shrake, associate director, FPM.  Shown, from left to right (second row), are Dave Crockett, associate director, FPM; EIU President Bill Perry; Mike Rodebaugh; Mark Weaver; Karala Eastin; Ricky Haney; Mark Setzer; Jim Cox; and Levi Lee.

EIU to Commemorate Veterans Day with Series of Events 11/05/13

A series of events culminating with a Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11, will bring educational opportunities for and about military veterans to the forefront on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

The Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony has become an annual campus event.  Community residents are invited to join students, faculty and staff at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Old Main’s (the “Castle”) Cougill Foyer.  In addition to remarks by both Jacob Fryman, a student veteran and Purple Heart recipient, and EIU President Bill Perry, the ceremony will include the laying of a wreath.  The ROTC Panther Battalion will render a three-volley salute, while the EIU Department of Music will perform the National Anthem and the playing of taps.

During this year’s ceremony, Perry is also scheduled to sign a “Got Your 6” pledge as a public demonstration of EIU’s commitment to military student education opportunities.

According to Stephen Knotts, Eastern’s military student assistance coordinator, there is no set definition for a veteran-friendly school.  Eastern, he added, has already proven itself as an institution committed to providing resources, programs and policies to support the student veteran population.

The “Got Your 6” (a.k.a. “Got your Back”) pledge, Knotts continued, simply means that the university will continue to make efforts to create academic and social programs and services for veterans and active duty military personnel that will provide reasonable opportunities for academic performance and success.

The public is also invited to several related events.  Admission is free unless otherwise noted.

The Mattoon Junior ROTC Drill Team will present a demonstration on good citizenship at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Grand Ballroom of the MLK Jr. Union.

At 10 a.m., also in the Grand Ballroom, Paul Knudtson, director of armed services relations at National Louis University, will lead a discussion/question-and-answer session on “Student Veterans as a Strategic Asset.”  With nearly 20 years of military service, Knudtson is a dedicated and experienced leader of individuals and teams, and focused on serving the needs and interests of veterans and the communities in which they live.

EIU’s annual Veterans Day concert – “Call to Duty:  A Veterans Day Tribute” -- will feature the Eastern Illinois University Wind Symphony, plus special guests.  Admission to the concert, set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in Dvorak Concert Hall, Doudna Fine Arts Center, is $12 for the general public, $10 for EIU faculty/staff and senior citizens, and $5 for EIU students.

Third-graders from Carl Sandburg Elementary School in Charleston will begin Friday’s (Nov. 8) activities with a presentation of the POW/MIA Remembrance Table -- a single table set appropriately for a meal but is never used.  This special scene honors those, be they prisoners of war or those missing in action, who cannot join their families and friends.  This activity will begin at 11 a.m. in Booth Library’s north foyer.

Later in the day, Chat Noir – a blues/jazz/60s/70s local cover band – will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. in 7th Street Underground (formerly known as the Rathskeller), located in the basement level of the MLK Jr. Union, east side.  Admission is free to the family-friendly performance; however, donations will be accepted for the DAV (Disabled American Veterans).

EIU Lauded by Illinois Fire Inspectors Association for Fire Safety Work 10/30/13

William Weber, vice president for business affairs, and Gary
Hanebrink (center), EIU safety officer, receive Corporate Award
from Joey
Jeraminas (far right), Homer Township Fire District
and IFIA president.

Eastern Illinois University has received state recognition for its proactive approach to fire safety on campus.

The Illinois Fire Inspectors Association honored EIU by presenting the institution with a Corporate Award during the IFIA’s annual Fire Prevention Week luncheon/meeting.  According to Bob Morris, executive director of the IFIA, the group annually honors emergency personnel, children, young adults, adults and corporations who have greatly enhanced or contributed to local fire prevention efforts in their community.

Eastern was recognized for having been the first state university to achieve complete compliance of the Fire Sprinkler Dormitory Act.  This act, enacted in January 2005, required all on-campus housing at post-secondary institutions to have fire sprinklers installed by 2013.  In January 2011, the state further enacted the Greek Housing Fire Safety Act, requiring all Greek housing to install fire sprinkler systems by 2019.

Eastern began its efforts in 2000 with the installation of fire sprinklers in Pemberton Hall, the oldest woman’s residence hall in the state of Illinois.  The first Greek housing was retrofitted with sprinklers in 2002.

The university finished its work in Summer 2012 by making installations in Ford, McKinney and Weller halls.  Eastern spent more than $10.5 million dollars on the total multi-year project, which involved the installation of fire sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems in all 28 of the university’s residential buildings on campus.

Gary Hanebrink, EIU safety officer, along with William Weber, EIU’s vice president for business affairs, accepted the IFIA award on behalf of the university.

“We’re grateful for the award and what it represents,” Hanebrink said.  “It’s a validation of the efforts Eastern has made to provide a safe, secure environment for our students and visitors.

EIU Students Demonstrate How to Put on Zombie Makeup for Halloween 10/29/13

EIU student Jake Cole models the less scary zombie look designed for children.

Want to look like a zombie from the hit AMC show “Walking Dead” and truly scare your friends for Halloween?  Eastern Illinois University theater students say it’s easy to create the look of a gruesome flesh-eating zombie for the Halloween season.

EIU theater students Miranda Buob and Chela Gurnea said the zombie look will only take about 20 minutes and parents and teenagers can buy all the supplies at a local Halloween store.

Children can get in on the zombie look, too, but the pair of makeup artists suggests a toned-down look for the younger set.

For a child zombie, Buob said parents will need a bruise wheel (essentially a makeup compact with a variety of dark colors), paint brushes, white makeup, sponges and store-brought blood.  For an adult zombie look, would-be makeup artists will also need liquid latex and tissue paper.

To create the child zombie face, Buob said parents should sit their child down in a lighted spot and apply white makeup evenly throughout their face.

After their child’s face has a pasty glow, parents should apply a black color along their high check bone with a sponge or with their finger.

Next, parents should mix browns and reds underneath their child’s eyes with a finger or brush, Buob said. 

“The bruise wheel keeps all the necessary colors in a convenient place,” Buob said. “But you can create the same effect with a collection of separate colors.”

Then, apply a little black makeup under the child’s eyes. As the child begins to look like one of the walking dead, Buob said parents can pick anywhere on the child’s face to add a bloody cut with red makeup and blood to complete the look.

After finishing the red cut, parents will have a zombie child ready to go trick-or-treating with friends or go to a Halloween party, Buob said. 

If parents want to join their children with an even scarier look, there are a couple extra steps for a slightly more gruesome look, said Chela Gurnea.

Gurnea, a makeup student who participated in workshops alongside makeup designers from the show “Walking Dead,” said adults should be careful not to overuse the bloody makeup.

“It might seem counterintuitive, but less makeup actually helps create more of a dramatic effect on the face,” she said.  “The idea is to go for realism and not necessarily gore.”

To start the adult zombie look, Gurnea recommends spreading a lighter color evenly throughout the face and on the lips.

After applying the lighter color, Gurnea said adults should spread a dark brown or purple on their eyelids and underneath their eyes with a brush or sponge. The next step to create a really scary look is to create a festering wound on their face.

First, pick the location of the wound, and apply latex liquid to the spot, she said.  If someone has latex allergy, Gurnea said adults can use Elmer’s School Glue as a substitute.

After applying the liquid, cut a piece of tissue, and then apply a piece of tissue to the spot onto of the glue.

“Repeat this step about eight times,” Gurnea said.

After the tissue and glue has dried, Gurnea recommends using a utensil to spread the tissue apart to open up the wound.  Inside the wound, Gurnea said adults should outline the hole with a dark color to create more depth for their wound.

She then recommends using a brush to place red makeup or blood in the middle to heighten the effect and create a really believable bloody wound.

With an adult subject, you shouldn’t be afraid to get messy with the makeup because wounds should not be perfect, Gurnea said. For adults you can even add hair spray on the wound to help make the wound look more alive. Finally, Gurnea recommends using a paintbrush to create veins on the zombie’s face with black makeup. 

The theatre arts program at Eastern Illinois University offers students like Buob and Gurnea a broad-based curriculum with a wide range of courses from theatre history, dramatic literature, basic acting , stage movement, scene study, costuming and scenic lighting.

Chela Gurnea, an Eastern Illinois University student, places the final touches of the adult zombie look to fellow student, Austin Scavone.

EIU Student from Stewardson Wins Statewide Writing Competition 10/29/13

Elijah D. Slifer, an Eastern Illinois University student from Stewardson, won first place in upper division of the 2013 Illinois Sociological Association Undergraduate Student Paper Competition.

Slifer was one of three students from Eastern who won awards from the competition. Others included Kirsten Taylor, of Sullivan, with first place in the freshman/sophomore division and Sheldon Aaron, of Bloomington, with third place in the freshman/sophomore division.

As a senior geography major at Eastern Illinois University, Slifer entered the competition last year and competed against other students throughout the state from public and private universities.

The requirements for entry included a written paper from an undergraduate sociology course and a word count of 5,000 words or less. Awards for the competition will be handed out at the Illinois Sociological Association’s yearly conference.

The Illinois Sociological Association is a statewide association focused on educating and stimulating research, discussion, interaction and service among students and professors engaged in the sociological study and teaching.

EIU Student from Sullivan Wins Statewide Writing Competition 10/24/13

Kirsten Taylor, an Eastern Illinois University student from Sullivan, won first place in the freshman/sophomore division of the 2013 Illinois Sociological Association Undergraduate Student Paper Competition.

Taylor was one of the three Eastern students, who won awards from the competition. Others included Elijah D. Slifer, of Stewardson, with first place in the junior/senior division and Sheldon Aaron, of Bloomington, with third place in the freshman/ sophomore division.

Her paper was titled "Internet Inequality: How the Web is Reinforcing and Creating Inequality.” Throughout her paper, she used the sociological theories of Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim to help explain the consequences of internet inequality in our society.

Taylor, the daughter of Kevin and Dorothy Taylor of Sullivan, is a junior psychology major with a sociology minor at Eastern. After entering into the competition last year as a sophomore, Taylor competed against students throughout the state from public and private universities.

The requirements for entry included a written paper from an undergraduate sociology course and a paper of 5,000 words or less. Awards for the competition will be handed out at the Illinois Sociological Association’s yearly conference.

The Illinois Sociological Association is a statewide association focused on educating and stimulating research, discussion, interaction and service among students and professors engaged in sociological study and teaching.

New Facility for Honors College to Open with Rube Goldberg Machine 10/17/13

Eastern Illinois students are busily building a "Rube Goldberg" machine to handle the ribbon-cutting duties at the grand opening of the new home of the EIU Honors College this Friday.

The machine – inspired by the contraptions of Pulitzer Prize -- winning cartoonist -- will use a long and complicated series of steps to perform the simple task of cutting the ribbon to officially open the new facility.

"We have Honors students in programs throughout the university," said Honors College Dean Richard England, "and we thought this was a great chance to show off a little bit."

In addition to the physics and technology students who built the ribbon cutting contraption, other honors students will be on hand displaying their artwork, giving musical performances and explaining some of their original research.

But, the flashiest part of the show will take place at 5:15 p.m. on the south end of Pemberton Hall when President Bill Perry sets the ribbon cutter in motion.

England, who just joined the university this year, says that he is particularly pleased with the new facility and said it shows how deeply Eastern values honors students.

The Honors program was founded in 1982 by history professor, Herb Lasky, and became an Honors College in 2004. It services the needs of academically talented students by encouraging intellectual and social growth through a flexible and rigorous curriculum of Honors classes.

Speakers to Present International Perspective to Gun Culture in U.S. 10/16/13

Two German police representatives -- Det. Captain Franz Plueckthun, commander of Undercover Operations of the Bavarian State Police, and Michael Tentler, consultant for the German BKA (FBI) -- will lead a discussion on how the issues of gun control are being handled in Europe.

Hafeez Muhammad, long-time resident and community activist of Chicago, will address the problem of gun shootings in his city.

These points of view, along with those of some Eastern Illinois University faculty members, will be presented during a two-hour gun forum beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, in Lumpkin Hall Auditorium on the EIU campus. There will be a question-and-answer period after the presentations.

A post-forum reception has been planned to allow the speakers to visit with members of the audience.

According to event organizers, it is hoped that this forum will provide a focal point for the gun policy challenge through the interaction of students, faculty and members of the community. The public is invited to attend this event free of charge.

Sponsors are EIU's Political Science Department and the Public Policy Institute. For information, please contact Kevin Anderson at 217-581-2619 or kranderson@eiu.edu.

Homecoming Prizes in Store for Students Wearing Blue Friday 10/15/13

How often does the president of a university give you a ride and then offer you a chance to win prizes? That’s exactly what’s going to happen Friday as Eastern Illinois University staff -- including President Bill Perry -- drive golf carts around the campus and run a mobile trivia game.

Based on the popular TV show “Cash Cab,” two golf cart “cabs” will pick up students wearing blue and give them a chance to answer trivia questions about Eastern as a kick-off to the 2013 Homecoming Celebration. Winners will walk away with T-shirts and other EIU giveaways if they can demonstrate their “Panther” knowledge.

Every student who rides on a golf cart will also be entered in a drawing for a football helmet signed by head football coach Dino Babers. The grand prize will be handed out at the Homecoming Pep Rally at 7 p.m. Friday at McAfee Gymnasium. Students must be present at the pep rally to win the grand prize.

Bob Martin, vice president for university advancement, said the purpose of the event is to make homecoming even more special and to promote school spirit.

“We have a lot to be proud of, and by wearing blue, students, faculty and staff come together in support of Eastern and show their love for this institution,” Martin said.

The “Cash Cab” was organized by the Quality Service Committee, composed of students and University Advancement staff members. The purpose of committee is to enhance school spirit and academic excellence.

Parking, Traffic Restrictions Announced for Homecoming Parade 10/14/13

Parking and traffic flow will be restricted in some streets and parking lots for part of the day Saturday, Oct. 19, to make room for the Eastern Illinois University Homecoming Parade.

The streets closed to traffic are as follows:

  • 6 a.m.-noon: Ninth Street, from Lincoln to Roosevelt avenues;
  • During parade: Grant Avenue, between First and Orchard streets; and
  • 3 a.m.-noon: Johnson Avenue, between Seventh and Ninth streets.

The areas closed to parking from 3 a.m. to noon are as follows:

  • Grant Avenue, between First and Orchard streets;
  • Seventh Street, from the Doudna Fine Arts Center to Monroe Avenue;
  • Monroe and Jackson avenues, between Sixth and Seventh streets;
  • Sixth Street, from Monroe to Polk avenues;
  • Polk Avenue, from Sixth to Division streets;
  • Division Street, from Polk to Grant avenues;
  • MLK Jr. Union parking lot;
  • Seventh Street parking spaces on campus;
  • Student Services Building parking lot;
  • Blair Hall parking lot;
  • X Parking Lot, north and south; and
  • Burl Ives Art Studio parking lot.

In addition, Grant Avenue between Seventh and Ninth streets will have controlled traffic and no parking from 3 a.m. until the end of the parade.

Those who live in Park Place Apartments and in the parade staging area on Ninth Street may park their vehicles in the Doudna Fine Arts Center parking lot from 5 p.m. Friday until the parade is over.

Vehicles parked in violation of these parking restrictions will be towed at the owners' expense.

The parade is to begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the intersection of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue. The route is as follows: north on Seventh Street, west on Monroe Avenue, south on Sixth Street, west on Polk Avenue, south on Division Street, and east on Grant Avenue (aka Panther Way), ending at the tailgate area at O'Brien Stadium.

The university appreciates the cooperation of the EIU and Charleston community in helping make the parade a positive experience for all.

Former EIU President Lou Hencken Takes Position as Interim Admissions Director 10/14/13

Former Eastern Illinois University President Lou Henken has agreed to serve as interim director of admissions for the university as it moves into a more aggressive recruiting program.

“Eastern is just beginning to reverse a multi-year decline in enrollments,” said Blair Lord, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “But we know the competition is just going to get tougher and we needed a proven manager to help lead our admissions team.”

Lord said the university is just beginning a nationwide search for a new admissions director but felt that it needed to begin the transition.

“Henken is an EIU graduate and an avid supporter of the university,” Lord said.  “What’s more, when he was vice president of student affairs, he supervised the admissions department.

“But more than that, he has the proven management experience to help lead our admissions staff during this period of transition without losing any momentum,” he said.

University President William Perry said he was pleased that his predecessor remains so active and committed to Eastern.

“Lou has been a great role model, but he’s also willing to pitch in wherever he’s needed,” Perry said.  “Growing enrollments has been a particularly challenging problem to solve, particularly in a difficult economic environment.

“Our staff has worked hard,” he continued, “but we know we need to do some things differently if we’re going to complete the turnaround.”

Henken will be replacing Brenda Major who will remain with the university, but will be assuming special duties in the athletics department.

“Major is a passionate advocate for students as well as a great spokesperson for the university,” according to Blair Lord.  “We think her talents will be better used in her new position and look forward to her continued contribution to EIU.”

School Spirit is Turning the Town Blue in Time for EIU Homecoming 10/11/13

EIU's Facilities Planning and Management Unit shows school spirit.

School spirit is on the rise at Eastern Illinois University – just in time for EIU Homecoming 2013!

“Paint the Town Blue:  Homecoming 2013” activities will take place beginning Monday, Oct. 14, culminating with the traditional parade, football game and other popular events on Saturday, Oct. 19.

This year’s Homecoming committee has planned numerous thematic events and activities designed to showcase EIU Panther Pride throughout campus and the city of Charleston.  Several Charleston-area businesses and local residents plan to feature window displays, lawn signs and marquees displaying their EIU pride and spirit throughout the week.

Community residents are welcome to attend many Homecoming events, both on and off campus.  The most popular of those will occur on Saturday.

Early risers can prepare for a full day of activity with a warm meal, courtesy of the Charleston Rotary Club.  Serving for the 14th annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast will take place from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Dirty’s Bar & Grill, located at the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue.  The price is $6 for adults and $3 for children, with all proceeds from the event going to various local charities.

With their appetites taken care of,  diners can either burn off those calories or simply support those who are by attending the 14th annual EIU/Charleston Homecoming 2.5k (1.5-mile) Race/Walk at 9 a.m.  Participants will begin at the corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, make their way north on Seventh Street to the Charleston Square, then return to EIU’s Old Main via Sixth Street.

An entry fee of $10 will be collected from each participant, while awards are designated for the top male and female finisher in each of three categories: run, walk and wheelchair.  (See here for registration information.)

The EIU Homecoming Parade is an annual tradition consisting of more than 100 campus/community entries – floats, bands and decorated cars, to name just a few.  Participants will line up near on the east side of Old Main and, beginning at 9:30 a.m., march northward up Seventh Street to Monroe Avenue, west on Monroe to Sixth Street, then head south to Polk Avenue where they will again turn west.  Upon reaching Division Street, they will turn south, cross Lincoln Avenue and head for Grant Avenue (a.k.a. Panther Way), winding up at the tailgate area at O’Brien Stadium.

The annual Homecoming football game, in which the EIU Panthers will host Southeast Missouri State, begins at 1:30 p.m.  Tickets may be purchased the day of the game at O’Brien Stadium, or in advance online, in person at the EIU Ticket Office (Lantz 2530; open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday), or by calling 217-581-2106.

Football fans are invited to arrive early (10:30 a.m. or after) to show their Panther Pride at this year’s Billy’s Backyard Tailgate event, featuring food, inflatable games and live entertainment.

The public is also invited to attend many other Homecoming activities:

Members of the Charleston Fire Department show that they, too, have turned EIU Blue.  Shown, from left to right, front row, are James Calvert, Kirby Barr, Grant Hale, Colton Crowe, Mike Green, EIU President Bill Perry, Tim Meister, Jason Armstrong, D.J. Bailey and Steve Bennett.  Standing on the truck’s bumper are Dan Nadler, EIU vice president for student affairs, and Bob Martin, EIU vice president for university advancement.

**Monday, Oct. 14 -- Royal Blue Homecoming Coronation, 7 p.m., McAfee Gymnasium.

·         **Tuesday, Oct. 15 – “Blue Bash!” Family Fun Night, 5 to 7 p.m., Grand and University ballrooms, MLK Jr. Union.  Featuring Bingo, refreshments, inflatable games, craft stations and prizes for all ages.

·         **Wednesday, Oct. 16 – “Color Me Blue!” Spirit Party, 5 p.m., South Quad.  A celebration designed to get the EIU/Charleston communities excited for the weekend’s festivities.  Colored powder throws, refreshments, music and more.

·         **Thursday, Oct. 17 – BLUE-B-Que Luncheon for EIU faculty and staff, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., McAfee Gym.  Food, prizes, giveaways and more.  “BLUEfest,” 4 to 6 p.m., South Quad.  Games, giveaways, prizes and fun for all ages.

·         **Friday, Oct. 18 – Homecoming Pep Rally/Yell Like Hell and Who Wants to Be a Mascot? Contests, 7 to 9 p.m., McAfee.  High-energy and synchronized dance/chant routines.  Special appearances by the EIU Pep Band, Pink Panthers, Cheer Team, Head Football Coach Dino Babers and members of the EIU Football Panthers.

·         **Sunday, Oct. 20 – “Trash Bash,” 1 to 3 p.m.  Finally, after painting the town blue, it’s time to clean up the town.  Volunteers should meet at Old Main.

For information on EIU’s 2013 Homecoming Week events, see here

EIU Alumni Awards to be Presented During Homecoming 10/10/13