UIS Authors Festival 2019 – faculty publish books

From poetry to political science, the history of central Illinois farms to the history of the American Revolutionary War, UIS faculty have written the book on it. And, of course, there are books on Lincoln.

Over the past two years, UIS faculty have authored or edited 24 books.  Please join us in celebrating their accomplishments with a reception at the UIS Brookens Library on Thurs, Feb. 21, 2019, from 4-6pm.  Four authors will be present to sign their books: copies will be available for purchase through the UIS bookstore. Part of the first UIS Authors Festival, the book signing reception will be proceeded by a workshop for faculty on how to publish their scholarly work.

  • Dong, L. (Ed.). (2016). Asian American culture: from anime to tiger moms. Greenwood.

Lan Dong, associate professor and chair of English, teaches about the graphic novel as a literary genre. She has also written books on the legend of Mulan and was selected as the University Scholar in 2012. She is currently the Louise Hartman Schewe and Karl Schewe Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences.

  • Poynter, K. J. (Ed.). (2017). Safe zones: training allies of LGBTQIA+ young adults. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.

Kerry Poynter is the Director of Gender and Sexuality Student Services and UIS faculty and staff contributed to this practical volume for education professionals. The first comprehensive resource for developing Safe Zone programs and educational workshops to support LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults, his program has been developed into a DVD and used in hundreds of colleges across the nation.

  • Nizamuddin, A. M. (2016). The Patenting of Life, Limiting Liberty, and the Corporate Pursuit of Seeds. Lexington Books.

Ali Nizamuddin is an associate professor in the political science department. His area of specialization is international relations with a focus in Asian studies. This, his second book, is on the global dominance of the world’s food supply.

  • Wenz, P. (2015). Functional Inefficiency: The Unexpected Benefits of Wasting Time and Money. Prometheus.

Peter S. Wenz is emeritus professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois Springfield and adjunct professor of Medical Humanities at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. In 1999, he was selected the
University Scholar for UIS. This is his ninth book.

The complete list of all 24 titles is available on the UIS Research website:


International Experience in Illinois

UIS faculty bring an international experience to students and the greater Springfield community through their professional expertise, research collaborations, and life experiences.

Professor Adriana Crocker of the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Springfield exemplifies the international teacher-scholar. She was selected a Presidential Fellow for the University of Illinois in 2017, the first such UIS faculty to receive that honor. Professor Crocker is an award-winning teacher who specializes in Latin American politics, with a strong background in international law and women’s rights, and she worked over the past year to help the U of I System expand its global reach.

In particular, Dr. Crocker helped lead a study abroad experience to Cuba, one of the first US teams to travel to that country in 50 years. Conor McKenzie is a senior political studies major who described the benefits of the Cuba trip.

Professor Crocker also directs the Model United Nations at UIS, an engagement experience for students of all majors who work as a team to prepare and present at the National Model United Nations in New York.

On December 12, 2018, Dr. Crocker will be part of a panel discussing Columbia After the Drug War, part of the program of the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois.

World Affairs Council

Reception 5:30 p.m.; Dinner 6:15 p.m.; Program 7:30 p.m.

Club Room , Hoogland Center for the Arts

All programs are free and open to the public. Dinners require a reservation.

Professor Crocker, who joined the UIS faculty in 2006, is a professor of political science and teaches comparative politics and international relations courses with an emphasis on Latin American politics.  In 2016, she received the distinguished Pearson Faculty Award, which recognizes a faculty member whose performance exemplifies UIS’s commitment to excellence in teaching and who stands among the very best teachers on campus. Her research focuses on the role of gender quotas and other institutional mechanisms in serving the interests of women in Latin America.  Her 2017 book, Gender Quotas in South America’s Big Three: National and Subnational Impacts, focuses on policies intended to promote the inclusion of women in Latin America’s legislatures and their effects.  She has a law degree from the University of La Plata Argentina and a Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University.

UIS Faculty Publish Open Access

Open Access

The University of Illinois values the free exchange of ideas, and one way that value is demonstrated at UIS is through the publication of faculty research in “open access” formats.  Open Access means journals (or manuscripts in a journal) which are freely available on the internet. The Open Access movement in academia is designed to provide the broadest possible access to research and scholarship while still protecting the faculty’s right to determine how to best showcase this research and scholarship

UIS Publications

Due to additional publication costs, not all UIS faculty publications are Open Access, but an increasing number of them are. We recently produced a list of articles freely available on our Faculty Research website.

For example, Dr. Michael Lemke (BIO) and co-authors from UIS, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Illinois Natural History Survey, The Nature Conservancy, and the University of Maringa (Brazil) published a series of articles in Hydrobiologia, an international peer-reviewed journal of freshwater science. The articles describe research performed at The Emiquon Preserve in the Illinois River valley.

student sampling river water


Another way that UIS faculty and students share the results of their work is through our institutional repository, IDEALS. The Illinois Digital Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship is a permanent online resource, where UI faculty and students can post their work for no charge.  Depending upon the copyright agreements with a publisher, the work may be made freely available to the public through the IDEALS site, which is searchable.  While some faculty use professional social media sites, like ResearchGate or Academia, to share their work, IDEALS is the official source for UI publications.

For example, Dr. Karen Swan (EDL) posted a copy of her article from Internet and Higher Education, on student valuations of a survey instrument related to her Community of Inquiry research in online learning.

slide on Teaching Presence

Questions about IDEALS, how to access Journals at UIS, or the UI Open Access policy, can be addressed to Mr. H. Stephen McMinn, Director of Collections and Scholarly Communications for the UIS Brookens Library.

Advising Local Economic Policy

Two UIS faculty have been called upon to advise various local entities on economic policy to improve our region.

Glenn Cassidy, instructor of economics, was interviewed by TV Channel 20 news on Thursday, 10/18/18, about municipal pension funding, which relates to a research that he,  Beverly Bunch, and Patty Byrnes, also faculty at UIS.  https://newschannel20.com/news/local/tough-choices-ahead-for-springfield-as-pension-debt-looms

Dr. Cassidy was also interviewed about Tax Increment Financing districts, another area he researches. https://newschannel20.com/news/local/millions-of-springfield-tax-dollars-diverted-to-city-tifs

Bruce Sommer, instructor of entrepreneurship, was appointed the Director of Economic Development and Innovation for the University of Illinois Springfield, as reported in the State Journal-Register (http://www.sj-r.com/news/20181020/local-business-notes-adams-family-to-collaborate-in-hosting-events). His role at the university is to help connect students and faculty with the community to promote business growth and social innovation.

Media Reports of Student Research

This past spring semester our students were busy with research accomplishments, as reported on various media sources.  Below is a partial list. We look forward to presenting our student successes this semester.

4/26/2018  WICS TV and WAND TV spots on the fifth annual UI Undergraduate Research Day, in which 12 UIS students presented at the state capitol.

4/25/2018  Council on Undergraduate Research publishes article (SPUR contents PDF) about the UIS Undergraduate Research Certificate program partnership with Students Transitioning for Academic Retention and Success.

4/16/18  WAND TV spot on Environmental Studies students cleaning up Lake Springfield as part of class project through Therkildsen Field Station.

4/9/18 UIS featured on Undergraduate Research Week page of the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Mark Dochterman, Kathryn Simpson, Rachael Mau, Daniel Rodriguez, Brian Chen, Keenan Dungey, Jacqualine Jarju at PUSH 2018

3/15/18  UIS students present on panel at the national Presidents United to Stop Hunger summit at UIUC

World Affairs Council and Global Climate Change

Despite the recent snow here in Springfield, climate change is real. Next week, as part of Earth Week, the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois will be sponsoring a presentation by Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Her presentation, “Climate Change as a Civil and Human Rights Issuewill present evidence that people of color, low income communities, and women are more vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change.

World Affairs Council

The World Affairs Council of Central Illinois, the local chapter of the World Affairs Councils of America,  was founded in 1986 by community members and faculty from Sangamon State University. The initial president was an SSU student, Mary Nolan.  UIS Faculty and students are still heavily involved in bringing international leaders to discuss issues locally: Hilary Frost, Associate Professor of Global Studies, is currently Vice President.  UIS continues to sponsor the Council, both as an Institutional Member and host for the meetings.  There’s still time to sign up for next week’s meeting: for the dinner, contact Michael Plog at 217-793-2509 or mbplog@comcast.net.

The lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 16, in Brookens Auditorium is free and open to the public, part of the UIS Engaged Citizenship Common Experience Speaker Series.

ECCE speaker series

Angst and Amadeus!

Amadeus!  The hit movie based on the romaticized life of W. A. Mozart is an example of A Composer in Literature. That was the theme of the first of a two-part conference that Associate Professor Rosina Neginsky co-organized, which the University of Paris-Sorbonne hosted in 2016. Conference Poster (PDF) There Dr. Neginsky discussed the play by Peter Shaffer, “Amadeus,” and the small tragedy by Alexander Pushkin, “Mozart and Salieri.”

Rosina Neginsky

The second part of the conference, A Man of Letters in Music, takes place this week (Feb 22-24, 2018 )in Florence, Italy.  Dr. Neginsky will be presenting her analysis of the correspondence between Richard Strauss and Romain Rolland about the opera Salome.

One of Rosina’s research interests is the figure of Salome in art, literature, and music.  In 2013 she published a book Salome: Image of a Woman Who Never Was. In addition, she is an author of a book on a Russian woman journalist and translator, Zinaida Vengerova: In Search of Beauty, who was responsible for propagating the European Symbolist Movement in Russia. Rosina also works as an editor. Since 2010, she edited three books on Symbolist Movement, the latest of which is Mental Illnesses in Symbolism.

She has established a research center at UIS for Art, Literature, Music in Symbolism and Decadence and is preparing to organize another conference, this time in Illinois, with student participation. She is also interested in working with a student on an editing project.

Dr. Neginsky is also a poet. She does poetry readings locally, nationally, and internationally. She has published a number of collections of her poetry.  Her latest book of poetry is In the Garden of Luxembourg (2015), which was published in English, French, and Russian (2015).

In the Garden of Luxembourg

Another way that Rosina impacts the community is by organizing and curating a number of art exhibits at UIS and at the Springfield Art Association. The latest exhibition took place at SAA in September 2017 when she exhibited works by an Ukrainian Chicago based artist Lyubov Momot.

Rosina earned her PhD for U of I Urbana-Champaign in Comparative Literature. She teaches interdisciplinary subject matters such as Literature and Visual Arts. She is a member of the Art, Music and Theater Department. Her excellent research was recognized by the University of Illinois in 2008 with the University Scholar Award.

Dr. Neginsky’s current area of research is Angst in European Symbolism. She is writing a new book on Mikhail Vrubel in Western European Context. Rosina will be presenting her latest research and signing her most recent book: Mental Illnesses in Symbolism (2017) on April 24, 2018, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Public Affairs Center, Conference Room F.

Mental Illness in Symbolism

Professor Karen Swan and Social Presence

Social media surrounds us, but many feel like these online tools don’t really connect us.  So how can faculty connect with their students through online media?  Dr. Karen Swan kicked off the Spring Faculty Scholarship Series on February 13th with a presentation based on her most recent book, “Social Presence in Online Learning.” She will also be a facilitator at the Community for Innovative and Engaged Learning Symposium on February 15th.

Karen Swan

Dr. Swan is the James J. Stukel Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership.  Swan received the Sloan Consortium for Asynchronous Learning Networks Award for “Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual” in 2006 and she is one of the most highly cited faculty at UIS.

articles, chapters, books, reviews, conferences

Students in her online classes are working towards becoming school principles, among other leadership roles. To improve student learning outcomes, Dr. Swan designs her courses to create social presence.  For example, she scaffolds multiple varied discussion boards to build cohesion. She also uses the journal tool to communicate one-on-one with her students. It doesn’t matter so much what the media is, but what the instructor does to build connections, since learning is social.

You can read more about Dr. Swan’s research in her book.

social presence in online learning

Professor Larry Shiner and the Fear of Smell

Larry Shiner, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, History, Visual Arts, will be presenting his latest research on Contemporary Olfactory Arts at the Illinois State Museum Research & Collections Center on Wed, Jan. 17, 2018, at noon.  More details of the event can be found on their Facebook page.

Larry Shiner

The talk will feature excerpts from the latest book that Dr. Shiner is working on.  One of his prior books, The Invention of Art (2001), was highly reviewed and has its own Wikipedia page.

Art book cover


Professor Brian Chen and Food Insecurity

‘Tis the season of giving, and many of us think about those less fortunate, perhaps donating to a food pantry. But Dr. Cheng-Chia “Brian” Chen studies food pantries throughout the year. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health at UIS. His research topic, “Nutritional Epidemiology Research in Food Insecurity and Hunger,” has been conducted in collaboration with the FriendBrian Chens of Champaign County Food Pantry, an outreach of the Central Illinois Mosque and Islamic Center.

A food pantry is defined as a charity food-assistance program. Champaign County has a relatively high concentration of low-income families, relative to the state, and low public transportation, and is thus considered a food-insecurity area. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (C-UPHD) has partnered with the Food Pantry to help alleviate this public health issue. The health professionals from C-UPHD also provide public health and dental programs to the food pantry participants.

An additional partner in the Food Pantry is the University of Illinois Extension office. They have a nutritionist on site every week, providing a nutrition education program. To increase the nutrition content, the Pantry provides fresh produce, year round.

UI Extension booth

Donations to the Pantry are from local stores (Meijer, County Market, Schnucks, and Walmart) as well as Eastern Illinois Foodbank and C-UPHD Give Back Garden.  Part of the UIS study is to track the nutritional content of the food being provided.

Dr. Awais Vaid, the co-founder of the Pantry, is a medical doctor and a collaborator in this research. The Food Pantry was started in Feb. of 2016, and Dr. Chen got involved right away, initiated the research project in May.  The initial results (presented at the 2016 Illinois Public Health Association conference) found that participants from Rantoul had transportation challenges, so the C-UPHD began to use their branch office to reach families with the food.

Dr. Chen’s research project has demonstrated an innovative and sustainable academic-community-health department partnership/initiative that allows local multi-cultural communities and University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS) faculty, students, and alums to collaborate with local public health professionals to alleviate food insecurity among underrepresented minority groups.


UIS student involvement:

The current Administrator at C-UPHD is Julie Pryde, a UIS MPH alum (2017). And a current MPH student, Hinal Patel, is working on this project for her preparation to apply for a Ph.D. program in public health. She conducted a literature review, developed the protocol, helped train other MPH students to assist with collecting data. There are still opportunities for UIS students to join the project (to be eligible, students must have personal cars/driver’s licenses). The goal is to continue collecting data for an entire year in order to identify trends.

This study is an example of community-based participatory research (CBPR). Through mixed-methods (semi-structured interviews of participants, volunteers, and staff as well as paper-based/online surveys), the researchers and participants interact closely and evolve the research design. In fact, the research students help out at the Food Pantry.

The objectives of the study are to research food insecurity vs. food pantry program effectiveness, investigate barriers and incentives to utilize a food assistance program, and assess effects of food pantries on health outcomes, such as obesity.

So far the team has found that food insecurity has decreased for participants, and the variety of foods provided are an incentive for participants to return. The research team recently presented their results at the 144th American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta, which is the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world and attracts more than 13,000 health professionals from more than 40 countries.

Hinal Patel, Brian Chen, Julie Pryde

Hinal Patel, Brian Chen and Julie Pryde at APHA Conference 2017

Dr. Chen earned his MS and PhD from Indiana University-Bloomington. He describes his research program as Innovative Health Inequality, Policy and e-Education Research (iHIPER):  He has articles in peer-reviewed publications such as the International Journal of Health Services, the Health Education Journal, E-mentor Journal, and a chapter in Contemporary Issues in Public Health in North Africa and Middle East.


Dr. Chen is currently a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service. He is originally from Taipei, Taiwan, and is initiating a public health study of the “Praise Dance” exercise program that is popular there. Using the CBPR model, he will interview the trainers, coaches, and participants.

Dr. Chen teaches courses in Health Economics, Biostatistics, Food, Health and Public Policy, and Human Well-being. In 2017 he received the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award. Learn more about Dr. Chen at his professional website http://go.uis.edu/ABC.