Wednesday, February 24, 2021

UIS Visual Arts Gallery to present group exhibition featuring faculty works of art

The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is pleased to present a “Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition” in conjunction with programs that celebrate UIS’ 50th anniversary. The exhibition will open on Monday, March 8, and will run through Thursday, April 15. There will be no public reception for this exhibition.

The exhibition of works by distinguished UIS Visual Arts faculty will feature Brytton Bjorngaard, associate professor of digital media; Shane Harris, associate professor of ceramics and sculpture; Mike Miller, associate professor of painting and drawing and his collaborator, Brian Gillis; and Jeff Robinson, instructor and gallery director.

The Visual Arts Gallery will host a series of remote events that feature each faculty member as programming for this exhibition. These remote events will take at 6 p.m. on the following dates via Zoom at

March 11: Brytton Bjorngaard will present an overview her sabbatical research which includes the restoration of a letterpress, the development of a new body of work and future plans for Prairie Star Press at UIS.

March 18: Mike Miller and his collaborator, Brian Gillis, will discuss “Limen: A Border Project,” a recent collaboration spanning print media and public art that explores the perception of personal, societal and community boundaries already present in a given site.

April 1: Jeff Robinson will be in conversation with Larry Shiner, associate professor emeritus of visual art, to discuss Robinson’s work in the exhibition as well as what it means to be an artist-curator.

April 8: Shane Harris will present an overview of his sabbatical research which includes an artist residency at the renowned Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, the development of a new body of work and solo exhibition at UIS.  

Brytton Bjorngaard is an associate professor of digital media at the University of Illinois Springfield and has previously held positions at Whitworth University and Iowa State University. She received her master’s degree in fine art in graphic design from Iowa State University and her bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. In addition to teaching, she is a freelance graphic designer and photographer. Her work explores the ways in which we communicate in our increasingly digital age. Her exhibition practice is centered on the intersection of commercial and fine art practices, as well as the contrast of traditional historical production and current digital trends.

Shane Harris was born in DeKalb, Illinois. He received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in ceramics in 2003 and sculpture in 2004. He earned his master’s degree in fine arts from Indiana University in 2007. His work has been displayed in national exhibitions that include the Tampa Contemporary Museum of Art, Manifest Gallery, Kolva-Sullivan Gallery and the Archie Bray Gallery. He has work in private collections, such as the Kinsey Institute. His work has been published in “The Best of 500 Ceramics: Celebrating a Decade in Clay” and “500 Sculptures.” Harris is the recipient of the Windgate Fellowship at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana and the University of Illinois Springfield College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Scholarly Enhancement Grant. At UIS, he teaches courses in ceramics, sculpture, 3-D design and professional skills.

Mike Miller and Brian Gillis have worked together as an artistic team since 2006, creating projects ranging from editioned multiples to site-specific installations and actions. Notable joint exhibitions include “Across the Divide: Reconsidering the Other” at the Illinois State Museum, “Free Radio” at the Cue Foundation for the Arts in New York and “Mapping Harbin” at the Academy of Art and Design, Heilongjiang University, China. They met as colleagues in the Visual Arts Program at the University of Illinois Springfield in 2005. Gillis is currently a professor of art and director of the Center for Art Research at the University of Oregon. Miller is an associate professor of art at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Jeff Robinson is an artist and curator based in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois. He earned a master’s degree in fine art from Illinois State University. Robinson has exhibited independently and collaboratively at numerous venues including Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago), RomanSusan (Chicago), Ski Club (Milwaukee), University Galleries of Illinois State University (Normal), Des Lee Gallery (St. Louis) and E. Tay (New York). His work has been published in New American Paintings, and his practices have been featured on Daily Serving in Newcity Magazine (Chicago), Sixty Inches from Center (Chicago), FLOORR Magazine (London) and in the Riverfront Times (St. Louis), among others. Robinson is a recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award in Visual-Based Arts alongside his collaborator, Allison Lacher (2020). He was a curatorial resident for HATCH Projects at Chicago Artists Coalition (2018-2019) and has worked as artist-in-residence at Ragdale (2017) and ACRE (2017). Robinson is a member of Monaco, an artist-owned cooperative based in St. Louis. He also serves on the board of directors for Terrain Exhibitions in Oak Park. He also served as co-director (and co-founder) of DEMO Project until its demolition in early 2018. He currently teaches as an instructor of art at the University of Illinois Springfield and serves as director of the UIS Visual Arts Gallery.

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

The Visual Arts Gallery is centrally located on the UIS campus in the Health and Science Building, Room 201. Spring 2021 gallery hours are 12-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday. Appointments to see the exhibition are recommended.

For more information, visit the UIS Visual Arts Gallery website at or contact the gallery at 217-206-6506 or   

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

UIS and LLCC to host a virtual Career Connections Expo for students, alumni and community members

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) and Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) are excited to announce the 2021 Virtual Career Connections Expo. Students and alumni from the hosting institutions as well as community members are invited to attend the free online event to explore career opportunities and network with participating employers.  

WHEN: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Thursday, March 4, 2021

WHERE: Online – 

DETAILS: The Expo is designed to help attendees make professional connections, find jobs and internships and explore career paths. For potential employers, it is a chance to share pertinent information and build relationships to help develop talent pipelines for current for future opportunities. 

Representatives from more than 50 organizations are expected to be on hand to connect with jobseekers via online chat and video conversations. 

Information for students, alumni and others: Participants can register on the CareerEco site in advance or on the same day of the event and have the option to upload a resume to share with participating employers. Additional information is available online at

Information for employers: Advance registration is required. Registration information is available online at For more information or registration questions, call 217-206-6508 or email

The Career Connections Expo is supported by advantage partners including, NPR Illinois, Memorial Health System, MSF&W, Omniskope & Sparrows.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

UIS and Community Health Roundtable to host a webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on our youth

The University of Illinois Springfield Innovation Hub, UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership and the Community Health Roundtable will host a free public webinar titled “Impact of COVID-19 on our Youth: Learning, Playing & Socializing” at Noon Friday, Feb. 19 via Zoom.

This webinar will explore the impact of COVID-19 on the well-being of our children in Sangamon County. Some of the consequences may be readily apparent, while others will likely be uncovered in years to come. Please join our expert panelists as they reveal the social and emotional strain of COVID-19 on our youth and how schools and teachers have adapted to online and hybrid learning. Panelists will discuss emergent mitigation strategies taking place at home, in school and for extra-curricular activities and athletics, share monitoring procedures and discuss how decisions have been made.  Additionally, a student-athlete panelist will provide a personal account of his experience during COVID-19.

Panelists for the discussion include Dr. Sameer Vohra, chair of the Department of Population Science and Policy at the SIU School of Medicine and associate professor of pediatrics, medical humanities and law; Jennifer Gill, superintendent of Springfield School District 186; Craig Anderson, executive director of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA); and James Dent, a student-athlete at Springfield’s Southeast High School. The discussion will be moderated by Molly Lamb, executive director of the UIS Center of State Policy and Leadership.

In order to attend the event, please register online at The Zoom link can be found on the registration page. 

For more information, contact Bruce Sommer at 217-899-3186 or Past UIS webinars can be found online at

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

UIS to hold virtual Graduate School Week Feb. 22-26

The University of Illinois Springfield will hold a virtual Graduate School Week Feb. 22-26, 2021. The week will give students who are thinking about earning a master’s degree a chance to learn more about UIS’ 21 graduate programs.

“The week is a perfect opportunity for prospective students who want to learn more about continuing their education, or adding more skills for career advancement or changes,” said Kathryn Kleeman, UIS director of admissions. “Students who attend any event during the week won’t have to pay an admission application fee or submit scores from any graduate admission exam, like the GMAT or GRE.”

Each 20-30 minute webinar will connect prospective students with program faculty, admission counselors and assistantship representatives. Attendees will learn about the application process, program learning objectives, alumni success stories and paid assistantship and internship opportunities with tuition waivers.

Those interested can register for this free opportunity to learn about programs at Even if calendar conflicts arise, registrants will receive a recording of the session.

For more information, contact the UIS Office of Admission at by phone at 217-206-4847, text 217-441-2590 or email

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Register now for UIS’ spring Lunch & Learn Series

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield will hold four virtual Lunch & Learn Series events this spring. The “Timely Talks on Timeless Topics in Celebration of UIS’ 50th Anniversary” series is presented by the UIS Alumni SAGE Society and the Illinois State Historical Society.

WHEN: Noon-1 p.m. on Feb. 18, March 9, April 7 and May 4

WHERE: All programs will be held via Zoom Webinar

Thursday, Feb. 18 - African-American History Makers

“Eva Carroll Monroe and the Lincoln Colored Old Folks and Orphans Home” presented by Mary Frances, artist, professor and documentarian.

“Walter Thomas Bailey: The First Licensed African-American Architect in the State of Illinois” presented by Kent Massie, principal planner and landscape architect at Massie, Massie & Associates.

Moderator: Kathryn Harris, historian, librarian and community leader

Tuesday, March 9 - The Future is Now

“The Future is Now: Business and Social Innovation in a Post Pandemic World” presented by Katie Davison, executive director of Innovate Springfield; Ranjan Karri, professor and chair of the UIS Management, Marketing and Operations Department; and Bruce Sommer, UIS director of economic development and innovation.

Moderator: Somnath Bhattacharya, dean of the UIS College of Business and Management

Wednesday, April 7 - New Paths in History

“Illinois History Symposium: The Changing Landscape of History” presented by Devin Hunter, UIS assistant professor of history. Information on additional participants to come.

Tuesday, May 4 - Presidential Candidates Who Lost

“Illinoisans Who Ran for President—And Lost” presented by Jacob Freifeld, Illinois and Midwest studies research historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, and Forrest Keaton, historian, attorney and partner at Rammelkamp Bradney.

Moderator: Claire Jerry, curator of political history at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Each program needs to be registered for individually. Attendees will receive a confirmation email from each program registered for that includes the Zoom information for that specific session. Registration links for each program can be found at

For more information, contact the Office of Advancement at 217-206-6058.

Monday, February 1, 2021

UIS announces virtual Black History Month events

Events listed below are open to the general public. To find the full list of student events, visit the Diversity Center's website

UIS 2019 File Photo

The University of Illinois Springfield is celebrating Black History Month during February with a variety of virtual events designed to educate and raise awareness. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Still We Rise.” The following virtual events are free and open to the public.

The Status of Black Lives Matter: A Shift in Policy, Culture, Justice, and Reform
Recording available Monday, Feb. 8
This UIS Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) panel discussion by African American faculty and staff at UIS is designed to encourage students and the general public to learn about the societal issues that inform and led to the formation and evolution of the Black Lives Matter Movement. UIS panelists include Tessica Dooley, assistant professor of legal studies; Ty Price Dooley, associate professor of public administration, Tiffani Saunders, lecturer in Sociology/Anthropology and African American Studies; and Justin Rose, director of diversity and inclusion. This event will help participants recognize their social responsibility by highlighting issues related to policing, healthcare, housing and other economic disparities in the African American community in twenty-first century America. The recording will be posted at on the ECCE webcasting website.

Zuzu Acrobats
7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12
The Zuzu African Acrobats are bringing traditional Kenyan acrobatic skills set to high energy beats to UIS for Black History Month. The show will be a virtual live stream that begins at 7 p.m. There will also be an opportunity for a live Q&A with the performers after the show. Hosted in collaboration with the UIS Student Activities Committee, UIS African Student Association and UIS Diversity Center. Watch the performance live on Zoom

Race, Policing and Activism for Accountability in Black Chicago
Recording available Monday, Feb. 15
This UIS Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) event will feature professors and authors Simon Balto and Andrew Baer in conversation about race, policing and activism for accountability in Black Chicago. Balto is the author of “Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power” and Baer is the author of “Beyond the Usual Beating: The Jon Burge Police Torture Scandal and Social Movements for Police Accountability in Chicago.” After they speak, a small panel of UIS faculty, students and community members will discuss the topic. The recording will be posted at on the ECCE webcasting website.

A Conversation with Nikki Giovanni
5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23
This is a collaborative program hosted in partnership with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Illinois Springfield which will allow participants to explore activism through arts and poetry. Poet Nikki Giovanni will serve as a keynote speaker and performer for the hour-long conversation and poetry reading. Watch live at

For more information, contact Justin Rose, UIS director of diversity and inclusion, at 217-206-6334 or