Wednesday, September 30, 2020

UIS Illinois Innocence Project honors International Wrongful Conviction Day

WHAT: The University of Illinois Springfield’s Illinois Innocence Project (IIP) will hold three events marking International Wrongful Conviction Day. UIS students working with IIP will create a visual display on the UIS quad featuring 2,662 flags representing innocent people who have been exonerated since 1989. IIP staff will also speak at two virtual events in the evening. 

The IIP invites members of the community to participate in Wrongful Conviction Day on campus, virtually and on social media. 

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 2, 2020

  • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Visual flag display (10 to 11 a.m. – IIP Executive Director John Hanlon and IIP students will be available on campus for in-person media interviews)
  • 6 to 6:30 p.m. – Livestream conversation with IIP client
  • 7 to 8 p.m. – Saint Louis Science Center “First Friday From Home: Mystery Night” forensic science presentation 


DETAILS: As part of the flag display, the “UIS blue” flags will represent 336 Illinois exonerees. Collectively, the 2,662 nation-wide exonerees lost 23,770 years of their lives, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. Illinois exonerees lost a total of 2,990 years. 

During the livestream event, titled “A Pound of Flesh – What the State Took from Jerry Herrington,” IIP Chicago Legal Director Lauren Kaeseberg will speak with client Jerry Herrington who, from age 16 through 45, served – and completed – a prison sentence for a murder he did not commit. Herrington was released in June 2020.

Kaeseberg and Herrington will give an inside look at growing up in prison, the fight to prove his innocence, the collateral damage to his family, his unique perspective on our country's long-overdue reckoning with racial and criminal justice, and his thoughts about the ongoing violence in his home city of Chicago.

IIP Executive Director John Hanlon will present on how the Project and other innocence organizations across the nation have used forensic science to exonerate the innocent as part of the Saint Louis Science Center’s “First Friday From Home: Mystery Night” livestream event. The event itself will focus on true crimes and mysteries. 

International Wrongful Conviction Day began as an effort by the Innocence Network to raise awareness of the causes and remedies of wrongful conviction and to recognize the tremendous personal, social and emotional costs of wrongful conviction for innocent people and their families. 

The Innocence Network is an affiliation of 68 organizations worldwide dedicated to providing pro-bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions and supporting the exonerated after they are freed. 

The Illinois Innocence Project, one of the Network’s first member organizations, works to free innocent women and men imprisoned in Illinois for crimes they did not commit, educate students, the public and law enforcement about wrongful convictions and reform the criminal justice system to reduce the incidence of wrongful convictions in Illinois. 

The Project has played a significant role in the exoneration/release of 17 innocent women and men (five since the Illinois coronavirus shutdown in March 2020) who were wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit and wrongfully imprisoned for a collective 350 years at a cost of $15.7 million for incarceration alone.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Virtual UIS ECCE Speaker Series events underway

The University of Illinois Springfield’s virtual Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series Fall Semester 2020 events are now underway. All of the events are free and accessible to the public. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ECCE events are being pre-recorded and posted to the video on demand page

“Votes for Women” (currently posted) is a Constitution Day discussion focused on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Holly Kent, UIS associate professor of history, presents on the history of women’s suffrage. Following the presentation is a discussion featuring Deanie Brown, former UIS associate chancellor of access and equal opportunity; Kathryn Eisenhart, UIS associate professor emerita of legal studies; Tiffani Saunders, UIS sociology and anthropology lecturer; Areli Valeria, UIS graduate student in human development counseling; and Karen Whitney, UIS interim chancellor. 

“Reconsidering Reparations” (currently posted) explores why and how we should respond to justice-based demands for reparations that trace to a world historical context that involves centuries of colonialism, trans-Atlantic slave trading, and other practices that have led to devastating and structurally entrenched ongoing racial oppression. Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, assistant professor of philosophy at Georgetown University, leads the discussion. For Táíwò, the goal of reparations is self-determination for people now and in the future for reasons we find in the past. 

“Illinois Fair Tax Amendment” (recording available Sept. 28) explores Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposal to amend the Illinois State Constitution. Voters will decide whether to replace the current flat tax with a graduated state income tax. If the ballot measure passes, Illinois will join 32 other states with a graduated income tax, with different tax rates applied to different individuals. Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, will present his analysis of implications of the Fair Tax for income inequality, the Illinois economy, Illinois’ perilous fiscal condition and the future of state funding to higher education. 

“What I Learned Teaching in a Prison” (recording available Oct. 5) recounts UIS Assistant Professor of Political Science Magic Wade’s time teaching a college course to 15 incarcerated men at the Danville Correctional Center through the Education Justice Project. In this lecture, she reflects upon her experiences teaching in the prison, shares her thoughts on expanding educational opportunities to incarcerated individuals, and answers questions about prison-based higher education in the U.S. 

“Lincoln and the American Political Tradition” is title of the 2020 Mary & James Beaumont Endowed Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series, which will be lived streamed to the public on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. (recording available on Oct. 19). Register for the live event at Diana Schaub, a political science professor at Loyola University Maryland and a visiting scholar in the Social, Cultural and Constitutional Studies Department at the American Enterprise Institute, will be joined by Lucas Morel, professor of politics at Washington and Lee University, to discuss how the principles espoused by Abraham Lincoln can help us deal with many questions raised during an election year. 

“Using Our Voices & Choices: How Growers and Eaters Can Work Together to Support Regenerative Farming in Illinois” (recording available Nov. 2) is a sustainability week event hosted by Liz Moran Stelk, executive director of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA), who will discuss how the organization is seeking to create a more just and regenerative local food and farm system in Illinois and nationwide. She will explain how our current policies perpetuate an industrial agricultural system that is both ecologically and socially damaging and why it is imperative for us to move toward more regenerative and sustainable farming and eating practices. 

“Water Diplomacy in the Middle East” (recording available Nov. 16) covers Middle East water history and the innovations making new forms of water use and distribution possible. After appraising new projects on the horizon, Rachel Havrelock, founder and director of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Freshwater Lab and co-creator of the Freshwater Stories digital platform, will discuss their applicability or relevance to Illinois and North American waters. This event is co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois. 

For more information, visit the ECCE Speaker Series website or contact the UIS Speaker Series Office at 217-206-6245 or

Thursday, September 24, 2020

University of Illinois created Hip-Hop Xpress mobile recording studio to visit Springfield on Saturday

The Hip-Hop Xpress, a school bus that serves as a mobile recording studio, created as part of a University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) faculty collaboration, will make its first visit to Springfield on Saturday, Sept. 26. 

From 10 a.m.-Noon the bus will visit House of Music, located at 222 N. Grand Ave E., and from 1-3 p.m. HISO Music, located at 1401 S. Fifth St. 

Springfield Hip-Hop artists have been invited to write original music on the bus using instrumental tracks created by producers in Champaign. 

“At its core the Hip-Hop Xpress was always envisioned by the UIS/UIUC team to be a tool for building community,” said Tiffani Saunders, UIS instructor of sociology and African American studies, who helped create the bus. “At the local level, it gets community members together for common goal of creating music and learning about the impact of hip-hop music and culture on wider American culture. The design of this project, using faculty from two campuses, along with the music creation planned for this weekend reflects cross-community connection.” 

Saunders was involved in early planning discussions about the bus and is responsible for solidifying Springfield community partnerships for future use of the bus. 

Work on the bus itself has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The outside of the bus has been wrapped to display the name of the bus and various artists. The inside of the bus is empty, except for its use in transporting non-permanent recording equipment. In addition to the ability to record on Saturday, the public is invited to provide feedback on several possible interior designs. 

“COVID aside, we're really excited to bring the Hip-Hop Xpress to the state capital for the first time,” Saunders said. “Grab your mask and let's show everyone that Springfield has talent!” 

The bus was funded, in part, by a $150,000 University of Illinois System Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Impact of the Arts and the Humanities grant. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty members Adam Kruse, Malaika McKee and William Patterson played a significant role in creating the bus. 

When the bus is finished, the creators plan on having it travel to communities and classrooms across the state, teaching youth about African-American history as well as cultural innovations spurred on by Hip-Hop through the use of music, dance, visual arts and technology. 

For more information, contact Tiffani Saunders at 217-206-8335 or

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Register now for UIS’ Fall 2020 Lunch & Learn Series

The University of Illinois Springfield will hold six virtual Lunch & Learn Series events this fall. 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. All programs will be held via Zoom 

Thursday, Oct. 8 – Pandemics and Epidemics: Past and Present
Presenter: Dr. Donald Graham, infectious disease specialist at SIU School of Medicine and Springfield Clinic
Moderator: William Furry, executive director of the Illinois State Historical Society 

Wednesday, Oct. 21 – How Medical Crises Change Our Process of Communication
Presenter: Ann Strahle, UIS associate professor of communication
Moderator: Terri Noel, founder and owner of Encore Consulting & Publishing 

Friday, Nov. 6 – Social Justice on the Prairie: Local to Global
Panelists: Larry Golden, UIS professor emeritus; Jan Droegkamp, UIS professor emerita; Tiffani Saunders, UIS assistant professor of sociology and African American studies
Moderator: Rev. Susan Phillips, pastor of First Presbyterian Church 

Wednesday, Nov. 18 – Streaming the Future: Impact of Cable News Networks and Social Media
Panelists: Jason Piscia, director of the UIS Public Affairs Reporting Program; Randy Eccles, general manager of NPR Illinois; Terry Martin, executive director of the Illinois Channel
Moderator: Sean Crawford, director of editorial at NPR Illinois 

Thursday, Dec. 3 – Societal Norms – Then and Now
Panelists: Sean McCandless, UIS assistant professor and assoc. director of the DPA Program; Jason Pierceson, UIS professor of political science
Moderator: Rachel Otwell, staff writer at the Illinois Times 

Tuesday, Dec. 15 – The American People, Government, Finances and the Public Trust
Panelists: Rich Miller, owner and publisher of; Kenneth Kriz, UIS distinguished professor of public administration and director of the Institute for Illinois Public Finance; Rep. Tim Bulter, Springfield
Moderator: Robert Smith, dean of the UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration 

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.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

UIS and Community Health Roundtable to host webinar on “Basic Community Needs in the COVID-19 Pandemic

As part of the Springfield Innovation Hub, the University of Illinois Springfield and the Community Health Roundtable will offer a free public webinar on “Basic Community Needs in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Food, Housing, and Mental Health.”

The webinar will take place from 12-1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18, and will be moderated by John Kelkar, president and CEO of United Way of Central Illinois, with quick COVID-19 updates from Molly Lamb, executive director of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused hardship for many people and families in meeting their most basic needs, such as food, housing, and mental health. In meeting those needs, local leaders will discuss the services and resources their organizations provide, how they have adapted to increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what they see as the challenges for the future.

Panelists include Pam Molitoris, executive director of the Central Illinois Foodbank; David Petrilli, executive director of Sangamon County Resources; and Dr. Kari Wolf, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the SIU School of Medicine.

Participants can watch the webinar on Zoom at or call 312-626-6799 to participate by phone (Meeting ID: 939 7298 4635). 

Past UIS webinars can be found online at

Friday, September 11, 2020

UIS Music Program to host virtual concert, lecture and masterclass series

The University of Illinois Springfield Music Program will host a virtual concert, lecture and masterclass series featuring a variety of musical performances, discussions and instruction. All events are free and open to the public and links to view or participate can be found on the UIS Music website.

Limited seating may be available at the event venues, contact for more information.

Careers in Music I: “The Art of Conducting”
Lecture by Maestro Logan Campbell
UIS Music Lecture Series
6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17

“Something Old, Something News” 
William Mitchell, tenor trombone
UIS Music Faculty Recital Series
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3

Careers in Music II: “Options for the 21st-Centry Musician” 
Lecture by Maestro Logan Campbell
UIS Music Lecture Series
6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8

“The Unaccompanied Clarinet” 
Evelyn Moria Tunison, clarinet
UIS Music Faculty Recital Series
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10

“Black Classical Composers” 
Lecture by Violinist Chenoa Alamu
UIS Music Lecture Series
6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22

Flute Masterclass 
Taught by UIS flute faculty Amanda Pond
To participate as a flutist in the virtual Flute Masterclass, visit and fill out a UIS Music masterclass application form. The class is open to UIS and community musicians. All levels are welcome.
3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1

Cello Masterclass 
Taught by UIS cello faculty Jun Seo
To participate as a cellist in the virtual Cello Masterclass, visit and fill out a UIS Music masterclass application form. The class is open to UIS and community musicians. All levels are welcome.
3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7

“Understanding the Orchestral Canon?” 
Lecture by UIS Music faculty Adam Larison
UIS Music Lecture Series
6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19

“Beethoven at 250” 
Lecture by Maestro Ken Lam, music director of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra
UIS Music Lecture Series
6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3

UIS Music/UIS Community Music School Solo Recital 
Featuring student musicians from the UIS Music Department and the UIS Community Music School.
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4

Spark Notes: Programmatic Pieces for Oboe
Natasha Keating, oboe
UIS Music Faculty Recital Series
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5

UIS Music Ensemble Concert 
Featuring Camerata musicians and UIS Music Ensembles
7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12

For more information on the UIS Music Program, visit Questions may be directed to Yona Stamatis at 217-206-6240 or

Thursday, September 10, 2020

UIS to host free webinar series on how parents can better support their children during remote learning

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) will host a free webinar series on “Supporting your Student: A Parent’s Guide to Remote Learning.” Three sessions will be held on Sept. 14, Sept. 28 and Oct. 12 and will be offered via Zoom.

“We are faced with an unprecedented time in education,” said Vickie Cook, UIS executive director of online professional and engaged learning. “Terms like eLearning, online education, synchronous and asynchronous are now part of our household lexicons. But what does it all mean, and – more importantly – how can this help your student succeed? Those are questions we hope to help parents answer though this series.”

The first webinar, which will be held from 6-7 p.m. on Sept. 14, will focus on “Introducing Parents to Online and Remote Learning.” The session will feature an informative conversation regarding remote learning and the benefits it can offer students during the pandemic and after. The course will also help parents understand the role and function of the various learning platforms students are using, such as Google Classroom, Zoom and Canvas.

During the second webinar from 6-7 p.m. on Sept. 28, the topic will shift to “Partnering with teachers for your student’s success.” During these extraordinary times, parents are more involved than ever in their children’s education. This session will focus on developing a supportive parent-teacher partnership that helps your child succeed.

Finally, from 6-7 p.m. on Oct. 12, the webinar series will conclude with a presentation on “Finding support when you need it.” The webinar will discuss how to support the academic success of remote learners, where to turn when children are struggling and how parents can access critical related services. This session will feature resources available to help students through this public health crisis.

Parents can register for the free webinars on the CAPE website. Registration is free, but required, as the sessions are limited to 295 participants.

For more information, contact the UIS Office of Continuing and Professional Education at 217-206-8650 or

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

UIS’ popular Friday Night Star Parties to be held in a virtual format this fall due to COVID-19

The University of Illinois Springfield’s popular Friday Night Star Parties will be held in a virtual format this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants can watch the virtual star parties on Zoom from 8-9 p.m. on Sept. 4, 11, 18 and 25 and Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. The Zoom link will be posted at

Friday Night Star Parties are hosted by John Martin, UIS associate professor of astronomy/physics. Each event will feature tips on how to find constellations and planets in the night sky and offer time to ask live questions. When the weather allows, the observatory’s telescopes will be used to provide live remote views of a number of celestial objects, including the planets Jupiter and Saturn, the Moon, the Ring Nebula, globular star clusters M13 and M15 and other double stars and star clusters.

Friday Night Star Parties are free and open to the public. Due to the virtual format, the star parties will be held regardless of the weather conditions.

Questions about Friday Night Star Parties should be directed to 217-206-8342, or direct messaged to the @UISObservatory on Twitter. For more information on star parties, follow the Observatory on Twitter or visit