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SIUE News - Archives JUN 2007

June 2007

·National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center Fuels Growth with Siemens
·Disney's High School Musical Sure To Entertain Summer Showbiz Style
·TheBANK Of Edwardsville To Open Banking Center At SIUE
·CEO Alper To Receive Distinguished Alum Award From SIUE
·School of Engineering Welcomes Future Women Engineers
·June Employee Of The Month
·Engineering Students Take Prize At International Conference
·SIUE Engineering Students Take National Awards At Conference
·Dillard U. Professor To Conduct Wright Workshop At ESTL, SIUE
·SIUE School of Nursing Graduate Set For Middle East Mission
·BOT Approves Three Projects For Edwardsville Campus
·SIUE Professor Named To Urban Research Institute Post
·Summer ShowBiz 2007 Kicks Off With Guys And Dolls
·Study Finds Lower New Teacher Attrition Rates from Profession in Illinois
·SIUE School of Engineering Welcomes Future Women Engineers
·SIUE Department of Philosophy Professor/Chair Receives $10K Award
·Cougar Softball Team Day proclaimed by Mayor of Edwardsville
·SIUE Biology Faculty Member Studying Flying Squirrels
·B. Bergeron Named Dean Of School Of Education At SIUE
·Engineering Professors Receive $150K NSF Grant For Robotics


National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center Fuels Growth with Siemens

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. and the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC)-in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's University Park-today announced a partnership to speed the growth of alternative fuel technology. The 10-year agreement between NCERC and Siemens represents hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, software and on-site simulation training.

Since 2000, Siemens has supplied the process automation systems for two-thirds of the fuel ethanol plants built in the U.S.

In accepting the gift on behalf of the SIUE Foundation, Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift said the University is strongly committed to the development of bio-fuels technologies. "For the ethanol plants currently under construction in the region," Vandegrift said, "including the $100 million facility being built in Sauget, this represents a very significant contribution to the training and support of a new group of ethanol plant operators."

Opened in 2003, the NCERC-the only research center of its kind in the world-facilitates the commercialization of new technologies for producing ethanol more effectively, resulting in improved ethanol yields and reduction in costs. The Center plays a key role in the Bio-Fuels Industry for Workforce Training to assist in the growing need for qualified personnel to operate and manage bio-fuel refineries across the country. The NCERC also contributes to investigation in agricultural science, which results in creating new jobs and further economic development initiatives in the region.

The SIMATIC® PCS 7 distributed control system and instrumentation from Siemens is now being used by the NCERC to help validate near-term technologies that are enhancing the economics and sustainability of renewable fuel production. "Our clients come to this facility for best-in-class, cutting edge technology," says John Caupert, director of the NCERC. "They are looking for the newest and most efficient ways to convert grain-based feedstock to ethanol. Through our partnership with Siemens, the center will maintain that level of technology."

The announcement by SIEMENS was made today during a tour of the facility sponsored by the Fuel Ethanol Workshop being conducted in St. Louis this week. The workshop, sponsored by BBI International, attracted ethanol plant operators and researchers from around the world.

According to the NCERC, there is a growing demand for new workers in the alternative fuels industry. Center statistics show there are 110 ethanol plants in operation in the U.S. and approximately 80 new plants are under construction. "We are the only organization in the world that offers both classroom training and hands on instruction to anyone," Caupert says. "By collaborating with Siemens, we will be able to offer one-hour seminars and five-day process training sessions on the control system as well as training for the executives who will run the plants."

In January and March 2007, 45 displaced autoworkers from Michigan received comprehensive training during two sessions at the center. The Center also offers internships that provide hands on training for six months to one year. "Our partnership with NCERC gives Siemens the opportunity to help reduce the time it takes to bring alternative fuels to market," says Dave Hankins, vice president, Chemical/Pharmaceutical Center of Competence, Siemens Energy & Automation. "Siemens is committed to the ethanol industry and will continue to look for new opportunities that will grow the viability of the market."

Photo 1, SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift chats outside the NCERC with Robert Stephan (left), a representative from U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's office, and Steve Tomaszewski, press secretary for Congressman John Shimkus. The lawmakers could not attend the event because of voting sessions in Washington, D.C. (SIUE Photos by Denise Macdonald)

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Disney's High School Musical Sure To Entertain Summer Showbiz Style

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) With some 2,000 productions expected to be performed by the end of this year nationwide, the juggernaut stage show that is Disney's High School Musical is set to play in Edwardsville next month at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Cast with local talent, the stage version of the wildly successful Disney movie of the same name brings Troy and Gabriella's love story to Summer ShowBiz 2007 audiences at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, July 12-14 and July 19-23, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 15 and 22, all in the theater of SIUE's Katherine Dunham Hall.

If you've been ignoring pop culture for the last several months, the film version of High School Musical hit the Disney Channel in January 2006 and was seen by eight million viewers; the next evening's showing was seen by six million more viewers. It won an Emmy and things really started to happen.

The DVD was released soon after and reached 2.1 million copies sold after only five weeks. Disney reported recently that nearly 60 million viewers have seen the kids from East High School, helped by multiple cable TV airings and DVD sales. By the end of this year, it is reported that the movie will have been televised in 100 countries.

Disney says the soundtrack CD is one of the nation's top-selling albums, reaching No. 10 on the Billboard pop music charts soon after its release, moving to No. 1 for four weeks, then to the third spot and then back up again to the top spot.

The next logical step was to launch a stage version in August 2006; a national professional tour followed and soon thereafter the rights to perform were granted to schools and regional theaters. Next? High School Musical II is scheduled to hit the Disney Channel in August and, of course, High School Musical on Ice is set for the fall.

And, now, local and regional audiences will be able to see it up close and personal in the intimate confines of the Dunham Hall theater at SIUE. "They'll be able to see it very well on our stage," says director Peter Cocuzza, professor of theater and dance at SIUE and chair-elect of that department. "This is a very energetic show with infectious music and dancing."

The story revolves around Troy Bolton, East High's basketball top jock who happens to be a pretty good singer, and Gabriella Montez, a science whiz who also loves to sing. But, each of them hold back from their dream of performing because of peer pressure. The story sends a wholesome message about being true to ourselves and following our hearts to achieve our dreams.

"This musical is aimed at the 'tween' group of kids but many high school students have also been attracted to it," Cocuzza said. "And, parents will like the clear message that it sends to kids, something that Disney has perfected over the years."

The plot also involves funny interaction between the school's drama teacher and the basketball coach, not to mention rival students vying for choice roles in East High's upcoming high school musical.

Some cynics have referred to the musical as Romeo and Juliet meets Grease, but there's no denying the popularity of this phenomenon. "The stage version is about 60 percent music, with some very creative choreography; I think this could become a musical theater classic," Cocuzza said.

Although the stage version faithfully follows the plot of the film, Cocuzza points out there are new tunes added to the score. "The choreography is very similar but we've added our own style," he said, "and we've added screen projections that will enhance the production."

A cast of 36 will include five local high schoolers, 29 college-age actors who are still young enough to appear as high schoolers and also two adults. "This will be a good theater experience, which is something we always try to deliver during Summer ShowBiz."

Tickets for Disney's High School Musical are $15; senior citizens and students, $12; and are available through SIUE's Fine Arts box office, (618) 650-2774.

Click here for a cast photo

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TheBANK Of Edwardsville To Open Banking Center At SIUE

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Beginning Aug. 13, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students and employees will see a new neighbor in the Morris University Center-TheBANK of Edwardsville.

TheBANK's Cougar Banking Center will offer "innovative products and outstanding customer service" across Goshen Lounge from Starbucks and Auntie Anne's Pretzels, according to Tom Holloway, president of TheBANK of Edwardsville.

The new center is located in the spot formerly housing SIUE Print and Design, which has been moved to a convenient location on the second floor of the Morris Center.

Holloway said the Banking Center will offer full-service banking options, with the exception of safety-deposit boxes. TheBANK's full service banking includes loans, trusts, investments and customer service that is "second to none," Holloway explained.

TheBANK also will serve the SIUE banking community with new Club Services designed to benefit students, faculty and staff. Other customers of TheBANK also may utilize the Cougar Banking Center when visiting SIUE. "Of course, new customers are always welcome," Holloway said.

"We are so thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the SIUE community, offer them products to help them reach their financial goals, and help build a partnership between TheBANK and the University. This is a very special opportunity for TheBANK and one that we are very excited to approach," Holloway said.

"We promise to offer students, faculty and staff of SIUE the outstanding customer service and products for which TheBANK has built its reputation. TheBANK has a long tradition of providing personal service, offering the most innovative products and giving back to the community in which it serves."

As it has since 1980, TheBANK will continue to provide an ATM location inside the Morris Center, according to Morris Center Director Mary Robinson. "The ATM has been used widely throughout the years, but now our students will have access to many more services. We've been talking about this possibility for some time now and we're very excited that it will soon be a reality," Robinson said.

"Our philosophy at the Morris Center is based on service to students," she said. "We like to say the Morris Center is the students' home away from home. With the opening of TheBANK's Cougar Banking Center, we are furthering that philosophy."

Holloway pointed with pride to the fact that SIUE is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. "TheBANK of Edwardsville has watched and celebrated the growth of the University and the many outstanding programs, students and citizens it has brought to our community.

"In tandem, we too have experienced growth and believe that SIUE and TheBANK make outstanding partners in this new endeavor, and share in our dedication to the community and those we serve."

Narbeth Emmanuel, SIUE vice chancellor for Student Affairs, sees the new banking center as representative of the University's long-standing commitment to not only students and employees but also to the surrounding community. "One of our SIUE goals is Active Community Engagement," Emmanuel said. "As an important resource in Southwestern Illinois, the University is continually mindful of its role in the surrounding communities and this is an excellent example of how we achieve our goals.

"We pride ourselves in the community partnerships we've created and this new partnership with TheBANK of Edwardsville continues that commitment," Emmanuel said.

The Cougar Banking Center will be open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday thru Friday; weekend hours will be available during special on-campus events.

TheBANK has locations in Edwardsville, Alton, Belleville, Bethalto, Collinsville, Glen Carbon, Granite City, Highland, O'Fallon, Pontoon Beach and Troy, and has assets exceeding $1.1 billion. For more information about TheBANK of Edwardsville, visit

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CEO Alper To Receive Distinguished Alum Award From SIUE

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Keith Alper, CEO, co-founder of and executive producer at Creative Producers Group Inc. (CPG) and a 1984 graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the SIUE Alumni Association during Summer Commencement ceremonies Aug. 4 in SIUE's Vadalabene Center.

Candidates will receive diplomas from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School, as well as the Schools of Business, Education, Engineering and Nursing. The Distinguished Alumnus Award is given annually at summer commencement by the Alumni Association for extraordinary contributions by an SIUE graduate to the university and to society.

Alper, who earned a bachelor of science in Mass Communications, has chaired that department's advisory board and has served on the SIUE School of Business Advisory Board. CPG also helped SIUE with a new branding launch in 2005.

He is founding chairman of the St. Louis chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs' Organization (YEO) and became YEO's international chairman in 1998. YEO boasts more than 5,000 members worldwide. He served as chapter chairman for the St. Louis Young Presidents Organization and now acts as YPO's Strategic Planning chairman.

Alper also devotes time to local business groups and non-profit organizations, serving on the boards of Enterprise Financial Clayton Bank, St. Louis County Enterprise Centers, KWMU-FM, the St. Louis International Film Festival, and Korte Construction Co. He also has served as president and chair of the Saint Louis Advertising and Marketing Association.

Recognized both locally and nationally for excellence in his field, Alper's awards include "Top 100 Multimedia Producers," "Founders 30 or Younger," Hope Reports Top 100, and the St. Louis Business Journal "40 Under 40" distinction. He also served as a national judge and presenter for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Alper has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, INC, and Fortune magazine.

Click here for a photo of Keith Alper

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School of Engineering Welcomes Future Women Engineers

Photo 1 | 2 | 3 |
The SIUE School of Engineering was a hub of excitement in mid-June as female high school students visited and engaged in hands-on learning projects as part of the 2007 Future Women Engineers Program. The events-including construction of a hovercraft and a hovercraft racing demonstration, as well as a Lego robotics project-were organized to energize youth about engineering by giving them an opportunity to explore engineering options. In Photo 1, Sarah Arnac, 17, of St. Charles, Mo., works with camp instructor Dennis O'Connor in a hovercraft demonstration. In Photo 2, Ashley Crutcher, of Troy, adjusts her own hovercraft. In Photo 3, Amy Allen, of Springfield, listens while O'Connor explains the hovercraft's operation. (SIUE Photos by Denise Macdonald)

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June Employee Of The Month

Click here for photo

Congratulations: Tina Roundcount, pharmacist in Health Service, is recipient of the June Employee Recognition Award. Roundcount (second from right) is shown here flanked by Narbeth Emmanuel (at left), vice chancellor for Student Affairs, and Kenneth Neher, vice chancellor for Administration, who presented the award. At far left is Riane Greenwalt, director of Health Service who nominated Roundcount for the award. In addition to the plaque she received, Roundcount was awarded a $25 gift certificate to the SIUE Bookstore, a parking spot close to her office for one month, and two complimentary lunch coupons to the University Restaurant. (SIUE Photo by Denise Macdonald)

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Engineering Students Take Prize At International Conference

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The project of two Southern Illinois University Edwardsville engineering students recently won first place and $1,500 at the Unigraphics Solutions (UGS) Connection Americas 2007 Users Conference.

Terry Goble, a senior from Kansas, Ill., and Brian Graham, a junior from Washington, Ill., both majoring in industrial and manufacturing engineering, presented Application of 3D Modeling Technology to Lego Industries at the event in Long Beach, Calif.

Using UGS modeling technology, the students created a 3D model for a sample Lego product, which was called the Star Wars B-Wing, demonstrating its usage for Lego Design/Manufacturing Industries.

UGS is "a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services with nearly four million licensed seats and 46,000 customers worldwide.

The works of three student groups, using UGS software, were featured from different institutions of higher learning as part of the conference. Each group received an award and their work was presented.

H. Felix Lee, a professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering in the SIUE School of Engineering, was the faculty adviser. He presented the students' project before about 20 colleagues. Representatives attending the conference came from several institutions, including Michigan State University, University of California-Davis and Ervine, Universitaet Darmstadt of Germany, and University West of Sweden.

More than 2,100 people attended, representing 27 countries.

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SIUE Engineering Students Take Regional Awards At Conference

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's students are not afraid to take on a challenge; whether it involves making concrete float or designing and building a steel bridge.

Members of the SIUE School of Engineering student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers garnered several awards at a regional conference recently for two major projects-building a functional concrete canoe and a steel bridge structure.

The students took two first-place awards for an oral presentation and a technical report on a canoe design and second-place awards for the final product and paddling, and overall concept.

In its fourth consecutive year of competition, the team came within a few strokes of unseating University of Oklahoma in the concrete canoe competition.

SIUE's team, led by incoming seniors Rob Heer of Rochester and Jake Gonterman of Collinsville, achieved first place for lightness of the steel bridge. SIUE Engineering students have participated in the steel bridge competition for 13 years.

Brent Vaughn, civil engineering laboratory specialist and lecturer, served as the team's faculty advisor. "We admire all the effort that the students put forth and how well they continue to do, in addition to taking care of their school work," Vaughn said. "It's a great learning and growing opportunity for students.

"Our students work very hard to make their teams as successful as they are. The civil engineering faculty and staff continue to admire the achievements of the ASCE student chapter members."

Michael Ewersmann of Collinsville and Chad Komnick of Edwardsville, who both recently graduated, headed the canoe team.

Boasting a membership of nearly 110 students and growing, the student chapter is one of the largest student organizations on campus. For more information about the student chapter, visit the Web site:

Click here for a picture from the canoe competition. Click here for a picture from the steel bridge competition.

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Dillard U. Professor To Conduct Wright Workshop At ESTL, SIUE

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) In preparation for the 2008 International Richard Wright Centennial, Jerry W. Ward, Jr., a Wright expert and professor of English and African World Studies at Dillard University in New Orleans, will give presentations on the celebrated author in East St. Louis and Edwardsville on June 26 and 28. Both events are free.

Wright (1908-1960), a best-selling author whose novel, Native Son (1940), was the first by an African American to become a Book of the Month Club selection, wrote 16 works of fiction and nonfiction, including Black Boy (1955), and also poetry.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club will play host to Ward who will conduct a workshop on Wright in the Library (Building B) of SIUE's East St. Louis Center, 601 J.R. Thompson Dr.

At 1 p.m. Thursday, June 28, Ward also will present a lecture and workshop on Wright (and the "creative experience") in Room 2304 of Peck Hall on SIUE's Edwardsville Campus. An East St. Louis drum troupe and members of the EBR Writers Club's Soular Systems Ensemble also will perform.

Wright was born in Natchez, Miss., wending his way through Memphis to Chicago, where he wrote Native Son, later to become a film.

A seminal influence on African-American literature and activism, Wright influenced a generation of writers-including James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, and Alice Walker-and inspired the Civil Rights and Black Arts/Black Power movements of the 1950s and '60s.

In addition to his Richard Wright Centennial projects, Ward is writing new essays for Reading Race Reading America: Social and Literary Essays and new poems for JAZZ SOUTH. The editor of "Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African American Poetry," Ward also is co-editing the Cambridge History of African American Literature with Maryemma Graham of the University of Kansas. He also is a co-founder of The Richard Wright Circle and Newsletter.

In July, the EBR Writers Club and Drumvoices Revue will issue a "call for Kwansabas for Richard Wright." Selected kwansabas (49-word, 7-line poems) will appear in the 2008 issue of Drumvoices, co-published by the Club and SIUE.

Ward's visit is sponsored by SIUE's College of Arts and Sciences, the SIUE Department of English Language and Literature, Drumvoices Revue, and the EBR Writers Club. For more information, call (618) 650-3991, or e-mail

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SIUE School of Nursing Graduate Set For Middle East Mission

(ST. LOUIS) When duty calls, 28-year veteran nurse Lt. Col. Marceline Robinson will be ready for action.

Robinson, an army reservist in the U.S. Army Nurse Corp. and two-time graduate of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing-earning a bachelor's and a master's of science in nursing in 1975 and 1983, respectively-expects to leave for training in Wisconsin sometime this month before venturing into the Middle East theater later this year.

An associate chief nurse of mental health, Robinson has been at the St. Louis Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center-Jefferson Barracks Division for more than 20 years.

While Robinson is no stranger to traveling-having gone to Germany twice as part of her reservist training-this will be the psychiatric nurse's first time in a war zone. She said the strength, support and encouragement of her family and friends has prepared her for the upcoming mission.

"I couldn't have done everything I've been able to do without the support I've gotten from my family and my work," Robinson said. "You look at the news every day and there are a lot of casualties. I'm sure it's sinking in with my family now.

"I have a really supportive family and a supportive environment at the VA."

Included in Robinson's family are her husband Joseph Robinson, and the couple's children, 26-year-old son, Jomar, and 19-year-old daughter, Bree. While Robinson first faced her orders in a "kind of disbelief," it has been the courage of her family and coworkers that has gotten her past the initial shock and prepared her for the journey.

Robinson said she found her "nitch" in psychiatric nursing, and that medical advances have made the future look brighter for individuals living with mental illnesses. "Over the years you can see a change in patients with their mental functioning," she said. "This has happened with the introduction of A-typical medications."

A-typical medications also are referred to as anti-psychotic medications.

She said she chose mental health as an area to focus on because "patients get better. It's everything I thought it would be," Robinson said of her nursing career. "You never really get burned out because there are so many different things you can do.

"I love it. I like taking care of patients and I like, as an administrator, taking care of projects. I don't have any regrets."

Click here for a picture of Marceline Robinson.

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BOT Approves Three Projects For Edwardsville Campus

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees today approved two projects with budgets totaling more than $1.2 million and also approved a re-sale agreement with Apple Computers that could be worth as much as $5 million over 10 years, both for the SIU Edwardsville campus.

The board voted on the matters at its regular meeting conducted on the Carbondale campus.

Under the re-sale agreement, SIUE will sign a 10-year contract to purchase Apple Computer products for sale in the SIUE Bookstore. The agreement would approve the Bookstore as an Apple dealer to sell Apple computers, iPods, and Apple peripherals and accessories.

The contract, funded through sale of the products, allows the Bookstore to purchase about $500,000 in Apple equipment each year of the contract, depending on demand. The agreement would allow the Bookstore to sell to SIUE employees and students at special pricing only available to higher education. The University would receive a 4%-6% commission on sales.

The two projects approved by the board today include construction of the Secondary Computer Center, at a cost of $800,000, and upgrades to the drinking water training facilities at SIUE's Environmental Resources Training Center (ERTC) on New Poag Road, at a cost of $460,500.

The new center would provide back-up storage facilities for the main computing center at SIUE. It also would provide space for the Computer Refresh Program with a small area of secure storage for Lovejoy Library special collections. The project would be funded through the University's Information Technology Fee and Library Operating funds. Plans call for the facility to be located near SIUE Supporting Services on the south end of campus.

The ERTC upgrades would be funded through a grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). In 1974, the ERTC was designated by the IEPA as the Illinois center for the continuing education of personnel involved in the operation, maintenance and management of drinking water and wastewater treatment systems.

The upgrades would provide modern equipment and control systems to train its students in various systems and methods of water treatment.

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SIUE Professor Named To Urban Research Institute Post

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Andrew Theising, an assistant professor of political science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and author of an award-winning book chronicling the history of East St. Louis, has been named director of the University's Institute for Urban Research (IUR), according to SIUE Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Paul Ferguson.

Theising, who has been a member of the political science faculty since 2002, begins his new position July 1. He succeeds David Ault, an SIUE professor emeritus of Economics and Finance who has directed the institute since 2005.

Associate Provost for Research Stephen Hansen said the IUR underwent a number of significant changes under Ault's leadership. "One of the most important changes was the funding and development of interdisciplinary research teams designed to explore a variety of urban issues," Hansen said.

In his new position, Theising will direct the Institute's policy-oriented research of significance to the Metro East and stimulate discussion of a Metro East policy agenda. Theising said such research can help federal, state and local agencies combat urban problems in Southwest Illinois.

Considered one of the foremost authorities on East St. Louis who has helped SIUE become a major repository for East St. Louis archival materials, Theising wrote Made in the USA: East St. Louis (Virginia Publishing, 2003), which was the subject of an Emmy Award-winning public television documentary of the same name.

He earned three degrees at the University of Missouri-St. Louis-a bachelor's, master's and doctorate, all in political science. Theising was community policy director for FOCUS St. Louis, the regional

citizens league that interacts extensively with national, regional and local agencies on a variety of projects. Immediately before joining the SIUE faculty, he was director of the East St. Louis Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center for the University of Illinois.

Theising also serves on the board of the St. Louis Metropolitan Research Exchange, a consortium of research institutions in the area. "Andy has an outstanding record of research in urban issues," Hansen said.

Click here for a photo of Professor Theising.

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Summer ShowBiz 2007 Kicks Off With Guys And Dolls

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Damon Runyon wrote some great short stories about the denizens of 1920s New York City, but it took songwriter Frank Loesser and lyricists Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows to bring those unique characters to the Broadway musical stage.

The result in 1950 was Guys and Dolls, a slice of Americana that comes to the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Summer ShowBiz stage later this month. Guys and Dolls runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, June 14-16 and 21-23, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 17 and 24, all in the theater at SIUE's Katherine Dunham Hall.

It won't be the first time that the musical has been featured at SIUE. "We did this musical in 1987 and it was a big hit for us," says C. Otis Sweezey, chair of the SIUE Department of Theater and Dance and set designer 20 years ago and for the current production.

Sweezey's first design was an inspired piece of work, but this current set promises to be more mature. "I'd like to think I've been improving throughout my career," Sweezey said. "After designing for summer productions at SIUE for 36 years, I have designed quite a few musicals. Guys and Dolls is one of my favorites."

As for the story line, Sweezey referred to Guys and Dolls as a "crowd pleaser," but also pointed out its theatricality and those Runyon characters. There's Scranton Slim, Brandy Bottle Bates, Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Nathan Detroit and Harry the Horse, the funniest collection of gamblers, scam artists and pickpockets you'd ever want to meet.

"They are always looking for a way to win a bet, pick a horse, or find a craps game," Sweezey said with a laugh. "It's all in good fun."

Director Janet Strzelec, director of the dance program at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., and an alumna of SIUE, is wearing three hats for the production-director, choreographer and one of the leads. "I portrayed Adelaide (Nathan Detroit's betrothed) in my high school production at Hazelwood (MO) High School," she explained. "And, there really wasn't anyone who auditioned for this production with, shall I say, the maturity for the part, so I decided to play it."

Strzelec is playing Adelaide to Peter Cocuzza's Nathan, both of whom are portraying characters who have been engaged for 14 years. Cocuzza is a professor of theater and dance at SIUE and chair-elect of that department. "These characters aren't supposed to be spring chickens," Strzelec said. Both Strzelec and Cocuzza are among a largely young cast, with some older actors for balance.

Director Strzelec does bring a wealth of experience to the part. She has been a dance teacher and play director at Hazelwood and Parkway schools in St. Louis County and at St. Louis University High School, as well as at SIUE and Lindenwood. She also taught dance for private studios for several years. In addition, Strzelec has been a choreographer and director for the Summer ShowBiz program since the early 1990s.

" Guys and Dolls is a production that is very close to my heart," Strzelec said. In addition to playing the role of Adelaide in high school, the hit musical was part of her MFA thesis. "I've also choreographed this show at least four times. I've lost track.

"The play is filled with unusual characters and that's part of its charm for me," Strzelec said. "It's an old-fashioned musical with a happy ending."

In addition to the three hats she's wearing for Guys and Dolls, Strzelec also is choreographing Disney's High School Musical, the next Summer ShowBiz production that begins July 12. "People have been asking me if I'm tired, but, if I'm working with people I like, I don't mind putting in the time," she said. "That's why I keep coming back every summer to SIUE.

"I hope everyone comes to see this show," Strzelec said. "I never get tired of it and it's always funny. It's a very funny show."

For tickets to Guys and Dolls, call the SIUE Fine Arts box office, (618) 650-2774.

Click here for photo of cast that includes, from left, Acacia Moll of Altamont, as Mimi; Josh Douglas of Granite City, as Nicely-Nicely Johnson; Philip Leveling of Glen Carbon, as Sky Masterson; and Emily Reutebuch, also of Granite City, as Sarah.

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Study Finds Lower New Teacher Attrition Rates from Profession in Illinois

About 40 percent of Illinois' new teachers leave teaching within five years, but this initial attrition rate falls to 27 percent when accounting for those who return to the profession, according to a study released recently by the Illinois Education Research Council (IERC) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

The IERC was established in 2000 at SIUE to provide Illinois with education research to support P-16 education policy making and program development. The IERC undertakes independent research and policy analysis, often in collaboration with other researchers, that informs and strengthens Illinois' commitment to providing a seamless system of educational opportunities for its citizens.

The IERC report states: "The teaching profession is not in crisis." Unlike conventional wisdom, the report points out, which seems to hold up a figure of 50 percent attrition rate among teachers, the overall rate has remained stable since the late 1980s. Teaching is actually more stable than most other occupations requiring similar education levels, according to the report.

Still, the report raises an important area for concern-the high rates at which new teachers leave their initial schools within their first five years. Two of every three new teachers either leave, or move from their initial school to another in the Illinois public school system within their first five years. This can create considerable disruption within schools, the report notes.

The study, Leaving Schools or Leaving the Profession: Setting Illinois' Record Straight on New Teacher Attrition, is one of the largest ever undertaken that looks at new teacher attrition over such a long period of time and in such detail. Researchers at IERC studied demographic and mobility data on more than 160,000 new teachers from 1971-2006. The study reports on teachers who leave the profession within their first five years and return and on those who leave their starting school.

The study found little difference between the percentages of males and females who leave the profession for good, and that teachers who start in Chicago Public Schools and suburban and rural areas show similar rates of attrition from the profession-26 percent and 28 percent, respectively. The percentage of white teachers leaving the profession is somewhat higher, at 28 percent, than the rates of African Americans and Hispanics, at 22 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

The researchers also looked at the influence of school demographics on a teacher's decision to leave the first school and the profession altogether. Teachers who start in schools with greater than 90 percent low-income students are no more likely to leave the profession than teachers who begin in schools with fewer low-income students.

"There are some schools in every Illinois locale and every demographic category with high rates of attrition," says Karen J. DeAngelis, lead author of the report and a former SIU Edwardsville assistant research professor. "This indicates that there are other school attributes that affect teachers' decisions to stay or leave. But what is encouraging is teachers are not fleeing the profession, as many have thought."

The researchers did find a link between teachers with higher academic qualifications and a greater likelihood to leave the profession if they start at disadvantaged and underperforming schools.

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SIUE School of Engineering Welcomes Future Women Engineers

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering will be a hub of excitement Monday-Friday, June 11-15, as female high school students visit and engage in hands-on learning projects as part of the 2007 Future Women Engineers Program.

The events have been organized to energize youth about engineering by giving them the chance to explore engineering options. Featured activities of the week that will take place in the Engineering Building will include:

• Computer Science Lego Robotics from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Monday, in room 2029;

• Mechanical Engineering Hovercraft demonstration from 1:30-4:30 pm. Friday, in room 1027.

Other activities have been planned for the week, including industrial field trips and industrial, mechanical, computer science, electronics and construction management laboratories, as well as a bridge competition. For more information call Ron Banks, (618) 650-3521.

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SIUE Department of Philosophy Professor/Chair Receives $10K Award

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) As the first woman admitted to the Ph.D. program in philosophy at Purdue University in 1969, Margaret "Peg" Simons knew she was choosing an uphill career path.

But in the spirit of Simone de Beauvoir, an enigmatic woman philosopher she has studied for the last 35 years, Simons has not only welcomed the journey; she has embraced it with open arms.

Today she is a professor and the chair of the Department of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the second recipient of SIUE's William and Margaret Going Endowed Professorship-the award's first woman recipient.

The $10,000 gift is awarded to a faculty member who demonstrates great passion for his or her own work. It was made possible through a contribution from SIUE's first academic division head-William Going, 91, and his wife. Bill Going is an emeritus professor of English Language and Literature, a respected scholar and teacher, and one of the pioneer founders of SIUE.

"It's a very generous award that they set up," Simons said of the Goings. "It's to encourage people to do their work."

And that is what Simons will be doing this summer when she continues editing a seven-volume series of Beauvoir's philosophical writings in English translation, co-edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir and published by the University of Illinois Press. Simons currently is finishing an introduction to the third volume in the series, Beauvoir's Wartime Diary, translated by Anne Deing Cordero.

It is Simons' goal to make Beauvoir's contributions to philosophy better known. Toward that end she has accepted an invitation to present a paper at an International Colloquium in Paris, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Beauvoir's birth in January 2008.

Simons' presentation will focus on Beauvoir's construction of an existentialist ethic in the post-World War II era, and Beauvoir's philosophy in The Second Sex (1949), the book which Simons studied in her doctoral dissertation.

"The Second Sex is probably the most important book on women in the 20th century," Simons said. "It laid the theoretical foundation for the Women's Movement in the 1960s.

"Beauvoir is really important because she charted the difficulties, the challenges that women faced as they moved out of the domestic, private sphere and into the public sphere in the 20th century.

"(Beauvoir) is the person who theorized this movement with the most sophistication, with the most subtlety and thoroughness. She looked at it from historical, religious, literary, psychoanalytic perspectives, studying all these different aspects of women's changing roles."

Simons' own work studying Beauvoir has drawn wide respect, with professor and peer Elizabeth E. A. Fallaize, pro-vice chancellor of education at the University of Oxford stating: "No international conference on Beauvoir's work is complete without Professor Simons; no editor of a collective work on Beauvoir would not try to obtain a contribution from her.

"(Simons) has encouraged many younger scholars and helped them to bring their work to international attention, and she has worked tirelessly to support both conferences on Beauvoir and the Beauvoir Society. It is in no small part due to Professor Simons' work that American scholars are now at the forefront of the work being carried out on Beauvoir's philosophical writing."

Simons admits that after 35 years of studying Beauvoir's philosophical works: "I'm still trying to understand her philosophy. I've been working on the same question after all these years. What is her philosophy?"

She added: "The reason (Beauvoir) is so complicated could be because there are so few women philosophers. Women weren't allowed in the classes; they weren't allowed to get the Ph.D.s or the jobs.

"Just in the last 35 years it has changed so much. At Purdue, I was the first woman admitted in the philosophy program. It was very lonely."

Simons became the third woman in the SIUE philosophy department at about the time the University's Women's Studies Program was born. Today, the philosophy department has five women and nine men, and the Women's Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary minor.

"It's exciting to be part of this change," Simons said.

Click here for photo of Margaret "Peg" Simons.

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Cougar Softball Team Day proclaimed by Mayor of Edwardsville

The SIUE Softball team is shown at an Edwardsville City Council meeting as Edwardsville Mayor Gary Niebur reads a proclamation announcing June 6 as SIUE Cougar Softball Team Day in Edwardsville. Coach Sandy Montgomery is shown in front.

Click here for photo of ceremony at city hall.

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SIUE Biology Faculty Member Studying Flying Squirrels

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Richard Essner, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is embarked on an important environmental project with funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund.

His project is "Monitoring a Flying Squirrel Population with Nest Boxes in a Fragmented Suburban Landscape." Essner's work is funded through June 30, 2009.

According to Essner, the southern flying squirrel, Glaucomys volans, is a nocturnal, cavity-nesting rodent found in deciduous forests throughout eastern North America. "Flying squirrels play a critical role as predator and prey; their presence is a general indicator of forest quality," Essner explained.

"In Illinois, most available habitat for flying squirrels is highly fragmented. Precise characterization of movement is particularly important in rapidly changing suburban landscapes, where detailed information could contribute to land use planning." The results of this research will assist in land use planning on the SIUE campus, as well as in similar habitats across Illinois.

The campus presents a unique opportunity to study a flying squirrel population, especially since the undeveloped portion of the campus is characterized by relatively small fragments of oak-hickory forest.

"The objective of the study is to set up a series of nest box grids within four fragmented woodlots on the SIUE campus to monitor the local flying squirrel population," Essner said. He pointed out that flying squirrels will be marked and recaptured over a three-year period in order to determine movement patterns and to assess their ability to disperse across a highly fragmented landscape.

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B. Bergeron Named Dean Of School Of Education At SIUE

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Bette S. Bergeron, currently an associate dean at the Polytechnic Campus of Arizona State University, will become the dean of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Education on July 1, according to SIUE Provost Paul Ferguson.

Ferguson said Bergeron's appointment, subject to approval by the SIU Board of Trustees, is the result of a national search. Bergeron succeeds Elliott Lessen, who retired as dean of Education in 2006 after five years in that position.

"Dr. Bergeron will bring her strength of experience in programmatic management, collaboration, team-building and commitment to the development of faculty, staff and students to this new position," Ferguson said.

In addition to her position as associate dean at ASU, Bergeron also was a professor of education in the School of Educational Innovation and Teacher Preparation on the Polytechnic Campus in Mesa, Ariz. During her career at ASU since 2000, Bergeron has held several positions in which she's been responsible for fiscal management, curriculum, personnel, strategic planning, accreditation, program review and development.

Before joining ASU, Bergeron was professor of teacher education and chair of that department at Purdue University Calumet from 1990-99.

Bergeron earned a master of science and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction at Purdue and a bachelor of science in elementary education at the University of Maine. Her scholarly interest focuses on applied research, particularly in the development of quality teacher education programs and in-service educators.

She has published and presented more than 75 papers during the past decade and has collaborated with colleagues to obtain substantive external funding for numerous programs in support of academic success of diverse populations, baccalaureate completion and integrating technology and instruction.

The national search committee was headed by Curt Lox, professor and associate dean of education at SIUE. "I want to express my sincere thanks to Dr. Lox and memners of the committee for their time and professionalism in bringing this search to a successful conclusion."

Ferguson also praised Associate Professor Bill Searcy, who has been serving as interim dean of the SIUE School of Education. "I'd like to especially thank Dr. Searcy for his dedicated service as interim dean this past year," Ferguson said. "Dr. Searcy provided critical leadership and insight during this time of transition for the School of Education."

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Engineering Professors Receive $150K NSF Grant For Robotics

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Jerry Weinberg and William Yu, associate professors of Computer Science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, in partnership with Kim Wheeler and Robin Knight of RoadNarrows LLC, have received a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to create a "Brain Pack" for walking robots.

Since 1999, Weinberg, chair of the Department of Computer Science in the SIUE School of Engineering, and Yu have been instrumental in bringing middle school, high school and college students together from throughout the region to study robotics and participate in robotics competitions.

The NSF grant, "General Robot Controller for Legged Mobile Robots with Integrated Open Source Software," will help develop a computer backpack or "Brain Pack" for two-, four-, and six-legged robots for teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. "The Brain Pack will provide an easy to program computer controller that connects sensors, such as foot touch sensors, to give a robot the 'sense' of walking and a color camera to give the robot 'eyesight,'" Weinberg said.

"It will be a general controller that can be used on any legged robot, providing it with sensors and computing power that walking robots on the market currently do not have."

Hands-on robotics projects have become useful educational tools across a variety of subjects, Weinberg pointed out. "Robots are integrated systems comprised of interdependent electrical, mechanical, and computational components. Because of their multidisciplinary nature, the study of robotics in the classroom has become a valuable tool for the practical, hands-on application of concepts in various STEM topics at the K-12 and undergraduate educational levels.

"While there are wheeled robots that are easy to use for K-12 and undergraduate educators, there are no legged robot platforms with easy to use hardware and software," Weinberg said.

"The Brain Pack will have 'plug-and-play' sensors with straightforward software modules developed specifically for use in the classroom."

Weinberg recently organized the Greater St. Louis Botball Tournament conducted on the SIUE campus, where some 150 students, along with their teachers and parents from 11 schools in Missouri and Illinois, participated in the event. "This was a regional robotics competition for a national tournament conducted by the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics," Weinberg said.

"The event started with a student/teacher workshop on building and programming robots and ended in an exciting head-to-head tournament seven weeks later," Weinberg explained. This was the first regional robotics tournament held at SIUE and Weinberg plans to make it an annual event.

Kim Wheeler-Smith and Robin Knight are the co-founders of RoadNarrows LCC in Loveland, Colo. They earned engineering and mathematics degrees focused on robotics and computational intelligence, which led them to create a company to provide mobile robots to educators and researchers.

"The primary mission of RoadNarrows is to participate in the robotics revolution by developing, manufacturing, and offering hardware and software platforms for purchase to further technical education and to enable related research and development," Weinberg said.

"The partnership between SIUE and RoadNarrows is key to the successful development of the Brain Pack innovation. The educators at SIUE have considerable experience in developing curricula and software for using robots in the classroom, and RoadNarrows has similarly considerable experience in engineering and marketing robot hardware for educators.

For more information, contact Professor Weinberg, (618) 650-2368.

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