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- From welfare to work
- Steve Anderson and Tony Halter, both professors of social work, analyzed data showing work history at several points in time after leaving welfare. They learned that people didn't necessarily remain at one job for a long time.
- Geological origins of ancient figures yield clues to Cahokian society
- Analysis of figurines found at Cahokia, near St. Louis, are causing anthropologists to rethink the role Cahokia played in ancient society.
- Revenues expected to keep Illinois fund balance near record
- J. Fred Giertz, a UI economist, predicted that the state will end fiscal year 2000 with a general fund balance very close to last year's historic high of $1.35 billion.
Capital projects changing the face of campus
Paul Simon to address May graduates
Campus crime down; assaults, robberies still a concern
A bevy of trios ... Credit union offers workshops ... Saturday Safari classes announced ... NCSA Faculty Fellows Applications due Feb. 28 ... Hausmusik concert is Feb. 13 ... Conference examines diseases ... Award nominations due Feb. 16 ... Historical markers to feature campus achievements ... Installation explores 'pretty' ... Your View Point
Welfare rolls have shrunk dramatically in recent years, and states' surveys show that most of those who have left the rolls have jobs.
But many of those surveys have measured employment at just one point in time, hiding a lot of job instability and on-again, off-again employment, say UI researchers who produced a study last fall for the state of Illinois.
"When we look at the aggregate statistics, they make people leaving welfare look like a stable population," says Steve Anderson, a UI professor of social work. "But if we really look at the majority of people in our study, most of them experienced some type of job change or some loss of employment" during the time they were off the rolls -- less than a year for those in the Illinois study.
"We clearly found that people didn't remain on one job for a long period of time," Anderson said.
Anderson and social work colleague Tony Halter, both professors on the Urbana-Champaign campus, analyzed data working with the Survey Research Office at the UI's Springfield campus. The UIS researchers started by contacting a random sample of 1,399 people who had left the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in December 1997 or June 1998. Of those, 427, or 31 percent, responded and were interviewed.
The interviews were conducted primarily in November and December of 1998, four to 11 months after people left the welfare rolls.
Combining the statistics for both the December '97 and June '98 respondents, the employment rate changed relatively little between TANF exit and the time of the interview, from 68.9 percent to 65.3, Anderson said. Only 51.2 percent, however, were employed at both points, he said.
And, perhaps most telling of the job instability, only 36.8 percent of those who were employed when they left TANF in December '97 had the same job when interviewed less than a year later.
Also of concern, Anderson said, was low use by respondents of available state and federal supports. Only 36 percent with child-care needs, for instance, were receiving state subsidies, and only 43 percent of all respondents were receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit. "I would say all of [the support services] look like they're being underused," he said, "and we don't know why, for the most part."
Some results were better than the researchers expected. A large majority of those who had been employed, for instance, had worked full-time jobs, rather than collections of part-time jobs. And their average hourly pay was $7.59 at TANF exit, and $7.78 on their current or most recent job.
But these wages still put people in or near poverty, Anderson said. And combining that with the apparent job instability, he suggested that states need to structure their social service systems accordingly. "It's important for the system to be responsive as people move in and out of jobs if we really want to get them to work, and if we want to support work," he said.
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Geological origins of ancient figures yield clues to Cahokian society
Nearly 1,000 years before St. Louis became known as the Gateway to the West, another expanding culture had created a major ceremonial mound complex that is now called Cahokia. By all accounts, Cahokia was huge, consisting of hundreds of platform mounds, supported by a population numbering in the thousands. At issue, however, has been whether Cahokia was part of a regional trade network that stretched from the Great Plains to the South Atlantic.
"Cahokia was strategically centered at the juncture of the Missouri, Illinois and Mississippi rivers on the vast alluvial flood plain of the American Bottom," said Thomas Emerson, a professor of anthropology at the UI and the director of the Illinois Transportation Archaeological Research Program. "An interesting debate has centered upon whether the artifacts found at Cahokia represent a vast social, religious and political complex that exerted a major regional trade influence, or merely exotic 'prestige goods' acquired by an elite few as a symbol of power."
When the Interstate-270 bypass was constructed around St. Louis, Emerson and colleagues recovered a number of artifacts, including numerous pipe fragments and five figurines that appear to have been ceremonially destroyed.
"The stone figures portray female idols associated with agricultural symbolism and classic fertility myths," Emerson said. "The figures had been smashed to bits, the fragments scattered in ceremonial pits in several structures, which were then set on fire."
By using a combination of X-ray diffraction, sequential acid dissolution and inductively coupled plasma analyses, Emerson and Randall Hughes, a geologist with the Illinois State Geological Survey, established the source of raw material used in the manufacture of the figurines and pipes.
"Our mineralogical and geochemical analysis demonstrated that only the Missouri flint clay deposits could have served as the source of raw materials used in the Cahokia figurines," Hughes said. "In addition, given the similarity of the figurines' chemical and mineralogical composition, our study suggests that the carvers may have selectively quarried their raw materials from a single site, or from a few nearby and closely related sites, located within 30 to 40 kilometers of the mound complex."
Previously, many researchers and historians believed the Cahokia figures and pipes had originated in quarries located in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota and other faraway sites.
"Because these highly crafted artifacts now appear to be a local product, we need to rethink the role Cahokia played in ancient society," Emerson said. "Instead of serving as a major trade center, it appears that the people of Cahokia were more focused on a local rather than long-distance acquisition process."
The researchers presented their findings in the January issue of the journal of the Society for American Archaeology, American Antiquity.
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Revenues expected to keep Illinois fund balance near record
Buoyed by a stable economy and increased receipts from tobacco, liquor and gambling, the state of Illinois will enjoy another year of fiscal plenitude.
"Year 2000 will be a good one from a revenue standpoint," said J. Fred Giertz, a UI economist. Giertz predicted that the state will end fiscal year 2000 on June 30 with a general fund balance very close to last year's historic high of $1.35 billion.
"Midway through fiscal 2000, actual revenues are above projection, with sales tax especially strong," he said in an interview. Sales-tax receipts were up 7.6 percent in the second half of calendar 1999 compared to the figure a year earlier.
Individual income taxes also rose 3.3 percent despite a phase-in that raises the personal exemption level for residents from $1,000 to $2,000 over three years. The exemption for last year was $1,650 and will increase to the full $2,000 in 2000.
A new single-apportionment tax formula for corporations doing business in more than one state resulted, at least temporarily, in a fall-off in corporate receipts. While the measure was tagged as revenue neutral by its supporters, corporate income taxes in Illinois dropped 15.8 percent in the first half of fiscal 2000. Although there is likely to be some pick-up, corporate income taxes will probably lag throughout the year, Giertz said.
Several other revenue streams will favorably affect the state budget. Illinois has received $140 million from the national tobacco settlement, the first installment of a projected $9 billion to be paid by tobacco companies over the next 25 years. How the state will use the money -- and the options are many, including improving Medicaid benefits, establishing a "rainy day" reserve fund or undertaking a state anti-smoking campaign -- will become a major issue facing the legislature.
Otherwise, the coming year "promises to be a quiet one" in Springfield, Giertz predicted. Faced with a bumper crop of revenues and little constituent pressure to enact general property-tax relief as in past years, legislative leaders are discussing an April adjournment, one month earlier than usual.
Gov. George Ryan's big initiative -- a five-year infrastructure development program called Illinois FIRST -- raised taxes on alcoholic beverages and increased vehicle registration and transfer fees. These taxes are expected to generate $70 million in new revenues for infrastructure in fiscal 2000.
The extension of riverboat gambling into Cook County -- so long as it withstands a court challenge -- is expected to "have a strong positive impact" on future revenues. Last year, riverboat gaming produced $191 million in fees and taxes, up $46 million from fiscal 1999. The tax boost from a boat near Chicago will be offset somewhat by additional state subsidies to the ailing horse-racing industry.
The state lottery, meanwhile, yielded $207 million in tax revenues and fees, down 5.5 percent from the previous reporting year.
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Capital projects changing the face of campus
In the not-too-distant future, South First Street from St. Mary's Road to Windsor Road might be lined with handsome brick buildings housing some of the world's leading technology corporations.
In addition, a segment of the far north campus that is east of the Beckman Institute will have a similar assortment of newly constructed buildings filled with small-, medium- and large-sized firms whose directors want to be close to the variety of professionals and research projects at the UI.
For the time being, these proposed research parks are called the North Center and South Center, and for the most part they exist mainly in the plans of campus developers and administrators.
But the South Center will likely see some construction activity this spring since Motorola Inc. has decided to relocate from its existing facility in Urbana to a site on the southwest corner of St. Mary's Road and First Street.
"The South Center is the one getting most of the attention right now," said Dave Dressel, associate vice chancellor for administration. "We can launch that one fairly quickly because the land is available. On the north campus, there are some complex and expensive land acquisitions that will take us a little longer to resolve. So we're going to see the South Center develop first."
Motorola would like to be in its new 72,000-square foot building by Dec. 1, 2000. A sheep barn and some other outbuildings will be torn down to clear the site.
In association with UI staff, a developer is refining a master plan for the South Center Research Park, but Dressel said the initial phases of the South Center will extend from the southern boundary of the Motorola property down First Street to AITS and the state regional office building.
"But we're also trying to have a more grand vision, so we're also looking on the east side of South First Street to provide more space," Dressel said. "We may end up with a research park that runs along either side of South First Street, and on the east side it may extend all the way to Windsor Road. If that is done we may have a research park down there that's more than 100 acres with a building-occupancy capacity in excess of 1 million square feet.
"The North Center Research Park will probably have about 600,000 square feet of building-occupancy capacity," Dressel said. "So we could well see over 1.5 million square feet of business space in the research parks for emerging companies and corporate affiliates. But it will take some time -- perhaps more than 20 years to complete the build-out."
Dressel envisions a mix of building sizes in the research parks. There will probably be one large incubator building in the south. The buildings are called "incubators" because they provide small amounts of space for fledgling start-up companies working on ideas that may allow them to grow into larger firms.
"And as the incubator companies mature, you have to have a place for them to graduate to," Dressel said. "So we'll have multi-tenant buildings in the South Center, and we'll also probably have some major single-occupant facilities, not unlike Motorola. We expect a mix of tenancies.
"My guess at this point is that the two centers will be dominated by multi-tenant buildings and one or two incubator buildings and there would probably be several major corporate buildings."
The South Center Research Park fits in with plans to move the South Farms south of Windsor Road, a $200 million project that means the acquisition of land all the way south to Airport Road. Plans call for the construction of new research facilities and developing new research fields for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
On the North Campus, east of the Beckman Institute, there's a large surface parking lot. Plans call for building a parking deck along University Avenue with 1,000 or more spaces to accommodate the people working in the northeast corner of campus, Dressel said.
On land just south of the proposed parking deck, the UI hopes to build a new facility to house the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. The UI is seeking state money for that building in its capital projects request to the state legislature this year. A new NCSA building is estimated to cost between $30 million and $35 million, Dressel said. Gov. George Ryan included $30 million for the NCSA building in his budget request this week.
Located directly south of the proposed NCSA building will be the new $74 million computer science building and Quad, which is being funded from a variety of sources.
With the new computer science building, the proposed NCSA building, and the North Center Research Park, about 2,500 people could be working in that area of the campus, Dressel said.
All of it will mean big changes in the campus in the next 15 to 20 years. Dressel said there's been talk for many years about developing research parks, but the timing is good now because of the economy and a strong commitment from the UI and campus administration.
And there's no doubt that corporations will be interested in coming to the UI's new research parks, he said.
"They are interested because the university is a national and world power in research," Dressel said. "And we also have specific individuals who are doing very interesting research and that is attracting corporations. We also expect these corporations to 'harvest' our graduates for their work force."
This year's requests for capital projects also include $45 million to build the chiller building, the air conditioning center for the campus; an incubator building in the South Center Research Park; and a large biotechnology science building, sometimes called Beckman South, which would be dedicated to integrating the fields of biology, agriculture, veterinary medicine, and other life sciences, similar to the Beckman Institute on the north campus.
Current Campus Projects
The wind wreaked havoc on the new indoor football practice facility being built near Memorial Stadium, causing some damage that could set the building opening back a week or so in the fall.
But other building projects on the UI campus are progressing pretty much according to schedule. And with a continuing program of more than $200 million of capital improvement projects on the campus, that means there is always a lot of activity going on.
Here's an update on some of the current building projects on campus, according to Dave Dressel, associate vice chancellor for administration.
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Paul Simon to address May graduates
Former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon will be the featured speaker at the UI Commencement ceremonies May 14.
Simon, who retired from the Senate in 1997, is a professor at Southern Illinois University, teaching political science and journalism classes. He is the founder and director of the Public Policy Institute at the Carbondale campus, and also teaches classes occasionally at SIU's campus in Edwardsville.
He served in the Senate for 12 years, and was Illinois' senior senator prior to his retirement. In the 104th Congress he served on the budget, labor and human resources, judiciary, and Indian affairs committees. He also served on the foreign relations committee.
In 1987-88, he made a bid for the Democratic nomination for president.
Michael Aiken, the chancellor of the UI, said he is pleased that Simon accepted the invitation to speak to the graduates:
"Paul Simon has served the people of Illinois for many years and has played an important role in higher education. He worked tirelessly to win approval of the direct college loan program, and when he left the Senate, he became a college professor. His stature among educators and students is evidenced by the more than 50 honorary degrees he has been awarded. We are honored to have him share his thoughts and perspectives with our Class of 2000."
Simon got his start in politics in the Illinois House of Representatives in 1954 and was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1962. During his 14 years in the state legislature, he won the Independent voters of Illinois' "Best Legislator Award" every session. He was chief sponsor of the Illinois Open Meetings Law and of legislation creating the Illinois Arts Council, and he played a leading role in chartering the state's community college system.
In 1968, he was elected lieutenant governor of Illinois and was the first in the state's history to be elected to that post with a governor of another party. He ran for governor in 1972 but narrowly lost to Dan Walker. He then started the public affairs reporting program at Sangamon State University in Springfield (now the UI at Springfield) and lectured during the 1972-73 school year at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Simon was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 and served Illinois' 22nd and 24th congressional districts for 10 years before beginning his career in the U.S. Senate.
Simon was born in Oregon 71 years ago. He attended the University of Oregon and Dana College in Blair, Neb. At the age of 19 he became the nation's youngest editor-publisher when he accepted a local Lion's Club challenge to save the Troy Tribune in Troy, Ill., near St. Louis. Simon built a chain of 13 newspapers in Southern and Central Illinois. He sold the papers in 1966 to devote full-time to public service and writing.
Simon lives in the tiny village of Makanda in Southern Illinois with his wife, Jeanne. They have two children and four grandchildren.
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Although fewer crimes against people occurred on the UI campus during the fall 1999 semester, police officials still are concerned about the numbers of aggravated assaults and batteries and robberies that put students in harm's way.
UI police responded to 27 criminal reports of aggravated assaults and batteries in the campus reporting area in the fall, compared with 37 reports in 1998 and 45 in 1997, according to crime data statistics. The campus reporting area extends to University Avenue on the north, Neil Street on the west, Windsor Road on the south and Race Street to the east.
Similarly, the numbers of robberies fell to 17 -- down from 26 in the fall of 1998.
"I'm pleased, but we still have significant problems with aggravated assaults and robberies," said UI Police Chief Oliver J. Clark. "And I think the people on this campus need to be reminded about the time of the day these crimes are occurring, and who the victims are."
Victims of aggravated assaults are usually men between the ages of 18 and 20 out between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., Clark said. The statistics show that more than half of the victims had been drinking when they were assaulted. Slightly more than half of the assaults were made by acquaintances of the victims, according to the statistics.
Robbery victims also tend to be males out between 9 p.m. and midnight. The vast majority of the robbers are strangers to the victims, and police have found that most robbers have no affiliation with the UI. They seek out UI students, police said, because students often make themselves easy targets by walking alone in dark areas.
An unusual statistic from the fall crime reports is that the number of incidents of public indecency increased from three in 1998 to eight in 1999. That could be the result of one or two men who continue to expose themselves from buildings located on the west side of the Quad, according to Capt. Kris Fitzpatrick of the UI police. One suspect who has exposed himself from windows at Lincoln and Gregory halls pulls shades down to conceal his face, she said. It has been difficult to catch the suspects, Fitzpatrick said, in part because the victims frequently don't report the incidents until hours or days after it happened.
"Sometimes someone will see a report in the newspaper and then call us and say 'You know, the same thing happened to me a week ago,' " she said.
Victims should call the police immediately so that police can search the buildings and catch the man, Clark said.
"Witnesses should use the emergency phones on the Quad," Fitzpatrick said. "The majority of our incidents are happening in the Quad area."
As for criminal sexual assaults, those numbers are down to six from 10 the previous fall, but Fitzpatrick said those statistics are not reliable because criminal sexual assaults are the most under-reported crime on campus.
A good indication of how under-reported those crimes are is that between 130 and 150 students seek assistance for sexual assault from the UI Office of Women's Programs each year, said Patricia Morey, assistant dean of students.
"Not all those assaults occurred on campus -- but the majority of them were incidents that occurred here, while they were students on campus," Morey said.
She said the women's program office doesn't keep statistics on whether alcohol was involved in those assaults, but she estimates that between 60 to 75 percent of one or both parties were intoxicated when the assaults occurred.
"And probably 95 percent of the assaults are by an acquaintance," Morey said.
Prevention efforts on campus focus on both men and women, Morey said. First-year students are required to attend workshops on the issue in their residence halls early in the first semester, she said.
"One of the things about our campus I find very hopeful is that we've taken a very proactive approach," Morey said. "This is a serious issue and we're taking it very seriously."
Fitzpatrick noted that solutions to crime on campus cannot come from police alone. Student use of alcohol, she said, has a significant impact on crimes on campus, but arresting students for using alcohol doesn't stop the problem.
And drinking on campus continues to be a major concern for police, deans and all others who oversee student safety.
"There's no doubt that most of the student-on-student crimes that occur are a result of the overconsumption of alcohol," Clark said.
The students tend to either react more aggressively when they've been drinking, or sometimes do things they wouldn't do if they were sober, said Ilene Harned, the coordinator of the Alcohol and Other Drug Office on campus.
In addition, there's a concern about the students who drink until they are so incapacitated they need medical attention. During the fall semester, 45 students were transported to local hospitals for overconsumption of alcohol, Harned said. Seven students were transported for drug-related medical problems and 120 other students were referred to her office for disciplinary matters, such as having liquor in their rooms or receiving a city violation for drinking as a minor.
The Alcohol and Other Drug Office just opened in the fall so it can't compare alcohol use by students with other years. But Fitzpatrick and Clark believe the problem may be increasing. Clark said studies have shown that some students have drinking problems before they arrive at the university.
"It's a changing attitude and behavior," Clark said. "And as we've said, arresting students is not the solution to the problem."
Source: UI Police Department
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Abstract provides wealth of information about Land of Lincoln
"Need a Lifeline?" A million bucks is riding on the question -- what county in Illinois boasts the most number of hogs?
"Regis, I'm just not sure." A good stall, but that's not going to bring home the bacon. You need facts and you need them fast.
"I'd like to poll the audience." The audience looks befuddled except for a young person in the third row. She thumbs through a thick paperback book and shows the relevant page.
"Henry County," she blurts out, referring, of course, to table 17-19 of the latest Illinois Statistical Abstract. Regis nods, and the audience applauds with enthusiasm.
Talk about putting all your eggs in a basket, the 1999 abstract is packed with tables that take the collective measure of the state's economic and demographic life. The 740-page book was compiled under the direction of the College of Commerce and Business Administration at the UI and was edited by Susan R. Hartter, James Bang and Zarrin Baig.
Unlike in some reference books, the information is arranged in a sensible way. "You don't have to be a statistician to use this book," Hartter said. "We've gathered material from more than 45 different sources and placed it in a convenient, easy-to-use format."
County by county, from Adams to Woodford, the book lists figures on agriculture, livestock, employment, retail sales, health and vital statistics, crime and punishment, outdoor recreation, public education, export trade, transportation, even fishing licenses and seat-belt usage.
The UI abstract may be purchased for $50 from the Office of Research, College of Commerce and Business Administration, 430 Commerce West, 1206 S. Sixth St., MC-706; 333-2331. The material also is available on disk and CD-ROM.
FROM THE 1999 ILLINOIS STATISTICAL ABSTRACT:
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Poet, citing debt to alma mater, donates personal papers to university
For "sentimental reasons," including deep gratitude to his alma mater, Leonard A. Slade Jr., an acclaimed and prolific poet, has given his personal papers to the UI Library. His gift, which includes correspondence, manuscripts, published works, reviews, photographs and memorabilia, becomes the University Library's first collection of papers of an African-American literary figure.
"The UI has been very good to me and to my wife," Slade said. "We have special feelings for our great alma mater." Slade earned his doctorate in English from the UI in 1972. His wife, Roberta Hall-Slade, earned her master's degree in musicology at Illinois in 1977.
Slade also said he gave Illinois his papers "because it is one of the top universities in the world, and because the library is one of the top libraries in the country. I figured that if I gave my papers to the UI, then 100 years from now and beyond, my papers would be there, and be well cared for."
The papers will be housed in the Rare Book and Special Collections Library. A database of the items is being developed, through which scholars and others can do searches by means of the Internet.
A professor of African studies and English at the State University of New York at Albany, Slade is the author of 13 books -- 10 of them volumes of poetry. His latest book, "Elisabeth and Other Poems," was just released. Slade, who also has been published widely in magazines and journals, including Ebony, Essence and U.S. News & World Report, is the president of the Langston Hughes Society.
Slade previously taught at Kentucky State University. He also was the chair of KSU's Division of Literature, Languages and Philosophy, and dean of its College of Arts and Sciences. For many summers he was writer-in-residence at Bennington College, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference at Middlebury College and at the Ragdale Artists' Colony in Lake Forest, Ill. Of the many awards he has received, he said he is most proud of his excellence in teaching awards from KSU and SUNY-Albany.
Slade's poetry has been described as "authentic and joyous celebrations of the human spirit." Maya Angelou called his "Lilacs in Bloom" a "welcome salve to all of us who are in need." In that volume, published last year, Slade devoted six poems to Abraham Lincoln; in one poem, he tells Lincoln: "You taught a people how to unite and triumph. You taught the world the power of love."
The eldest of nine children, Slade was raised on a farm in North Carolina. His childhood and his heritage, he said, are "the source material for my writing." When asked what motivates him to write poetry, Slade cited another poet. "You know what Langston Hughes said about poetry. He said, 'Poetry is the human soul entire, squeezed like a lemon or a lime, drop by drop into atomic words .' So, I suppose I wanted to share my soul with the world. It's therapeutic for me to write. It's a tonic for my soul to express my feelings.
"I also hope I've written something beautiful, something that will elevate other people's souls."
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Anxiety about presence of household molds frequently unwarranted
Most people know that locking doors and windows and installing security systems are front-line defenses for keeping burglars at bay. Yet, according to UI building researcher William Rose, few homeowners are as vigilant when it comes to defending their homes from a more insidious, potentially harmful intruder: mold.
"Homes shouldn't be moldy places," said Rose, a research architect with the UI's Building Research Council who, along with colleague Jeff Gordon, is overseeing a moisture-monitoring project that is part of a new three-year study funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Rose, who has been charged with monitoring the demonstration-research project in homes in the Cleveland area, concedes that "there is always a little mold everywhere -- in the air and on many surfaces though surfaces ideally should not support mold." A "little bit of mold is OK; a lot is bad."
And some molds are definitely worse than others in terms of health risks for people. Nonetheless, Rose believes that media reports about deaths and home abandonments attributed to a toxic variety of mold, known as Stachybotrys atra, may be setting off unnecessary panic attacks among some homeowners. Documented incidence of Stachybotrys is fairly rare, he said. Further, he maintains that allegations linking new-home construction methods and materials to a higher incidence of deadly mold growth aren't necessarily supported by fact.
"Part of it is paranoia," in essence a rerun of an episode from the annals of home-construction and maintenance history that occurred in the 1950s when the home-insulation industry warned of the "evils of moisture," Rose said. Illustrating his claim, Rose points to pamphlets with Cold-War cover graphics that personified moisture as "the pernicious Bolshevik that kills." The industry "scared people into buying different products and caused them to lose their confidence in their ability to monitor their own homes effectively," Rose said.
That's not to say, however, that moisture -- especially when it collects behind walls, in crawl spaces and other areas typically hidden from a homeowner's view -- can't create headaches for homeowners. Mold can damage surfaces, and likely contributes to human respiratory ailments. Rose said researchers have yet to determine a single cause for a worldwide increase in the number of asthma sufferers, but common household molds frequently turn up on everyone's short list of suspects.
To avoid all manner of problems, Rose advises homeowners to "go on a crusade to visit all those places in the house they rarely visit or inspect -- particularly crawl spaces and access panels for plumbing." Additionally, he said, "if there's an interior finish on basement walls, and the basement has a bad odor, remove the finishes." And if you just can't live with bare concrete walls, Rose suggests using Velcro to install rigid insulation panels, with some sort of finish, which can be removed to accommodate frequent inspection and cleaning.
Help for Homeowners
Publications addressing moisture problems, as well as other topics for homeowners are available from the BRC for a modest cost.
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Group finds Internet courses can be effective, suggests guidelines
As the world rushes toward life online, education is in the thick of it with classes -- and even degrees -- being offered through the computer.
To determine how beneficial the move to online learning has been, 16 UI faculty and staff members examined the pros and cons of online teaching. Charged with their task in September 1998, the group released its "Report of the UI Teaching at an Internet Distance Seminar" in December.
The report's main conclusion? Moving classrooms from concrete buildings to computer bytes can be effective, if done correctly.
"This notion of distance -- people think it's hard to gauge whether your students are learning," said Linda Smith, one of the seminar participants and the associate dean for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. "The technology doesn't have to be a barrier. For someone who values good teaching, they don't need to abandon their teaching techniques, they have to re-think their methods.
"They have to learn to talk with their fingers, not with their mouths," said Smith, who currently is in charge of the online graduate degree program in library and information science.
But not all the participants were as familiar, or as comfortable, with the technology as Smith is. Chosen from UI campuses in Chicago, Springfield and Urbana-Champaign, the seminar's participants were selected to represent a variety of fields and varying levels of familiarity with online technology. And, as the report notes, the group consisted of technology "skeptics" and those who have been "converted."
"The very gratifying thing [to come from this seminar] is to know that you can take a group of essentially skeptical faculty, have them do a yearlong academic study and decide that 'Yeah this can be done if you do things right,' " said Burks Oakley II, director of UI Online.
Before she became involved with teaching her courses online, Smith also would have been counted among the skeptics.
"I was a skeptic largely based on ignorance before my department got involved in the master's program," Smith said. "We've had our own program for a couple years, so I think we're all still learning how to use this technology, but I'm more aware of the concerns of people who care about teaching and who care about learning after this seminar."
The seminar participants heard from 10 guest experts in the field of online education -- using some of the same technology that would be used in an online "classroom."
The group met together at one location only twice with the other 10 presentations being made through a Web broadcast. The lecturer's presentation was broadcast live over the Internet to the other campuses. Viewers could then type questions for the presenter and get an immediate response.
It was this idea -- that people who are separated geographically could all still learn together -- that the report pointed out as one of the main advantages of online learning. And in some classes the students' separation can work as an advantage for the class.
"I found it valuable to be able to draw on the fact that students were working in different settings," Smith said. "They could use different materials available in libraries all over the world."
In the report, chemistry professor Pat Shapley was mentioned as a good example of someone who mastered the art of "speaking with her fingers." Last semester, Shapley managed to teach an online organic chemistry course with 162 students in it by personalizing the format as much as possible.
For instance, when a student typed a question onto the class Web site, his or her picture appeared next to the question.
While the report celebrated success stories such as Shapley's, it also raised some cautions for people who believe online education will become a cheap, easy way to educate thousands of students at once.
In fact, the report cautioned against putting courses the size of Shapley's online. According to the report, only through "astounding" efforts by Shapley to communicate with each of her students every week was she able to manage such a large class without losing any students in the electronic ether. Although some experts believed that online learning was a tool that could be used to teach thousands of students at once, the UI report suggested that keeping class sizes small still was the key to reaching students.
Even Shapley conceded that her class size would have been unmanageable by herself.
"I was able to do my class online with over a hundred students only because of the help of teaching assistants," she said. "We had someone online 24-hours so students could work at their convenience."
The report also pointed out that this type of extra effort that was required to keep online classes manageable also contradicted what many people believed would be two other advantages of putting a course online: lower cost and less work for teachers.
Instead, because of equipment costs and the need for additional teaching assistants, the cost of an online class has not been shown to be lower than that of the typical "offline" class. Professors also faced a heavier workload when they moved their class online because of the individual attention each student requires and the time necessary to master the technology.
"At a campus like this with top-notch computer facilities it doesn't have to be more expensive," Shapley said. "You can get it to where it costs about the same as a regular course, but it is not going to be cheaper or less work for the professor."
So why bother putting a course online at all?
"You're not just delivering a lecture to students whom you don't know," Shapley said. "There is a lot of interaction with the students [in an online class]. The ones who are having problems never talked to me in lecture, but in the online course I can follow what they're doing and guide them."
While individual classes such as Shapley's chemistry course may work well online, the report did discourage universities from offering entire undergraduate degrees online.
"If someone's entire undergraduate career is sitting at a computer terminal then you miss certain things that are part of the undergraduate experience," Smith said. "We hope that those things are a valuable part of college."
Oakley now hopes his unit, which helps departments set up online curricula, can use the report to entice more teachers to explore the technology box sitting in their offices.
"Now we need to push the envelope and see what is possible with even more people who care about instructing," Oakley said. "With online instruction, teachers can now be facilitators instead of just lecturing at students."
The complete findings of the seminar are available at www.vpaa.uillinois.edu/tid/report.
Online Resources About Online Courses
Illinois Virtual Campus: www.IVC.Illinois.edu
UI Online: http://oliver.pb.uiuc.edu
American Distance Education Consortium: www.adec.edu
Global Network Academy: www.gnacademy.org
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Chester Gardner, interim vice president for academic affairs, recently displayed the UI flag at the South Pole. Since accepting his administrative position, Gardner also has stayed active in research, which includes traveling to the South Pole.
Gardner is part of a research team from the UI's department of electrical and computer engineering that is measuring the temperature structure of the middle atmosphere at the South Pole. The measurements are made remotely at altitudes up to 60 miles using a unique laser-based instrument. The data collected will be used to test atmospheric models and provide a baseline temperature structure at the South Pole to determine the effects of global climate change.
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Mélange is composed of faculty members from four universities: Wesley Baldwin, cello, University of Tennessee; Rudolf Haken, viola, UI; J. William King, clarinet, Millikin University; and Sylvia Wang, piano, Northwestern University. Performing with them will be Marlen Vavrikova, oboe, a UI doctoral student.
The free concert at the Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion also will be broadcast live on WILL-FM (90.9/1001.1 in Champaign-Urbana) with host Vic DiGeronimo.
On the program are Mozart's Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, K. 498; Randall Thompson's Suite for Oboe, Clarinet and Viola; Alan Segall's "Larghetto"; and Brahms' Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Cello, Op. 114.
All workshops begin at 7 p.m. and will be at the Credit Union, 2201 S. First St., Champaign. Reservations are required. Call 333-8047.
Kindergarten and first-grade students may sign up for "Wild Cats" (Feb. 19), "Butterflies" (March 4) and "Rainforest Wonders" (April 1). Second- and third-grade students may register for "The Clever Hare" (Feb. 26), "The Lazy Fox" (March 25) and "Rare and Endangered" (April 15).
For each class, a morning session will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. An afternoon session will be added from 1 to 2:30 p.m., if needed, to accommodate a large number of registered students. Classes are in 231 Natural History Building. A fee of $5 is charged for each class to cover materials and resources. The fee is refundable if cancellation is made at least three days prior to the class.
For registration forms or more information, contact Kim Sheahan at 244-3355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program, jointly funded by NCSA and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, seeks to extend opportunities in advanced computing and information technology to faculty members on the Urbana campus. It offers many advantages to faculty members, including access to NCSA's high-performance computers, visualization and virtual reality environments, computing support, and opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration with colleagues at NCSA and throughout the National Computational Science Alliance. Fellowships are available for the year 2000-2001, and include up to $30,000 in support. Applications for the Fellows Program, including a project proposal and an abstract, must be received by Feb. 28.
Information, program guidelines and required application forms are available at www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/campusrelations/facultyfellows.html.
Suren Bagratuni, cellist, and Donna Farese McHugh, pianist, will perform works of Chopin, Brahms and Rachmaninoff. Following the concert, an informal buffet will be served. Tickets are $75 per person; reservations can be made by calling 328-6265. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Allerton Park Conference Center. For more information about this and other events at Allerton, call 333-2127.
The conference will be from 4 to 7 p.m. April 20 and from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 21. The cost is $25 for faculty members, $10 for students. Paper submissions are being accepted. Authors are required to submit an abstract for poster displays. Abstract deadline is April 3. Registration and abstract forms are available on the Web at www.cvm.uiuc.edu/idc3/.
For more information, contact Roberto Docampo, 333-3845 or email@example.com.
Since 1987, Student Affairs has presented annual awards, which include a monetary prize, to students who demonstrate exemplary leadership. Recipients are honored at a luncheon, scheduled this year for April 15.
Award information, descriptions and nomination forms can be found at www.odos.uiuc.edu/awards/index.htm.
Nomination forms must be received by 5 p.m. Feb. 16. If you have questions, contact Willard Broom at 333-0055.
Anyone may nominate an achievement for consideration by the committee. For a nomination form or more information, contact Robin Kaler, 333-5010 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Forms are due by Feb. 18.
Gallery hours for viewing the installation piece, titled "pretty," are 8 to 11 p.m. Feb. 14-17; 8 p.m. to midnight Feb. 18; and 1 to 4 p.m. and 8 to 11 p.m. Feb. 19.
The project -- which will feature painting, installation work, a documentary film and live and interactive performances -- is directed by UI theater student Rachel Reynolds. The ensemble includes more than 30 UI students and faculty members as well as community members.
For a preview of part of the show, the public may attend open rehearsals of a Marilyn Monroe dance piece choreographed by dance student Rachel Germond Feb. 9-12. The rehearsals will take place at noon Feb. 9-12 at the Krannert Art Museum.
Sponsors include the Body Pride Project, SORF, Women's Studies Program and dance and theater departments.
The views from windows across campus are as varied as the people sitting in those offices. Inside Illinois would like you to tell us about the view from your office or laboratory window. Whether you consider the view breathtaking or quirky, send us a brief description of what you see when you look out your window. Perhaps the view changes from season to season or semester to semester. Or you've been in the same office for many years but the view has done anything but remain the same.
We'll share as many views in Inside Illinois as possible and provide photos of some.
Send your campus view to: Doris Dahl, Inside Illinois, 807 S. Wright St., Suite 520 E., MC-314 or email@example.com.
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Faculty and staff members may enroll in sessions of interest or select all sessions.
Representatives from the Benefits Center, MetLife, Aetna, TIAA-CREF, Fidelity and American Century will lead the discussions. The topics:
Each seminar is offered twice a day from 11 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Faculty and staff members can register on the Web at https://webster.uihr.uiuc.edu/free/. For more information, contact the Benefits Center at 333-3111.
Also effective Jan. 1, the 401(a) (17) retirement contribution limit increased from $160,000 to $170,000. However, since the university's plan year is July 1 to June 30, the increased limit of $170,000 will not go into effect until July 1, 2000, for UI employees.
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The Office of Academic Human Resources, Suite 420, 807 S. Wright St., maintains listings for faculty positions. More complete descriptions are available in that office during regular business hours. The Employment Center lists the academic professional positions available on all UI campuses at www.uihr.uillinois.edu/jobs. Faculty job opportunity information is updated weekly and can be found on the AHR Web site at: http://webster.uihr.uiuc.edu/ahr/jobs/index.asp. More information about the listings below may be obtained from the person in the listing.
Personnel Services Office is located at 52 E. Gregory Drive, Champaign. For information about PSO's Employment Information Program, which provides information to those seeking staff employment at the university, visit the Personnel Services Office Web site at www.pso.uiuc.edu. To complete an online employment application and to submit an exam request, visit the online Employment Center at www.uihr.uillinois.edu/jobs.
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on the job: Joe Barron
by Becky Mabry
JOB: manager of the research farms for animal sciences since 1990.
EDUCATION: He came to the UI from the University of Georgia at Athens where he earned a master's degree in animal science; while working at the UI he earned a Master of Business Administration degree.
The biggest problems we face right now on the farms is that they're very old. They're run down. And they're just really not good facilities to do research in or to raise animals in anymore. And the possibilities of us moving into new facilities is very exciting and the planning process is exciting. And I think everybody will feel so much better about their jobs when we are moved into well-designed facilities.
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John D. Anderson, 87, died Jan. 19 at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana. Anderson joined the UI faculty in 1949 as an instructor in physiology. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1952, to associate professor in 1957 and to professor in 1965. He retired as associate dean of the School of Basic Medical Sciences in 1977. Memorials: Channing-Murray Foundation in Urbana.
Charles Hoch, 72, died Jan. 24 at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana. Hoch was employed at the UI in central receiving for more than 50 years. Memorials: Tuscola United Methodist Church Construction Fund.
Harl H. Ray, 82, died Jan. 17 at Taylorville Care Center, Taylorville. Ray worked in the UI dairy department from 1951 to 1958. He then served as an operating engineer at the UI Power Plant from 1958 to 1972. Memorials: Westminster Presbyterian Church Youth Fellowship, Springfield, or the American Cancer Society.
Robert Ruelle, 67, died Jan. 18 at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana. Ruelle worked at the UI from 1964 until he retired in 1993. He was a flight instructor and for many years was a pilot for the UI's staff air transportation service that provided air travel for UI administrators, faculty and staff members, and board of trustees members. Memorials: American Cancer Society or the Salvation Army.
Jane Busey Scott, 84, died Jan. 23 at Meadowbrook Health Center, Urbana. Scott worked for the UI Visual Aids Service. She also was employed from 1961 to 1976 as a technical editor for the Illinois State Geological Survey. Memorials: American Cancer Society.
Chester G. Starr, 84, died Sept. 22 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Starr was a lecturer in the department of history from 1940 to 1953 and a professor of history from 1953 to 1970.
Margery Suhre, 84, died Jan. 24 at Clark-Lindsey Village, Urbana. Suhre worked from 1946 to 1981 as an editor in the school of agriculture at the UI. Memorials: American Lung Association.
Charles Philip Wilson, 68, died Jan. 26 at Provena Covenant Medical Center, Urbana. Wilson was a steamfitter at the UI for 20 years. Memorials: American Lung Association.
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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign