on the job: earlane sellers

What is your job and how long have you been with the UI?

I'm a coordinator for course articulation, assisting the director of Admissions and Records. I've been with the UI for almost 25 years and will be retiring in August.

What do you do as course articulator?

I coordinate and review how courses will transfer to the UI from other two-year and four-year institutions. My job is to work with individual campus academic departments in reviewing the outside courses in order to determine if and how they match the skill level taught here. Our office monitors 68 schools in Illinois and in total, almost 150,000 courses in our data sets, so part of my job is to keep those databases up-to-date. We also put out the transfer handbook, which is distributed annually to state universities and community colleges. It lists what UIUC courses make up the first two years of study in all of the majors on campus. The community college counselor can apply equivalents to help students choose appropriate courses.

Over the years, you have seen a great deal of change in your office, especially with technology being developed. What new projects are you involved with?

In general, there are lots of changes being made in the way data is collected at any large institution, whether it be a university or a business. We are constantly looking at ways to use technology in our office to make things more efficient by using e-mail and posting things on the Internet. The idea of the paperless office is an important goal for our office. We are trying to move transcripts out of the vaults, where they are currently held, and put them on microfiche. We would like to have all the information about course requirements and transfer of credits in a database that students could access. That way, students would be able to key in their information and find out their status immediately in terms of how close they are to graduation and what requirements they still need to fulfill.

What do you like to do when you have free time, away from the office?

I have been drawing and painting since childhood and my degree is in fine and applied arts. I have always been drawn to painting. It relaxes me and I lose track of time. My job requires me to be very precise, and painting gives me a great deal of freedom. It has been a good balance in my life. I paint portraits primarily. Two of the portraits I painted of deans of Fine and Applied Arts hang in the Architecture Building. (See portraits behind Sellers in the photo above. Pictured are former deans Allen Weller, left, and Jack McKenzie. McKenzie is the current interim director of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.)

What makes good art?

There is a lot of different opinion about that and in some respects, it is safe to say that answer would be subjective; however, I like something that has a purpose as well as being aesthetically pleasing. Art needs to have a balance between making a statement and having an appeal. Sometimes, all it needs is shapes and colors to make a statement.

Will you continue painting after retirement?

I may do some more portraits and landscapes. I might try to sell some work in the future. I would really like to take classes again in art. I recently took a class in figure drawing. It was the same type of class I took 20 years ago, only completely different. We drew figures the first day and then compared them with our work at the end of the term. I have to admit, the first day my work was very "academic" with classic lines. My later drawings in class tended to be more dynamic. The class really loosened me up. I love the university atmosphere, so I would love to continue to be here in some manner.

­ Sonali Das

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Comments to: Inside Illinois Editor Doris Dahl, (217) 333-2895, d-dahl2@illinois.edu

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