News Bureau | University of Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo

Latest News »

Brief Notes

Anthony Leggett explains how the moon was made

Public domain photo by Don Juan Carlos María Isidro de Borbón.

A series of public events sponsored by the Center for Advanced Study, explores the role of animals in human history and culture. The first spring lecture in the series, "Knowing Animals: Histories, Strategies and Frontiers in Human/Animal Relations," will be Feb. 15. Pictured: London Zoo's first hippopotamus, 1852.

« Click photo to enlarge


IN THIS ISSUE: Annual Faculty Retreat is Feb. 18 |   Public forum for vice president/chancellor search is Jan. 24 |  Lecture series highlights the role of animals in human history and culture |  Interview with President Hogan is Feb. 2 |  Ebert returns to TV on Jan. 21 |  Spring films announced for AsiaLENS |  'For Once in My Life' screened Jan. 27 |  E-Waste Design Competition announced

'Brilliance is Not Enough'

2011 Annual Faculty Retreat is Feb. 18

The 2011 Annual Faculty Retreat will take place on Feb. 18 in Illini Union Rooms A and B. The event brings faculty members from across campus to share and explore best practices and innovations. This year’s theme is “Brilliance Is Not Enough: When Educational Demands Push Beyond Disciplinary Expertise.” The theme explores the changing landscape of college and university teaching and with that, the growing demand to broaden teaching repertoires and teach on the edge of one’s expertise.

Therese Huston, founding director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and adjunct professor of psychology at Seattle University, will be the plenary speaker. Huston is the author of “Teaching What You Don’t Know,” published by Harvard University Press and the 2009 Book of the Year award in the education category with ForeWord Reviews. Her primary research articles focus on faculty morale and retention, racial bias in education, innovative teaching strategies and peer mentoring programs for teachers.

After the plenary session, participants will participate in roundtable sessions to expand upon Huston’s presentation. In addition, Huston will offer a post-retreat workshop, “Teaching Outside One’s Comfort Zone.” This session will require an additional registration. A workshop just for graduate students also will be offered the day before. (Grad students should register at

The retreat is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Center for Teaching Excellence, and the Office of Continuing Education. Faculty members should register online at

National search

Public forum for vice president/chancellor search is Jan. 24

A national search is under way for the vice president/chancellor of the Urbana campus. The executive search firm Isaacson, Miller is assisting with the process. Representatives from Isaacson, Miller will participate in a public forum on campus Jan. 24. The focus of the discussions will be the important qualities for the new vice president/chancellor and the challenges that person will face. After a brief introduction to the responsibilities of the vice president/chancellor and to the search process, comments from the audience will be heard.

The search committee will host the public forum from 4 to 5 p.m. in Illini Room C of the Illini Union.

Center for Advanced Study

Lecture series highlights the role of animals

Animals are food, but they are also companions. They are beasts of burden but they also inspire poets and other artists. They are used as metaphors for everything from faithfulness (the loyal dog) to the ridiculous (silly goose), the industrious (busy bee), the outcast (black sheep) and the impotent (lame duck). They are property and yet they are worthy of societal protection from abuse.

A series of public events sponsored by the Center for Advanced Study explores these animal-related themes and more in a series of events this spring at various locations. “Knowing Animals: Histories, Strategies and Frontiers in Human/Animal Relations” will explore the latest developments in animal law and wildlife protection, celebrate the search for the origin of species, delve into the social life of chimpanzees and survey evolving ideas of “animal personhood.”

“This initiative is part of a whole wider international movement to ask the question in every discipline, not just the obvious ones such as biology or zoology, ‘What if we put animals into the equation?’ ” said UI anthropology professor Jane Desmond, who chairs the multidisciplinary steering committee that planned the events. 

The movement, called simply “animal studies” or “critical animal studies,” explores the overlapping disciplines of scientists who study animal physiology and behavior with those who look at the role of animals in history, law, religion, philosophy, language and the visual and performing arts, Desmond said.

“Of course zoologists and biologists have been doing animal studies forever,” she said. “But the questions are different and the conversations are even more interdisciplinary than within the sciences because they cross the humanities and the social sciences and the arts.”

This series began in the fall of 2010. The spring events will begin Feb. 15, with “The Evolving Nature of Animal Law,” a presentation by Valparaiso University law professor Rebecca Huss, who was the court-appointed guardian/special master of the American pit bull terriers in the Michael Vick dogfighting case. (4 p.m., Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum)

Feb. 22, University of Wisconsin molecular biology and genetics professor Sean Carroll will present “Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species,” which will chronicle the exploits of scientists and explorers whose work “changed, profoundly and forever, our perception of the living world and our place within it.” (4 p.m., Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum)

“Hominid,” a theatrical performance based on the work of primatologist Frans de Waal, will be presented at 8 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Armory Free Theater. Illinois theater students will perform the piece under the direction of visiting director Ariel Fristoe (co-artistic director, Out of Hand Theater) and Illinois theater professor J.W. Morrissette.

On March 8, Mark Stetter, a zoo and wildlife veterinarian, Illinois alumnus and director of animal programs and environmental initiatives at Walt Disney World in Florida, will present “Humans Helping Wildlife.” He will discuss efforts to protect wild animals and their habitat, the life of captive animals and educational efforts on behalf of wildlife and wild places. (4 p.m. Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum)

On March  15, William and Mary College anthropology professor Barbara King will present “Apes, Elephants, and the Relational Self: Thinking Through Animal Personhood,” an exploration of the implications of the science of “animal nature.” (4 p.m. Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum)

On April 19, Andrew Rowan, president and CEO of Humane Society International and CIO of the Humane Society of the United States will speak about international animal welfare. (4 p.m. Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum)

Illinois Public Media

Interview with President Hogan is Feb. 2

WILL's David Inge first interviewed UI President Michael Hogan several days after Hogan took office in July 2010. Now that the president has spent seven months on the job, Inge will talk to him again at 9 p.m. Feb. 2. "Focus: A Conversation With UI President Michael Hogan" will be broadcast on WILL-TV and WILL-AM (580), with live audio and video streaming online at

The program also will give listeners and viewers direct access to the president through phone calls during the show. Questions also may be e-mailed before the show to

Weekly movie reviews on WILL-TV

Ebert returns to TV on Jan. 21

Roger Ebert, an adjunct professor in the College of Media and host of the annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival, returns to television with "Ebert Presents At The Movies." The half-hour program premieres locally on WILL-TV at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 21. The show is repeated Sundays at 9:30 p.m.

The series features reviews of new movies, foreign and independent films and direct-to-TV releases; showcases classic movies and hot issues in cinema; and presents new segments on new media and movie interactivity.

The program will feature Associated Press film critic Christy Lemire and Chicago-based film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, with occasional contributions from popular film bloggers Kim Morgan and Omar Moore and appearances by Ebert. Ebert, unable to speak as a result of throat cancer and related surgery, will use a computer voice to appear on every episode.

The show is distributed by public station WTTW in Chicago, returning to the roots of Ebert and Gene Siskel's original "Sneak Previews" program.

Series co-executive producers are Ebert and his wife, Chaz Ebert; Chaz Ebert is producer.

Asian Educational Media Service

Spring films announced for AsiaLENS

The spring edition of the AsiaLENS film series will open Feb. 1 with a feature-like documentary highlighting – through an intimate portrait of three generations in one migrant family – the social and cultural dislocation resulting from China's modernization. The film, shot over a two-year period by Chinese director Lixin Fan (director of "Up the Yangtze"), includes seldom-seen footage of the annual (and chaotic) New Year's trek when some 130 million migrant workers return home.

"Last Train Home," the first of four films in the monthly series, will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Knight Auditorium at the Spurlock Museum. Nancy Jervis, program director of the Asian Educational Media Service at the UI, will lead the post-screening discussion.

Succeeding films, presented at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at Spurlock, will include "Dishonored," from Pakistan (March 1); "The Sweetest Embrace: Return to Afghanistan" (April 5); and "In The Matter of Cha Jung Hee," from Korea and the U.S. (May 3).

AsiaLENS is a series of free public screenings of recent documentary and independent films addressing issues of contemporary life in Asia, introduced by local experts who lead post-screening discussions. The series is organized by the Asian Educational Media Service in collaboration with the Spurlock Museum. AEMS is a program of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies.

More information on the series can be found at or at 217-333-9597 or

Community cinema

'For Once in My Life' screened Jan. 27

In the first of a monthly series of community cinema events, Illinois Public Media and Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries Inc. will sponsor a screening and discussion Jan. 27 of the independent documentary "For Once in My Life."

The documentary provides a look at the Spirit of Goodwill band, a unique assembly of singers and musicians with a range of mental and physical challenges. The film follows the band, made up of workers at the Goodwill Industries center in Miami, as their determination, talent, and dedication takes them from the rehearsal room to the stage.

The Jan. 27 screening takes place at 6:30 p.m. in Robeson Rooms A and B at the Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St. The event is free and open to the public. The program airs on "Independent Lens" on WILL-TV on Feb. 1.

From January through June, Illinois Public Media will join with the Independent Television Service to sponsor screenings of independent documentaries, followed by discussions facilitated by community groups with an interest in the topic. Screenings will each take place the month before the programs will be broadcasst on WILL-TV.

Community cinema presentations are being done in more than 90 cities nationwide, said Henry Radcliffe, who is in charge of the project for Illinois Public Media. "It's a great opportunity to showcase documentaries and to generate conversations in the community about issues and concerns raised by those documentaries," he said.

On Feb. 24, Illinois Public Media will host a screening and discussion of the independent documentary, "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story," about a 16-year-old girl charged with murder. The event takes place at 6:30 p.m., also at the Champaign Public Library.

Other films in the series are "Pushing the Elephant," about forgiveness and coming to terms with the past in the Democratic Republic of Congo; "Welcome to Shelbyville," a glimpse of a small Tennessee town that grapples with rapidly changing demographics; "Bhutto," an intimate look at Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto; and "Two Spirits," about the murder of a 16-year-old Navajo youth.

Reducing electronic waste

E-Waste Design Competition announced

Electronic waste is a growing concern for environmentalists and world leaders, as about 2.25 million tons of obsolete or broken electronic products are discarded each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Creative and environmentally conscious students will have the opportunity to showcase their ideas for recycling and reducing e-waste during the International E-Waste Design Competition hosted by the School of Art and Design, a unit in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and the Illinois Sustainability Technology Center at the UI.

This is the third year of the competition, which was expanded from a campus event to an international event in 2010. A total of $20,000 in prize money will be awarded to six winning teams.

Participants will compete in either of two categories: "E-waste Prevention," which focuses on new products or services that decrease the amount of e-waste generation, or "E-waste Reuse," which focuses on recycling old e-waste components to create new, useful electronic and non-electronic products.

Registration for the competition is free. Participants must submit their video entries by 4:59 p.m. CST on
April 1.

Details about registration, submitting entries and judging criteria are available online at Questions can be directed to or 217-265-0873, or to or 217-333-8940.

The 20 finalists will be announced April 15 on the competition website. Finalists in the video competition will be screened at the International E-Waste Video Festival on a date to be announced and publicized through the Sustainable Electronics Initiative website,; the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center website,, YouTube and other media.




Highlights »

Campus News »