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Oct. 6, 2011, Vol. 31 No. 7
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L. Brian Stauffer

First day
Phyllis M. Wise started her new job as Urbana chancellor and UI vice president on Oct. 3, saying she is on a campuswide “listening and learning” tour to become better versed on issues affecting the Urbana campus. “I don’t have an agenda of my own and I’m not going to force anything on anyone,” she said. “I want to listen and learn from a lot of people.”
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Employees may change health plan Oct. 10-28

University employees have one more opportunity to change their health plan. A second open enrollment period runs Oct. 10 through Oct. 28, with any changes effective Dec. 1.


Electronic Communications Policy still in working stage

Chief Privacy and Security Officer Mike Corn said officials continue to address concerns that the proposed campus Electronics Communications Policy will have adverse effects on freely expressed academic speech.


Mark Millsap, an animal caretaker for the College of Veterinary Medicine for 26 years, has worked with animals all of his life. Millsap was just 2 when his father moved the family into a house near the university╒s round barns to run the dairy operation for the UI's 20-acre demonstration farm. Millsap estimates he milked more than 22,000 cows in that period.

Community connection: After-school program teaches plant biology

The American Society of Plant Biologists’ Education Foundation will provide nearly $20,000 in funding for a new after-school program on plant biology at Urbana Middle School. With the support of faculty members from several departments, plant biology graduate students will develop the program, called Plants iView, which will have a strong online component.

UI, UIF record third highest gift total at $216.6 million

Private gifts received for the UI and the UI Foundation in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, totaled $216.6 million – the third highest gift total ever, according to Walter Knorr, chief financial officer and treasurer of the foundation.  FY11 was the fourth consecutive year – and only the fifth year ever – that the university and foundation eclipsed the $200 million mark in gifts received.

Gifts worth more than $18 million to benefit Urbana campus


Among the newcomers to the Urbana campus are faculty members whose appointments began this summer or fall. Inside Illinois continues its tradition of introducing some of the new faculty members on campus and will feature at least two new colleagues in each fall issue.

  • Aron Barbey, an assistant professor of speech and hearing science in the College of Applied Health Sciences

  • Elizabeth Driskell, a clinical assistant professor of pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine


Researchers' chance viewing of river cutoff forming provides rare insight

For University of Illinois river researchers, new insight into river cutoffs was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

Children view same-race friendships differently for blacks, whites

African American children who have mainly African American friends may be viewed as “cool” and more popular by their classmates – but white students who affiliate mostly with other white students may be perceived less positively, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois.

Study of bees links gene regulatory networks in the brain to behavior

A new study reveals that distinct networks of genes in the honey bee brain contribute to specific behaviors, such as foraging or aggression, researchers report.

Last Universal Common Ancestor had a complex cellular structure

Scientists call it LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, but they don’t know much about this great-grandparent of all living things. Many believe LUCA was little more than a crude assemblage of molecular parts, a chemical soup out of which evolution gradually constructed more complex forms. Some scientists still debate whether it was even a cell.

For kids with ADHD, regular ‘green time’ is linked to milder symptoms

A study of more than 400 children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has found a link between the children’s routine play settings and the severity of their symptoms, researchers report.

Study of childhood bullying shifts focus to victims

Many wonder why bullies bully, but a new study looks at the other side of the equation: How do children respond to bullying and why? The answer, researchers say, may lead to more effective interventions to reduce the negative consequences – and perhaps even the frequency – of bullying.

How limited English students move to English-only classes questioned

Policymakers may want to rethink how they determine when children with limited English skills are fluent enough to learn in English-only classrooms, says a new study by an education professor at the University of Illinois.

National survey reveals widespread mistaken beliefs about memory

A new survey reveals that many people in the U.S. – in some cases a substantial majority – think that memory is more powerful, objective and reliable than it actually is. Their ideas are at odds with decades of scientific research.

Lyme disease tick adapts to life on the (fragmented) prairie

A new study offers a detailed look at the status of Lyme disease in Central Illinois and suggests that deer ticks and the Lyme disease bacteria they host are more adaptable to new habitats than previously appreciated.

Crisis nursery kids more likely to return to families from foster care

Children who receive crisis nursery services prior to being placed in out-of-home care are twice as likely to be reunited with their biological families as other children in Illinois’ child welfare system, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Illinois.

Employee health care benefits still a question mark after reform

It’s still an open question if companies will drop employee health care benefits in 2014 in favor of the government-sponsored insurance exchanges created by President Obama’s health care overhaul, says a University of Illinois elder law expert.

Honors »

Teacher-Scholar to share effective teaching strategies

Tough times call for tough measures, or at least more-effective ones. That’s the message of this year’s Distinguished Teacher-Scholar, Kelly A. Tappenden, a professor of food science and human nutrition in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Illinois professor earns Presidential Early Career Award

UI professor Gang Logan Liu is among the 94 researchers to receive the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor the U.S. government confers upon young investigators establishing their independent research careers.

Illinois professor to receive NIH Director's New Innovator Award

Douglas A. Mitchell, a professor of chemistry at the UI, is a recipient of the 2011 National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award. The award recognizes bold ideas from some of the nation’s most promising new scientists.



Historian mixes policy and personal stories in history of U.S. immigration

It’s not one border, one time, that makes an immigrant, says Dorothee Schneider. It’s not a matter of crossing over and you’re done.