Celebrating our eMERITus faculty

May 1
Meg Cline, Associate Dean of Advancement

This morning, it was a pleasure to celebrate our emeritus faculty members with our annual breakfast and “state of the College” address by Dean Hauser. This annual gathering is always enlightening, as the emeritus faculty seem to always give the Dean a good workout in fielding questions about the College and what is happening around campus – and a lively and thought provoking discussion always ensues.

In preparing my remarks for breakfast, I was curious to see how Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defined “emeritus.” According to Webster, emeritus is defined as holding after retirement an honorary title corresponding to that held last during active service.” For a moment, I had to pause and read that definition again. Frankly, the emeritus faculty I am privileged to know certainly play a role much more prominent in the life of the College than just  “honorary” and are certainly very active! Many of these faculty members still come to campus each day, teach courses, conduct research  in labs, work with grad students, serve on committees, and many do so without receiving any compensation in return from the University. In addition, these faculty are some of our most loyal advocates and give generous financial support to ensure future excellence in ACES.

So, with no disrespect to Merriam-Webster, I have to suggest an additional definition be added to the word “emeritus” – at least here in the College of ACES.  I propose the following: “a title bestowed upon an individual whose life calling is to serve as a teacher, researcher, and mentor to others. A person who gives unwavering amounts of time, energy, and financial resources to the future success and accomplishments of society.” Thank you to our “eMERITus" faculty for all that you do. You have laid a strong foundation for our past successes, but are and will continue to be a key element to tomorrow’s accomplishments.

Emeritus ACES Faculty Breakfast

Emeritus ACES Faculty Breakfast

Emeritus ACES Faculty Breakfast

Dream big

May 1
Jason Emmert, Assistant Dean, Academic Programs

Dreaming big has been something I’ve heard and thought about several times over the last few months. Our friend Orion Samuelson encourages students to dream big, and his book “You Can’t Dream Big Enough” is all about how this theme has played out in his life. He believes, and I agree, that we should allow ourselves to have big dreams about what we can accomplish personally and professionally.

Dreaming big is something at which many of our students excel. A few weeks ago at our ACES Student Awards Banquet we had the chance to honor many of our students who have dreamed big and worked hard inside and outside the classroom to achieve those dreams. The college, departments, and student organizations recognized outstanding members, Bronze Tablet scholars, leadership award winners, and honors program graduates, just to name a few. This time of year, with convocation just around the corner, dreaming big is on my mind once again as our graduates move on to pursue new adventures in careers, graduate or professional school, or other opportunities. This is one of my favorite and least favorite times of the year because we’re celebrating the amazing achievements of our graduates, but also saying goodbye to so many students who we’ll miss seeing on campus. They’ve dreamed big, and are well on their way to fulfilling those dreams. 

Last Friday, the Dream Big project was present on the U of I Quad; take a moment to check out the video, and don’t forget to spend time thinking about your own big dreams!


Dream big sign

Decision time

Apr 30
Kathryn Martensen, Assistant Dean and Director of Advising
May 1 is the deadline for high school students to accept their offers of admission to most four-year institutions across the country. Working with undergraduate admissions here in the College of ACES, I have a particularly vested interest in May Day for this reason. We look forward to welcoming those students who accept our offer of admission to join us in the freshman class in August!

A little matchmaking

Apr 29
Marla Todd, Associate Director of Advancement Communications

Anticipation and hopefulness transitioned into excitement and promise for seniors in the UIUC dietetics program. Earlier this month, students in the UIUC Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) found out where they will be spending the next 8-24 months as they complete their Dietetic Internships (DI). The DI is the second step in the process to becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD) and requires 1,200 hours of supervised practice. Some of the DIs are combined with master’s degree programs including those in nutritional sciences, public health, or business administration. This allows interns to take graduate courses alongside supervised practice to gain advanced training and credentials. There are three major steps to becoming an RD. First, a bachelor’s degree in an accredited dietetics program must be completed. Then, future RD hopefuls must complete a DI and the final step is completion of a comprehensive national RD examination.

The DI matching process takes place biannually in April and November. Students prepare application materials including a list of preferred DI sites. After the students submit, the DI sites evaluate the applicants and rank them. A computerized program then matches applicants to internships so that both parties have a choice in the outcome. The first round of matching results are then released to students and they are allowed a few days to either accept or decline the offer to the DI to which they are matched. If students chose to decline, that spot is open for the second round of matching.

Of the 20 seniors who will graduate in May 2013, 15 were already matched with DIs in the first round (75 percent). The remaining five are awaiting results from the second round match. The UIUC DPD Program surpasses the national placement average of around 50 percent. To get a better idea of the competitive nature of the DI, in 2009 4,214 DI applicants nationwide applied but only 2,323 were matched.

Congratulations to our DPD seniors and good luck in your dietetic internships. You are one big step closer to becoming future RDs!

RD program at U of I

RD program at U of I display

An investment in the future

Apr 29
Meg Cline, Associate Dean of Advancement

Spring is always my favorite time on campus. Along with all the new signs of life that come with spring, I enjoy watching our students “blossom” with excitement over summer internships, new careers, and celebrating the accomplishments and lessons learned that the past academic year has brought. The accomplishments and ambitions of these young people strengthen my faith in the world of tomorrow.

In addition to celebrating student accomplishments, I also enjoy the opportunity spring brings to reflect and give thanks to those who have invested in the youth of tomorrow. This reminder was made very clear earlier this month when we recognized several outstanding students from Christian County, Illinois who received the Anna Lou Johnston Roth Scholarship. While the students are all remarkable young people, the lady behind this story is pretty remarkable too!

Anna Lou Johnston Roth was a true philanthropist – she made personal sacrifices in her life to ensure that future generations would be able to afford a college education. Because of Anna Lou’s vision and dream, over $80,000 per year is available from her fund alone for deserving students in the fields of agriculture, business, and law. As college costs rise, this investment in the next generation has certainly allowed for a college education to be a dream come true for many young people. 

Thank you Anna Lou Johnston Roth and so many of you who invest in our  future with the gift of an education. I can assure you that the  “return” on that investment is in full bloom here in the College of ACES!

Roth Scholarship Winners

Hands on learning served up

Apr 28
Marla Todd, Associate Director of Advancement Communications

For many college students, Friday nights mean an opportunity to relax and avoid coursework for a few days. For seniors in hospitality management, Friday nights during the spring semester bring the culmination of their studies as they execute their own restaurant operations in the Spice Box.

These students invite guest chefs from around the country to guide them in developing a restaurant concept, menu, and marketing and then execute. I should also add that their restaurant has to operate in the black so careful pricing and financial planning has to come in to play.

A longstanding fixture on the U of I campus, the Spice Box, is located on the second floor of Bevier Hall and open to the public. Reservations are required for the meals.

“The opportunity to work closely with industry professionals gives our students a realistic, hands-on experience in managing a restaurant and the team of individuals that comprise a successful staff,” said Jill Craft, instructor of the Spice Box course.

Learn more about the Spice Box at www.spicebox.com or like the Spice Box on Facebook.

Spice Box

Lake Country Illinois

Apr 25
Richard Vogen, Director, Planning and Research Development

We don’t often think of Illinois as the land of lakes, but if you have ventured almost anywhere in the prairie state over during the last week, you would have seen ponds and lakes appearing all over the landscape. Last summer, we couldn’t buy a drop of rain in Illinois and across much of the middle of the United States. But each year is different, and a mid-April deluge of precipitation fell on Illinois this past week. The rivers are still cresting in some areas, as communities downstream prepare for the flooding, especially in the Illinois River valley and on the Mississippi River below the confluence. Last year, planting was already well underway, with the warm and dry spring conditions. This year, it’s been cold and wet, and almost nothing is in the ground yet. Until it dries out and warms up, planting will be delayed. That means some farmers will consider switching acres from corn to soybeans, and as time goes by for planting and crop emergence, yields may be affected. So besides the obvious impact on communities in the way of the water, keep an eye on the rain’s effects on this early part of the season. That said, the precipitation has very much mitigated the lingering effects of the drought conditions, and crops do like to have some water to grow.

AdvanCES in Research

Apr 25
Leann Ormsby, Assistant Dean of Information Technology and Communications Services

One of my most enjoyable activities is learning about the innovative, high-impact research taking place in our college. I’m always pleased to discover the many ways ACES faculty, students, and research staff are addressing key societal needs and solving major challenges facing Illinois and the world.

AdvanCES in Research is a new publication of the Office of Research that shares 31 articles on exciting research taking place in the College of ACES. When you have a moment, be sure to peruse the magazine to learn how the college is investigating red seaweed as a biofuel, underwater carbon dioxide as a barrier for Asian carp, new infant formula ingredients that boost babies’ immunity, two species of elephants in Africa, and more. What wonderful examples of the outstanding research taking place in ACES!

Visit http://research.aces.illinois.edu/sites/research.aces.illinois.edu/files/reports/AdvanCES.pdf.


Making a difference

Apr 24
Marise Robbins-Forbes, ACES Director of Development, Crop Science and NRES

What a week! Campus is buzzing with celebrations for Earth Week and a vision of sustainability. Earlier this month I had the privilege of meeting an NRES alumnus, Dr. Abram Bicksler, who is making a difference each and every day. Dr. Bicksler was visiting from Thailand to accept the Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award. 

His research, teaching and collaborations with 1,500+ partners throughout SE Asia through ISDSI and ECHO Asia exemplify the best in grassroots education and outreach. By knitting together skilled, small share farmers, connecting them with each other as well as experts from around the world, Abrams' work both honors them as individuals and leverages each person's knowledge. 

I was touched deeply by his exceptional depth and strength of character. Abram's dedication and directed actions are indeed reducing hunger and improving lives.

Dr. Abram Bicksler
Dr. Abram Bicksler (left) receives the Charles C. Stewart International Young Humanitarian Award from Wolfgang Schlor.

Student banquets, clubs and scholarships

Apr 24
Doug Parrett, Interim Head of the Department of Animal Sciences

This past weekend I attended two banquets recognizing students in Animal Sciences for their many achievements during the past year. The banquets showcased student excellence for successful club activities, involvement with community activities, and of course, for outstanding scholarship. I serve as the chair of the Animal Sciences undergraduate honors committee and I am always overwhelmed by the strong academics and variety of activities our students are involved in.

Beyond the classroom our students organize cattle shows, dairy calf sales, rodeos, fundraisers and many other activities. Our students are very engaged in ExplorACES and work hard with our recruiting efforts of new students. And, they always maintain strong grade point averages.

The many scholarship donors that we have in Animal Sciences and ACES always comment on how amazed they are by our students and their busy schedules. And they are always impressed with their maturity and goals for the future.  I think it is a great tribute to the dedicated teachers in ACES that while we have talented students, the many classroom experiences they have in ACES enhances their thinking critical skills and leadership capabilities that will make them successful in their futures.

The end of the semester ends rapidly but the high standards of our students continues on to make the world a better place!

Student banquets, clubs and scholarships
Animal sciences student Jordan Rauch (middle) receives the Phil Rincker Memorial Scholarship from donor Art Farley (right) and Will Rincker of the Rincker Family.