Assistive Technology Conference Feb. 13

The Western Illinois University Center for Exceptional Children (CEC) will hold its first Assistive Technology Conference on the WIU-Macomb campus, Friday, Feb. 13. The daylong, free conference—made possible by a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education—will provide educators with an overview of assistive technology and an introduction to augmentative and alternative communication for students with communication disorders.

Infinitec will provide the training, and educators will be able to earn continuing education credits (CEUs) and continuing professional development units (CPDUs). The conference session line up is listed below (or see To register, visit

Parking will be available at no charge in the faculty/staff lots surrounding Horrabin Hall.

For more information, contact Mary Jensen, WIU professor of curriculum and instruction, at (309) 298-1778 or

WIU Assistive Technology Conference Sessions

  • 7:30 a.m. – Check in
  • 8-10 a.m. — Assistive Technology Overview
    This presentation will introduce participants to a range of assistive technology. In addition, the new Illinois Assistive Technology Guidance Manual and technical support website will be shared.
  • 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. — AACs AND 1, 2, 3s: An Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Educators
    This session is designed for educators working with students with communication disorders who use, or may benefit from, the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This workshop will introduce learners to the categories of AAC and provide examples of items within these categories. Access to communication devices will be discussed, and participants will gain exposure to associated research.
  • 12:15-1:30 p.m. – Lunch on your own
  • 1:30-3:30 p.m. Video Modeling and iTechnologies
    The body of research is growing in support of video modeling as an effective practice to address a multitude of skills for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Given the built-in camera and apps to capture/edit video, the iPad gives users a simple means to develop video modules. This session will cover practical considerations in developing video modules, specific apps to edit video and apps a student can access to view video modules.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations

Dr. Smith named Dean of College!

Erskine Smith, interim dean of Western Illinois University’s College of Education and Human Services (COEHS), after a review by his faculty and staff, has been appointed dean of the college effective immediately, according to WIU Provost Ken Hawkinson. His appointment is through June 30, 2016.

Smith was named interim dean in May 2014. Previously, he had served as the COEHS associate dean since July 2010, after serving as the interim associate dean for one year.

“Dr. Smith has done a wonderful job leading the College of Education and Human Services since his interim appointment, and will continue to do so during his appointment as dean of the college,” Hawkinson added.

He joined Western’s faculty in July 2004 as the chair of the dietetics, fashion merchandising and hospitality (DFMH) department. Before coming to WIU, he served as chair and associate professor of family and consumer sciences at the University of Mississippi. Smith served as the director of the School of Home Economics at Southern Mississippi and as an administrative intern in the Office of the Chancellor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Smith has also worked as a clinical dietitian in the private sector.

Smith received his bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He also holds a certificate from The Miami Valley Hospital Dietetic Internship Program.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations

Yoder Named Chair of WIU Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration Dept. – University Relations – Western Illinois University

MACOMB, IL – Daniel Yoder has been named the chair of the Western Illinois University Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA), effective January 1, 2015, according to College of Education and Human Services(COEHS) Dean Erskine Smith. Yoder has served as the interim chair since June 2013.

Yoder joined Western’s faculty in 1994. Prior coming to Western, he served as the city parks and recreation director at the Lamar (CO) Recreation Department (1986-90). He also worked as the community recreation director for the Alamosa County (CO) Recreation Board and as a recreation therapist for the San Luis Valley Center for the Handicapped (1983-86). Prior to that, he was an outdoor leader for the Horizons Program in Alamosa (1982-84) and served as the director of therapeutic recreation programs and facilities for the Triple L Youth Ranch (Center, CO).

At Western, Yoder has taught several RPTA undergraduate and graduate courses and served as the RPTA graduate coordinator (2005-13). He has served on more than 120 graduate committees and served as chair of 40 of those committees.

Yoder co-authored the book, “Issues in Recreation and Leisure: Ethical Decision Making,” published by Human Kinetics Publishing, in 2005. He and his co-author are currently finishing the second edition of the book.

In 2009, he participated in the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Congress Conference workshop/roundtable, “Ethics in the Parks and Recreation Profession.” In addition, Yoder has authored several textbook chapters, published numerous peer-reviewed articles and presented at national and state conferences on a variety of topics related to the RPTA field.

“Under Dr. Yoder’s ongoing leadership, the faculty and staff in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration will continue to provide RPTA students with an outstanding education,” Smith noted.

Yoder earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Adams State College (Alamosa, CO) and his Ph.D. in leisure studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Learn more about Western’s RPTA department at

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations

Dan Yoder


Yoder Named Chair of WIU Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration Dept. – University Relations – Western Illinois University.

Strategic Planning Retreat

COEHS Strategic Planning Retreat took place on January 13, 2015.  The mission of the retreat was to bring COEHS faculty, staff, and community members together to foster a vision of excellence for the College of Education and Human Services.

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Police makeover continues – The Edwardsville Intelligencer : News

The Glen Carbon Police Department’s makeover continued Tuesday as the Village Board approved the promotion of one officer and the employment of two more.

Wayne White advanced from sergeant to lieutenant while Kevin Bauer and Louis Mitchelar joined the force as patrol officers.

Taking over as police chief in October, Todd Link stated early he wanted to update the department’s organizational chart in order to eliminate all functions running through Lt. Mark Foley.

The board agreed with Link’s proposal, which included reducing the number of sergeants to four from five and adding the second lieutenant.

White has been with the Glen Carbon Police Department for 18 years.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Illinois State University and has served the department as a patrol officer, field training officer, detective, patrol sergeant and training coordinator.

“He’s somebody that’s intelligent about every job in the police department,” Link said.

White also serves on the Collinsville District 10 Board of Education and the Maryville Fire and Police Board of Commissioners.

Bauer, meanwhile, is a 23-year-old resident of Collinsville and a former Collinsville Police Explorer.

He holds bachelor’s degrees in law enforcement and Spanish from Western Illinois University.

Mitchelar, age 26, currently resides in Litchfield and had previously worked full time for the Mount Olive Police Department. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Glen Carbon Mayor Rob Jackstadt wished the officers well and told the two new patrolmen that White is an example of what a person can achieve.

“You’ve got a tradition to live up to and I know you will,” Jackstadt said. “There are a lot of opportunities with the Glen Carbon Police Department and it doesn’t go beyond Wayne White to know that.”

After taking on the role of chief, Link discovered that the village has carried 22 officers in its budget for more than a year.

Upon his hire, the department had just 20.

via Police makeover continues – The Edwardsville Intelligencer : News.

Heart Health Month Quickly Approaching

WIU Marking Heart Health Month

MACOMB, IL – February is Heart Health Month, and Friday, Feb. 6 is National Wear Red Day for Women’s Heart Health, sponsored by the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women organization.

On Feb. 6, in the Western Illinois University Multicultural Center, the WIU Women’s Center, in collaboration with Beu Health Education, Campus Recreation, the Employee Wellness Committee and the Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality (DFMH) Department, will sponsor a Go Red Luncheon, with speakers, door prizes and a resource fair with information on heart-healthy living.

The resource fair will be from 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. In addition to the sponsoring organizations, resource tables will be provided by WIU’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Resource Center, Beu Students T.A.L.K. Peer Educators, Eta Sigma Gamma, the McDonough County Health Department, McDonough District Hospital Outreach Services, the University Counseling Center and the Macomb Hy-Vee Food Store.

According to Women’s Center Graduate Assistant Ashley Schantz, who is serving as chair of this year’s Go Red Planning Committee, attendees will be able to take home resources for heart healthy living at WIU and in the Macomb area.

“Free BIA and blood pressure testing will be provided by Campus Recreation and Beu Health Center, and door prizes include a massage donated by Penny’s Paradise, Yoga sessions donated by Summer Moon Yoga and books on women’s heart health donated by the Women’s Center,” Schantz said.

The luncheon, which will be held from noon-12:50 p.m., will feature heart-healthy food catered by students from Associate Professor Carol Longley’s Family and Consumer Sciences 356 class. This year’s menu includes pasta primavera, salad, low-fat strawberry shortcake and a beverage. The meal is $10 for non-students and $6 for students. Reservations and payment are due by Wednesday, Jan. 28 to the Women’s Center. Students may charge to their account with Rocky Dollars; checks may be made payable to the Women’s Center.

Longley, a faculty member in Western’s Department of Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality, will be the featured speaker at this year’s luncheon.

“I am interested in heart-healthy education on both a personal and professional level,” Longley said. “My mother and aunt battled high cholesterol, and each has had many strokes. They lived before the ‘statin’ drugs were developed, so they had to greatly rely on diet modifications to change their cholesterol levels. Professionally, I have been teaching heart healthy workshops, counseling patients with high cholesterol and working with stroke victims for 40 years.”

JoAnn Hairston-Jones, health education coordinator at WIU’s Beu Health Center, believes National Wear Red Day is a good opportunity to educate students and other campus and local community members about the importance of heart health.

“Heart disease is the number one killer of American women,” Hairston-Jones said. “Heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases kill more U.S. women than the next five causes of death combined, so events such as this can help educate women and others about the risk factors – diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, being overweight and smoking – and help each of us take an active role in preventing heart disease.”

The committee is encouraging WIU students to attend the event.

“Hypertension is becoming more common among younger adults,” Hairston-Jones said. “Its prevalence increases with lifestyle factors, genetics, and can adversely affect heart health.”

For more information, contact Hairston-Jones at (309) 298-3225, or or Women’s Center Director Janine Cavicchia at (309) 298-2242 or Learn more about the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day event

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations

WIU Grad Student and Professor Explore link between High School Football and Disaster Recovery

MACOMB, IL — As America celebrates the annual winter-time tradition of the end of another college football season and revels in the National Football League playoffs, if you asked, “What is the connection between weather and football?,” you may hear the answers “snow,” “cold,” or even something specific like “Ice Bowl.” But if you asked a resident of Washington, IL, that particular question, a highly possible reply would be “tornado.”

For those in that community affected by an EF-4 tornado in late 2013, the high school football team’s decision to play in a championship game the week following the disaster—after more than 1,000 homes were destroyed by the twister, 10 of which were players’ homes—has left an indelible legacy for Washington’s recovery. Evidence of that is supported in a recent National Science Foundation and Natural Hazards Center Quick Response Program-funded study by Western Illinois University graduate student Nicholas Swope (Salem, OR) and co-author WIU Emergency Management Professor Jack Rozdilsky.

The quick-response research study (available at, “High School Football as a Catalyst for Disaster Recovery: The Case of the November, 17, 2013, Washington, Illinois, Tornado,” determined that the Washington High School Panthers’ actions provided “a method of operation by which other high school football teams can consider ways to help their communities during future disasters.”

The team’s choice to play in that class 5A championship game against Springfield (IL)-based Sacred Heart Griffin in late November 2013 resonated widely with individuals, groups and the media alike. The Washington Panthers Coach Darrell Crouch, team and, subsequently, the community itself garnered national coverage by such news outlets as ESPN, the Weather Channel, the Chicago Tribune and attracted the ongoing attention of the NFL’s Chicago Bears organization. And although, ultimately, the Panthers did not prevail against Sacred Heart Griffin, the team’s decision stands as a remarkable catalyst—as asserted in Swope’s and Rozdilsky’s study—for accomplishment.

According to a Nov. 25, 2014, Associated Press article, Washington’s “rebuilding rate is high and the community is even more tight-knit, according to a city official. [The] city has issued building permits for 80 percent of the 800 homes left uninhabitable after last November’s storms, according to Washington City Administrator Tim Gleason.”

It also seems to be a victory for all those who cherish the high school football traditions that play out under the Friday night lights on football fields all over the country.

Assistance and Opportunity

In the aftermath of the tornado disaster in late 2013, Rozdilsky—who has previously taken Western students to other post-disaster sites in Illinois to provide them with hands-on experience in their emergency management studies—and a few of his students made their way to Washington to assist and learn in the field.

One of Rozdilsky’s students, and his research partner, Swope (who is studying public health in Western’s health sciences department and is part of Western’s Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development) is the lead author on the NSF-funded study. The day of the storms, he contacted Rozdilsky—who he described as “two steps ahead of me”—about providing assistance in Washington.

“On the drive back, ideas were already beginning to percolate for a research study. We had a massive, all-day brainstorming session and came up with some interesting questions. Of those, the football and disaster recovery ideas were both intriguing and novel,” he explained.

“Nick and I were part of the initial groups who went to Washington, but we had nothing to do with team’s decision to play, of course. We were working on the emergency management side of things,” Rozdilsky elaborated. “In previous disasters I’ve worked on in the Midwest, there are anecdotal stories about how high school football teams bring towns together in times of crisis, though I was not aware of any actual social science studies that attempt to show that. So Nick and I set out to explore specifically how that takes place and what types of services a team can provide to aid in a community’s disaster recovery. By talking to the coaches, the team members, the opposing teams, Washington city officials and the Chicago Bears organization, we explored how the team’s actions contributed tangibly and intangibly to the disaster recovery,” he added.

Swope, who served in the Peace Corps in Mongolia, said his Peace Corps experience played a large role in his interest in this type of research, which he had a desire to pursue during his graduate program at Western.

“Or perhaps, the type of person who would participate in the Peace Corps would likely be comfortable doing this sort of investigation,” Swope noted. “I knew I didn’t want ‘armchair research.’ Spending the next year crunching numbers and looking up reports was not for me. I wanted to get on the ground and get to know the community, much like my Peace Corps experience.”

Washington Strong

According to Rozdilsky, one of the main conclusions of the study is that the team, ultimately, became an important catalyst for Washington’s recovery, as indicated in the research study’s title.

“Beyond serving as role models, the team members served as ambassadors for the city. After the team played in the game, the media tied the decision to play and the whole event in with the ‘Friday Night Lights’ theme, in other words, ‘the team lifting up the town.’ Then, the next week the Chicago Bears came to town and spent time with the team and developed a relationship with the high school team. Over time, the Chicago Bears organization brought more than $210,000 to the community,” Rozdilsky said. “We can draw a direct relationship between the Bears’ management’s community outreach and the Bears returning to Washington (IL) the next year, in 2014, continuing to raise funds because the Bears’ football players identified with the high school players. While that’s not to say the Bears would not have come to town anyway… but would they have returned three times? Would they have raised $210,000?”

The game event itself also worked as a conduit to support the community in its time of need. According to Rozdilsky, Sacred Heart Griffin Athletics’ supporters not only paid for eight buses for residents of Washington, IL, to attend the championship game, the Springfield school also hosted a pregame lunch and a postgame dinner and sent the Washington Panthers back with $75,000 cash the school had raised via the meal fundraisers.

“From conversations with Sacred Heart Griffin coach Ken Leonard, the scene was described as people from Springfield were showing up and giving $100 bills to people from Washington who came to the activities,” he added.

Rozdilsky also noted the Washington Panthers’ team members served as role models in other ways, providing a well-organized labor force to help with clean up.

“Immediately after the storm, they worked as citizen responders. But that’s actually not as important as what the team and their efforts represented: They stood as a sophisticated set of community stakeholders, who could raise funds and who raised the profile of the community for the media. This worked as symbolism for the recovery. After the storm, around town, in front of homes, in business areas, you saw signs that said, ‘Go Panthers! Washington Strong,'” Rozdilsky explained.

For Swope—who is currently serving as an intern with the McDonough County Health Department as part of his enrollment in Western’s Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development—the opportunity to take part in this type of research adds another layer of learning in this graduate experience at Western.

“In my opinion, there is no substitute for experiential learning and boots-on-the-ground training. This project helped me develop skills in all phases of the grant process, field work and report crafting,” Swope said. “It was a pleasure working with Dr. Rozdilsky, too. He is knowledgeable, engaged in the research community, and was committed to my learning, as well as the research. I would recommend working with him to any aspiring researcher. When I came to WIU, I had zero interest in emergency management. Now as I finish my degree, it has become a highlight and future career path.”

To read the entire research study, “High School Football as a Catalyst for Disaster Recovery: The Case of the November, 17, 2013, Washington, Illinois, Tornado,” visit Also, to read more about Rozdilsky’s and his students’ work in Washington, IL, see “EM Class Project with Tornado-Torn Washington, IL” at and “City Administrator to Provide One-Year Retrospective of Washington (IL) Tornado at WIU Nov. 6″ at

For more information about the NSF-funded study, contact Rozdilsky at (309) 298-1621 or via email at

Learn more about WIU’s emergency management bachelor’s degree program—one of only 15 of its type in the U.S.— at

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (
Office of University Relations

Solidarity March and Teach Out – Dec. 12

Posted by University Relations:

MACOMB, IL — Western Illinois University’s Expanding Cultural Diversity Project (ECDP), the Center for the Study of Masculinities and Men’s Development (CSMMD) and the Western Organization for Women (WOW) will host a solidarity march and rally, “WIU Race 4 Justice: Black Lives Matter,” beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12 in the southwest corner of Q-Lot.

According to James La Prad, director of the ECDP and associate professor of educational and interdisciplinary studies and educational leadership, the peaceful demonstration will allow WIU students, faculty and staff, as well as Macomb community members, to show solidarity for racial justice.

“We must stand up and proclaim that all lives matter and we must join together to demand racial justice,” La Prad said. “As members of an educational community, we need to discuss the critical reality that every 28 hours an unarmed black person is killed in this country. The systematic racial and other forms of oppression have been woven into the fabric of our culture since the beginning of our democracy. And we feel fortunate to live in a country where we can raise issues of discrimination and oppression in order to reduce the space between what our democratic contract says and how it is enacted.”

Participants will march from Q-Lot to Sherman Hall, completing the march with a rally at the University Union Plaza, directly north of the Union.

For more information, contact La Prad at (309) 298-1436 or at Follow on Facebook at and on Twitter at #WIUrace4justice and #wiu4blacklives.

RPTA Advisor, Keri Allison, receives Golden Apple award

Goldern Apple PictureNominated by RPTA student Rafael Juarez:

“Golden apple award goes to someone who develops and supports programs for teachers to make them more effective in the classroom. Keri Allison is the advisor for the Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration department. Keri has helped guide, me and many others in the RPTA department through a path to complete our goal in graduating. She not only helps us chose classes that will better our future plans, but sits down with us and knows us personally by our names. She also has an upbeat attitude with the busy schedules and planning for events during the school semesters. The Professional Development Conference is one of the biggest programs that happens for the RPTA department and she is involved with planning it since the beginning of the school year. She encourages us all to do our best in classes but also to get involved in organizations, to get us out there and especially get experiences from those clubs or organizations. Keri Allison is a teacher behind the scene, she isn’t in front of a class teaching all the time, but she is helping everyone achieve their best in this department, as I know she would in any department.”

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GH 299 International Health

Dr. Fetene Gebrewold took his class GH 299 International Health to New York City on November 20th. They visited several places including: the United Nations, UNICEF, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the Statue of Liberty.

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