West Nile Virus Guest Lecture

Michele Rehbein, a Health Sciences graduate student and Phil Scheibel, a Biology graduate student co-presented a guest lecture on West Nile Virus and its history and critical aspects of how it is transmitted in Dr. Hal Marchand’s (EOS 310) Environmental Health class on Tuesday, November 4. The graduate student team conducted research over the 2014 summer. The presentation stressed the importance of studying West Nile Virus in rural communities within Illinois and the potential vulnerability of rural residents to the virus. Dr. Charles Lydeard, Biological Sciences Department Chair and Dr. Lorette Oden, the Health Sciences and Social Work Department interim Chair attended the presentation. In addition, Dr. Catherine Miller-Hunt of the Biological Sciences Department attended and responded to questions on the topic. Dr. Miller-Hunt oversaw the research on West Nile Virus conducted by the two graduate students.

West Nile Virus is still on the rise with one of the biggest outbreaks having occurred in 2012. There is no vaccine or treatment for this yet which makes it of great importance within human populations. Arboviruses in the United States were inevitable and are also on the rise, whether dealing with West Nile Virus, Dengue, Chikungunya, or others; these are growing public health threats. Vector surveillance in Illinois needs to be accomplished in order to prevent future outbreaks and plays a critical role in understanding the distribution of the virus.

-Dr. Hal Marchand, Department of Health Sciences and Social Work, Western Illinois University.

Rochester’s Bertrand named Illinois Superintendent of the Year

Springfield,Illinois (PR MediaRelease) November 23, 2014

Dr. Thomas Bertrand, superintendent of Rochester Community Unit District 3A, has been selected the 2015 Illinois Superintendent of the Year by the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA).

The award was presented Sunday (November 23) during the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago co-sponsored by the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (IASBO) and the IASA.

“It’s a great feeling to be recognized by your peers. It’s a very humbling experience and in some ways I’m a little uncomfortable because I know how hard many of my colleagues work and the great work they do in their school districts,” said Bertrand, who has been an educator for 28 years, including serving as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent before becoming superintendent in Rochester in 2002. “I look at this as recognition for our schools and our community. Our board, staff and our teachers are all marching to the same beat.”

Bertrand is only the fifth superintendent in Rochester since 1936, which he says “speaks volumes about the community support for our schools.”

Those who nominated Bertrand noted several major accomplishments in his 13-year tenure as superintendent in Rochester, including:

  • Leading Rochester as a pioneer in the “One-to-One” computer world to develop and implement a district-wide digital conversion for students in grades 4 through 12, and completely overhauling the district’s technology infrastructure to ensure Wi-Fi access for all students and staff — including on school buses to allow students in extracurricular activities to do homework on long bus trips.
  • Redesigning the district’s Professional Development program for teachers and administrators to include well-differentiated tracks for professional development.
  • Directing the effort to develop a state- and nationally-acclaimed K-12 bullying prevention program.
  • Leading Rochester to become the first school district in Illinois to utilize Overgrad, a free web-based tracking system that allows students, parents and staff to objectively measure college and career readiness.
  • Facilitating dual-credit classes with Lincoln Land Community College.
  • Actively leading the design and development of multi-stage construction projects that combined for a new campus. He has been part of five successful building referendums.
  • Leading the feasibility study that propelled Rochester to withdraw from a special education cooperative in order to administer its own special education program, with positive results.

Bertrand said his most important guiding goal has been to develop a culture of “kids first, high expectations and continuous improvement” in the K-12 district of about 2,400 students. Rochester students regularly outperform the state average by a wide margin according to the State Interactive Report Card and also have been high achievers in sports, music and the arts.

In his letter of nomination, Rochester School Board President Randy Hawkins wrote “Dr. Bertrand has successfully transformed what could be termed a ‘small-town’ school into a shining example of success in all facets of public education…and he is a pillar of community involvement.”

Bertrand was raised in Quincy and earned his undergraduate degree from Quincy College, his Master’s from Western Illinois University and his Ph.D. from Illinois State University. He credited his father, Harold, who worked in the Ford Tractor Division for 42 years, and his mother, Marilyn, who worked in a school cafeteria for 25 years, with instilling in him “an appreciation for education and a work ethic.”

“Tom Bertrand is an educator who has dedicated his career to what public education is really about: Kids,” said IASA Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark. “His work as the superintendent in Rochester is a testament to that, and he is most deserving to be named Illinois Superintendent of the Year.”

Mike Chamness
Illinois Association of School Administrators
Director of Communications

- See more at: http://prmediarelease.com/rochesters-bertrand-named-illinois-superintendent-year/#sthash.xMI4XnjW.dpuf


DFMH Food and Culture Club

Please join the Food and Culture Club for its banquet titled “National Anthem” to be held Thursday, November 20 at 6 pm in the Grand Ballroom of the Union, seating begins at 5:30. The event is a celebration of the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and will feature the history of the national anthem and American flag, ROTC presenting the colors, Fashion of the 1800s, a live choir, the Swing Dance Club, and a talk on food rations in the last 200 years. The evening will end with the banquet meal, which features foods from Colonial American times and is absolutely free! RSVP to foodandculture.rsvpify.com or ER-Gurzell@wiu.edu.



Stinnett invited by AFT to be on panel

Dr Melissa Stinnett, Curriculum and Instruction, was invited by AFT to be one of five panelists as part of a larger group called Coalition of Teacher Quality held in Washington DC on October 7. Coalition for Teacher Quality rolled out a position statement on teacher and principal preparation issues.  Dr. Stinnett discussed the current state of teacher preparation.

Thank you email

Thank you for a successful Lodge and Libations!

Thank you to the almost 150 people who attended Lodge and Libations in September! We had a great turnout and fantastic fundraising effort for the Outdoor Education Building at Horn Field Campus! We look forward to next year’s event on September 26, 2015!

Photo taken from ATEEC Website, ateec.org

Photo taken from ATEEC Website, ateec.org

The WIU Instructional Design and Technology  AECT (Association for Educational Communication and Technology) Student Chapter will be visiting the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC) on October 31. ATEEC develops education and training on sustainable energy. The IDT department has been collaborating with ATEEC on the development of training materials.  ATEEC is located in Davenport, IA.

¡WEPA! Puerto Rico

A new study abroad course at Western Illinois University that pairs anthropology and educational leadership and interdisciplinary studies (EIS) will offer students unique insights into Puerto Rican culture next May.“¡WEPA! Puerto Rico” is a faculty-led course offered through the Western’s Office of Study Abroad and Outreach and the Anthropology/Sociology and EIS departments. WIU Anthropology Professor Heather McIlvaine-Newsad and EIS Chair Gloria Delany-Barmann will lead the two-week course late next spring.

Both McIlvaine-Newsad and Delany-Barmann will be on hand at a 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20 informational meeting, in Morgan Hall 320, to answer questions about this study-abroad course. The travel dates for the course are May 19-June 1, 2015.

“Students who take the course will experience ecotourism firsthand, both as a tourist and anthropologist. Through the framework of cultural ecology, they will examine such topics as conservation, indigenous rights, sustainability and development and how these relate to the growth of nature-based tourism. Alongside the natural environment, students will learn how English and Spanish have influenced each other on the island during the last 100 years and the circumstances that brought English to Puerto Rico. The rich cultural and linguistic heritage of the island creates a unique sociolinguistic dynamic to study,” McIlvaine-Newsad explained.

She noted the word “WEPA” is slang used throughout the Caribbean.

“It means ‘cool,’ ‘alright,’ ‘congratulations’ or ‘good job!’ You know you are in Puerto Rico when you hear this term,” she added.

One of the unique things about the “¡WEPA! Puerto Rico” study abroad course is that students will be visiting with WIU alumna Sara Vazquez, who will be an integral part of the course design.

“Sara was one of our first anthropology majors at Western. She took courses with both Dr. Delany-Barman and me. Being from Puerto Rico, she was really interested in the American colonization of her island and how language and other cultures have influenced present day Puerto Rico. Sara is from a rural part of Puerto Rico and her family still farms. She had taken a couple of courses with me that focused on food production, and she decided to return to the island and start farming part of her family’s farm organically,” McIlvaine-Newsad said. “I think she is one of the best examples of a WIU graduate taking her education and putting it to work. She is currently involved in organic farming and active in the youth movement on the island that is pushing for social equality and economic sustainability through local agricultural production. I can’t wait to introduce her to our current students. We will be vising her farm and she will be talking to our students about the local ecology and organic food movement on the island.”

According to Delany-Barmann, the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is full of history, culture and natural beauty. Students will visit the island of Vieques, Fajardo, the rainforests of El Yunque, Ponce, Arecibo and San Juan.

“Its citizens have a diverse heritage, speaking both English and Spanish as official languages. Although Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, many of its residents define themselves as Puerto Rican instead of American. The natural climate of the island is also different than the mainland United States, offering rain forests, deserts, caves and beaches all within its boundaries. Because of the many natural contrasts presented, Puerto Rico is ideally suited for the studies of sociolinguistics and cultural ecology,” she added.

Western students who take the course for anthropology credit will register for the three credit-hour course ANTH 379 (“Anthropology of Tourism, Sustainability and the Environment”), while graduate students will register for ANTH 679 (also three credit hours). EIS students will register for the three-credit hour EIS 440 (G) (“Sociolinguistics”). Students enrolled in the course will receive Spring 2015 semester credit and will meet twice in Spring 2015.

According to McIlvaine-Newsad and Delany-Barmann, the course is open to any and all majors at WIU, and non-degree seeking students are also welcome to apply for the course.

Total enrollment for the course is 15 students, and eligibility requirements include:


  • Completed at least 12 semester hours
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) 2.5
  • In good standing with Student Judicial Programs


  • Accepted to a graduate degree program
  • Approval of graduate adviser and department chair/program director
  • In good standing with Student Judicial Programs

For more information, visit http://wiu-sa.terradotta.com/?go=wepapr or contact McIlvaine-Newsad at (309) 298-1264 or via email at H-McIlvaine-Newsad@wiu.edu; Delany-Barmann at (309) 298-1183 or via email at GA-Delany-Barmann@wiu.edu; or Kim McDaniel (study abroad) at (309) 298-2504 or via email at KD-McDaniel@wiu.edu.

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations

RPTA Welcome Back Cookout

All RPTA Majors are encouraged to attend and bring a friend who is interested in the RPTA major!

Come for hotdogs, chips, s’mores, games and a chance to win some prizes!

Students and administrators from Rock Valley College will be visiting so please come and help represent WIU’s “Signature Program,” Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration!

When: Friday, September 19

Time: 12:30 – 2:30 PM

Where: North Side of Currens Hall on the lawn. (Between Currens and Thompson Halls)

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