Campus Connection - March 13, 1998
Campus and Community Section

Table of Contents

'Crossing the Millennial Threshold: Myths, Messiahs and Mayhem in America' Topic of Faculty Lecture

The millennium. It's among the forefront of worldwide topics as individuals, businesses, organizations and nations plan for its arrival. Will the world's information systems, computers and hybrid technologies be able to cope with the year 2000 problems? There seems to be more questions than answers.

One question that will be directly addressed by WIU philosophy and religious studies professor John Simmons deals with the millennial myth and its current and potential impact on American culture as we approach the year 2000.

"There is a real possibility for continued internal violence as we add the provocative date 2000 to this mixture of social change, anger at the federal government and general belief in an imminent apocalyptic change for this nation," said Simmons, who will tackle the topic when he presents WIU's annual Faculty Lecture at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 26 in the Union Sandburg Theatre.

Simmons' multimedia presentation, "Crossing the Millennial Threshold: Myths, Messiahs and Mayhem in America," will include secular millennial themes, which he says are evident in the Unibomber's manifesto, in the motivation behind the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma and in the militia and Patriot movements; and the religious theme of the Christian Apocalypse or Revelation of John, which he says has stimulated the religious imagination of a potent set of religions in American history.

"Revelation is the least understood and most misinterpreted book in the Bible; however, it is also one of its most influential," Simmons said. "I will make the case that the millennial myth is a powerful form of the apocalyptic belief of good triumphing over evil. Almost always this change comes about by a terrible, violent, catastrophic war between the ‘anti-Christ,' or the old corrupt power, and the ‘Messiah,' or the leader of a new heaven and new earth."

Simmons will present to the audience millennial myths in history, particularly the rise of apocalyptic movements around the time of the great plague in Europe. He will then look at a religious millennial movement in the U.S., specifically how the Branch Davidians' interpretation of Revelation led to the violent confrontation with federal agents. And he will "make the case that there is such a thing as a ‘secular millennial movement,' which may be the most dangerous form, especially as we move toward the year 2000.

"This is pretty scary stuff, but I think if we take an eyes-open approach we can come up with some positive ways in which we might defuse millennial tension as we cross the millennial threshold," Simmons said.

Trained as a historian of American religion and as a sociologist of religion, Simmons has earned seven consecutive WIU Faculty Excellence awards and was named the 1994 Outstanding Teacher in the College of Arts and Sciences. He has 28 publications to his credit since joining the WIU faculty in 1987, after receiving his doctorate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He publishes regularly in the area of women-led, emergent spiritual movements in the late 19th and early 20th century American history.

Simmons considers his greatest professional contributions to be in the area of innovative multimedia teaching techniques in religious studies and in the humanities.

In 1989, Simmons was selected from faculty in five state universities to teach the first Board of Governors Universities (BGU) teleclass. In that role he created, taught and co-produced "Beliefs and Believers." The teleclass, licensed with the PBS Adult Learning Satellite Services division, has enrolled more than 12,000 students at more than 100 colleges and universities nationwide.

Simmons created two other teleclasses, "Women in Religion" and "Religion in America: A Historical Perspective," which are distributed nationally through a variety of educational cable companies.

Simmons currently is in preproduction for a fourth teleclass, "Beliefs and Believers: World Religions in the 21st Century." He recently returned from an 11-day journey to Israel and Egypt where he and a film crew obtained footage and interviews to incorporate in to the new teleclass.

WIU's Faculty Lecturer award was first presented in 1969 to honor an outstanding faculty member whose professional development in research or creative activity, teaching and service to the University represent the highest standards of the academic community.

WIU Awarded Funds for Student Partnerships with Business

WIU and 14 businesses will continue a cooperative work study program which will provide up to 92 students with employment and practical experience.

The Progressive Partnerships program at Western was awarded a $75,000 grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) to support continuation of this program for a sixth consecutive year.

"Western seeks to identify companies who want to join with the University in this program, and we continue to expand opportunities with firms and agencies we have worked with in the past to broaden employment experiences for WIU students," said Al Waters, director of the occupational information and placement office.

The collaborative effort between the placement office and participating companies benefits students in Western's four academic colleges. Participating companies include American Drug Stores, American General Finance, Bituminous Insurance, Crop Pro-Tech, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Fatigue's, Groentz and Associates, Green Plan, Methode Electronics, McClure Engineering, Northwest Financial, Roadway Express, Target Stores and McDonough County Board.

Each business has agreed to employ students in work study positions related to their fields of study within the departments of accountancy, agriculture, art, computer science, economics, finance, management, marketing, family and consumer sciences, industrial technology, information management and communication. Students can be at any academic level but participants must be Illinois residents.

Students interested in the program will be asked to complete an application which will be submitted to the prospective company. Some companies will want to interview candidates and others may select directly from the application, Waters said.

"The program will continue to enhance the working relationship between higher education and business employers," Waters said. "With the number of employers interested in the program we should be able to provide a large number of employment opportunities for our students for summer work. This enables them to earn resources for their education as well as build on their academic experiences."

Students may utilize this opportunity to fulfill internship expectations or to learn more about career options in their field of study.

For more information, call the occupational information and placement office at 298-1838.

Mini-Grant Proposals

Each year, Faculty Development offers a number of mini-grants (up to 1,200) to faculty for projects directly related to improving teaching and learning in their courses. Guidelines for mini-grants are available from department chairs. Proposals are due Friday, April 10.

Two workshops are scheduled to assist faculty in preparing effective mini-grant proposals. They will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. today, March 13 in the Union Fox Room, and from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 24in the Union DuSable Room. Call 298-2434 for more information.

Human Resources Plan

Kim Hall resigned February 27, and the human resources department is in the process of filling the position; however hiring and training a new benefits counselor will take time.

In order for to use time most effectively, appointments for retirement counseling will be limited to those employees retiring December 31, 1999 or sooner. Scheduling appointments for other benefits needs will also help human resources provide the best possible service during this transition.

Your cooperation during this busy time is appreciated. Call Nancy Sherer at 298-1971 with questions.

Research Competition

The University Research Council announces its spring 1998 competition. The deadline is noon, Thursday, April 9. The original plus 10 copies of the completed application must be delivered to the Office of Sponsored Projects, Sherman Hall 320. Copies of the application package may be obtained from department chairs or the Office of Sponsored Projects.

WIU to Present Successful Money Management Seminar

The nationally-acclaimed "Successful Money Management Seminar" will be held three Tuesdays in March at WIU. Sponsored by WIU's Center for Management and Professional Development (CMPD), the seminar will run from 6 to 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, 24 and 31 in Stipes Hall 506.

Participants will learn key concepts and practices of wise money management. Topics which will be covered include "Your Financial Foundation," "Putting Your Dollars to Work," "Retirement Planning," "Risk Management" and "Estate Planning."

A workbook, a personal financial data form and audio tape and a no-cost and no-obligation follow-up personal financial planning consultation.

Cost of the workshop is $89. Each paid registrant may bring a spouse or guest at no additional cost. For more information or to register, call 298-1555.

Occasion to Remember Set for March 29

Wondering what to get for that special couple's 50th wedding anniversary? Ready for a wardrobe makeover? Looking for that perfect handcrafted item? Then visit the 16th annual "An Occasion to Remember Fashion and Gift Show" Sunday, March 29 in the WIU Union Grand Ballroom.

The event, held from noon to 4 p.m., is sponsored by the WIU department of family and consumer sciences and Macomb radio station WJEQ. It is open free to the public and will feature merchandise from several area vendors.

"An Occasion to Remember" features a fashion show, which will be held at 1 p.m. and again at 2:30 p.m. and will showcase casual wear, beach togs, children's fashions, evening wear and formal wear; home decor; several retailers and their products; and area crafters. The gala is organized and produced by 18 WIU fashion merchandising students enrolled in FCS 450, as well as other FCS majors.

"Students are involved from concept to completion. They learn by doing and gain valuable experience they can take into the professional world," said Tammy Kinley, assistant FCS professor and event coordinator. "Students have been working on this production since last semester. They are to be commended for their tremendous efforts in making this event a success year after year.

"While the event does feature a fashion show, it is not just about clothing trends. We will have several vendors selling their merchandise, as well as area crafters selling their handcrafted items," Kinley added. "We would like to expand these areas for future shows."

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 12:30 p.m. WJEQ disc jockeys will broadcast live from the show. For more information, contact the department of family and consumer sciences at 298-2052.

Achieving a Balance Conference March 26-28

WIU will hold the sixth national conference on adapted physical activity March 26-28 at Brophy Hall and the University Union.

The conference, "Achieving a Balance," is open to anyone interested in adapted physical activity for people with disabilities.

There will be more than 20 classroom conference sessions and 19 audience participation sessions on topics such as fitness and motor skill assessment, activity-based intervention for preschoolers with disabilities, training individuals to work with people with disabilities and many other topics.

Registration fees are $80 for professionals, $35 for full-time students and $45 for consumers or parents and must be received bySaturday, March 14. Continuing education units are available.

Call non-credit programs at 298-1911 for more information.

Presentations on Foreign Lands

Several WIU international students will present information about their countries and cultures.

Students will present Korea–Land of the Morning Calm from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 2 in Knoblauch Hall 239.

Students will present Nepal–More than Mount Everest from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 30 in Knoblauch Hall 239.

A $1 donation is appreciated. Call 298-1806 for more information.

OSHA Compliance Workshop

Non-Credit Programs, in cooperation with the Western Illinois Network for Safety (WINS) and Cooper Power Systems, Inc. of Macomb, will present the OSHA 10-Hour Voluntary Compliance Workshop on Friday, April 10and Friday, April 17.

Anyone interested in industrial safety can attend the OSHA workshop, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at Cooper Power Systems, Inc. in Macomb.

Conference sessions are geared toward improving attendees' ability to recognize, avoid and prevent costly safety and health hazards in the workplace. The sessions include classroom instruction as well as safety demonstrations.

The U.S. Department of Labor will issue certification cards to participants upon completion of the workshop.

Registration fee is $99. Each participating company must bring the text Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry, or the 1,500-page WIU OSHA Training Manual can be ordered for an additional $40.

Call Non-Credit Programs at 298-1911 for a registration form.

Earth Day Fair April 4

The WIU Wildlife Society, comprised of WIU students, faculty and staff, will exhibit at the Earth Day Fair, Saturday, April 4 in the Commons at Macomb Jr.-Sr. High School.

The event features more than 25 exhibitors, live music, a flea market, live animal shows, a plant and bake sale and wildlife art sale.

At 9 and 10 a.m., the Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria will present a program on native snakes. At 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. the Glen Oak Zoo will present an amazing live animal show.

Contact Kathy Chambers at 298-1250, or by e-mail, for more information.

Faculty Publications Needed

The WIU Archives requests copies of all journal articles, presentations, and books by faculty and administration, as well as departmental newsletters. Faculty who have published books are asked to donate one copy to archives.

If a spare copy is not available, please send the title, name of publisher and price to University Archives for purchase consideration.

For more information call the archives at 298-2717 or 298-2718.

Workshops and Conferences

Interviewing workshop will be held from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday, March 19 in Stipes Hall 501. Presented by Jeri Harper, information management and decision sciences. Call Jan Johnson at 298-1971 to register.

Résumé Writing workshop will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 24 in the Union Algonquin Room and from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 26 in the Union Board Room. Presented by Al Waters, occupational information and placement. Call Jan Johnsonat 298-1971to register.

Open Time workshop will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 27 in Horrabin Hall 63 for Macintosh users and Horrabin Hall 68 for Windows users. Presented by Roger Runquist, faculty development. Call 298-2434 to register.

Introduction to PowerPoint (Windows)will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 6 in Horrabin Hall 68. Presented by David Ballew, computer science. Call 298-2434 to register.

A University Relations Publication