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Mark Dochterman, director of the University of Illinois Springfield Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center, and UIS Chancellor Susan Koch at a ceremony honoring Dr. Dochterman with the Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award for 2015-2016.

Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center said he was honored, humbled–and surprised– to receive the Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award for 2015-2016.

“It was an honor to even be on the list of nominees, and winning was a surprise. When I saw the list of nominees I didn’t think there was a chance that I would be the recipient,” he said of the recognition.

Dr. Dochterman came to UIS in November 2011, and the years since have found him working with students, faculty, staff and others from the greater Springfield community to start the Springfield Service Project, Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service,  weekly service projects for students through the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center,  among other activities and programs. In addition, he advises several student organizations, including the Alternative Spring Break, Dance Marathon, and Leadership for Life service organizations.

In fall 2015, Dr. Dochterman helped launch the Collegiate Link software program, known on campus as UIS Connection, which assists students, faculty and staff in planning, marketing and accessing campus activities.

He holds a B.A. in Business Administration with a Communications Minor from Illinois College; an M.A. in Communication Theory from Ball State University; and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Louisiana State University.

Asked what volunteerism and civic engagement have taught him, and what lessons they hold for college students, Dr. Dochterman says: “Someone once asked me, ‘Why is it that we firmly believe that people being selfish and making a number of poor choices will generally lead to all sorts of negative outcomes, but we have to try much harder to convince ourselves that people being selfless and making a series of good choices will lead to a better day, a better life, and a ultimately a better society?’ I have come to think that when our students serve others, it often becomes a source of hearting and strengthening the belief that small helpful acts do lead to larger positive outcomes. I hope that’s something they carry with them well beyond UIS.”

The CAPE Award recognizes University of Illinois academic professionals for their efforts in three general categories: work projects, professional development and affiliations, and contributions to their units. The winner receives $500 in cash for personal use, and another $500 is given to the winner’s department.

All academic professionals are eligible to receive the CAPE Award; nominations are reviewed by campus committees and candidates’ names are forwarded to the chancellor, who makes the final selections.