UIS part of ground-breaking study aimed at improving online learning
The University of Illinois Springfield will participate in the Predictive Analytics Reporting Framework (PAR) project to help improve learning outcomes for online students directed by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET). The recently announced PAR Framework project will operate based on receiving a $1,000,000 grant of which UIS will receive $50,000 for its participation. The research will be conducted this summer and fall.
The project involves bringing together data from six WCET member institutions into a single, unified data set so that all of the student records from all institutions can be analyzed simultaneously. The research seeks to identify common patterns that predict points of loss and momentum. The goal of the project is to promote success for online students by improving student progression, retention and completion. Additional information is available at the project website http://wcetblog.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/gates-grant-analytics/.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for UIS to extend our ground-breaking research in online learning,” said Ray Schroeder, director of the UIS Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service. “We are most excited to participate with WCET and the other partner institutions in building new knowledge in this area. We believe this will enable UIS and other universities to better serve 21st century students at a distance.”
The grant for the Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework will utilize student-level data from more than 400,000 student records at UIS, the American Public University System, Colorado Community College System, Rio Salado College, University of Hawaii System, and the University of Phoenix.
Each participating institution has been exploring or implementing descriptive, inferential or predictive analytics projects on their own student data; the PAR Framework expands on this work through exploration of patterns that can be derived when the six institutional datasets are considered as a single, unified sample. Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership Karen Swan and Dean Emeritus of Arts and Sciences Bill Bloemer will lead the project research at UIS.
For more information on UIS’ involvement in the project, please visit contact Ray Schroeder at 217/206-7531 or email email@example.com.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted over 600 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth.
“We’re very proud that UIS has been named to the Honor Roll for the third time,” said Jan Kirkham, interim director of Experiential and Service-Learning Programs at UIS. “The announcement shows how dedicated UIS students are to volunteering in the community and the difference they are making.”
During 2010, UIS students spent over 3,000 hours volunteering to collect food for the Holiday Stars project, mentoring Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and tutoring through the AVID program, where the college students help middle school students achieve the goal of going to college. Thirty UIS students were also involved in AmeriCorps. Students in the Leadership for Life Service Wing in Lincoln Residence Hall volunteer many hours in the community. Academic service-learning is another area that the Honor Roll recognized UIS. At UIS, almost 500 students served 51,500 hours in their communities as part of an academic course, a public service internship, or a service-learning course. In total some 700 students served almost 57,000 hours.
“Congratulations to UIS students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities. We salute all the Honor Roll awardees for embracing their civic mission and providing opportunities for their students to tackle tough national challenges through service.” said Patrick A. Corvington, Chief Executive Officer of CNCS.
Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
The corporation oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.
For more information, contact Jan Kirkham, interim director of Experiential and Service-Learning Programs at 217/206-6645 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PNC awards grant for arts and cultural education to Sangamon Auditorium
The PNC Bank Foundation awarded its first Grow Up Great grant in the Springfield area to Sangamon Auditorium, UIS during a May 18, 2011 press conference. The $90,000 grant will be awarded to the auditorium over a three-year period.
The grant will provide funding to allow over 600 Springfield Urban League Head Start students to attend two live school matinee performances each year at Sangamon Auditorium. The grant will also help provide pre-show materials that prepare children for the performances and helps foster social and emotional development.
“Although UIS’ mission is higher education, we want to be collaborators with those providing education at all levels in central Illinois and this is one more way of doing so,” said Harry Berman, UIS Chancellor.
Additionally, PNC funding for professional development will enable teacher trainers endorsed by the John F. Kennedy for the Performing Arts, Partners in Education program to conduct arts education training for 60 Head Start teachers. The grant will also help Head Start families and caregivers to attend the UIS Family Series to experience learning through the arts.
“A child’s first experiences with fine arts represent an introduction to the world of humanity,” said Nina Harris, CEO of Springfield Urban League Head Start. “This gift serves as a gateway that will motivate and undergird the imagination of deserving children and enhance their quality of life.”
Grow Up Great is PNC’s 10-year, $100 million bilingual program to improve early childhood education.
“For every $1 that is spent on a quality early childhood education program, society reaps $16,” said Doug Stewart, PNC Regional President for central Illinois. “You don’t have to be a banker to understand that a 16 to 1 kind of return is pretty phenomenal.”
Bob Vaughn, director of the Sangamon Auditorium called receipt of the grant “great fun” thanking PNC for their support and speaking about their common goals.
“How fortuitous that the missions of PNC Bank Grow Up Great program, the Urban League, Sangamon Auditorium, and UIS overlap so nicely,” said Vaughn. “How remarkable that each institution with the necessary resources now brings special elements to the table to make the partnership possible.”
UIS students begin a new chapter in life following 40th Commencement
Hundreds of University of Illinois Springfield students celebrated a major milestone in their lives during the 40th Commencement celebration on May 14, 2011. They leave with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a competitive world and the wherewithal to answer life’s bigger questions.
“For each of you, today is a singular event in the story of your life – the unique path that you took that got you here, the personal story leading to this moment that only you can tell,” said UIS Chancellor Harry Berman. “How wonderful it is to share and celebrate those stories with family and friends!”
A total of 734 students took part in commencement, walking across the stage of the Prairie Capital Convention Center. A total of 1,294 students were eligible to graduate.
“On this graduation day, I promise all of you here that the degrees awarded today will serve you well and will grow in value as UIS continues to grow in reputation and stature,” said Berman.
The 2011 Commencement address was delivered by Martin R. Castro, chairperson of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (“USCCR”) as well as chairperson of the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") and president of a Chicago area consulting firm. In January 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Castro to the USCCR and named him chairperson in March.
The son and grandson of Mexican immigrants, Castro was the first in his family to graduate from high school and the first to obtain a higher education. He received his B.A. in political science in 1985 from DePaul University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1988. In 2001-2002, Castro ran in the Democratic primary for U.S. Congress in Chicago’s Fourth District.
Charles Olivier, the student speaker who earned a bachelor’s degree with majors in Business Administration and Accountancy congratulated his fellow graduates and thanked the professors, staff, and mentors who helped them along the way.
“As we accept our diplomas and walk across this stage, we hope you smile. To whoever doubted the power of teamwork, we are its personification,” said Olivier.
Olivier spoke about his personal journey as a first generation college student and how he unexpectedly ended up at UIS. Four years ago his mother submitted a non-refundable deposit to the admissions office without his knowledge.
He was encouraged to become involved in campus activities early in his career, eventually working his way up to being elected UIS Student Representative to the U of I Board of Trustees. He calls the opportunities he’s been offered “unimaginable.”
“Relationships tell a lot about who we are and we will each walk away with these treasures this afternoon,” said Olivier. As I stand before you today, I don’t fear losing these relationships, but I am eager to nurture them.”
University of Illinois Trustee Karen Hasara, President Michael Hogan, and UIS Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lynne Pardie also spoke at the celebration.
UIS online graduation brunch brings classmates together
Nearly 300 people attended the University of Illinois Springfield’s pre-graduation brunch and celebration for online students on May 14, 2011. The event brings online students from around the country to campus, often for the first time.
A total of 65 online students from 13 states attended the annual event in the Sangamon Auditorium lobby. Students traveled from Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The celebration recognized graduates and their families, online coordinators, and program faculty before Commencement at the Prairie Capital Convention Center.
UIS has been recognized as a national leader in online education, having received multiple awards for online excellence and achievement.
A group photo of the online graduates was taken and each of them was presented with a gift from the university.
UIS signs transfer agreement with Lewis and Clark Community College
The University of Illinois Springfield and Lewis and Clark Community College, located in Godfrey, Ill., have finalized a Transfer Articulation Agreement for students interested in Management Information Systems (MIS), Accountancy, Management, and Business Administration degrees.
The 2+2 agreement will establish a seamless transfer for LCCC students into the undergraduate programs at UIS and allow them to finish their bachelor’s degree.
“These agreements serve as effective and accurate road maps for the student who wants to earn their undergraduate degree in a timely manner,” said Raymond Barnett, UIS Admissions Transfer Coordinator.
The agreement with LCCC is one of many future Articulation Agreements that are on the horizon to be approved by partner community colleges and UIS. As a part of the LCCC agreement, the two schools worked out a 2+2 curriculum guide to assist students when choosing their classes. The guide, along with materials for other community colleges, can be found at www.uis.edu/admissions.
“The agreement confirms the continuing Joint Admissions Agreement between UIS and LCCC, which assures students who sign the agreement a seamless transition from LCCC to UIS,” said Barnett.
The partnership was made possible thanks to the leadership of Dyanne Ferk, Helene Bea, and the department chairs in the UIS College of Business and Management who played an important role in all the phases of the articulation.
“The College of Business and Management has been of great value at networking with the faculty of LCCC (as well as a number of other community colleges) in making this ‘road map’ one that will lead the student to a successful realization of their goal,” said Barnett.
UIS currently has transfer agreements with Harper College, Heartland Community College, Illinois Central College, Lincoln Land Community College, Richland Community College, and Rock Valley College for a number of degree programs. UIS already has an existing Computer Science 2+2 agreement with Lewis and Clark Community College. For a full list of 2+2 transfer agreements visit: www.uis.edu/admissions/transfer/2+2/index.html.
For more information and questions about 2+2 agreements, contact Raymond Barnett at 217/206-6628 or email email@example.com .
UIS partners with African university to provide students with hands-on learning opportunity
The University of Illinois Springfield is forming a long-term study abroad partnership with the University of The Gambia in Africa (UTG) to collaborate on environmental health issues facing The Gambia and the United States.
As part of the collaboration, students in the Public Health, Global Studies, and Teacher Education programs at UIS will visit local clinics in The Gambia to learn how officials carry out health education, immunization, and other public health services. In addition, the students will meet with Gambian scholars, students, government ministers, and representatives of non-governmental organizations, who are interested in discussing perspectives on "global issues."
“We hope this is an opportunity for UIS students to learn how Gambians understand international issues, and how those perspectives differ from American perspectives,” said Josiah Alamu, assistant professor of Public Health at UIS.
The first study abroad group, made up of 20 students, faculty and staff is expected to leave UIS on May 18 and return on June 24. The UTG Public Health Department will match UIS students with local health organizations or academic departments, which best fit their interests. This will provide students with the opportunity to study in the field.
“The relationship with the Public Health Department in The Gambia will fill a gap and allow UIS to establish a link with a university in west Africa,” said Alamu. UIS already has similar partnerships with 33 universities in 13 countries world-wide; however this is the first partnership in Africa.
A UIS partnership with an institution in Africa is very important for several reasons. It provides opportunities for public health students to understand the global public health issues and social determinants of health in a developing country; students from global studies will have the opportunity to meet with scholars and other students from a developing country to discuss perspectives in international relations, economics, policy, business, and governance; students in the teacher education program will observe classes and teach in a developing country; and faculty will develop research and teaching activities in a developing country. In addition, central Illinois and the U.S. will benefit from the pool of professionals who will receive their training from The Gambia.
The consequences of globalization on public health have prompted various national and international organizations to call for help in building global capacity and collaborating through partnerships, such as the one between UIS and UTG.
“By strengthening partnerships we can better understand, investigate, control, and prevent environmental health problems in developing countries,” said Alamu.
The study aboard program is open to all students who are enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program at the UIS. However, priority will be given to students from the Public Health, Global Studies, and Teachers' Education programs. At the end of the internship students will be required to write a research paper on a health topic or policy related to the country. Students will later make a presentation to the UIS community about their activities.