Wednesday, October 26, 2016

University of Illinois Springfield adds six new majors to give students more options

The University of Illinois Springfield has added six new majors in order to give students more educational options. Five of the new majors started this semester and a bachelor’s degree in theatre will begin in fall 2017.

The five new majors that started in fall 2016 include bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry, exercise science, public administration and public policy. A master’s degree in data analytics was also added this semester.

“These new majors represent a continual effort by our faculty to provide undergraduate and graduate degree opportunities in the professional fields, STEM, and the liberal arts,” said James Ermatinger, UIS interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost. “These majors are in areas which have high student interest and demand and represent our commitment to providing high quality education for the region and its students.”

The six new degree programs were approved by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. UIS now offers a total of 31 bachelor’s degrees, 20 master’s degrees and one doctoral program.

The biochemistry curriculum prepares students to immediately begin careers in the medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries, and meets the requirements for successful admission to professional schools in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, pharmacy school, and other health-related fields.

Students of exercise science study the science of movement, physical exertion, kinesiology, health awareness, and research into health disorders. The program is designed to prepare UIS students for various positions in the exercise and health field, or for post-graduate study in Exercise Science or additional Allied Health programs.

Public administration is a field of study that prepares students to serve as managers in local, state, and federal government as well as the nonprofit sector. The UIS program endeavors to prepare students to advance the public interest and civic engagement. Students are prepared though an integration of theory and practice.

The public policy curriculum explores the full policy-making process, including the study of specific policy issues from healthcare to education, criminal justice, social welfare, environmental and agricultural policy, among other areas.

The theatre major at UIS offers students the opportunity to further develop their talents as theatre artists, by working with great dramatic literature in the classroom and on the stage. Theatre majors are exposed to a wide variety of production experiences, while exploring the collaboration needed to create a fully realized production.

The master’s degree in data analytics is offered in traditional on-campus, online, and blended formats. The degree aims at providing an interdisciplinary approach to data analytics that covers both the foundational mathematical knowledge of data science and the computational methods and tools for preprocessing, interpreting, analyzing, representing and visualizing data sets.

Students interested in registering for classes may apply online or contact the UIS Office of Admissions with questions at 217/206-4847 or

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

UIS to open a transfer office at Richland Community College

The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) and Richland Community College (RCC) in Decatur are partnering to make it easier for students to continue their college education after earning their associate's degree.

UIS will hold periodic office hours at a space inside the Kitty Lindsay Learning Resources Center on Richland’s campus for advising and counseling for RCC students considering transferring to UIS.

“Providing UIS with a formal location on our campus exemplifies the strong partnership that exists between the two institutions,” said Rob Kerr, RCC Registrar. “This collaboration will support our students as they prepare for the next step in their educational career and seek to achieve their occupational goals.”

The first transfer sessions are scheduled for October 31, November 10 & 14 and December 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. After that, UIS plans to have a presence on the Richland campus on a weekly basis with regularly scheduled office hours allowing for more interaction with visiting UIS professors and advisers.

“Community College students have such busy lives inside and outside of the classroom,” said Raymond Barnett, UIS transfer coordinator. “This presence at Richland allows UIS to be there to answer the questions of students who are curious and those who are needing direct assistance.”

For more information on transferring to UIS, contact Raymond Barnett at 217/206-6628 or

UIS partners with Illinois DCFS to launch Child Protection Training Academy

The University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy & Leadership has partnered with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to launch a Child Protection Training Academy.

The academy has already trained nearly 130 new DCFS investigators utilizing the Residential Simulation Lab and the mock courtroom on the UIS campus. The academy will soon expand to include new curricula for supervisors, multidisciplinary team members and a training partnership with the SIU School of Medicine.

“Investigators are faced with some of the most complex cases in child maltreatment with a constantly changing landscape,” said Susan Evans, the new director of the Child Protection Training Academy. “Training is critical and the investigators who have completed this new simulation training have overwhelmingly expressed a desire for additional hours in the simulation labs, practicing the skills they will need to be confident and competent in the field.”

Evans is a 24-year veteran of DCFS and spent 14 years in the field as a Child Protective Investigator and 10 years in the Office of Professional Development, training new staff and developing curricula.

The Child Protection Training Academy was created by the Illinois General Assembly on August 11, 2015 through Public Act 99-0348.

“This is an exciting step forward in the ability to train our employees, specifically in child protection investigations,” said Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director George H. Sheldon. “Through this partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield, we’ve made significant progress in reaching the goal of revising the Child Protection Foundation training. The lives of children depend on us, and resources like this training academy will help improve the overall quality of our investigations and better serve the most vulnerable.”

In addition to the partnership with DCFS, the academy has been awarded two new grants. The first grant was developed in partnership with the University of Missouri St. Louis and Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center. Awarded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) the 5-year, $316,319 grant will support Project FORECAST (Foundations for Outreach through Experiential Child Advocacy Studies Training), which focuses on incorporating the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress Core Concepts within Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) curricula in universities across the United States.

The second grant was awarded by the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts. The Court Improvement Project funding will support a pilot project that brings together Illinois Court Appointed Special Advocates, DCFS Caseworkers and Assistant State’s Attorneys to train together utilizing mock courtrooms in three locations, including UIS.

In addition to training professionals in the field, the Child Advocacy Studies program at UIS provides experiential learning for students in a number of academic programs. The CAST certificate is offered online and on-ground and is an interdepartmental curriculum for students in public administration, social work, psychology, legal studies, criminal justice and teacher education.

“The CAST program provides critical course content and experiential learning for students who are interested in careers where they will likely interact with at-risk children and families” said Betsy Goulet, UIS clinical assistant professor and CAST Coordinator.

For more information on the Child Protection Training Academy or the CAST Certificate Program, contact Betsy Goulet at 217/206-8523 or

Thursday, October 20, 2016

UIS leaders tour student union construction site


University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch and other campus leaders toured the student union construction site on October 19, 2016. The tour was led by Chuck Coderko, UIS director of construction.

According to Coderko, the building is currently about 30 percent complete. Construction crews have finished the majority of the steel construction and are now pouring the concrete floors inside the building. The next step is to finish the roof and start to build the outside walls.

“Construction is right on schedule,” said Chancellor Koch. “There’s a lot of work yet to be done, but there's a lot that’s been accomplished.”

UIS broke ground on the new $21.7 million student union building on May 4, 2016. The first-ever student union will serve as a hub for student life and foster a greater sense of community on the growing campus.

Student Government Association President Austin Mehmet was among those who toured the construction site. He’s excited about the new amenities the building will offer.

“I think like most students, I’m looking forward to the Starbucks, being able to go in and grab yourself a cup of coffee and head to class or relax for a little bit. I think that’s going to be wonderful,” said Mehmet.

The two-story, 50,000-square-foot student union will anchor the campus’s south quad, providing campus dining services, a ballroom with seating for up to 450 people and a Student Leadership Center that will house student government, volunteer offices and workspaces for student organizations. The facility is scheduled to open in early 2018.

“It’s going to be breathtaking,” said Mehmet. “Just kind of looking through seeing everything furnished, everything done and every student enjoying the space, I think that will be breathtaking.”