Monday, October 23, 2017

UIS Computer Science Department awarded $26,592 State Farm grant

The University of Illinois Springfield Computer Science Department accepted a check for $26,592 from State Farm Insurance during a presentation on October 23, 2017 in the Public Affairs Center Atrium.

The State Farm Systems Priority Grant will be used to update and increase the capacity of the department’s Virtual Server Farm, which consists of more than 2,200 virtual machines used by students in core and elective computer science classes, both online and on campus.

The UIS Computer Science Department teaches 80% of its classes on the Virtual Server Farm, a major technological backbone that enables the department to deliver innovative degrees in computer science, information systems security, and data analytics.

More than 1,200 students use the Virtual Server Farm on a daily basis to access personalized virtual machines in every class they take, and work with cutting-edge software from both on and off campus.
Virtual classrooms, full of networks of virtual machines, provide students with enhanced learning experiences and allow them to research and explore real-world problems, simulate complex environments and visualize and analyze large amounts of data in innovative courses.

“The Computer Science Department at UIS is honored to receive the award, which is crucial to remain cutting-edge and maintain our status as a premier Computer Science Department, thus allowing us to continue our tradition of academic excellence,” said Associate Professor Sviatoslav Braynov, head of the Computer Science department.

For more information, contact Derek Schnapp, UIS director of public relations, at 217/206-6716 or

Thursday, October 12, 2017

UIS offers first on campus dual credit class to high school students as part of a pilot program

The University of Illinois Springfield is offering its first on campus dual credit class for high school students as part of a pilot program. The class marks the first time UIS has offered high school students college credit for a class taught by a university faculty member.

The pilot course, CHE 199A: General, Organic, and Biochemistry, is being offered to 18 seniors from Springfield’s Sacred Heart-Griffin High School (SHG). The students earn both college and high school credit for the course. If the program is successful, the university hopes to expand course selection and offer classes to students at other high schools in central Illinois.

The pilot class is taught by UIS Associate Professor of Biochemistry Stephen R. Johnson. As part of the class, SHG students meet on campus twice a week for lecture early in the morning and have a laboratory class every Friday morning.

“It gives them a jumpstart in the sense that they have some college credit,” said Johnson. “They get to see that college is not like high school. The course work is more rigorous, it’s faster. I mentioned in class today that some of the material they need to know is from external sources. That’s a very novel thing for many high school students.”

Johnson, who has two children who are currently attending SHG, came up with the idea for the pilot class after speaking with fellow parents and teachers at the school.

“At times we’ve sat around at a football game and asked, how do we enhance our science program? I always thought, if those kids could see something beyond the high school curriculum that would really be something great. That’s sort of how it came about.”

SHG senior Taylor Rahn, a 17-year-old from Springfield, who is taking the dual credit class plans on becoming a biochemist.

“The class is really helping me see what biochemistry is all about and I fall more in love with it every day,” she said. “It’s really an eye opener to see what college life is like being on campus and seeing what is expected and how lectures work.”

SHG principal Kara Rapacz says she’s grateful her students are getting to take college classes off campus at UIS.

“Attending the biochemistry course on the UIS campus is an extraordinary experience for our students,” she said. “SHG students have had the opportunity to take many dual credit courses on our own campus, but sending our students off to a college campus for class is new territory for us. This opportunity will allow them to utilize state-of-the-art lab equipment and gain exposure to cutting-edge technologies.”

Johnson says the pilot class starts with a review of general chemistry the students have already learned at SHG, but soon takes them into aspects of chemistry beyond what is taught at the high school level, i.e. organic and biochemistry. The course is designed to get them thinking about future careers in the field.

“We hope they leave the course with an overall look at the chemistry that would be involved if they stay in the health fields, whether they are professionals like physicians or want to do research, like biochemistry,” he said.

UIS Director of Admissions Fernando Planas says students can apply the credits earned from the class towards a degree at UIS or have an official transcript sent to their college of choice for use at that institution.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for SHG students. It provides them with a unique college experience while still in high school, allows them to earn college credit, and lets them experience for themselves UIS’s excellence in teaching,” he said.

Johnson hopes that the pilot program will be the inspiration for more dual credit classes at UIS and across the entire University of Illinois System.

“Inevitably it might even attract some students to say ‘hey, we like what we’re seeing at UIS’ and they’ll stay here for undergraduate work, so it has a lot of potential growth as we go forward,” he said.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

University of Illinois Springfield offers transfer hours at Lake Land College

The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) and Lake Land College in Mattoon are partnering to make it easier for students to continue their college education after earning their associate’s degree.

Beginning in the fall of 2017, UIS will offer hours for advising and counseling for Lake Land students considering transferring to UIS.

“We are pleased to see students will have additional opportunities to learn about the transfer options at UIS. It’s very beneficial for our students to be able to meet face-to-face on our campus with a UIS transfer admissions representative to create a seamless plan for transferring,” said Bryan Burrell, Lake Land College academic counselor.

"Lake Land College is a reliable transfer partner to UIS and a community college that has been ahead of the curve with us in developing curriculum agreements in business and computer science. I believe the Lake Land community understands the unique opportunity in assisting their students in achieving a personal college experience which also connects them to one of the top flagship universities in this nation,” said Raymond Barnett, UIS undergraduate transfer admissions coordinator.

In addition to select Mondays in the Lake Land Transfer Student Center (Northwest Building 027), UIS will also offer office hours in the Luther Student Center.

The UIS dates at LLC for the 2017 fall term will be November 6, 13 and 27 and December 4 with the following hours and locations:

Transfer Student Center: 9:30 – 11 a.m.
Luther Student Center: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Transfer Student Center: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

UIS also maintains successful transfer offices at Illinois Central College in Peoria, and Richland Community College.

For more information on transferring to UIS, contact Raymond Barnett at 217/206-6626 or

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

UIS fundraising campaign seeks to raise $40 million to benefit students, faculty and the community

The University of Illinois Springfield launched the public phase of the largest fundraising campaign in its history on Tuesday, October 10. More than 300 people attended the day’s events to kick off the capital campaign, “Reaching Stellar: The Campaign for the University of Illinois Springfield.”

“At the University of Illinois, we have one goal at the core of our mission: to transform lives and serve society,” said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. “This fundraising campaign is a strategy for taking UIS—with donors’ help—toward greater excellence and greater impact for our community, our state and beyond.”

The goal of the campaign is to raise $40 million to benefit students, faculty and the Springfield community. As of October 10, 2017, the University of Illinois Foundation had received commitments of more than $18.4 million in gifts, grants and pledges, according to Jeff Lorber, UIS vice chancellor for advancement. The campaign will continue through 2022.

The UIS Center for Lincoln Studies, a campaign priority, will be a national base for scholarship, teaching and public history about Lincoln’s life, leadership and legacy. It will incubate and sustain university-community collaborative projects, connecting UIS students with myriad opportunities available locally in Springfield, as well as connecting Lincoln to a national and international context.

Other campaign priorities include: scholarships; academic excellence; facilities and technology, including the new Student Union; and programs that contribute to the public good. These programs include outreach into the community, such as NPR Illinois, the Illinois Innocence Project, Sangamon Auditorium and others.

“UIS is crucial to the formula that has made the University of Illinois System synonymous with excellence,” said University of Illinois President Timothy J. Killeen at the campaign kickoff. “It is a place where students thrive in an intimate setting, and then move on to share those talents to lift the workforce and their communities.”

The UIS Campaign Committee is leading the Reaching Stellar campaign for UIS. Co-chairs are Hy Bunn, president and CEO of Bunn-O-Matic Corporation, and Saul Morse, of counsel at Brown, Hay & Stephens LLC, and director, University of Illinois Foundation. Other members include Micah Bartlett, W. Robert Felker, Julie Kellner, Pam McClelland, Larry Shiner, Janice Spears, Julie Staley and Guerry Suggs.

“As we begin this new campaign, only a few years from the University’s 50th anniversary, the prospects for this institution of higher education and its effect upon our community are limitless,” said Morse.

“This campaign is as important to the greater Springfield area as it is for the University,” said Bunn. “I’m excited to see UIS thrive through support from the University’s many alumni and friends.”

UIS Athletics unveils strategic plan for future

The University of Illinois Springfield department of athletics has unveiled their strategic plan, the BLUEprint for excellence, which lays out the initiatives of the department for the next three years. The BLUEprint for excellence will serve as the guiding foundation for the department of athletics, to set clear priorities and measure results for Athletic administration, coaches, and student-athletes.

"As our department continues to move forward and grow towards becoming the premier, public Division II program in the Midwest, we understand that a plan was needed in order to make these goals a reality," said Director of Athletics, Jim Sarra. "Our goal is, and will always be, to compete for championships on the field, while ensuring our student-athletes are set up for success upon graduation. The BLUEprint for excellence serves as our guiding principles to achieving these goals and fulfilling our promise to our student-athletes to make their time at Illinois-Springfield one that will resonate a lifetime."

  • To shape our student-athletes into productive, service-minded leaders and center the athletics experience on academic achievement, pursuit of championships, and community outreach.
  • To be the premier, public NCAA Division II program in the Midwest Region.
  1. Competitive Excellence 
  2. Student-Athlete Well-Being and Achievement 
  3. Leadership, Culture, and Integrity 
  4. Resource Generation and Development 
  5. Marketing and Engagement 
  6. Strategic Communications 
  7. Facility Enhancement 
  • Fun 
  • Accountability 
  • Commitment 
  • Truthfulness 
  • Outreach 
  • Respect 
"Be a FACTOR in our success as we educate, excel, and inspire through athletics." – Jim Sarra

Click here to view the strategic plan.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

UIS Cox Children’s Center receives Gold Circle of Quality designation

The University of Illinois Springfield Cox Children’s Center has received the Gold Circle of Quality designation, the highest rating possible, from ExceleRate Illinois, the state’s quality rating and improvement system for early learning and development providers.

"Every early learning and development provider who participates in ExceleRate Illinois makes quality a priority,” said Cynthia L. Tate, executive director, Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development.

"The higher the designation, the higher the program demonstrated quality and comprehensiveness in meeting children's early learning needs," she said.

"We are proud to receive the Gold Circle of Quality," said Stacey Gilmore, director of the UIS Cox Children's Center. "Providing quality in early learning and development will help our children be better prepared for success in school and in life."

ExceleRate Illinois helps families make more informed choices about their children's early learning. It establishes standards to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. Additionally, it provides a framework for early learning and development professionals to identify opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills.

The Cox Children’s Center was established in 1970. The center is a resource for university students, faculty, staff, alumni and community clients. The programs are designed to provide early childhood care and education for children 6 weeks to 12 years of age.

The center also serves as a site for practicum experiences for university students seeking hands-on learning in the field of early childhood education.

The center is an NAEYC accredited early childhood program and has a Star Level 3 Quality Rating System Certification.

Cox Children’s Center has received the ExceleRate Gold Circle Quality Designation every year since the program began in 2014.