Monday, September 17, 2018

Sangamon Auditorium and the Studio Theatre are now known as the UIS Performing Arts Center

Sunday night’s performance by famed comedian and television star Jay Leno at Sangamon Auditorium brought not only laughs but news. Bryan Rives, new director of UIS Performing Arts Services announced to the 1,500 attendees the creation of the University of Illinois Springfield Performing Arts Center. The UIS Performing Arts Center encompasses a variety of venues and programs including Sangamon Auditorium, the intimate UIS Studio Theatre, the UIS Ticket Office and the UIS Performing Arts Education Connections program.

With the new name comes some other changes including a new web site, UISpac.com, a new name for the active donor support group currently comprised of over 600 households, Friends of UIS Performing Arts Center, and a new logo. The logo features not only the new name but a graphic representation of searchlights. “The searchlights are real,” says Rives. “We now have five powerful search lights on our roof which each put out 1.7 billion beam candlepower and rotate 360 degrees. All made in the USA. Every night when there is a show occurring at one of our venues, the search lights will sweep the night sky as a beacon to the community to come join us. We like to say ‘When you see the lights, come see the show’!”

When asked why the changes were made, Rives said “It was time for a refresh and to celebrate all of the accomplishments our organization has had over the years. Last year we had over 72,000 visitors to our performance venues with over $2.2 million in ticket sales. We anticipate those numbers to grow as we continue to present more popular entertainers such as Jerry Seinfeld, Gordon Lightfoot and Diana Krall.”

Rives also pointed out Sangamon Auditorium has been in operation for about 37 years, and its 40th anniversary is quickly approaching in 2021. “UIS is currently in the planning stages for a major facelift of the lobby area and UIS Studio Theatre along with other improvements in store for Sangamon Auditorium,” he said. At Jay Leno’s performance, select donors and supporters of Sangamon Auditorium were treated to a sneak peak of these plans which include a new concession stand for the lobby to be completed by this spring. Donors were also shown architectural concepts for a major redesign of the main lobby including the addition of a new grand staircase to the third-floor landing and a new ticket office.

Rives went on to add, “With the recent opening of the UIS Student Union and its versatile ballroom and banquet space, our lobby area no longer serves as the main location for campus gathering and luncheons. This is allowing us to repurpose the space as a dedicated lobby area with amenities patrons expect of a world-class performance facility.”

Plans for the intimate UIS Studio Theatre include all new seating and modernizing the stage equipment. “We also need to renovate all of our dressing rooms,” Rives commented. “They are very antiquated and need to be completely redone. It is important to us that the Studio Theatre becomes a priority in our renovation plans as it is most used by our students including the UIS Theatre program which has now grown to providing a Theatre major degree. We want our students to have access to modern facilities and equipment as they begin their careers.”

Renovations are expected to be funded through a combination of major gifts from individual donors, contributions made to the Friends for UIS Performing Arts Center annual fund drive, and funds derived from a current facility fee collected on all paid tickets which goes into a fund for capital maintenance and improvement projects.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Freshmen enrollment grows by nearly 14 percent at the University of Illinois Springfield

Freshmen enrollment at the University of Illinois Springfield grew by nearly 14 percent according to Fall Semester 2018 census numbers released today. The total number of first-year students stands at 316, compared to 278 last fall semester.

“We are delighted that more first-year students are choosing the University of Illinois Springfield for their undergraduate education,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. “These numbers show that our increased recruitment efforts, expanding academic programs and new facilities are making a difference.”

Nearly 90 percent (284) of the new freshmen are Illinois residents and 47 percent have self-reported as a minority.

UIS saw an increase in the percentage of its student body (75.5 percent up from 72.2 percent last year) coming from Illinois. The university has a total of 3,453 students who are Illinois residents. International students encompass 9.5 percent of the students enrolled.

The number of students taking classes completely online continues to be an important part of the UIS student body. A total of 1,636 students (nearly 36 percent) are enrolled in online degree or certificate programs. This semester, UIS online students reside in 45 states, 82 counties in Illinois and 11 foreign countries.

After the first 10 days of classes, the total number of students enrolled in fall classes at UIS stands at 4,575 compared to 4,956 students in fall 2017. Total undergraduate enrollment stands at 2,814 students compared to 2,932 in fall 2017. The number of graduate students decreased from 2,024 in 2017 to 1,761 in 2018.

There are a total of 585 African American students enrolled this semester comprising 12.8 percent of the student body. Students who self-identify as Hispanic comprise 7.3 percent (334) of this year’s student body, and Asian students comprise 3.9 percent (178).

This week U.S. News & World Report also announced that UIS is ranked in the top 10 Best Public Regional Universities in the Midwest. The Springfield campus was ranked as the ninth best public university in the national rankings, up from the previous year.

UIS is one of three universities in the world-class University of Illinois System and provides students with a high-quality liberal arts education, exceptional public affairs opportunities and outstanding professional preparation programs.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

UIS receives institutional reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission

The University of Illinois Springfield has received institutional reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an independent corporation that serves as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. UIS has been accredited by the commission since 1975.

The 10 year reaccreditation was approved by the Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission at its meeting on July 31, 2018.

“This reaccreditation is a testament to the quality of academic programs that are offered at the University of Illinois Springfield; but also a recognition of the deep commitment of UIS faculty and staff to our students and to the mission and vision of the University,” said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch.

The commission not only evaluated UIS’ academic programs, but the quality of the institution as a whole, including its governance and administration, mission, finances, and resources. HLC’s institutional accreditation includes all degree levels as well as onsite and online offerings.

According to UIS Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Dennis Papini, institutional accreditation is important because the U.S. Department of Education requires that an institution be accredited in order for its students to be eligible for federal financial assistance.

“Accreditation also allows UIS credits and degrees to transfer and be recognized by other institutions,” Papini said. “Additionally, employers who are looking to hire our graduates often view accreditation as an assurance that a candidate has received a quality education and is prepared for the workforce.”

The UIS institutional reaccreditation process began in 2012 and culminated with a site review by peer reviewers in February 2018. The peer reviewers determined that UIS meets HLC standards and is engaged in continuous improvement.

UIS will take part in two assurance reviews during the 10-year Open Pathway accreditation cycle - one in four years and one in 10 years. The next site visit will happen during the 2027-2028 academic year.

The Higher Learning Commission is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit degree-granting colleges and universities. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region, which includes 19 states.