Monday, March 25, 2019

UIS Student Union wins design award of excellence from the Association of College Unions International

The University of Illinois Springfield’s new Student Union building was honored with a Facility Design Award of Excellence from the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) during a ceremony in Indianapolis on March 25, 2019.

According to the ACUI, the award encourages and recognizes excellence in the design of student-centered facilities that support campus community building and student learning. In reviewing the building, ACUI assessed criteria, such as the building’s connections with the community, campus and environment in which it sits. They also reviewed the planning and design process, including how the use of creative materials, input from students, and inclusion of partners shaped the project and its goals.

The UIS Student Union was designed by Workshop Architects of Milwaukee, Wisconsin & Dewberry of Peoria, Illinois to LEED® Gold guidelines, with sustainable features which include a green roof, energy efficient lighting, rainwater reclamation system and radiant flooring in select areas.

Since the building’s opening in January 2018, the Student Union has helped to energize campus life, creating a vibrant social environment in the heart of campus.

The two-story, 50,000-square-foot student union anchors the campus’s south quad, providing campus dining services, a Starbucks coffee shop, a ballroom with seating for up to 450 people and a Student Leadership Center that houses student government, volunteer offices and workspaces for student organizations.

This is the second design award for the building. In November 2018, the building was honored with an excellence in design award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

UIS students help with hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and Florida as part of Alternative Spring Break

Two groups of students from the University of Illinois Springfield are spending their spring break helping to rebuild Puerto Rico and Florida, following Hurricanes Maria and Michael, as part of an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip.

A group of 14 students and two staff members are volunteering in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, while 9 students and two staff members are working near Panama City Beach, Florida. Both groups left campus in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 9 and will return late in the evening on Saturday, March 16.

The two groups are working in partnership with Community Collaborations International (CCI). The students are helping with eco-restoration efforts, building renewable and sustainable homes and volunteering with early childhood education programs.

“After seeing the impact of last year’s trip to Texas, helping with disaster relief from Hurricane Harvey, we knew we wanted to continue with relief efforts,” said Madison Reuss, a UIS senior from Nashville, Illinois who is president of Alternative Spring Break Student Organization. “In the beginning, we thought we would only be doing a trip to Puerto Rico, but after high demand from many people wanting to get involved with ASB, we created a second trip that also would focus on disaster relief. Taking on this task and planning two trips was no easy feat, but in the end we knew it would be worth it.”

This trip marks the 11th anniversary of Alternative Spring Break at UIS. Students first traveled to South Dakota in 2008 to help Habitat for Humanity with a building project. Since then, they’ve traveled to the Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas helping with disaster relief, eco-restoration efforts and early childhood education programs. Students have also helped to feed the homeless at soup kitchens in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

“I am excited about Alternative Spring Break this year because we were able to plan two trips and take on an international project, two things ASB has never done before,” said Ben Paoletti, a UIS sophomore from Batavia, Illinois who is vice president of Alternative Spring Break Student Organization. “The opportunity for ASB to help others has grown exponentially in 2019 and I can't wait to see our impact on the people and communities we are going to serve. I would also like to take this time to recognize all our supporters and donors because without them this trip would not be possible.”

For more information on Alternative Spring Break, contact Jill Hawkins, Alternative Spring Break advisor and director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center, at 217/206-8635 or jhawki2@uis.edu.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

UIS study finds “bedazzled” recycling bins don’t increase recycling behavior on campus

UIS students Caleb Froidcoeur and Marissa Jones stand next to a "bedazzled" recycling container used in the study.
A recent study conducted by students and faculty at the University of Illinois Springfield has found that “bedazzled” or more aesthetically pleasing recycling bins did not increase recycling behavior on the Springfield campus.

The waste management study, funded by a $3,654 PepsiCo Recycling grant, was conducted from October 1 to November 16, 2018. The researchers randomly deployed both “bedazzled” recycling bins featuring colorful nature photos with phrases, such as “thanks for pitching in,” on them and traditional blue recycling bins in main campus buildings to test their hypothesis.

“The idea for the study was built on research that found nature scenes in product marketing create a positive emotional response for consumers who are less concerned about environmental issues,” said Carolee Rigsbee, UIS assistant professor of management. “We thought positive emotions from viewing nature scenes would also increase recycling behavior, but we did not find this outcome using the bedazzled containers on the UIS campus.”

The 20 “bedazzled” recycling bins and 20 standard blue recycling bins purchased by the PepsiCo Recycling grant will still be put to good use on campus. The UIS Department of Residence Life will be deploying the recycling containers in residence halls and near townhouses/apartments to increase recycling convenience.

“Education will be a big part of this effort to increase recycling on campus,” said Marissa Jones, a UIS environmental studies major who helped conduct the study. “We’ll be working with RAs and the Residence Life leadership team during upcoming training sessions. The idea will be for them to spread the word to students and become champions for campus recycling.”

Rigsbee points out that the collaboration between students and faculty was an important part of the research study. UIS faculty members Jorge Villegas, interim associate dean of the College of Business and Administration, and Megan Styles, assistant professor of environmental studies also helped with the study.

“Even though the bedazzled bins did not prove effective, we were able to identify common forms of contamination in our recycling bins, and we're designing an education program to help eliminate confusion about these items,” said Styles. “We also found that our campus is good about recycling paper, but we really need to improve when it comes to plastics and metals.”

In addition to the new recycling bins in campus housing, the student-led UIS Green Fee Committee has recently implemented a number of sustainability initiatives on campus including low emission vehicle (LEV) parking spaces, reusable water bottle refilling stations, a sustainable garden for Cox Daycare Children Center, a bicycle repair station located under the overhang at south entrance of PAC and added nine new bikes to UIS Campus Recreation’s bike rental program.

“Sustainability on campus is important to me because we are facing a time in which we must overcome climate change,” said Caleb Froidcoeur, a UIS environmental studies major who helped conduct the study. “UIS needs to participate in the global movement towards more sustainable practices because we aren’t just saving the Earth. We are saving our species from extinction.”

The research project, along with other student projects, will be presented at UIS’ annual Student Technology, Arts, and Research Symposium being held April 17 to 19.

UIS Professor Layne Morsch leading the way with open educational resources

University of Illinois Springfield senior Hailey Hollinshead and Associate Professor Layne Morsch met with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and others this week to discuss the Open Textbook Pilot program at the Department of Education.

The pilot is a $10 million federally funded competitive grant program for higher education institutions to create new and open educational resources and expand the use of textbooks to save students money.

Open college textbooks are textbooks that are freely available under an open license, allowing professors, students, researchers and others to freely access the materials.

Hollinshead was able to use an open, online textbook in her organic chemistry class, taught by Professor Morsch at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Morsch has served an integral role in securing open education resources for students. He is the Organic Chemistry Content Curator under a $5 million FIPSE grant (Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education.) He has partnered with LibreTexts, a provider of open educational resources.

“To me, it is an issue of social justice,” said Morsch. “Students with less financial resources shouldn’t be disadvantaged by not having the same textbooks that other students can afford to buy. Before I switched to open educational resources, my organic chemistry textbook cost around $300, now that I use LibreTexts it’s free.”

According to a survey by U.S. Public Interest Research Groups, 65 percent of students in 2017-2018 decided not to buy a textbook because of the cost and 94 percent of those students worried it would negatively affect their grade.

“Open textbooks provide an affordable and effective option for students and faculty," said Durbin. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to build on the federal investment in open textbooks in Fiscal Year 2020.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

UIS announces Fall Semester 2018 Dean’s List

The University of Illinois Springfield has released the Dean’s List for Fall Semester 2018.

A total of 585 students were selected; 90 are students in the College of Business and Management, 52 are students in the College of Education and Human Services, 355 are enrolled in programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 66 are enrolled in programs in the College of Public Affairs and Administration, and 22 are non-degree seeking or undecided.

In order to qualify for the Dean’s List, a student must be an undergraduate who took at least eight graded semester hours and maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.75 for the semester.

Below you'll find a printable list of student's names listed by the city of residence on file with UIS Records and Registration.

Fall 2018 Dean's List PDF | Fall 2018 Dean's List Excel

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

UIS-SIU Medicine co-hosted Art Express class helps individuals with memory loss express their creativity


Individuals with memory loss and their care partners are finding a way to express their creativity thanks to a partnership between the University of Illinois Springfield Human Development Counseling Program (HDC) and the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders.

Art Express classes are held every Wednesday afternoon in the Banner Bunch room at Hope Presbyterian Church, located at 2211 Wabash Ave. in Springfield.

The program is led by Karen Lee, UIS clinical instructor of Human Development Counseling, and Maggie Schaver of the SIU Medicine Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders. Graduate students from the UIS Human Development Counseling Program, community and church volunteers also assist with the class, partnering with individual participants.

“The mission of Art Express is to provide persons with memory loss disorders an outlet to creatively express themselves without needing memory or communication skills,” said Schaver. “Although memory is often impaired early in the course of disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, creativity is often alive and well, even in the more advanced stages of a disease. Art Express clients benefit from the therapeutic effects of participating in art expression, as well as from interacting with other clients, the students and the volunteers.”

In 2018, Art Express hosted an average of 20 clients, 11 students and four volunteers every Wednesday and presented an art exhibition and reception entitled “Hope, Love, Art” where seniors were able to showcase their work. The program will host another exhibition and reception on February 24, 2019.

Seniors who have participated in the program say the class “gives them enjoyment” and a chance to socialize and have conversations with others, while having fun creating artwork.

“I remember one of our participants who reluctantly joined the program believing that he had no artistic ability and doubting whether this program was really for him,” said Lee. “He discovered over time, much to his surprise, that he had quite a considerable talent for drawing, composing and producing beautiful colored pencil images – so much so that he eventually purchased his own set of colored pencils so that he could continue to work on his drawings at home. I will never forget the day he came to class, proudly holding up his latest production, grinning broadly, and proclaiming, ‘Look! I am still becoming!’”

The Art Express program was founded in 2012. Persons with memory loss are referred to Art Express through the SIU Medicine Memory & Aging Clinic. Some attend class with a family member, while others attend with another care partner or attend alone.

“One of the best aspects of this program is that it focuses on what still works, not what is broken” said Lee. “We believe that each person is still capable of growing and developing, no matter where they find themselves in terms of their memory loss. I tell them ‘we are all still becoming.’”

For more information on the class, visit SIU Medicine’s website.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

UIS in-state tuition to remain frozen for a fifth straight year

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday, January 31, 2019, approved a tuition freeze for in-state freshmen next fall for a fifth straight year, extending an affordability initiative that is now the longest run of back-to-back freezes in more than a half-century.

Trustees also approved 2019-20 tuition for non-residents that will hold increases to the rate of inflation or less, along with student fees and housing costs for the system’s three universities, including the University of Illinois Springfield.

The fifth straight year of unchanged rates for Illinois freshman is the longest since a seven-year freeze from 1962 to 1968.

President Tim Killeen said the ongoing efforts to hold the line on tuition are rooted in a commitment to access and affordability that has helped drive system-wide enrollment to record highs for six straight years. Since the fall of 2014, when in-state tuition last increased, enrollment has grown system-wide by 7,420 students, or 9.4 percent, to a record 85,960 students.

That includes 3,345 more Illinois undergraduates, which increased 7.8 percent across the system from the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2018. The in-state tuition freeze has helped the U of I System lead efforts to halt an outmigration to colleges in other states, which causes long-term harm to the Illinois economy because studies show that graduates typically stay to work in the state where they study.

“This historic tuition freeze is providing life-changing opportunities for even more Illinois students, and fueling the pipeline of world-class talent that is crucial to move our state forward,” Killeen said.

Under the state’s guaranteed tuition law, rates for incoming students from Illinois will remain unchanged for four years. The measure was enacted in 2004 to help students and families plan for the cost of a public university education by fixing tuition rates for the four years required to complete most undergraduate degree programs.

Because of the guaranteed tuition law, Killeen said in-state students who enroll next fall will pay the same rate for their senior year in 2022-23 as students who enrolled in the fall of 2014 – nearly a decade earlier.

Nationally, tuition and fees rose by an average 2.5 percent at four-year public colleges and universities for the 2018-19 academic year, based on the latest survey by the College Board, a non-profit association representing U.S. colleges and universities. During the first four years of the U of I System’s freeze, tuition and fees increased by a cumulative average of 11.8 percent among four-year public colleges and universities, according to the College Board.

Base tuition for in-state undergraduates next fall will mirror rates that have held steady since the 2014-15 academic year – $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago, and $9,405 in Springfield. There also will be no change to undergraduate tuition differentials at any of the universities. Differentials cover the additional costs of providing the highest-quality education in selected areas of study.

Along with freezing tuition, the U of I System has ramped up internal efforts to protect the most financially vulnerable students. Over the last decade, total institutional financial aid – including tuition waivers, grants, scholarships and fellowships – has increased almost threefold to $231 million a year, exceeding total aid from state and federal sources. Through state, federal, university and donor-provided financial aid, half of undergraduates pay less than full sticker price across the system’s three universities.

Undergraduate fees/housing 

The board also approved mandatory student fees and room-and-board rates for the 2019-20 academic year.

The fees exclude student health insurance rates, which will be set in the spring. Fees approved Thursday help fund costs such as operating campus recreational facilities, student unions, career services, athletics, counseling centers and libraries, and also help with facility maintenance, renovations and utilities.

Those mandatory fees will remain unchanged in Springfield at $2,426 a year. Fees will increase 0.9 percent, or $28, to $3,086 a year in Urbana-Champaign. In Chicago, fees will increase 3.6 percent, or $116, to $3,308 a year, largely to finance debt service for expansion and remodeling of campus student centers.

In Springfield, room and board will remain the same. A standard housing and gold meal plan will remain unchanged at $10,810 per year.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

UIS cancels classes Tuesday night and Wednesday due to the extreme cold

Due to severe cold temperatures, UIS evening classes are canceled for Tuesday night, January 29 (evening classes are defined as any course that begins at 5:30 p.m. or after) and all classes are canceled for Wednesday, January 30. This is for both the Springfield and Peoria campuses. Online classes are not canceled. In addition, Liberal Leave Policy for employees is in effect for tonight and tomorrow. 

It is important to note that even when classes are canceled the campus does NOT fully close. If, for safety reasons, employees feel they need to leave early or are unable to commute to campus, they should use vacation/personal leave as applicable. Employees with questions regarding requesting absence time due to weather conditions should consult with their supervisors. 

If you must go outside, please dress appropriately and limit your time outdoors. The safety and well-being of our campus community is our highest priority. 

Weather-Related Hour Changes:

Brookens Library & ITS Help Desk: 
Closing at 6 p.m. Tuesday, open Wednesday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Student Union:
Closing early at 11 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday

TRAC - Campus Recreation 
Closing at 10 p.m. Tuesday, evening fitness classes canceled
Open Wednesday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., all fitness classes canceled
Open Thursday at 8 a.m., morning fitness classes canceled

Note: The UIS Performing Arts Center’s Broadway performance of “Rent” is still scheduled in Sangamon Auditorium for Wednesday night, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. 

Below is a link to the Inclement Weather information on our website. https://www.uis.edu/emergencies/weather/

Friday, January 25, 2019

Four UIS projects part of a new, nearly $2 million U of I System arts and humanities initiative

Renovations to the University of Illinois Springfield Studio Theatre, the creation of a Hip-Hop Xpress mobile classroom, a cultural heritage tourism project and expanded arts and humanities-based exhibits and events are part of a new, nearly $2 million initiative announced by the University of Illinois System on January 25, 2018. The initiative is aimed at emphasizing the impact and influence of the arts and humanities across Illinois.

System-wide 14 projects were selected from more than 50 proposals in the first year of the Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Impact of the Arts and the Humanities, launched last summer by President Tim Killeen to enhance and celebrate the arts and humanities at the system’s universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

“The arts and the humanities are essential to providing a well-rounded education, crucial to fostering conscientious citizenship in communities, and foundational for the creative contributions that are needed within every economic sector,” Killeen said. “This initiative sends a message around the state and the country that the arts and humanities are a priority here.”

The original plan was to provide up to $1 million each year over the next two years to support faculty projects. But Killeen said so many strong proposals were received, including many multi-year and multi-university collaborative initiatives, that initial funding was increased to cover more projects over a two-year period. The program will be revisited in 2020.

The program is supported by the offices of both the President and the Executive Vice President, using funds devoted to faculty development.

Projects involving University of Illinois Springfield faculty or facilities include:

UIS Studio Theatre Renovations, $150,000 
Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, Bryan Rives (Springfield) 
This project will support major structural improvements to the University of Illinois Springfield Studio Theater. Located in the Public Affairs Center Building on the UIS campus, the theater is a variable-use performance space able to seat about 200 people. Renovations and technology upgrades, including new seating, a new curtain system, lighting and sound, will provide a modern and professional performance venue for UIS Theatre and Music faculty and students. The intimate venue also will support smaller regional and national touring performances, opening the campus to wider community involvement.

The Hip-Hop Xpress, $150,000 
Adam Kruse, Malaika McKee, William Patterson, (Urbana Champaign), Tiffani Saunders (Springfield) 
The Hip-Hop Xpress is a project involving the creation of an internet-enabled school bus to be equipped as a multi-user music production and recording studio. Using music, dance, visual arts and technology, the bus will travel to communities and classrooms across the state, teaching youth about African-American history as well as cultural innovations spurred on by Hip-Hop. The mobile classroom will work with U of I Extension offices to reach youth organizations across Illinois. The project’s goals are to further integrate the arts into people’s lives and help develop Hip-Hop studies on all three campuses.

The Mythic Mississippi: I-Heritage as Public Engagement and Economic and Social Development, $180,000 
Helaine Silverman (Urbana-Champaign), Devin Hunter (Springfield) 
This public engagement project will help a selection of downstate Illinois communities to identify points of cultural heritage as a means of creating themed tourism routes along and near the Mississippi River. Faculty and students from the two campuses will conduct research collaboratively with local governmental, business and educational partners aimed at achieving sustainable strategies and effective policies that will foster local economic and social development. A website and high school-level teaching modules also will be produced. The project will culminate with a national symposium on the use of heritage tourism for community development.

The Humanities Innovating New Knowledge (THINK), $150,000 
Barbara Ransby and Jennifer Brier (Chicago), Kathryn Oberdeck (Urbana-Champaign), Devin Hunter (Springfield) 
THINK will bring together more than 30 faculty from across the U of I System’s three universities as well as community leaders to create an infrastructure for producing arts and humanities-based exhibits and events in Chicago, Urbana-Champaign, and Springfield. The project will include educational opportunities for students, pop-up installations that engage historical and contemporary issues in these respective communities, and scholar-practitioner working groups to address social problems, such as violence, wealth disparity, incarceration and human rights.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Innocent man represented by UIS Illinois Innocence Project receives executive clemency 23 years after his death in prison



The Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield is pleased to announce that Grover Thompson, who was wrongfully convicted in 1981 and died in prison in 1996, has received executive clemency based on actual innocence by former Gov. Bruce Rauner. This is the first posthumous exoneration to occur in Illinois and only the 21st such exoneration nationwide, as documented by the National Registry of Exonerations.

“We applaud Gov. Rauner for bringing justice to an innocent man who had no chance to fight for himself,” said John Hanlon, executive director of the Illinois Innocence Project. “We also applaud members of Illinois law enforcement who recognized Grover’s innocence years ago and, with incredible involvement and devotion, fought with us to clear Grover’s name 23 years after his death.”

Lt. Paul Echols (retired), of the Carbondale, Illinois Police Department, was instrumental in uncovering Thompson’s innocence. While investigating several cold case murders in Carbondale, Lt. Echols along with Detective Jimmy Smith, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, obtained a confession from serial rapist and murderer Tim Krajcir for the crime Thompson was wrongfully convicted of committing.

The case caught the attention of two Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Law students working for the Illinois Innocence Project. In 2011, Thompson’s nephew, S.T. Jamison, and the Illinois Innocence Project filed an Executive Clemency Petition with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board asking for Thompson’s posthumous exoneration. No one opposed the petition. In December 2015, Gov. Rauner denied Thompson’s exoneration without explanation.

“Grover’s case is the poster child of injustice,” said Lt. Echols. “In my 28 years as a police officer and 10 years as a criminal justice professor, this was the most disturbing case of injustice I have ever seen. I’m proud to have been part of the team that finally found justice for Grover.”

In 1981, 46-year-old Thompson, a black man, was traveling by bus to visit family in Mississippi and stopped to rest in a Mount Vernon, Illinois, post office lobby. At the same time, Krajcir, a white man sometimes mistaken for a dark-complexioned man, broke into 72-year-old Ida White’s home and stabbed her repeatedly while she resisted his attempts to rape her.  

The police quickly set their sights on Thompson after a neighbor reported a black man fleeing the scene. Despite that, Thompson, who was found sleeping in the post office across the street, could not have committed the crime due to a disability and was not wearing clothing that fit the description of the attacker. He was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

“Uncle Grover suffered a tragedy that never should have happened,” said S.T. Jamison, Grover’s nephew, from his home in Minnesota. “He was an innocent black man just trying to get home to his family and he never came home.”

“I am thrilled beyond words that his innocence has finally been acknowledged,” he said. “I thank the good people of the Illinois Innocence Project and God for justice for my dear Uncle Grover. I also am grateful to Gov. Rauner. I and my family members are unspeakably elated!”

Posthumous exonerations are extremely rare. Of the 2,363 exonerations documented since 1989 by the National Registry of Exonerations, only 20 are posthumous. Ten of those posthumous exonerations are of individuals, like Thompson, who died in prison.

“We’ve learned about the many reasons wrongful convictions happen, including tunnel vision and witness misidentification,” said Brandon Klages, a UIS senior and student worker at the Illinois Innocence Project. “Grover’s case is an example of how police can build a case around an innocent person because of their race and class, instead of allowing the evidence to lead the way.”

Lt. Echols details Thompson’s story in chapter 21 (titled “Another Victim”) of his book “In Cold Pursuit: My Hunt for Timothy Krajcir – The Notorious Serial Killer.” All proceeds from the book support the Nine Angels Memorial Scholarship at Southern Illinois University, named for the victims of Krajcir.

“I am very pleased Grover’s family finally has closure, confirming what they knew so many years ago, that Grover did not commit this crime,” said Lt. Echols, who received the Illinois Innocence Project’s “Defender of the Innocent” award in 2018 for his commitment to bringing justice to Thompson. “This closes another chapter in the sad stories caused by Krajcir. May Grover now rest in peace.”

UIS online bachelor’s degree programs ranked 33rd best in the country by U.S. News & World Report



The University of Illinois Springfield’s online bachelor’s degree programs have been ranked 33rd best in the country out of more than 348 institutions by U.S. News & World Report. The January 15 ranking put UIS among the top 10 percent of best online bachelor’s degree programs in the United States.

UIS’ online master’s degree programs were also ranked highly by U.S. News and World Report. The management information systems (MIS) online master’s degree was ranked 33 out of 150 in the non-MBA business category, while the UIS online master’s degree in education was ranked 77 out of 299 degrees.

“This is an important recognition that UIS continues to provide exceptionally high quality online learning experiences that are ranked among the top ten percent of those universities that were evaluated,” said Ray Schroeder, UIS associate vice chancellor of online learning. “The U.S. News rankings are thorough. They are the most credible among online learning rankings, assessing best practices and validated outcomes in direct comparison to the other top online learning programs nationally.”

In evaluating the best online bachelor’s degree programs, U.S. News & World Report assessed schools in four general categories including engagement – promoting student participation in courses and interaction with instructors and classmates, service and technologies – incorporating diverse online learning technologies allowing greater flexibility for students to take classes from a distance, faculty credentials and training – employing instructors with academic credentials that mirror campus-based programs and expert opinion – a survey of high-ranking academic officials.

U.S. News selects factors, known as ranking indicators, to assess each program in the categories outlined above. A program's score for each ranking indicator is calculated using data that the program reported to U.S. News in a statistical survey and a peer reputation survey.

UIS offers 14 online bachelor’s degree programs in business administration, communication, computer science, English, health care informatics, history, information systems security, liberal studies, management information systems, mathematical sciences, philosophy, political science, psychology and teacher education.

“Online degree programs provide access for students who are working, have families, and many other responsibilities in their lives,” said Vickie Cook, executive director of the UIS Center for Online Learning, Research and Service. “Online programs also offer a learning modality that provides students with more control of their learning, high impact strategies that assist with learning, more personalized attention and ability to interact directly with faculty.”

According to census data, a total of 1,636 students were enrolled in online at UIS during Fall Semester 2018. UIS online students reside in 45 states, 82 counties in Illinois and 11 foreign countries. Almost 90 percent of online majors have a mailing address outside of Sangamon County.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Somnath Bhattacharya named the new dean of the UIS College of Business and Management

Somnath (Som) Bhattacharya has been named the new dean of the College of Business and Management at the University of Illinois Springfield. Bhattacharya served as dean of the Gus Machado School of Business and professor of accounting at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida, since 2014.

“I am delighted and humbled to be joining the students, staff and faculty of the College of Business and Management at UIS,” said Bhattacharya. “As one of the university's critical components, the College of Business and Management is at the threshold of many opportunities. My vision, as dean, is to work closely with the College’s students, faculty, staff and UIS administration to lead the College in achieving greater academic excellence, visibility, enrollment growth and financial stability.”

Bhattacharya has also taught at Florida Atlantic University, where he served as associate, interim and acting dean of the College of Business for several periods between 2012 and 2014. Prior to those appointments, he was director of the Florida Atlantic School of Accounting from July 2006 to December 2011. He has also taught at the University of Texas at El Paso, University of South Florida, Lebanon College, Fort Hays State University and Northern Arizona University.

“Bhattacharya brings to UIS more than 25 years of experience in teaching and higher education, including more than 12 years as an administrator,” said Dennis Papini, UIS vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost. “Among his strengths, noted by the search committee, were his experience with developing entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary programs across colleges, and experience with Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation and international outreach.”

Bhattacharya holds a Ph.D. in business administration with a concentration in accounting from the University of South Florida, as well as an M.B.A. with a concentration in management information systems from Northern Arizona University.

His research interests include enterprise resource planning systems’ impact on adopting companies, the impact of eXtensible Business Reporting Language on adopting companies and measuring the return on investment of corporate information technology investments. He has more than 30 journal publications in these areas in journals, such as, the Journal of Information Systems, the International Journal of Accounting Information Systems and Issues in Accounting Education.

Bhattacharya will serve as dean designate starting February 16, until the University of Illinois Board of Trustees can vote on his full appointment on March 14. He will replace Ronald McNeil, who retired as dean of the UIS College of Business and Management in 2018.