Thursday, February 27, 2020

UIS-developed Child Protection Training Academy to be replicated in southern Illinois

The Child Protection Training Academy (CPTA) first developed at the University of Illinois Springfield, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), will be replicated through a new partnership with the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine.

The academy’s southern Illinois site will train DCFS, law enforcement and other frontline professionals in methods to better protect at-risk children from abuse in the southern region of the state.

The UIS CPTA was the first statewide simulation training project in the country that provided a child protection training laboratory for frontline professionals and students. Since its founding in 2016, the UIS CPTA in Springfield has trained more than 700 new child protection investigators using a residential simulation lab located in a small house on campus and a mock courtroom.

“The CPTA team is extremely excited to transfer the knowledge we have learned over the past four years to our partnership with SIU,” said Betsy Goulet, coordinator of the UIS Child Protection Training Academy. “The new academy site will expand opportunities and provide a realistic environment for training other allied professionals in the southern region.”

The UIS CPTA was awarded state funding for the expansion, after submitting a request to DCFS. The CPTA team, SIU School of Medicine leaders, the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children and community leaders are working together with DCFS to identify a physical location in proximity to the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus for the new simulation lab.

In partnership with DCFS, the CPTA expanded to Chicago in 2019 with simulation labs in a DCFS field office on Emerald Drive and 63rd Street. Since the program’s launch in April 2019, 102 investigators have been trained at the Chicago Academy site.

“Expanding to other parts of the state is a vital part of our plan to help protect all of the children in the state of Illinois,” Goulet said. “This expansion will give more child protection investigators and law enforcement personnel access to vital training that has proven itself to be effective.”

The Children and Family Research Center at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has been evaluating the UIS model since 2016, indicating positive responses to simulation training. The third year of evaluation data indicates the CPTA appears to be positively impacting turnover at DCFS. Non-simulation-trained investigators (hired before 2016) are twice as likely to leave DCFS at the 18-month mark versus investigators who have been simulation-trained.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

New UIS online course gives business professionals the chance to become data analytics ninjas

The University of Illinois Springfield is offering a chance for business professionals to become data analytics ninjas through a new highly marketable Splunk fundamentals course that can be completed online in only a month.

Splunk is a platform that can search, monitor and analyze massive amounts of data from any source to obtain real-time insights. The platform reduces the time spent organizing data, which means businesses can make decisions faster.

“Business professionals who take this course will become instantly marketable,” said Somnath Bhattacharya, dean of the UIS College of Business and Management. “Put simply, data analysts are valuable, and with a looming skills shortage on the horizon, as more and more businesses and sectors start working with big data, this value is only going to increase.”

The Splunk platform will be used throughout the course to teach students the fundamentals of big data and data analytics. By utilizing Splunk, students will learn how to collect, index, search, analyze and visualize data in one place. The class is designed to prepare students to pass the Splunk Core Certified User exam.

“Strong demand for data analytics skills is boosting the wages for qualified professionals,” said Rob Kerr, UIS associate director of continuing and professional education. “As the demand steadily increases and the supply remains low, data analytics professionals are getting paid more and more.”

Registration for the March 19-April 16 course is currently open. The deadline to apply for the first session is March 6. For more information on the course, registration and other scheduled sessions, visit

The fundamentals course is being offered through a partnership with the UIS College of Business and Management, UIS Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) and bitsIO, Inc., a local Springfield business and Innovate Springfield member.

bitsIO, Inc., who will lead and facilitate the course, is a leading Splunk Elite Partner. As one of the leading Splunk partners in the industry, bitsIO, Inc. has over two decades of expertise in the IT domain and a track record of deploying Splunk technologies to national and international companies.

For more information, contact Rob Kerr, UIS associate director of continuing and professional education, at 217-206-8644 or

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

UIS announces Fall Semester 2019 Dean’s List

The University of Illinois Springfield has released the Dean’s List for Fall Semester 2019. A total of 599 students were selected; 82 are students in the College of Business and Management, 48 are students in the College of Education and Human Services, 382 are enrolled in programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 57 are enrolled in programs in the College of Public Affairs and Administration and 30 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 2019 Dean's List PDF | Fall 2019 Dean's List Excel

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Gov. Pritzker announces funding for UIS Innovation Center

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen and Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Feb. 12 that the State of Illinois is moving forward with capital funding for the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) and Discovery Partners Institute (DPI).  The UIS Innovation Center will receive $15 million in state funds as part of the $500 million appropriation. The IIN is a connected system of university-, community- and industry-based hubs that will work together to drive innovation and economic development across Illinois.

"This is great news for UIS and Springfield," said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. "The governor's announcement to move forward with $500 million in capital funding for the Illinois Innovation Network and Discovery Partners Institute puts us one step closer to realizing our vision for a downtown innovation center, to include an expanded Innovate Springfield. We look forward to the release of a portion of our $15 million appropriation relatively soon so we can move forward to the design phase of our plan in Springfield."

The Innovate Springfield business incubator in downtown Springfield, part of UIS' Center for State Policy and Leadeship, was the first hub in the IIN and will continue to play a pivotal role in the UIS Innovation Center. 

The UIS Innovation Center will be a modern space located in proximity to the Illinois State Capitol.

The Center will focus on five strategic areas.

1. Business Incubation and Acceleration UIS will expand Innovate Springfield's incubation activities and launch new business acceleration and workforce development initiatives in collaboration with industry and local research partners.

2. Technology & Research Commercialization The Center will capitalize on assets from the Discovery Partners Institute and the IIN at-large to resource local researchers, corporate research-and-design staff and entrepreneurs to bring new products and services to market.

3. Social Innovation UIS will expand its evidence-based social innovation activities and partnerships by providing collaborative space for philanthropies, social service agencies, faculty researchers, students and lawmakers to analyze and implement improvements to existing programs or cultivate new services.

4. Public Policy Research UIS' Center for State Policy and Leadership will join other policy institutes from across the state to provide lawmakers a central location for research, analytical and design-thinking services on a variety of critical issues.

5. Workforce Development and Education The Center's location within the heart of state government and regional industry will allow UIS to expand existing graduate-level internship and fellowship programs, and launch new innovative workforce and professional education initiatives to support regional employers. 

The UIS Innovation Center will be one of 15 hubs in the IIN, which links every public university in the state and U of I College of Medicine locations in Peoria and Rockford. Projects planned at other hubs will apply to technology, manufacturing, transportation, health and wellness, the environment and entrepreneurship.

The University is currently in discussions over possible downtown locations for the UIS Innovation Center. 

Friday, February 07, 2020

UIS Chancellor Koch announces retirement, led university since 2011

Susan J. Koch, chancellor of the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) since 2011, announced Friday she will retire as chancellor of UIS and vice president of the University of Illinois System effective June 30. She is currently the longest-serving chancellor of the U of I System.

During her tenure, Koch has provided leadership and vision for UIS, which is ranked the top regional public university in Illinois by U.S. News & World Report.

“The past nine years have been among the most fulfilling of my career, and it has been a privilege to work with so many outstanding faculty, staff and students,” Koch said. “I love the university and the community my husband Dennis and I have called home for nearly a decade, and I am so proud of everything this young university has achieved.”

U of I System President Tim Killeen said Koch will leave a legacy that will be felt by students for generations.

“Susan’s leadership and persistence have enriched UIS’s academic excellence, provided new opportunities for students, expanded and beautified the campus and laid the groundwork to do even more,” Killeen said. “I am grateful for her commitment, her friendship and I wish her and Dennis nothing but happiness in their much-deserved retirement.”

Since her appointment in July 2011, UIS has added numerous academic programs to meet the interests of students as well as the needs of local and regional employers. They include programs in information systems security, data analytics, theater, exercise science, and a new bachelor of science in nursing through a partnership with University of Illinois at Chicago and Memorial Health System. With Koch at the helm, UIS also has successfully recruited two University of Illinois Distinguished Scholars – Ken Kriz in public administration and Graham Peck in Lincoln studies. The additions are part of an initiative to attract senior star faculty who can help transform the system’s three universities through their exceptional teaching and scholarship.

Record fundraising under Koch’s leadership has resulted in construction of a new, award-winning $21.7 million Student Union, the first on the UIS campus, and an increase in scholarship support to improve students’ access to a UIS education.

Koch has led many successful fundraising endeavors for UIS. The Brilliant Futures Campaign, completed in 2012, surpassed its $28 million goal. The current Reaching Stellar Campaign, set to conclude in 2022, has raised more than $33 million of its $40 million goal to date.

Private giving has also led to the creation of “The Sangamon Experience,” a unique exhibition space and research initiative opened Jan. 30 that will support faculty and students and spur new research, teaching and community engagement about the Sangamon region of Illinois. A new Center for Lincoln Studies, also supported by private gifts, will open later this spring.

Koch was instrumental in the university’s August 2018 acquisition of Innovate Springfield. In joining UIS, the downtown innovation and business center became the first hub of the Illinois Innovation Network, a network of research and education centers across the state led by the U of I System. They will partner will the system’s Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago to foster the innovation and talent that drives progress and economic growth.

Her leadership has also led to expansion of the university’s young Division II athletics program, whose teams have won individual and conference championships. At the same time, Prairie Stars student-athletes this past fall earned the highest collective grade-point average (3.38) in university history.

Koch has secured several awards from the U of I System’s Chester Fund, a privately funded endowment to support the acquisition of significant artwork for campus beautification. Acquisitions include “The Young Lawyer,” a Lincoln sculpture by George Lundeen; a Shakespeare Garden featuring “Shakespeare,” a sculpture by James Price; and works by Sanford Biggers and Lisa Williamson for the Student Union.

“While I am looking forward to having time that my husband and I can devote to enjoying our family and to unlocking new possibilities to grow and contribute, this was a bittersweet decision,” Koch said. “What makes it easier is my confidence that UIS will continue to be an asset for our community and our state thanks to dedicated colleagues, alumni and donors who believe in our vision to be a pathway of opportunity for the thousands of students we educate each year.”

“To have played a small part in the success of our university is a gift I will always treasure,” Koch added.

Killeen said there will be a timely and transparent leadership transition process.

Koch is the sixth chief executive in the nearly 50-year history of the university. It was known as Sangamon State University for 25 years and has been part of the U of I System since 1995.

Koch’s career encompasses more than four decades in education, with the last 35 years in higher education. Before her appointment as UIS chancellor, Koch served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northern Michigan University. She also served as associate provost and graduate dean at the University of Northern Iowa, where she began her career in higher education as a professor of community and public health.

Koch earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from Dakota State University in South Dakota and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Northern Iowa. In 2016, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service from Dakota State University. Koch is also the author of a widely read monthly column, “UIS Perspectives,” for Springfield’s State Journal-Register and has been active with several community organizations along with serving on many boards in central Illinois.