Tuesday, September 09, 2014

UIS reports highest enrollment in history

Tops 5,000 students for the 5th year 

Fall 2014 enrollment at the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois is up by nearly 300 students compared to the previous fall semester. According to the official fall census, the total number of students enrolled at UIS after the first 10 days of classes is 5,431.

That makes it the largest student body in UIS history and the fifth year enrollment has topped 5,000 students. Last fall’s enrollment was 5,137. The previous highest enrollment record was 5,174 students set in fall 2010.

“One of our highest priorities has been growing our enrollment, and we are pleased with this fall’s census. When students and families make the decision to pursue their educational goals at UIS, they know they will receive a high quality educational experience at the same time they are earning their University of Illinois diploma,” said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch.

There are also more students living on the UIS campus this semester. A total of 1,074 students live in campus housing, which means campus housing is 97.4% occupied.

“We continue to enhance student life on campus and our numbers obviously reflect that. It also shows the greater need for student housing on and near our campus. We continue to work with developers on plans to bring additional living space along the 11th street area,” added Koch.

Overall, the diversity of the student body is also growing. The number of international students enrolled at UIS increased by over 115% this semester. There are 827 international students enrolled at UIS this semester. Many of the students came to UIS from India and China. Computer Science and Management Information Systems are the most common majors chosen by international students.

The number of African American students enrolled grew by over 3.5%. There are a total of 634 African American students this semester compared to 612 in fall 2013. Students who self-identify as Hispanic comprise 4.8% (262) of this year’s student body.

Growth in online learning also continues, with a total of 1,689 students enrolled in online degree or certificate programs, a 4.9% increase over fall 2013. This semester, UIS online students reside in 48 of the 50 states, 70 counties in Illinois, and 9 foreign countries.

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

UIS has four core strengths: (1) a teaching-focused academic experience; (2) an abundance of opportunities to collaborate; (3) a right-sized supportive community; and (4) a tradition of educating public servants and leaders.

For more information, contact Derek Schnapp, director of public relations at 217/206-6716 or dschn3@uis.edu.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

UIS students give back during Welcome Week Service-A-Thon

The University of Illinois Springfield Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center hosted its annual Welcome Week Service-A-Thon on August 29, 2014.

The event gave students a chance to learn about service and give back to the Springfield and campus community.

This year, UIS volunteers helped Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County with a home building project and volunteered at the St. John’s Breadline and M.E.R.C.Y Communities in Springfield.

Students also partnered with the American Red Cross to prepare fire and burn emergency kits, which they distributed to townhouses and apartments on campus.

“The idea is that it sparks an interest that students will follow-up on and many be involved on a weekly basis or individually with a specific organization they’re interested in,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center.

A total of 75 students participated in this year’s project.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Good as Gold Ceremony honors over 50 Sangamon County volunteers and businesses

The University of Illinois Springfield Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center and the Junior League of Springfield honored more than 50 Sangamon County volunteers and businesses during the annual Good as Gold Ceremony. The event was held on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 in the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby at UIS.

Distinguished Volunteer Award 

Glenn Allison, an 84-year-old lifelong resident of Sherman, was honored with the 2014 Distinguished Volunteer Award. Allison volunteers a minimum of 15 hours a week at Memorial Medical Center and 10 hours weekly at the Illinois State Military Museum.

This year marks his 21st year as a volunteer at Memorial and 12 years as a volunteer at the Military Museum. He is a veteran of the Illinois National Guard and served in the Korean War.

Allison considers his volunteering a serious commitment. He firmly embraces the mission statements of both organizations, as if he was a salaried employee.

As a younger man, Allison served on several boards and committees for the Village of Sherman, St. John Vianney Roman Catholic Church, The Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis Club, and other professional organizations. He was awarded a plaque from the Sherman Volunteer Fire Protection District for his 32 years of exemplary service and dedication of the highest level.

Finalists for the Distinguished Volunteer Award included A. Edward Hohenstein from Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County, Mark Puczynski from Springfield Public Schools, Thomas Tomlinson from the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and Mary Yokem from the Foster Grandparent Program.

UIS Star Student & Star Staff Awards 

UIS student Mallory Beck of Springfield was honored with the Star Student Award for her volunteer efforts. As vice president of the UIS Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, she’s helped organize clothing and food drives, trips to nursing homes, and a “Kids Night Out” fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Beck is also planning a “Sports with Diabetes” camp for children afflicted with Type 1 Diabetes and their families on May 3, 2014. Other UIS students nominated included Matt Dobill, Jill Gossett, and Fred Jackson. The Star Staff Award was given to Pamela Hammond-McDavid for her work with the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center, her service to Grace United Methodist Church’s National Commission on Religion and Race, and for serving as a founding member of the Good as Gold Committee.

Community and Organization Awards 

Community member Katie Engle from West Side Christian Church was honored with the Youth Volunteer Award for efforts to coordinate and a two-day community Thanksgiving meal at Harvard Park Elementary called “Feast for 500”. She also helped with another effort to provide pajamas and books to Harvard Park students. She continues to be an active supporter at Harvard Park as a reading mentor, 'room sister' and office helper. Others nominated for the award include Abigail Judge, Katelyn Judge, and Erin Monroe.

Thirty local volunteers were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. Recipients included: Grace Adloff, Jo Ellen Bretz, Judy Brown, John Craner, Debra Elmore, Lynn Evans, Scott Gauvin, Timothy J. Granzeau, Pauline Halm, Pam Hargan, Lisa Higgs, Wes King; Ted LeBlang, Sandy Linehan; Faraji Martin, Ikenna Martin, Nancy Eckert Martin, Harry McKinney, Joan McKinney, Cindy Murdock, Beth Nestler, Jeff Patton, Christine Phillips, Deb Philo, Deanna Planitz, Megan Swanson, Angela Try, Joyce Wilson, Mary Jo Woolsey, and Beth Yong.

Springfield Health Check was recognized with the Organization Agent of Service Award for its contributions to the community. The organization offers free health fairs for businesses and organizations. The group works one-on-one to set up wellness programs with local businesses and organizations to improve health, engagement, and productivity. Others nominated for the award include Habitat for Humanity, First Christian Church, and the 21st Century “R” Rescue Team.

Business Honor Roll 

A total of 12 Sangamon County businesses were named to the inaugural Business Honor Roll, sponsored by the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. The honor roll recognizes businesses that have made giving back to our community a priority.

Businesses making this year’s honor roll include America Ambulance Service, Bank of Springfield, BUNN, CEFCU, Illinois National Bank, Kerber, Eck & Braeckel LLP, Noodles and Company, the Orthopedic Center of Illinois, PJP Auto Enterprises, Quaker Steak & Lube, SCHEELS, and Terry Farmer Photography.

For more information about the awards, please visit www.uis.edu/volunteer, email volunteer@uis.edu or call 217/ 206-7716.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

UIS students to spend Alternative Spring Break fighting hunger and homelessness in Washington, D.C.

A group of students from the University of Illinois Springfield will spend their spring break working at soup kitchens and homeless shelters in Washington, D.C. Volunteers will be working in collaboration with the Youth Services Opportunities Program of Washington, D.C.

A total of 25 UIS students and 2 staff members will leave Springfield on Sunday, March 16 at 5 a.m. and return to campus on Saturday, March 22 at approximately 9 p.m. The students will spend the week living in a hostel and serving in local nonprofit agencies that address hunger and homelessness in the D.C. metro area.

Each day the group will work in smaller groups of three or four. The 27 participants will each serve approximately 40 hours over the course of the weeklong service trip totaling 1,080 hours of service provided.

The Youth Services Opportunities Program (YSOP) is a nationally recognized leader in providing high-quality volunteer service experiences. YSOP has been a pioneer in the field of service-learning, leading thousands of young people and adults in programs to encourage community participation and engaged citizenship through direct service to homeless and hungry people.

“Alternative Spring Break at UIS is a student-led effort. The students choose the location, organize the logistics, recruit members, and work throughout the year to raise necessary funds” said Mark Dochterman, ASB adviser and director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center.

This year’s trip will be supported by a $3,450 Venture Fund Grant from United Way of Central Illinois, which will offset the service related costs of the trip.

“It's a really humbling experience to go out and help the homeless and try to understand what poverty is and what it looks like in the United States,” said UIS student Brittani Provost. “However, I think the collective idea of our efforts is important as well. The idea of taking a group of about 25 UIS students and spending a week in another community while volunteering creates a really unique experience.”

The UIS Alternative Spring Break student organization was formed in 2009 when students took their first trip to Louisiana to help build homes for Habitat for Humanity following Hurricane Katrina. The following year, students traveled to Texas to help clean up damage from Hurricane Ike. In 2011, the students traveled to Tennessee to help clean up portions of the Mississippi River. In 2012, the students helped rebuild homes damaged by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav in New Orleans. Last year, students helped with revitalization efforts in the Florida Everglades.

For more information on Alternative Spring Break, contact Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center at mdoch2@uis.edu.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Capital Scholars Honors Program spotlighted at Board of Trustees meeting

Chancellor Susan J. Koch welcomed members of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees to the Springfield campus on November 14, 2013.

Following her opening remarks, Koch introduced Marc Klingshirn, director of the Capital Scholars Honors Program and two students (Vivica Futrell & Matt Dobill) who discussed how the program has benefited them.

UIS students Shao (Christina) Yu and Ying Han also performed traditional Chinese music for the board.

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Friday, November 01, 2013

UIS students collect over 11,000 pounds of food

Over 200 University of Illinois Springfield students helped to collect 11,147 pounds of food for the Central Illinois Foodbank on Halloween night.

A total of 18 teams of students went door-to-door in several Springfield neighborhoods Trick or Treating for Canned Goods.

“Last year we collected 6,800 pounds of food. Despite rainy weather and thanks to the generosity of the Springfield community, this year our dedicated students were able to collect almost twice that amount,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center.

Earlier this month, the teams canvassed neighborhoods and distributed door hangers that explained the project. Collected items were returned and weighed at Quaker Steak and Lube Thursday night following the drive. Prizes were awarded to the teams that collect the most food.

The Leadership for Life Program won the overall prize by collecting 1,353 pounds of food. Lambda Pi Eta, the communication honor society on campus, won the most pounds per team member award by gathering 1,042 pounds of food with only four team members.

The Central Illinois Foodbank distributes over 9.5 million pounds of food annually to over 150 food pantries, soup kitchens, residential programs and after-school programs in a 21 county region.

For more information, or if you have food that was not collected please contact the UIS Volunteer Center at 217/206-7716 or volunteer@uis.edu.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Associate Professor of Biology Hua Chen named the 2013 University Scholar at UIS

Hua Chen, associate professor of Biology at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been named University Scholar for 2013. He was the only UIS faculty member chosen for this award honoring and rewarding outstanding teachers and scholars at the three U of I campuses.

“Dr. Chen is a wonderful example of the teacher-scholar ideal,” said Lynn Pardie, UIS provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs. “His research focuses on ecosystem ecology, restoration ecology, and global change ecology, and he has published extensively in a number of highly regarded journals in his field.”

Chen’s scholarly agenda involves two lines of investigation, both of which have important implications for the dynamics of climate change -- assessing the impact of global changes in land-use and in climate on the carbon and nitrogen dynamics of restored wetlands and forest ecosystems, and exploring the relationships between native and invasive plant biodiversity within different spatial and temporal contexts.

He has received numerous competitive grants in support of his research from the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Energy’s National Institute for Climate Change Research, among others.

“Dr. Chen’s philosophy of scholarship emphasizes the importance of a reciprocal relationship between active research and teaching quality, and the value of research experience for students’ learning and pre-professional development,” said Pardie.

He teaches at all levels of the biology curriculum, both on campus and online, and he is an active mentor of student research at undergraduate and graduate levels. His skills in research pedagogy are very highly regarded by colleagues. Under his guidance, students have presented their work at academic conferences and/or co-authored articles published in peer-reviewed journals in their field.

In addition to meaningful service contributions at the department, college, and campus levels, Chen is actively engaged with his discipline. He serves as an editorial board member for several academic journals, and he is a proposal reviewer for the National Natural Science Foundation of China. He was a founding member of the Midwest-Great Lakes chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration and is a member of the UIS Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon Advisory Board.

Chen holds a B.A. in Forestry from Zhe Jiang A&F University in China, an M.A. in Forestry from the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Applied Ecology, and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from Oregon State University.

As University Scholar, he will receive $15,000 a year for three years to support research and other scholarly activities. Faculty do not apply for this award; they are nominated by their peers. A committee of senior faculty makes the final selection.

For more information on the award, contact Derek Schnapp, director of public relations at 217/206-6716 or email dschn3@uis.edu.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Greek Life now offered at the University of Illinois Springfield

By Paige Heiser (UIS Campus Relations)

After three years of hard work, petitions, and meetings, students at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) are finally welcoming in a group of Greek Life sororities and fraternities.

A true atonement of leadership lived, the effort to petition for Greek Life began three years ago, founded and led by three UIS students: Jessica Odigie, Robert Dixon, and Kyle Palmer.

“It’s more than just a ‘social option’ on campus,” explains Palmer. “The intent is to create students who will become contributing members of society through academic excellence, social justice, selfless service, high social standards, and a sense of brotherhood.”

One unique aspect of Greek Life at UIS is students have the opportunity to create the culture. Other universities are tied-in to tradition, but UIS students are governed by the rules and regulations of the UIS Greek Affairs Board.

There is a no-hazing policy in place, which is governed by the University of Illinois Springfield and the Illinois State Hazing law. No chapter, colony, student or alumnus shall conduct nor condone hazing activities.

Two fraternities are currently on campus: Chapter Upsilon Xi of Alpha Phi Alpha and Chapter Mu Eta of Phi Beta Sigma. The next step is to colonize the fraternity Phi Kappa Tau.

Two sororities will also be joining the ranks of Greek Life at UIS: Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta. These sororities will begin their membership intake process in the spring semester.

All Greek organizations exemplify scholarship, philanthropy, and service to the community.

Greek life has created a new, vibrant feel to the UIS community. More students stay on campus on the week-ends and the presence of alumni has increased through their support to the college chapters.

“These students never gave up. They stayed focused, and never grew weary,” Clarice Ford, Director of the Diversity Center at UIS, explains. “It’s an important lesson to realize dreams don’t happen overnight. You have to sacrifice, work hard and it can happen. This is a true example of ‘leadership lived’ by our students.”

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Monday, September 16, 2013

UIS and Chamber to survey businesses and non-profits about economic outlook

The University of Illinois Springfield and Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce are partnering for a fifth year to conduct the Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey.

Starting September 17, 2013, a mail survey will be sent to Sangamon County businesses and non-profit organizations in order to examine the local area economic perceptions, expectations, and evaluations.

“The survey results are used by local business leaders, government officials, and area residents in order to better understand the local Sangamon county economy and where it could be headed over the next 6 months,” said Ashley Kirzinger, director of the UIS Survey Research Office.

The Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey is a longitudinal project conducted biannually by the Survey Research Office in collaboration with the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor’s Office, and UIS’ Center for State Policy & Leadership.

The results from the survey will be announced on Nov. 12 at the Chamber’s Economic Outlook Breakfast at the University of Illinois Springfield from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. The event is sponsored by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

For more information on the survey, contact Ashley Kirzinger at 217/ 206-7956 or akirz2@uis.edu.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

UIS enrollment increases; topping 5,100 students

Matches second-highest enrollment in school history

Fall 2013 enrollment at the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois is up by nearly 100 students compared to the previous fall semester. According to the official fall census, the total number of students enrolled at UIS after the first 10 days of classes is 5,137. This marks the fourth year enrollment has topped 5,000 students. Last fall’s enrollment was 5,048.

“Growth is a high priority for the UIS campus and we are very encouraged that more and more students are choosing the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois because of the high quality educational experience they receive,” said Chancellor Susan J. Koch.

Overall, the number of freshmen students attending UIS jumped by 20% this semester. That makes it the largest freshman class in UIS history.

The number of graduate students enrolled at UIS is also growing. There are 2,098 graduate students enrolled at UIS this semester, compared to 1,994 in fall 2012.

There are also more students living on the UIS campus this semester. A total of 1,047 students live on campus, which means campus housing is 94.4% occupied.

“One of our goals is to continue to enhance student life on campus and this is great evidence that we are doing that,” said Koch.

Overall, the diversity of the student body is also growing. International student enrollment increased to 7.4% (382) of the population compared to 4.8% (242) last year. African American students increased to nearly 12% (612) of the population this year compared to 11.5% (578) last year and students who self-identify as Hispanic comprise 4.8% (247) of this year’s student body.

Growth in online learning continues, with a total of 1,610 students enrolled in online degree or certificate programs, a 5.4% increase over fall 2012. This semester, online students reside in 48 of the 50 states, 79 counties in Illinois, and 12 foreign countries.

UIS is a premier public university that provides students with a high-quality liberal arts education, exceptional public affairs opportunities, and outstanding professional preparation programs.

UIS has four core strengths: (1) a teaching-focused academic experience; (2) an abundance of opportunities to collaborate; (3) a right-sized supportive community; and (4) a tradition of educating public servants and leaders.

For more information, contact Derek Schnapp, director of public relations at 217/206-6716 or dschn3@uis.edu.

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Thursday, September 05, 2013

UIS scientists awarded grant to study the impact of record Illinois River flooding

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon has been awarded a $148,210 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study the impact of record Illinois River flooding on The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon and Merwin restoration project sites in Fulton and Brown counties.

Prior to the April 2013, neither of the Conservancy’s sites had been flooded by the river since restoration activities began. The grant funding will allow scientists to study seasonal and long term changes possibly caused by the introduction of river water into the floodplain-river ecosystem.

“At Emiquon, the levee held but river water flowed into the site inoculating the area with nutrients and organisms,” said Michael Lemke, UIS biology professor and director of the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon. “At the Merwin site, the levee breached resulting in a sudden and sustained influx of river water.”

Scientists will be measuring changes to sediment, algal biomass, bacterial communities and zooplankton production. Longer-term impacts on vegetation, fish, and water birds will be determined by comparing post flood 2013 data to existing long-term data sets.

“Knowing the effect of these types of floods is critical where river ecosystems have been developed and where floodplains are now being restored because there are likely trade-offs between using restored floodplains to maintain native species and natural functions and using them to reduce threats to lives and property,” said Lemke.

The overall research effort will be led by Lemke along with UIS Associate Professor of Chemistry Keenan Dungey, who will coordinate the water quality analysis. Research will be done in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, the Illinois River Biological Station and Forbes Biological Station; both stations are Illinois Natural History Survey facilities.

“This marks the first time the three field stations have collaborated on a joint effort to study the Illinois River floodplain,” said Lemke. “This is an especially exciting aspect of this work.”

Restoration of the Conservancy’s 1200-acre Merwin Preserve and their 6600-acre Emiquon Preserve began in 1999 and 2007 respectively. Both properties are immediately adjacent to the Illinois River and are undergoing a transformation from farmland to its natural state – a large river floodplain. The projects represent two of the largest floodplain restoration projects in the Midwest. The UIS Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon was founded in 2008 in order to study, research, and document these unique, immense projects.

The National Science Foundation grant will support a Ph.D. candidate, two UIS graduate students, and three UIS undergraduate students studying river ecology.

Lessons learned from the research will be shared with public, government and private organizations through publications and field-based lectures/workshops for students and groups visiting Emiquon.

For more information, contact Michael Lemke at 217/206-7339 or mlemk1@uis.edu.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

UIS student begin school year with Service-A-Thon

University of Illinois Springfield students gave back to the Springfield community during the annual Welcome Week Service-A-Thon on August 30, 2013.

Students worked various shifts throughout the day helping the American Red Cross Illinois Capital Area Chapter, Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County, Hospital Sister’s Mission Outreach, and the St. John’s Breadline.

“We’re trying to give back to the community, we’re trying to connect students to the community on their first week of classes,” said Mark Dochterman, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center.

UIS freshman Marissa Farris woke up early on a Friday morning to help fill American Red Cross comfort kits full of toothpaste, combs, and other items that are handed out following disasters.

“I enjoy volunteering because it just makes me feel good to know that I’m helping someone else, someone who’s in their time of need,” said Farris.

The Red Cross comfort kits will be distributed to 39 counties across central Illinois.

“Everybody needs to help their own community. If you’re part of the UIS community, you should help because it’s one thing to just stand back and look and it’s another thing to even put toothpaste in a Red Cross bag,” said Mihai Smarandescu, a UIS sophomore.

At the St. John’s Breadline, UIS volunteers helped prepare and serve food, carried trays, and helped distribute items to the homeless.

“These people are out here in need of food and I’m lucky enough to not have that problem, but when I can help like this it’s great,” said Alexa McClaughry, a UIS freshman.

Dochterman hopes the students also learn a few leadership lessons from the experience.

“These students have an opportunity to meet community members, to see the experiences of people other than college students, to be a part of Springfield,” said Dochterman.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

UIS establishes new transfer agreements with nine Illinois community colleges

The University of Illinois Springfield has established new transfer agreements with nine community colleges in Illinois. The 2+2 Advising Guide Agreements establish a seamless transfer for community college credit hours into UIS, thus making it easier for students to earn their bachelor’s degree.

“These agreements provide students with a course checklist that they can use to achieve their degree in the most expedient manner,” said Raymond Barnett, UIS Admissions Transfer Coordinator.

The 18 new agreements cover academic subjects, such as computer science, environmental studies, political science, and social work.

The community college partners in these new agreements include Black Hawk College (Moline, Ill.), Danville Area Community College, Illinois Central College (Peoria, Ill.), Lake Land College (Mattoon, Ill.), Lewis and Clark Community College (Godfrey, Ill.), McHenry County College (Crystal Lake, Ill.), Prairie State College (Chicago Heights, Ill.), Rock Valley College (Rockford, Ill.), and William Rainey Harper College (Palatine, Ill.).

In addition to these agreements, UIS currently has 50 separate transfer agreement degree plans under review by 20 community colleges.

“We want to keep establishing connections with every interested party and further secure UIS’ status as the most transfer-friendly university in Illinois,” said Barnett.

For more information and questions about 2+2 agreements, contact Raymond Barnett at 217/206-6628 or email rbarn2@uis.edu.

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Involvement Expo connects students with on and off campus opportunities

The University of Illinois Springfield hosted its annual Welcome Week Involvement Expo in an effort to get students active on August 28, 2013. The expo featured over 140 student organizations, clubs, community groups, and businesses.

“We have over 70 students organizations regularly registered here at UIS, so it’s great to show them all that they can do and get involved with to enhance their classroom experience on campus,” said Beth Nahlik, UIS associate director of Student Life.

Freshman psychology major Cierra Hall didn’t know what she’d find at the Involvement Expo, but left with interest in several organizations.

“I came out here just to see what opportunities are available on campus and to see who I could meet and to just try and see what the campus offers,” said Hall.

Junior accountancy major Nicole Yoder is involved with the Christian Student Fellowship on campus and helped to recruit new members at the expo. She’s found campus involvement rewarding.

“I think that’s what makes your college experience good, is when you can get involved with different communities and organizations and then you meet a lot more people,” said Yoder.

For more information on student organizations on campus, visit the Student Life website.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

UIS students, faculty assist with osprey chicks

The youngest of the five osprey chicks was the most vocal when Dr. Tih-Fen Ting and University of Illinois Springfield graduate student April Simnor approached their nesting structure to remove the ospreys' food pan. Being the youngest of five hasn't kept the bird from eating when it has the chance, unlike two of other birds that stood in the back of the structure, backs turned toward the visitors.

Dr. Ting and her students are feeding, observing, and tending to the five osprey chicks in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The groups are trying to re-establish ospreys, a fish eating bird of prey, in Illinois, where they are listed as endangered. As adults, ospreys usually return to nest in the area where they were raised. The hope is that these chicks will do just that. The birds are being kept at Anderson Lake, near Havana, Illinois.

Early each morning, the students remove any remaining fish from the birds' nesting area and weigh it to determine how much was eaten overnight. They provide more food to the chicks, then hunker down on an embankment a distance from the nesting box in order to observe the birds and to confirm each of them is eating. The students spend much of their day watching the chicks and writing notes. They will continue caring for the chicks until they are ready for release. Prior to release, the birds will be fitted with tracking devices.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Sangamon County Citizen Survey measures local quality of life issues

Read the full survey

Results from the 2013 Sangamon County Citizen Survey, the first formal survey of its kind measuring local quality of life issues, have been released.

The survey was a joint project between the University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy & Leadership, the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, and the United Way of Central Illinois. It measured nine different indicators, including culture and recreation, health, economy, education, government and civic participation, environment, public safety, infrastructure, and social well-being.

In measuring social well-being, the survey found that 59.5% of Sangamon County residents reported that things are generally on the right track, compared to 30.6% who believe things are going in the wrong direction. A majority of residents also rated Sangamon County as a positive place to raise children, live, and work. However, they were less positive about Sangamon County as a place to retire.

A total of 618 Sangamon County residents were surveyed in a random telephone sample between March 7 and April 9, 2013.

“It’s our hope that this survey will be a useful resource for citizens and leaders across Sangamon County who want to better understand public perceptions on critical issues,” said John Stremsterfer, president and CEO of Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln.

Overall, respondents reported that the biggest change needed (if any) in order to improve K-12 education in their area was increased funding to schools. The vast majority of respondents also believe that pre-K educational programs as well as post-high school institutions are very important to the local community.

“The survey provides a mixed picture of how Sangamon County residents assess the local area. What is clear is that Sangamon County residents are committed to improving educational and economic opportunities for all members of the community,” said Ashley Kirzinger, director of the UIS Survey Research Office.

In addition, residents are also aware of how important the local agricultural industry as well as growing downtown Springfield are to the economy of the region.

While the majority of residents are positive about the general direction of the area, there are some troubling findings. According to the report, one-in-five Sangamon County residents report not being able to afford food or healthcare for themselves or their family members at least one time in the past year. In addition, 21.2% of employed respondents reported that they consider themselves to be currently underemployed. In fact, the majority of respondents believe that current financial conditions (both personal and local area businesses) have not improved or declined in the past year.

“The survey provides important data regarding the education, health and incomes of those living in Sangamon County,” said John Kelker, president of United Way of Central Illinois. “As the largest private funder of health & human service programs in the county, this data will allow our volunteers to better assess and address community needs.”

The Citizens Club of Springfield and the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission assisted in preparing the final report. For more information on the survey, contact the UIS Survey Research Office at 217/206-6591. The full report can be found online at http://cspl.uis.edu/surveyresearchoffice/.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hundreds of UIS students celebrate during 42nd Commencement

The University of Illinois Springfield held its 42nd Commencement ceremony on May 11, 2013 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in downtown Springfield. For many students the day marked an important milestone, as years of hard work, culminated in a single event.

UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch presided over the ceremony, welcoming the crowd of nearly 6,800 people. A total of 777 students took part in the ceremony, walking across the stage and shaking Koch’s hand.

“The promise that we make to our students can be summed up in two words: Leadership lived. Leadership is lived on the UIS campus every day and I trust that each of you has your own Leadership lived story as a result of your UIS education. I am supremely confident that you will indeed make a difference in the world with your leadership,” said Koch.

Koch also congratulated first generation college graduates, thanked family members for supporting their students, and thanked members of the military.

Chancellor Koch was joined on the stage by campus leaders and University of Illinois President Robert A. Easter who reminded the students earning a degree is only the beginning.

“Today caps a critical chapter in your lives, achieved through your commitment, your scholarship, your passion and your hard work, but what you have learned here is just the foundation and today is just the start,” said Easter.

The 2013 Commencement address was delivered by UIS alumna and Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Kathy Best. A graduate of the UIS Public Affairs Reporting Program, Best first developed her journalistic skills in the Midwest: for the Quad-City Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and her career has taken her from coast to coast, from the Baltimore Sun to the Seattle Times. It was in Seattle where she won two Pulitzer Prizes, for breaking news in 2010 and investigative reporting in 2012. In 2006 she was in the first group of PAR alums to be inducted into the Public Affairs Reporting Hall of Fame.

Best spoke to the students about the changing world and the different career paths she has taken encouraged them to “find your passion and live it.”

“Remember this what you’re getting today is a college degree, not a life sentence to do only what that diploma says. This should be the beginning of your quest, not the end,” said Best.

Jinger Sanders, the student speaker who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, shared her story of coming to UIS as a 17-year-old freshman with the audience. She called UIS “a unique place, a place like no other”, telling the audience about the abundance of opportunities available.

“Attending UIS has been one of my greatest opportunities,” said Sanders. “UIS allowed me to enhance my confidence, leadership, and character. This institution has been more than a stepping stone into the next chapter of my life but a place for personal and academic growth.”

Sanders spoke about her experience as the student representative to the University of Illinois Alumni Association and encouraged graduates to give back to their university.

“I’m talking about something more precious than money and that’s time,” said Sanders. “Time is valuable because you cannot get it back. Invest time into our university just like this university invested in us.”

University of Illinois Trustee Karen Hasara, UIS Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lynne Pardie, UIS Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Tim Barnett, and UIS distinguished alumni member Donovan Pepper also took part in the ceremony.

Photos and more video are available at the commencement website: www.uis.edu/commencement/.

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Monday, April 01, 2013

UIS offers active military and veterans credit for prior learning through online courses

The University of Illinois Springfield is making it possible for active military and veterans to earn credit for prior learning, while sharing their experiences with other service members.

Two new eight week online courses, starting June 3, 2013, will allow service members to share their experiences through an online discussion board. Participants will be allowed to moderate discussion and suggest topics.

Students will also be journaling and writing a portfolio about their military service. One class will be offered exclusively to combat veterans, while the other is open to any active duty service member or veteran enrolled in classes at UIS. Students may earn up to 12 credit hours for their participation.

"A course in which all fellow students have a military background will allow students to be more expressive, and provide insight into issues of which non-military persons have no understanding,” said Kevin Beeson, visiting clinical professor of Experiential and Service-Learning at UIS.

Beeson will be teaching one of the classes, along with Sarah Stover, visiting assistant director of applied study term. Army Master Sgt. Anthony O’Neal, a UIS junior Liberal and Integrative Studies major, and Pastor Allen Ebbler of Casey, Ill., a U.S. Army Veteran who served in Desert Storm, came up with the idea for the classes and approached Beeson.

“Being asked to be a part of the study group and formulating the ideas was something I took as a great honor. It was as if the faculty was reaching out and asking how can we help the veteran from the outside looking in,” said O’Neal.

O’Neal and Ebbler hope the courses will help create networks between students with similar military experiences, so that they can provide support for each other.

“When you get back from active duty, there is a space in time where it is hard to adapt to civilian life. To be able to come into a class where other students have the same background is an invaluable aid to helping through that transition period,” said Ebbler.

Beeson and Stover will not play the role of a therapist, but will direct students to mental health resources when necessary.

“We will also limit our participation in the discussion board, instead allowing the students to carry the discussion without our input, recognizing that they are the experts with regard to military experiences,” said Beeson.

O’Neal realizes that not all service members will want to take part in the class, but he thinks it will serve as a good resource for those who decide to join.

“When I attend this class I hope to see that the idea of helping others be able to communicate stories of what they have experienced will actually help to move them on,” said O’Neal. “I know that not every veteran will jump on this class, but I am sure the word will spread. UIS has definitely helped me already and I have just been a part of the startup process.”

UIS offers 24 bachelor’s degree programs, 20 master’s programs and 1 doctoral program. Service members and veterans may apply for admission by calling 217/206-4847 or by visiting www.uis.edu/admissions. Current UIS students may enroll in the credit for prior learning courses starting on April 1, 2013.

For more information on courses available to active duty military and veterans, contact Kevin Beeson at 217/206-6695 or kbees1@uis.edu.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

UIS online bachelor's and graduate business program ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report

The University of Illinois Springfield’s online bachelor’s degree programs and graduate business program rank highly on U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 list of the best online education programs in the country.

"These rankings once again acknowledge that UIS is a national leader in online learning," said UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. "UIS online programs are exceptional because they are taught by talented faculty who work very hard to create productive communities in their online classes and because we provide strong support for online students."

UIS is among the top 100 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in the country, while UIS also ranks 16th nationwide in the category of Best Online Graduate Business Programs.

U.S. News & World Report looked at best practices and factors, such as graduation rates, assessments, class size, retention rates, and time to degree deadline in determining the rankings. They also examined program accreditation, faculty education, student debt at graduation, and technologies and services available to online students.

“This national recognition reflects the collective commitment of the faculty and staff at the University of Illinois Springfield to provide the highest quality online learning experience to our students,” said Ray Schroeder, UIS Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning.

UIS offers seven undergraduate degree’s online in Business Administration, Computer Science, English, History, Liberal Studies, Mathematics, and Philosophy. An online graduate business degree is offered in Management Information Systems (MIS).

“MIS online was the first online graduate program at UIS and the U.S. News ranking recognizes the quality and value of a UIS degree in MIS. Our faculty is to be commended for their dedication to student learning and a strong professional degree program,” said Ron McNeil, dean of the UIS College of Business and Management.

UIS is a premier public university that provides students with a high-quality liberal arts education, exceptional public affairs opportunities, and outstanding professional preparation programs. UIS has four core strengths: (1) a teaching-focused academic experience; (2) an abundance of opportunities to collaborate; (3) a right-sized supportive community; and (4) a tradition of educating public servants and leaders. UIS has four colleges: business and management; education and human services; liberal arts and sciences; and public affairs and administration.

View the U.S. News & World Report rankings online at www.usnews.com/education/online-education. For more information, contact Ray Schroeder at 217/206-7317 or email rschr1@uis.edu.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

UIS looks back at a "Year in Video 2012"

The University of Illinois Springfield is taking a look back at the Year in Video 2012.

DVD copies of this presentation are available free of charge, upon request by contacting Blake Wood, UIS Campus Relations Multimedia Writer & Producer at 217/206-8404 or bwood8@uis.edu.

This video was produced by the UIS Office of Campus Relations.

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