Friday, September 20, 2019

UIS rebrands LGBTQIA+ training program to encourage and expand inclusion

The University of Illinois Springfield Office of Gender and Sexuality Student Services has rebranded its LGBTQIA+ training program for supportive students, faculty and staff allies on campus in an effort to encourage them to take even more actionable steps towards inclusion.

Since 2001, UIS has offered Safe Zone training in several formats. However, this semester the training has been rebranded as Brave Space training in an effort to encourage difficult conversations that affirm LGBTQIA+ people with the additional expectation that participants will assess themselves, their departments and student groups for inclusive practices and policies.

“For the past 25 years, Safe Zone-type programs on college campuses have always been about supportive allies hanging a sign to show they were safe to come out to as a sexual or gender minority, while encouraging conversation with others that have questions about LGBTQIA+ people,” said Kerry Poynter, director of the UIS Office of Gender and Sexuality Student Services. “The name change reflects the UIS Safe Zone Committee’s desire for members to take brave steps to engage in difficult conversations that affirm LGBTQIA+ people.”

Participants who previously completed Safe Zone training will be asked to go through a recertification process to achieve Brave Space status. Individuals who complete the training will be given a new Brave Space sign to hang in the office or campus living space letting others know they are supportive of LGBTQIA+ people and issues.

“We think the name change and our recertification process to achieve the new sign will communicate that a supportive ally does more than just a hang a sign and support students that are coming out, but will take actionable steps for inclusion as well as advocacy,” said Poynter.

During the Brave Space training process, participants sign up for sessions where they go through National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) bias and prejudice training and learn about the history of LGBTQIA+ people and issues. Participants can also take classes to learn more about safe dating, pansexuality and bisexuality, religion and transgender.

Participants will receive extensive examples of actionable items and tips on how to be more inclusive in their departments and/or student organizations and daily life. A confidential dialogue will be facilitated that allows members to share their own experiences and attempts to advocate and/or intervene as allies to gender and sexual minorities. Small group dialogues will give opportunity to create and share examples of how they intend to be inclusive. Each participant will receive and sign a pledge check list that are based on content from the advanced sessions.

The UIS Office of Gender and Sexuality Student Services provides education, advocacy, support, mentoring and a safe space for sexual and gender minority students at UIS including but not limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, queer, questioning, intersex and asexuals (LGBTQIA+). They also work with heterosexual and cisgender students to become more informed and supportive allies in an effort to create a more inclusive and affirming campus climate.

For more information on Brave Space training, contact Kerry Poynter at 217-206-8316 or or visit

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

UIS Public Administration Department earns public procurement accreditation from national organization

Photo Courtesy: @ArkansasNIGP
The University of Illinois Springfield’s Public Administration Department has received accreditation in public procurement from NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement. UIS is the first recipient of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing’s (NIGP) academic accreditation - earning two certificates.

UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration Dean Robert Smith and Adam Williams, Ph.D., director of the UIS Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program, were presented the certificate of accreditation at the NIGP forum held in Austin, Texas on Aug. 25.

According to NIGP, the certificate of accreditation reinforces the credibility of UIS’ Public Administration Department, an accomplishment that is highly regarded by the institution's administrators, faculty, alumni and students.

“The certificate and the achievement is a testament to the academic institution's high caliber of educational content, execution, and real-world experience,” said NIGP in a press release. “The UIS program is built on key strategic procurement competencies with demonstrated resources and effective course planning, design and instruction.”

According to Rick Grimm, NIGP CEO, "The University of Illinois Springfield's Department of Public Administration represents an elite and innovative higher education academic institution. It's an honor and privilege to have UIS earn NIGP's inaugural accreditation.”

“We look forward to the ability to work closely with the NIGP and its various chapters to provide quality educational opportunities and assist in the training of the coming generations of procurement professionals,” said Williams. “It is our hope that the membership will work closely with UIS in the continuous development of the content for these students and create a pipeline for the profession for years to come.”

NIGP's higher education accreditation distinguishes those academic institutions that offer dedicated procurement certificates or procurement concentration programs in public administration which meet or exceed rigorous standards and best of class practices.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

University of Illinois Springfield reports largest freshman class in school history

Freshman enrollment at the University of Illinois Springfield grew by more than 18 percent according to Fall Semester 2019 census numbers released today. The total number of first-year students stands at 373, compared to 316 last fall semester, making it the largest incoming freshman class in school history.

“We are pleased to see the substantial increase in the size of our freshman class again this year,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. “It affirms that an increasing number of prospective students and their families are choosing UIS for a student-centered undergrad experience - an experience that provides uniquely personalized educational opportunities that prepare our graduates for success in their careers and their communities.”

More than 90 percent (336) of the new freshmen are Illinois residents and 49 percent have self-reported as a minority. UIS saw an increase in the percentage of its student body (76.6 percent up from 75.5 percent last year) coming from Illinois. The university has a total of 3,276 students who are Illinois residents.

The number of students living on campus also increased by 8 percent. A total of 1,038 students are living on campus, up from 957 students in fall 2018. The campus occupancy rate is 93 percent.

After the first 10 days of classes, the total number of full-time students remains unchanged from last fall at 2,369. There were 300 fewer part-time students enrolled this semester. The total number of students enrolled in fall classes at UIS stands at 4,275 compared to 4,575 students in fall 2018. Total undergraduate enrollment stands at 2,674 students compared to 2,814 in fall 2018. The number of graduate students decreased from 1,761 in 2018 to 1,601 in 2019.

There are a total of 557 African American students enrolled this semester comprising 13 percent of the student body. International students encompass 8.7 percent (373) of students enrolled. Students who self-identify as Hispanic comprise 8.1 percent (348) of this year’s student body and Asian students comprise 4.6 percent (197).

Earlier this week, U.S. News & World Report announced UIS was ranked the fourth best public university in the Midwest Regional category and the top public regional university in Illinois in the 2020 rankings. UIS was also ranked as one of the best ethnically diverse campuses in the Midwest category.

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

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

Monday, September 09, 2019

UIS ranked the fourth best public regional university in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report

The University of Illinois Springfield has been ranked the fourth best public university in the Midwest Regional category and the top public regional university in Illinois by U.S. News & World Report in 2020 rankings released today.

Overall, UIS moved up three spots among public universities in the Best Regional Universities – Midwest category this year, having been ranked seventh in the 2019 rankings.

“UIS’ outstanding faculty and staff are committed to providing every student with a premier educational experience both in and out of the classroom,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. “This prestigious ranking reflects the positive impact of our outgoing investments to enhance the academic quality and reputation of the University.”

According to U.S. News & World Report, some of the factors it looked at in determining the ranking include retention and graduation rates, faculty resources (such as class size and faculty salary), academic reputation, financial resources available to students, how well students performed academically in high school (including ACT/SAT and high school percentile rank) and alumni giving.

“Our students – a dedicated mix of first-time freshmen, returning and working adults, transfer, graduate, international, online, resident and commuter scholars – bestow this honor on us by seeking out UIS to transform themselves, each other, their families and communities,” said Natalie Herring, UIS associate provost for enrollment management.

UIS was also ranked as one of the best ethnically diverse campuses in the Midwest category with an overall Diversity Index of 0.50. According to U.S. News & World Report, the closer a school's number is to one, the more diverse the student population. The data was drawn from UIS’ fall 2018 total undergraduate student body.

Since 2006, UIS has been ranked consistently among the top 15 best public regional universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. The full report and additional data can be found at

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