Tuesday, March 30, 2021

UIS adds new fully online bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and certificates for fall 2021

The University of Illinois Springfield is offering students more options to advance their education online on their own schedule. 

Starting in fall 2021, the following fully online degrees and certificates will be added:

  • a bachelor’s degree in public administration 
  • a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) 
  • a master’s degree in finance
  • two certificates in cybersecurity administration and management

Both the MBA and master’s degree in finance can be completed online in one year. Traditional on-campus public administration and MBA programs will continue.

UIS is also allowing freshmen to register for the first time for its online degrees in business administration, management information systems, political science and public administration in fall 2021. 

“Adding these degrees and allowing more freshmen to participate in online programs gives students more options to earn a higher education,” said UIS Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney. “UIS is a leader in online learning, and we will continue to offer learning modalities that meet students’ needs.”

The new online bachelor’s degree in public administration will prepare students to serve as managers in local, state and federal government as well as the nonprofit sector. Areas of study will concentrate on developing a managerial mindset and skills including: managing people and processes, managing yourself and mindset, stakeholder management and budgeting and finance. More information can be found at go.uis.edu/bapa.

“This new online degree in public administration is a game changer,” said Robert Smith, dean of the UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration. “Because of the convenience of an online degree, you can conduct your studies whether you are a block away from the State Capitol or anywhere in the nation. This degree credential will open doors to employment and careers in governmental and nonprofit organizations tasked with providing crucial services to citizens so needed now more than ever.”  

The new online MBA program is also designed to allow more working professionals to continue their education and earn a master’s degree. 

“Adding an online component to our MBA will help more members of the business community access quality education in business,” said Somnath Bhattacharya, dean of the UIS College of Business and Management. “The enhanced accessibility and flexibility of the MBA online program aligns well with UIS’ mission to provide a student-centered educational experience.”

The new online master’s degree in finance responds to a critical need of regional banks, finance professionals and financial institutions to employ professionals with the knowledge and skills required to continue being competitive. The degree will also allow recent graduates from undergraduate programs and professionals to develop focused financial competencies. 

Both new master’s degree programs will be taught by experienced UIS faculty members along with highly qualified academic and professional members of the business community in central Illinois and beyond. Learn more about the online MBA at go.uis.edu/onlinemba and the finance master’s degree at go.uis.edu/onlinefinance.

The new 9-credit-hour graduate certificate in cybersecurity administration is designed to enable cybersecurity professionals or graduate students aspiring to pursue careers in cybersecurity units within for-profit or non-profit organizations, mainly in the central Illinois area. The certificate will teach students about cybersecurity threats and practices, as well as legal and ethical issues. The certificate program will teach students how to manage cybersecurity strategy, projects and personnel. Three core courses are required to complete the certificate. Learn more at go.uis.edu/cyberadmin

The 12-credit-hour certificate in cybersecurity management is designed to develop graduate students’ knowledge, analytical thinking, management skills and leadership in the cybersecurity field as required by private, public and non-profit organizations. The certificate program will provide advanced knowledge and training in cybersecurity management. Four core courses are required to complete the certificate. Learn more at go.uis.edu/cybermgmt.

To apply for the certificate programs, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and meet university requirements for admission and graduate study. All classes needed to complete the two certificates will be offered online and on campus. 

U.S. News & World Report ranked UIS as the top public regional university in Illinois and the fourth best public university in the Midwest regional category in its 2021 rankings. Students can apply to UIS at uis.edu/apply.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

UIS plans for more in-person classes in Fall 2021

The University of Illinois Springfield is planning to offer more in-person classes next fall. UIS has been following COVID-19 testing and United in Safety protocols that have kept its seven-day rolling positivity rate below 1 percent for most of the fall and spring semesters, well below national and regional averages. 

The university’s decision to expand in-person learning is based on its successful testing program in collaboration with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the increase in vaccination availability in Illinois and across the country.  

UIS Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney said she is pleased with the progress that students, faculty and staff have made during the 2020-21 academic year. 

“UIS has worked incredibly hard during the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize health and safety,” she said. “Our university community’s compliance with our testing requirement and rapid contact tracing program have been paramount, as well as our focus on frequent, transparent communication with faculty, staff and students to keep everyone well-informed.”

Additionally, the university’s adherence to its United in Safety health and safety guidelines have greatly contributed to keeping positivity rates low, and UIS’ expert approach to adapting course delivery enabled students to continue pursuing their educational goals whether on or off campus.

“UIS was able to quickly adapt course delivery to remote methods and provide robust support to both faculty and students because of our expertise within the nationally recognized Center for Online Learning, Research and Service. This has better positioned ourselves as we prepare for fall courses," Whitney said.

UIS surveyed both students and faculty this semester to help guide planning for the fall semester. Both groups indicated that increasing the number of on-campus courses is a top preference. 

“The faculty at UIS have been instructional innovators in teaching and learning before and during the pandemic,” said Dennis Papini, UIS vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost. “The recent survey of faculty reveals a desire to return to the classroom coupled with a continuing commitment to explore and experiment with delivering high-quality academic activities at the university and online.”

Faculty member Lynn Fisher, associate professor of anthropology and chair of the campus senate, said she is looking forward to returning to the classroom.

“I would very much like to be safely back in the classroom with students. It is very encouraging to see increased access to vaccines,” Fisher said. “As students make plans for fall, I encourage them to talk to faculty and advisors about the wide variety of in-person, hybrid and online options at UIS.”

Registration for Fall Semester 2021 classes begins April 5 for current students and April 12 for new students. Students can apply for admission by visiting uis.edu/apply. Fall 2021 classes will start Aug. 20. 

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

Monday, March 15, 2021

UIS announces plans for innovative approach to 2021 Commencement featuring in-person and virtual components

The University of Illinois Springfield is announcing an innovative approach to 2021 Commencement featuring an optional in-person “stage experience” for graduates as well as a virtual celebration due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“These celebrations will allow UIS to continue to follow United in Safety protocols, while celebrating graduates’ academic accomplishments,” said UIS Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney. “We all want to return to our large traditional Commencement ceremony, but we must wait until it’s safe to do so.”

All 2021 degree candidates will have the option to participate in a “stage experience” on Thursday, May 13, or Friday, May 14. Degree candidates will be able to book a timeslot between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. During the “stage experience,” students will be able to walk across the Sangamon Auditorium stage to be congratulated by Chancellor Whitney and UIS Provost Dennis Papini, with up to four guests per graduate in the audience. The stage experience will be live-streamed on the UIS website for guests to watch, beyond the four who attend in person.

Additionally, all graduates, their family and friends will be able to view an online commencement celebration at Noon Saturday, May 15, on the UIS website and Facebook page, which will feature remarks from University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen, Chancellor Whitney and others. The virtual ceremony will also include the conferral of degrees.

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

Thursday, March 11, 2021

UIS named a “Voter-Friendly Campus” by two national nonpartisan organizations

The University of Illinois Springfield has been designated a “Voter-Friendly Campus” for 2021-22 by two national non-partisan groups, the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. 

UIS is one of more than 200 campuses in 37 states and the District of Columbia designated as a “Voter-Friendly Campus.” The initiative held participating institutions accountable for planning and implementing practices that encourage their students to register and vote in 2020 elections and beyond. 

As part of UIS’ effort to be designated a “Voter-Friendly Campus,” a campus action plan was created to identify ways to increase voter education, voter registration, and voter turnout on campus. Following the Nov. 6 election, a report was submitted outlining UIS’ efforts - what went well, how the campus adapted to the challenges of COVID-19 and how students can continue to be engaged in the future.

“This designation is a clear measure of the value placed on promoting civic and electoral engagement among administrators, faculty and students at UIS,” said Jill Hawkins-Wright, director of the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center. “The process leading to this designation assisted the Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center in engaging students in the democratic process through identification of goals and strategies to increase voter turnout and democratic engagement.”

The mission of the “Voter-Friendly Campus” designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. 

“UIS has made a strong statement about the civic mission of higher education to prepare students to be engaged participants in our democracy and is excited to continue engaging students through 2021, 2022 and beyond,” Hawkins-Wright said.