Wednesday, June 02, 2021

This website is no longer in use

This website is no longer in use, however it does serve as an archive for past UIS news stories from January 2005 to May 2021. 

To view achieved stories select the year and month under the "Blog Archive" section below. You can also search for achieved stories by using the search feature on this page.

For the latest UIS news stories, visit our new UIS Newsroom website at

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

UIS’ Innovate Springfield and College of Business and Management launching a pilot startup fellowship

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Innovate Springfield and College of Business and Management is launching a pilot startup fellowship program, with support from the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln. They have also partnered with iVenturED and the Sangamon CEO program. 

The fellowship is open to Sangamon CEO alums, UIS entrepreneurship students and local aspiring entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs looking to launch new products and businesses. An intrepreneur is an entrepreneur working in an existing company that is their own, but who acts entrepreneurially within an existing organization. The fellowship is seeking student applicants, individuals from the community with good business ideas and local businesses looking to launch new products in the market or existing products in new markets.  

Working with the entrepreneur/intrepreneur, the fellow will conduct research and analyze opportunities to develop and launch a new product or a new company. Innovate Springfield and the College of Business and Management will lead concentrated entrepreneurial education programing that includes: ideation, product development, prototyping, customer validation and business modeling. Each team will receive membership to Innovate Springfield and will be matched with mentors and professionals to help develop their business plan and effectively launch of their business. 

At the end of the fellowship, the teams will have the opportunity present to a group of investors.

Sangamon CEO alums or UIS entrepreneurship students who are either entering their junior or senior year of college, or who graduated this past year are encouraged to apply for the fellowship. The fellows will be match with entrepreneurs/intrepreneurs with the intention to produce the most effective outcome for both parties.  

The program will run from June 14 to August 13. The application process is competitive and limited by funding. Fellows will receive a $2,500 stipend and will be required to work 20 hours per week. Selected entrepreneurs will pay $300, which includes membership to Innovate Springfield for June – August, all education programing, mentorship and access to investors, must be available roughly three hours per week to work with fellows and participate in educational program. Participating companies will pay a $1,000 corporate sponsorship and will also need to be available to work with a fellow at least three hours per week. The programing will be both in-person and online. 

Potential fellows interested in learning more and applying to the program can visit Entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs interested in participating can visit

For more information, contact Bruce Sommer, UIS director of economic development and innovation, at 217-899-3186 or

Monday, May 17, 2021

UIS, in partnership with SHIELD Illinois, is now offering free COVID-19 saliva testing to the public

The University of Illinois Springfield, in partnership with SHIELD Illinois, is now offering free COVID-19 saliva testing to the public. 

The free tests are being funded through an agreement between the Illinois Department of Public Health and SHIELD Illinois using federal relief money.

Community testing is available between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the Student Union (west entrance). Designated short-term COVID-19 testing parking spots are available in Lot G (west of the Student Union) and Lot J (east of the Student Union).

UIS strongly encourages community members visiting UIS’ testing site to pre-register by visiting the SHIELD testing portal at Click “sign up for an account” and enter agency code df5brbrj.

Here’s a few things to know about SHIELD testing at UIS: 

  • Testing is for non-symptomatic individuals who are not isolating due to COVID-19. 
  • All samples will be sent to a Springfield lab, with results sent to each individual tester or their guardian within 12-18 hours. 
  • There is no age limit to participate in SHIELD testing; however, younger children may require more time to deposit their sample. 
  • All visitors must wear a face covering over their mouth and nose as they enter and leave the testing site.
  • Testers should not to eat, drink, use tobacco, brush their teeth, or use mouthwash 60 minutes prior to submitting a sample.

For more information, visit the UIS COVID-19 testing website at

Sunday, May 16, 2021

UIS holds 50th Commencement in a hybrid format due to COVID-19 pandemic

The University of Illinois Springfield held 50th Commencement activities May 13-15, 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, graduates were given a chance to participate in an optional in-person “stage experience" on the stage of Sangamon Auditorium May 13 & 14. In addition, UIS released a virtual commencement celebration video honoring the Class of 2021 on Saturday, May 15 on the UIS website and Facebook page.

Almost 400 graduates participated in 52 individual “stage experiences,” lasting about 10 minutes each, with eight students in each time slot. Graduates were allowed to have up to six guests present.

Graduates were required to sign up in advance for a time slot to walk across the stage, in order to stay compliant with Restore Illinois Guidelines. As graduates walked across the stage, they were congratulated by UIS Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney and Provost Dennis Papini. 

The online commencement video celebration on Saturday, May 15, featured remarks from University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen, Chancellor Whitney and others and included the conferral of degrees.

Watch the stage experiences:

Commencement photos can be found on University of Illinois Springfield social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

UIS plants the first of 1,000 donated Japanese maple trees on campus

University of Illinois Springfield Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney, faculty and staff helped to plant the first of 1,000 donated Japanese maples on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 near the UIS Pond on campus.

The maples, along with a pagoda, lanterns and granite statuary, are being donated by New Berlin business Davidsan’s Japanese Maples. The business will soon be closing as owner Gale Myers prepares to retire. Davidsan’s will work closely with the UIS Grounds Department on the design of a walking path and several groves of trees.

“This donation is being made to honor more than 30 years that Springfield has had a sister city relationship with Ashikaga, Japan and 20 years of the University of Illinois Springfield’s relationship with Ashikaga University” Myers said. “I traveled with UIS to Ashikaga three times in the early 2000s. During those trips I fell in love with Ashikaga, and I have been permanently influenced by Japan, the Japanese people and their culture. I brought home the idea that the world is one community. I believe that spreading that idea will increase international understanding and the well-being of all.”

Myers hopes the trees will serve as a beautiful symbol of contemplation and inspiration, each one adding to the well-being of the people in the world community. 

UIS plans to start planting the first 100 trees, and place the pagoda, near the UIS-LLCC bike trail behind the UIS Police Station, next to the campus pond. Trees will eventually cross to the other side of University Drive. Planting all of the trees will take about a year. 

“UIS has had a strong relationship with Ashikaga University (formerly Ashikaga Institute of Technology), for the past 20 years. We have exchanged students, staff and faculty each year since 2001,” said Jonathan GoldbergBelle, UIS director of study away programs, who helped coordinate the tree donation. “The generous gift from Gale Myers, who participated on our program to Ashikaga several times, and Davidsan’s Japanese Maples celebrates that relationship and the impact that it can have on program participants. It will enhance the beauty of our campus and continue to delight those who stroll along the path or pause in the gardens for decades to come.”

In 2000, UIS received the Tree Campus Higher Education designation from the Arbor Day Foundation. In order to receive the designation, UIS had to form a Campus Tree Advisory Committee and come up with a Campus Tree Care Plan.

“This very generous gift will enhance the beauty of our campus for many years to come,” said Brian Beckerman, UIS superintendent of grounds. “It comes at a time when many of our original trees are succumbing to age and the elements. The plantings will greatly enhance the diversity of our campus tree population and will provide enjoyment for so many for decades to come.”

In the fall, when GoldbergBelle hopes COVID-19 restrictions have eased, he is planning to have a larger, more formal dedication ceremony for the trees. Attendees would be encouraged to stroll the path between the maples and enjoy speakers and refreshments. He also hopes to livestream the event, so UIS’ friends in Ashikaga, Japan could participate.

Monday, April 19, 2021

UIS Good as Gold Ceremony honors more than 50 local volunteers, businesses and organizations

The University of Illinois Springfield, Junior League of Springfield and the United Way of Central Illinois honored more than 50 Sangamon County volunteers and businesses during the virtual 13th annual Good as Gold Ceremony. The winners were announced in a video released Monday on the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center’s website.

The Good as Gold Ceremony was started in 2008 to honor people, businesses and organizations who freely give their time and talents to make Sangamon County a better place to live.

Distinguished Volunteer Award

Steve Koch of Chatham was honored with the 2021 Distinguished Volunteer Award. He was nominated by Habitat for Humanity of Sangamon County.  

Koch’s talents as a financial advisor have been used to help Habitat and other organizations stay on track with their financial goals. He has donated more volunteer hours for his time and talent than can be counted. 

While at Habitat, Koch has served as a Board member since 2019. He has volunteered at build sites since 2018 and recruited clients, friends, and family to help. He is personally responsible for increasing the number of volunteers on the build site by more than 100 volunteers. Koch has served as a project coordinator for two new home builds and will chair another in 2021. 

Not only does he challenge himself to do more to help the neediest in our community, he encourages others to do so as well. Koch is very passionate about the help he can provide, and shows his emotion easily when touched by a story of helping someone get out of the situation they are in.  

Koch is also an active volunteer with the Central Illinois Foodbank, St. John's Breadline and St. Joseph's the Worker Church. He is a regular volunteer at the United Way's Day of Action, SJ-R’s Friend in Deed, and for Wreath's Across America (putting wreaths out at Camp Butler National Cemetery). He is a former board member and past president of the Sangamon Valley Estate Planning Council, former board member and past president of the Springfield Lake Homeowner's Association and a former Republican Precinct Committeeman. He’s also president of the Lincolnland Illini Club and has served in leadership roles at the Island Bay Yacht Club.

In the Chatham community, he has also served as a lector and religious education teacher, volunteered at the pancake breakfast and the mostaccioli dinner.

He has also made financial contributions to more than 20 local charitable organizations and fundraising campaigns. 

The 2021 Distinguished Volunteer finalists include Melissa Boastick, Julie Chrisman and Rabbi Barry Marks.

Star Student Award

University of Illinois Springfield political science major Bryce Thomas of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois was honored with the Star Student Award. He was nominated by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

In the two and a half years that Thomas has volunteered at the Museum, he has donated close to 150 service hours. In that time, he has fostered many meaningful relationships and friendships with the other volunteers and is appreciative of their knowledge and stories. 

He summarized, “I enjoy interacting with the public, especially those who are first-timers or from other countries. I like to watch our guests interact with the history of our nation and better understand how this history impacts our future.”  

The other finalist for this year’s award was Sara-Ann Rosen.

Star Staff Award

Elizabeth Ribarsky of Springfield, associate professor of communication at the University of Illinois Springfield, was honored with the Star Staff Award for her volunteer efforts in the community. Ribarsky was nominated by the Illinois Humane Society, who notes that her communication knowledge and skills have been extremely beneficial to the organization in fundraising and taking a lead in social media.

Ribarsky has chaired the annual Illinois Humane Trivia Night; in which she demonstrated effective leadership skills. She has solicited and directed help from additional volunteers and has developed crucial relationships with donors. In just two years, she raised an additional $25,000 for the organization with this event. 

In 2020, she continued innovative fundraising projects via social media. Getting such significant contributions during a year that challenged many businesses and individuals only speaks to the quality and quantity of relationships Ribarsky has formed and her ability to communicate the importance of the Illinois Humane Society’s mission.

Youth Volunteer Award

Reagan Weichold of Chatham was honored with the Youth Volunteer Award. She was nominated by the Animal Protective League (APL).  

Weichold is a mentor for the APL’s Junior Volunteer Program. She has assisted with the adoption process by taking and posting high-quality photos of dogs and cats online and on social media. This has been a tremendous help with the adoption process, as adopters are now asked to view potential pets online before walking into the shelter.

The APL values her time, energy and talents with connecting dogs and cats with adopters online.

Other finalists for this award included Tyler Lancaster and Audrey Lupton.

Heart of Gold Community Awards

Twenty volunteers were also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. Recipients included: Dennis Ahlberg, Anne Anderson, Stacey Austin, Jim Barr, Sandy Bellatti, Sally Cadagin, Becky Gabany, Paula Harris, Dorothy Hart, William G. Holland, DeeDee McCarty, Allison Montney, Traci Moore, Kristie Parkins, Megan Philpot, Renate Selby, Teressa Shelton, Kate Ward and Laura Winkelmann.

The entire Mostaccioli Dinner Committee, nominated by Sacred Heart Griffin High School, was also honored with the Heart of Gold Award. If not for the pandemic, the Mostaccioli Dinner would have celebrated its 62nd anniversary on Sunday, March 7, 2021. Top years of service on the current Mostaccioli Committee include Mike Ryan (50 years), Judy O’Shea (45 years), Carl Affrunti (41 years), Mary McMann (37 years), Mike Costa (30 years), Andrew Affrunti (22 years), Mike Orlando (20 years), Carrie Richardson (20 years), Maureen Long (15 years) and Jeff Tatarek (10 years).

Organization of the Year Award

The winner of the 2021 Organization of the Year Award is the Knights of Columbus Council 364. The Knights of Columbus have raised nearly $250,000 in the last year with their all-volunteer members.  The Volunteer team is under the leadership of Larry Johnson, Dave Groesch, Mike Workman, Mike Noonan, Terry Farmer, Steve Strack, Andy Adams and Greg Langdon. 

Through its various fundraising events such as ‘Big Raffle’ and ‘Feed the Hungry,’ the Knights of Columbus were able to make donations to local Catholic grade and high schools, the St. Martin de Porres Center and Helping Hands. 

During the winter, the Knights of Columbus continued to support the Helping Hands Shelter by preparing, delivering and serving protein-filled breakfasts on Saturday mornings to 40 shelter clients. The Knights of Columbus truly showcased their community spirit by stepping up and giving back during this pandemic.

Business Honor Roll

A total of 16 Sangamon County businesses were named to the Business Honor Roll. The honor roll recognizes businesses that have made giving back to our community a priority. Awards were divided into four categories: businesses with 1-10 employees, 11-50 employees, 51-150 employees and more than 150 employees. One business in each category received the honor of Golden Distinction.

Businesses honored with 1-10 employees includes Align Life of Springfield, Formea Insurance Group, Inc., Gem PR & Media/Illinois Local, Serious Lip Balm and UNDERDOG Sports, Memorabilia & Games. The Golden Distinction was awarded to The Storyteller Studios.

In the 11-50 employee’s category, Three Twigs Group was honored with the Golden Distinction.

St. Joseph’s Home was honored in the 51-150 employee’s category with M. J. Kellner Foodservice receiving the Golden Distinction. 

The following businesses with 151 employees or more were honored: Kerber, Eck & Braeckel, LRS, Lutheran Child and Family Services, Marine Bank, Memorial Health Systems and the YMCA of Springfield. SCHEELS received the Golden Distinction designation. 

For more information about the awards, please visit, email or call 217-206-7828.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Registration is now underway for more than 200 summer courses at UIS

Registration is now underway for more than 200 summer courses at the University of Illinois Springfield. Current and prospective students are encouraged to apply now for classes starting on June 7.

“Whether students are wanting to get a jumpstart on classes, or are determined to graduate sooner, this is a great opportunity to continue their educational goals,” said Natalie Herring, UIS associate provost for enrollment management.

Upper-level and general education courses are available online and in-person to fit students’ busy schedules. UIS is also offering late semester summer courses that start on July 6. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. 

Students from community colleges or other four-year colleges and universities who want to make the most of their summer can enroll as non-degree seeking students. Students are encouraged to check with their institution on the transferability of credit hours. UIS has transfer agreements with many community colleges and four-year institutions across the state for a smoother transfer of credit hours.

View a comprehensive list of available summer courses, including specific dates and instructors at New students will first need to apply for admission at Current students can sign up for summer classes by using Student Self-Service on the UIS homepage. 

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

Thursday, April 01, 2021

UIS to remain test-optional for undergraduate applicants through 2023-24

The University of Illinois Springfield will remain test-optional for undergraduate applicants through 2023-24, meaning SAT and ACT scores will not be required for admission. 

The University of Illinois Board of Trustee's Executive Committee approved the extension during a meeting on April 1, 2021. 

The decision was made in response to continued pandemic-driven restrictions on large gatherings in many places around the country that limit students’ ability to take the SAT and ACT tests. 

The decision extends a policy allowing test-optional admissions at UIS for the 2021-22 academic year. Many other universities in the United States have already extended test-optional policies, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This decision by the Executive Committee will allow those considering a U of I System university to apply without worrying about the availability of a standardized test,” U of I System President Tim Killeen said. “I thank our trustees for continuing to make the safety of our prospective students and fairness in our admissions processes top priorities.” 

The Executive Committee meets when action is required before a regular board meeting and acts with the authority of the full board. The action, which occurred during a virtual meeting, will be reported to the full board at its next regularly scheduled meeting, on May 20. The committee currently consists of board Chairman Don Edwards and Trustees Patricia Brown Holmes and Ramón Cepeda. 

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

“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 and the finance master’s degree at

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

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

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

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 Fall 2021 classes will start Aug. 20. 

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

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

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.

Monday, February 22, 2021

UIS partners with Creative Information Technology Inc. to build child welfare protection training apps

The University of Illinois Springfield Child Advocacy Studies Program (CAST) has partnered with Virginia-based Creative Information Technology Inc. (CITI) to build state-of-the-art smart phone and tablet-based apps that can be used by the child protection workforce and students across the country.

UIS students in the Child Advocacy Studies Program will serve as the first beta testers for the new apps that will help investigators and students make better decisions when it comes to protecting at-risk children.

“UIS students will have the opportunity to help shape these new tools by using real-world scenarios to test and improve the apps abilities,” said Betsy Goulet, UIS clinical assistant professor and Child Advocacy Studies Program coordinator. “UIS students will have access to these new tools before anyone else in the country.”

CITI will provide the UIS Child Advocacy Studies students with tablets that are pre-loaded with the new app software. 

The new apps will include a modern mash-up of child welfare best practices, experiential and simulated learning, evidence-based tools, cross-sector collaboration and technology innovation. The partnership focuses on modernizing essential practices and advancing child welfare through innovation and a multi-disciplinary approach to technology development.

UIS’ Child Advocacy Studies Program is a three-course curriculum created as a collaborative approach to training and educating frontline professionals and the next generation of child welfare practitioners. The program adheres to the standards developed for universities, and the faculty have years of experience in the child welfare field as practitioners and as trainers. UIS carries the distinction of being the second program in the United States to achieve approval from the Zero Abuse Project.

CITI is committed to human services and social welfare. CITI’s child welfare solution, Unify, will support the UIS CAST program and coursework to enhance child welfare education and skill development. Additionally, CITI will support the expansion of simulated learning programs to create a life-of-case lens for child welfare simulation models and expand simulation training with virtual reality technology.  

Friday, February 19, 2021

Innocent man represented by UIS Illinois Innocence Project receives pardon 30 years after wrongful convictions

The IIP argued Propst's case before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board in 2019.

The Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield is pleased to announce that its client Norman Propst, who was wrongfully convicted twice – in 1991 and 1997 – in Cook County has been pardoned, based on actual innocence, by Gov. JB Pritzker. 

“We are thrilled that the Governor has granted clemency to Norman Propst for these wrongful convictions,” said Propst’s attorney John Hanlon, executive director of the Illinois Innocence Project. “So many unjust convictions have occurred to innocent young Black men in Chicago. Unfortunately, Norman suffered for that reality. We are, however, so proud of the unselfish and successful way that he has devoted himself to his community since he left Chicago. It’s really quite a story.”

Propst was convicted of a 1990 robbery based on a notoriously unreliable eyewitness identification, i.e. a “show-up” procedure. He was also convicted of a workplace theft in 1997 even though his managers insisted no crime had occurred. One of those managers then resigned her position in support of Propst. 

Kaylan Schardan, a second-year law student at St. Louis University School of Law, also performed instrumental work toward Propst’s pardon when she volunteered for the Project in 2019. Under the direction of Hanlon, she researched and co-wrote Propst’s petition requesting a gubernatorial pardon based on strong evidence of Propst’s innocence. She then co-argued the petition in front of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board in fall 2019.

“Working on Norman’s case with the Illinois Innocence Project not only gave me valuable legal experience but also allowed me to meet wonderful people like him,” Schardan said. “Norman has waited decades to clear his name. I am honored to be a part of his journey toward justice. My time with the Project showed me the great need for post-conviction legal advocates. It's not easy work, but it is the most rewarding.”

in 1990, Propst was wrongfully accused by Chicago police and wrongfully convicted of robbery. Knowing he was facing a sentence of 15 years and his mother was suffering from serious health issues, he made the difficult decision to accept a plea deal to avoid the trauma of further court proceedings. He served several months in the Cook County jail followed by four years’ probation. 

In 1997, Propst was charged with retail theft concerning a book that was taken from a Borders Bookstore where he was employed. He maintained his innocence but ultimately pled guilty and received six months' supervision in order to avoid further proceedings regarding the matter. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, 20% of exonerations nationwide involve guilty pleas.

Propst has focused his life on helping others while trying for decades to clear his name. He co-founded the Atlanta chapter of Black Lives Matter and the Alliance for Black Lives, a social ‘injustice’ activist organization in Atlanta fighting racism, poverty and militarism. In partnership with the Gwinnett County commissioners, Propst played a leading role in securing their vote in January to remove a confederate monument in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

As a community organizer, he works with homeless and social justice organizations; speaks at public schools; advocates for LGBTQ rights, mental health awareness and the “Fight for $15” minimum wage movement; and advocates against gun violence, voter suppression and police brutality.

“The important thing in Norman’s case is not just about the time he served; rather, it’s about the fact that he now will have the ability to go to college, get a degree in social work and then get a job helping kids improve their lives,” Hanlon said. “That has been his life’s dream. He could not do any of those things with these convictions hanging over him. He has already done incredible work in his community, but now he can greatly enhance that without the legal and practical burdens posed by the wrongful convictions.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

UIS announces Fall Semester 2020 Dean’s List

The University of Illinois Springfield has released the Dean’s List for Fall Semester 2020. A total of 711 students were selected; 85 are students in the College of Business and Management, 59 are students in the College of Education and Human Services, 463 are enrolled in programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 71 are enrolled in programs in the College of Public Affairs and Administration and 33 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, maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.75 for the semester and had no incomplete grades awarded 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 2020 Dean's List PDF | Fall 2020 Dean's List Excel

Monday, February 08, 2021

UIS to offer 28 accelerated courses starting March 15 to help students continue their educational goals

The University of Illinois Springfield will offer 28 accelerated online and blended courses for prospective and current students. Most classes will begin Monday, March 15, and will conclude in early May. 

“This is a great opportunity for new UIS students to start or finish their education,” said UIS Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney. “It’s also a chance for current students to add to their course load and potentially earn their degree in a shorter period of time.”

Due to the accelerated nature of the classes, it is recommended that students only enroll in one course.

Accelerated courses will be offered in accounting, athletic training, business, communication, education, educational leadership, human development counseling, management, management information systems, mathematics, and music. A full list of courses is available at 

Prospective students can apply for admission at through March 10. Current UIS students can register through March 21 using the instructions found at All courses are eligible for financial assistance.

For more information, prospective students are encouraged to contact the UIS Office of Admission at 217-206-4847 or Current UIS students should direct questions to the Office of Record and Registration at 217-206-6174 or

Thursday, January 28, 2021

UIS to hold virtual grand opening for the new Center for Lincoln Studies

On President Abraham Lincoln’s 212th birthday, the University of Illinois Springfield will hold a virtual grand opening for the new Center for Lincoln Studies at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 12 via Zoom. The Center will be a national base for scholarship, teaching and public history about Lincoln's life, leadership and legacy.

The goal of the Center for Lincoln Studies is to encourage continued research on Lincoln and his time here in Illinois where he spent a quarter century of his life, and to connect the character of Lincoln to the nation today.

"The study of past is vital to understanding our present,” said Anne Moseley, acting director of the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies. “Just like all of us Lincoln had success, failures, sadness and joy throughout his life that made him into icon we admire today. He is an example of an ordinary man made extraordinary. It is my hope that through the Center for Lincoln Studies we will cultivate the next generation of Lincoln Scholars who will continue dive into the life and legacy of Lincoln.”

The public is invited to tune into the webinar as UIS cuts the virtual ribbon on the center, which will be followed by a lively discussion among Lincoln scholars.

Panelists for the discussion include Christian McWhirter, Lincoln historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; Justin Blandford, superintendent of state historic sites in Springfield; Sarah Watson, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area (Looking for Lincoln); Timothy Good, superintendent of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site; Michael Burlingame, Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at UIS; and Graham Peck, Wepner Distinguished Professor of Lincoln Studies at UIS.

Registration is required for the event. Please register online at A Zoom link will be emailed to those who register. 

The Abraham Lincoln Association will be hosting additional Lincoln programs throughout Lincoln’s birthday weekend. Visit for more information.

For more information on the grand opening, contact Anne Moseley at 217-206-8663 or

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

UIS online bachelor’s degree programs ranked among the top 10 percent in the country

The University of Illinois Springfield’s online bachelor’s degree programs have been ranked 34th best in the country (out of 357 institutions) by U.S. News and World Report. The 2021 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 53 out of 184 in the non-MBA business category, while the UIS online master’s degree in education was ranked 91 out of 317 degrees.

“UIS has ranked among the top tier of U.S. News Best Online Program rankings of undergraduate programs since their inception in 2012,” said Ray Schroeder, UIS associate vice chancellor of online learning. “We are honored to once again be ranked among the top 10 percent of online programs by the rigorous and highly respected rankings by U.S. News. With this recognition comes our promise to continue to provide excellence in all of our online classes and programs.”

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. UIS also offers 12 graduate programs and 12 certificate programs online. 

“We believe that connecting our online students to the university community allows them to have an exceptional online learning experience,” said Vickie Cook, executive director of UIS online, professional and engaged learning. “Excellent faculty, strong online technologies, and co-curricular activities that will prepare students for future careers are critical in today’s world. We believe that students excel when given a chance to immerse themselves in a high quality online learning environment.”

According to census data, a total of 1,540 students were enrolled in online at UIS during Fall Semester 2020. UIS online students reside in 46 states, 82 counties in Illinois and nine foreign countries and one territory (Guam). 

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