Chancellor Koch Biography
Susan J. Koch is Chancellor of the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois, one of three campuses that collectively constitute Illinois’s leading and most comprehensive university. As Chancellor, Dr. Koch is the chief executive officer of the Springfield campus, the top-ranked regional public campus in the state – known for exceptional public affairs programs that align with the campus’s state capital location, outstanding professional programs that serve regional needs and high-quality liberal arts education that prepares effective citizens and leaders.
As Chancellor, Koch is responsible for providing leadership for the priorities, operations and programs of UIS. She and her leadership team work in partnership with faculty, staff and students to ensure an intellectually rich and supportive educational environment while also collaborating with the community in mutually beneficial exchanges and activities.
Since her appointment in July 2011, Koch has led the successful completion of the Brilliant Futures Campaign, which surpassed its $28 million goal and set new expectations for fundraising success. She has also led the campus in a reaffirmation of its strategic plan and in building consensus around three strategic priorities: growth, talent acquisition and retention, and facilities. Since 2011, the campus has increased enrollment and enhanced diversity at both undergraduate and graduate levels and added seven new academic programs. Koch and her team have increased the visibility of the campus with a new branding and marketing strategy, Leadership lived. She also contributes a popular monthly column, UIS Perspectives, to the local Springfield newspaper, The State Journal-Register. Koch has enlarged the campus investment in two emerging areas of academic excellence: the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon, the university’s wetlands research facility, and the Ethnomusicology program in the Department of Art, Music, and Theatre. A highly visible campus leader, Koch has established new communication channels with students, faculty, staff and alumni including the popular “Chocolate with the Chancellor” events, regular faculty gatherings and “Letters from the Chancellor.” In 2013, she implemented a new campus employment program for students and is currently leading an initiative to build UIS’s first student union facility, which will open in 2016.
Koch is an active member of the Springfield community, serving on the Greater Springfield Chamber’s Q5 Strategic Leadership Council as well as on several boards, including Memorial Medical Center, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and the United Way of Central Illinois. Koch also holds an appointment as Vice President of the University of Illinois, serving on the UI President’s Cabinet and assisting the President and Board of Trustees in guiding the overall operations of the University of Illinois.
Koch was previously the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northern Michigan University. She also served as Associate Provost and Graduate Dean at the University of Northern Iowa where she was Professor of Health Education and co-founder of the UNI Global Health Corps, a field-based organization that provides public health services for underserved populations in the U.S. and abroad. Her scholarship and teaching focus on health education, international health, conflict resolution, and health and human rights.
Koch earned a bachelor’s degree from Dakota State University in South Dakota and master’s and doctoral degrees in Community Health and Education from the University of Northern Iowa. She holds a tenured faculty position at UIS in the College of Education and Human Services.
Dr. Koch and her husband, Dennis, are the parents of four children and the grandparents of eight. Her husband is engaged in agribusiness and the Kochs raise and show purebred Angus cattle.