Know Your U

Shakespeare Garden
Shakespeare Garden

Know Your U

The Know Your U program is being launched in August 2019 as a system-wide effort to provide our dedicated employees with opportunities to learn more about the wonderful university they work so hard to support.

The program is designed to provide eligible staff with ways to discover and experience, during their normal workday, the initiatives, research, academic programs, history, and infrastructure at our universities.

Supervisors are strongly encouraged to promote Know Your U engagement for staff in their units and to consider ways to build these experiences into department/unit team building.  The overall goal is to help our valuable staff learn about the exciting and transformational activities that occur across our institutions and to provide ways of enhancing pride in our workplaces.


Permanent full- or part-time civil service and academic professional (including visiting) staff who have been employed for six months or more are eligible to participate.

Know Your U Activities

Know Your U activities should be those that foster an understanding of and connection to the University of Illinois and present an opportunity to learn about some facet of the university, preferably outside the employee’s normal scope of responsibilities.

Activities already officially designated as Approved Events (Release Time) are not considered activities under the Know Your U Program.  For example, Rising Stars, Employee of the Month/ Employee of the Year Recognition Receptions or Department staff retreats.

  • Example Activities
    Each university and the system offices will maintain a list of suggested activities that would qualify for this program.Examples could include attending a scholarly talk on campus, visiting a lab to learn about cutting-edge research, arranging a tour of a new facility on campus, and/or attending a professor’s investiture.Examples for UIS include:

    • UIS Community Garden -participate from weeds to seeds to harvest.
    • Take a non-guided tour of the student union (play some games, dine, enjoy the fire pits).
    • Check out the newly renovated Brookens Library (More than just books!)
    • Attend a Star Party on the library rooftop.
    • Check out The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC). Get a free fitness assessment, take a fitness class (first class free), learn what’s at the TRAC.
    • Attend an APAC/CSAC Fourth Friday event.
    • Attend a student research presentation or dissertation.
    • Register to read to a child at the Cox Childcare Center.
    • Check out the UIS Music Department.  Learn what courses are offered; sit in on a performance.
    • Check out the Art Studio.  View art in the gallery and learn about programs.
    • Visit the Field Station by the Lake.
    • Attend an ECCE series event.
    • Attend a Lincoln Legacy Series event.
    • Attend a campus speaker event.
    • Attend a UIS Athletics Event.
    • Take an online class LinkedIn Learning (offered by ITS) and Mango (offered by Brookens Library).  What can you learn today?
    • Attend or volunteer to help at the Stars Research Symposium
    • Ride along with a UIS Police Officer.  (Contact Police Department for details.)
    • Attend a Student Preview Day and take a Campus Tour (Contact Admissions for details.)
    • Volunteer to help on student move-in day.
    • Volunteer at Springfest
    • Discover the Shakespeare Garden and learn about the flora within Shakespeare’s works.
    • Contact the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center for volunteer opportunities that take place on the UIS campus.
    • Shadow Human Resources (Contact HR office for details.)
    • Other: be creative!

    UIS HR will be collaborating with other campus entities to offer organized events and guided tours throughout the academic year.  Possible ideas (subject to change!) include:

    • Tour the Residential Simulation Lab. September 12, 2019. 
    • Experience Emiquon on October 4thClick Here
    • Back of House of Catering/Banquet Foodservice guided tour. (Sample decadent turtle cups, pineapple and Princess Fruit Dip and learn Chef’s secret recipe!) November
    • Tour WUIS. December
    • Tour UIS archives.  December
    • Tour a Residence Hall and Student Housing.  January 2020
    • Attend a mini acting class taught by a UIS Theatre professor.  February 2020
    • Learn about the Illinois Innocence Project.  March 2020
    • Tour Innovate Springfield.  April 2020
    • Tour the State Capitol to learn more about the ILSIP program.  April 2020
    • Visit a UIS Greenhouse & Take a Campus Landscape Tour.   May 2020
    • Tour the Nursing Department and see how this UIC program works.  June 2020
    • Tour the Exercise Science Department and learn tips for stretching and exercising at your desk.  June 2020
    • Take a guided tour of COLRS and attend a Generation Z workshop.  July 2020
    • Tour the Performing Arts Center.  August 2020
    • Get a behind the scenes tour of Illinois State Museum’s Research and Collections Center and learn about ISM’s partnerships with UIS.  Sept 2020

Time Usage

Length of Time

Up to eight (8) hours may be granted each academic year (August 16 – August 15).  Activities typically will be in one- to two-hour increments and can be done individually or in groups. Once an employee uses eight (8) hours of time in an academic year, the employee is not eligible again under the Know Your U Program until the next academic year.

Employees will be granted this time during their normal work day and should NOT use accumulated vacation leave or floating holidays when participating in an approved event under this program. This program cannot be exchanged for a day off from work; it may be used only to participate in activities related to the University of Illinois. Additionally, department/unit events (e.g., office retreats; holiday events; team building workshops) should not count towards the employee’s eight (8) hours of activity time. Unused hours will not carry over into the next academic year and have no monetary value if not used.


Yoga in the library
Join a campus yoga session to relax and finish out your day strong.


Participating in the Know Your U Program should be arranged at a time that is workable for both the employee and the department. When requesting to participate, the employee must provide his/her supervisor with as much advanced notification as possible. Supervisors may deny the request based on operational needs.

Employees should obtain prior supervisory approval before attending or participating in a Know Your U activity by using this form.

 Reporting Activity Time

Time spent participating in an approved activity is considered work time during the normal scheduled work day and is not subject to overtime and should not extend an employee’s workday or workweek. Civil Service non-exempt (overtime eligible) employees should report the time as regular straight time in the appropriate time reporting increments. There is no reporting requirement for overtime exempt academic and civil service employees as there is no leave usage.


The University of Illinois is creating an electronic tracking system for recording hours utilized on the Know Your U program.  Until that tracking mechanism is available, please keep a list of your Know Your U hours.

Benefits Continuation

Because activity time is considered work time, employees continue to receive the same State and University benefits. All State-paid contributions continue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to commonly asked questions.

Volunteer to help with Move-In Day for students.

Who to Contact with Additional Questions

Contact Human Resources if you have questions about this program: (217) 206-6652

Have a Know Your U Activity Idea?  Please email Amy Gurnitz or Ceitha Steele