Publish Date

Academic Affairs News - October 2023

From Provost Schwab

Dear colleagues:

It’s hard to believe that we already are past the mid-point of fall semester and that some of you just submitted grades while others started second-half courses this week. Leaves are turning, which soon will lead to what I’m told is one of the most beautiful sights on campus, the ring of red maples. This is my favorite season and with the chill in the air comes the change to standard time as we set clocks back on Sunday, November 5, meaning some of us will arrive in the dark, and many will leave in the dark. Some of us will do both. Please be safe and watch for deer on the roads this, and almost any, time of year! If you’re looking to get into the autumnal spirit, there are a variety of seasonal activities on campus including a Trunk or Treat for Canned Goods by the Cox Children’s Center, The Thanksgiving Play by UIS Theatre, and a series of SECA events. 

For those who have not yet taken the opportunity to complete this year’s Ethics Act Training, time is running out, so please be sure to do so no later than Tuesday, October 31, 5:00 p.m. (Central Time).

As the end of the semester rushes upon us, please take care of yourselves and each other and encourage students to do the same. 

Provost’s fall open office hours 

  • Faculty & Staff:  Friday, November 10, 1:00-3:00 p.m. – HSB 302 (HSB 304 “waiting room”)
  • Students:  Wednesday, November 8, 4:00-5:30 p.m. – Student Union 228

Opportunities to make a difference

  • Good Ideas abound at UIS! A wide variety of creative proposals was received from across the university, with “good ideas” focusing on meeting the needs of our students, employees, the broader UIS community, and beyond the campus to engage with the Central Illinois community. The Provost’s Leadership Team reviewed the 19 Good Idea Fund applications requesting a total of $79,610 from the $46,771.04 available, and the total Good Idea Fund pool has been committed.  Eight proposals were fully funded, and five proposals were awarded partial funding. We look forward to learning of the positive impacts of the funded projects listed below:
    • Artificial Intelligence/Data Analytics Projects for Division of Finance - $4,956.00
      Computer Science and Math faculty will recruit and mentor six undergraduate and graduate Computer Science and Data Analytics students to obtain real-world work experience by completing AI/Data Analytics projects to automate processes in HR, Facilities, and Performing Arts. Submitted by Elham Buxton
    • Prairie Stars Finals Success Kits - $400.00
      Student Union staff will provide students with most-requested school supplies from the UIS CARES Supply Stop leading up to finals week. Kits will also include information about Union extended hours for finals week and other resources that will help students de-stress during finals. Submitted by Ashley Hall
    • Upgrades to Orion Lab - $3959.00
      The addition of three large format 3D printers and a CO2 Laser Engraver will provide Orion Lab learners with more reliable access to newer and different machines so they can express their ideas more quickly with shorter wait times. A community outreach program that will teach rapid prototyping is also planned. Submitted by Joshua Smith
    • UIS/Community College Summer Research Pilot Program - $5,000.00
      UIS Life Sciences faculty will offer a summer pilot research program to recruit talented Lincoln Land Community College students to the life sciences. Students will receive training in research ethics, safety, and basic research techniques before engaging in laboratory research with UIS faculty. Submitted by Noah Reynolds
    • Conference on the State of Black Springfield - $5,000.00
      This day-long conference will bring leaders in key areas of the Springfield Black community to the UIS campus and contribute to the university’s efforts to move forward on equity and issues of belonging, creating space for our students to actively engage with community leaders from a historically disenfranchised and minoritized racial/ethnic group. Submitted by Lesa Johnson
    • New Music Springfield Pilot Program - $5,000.00 
      Music faculty will pilot a program of experimental, avant-garde, and contemporary music. The inclusive program will highlight composers and performers from groups historically excluded from the world of concert music and include performers from UIS and the surrounding community as well as reaching out to local public schools. Submitted by Yona Stamatis
    • Marketing for Short Term Summer Study Abroad - $4,860.00
      Study Away faculty will partner with Marketing on a campaign to raise awareness and help more students perceive study away as possible, keeping their focus on completing the several steps necessary to enroll, receive funding, and complete the impactful experience. Submitted by Peter Shapinsky
    • Blue Friday - $3,000
      Student Affairs (also providing matching funds) will take the lead in ordering and distributing shirts and other UIS gear to create a greater sense of belonging and pride for current and prospective members of the UIS community as we proudly wear our blue on Fridays. Submitted by Ann Comerford (student suggestion)
    • UIS Parent Closet - $2,846.04
      The Cox Children’s Center will partner with several other UIS units to launch a Parent Closet to support student-parents and encourage retention and recruitment by providing necessities such as diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, children's clothing, children's books and toys, and more. Submitted by Stacy Gilmore
    • Finance Job Shadowing - $3,750.00
      Accounting, Economics and Finance faculty and staff from the Office of Engaged Learning will create experiential learning opportunities for students by identifying industry partners and pairing five UIS students with finance industry professionals in this pilot job shadowing experience. Submitted by Serkan Karadas
    • Psychology Interest and Engagement (PIE) Table - $1,000.00
      The Psychology Department and Psychology Club will offer an assortment of quick psychology activities to engage current and prospective students during the semester and Open House days. This hands-on experience with psychological principles will highlight our fun and welcoming campus where students can engage in hands-on and active learning experiences. Submitted by Dylan Blaum
    • Opportunities to Engage our Campus Community - $3,000.00
      APAC and CSAC will partner to foster a stronger sense of community and a positive, inclusive, collaborative working environment among UIS employees by creating opportunities for engagement, enrichment, and entertainment on and off campus. Submitted by Robin Vansacik (with Jeff Sudduth)
    • Stand Up Paddleboards - $4,000.00
      TRAC will provide students from rural and urban backgrounds the opportunity to explore recreation on the water, in addition to current offerings of canoe and kayak trips. Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) will offer another great way to explore Lake Springfield and Sugar Creek, providing students with an additional healthy outdoor outlet from their academics and a break from technology. Submitted by James Koeppe

Useful resources

  1. Diversifying Faculty in Illinois Fellowships – Please share this opportunity with graduate students who may be planning a career as a professor or an academic professional at an Illinois college or university. Students must be from underrepresented groups (as defined for this program by the state) and have demonstrated financial need.  For questions, contact Graduate Education.
  2. My UI Financials is a report distribution system providing quick access to all of your financial and payroll reports in one place. Link to My UI Financials training and resources
  3. Fiscal Control and Internal Auditing Act (FCIAA) notifications will go out on November 1and questionnaires are due to be completed and approved by January 5, 2024. Link to FCIAA training information along with information pertaining to the questionnaire
  4. Internal Controls – resolving conflicting role combinations:  Please continue to review the current Internal Controls web page (UIS login required) to review conflicting role combinations that may exist within your unit, and develop a plan to resolve. If that isn’t possible given current staffing, you will need to complete a new electronic Exception Request Form coming out in November (details forthcoming).

News worth celebrating

  1. Strengthening Institutions Partnership (SIP) Grant: UIS was successful in garnering a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant focused on high impact practices (HIP) to attract and retain more first-generation, low-income, and historically marginalized students. Read more about the SIP grant(link is external)
  2. The Illinois Mexican and Mexican American Students (I-MMAS) program is a U of I System initiative that aims to recruit Mexican and Mexican-American students and to promote and support student and faculty academic exchanges between Mexican and U of I institutions. On October 13, 2023, three representatives from the U of I system traveled to Mexico for the Fiesta de Ciencias y Humanidades at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, which has an enrollment of 257,000 students, to promote the I-MMAS program. Lucía Vázquez represented UIS and gave presentations to a diverse audience consisting of high school students, parents, college students, and prospective graduate students. In addition, Lucía conducted several DNA isolation workshops, which were very popular among the attendees. The U of I system plans to organize more trips to Mexico to recruit students and promote research collaborations with Mexican institutions.
  3. Grant Awards: The following grants have been received over the past few weeks. The name of the Principal Investigator (PI) is also included:
    • Illinois Network of Child Care Resources and Referral; $33,000 Smart Start Transition Grant (Round 2) to the Cox Center. PI- Stacey Gilmore.
    • Illinois Arts Council Agency: $3,900 General Operation Support Grant to the Visual Art Gallery. PI-Allison Lacher.
    • Illinois Department of Transportation: $126,488.01 State and Community Highway Safety Program Grant to CSPL. PI- Alan Simmons.
    • Illinois Department of Transportation: $89,107.15 State and Community Highway Safety Program Grant to CSPL. PI- Alan Simmons.
    • Illinois Department of Transportation: $198,763.17 State and Community Highway Safety Program Grant to CSPL. PI-Tonda Reece.
    • Illinois Department of Transportation: $125,524.18 State and Community Highway Safety Program Grant to CSPL. PI-Tonda Reece.
    • Illinois State Board of Education: $22,500. Grow Your Own Teacher Program to the School of Education. PI- Beth Hatt.

Save the date

  1. Friday, October 27, 5:00 p.m. SECA Silent Auction bidding ends(link is external)
  2. Thursday, November 2, 3:30-5:00 p.m. – Employee Fall Information Session – Student Union Ballroom (Chancellor Gooch, VCFA Ken Kriz, and VCERM Vickie Cook)
  3. Sunday, November 5, 2:00 a.m. – Remember to “fall back” and enjoy your extra hour, courtesy of the time change.
  4. Friday, November 9, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.SECA Bingo Fundraiser(link is external) - Student Union Ballroom
  5. Thursday, November 23 and Friday, November 24 – Thanksgiving holidays

Newsletter contact: Monica Kroft

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