Publish Date

Dear UIS Colleagues —

It is National Volunteer Month, and I am always excited to see how dedicated our university is to serving the community and each other. This week, volunteers have the fun task of assisting and judging Springfest activities. Many of you have committed to volunteering for one or both of the upcoming UIS Commencement ceremonies in May. If you’re still looking for a volunteer activity this month, the UIS Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center has many opportunities available.

New Information 

Meet UIS Chancellor Designate Janet Gooch 

I am thrilled to share that Chancellor Designate Janet Gooch is visiting the UIS campus this week, and we are hosting an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to meet her tomorrow, Tuesday, April 19, in the Student Union ballroom. A program will begin at 10:30 a.m., during which you will hear from Dr. Gooch directly and get to know her on both a personal and professional level. Following remarks, Dr. Gooch will be available until noon to meet and mingle with attendees. Refreshments will be provided.

If you cannot attend the event in person, the remarks will be livestreamed via this link.

UIC School of Law Partnership 

UIS students now have the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree and law degree in six years thanks to a new agreement with the UIC School of Law. Read more about it here.  

Director of the School of Education  

We look forward to welcoming Beth Hatt as the new director of the University of Illinois Springfield School of Education. Hatt earned her PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in an interdisciplinary, social justice-based program titled, “Culture, Curriculum and Change.”  

Get Prepped for Annual Performance Evaluations

Human Resources is holding two training sessions to answer questions on the new annual performance evaluation process.

  • Annual Evaluations Open Forum: All-campus virtual forum to discuss the new format and answer questions from supervisors and employees. A recording of this session will be posted on the Human Resources website.
    April 20 | 10:30 to noon | Zoom  
  • Supervisory Training: Annual evaluation training for supervisors.
    May 4 | 2:30-4 p.m. |  Zoom

Workers’ Compensation 

Kenzie Westlake is the new workers’ compensation contact person with UIS Human Resources. Kenzie can be reached at or 217-206-6670. For details about the workers’ compensation process at UIS, please visit the HR website. 

Health & Safety Fair 

The annual Health and Wellness Fair is back with a new name this year. The Health & Safety Fair is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, in TRAC. This event is for students and employees. Stop by for a 15-minute chair massage; have a conversation with fire, police or conservation officers; learn about stroke prevention and more. A blood drive will run in conjunction with the Health & Safety Fair. 

State Budget Update  

Illinois legislators recently passed the 2023 fiscal year budget on April 9. The UI System Governmental Relations team successfully advocated on behalf of our faculty, staff and students. Here are some key takeaways for UIS. 

  • MAP funding increased 27% to $601 million. The maximum award was increased to $8,508 and expands eligibility to students seeking short-term credits and certificates.  
  • The Illinois Innocence Project received $3 million in funding to support program expansion.   
  • A 2022 supplemental budget was secured, which provides an additional 5% to the UI operating budget as well as 5% for FY 2023.
  • Capital funds were re-appropriated for the following projects: 
    • Library Learning and Student Success Center  
    • Public Safety Building 
    • Visual and Performing Arts building upgrades 
    • Discovery Partners Institute/IIN hub project  
    • Deferred maintenance projects  


UIS Campus Relations & Marketing is seeking to feature ’22 grads who have accepted a job offer after Commencement. If you know of a student who has accepted an offer of employment, nominate them for a HIRED! feature. Contact Blake Wood or share this self-nomination form. 

Studio Theatre 

Renovations have begun on the UIS Studio Theatre Lobby. The lighting work will be complete by the end of this week. These renovations are part of the overall plan to upgrade the UIS Performing Arts Center.

Information that Bears Repeating 

Commencement Update 

FASC Crowdfunding Update 

The crowdfunding effort to support the annual Faculty and Staff Campaign has raised $14,530 for the 26 units that participated. More than 45% of UIS employees have already made a gift this fiscal year; please consider joining them. Any gift of any amount to any fund before June 30 counts toward this year’s campaign. 

Retirement & Recognition Ceremony 

Mark your calendars for the virtual 2022 UIS Retirement and Recognition Ceremony from 9 to 10 a.m. April 28. Tune in here via Zoom.

Website Migration 

The Office of Web Services has completed all website migrations to the new Drupal site and sent out communications to each of the departments with information on next steps. Please review your migrated website and provide any updates or changes and/or provide approval to publish. If OWS does not hear from you by April 29, it will assume your new site is ready to go and will be automatically migrated on May 2. Please direct questions to

Celebrating our Star Power 

Congratulations to Eric Kuchar for being named UIS’ April 2022 Employee of the Month. Eric is an assistant to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  

Congratulations to Professor of Communication Beth Ribarsky, PhD, for being elected secretary of the Undergraduate Education and Administration Section of the Central States Communication Association. During the conference, Dr. Ribarsky was also named a Top Panel Award Winner in two categories.

Congratulations to Svet Braynov, PhD, chair of the Computer Science department, and faculty members who were part of the recent opening of the Illinois National Guard’s Joint Cyber Range in Springfield. The Computer Science department is currently in discussions to possibly collaborate with the ING in cybersecurity.

There is power in positivity, and it makes me happy to share the positive stories and happenings on our campus.


Karen M. Whitney, PhD 

Interim Chancellor  University of Illinois Springfield 

News Categories