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It takes a strong team to do the important work we’re tasked with in higher education. With that in mind, UIS launched the Rise initiative in Fall 2023. Rise is focused on lifting up the UIS community through intentional engagements for professional development, culture-strengthening and belonging.

Visit this page often to stay up-to-date on the latest Rise opportunities.


Spring Employee Information Session -- Feb. 22

Similar to our fall session, the 3 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22 info session in the Student Union will be dedicated to sharing information on our most significant university priorities. Drs. Ken Kriz and Vickie Cook will again be presenting on our budget and enrollment. Following the presentations, we will be available to answer audience questions, or you can submit your question ahead of time to chancellor@uis.edu this week.


Spring 2024 Rise Professional Development Retreat — March 1

Registration is now closed!

UIS is once again offering a half-day Professional Development Retreat for employees focused on Redefining Workplace Culture. Sessions will offer employees the opportunity to better understand the components of strong teams and workplace habits.

The retreat will include a continental breakfast in the PAC first-floor lobby provided by the UI System Wellness Committee; five breakout sessions; and a boxed lunch featuring an engaging keynote speech on “Brave Teams Build Trust” by UIS alum Tess Fyalka, who has more than 25 years of experience as a leadership development coach, team coach and corporate trainer.

Two Tracks

  • Track 1: Workshops & Lunch/Keynote (continental breakfast, two workshops, boxed lunch with keynote address): 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Performing Arts Center & Student Union Ballroom. Limited to 225 people.
  • Track 2: Workshop Sessions Only (continental breakfast and two workshops): 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. — Performing Arts Center. No capacity limits.

Due to space constraints, this event is open to Civil Service staff, Academic Professional staff and Faculty.

Each participant will attend two workshop sessions. When registering, you will be asked to rank your session preferences. Your selections will be confirmed prior to the retreat.

Session Descriptions & Learning Outcomes

Session A: Multigenerational Teams: Building Inclusivity to Support Success. Presented by Dr. Vickie Cook, vice chancellor for enrollment & retention management and research professor, School of Education. Five generations of employees reside in the UIS workplace today. This workshop will discuss the differences, similarities and ways in which supervisors and teams can celebrate and build on the experiences of exceptional team members from all generations.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Have a greater understanding of the value of multigenerational teams in higher education.
  • How to avoid issues as a supervisor or a team member of a multigenerational team.
  • Create a toolkit of best practices to build collaboration and foster understanding across a multigenerational team.

Session B: Leadership Styles and Department Builders. Presented by Ann Comerford, associate vice chancellor for auxiliaries, and James Koeppe, director of campus recreation.

This interactive workshop will offer participants the chance to learn about their own leadership style and how to use the leadership style inventory with their own team. Participants will also learn about teambuilders and icebreakers, why they are important and how to make them a part of your professional development toolkit. 

Learning outcomes:

  • Learn about your own leadership style and how using the inventory with your work team will help with communication and productivity in the workplace.
  • Learn why teambuilders and icebreakers are important to workplace trust, communication, problem-solving and productivity.
  • Learn how to conduct these activities and de-brief techniques.

Session C: Minding Our Mind: Thriving at Work Through the Power of Presence. Presented by Dr. Zihan Liu, assistant professor of management, College of Business and Management. This interactive session will focus on the invaluable benefits of mindfulness in the workplace. During the session, participants will engage in reflective exercises to assess their current mindfulness levels and explore the profound impact of being mindful or mindless on both professional and personal lives. 

Learning outcomes:

  • Participants will have a newfound understanding of their mindfulness status and a heightened appreciation for the role mindfulness plays in thriving at work.
  • Participants will also learn strategies to stay focused on the present moment and embody happiness, productivity, and creativity in both their professional and personal endeavors. 

Session D: Building Workplace Culture Through Communication and Boundaries. Presented by Joy Brownridge and Colleen Crawford, University System Human Resources. This interactive workshop will discuss building connections, establishing and communicating personal boundaries and handling conflict with empathy.

Learning outcomes:

  • Explore simple ways to build meaningful connections with your colleagues.
  • Learn why setting boundaries and communicating them to your team enhances your experience at work.
  • Become adept at using empathy to help navigate conflict.

Session E: Strategies, Suggestions & Stories: How to Create, Facilitate and Sustain an Inclusive and Empathetic Workplace Environment. Presented by Dr. Bethany Bilyeu, Executive Director Student Support Services, and Justin J. Rose, director of diversity and inclusion. In this panel-discussion, participants will learn from UIS professionals regarding their studied perspectives on inclusivity, empathy, and equitable practices in the workplace and explore practical applications. 

Learning outcomes:

  • Attendees will be equipped with a resource list/and action plan template to utilize/incorporate that brings people together, clarifies policies and provides pathways toward personal growth/accountability.
  • Attendees will be able to identify and establish inclusive practices within their work that reinforces/aligns their department’s mission, vision, and brand.
  • Attendees will gain an understanding of how to utilize empathy and personal strengths in cultivating supportive work environments.

Past Opportunities

Please see our list of past events.

Upcoming Opportunities

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This spring, UIS is offering faculty and staff the opportunity to attend another on-campus Professional Development Retreat as part of our…