Goal #5: Enrollment and Retention

**The below information is from the 2006-2016 UIS Strategic Plan. For information on the current 2018-2028 Strategic Compass, visit https://www.uis.edu/strategiccompass/ **

By improving access and opportunity, the University of Illinois at Springfield seeks to enroll, retain, and graduate a larger and more diverse student body engaged in classroom and technology-enhanced education in a thriving learning community and university that meet students’ educational goals.


Strategic Thrust #1: Improve Access and Opportunity for Traditional and Non-traditional Students

Recognizing the shifting demographics and economics of our state’s citizenry, UIS will be recognized as a leader in providing access and opportunity for traditional and non-traditional learners. The Office of Enrollment Management will discuss plans with the Academic Cabinet to ensure that goals are communicated effectively.Assure that no Illinois resident is denied a UIS education based solely on need constraints.

Action Step #1: Ensure that merit- and need-based financial aid are competitive with levels of other public institutions in Illinois.

Action Step #2: Develop and implement a plan for increasing need- and merit-based funding to increase access and ensure a UIS education remains affordable for all students.

Action Step #3: Increase private sources of funds to provide additional sources of funding for students.

Action Step #4: Develop curricular offerings in new general education program for delivery in fall 2006.

Action Step #5: Obtain Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) approval for general education coursework during 2005-2006 academic year.

Action Step #6: Align targeted marketing efforts with enrollment trends of online degree programs to ensure enrollment capacity is achieved.

Action Step #7: Explore venues for supporting continuing education opportunities for lifelong and non-degree-seeking learners.

Action Step #8: Create a mechanism for consultation between the Office of Admissions and Records and faculty about recruitment, admissions process, and retention.

Performance Indicators for strategic thrust #1:

  • Comprehensive general education curriculum for freshmen and transfer undergraduate students developed by fall 2006
  • Plan in place for assuring that no Illinois resident is denied an education based solely on need
  • Enrollment of more students from outside the central Illinois region, especially in online degree programs
  • Continuing Education program re-established


Strategic Thrust #2: Enroll a Larger and More Diverse Student Body

UIS is committed to enhancing the educational experiences of students by enrolling a larger and more diverse student body. Through opportunities to interact and learn collaboratively with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, our graduates will be recognized as being among the best prepared to work and live in our global society.

Action Step #9: Develop and offer a bridge program for students who have pattern deficiencies or would benefit from additional educational preparation.

Action Step #10: Expand residential housing options by opening another residence hall.

Action Step #11: Coordinate the scheduling of the general education curriculum to assure an adequate number of course sections at times and in multiple delivery formats that do not create conflicts for students seeking to enroll on a full-time or part-time basis.

Action Step #12: Ensure that the fullest array of dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) options are available for students matriculating to UIS.

Action Step #13: Complete the planned development of new online degree programs to broaden access to a UIS degree.

Action Step #14: Strengthen institutional partnership agreements to encourage transfer to degree programs offered online and at UIS.

Action Step #15: Annually align recruitment plans for both traditional and non-traditional transfer students with target markets indicating strong yield. Share the recruitment goals with the UIS community to help make the entire university community aware of the importance of recruitment.

Action Step #16: Implement an Office of Graduate Studies to strengthen recruitment and coordinate admissions processes for graduate programs following admission to the university.

Action Step #17: Involve faculty and staff in graduate recruitment by linking recruiting activities with their involvement in professional associations and other venues.

Action Step #18: Annually align recruitment plans with state demographics to increase the diversity of the student body to mirror ethnic, racial, economic, geographic, physical abilities, and family educational backgrounds.

Action Step #19: Strengthen the partnership between UIS and College Summit by increasing the number of downstate high school students who participate.

Action Step #20: Expand participation in Project Midstate Student Support for Teaching (MSST), PAP (President’s Award Program), UIS Leadership in Public Service Program (LPSP), and Whitney M. Young Fellowship Program to support and encourage a diverse student body.

Action Step #21: Develop and implement action plans to address the gaps identified in the assessments of the multicultural climate.

Action Step #22: Improve the transition between the bachelor’s and master’s degrees and investigate increasing the number of five-year BA-MA or BS-MS programs to retain students for two degrees.

Action Step #23: Create additional undergraduate majors to attract and retain a broader student body.

Action Step #24: Design a more aggressive marketing campaign that reallocates resources to increase competition in the city and the region.

Performance Indicators for strategic thrust #2:

  • Freshmen enrollments grow to 280 students by the fall of 2006.
  • On-campus enrollment grows to 6,000 students by fall 2012.
  • Plan in place for assuring courses will be offered for the new general education curriculum by the fall of 2006.
  • Enrollment of more students from outside the central Illinois region enroll, especially in online degree programs.
  • Increase in transfer student enrollments.
  • Increase in graduate student enrollments.
  • Increase in the percentage of minorities who make up the student body.


Strategic Thrust #3: Retain and Graduate a Larger and More Diverse Student Body.

Recognizing the opportunity to enhance retention and completion rates for students in higher education, UIS seeks to develop additional programs and services designed to encourage degree completion.

Action Step #25: Develop and offer a course or courses designed to assist students in effectively making the transition to college.

Action Step #26: Utilize a one-stop enrollment services model that includes the entire array of student enrollment services (admissions, advising, registration, financial assistance, student accounts, and withdrawal/graduation) to reduce attrition that may result from financial or other addressable factors.

Action Step #27: Encourage colleges and academic programs to create learning communities.

Action Step #28: Monitor retention rates and provide periodic feedback to colleges and programs.

Action Step #29: Develop plans in each college or program to recruit back students who have stopped out.

Action Step #30: Refine and offer orientation programs to freshmen, transfer students, and graduate students that effectively prepare them for transitioning to or repositioning at UIS.

Action Step #31: Assess student satisfaction on a periodic basis using the Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

Action Step #32: Develop and implement action plans to address the gaps identified through the SSI and NSSE.

Performance Indicators for strategic thrust #3:

  • A first-to-second-year retention rate for freshmen and a first-to-second year retention rate for transfer students above national averages at institutions with similar admissions selectivity.
  • One-stop enrollment model in place.
  • Completion rates for all student populations at levels above the national average (e.g., undergraduate rate was 66.7% in 2004).
  • Student satisfaction with academic, student, and business services; student engagement at levels greater than national norms and peer institutions.


Strategic Thrust #4: Provide
Classroom and Technology-enhanced Education that Meets Students’ Educational Goals

UIS seeks to continue its reputation as a national leader in technology-enhanced and delivered education that extends beyond the university’s classrooms to students seeking coursework, certificate programs, or degrees aligned with their educational goals.

Action Step #33: Develop an early warning system to identify students at risk of dropping an online course.

Action Step #34: Ensure students in online and on-campus courses have comparable access to educational and student support services.

Action Step #35: Strengthen faculty and staff development opportunities, both on and off campus, that address best practices in educational pedagogies and technology-enhanced learning.

Action Step #36: Monitor and identify changing needs of students as well as the State of Illinois for an educated citizenry.

Action Step #37: Develop and revise curricular offerings (degrees, certificates) that are aligned with these changing needs.

Performance Indicators for strategic thrust #4:

  • Intra-term retention rates in online courses.
  • National reputation as a university whose curricular offerings are aligned with the changing educational goals and opportunities for college graduates.
  • Plan in place to monitor and identify changing needs of students and citizens; action taken to develop and revise curricular offerings as needed.


Strategic Thrust #5: Sustain a Thriving Learning Community and University.

UIS seeks to create a thriving learning community that transcends geographical space and integrates the university into the community and the community into the university.

Action Step #38: Design and build more “third-spaces” (coffee shops, lounges, gathering spaces) for students, staff, and faculty to informally congregate.

Action Step #39: Continue to seek support for development of a student union.

Action Step #40: Consider hybrid delivery models to integrate populations and allow for greater interaction of student populations.

Action Step #41: Renovate Brookens Library to be an exceptional “third space” for students, faculty, and staff.

Performance Indicators for strategic thrust #5:

  • University’s residential community grows to 2,000 students by fall 2012.
  • National recognition as a leader in integrating on-campus and online learning communities.
  • Regional prominence as a university that effectively integrates the university into the community and the community into the university.


“Stretch Ideas” for the University of Illinois at Springfield

This is no ordinary strategic plan. By design, we are highlighting here what we call “Stretch Ideas.” These are projects and concepts that will stretch us far beyond where we are now and will help us pursue our vision.

1. Statement of Strategic Intent

UIS will be one of the top five small public liberal arts universities in the United States. UIS will take the steps necessary to get onto the “top-schools” lists.

2. Center for Online Learning, Research and Service

The UIS Center for Online Learning, Research and Service will become the UIS hub for the study and application of online learning pedagogy, technology, and best practices. It will provide support for original scholarly research in this field and the dissemination of results. It will build synergies between discovery research and the enhancement of current online education practices. The center will inform, empower, assist, and support the faculty of UIS in the delivery of courses, degrees, and certificate programs through the Internet. For graduate students, it will be educationally rigorous but appealing to their scheduling needs. It will reach around the globe to build new online collaborations among educational institutions, government agencies, and businesses.

3. College Preparedness: Transition Partnership Program

UIS will be recognized as an innovative leader in creating a transitional partnership program that prepares students to be college ready and in good academic standing as they make the transition from high school to college and from community colleges to four-year institutions. The program will offer assistance with the college admissions process, financial planning, , placement testing, and academic readiness through developmental or enhanced coursework offered through partnerships with Lincoln Land Community College, College Summit, The College Board, Illinois CAS (Course Applicability System), Illinois Mentor, and the Institute Career Assistance Network (ICAN).

4. Center for First-Year Programs

UIS will become recognized as having a nationally certified program of excellence in the area of first-year support services. Under the direction of the Division of Student Affairs, this center of excellence will be modeled on student-centered practices that are comprehensive, holistic, and retention-focused. Designed to enhance the educational experience and personal development of our first-time, first-year students and transfers, this center will provide summer bridge programs, non-academic first-year seminar courses, integrated community-learning initiatives, and transitional support to guide students in their social adjustment from high school to college or from first semester to second.

5. Annual Campus Dialogue

A topic will be selected each year for campuswide study and dialogue. Formats and forums will vary in order to spark interest and encourage broad participation of people on campus as well as people in the community.

6. Emiquon Field Station

UIS will significantly expand its support of a field station at the Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, near Havana, Illinois. Emiquon is one of the largest floodplain restoration projects in the world. The field station will provide a focus for faculty and undergraduate and graduate students to engage in hands-on research from disciplines such as biology, environmental studies, anthropology, history, and public administration and to collaborate on projects related to the Illinois River floodplain restoration.

7. Experiential and Service Learning Institute

While many institutions have in recent years come to develop programs of experiential and service learning, UIS has a 35-year history of an incorporating experiential learning into undergraduate and graduate education. We will build on our success with the Applied Study Term for undergraduate students, the Graduate Public Service Internship, the Public Affairs Reporting Program, and the Legislative Staff Intern Program. We will not only expand service learning opportunities but also establish an institute that will foster the scholarly investigation of experiential and service learning and promote best practices to colleagues at other institutions.

8. International Collaborations

UIS will nurture and develop new international collaborations in innovative, creative ways. Faculty have developed academic and business contacts on nearly every continent, and UIS is poised to play a highly significant role in the global marketplace, which includes faculty and universities around the world. UIS will encourage faculty to pursue international interaction aggressively, thereby enhancing opportunities for research, applied research, and graduate and undergraduate studies for students.