Chancellor’s Convocation, looking forward to growing UIS

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Chancellor’s Convocation, looking forward to growing UIS

Chancellor Koch speaks at her Convocation.

Chancellor Koch speaks at her Convocation.

Chancellor Koch speaks at her Convocation.

Chancellor Koch speaks at her Convocation.

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“I’ve been listening and learning on all levels,” said Koch.

The academic year kicked off with the Chancellor’s Convocation. The speech was a reflection from Chancellor Koch on her past year, as well as a look to the upcoming year. Koch highlighted several things that UIS has planned for the upcoming seasons, including how UIS excels, and what the university’s main goals are for the academic year.

Also debuting at the event was UIS’ new marketing campaign, “Leadership Lived.” This phrase will serve as a motto, a call to action and a lifestyle choice for the students and faculty at UIS. There are new billboards projecting this image throughout Springfield, and the icon for the slogan will be drawing attention to this new phase for UIS wherever it can, thus creating the idea: UIS, where leadership is lived.

In addition to the marketing campaign, UIS has three areas of excellence according to Koch, which make it more visible to the community. Those areas are a high quality liberal arts experience and education, exceptional public affairs opportunities, and outstanding professional programs. She continued that these are the identity and aspirations of the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois, and that Public Affairs is an “example of what UIS can be best at in the world.”

To continue with sets of three, Koch stated that the major priorities for UIS in the upcoming years include continuing to grow enrollment, hiring and retaining talent, and upgrading and adding new facilities.

Goals for Enrollment:

The numbers of new first time freshman, as well as Latino and African-American students are up for this semester.  Koch wanted everyone to get involved with keeping this trend up. “Recruitment and retention…is everyone’s job,” she said. Enrollment drives the revenue engine at UIS, as without students, there would be no university.

Along with the new marketing tagline “Leadership Lived,” UIS has highlighted that it is teaching focused, a supportive community, opportunity rich, and has a tradition of educating public servants and leaders.  Koch also wanted to point out that everyone can help market the university. “There is no better ambassador for this university than you,” she stated to those in attendance.

Another way UIS is focusing on growing enrollment, is the addition of new programs. Listed as a reason people don’t choose UIS, lack of popular programs is an issue that the university is actively trying to change. There will be a need assessment taken, and then programs will be added to fit in with the framework of current programs. There will also be additions to help meet regional needs.

UIS’ online programs are also being enhanced as much as possible. UIS has been recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its online programs. Gates is even working with UIS, among the likes of Harvard, MIT, and Penn State to create new and advancing online learning.

Hiring and Retaining Talent:

UIS would like to approve and streamline the hiring process. There is also a focus on hiring “teachers and scholars who will contribute to student and university success,” said Koch.

Competitive salary for professors is also a high priority for the Chancellor, as well as adding more diversity to the staff. She stated that adding diversity among staff will “enhance understanding and appreciation of diversity on campus.”

“I am very optimistic about our future, primarily because of the talents of all of you,” said Koch to the faculty and staff in attendance.

Facilities:

UIS has several major projects underway, according to Koch. A priority for UIS is to get funding for the renovation of Brookens Library to update the building and bring it into the modern era.

For new constructions, there will be a Public Safety Building breaking ground in the Fall of 2013. This building will be the new home of the Campus Police Department. There is also planning, and a funding search underway for a new academic building that will be constructed to the south of the Health and Sciences Building. And of course, there is the Student Union, which should be opening in 2015 if funding and planning go accordingly. This building, according to Koch, will add visibility to UIS, enhance enrollment, and create a positive campus environment.

Provost, Lynn Pardie, opened the Convocation with some remarks on change. She stated that “no matter how strong our past accomplishments, we cannot stay static.” She continued to say that challenge and change can always bring new possibilities or being even better.

Chancellor Koch concluded with a challenge to UIS, stating “define a future consistent with our history.”