UIS Office of Engaged Learning AY2019-2020 Annual Impact Report

OEL Leads Campus Efforts in ENGAGED LEARNING

  • IPL/SAP Academic Offerings: 14 Courses/34 Sections
  • UIS Students Enrolled in IPL/SAP Courses: 363
  • National/International Organizations Hosting Students: 215
  • UIS Partnerships with OEL Staff: Campus-wide Collaboration
*COVID19 response for Summer and Fall 2020 study away programs were canceled. This included Summer, short-term, UIS programs to Japan, China, Spain, Taiwan and England and study with our partners in South Korea, Japan, Spain, England, the Netherlands and Australia. We are anticipating study away opportunities to open up in Summer 2021.


"Working as an HR Director of 1, the partnership with UIS has allowed me to offer internships in our organization benefiting both participants and managers with opportunities for personal development and leadership growth. The support from UIS staff is invaluable. I really appreciate how they take the time to listen to our needs and our strengths. Their stewardship of this process is truly appreciated." -Jill Steiner, HR & Risk Management Director, Springfield YMCA


OEL Students Benefit from Internships: Relevant Experience, Job Offers, and Lifelong Connections!
  • 64.05% of IPL interns were offered employment or an extended internship, while others interned at their current place of employment by assuming new roles and responsibilities (note: some students continue studies as they work towards degree completion).
  • 50.56% of IPL interns had paid internships.

Illinois Snapshot of Internship & Project Field Site Locations

IPL outreach targets regional IL Local Workforce Innovation Areas (LWIA) to create industry partnerships based on OEL student interests.

  • Central (LWIA 19-20) - Springfield: 188
  • North Central (LWIA 15) - Peoria: 16
  • North East (LWIA 7) - Chicago: 12
"UIS students and alum are consistent top performers in our office. The UIS Internship Program gives us a consistent pipeline of qualified candidates to our internship and post graduate full time positions." -Eli Cook, Financial Advisor, Northwestern Mutual
"The UIS internship program has had several positive impacts on my research at SIU SOM by providing a steady stream of high quality undergraduates who have assisted me in many aspects of the study including contacting and scheduling study participants as well as with data collection and data entry. This has allowed me to focus on other areas of the research such as data analysis, manuscript preparation, and grant submissions in the future." -Mehul Trivedi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, SIU School of Medicine
"The partnership with UIS and their internship program has allowed the Springfield Police Department to provide an experience to these prospective officers which, in turn, gives the department and city a better look at the prospective employee. It is refreshing for officers to provide the opportunity for interns to learn alongside them. Interns are hungry for information and experiences. Springfield Police Department is a big enough department where we can provide a look at all aspects of the job for the interns." -Lieutenant Joe Behl, Springfield Police Department, Field Operations Division
Spotlight - Research Internship: Ben Schulte, Psychology Major
  • Future Plans: to pursue a graduate degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
  • Field Site: SIU School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.
  • Research Focus: Worked with Dr. Trivedi - focused on learning how to administer neuropsychological batteries to aging participants as part of a longitudinal cognitive aging study and how neuropsychological tests are administered and used in a clinical setting.
  • Student Development: expanded interest areas related to how brain injuries impact behavior and cognition; hopes to blend these two areas of research to better understand how aging individuals operate in organizations.
"This internship has shown me that I absolutely love my field of work (which is a relief). I love being outdoors every day and doing hands-on work to actually make a difference. I think that a similar job is something I would want to pursue." -Grace DeCarlo, Environmental Studies Student

Check Out Project Experiences - An Alternative to Internships

  • Research Project Experiences: students partner with faculty on their research projects that are relevant to student's focus of study and aligned with careers.
  • Professional Project Experiences: students with an entrepreneurial mindset focus on advancing their career development by designing a personalized work-related project, supervised by professionals with subject matter expertise.
Spotlight - Research Project: Albert Bode, Computer Science Major
  • Research Focus: worked under the mentorship of Dr. Yanhui Guo - UIS, to develop an Application Programming Interface (API) that allows other web designers to easily make interactive 3D viewers for web pages.
  • Student Development: Albert utilized Agile project management strategies to achieve his project goals.
  • Student Testimonial: "The fact that I was the solo developer on my project gave me experience with every aspect of the software development life cycle from the initial analysis and design phases to implementation and documentation of the project."
Spotlight - Professional Project: Steven Stark, Business Administration Major
  • Entrepreneurial Professional Project Focus: expand his construction company by using knowledge and skills gained from his marketing, finance, and human resources courses.
  • Covid-19 Pandemic Interruption: shifted focus by adapting his business to fit needs of customers and offered video consultations.
Study Away Program - Historical Snapshot (based on available data)
Students Have Personal/Professional Advantages Over Those Not Studying Abroad!
  • Increased fluency in another language.
  • Broader cultural perspective.
  • Better understanding of thoughts/opinions of others.
  • Improved ability to achieve goals on their own.
  • Enhanced resume setting them apart.
  • Greater personal independence and confidence.

Visiting International Students

UIS welcomed exchange students to our campus from partner universities. These included:

  • Ashikaga University-Japan: 12 students, 2 faculty/staff members - short program (Aug./Sept.)
  • Saitama University-Japan: 3 students
  • University of Hull-England: 1 student
  • University of Valencia-Spain: 1 student
  • IHECS-Belgium: 2 students
  • Roskilde University-Denmark: 2 students
  • University of Colima-Mexico: 1 student (UIS campus); 6 students enrolled in UIS Political Science online courses

New Initiative: UIS Study Away Partners with UIS Sangamon Experience!

  • Purpose: create new research and study away opportunities for UIS students/UIS Partner students.
  • Research Focus: immigration into Sangamon County and central IL; interest-tracing origin of immigrants.
  • University Research Partner: Univ. of Hull-England studies migration at Hull port; documents travelers from northern/eastern Europe/Scandinavia to U.S.A.
  • Student Activities: students at UIS/Hull contribute to building records so stories can be developed for Sangamon Experience Museum.
  • Additional University Partnerships: based on faculty interest, exploring partnerships with Radboud University, Netherlands and Maynooth University, Ireland using same model.

Celebrating UIS & Ashikaga University's 20th Anniversary

  • 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of UIS’s partnership with Ashikaga University, Springfield’s sister city in Ashikaga Japan; the two universities have been exchanging students in short- term study away programs with over 150 students, faculty and community members participating since 2001.
  • Planned 30th anniversary virtual ceremony honoring sister city relationship between Springfield and Ashikaga; successful event held October 9, 2020; featured speakers-Springfield/Ashikaga mayors, UIS Chancellor, and Ashikaga University President.
UIS Students Experience a Slice of Japanese Life !
  • Learn-Discover-Reflect, Ashikaga Study Away Experience: language, culture studies, historical sites, interactivities - Japanese archery, calligraphy, flower arranging, mountain walking.
  • Extra Perk with Ashikaga Experience: students may also benefit by studying in China and South Korea as bonus add-on experiences; next anticipated experience is 2021/2022 and will focus on studying sustainable energy in China.

New Featured UIS Study Away Experience

  • Country/Focus: Launched 2019 England experience, focusing on immigration/human trafficking issues.
  • University Partner: The University of Hull, hosts the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE); UIS's long-term relationship typically focused on historical issues related to slavery but recently expanded to include human trafficking.
  • UIS Student Research/Activities: students learned about research being conducted by WISE doctoral students/research fellows/ faculty associated with WISE and then had conducted their own research related to contemporary human trafficking; Mayflower sailing 400th anniversary - visited several pilgrim sites in Hull area; this region is where Pilgrims initially left England; discussions encompassed religious freedom/legalities of immigration - no charter for the land they settled on in new world.
  • Adapting to Pandemic - Online Course Creation: transitioned from in-person to online delivery; over-came disruptions due to travel bans; extended access/affordability for students unable to travel.


  • 14 academic experiential courses
  • 34 course sections
  • 363 enrolled students
  • 1,627 earned credit hours
  • 61,870 contact hours (internships, projects, service)


Courses Offered:

  • IPL 202-ECCE: Service-Learning Immersion
  • IPL 300-ECCE: Internship Applied Learning
  • IPL 301-ECCE: Project Applied Learning
  • IPL 305-ECCE: Undergraduate Prior Learning Portfolio Development
  • IPL 501-ECCE: Graduate Prior Learning Portfolio Development
  • IPL 362-ECCE: Social Change and Leadership
  • UNI 262-ECCE: Global Experience Program: Immigration and Human Trafficking
  • UNI 470-ECCE: Global Experience Exchange

Courses offered but Cancelled due to Pandemic:

  • ENS 440A: Environmental Challenges China US
  • UNI 460A-ECCE: Global Experience: Language and Culture of Japan
  • UNI 460A-ECCE: Global Experience: Spain Past/Present
  • UNI 460C-ECCE: Global Experience: Immigration and Human Trafficking
  • UNI 470 ECCE: Global Experience Exchange
  • UNI 480 ECCE: Global Experience Program


Engaged learning academic courses are paired with work-integrated and community-based global learning experiences to prepare students for professional, public service, and culturally diverse endeavors.

Service Experience

Students enrolled in the fall 2019 IPL 202-ECCE: Service-Learning Immersion course completed a minimum of 40 hours of community service at local nonprofits.

While some plans were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, these UIS students and members of the Leadership for Life (L4L) Living Learning Community continued to volunteer through the MLK Day of Service, Alternative Spring Break, and even ongoing virtual volunteer opportunities.

Spring 2020 IPL 362-ECCE: Social Change and Leadership Students

  • On track to individually complete 40 hours of community service.
  • Eventually impacted by Covid-19 pandemic and disrupted original service action plans.
  • Revised action plans to instead engage in thought reflection and critical analysis of social change and leadership in context of global pandemic.

Prior Learning Assessment

  • Experiential and Lifelong Learning: learning that occurred outside of a traditional classroom in which Students may obtain UIS college credit by demonstrating and presenting their experiential learning for assessment in a portfolio format.
  • Prior Learning Assessment Course: guides students through the development of an experiential learning portfolio, in which they create their first portfolio in IPL 305 - Prior Learning Portfolio Development.
  • Prior Learning Assessment Process: IPL facilitates the assessment process of additional experiential learning portfolios in eligible majors; students may create additional portfolios for a maximum of 16 experiential learning credit hours (varies by academic program requirements).
"I have always thought of myself as a lifelong learner, and the work included in the portfolio has been very helpful in motivating me to continue that goal. As I get towards the end of my organized learning, I know that being able to reflect on myself as a learner will be helpful as I progress in my career." -Zachary Smith

OEL Outreach Highlights

Making a Difference: Partner-Engage-Recruit
  • 9 campus-wide events (8-In Person; 1 virtual): OEL engaged prospective students/parents, UIS students, employers and community members; UIS Preview Days, First-Year/Kickstart, Graduate/ Transfer Fairs, Involvement Expo, Co-Hosted Foot in the Door Fair, Career Connections Expo/career- focused discussion panelist, and planning committee member-Good as Gold Springfield volunteer recognition community event.
  • Learn More about the Parent/Family Virtual Orientation
Making a Difference: Inform and Support

Student Support:

  • Targeted Outreach-Connections: students in 20+ courses, 12 student organizations, 6 experience information sessions, and numerous individual correspondence activities enabled OEL staff to share details about OEL experiences/course information with 400+ prospective OEL students.
  • Personalized Attention-Pre-Advising: prospective OEL students are offered a customized pre-advising experience for additional assistance; interactions are tracked until student is placed or no longer needs service.
  • IPL Email Listserv: 500+ students receive a bi-monthly email in addition to just-in-time special notices including information such as new/updated internship opportunities, application/registration reminders and deadlines, and upcoming events.

Faculty/Staff Support:

  • Shared tailored OEL materials to support faculty/staff efforts concerning student advising and strategies to promote student interests in engaged learning experiences.
  • Contacted faculty targeting 83 classes to explore scheduling brief class presentation.
  • Delivered presentation/Q&A session to Undergraduate Advising Community; ongoing participation in Advising Coordinating Committee ensuring eligible students have been identified for outreach efforts.

Employer Engagement and Guidance:

  • Efforts are ongoing to develop and secure vital internship experiences with key employers to ensure consistent, appropriate and meaningful experiences; recent new partnerships include - Horace Mann, Bunn Gourmet, and State of IL.
  • Site Supervisors receive individual consultation, guidance, and resources to ensure consistent internship experience expectations.


The Covid-19 Pandemic struck the U.S. in 2020, and in March, required UIS to shift gears. OEL staff quickly adapted to ensuring student safety, transitioned OEL programming/services to remote work, and ramped up virtual communications for meetings and advising.
  • Student Emergency Abroad Protocol Implemented: 5 students advised of options without penalty and all returned safely from studying abroad; contacted students early and often with assistance, including outreach to Senator Durbin’s Office regarding student travel challenges in Australia.
  • Student Intern Needs Effectively Addressed: Staff reached out to all 111 student interns -identified needs/problem solved; 70% of interns worked remotely and those unable to were provided alternative activities; all stakeholders kept-up-to-date of student plans to prevent negative student impact.
  • Project students Completed Research with some important but effective modifications.
  • IPL Course Modifications: internship and service learning course modifications were quickly made while ensuring quality content; developed alternative assignments/learning modules aligned with original course learning outcomes but framed within the context of the pandemic experience.
  • IPL Focus Shifted to Remote Opportunities: implemented outreach strategy to generate additional remote internship opportunities; increased messaging to employers; communicated with students about IPL application status and how to apply and secure relevant internships.
"So far everything this summer has been based on last second decisions because the pandemic is constantly causing new problems that require new solutions. This has taught me to adjust to new work environments and to not stress the small things. Overall, this internship has helped shape my future goals for it has confirmed how I want to eventually teach accounting and hopefully governmental auditing." -Kallie Matthews, Accounting Student

OEL Assists UIS Academic Departments Interested in Hosting Visiting International Faculty and Research Scholars

Study Away Program works to ensure visiting faculty members and research scholars transition to life in Springfield and the USA smoothly.

SAP spent approximately 160+ hours processing completed and initiated H1B Visas/renewals and green cards:

  • 5 new H1B faculty visas (3 CLAS and 2 CBM)
  • 1 H1B faculty renewal (CEHS)
  • 1 faculty green card (CPAA)
  • 5 faculty green cards initiated (CLAS and CBM)
  • 5 visiting scholars J1 visas
  • H1B visas are for specialty occupations including university level faculty; temporary and maximum time period on H1B visa is 6 years; permanent employees such as tenure track faculty are required to apply for permanent residency (green card) to work beyond 6 years.

Contact the Office of Engaged Learning:

  • University of Illinois Springfield
  • One University Plaza, MS BRK 482
  • Springfield, IL 62703
  • (217) 206-6640
  • oel@uis.edu
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