Thursday, February 11, 2016

UIS opens training center for DCFS

In Illinois, advocates for child safety and welfare have been working to find innovative approaches to lower the rate of child abuse. The University of Illinois Springfield has found one.

The first statewide simulation lab for child abuse and neglect opened last week at the University of Illinois Springfield, helping new investigators learn how to pinpoint abuse.

In an interview with Illinois Times, George Sheldon, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, discussed the drawbacks of not having experiential training prior to this program.

“One of the shortcomings of DCFS has been providing ongoing experiential training,” said Sheldon. “From my experience, 50 percent of cases involving a child who was allegedly abused get returned from administrative judges. This is due to investigators not asking the right questions.”

On Feb. 1, the University of Illinois Springfield opened the first Residential Simulation Lab (RSL) in Illinois to be used as a training site for state-certified DCFS investigators. Located on West Lake Shore Drive, at the entrance to the UIS campus, the house offers an innovative approach for investigators in training to practice real-life encounters and build their confidence before they enter the field.

In November 2015, Dr. Betsy Goulet, the child advocacy studies (CAST) coordinator at UIS and other administrators from the university held a fundraiser to promote the Residential Simulation Lab. On Feb. 3, the first group of investigators entered the lab, participating in their first simulation. In the lab, there are cameras in every room allowing participants awaiting their turn to see what is going on as each simulation takes place.

UIS chancellor Susan Koch praised the program as part of the school’s vision to “make a difference in the world.”

“That admirable ambition lies at the heart of this new program that is coming to life this year in a small, long-vacant house on the UIS campus that formerly housed the campus credit union,” Koch said.

The story was reported by the Illinois Times on February 11, 2016.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

UIS Chancellor says campus is doing 'okay', despite lack of state funding

Susan Koch, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Springfield, says her campus is managing to weather the budget impasse thanks to the school’s push to recruit more students.

Koch says that decision was made five years ago, and it’s paying off now with record-high enrollment.

In a brief speech to faculty senate last week, Koch tried to reassure employees, telling them the university is doing okay, despite eight months without aid.

Asked whether that proves Governor Bruce Rauner’s point — that institutions of higher education have fat they could cut from their budgets — Koch said UIS "has been on a diet for years, and is pretty slim" already.

“I don’t think the fact that, you know, that we’re stable, necessarily feeds into the governor’s argument. I think he has the best interests of our communities in mind, and he also would understand that more college graduates is really the solution, not the problem,” Koch said.

Koch also told campus senators about a recent study showing state appropriations for higher education had gone up nationwide by an average of more than four percent.

The story was reported by NPR Illinois on February 8, 2016.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Millison, Austin send UIS men past Maryville

Jamall Millison and Davi Austin each scored 15 points to lift the University of Illinois Springfield past Maryville 68-59 Thursday in a Great Lakes Valley Conference men's basketball game.

JJ Cravatta added 14 points for the Prairie Stars (9-13 overall, 3-9 in the GLVC), who snapped a two-game losing streak.

UIS won despite making just three of 20 attempts from 3-point range (15.0 percent). The Prairie Stars were 24 of 57 from the field overall (.421).

The win was reported by The State Journal-Register on February 5, 2016.

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