Monday, August 19, 2013

Interview with UIS Chancellor Susan Koch

University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch sat down for a conversation with WUIS on the show Illinois Edition. Topics include efforts to attract international students, a major building project, possible expansion in Peoria and getting more UIS students living in downtown Springfield.

When it comes to Peoria, UIS is interested in expanding its presence. Chancellor Koch says a market study will be done this fall. UIS has had limited class offerings in Peoria for years. Koch said it presents opportunities:

KOCH "It's a vibrant city. They are very excited. They understand the need for a public higher education presence, a greater presence. We've been there, as I've said, for a long time. And so I am looking forward to learning more about exactly the best decision about what we can do there."

Peoria's mayor wants to create a four year public university in that town. But he has met with Koch about UIS expansion. She says the market study will determine the next step.

Meanwhile, UIS is looking to build a student union on the Springfield campus. It is still in the planning stages, although the community will get to see an architectural drawing soon. Chancellor Koch says the student union will be the "social heart" of the campus. Students voted to impose a fee on themselves to help cover some of the cost. Koch says that's because students feel it will be an important addition....

"Really, the student union is going to be an essential element of building community for our campus. And based on what our students tell us, and all types of students -- commuter students, residential students, undergraduate and graduate students -- they feel that building this student union is the highest priority for our campus right now." 

But it will take time and more money to get the facility built. Koch says the school will launch a private fundraising campaign this fall. She says the student union will include the university's dining services, a coffee shop, a large multipurpose room and be home to a center for student leadership.

The story aired on WUIS on August 14, 2013.

Listen to the story online