Monday, March 11, 2013

Susan Koch: UIS alums recognized for quality work

The following is a portion of a guest column written by UIS Chancellor Susan J. Koch. It was published in a March 10, 2013, edition of The State Journal-Register.

"When I accepted The State Journal-Register’s executive editor Bob Heisse’s invitation to write this UIS Perspectives column, I didn’t expect the word “murder” to appear in this space. But with a nod to University of Illinois Springfield alum Nina Burleigh, it does today. Let me explain.

Burleigh is a journalist and author and a graduate of the Public Affairs Reporting Program at UIS. The PAR program, an intensive one-year master’s degree, has a goal to prepare students to become working hard-news journalists covering issues of importance in their communities.

What sets this program apart from the many other journalism programs across the country is a six-month internship covering Illinois politics as a full-time reporter – essentially placing students alongside journalism professionals and “on the firing line” of public affairs reporting every day. It’s a formula that works exceptionally well and one that has produced a long list of award-winning UIS alums, including Nina Burleigh.

Thanks to PAR program director Charlie Wheeler, who is himself a veteran newsman, I had the good fortune to meet Burleigh several weeks ago when she was visiting Springfield to spend time with our PAR students and to be inducted into our Bill Miller PAR Hall of Fame."