Monday, July 29, 2019

Quantum Computing at the University of Illinois Springfield

Quantum computing was once the sole purview of science fiction writers. Today, however, it’s fast becoming a reality that higher education can get on board with.

Ray Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor of Online Learning at the University of Illinois Springfield and Founding Director of the National Council for Online Education, joined the Enrollment Growth University podcast to discuss what the advent of quantum computing means for higher education.

What Is Quantum Computing? “Shohini Ghose has a quote that I just love,” Ray said. ‘If you’re confused about the quantum computer, don’t worry, that means you’re getting it.” Even Einstein called quantum computing spooky.

We’re accustomed to computing in binary digits, bits, ones, and zeros. That’s the way in which we do all of our coding and all our computing. Quantum computing, however, uses cubits, which are quantum bits.

The difference between binary bits and cubits is that cubits can represent one or zero, but they can also can represented as one and zero. In some cases, there can also be a direction or phase quantity added to that. “So there are multiple states for every cubit,” Ray said, “whereas, for every bit, there’s just a zero or one.

And usually, these are held on photons or electrons or some other subatomic particle or wave.” You can call them either a wave or a particle because they behave both as waves and as particles.

So with a cubit, we can do much more because we’ve got three or four different representations for every cubit. That allows us to process information much, much faster. In fact, in a quantum computer, works about 10,000 times faster than the standard supercomputer today.

This article appeared on on July 26, 2019.

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Sharon Graf, UIS ethnomusicology professor

Why you should know her: Sharon Graf, an associate professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Illinois Springfield, a musician, and a sailor, took a 15-month sea voyage to study the music, culture, and language of the Pacific Islands in 2010. She and her husband sailed there from Alton, Illinois on their 42-foot yacht, the Larabeck.

What is ethnomusicology? “The study of people making music. It encompasses a global perspective, so we look at people making music around the world.” She studied anthropology and music in college.

Why did you go to the Pacific Islands? “I had a very special opportunity because my husband, Michael Graf, wanted to go on a sailing trip. It wouldn’t have been possible without his interest and expertise. I wanted to visit and learn more about the world and other cultures.”

What did you learn about music in these cultures? “People in the Polynesian triangle were pioneers of sailing and populated all these islands, and their languages and musical customs are related. I find that really fascinating. It was interesting to go from island to island, to see the linguistics part of it, the ways their greetings were different but very related. The same with musical customs.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on July 29, 2019.

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

UIS may soon have a presence on the Y-Block

The University of Illinois Springfield may soon have a presence downtown on the Y-Block. It's the first move we're seeing there in nearly two years.

They are hoping the university will have a positive impact on the economic development in the community and that by putting a building there, it will look to create a positive impact.

Mayor Jim Langfelder said whatever goes on this land needs to help all of downtown.

"You can't just look at the block itself. It's really, how's that one piece impact other pieces downtown and it all comes down to financial resources and that's one of the key components - what's in the best interest for that area but also how's that a domino impact on the block surrounding it."

UIS also said in its statement that one of its goals, if the building is approved, is to collaborate with community partners, such as the SIU School of Medicine.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on July 24, 2019.

Watch the entire story online.

Monday, July 22, 2019

SIU, UIS, Sangamon County pushing for downtown Springfield ‘mini-campus’

A broad coalition is forming to push for state funding for a joint campus in downtown Springfield, to be shared by the University of Illinois Springfield and Southern Illinois University.

On July 9, Andy Manar hosted a meeting among leaders of SIU, UIS, the University of Illinois, Sangamon County, the City of Springfield and other stakeholders.

“We put several opportunities on the table — what would go in this building and on this campus, including initiatives related to medicine and law, social service, management of governmental intern positions, public health and policy, and so on,” said SIU Interim President J. Kevin Dorsey. “Collaboration between SIU, the School of Medicine and UIS was seen as critical.”

The Springfield university is already seeking to bolster its downtown presence via a new “Innovation Hub,” funded within the University of Illinois’s $500 million Discovery Partners Institute initiative.

“We’ve already engaged in conversations among community leaders to locate UIS’s Innovation Hub in the downtown area,” Van Meter said. “SIU has been a full partner in this process and we hope SIU will establish its own compatible programs in conjunction.”

 As for SIU, the most frequently discussed possibility at Thursday’s board meeting was an extension of the Carbondale-based law school, to offer classes, support to law students interning in the capitol, and continuing education for legal professionals. Ultimately, SIU Board Chair J. Phil Gilbert said he’d like to see a satellite law program in Springfield offering a Juris Doctor degree.

“Having a medical footprint and a law footprint here in Springfield is pretty powerful,” he said. And with SIU leaders stressing they don’t intend to duplicate UIS programs, the Springfield school appears enthusiastic about collaboration.

This article appeared in The Southern Illinoisan on July 18, 2019.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Vince Gill performing at UIS Oct. 20

Country music star Vince Gill will perform at Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield Oct. 20, UIS announced today.

Tickets go on sale Friday, July 12, at 10 a.m.

Gill has sold more than 26 million albums in more than 40 years in music and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.

This story appeared in The Lincoln Courier on July 8, 2019.

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SJ-R vet to lead UIS PAR

People who know Charlie Wheeler will tell you he can’t be replaced.

But, now that Wheeler’s retiring, the University of Illinois Springfield has hired someone to run the public affairs reporting program.

It’s Jason Piscia, digital managing editor at the State Journal Register.

Piscia is a 1998 graduate of the program.

The program, featuring a working internship in a news bureau at the Capitol, has sent hundreds of reporters into the world.

This story aired on WTAX Radio on July 9, 2019.

Read the entire story online.

Friday, July 5, 2019

College students react to Census citizenship question

The push to include a question about whether someone is a U.S. citizen or not on the 2020 Census continues. The effort comes despite the Supreme Court ruling to block the question last week.

 Area Hispanic and Latinx students said it’s great to have state leaders supporting them.

“Some people who are not born here are afraid to fight for themselves. So having us and people who are government officials fighting for them feels like we can actually call this place home and they are very welcoming,” said Isabell Ozoya, a graduate student at the University of Illinois Springfield.

President Donald Trump said the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice are “working hard” to get the question on the census.

This story aired on WCIA on July 4, 2019.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Online Learning and the Future of Education with Ray Schroeder

As a leading expert in online education, Ray Schroeder brings an unmatched depth of knowledge and passion for advancing the field.

He’s the current associate vice chancellor for online learning and founding director of the Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service at the University of Illinois Springfield. He’s also the founding director of the National Council for Online Education at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association.

In this episode of Leading Learning, Celisa talks with Ray about the evolving role of learning businesses, continuing education, and online learning— particularly when it comes to workforce development issues and the skills gap. They also discuss how advances related to artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, badges, blockchain and more are impacting the future of learning.

This article appeared on the Leading Learning website as an article and podcast on July 1, 2019.

Click here to access both the article and podcast.

UIS athletic director Jim Sarra resigns

University of Illinois Springfield athletic director Jim Sarra resigned Monday after three years leading the Prairie Stars.

UIS thanked Sarra for his service and announced vice chancellor of student affairs Clarice Ford as the interim athletic director.

It also said a national search will be conducted to fill the position with consultation from staff, student-athletes and other supporters.

UIS declined further comment outside of the statement. “With the contributions of many talented student-athletes, coaches, staff and supporters, Prairie Stars Athletics has made tremendous strides during the past several years, including numerous conference championships, national tournament appearances and academic honors,”

UIS chancellor Susan Koch said in the statement. “I am completely confident we will continue that success.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on July 1, 2019.

Read the entire article online.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Susan Koch: New beginnings start with summer orientation

The following is an excerpt from a column by University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch. This column appeared in The State Journal-Register on June 29, 2019.

You might think summer would be a quiet time on the University of Illinois Springfield campus, but the June-July calendar is teeming with activity including summer classes, youth camps, and a variety of projects needing completion before students return in August for the start of fall semester.

One of the pivotal summer activities has to do with new beginnings. For hundreds of first-year students accepted for the fall 2019 semester, that new beginning starts with summer orientation — a series of two-day “KickStart” events for new students as well as for their parents, family members and guardians.

According to Natalie Herring, Associate Provost for Enrollment Management, orientation, whether for freshmen or transfer students, is the crucial start to setting students up for success.

“Orientation is a big part of the overall admissions process,” says Herring. “Though the first important lesson is to remind students they’re adults, orientation also introduces students to the people who are going to be their own ‘board of directors’ — the folks who will help them succeed and achieve their goals.”

Higher education research has shown both academic and social integration are important to ensure students maximize their college experience. No one knows that better than Lisa McGuire, Director of New Student Orientation and Parent Relations, and mastermind behind the UIS KickStart program. 

“Orientation provides the opportunity for us to build a relationship with the student,” says Tarah Sweeting-Trotter, Senior Director of Advising and Learning Support Services. “It bridges the gap between high school and college so that students leave the experience more confident — knowing when they come back in August, the friendships they’ve started and relationships with staff and faculty will be there for them.”

It turns out a key factor in students graduating from college is their experience during the very beginning.

Read the entire article online.