FY23 Funded Investment for Growth Programs

Online Bachelor of Liberal Studies Degree Completion Program
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (LAS)
This degree completion program is designed primarily for students who have started, but not completed, a four-year undergraduate degree. The program will also accommodate those who have completed an associate degree and want to further their education. This fully online and non-residential degree program that offers course scheduling flexibility and reduced cost and time to completion provides an alternative path for historically marginalized students to re-enroll and obtain a four-year degree. This online degree will also serve non-traditional students who, while older and motivated to re-start their education, cannot relocate to campus because they are juggling multiple competing responsibilities, such as working full-time and/or caring for children or aging parents. Through credits earned by the transfer of previously completed course work and by the taking of courses in focused areas of study, electives, and certificates, the Bachelor of Liberal Studies (BLS) degree provides a viable path to a fully accredited bachelor’s degree for students who were unable to complete their degree as originally planned.
Online Master of Science Degree in Information Management
School of Information Sciences (iSchool)
The Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) online degree (MSIM-ONLINE) will have three specializations that combine to create the degree. Each specialization will constitute a cluster of three to four courses and culminate in a capstone project. The first three are: (1) Foundations of Information Management, (2) Analyzing Data and Visualizing Data Stories and (3) Information Technology in Human Context. Each specialization will include a foundation course (the first one in the list), a choice between one or more electives, and finally a capstone course that includes a hands-on project, developed in synchronous collaboration with an instructor. This project will apply what students have learned to a practical question related to the specialization. This online degree sits at the core of an area in high and increasing educational demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (US BLS) notes that “Employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.” Furthermore, a number of the specific job titles in this US BLS group have projected growths of over 20%, especially in specific areas of information technology and science of relevance to MSIM graduates. While the degree covers fundamental principles of quantitative analysis and ethical reflection, it also has a strongly practical dimension, teaching students to apply these principles to specific human domains that include security and privacy, data warehousing, and digital usability design—all areas of rapid employment growth.
Coursera Master’s in Education in Instructional and Learning System Design and Technology
College of Education
Coursera has expressed strong interest in an online master’s in Instructional System Design and Technology (ILSDT) in partnership with the College of Education based on market analyses. The proposed master’s degree in Education with a concentration in ILSDT will build on the success of the Instructional Design MasterTrack Certificate (ID MTC) program in a strategic manner. One of the target audiences for the master’s in ILSDT would be learners who complete the ID MTC program. The master’s in ILSDT offers a way to ‘funnel’ students from the non-degree program (ID MTC) into the degree program (ILSDT) as it provides a way for students to stack the non-degree onto the degree program. The potential partnership with Coursera would present new opportunities for the college to address challenges emanating from shifts in the educational landscape, and to increase its revenue stream. The ILSDT Ed.M. program will meet emergent needs of workplaces for workforce development. In particular, the proposed Ed.M. program will upskill the global workforce by equipping learners with the knowledge needed to create learning and development solutions for various learning and development modalities from face-to-face to virtual settings.
Online Programs and Hy-Flex Classrooms
Grainger College of Engineering
This proposal will create college-wide and in partnership with campus, the conditions to enable accelerated growth in undergraduate and online professional master’s enrollment and engagement. The key cross-cutting objectives, as determined from conversations across the College, are to (1) perform targeted classroom and instructional laboratory technology upgrades that create positive student and instructor experience, (2) create sustainable TA training programs to support online instruction and learners and provide much-needed faculty support for courses with online students, (3) enhance our program instructors and support staff to help translate residential-focused curricular content to online delivery, with special focus on reimagining how we deliver undergraduate service courses by creating augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) hands on and laboratory experiences that remove the constraints of lab-section sizes and hours of availability while improving the student experience and (4) develop a robust and valuable market research and marketing and communication capability to identify opportunities and recruit potential learners.
Illinois Center for Immersive Computing
Grainger College of Engineering
Immersive technologies are likely to become the foundation for leadership in a wide variety of disciplines, including education. Industry is making significant investment (e.g., Facebook changed its name to Meta to indicate its focus on the Metaverse) and venture capital funding in the area has grown dramatically in recent years and expected to continue to grow. At Illinois, we have a strong history in the area. We currently have several excellent disparate groups on campus, but no cohesive large effort in the area. We are well known within smaller communities for our work in the area but do not have a strong presence in the broad umbrella of immersive computing. We believe that with a campus- wide investment, Illinois can become the world leader in research and education/workforce development in a way that pays back the investment manyfold both in reputation and real dollars. With our strong culture of interdisciplinary research, strong virtual reality (VR) legacy, strong but scattered programs and industry interest on campus, the time is ripe to consolidate these efforts and propel us to a leadership position.
Expanding Online Undergraduate Business Offerings
Gies College of Business
This proposal will enable an expansion of online undergraduate offerings from Gies College of Business. Our emphasis is the business minor, which will serve as a foundation for a full suite of stackable credentials including undergraduate certificates, pathways to graduate degrees on our campus (business as well as other graduate degrees on our campus) and other credentials, serving initiatives related to lifelong learning. The investment will lead to significant growth in the business minor, immediately enhancing and expanding the learning opportunities of the undergraduate student population, and simultaneously lay a foundation that enables Gies to serve new populations of learners who seek undergraduate level business credit. This proposal has two main objectives: (1) This proposal will enhance access to business education for undergraduates. Currently, the business minor serves our undergraduate student population by providing open access to Gies College of Business faculty and knowledge to complement other campus degrees. Investing in the development of quality, fully online, scalable business minor courses will allow Gies to provide non-business undergraduate students with a rich, foundational business education via the highest-quality online curriculum and a best-in-class student experience. (2) This proposal will expand reach of business education to new learner populations. While the business minor curriculum is currently focused on Illinois students, investment in this curriculum and delivery model offers the opportunity to serve new learner populations who currently find Gies Business inaccessible due to constraints related to geography, background, and life circumstances. This proposal will effectively reach new populations of learners, further aligning with the university’s role as a land-grant institution and Gies’ vision to democratize education.
Joint Initiative on Veterans Health
College of Applied Health Sciences & School of Social Work
This proposal, which focuses on veterans health, encompasses three distinct objectives that relate to the discovery, learning and outreach missions of the university: (1) The creation of a new online joint Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Social Work (MSW) Certificate on Veterans Health for campus. Public health professionals increasingly are encountering veterans and their unique adjustment issues in health care delivery settings, and social workers are increasingly required to create comprehensive care frameworks for veterans that integrate physical health, mental health, and social determinants of overall health. Services to veterans in these settings require a great deal of interaction between public health workers, social workers, and other medical professionals. This certificate would offer a constructive learning context in which graduate students in public health and social work on campus can learn about veteran health issues together, while also learning theories and practical applications from each other’s disciplines. (2) The creation of a self-supporting online Professional Certificate on Veterans Health. A key appeal of the present proposal is that the University would be establishing an entirely new and comprehensive online curriculum in a topical area of interest to students on campus, and then also would make this curriculum available online externally to increase the range of the market. Including a self-supporting online option is especially desirable because there is great interest in this topic both within the U.S. and in other military venues. (3) The creation of a Research and Engagement Consortium on veterans mental health and human-computer interaction using Virtual Reality Therapy.
Master in Data Science
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (LAS), Grainger College of Engineering & School of Information Sciences (iSchool)
With already strong course offerings that could easily be organized into a data science Master of Science (MS) program, the University of Illinois is in great position to offer a highly competitive program and capitalize on the enormous demand for graduate education in data science. We propose to develop and jointly manage a Master in Data Science (MDS) in a collaboration between the Department of Statistics, the Department of Computer Science and the iSchool. The MDS program will greatly benefit the campus in multiple ways. Such an MS program provides a timely platform for undergraduate students to continue into graduate school and deepen their knowledge in data science, and equip students in many disciplines with the data science skills to do cutting-edge research in their fields. A strong emphasis of the program will be inclusion of students from populations that are underrepresented in this field that has so many opportunities. This MDS program will be designed to ensure the inclusion and success of these underrepresented groups. These programs will also clearly strengthen the engagement of the education and research in our university to the public.
ACES Learning Innovation Lab & Online Learning Innovation Grant Program
College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences (ACES)
The ACES Learning Innovation Lab (ALIL) is envisioned as a cutting-edge collaborative design space where educators and industry leaders will co-create responsive, data-driven innovations in education. ALIL will provide an engaging and supportive environment for instructional leaders to design undergraduate and graduate experiences for a diverse, global audience of learners. This creative collaboration space, equipped with access to emerging technology, will empower educators and industry leaders to design transformative learning experiences to meet high learner demand needs for skills-based credentials through online courses and degrees. In combination with the support resources provided through ALIL, the Online Learning Innovation Grant Program will incentivize faculty to design and deliver new online graduate courses that include on-site or ‘in the field’ innovative educational content. This multi-year grant program will be funded by the College and seeks to aid faculty in identifying specific competency-based needs for non-traditional mid-career audiences, and develop high quality, engaging, and flexible online graduate courses that stack toward new online graduate degrees or existing online degree programs. Priority will be given to faculty who collaborate across academic units in the College of ACES and build synergies with other Colleges and research partner organizations to create online courses for degree programs.
Science & Technology Communication Curricula
College of Media & Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
The College of Media and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology propose an interdisciplinary curricular infrastructure for science and technology communication education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This initiative addresses emerging demand from students and the needs of society, creates new partnerships across disciplines, and offers multiple routes for revenue generation and reduction of reliance on state funds. Perhaps most importantly, it is mission-central for the University of Illinois, addressing our “The Next 150” strategic plan goal to provide transformative learning experiences in undergraduate, graduate, and professional education. This proposal will create the addition of interdisciplinary, transcriptable curricular and degree options to meet the needs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and learners. These include (1) an online science and technology journalism track within the Master of Science in Journalism degree, (2) an undergraduate science and technology communication certificate and (3) paths to undergraduate degree completion.