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October 5, 1999

Ryan Commends IBHE On Approval Of UIS Capital Scholars Program

CHICAGO - Governor George H. Ryan today announced an agreement by the Illinois Board of Higher Education giving unanimous support to the Capital Scholars Program at the University of Illinois-Springfield for incoming freshmen in 2001.

"The Board of Higher Education has done the state of Illinois a tremendous service by approving of this program, which will give students an alternative to the usual academic offerings," Ryan said.

Capital Scholars was initially proposed to the Board of Higher Education in 1997, but was not approved because IBHE staff withheld recommendation for varying reasons. One of the major sticking points was the question of whether this program would divert students from other universities. Other questions surrounded the need for a program that concentrated on public affairs issues.

The Capital Scholars program will admit 75 freshmen for the first year of the four-year program. Each year, 75 to 100 students could be added. A study by IBHE found that this number of students would probably have little impact on other schools.

Ryan explained that the focus of the program would be public affairs, but would allow students to major in any of UIS' bachelor degree programs including biology, criminal justice, English, management or social work.

"In my travels and discussions with educators and students, I have found that a program like Capital Scholars would be useful in a city like Springfield," Ryan said. "UIS students will have a unique opportunity through this new public affairs curriculum."

In the first two-year of the Capital Scholars program, students would be required to take a battery of 13 courses including core courses of social sciences, environmental studies, music, technology and foreign languages. Many classes, including a four-course interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences sequence, would be taught by a team of instructors. Students would get the benefit of working with people in specific fields of work, as well.


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