University of Illinois Springfield Debates Elimination of Diversity Curriculum


A microphone for a waiting speaker in a large hall | Photo Credit: Pixabay License

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois Springfield Campus Senate has introduced a resolution to eliminate its General Education curriculum focusing on issues of diversity and engaged citizenship. The curriculum, known as the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE), has been at the center of the UIS academic experience for over a decade. According to the UIS website, ECCE courses provide, “a distinctive element to the baccalaureate education at UIS, and encourage a commitment to making a difference in the world.”

ECCE courses offered this semester include: Business, Ethics & Society; Conviction of the Innocent; Women of Color and Minority Women; Pacific War: WW II in Asia; and Beyond Bias: Racism, Sexism and Heterosexism. The ECCE curriculum also comprises Internships and Engagement Experiences, including study abroad/study away programs.

A group of faculty members oppose the resolution and are working to defeat it.

Professor of History, Peter Shapinsky says, “This resolution to eliminate UIS’s innovative diversity course requirements misrepresents more than a decade of hard work by faculty and dismisses the successes of our students. [The resolution] is unbecoming of an institution of higher education; it makes a mockery of our work to build a public liberal arts university that enshrines equality, social justice, and diversity as core values. It will deny our students important local and global experiences.”

Campus Senator and Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Ryan Williams, teaches a popular ECCE course: Policing in America. He questions what kind of message this resolution will send to students. Williams says, “This is the week of MLK, Jr. Remembrance. We are on the eve of Black History Month–at the height of a pandemic that has only furthered structural inequalities. An attempt to eliminate established curriculum focused on central issues of social class, race, ethnicity, and gender is not the legacy we want to leave for our students at this specific time in history.”

Resolution 51-25 is on the Campus Senate agenda for a first reading today, January 21 at 10am. UIS Campus Senate meetings are open to the public via Zoom under the Illinois Open Meetings Act. A vote on the resolution may take place as early as Friday, February 4th.

Links to materials referenced in this article include:


Courses offered this semester in ECCE:

Meeting links and agenda items are available: