ISU Board of Trustees approves budget request, cyber security program

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The Illinois State University Board of Trustees discussed an appropriated budget request and approval to a cybersecurity program during Friday’s meeting in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center.

The eight-member board, with the addition of ISU President Larry Dietz, began with a discussion featuring a police conversation and members of the Student Government Association, President Kyle Walsh and President of Assembly Daniel Heylin.

The two discussed the association’s past, present and future initiatives.

“I truly believe that we have one of the strongest student government associations in the country,” Walsh said.

After the discussion, the Board of Trustees began its meeting. Dietz remarked on the success of this year’s Homecoming Week, student enrollment numbers, donations received and scholarships awarded.

He also touched base on budgetary matters. On April 22, ISU received over $20 million in stopgap funding and an additional $38 million on June 30.

“I know that we all look forward to getting the November election behind us, and dare I say, we really look forward to getting the November election behind us,” Dietz said. “We anticipate talks with the [Illinois] General Assembly regarding budgetary and other matters. I know that many of us don’t expect on Nov. 9 the heavens are going to open and cash is going to pour out on us, but nevertheless, we will start these talks again.”

“Many of our sister institutions in Illinois are acutely feeling the impact of the budget crisis, but I can report that Illinois State remains strong and stable,” he added.”

The board’s list of resolutions covered a wide range of matters. Members approved a fiscal year 2018 appropriated operating budget request of $79.5 million and a capital appropriation request of $292.6 million. The requests will be formally submitted to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The capital appropriation request includes five major capital projects, which are the Milner Library rehabilitation project, the Mennonite College of Nursing building, rehabilitation and construction of the College of Education buildings, the construction of a larger facility for University High School and the Williams Hall renovation. The two capital renewal projects total about $3.1 million and include window and door replacements at Metcalf Elementary School, Fairchild Hall and Rachel Cooper Hall and replacing emergency generators.

The Board of Trustees also approved the creation of an undergraduate degree in cyber security. It will be administered through the School of Information Technology.

Dietz said the program would address a growing need in the field.

“This programmatic request is in response to the increasing national demand for information security specialists. In fact, several local companies have been asking for this type of program,” Dietz said. “A [bachelor of science] in cyber security will help students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for protecting information and information systems.”

The 80-credit hour degree is an extension of the existing information assurance and security sequence within the School of Information Technology. Enrollment in the major is expected to total 125 students once it is finalized and fully implemented.

Other approved resolutions include repainting dorm rooms in Watterson’s south tower, repairs to the North University Street parking garage, purchasing Apple computer products for resale and renaming the former Educational Administration Building as the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. The building, located at North Street and Fell Avenue, will be the university’s center dedicated to civic engagement and service learning initiatives.

Board members also highlighted an all-trustee training session that took place Thursday in Chicago, sponsored by the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

“It did provide us with some insightful information and gave us the chance to interact with our colleagues at other universities,” chairperson Rocky Donahue said.

Board member Jay Bergman was able to initiate a new trustee meeting schedule for the future during the trip.

“I was involved in overseeing some of the discussions and one thing I mentioned yesterday was the community college boards, which have the Community College Trustees Association, they meet with themselves periodically…and they share information about the different community colleges. The public universities’ trustees are in a vacuum,” Bergman said.

“The meeting that we had yesterday was the first one we had in seven or eight years. My role on the [Illinois] Board of Higher Education, I asked for a show of hands of how many people would like to have at least an annual all-trustees meeting and virtually everybody raised their hand. We will be having all public university trustee meetings moving forward,” he added.

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ISU Board of Trustees approves budget request, cyber security program

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