WIU President Calls for Increased Investment in Public Higher Education – Western Illinois University News


WIU President Calls for Increased Investment in Public Higher Education

November 16, 2017

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Dear University Community,

After a budget impasse that persisted over two years, the state of Illinois passed a Fiscal Year 2018 budget on July 6, 2017. Prior to this most recent budget, significantly decreased state appropriated dollars were allocated to Illinois public higher education institutions for two consecutive years. This lack of adequate funding resulted in a ripple effect that continues to impact our regional public institutions.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the state of Illinois decreased higher education funding per student by 54 percent from 2008 to 2016 (a decrease of $3,479 per student). From 2015 to 2016 alone, Illinois support per higher education student dropped 37.1 percent.

Our leaders in this state must realize the value and necessity of regional public universities. We have done our part and have been frugal and careful stewards of the public funds that we receive. As a result of the impasse and dwindling state support, faculty and staff at Western have weathered significant salary decreases and dealt with the effects of other substantial cuts. We appreciate our employees’ many sacrifices. We all have sacrificed a great deal, from forgoing salary increases to decreasing salaries via furloughs and voluntary pay reductions, to taking on additional responsibilities and workloads to counteract reductions in funding. We have eliminated programs and reduced services across the University. We have done our share to ensure that the limited resources on hand are protected. Without consistent support from our state, we continue to be forced to make decisions to conform to the lack of adequate and predictable funding.

Now is the time for a full state appropriated budget of $62 million for Western to support our students, classrooms, employees, programs, and infrastructure. This funding is critical to maintain the University, including funding for faculty and staff salaries and operations. We must remain competitive in our efforts to recruit and retain world-class faculty and staff, as well as outstanding students. If we want our students, faculty and staff to remain in the state, and if we want to provide exemplary social and intellectual capital to rebuild Illinois’ economy, the state must fund regional public higher education institutions, which provide outstanding educational opportunities and career preparation to students in our region, across the state, and throughout the world.

In addition to our state appropriated budget request, we are requesting full MAP funding of $11 million for our students, $2 million to support student financial aid, $7.5 million for salaries and operations, $4 million for critical deferred maintenance projects, and $357.6 million for capital development projects. These funds are critical in order for Western to remain competitive and to continue to provide optimal services to this region. We will also continue to advocate for the release of the previously approved funding to construct the Center for Performing Arts, for which we have already held two groundbreaking ceremonies.

We are doing our part in terms of raising private support and investments for the University, but we also need the state of Illinois to restore confidence in public higher education by investing in our institution. It is time for Illinois’ leaders to demonstrate to the state, and the nation, that the State of Illinois is willing to invest in the next generation through public higher education. Illinois’ students are this state’s greatest assets and resources. We must invest in our state’s future, and this begins with ensuring access to public higher education, which is a proven path to upward mobility and a prosperous state.

In sum, an increased investment in public higher education is not an option. It is an absolute imperative.


Jack Thomas

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations

WIU President Calls for Increased Investment in Public Higher Education – Western Illinois University News

Illinois House of Representatives recognizes JWCC Ag Center

http://ift.tt/2iST0UX Illinois House of Representatives recognized the John Wood Community College Agriculture Center along with the University of Illinois and the Orr Research Farm on 40 years. John Wood Community College has a partnership with the U of I and the Orr …

Illinois House of Representatives recognizes JWCC Ag Center

UPDATED: Killeen on tap for second $100,000 performance bonus


URBANA — University of Illinois President Tim Killeen is slated for a second performance bonus of $100,000 for meeting goals outlined by UI trustees.

Killeen earns $600,000 annually, with the possibility of up to $100,000 in annual performance incentives based on predetermined goals set by the board. He received the full $100,000 in September 2016 after his first year in office.

The agenda for Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago includes a “pay-for-performance” compensation item authorizing $100,000 for Killeen this year, to be paid within 90 days.

In past years trustees haven’t released the amount until after meeting in closed session the day of the board meeting.

The board decided several years ago to tie a portion of the president’s total pay to performance based on mutually agreed-upon goals. Former UI President Robert Easter received three, ranging from $90,000 to $180,000.

Killeen’s initial contract also included a $225,000 retention bonus if he remained president for five years, but that provision was dropped at Killeen’s request in 2015 following the public flap over former Chancellor Phyllis’ Wise potential $400,000 retention bonus. Killeen said that he didn’t need a bonus to stay at Illinois and that retention incentives reward longevity, not performance.

Killeen completed his second full year as president in May.

In the past year he navigated an ongoing state budget crisis that cost the university hundreds of millions of dollars, hired Robert Jones as chancellor of the Urbana campus, reorganized and filled two vice presidents’ positions, forged new partnerships in Chicago and abroad, and helped launch a campaign to raise $3.1 billion for the UI’s three campuses.

He also saw two now-former UI employees implicated in a state patronage scheme dating back to their days as aides to former Gov. Pat Quinn.

In a written evaluation released Friday, trustees gave Killeen high marks for hiring “excellent leaders” and for being a “relentless advocate” for the UI system at the state and national levels.

They cited his collaborative efforts with other Illinois universities and community colleges; his strong advocacy for state and federal funding; and his commitment to keep tuition flat while increasing enrollment for Illinois undergraduates.

Killeen’s plan for a five-year funding commitment from the state tied to specific performance benchmarks by the UI — dubbed IPAC, or the “Investment, Performance and Accountability Commitment” — was judged to be “creative and innovative” and of benefit to higher education throughout the state.

Trustees also said Killeen made “admirable progress” on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students and faculty and increased opportunity for minority vendors. But they cautioned that progress is needed in terms of campus climate and diversity, a “top priority.”

Killeen also earned praise for outreach efforts, including a new CEO group to help promote the UI’s “brand” and mutually beneficial projects, and a new UI Health Advisory Board.

Thursday’s agenda also includes $75,000 in pay-for-performance compensation for UI Chicago Chancellor Michael Amiridis, along with a provision to incorporate the pay into his base salary. He would thereafter not be eligible for further performance bonuses.

Amiridis received a $75,000 performance bonus last year, and his current salary is $400,000 annually.

UI officials say “pay-for-performance” is a common practice in the corporate world and increasingly with university leaders. Trustees have said the extra pay is not a bonus but is earned.

UI employees received raises averaging 1 percent for this academic year, following a 2 percent mid-year raise last winter, but those did not apply to Killeen.

UPDATED: Killeen on tap for second $100,000 performance bonus

Higher education specialization, pension make future uncertain


Higher education specialization, pension make future uncertain



Richard Wandling, chair of the political science department, talked about Eastern’s future with hope. “We’ve had some bumps and bruises over the past two years, … but I’m optomistic,” Wandling said.

Richard Wandling, chair of the political science department, talked about Eastern’s future with hope. “We’ve had some bumps and bruises over the past two years, … but I’m optomistic,” Wandling said.

Richard Wandling, chair of the political science department, talked about Eastern’s future with hope. “We’ve had some bumps and bruises over the past two years, … but I’m optomistic,” Wandling said.

Brooke Schwartz, Administration Reporter
November 1, 2017
Filed under News, Online

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Illinois’ lack of funding, specifically for higher education and pensions, was dissected in Wednesday’s “Higher Education, Pensions and Politics” panel.

One audience member said in the past, higher education was seen as a social good, while now the perception has changed to define it as a personal good, which might be why funding has been lowered in the past couple of years.

With higher education being seen as a public good, it leads the state and federal governments to underfund programs, which raises tuition and makes a college degree harder to achieve.

The possibility of consolidating universities to avoid redundancy or to increase specialization was also discussed.

With campuses being limited to specific majors, diversity in interests would begin to disappear at universities.

Richard Wandling, chair for the political science department and one of the two panelists, said this specialization would make it harder for students to change their major and limit exploration.

Although the panel agreed that things are not very hopeful right now, Wandling said Eastern should stay positive about it’s future.

“I’m optimistic,” Wandling said. “If we have some stability in our budget, we will find our way. There’s always a need for institutions like EIU, because we serve many first generation students, we provide a lot more access to faculty, to retention, to student welfare and so I think if anything needs to happen is that faculty, students, staff, community members can be vigilant and taking that message to legislators.”

Madeleine Doubek, director of policy and civic engagement for the Better Government Association and another panelist, said she thought local government was apathetic towards the effects of the past two years on higher education.

“I don’t think that (Governor Bruce Rauner) lost a lot of sleep over what happened during the two year impasse,” Doubek said.

Madeleine Doubek, director of policy and civic engagement for the Better Government Association, was one of the two panelists at Wednesday’s discussion. She said that people need to listen, pay attention, and play an active role in their government.


The panel also discussed the growing concerns with underfunded pensions and the improbability of improvement in the near future.

According to USA Today’s article Illinois pension problem: Illinois’ pension plan is between $130-250 billion dollars under funded. 

This level of under-funding could cause problems for future generations, as there might not be any money left for pensions by the time Eastern students, and younger generations, need to use it.

One reason improvement is difficult is Illinois citizens believe they are being taxed enough, Doubek said.

“Take what just happened with the sales tax revolution and repeal in Cook County and I certainly think there’s a sentiment out there that we’re taxed enough in Illinois,” she said. “I think it would be very difficult to increase a tax to contribute more towards pensions.”

Doubek said Illinois’ problems with funding pensions and higher education is part of a bigger problem nationwide.

“In my view, Illinois is a microcosm of what is happening at the federal level,” she said. “In other words, nothing is happening at the federal level and I don’t see that changing.”

The main way to stand up for pensions, higher education or other matters that are important to you is to pay attention and speak up, Doubek said.

“We need to be very vigilant and pay attention to what’s happening … all the time,” she said.


Brooke Schwartz can be reached at

581-2812 or bsschwartz@eiu.edu.

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Higher education specialization, pension make future uncertain

Merge colleges, update majors to stop students from fleeing Illinois


Southern Illinois University Carbondale saw its freshman enrollment drop to half of what it was three years ago. That also means less tuition money, atop the state shirking its funding promises.

The new chancellor sees the crisis. Chancellor Carlo Montemagno blames administrative bloat, ossification and red tape for SIUC’s inability to react to the fact that too many prospective students find the university’s offerings to be irrelevant.

“The biggest limitation in our ability to change has been bureaucratic. Artificial boundaries created by the way we count effort and resources,” he said. “In numerous conversations with faculty members, I’ve heard about great ideas to deliver new programs that were stymied by bureaucratic obstruction.”

He wants new programs relevant to the working world that students will enter. He wants to consolidate and eliminate where needed.

But he needs to tame the administration if SIUC is to avoid the abyss.

Across Illinois, college administration grew 26 percent from 2005 to 2015. Instructors and professors grew 2 percent. Enrollment fell 3 percent.

Competition for students is increasing, too, at the same time other states gained Illinois students who were put off by the financial disarray and college grant uncertainty. The University of Illinois is pushing for a 15 percent enrollment increase by freezing tuition and rolling out new programs.

There might be legislative relief in the form of Senate Bill 2234, introduced recently by Assistant Republican Leader Sen. Chapin Rose. U of I is in his backyard.

It seeks reoganization of the state’s higher education system, review of academic programs and integration of community colleges, as well as making the college application process easier online for high school students.

While a Republican proposal that could lead to less government is unlikely to make it out of committee, Illinois’ financial maelstrom requires smart choices.

On the plus side, ignore Carbondale’s plight and maybe Edwardsville will finally emerge as the main campus in the SIU system.

Merge colleges, update majors to stop students from fleeing Illinois

State Budget Forum to be hosted at SIU Carbondale


(Source: KFVS)(Source: KFVS)

Several organizations are coming together to host a State Budget Forum on Thursday Oct. 26.

WSIU Public Radio, has partnered with NPR Illinois/WUIS Springfield and AARP Illinois to host the forum from 6-7:30 p.m.

The event will take place at the SIU Carbondale Student Center, Ballroom B, located at 1255 Lincoln Drive in Carbondale. Refreshments will be served beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The forum will take a look at the two-year long state budget impasse, its impact on the Southern Illinois community and the financial future of Illinois. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions of a panel of experts, share how they have been impacted, or to simply listen and learn.

News Editor and Operations Manager for NPR Illinois, Sean Crawford, will serve as moderator.

Here are a list of the panel guests:

  • Brent Clark, Director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators
  • Sherrie Crabb, Director of Family Counseling Center, Inc.
  • Marleen Shepherd, Communications Director for the Sparrow Coalition
  • Connie Favreau, Director of Project Development at Shawnee Health Service
  • Jak Tichenor, Interim Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIUC

This event is free and open to the public. Guest are encouraged to register online at http://ift.tt/2yN8Iu4. Questions about the event should be directed to the WSIU Radio newsroom at (618) 453-6101.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2017 KFVS. All rights reserved.

State Budget Forum to be hosted at SIU Carbondale

Proposed Illinois university department ranking system raises eyebrows


A plan by Republican state lawmakers to revamp the Illinois higher education system has received polite responses from educators, but elements of the newly introduced legislation already are getting push-back.

“The goal here is first and foremost to get us back to a space where higher education is affordable and accessible,” state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, told Illinois News Network. “This is the beginning of a conversation, not a final product.”

Rose authored the higher education overhaul with Sen. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington.

The legislation would create a uniform admission application for all the universities, guarantee access to an Illinois public university for any high school student who maintains a “B” average, create a ranking system showing which university departments are the most successful and put in place economic-efficiency reviews for the campuses.

Concerns about the state’s higher education system were evident even before the state’s two-year budget stalemate cut funding to the system, according to a news release from the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus. Enrollment dropped by 50,000 students between the years 1991 and 2014, the release said.

During that same time period, universities and colleges expanded their offerings, and some universities switched from being commuter campuses to dormitory systems, Rose said.

“We have 12 campuses trying to be all things to all people,” he said.

But Rose acknowledges the budget stalemate was not helpful for higher education and said his legislation would provide the Illinois Board of Higher Education more teeth to coordinate higher education policies and enforce statewide priorities.

The idea for a common application likely is to gain broad support among higher education officials and the public, he said, noting that university campuses currently have individual application filing fees.

“The part of this that I can see happening fairly quickly is that common application,” Rose said.

That might not be the case for the ranking system for university departments, however.

“That’s the part that causes heartburn for higher education,” he said.

Indeed, John Jackson, a visiting political science professor at the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University, said attempts to rank universities’ success have been contentious and that a vast amount of academic literature has been written about it.

“That one’s a perfectly terrible idea,” Jackson told Illinois News Network. “It’s not at all clear what are the reliable and valid ways to rank departments.”

Rose’s legislation lists an array of criteria that could be used to rank university departments, such as graduation rates, unique faculty qualifications, job placement rates, access to underserved populations and the relative value of a degree based on earnings potential.

The state senator also has criticized priorities and planning within the system of higher education. One project that Rose mentions frequently is an $82.5 million proposal to build a science, technology, engineering and math building at the University of Illinois at Springfield when there’s already a world-class engineering program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the same time, other university campuses have been waiting to upgrade their outdated science buildings, he said.

“This [legislation] gives teeth to the Board of Higher Education to become the traffic cop and forces them to go through some thoughtful analysis” about expanding programs, Rose said.

But Jackson said examples of duplication of resources within the university system are way overhyped. University campuses each need a core of general education offerings to attract students, he said.

“Otherwise, you’re a college or a trade school,” Jackson said.

He also questioned what would happen if a ranking system showed that an English department at one campus was not up to par. Would that university then not have a right to an English department, Jackson asks.

The state Board of Higher Education now is empowered to have a master plan in place and set priorities for higher education on a statewide basis, he said.

“Things are not nearly as out of whack as critics of higher education indicate,” Jackson said.

But state lawmakers have every right to examine such issues and speak to the IBHE about the future direction of higher education in the state, according to Jackson, who said the legislation’s stated goals of providing increased access to higher education and reducing bureaucracy were positive.

“On the face of it, it looks reasonable and fairly harmless in terms of trying to get people to the place where they would be most successful,” he said.

Others in the education field also seem receptive to discussing the ideas presented in the legislation.

“We’re in the process of reviewing their proposal and will work with them during the upcoming legislative session,” Thomas Hardy, spokesman for the University of Illinois System, told Illinois News Network.

Meanwhile, Rose signaled he wants to take a comprehensive look at how administrators are running individual campuses.

“These guys are all trying to build fiefdoms,” he said. “We’ve had 30 years of free-for-all and mission creep … build, build, build.”

Proposed Illinois university department ranking system raises eyebrows