U of I

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The University of Illinois System has launched a three-year, $60 million initiative to recruit top faculty to its universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

University President Tim Killeen announced the effort Thursday, the News-Gazette reports. Killeen says the objective is to bring in tenured, high-achieving faculty in a broad range of academic disciplines.

The plan is dubbed the President's Distinguished Faculty Recruitment Program.

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

The University of Illinois Flash Index fell by 0.1 point to 104.3 from March. However, any number above 100 indicates a growing economy.

Economist Fred Giertz, who works at U of I's Institute of Government and Public Affairs, compiles the index. He says the slow economic growth and limited change to the index  is a result of mixed factors, such as the continuing budget crisis and a lower unemployment rate. He also noted first-quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers were lower than usual.

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Back when it was called Sangamon State University, the Springfield campus had a faculty union.

But since joining the University of Illinois system, professors have been without a bargaining unit. For more than a year, they’ve been trying to get an agreement that would retain the rights they had before.

Now, frustrated by the slow pace of talks, they’ve voted to authorize a strike.

Kristi Barnwell, a history professor, says negotiations have thus far been more about grievance procedures and tenure, than dollars and cents.

The University of Illinois is proposing a financial aid package to keep students in-state. 

“Invest in Illinoisans” would spend $850 million over 5 years. Chicago-area State Representative Mike Zalewski says it’s needed to avoid a brain-drain.  

"We are losing an unsustainable amount of young Illinoisans to other universities, and that is the state's real out-migration problem," he said.  "We cannot afford to have our best and our brightest talent going to other universities to learn to grow and to start their families.  It has to stay in Illinois."  

"Airplane" by Flickr User Sean MacEntee / (CC X 2.0)

A University of Illinois senior administrator says President Trump’s recent Executive Order halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries could be harmful to the university’s mission.

Executive Vice-President Barb Wilson says the U of I needs what she calls “open doors” to fulfill its mission.

“We need international students, and faculty, and visiting scholars to come here, and we need to be able to send our students to other countries to learn and to engage in scholarship,” Wilson said.

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