Chancellor Addresses Proposed Cut, Strategic Plan


University of Illinois Urbana Chancellor Phyllis Wise says administrators have every hope any cut in state funding will be less than the proposed 32-percent reduction unveiled by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Wise told about 75 people attending the annual campus town hall meeting Thursday that she’s hosting state lawmakers on campus next week, and U of I administrators will be in Springfield next month to try and avert a proposed cut she calls ‘breathtaking’.

The focus of the meeting was to provide an update on the Urbana campus strategic plan. When unveiled in 2013, the plan called for hiring 500 new faculty. Wise says now that plan needs to be slowed down.

“Instead of 500 faculty in the next five to seven years, it will probably be in the next 10 years," he said.  "But the bottom line is, we have to keep this place recruiting new faculty.  New blood are the essence of the future.  And so we can’t stop it. We may be able to slow it down some, but we can’t stop that.”

The U of I also faces a 2.1-percent rescission for the current fiscal year through June 30 that totals $15 million.

The Chancellor noted legislative plan to end the 50-percent tuition waiver for children of U of I employees was currently on hold. 

Wise said the next strategic plan, covering the years 2017-2022, will need modification, but the campus doesn't have to start from scratch.

"This is not the time to back away from the strategic plan," she said.  "We must continue to move forward.  It is not the time to sort of curl up in a corner and become demoralized.  That would really admit defeat."

With the proposed cut, Urbana Provost Ilsanmi Adesida said 'everything must be on the table', but the U of I must protect is core mission.  He suggests the campus look at restructuring academic programs with lower enrollments. 

Wise said goals for the next few years include a comprehensive fundraising campaign – recognizing the U of I needs to rely more on sources like alumni and corporate donations and less on tuition and state dollars.

The university will also celebrate 150 years in the year 2017. Wise says a series of events sesquicentennial events are planned for all U of I campuses, and other major cities.

Story source: WILL