UI trustees to consider construction projects

URBANA — University of Illinois trustees will be asked to approve an interim dean for the UI's top-ranked library school and two major construction projects when they meet in Urbana on Wednesday and Thursday.

The board will also award the trustees' Distinguished Service Medallion to longtime board Secretary Michele Thompson, who recently retired.

Trustees last met in a closed-door session March 5 to review President Michael Hogan's performance after a call for his resignation by 130 top-ranked faculty and senate resolutions and faculty petitions expressing doubts about his leadership. The complaints centered on his actions related to a controversial enrollment initiative, fears about campus autonomy, Hogan's perceived "bullying" of Chancellor Phyllis Wise and questions about the future of his former chief of staff, Lisa Troyer.

Trustees ordered Hogan to work to rebuild faculty trust and said they would review his progress periodically at upcoming meetings. On Thursday, Hogan issued a universitywide statement saying he regretted the breakdown of shared governance and pledged to work more closely with faculty. He also gave interviews to 10 different media outlets, saying he had focused so intently on his goals as a new president that he had failed to listen and expressing regret for several provocative emails.

The board is scheduled to convene at 8:15 a.m. Thursday at the Illini Union's Illini Rooms B and C, then move almost immediately into closed session. The regular meeting will resume around 9:45 a.m. and is scheduled to end around 3 p.m.

On the agenda is approval of Allen Renear as interim dean for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, at a annual salary of $209,988. Renear is currently a professor at the school and has been serving as interim dean-designate since Feb. 16.

Former Dean John Unsworth stepped down last month to take a job as vice provost of library and technology services and chief information officer at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. He had been dean since 2003.

Also Thursday, trustees will vote on a new $80 million residence hall to be built on the north side of the Ikenberry Commons site, the third phase of the massive project to replace the "Six Pack" and other Champaign residence halls. The 155,000-square-foot building will hold 480 to 490 beds and will be built at the corner of South First and East Gregory streets near the site of the current Forbes Hall, which will be demolished.

Construction would tentatively start in spring 2014, and the target completion date is August 2016. The project will be funded with revenue bonds repaid by student housing fees.

Trustees will also vote on designs for a $30 million project at the Mile Square Health Center, which is affiliated with the UI Chicago Medical Center. The new building will provide convenient/urgent care, primary-care medical services, dental services, space for administrative offices and shell space for future tenants. It will be built on the southwest corner of Roosevelt Road and Wood Street in the Illinois Medical District.

Money for the project is available from a grant from the Health and Human Service Resources and Services Administration, the UI Chicago campus and the office of the vice president for health affairs.

On Wednesday, the board's hospital committee will meet at 1 p.m. at the Illini Union, and the academic and student affairs committee will convene at 3 p.m.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on March 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

They should meet in "closed session".  They should slink into, and out of town.   They should not make any public statements.  They should just draw their "appointed" salary; and keep up the stiff upper lip.  They should just have their tea and crumpets, and comment on the weather.  What a waste of money on such a group of out of touch, so called leaders!