UI trustees to discuss budget, host panel on higher education at retreat

CHICAGO — University of Illinois trustees will hold their annual retreat and consider a preliminary budget for 2013-14 when they meet today and Thursday at the UI-Chicago campus.

At the retreat, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., chancellors from each campus are expected to deliver wide-ranging presentations on accomplishments from the past year and goals for the future.

A highlight of the morning will be a panel discussion on higher education in the U.S., including the future for public research universities. It will include several emeritus university presidents: James Duderstadt, former president of the University of Michigan; Larry Faulkner, former president at the University of Texas (and former UI provost); and William DeLauder from Delaware State University.

UI President Bob Easter will moderate the discussion.

The afternoon will consist of seven or eight breakout sessions on various topics, with trustees, administrators, deans and faculty members attending the discussions.

The board's regular meeting convenes at 8 a.m. Thursday. On the agenda is a preview of the UI's preliminary budget request for fiscal 2014, which seeks a 4.9 increase in state funding for the university. It was unveiled last week at a committee meeting.

The $82.8 million increase would include $53.4 million for employee raises — 3 percent merit-based raises plus another 1.5 percent targeted toward highly recruited or undercompensated faculty, officials said.

The budget would also include $29.4 million to meet cost increases in Medicare, worker's compensation, operations and maintenance, utilities and library acquisitions.

The board will vote on it in September, and the request will be submitted to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, which makes recommendations to the governor and Legislature.

The UI's preliminary capital funding request totals more than $700 million for the three campuses, including almost $304 million for Urbana. The top priority is repairs/renovations, as well as $15 million to help fund the Natural History Building project and $50 million to redevelop the Undergraduate and Main Library.

The UI's last capital appropriation came in 2010, and it received no state capital funding from 2005-2009.

The meetings will be held at UIC Student Center West, 828 S. Wolcott Ave., Chicago.

Thursday's meeting will also be webcast live at http://www.uis.edu/technology/uislive.html

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Sid Saltfork wrote on July 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

"$15 million to help fund the Natural History Building project"?  Is that on top of the $4.6 million already slated for the project?  Does BDLL Architects of Champaign have any other bids outstanding on the project?  $19.6 million to renovate a building built in 1893?  $53.4 million for "merit-raises", and faculty raises?  Where are the Civil Service raises?  "Cost increases in Medicare"?  University state employees are not allowed to pay into Social Security.  It would be nice if the Board of Trustees would publically release the full details of budgets so people could see who is getting what; and how much.  Where is "transparency" in Higher Education?  

Bulldogmojo wrote on July 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm

The University of Illinois has always reserved the right to put up buildings they can't afford to put employees in. When administrators had their "Town Hall" meetings around campus making fools of themselves, I went to many of them. They always made a point of stating "Capital funds cannot be reallocated" even if it wasn't related to what they were doing their monologue about. The message clearly is "our employees are NOT our most valuable asset"