URBANA — The state budget picture may be unclear but University of Illinois officials are hoping for a salary program next year.
In a town hall meeting on campus Wednesday, UI Provost Ilesanmi Adesida, whose office oversees academic affairs on campus, called a salary program for the coming academic year a "firm and important" goal.
Raises tend to be announced in the summer and take effect in September. The campus salary program last September called for average raises of 2.75 percent. Raises are merit-based and can vary by employee and department.
In his budget address last month, Gov. Pat Quinn proposed flat funding for higher education. The legislature has not passed a budget yet for the next fiscal year.
During the town hall in the Illini Union, Adesida and Chancellor Phyllis Wise outlined budget issues and provided an update on a variety of initiatives launched in the last year under the strategic plan.
Other highlights from their talk:
— A year after announcing her plan to hire 500 new faculty over the next 6 to 7 years, Wise said the campus currently has 180 faculty searches under way.
Several "cluster" hires have been ongoing in areas defined by the strategic plan. Three new "clusters" were announced: health and wellness, energy and the environment and social equality and cultural understanding.
— In response to a question about how many faculty will retire early as a result of reforms to the pension system, Adesida said they don't have final numbers yet. Administrators said they expect to have more details in the coming months.
Supplemental retirement packages are being considered and are expected to be presented to trustees in May.
— A review of the "undergraduate experience" is under way and so far has involved working groups and committees that are drafting goals and initiatives that could be implemented this fall.
— A $70 million classroom renovation initiative will continue. So far, 92 classrooms have been updated and about $18 million spent so far.