It's official: Campus gets first new college in 60 years

It's official: Campus gets first new college in 60 years

URBANA — After a year of study, the first new college at the University of Illinois' flagship campus in almost 60 years is now official.

And the new Carle-Illinois College of Medicine already has its own website — medicine.illinois.edu — and slogan, "New College. New Medicine."

UI trustees approved the new public-private medical school on a voice vote Thursday with little discussion, after pledging strong support the day before.

UI Chancellor Phyllis Wise, the driving force behind the initiative, called it a "historic vote."

"We will make sure that everything that we do serves not only our campus but also the UIC campus and also the state and the world," she assured trustees.

The engineering-based medical school, which is being developed in partnership with Carle Health System, had been endorsed Wednesday by UI President Bob Easter. The goal is to integrate medicine with engineering, technology and big data to train "physician-scientists" of the future, improve health care and generate biomedical research breakthroughs.

Carle has pledged $100 million over 10 years toward the effort, which is designed to use no state funding. The campus plans to raise $135 million to $200 million in other private support.

Carle and the UI are negotiating a memorandum of understanding and financial agreement for the new school, with the hope of completing it before trustees meet again in May. The initiative will also require approval from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which could take a year or more. Administrators hope to admit the class of 25 medical students in fall 2017 and increase that to 50 a year by 2023-24.

It's the first new college at the Urbana campus since the College of Applied Health Studies was created in 1957.

The school will be independent of the UI College of Medicine in Chicago, which operates regional campuses at Urbana, Rockford and Peoria.

One issue to be resolved is the future of the 120 "Medical Scholars" at the Urbana regional medical school, as well as about 100 first-year medical students who train there every year. Wise has pledged to continue supporting those students in conjunction with the College of Medicine in Chicago.

The resolution approved Thursday directs administrators to return with a progress report on that issue, an update on a formal financial agreement with Carle, and plans for a governance structure that will facilitate collaboration between the Chicago and Urbana-Champaign campuses.

Administrators and faculty at UIC had misgivings about the new medical school and developed an alternative proposal to beef up its regional Urbana medical school and create a new bioengineering institute there.

Don Chambers, chairman of the University Senates Conference and professor of physiology and biophysics at the UI Chicago, said the key will be ensuring the new medical school is "complementary" to the Chicago medical campus. It's a theme trustees and administrators hit repeatedly this week.

"This was not unexpected. The devil is in the details," Chambers said, noting the importance of preserving "good will between the campuses."

Easter took pains to note the contributions of the existing College of Medicine, the nation's largest, which produces 300 graduates annually and one of every six doctors practicing in Illinois. But he said combined the medical schools will position the UI to "lead a new era of progress and growth."

Easter said there was no question about the need to give faculty researchers better access to clinical medicine, but the issue was whether that should be managed from Chicago or not. Administrators concluded a "nimble" structure with local management would work best, he said.

"Carle coming forward to offer very substantial resources certainly creates that kind of opportunity that hasn't been there in the past," he added.

Wise said finances were a concern for everyone involved.

"Everybody wanted to make sure that this was not going to fail, for financial reasons," she said. A risk management assessment concluded that even if tuition or grants or philanthropy "fell a little bit short, this will work," she said.

To research the feasibility of the plan, Easter hired the Huron Group, a global management consulting company, which also worked on a reorganization of the UI Chicago's academic and clinical health enterprises last year.

How will Carle benefit? In multiple ways that relate to Carle's basic health-care mission, said CEO Dr. James Leonard.

"You're going to bring physician-scientists into the community — M.D./Ph.Ds — and they're going to want to practice. Many of them are going to bring skill sets that we may not have at Carle today," he said. "And so we'll be able to add those services to the community and region."

New technologies will "raise the bar" of health care delivery and "add to the bottom line," which will help Carle reinvest in those efforts, he said.

"We did a neurosurgery procedure last week that nobody's doing in the world. That's because of the promise of this," he said. "Some of these people are already here."

In other news Thursday:

Coaching contracts: Trustees approved one-year contract extensions for football offensive coordinator Bill Cubit and recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh, to Jan. 31, 2017. They will continue to be eligible for annual raises. Cubit earns a base salary of $257,500, plus $257,500 for radio and television appearance, for a total of $515,000. He earned $500,000 last year. Golesh earns $206,000 annually, up from $200,000 in 2014.

Student insurance: Urbana students will see a 2 percent decrease in health insurance rates, from $291 to $285 per semester, while students at the Chicago and Springfield campuses will pay 21 percent more. The Chicago campus has a broader self-funded health care plan and must cover the costs of new federal minimum coverage standards.

Finances: University VP Walter Knorr said a proposed 31.5 percent state funding cut would put the UI's state appropriation back to 1986 levels or, in inflation-adjusted dollars, to the late 1950s. The UI had 26,000 students then, as opposed to 78,000 today.

Athletic revenue: Professor Jay Rosenstein suggested the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics share its growing revenue from the Big Ten Conference with the broader campus, to help address rising tuition costs and "skyrocketing student debt." He said the revenue has increased "tremendously" over the last decade, and given the current financial climate, "the old ways of solving the problem aren't going to work anymore."

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99characters wrote on March 13, 2015 at 9:03 am

If it's a UI insitute and we are raising twice as much as Carle pledged, why it's call "Carle-Illinois College of Medicine", instead of "Illinois-Carle College of Medicine" or "UI College of Medicine in Champaign-Urbana""?

C in Champaign wrote on March 13, 2015 at 10:03 am


Because they committed $100,000,000 to the project, and as lead donor, I am sure they were offered, and are entiltled to naming rights. This is a common practice at many universities. Wharton School of Business, Kellog School of Management, etc... State Farm got, stole,  naming rights for The Assembly Hall for mere $32 million.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 13, 2015 at 7:03 pm

If that is the way it works, maybe we could sell the state name.  The State of MacDonald's would bring in enough money to fund K-12 education.  The State of Microsoft would bring in even more.  Champaign-Urbana could become Busey-Carle also.  Who says that donors do not influence university presidents?