UI trustees approve new hires, expenses, degrees

UI trustees approve new hires, expenses, degrees

CHICAGO — In their first regular session since the state passed a budget, University of Illinois trustees signed off on more than 30 agenda items, including the hiring of staff, added expenses for capital projects and two new academic degrees.

President Tim Killeen said he was confident moving forward into the fiscal year and thanked the board for its strength and skills during the budget impasse.

"Witnessing the resiliency of this university system ... has been a remarkable experience. We have weathered the storm," Killeen said. "The University of Illinois system was not broken by the budget impact."

Among Thursday's storylines:

— Leaving the UI system after more than a decade will be retiring CFO Walter Knorr — but not before giving a last budget update, his 63rd for trustees.

Legislators approved a $583 million budget for the university for fiscal 2018. That's 10 percent less than its 2015 appropriation, Knorr noted.

Three hundred million dollars was added to the bridge appropriation, bringing state funding for fiscal 2017 up to $650 million.

"I think we're going to have to put 'rest in peace' on whether or not we'll receive any funding from there," Knorr said of the stopgap budget.

Monetary Award Program, or MAP, grants were approved for 2017 and 2018.

Knorr said he hopes funding "will come to the university hopefully very soon for 2017."

— No new capital projects were on the agenda, but existing projects were re-appropriated and approved by the board.

— Trustees signed off on the appointments of James Anderson as dean of the College of Education and new Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Danita Young Brown, who'll replace the retiring Renee Romano.

Anderson has served as interim dean since Mary Kalantzis returned to the faculty last August.

— As for academic programs, the board established a master's of journalism degree from the College of Media and the Graduate College. Also added: a bachelor's of science in secondary education in the College of Education.

Eliminated by trustees: The master's of arts in economics, through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Graduate College.

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