U of I

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The Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois is assembling an exhibition of art from Africa's Swahili coast.  Organizers say it demonstrates the interconnectivity of East Africa, the Arab world, and Asia. The exhibition is titled "World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean." It opens in the fall of 2017.

Facebook/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois has received a relatively glowing financial report from Moody's Investor Service. But it comes with warnings.  In a just-released report, Moody's analysts commend administrators for having years ago prepared to weather fiscal storms like the one higher education's facing now.

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The woman who ran the University of Illinois' largest campus after its chancellor abruptly resigned has been promoted to be the No. 2 administrator in the university system.  The university announced that Barbara Wilson will become executive vice president of the three-campus system. 

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University of Illinois trustees have approved a contract with football coach Lovie Smith that will pay him at least $21 million over six years.  Smith is a longtime NFL coach who was hired to replace Bill Cubit.  They approved initial terms for Smith after he was hired in March. The contract was backloaded to pay him $10 million in salary over his final two years. 

University of Illinois officials are re-evaluating the institution's international strategy because of uncertainty over the state budget, shelving a planned office in India.  Interim Provost Edward Feser says the hold on the India office freed up $107,500 for the 2016 fiscal year. 

Figures from the University of Illinois show that its faculty members have received job offers and have resigned to move elsewhere in increasing numbers over the past 12 months.  School officials say that over the past two years, uncertainty over the state budget and pension funding has led more faculty at the Urbana-Champaign campus to look for work outside Illinois. 

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Preliminary enrollment figures from the University of Illinois' flagship campus indicate this fall's incoming class may set a record.  Freshman enrollment at the Urbana-Champaign campus was 7,600 on Monday, the first day of classes. That would be an increase from last year's 7,565 and the record 7,583 in the fall of 2005.

The University of Illinois will use a multimillion-dollar federal grant to study the nation's electric grid and devise ways to respond to a potential attack.   The $18.7 million award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will let researchers create conditions that mimic a real electric grid. They then will test new technology and cybersecurity tools. 

McDuffie: "Volatile Time" for U of I Minority Students, Faculty

Jul 20, 2016
U of I Department of African-American Studies / Illinois Public Media

Robert J. Jones will be formally introduced to the University of Illinois Urbana campus this morning as its new chancellor, and as the first African-American to lead the U of I’s flagship campus. One U of I professor of African-American studies says he hopes Jones can help make the school more racially inclusive and democratic. 

 Professor Erik McDuffie says it’s been a 

A beagle-rescue group has sued the University of Illinois over the university's refusal to disclose documents showing its treatment of research animals.   The Beagle Freedom Foundation backs legislation requiring research facilities to make animals finished with testing, such as beagles, available for adoption instead of euthanizing them. 

The University of Illinois is adding to its already large network of hundreds of security cameras.  The Champaign City Council voted to allow the university to install eight more cameras at two busy intersections near campus. The cameras will go up at Sixth and John streets and Fourth and Green streets in the next six months to a year.

Moody's Investors Service will review the credit worthiness of seven Illinois universities after downgrading the state's credit to two levels above "junk" status this week.   Moody's announced that "reviews for downgrade" will proceed on the University of Illinois, Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Governors State University, Northeastern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University.

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen says that the prospect of another year with limited or no state funding makes him "gravely concerned" the school may have to lay off employees or cut course offerings.

U of I employees eligible for overtime pay

May 23, 2016

The University of Illinois is one of the state’s largest employers and one that will be affected by new overtime rules announced last week by the U.S. Department of Labor. Under the new rules, many salaried employees will be eligible for overtime pay for any time worked past 40 hours per week, if they make $47,500 or less.  That’s nearly double the current threshold.  

Big Ten Network

University of Illinois History Professor Adrian Burgos says baseball became a true passion early in life. And through his own family and love for the game, Burgos learned about the role Latinos have played since the sport’s inception. Burgos was born just blocks from New York’s Yankee Stadium… and after moving to Florida, he lived near Little Yankee Stadium, the team’s former spring training home. 

U of I Department of African-American Studies

 Swastikas spray-painted on three campus buildings.  A white groundskeeper tossing a noose on a worktable used by a black co-worker.  Chalk messages saying “Build the Wall” and “Trump Deportation Force” written on sidewalks in front of the building that houses the Department of Latina/Latino Studies. 

U Of I Economist Weighs In On Graduated Income Tax

May 4, 2016
University of Illinois-Chicago

There’s broad agreement in Illinois that it will take at least some additional revenue for the state to get its fiscal house in order. One current proposal in the Illinois legislature would institute a graduated state income tax, currently prohibited by the state constitution. Democrat Christian Mitchell’s bill would put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to allow a graduated income tax. Democrat Lou Lang’s measure would then create graduated income tax rates ranging from 3.5 percent, to 9.75 percent.

Higher ed supporters rally as layoffs continue

Apr 21, 2016
Sean MacEntee / Flickr

Illinois colleges and universities have cut staff, eliminated programs and threatened to close … all because they've gone 9 months without money from state government. As people rallied in Springfield Wednesday to push for state cash … there was news of more possible layoffs. Illinois Public Radio's Sarah Mueller reports.

 

The University of Illinois has announced a pair of settlements involving former female basketball players who sued the school and its former football coach, Tim Beckman.

The University of Illinois Urbana campus has 57 faculty and students traveling in or near Brussels, Belgium and has confirmed that all of them are safe after this morning’s explosions in Brussels that left at least two dozen people dead. 

U of I faculty look to leave

Mar 17, 2016

University of Illinois administrators are warning legislators that leading faculty are already looking for positions elsewhere amid a 9-month state budget impasse.  

The University of Illinois is offering tips for students who may be spending spring break traveling to areas where the mosquito-borne Zika virus is prevalent.

Josh Whitman Introduced As U Of I Athletic Director

Feb 19, 2016
Rob McColley / Illinois Public Media

After more than 100 days without an athletic director, the University of Illinois Urbana campus has officially named Josh Whitman to the post.  Whitman is making the jump from NCAA Division III school Washington University in St. Louis, but he says there are more similarities than differences between the two levels.

"At the core of what we do is our students.  That will always be true," Whitman says.  "At a place like Washington University, we're able to recruit across the country, the same as we do at Illinois.  We're able to compete for conference and national championships.  I travel all over the country and meet with an incredibly affluent and successful group of alumni and donors.  So, there are a lot of similarities."

 

 

The 37-year-old Whitman was a four-year starter on the Illinois football team in the late 1990s and holds degrees in finance and law from the U of I. 

Whitman says his first official day on the job at Illinois will be March 21.  He replaces Mike Thomas, who was fired by the university in November after a series of incidents in the football and women’s basketball programs.

Whitman says he'll draw on his experience as athletic director at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in trying to restore confidence in an athletic department that's been in turmoil.

"An approach that we took up there that I think will work here is that you want to show people incremental progress," he says.  "You want to be able to say 'we're going to do something,' and then you do it.  Over time the wheel starts to turn, and you start to pick up momentum.  Then people understand that this is going to get better."

Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson says that Whitman has a five-year contract that will pay him $600,000 per year, plus incentives for both academic and athletic performance.

Wilson says she knew during their first interview that Whitman should be the new AD.

"Josh is really the full package," she said.  "To add to all of that, it's great to have an Illini.  That wasn't a criterion from the beginning, but it was what I could call icing on the cake.  If we could get all of the things we needed, plus someone who loved Illinois, that would be the best of all possible worlds."

A 9-foot-tall menorah at a University of Illinois Jewish student center has been damaged for a third time in less than a year. The center's rabbi believes school leaders haven't taken a strong enough stand against the vandalism.

U of I approves tuition rate freeze

Jan 21, 2016

University of Illinois Trustees have unanimously approved freezing tuition rates for the second straight year for in-state freshman.  

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen is recommending that trustees freeze tuition for a second straight year for instate freshmen.

The University of Illinois plans to use money left over from a construction project to help build a new African-American cultural center.

The University of Illinois' flagship campus has broadened its ban on hoverboards to cover all of its buildings and other campus facilities.

Travis Stansel / Illinois Public Media

Illinois hospitals' exemptions from property taxes are in question after an Illinois appellate court ruling earlier this week found a 2012 state law setting tax exemptions for charitable care to be unconstitutional.  If Carle Hospital in Urbana appeals this ruling , the next stop for this case would be the Illinois Supreme Court.

The University of Illinois' flagship campus is telling students not to bring hoverboards to school when they return from the holiday break.

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