Western Illinois University

WIU Contact Talks Continue

Dec 26, 2017
Judd McCullum / Flickr

Western Illinois University teachers and staff are still in mediation with the administration regarding a new contract.  They’re working under terms of the previous contract, which expired over the summer. 

Western’s president said he hopes the two sides “will arrive at an equitable and mutually beneficial resolution.” That statement sparked some teachers and administrators to offer up a few comments to Western’s Board of Trustees. Illinois Public Radio’s Rich Egger reports.

 

Western Illinois University officials say the school's water bottle refilling stations have kept more than 1 million plastic bottles out of landfills.

Illinois spent $14 million on planning for state universities' construction projects that have been mothballed.

WIU / Facebook

Summer music camps are a staple at universities and institutes across the country. Most of them focus on large ensembles playing large works. But Western Illinois Univeristy’s School of Music is trying something different and going small. Illinois Public Radio's Jonathan Ahl explains.

Officials of Western Illinois University thanked a Quad Cities couple Thursday for the latest in a long line of gifts. It'll pay for scholarships and promote small businesses and Mexican culture. 

The coats of around 20 animal species go from brown in the summer to white in the winter.  Researchers are studying whether climate change is causing those animals to adapt.

College students and faculty in western Illinois will get more travel abroad opportunities because of a U.S. Department of Education grant.  Western Illinois University officials say the grant of over $400,000 dollars will benefit their school and also Spoon River College in Canton.  WIU officials are directing the grant, which covers three years of academic travel.

Western Illinois University is giving students and natural resource professionals a chance to flock to a community along the Mississippi River to learn more about the migration and health of ducks.  The school says the program is offered at its Kibbe Life Science Station in Warsaw. 

A Western Illinois University administrator said the school has enough money to make it through the Spring semester. But he's not saying much about the contingency plan WIU is developing in case the ongoing shortfall of state funding continues.

WIU Prepares for More Financial Uncertainty

Apr 3, 2017
WIU / Instagram

Western Illinois University says it has enough money to make it through the Spring semester. But that is not stopping the administration from developing contingency plans in case the ongoing shortfall of state funding continues. Illinois Public Radio’s Rich Egger reports.               

Western Illinois University wants to do more to help the Quad Cities area create new  businesses and expand existing companies. In January, the university opened its second Small Business Development Center on its riverfront campus in Moline. WIU also opened a new, International Trade Center.

There are 9,469 students enrolled at Western Illinois University this spring semester. It's the first time this century Western's student body has dropped below 10,000.

Despite uncertain state funding, Western Illinois University will keep tuition rates the same next year for incoming students.  University President Jack Thomas says holding the line on tuition is the right thing to do.

Western Illinois University will receive an extra boost of financial support from the state.  But it still falls far short of what the school would normally expect during a budget year.  Western was already receiving $36.5 million from the state’s stop-gap funding measure.  

Flickr Creative Commons/Tax Credits

The Illinois Board of Higher Education has approved $17 million in emergency funding to help three financially-strapped state universities through the end of the year.  Under the agreement Western Illinois University gets $8.4 million, Eastern Illinois University receives about $5.6 million and Chicago State University gets around $3 million.  The funding can only be used to pay down costs incurred this year.

Many state lawmakers in Illinois are in campaign mode right now.  And that means nothing is being done about the state budget.  Lawmakers and the Governor agreed to a stop-gap spending measure at the end of June.  It will keep state government services running until early January.

In a few years, companies hiring mechanical engineers will have more applicants. Michelle O'Neill reports this morning in Moline, Western Illinois University's President, Jack Thomas, announced it will offer a degree in Mechanical Engineering in January.


Facebook/Illinois State University

Illinois State University says its fall enrollment is up and the school has its largest freshman class in decades.  The announcement comes as some state universities brace for the possibility of enrollment declines due to Illinois' budget crisis and a lack of state university funding.

Flickr

The debate over Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, can get pretty heated.  But a long-time seller of non-GMO grain says he won’t get worked up over the issue. Illinois Public Radio's Rich Egger reports.

Stop-Gap Budget Won’t Reverse Western’s Layoffs

Jul 1, 2016

Public universities in Illinois are getting some financial relief as part of the state’s new stop-gap spending measure.  That will help the schools, but they still face a great deal of uncertainty.

Some Western Illinois University employees were required to take unpaid days off in Fiscal Year 2016, and they will have to take more in the new fiscal year as the school tries to cope with a drastic decrease in state aid.

Western Illinois University students and faculty scientists are spending the summer doing research related to how Zika virus spreads from mosquitoes to humans.  The Vector Biology Program at Western is led by Assistant Professor of Biology Catherine Miller-Hunt. It will soon begin studying how the Zika virus gets into human cells and looking for ways to stop it. 

The president of Western Illinois University will keep his job for at least one more year.   The board of trustees unanimously agreed to extend Dr. Jack Thomas' contract through the 2016-17 fiscal year.  Reading from a prepared statement during the board's quarterly meeting... chairperson Roger Clawson said trustees enthusiastically commend Thomas for the leadership he's shown during difficult times, and trustees support his strategic vision for Western.  After the meeting, Clawson said Thomas is steering the University through uncharted waters.

Trustees at Western Illinois University have voted to eliminate African American studies, women's studies and two other degree programs due to poor enrollment and low graduation rates. The board's vote was unanimous. 

School Year Ends But Cash Needs Continue at WIU

May 18, 2016
Rich Egger

Even though the school year is over at Western Illinois University, the Macomb community is still rallying for higher education funding.  About 50 people -- including Western faculty, staff and a few students -- gathered alongside members of the community for a demonstration that started in Chandler Park. 

Some shared how the funding cuts at Western are impacting them. In some cases that involved being laid off, taking early retirement or a drop in business for those community business owners.    

 

College students press for more higher ed funding

Apr 20, 2016

College student Jaclyn Smith says the state budget impasse is not only affecting her, it's affecting her unborn child.  Smith... who is six-months pregnant... has been attending Western Illinois University on low-income tuition grants the state pays for. But she says she'll have to quit school if the state doesn't start funding MAP grants again.

Higher education in Illinois has been caught in a continuing battle over the budget. 

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas warns legislators that higher education is on the verge of collapse without state intervention. Public universities and community colleges like WIU have struggled to make ends meet after not getting state funding due to the continuing budget stalemate.

WIU to cut 100 positions

Feb 26, 2016

Western Illinois University says it will cut 20-million dollars in spending over the next two fiscal years.  The university says for the fiscal year beginning July first it will cut 100 positions. President Jack Thomas says that will be done across divisions and includes administrators, faculty, and staff.

Rich Egger

 

  

Roughly 200 people marched through the Western Illinois University campus Tuesday afternoon.  They wanted to make a public statement about their dissatisfaction with decision-makers in Springfield.

 

"It’s time to stop using us as some kind of political football," said Dr. Brian Powell, Associate Professor of Philosophy, who helped organize the demonstration.

"We need funding for MAP (Monetary Award Program). This is need-based money for motivated students."

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