U of I

U of I Institute of Government and Public Affairs

The University of Illinois released the latest Flash Index numbers. 

At 105.1, it’s the lowest level this year. It was at 105.4 in July. Economist Fred Giertz  says any measure over 100 indicates an expanding state economy.

“So it’s a slight decline, which means the economy is still growing, but not as rapidly as it was a few months ago," he said.

University of Illinois

The University of Illinois’ Urbana campus announced Monday it will guarantee any in-state student, from a household at or below the state median income of $61,000 per year, will have tuition and fees covered by a combination of university, state, and federal financial aid.

That doesn’t include room and board, or books, but the university said students can apply additional merit and third-party scholarships to those expenses.

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Chris Quintana covers "culture wars" on college campuses and other news for The Chronicle of Higher Education. He was intrigued by the story of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's one-time icon, Chief Illiniwek.

Susan Stephens

The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees has signed on to a bill that would guarantee stable funding for the school while imposing several performance standards.

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The state’s economy continues to grow slowly, according to the University of Illinois' monthly Flash Economic Index. 

The Flash Index for November rose three-tenths of a point to 104.2, up from a five-year low in October.

Any reading over 100 means the economy is growing, according to U of I economist Fred Giertz. "It’s not the kind of explosive growth that people are looking for but the fact that it's slow and steady is news in itself," Giertz said.

fightingillini.com

A Chicago Bears and Fighting Illini legend will be immortalized in bronze at the University of Illinois. 

Fighting Illini Athletic Director Josh Whitman announced that the university has commissioned U of I alumnus George Lundeen to create a bronze statue of Dick Butkus to display on the east side of Memorial Stadium.

The Chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said the Trump administration's immigration and visa policies have not hurt the university in recruiting students and employees so far.

Graduate students, faculty, and staff from overseas can come to the country and work on a H-1B visa. The Trump administration suggested curtailing this program.

Chancellor Robert Jones says even with changing news out of the White House, the state’s flagship university is still able to recruit overseas students and employees.

U of I Panel To Study Next Generation Of Power

Sep 28, 2017

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be at the forefront of helping develop the next generation of energy.

Engineering professors will take part in NextGrid, an 18-month study that begins today.

NextGrid brings together several experts in the energy, utility and engineering fields to come up with new ways to produce the next generation of power. The project is being overseen by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

NCAA

Federal prosecutors indicted four NCAA men’s basketball assistant coaches on charges of fraud and corruption. 

One of them, Lamont Evans, worked under current University of Illinois head coach Brad Underwood when Underwood was the head coach at Oklahoma State University.

The other three assistant coaches charged are Chuck Person of Auburn, Emanuel Richardson of the University of Arizona, and Tony Bland of the University of Southern California.

Prosecutors also indicted James Gatto, the Director of Global Marketing for Adidas.

U Of I Flagship Campus Sets 10-Day Enrollment Record

Sep 14, 2017
Julie McMahon/University of Illinois

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign set an enrollment record for a seventh consecutive year. 

Even with a slight drop in the number of freshman, total enrollment at the Urbana campus is up 3% over last year to more than 47,800 students. Including the Chicago and Springfield campuses brings total U of I enrollment to more than 83,000.

The U of I takes enrollment snapshots on the tenth day of each fall semester.

"Foellinger Auditorium, University of Illinois" by Flickr user Vince Smith / (CC x 2.0)

Now that Illinois has a budget, the University of Illinois officially can launch an initiative aimed at recruiting top faculty, U of I President Tim Killeen says.

The three-year $60 million program was announced in May. The university system said Thursday that the campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield now can make proposals for money to recruit professors. The objective is to bring in tenured, high-achieving faculty in a broad range of academic disciplines.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

Brendt Christensen entered a “not guilty” plea Thursday in a federal courtroom in Urbana to the charge of kidnapping a visiting scholar from China. The hearing lasted less than five minutes.

Prosecutors accuse Christensen, a recent University of Illinois graduate student, of abducting Yingying Zhang from a campus bus stop June 9.

U Of I Could Host New Bioenergy Research Center

Jul 18, 2017
Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

If Congress approves, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will host a $104 million center for research into new biofuels and bioproducts.

The U.S. Department of Energy is awarding the money over the next five years to help create the university’s new Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation --- CABBI for short.

Plant Biology Professor Evan DeLucia, who will be CABBI’s director, says the Energy Department was attracted to U of I because of the bioenergy work it’s already doing.

Photo Provided by University of Illinois Police

The family of missing Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang has increased the amount of reward money for information about her location to $50,000.

By the time authorities arrested a suspect for her kidnapping, they had come to believe that the visiting scholar at the University of Illinois was dead.

But her family and boyfriend have not given up hope that she is still alive. At a news conference, Xiaolin Hou spoke of his girlfriend in the present tense.

The defense attorney for a man accused of kidnapping a University of Illinois scholar from China says his client deserves the "presumption of innocence."

Tom Bruno represents 28-year-old Brendt Christensen, who is accused of kidnapping 26-year-old Yingying Zhang and is jailed pending trial. Authorities believe she's dead, although her body hasn't been found. Christensen was arrested Friday.

Bruno said Thursday that he doesn't think "a negative inference" can be made from prosecutors' statements that Christensen marched in a vigil for Zhang a day before he was arrested.

Photo Provided by University of Illinois Police

The FBI says it has arrested a Champaign man in the disappearance of a visiting University of Illinois scholar. It also says it believes the Chinese scholar, 26-year-old Yingying Zhang, is dead.

The FBI it arrested 27-year-old Brendt Christensen on Friday.

The criminal complaint provided by the FBI says Christensen is charged with kidnapping. He will make his first appearance in federal court on Monday.

The FBI did not say why it believes Zhang is dead, only that information discovered during the search led agents to that conclusion.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

The University of Illinois System has launched a three-year, $60 million initiative to recruit top faculty to its universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

University President Tim Killeen announced the effort Thursday, the News-Gazette reports. Killeen says the objective is to bring in tenured, high-achieving faculty in a broad range of academic disciplines.

The plan is dubbed the President's Distinguished Faculty Recruitment Program.

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

The University of Illinois Flash Index fell by 0.1 point to 104.3 from March. However, any number above 100 indicates a growing economy.

Economist Fred Giertz, who works at U of I's Institute of Government and Public Affairs, compiles the index. He says the slow economic growth and limited change to the index  is a result of mixed factors, such as the continuing budget crisis and a lower unemployment rate. He also noted first-quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers were lower than usual.

uis.edu

Back when it was called Sangamon State University, the Springfield campus had a faculty union.

But since joining the University of Illinois system, professors have been without a bargaining unit. For more than a year, they’ve been trying to get an agreement that would retain the rights they had before.

Now, frustrated by the slow pace of talks, they’ve voted to authorize a strike.

Kristi Barnwell, a history professor, says negotiations have thus far been more about grievance procedures and tenure, than dollars and cents.

The University of Illinois is proposing a financial aid package to keep students in-state. 

“Invest in Illinoisans” would spend $850 million over 5 years. Chicago-area State Representative Mike Zalewski says it’s needed to avoid a brain-drain.  

"We are losing an unsustainable amount of young Illinoisans to other universities, and that is the state's real out-migration problem," he said.  "We cannot afford to have our best and our brightest talent going to other universities to learn to grow and to start their families.  It has to stay in Illinois."  

"Airplane" by Flickr User Sean MacEntee / (CC X 2.0)

A University of Illinois senior administrator says President Trump’s recent Executive Order halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries could be harmful to the university’s mission.

Executive Vice-President Barb Wilson says the U of I needs what she calls “open doors” to fulfill its mission.

“We need international students, and faculty, and visiting scholars to come here, and we need to be able to send our students to other countries to learn and to engage in scholarship,” Wilson said.

University of Illinois officials unveiled an enrollment plan Thursday at a Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago, with protestors calling for protection of undocumented students.  

Trustees want to boost system-wide enrollment to more than 90,000 students by 2021.  President Tim Killeen told them that, as of 2014, nearly half of high school graduates attended college outside the state.  He says they’re less likely to return home to start a career and family.

http://www.bot.uillinois.edu/koritz

A Rockford anesthesiologist has been elected to a one-year term as chairman of the University of Illinois system's Board of Trustees.

Dr. Timothy Koritz of Roscoe was chosen for the position Thursday at a trustees meeting in Chicago. He's been on the board since 2009. He works at Rockford Memorial Hospital and is a former professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree from the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the people he’s been talking to about serving as University of Illinois trustees are “incredible” and “extraordinary”. But he says he can’t give out their names just yet.

The terms of three U of I trustees are expiring this month. Rauner has said he wants to take the university to a new level, once the state budget dispute is settled. And he says he hopes to have an announcement soon on new trustees who can help him do that.

U Of I's Flash Index Shows December Gains

Jan 5, 2017
Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

The University of Illinois’ Flash index rose slightly last month.

Any number above 100 indicates economic growth.  Last month’s index came in at 104.3.   Economist J. Fred Giertz explains that the Flash is a weighted average of consumer spending, personal income, and corporate earnings.  He says last month was good for retailers.  

"Most of December was strong in sales, and that's not just because it was the Christmas season," he said.  "It actually was stronger than past years.  This is a difference in both the Illinois and national economy."

The University of Illinois President recently declined to make any of the school’s three campuses so-called “sanctuary campuses” for undocumented students.

Tim Killeen cited the need to uphold state and federal laws. Elizabeth Redden, a reporter for Inside Higher Ed, has been covering the sanctuary campus issue for that publication. She says the term "sanctuary campus" can be seen as politically charged because it doesn’t yet have a legal definition. 

Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen says the school’s three campuses can’t serve as sanctuaries for undocumented students. 

He cited the need to uphold state and federal laws, but said leaders will do all they can within the law to protect students, including the undocumented. 

Flickr User Ken Teegardin/Flickr CC by SA 2.0

New projections show nibbling around the edges of state budget problems won't help Illinois.   

The state went for nearly a year and a half without a full budget. But there’s a surprising level of consensus about what must be done if lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner can come to a compromise on the governor’s policy demands and ultimately get down to trying to close the budget gap.

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University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen is again pushing a plan for the state to agree to multi-year budget for the school in exchange for controls on tuition increases and other benchmarks.

Killeen previously discussed the idea as a way to provide financial stability as the state continues to struggle with its budget crisis.

University spokesman Tom Hardy says state Sen. Bill Cunningham and state Rep. Michael Zalewski plan to introduce legislation today that would put that plan into action.

  The University of Illinois has received a relatively glowing financial report from Moody's Investor Service, but it comes with some caveats.  

The firm credits U of I leaders for having bolstered the school's balance sheet. The report says the school's brand and diverse revenue base -- for example, high demand from international students -- add credit stability that's helped to cushion state funding blows.  This includes the current budget impasse, which has resulted in public universities going nearly a year without funding.  

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