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Higher Education

Sandberg Auditorium For Sale

Feb 4, 2016
Loco Steve / Flickr via Creative Commons

An auditorium with $3 million in renovations is for sale for $100. The Carthage City Council has approved buying the structure from Carl Sandberg College in Galesburg. The college board will vote on the matter this month. The school received the Charger Auditorium in 2008 as a donation from Pairieland Investment Group. It wanted to create a multi-building partnership that fizzled in large part because of the recession. Sandburg president Lori Sundberg says after $3 million in renovations, the school spends up to $35,000 a year to maintain it.

Steve Pettaway / US Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will appear at a public event next month at the University of Illinois in Champaign. The university's College of Law says she will conduct a wide-ranging hour-long discussion with Professor Robin B. Kar. The March 7 event is free, but tickets are required. Sotomayor joined the Supreme Court in 2009. She is the country's first Hispanic justice.

Jody Christensen / Creative Commons

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen says he agrees with some of the concerns about excessive spending at public universities raised by an aide to Governor Bruce Rauner. He was among those to respond last week to the memo from Deputy Chief of Staff Richard Goldberg. Killeen says the university has taken steps to enhance the experience for the student… including an administrative hiring freeze on the administration, and other measure to make sure the U of I is ‘fiscally prudent.’

Michael Hill / WGLT

More than 300 college students and twin city residents took part in a watch party at Illinois State University for President Obama’s State of the Union Address. ISU became the national hub for a live webcast sent out to nearly 500 campuses in the United States. 

Heartland Community College Student Hetal Bhirawani says she is impressed with the younger generation. “We are all interested in politics, and we want to know where we are going, where our future is going, and what the people in authority are doing to secure our future.”

MAP Grants May Be Victim of Budget Impasse

Jan 11, 2016

The state recently released a survey showing that many colleges won’t credit MAP grants for low-income students this spring semester. But those Monetary Award Program students aren’t the only ones whose grants have gone away.

When a police officer, firefighter or prison guard is killed or disabled in the line of duty, the state promises to provide their dependents with a college education.  But the budget impasse has put that promise on hold, says Eric Zarnikow, director of the Student Assistance Commission.

More Trouble For College of DuPage

Dec 17, 2015
James C. Svehla / College of DuPage

An accreditation agency has put the troubled College of DuPage in suburban Chicago on probation for two years. The school made the Higher Learning Commission's decision public on Wednesday. The school remains accredited, but being on probation means it has two years to address concerns from the commission. If the school doesn't address those concerns, the commission could withdraw accreditation. The school will be evaluated again in 2017. The commission says it found concerns with the college's integrity in its financial, academic, personnel and other functions.

University of Illinois has formed a committee to build the core curriculum of its new engineering-based medical school at the Urbana-Champaign campus. The university has announced the committee will be led by co-chairs Dr. Robert Good and Professor Rashid Bashir. Good is the senior associate medical director of population health at Carle Health System. Bashir heads the department of bioengineering at University of Illinois.  

Many agencies and organizations that rely on state funding are hard hit by the budget stalemate in Springfield.  The state isn’t mandated to fund higher education the way it must fund K-through-12 education, and the state’s colleges are feeling the pinch.  IPR's Heather Claborn reports.

The University of Illinois took an unusual step this year to increase its in-state enrollment, accepting students with lower entrance-exam scores to enroll while increasing financial aid by several million dollars.  
The moves worked. In-state enrollment jumped by 11 percent, to 5,490 from 4,927 a year earlier. The average ACT score for freshmen dropped by less than a point for in-state students at the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus.  

Jim Browne / WGLT

Eureka College has it's first female president, and it's first chancellor. Current president J. David Arnold will step into the role of chancellor as he begins a semi-retirement.

Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg will suspend adult education classes Jan. 1 because of the state budget crisis.  College President Lori Sundberg says the state-funded adult education, English as a second language, and literacy programs are up in the air because lawmakers in Springfield have been unable to agree on a spending plan. Sundberg says the school is the "sole provider''; there are no other places in the area for coursework. Sandberg remains a testing site for the GED.  

Start Up Event Spawns Businesses

Nov 13, 2015
Jim Browne / WGLT

During an entrepreneurial event at the Uptown Normal Marriot, 18 businesses, and people who want to run a businesses pitch ideas to a group of judges.

U Of I Trustees Approve $600,000 Settlement With Salaita

Nov 13, 2015
Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Media

The University of Illinois and professor Steven Salaita have reached a $600,000 settlement, but he will not be teaching at the U of I. Including legal fees, the total will be $875,000, according to his attorneys.  University trustees approved the settlement on an 9-1 vote at their meeting today in Chicago. 

In a press release, the U of I says Salaita will receive the lump sum payment, and the university has also agreed to pay his attorneys for any legal costs he has incurred.  The proposed agreement stipulates that it does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by the U of I.

Senait Gebregiorgis / Illinois Public Media

University of Illinois Interim Urbana Chancellor Barbara Wilson says the decision to fire athletic director Mike Thomas came after a law firm’s release of a final report into abuse allegations within the football and women’s basketball programs. But speaking in a morning news conference, Wilson says the dismissal is tied to ‘distractions' and not any misconduct or violations of policies or standards by the now-former Athletic Director.

User Roger W / Flickr

Illinois has fired athletic director Mike Thomas as it prepares to release the final report from its investigation into mistreatment of football and women's basketball players. Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson says the report found no wrongdoing by Thomas. But she says ``a change in leadership was needed in order to move forward.''

The lack of a state budget is putting stresses on Illinois' public universities that still aren't receiving money from the state. Larger schools such as the University of Illinois are faring better than smaller schools where enrollment has fallen, or fundraising is harder. Those schools have seen layoffs and furloughs, funding cut for athletics, and cash reserves raided. Alan Phillips, chief financial officer at Northern Illinois University, says it would be ``very difficult'' to get through a full year without state funding.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Mitsubishi Plant in Normal is preparing to close, but the company says it still wants to remain a part of the Bloomington Normal Community. The Mitsubishi Motors USA Foundation is redirecting its efforts from a national focus to concentrating on charitable works in the twin cities.

Ryan Gremore of the O'Brien Mitsubishi Dealership has announced a nearly $53,000 scholarship gift to Heartland Community College benefiting five graduates each from Bloomington, Normal Community, and Normal West High Schools for five years.

Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis wants to give employers a hand in helping to pay off student loan debt for the recent college graduates they hire. The Taylorville Republican introduced a bill in the House this week that will let those employers offer a tax-free benefit of just over 5-thousand dollars to attract new hires --- and also help current workers with continuing education. Davis says current student loan re-payment programs are unfair.

ISU Senior Shares Her Success Story

Oct 31, 2015
Brooke Hausmann

Among the students graduating this year is a woman who was told college was "not for her." Brooke Hausmann is a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Major in the College of Education at Illinois State University. She has faced challenges from an auditory processing disorder and becoming hard of hearing. With the help of professors and students, she was able to succeed where others thought she would fail. WGLT's Michael Hill talks with Brooke to hear her story.

Illinois' public universities have gone without state support during the nearly five months legislators and the governor have been caught in gridlock. IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports on how that's creating a double fiscal whammy.

Illinois State University Trustees will take up a budget resolution forecasting at least a ten percent cut in state funding next fiscal year. That is on top of whatever reductions come in the current year budget now deadlocked in Springfield. Jay Groves is an ISU spokesman.

Indiana University

Bradley University's new President is a respected legal scholar, attorney, and graduate of the Peoria school. Gary Roberts is currently Dean Emeritus and a law school professor at Indiana University. He is an expert on anti trust and sports law.

Bradley Trustees Chair Dout Stewart says Roberts is a forward thinking, innovative, and proven leader. Roberts replaces Joanne Glasser, who retired earlier this year.

Roberts will take over January first from interim President Stan Liberty.

Salaita’s Hope Of Teaching At U Of I Continues

Oct 15, 2015
Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

Steven Salaita was back on the U of I campus this week for the first time in a year. He’s teaching now at the American University of Beirut. But he says he’d rather be teaching at the University of Illinois.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Some officials at public universities in Illinois are at least floating the idea of taking legal action against the governor and the Illinois legislature over the absence of a state budget. During an appearance on GLT's Sound Ideas, Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said it's not likely that will happen, but admitted some educators are considering going to court.

Leaders of several state universities and community colleges are sounding the alarm as they begin month three of receiving no money from Illinois. State support for Illinois’ 12 public universities and its 49 community colleges is the largest part of the state government that isn’t being funded during Springfield’s budget impasse.

NIU Joins Mumps Plagued Campuses

Oct 2, 2015

County health officials have confirmed that a Northern Illinois University student has mumps. University officials say they're working with the DeKalb County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health to provide more community information. Illinois' outbreak has centered on the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus, where more than 100 cases have been confirmed. Two cases were confirmed last month at Eastern Illinois University.  Nearly 30 have popped up at various schools in Bloomington Normal.

The presidents of Illinois' nine public universities are urging Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and leaders in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly to end the ongoing state-budget stalemate. The presidents said in a letter to the governor and lawmakers on Thursday that uncertainty over how much state money the schools will get this fiscal year and when they'll get it is beginning to damage their ability to teach and do research.

An American kestrel that the University of Illinois used as an educational bird of prey has been found after escaping last week. The bird, named Thistle, has one eye and can't survive in the wild. She escaped Sept. 23 from a handler at the University of Illinois Wildlife Clinic.

The clinic said Tuesday that Thistle was found in west Champaign and entered her travel crate ``to eat a meal hungrily.'' The Wildlife Medical Clinic and the College of Veterinary Medicine posted online that staff are ``rejoicing'' in Thistle's return and are grateful for the community's help finding her.

WGLT

The next president of Illinois Wesleyan University will be Eric Jensen. Jensen is currently the the Provost of Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Hamline has nearly 5,000 students in its liberal arts, business, and education programs. It also has a law school. Jensen has also taught economics and overseen a policy program at William and Mary, the nation's second oldest University.

Illinois Wesleyan University is getting set to name its next President. The school in Bloomington has announced a news conference Monday to unveil the selection to replace Richard Wilson. The search has been ongoing since Wilson announced in December of last year that he would retire when a successor was named.

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