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November 15, 2018

U of I System seeks state funding increase
Investment would fuel ongoing efforts that have driven record enrollment

CHICAGO – The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a request for increased state funding next year to continue building on educational and affordability initiatives that have helped push enrollment across the three-university system to all-time highs.

The request seeks $692.5 million in operating funds for fiscal 2020, which begins July 1, up $97.9 million, or 16.5 percent, from the system’s state general funds appropriation for fiscal year 2019.

President Tim Killeen said the additional funding would support the system’s ongoing efforts to ensure academic excellence and hold down student costs. Through initiatives such as an in-state tuition freeze for the last four years, system-wide enrollment grew to nearly 86,000 students this fall – a record high for the eighth straight year.

“Our request represents an investment in the future of Illinois, an investment that will open doors of opportunity for more students and expand the pipeline of world-class talent that will lift the state’s economy for generations to come,” Killeen said.

Funding would boost university-provided financial aid that has increased by more than 160 percent over the last decade, and support salary improvements to recruit and retain top faculty, he said. The request also would replenish funding lost during the state’s two-year budget impasse, which netted appropriations that were less than 30 percent of traditional levels for fiscal year 2016.

Killeen said the request is well below the system’s peak appropriation of $804 million in fiscal year 2002, and slightly below the system’s appropriation for fiscal year 2015 when adjusted for inflation.

The fiscal year 2020 budget request also seeks $722.4 million in capital funding, which would help support much-needed maintenance and new construction across the system. New additions earmarked for funding include a center devoted to data science in Urbana-Champaign, and a facility at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to build on breakthroughs in therapeutic drugs.

State capital funding would fortify a new U of I System 10-year plan announced this fall that will seek to invest $4 billion over 10 years to build and upgrade facilities across the system to ensure they match the excellence of academic and research programs.

The requests are the first step in the annual budget process, and will be submitted for consideration by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the governor and the legislature.

New facilities

Trustees authorized entering into external agreements to build the first new facilities in Urbana-Champaign under a new financing model being used by universities around the country to support construction because public funding for capital projects has become more difficult to obtain.

A new $75 million instructional facility for the College of Engineering and a nearly $20 million research center focused on animal nutrition will be built through a public-private partnership with the Provident Foundation. The Baton Rouge, La.-based, non-profit organization was created to assist colleges with bricks-and-mortar additions to serve students, research and athletics.

Through the partnership, known as P3, Provident will finance construction through a tax-exempt bond issuance, and then lease the buildings to the university under a 30-year agreement. At end of the agreement, the university will take ownership of the buildings. The P3 model was created to help universities add needed facilities that would have been stalled because they lack up-front financing. Construction of both facilities is scheduled to begin in 2019.

The 120,000-square-foot engineering building is scheduled to be completed in spring 2021 on the engineering quad, providing 27 classrooms and lecture halls that would augment plans to increase engineering enrollment by 10 to 15 percent over 10 years.

The 10-acre Feed Technology Center is scheduled for completion in spring 2020 on a site next to the poultry research facility. It would replace the university’s nearly century-old feed mill, providing a state-of-the-art facility for research and testing of new technologies in animal nutrition, food production and sustainable livestock practices.

The U of I System’s first P3 project is currently under construction at UIC, a unique, 10-story “living-learning center” with student housing, classrooms and retail space.


The board approved the appointment of Rashid Bashir, a key administrator and faculty member in Urbana-Champaign, as dean of the university’s nationally ranked College of Engineering. Bashir, who joined the university’s faculty in 2007, has served in a designate capacity since Nov. 1.

He most recently served as executive associate dean and chief diversity officer for the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and played an integral role in the conceptual development and planning of the engineering-based medical school. A biomedical researcher and innovator with more than 45 patents, he continues to hold the Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering.

Bashir earned a Ph.D. from Purdue University, worked in the semiconductor industry and held visiting positions at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He succeeds Tamer Basar, who served as interim dean for nearly a year after Andreas Cangellaris became provost in Urbana-Champaign.

Trustees also approved the appointment of U of I System administrator Anthony “TJ” Augustine as interim vice chancellor for innovation at UIC, effective Nov. 16.

He will head a new office created to centralize leadership of UIC’s growing efforts to foster innovation and commercialize research discovery. The office will work to expand collaboration with academic and industry partners, including oversight of UIC’s role in the Discovery Partners Institute and Illinois Innovation Network, a statewide research enterprise the U of I System is leading to drive economic development. The office also will manage online education programs and information technology assets.

Augustine received a three-year appointment to establish the new office before a national search is launched for a permanent vice chancellor. He has served as the U of I System’s associate vice president for economic development and innovation since 2015. Earlier, he worked for the U.S. Department of Energy, helping lead efforts to take new technologies from the lab to the marketplace. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Urbana-Champaign, he received a master’s in public policy and doctorate in chemistry from Stanford University.

The board also approved the appointment of Urbana-Champaign administrator Lowa Mwilambwe as the university’s acting vice chancellor for student affairs. Mwilambwe, who has served in a designate capacity since Oct. 16, is leading the office until Danita M. Brown Young returns from maternity leave in January.

Mwilambwe, who joined the university in 2012, will continue to hold his current position as associate vice chancellor for auxiliary, health and wellbeing.

Incentive-based compensation

Trustees authorized pay-for performance compensation for Killeen under a program that ties a portion of his total annual compensation to a set of specific goals focused on advancing the U of I System’s contributions to students, innovation and the public good.

Killeen will receive $100,000 for this work during the fiscal year that ended June 30, which represents 100 percent of the total for which he was eligible. The payment follows a board review of his progress toward goals outlined in the system’s Strategic Framework, a roadmap approved two years ago to guide its future.

Trustees praised Killeen’s efforts to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth, highlighted by his leadership of the Discovery Partners Institute and Illinois Innovation Network. The U of I System is leading the statewide initiatives to drive economic growth by accelerating research discovery. The board also cited affordability measures that include a four-year tuition freeze for in-state students, along with outreach and marketing efforts that have advanced the system’s global visibility and fostered international engagement.

Together with his base salary, the incentive-based award puts Killeen’s total compensation for fiscal year 2018 at $700,000, matching his compensation for fiscal 2017. His total compensation ranks in the bottom third among compensation packages for presidents of Big Ten universities with multi-campus oversight.

The incentive-based program was developed in 2013 as a shift away from retention initiatives that are sometimes paid to senior administrators in higher education and tend to make longevity a premium rather than results.


The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, and the largest educational institution in the state with nearly 86,000 students, about 25,000 faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 22,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.