The UI faces a severe cash flow problem this fiscal year - and severe budgetary constraints in Fiscal Year 2011, which begins July 1 - but it is imperative to provide a salary program next year to retain faculty and staff members, university officials told the UI Board of Trustees when the board met Nov. 12 at the Springfield campus.
The board approved a $4.7 billion final operating budget for the current fiscal year, which began July 1, and a budget request for FY11 that contained a $96.7 million - or 6.4 percent - increase in the university's appropriations. Appropriations remained $743 million during the past two fiscal years.
A $48.4 million salary program was budgeted for FY11, but "a multi-year approach" is needed, and increasing tuition to fund salaries is "not a tenable solution," vice president and chief financial officer Walter Knorr said.
UIC ranks 14th and the Urbana campus 21st in comparison to peer institutions for tenure system faculty members' average salaries, said Meena Rao, vice president for academic affairs. Retention of minority faculty members is challenging because salaries are not competitive.
University officials set aside $20 million when the fiscal year began in July, in preparation for a potential mid-year rescission by the state, which rescinded $19 million last year.
The state owes the university $317 million for its current appropriation - but has paid only $400,000 to date. Units have been instructed to plan contingency reductions by cutting spending by 6 percent, or $45 million total, this fiscal year through personnel attrition, unfilled vacancies and reductions in non-personnel expenditures.
The $484.2 million capital budget request for FY11 included $60 million for repairs and renovations ($33.6 million at Urbana) and $85 million for renovating libraries at UIC and Urbana.
Many capital projects - such as renovations to Lincoln Hall at Urbana - were not on the FY11 list because they were to be funded by the state's $31 billion "Jobs Now!" capital/economic recovery plan. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the plan into law on July 13, but the state has yet to fund it.
The trustees heard a report about technology advancement. From Fiscal Year 2005 to FY09, the UI received 266 patents, issued 297 licenses, founded 43 startup companies and earned $50 million in royalties.
During FY09, the UI had 333 disclosures for potential inventions, obtained 57 patents, issued 49 licenses, founded eight startup companies and earned $14.9 million in royalties.
Among the notable technologies emerging from the UI were WineCrisp apples, a variety that is naturally resistant to the apple scab fungus; Prezista, a drug for treating HIV; and the first medication for treating sleep apnea. Prezista, to be marketed by Johnson & Johnson, is expected to have sales of $500 million during 2010.
Rao presented a report about students and faculty and staff members from underrepresented groups and programs that are under way to improve minority representation.
From 1998 to 2008, the total number of black, Hispanic and Native American undergraduate students decreased at UIC, from 27.6 percent to 25.8 percent. However, their numbers increased at UIS - from 8.6 percent to 15.4 percent - and increased at Urbana as well - from 12.8 percent to 13.8 percent. Of particular concern was a drop in black undergraduates.
"... (T)he reasons for this are many and complex," Rao said, "and have to do with graduation rates, retention rates and funding."
During 2008, the UI spent $25.8 million contracting with minority businesses, exceeding its state-mandated target of $11.3 million.
During B. Joseph White's final board meeting as president, White read a prepared statement thanking the trustees and various people for their support. He also expressed regret for the admissions controversy at Urbana and called "the last five months... a searing experience. My goal throughout this was to put the university first and act accordingly. I appreciate that everyone who matters to me, personally and professionally, has been steadfast in their confidence in my honesty and integrity."
Kathryn Eisenhart, chair of the University Senates Conference, presented White with a plaque and a resolution commemorating his service. Members of the board members led the room in applause for White.
Robert Easter was named interim provost/chancellor at Urbana effective immediately. Easter will serve until a permanent chancellor and provost are on board.
The board reduced the number of permanent committees from 14 to five: the Executive Committee, chaired by Kennedy; the Academic and Student Affairs Committee, chaired by Trustee Karen Hasara; the Audit, Finance and Facilities Committee, chaired by Trustee Edward McMillan; the Governance, Personnel and Ethics Committee, chaired by Strobel; and the Hospital Committee, chaired by Trustee Timothy Koritz.