Fond farewell President James J. Stukel (right) addresses the UI Board of Trustees as chairman Lawrence Eppley looks on. The Jan. 20 meeting in Chicago was Stukel's final meeting as president before his retirement on Feb. 1. In presenting Stukel with a resolution honoring his 43 years of service, Eppley said that Stukel propelled the university to new stages of excellence despite the challenges posed by diminished state resources.
Photo byRoberta Dupuis-Devlin / UIC Photo Services
Edit embedded media in the Files Tab and re-insert as needed.
The UI Board of Trustees approved across-the-board tuition and fee hikes at its Jan. 20 meeting to help meet a portion of the $47 million shortfall that is expected in the university’s budget during the coming fiscal year.
“We believe the tuition increase recommendations are moderate and prudent,” said Chester Gardner, university vice president for academic affairs.
The nonguaranteed tuition rate for undergraduates (mostly juniors and seniors) will go up by $211 at Urbana-Champaign; $185 per semester at Chicago; and $112.50 at Springfield.
Guaranteed tuition rates for new undergraduates will increase $291 at Urbana; $256 per semester at UIC; and $285 at UIS.
Tuition rates for freshmen who entered the university in fall 2004 will remain unchanged as a result of a state law that went into effect this fiscal year that mandated that state universities guarantee the same tuition rate for entering freshmen for four years.
While the tuition increases are expected to generate about $29 million, there still will be a financial gap, a fact that was troubling for some trustees, who suggested a higher tuition increase might be needed.
“I’m concerned the tuition increase is falling short. I’d rather bite the bullet now,” said Trustee Robert Sperling.
President James Stukel told board members that state support for higher education is not likely to increase and there are few places to seek new funding.
“We’ve never had a reduction in state support such as during the last 10 years,” Stukel said.
The administration already has cut its budget as deeply as it can without eliminating programs, Stukel said, and he cautioned the trustees about trying to maintain too many programs without enough funding, saying that “the scope of the university will be the tough issue.”
Sperling said he is concerned about the university’s future if state appropriations are not increased.
“We really have two choices: Either we raise tuition higher or we cut within the university,” Sperling said.
Sperling and other board members voiced concern about the effects of budget-tightening on faculty retention and recruitment. Although an average 3 percent raise for faculty and staff members is recommended in the FY 2006 budget, the increase still might not be enough to keep faculty members from going to other universities, they said.
“We’re in danger of losing our biggest asset – the faculty that teaches our students,” Sperling said.
UIC student trustee Natalie Garcia said that although students are not happy about a tuition increase, they understand why it is needed.
“When students are presented with the state appropriations, they definitely understand the necessity to increase tuition,” Garcia said. “They’re never pleased, but they understand.”
Trustee Frances Carroll said students should not have to go heavily into debt for their education from the UI.
“I am concerned that students should not have to borrow so much that they owe their lives,” Carroll said.
In other business
Lawrence C. Eppley was re-elected as chairman of the board for a third one-year term. Eppley, a political independent and a lawyer in the corporate practice of Bell, Boyd and Lloyd of Chicago, has served on the board since 2001. Trustees Carroll and Kenneth Schmidt were reappointed for six-year terms. Jeffrey Gindorf retired from the board after 12 years’ service; Gov. Rod Blagojevich has not announced a replacement yet.
The board honored retiring UI President James J. Stukel with a resolution praising his 43 years of service to the university, to which he reacted with humor and gratitude.
Stukel said he will continue attending board meetings, but only to talk during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“I’ll finally be able to speak my mind,” Stukel joked.
“The board would like to thank Jim for his tireless attention to duties of the president,” Eppley said. “He leaves the university as a well-managed institution. Always a leader, President Stukel’s administrative journey has been characterized as one of choices that helped propel the university into new stages of excellence.”
The university’s 15th president, Stukel announced his retirement last year, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Ronald Zook was appointed head football coach at Urbana. Zook, the former head football coach at the University of Florida, was awarded a five-year contract at an annual salary of $1 million. The coach’s salary is privately funded, and his duties will include media appearances and other activities required by the university in addition to coaching responsibilities. Zook replaces Ron Turner, who coached Illinois for eight seasons.
James D. Anderson, chair of the Chancellor Search Committee, said the search for a chancellor for the Urbana campus is progressing as it should and may be concluded by late March or early April. For up-to-date information on the search, visit the Web site.