$60M Initiative To Recruit U of I Faculty

With this new program, the goal is to hire 10 to 15 new faculty members each year. (WICS)

The University of Illinois system is trying to recruit world-class faculty to its three campuses. U of I President Tim Killeen says the launch of this new recruiting program is a message. One of commitment and reassurance to the U of I system's students, faculty, and communities. He says despite the state's budget issues, U of I needs to be aggressive in serving their students.

A sophomore at the University of Illinois Springfield, Nathan Cooper, is firm on his belief that having good faculty members is one of the most important parts of his college career. "It's one of the reasons I'm here because if we didn't have professors I felt like cared about their subjects or cared about their students, I would probably transfer," he said.

President Killeen announced on Thursday a three-year, $60 million initiative will focus on recruiting tenured, world-class faculty members. "So, we will put on the table, if you like, $10 million per year for the three universities to bid on," explained Killeen. "There will be proposals coming to the central administration with cost-matching from the universities for specific individuals who meet the criteria."

President Killeen says recruiting high-caliber faculty is necessary for the three campuses and for the state. "We can't skimp on faculty talent," Killeen said. "That's the be all and end all for a university that's a world class flagship university. So, in order to give back to Illinois, [we need to do] everything we can do and give our students a world-class experience in the classroom and outside of the classroom."

The program is contingent on a full state budget, but Killeen says he isn't worried. "We will get through the state budget impasse, I'm confident," he said. "We will do our part to do that through cost-saving measures that we've already implemented, but we need to be assertive about our future. We need to build a future."

A future for students like UIS sophomore Shaina Humphrey who says her future depends on those she learns from. "These people, they have the ability to guide me to where I want to be in the future, to help me get there," she said. "So I feel like it's very essential to have good faculty members on campus."

President Killeen says the U of I system has lost some really key people over the last year because of the budget impasse, and faculty are being recruited by other universities.

With this new program, the goal is to hire 10 to 15 new faculty members each year.

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