University hiring freeze won’t be lifted soon

By Maggie Sullivan

The University will not be hiring additional faculty to keep up with the influx of students — at least not soon.

Walter Knorr, vice president and chief financial officer, said the University administration hiring freeze that President Timothy Killeen announced July 2 is still in place and will not be lifted until further notice. 

Killeen announced the hiring freeze due to the lack of state appropriations for fiscal year 2016.

When the freeze was announced, Tom Hardy, University spokesman, said current openings would not be filled either. The openings range from a $25,000-a-year civil service position up to a $160,000-a-year position as an academic professional director. 

Still, University officials expressed excitement about increased enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year.

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“Our enrollment numbers are at historical highs at U. of I.,” said Edward McMillan, Board of Trustees chairman at the board meeting Thursday. “We are up 10.2 percent in this freshmen class. It’s very exciting — the University is working successfully to increase the enrollment of students.”

Wilson said she believes the marketing plan approved by the Board of Trustees last year has played an important role in the enrollment success. 

“I want to emphasize that we’re still doing great things here,” Wilson said. “We need to remind ourselves of that.”

Wilson said the new freshmen class includes 7,565 students, which is the second largest class of students in the history of the Urbana campus. 

“We have a bigger, more diverse class with the most academically talented students in the world,” she said. 

Additionally she said 120 new tenured faculty joined the University this year, despite slowed faculty hiring.

“They’re coming to join an elite group of faculty recognized across the country,” she said.

“We want to make sure that we’ve taken some deliberative, concrete steps to put the University in a position to act fiscally conservative,” Hardy said.

Wilson also recognized the University’s national rankings.

“Students, parents and faculty members look at rankings, and we need to pay attention to them and be proud we’re doing as well as we are,” she said. 

Currently, Wilson said the University is ranked 41st among all institutions in the county according to the US News & World Report, and is tied for 11th among the nation’s public institutions.   

The College of Engineering is ranked fifth in the nation. `

“I just feel like it’s really important we share good news,” she said. “I’m excited to be serving in this role.”

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