UI to spend $50 million hiring new faculty

Photography+Professor+Rachel+Fein-Smolinki+prepares+ARTS+265+students+to+create+contact+sheets+in+the+School+of+Art+%26+Designs+darkroom+facility+on+Sept.+15.+The+University+made+public+on+Sept.+8+that+%2450+million+will+be+put+forward+to+hiring+new+faculty+members%2C+expecting+to+hire+around+150-200+new+employees+with+the+plan.

James Hoeck

Photography Professor Rachel Fein-Smolinki prepares ARTS 265 students to create contact sheets in the School of Art & Design’s darkroom facility on Sept. 15. The University made public on Sept. 8 that $50 million will be put forward to hiring new faculty members, expecting to hire around 150-200 new employees with the plan.

By Saaniya Makandar, Contributing Writer

On Sept. 8, Chancellor Robert J. Jones announced that the university will invest more than $50 million in hiring new faculty members over the next few years. 

The University’s student population has grown significantly, thus necessitating additional teaching faculty in order to maintain a healthy student faculty ratio.

“We rely on our faculty to play a prominent role in the University, to remain at the forefront of higher education,” said William Bernhard, University provost and interim vice chancellor for academic affairs. “They are the ones who are teaching the classes and providing excellent education for our students.”

The University’s “Next 150” strategic plan anticipates allocating $50 million to the hiring initiative. This amount will be spent over the next several years and is expected to increase the number of faculty members by 150–200.

“In the fall of 2021, we actually had our biggest freshman class ever. We were surprised by the yield, which was not by design,” Bernhard said. “More students chose to show up and to enroll into U of I than we expected. This was a trend that we saw a lot of across our Big Ten peers, places like Purdue and Wisconsin who also had surprisingly large freshman classes.”

Across 16 schools and colleges of study, the University employs more than 2,500 academic staff for more than 150 undergraduate and over 100 graduate programs of study. This new investment aims to boost the faculty size by around 10%.

In addition to regular teaching staff, several colleges under the University will hire additional faculty in specified strategic areas.

“We really need to grow the faculty so that they can continue to lead discoveries in emerging areas of high student demand and make sure that students continue to receive a top rate education,” Bernhard said. “We need more faculty to help us project our knowledge into the local community to provide leadership and economic development.” 

 

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