Chancellor Jones’s speech details investments, partnerships in UI future

People+begin+to+get+seated+for+Chancellor+Jones+%E2%80%9CBoldly+Illinois+2030+Strategic+Planning+Summit+on+Thursday+at+the+Illini+Union.+

Piotr Fedczuk

People begin to get seated for Chancellor Jones’ “Boldly Illinois 2030 Strategic Planning Summit” on Thursday at the Illini Union.

By Piotr Fedczuk, Staff Writer

Chancellor Jones set goals for the University and the steps to reach them during the “Boldly Illinois 2030 Strategic Planning Summit.”

After Chancellor Jones stepped up to the podium, the Graduate Employees’ Organization started chanting in protest. The GEO members left after being asked to do so, and the chancellor continued outlining what he believed a “bold Illinois” would be.

“What I think is important is to understand that being bold doesn’t mean being loud and certainly doesn’t mean being boastful,” Chancellor Jones said.

In his speech, Jones focused on the University’s need to maintain ambitious partnerships and make investments.

“We are going to be committing at least $1.3 billion to operationalize and support our academic and research infrastructure in the next 4 years,” Jones said.

Alongside investments, Chancellor Jones mentioned a partnership with Hope Chicago, a nonprofit with the goal of providing debt-free college education. Hope Chicago brought scholarships to 30 UI students for the 2022-2023 school year, according to Jones.

“Just watch Hope Chicago, that is going to be a game changer for us,” Jones said. “People want an Illinois degree, but when it comes to taking our offer … Other places are offering full ride scholarships.”

One of the next goals for the University, according to Jones, is having more underrepresented students and seeing them graduate.

“We want to make sure that they come here,” Jones said. “And they’re part of that cohort who graduates with zero (debt) or so close to zero that is negative.”

For these future classes, Jones said the University has to prioritize providing world class education. To take one step toward this goal, the University has a $50 million plan to accelerate faculty recruitment efforts.

“We also have a lot of discussions around what we should call that program,” Jones said. “But I’ll tell you right now what I call it: I call it a good start.”

 

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