The Daily Illini

Preliminary College of Medicine OK’d by Faculty Senate

By Megan Jones

The Urbana-Champaign Faculty Senate approved a preliminary proposal to create an engineering-based College of Medicine at its Monday meeting.

University officials will outline additional details for the college in three new documents — a governance plan, curriculum plan and budget — before the faculty senate gives an official approval.

“There is a huge amount of work on this campus if we want this to be a reality,” said Provost Ilesanmi Adesida.

The preliminary college aims to take research-based academics and pair them with Carle Health System to create a medical school that intersects with engineering, technology, health care and medical sciences. The college was inspired to help solve problems such as the influx of people entering the health care system due to the Affordable Care Act, an increase in chronic conditions and a decrease in the amount of physicians in the field.

“A great University has great ideas,” said Nicholas Burbules, Senate Executive Committee member and professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership. “I’ve been here for 25 years and this is one of the most exciting initiatives.”

Some of the schools to be included in the proposed College of Medicine include Veterinary Medicine, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Social Work, Animal Sciences, Engineering and LAS.

Adesida said the platform of the college looks at prevention medical science, predictive medicine and technology-based applications.

When asked whether the Board of Trustees supported the idea, Adesida said the Board has looked over the plan, and while they have not endorsed it, they told University administration to develop a business plan for the college.

The University’s sister campus in Chicago, however, does not support the proposed college.

Currently, the University is a part of a regional medical school, where 50 students are sent to Peoria, 50 are sent to Rockford and 25 are sent to Urbana.

Adesida said the college would not reallocate funds from other departments to fund the college, but utilize endowments and donors.

According to the preliminary college’s resolution, the college will need $75 million over five years to cover startup costs for the school: $25 million for initial facility upgrades; $100 million for a 200,000 square foot facility, which could open in 2025; and $22 million to cover annual expenses when the school could first admit students in 2017. If the school becomes fully operational in 2021, the annual revenue amount would increase to $47 million.

The resolution says a founding dean would be recruited in 2015, who “must” be a nationally recognized leader in science-driven medicine. By 2016, the dean would recruit five assistant professors and five full-time professors, along with 20 clinical research faculty and 20 clinical teaching faculty who would conduct research in collaboration with clinical partners at Carle.

Stephanie Beever, Carle’s senior vice president for strategic development, said the hospital serves over 40 counties and recruiting physicians is becoming more difficult.

“This partnership enables us to bring top tier specialists … to the community because they don’t just want to take care of patients, but identify what’s going on in a trend of patients seen and how they can partner with someone to improve in the long-haul,” Beever said.

She added that Carle wants to combine its expertise in the clinical arena to the University’s knowledge in the research and academic arena.

Megan can be reached at [email protected].

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