UI Board of Trustees meets to discuss goals, approves new admin

Chancellor+Jones+speaks+at+system+board+of+trustees+meeting+on+Thursday

Thomas Cai

Chancellor Jones speaks at system board of trustees meeting on Thursday

By Lisa Chasanov, Summer Editor

The University of Illinois System Board of Trustees gathered at the iHotel on Thursday for their final meeting of the 2022-23 academic year.

During this meeting, the board voted to officially approve the appointment of several new personnel to the administration of all three System universities, including a new interim chancellor and hospital CEO at the University of Illinois Chicago, a new interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois Springfield, a new dean of ACES, dean of LAS, director of Police Training Institute and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

At the beginning of the public section of the meeting, Hector Camacho Salazar, graduate student studying vocal performance, sang the Illinois state song for attendees.

Following the performance, System President Tim Killeen gave a presentation to the board.

In his address, Killeen discussed the System’s achievements over the course of the 2022-23 academic year, shared photographs from commencement ceremonies at all three System universities, announced that the System would host the international Sustainability, Research and Innovation conference in 2025 and outlined the goals the System has set forth for the future.

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According to Killeen, the board signed off on a framework for future growth that has “aligned (the System) in a way that pushes this great engine forward with increasing speed, efficiency and effectiveness.”

Killeen said that although there is not an official figure for enrollment in the fall yet, the System projects an “all time high.”

“We will not know the number from next quarter until September, but I can give you a little insight — our applications are up, our acceptances are up,” Killeen said. “We’re looking at an all time historic high next fall — and our report has been growing systematically over the past decade.” 

Following this address, University Chancellor Robert Jones also spoke about commencement and post graduation prospects.

The positive news and excitement about these graduates is that … they are heading out into the world and doing very important things,” Jones said. “We have an annual review of post graduation destinations, something that we’ve been doing for a number of years, and once again, we found that our graduates are still finding jobs.”

Jones also emphasized the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration with other institutions, citing recent coalitions between the University of Illinois and partners such as the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

After Jones concluded his address, Prasanta Kalita, a faculty member from the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, gave a presentation outlining some of the college’s achievements in the past academic year and described how the role of academics has shifted in recent years.

I was teaching a class of 200 students — and one student group out of 200 did their project using artificial intelligence,” Kalita said. “So those challenges are coming, you know, it’s not like the regular teaching thing that we all did in the past.

So with these technology challenges, how do we adapt to that? How do we talk to people?”

Following Kalinta’s presentation, trustee Tami Craig Schilling was invited to speak at the podium to present the 2022-23 student trustees from all three campuses with certificates of achievement.

System Trustee Tami Craig Schilling presents Student Trustee Rafael Camacho Jr. with certificate of achievement at Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday (Thomas Cai)

Urbana-Champaign student trustee Rafael Camacho Jr. and Springfield student trustee Will Formea were congratulated on their graduation, while Chicago student trustee Mohammed Haq was congratulated on his reelection to the post for the 2023-24 school year by his peers.

The three trustees gave speeches thanking the board for their support and briefly describing their experiences serving the system.

The board then permitted members of the public to give comment, which included a presentation urging the board to allocate funds toward improving State Farm Center’s wheelchair accessibility, a call to action regarding antisemitism from a University student and a statement in opposition of the planned contracting of private service employees at the University of Illinois.

Representatives from the Party for Socialism and Liberation and Service Employees International Union Local 73 protested the board of trustees meeting in both Champaign and Chicago.

SEIU Local 73 has created an online petition against the contracts, stating that the system has acted in the interest of profit rather than supporting its employees.

The unelected Board of Trustees helped found for-profit companies that divert public money and resources out of the state,” SEIU’s petition reads. “Additionally, the (System) has systematically outsourced food service and building service work to private companies that make false promises about better services and cost us more in the long run.”

The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for July 19 and 20 in Chicago.

 

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