Western Illinois University

The head of Western Illinois University said plans are already in the works to attract more students, though it might take a couple years to turn around enrollment numbers that have declined for more than a decade.

This fall's enrollment at Western Illinois University is down around 10-percent compared to last fall.

The university says more than 7,600 students are taking classes. The number last fall was around 8,500.

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Western Illinois University

The president of Western Illinois University is resigning at the end of June after eight years in the post.

Jack Thomas made the announcement Friday. He told an audience of about 200 people that Western Illinois ``would best be served by new leadership'' at a ``pivotal time'' for the school.

A group that represents alumni at Western Illinois University is urging the president to resign.

The Alumni Council last week sent a resolution to school trustees, saying Jack Thomas should quit or be fired by the end of June. The group says Western Illinois should focus on academic programs that will make it a leader in key areas.

Western Illinois University has laid off workers and eliminated vacant positions the past few years as it grappled with declines in revenues and student enrollment.  Yet the administration found the money to create a well-paid temporary position for one of its own.

Western Illinois University has two campuses: Macomb and the Quad Cities. But that is not readily apparent when looking at the school's overall budget because it does not include a breakdown of revenue and expenses by campus. A new report aims to examine those costs.

New data from Western Illinois University shows the Spring 2019 enrollment at the Macomb campus fell by almost 14 percent compared with a year ago.

Western Illinois University recently went through a major reorganization of its employees. According to the Western Factbook, WIU employs around 1,600 people. Only 39% of those jobs were classified as civil service last fall. Jeff Brownfield, Executive Director of the State Universities Civil Service System, believes that figure should be higher.

New Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has said he will prioritize funding for the state's colleges and universities.  Nonetheless, the Western Illinois University administration has said more deep budget cuts might be necessary.

Two more members of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees say they will be leaving the board.

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees (BoT) has lost another member, and it appears as though his resignation is nearly two years late.

Western Illinois University's Faculty Senate is asking the university's Board of Trustees (BoT) to make public numereous closed door meeting minutes and audio recordings. The request comes after the BoT was found to have violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA). 

The University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) has asked the McDonough County State's Attorney's office to conduct a criminal investigation of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees, University President Jack Thomas, and other officers of the institution.

In an email and web post titled "Budget Update," Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas announced on Thursday that the university is in a structural budget deficit and expenditures are outpacing revenues. Dr. Thomas said that as a result, WIU plans to cut $5 million from this year’s budget and a total of $21 million from the budget for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins July 1, 2019.

Western Illinois University is considering whether to eliminate more academic programs as it continues to grapple with falling student enrollment numbers and looks to get back on solid financial footing.

Western Illinois University has received $9.5 million from the state of Illinois for capital improvement projects. But, that's just a drop in the bucket of what it would take to address the backlog of deferred maintenance.

Rich Egger/TSPR

Western Illinois University laid out its plans for restructuring and realigning its academic offerings during a much anticipated news conference earlier this month.

The announcement comes less than a month after two dozen faculty received layoff notices. At that time, Western also eliminated 62 vacant or soon to be vacant positions.

Teachers and some staff at Western Illinois University will begin the new year without a new contract.  They're in mediation with the administration and are working under terms of the previous contract, which expired over the summer.

The WIU administration blames the uncertainty caused by the two year state budget impasse for this year's drop in enrollment.

There are 9,469 students enrolled at Western Illinois University this spring semester. It's the first time this century Western's student body has dropped below 10,000.

As state financial support continues to decline for Illinois' public colleges and universities, Western Illinois University wants to bulk up another revenue stream.  But Illinois' budget uncertainty is making it difficult. 

Western Illinois University sent lay off notices to more than 100 employees in April as part of a cost cutting measure to cope with a drastic decrease in state aid.  More than half of them will be asked to come back to work for the fall semester.          

The board of trustees at Western Illinois University recently voted to eliminate four majors -- African American Studies, Women's Studies, philosophy and religious studies. The vote came on a recommendation from the school's interim provost, Kathleen Neumann, who says money had nothing to do with the decision.

 

Western Illinois University’s administration wants to eliminate four academic majors due to declining student enrollment. Those majors are African American Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies and Women’s Studies.

Members of the University Professionals of Illinois chapter at Western Illinois University voted overwhelmingly to defer 3% of their compensation for the next two years. They also agreed to pass up a negotiated 1% salary increase.

Members of the Illinois House spent Thursday evening congratulating themselves thinking they were minutes from passing a bipartisan measure sending 600 million dollars in emergency funding to the state community colleges and public universities. But... the vote never happened.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale student Ben Handler joined hundreds of others in Springfield Wednesday to urge lawmakers to fund colleges and universities.

State funding for higher education has been caught in the state's budget impasse, now in its 10th month.

In a letter to the campus community, WIU President Jack Thomas said around 110 university workers will receive layoff notices within the next week.

Parkland College's president says it will lay off about nine employees after Tuesday because of the state budget deadlock.

The Western Illinois University administration has met with employee groups several times in the past week, trying to find a way to save money while also saving jobs.

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