Illinois State University President Al Bowman delivered his annual State of the University address Thursday at the Center for the Performing Arts.
You can watch the full video of President Bowman’s remarks below or on our YouTube page.
The speech was peppered with points of pride about today’s Illinois State and important updates about major University initiatives and construction projects. To help the larger Illinois State community take in all that President Bowman had to say Thursday, here’s a quick recap from the STATEside crew:
CURRENT and FUTURE STUDENTS
Scholarships: This year, the ISU Access grant program will supplement the state’s Monetary Awards Program with $9 million. Merit-based scholarship dollars have increased to $2.6 million for FY2013, up almost 100 percent over five years ago. And there are more than 600 scholarships funded by gifts to the University’s Foundation.
Low debt: Illinois State students graduate with an average of about $22,000 in school-related debt — well below state and national averages.
Graduation rate: Illinois State’s graduation rate of 71 percent put the University ahead of every public college campus in Illinois except one, meaning the graduation rate also surpassed two of U of I’s campuses, according to a college completion analysis from the Chronicle of Higher Education. From 2002 to 2010, Illinois State’s graduation rate rose a remarkable 13.7 percent.
FACULTY and STAFF
Recognition: President Bowman used his speech to point out several notable professors, including Daniel Breyer and Gina Hunter, the first recipients of the newly established Kenneth A. and Mary Ann Shaw Teaching Fellowship; Com 110 Instructor Christine Bruckner, who incorporated political and civic engagement into her classroom in several ways; Erika Hunt with the Center for the Study of Education Policy, who’s working on a $15 million national, grant-funded program for early childhood education; David Loomis, director of the Center for Renewable Energy; and Distinguished Professor James Skibo, who lead a team of students at a new archeological site in Michigan.
General education: Implementation planning begins this fall for recent recommendations from the General Education Task Force, which was initiated in 2010 by Provost Everts and spent 18 months soliciting feedback. This year’s planning will go through the shared governance process for curriculum, beginning with the Council for General Education and University Curriculum Committee and ending with discussion at the Academic Senate.
Research: University-sponsored projects awarded in Fiscal Year 2012 totaled $25.5 million, an 18 percent increase over the FY11 adjusted award amount of $21.7 million, and a 28 percent increase in the number of awards received. Over the last 10 years, Illinois State has generated almost $250 million in grants.
Compensation: Faculty and staff members will be eligible for a merit-based salary increase again this year. President Bowman has asked finance leadership to increase the University’s personal services budget by 2 percent for a merit raise program that would be effective with the end of December pay periods and retroactive to July 1, though the retroactive pay amount will likely not be made until January pay periods. “Although this struggling economy has forced us to readjust our compensation goals, we have made up some ground against peer institution salaries. In several classifications, we meet or exceed comparison group compensation averages,” Bowman said.
COMMUNITY and ALUMNI
Civic engagement: President Bowman pointed out that the campus is a national model for the civic engagement of students. Through programs like Alternative Breaks and Saturday’s Bring it Back to Normal, students last year contributed more than 11,000 hours of service to the community, state, nation and beyond. Just three weeks ago, the ISU-IWU Habitat for Humanity chapter broke ground for its 19th home.
Curriculum: The University is the first in Illinois to offer a Civic Engagement and Responsibility minor. And this semester, Illinois State begins the second year of its ISULeads program—a comprehensive leadership-based initiative that allows students to qualify for a certificate in leadership to complement their academic degrees.
Construction: Taking note of the recently finished Cardinal Court complex and the start of Hancock Stadium reconstruction, President Bowman said “we have constructed new classroom and laboratory buildings, and have renovated most of our existing facilities. Please note that I said most — we still have promises to keep to our colleagues in Fine Arts and Milner Library, as well as a few other areas.”
Private fundraising: In just the last eight years, more than $121 million in private gifts have been generated for the University. “During the past decade, we’ve set new standards for private fundraising — gifts that fuel scholarships, drive faculty and staff development opportunities, boost athletics programs and improve facilities and technologies,” Bowman said.
Homecoming: “Redbird Athletics has given all of us a lot to cheer about this past year,” Bowman said, noting the football team’s 4-0 start to the season. “During my nine years as president, I have watched as Illinois State Homecoming has transformed from a nice weekend to the must-attend celebration of the semester, bringing the extended University family to campus to rekindle old memories and create new ones.” Homecoming 2012, with the theme “Get Your Groove On,” begins Monday, October 1.
Ryan Denham can be reached at email@example.com.