University of Illinois seeks more money to hire faculty

URBANA, Ill.  _ University of Illinois officials are looking for a big state funding increase to make up for stalled faculty hiring while its enrollment has grown during the state’s two-year budget impasse.

Administrators say the Urbana-Champaign campus is now last among its 10-member national peer group with a student-faculty ratio of 18-to-1. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports the campus ranked sixth in 2008.

Executive Vice President Barbara Wilson told university trustees that the school is losing competitiveness because of larger class sizes.

Trustees voted during a meeting Thursday in Chicago to approve requesting a 16.5 percent state funding increase, with two-thirds of that planned for faculty hiring and retention.

Wilson says the Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield campuses are drafting aggressive faculty hiring plans.