University News

Budget Update: September 2015

September 11, 2015

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Dear University Community,

Considerable uncertainty with regard to the Fiscal Year 2016 budget for Western Illinois University and Illinois higher education remains. This, coupled with an increased competition within student recruitment and the decline in state and federal funding affecting affordability, is having a direct impact on Western Illinois University.

While the Illinois budget situation is beyond our control, our strategic and long-term planning is not. As I indicated in my recent Faculty Assembly address, Western Illinois University has faced challenges before and transformed those significant challenges into significant opportunities to best position the University for a strong and sustainable future. We will do this again with respect to our history and in a manner that best serves current and future generations of students at this great University.

While the realities facing higher education have changed, what will not change at Western Illinois University is our tradition of providing a quality educational experience, grounded in our core values of academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth and social responsibility. Building upon the success of our strategic plan, Higher Values in Higher Education, I have established three new task forces.

Interim Provost Kathy Neumann is leading the Academic Enhancement Task Force to explore innovative approaches, strategies, and investments related to academic excellence. Vice President for Student Services Gary Biller is directing the Student Cost Task Force to uphold our commitment to educational opportunity and affordability. Vice President for the Quad Cities and Planning Joe Rives is leading the Planning Task Force for innovations to keep Western at the forefront of social responsibility and to serve as the economic and educational catalyst to our host communities, regions, and beyond.

These groups will be meeting throughout the fall semester. The chairs of each task force will bring recommendations forward to me and my leadership team for further review and discussion. As stated at the fall Faculty Assembly, I believe in shared governance. We will seek your feedback in these processes, and we will continue to keep you informed of budgetary and other factual developments.

I understand that an undefined fiscal climate and change can be unsettling. However, we must not lose sight of our vision: serving as the national leader in quality, opportunity and affordability. We will remain focused, committed to excellence, and engaged in collaborative planning processes.

Thank you for your continued support.


Jack Thomas, Ph.D.
Western Illinois University

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations