University News

Board Recommends New Degrees

June 1, 2007

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MOLINE, IL – The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees recommended new degree programs in nursing, religious studies and liberal arts and sciences; and building contracts to expand the recreation center, replace elevators and complete construction of a network fiber loop at the June 1 Board meeting.

Western's Board approved a proposal to establish a Registered Nurse-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) completion degree to meet the demand for additional education for nursing professionals in western Illinois. A Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies would prepare students with an understanding of several of the world's major religious traditions and their global significance in a diverse world. A proposed Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree would provide education about fundamental ideas, methodologies and content in the liberal arts and sciences through comparative analysis and interdisciplinary inquiry. The degree programs will be forwarded to the Illinois Board of Higher Education for approval.

Construction bids for a 16,000-square-foot addition to the Donald S. Spencer Student Recreation Center were awarded by the Board at a total cost of $6.3 million. Leander Construction Co., Canton, IL, was named the general contractor for the expansion project for the 10-year old facility. New basketball courts, an expanded weight room, expansion of air conditioning and additional bathrooms are included in the project. The Board also awarded a contract to Kelso Burnett Co., Rockford, IL, in the amount of $557,619 to install network fiber on the Macomb campus as part of a campus fiber loop project and increased the elevator renovation contract by $60,000 to install new components as part of a previously approved $1.5 million elevator restoration project in Thompson Hall.

An increase in student health insurance fees of 14 percent, from $244 to $278.16 per half-year, and a change in the deductible, from $100 to $150, was approved by the Board. It is the first increase in health insurance costs for students in three years.

The Board approved modifying the WIU Cost Guarantee to provide a one-year reduction for transfer students who earn an associate's degree. The plan will be implemented for transfer students who earn an associate's degree and immediately transfer to WIU the following academic term. The reduction plan will be effective at the conclusion of the Spring 2008 semester.

Western's Cost Guarantee is the only public university program in Illinois that provides no increases in fees and room and board in addition to the Illinois statutory requirement of guaranteed four-year tuition rates. The guarantee was expanded to include graduate degree seeking students in 2004. Providing a one-year incentive rate for transfers with an associate's degree is designed to increase transfer enrollments from two-year colleges to Western.

Following an annual review of his performance, Western's Board commended the accomplishments and leadership of WIU President Al Goldfarb. The Board will review compensation for the president at the September meeting after completion of a survey of presidential salaries at comparable institutions. Goldfarb's annual salary is $235,125.

The Board also approved internal allocations of FY2008 budget appropriations, approved a strategic technology plan for the University and elected Board officers for 2007-2008.

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