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Board of Trustees approves degrees, strategic plan, tuition

The Board of Trustees of Illinois State University authorized the creation of two new academic degrees. The Board approved the master’s in business education degree within the Department of Marketing in Illinois State’s College of Business, and authorized the bachelor’s in environmental systems science and sustainability degree administered by the Department of Geography, Geology, and the Environment in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Illinois State is the only public university in the state with an active undergraduate degree program in business teacher preparation. The new master’s program will serve to further strengthen business education for elementary and secondary school teachers. The program will also provide credentials for teaching business education courses at community colleges and lower-division business education courses offered by four-year institutions. In addition to courses in the College of Business, the program will include courses taught by the School of Teaching and Learning and the Department of Educational Administration and Foundations in the College of Education.

The new environmental systems science and sustainability degree is an interdisciplinary program that will involve faculty members from a dozen departments and schools within the University. The curriculum builds on existing academic programs including minors in environmental studies and business environment and sustainability, and majors in renewable energy and health sciences. The program will include required courses in physical sciences and will feature four curricular tracks: generalist, water resources, environmental systems analysis, and nature and society.

Strategic Plan
Trustees also gave their approval to Educate∙Connect∙Elevate: Illinois State-The Strategic Plan for Illinois’ First Public University 2018-2023. The latest version of the University’s strategic plan previously received input and approval from campus shared governance bodies. Educate∙Connect∙Elevate provides a framework for all University divisions, colleges, and units for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and public service.

Tuition, room and board set
The Board approved a total cost increase of 1.9 percent in tuition, fees, and room and board over the previous academic year. Tuition and fees saw small increases while room and board rates remain at last year’s level. The modest cost increase also includes a February 2018 Board-approved increase of $26 per year for optional student health insurance.

New undergraduate students from Illinois will pay $384.13 per credit hour in tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year. This represents a 3.75 percent increase from the 2017-2018 academic year. New students this fall will continue to pay this rate through summer of 2022.

The mandatory student fees for the 2018-2019 academic year will be $82.28 per credit hour, a 0.54 percent increase from the 2017-2018 academic year. Revenue from fees will continue to allow the University to fund operational costs, provide for debt service, and meet repair and replacement reserve requirements.

Housing and dining rates will remain unchanged from last year.

Naming of Bohn and Nielsen resource room
The Board also approved the naming of Julian Hall, room 215, as the “Kathryn S. Bohn, M.D. and Thomas E. Nielsen, M.D. Resource Room.” The room, created through a gift from Bohn and Nielsen, will serve as a collaborative learning space for chemistry and biology students. Bohn is an Illinois State alumna, serves as a member of the ISU Foundation Board of Directors and the ISU Alumni Association Board of Directors, and was inducted into the College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2005. Bohn and Nielsen currently serve patients in their practice, The Vein Specialists, in Bloomington.

Julian Hall
The Board also authorized the first phase of renovations on the lower level of Julian Hall for cybersecurity laboratories and classrooms, and an expanded project budget for repairs to the Milner Library Plaza. Trustees gave University officials the authority to select and hire consultants for the architectural and engineering design of the lower level space of Julian Hall, dedicated for classrooms and student collaboration space in the cybersecurity major within the School of Information Technology. The $750,000 cost of the first phase comes from university funds and from State Farm Insurance Company grant funding, which helped to launch the cybersecurity major.

The project scope includes the enclosure of 9,000 square feet of the parking area in the lower level of Julian Hall. When completed, the space will include classrooms, student lab collaboration rooms, instructor spaces, and restroom facilities. A resolution to award final contracts and begin construction will be brought before the Board of Trustees after receipt of contract bids.

Milner Plaza
Trustees also approved $4.6 million in additional funding for repairs and renovation to the Milner Library Plaza deck and first floor document storage area. The money, paid through university funds, is in addition to $1.9 million approved by the Board in July 2016. The expanded budget is necessary due to significant and previously undetectable deterioration of the Milner Plaza deck infrastructure. First floor document storage areas have suffered extensive water damage.

Spending authorization
The Board of Trustees of Illinois State University authorized University officials to expend funds according to the FY2019 Spending Authorization by Object and Function of Expenditure until the Board takes further action on the FY2019 operating budget. FY2019 state appropriations to Illinois State University are not yet known and this action allows the University to meet its financial obligations beginning July 1.

Contracts for tickets, database
The Board of Trustees authorized a new contract with Paciolan, Inc. for ticketing systems for the Illinois State Athletics Department. The University has contracted with Paciolan since 1991 for its event ticketing system. The current contract expires on June 30, 2018. The new $1.5 million contract, effective July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2023, will be paid for with auxiliary facilities system operating reserves. The new contract also represents a $52,000 per year savings over the current contract.

Trustees approved the renewal of a contract with EBSCO Industries to provide the University’s Milner Library with electronic database and periodical subscriptions for the 2018-2019 academic year. The $2.4 million contract will be paid from general revenue operating reserves. EBSCO Industries, Milner Library’s primary vendor for periodicals and electronic databases, provides the University volume discounts for those subscription services.

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