URBANA, Ill. — The University of Illinois System has launched a three-year, $60 million initiative to recruit top faculty to its universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield.

University President Tim Killeen announced the effort Thursday, The News-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2q71z3F ) reported. Killeen says the objective is to bring in tenured, high-achieving faculty in a broad range of academic disciplines.

“We must — and shall — remain a magnet for stellar academic talent, and this new effort reconfirms our long-standing commitment to continued excellence for the University of Illinois System,” he said.

The plan is dubbed the President’s Distinguished Faculty Recruitment Program. Under the program, $10 million would be committed from the university system to recruitment efforts each year, matched by each of the three campuses.

The goal is to hire 10 to 15 new faculty members each year, or 45 over three years. The funds would go toward recruiting packages for professors to equip research labs, pay for office space or hire graduate students rather than pay their salaries.

The university has become a popular recruiting ground for colleges hoping to hire top faculty amid pension uncertainties, a state budget crisis and minimal raises.

University spokesman Tom Hardy said the initiative is meant to keep the schools competitive and counter efforts by other universities to lure its top faculty to their campuses.

“(Killeen) wanted to send signals that we’re open for business, we’re looking for excellence in faculty, those that we have and those we can hire away from other places,” Hardy said.

University officials said the program is contingent on full state funding for the system in fiscal 2018.


Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com