WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Jack Thomas

Panoramic photo by Rich Egger

Western Illinois University began its 25th Annual Founders' Day celebration Monday afternoon with Lana Myers ringing a bell from the front steps of Sherman Hall.

Rich Egger

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees said in June it was working to finalize a new contract with WIU President Jack Thomas. The two sides now have agreed to continue operating under the terms reached when Dr. Thomas was named president seven years ago.

TSPR

Western Illinois University is still trying to secure its financial footing due to the two-year state budget impasse and declining student enrollment. President Jack Thomas has said repeatedly that everything is on the table when it comes to making cost saving measures. But it turns out there is one exception:  the furlough program.

Rich Egger

The Western Illinois University administration and Board of Trustees caught an earful Friday morning about the decision to zero out funding for Tri States Public Radio.  But the comments did not persuade them to change course.

The same day that Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas and the Board of Trustees announced that Tri States Public Radio will "become a self-funded department within the University structure and will be responsible for generating its revenue needs, including personnel expenditures, effective March 1, 2019," the lead story on the WIU website lauded the accomplishments of its nationally award winning Broadcasting and Journalism students.   What??!!??   

After his State of the University speech, Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas told reporters, "We have made cuts and we will have to continue to make those cuts and we will do the necessary things that we have to do."

Another Year of Change Ahead for WIU

Aug 16, 2018
TSPR Emily Boyer

Western Illinois University’s president used his State of the University address during Thursday's University Assembly to say this will be a year of change at the institution.

Rich Egger

The new school year begins August 20 at Western Illinois University -- less than two weeks from now.  But there is still no contract in place for President Jack Thomas (see editor's note below for update).

TSPR's Rich Egger

Western Illinois University laid out its plans for restructuring and realigning its academic offerings during a much anticipated news conference on Monday.

Rich Egger

Leaders at Western Illinois University said they will unveil details about the school's realignment plans on July 16.  They said everything is being evaluated so it's too soon to discuss what might be included in the plans.

TSPR

A few details are emerging about the layoffs at Western Illinois University, which were authorized by the Board of Trustees during a special meeting late last week. A total of two dozen faculty members and two other employees in academic affairs are losing their jobs.

Rich Egger

Two dozen faculty members at Western Illinois University will lose their jobs as the university contends with declines in student enrollment and state financial support.  During a special meeting of Western's Board of Trustees on Thursday, Chair Cathy Early said the university is repositioning itself while remaining fiscally responsible.

The state of Illinois has a budget in place for next fiscal year, which will help public colleges and universities with their planning.  But the president of Western Illinois University said the state appropriation of $47.2 million for WIU falls short of what his school needs.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas is completing his seventh year at the helm, yet he has never signed a contract with the school.  Instead the Board of Trustees has always signed a Letter of Employment with him. (see editor's note below for update)

TSPR Emily Boyer

Western Illinois University will receive $47.2 million under the state's budget for Fiscal Year '19, which begins July 1, 2018.  That reflects a 2% funding increase for public higher education across the state.  WIU President Jack Thomas told Tri States Public Radio that the slight funding increase is helpful following several years of financial uncertainty including the two year state budget impasse. 

TSPR's Rich Egger

The first two lanes of the Highway 336 bypass around Macomb opened to traffic Friday afternoon.

Rich Egger

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees this week held the first of a series of special monthly meetings.  The Board hopes to use the meetings to delve into issues in greater detail than is possible during its regular quarterly meetings, but the first portion of the first monthly meeting turned into forum for community members to speak out.

Screen capture from Boise State University's website

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas was in Idaho Thursday for a job interview. He is a finalist in the search for the next president of Boise State University.

TSPR Emily Boyer

Faculty and staff at Western Illinois University have voted to authorize a strike. 

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University President Dr. Jack Thomas is one of five finalists in the search to replace the outgoing president at Boise State University. 

Tim Schroll/WIU

The Western Illinois University’s Board of Trustees will discuss a no confidence vote taken by the faculty at its next meeting.

TSPR Emily Boyer

The Faculty Senate conducted the vote by mail over a two week period and tallied the results Friday.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas gave a State of the University address at the start of the new school year.  At the time, he said the state of the university was "okay." Now, with the fall semester in the books, Dr. Thomas said the school's situation is improving.

Rich Egger

Teachers and some staff at Western Illinois University will begin the new year without a new contract.  They're in mediation with the administration and are working under terms of the previous contract, which expired over the summer.

WIU

The WIU administration blames the uncertainty caused by the two year state budget impasse for this year's drop in enrollment.

WATCH-LISTEN: State Budget Forum - Macomb

Aug 30, 2017

NPR Illinois and Tri States Public Radio host the seventh Illinois Issues Forum on the state's financial health and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse.

The State of Western Illinois University

Aug 17, 2017
Rich Egger

The President of Western Illinois University said it's time to put apprehension behind and move forward with enthusiasm and optimism. Dr. Jack Thomas made the remark during Thursday morning's State of the University speech, held just a few days before the new school year begins.

Courtesy WIU

The budget approved by Illinois lawmakers provides Western Illinois University with funding for last fiscal year and the current fiscal year. Now university leaders will decide how to proceed.

Rich Egger

Members of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees said President Jack Thomas has done "an admirable job" of steering the university through difficult times brought on by the unprecedented state budget impasse. 

Rich Egger

State spending on public higher education in Illinois has dropped precipitously during the past two years as the state has operated without a budget.  But the president of Western Illinois University said the school will not allow itself to be bogged down by the budget stalemate.

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