Funding our Future

Funding our Future

Mar 30
Kim Kidwell, Dean of the College of ACES

Change happens every day, and yet that word evokes fear in the hearts of many. As an institute of higher education that intentionally brings students into a culture that is new to them and asks them to expand their minds and build new experiences with us, it is ironic that so many people in an academic institution are resistant to change. 

Whether we like it or not, we are facing a new normal at the University of Illinois, particularly around the state budget. In my short tenure as dean, I have already come to accept that the state will not provide the same level of funding to this institution as it has in the past. That alone will elicit change in the way we fund this college. We are grateful for every dollar that the state provides to us and the return on that investment is tremendous based on the economic stimulation it generates and the workforce pipelines it helps to develop. However, we cannot rely on state resources to sustain our financial future. This reality creates a call to action for us to diversify our funding portfolio so we can take more ownership for funding the work we love to do. If we can fund it, we can do it. I am highly motivated to work with the ACES community to create pathways towards funding stability.

Several sources of revenue can be expanded to strengthen our financial position including increasing tuition revenue, endowments, gift funds, industry support, royalty generation, and grant funding. I am in deep conversation with the department heads, unit leaders, and the ACES administrative team about how to develop a collegewide strategy that reduces our financial vulnerability.

We realize that expansion potential in various sources differs by unit; however, we should all be on a quest to create an action plan towards financial stability. It is also clear to me that we cannot do this without the contributions, effort, and support of our faculty and staff. There is no miraculous budget strategy independent of faculty and staff efforts to address our financial concerns. You are hardworking, intelligent people with great ideas and ingenuity that we need to tap into to develop realistic strategies to increase revenue streams.

To support a broad, inclusive discussion about budget expansion, we need you to share your thoughts with us. You will have opportunities to do so at departmental faculty meetings, as well as the upcoming collegewide ACES Town Hall meeting on April 25 from 2 to 4 pm in the Monsanto Room of the ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center. I encourage you to come prepared to talk about what we are going to do, how we are going to do it, and who will be responsible for making it happen. 

ACES Library