Illinois has selected 14 proposed campus projects, including three in the College of LAS, to receive a total of more than $5 million of Investment for Growth funding. Now in its second year, the Investment for Growth program is aimed at generating new sources of revenue while continuing to invest in the university’s missions of education, research, and public engagement.
“As we look to our future, we need to continue to be proactive and innovative in our funding models,” said Provost Andreas Cangellaris. “The Investment for Growth program provides a transparent and strategic opportunity to invest in our future.”
The new projects in the College of LAS include a humanities professional resources center, a neurology behavioral assessment laboratory, and an expansion of the study abroad pipeline in the School of Integrative Biology. Details of the projects are below, and you can view the full list of this year’s funded projects and learn more about the Investment for Growth Program here.
Once again this year, colleges and institutes were invited to submit Investment for Growth proposals with details on funding models, demand and potential impact. Associate Chancellor and Vice Provost for Budget and Resource Planning Paul Ellinger said proposals were evaluated by the Campus Budget Oversight Committee, deans and other senior leadership in the spring. Criteria included financial feasibility, enhancing the student experience, alignment with industry demand, likelihood of stability, increasing efficiency and, first and foremost, centered on continued excellence.
Last year’s Investment for Growth proposals are already showing promise. These projects included the Computer Science Programs Growth project, now called CS+X, has created nine combined programs that mesh traditional computer science coursework with another discipline. Current offerings are: advertising, anthropology, astronomy, chemistry, crop sciences, economics, geography, linguistics, and music. Last year’s projects in the College of LAS also included an International Partner High School Program and a Jump Start Data Science program.
Many of the original and newest proposals have three-to-five year plans to be profitable, and Ellinger said he is optimistic about their futures. Provost Cangellaris shared that the next call for proposals will encourage and prioritize multi-disciplinary and multi-unit collaborations across campus. That next call for proposals is planned to be announced during the fall 2018 academic semester.
Details of the new projects are as follows:
Supporting and promoting the practical value of a humanities education in the 21st Century
By creating a Humanities Professional Resources Center, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences aims to provide a unique opportunity for employers and corporate partners seeking students with skill sets fostered by a humanities education at Illinois. This program will build on the curricular and career exploration work of the existing LAS Life + Career Design Lab and will provide students with an outlet for specific career advice related to their educational background. The new Humanities Professional Resources Center plans to foster expanded internship opportunities, educational guidance, alumni mentoring, career coaching, and employer outreach to help humanities students succeed post-graduation.
Illinois Neuro/Behavioral Assessment Laboratory
The Illinois Neuro/Behavioral Assessment Laboratory will support cutting-edge science while enhancing the existing foundation for world-class research at Illinois in social and behavioral science, medicine, neuroscience, and genomics. The laboratory plans to conduct cross-disciplinary, cutting-edge research on neurobehavioral functioning; create a measurement core for the scientific community at the University of Illinois and the public; and enhance the training needs for students. It plans to provide training opportunities that will benefit students from a wide variety of programs, including psychology, education, business, advertising, labor and employment relations, social work, communication, and human development and family studies.
School of Integrative Biology study abroad pipeline for international Students
An expansion of the study abroad pipeline in the School of Integrative Biology will increase opportunities for international and domestic students. This project consists of recruiting students over two cohorts per year distributing students across labs, and developing an integrated program of study for Chinese students that includes adapting introductory online classes. Ultimately, this program will provide a pathway to allow both domestic and international students to obtain a non-thesis master’s degree in integrative biology.