Officials announced Wednesday that Timothy L. Killeen will be the next president of the three-campus University of Illinois system. Here are some of the key issues he faces:
The No. 1 issue is money. The university has become less dependent on the state of Illinois over the past few decades, but state money still accounts for about $667 million of the current $4.5 billion annual operating budget, which is about 15 percent. And university officials say that if state lawmakers don't extend a temporary income tax increase that rolls back in January, the university could lose $70 million a year.
Related to the budget, tuition has been rising in part to help cover what the state doesn't provide. In-state tuition at the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus now costs more than $12,000 annually, and the total price tag for four years on campus is more than $100,000. As a result, the percentage of accepted applicants who enroll is dropping.
A decision is ahead on competing proposals to build an engineering-based medical program in Chicago or Urbana-Champaign.
Two recent hiring decisions at the Urbana-Champaign campus upset some faculty members. In August, the university rescinded a job offer to Native American studies professor Steven Salaita over Twitter messages some donors called anti-Semitic.
Months earlier, university officials made a similar decision on professor James Kilgore. He spent time in prison for his role in a 1975 bank robbery that killed a California woman, and the administration said he could no longer work as an instructor. The university later reversed course.