August 1, 2016

Dear colleagues:

I write to update you on the status of a 2016-17 salary program for University of Illinois faculty and staff.

Finding a way to provide a merit-based salary program to reward employees for their hard work and dedication has been the subject of extensive discussions among leadership at the system and university levels. This is especially important on the heels of a state budget impasse that prevented a salary program for the 2015-16 academic year.

Unfortunately, the budget stalemate in Springfield remains unresolved; following two partial “stopgap” appropriations, the state still does not have a full-year budget for the 2017 fiscal year that started July 1. This leaves us with uncertainty over funding that again makes a salary program fiscally imprudent at this time. As responsible stewards of the University’s future, we must be careful about committing to ongoing, increased expenses while our long-term financial picture is unclear.

Therefore, we will defer consideration of a salary program for now, and will continue to pursue efficiencies and cost savings that hopefully will allow us to implement a modest program in fiscal 2017. In the meantime, academic appointments for 2016-17 will be presented to the Board of Trustees in September at current salary levels.

Be assured that employee compensation is among our highest priorities. We will continue to advocate at every turn for appropriations that support our faculty and staff, our academic and research programs, and our rich legacy of service to students and the public good.

Those efforts have been underway since before the impasse began and there are signs our message is resonating. Though agreement on a full state budget remains elusive, elected officials in Springfield have demonstrated their awareness and support of public higher education among a select group of essential services that they deem critical to our state.

I fully recognize the hardships that our faculty and staff face with no salary program, and I am deeply grateful for your understanding and continued commitment to excellence during this difficult time.