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The Illinois Statewide Initiative, the precursor to the Illinois Higher Education center, was established in 1992 when “Policies and Programs for the 1990’s: A Team Approach to the Prevention of Alcohol, Other Drug and Traffic Safety Problems in Higher Education” was implemented in Illinois through funding from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety. This approach, developed jointly by the U.S. Departments of Education, Transportation, and Health and Human Services sought to decrease the health and traffic safety problems related to alcohol and other drug use and abuse on college campuses through the formation, training and technical support of campus-community action teams. Initial implementation of this project was limited to community colleges located south of Interstate 80 in Illinois, a traditionally underserved population in the state.
In 1994, the service area was expanded to include select four-year public and private institutions of higher education, and by 1995 the service area included all public and private colleges and universities throughout the state of Illinois. During the late 1990's, 64 colleges and universities completed a two-day team training to become a part of this ongoing project and several schools completed a retraining due to staff turnover and the addition of new team members.
In 1998, additional funding was secured for this higher education prevention initiative from the Illinois Department of Human Services, Bureau of Community Based and Primary Prevention. This funding provided the support necessary to begin a multi-tiered, state level strategic planning process to determine the needs of higher education in Illinois and to develop a prevention model to better serve those needs. Those involved in the planning process included college and university presidents, senior administrators, campus wellness and prevention staff, and state agency representatives. In addition, eight student focus groups were conducted throughout the state during the spring semester of 2001 to finalize the planning process. Those plans were formalized in the institution of the Illinois Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Other Drug and Violence Prevention.
During the summer of 2009, Becky Markwell announced her retirement from Eastern Illinois University. With Mrs. Markwell’s retirement, Eastern opted to restructure, and transferred responsibility for the 2 grants from the Division of Academic Affairs to the Student Health Service, within the Division of Student Affairs. Eric S. Davidson, assumed directorship responsibilities.