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Eastern Illinois University

Vitalization Project


Over the past several years, EIU has had to function within an environment of financial instability and continuous reductions in annual revenue as the result of both lower state appropriations and declining enrollments. This trend reached a critical point in FY13 when expenses exceeded revenues for the first time. Deficit operational outcomes continued in FY14 and FY15. These deficits were met through supplementation from university reserve funds.

In Fall 2015, the administration sought to right-size the university. These decisions on layoffs were extremely difficult for our university community. However, the decisions were necessary as they provided a planned approach for the University to complete FY16 with a small, but positive margin, and allowed us to move forward toward the “Pathway to Success”, as outlined in the Fall 2015 State of the University address. Unfortunately, the state never enacted a FY16 budget, due to the unprecedented budgetary impasse in Springfield. EIU received only a small stop-gap appropriation of $12.6 million in FY16, rather than its anticipated appropriation of approximately $38 million.

The state’s budgetary impasse, which still remains unresolved thus far in FY17 -- with no state budget in sight -- exemplifies the challenges of funding for higher education in Illinois. Further, all indicators suggest that the downward trend in the level of funding for public higher education can be expected to continue into the future. Universities across the state have reacted to the decline in state funding by dramatically reducing university operational expenses and aggressively seeking to grow enrollments. It is well recognized that the level of competition for recruiting academically eligible students in Illinois is at an all-time high.

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Task Force & Members

The Vitalization Project will be led by a Task Force, President’s Liaison Subcommittee and nine Workgroups. The membership is located here.

The charge of Workgroups #1 - #6 is framed by identifying efficiencies, assessing the viability and sustainability of existing services and/or programs, and identifying any enhancements or changes likely to increase the marketability and success for increasing student enrollments.

The charge of Workgroup #7 is framed by assessing the viability and sustainability of each of EIU’s academic undergraduate and graduate programs through the considerations of quality of program, centrality of program to university mission, student enrollment and market demand of program by prospective students, and the revenue/expense profile of the program.

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Workgroup Meetings & Agendas

Task Force Meeting

President’s Liaison Subcommittee

Student Services

University Technology

Enrollment Management

Intercollegiate Athletics


Marketing and University Branding

Academic Programs

Academic Visioning Workgroup I

Academic Visioning Workgroup II


Final reports for Workgroups #1 - #7 will be due to the President by December 15, 2016

Final reports for Workgroups #8 and #9 by due to the President by April 14, 2017.


To assist Workgroups, selected data collected for the Program Review in 2012 is available online. The Vice Presidents will assist in other data requests.


How does the Vitalization Project differ from the Program Analysis initiative that was undertaken by the campus in 2013-14?

Both university-wide initiatives were initiated as a result of the constraints placed on the university from reductions in annual state funding support and lower enrollments.

The Program Analysis focused primarily on identifying efficiencies and reduction of spending to manage operations given increasingly lower revenues.

The Vitalization Project focuses primarily on developing a vision to vitalize the university through the assessment of its current services and programs and implementing a plan for new and/or revised programs and services that will increase enrollments and the marketability of the university to 2020 and beyond. Targeted investments and future allocation of resource decisions are the anticipated outcomes of the “Vitalization Project”

How will the Workgroups’ recommendations be used?

The recommendations will guide the administration’s decisions for future allocation of resources and to fund targeted investments. Recommendations for the development of a new program or service will be reviewed by the president, in consultation with the relevant vice president and their leadership team. A similar process will be followed for recommendations to delete or modify an existing program or service.

Will departments have the opportunity to respond to recommendations suggested by the Workgroups as they pertain to their programs and/or services?

Yes, the process provides for input and response from any department whose programs and/or services would be effected by a Workgroup recommendation.

What data will be available to the Workgroups in making their recommendations and will the data be available to the public for review?

Each Workgroup will have access to selected data that were available for the Program Review of 2013-14. This data have been updated and supplemented by additional data sets to enhance the usability and viability of the data. Each Workgroup will also have the opportunity to request additional data or information that it deems helpful to the work in which it is involved. Data sets provided will include newly collected financial data and updated demographic data on academic and various other departments. The data will be linked for review on the Vitalization Project webpage.

What is the timetable for completing the Vitalization Project?

The portion of the Project that involves assessing the viability and efficiency of university programs and services will be completed during the Fall 2016 semester with recommendation reports submitted to the president by December 15, 2016. Workgroups focused on developing recommendations for new and/or revised academic programs and possible organizational changes in the academic affairs division will complete their work in Spring 2017 and forward their recommendation reports to the president by April 14, 2017.

Is the university using a consultant to guide the Vitalization Project?

No. President Glassman has confidence that among EIU’s faculty and staff we have the necessary rich and abundant intellectual resources and experience in higher education to complete the Vitalization Project without the expense of an external consultant who would have limited knowledge of the history and culture of EIU.

When can we expect to see the implementation of the Workgroups’ recommendations?

Implementation of recommendations emerging from this consultative process that will help vitalize EIU will occur on an iterative timeline. Conditions and resources to ensure the success of the initiative will be factored into the implementation process.

Will all contractual agreements be followed in the process of implementation of recommendation and initiatives?

Yes, all contractual agreements will be followed across this process and in the implementation of recommendations.