Not Just Students Are Leaving Illinois


In an article for Crain’s Chicago Business, Steven R. Strahler reports on the growing exodus of faculty from Illinois public universities and colleges. In some cases, the faculty have been forced to look for positions elsewhere after being furloughed in response to budget shortfalls. But in most instances, the faculty have decided to pursue opportunities outside the state or have been actively recruited by institutions in other states, in particular neighboring states.

Strahler’s article largely consists of profiles of faculty who are leaving Illinois for positions at other institutions: that is, the evidence presented in the article is largely anecdotal, rather than statistical. But the article does includes the following paragraphs that provide some statistical background on the problems faced by Illinois’ public colleges and universities and on the ramifications evident in increased faculty mobility.

“Higher ed is in turmoil across the country as states cut support and pressure builds to slow tuition increases. But debt-ravaged Illinois is a special case. Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to chop funding by 20 percent and shift some pension obligations to schools; the stopgap budget approved in June means higher ed will get less—$1.6 billion—over 18 months than the $1.9 billion it got in the 12 months through mid-2015. Hundreds of university employees have been laid off.

“More students are heading out of state, too, compounding the professorial brain drain. The exodus could take years to reverse, further threatening the long-term health of the Illinois economy. . . .

“Out-of-state institutions are poaching faculty members before they even start looking. . . .

“’What’s happening is our best people are being picked off—one by one by one by one,’ [Ed Feser,  Interim Provost at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] says. In Urbana, 50 professors quit this past academic year from a tenure-track faculty of roughly 1,929, versus 23 the previous year. ‘We fear that will accelerate in the next academic year.’”


Strahler’s complete article is available at:



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