CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The University of Illinois is investing more than $50 million into a new initiative to hire new faculty members.

As part of this initiative, academic units will hire additional faculty in specific strategic areas and colleges will have opportunities to request additional hires that advance the university’s mission.

“This strategic faculty hiring initiative will drive excellence in teaching, innovation and discovery,” said Chancellor Robert Jones. “We expect that these resources will enable us to pursue faculty who enhance research and innovation, accelerate the discovery of solutions to complex global challenges, drive excellence in teaching, and contribute to a diverse, equitable and inclusive community. The influx of faculty members will foster collaborations between the university, the Discovery Partners Institute, the Illinois Innovation Network and other state partners.”

The hiring initiative will continue for several years or until the $50 million is allocated. The initiative us expected to grow the number of faculty members from 150 to 200.

Jones said growing faculty is a top priority, but plans to do so were put on hold because of the pandemic.

“Our faculty members represent some of our most important assets as a university,” Jones said. “When we invest in our faculty, we are investing not just in our students, but also in the state of Illinois. The research and scholarship of these new faculty will contribute significantly to communities across our entire state.”