University Fact Page for Grant Proposals History Illinois State University

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University Fact Page for Grant Proposals


Illinois State University

Illinois State University’s campus is located in the twin-city community of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. ISU sits near the geographic center of the state - 137 miles southwest of Chicago, Illinois and 164 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri.

A Brief History

Gov. William Bissell signed a bill on February 18, 1857, to create a normal school and establish the Board of Education of the State of Illinois as its governing body. Abraham Lincoln, acting as attorney for the board, drew up the bond guaranteeing that Bloomington citizens would fulfill their commitment to the establishment of the University. Consequently, Illinois State Normal University was founded as the first public institution of higher education in the state. Established as a teacher education institution, Illinois State has developed into a multipurpose university with degree programs at the bachelor's, masters and doctoral levels.

Institutional Profile

The University is one of 12 public universities in Illinois. Its academic departments offer more than 160 major/minor options in the Colleges of Applied Science and Technology, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Fine Arts, and Mennonite College of Nursing.

College of Applied Science and Technology

  • Department of Agriculture

  • Department of Criminal Justice

  • Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

  • Department of Health Sciences

  • School of Information Technology

  • School of Kinesiology and Recreation

  • Department of Military Science

  • Department of Technology

College of Arts and Sciences

  • School of Biological Sciences

  • Department of Chemistry

  • School of Communication

  • Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

  • Department of Economics

  • Department of English

  • Department of Geography-Geology

  • Department of History

  • Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

  • Department of Mathematics

  • Department of Philosophy

  • Department of Physics

  • Department of Politics and Government

  • Department of Psychology

  • School of Social Work

  • Department of Sociology and Anthropology

  • Department of Latin American and Latino/a Studies

  • Department of Women’s & Gender Studies

College of Business

  • Department of Accounting

  • Department of Finance, Insurance and Law

  • Department of Management & Quantitative Methods

  • Department of Marketing

College of Education

  • Department of Educational Administration & Foundations

  • Department of Special Education

  • School of Teaching and Learning

College of Fine Arts

  • School of Art

  • School of Music

  • School of Theatre and Dance

Mennonite College of Nursing

The Graduate School coordinates 41 masters, specialist, and doctoral programs. The University's academic programs are supported by the services and collections of Milner Library, which contains more than three million holdings and special collections.

Milner Library

Library History & Facts

The library at Illinois State Normal University opened in 1890, thirty-three years after the opening of the university. Until that time, departments held their own collections. Over its history, the library has resided in five buildings, and moved into the current facility in 1976. The present building is named in honor of Angeline Vernon Milner, who was the first university librarian from 1890-1928.

Library Staffing

  • 24 tenured, tenure track and non-tenure track library faculty

  • 11 administrative professionals (3 with rank & tenure)

  • 49 civil service staff

Library Resources

Milner Library is an active partner in the teaching, learning, research, and service activities of Illinois State University.  Milner librarians provide research assistance and library instruction customized to meet the needs of students and faculty.  Reference collections include general, as well as subject-specific, print and electronic research tools including indexes, handbooks, dictionaries, bibliographies, directories, and bibliographic and full text databases.

Milner’s collections include:

  • 1,622,355 print volumes

  • 81,448 electronic serial titles

  • 1,927 print journal titles

Separate items borrowed to support student and faculty research:

  • 97,453  Books

  • 143,547  Milner owned material (laptops, iPads, dvds, etc. and books)

Recent contacts (FY13):

  • 670  Instructional sessions impacting 15,263 students

  • 21,151  Patron-reference staff interactions

  • 779  Individual student-librarian consultations

  • 120 hours of operation per week

Additional Features

The University Archives is part of the library organization.  It is the official repository of University records.  Part of its collection can be viewed in the ISU History digital collection.

Milner hosts the Teaching with Primary Sources (Midwest Region) program, the only academic library to be affiliated with the Library of Congress program.

Milner Library is a governing member in the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) and has been a member since 1980.

Faculty Research at Illinois State University: “A Bibliography of Historical and Current Scholarly Works” is a database of publications by ISU faculty from 1857 to the present, compiled by a research group of Milner Library faculty. 

Milner Library is home to The Circus and Allied Arts Collection, one of the largest special collections of its type in existence. With book holdings 8,000 volumes strong, the Collection has been cataloged and appears in the Milner Online Catalog. Browse the A Passion for Circus Digital Collection.

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Research and Sponsored Programs

The mission of Research and Sponsored Programs is to support and facilitate ISU faculty,

staff and the community in their instructional, creative, research, and public service efforts. This support includes technical assistance, oversight of sponsored programs, guidance and assurance of institutional compliance. Research and Sponsored Programs provides access to funding databases to assist faculty in finding external grants to support research and programming agendas.

The University’s commitment to the creation, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge through scholarship, research, and creative expression is reflected in ISU’s Strategic Plan for Research, Scholarship and Creative Expression. The Strategic Plan articulates the core values presented above and proposes strategies to advance the recommendations made. These activities fulfill a solemn and longstanding obligation to the community at large by: i) furthering our understanding of the natural and physical worlds; ii) exploring human behavior and culture, past and present; iii) developing the organizational practices and technological innovations that power human and economic development; and iv) improving the quality of life through cultural enrichment.

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Total Awards, FY13 – summary:

By Funding Agency:

  • Federal: $11,680,586

  • Foundation: $560,366

  • State: $2,088,264

  • Other: $3,593,482

By College:

  • Applied Science and Technology: $2,949,930

  • Arts and Sciences: $5,364,205

  • Business: $2,000

  • Education: $7,684,753

  • Fine Arts: $109,606

  • Nursing: $737,229

  • Milner: $187,500

  • University and Administration: $886,475

Illinois State At a Glance

ISU enrolls students from throughout Illinois, 40 other states, the District of Columbia, and 66 other countries. Illinois State University fosters an inclusive environment characterized by cultural understanding and social justice. Students are mentored by a faculty that includes numerous teacher-scholars recognized at national and international levels. ISU faculty and staff are dedicated to superior teaching, cutting-edge research and innovative community outreach and engagement – providing wide-range opportunities for students, staff and faculty to participate in a global society.

The total on-campus student enrollment at Illinois State University in Fall 2012 was 20,502.
The undergraduate student population was 18,207, while graduate students numbered 2,295.
Total student enrollment included 939 out-of-state students, along with 382 international students representing 66 different countries. 55.6% of Illinois State’s students are female and 16.5% represent various minority populations, including: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Black or African American, Asian, Hispanic, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

16,855 students received $233,925,710 in financial support in FY 2012.

Retention of beginning students (from Fall 2011 to Fall 2012) was very high, at 82.3%.
5,402 degrees were conferred in 2012.

Illinois State University is home to a diverse community of scholars dedicated to promoting the highest academic standards in teaching, scholarship, and public service. Of total University employees (n=3,067) approximately 12% represent minorities (African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and Pacific Islander.) There are 1,212 Departmental Faculty at ISU (239 Professors; 242 Associate Professors; 218 Assistant Professors; 513 Other.) 97.3% of Tenure/Tenure Track Faculty hold a terminal degree. Student to faculty ratio at ISU is 19:1.

Illinois State is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North
Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The teacher preparation programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and are certified by the Illinois State Board of Education. In addition, 22 programs hold discipline-based accreditation.

The above facts are provided by the Office of Planning, Research, and Policy Analysis

See more at: and the Office of Equal Opportunity, Ethics and Access at

The ISU University Campus

University Campus Today

Conveniently located in Central Illinois, the University is situated in a region of strong economic growth. The area’s multidimensional profile allows Illinois State to respond to the varied needs and interests of its constituents and to contribute to the development of its students as responsible citizens.

Illinois State’s physical campus is comprised of 920 acres, 221 structures, 20 miles of sidewalks, 70 acres of parking lots, and more than 150 species of trees. The ISU Campus was the first in Illinois to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The Historic Quad and adjacent areas consist of 350 acres. In 2002 the University Farm was relocated to 300 acres of land in Lexington, Illinois approximately 18 miles northeast of Normal. The ISU farm supports teaching, research, and outreach activities of the Department of Agriculture.

The Master Plan 2010–2030: Looking to the Future presents a long-range blueprint for the physical development of Illinois State University—its future size, form, function, character, image, and environment. The plan provides a vision that promotes and supports the values articulated in the University’s strategic plan, Educating Illinois 2008-2014 including pursuit of learning and scholarship, individualized attention, public opportunity, diversity, and civic engagement.
The recommended actions are designed to ensure the University’s facilities support and promote excellence in the following areas: instruction, research, creative activities, and public service; campus life; intercollegiate athletics and recreation; and efficiency in administrative operations.

Total space

Illinois State maintains 6.8 million square feet of facility space. The vast majority of this

is located on-campus, although there are off-campus facilities (e.g., the University Farm in

Lexington, graduate student studios in Bloomington, and Little Village classrooms in Chicago). Nearly half of the University’s total space is supported with state funds. The remainder is supported entirely by student fees, housing revenues, ticket sales, and other user revenues.
Space by type

The majority of on-campus space is used for residential facilities (24 percent), followed by office space (16 percent). Office space supports administrative purposes, as well as instructional, research, and public service activities. General use and special use categories have equal space allocations (13 percent). General use includes recreational, food facilities, and assembly rooms.

Special use includes athletics, physical education, media production and the greenhouse.

Support areas (e.g., central storage, telecommunications/central computer facilities,

vehicle storage) represent 12 percent of on-campus space. Laboratories account for a smaller portion of on-campus space (11 percent), while classrooms have the smallest footprint (4 percent). During the 2009-2010 academic year, the University maintained 164 classrooms.
Since endorsement of the Master Plan 2000-2020, nearly 10 years ago, the University has

opened a number of new buildings and completed major renovations of academic facilities, as well as residence halls and dining centers that were recommended in the plan. Among the significant accomplishments:

New Buildings

  • Alumni Center

  • Center for Performing Arts

  • Northwest Zone Chiller

  • South Zone Chiller

  • Southeast Zone Chiller

  • State Farm Hall of Business

  • Student Fitness Center and McCormick Hall

Major Remodeling

  • East Campus Residence Halls—Hewett, Manchester

  • Felmley Hall

  • Julian Hall

  • Linkins Dining Center

  • Moulton Hall

Other Projects

  • Baseball Stadium renovation

  • New Tennis Courts and Recreation Fields—Gregory Street property

  • Redbird Arena–lower level renovation

  • Redbird Express—bus options

  • University Farm relocation

  • Walker and Dunn-Barton Residence Halls—demolition

  • Hancock Stadium renovation

  • Fine Arts Training Complex

  • Stevenson Hall

  • Turner Hall

  • Vrooman Center

  • Watterson Commons Dining Center

  • West Campus Residence Halls—Haynie, Wilkins, Wright

  • Schroeder Hall

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Illinois State Athletics

The Illinois State University Athletics Department is committed to academic and athletic

excellence as it prepares today's student-athletes to become tomorrow's leaders. For over 100 years, the Illinois State Athletics Department has established a rich tradition of excellence, sportsmanship and equality.

Nickname: Redbirds

School Colors: Red & White
Mascot: Reggie Redbird
Affiliation: NCAA/Division I
Conferences: Missouri Valley
A Look at Redbird Athletics

Athletics success at Illinois State is broad-based. With 19 intercollegiate sports, the Redbird program constitutes one of the largest in the Midwest. With 149 league titles since 1982, it also represents one of the most successful. Today, 17 of the 19 Redbird sports compete in the Missouri Valley Conference, the oldest collegiate league west of the Mississippi River.

The Redbirds have recorded great success on the national level, as Illinois State has claimed one team national championship and five individual national championships. ISU Redbirds include 166 formerly named All-Americans.

Ten different former Illinois State student-athletes have represented their countries and their alma mater as participants in the Olympic Games. The Redbirds have been represented at the Olympic Games a total of 11 times, with former track and field athlete Tidye Ann Picket-Phillips being the first Redbird Olympian, when she competed in the low hurdles of the XI Olympiad in Berlin in 1936.

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