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U. of I. president quits

University Illinois President Michael Hogan speaks during an interview with Associated Press Thursday March 8 2012 UrbanIll. Hogan his second

University of Illinois President Michael Hogan speaks during an interview with the Associated Press Thursday, March 8, 2012, in Urbana, Ill. Hogan, in his second year as president, said he can fix his fractured relationship with the faculty by spending more time with them in regular meetings. The interview was Hogan's first since trustees directed him earlier this week to repair relations with the faculty. (AP Photo/David Mercer)

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Updated: April 24, 2012 8:16AM

University of Illinois President Michael Hogan has resigned after less than two years on the job, university officials said Thursday.

The move comes after more than 100 faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus called on him to step down. The faculty said they were upset by what they said was his autocratic leadership style and by reports that he pressured a chancellor to push for changes in the admissions process that they believe could lead to less autonomy for the campuses.

Officials said a committee of the board of trustees on Friday plans to appoint Robert Easter, a faculty member and former interim provost and chancellor, as “president-designate.”

Hogan had replaced B. Joseph White, who had also resigned following a scandal involving clout-heavy applicants getting preference in the university admissions process.

“This university needed an experienced and reform-minded educational leader to carry out an exhaustive mandate of change with necessary urgency,” Chris Kennedy, chairman of the U. of I. board, said in a written statement. “The university owes Mike Hogan a debt of gratitude for moving a number of tough, and sometimes unpopular, initiatives forward at a time of significant financial constraint, and on the heels of controversy around university admission practices. We thank him for his hard work, perseverance and achievement.”

Hogan clashed almost immediately with faculty as he moved to centralize many functions at the three campuses of the University of Illinois. Many of his changes were backed fully by the board of trustees, but faculty saw some as an erosion of the history of shared governance at the school.

Joyce Tolliver, vice chair of the faculty Senate, praised his decision to resign and said it was a necessary step.

A former U. of I. trustee, David Dorris, called his resignation “one of the best things that’s happened to the university in a long time.”

Like White, Hogan will remain as a tenured faculty member when he steps down as president effective July 1.

Officials said the salaries for Hogan and Easter had not been finalized, but Hogan currently earns $651,000 and Easter is paid $60,000 as part-time interim vice chancellor for research at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Unlike the process that brought Hogan to the university, there apparently will not be a national search to replace Hogan.

Easter will become U. of I.’s 19th president, said officials, who are already planning events welcoming him to the post. Faculty leaders were consulted in the pick of Easter, a former faculty member in animal sciences who studied swine nutrition and management. He also held several administrative posts at the Urbana-Champaign campus in his 36-year career.

Contributing: Associated Press

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