Theme 2: Reinventing Residence Life

Progress Updates

Reinvent the residential life experience with new facilities and social and mental health resources to support a meaningful development experience on campus.

June 2024

The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget has affirmed the construction cost estimates for a new residential facility. We will continue to advocate for capital funding for FY26. Also, we have worked with our architects to create visuals of spaces that promote the core themes of connection, curiosity and care. This is more of a conceptual piece to understand the types of spaces we would like to build and how these spaces would integrate with a future residence hall complex.

Dr. Glazer, Tami Armstrong and Katie Berger have been engaging potential donors for leadership gifts to sponsor the connection/care amenity space for the future residence halls. Tami Armstrong and her team have been interviewing candidates for the Executive Director of Development position. Funding for the position has been approved in the FY25 budget.


April/May 2024

We received the final report from Bailey Edwards detailing the look and feel of an enhanced residential life experience and it has been shared with our fundraising consultant to be used in crafting a case for private, philanthropic support. In alignment with a focus on care, connection and curiosity amenities in the new residence halls, Residence Life staff are phasing in the implementation of new programming efforts with these principles in mind. Examples include:

○ Field Day on Friday, May 4- A campus-wide event with a series of games where student teams can compete for a chance to win various prizes. The event is being funded by the SPM grant.
○ Self-Care Sunday on April 14 and Self-Care Saturday on May 11- a new weekend program with exercise classes, art therapy, therapy dogs, and counseling services for students to visit with during this stressful time ofthe year. This is part of weekend mental health support and services that is also a part of the staffing transition plan we are working on.
○ Area Coordinator, Tyler Foster, is leading efforts to train with staff on the REACH (student life management) platform with a goal of piloting the platform in May to be ready for a full implementation/ launch in fall 2024. This will help us to digitize student engagement processes, enhance our quality of customer service to our students, and families, and operational student and staff practices.

March 2024

President Glazer is engaging prospective capital campaign influencers to align with their strengths and interests.  He and Tami Armstrong are meeting with Alumni in different legislative districts to engage them in our advocacy efforts for rebuilding the residence halls. We have created four one-page documents to showcase ways in which IMSA is impacting the state of Illinois:

Alumni Impact

IMSA Today

Capital Request

Vision 2033

In addition, President Glazer met with Congressman Bill Foster’s office to inquire about pathways for capital support.

February 2024

Tami Armstrong hosted a kick-off meeting with CCS Fundraising for philanthropic campaign consulting and President Glazer has begun meeting with prospective capital campaign influencers to explore early phases of the campaign. In addition, our capital planning team has been meeting with Bailey Edward to develop some schematics for future residence halls in a manner that would allow a phased construction. Regarding our efforts to obtain capital funding from the state, we are working on a set of highly visual documents for appropriations budget hearings that intend to highlight IMSA’s impact on the state, the experience of our current students, quotes from alumni, and other information for legislatures as they consider our request for residence hall funding.

January 2024

Three of our Reinventing Residence Life Theme team members, Erin Ryan, Michelle Bemis and Cesar Patino, visited the Louisiana School of Math, Science and the Arts and came back with a lot of information for us to consider as we continue our work. In fact, on February 7, the team held a gallery presentation and discussion with colleagues around reinventing the residential life experience.

Most exciting is that we have engaged architects at Bailey Edward about developing a construction design that would allow us to rebuild new residence halls over phases, depending on the amount of funding we are able to receive.

December 2023

Chief Student Affairs Officer Katie Berger presented Reinventing Residential Life as a Deep Dive discussion for the January 17 Board meeting highlighting important pillars that will shape our strategic direction with this theme.. A white paper was also offered to provide context of stakeholder input and engagement that led to the proposed findings.

We were pleased to host Senator Laura Ellman and Dillon Santoni, the Deputy Director of Policy and Budget for the Illinois Senate President, for a tour of the residential halls just before the winter break.

Theme 2 team and the Residential Life team are evaluating what enhancements and changes can be made more immediately in the spring and fall 24 semester

November 2023

A team of colleagues focused on reinventing residence life is working with a wide variety of stakeholders to present a plan for state-of-the-art residence halls at the January 2024 Board of Trustees Meeting. The Theme 2 team includes Erin Ryan, Chris Kornsey, Michelle Bemis, Cesar Patino, Joe Mastrocola, and Meg Junk.

The IMSA experience is an immersive and holistic one. We serve as an around-the-clock living-learning lab that nurtures each student’s curiosity, creativity, and interest in collaborating with others. In their residence hall, students engage in informal interactions and sharing among themselves, scientific tinkering and experimentation, and countless aha moments of discovery. As they make connections with roommates and hallmates from vastly diverse backgrounds, students learn to understand a broad range of perspectives and also gain an understanding of their own talents and interests in ways they might not otherwise discover. They experience the benefits of teamwork in solving problems, and they build lifelong bonds.

While IMSA’s current living quarters have served us well over the past four decades, they’ve now deteriorated to the point where they can no longer support our goals for our students’ learning today and into the future. The limited number of residences, the cramped spaces, the dearth of public areas where students can work collaboratively or just relax and recharge, and the lack of convenient access to healthcare facilities and other important IMSA support services are just a few of the challenges that the current facilities present. Replacing, enlarging, and modernizing the residence halls is key to fostering a meaningful educational experience and increasing access for more students.