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GP.07.02
October 30, 2006

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

Committee on General University Policy
GP.07.02, Global Campus
(Final; Action)

Background:

There are many important issues with respect to the kind of on-line "Global Campus" proposed and described in the "Final Report" on this "Initiative" (issued by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs in May 2006) that warrant careful consideration before action is taken to commit the University to its establishment.  The USC raised some of these issues in its letter of 6 September 2006 to White and Gardner (distributed at the September meeting of the Senate, and available on the Senate website), to which they responded in their letter of 22 September 2006 (also available on the Senate website).  In its letter of 10 October USC requests the above information, which is needed to make it clearer whether the proposed "Global Campus" would be viable as a part of the University of Illinois.

The issue raised in the USC letter is that of specific examples of undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered on our three existing campuses that would be offered in the "Global Campus" format, as described in the "Final Report."  In principle any of our degree programs could be offered.  In the "Global Campus" format, however, all courses would be on-line, taught in 8-week periods.  Moreover, it is typical on our campuses for graduate-level and advanced undergraduate courses to be taught mainly by regular tenure-track faculty.  In the "Global Campus" format, however, most would be "delivered" by part-time non-tenure-track personnel residing elsewhere around the country (and perhaps abroad), who would undergo "Global Campus" training and be subject to its supervision, and who would be hired as needed (depending on enrollments in any given session).

It is reasonable to wonder, therefore, whether colleges and departments on our campuses will be interested in offering "Global Campus" versions of their degree programs in which most courses are to be taught by such personnel, what those versions of their degree programs might look like, and how they would deal with the problem of the staffing of the kinds of graduate-level and upper-level undergraduate courses that would be involved.  The viability of the "Global Campus" as proposed would seem to depend upon the answers to these questions, relating to significant parts of the "academic plan" that is needed in conjunction with its "business plan."

In the 22 September letter from White and Gardner it was stated that the administrative team led by Gardner has "already identified about a dozen academic programs that the campuses are interested in exploring" at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  As the 10 October letter goes on to say, after having taken note of that statement:

Presumably this means that you are in a position to address these questions with some specificity.  If so, it would be very helpful to us and to the three campus senates if you would do so at this time.  If models and specific examples to not currently exist, we trust that they will be made available to us and to the senates before we are asked for our endorsement of the Global Campus Initiative.

The above recommendation in effect is that our senate express concurrence in this request and expectation.  Other concerns will still remain with respect to this Initiative as described in the "Final Report," even if it becomes clear that there are in fact colleges and departments on our campuses that will be prepared to offer versions of their degree programs in the "Global Campus" format; but it would seem prudent to be sure that we will have something that is "academically sound and realistic" to offer before the University commits itself to the "launching" of this venture.

Recommendation:

GUP recommends endorsement by the UIUC Senate of the 9 October 2006 letter  from University Senates Conference (USC) Chair Terry Bodenhorn written on behalf of USC to President White and Special Assistant Gardner concerning the "Global Campus Initiative," and in particular of the following statement in the letter:

We believe that faculty must see detailed academic plans -- specific examples of Global Campus undergraduate degree completion programs, master's degree programs, and certification programs of the sort envisioned in the business plan.  That is, we need to see specific examples that are both academically sound and realistic before we can endorse the Global Campus proposal.

The complete letter is attached for review.

General University Policy
Richard Schacht, Chair
Kern Alexander
Jake Butcher
Roy Campbell
Carol Livingstone
Joseph Manfredo
Lyle Shipton
Colin Wraight
Ruth Watkins, Ex officio